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NEWS
May 25, 2020

Vernon Fire Department breaks ground
Vernon Fire Department breaks ground
The Vernon Fire Department broke ground last week to begin construction of its new fire station. The project was designed by FPBH Inc.; Bradshaw Building Specialties is the general contractor, with Schneider Trucking and Excavating, a subcontractor, prepared the site. Pictured from left are: Nick Trulock, a Vernon firefighter; Britt Burgmeier, VTVFD president; Vernon Mayor Dan Wright; VTVFD Capt. Rob Loretz; Brad Bender, FPBH; Vernon Township Trustee Roger Taylor; VTVFD Chief Eric Kirkham; Justin Bradshaw. Bradshaw Building Specialties; Josh Shaw, FPBH; and Kyle Schneider and Jake Suhre, both of Schneider. - Photo courtesy of FPBH Inc.


Travel Advisory - Level Orange
Travel status by county, as of Friday, April 3. Jennings County's status will be upgraded to Level Orange effective Saturday, April 4, at 8 a.m.
Travel status by county, as of Friday, April 3. Jennings County's status will be upgraded to Level Orange effective Saturday, April 4, at 8 a.m.
The Jennings County Commissioners and officials from North Vernon and Vernon announced today that the travel status will be upgraded from yellow to orange, effective at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, April 4.
Additionally, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said today that he will extend his statewide Stay at Home order through Sunday, May 3. The official order will be signed Monday.

Friday, April 3, 2020


North Vernon Man Arrested for Murder
Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding has released charging information for Alan Joseph Marantos, 34, accused of killing and dismembering the body of Brian K. Kirby, 52.

Marantos, who is being held at the Jackson County Jail on other unrelated charges, will face the following in Jennings: murder; robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 2 Felony (L2F); aggravated battery, an L3F; obstruction of justice, possession of meth and abuse of a corpse, L6Fs; intimidation and resisting law enforcement, Class A misdemeanors; and leaving the scene of an accident, a B misdemeanor.

He will be held without bail.

Charges were filed Thursday, but Belding said he withheld information about the charges until after he met with Kirby's family members to discuss his decision.

The investigation began on March 28, 2020 when Kirby's family reported him missing. He was last seen alive on Primshire Court the day before.
Belding credited the "fantastic job of cooperation between various agencies" with developing the case to date. What started out as a missing persons case soon devolved into a case that will go down as one of the most depraved crimes in local history.

"This is not a typical case," he said of the burning and mutilation of the victim's body. "The allegation is awful and my heart goes out to the Kirby family and their friends."

Friday, May 22, 2020

Virus testing set in Jennings
In an effort to expand COVID-19 testing to as many Hoosiers as possible, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is partnering with OptumServe Health Services to offer COVID-19 test sites across the state.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Suspect in local man's murder dies in custody
Detectives with the Indiana State Police-Versailles Post are conducting an investigation into the death of an inmate being held on a murder charge at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

JCSO reboots annual report, website
Providing the public with information about what's happening at the Jennings County Sheriff's Office and the Jennings County Jail is the impetus behind a redesign of the department's website and of the annual jail report, both set in motion by Sheriff Kenny Freeman.

For the report, "we collected data that we thought was relevent to the public, and help residents understand what we do," Freeman said Tuesday. "We don't sit around just watching traffic."

Indeed, the department has been busy.

In 2019, officers booked 2,362 inmates, including one juvenile, and released the same number. Officers also handled one escape. About 400 inmates were transported during the year, logging around 65,000 miles.

Freeman said the recidivism rate, in which the same offenders are arrested more than once, hovers at about 60 percent of the 2,300 people brought into the jail.

That indicates that the county's troublemakers comprise only a small percentage of the county's total population. He hopes this information will help the department "get to the root of the problem" with recidivism in the county.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

NEWS BRIEFS
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

JCYF handing out kids' meals for it's summer food program
In addition to local food banks, several programs are providing meals to adults and children this summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Extension planning virtual 2020 4-H Fair
The 2020 Jennings County 4-H Fair will go on, but without the traditional sights, sounds and smells of the midway and livestock barns.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lucas defends Facebook posts
I did it. I own it. I accept 100 percent responsibility. Not my family. Not my friends. Not the Indiana Republican Party or anyone else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Indiana NAACP calls for governor to remove Lucas
A meme created and posted on Facebook by state Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, which ignited controversy and a call to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his removal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

NEWS BRIEFS
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Graduation plans set for JCHS seniors
Jennings County's Class of 2020 will have graduation the weekend of May 30, but it won't look anything like a traditional ceremony.

The event, which will be held over three days, will include a video of pre-recorded speeches from Principal Dustin Roller, Superintendent Teresa Brown, student speakers, and footage of previous choir and band performances.

"Every student will be recognized for their accomplishments," Principal Roller said in a video announcement to seniors Monday. "Seniors' photos will be displayed as their names are read out loud, just as if you were crossing the stage."

The video will be available on the JCHS YouTube Channel and the JCHS Facebook page, as well as the school's website. Also, it will be aired on local cable channels several times through the week of Friday, May 29, through June 5.

"My goal was to hold out, and I apologize to anyone who is frustrated by this," Roller told seniors in a video announcement Monday.

"I know it's not what we all had hoped for, but we have worked with our county health department, looked at the state guidelines and recommendations from the CDC. We think we have come up with a plan that, while not traditional, can still honor our seniors in the best way possible."

With 239 seniors graduating, Roller said even if crowds of up to 250 people are allowed as of July 4, there are no guarantees that the governor's "Back on Track" plan will be successful enough to meet that goal. He said even the football field would pose problems, mostly for maintaining social distancing guidelines with families who might attend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Inspection report shows only two issues with Jennings County jail
The 2019 Annual Jail Report for the Jennings County Sheriff's Office was released this week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Fair Board considers options
The annual county fair may - or may not - go on this year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Seymour man charged in Jennings man's death
A Jennings County man was the victim May 6 of an apparent murder at an apartment on Bent Tree Lane in Seymour.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

JCUW offers grants for COVID-19 relief
The Jennings County United Way recently was approved to receive a $175,000 grant to boost the efforts of nonprofits working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Jennings man shot to death Wednesday
A rural Jennings County resident was shot to death early Wednesday morning in Seymour.

Dead is Ryan Joseph Ross, 28, who grew up here and graduated from JCHS in 2010. According to news reports, Seymour police answered a call about a shooting on the east side of that town at 5:37 a.m. Wednesday.

Friday, May 8, 2020

INDIANA GETS 'BACK ON TRACK'
Despite some restrictions being lifted statewide as of Monday, May 4, Hoosiers 65 and older, or those with high-risk health conditioned are asked to continuing self-quarantine or self-isolation. In all cases, compliance with CDC guidelines is required.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Adapting to the 'new' normal
Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention - especially in times of crisis.

In Jennings and surrounding counties, manufacturers are finding ways to adapt in the era of COVID-19, not just to keep employees working, but also to provide personal protective gear, known as PPE, for medical and healthcare workers, as well as other businesses, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which so far has claimed the lives of three Jennings County residents.

For example, Layman Fabrication on North Fourth Street, North Vernon, is designing a product to allow people to open doors with their feet, rather than their hands.

"We had a couple of requests for them," said co-owner Kyle Layman. Interested customers had even provided photographs of other models to show what it was they wanted. "Several people have ordered them."

The company also is producing face shields for eye doctors and plastic standing shields to help protect receptionists and others who must deal with patients and the public one-on-one.

"It keeps us busy," he said, adding that while the facility had closed briefly in March because of the pandemic, all 17 employees are back at work and construction of their new facility is moving forward again.

His employees are on the lookout for other products they may be able to make as the pandemic continues. "Everything changes every day. We're doing whatever we can do," he said.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Third Jennings resident dies
A third Jennings County resident has died from COVID-19. County health nurse Pam Petry said the person had been a patient in an out-of-town hospital last week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Special meeting called to discuss county reopening
Jennings County Commissioners will hold a special meeting via video-conferencing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, as a follow-up to an April 30 special meeting in which they voted to extend the local stay-at-home orders through May 7.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Former NV resident knits, donates masks to former co-workers
It started as a hobby, but the universal shortage of face coverings inspired one Jennings County native to dusted off her knitting needles and lend a hand to those at risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Majestic Care staff helps family with birthday celebration
On April 20, one day before her father-in-law's birthday, Melissa Farmer's plans to help him celebrate were dashed.

"I'm so lost for words!" she posted on Facebook that day, hoping for some advice from her friends. "I ordered a fruit, meat and cheese basket for his birthday that is for tomorrow, and was canceled last minute due to the obvious."

The obvious: The COVID-19 pandemic, which has been most brutal to those who are residents in nursing and assisted-living facilities, requiring staff to close the facilities off to all visitors to protect those who depend on their care.

Therefore, no one is delivering items like Melissa's edible arrangement to facilities like Majestic Care, which operates 10 skilled-nursing facilities in Indiana, including the Henry Street location here in North Vernon. On March 12, officials with the company told family members that no one would be allowed to visit in person with their loved ones, in order to maintain the safety of residents in its various locations.

So, the basket that the family had planned to send to Duane Farmer, 63, could not be delivered.

"He was so heartbroken," when the party seemed to have been cancelled, Melissa explained in a phone interview Friday. "He's such a great guy," and she feels he deserved a celebration on his special day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Voters may opt for absentee or in-person ballots
As the debate over moving Indiana elections exclusively to mail-in ballots continues, Jennings County Clerk Amy Thompson said local voters will have an expanded access to casting absentee ballots, in light of restrictions in place by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, a disease that, as of yesterday, has claimed the lives of 901 Hoosiers since March.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

JCYF hopes to benefit from 'Giving Tuesday'
GivingTuesday, a global online fund-raising event usually held on Dec. 3 - after the traditional holiday shopping days of Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and the following Cyber Monday - has pronounced May 5 as GivingTuesdayNow.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE
Another Jennings County resident has died from COVID-19. County health nurse Pam Petry said the victim had been hospitalized for the disease and died Sunday, April 26.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


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