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August 21, 2019

Ready to learn
Ready to learn
Scipio Elementary School third graders Adelyn Eaton, left, and Cami Harmon are all smiles for the first day of the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Judging by their faces, they were are happy to be back in school and ready to learn after the summer break.-Submitted Photo

NV victim loses $20K in scam
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced a Jamaican man to 34 months in federal prison last Thursday for devising a lottery scam that swindled elderly victims, including one person from Jennings County who lost around $20,000.

Oraine Gray, 23, who pleaded guilty to the charges, also made a death threat to the Jennings County resident during the scam, according to authorities.

"Normally, we don't take on a (scam) case involving less than $100,000 because there is so much of it," Russell Warlick, a special agent with the FBI, told The Sun. "We took this one on because of the death threat."

The victim may get some of the $20,000 back since the FBI froze the account Gray, also known as "James Cooper," was using in the scam, according to Warlick.

"Whatever has been frozen will eventually be distributed back to the victims," Warlick said. "We normally don't recover anything in cases like this."

The Jennings County victim also unwittingly became involved as a "money mule" in helping Gray launder money amounting to around $80,000.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Broadband internet coming to Hayden area
High-speed broadband internet service will soon be coming to the formerly unserved Hayden area.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Dropped cell phone leads to SUV wreck
Similar to a recent insurance commercial, a motorist wrecked her sports utility vehicle last Thursday while reaching to retrieve her cell phone that she had dropped.

Monday, August 19, 2019

911 dispatchers 'step up'
For the past three weeks, the Jennings County 911 Emergency Dispatch Center has been working shorthanded - severely shorthanded.

The staff, normally numbering 15 dispatchers, is down to 11 after four employees recently left for other jobs in the private sector.

"We are getting by for now and we have some quality applicants for the open positions," said Britt Burgmeier, 911 director. "We are hopeful we can complete the hiring and training so we can fill those spots soon."

All four of the former dispatchers quit at about the same time. Yet the 911 staff has not missed a beat and continues to perform its essential service, noted Nicci Lucas, the county's human resources director.

"Britt and his staff have been amazing in how they have stepped up," she said.

A 21-year veteran of the county's 911 Dispatch, Burgmeier has been the director for five years.

"This is a prime example of the teamwork my staff demonstrates on a daily basis," he said. "We have worked overtime and switched schedules around to ensure adequate staffing. The crew at 911 is second to none. They face challenges daily that would make most rethink this career choice."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Grand theft auto at Vernon car show
Truth is stranger than fiction, as car show organizers in Vernon found out first hand Saturday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Graduation at MUTC
The first Cyber Academy graduates at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in But­lerville received their diplomas earlier this month.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Authorities investigating suspicious fire in Paris Crossing area Tuesday
Authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed an unoccupied house and barn near Paris Crossing early Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NV restaurant closes for 24 hours
After being closed for around 24 hours by the Jennings County Health Department, the Dairy Queen Chill and Grill Restaurant in North Vernon reopened Monday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Scam preys on Publisher's Clearing House hopefuls
A North Vernon woman says she and others she knows have been called by people posing to be with Publisher's Clear­ing House in trying to scam them for money in recent days.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Disaster averted in NV gas leak
A large natural gas leak in a North Vernon residential area caused some very anxious moments for emergency workers late Wednesday morning, Aug. 7.

Thanks to the speedy efforts of Bruce Campbell of Midwest Natural Gas and others, the threat of an explosion and fire was avoided and the situation came to a safe end.

"This leak was in such close proximity to several structures, it created the potential for a much larger problem for first responders on the scene had this leak ignited for any reason," said Jerry Shepherd, Jennings County Emergency Management Agency director.

A spark of any sort could have ignited the gas, causing catastrophic results, according to officials.

Around 10:52 a.m., a riding lawnmower struck a natural gas meter between Bethel Baptist Church and a home. The impact severed the meter at the base, resulting in a large amount of natural gas being released into the air. The person mowing immediately called 911.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Grandmother arrested after child left in car
North Vernon City Police officers arrested a Dupont grandmother Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 7, for leaving a 1-year-old child in a minivan while grocery shopping.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Carrying handgun lands NV man in jail
Jennings County sheriff deputies on Thursday arrested a pedestrian in Country Squire Lakes carrying a handgun in his pocket after they found out he was a convicted felon and did not have the necessary gun permit.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Young hosting info sessions on U.S. Military Service Academies
U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) will host a series of Academy Day events to serve as informational sessions for current high school students interested in attending one of the U.S. Military Service Academies.

Monday, August 12, 2019

NV trash collection to be earlier Tuesday
Because of the forecast for oppressive heat and humidity, the City of North Vernon has scheduled trash pickup earlier than normal on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Monday, August 12, 2019

They stuffed the bus
Hundreds of people donated school supplies Saturday for the Stuff the Bus campaign in Jen­nings County headed by the Salvation Army and assisted by other groups and individuals.

"We collected 1,980 school supply items to be distributed to the Jen­nings County School Corp.'s elementary, middle and high schools," said Eric Jarboe, a Salvation Army volunteer who served as the event's organizer. "We are very thankful to all the people who contributed and all the volunteers."

The Indiana Salva­tion Army and the Indi­ana Walmart Corp. sponsored Stuff the Bus. Local community members donated the items which were placed by voluneers in JCSC Bus No. C1, which was parked in front of the North Vernon store.

Twenty-five volunteers representing the Jennings County Salvation Army Extension and Disaster Relief Team, Jennings County Youth Foundation, North Vernon Kiwanis Club, Jen­nings County High School Key Club, the Jennings County Red Kettle Bell Ringers and Bethel Baptist Church collected the donated items.

Donors were entertained by live music during the day performed by Deer Creek, Eagle Ridge and the Scattertack String Band next to the bus. Jerry Caudill provided the sound system.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Deputies track down 'violent criminal'
Utilizing a swat team and a National Guard helicopter, Jennings County sheriff deputies apprehended and arrested two North Vernon men in northern Jennings County early Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Not-so peak season
This should be the peak of the season for sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and watermelon, some of the most highly sought after produce ever year at the Jennings County Farmers' Market.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Bench is welcome new addition on Muscatatuck Trail
A whole lot of groups and people came together to get a new bench on the popular Muscatatuck Trail.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Recess doesn't slow congressman
Congress started its annual August recess late last week, but U.S. Rep. Greg Pence (R-6th District) is staying busy.

The first-term congressman visited North Vernon on Friday, the first day of the Congressional recess, to lunch with Jennings County officials and others.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Free lunches serve need for local seniors
Thrive Alliance has been serving free lunches on weekdays to Jennings County senior citizens for years now, the last year-and-a-half at the North Vernon Senior Housing clubhouse.

As reported in the Plain Dealer on Aug. 1, the Jennings County Senior Center also serves free lunches Monday through Thursday starting this week after a two-month summer break.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Upgrades for county highways
Long sections of two major highways in Jen­nings County are getting new pavement. Motorists and their passengers will enjoy the smoother ride when the work is completed but will have to be patient and cope with some delays until then.

Milestone Con­trac­tors crews will begin a $4.1 million asphalt resurface project on a 14-mile section of State Road 7 in Jennings and Bartholomew counties this week.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Foundation party right out of a fairy tale
The Jennings County Youth Foundation hosted a Disney Enchanted Ball on July 20 to great success with princesses, fairy tale characters and magic animals having a great time at the fundraiser for the local non-profit.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Full-time public defenders?
Jack Gay is not giving up. The North Vernon attorney returned to the Jennings County Commissioners last Thursday to make another pitch for a county Public Defender Office.

"I ask you to consider moving on this," Gay said to Dave Lane, Matt Sporleder and Bob Willhite, the three commissioners. "This is another step the county can take to reduce the number of inmates in our jail and prevent the need for a new jail."

Nearly two years ago, Gay came to the commissioners with the proposal to establish a public defender office in Jennings County. This time he came with more details.

The commissioners gave him their approval, voting unanimously to do so after querying Gay for more information.

"I like the idea even though I still have a few questions," said Sporleder (R-District 3), president of the commissioners. "If we support this, it will then be up to the County Council (to OK the funding)."

According to Gay's proposal, a public defender office would require $107,000 in funding from the county annually. Through the Indiana Public Defender Commission, the state would provide 60 percent of the funding for the public defender office, the county 40 percent.

"I know that looks like a lot of money, but a public defender office would result in being able to cut costs elsewhere," Gay said. "Overall and in the long run, this would save the county money."

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ready to help 'Stuff the Bus'
Plans are progressing for Saturday's "Stuff the Bus" event being put on by the Salvation Army at the Walmart parking lot in North Vernon, according to Eric Jarboe.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Kids 'Shop with a Cop'
Just in time for the start of school next week in Jennings County, 20 children and their families received a big lift from area law enforcement officers.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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