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NEWS August 29, 2016

Support police
Support police
Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver thanks the Rev. Gil Hawkes of the Restoration Fellowship Community Church for 20 pizzas delivered to the sheriff office Tuesday. Pizzas were also delivered to the North Vernon Police Department. "This is a way for our congregation to show support for our police," Hawkes said. "We appreciate them and are praying for them."-Staff Photo by Bryce Mayer



Labs now testing laced heroin
Police are continuing to investigate after a rash of heroin overdoses in Jennings County on Tuesday, Aug. 23, as the local health department has started giving out overdose reversal kits.

The sheriff's department, EMS-Rescue 20 and fire department first responders answered or were called to 10 possible overdoses in a 61/2-hour stretch that started at 6 p.m.

One person, a 52-year-old woman in Country Squire Lakes, possibly died as a result of an overdose, though that investigation is continuing.

"I want to wait at this time before releasing the female's name," said Sheriff Gary Driver.

The others who reportedly overdosed survived after being administered Naloxone, also known as Narcan, by deputies and EMS paramedics.

Five arrests have been made so far in Jennings County. The sheriff said he anticipates more arrests as the investigation continues.

Police suspect the heroin involved in the overdoses may have been laced with fentanyl or carfentanil, two powerful opioids. Carfentanil, in fact, is used to tranquilize elephants and other large zoo animals.

Some of the heroin seized here is now being analyzed at state and federal laboratories.

"Until the lab work is done, I can't confirm what we are dealing with," Driver said.

The overdosed individuals needed more than the usual amount of Naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, according to Lt. Mike Mowery of the sheriff department.

"Deputies had to administer at least two doses of Naloxone to get some of the patients to respond," Mowery said. "In one case, Naloxone was given four times to one patient before deputies were able to see results."

Driver called in more deputies to assist with the overdoses and with other calls that were coming in Tuesday.

"I had 13 of my 17 full-time officers working along with three reserves," Driver said.

Rescue 20 had three-quarters of its full-time staff working, too, according to director Dave Gerth.

"We went through 20 doses of Narcan that night," Gerth said. "Now we are restocked."

Monday, August 29, 2016

County gains $500K for roads
Jennings County will receive $513,479.75 to improve county roads and bridges through Indiana's Community Crossings matching grant fund, officials learned last week.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kayakers are OK Sunday after overnight search
All ended well for two kayakers missing overnight Saturday on the Muscatatuck River.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Earlier deadlines for next week's Sun, PD
Because of next week's Labor Day holiday, deadlines have been moved up earlier than usual for the Sept. 6 edition of The Sun and the Sept. 8 edition of the North Vernon Plain Dealer.

Monday, August 29, 2016

2 jailed for online theft conspiracy
Monday, August 29, 2016

Public works board to meet Wednesday
The North Vernon Board of Public Works and Safety will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Carnegie Government Center, 143 E. Walnut St.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Holiday closings
Next week's Labor Day holiday means no trash collection in the city and the closing of the county's recycling center for the day.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Heroin overdoses hit county
The heroin epidemic hit Jennings County hard Tuesday night, with one death suspected to be caused by an overdose of the drug.

"Jennings County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to 10 possible heroin overdoses between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 12:30 a.m. Wednesday," reported Lt. Mike Mowery.

Police believe heroin laced with fentanyl was responsible for the overdoses.

A 52-year-old North Vernon woman died early Wednesday at St. Vincent Jennings Hospital. Jennings County Coroner Gene Rudicel said Wednesday morning the exact cause of her death has yet to be determined. Deputies administered Narcan and then began CPR on the woman before she was transported by Rescue 20 to the hospital. Officials have not yet released her name.

During the overdose outbreak, deputies were assisted by Rescue 20 Paramedics, North Vernon Police Department and the Indiana State Police. They responded to two drug overdoses in Center Township, two overdoses in Geneva Township and five in Spencer Township. Nar­can, a drug used to stop overdoses, was administered to nine individuals.

One 16-year-old male, one 16-year-old female and one 17-year-old male were administered Narcan by deputies and Rescue 20 medics. The three were transported to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital and later released.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pay hike for election workers
Election workers in Jennings County will receive more compensation than in previous elections on General Election Day, Nov. 8.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

House fire in Vernon Twp.
Fire destroyed two vehicles and extensively damaged a house in far southeastern Vernon Township late Friday night.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

3 more file for school board
As the filing deadline looms, three people have finally registered as candidates for the Jennings County School Board's District 2 seat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More CSX trains to roll soon
After a slowdown and reduction in the number of freight trains traveling through Jennings County on the CSX Transpor­tation line in recent years, more trains will soon be rolling over the local rails and at faster speeds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NV man caught after chase, laundry burglary
Police arrested a North Vernon man early Tuesday following a foot chase after he allegedly burglarized the Suds City coin laundry on North State Street.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Excellence in Healthcare Award to St. V. Jennings

Officials at St. Vincent Jennings Hospital have announced that the hospital has been recognized as a Five Star Excellence Award winner by the Centers for Medicare and Med­icaid Services and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Sys­tems surveys.

The hospital received awards in five categories, ranking in the top 10 percent nationally in each. Categories included: Discharge Information, Hospital Environment, Com­munication about Medications, Communication with Nurses, and Responsiveness of Staff.

St. Vincent Jennings is a member of Ascension, the nation's largest Catholic and not-for-profit health system.

"I applaud the compassionate and high quality care our associates and providers deliver each and every day," said Carl Risk, St. Vincent Jennings administrator. "This recognition validates the positive impact our ministry is making on those we serve."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Administrator leaving St. Vincent Jennings to head Elkhart hospital
After over five years at the helm, Carl W. Risk II is stepping down as administrator of St. Vincent Jennings Hospital.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Officials rule no foul play in Scipio man's death
Officers with the Jennings County Sher­iff's Department and Indiana State Police investigated a death in Country Squire Lakes Wednesday, Aug. 17, where they initially suspected foul play.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jury: NV man shot at deputy
As soon as the Jennings County Circuit Court jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday, Rodney W. Meek's freedom ended. After being free on bond for three months, Meek is back in the Jennings County Jail.
The jury of 10 women and four men deliberated less than an hour in convicting Meek, 57, on intimidation involving a deadly weapon and two other felony charges involving his shooting at a sheriff deputy last April.
Judge Jon W. Webster ordered the North Vernon man returned to jail where Meek will be incarcerated without bond until his sentencing hearing, which the judge said would be within the next 30 days.
"We are extremely happy with this verdict," said Drew Dickerson, Jennings County deputy prosecutor who presented the case for the state in the 11/2-day trial. "We feel it is a statement in support of protecting those who protect us."
Police arrested Meek on April 15 after he allegedly shot through the wall of his house at Jennings County Deputy Anthony Maberry with a 12-gauge shotgun.
At the time Maberry was responding after a 9-1-1 call from Meek's wife, who had become afraid during an argument with her husband and locked herself in a bathroom.
When Maberry arrived at the Meek home in Vernon Township, he walked up to the front door and knocked on it. Meek then fired a shotgun into the wall of his house near the door. The shot did not penetrate through the brick outside and the deputy was not injured. Maberry ducked behind cover and called for backup, which quickly arrived.
Meek testified in court when he was on the stand Tuesday that he did not hear the knock on the door. Right before he fired the shotgun, Meek said he saw someone through the living room window of his house but couldn't tell if it was a man or a person.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

JCSC eyes 2017 budget
The start of a new school year signals the time for the Jennings County School Corpora­tion (JCSC) to begin the process of adopting a budget for 2017.
"We have to advertise the budget higher than what we need so the state can adjust it according to what we actually need," explained Amber Fields, JCSC business manager. "The state has the actual assessed valuation (for real estate) of our county and they adjust the tax rate accordingly."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No penalties for jail shortcomings
Despite the fact that the Indiana Department of Correction recently cited Jennings County a notice of noncompliance because of overcrowding at the Jennings County Jail, the county faces no penalties and no deadlines.
That does not mean county officials can ignore the problem. In fact, the board of county commissioners recently directed mainentance superintendent Gregg Wilds to look into the options of expanding the current jail or constructing a new jail

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sheriff: Deputies thwart man's suicide attempt
Jennings County Sheriff deputies reportedly stopped a man from jumping off a bridge last week, perhaps saving his life or preventing serious injuries.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NV man seriously injured Tuesday
A North Vernon man suffered possible life-threatening injuries in a three-vehicle accident near Columbus Tuesday afternoon that closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 for five hours.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stellar projects near completion
MAC Construction crews laid pavement last week on two Stellar Community projects they are working on in North Vernon.

The first layer of asphalt was laid on Fifth Street between O&M Avenue and Buckeye Street where the New Albany firm is nearing completion of a $798,594 streetscape project.

Also last week, MAC Construction workers laid the first layer of asphalt on the Muscatatuck Trail, a $1.1 million project where the former railroad bed between South State Street and Muscatatuck Park's Gum Street entrance is being converted into a pedestrian trail.

"We are on target to have Fifth Street open to traffic on Sept. 14," said Ron Singer, MAC's superintendent for both projects. "That could still change, depending on the weather or other unforeseen situations, but everything is going well there."

Singer said crews will lay the final asphalt surface the week after Labor Day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Trial postponed for woman charged with stealing county funds
The state of Indiana continues to pursue the recovery of public funds from Cathy Jo Robertson, the North Vernon woman accused of embezzling over $64,000 from Jennings County government funds when she was a deputy clerk and then a deputy auditor.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jonathan Jennings, other history to be showcased at Bicentennial event
The Bicentennial Social and Fashion Show in North Vernon on Thursday figures to be extra special.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Standoff ends with NV man's arrest
A 41/2-hour standoff ended peacefully Wednes­day night when police interceded to thwart a possible suicide attempt by a North Vernon man.

Monday, August 15, 2016


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