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January 28, 2020

Sunrise on Walnut Ridge
Sunrise on Walnut Ridge
The sunshine lights up the Graham Creek valley at Walnut Ridge on a sunny winter morning last week. A bit of ice can be seen on the edges of the Highway 7 bridge that spans Graham Creek, though thankfully not on the main road surface.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer



House supports Frye's bill on fire scene crimes
State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) is keeping his nose to the grindstone as the Indiana General Assembly heads into the fourth week of its 2020 session.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Revving it up for STEM students
The students on the Black Cat Racing Club at Jennings County High School build and race electric go-karts. Though the go-karts can go as fast as 70 mph, they are a far cry from the high-powered sports cars that roar around tracks at speeds reaching 200 mph and higher.

There are, however, similar elements involved in both styles of motorsports.

A special showing of the award-winning movie "Ford v Ferrari" will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Park Theatre Civic Centre as a benefit for the Black Cat Racing Club. Admission is free but donations will be accepted to help the club with its expenses.

"We thought this would be a wonderful way for the community to support the Black Cat program," said Patti Yount, Park Theatre board president. "These kids are learning much through this club that will help them later in life no matter if it involves automobile racing or not."

Started in 2017, the Black Cat Racing Club is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program that involves all aspects of electric go-kart racing, much of which is highly technical.

"The Black Cat team is extremely thankful for the opportunity to help host this move," said Braeden Day, tech education teacher at JCHS and Black Cat Club adviser. "Racing is just a small portion of this program. The largest part is community outreach. This provides an opportunity for students to promote electric power and raise money for our program at the same time."

Monday, January 27, 2020

Traffic stop leads to 6 felony drug arrests
A traffic stop Friday night for expired vehicle registration resulted in the arrest of two North Vernon residents on preliminary charges of dealing methamphetamine. The stop also led the Jennings County Sheriff's Narcotics Team and SWAT Team to a home in Spencer Township where a search warrant was executed. The search of the house subsequently resulted in the arrest of four additional individuals on drug related charges, as well as the recovery of stolen property.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Manufacturing Alliance event Wednesday aimed at workforce training
The Regional Manufacturing Alliance (RMA) is hosting a 2020 kick-off meeting at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Rehab of NV historic building commences
The rehabilitation/ transformation of the former Greathouse Hard-ware buildings at the corners of Fifth Street and East O&M Avenue in Historic Uptown North Vernon has begun, says owner Jerry Greene.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Democrats file for election
Three Democratic Party candidates have filed in the last five days for the 2020 election in Jennings County. All three are running for the District 1 commissioner seat now held by Repub­lican incumbent Bob Will­hite.

Democrat Jeff Galli­her of Lovett Township filed his candidacy papers at the Jennings County Clerk's Election Office Friday. Then on Tuesday morning, Bill Elmore, of Spencer Township, threw his hat into the ring. Tuesday afternoon, Floyd Bowman, also of Spencer Township, added his name to the mix.

That means there will be both a Democratic and Republican primary election in Jennings County. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 5.

As of now, only the District 1 commissioner race for the Democratic nomination will be contested in that party's primary election. So far, Bowman, Elmore and Galliher are the only Democratic candidates to file for a county office in 2020.

As previously reported, the Republican Party will have at least two contested primary races. Incumbent treasurer Kitty Shepherd, who is seeking a second term, is facing a challenge from Tina Belding Brison. Shane Boswell and Josh Yeager are GOP candidates for the District 2 commissioner seat where the Republican incumbent, Dave Lane, is not running for reelection.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wild in the streets
It got a bit wild and wooly in eastern Jen­nings County for a while Tuesday morning. A burglary suspect allegedly stole and crashed two vehicles and then fled from sheriff's deputies before he was finally caught and arrested.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Home town takeover?
There could be some vintage automobiles on O&M Avenue when the Jennings Art Council seeks to reenact an 87-year-old scene in North Vernon Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Family escapes burning home
A family narrowly escaped without major injuries when a fire destroyed their Vernon Township home Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Second Amendment sanctuary
Jennings County is now a Second Amendment sanctuary county according to a resolution written by Sheriff Kenny Free­man and signed by him and other local and state officials on Friday afternoon.

"We are here to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Indiana," Freeman told a group of media people that included television news crews from Indianapolis and Louisville gathered in the lobby at the sheriff's office. "We are doing this for the people."

Freeman was joined by North Vernon Mayor Mike Ochs and State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) as they signed the resolution and fielded questions from the media.

"Yes, this is absolutely symbolic," Freeman said in answer to one of the questions. "People should still be in charge. That's why we're doing this."

Freeman said he was moved to action by state laws proposed in Indiana and Virginia that would enact stricter gun controls in both states. He also noted the large pro-Second Amendment demonstration was to be held Monday, Jan. 20, in Richmond, Va., Vir­ginia's state capital, in protest of that measure.

The sheriff said one of his deputies, whom he declined to name, helped with the language of the resolution.

"In light of what is happening here and in Virginia, we're doing this to get ahead of the game," Freeman said. "We will enforce laws that are already in place, but we will not enforce any new laws restricting the Second Amendment."

Monday, January 20, 2020

School board OKs plans for wrestling facility
At the first Jennings County School Board meeting of 2020, architects James Dobrozsi and Todd Ford of Woolpert, an architecture, engineering and geospatial firm, gave a presentation on their design for a $4.5 million wrestling facility at Jen­nings County High School.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Brush cutting planned along area highways
Cold and wintry weather doesn't always prevent maintenance works on highways in Jennings County. In fact, the winter is perhaps the most ideal time for work involving the cutting back of trees and vegatation encroaching upon roads.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Public notices controversy
As he proudly admits, State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) is a free market advocate.

"I am no fan of monopolies," he said. "We have to come to the realization that newer technology is here and the print media has more competition."

Lucas, a member of the Indiana House of Repre­sentatives Education Commit­tee, was talking about House Bill 1003 now being considered by the Indiana General Assembly.

Lucas told the Plain Dealer he has not made up his mind yet on the "Education Matters" bill now in front of the Education Committee, which will decide whether or not to send the measure on to the full House.

(Lucas also talked about other legislation that he has presented this session, see story below.)

Part of the education proposal, authored by Jack Jordan (R-Bremen), calls for the elimination of requiring the state's school corporations to have annual school performance reports published in the public notice/legal advertisement sections of the newspaper of record for each district. Instead, school corporations could merely post school performance reports online for public perusal.

"The push is for more money toward teacher pay, something I hear all year long," said Lucas, who represents most of Jennings County. "This could possibly save money for that."

Steve Key, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association (HSPA), of which the Plain Dealer & Sun is a member, argues that the money saved would be minimal. What's more, eliminating the publication of school performance reports would do more harm than good.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lucas frustrated by slow action on cannabis bills
State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) has introduced two bills on cannabis and action on both so far are moving slowly.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

'Our Story' at JCHS
This is Winter Homecoming Week at Jennings County High School with festivities culminating with the crowning of the 2020 Winter Homecoming queen and king at halftime of Friday's boys basketball game with Crothersville.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Exploring Jennings' rich railroad history
"I hear that train a comin', it's rolling round the bend ..." - from "Fol­som City Blues" by Johnny Cash

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

GOP stampede
Twelve Jennings County residents formally filed their candidacies for the 2020 election on Wednesday, Jan. 8, the first day they could do so.

It's no stretch to call it a Republican Party stampede. Every one of the dozen early-bird candidates are Republi­cans.
No Democratic Party candidates have yet, as of Monday morning, officially filed for Jennings County offices.

"We've got a great group of candidates already," said Jeanie Hahn, county GOP chair, at the county election office on Wednesday morning. "And it's only the first day to sign up."

In fact, so many Republicans are running that there will be at least two contested races for GOP nominations, ensuring a primary election on Tuesday, May 5.

Those Republican races will be for treasurer, where incumbent Kitty Shepherd will be challenged by Tina Belding Brison, and District 2 commissioner, where Shane Boswell and Josh Yeager are running. David Lane, a Republican now serving his second term as District 2 commissioner, is not running this year.

Monday, January 13, 2020

New legislation aimed at Jennings County
While State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) is pushing for the decriminalization of marijuana, the other member of the Indiana House of Representatives who represents Jennings County, State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), is working on bills aimed at reducing jail overcrowding in Jennings County and other places.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Free info sessions set at Columbus Regional Bariatric Center
The Bariatric Center at Columbus Regional Health will hold free information sessions for those interested in learning about surgical and nonsurgical options for weight loss.

Monday, January 13, 2020

First born of new decade
Not only is she the first baby of the new year for Jennings County, she is the first baby of the new decade.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Few changes in county slots
The Board of County Commissioners met in special session Thursday, Jan. 2, to make its annual appointments.

These include full- and part-time positions in county government jobs and positions on various county and regional boards.

Most of the selections were reappointments.

One appointment left open was the county's veterans service officer. The commissioners dismissed former veterans service officer Nolan Stanley last month (see related story).

"We hope to fill the veterans service officer position soon," said Matt Sporleder (R-District 3), president of the commissioners.

The job appointments, all of which are full-time positions except county attorney and recycling center supervisors, which are part time, are all for one year. These include:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Veterans service officer fired again
Jennings County is in search of a new veterans service officer.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

200 years of art and literature
A college professor and author will give a free presentation in North Vernon Sunday on Indiana's rich history of art and literature.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

JCHS Hall of Fame ceremony Friday
Ed Ertel and Emily Wahlman Greenwald will formally be inducted into the Jennings County High School Alumni Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 10.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Osgood man dies in U.S. 50 wreck
An Osgood man died Tuesday morning after a two-vehicle accident on the U.S. 50 bypass between State Road 3 and Fourth Street.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


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