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NEWS
March 18, 2019

No more snow!
No more snow!
A horse in a pasutre near Brewersville doesn't seem to mind the snow Friday morning. The animal, like many humans, is no doubt hoping for warmer weather in the near future.-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer



JCHS Concert Choir Showcase Tuesday night
The Jennings County High School Choral Department will present the JCHS Concert Choir Showcase 2019 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at the Don Pelkey Audi­torium.
Monday, March 18, 2019

County Council questions extra pay
Like his predecessor, Jennings County Asses­sor Randy Shepherd is being paid more than his base salary. Since taking office in January, Shepherd has been paid based on not only a $41,815 salary, but also wages based on an additional $15,000 in annual add-ons to the salary.

Those additions are part of the assessor's office budget, which was approved last year by the Jennings County Council.

That was one of the issues discussed by the Council on Tuesday when Shepherd brought it to the seven members' attention.

"I apologize for not consulting with you before," Shepherd said. "It was a rookie mistake."

"I'm mad because you came in here and did this without telling us first," said Councilor Dave Woodall (R-at large). "We all agreed for Linda (former Assessor Linda Kovacich) to get paid this other money because of her years of experience."

The extra annual wages for Shepherd involve $8,000 for personal property assessment duties and $7,000 for verification of sales disclosures.

Monday, March 18, 2019

JC School report offers comparisons
Each year in Indiana, public school corporations are required to publish their Annual Perform­ance Report.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Wisner running for 2nd term on City Council
Trent Wisner has announced he is running for re-election to the North Vernon City Council in District 2.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Celebrating barns through art
It's not just barn art that Dorrel Harrison is known for.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Granfest
Some people call it the Granville Johnson Music Festival, others the Granville Johnson Bluegrass Festival and yet others simply Granfest."

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Handcuff key aided escape
The Jennings County Sher­iff's Office announced Monday that the investigation involving the escape of jail inmate Kimlynn D. Patton has ended, concluding that Patton procured a handcuff key apparently from a fellow inmate. An undermanned jail staff also was a factor, according to the investigation.

In the wake of the investigation, Sheriff Kenny Freeman has enacted several changes in procedures and policies for transporting jail inmates.

Patton, who escaped after jumping Corrections Transport Officer Justin Ponsler in Vernon on Friday, March 1, somehow got a key that enabled him to unlock and shed his handcuffs and ankle shackles during the transport from the Jennings County Jail to the Courthouse. He eluded capture for slightly over 24 hours, apprehended the next day in uptown North Vernon after a citizen reported seeing a suspicious person walking in the area.

"During the investigation it was determined that there were several factors that enabled Patton to escape," said Chief Deputy Dave Turner. "Old procedures from previous (sheriff) administrations will be replaced with new procedures and policies."

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Necropsies indicate dogs were shot, beaten to death
Results of necropsies indicate that the 12 canines found dead near Zenas earlier this month were either shot to death or died of blunt force trauma, according to Jennings County officials.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Curbside recycling in Vernon?
The Town of Vernon may get curbside recycling before its neighboring big brother to the north.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wilder seeks District 3 seat
Baron W. Wilder has announced he is making his second bid for politics in the City of North Vernon. The former three-term mayor of Vernon is the Republican Party candidate for North Vernon City Council in District 3.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

E-cigarette epidemic threatens brain health of all, especially youth
This is Brain Aware­ness Week, March 11-17, a time to promote brain education and research.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

'These poor babies'
The Jennings County Sheriff's and Animal Control offices are investigating a case involving 12 dead dogs, nine of which were puppies, that were found dumped near Zenas.

"I just can't fathom how and why someone could do this when there are so many ways to find dogs homes, especially puppies," said Michelle Acton, senior animal control officer.

"This is a very disturbing case that we are taking very seriously, as we do every crime," said Chief Deputy Dave Turner of the Sheriff's Office. "We are continuing our investigation and we are hopeful we'll get help with tips from the community."

The dogs' bodies were found in a wooded area along County Road 740 East, south of County Road 1000 North, in Columbia Township in the Zenas Slab area. Sheriff's Office detectives and Animal Control officers went to the site on Tuesday, March 5, to investigate a report made by a citizen.

"The dogs were located by a concerned citizen driving through the area on Thursday, Feb. 28, during the afternoon hours," Turner said. "According to the citizen, he had driven through the area earlier in the day and did not see the deceased animals. When the citizen drove through later, he saw numerous deceased dogs a short distance from the roadway."

Monday, March 11, 2019

Kelley announces re-election bid
John "Jack" Kelley is the Republican Party candidate seeking re-election for City Council District 1. Kelley has served the community the last four years on the City Council.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Seymour man faces murder charge
A Seymour man faces a preliminary murder charge after he shot his brother-in-law during a family dispute Sunday in Seymour, according to the Seymour Police Department.

Monday, March 11, 2019

2 jailed in 'substantial drug arrest'
North Vernon Police made a "substantial drug arrest" Saturday night involving two North Vernon resident suspected of dealing illegal drugs. According to Sgt. Andrew Richmond, the department's public information officer, police found heroin, methamphetamine and suboxone. Officers arrested Jarel Haines, 41, and Ezra Engle, 18, both of North Vernon.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Solutions to jail problems?
Jennings County is moving closer to a partnership with Jackson County and the City of Seymour on a work-release program and facility.

On Thursday, Jennings County Commissioners voiced their support for the initiative that would include the construction of a $1.45 million facility in Seymour.

The Jennings County Council is also backing the project and will hold its second special meeting, what is being called a work session, at 6 p.m. Friday, March 8, to iron out more details of the plan that calls for the county to fund $145,000 annually.

The council and commissioners have yet to officially vote on approving funding for the project but they are clearly headed in that direction.

According to several officials, the work-release program will reduce the severe overcrowding now plaguing the Jennings County Jail and, with other programs, could negate the need to construct a new jail.

Officials estimate it costs the county around $60 per day to house an inmate at the jail. Up to 50 people who normally would be incarcerated in the jail could be in the work-release program at any one time, according to J.L. Brewer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Bluegrass passion at Park Theatre
Becky Buller loves writing and recording her original music. The nationally renowned bluegrass artist loves performing her music live, too - including at the Park Theatre Civic Centre.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Incumbents prevail in Vernon
After Dan Wright was elected on Monday to a ninth two-year term as mayor of Vernon, a part-time job with a $2,400 salary, he says he plans to continue efforts to bolster the town's recreational and tourism appeal.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lamb running for 2nd term
Jerry A. Lamb is seeking a second term on the North Vernon City Council serving in the at-large seat.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Fugitive caught after 24 hours
Early Saturday afternoon, Sgt. Mike Mowery spotted Kimlynn D. Patton, the escaped inmate who had been the subject of a manhunt for nearly 24 hours, walking in an alley between East O&M Avenue and Hoosier, Fifth and Fourth streets.

Acting on a tip from person who had seen Patton walking downtown, Mowery and Deputy Kyle Lee quickly arrived in separate patrol cars. Mowery then saw Patton from behind walking in the alley in the Uptown neighborhood, drove up behind him and got out of his car.

"He didn't even know Mike was there," said Sheriff Kenny Freeman. "Mike yelled out, 'Hey you!' and then ordered him to get on the ground and freeze. The suspect complied with every order."

Lee quickly arrived to assist Mowery with apprehending Patton, 40, of North Vernon. Then Deputy Cody Low and Reserve Deputy Tyler Boswell transported Patton back to the Jennings County Jail.

So ended a manhunt that began around 1 p.m. Friday when Patton got away from a correctional officer outside the Jennings County Courthouse in Vernon.

Ironically, Patton was ultimately apprehended next to the Fraternal Order of Police fitness gym located in the rear of the former North Vernon Street Department Building.

Monday, March 4, 2019

York seeks at-large city council seat
Matt York is running for North Vernon City Council at large on the Democratic Party ticket.

Monday, March 4, 2019

County lands $3.4 million in federal aid for bridges
Jennings County has been awarded over $3.4 million from the Federal Highway Administration for major renovation work on four county bridges.

Monday, March 4, 2019

County raises some salaries
The Jennings County Council approved several salary expenditures earlier this month, all unanimously though two of the councilors, both first-year members, expressed misgivings.

"This kind of sets a bad precedent because we're doing this outside of budget time," said Mike Gerth (R-District 1).

The Council approved the transfer of $19,000 in the sheriff's budget to supplement the pay of 16 deputies for this year; voted to raise the salary of Jennings County Soil and Water Conservation District Director Andy Ertel from $33,000 to $40,000; and allotted $32,000 for the new position of assistant maintenance director.

"Are we going to do this every year?" asked Charlie Weber (R-District 4).

Council President Howard Malcomb (R-at large) said the county cannot afford to fall behind more in its payscale for county employees.

"We are training people to be deputies (with the sheriff's office) who often end up going to other counties or city police departments where they offer more pay," Malcomb said.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Basketball royalty
Friends, colleagues and family came from near and far to salute Mike Broughton on Sunday.

Broughton was honored for his 42 years in education as a teacher and basketball coach, including the last 10-and-a-half years as athletic director at Jennings County High School.

Broughton retired at JCHS in December shortly after being named the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Games Director.

"It's great to see so many people who have helped me and I've worked with over the years," Broughton said. "I'm humbled."

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Gerkin seeks another term
Raymond "Shawn" Gerkin is seeking his third term as the City of North Vernon clerk-treasurer, filing his candidacy for re-election on the Democratic ticket. He is currently finishing his second term in the position after first taking office in January of 2012.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


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