​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​MONDAY DECEMBER 11, 2017

German American Bank Pledges $50,000 to Stellar Efforts The City of Madison, German American Bank, and the Community Foundation of Madison & Jefferson County announced today that German American Bank has pledged $50,000 toward the “Stellar Madison Fund” at the Community Foundation. The Stellar Madison Fund will be used to assist in bringing all of the Stellar projects to completion. Some of the projects included in the Stellar plan include finishing the Madison Connector trail, improving local parks, rehabilitating historic buildings like the Cotton Mill, and repairing and replacing sidewalks. The funds pledged and given to the Stellar Madison Fund at the Community Foundation will be split 65/35, with 65% of pledged funds going to projects immediately, while 35% will go toward a long-term fund to sustain the projects long into the future. German American Bank Regional Chairman Matt Forrester stated, “We are pleased to partner with the City of Madison and Community Foundation in advancing our Stellar Community. We believe that when a community thrives, its’ people prosper…and German American Bank and is employees demonstrate that through any number of initiatives, including financial and service opportunities.” German American has five branch locations in Jefferson County and a total of 50 locations across its footprint in southern Indiana. “We are grateful for German American Bank’s contributions to our community and the strong statement that this pledge sends to our residents about its investment in the future of Madison. I hope that a statement pledge like German American’s will encourage others to donate so that we can make our Stellar community even stronger over the coming years,” said Mayor Damon Welch. Other financial pledges will be announced in the coming weeks. Businesses and individuals that are interested in supporting the Stellar Madison Fund can contact Nicole Schell or Andrew Forrester at the Mayor’s Office or Bill Barnes at the Community Foundation. Madison was designated as a Stellar Community in October. More information about Stellar can be found at www.stellarmadison.org.


Utility Scam Awareness

Many electric, natural gas and water customers in Indiana and across the nation are regularly targeted by utility scams. Scammers use a variety of tactics like power disconnection threats, immediate payment requests and rigged caller ID calls to obtain important information from families and businesses. To keep you and your family safe, Utilities United Against Scams, a group of more than 100 utility companies, provides the following safety tips:

Do not provide or confirm personal information like your social security number with anyone initiating contact in-person, by email or phone.
Do not install apps from text messages.
Do not click on links, open attachments or respond to unknown emails.
Do not let unknown people into your home, and always ask for identification.


Alleged to have sold large quantities of methamphetamine in Indiana and Kentucky NEW ALBANY – Josh J. Minkler, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Russell M. Coleman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, announced today the dismantling of a large drug trafficking organization (DTO) selling methamphetamine in Indiana and Kentucky. “Drug trafficking brings gun violence that many of our Midwestern communities are experiencing,” said Minkler. “Those who choose to sell drugs in our neighborhoods will experience the full brunt of federal law enforcement and realize the Ohio River will not stifle or cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies.” “The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners stood shoulder to shoulder last week to promise intelligence-driven targeting of these violent drug trafficking organizations harming this great city,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Today’s arrests are yet another deposit on this promise; stay tuned.” Those charged in the Southern District of Indiana with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine include: Clifton Jones, 31, Gregory Churchill, 33, and Stanley Duke, Jr., 41 all from Louisville;  Billy Dale Sears, 44, Harry Edelen, 44, Roger Carroll, Jr., 47, from New Albany, Indiana; and Chad Albertson, 40, from Salem, Indiana. Duke faces an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  The indictment alleges that Billy Dale Sears was the leader and supervisor of the DTO which conspired to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine. Sears would obtain the methamphetamine from Clifton Jones and Gregory Churchill who both lived in Louisville. Sears would then distribute the methamphetamine to mid-level dealers in New Albany, Jeffersonville, Salem and Louisville for redistribution throughout Southwestern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. Throughout the conspiracy, it is alleged that the DTO sold methamphetamine on a “front’ basis, where defendants provided large quantities of methamphetamine on consignment to distributors. Payment was received after the sale by other distributors. The defendants also used telephones, using code language and text messages to discuss matters relative the trafficking operation. In a separate indictment, returned by a grand jury in Louisville on December 5, 2017, and unsealed today, eleven defendants, all from Louisville, were charged in a single count with conspiring with each other to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.   Defendant Clifton Jones additionally faces charges in the Western District of Kentucky, along with co-defendants Dontay L. Rice, Eric R. Estey, 35,  Dandre L. Taylor, 35, Odell P. Smith, Jr., 34, William C. Freeman, 32, James E. Hall, 33, Chad J. Heiser, 37, Clarence W. Rice, Jr., Alex M. Bowles, 25, and Joseph R. Willis, 21.  All but defendant Heiser were arrested Thursday, and are in federal custody. Defendants charged in the WDKY are scheduled for an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin, in Louisville, at 2:00pm. Defendants charged in the Southern District of Indiana were scheduled to appear Friday morning before Magistrate Judge Van T. Willis. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Indiana and Kentucky, IRS Criminal Investigation, ATF, United States Marshal Service, Jeffersonville Police Department, New Albany Police Department, Clarksville Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
“Working collaboratively with our federal, state, and local partners we are able to target, disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises such as this that use violence in the commission of their illegal activities so they can no longer terrorize our communities,” said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. 
“The FBI and its partners remain dedicated to disrupting and dismantling the most violent offenders and organizations through intelligence-driven investigations,” said Amy S. Hess, Special Agent in Charge FBI Louisville. “Our goal remains the same: stop the violence, get drugs and weapons off the streets, and deliver justice for the people who live in the communities we serve.” According to Assistant United States Attorney Lauren M. Wheatley who is prosecuting this case for the Southern District of Indiana and Assistant United States Attorney J. Scott Davis, from the Western District of Kentucky, all defendants face ten years to life if convicted. An indictment is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in federal court.




Pets of the week:

Meet Cuba and Simon! Simon is our kitty up for adoption this week. Simon is a very sweet kitty, gray and white approx. 1 year old. Cuba is our dog of the week a Heeler mix, very smart. Please help them find their forever homes. Call the Humane Society of Scott County at 812-752-7500 for more information. You can also visit the Cat adoption shelter to visit with all the cute kittys up for adoption. You can interact with all the kittys in one room. The Cat Adoption Shelter is located on Taylor Mill Road in Scottsburg. 

Floyd County Man with Emergency Lights and Police Scanner Taken to Jail

On December 2, 2017, at approximately 2:34 PM, while traveling on I-265 westbound, Trooper Paul Bailey observed a disabled mini-van on I-265 eastbound partially in the fast lane near the 3.5 Mile Marker in Floyd County.  Positioned directly behind the van was a plain white Ford Crown Victoria with flashing red and white emergency lights on the rear of the vehicle, and flashing white and amber emergency lights on the front.  The white Ford Crown Victoria was completely stationary in the fast lane of Interstate #265 causing a traffic problem. Trooper Bailey made contact with the driver of the Ford Crown Victoria, John William-Michael Ulmer, 23 years old, from Georgetown-Greenville Road in Greenville. During the contact and subsequent investigation Trooper Bailey discovered an alleged police radio in Ulmer’s vehicle. John William-Michael Ulmer was taken into custody and transported to the Floyd County Jail where he is awaiting his first court appearance.  He was charged with: Illegal Possession of Police Radio, Class B Misdemeanor; Unlawful Display of Emergency Lights, Class C Misdemeanor; Reckless Driving-Blocking Flow of Traffic, Class C Misdemeanor and Light Restriction Violation, Infraction. 


Three Scott County Residents Busted for Possession of Drugs and Paraphernalia

Clark County- Yesterday morning at approximately 9:50 am, Trooper Nathan Abbott made a traffic stop on a maroon Chevrolet Monte Carlo south of the Twenty-Three Mile Marker on Interstate #65 in Clark County.  After speaking to the driver, Jason Fink and two passengers, Kenneth Winchester, (front seat) and Kayla Marling, (back seat), trooper Abbott conducted a search of the vehicle. During the search he located a purple Crown Royal whiskey bag. Inside of the Crown Royal bag was a black digital scale, alleged Heroin and Methamphetamine residue, numerous plastic bags and plastic straws.  During the traffic stop, Kayla Marling was also found to be in possession of syringes. All three of the occupants of the vehicle were arrested and were incarcerated at the Clark County Jail.

Arrested and Charges:

Jason L. Fink, 43, from English Avenue in Austin, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Paraphernalia and Maintaining a Common Nuisance.

Kayla R. Marling, 24, from English Avenue in Austin, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Heroin, Possession of a Syringe, Prior Possession of a Syringe, Visiting a Common Nuisance and Obstruction of Justice.

Kenneth D. Winchester, 26, from York Road in Austin, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Heroin, Visiting a Common Nuisance, and Possession of Paraphernalia.


​Arts Commission fine tunes artist grant program

(Indianapolis, Indiana) The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today it is expanding the reach of its grant program for individual artists. "In keeping with the goals and objectives of our current strategic plan, all of our grant programs now have an increased focus on community engagement and public benefit," said IAC Executive Director Lewis C. Ricci. "The focus of our grant program for individual artists has been, and will continue to be, career development. But now, in addition, successful applicants will demonstrate direct benefits to their communities." Formerly known as the Individual Artist Program, the name has been revised to the "Individual Advancement Program." The program will now also offer an early career category serving artists who have been pursuing their arts career for less than five years, excluding formal or apprenticeship training in their discipline. These applicants will be reviewed by a separate panel from the ones that review applications from more experienced artists. "The Commission is committed to helping emerging artists build a successful career by offering a way for their work to be reviewed among peers with similar levels of experience," Ricci explained. Another change in the program will impact artists who have previously received grants from the Individual Artist Program. Artists who are currently receiving grants must now wait two grant cycles before they can again apply in the same category. "The IAP grant program has always been a highly competitive process, and grantees should be proud to have their work recognized with a grant," Ricci said. "We look forward to future applications as they again become eligible, and see where their careers have taken them just as we are eager to assist the careers of emerging artists." The IAC is currently developing training materials for the revised program and should soon have these completed and posted to the IAC website. The deadline for application to the Individual Advancement Program is 4:30 p.m. (EST) February 15, 2018. For more information about the Individual Advancement Program, contact Anna Tragesser, Artist and Community Services Manager, atragesser@iac.in.gov, or call 317-232-1281.

Traffic Stop Reveals a Reindeer Passenger 

Hendricks County—Every now and then, a traffic stop reveals something other than traffic or criminal violations. This was the case this morning on westbound Interstate 74 near State Road 39. Master Trooper Don Farris of the Putnamville Post stopped a white 2014 Dodge van for a minor traffic violation and identified the driver as Christopher T. Hansen of Indianapolis, Indiana. After issuing Hansen a warning, Hansen asked M/Trooper Farris if he wanted to look at his reindeer passenger in the rear of the van. Farris took a look and sure enough, it was an adult reindeer.  Hansen explained he has a business, Silly Safaris Shows Inc. of Indianapolis, IN. and he was on his way to Attica, Indiana (Fountain County) to put on a show at an elementary school.  Pictures were taken and pleasantries were exchanged, thus enjoying the spirit of Christmas, and reminding all of us that you just never know what will transpire during a traffic stop along our highways. 


Interstate 69 Added Travel Lanes Opening Northeast of Indianapolis

Construction to finish in spring, Next Level project will continue expansion Milestone Contractors is opening additional travel lanes on Interstate 69 this week between State Road 37 Exit 205 and State Road 38 Exit 219. I-69 is planned to be open to three lanes in each direction on the heavily traveled stretch of interstate by tomorrow morning (Friday, Dec. 8). As part of a $92 million design-build contract, Milestone has added a third lane in each direction to the median, repaired and resurfaced existing pavement, and rehabilitated bridges and drainage structures on 15 miles of I-69 in Hamilton and Madison counties. The project also widened and reconfigured the Campus Parkway Exit 210 interchange into a double-crossover diamond configuration, which was opened to traffic this summer. Construction of an additional auxiliary lane between the 116th Street entrance ramp to I-69 South and the I-69 South Exit 204 ramp to 106th Street will continue through next spring.  I-69 South will be temporarily reduced to two lanes to allow space for the State Road 37 and 116th Street entrance ramps to safely merge while construction continues on the southbound auxiliary lane between the 116th Street and 106th Street ramps. Crews plan to close lanes on I-69 South and State Road 37 South beginning after 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 8) to modify pavement markings in the area to establish this winter traffic pattern. Taking I-69 to the Next Level INDOT is planning a separate design-build project that will continue adding a third lane in each direction to the median of I-69 between State Road 38 Exit 219 and State Road 109 (Scatterfield Road) Exit 226. In addition, other improvements will be made to preserve, rehabilitate or replace existing pavement, bridges and drainage structures along all 14-miles of I-69 from State Road 38 to State Road 67 Exit 234. INDOT anticipates awarding a contract for the project in the spring. Construction is expected to begin in 2018 and last through at least 2019. Additional information will be provided early next year, and a public meeting will be planned after a design-builder has been selected.

Duke Energy is once again assisting customers who may struggle to pay their winter energy bills.

The company is contributing $600,000 for low-income customer energy assistance through its Helping Hand program. In addition, Duke Energy Indiana customers and employees have contributed about $96,000 to date for the program, raising this year’s total to almost $700,000. “We established the Helping Hand program in 1983 to provide assistance in the winter to Indiana customers,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Melody Birmingham-Byrd. “The program is funded by Duke Energy shareholders and customer donations to lend a Helping Hand to those who need assistance with their winter electric bills.” Customers who need help paying their electricity bills can receive up to $300 toward their bill if a local Energy Assistance Program agency determines they are eligible based on need and other criteria. Duke Energy Indiana partners with the Indiana Community Action Association and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Energy Assistance Program, which distributes the company’s assistance funds. “Last year, the program was able to assist over 5,700 Indiana households maintain their utility service,” said Ed Gerardot, executive director of the Indiana Community Action Association. “Beyond that, the assistance allows low-income Hoosiers to have increased resources for other household needs.”
For more information on how to cut costs and stay warm this winter, visit duke-energy.com/home/savings/winter-heating-energy-savings. Duke Energy also offers energy efficiency products, services and information to help customers save energy and money. For more information, visit duke-energy.com. Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide about 6,800 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 820,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state’s largest electric supplier. 


Wendell R. "Sweet Pea" Cole, 67, of Lexington, Indiana passed away Sunday, November 12, 2017 at Kindred Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He was born on August 17, 1950 in Estil, Kentucky, the son of the late Hargis Cole and Ida Mae (Crawford) Cole. He was a retired Machine Operator for Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana for 30 years, retiring in 1999. He was also a retired Presbyterian Minister for the Christian Pilgrim Church in Austin, Indiana and attended the Solid Rock Church near Scottsburg, Indiana.   He was married on Sept. 20, 1968 to Willie Mae (Jessee) Cole, who survives.  He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, David "Timmy" Cole and two sisters, Mildred K Brown and Brenda Cole.  His survivors include in addition to his wife, three daughters; Anita  Michelle Cole of Kansas, Missouri,  Crystal Dawn Nott of Scottsburg, Indiana, and Windy Renee Jennings of Lexington, Indiana; nine brothers, Jesse  Fairrell Hall, Larry and Ricky Cole all of Scottsburg, Indiana;  Terry , Donnie and Jerry W. Cole all of Austin, Indiana;  Gary and Denny G. Cole both of Lexington, Indiana and Douglas H. Cole of Richmond, Kentucky; three sisters,  Christine Robbins and Sharon Morris both of Scottsburg, Indiana and Donna Begley of Austin, Indiana.   He is also survived by five  grandchildren, Trevor and Alex Combs, Makala Martin, Landon Dewey Ray Jennings and Arabella Michelle Mae Jennings. Funeral Service: 1:00 pm Thursday at Collins Funeral Home  with Pastor Mike Shuler officiating.  Visitation: 4 to 8 pm Wednesday  and after 11 am Thursday at Collins Funeral Home.   Interment at Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin, Indiana.  Online condolences:collinsfuneralhome.net



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