Hancock County News

Fortville Town Council, by 3-2 vote, approves change of ID requirement for utilities

In its first meeting of the new year, the Fortville Town Council made a big change to a policy that had been in place for seven years and dealt with the town’s utility department.


In a 3-2 vote, town officials approved first reading of an ordinance that no longer requires residents to have a photo ID when opening utilities, whether it be electric, water or sewer.


Alex Intermill, town attorney, told the council that with all the town wants to make sure they are sure customers requesting services are who they say they are and have the right to establish service where they want service.


Intermill said an individual recently wanted to sign up for utilities and was offered an opportunity to provide sufficient documentation, but refused. Intermill said the person also declined an opportunity to come before council, explain the situation and ask for an exception, but refused.


Council member Robert Holland agreed with the logic, stating if someone had an issue, they could approach the town council or town manager to work out any issue, and said he believed requiring a photo id was a “sound policy.”


Newly elected council member Becky Davis, however, disagreed, pushing a motion to the table that would remove the provision requiring a photo ID. That prompted several minutes of discussion among council members, and when the dust settled, the motion had passed 3-2. Davis, along with Tonya Davis and Fritz Fentz all voted in favor, while Holland and and Libby Wyatt voted against.
Davis told Giant FM that her desire for the motion was simple.


“I made the motion because not everyone has a photo ID. My mother never drove, so she didn’t have a photo id. If they want a photo, then they could take one, unless that person doesn’t allow their photo to be taken for religious or other reasons. The utility office requires a copy of the lease if that person is renting and a copy of something showing they bought or own the house, so no, I don’t think someone is opening utilities in someone else’s name,” Davis told Giant FM.


Ironically, Fentz was in favor of the photo ID until he uttered a yes vote.


The move was not lost on Holland, who immediately asked Fentz why he had a change of heart.
“You said you were okay with moving forward with the photo id, but you voted against it,” Holland said.
Fentz said that Becky Davis did a good enough job of convincing him that the photo id was not necessary, pointing to the fact that Fortville has been quick to shut off water service of residents in the past that people do not have time to run up an astronomical bill.


“Indianapolis, Greenfield, none of them have a photo ID. We are the only people to do that,” Fentz said.


Holland continued to press the issue, asking Fentz again why he changed his mind.


“You just said we needed a photo, and you voted no, so I just wanted clarification,” Holland said.
Fentz said as long as a resident has a social security number or birth certificate, officials will know who they are.


Wyatt voiced concern over the measure.


“I think it’s a mistake. We aren’t Greenfield or Indianapolis. We are a small town that knows its people. We are making sure we are doing the right thing by them,” Wyatt said.


Resident Sonja Meyer agreed, taking council to task for voting against a photo ID.


“I disagree with your last vote. I know people who have put utilities in their children’s name and children now have bad credit. I think it’s a bad idea. I just wanted you to know from a resident’s perspective,” Meyer said.


Holland agreed.


“I’d rather us make sure. It is short sided and only protects ourselves and the person getting the utilities. This individual had avenues to work with the town council and chose not to,” Holland said. 

Failure to report miles of roads, streets, cost New Pal state funds

The first sign there was a problem came last November.


At the Nov. 2 New Palestine Town Council meeting, street commissioner Stephen Pool informed the council the town had missed out on the Community Crossings Grant from INDOT for the first time in a few years.


The reason?


New Palestine officials had omitted half of the town’s roads from its road inventory, and, as a result, the town has missed out on tax dollars from the state to help with paving and maintenance.

 

According to INDOT, New Palestine had not been claiming a total of 7.8 miles along 49 streets and roads in town, and had claimed only 8.4 miles of roads from 2015 through 2018.


Why the omission happened still remains a mystery.


However, New Palestine Town Manager David Book has said the error is solely on his shoulders.
At the Dec. 7 meeting, Book, who did not respond to several attempts for comment from Giant FM, apologized for the error, stating he missed the reporting. Furthermore, Pool reported the town missed out on about $8,500 in tax dollars as a result of the omission.


INDOT officials told Giant FM the omission, while bad for municipalities, is not that rare.


Mallory Duncan, communications director for East Central INDOT District, told Giant FM that it is very “common that a town or county has not updated their road inventory.”


“INDOT has been receiving a lot more updates in the last few years because there is an incentive because of the Community Crossings Grants,” Duncan said.


Duncan told Giant FM there were several opportunities for New Palestine to catch the issue.


“INDOT annually sends out a summary of each Local Government Agency’s Inventory mileage. In that summary, we request to be notified of any changes that have occurred. The deadline for submitting changes in order to be included in the next official certified mileage report to the Auditor of the State is Dec. 31. INDOT will accept changes to the road inventory at any time throughout the year, however. It will help the town or county to review the summary right when they get it each year, and if there are differences, contact INDOT to make those changes,” Duncan said.


That, however, did not happen through the years.  


Duncan said if a town or county under reports their inventory mileage, it could impact their Motor Vehicle Tax distributions.


Angela Fahrnow, who was appointed to the council earlier this month, has questioned the missing roads since November and told Giant FM she believes the lost tax revenue could be over $500,000.
Fahrnow told Giant FM that while everyone makes mistakes, she would expect council to factor in both the positives and the negatives in coming up with any resolution.


“It is reasonably possible other issues will surface, but we certainly are not going to accuse people of wrongdoing without substance,” Fahrnow told Giant FM.


Town officials, however, do not believe the amount is quite that high.  New Palestine Town Council president Brandee Bastin said she believes the amount to be closer to $200,000.


“It is also very disappointing to realize how much money the town has lost over the years as a result of these errors, and I’m sure we will never know the exact amount, although the estimates are at least $200,000. I have recently been advised by someone with government experience that we may have insurance coverage for errors and omissions, and I will be looking into this,” Bastin told Giant FM.


Bastin also expressed both surprise and disappointment on the issue.


“I have been both surprised and disappointed upon learning of the road mileage inventory errors that have been made over the years, some going back decades. All of these roads were developed in town prior to my election to council to 2017, and it is hard to understand how a process wasn’t in place to ensure these roads are added to our inventory as they are developed. Now, we know that process wasn’t there and working with INDOT, the engineering firms we work with on our roads and infrastructure, all of these entities must be vigilant and work together to ensure this does not happen again in the future,” Bastin told Giant FM.


Council newcomer Bill Niemier said that despite the news, he believes the town still can accomplish great things.


“I continue to believe that great things, such as more residential and commercial development, are coming to New Palestine. The road mileage mistake has been corrected and that issue is on everyone’s radar and very unlikely to occur again. There are also more people looking at details such as this, which will help avoid similar mistakes in the future,” he told Giant FM.


Resident Chris Lytle is also among those “shocked and disappointed” by the news.


“I’m extremely angry. This is 100 percent unacceptable. I feel like the people of New Palestine have been either over taxed or we haven’t gotten the services we deserve. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are gone and not coming back because of negligence. Something needs to be done about this immediately. An apology doesn’t cut it. I don’t care if some people say this is how things are done here, or it’s just the way it is. It is definitely time for a change, and let’s fix these problems,” Lytle said.


As for potential fallout or repercussions, those remain anyone’s guess.


Lytle said a change must take place.


“The person responsible has been on the job 36 years. I don’t want politicians in for life or town managers. We need some new blood in there,” Lytle told Giant FM.


Fahrnow said her desire is simple – changes to the town’s internal control environment, complete transparency and fluid communication with the community.


“My message is both consistent with what I stand for and what keeps me motivated to help the town. I will do whatever I can to identify issues and opportunities to help make the town better, and bridge the gap between these town matters and the community,” Fahrnow said.


Niemier also said the town can and should improve its internal controls.


“I do know going forward the Town Council will always try to do what is best, and in no way am I implying that prior councils did not have the same goal. The best way we can do this is address and solve any issues, good or bad, as we become aware of them. The current council will ask questions and scrutinize things more than ever because it’s the right thing to do,” Niemier told Giant FM.


Bastin told Giant FM any issue relating to personnel changes must be made by the council in an executive session format.


“At this point, these personnel matters resulting from this situation and any other matter that has come to our attention, must be discussed at an executive session of the town council, which, hopefully, will occur later this week,” Bastin told Giant FM. 

Sushi featured at new Fortville restaurant

For Tim Breuning, a love of food combined with a desire to give back has spurred his latest endeavor, a one of a kind restaurant in Fortville.


Breuning recently opened Bonsai Fortville, a sushi restaurant that delivers quite a few options, according to the owner. The restaurant is located at 18 S. Main St., Fortville.


“I always wanted to run a sushi place. I have cousins who attended Mt. Vernon. We chose Fortville because of the community and the small town charm,” said Bruening, who has been in the restaurant business for eight years.


To open a restaurant where his family attended school is “very cool,” he told Giant FM.


“I also coached several Mt. Vernon baseball players in travel baseball. The restaurant has been well received in the community. I love serving the community and working hard to give them the best product possible,” he said.


While sushi is the prominent dish, it is not the only dish, Breuning said.


“We have more than just sushi. We have several Asian dishes, burgers and tenderloins. We also offer some deep fried rolls and rolls made with fried chicken, sweet potatoes and veggies. It is a great way to start trying sushi,” he told Giant FM.


Bonsai Fortville is open Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Hancock County bracing for heavy rain, potential flooding

As weather projections continue to list heavy rain as a possibility this weekend, the Hancock County Emergency Management staff is being proactive to assist residents.


A flood warning has been issued for Hancock County from Friday evening through Saturday evening, and as a result, sandbags will be available to Hancock County residents at the Hancock County Highway Department, 922 W. Osage St., Greenfield at the west gate.


Misty Moore, Hancock County Emergency Management Director, told Giant FM the biggest thing residents can do is get ahead of the problem before it starts.


“If there is a possibility of water rising to the home, get sandbags down and prepare in advance, versus trying to stop it as it’s entering the home. We have seen firsthand residents trying to do that, and it’s just too late,” Moore said.


In addition, Moore said motorists should never try to pass through water on the road.


“If there are flooded roads, turn around, no matter what. Motorists cannot gauge or predict the outcome of driving through water, and there are too many unknowns. And with such a widespread flooding problem, motorists cannot rely on “road closed” or “high water” signs as it’s hard for street and highway departments to keep up with all of the newly reported flooded roads. Don’t let that be an indicator of whether you choose to drive through the water. Just turn around,” Moore told Giant FM.


Anyone with specific flooding concerns is asked to contact Hancock County Emergency Management at 317-477-1188.

Hancock County bracing for heavy rain, potential flooding

As weather projections continue to list heavy rain as a possibility this weekend, the Hancock County Emergency Management staff is being proactive to assist residents.


A flood warning has been issued for Hancock County from Friday evening through Saturday evening, and as a result, sandbags will be available to Hancock County residents at the Hancock County Highway Department, 922 W. Osage St., Greenfield at the west gate.


Misty Moore, Hancock County Emergency Management Director, told Giant FM the biggest thing residents can do is get ahead of the problem before it starts.


“If there is a possibility of water rising to the home, get sandbags down and prepare in advance, versus trying to stop it as it’s entering the home. We have seen firsthand residents trying to do that, and it’s just too late,” Moore said.


In addition, Moore said motorists should never try to pass through water on the road.


“If there are flooded roads, turn around, no matter what. Motorists cannot gauge or predict the outcome of driving through water, and there are too many unknowns. And with such a widespread flooding problem, motorists cannot rely on “road closed” or “high water” signs as it’s hard for street and highway departments to keep up with all of the newly reported flooded roads. Don’t let that be an indicator of whether you choose to drive through the water. Just turn around,” Moore told Giant FM.


Anyone with specific flooding concerns is asked to contact Hancock County Emergency Management at 317-477-1188.

Familiar face, new school board member for Southern Hancock corporation

There will be a new face on the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County school board by the end of the month.

 

The board recently appointed Laura Haeberle to fill the void left by Bill Niemier, who resigned to take a position on the New Palestine Town Council, which he was elected to last November. She will serve the remaining one year of Niemier’s term.


A resident of the district for 16 years, Haeberle is no stranger to the district, having served as the media center assistant at New Palestine Elementary School and as a substitute teacher. In addition, her children are enrolled at New Palestine High School.


Haeberle will be sworn in at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 13. 

 

The district also considered Suzanne Cannon, Jon Hooker and Ethan Maple.

Fortville man charged with rape, molest

A Fortville man is in the Madison County Jail, charged with multiple crimes after a girl reported she was raped and molested by him while in elementary school.


According to a probable cause affidavit, Dennis Mickow, 64, of Fortville, is accused of raping and molesting a 16-year-old when she was in the first and second grade. In addition, the victim told police that Mickow offered her $20 to lift up her shirt when she was in the fourth grade.


Mickow has been charged with a Class A felony child molesting-intercourse or deviate sex with victim less than 14, Level 1 felony child molesting where defendant is at least 21, Class F felony child molesting and a Level 4 felony child molesting, fondling or touching with child under 14.


According to court records, the girl reported the incidents in 2018, stating Mickow raped and molested her when she was about 9. She told investigators she never told anyone what happened, and that Mickow once walked in while she was showering and dropped his pants in front of her.


Mickow has denied ever going into the bathroom when the victim was in the shower and denied being naked with her or trying to have sex with her, according to court documents.

New-look New Pal Town Council meets for first time

The New Palestine Town Council will feature a very familiar face, along with a brand new one as the council increased from three to five members last week.

 

Ironically, one of the new council members is a returning member, who originated the idea of increasing the council.


Clint Bledose returns to the council after having lost his seat last year in a crowded Republican nominating convention, but having voiced concerns over the size of a three-person council. Joining him is Angela Fahrnow, who ran last November as an Independent candidate and finished fourth in a three-person race. The two came through an interview process and were selected by current council members Jan Jarson, Brandee Bastin and Bill Niemier. Niemier joined the council after being elected last November.


The current council voted 2-1 in favor of adding Bledsoe and Fahrnow, with Jarson being the lone no vote.


During the election last November, Fahrnow created a buzz, stating transparency was needed on the council. She told Giant FM she is ready to get to work and will keep her campaign promises of opening lines of communication between residents and council, saying the voters have a voice on council and in the town's matters.

 

"The 129 votes, or 6 percent less than the last elected candidate, I received during the election, I think, says something. The town of New Palestine never previously had an election. When a past council member stepped down or retired, there would be a nomination to replace them, or a part caucus to elect the next council member. Town residents did not have a say or a voice, until now," Fahrnow said.

 

As for her goals, Fahrnow said she looks forward to working on infrastructure. She told Giant FM since losing last November, she has continued her push of updating the town's road inventory in hopes of recouping tax money for the town for road repairs. 

 

"Some of the roads have been in New Pal foe over 20-plus years, but never recorded in our inventory. The dollar amount we've missed out on is significant," she said.

 

Fahrnow said she will also push for a resolution to the nepotism policy and related conflicts of interest, as well as transparency, two things she addressed in November.

 

"Hopefully it will be discussed further with the present council members. Before being elected, I brought concerns directly to the town council and answers were not always forthcoming, and, often, replies came in a hostile manner. In addition, it was communicated to me that information would be "readily available" at town hall and the public library. I had found this was not the case, and I am hoping to change that," Fahrnow told Giant FM. 

 

Fahrnow said she "absolutely" believes she can work with everyone on council, as well as town officials.

 

"I have every intention of building strong relationship with the town council members and the town employees. As part of achieving this objective, consideration and respect has to be reciprocal from others as well. As I work hard to build trust and strong relationships, I am hopeful I get the same professional courtesy in return," she told Giant FM.

 

In addition to the new members, council voted in favor of naming Brandee Bastin the council president by a 3-2 vote. Jarson and Bledsoe each voted against the measure. 

Fortville Police Chief looks back at 2019, what 2020 will bring

When Fortville Police Chief Bill Knauer reflects back on 2019, he does so knowing it was a good year, but admits there's still work to do. 

 

Knauer told Giant FM a few of the things done in 2019 consisted of new uniforms and patches for the department.

 

 

One of the biggest success stories was the addition of Oszkar, the department's newest K9. Knauer told Giant FM it had been two years in the making to get the new K9 on the streets, and it is both a drug and patrol dog. In addition, he says Oszkur will help with the mission of getting criminals off the streets. 

 

 

One area of concern in 2020 for Knauer and the department revolves around its relationship with Mt. Vernon Community Schools. Knauer said it is his hope to extend services to the entire district and not just the high school. 

 

 

One glaring issue in 2020 will be the addition of be officers, something Knauer has mentioned the last three to four years. He told Giant FM with new subdivisions being built, a police presence is a must.

 

 

The addition of officers would also help combat crime that has, at times, infiltrated Fortville from Anderson and Indianapolis. Knauer told Giant FM he is always concerned about crime, but will always be ready to combat it.

 

 

Senator Crider highlights agenda items for legislative session

For Mike Crider, the fact that the 2020 Indiana legislative session, which begins January 6, is a short one only means the senator will have to push harder to get his legislation passed.

 

That sits just fine with the Greenfield Republican.

 

Crider told Giant FM there are three big bills dealing with criminal law that he's looking to get passed. 

 

"The first looks at eliminating the statue of limitation on sex crimes committed against a child. One looks at enhancing the penalties for a purchaser of a person under the age of 18 under the human trafficking law and one seeks to enhance the penalties for a person who causes the injury or death of a police canine," Crider told Giant FM.

 

In addition, Crider will look at another area he has tried to make an impact in during his tenure in the Statehouse -- mental health. He told Giant FM he has three mental health related bills.

"One requires a school that seeks grant funding under the provision I passed last year for mental health in schools to have an established relationship with an approved community mental health provider. Another bill looks at the issue of parity for mental health coverage as compared to physical health coverage from insurance providers and requires a report as to how insurance companies are complying with state and federal law. The third bill creates a mental health commission to look at mental health services in the state. Where are the gaps, where and how efficiently is the money flowing and are we capturing all of the federal dollars that we can? Indiana has received approval to do more in this area and so I think it's time to take a long look at how we can help more people who are struggling," Crider said.

 

One area Crider doesn't expect much discussion this session is teacher pay, despite a large statewide rally last year during Organization Day at the Statehouse.

 

"I doubt that teacher pay will be addressed since any raise has to have perpetual funding and that is best considered as we put our next budget together. We are also waiting on the report from the commission the governor established to look at this issue and more. I do believe teacher pay will be a priority issue during the next session," Crider said.

 

In recent years and months, states bordering the Hoosiers State have passed laws legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.

 

Crider told Giant FM there will be a "number of bills to decriminalize marijuana or make it legal in some fashion."

 

However, he said he doubts any of them will get traction.

 

"It will likely be some time and require some movement on the feds part before that discussion becomes serious here. Lots of questions about is THC necessary to gain any perceived medical benefits, if so how much and does CBD oil fit that requirement? And the issue of smoking and mental health issues around the regular use of marijuana. There is data and studies both sides and neither is overwhelming," Crider said. 

Fortville restaurant victim of vandalism, broken door

The Fortville Police Department I looking for any information into a recent vandalism at a new restaurant.

 

According to officials, someone threw rocks through the windows at Bonsai Fortville, 18 South Main St.

The incident took place overnight between Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, however, nothing was taken. 

 

In a Facebook post, Tim Breunig, owner, of Bonsai Fortville wrote, "God only knows the motives of these hateful individuals, but we are confident justice will be served and will pray for them to find peace and love in their hearts.  Thank God nobody was injured in this incident. This act of hate will not deter us from opening tonight at 4pm.  We will continue to support and hopefully grow in the community.  We love this area and glad to be a part of Fortville."

 

Anyone with information is asked to call 317-477-4400.

McCordsville couple among four Hoosiers hurt in Florida boat crash

Four Hoosiers were injured in a Florida boat crash on New Year's Eve.

 

The accident was reported around midnight Wednesday at a state park in near Fort Lauderdale. A 42-foot fishing vessel smashed into a jetty, ejecting two of the four people on board, investigators said.

They've been identified as Lauren and Jarret Silagy of McCordsville, Daniel Towriss of Zionsville and Cassidy Rudman of Indianapolis. Three of the passengers were taken to a hospital, one with serious injuries, but all are expected to recover.

 

Brian Gear, a Broward County resident who heard the crash, said it was “pure luck” the victims all survived.

 

The impact of the crash propelled the boat out of the water, stunning witnesses and authorities. It remained lodged against the side of the jetty, nose up at a 45-degree angle, for hours after the accident.

 

“It’s amazing to see how far that boat actually made it out of the water,” said Kyle Van Buskirk, a battalion chief for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

 

The cause of the accident remained under investigation Wednesday night.

New Palestine's 6 Streetz Tattoo wants you to see what they do and who they are

The first time Shyla "Streetz" Burnett saw a tattoo, she was hooked.

 

She was a sophomore in high school and, according to her, she became intrigued with the notion that someone would let someone else put art on skin. 

 

 

Since then, Burnett has worked everyday at her craft and took a chance with a former tattoo artist of opening a business in New Palestine. A little over a year ago, that chance became reality as 6 Streetz Tattoo opened at 28 East Main St., New Palestine. 

 

Burnett told Giant FM it has been an amazing endeavor despite her initial thoughts.

 

 

Ever since the opening, Burnett and her staff have been delivering piercings and tattoos to people and forming a bond with people, especially those looking to remember a loved one with art.

 

 

And, they've tried to change the mindset of what a tattoo shop is and what takes place inside one. She tells Giant FM, she's heard all the stereotypes in her four years in the industry, and none of them are accurate. She said many professionals, including doctors and firefighters have tattoos and piercings. In addition, she said her shop is 100 percent vegan with everything it uses from the inks to aftercare products. 

 

 

Burnett said her shop is striving to find ways to reach out, not only to garner new customers, but to also give back to the community. 

 

"Once a month, we give out free tattoos. You spend $100, a name goes into a customer of the month. You're name gets drawn, you get a free tattoo. We do memberships. We constantly run deals. I find a lot of people don't get to the tattoo shops because of prices. Ever since I picked up my machine, I vowed I would never take advantage of someone because of price. I want you here because I want to do your artwork," she told Giant FM.

 

Recently, 6 Streetz Tattoo welcomed Santa and opened the doors to all ages to see Santa. 

 

Burnett also tells Giant FM her shop will always be involved with initiatives surrounding children.

"We are also a safe haven for children. We do a lot for children here. We are inside the art foundations inside the elementary, middle and high schools. We are also inside their yearbook foundation. We also happen to be part of the non bullying foundation. If there's anything I can do to help a child, I'm all for that," Burnett said. 

 

6 Streetz Tattoo is open six days a week. Hours are:Monday and Tuesday Noon to 7; Wednesday and Thursday Noon to 8; and Friday and Saturday Noon to 10 p.m. They can be found on Facebook. 

Indianapolis man arrested by Greenfield PD on drug dealing charges

Jesse Hicks, 21, of Indianapolis was arrested by the Greenfield Police Department with the assistance of Hancock County Community Corrections after a long-term investigation involving methamphetamine sales inside of Hancock County.

 

Greenfield Police Department narcotics detectives had conducted an investigation on Jesse Hicks who came to Hancock County on multiple occasions and sold methamphetamine to individuals which included undercover police officers.

 

Hicks was charged with Level 2 Felony Dealing Methamphetamine, Level 3 Felony Dealing Methamphetamine, Level 4 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, and Level 5 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine.

 

Hicks is currently in the Hancock County Jail with a $20,000 cash bond.

Mt. Vernon schools growing, strengthening STEM curriculum

In recent years, the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation has been a leader in Indiana when it comes to STEM education.

 

And, this year is no different, as Dr. Jack Parker’s district continues to pave the way.


“STEM is very important in all curricular content areas of all of our buildings from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. However, there are also the 4C’s of STEM education: Collaboration, Creativity, Communication and Critical Thinking. Each of the 4Cs can and should be interwoven in all content areas including non-STEM specific courses like reading at the elementary levels and English at the middle school and high school levels. Our teachers have been trained in the 4Cs and incorporate them in all courses,” Parker told Giant FM.


The district’s STEM buy-in has been so strong, it became the first district in Indiana to become STEM certified in all grades. Several STEM specific courses offered to students include: a middle school robotics course, middle school technology education course, a high school intro to engineering and design course, a high school intro to housing and interior design, as well as an aviation course.


The distinction has also helped the district land a partnership with 1st Maker Space and the creation of a maker space room. The room allows students a hands-on opportunity to design, experiment, build and invent in courses like agriculture, art, language, family and consumer sciences, math, technology, business, social studies, JAG, English and science.


“We have a formal maker-space at our high school and our middle school and Fortville Elementary School have makerspaces incorporated in our media centers.  Teachers and students have access to the makerspaces to enhance their lessons or enhance student projects to capture their learning of the content,” Parker told Giant FM.


Parker said the district continues to look for new ways to incorporate STEM for students.


“All of our educators are continuously looking to incorporate innovative and engaging lessons and activities for our students.  STEM related lessons and activities are some of the most innovative and engaging; therefore, we are always looking to add as many STEM opportunities as possible.  Specifics of future opportunities are difficult to pinpoint, but we are looking to be able to offer additional Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses at the high school including Project Lead The Way courses,” Parker said.

Law enforcement from Hancock Co. joined several agencies at SWAT standoff in Lynn

Around 3 p.m. Friday a Randolph County Deputy, along with the Lynn Marshall and Lynn Deputy Marshall, responded to a residence at 817 W. Church St. in Lynn for a report of a domestic situation between a man and his wife. As the officers arrived at the home and stood outside speaking with the man’s wife, they were fired on by a man inside the home with a rifle.

 

The officers retreated, with one officer getting hit with shrapnel from one of the rifle rounds.  As other officers from surrounding agencies arrived and set a perimeter around the home, the suspect continued firing at officers, with officers returning fire. The suspect fired several rounds into the police vehicles that had been left outside his home.

 

Two other officers were hit with shrapnel from rifle rounds fired by the suspect. All three officers that were injured by shrapnel were considered to have minor non-life threatening injuries. Around 4:15 p.m. the suspect stopped firing.

 

Around 8 p.m., after having negative contact with the suspect, SWAT entered the home and located the suspect, John Resetar, age 44, upstairs in the home suffering from a gunshot wound.  Officers immediately rendered first aid and summoned EMS.

 

Resetar, who was unconscious, was transported to a local hospital.  This is all the information available for release at this time, as Indiana State Police Investigators will be working throughout the night at the scene gathering facts and evidence.

 

The Indiana State Police, Randolph County and Lynn Units were assisted at the scene by officers from Delaware County, Hancock County, and Wayne County, IMPD as well as several units from surrounding cities and towns. 

Axe Head Threads, from hobby to thriving New Pal business

What started off as a hobby in a garage has become not only a labor of love, but a business venture for two New Palestine area firefighters.

 

 

Andy Drake and James Wolsiffer are not only firefighters and brothers-in-law, they are also co-owner of Axe Head Threads, 50 West Main St., New Palestine, where they are a provider of custom embroidered and screen printed shirts, hats, hoodies and more.

 

Drake told Giant FM a night of conversation turned into a business venture.

 

 

And have come a long way from working out of Wolsiffer's garage a few years ago, according to Drake.

 

 

While the business specializes in fire department, police department, EMS, and military themed items, fans of the New Palestine Dragons can also find plenty of gear on the shelves. 

 

 

Drake said the bulk of business comes from online orders and Facebook, and they have shipped items to all 50 states, as well as customers in Canada, Ireland and Switzerland. 

 

 

Drake said the opportunity to have a store front in New Palestine has been special.

 

 

And, despite the business success, Drake tells Giant FM, he and Wolsiffer are shocked every day when new orders roll in.

 

 

Axe Head Threads is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The business can be found on Facebook, Instagram and at www.axeheadthreads.com

 

New Palestine schools, town, INDOT plan to improve US 52 crosswalk

The New Palestine Town Council, the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County and INDOT have been busy lately with the hope of making improvements to a crosswalk on US 52 near School Street in New Palestine.

 

The improvements come in the wake of an accident last month where a New Palestine High School student was struck by a vehicle as he rode his bicycle to school.

 

Since then, there have been many discussions about what to do. At a New Palestine town council meeting following the accident, officials with INDOT stated they were going to install flashing lights at the crosswalk.

 

However, the partnership will result in more.

 

Beginning next month, town officials and INDOT will work to move the crosswalk east of its current location to Depot Street with the belief that moving it will be safer for pedestrians. In addition, rectangular, rapid flashing beacons will be placed at the crosswalk. The beacons will be triggered by pedestrians. 

 

In a statement, school officials said they are “grateful” for the collaboration and decisions.

 

“The district will continue to offer bus service to all students in the district, including those homes immediately adjacent to NPHS. Local law enforcement and the district both believe taking the bus to school is the safest option for families that live near any CSCSHC school building. If families chose not to use the bus, the school district encourages them to make the safest possible decision to get their students to and from school each day,” the district wrote in a release. 

 

 

Original story of student struck - November 11, 2019

Officials with the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County confirmed one of their students was struck by a motorist this morning on U.S. 52. 


Wes Anderson, director of community relations and communications, confirmed to Giant FM the victim is a New Palestine High School student. Anderson said counselors will be available for students.


The student was transported by ambulance from the scene with serious injuries, according to a press release from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. The juvenile was transported to Riley Children’s Hospital with internal injuries and head trauma and is in critical condition, but is expected to survive.


The release states a 14-year-old was struck while crossing U.S. 52 on a bicycle by a Ford F-250 truck driven by John Bundy, 52, of New Palestine. Officials with the Sheriff’s Department said the student’s family was notified and Bundy cooperated with police, who do not believe speed, drugs or alcohol are a factor.

New Pal residence lighting it up for Christmas

Thanks to the efforts of a local resident, there is a little more Christmas cheer this season in New Palestine.

 

For Kayla Reddington, her love of lights has turned into a full-blown Christmas lights and music show at her house.


“We decided to take a chance and attempt to do the lights with music this year. My house was in perfect placement, and we decided we would love to spread cheer in New Pal and go all out,” Reddington said.


Reddington told Giant FM multiple people worked around the clock to help get her house ready, in addition to working their regular jobs for Heffernan’s Home Services.


For Reddington, her love affair with Christmas lights goes back to her childhood.


“I remember being a kid and going to a light show and watching it over and over. I want kids to remember this one as well and for it to be a memory for their Christmas,” she told Giant FM.


The house, located at 2097 South Woodgrove Way, New Palestine, will feature the lights and music Monday through Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. Those attending can turn their radio on to 90.3 to enjoy the music.


Reddington tells Giant FM in addition to the lights and music, she is also looking to help out the homeless and is asking anyone who comes out to bring coats, blankets, hats and gloves and put them in the totes on her porch.


“We hope people see this and feel happiness. Christmas is a hard time for some, and we figure what better way to brighten their day than with thousands of lights on one house,” Reddington told Giant FM.

Senator Crider's legislation efforts earn him award from Mental Health of America

Since becoming a member of the Indiana Senate, Mike Crider has always tried to get common sense legislation centered around mental health passed. 

 

His efforts haven't gone unnoticed, as the Republican Senator from Greenfield recently earned the Government Leadership Award from Mental Health America of Indiana. 

 

Crider told Giant FM, it was an honor to be noticed. 

 

"It's always an honor to have someone notice the effort you put in. We don't do this for awards or recognition, but it does validate the effort when others agree with the goals of the legislation. I have worked since elected to help with mental health because I know how drastically it impacts society from my time working at the hospital. In a room full of real hero's who are working directly with patients, this award is special," Crider said. 

 

Crider said he has seen up close the impact mental health can have on an individual, both personally and professionally. 

 

"I have family members and many of my acquaintances have family members who struggle with some aspect of this disease so my hope is that by focusing on it we can reduce the stigma around the subject. I speak about it often during my presentations and the topic resonates with many in the crowds so I know it is prevalent," Crider told Giant FM.

 

Professionally, Crider saw issues when he oversaw security at Hancock Regional Hospital, further pushing his desire to help.

 

"My real interest began during my stint at the hospital, where often I was in the ER dealing with people in crisis, and I would listen to their stories and see how it impacted them and their families. You can see that it doesn't matter how rich or poor the patient is or how prominent their family is, the disease whether mental health or addiction know no boundaries," he told Giant FM. 

With the 2020 legislative session rapidly approaching, Crider has a slew of bills centered around mental health he is working on.

 

One bill pertains to schools, he said. 

 

"This next session, I will be carrying a follow up bill to my grant program we passed last year that requires schools that apply for the grant funds to have an established relationship with a mental health provider or community mental health center," Crider said.

 

But, that's only the beginning. 

 

"Another bill attempts to address parity in insurance coverage for mental health services as compared to physical health challenges. The third bill seeks to create a mental health commission to review the mental health system from top to bottom to determine what is working and what areas need attention. Things like where and how is the money allocated and are we capturing all of the federal dollars possible, how can we strengthen local resources to the point that a person in crisis can get services as quickly and locally as possible. A big topic and likely a long project, but one that will produce action items we can act on during coming sessions," Crider said.

 

He told Giant FM, he will always fight for mental health legislation.

 

"I guess the point is that much of my past legislation has been focused on this topic and so long as I am re-elected, I intend to keep working on it as long as I am fortunate enough to serve," he said. 

Two killed in fatal Hancock Co. accident

A mother and son were killed in a two-car collision Monday morning in Hancock County.

 

Amy Cox, 54, and Isaac Cox, 24, of New Palestine were traveling on County Road 200 West neat 200 South when it appears Cox lost control and drove into the path of an oncoming Ford pickup.

 

Amy and Isaac Cox died at the scene.  The driver of the truck, Dawson Andrews, of Missouri, was not seriously injured.

 

Slick roads are believed to be a factor in the accident.

Greenfield PD continue search for origin of "swatting" call

Police in Greenfield are still looking for whoever prank called police which led to a SWAT situation on the west side of Greenfield Tuesday night.

 

Deputy Chief Matt Holland with Greenfield PD says they got a call from someone saying they had shot someone along Main Street near the intersection with Broadway. That call was a case of "swatting", according to Holland, which is where someone prank calls police into sending first responders to someone else's address.

 

He added that "it's unfortunate that someone thinks it is funny or gets a thrill from making a false report."

 

He said they are investigating the origin of the call.

Gov. Holcomb announces judicial appointment for Hancock County Superior Court

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced Marie D. Castetter as his appointment to the Hancock County Superior Court.

 

Castetter will succeed Judge Terry K. Snow who will retire Dec. 31.

 

Castetter currently serves as chief deputy prosecutor in Hancock County. She has been with that office since January 2015. She previously served in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and has been in private practice.

 

Castetter earned a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and her law degree from Indiana University McKinney School of Law.     

 

Castetter will be sworn in as judge of the Hancock County Superior Court on a date to be determined.

A Statewide Silver Alert has been declared through Fortville Police

The Fortville Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Melissa Vaughn, a 52 year old white female, 5 feet 2 inches tall, 196 pounds, blond hair with blue eyes, last seen wearing a maroon hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and wearing glasses.

 

Melissa is missing from Greenfield and was last seen on Tuesday, December 3, at approximately 10:15 am.  She is believed to be in danger and may require medical assistance.

 

If you have any information on Melissa Vaughn, contact the Fortville Police Department at 317-477-4400 or 911.

New Palestine Town Council prepares for expansion

It's been an interesting couple of months for the New Palestine Town Council, and it promises to be just as interesting as the calendar moves to 2020.

 

Earlier this year, councilman Clint Bledsoe brought forth the concept of the council increasing from its current three person board to five members.

 

At the time, Bledsoe said he was bringing it forward to increase diversity and ideas on council and also to limit the number of meetings cancelled due to not having a quorum. 

 

In November, residents voted not only for representation on the council, but also in favor of expanding the board to five members. Those who are assured seats on council in January are incumbents Jan Jarson and Brandee Bastin and newcomer Bill Niemier. 

 

Who and how the other two people will round out council is starting to take shape as council recently laid out the steps. 

 

In January, council will select two residents to join them, but not before a process takes place. 

Anyone who lives in the town limits and interested in the spots is asked to submit a letter of interest by Dec. 18. The letters can be mailed to the New Palestine Town Hall, 42 East Main St., New Palestine, IN 46163. 

From there, the town council will view and discuss letters during the Jan. 2 special town council meeting. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Finally, potential candidates will be interviewed and selected at the Jan. 4 council meeting, which begins at 8 a.m. 

 

Bastin said she felt this was the fairest way to pick new members. 

 

"I felt that this was the fairest way so that anyone interesting in serving could submit a letter of interest and go through this process. Personally, I’m interested in learning about candidates and their professional, educational, and political backgrounds, as well as how they have been involved in our New Palestine community and why they are interested in serving on council. What experiences and tools will they bring to the table if they were to serve on council," she told Giant FM.