Sisters Therese Hauersperger, 10, left, and Clare Hauersperger, 12, members of the Barefoot Bandits 4-H Club, answered the invitation to perform at the Indiana State Fair during the 4-H Performing Arts Show at the 4-H Exhibit Hall. The sisters performed on the local level and advanced to the regional level. From there they were asked to perform at the state fair. Therese also performed at Purdue University during the 4H Round-Up. Clare sang " Sun in the Morning" from the musical "Annie Get Your Gun," while Therese sang, "The Melody Within" from "Rigoletto." They are the daughters of Bernie and Cari Hauersperger of North Vernon.-Submitted Photo
The murder trial for Jody Michael Brooks of North Vernon began Monday in Jennings County Circuit Court. Brooks, 23, is charged with the murder of Richard "Rick" Smith of Dupont in downtown North Vernon on Oct. 16, 2014.
During the first two days of the proceedings, Brooks showed little reaction except for two occasions where he shook his head, apparently disagreeing with the testimony of witnesses.
Brooks, along with JoVonnie "Joe" Mayes, 22, of Seymour, allegedly beat Smith to death then robbed him, leaving the body in the dumpster behind the Hatton apartments on Fifth Street.
According to law enforcement officials, the two then found a ride to Country Squire Lakes where they allegedly stole a vehicle, drove it to Hayden where they wrecked it, then stole another vehicle. They were apprehended by a Harrison County Sheriff's Department deputy in Corydon after crashing the second vehicle into a sinkhole there.
Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding opened by vividly describing a heinous crime. He told the 14 members of the jury that Brooks, "literally stomped the life out of him [Smith] with a steel toed boot," while he was "passed out, helpless."
Belding went on to say that trace amounts of blood were found on Brooks' clothes, specifically on the sole of his right boot.
As Belding spoke of the accused dragging Smith's body by the feet outside the apartments, Brooks shook his head.
Brooks' court-appointed attorney, Jim Funke of North Vernon, argued that there is an open window between 11 p.m. on Oct. 16 and early morning Oct. 17 where Smith could have died. Depending on the actual time of his death, Brooks could have an alibi showing that he wasn't there when it happened, Funke said. Wednesday, August 26, 2015
People will have a chance to fly in the skies over North Vernon and other nearby areas on Saturday during the annual Airport Awareness Day at the North Vernon Municipal Airport. Sight-seeing and aerobatic airplane rides along with an air show and many other activities are scheduled from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. "This is always a fun day at the airport," said Ryan Curry, manager of the facility located on North Vernon's north side at 645 E. CR 450N. "For people who don't get out to the airport much, this is a good time to come and see what we have." One of the big attractions are the airplane rides offered by EAA Chapter 1328 members. Also known as the OVO Aviators, this is the pilots club at the airport. Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Indiana gubernatorial candidate John Gregg will make a campaign stop in North Vernon on Friday, Aug. 28. Gregg will visit Jennings County Democratic Party Headquarters for a cookout and is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. The public is invited with serving to begin at 6 p.m. The headquarters is located at 10 Third St. at the corner of Hoosier Street. Gregg, who resides in Sandborn in Knox County and is an attorney with a Vincennes law firm, was the Democratic Party nominee for governor in 2012 when he lost to current Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican from Columbus, by a 3.2-percent margin, the closest Indiana gubernatorial election in 50 years. Gregg announced last April that he was a candidate for governor in 2016 and has been campaigning ever since. Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Instead of winding down with summer, road construction is ramping up in Jennings County.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) plans to close State Road 3 at Paris Crossing and Paris at the bridge over Graham Creek on Friday, Aug. 28, for repairs. The highway will be closed for seven to 10 days.
The structure near the Jennings-Jefferson County line will be fitted with a new bridge deck overlay.
The highway is expected to reopen prior to Labor Day, Sept. 7, according to Harry Maginity of INDOT.
Jennings County and other Indiana businesses and residents affected by severe flooding and storms June 7 through July 29 can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced last Thursday.
Jerry Shepherd, former chief deputy of the Jennings County Sheriff's Department, said he fully intended to have paperwork involving a pay dispute returned to the county auditor's office last week.
However, a bout with kidney stones - including hospitalization and surgery - interfered.
"Something came up beyond anyone's control that prevented me from returning the time sheets," Shepherd said, apologizing for the delay. "I plan on returning the documents to the auditor this week and forwarding my opinion on this issue to the county attorney (Ellie Bright) for review."
Shepherd was given the folders containing time sheets for seven deputies at the July 9 meeting of the county commissioners. The commissioners instructed Shepherd to review the information and return the paperwork before their Aug. 13 meeting.
Shepherd was not at last Thursday's meeting, nor had he returned the paperwork.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Jennings County and 52 other counties in Indiana as primary natural disaster areas on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The designation is due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain and flooding that occurred earlier this year and means farmers can apply for low-interest loans.
"Our hearts go out to those Indiana farmers affected by recent natural disasters," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a news release. "President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy by sustaining the successes of America's farmers and rural communities through these difficult times. We're also telling Indiana producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood."
Many farm fields and other areas in Jennings County were flooded by heavy rains repeatedly during July.
The Southeast Purdue Agricultural Center (SEPAC) weather station in Butlerville recorded 12.11 inches of precipitation for July, making it the second wettest month ever since SEPAC began collecting weather data in 1979.
Other areas of the county received even more rain.
For two hours on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 12, the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District will hold a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day for Jennings County residents. This will be the last one of these special collection events of the year.
Government meetings don't get any more exciting than the one held Monday night at North Vernon's Carnegie Government Center as plans were revealed and approved for Tripton Place, a 26-unit senior housing complex to arise out of the ashes of the Fifth Street fire zone.
Mayor Harold Campbell had pledged last year to not only get the Fifth Street debacle cleaned up by the end of 2015, but to also have some sort of plan for the block-long area which stretches from along Short Street/U.S. 50 East down two-thirds of Fifth.
Now, the first goal is accomplished, with the last of the ravaged buildings to be leveled by the end of this week.
And as of Monday night, the second goal can also be checked off as Eric Frey of the non-profit Southern Indiana Housing and Community Development Corp. of Columbus and Chuck Heintzelman of Milestone Ventures of Indianapolis presented plans for a "Senior Rental Community" in the heart of the downtown area.
As some school corporations across the country attempt to put in place policies for how they will handle lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) gender students, the Jennings County School Corp. is taking a proactive approach before the issue is presented before school staffs.
The late Pat O'Connor is perhaps North Vernon's most famous son. O'Connor achieved great fame as a race car driver in the 1950s. He died in a crash on the first lap of the Indianapolis 500 in 1958. On Saturday, Aug. 15, O'Connor will be honored when an elaborate memorial framed by a 100 foot long brick surface is dedicated at the North Vernon City Park. "When people from the Indiana Racing Memorial Association presented the idea for a memorial to preserve our city's racing heritage and Pat's legacy, the possibility of using bricks immediately jumped into my mind," said North Vernon Mayor Harold Campbell. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday, August 10, 2015
While investigating an alleged credit card fraud case Friday, police discovered a booty of several items that had been stolen from parked vehicles in North Vernon. What police found helped solve several theft cases that until then were under investigation. North Vernon Police Department officers arrested a North Vernon husband and wife, Kyle Kemper and Elizabeth Kemper, both 24, on a multitude of felony and misdemeanor charges. Monday, August 10, 2015
A motorist apparently escaped serious injuries when an automobile flipped after hitting a semi-truck on SR 7 near Green Acres Monday morning. "The car's driver does not seem to have life-threatening injuries," said Lt. Mike Mowery of the Jennings County Sheriff's Department, "but I don't know for sure. Indiana State Police troopers are investigating." The motorist, whose name was unknown at presstime, was transported by a Rescue 20 crew to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital. Monday, August 10, 2015