Local News

Over 100 years handed down in Shelby Circuit Court child molest case

A Bartholomew County man was sentenced to over 100 years in Shelby Circuit Court.

 

Corey Allen Greenlee, 41, of Columbus, was sentenced in Shelby Circuit Court to 101 years in prison for various counts of child molesting and child solicitation.

 

The Shelby County Prosecutor says evidence showed that Greenlee molested the victim in various ways on a regular basis for over 10 years, starting at 7 years of age.

 

After a two-day jury trial, Greenlee was convicted on November 13, 2019, of Class C Felony Child Molesting,  two counts of Class A Felony Child Molesting,  two counts of Class D Felony Child Solicitation and one Level 5 Felony count of Child Solicitation.

 

At his sentencing hearing on January 21, Judge Meltzer ordered all sentences to run consecutive to one-another for a total sentence of 101 years. Greenlee is a credit-restricted felon, meaning that he must actually serve at least 70.5 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole.

 

Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen said in a press release that Greenlee will never be able to hurt another child unless he lives to 111 years of age. Major kudos go out to Shelby County Sheriff's Detective Dan Crafton, who investigated the case, and to Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Spears, who prosecuted the case.

Bill sponsored by Greensburg's Rep. Frye calls for helmets for kids under 18

A bill being discussed by state lawmakers would make helmets a requirement for kids doing certain activities.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), would require all kids under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, or inline skates on public property.

Kids caught breaking the law could be fined up to $25 dollars. Parents who knowingly allow their child to ride without a helmet could also be fined $25. Police would also be able to impound the bike, skateboard, scooter, or skates until the child is shown to have a proper helmet.

Rep. Frye said his proposal would set up a process for providing helmets to police and fire stations for free distribution to children.

The House Public Safety Committee could vote on the measure next week.

Bill to extend the statute of limitations for certain sexual offenses passes committee

A bill authored by State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) that would extend the statute of limitations for certain sexual offenses unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law Tuesday.

 

Under current law, the statute of limitations for most sex crimes against children requires charges to be filed before the victim reaches 31 years of age. Senate Bill 109 would create exemptions to this rule if law enforcement discover DNA evidence of a crime; discover a recording that provides evidence of a crime; or if the perpetrator confesses to the crime.

 

In 2015, Crider authored Senate Enrolled Act 94, also known as “Jenny’s Law,” which provides the same exemptions for rape. SB 109 is an expansion of Jenny’s Law, aligning the exemptions to the statute of limitations for rape with sex crimes against children.

 

“As a former law enforcement officer, I know how important of a step this is in ensuring justice for victims of sexual assault,” Crider said. “I remain a fierce advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and will continue to chip away at the hurdles victims must go through to seek justice.”

 

SB 109 will now be considered by the full Senate.

 

To learn more about SB 109, click here

New Palestine street commissioner served brief sentence in Shelby County

A New Palestine town official recently spent a few days in the Shelby County Jail.

 

Stephen Pool, street commissioner for the town of New Palestine, spent three days in jail as part of his sentencing on charges of operating while intoxicated-endangerment, according to court records.

Pool was booked into the Shelby County Jail on Jan. 16 and released on Jan. 19 and was initially arrested in September, 2019 on the misdemeanor charge.

 

Pool has served as the town’s street commissioner since September of 2016. In 2016, he was paid $14,654.20. According to documents, he was paid $55,054.43 in 2018 and is set to make just over $56 thousand in 2019.

 

Court records show that Pool entered a guilty plea and as a result, Pool was sentenced to 365 days, all suspended except 10 days, accrued time of two days plus two credit days. The suspended time shall be served on probation of 355 days.

 

In addition, Pool’s license has been suspended for two years, followed by a year license suspension ordered to be served consecutively.

 

As part of his probation, Pool cannot commit another offense, nor can he use any controlled substance, drug, intoxicant or other mind-altering substance unless prescribed by a physician. Pool will be subject to random alcohol and drug screens as directed by his probation officer and must successfully complete any education or treatment program that is deemed appropriate in a timely manner at his expense.

Furthermore, Pool must submit to an assessment through the Shelby County Alcohol and Drug Assessment Program and pay all associated fees, as well as not consume any beer, wine, liquor or any consumable ethyl alcohol or enter any establishment where alcohol is sold by the drink for the consumption on the premises or the business’ primary purpose without written consent from his probation officer. Finally, Pool must successfully attend and complete the MADD Victim Impact Panel.

 

Town council member Bill Niemier told Giant FM that it is a personnel issue that will be “properly addressed in due course.”

 

Brandee Bastin, town council president, echoed those sentiments.  Bastin also told Giant FM it is a personnel matter that will be discussed in an executive meeting, which she hopes will occur this week. 

Johnson County man sentenced for child pornography

A Franklin man will spend nearly two decades in federal prison for child pornography.

 

Gary Dismore, 42, pleaded guilty to advertising, distributing, receiving, and possessing child pornography.

 

Dinsmore was sentenced Friday to 15 years in federal prison.

 

Indiana State Police began investigating Dismore in November 2017.

 

Federal prosecutors said Dismore had been uploading, sharing, and storing explicit photos and videos since at least 2007.

 

"Individuals who choose to sexually exploit and prey on innocent children will be prosecuted to the full extent under federal law," said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to safeguarding children against child predators, like Dismore."

 

Dismore will spend 10 years on probation after his release from prison.

Truck inspection finds a semi 96,300 pounds overweight

A truck inspection Thursday morning by Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) Trooper Eric Thumb, led to the discovery of a semi-tractor pulling double trailers that was 96,300 pounds overweight.  CVED Trooper Eric Thumb was driving through Rushville just before 11 a.m. Thursday morning when he noticed a southbound semi pulling double trailers known as a “Michigan Train” southbound on Main St. at Park Blvd.

 

From his training and experience Thumb knew that the trailer set up is often used to haul overweight loads, with special overweight permits, across northern Indiana. Trooper Thumb got the truck stopped to do an inspection and discovered the driver, Gene Maag, 36, of Waterloo, Indiana, was driving a truck with no registration plate and no federally required company markings or federal tax numbers on the side of the vehicle.

 

The maximum allowable weight for a commercial motor vehicle in Indiana, without a special permit, is 80,000 pounds. As part of his vehicle inspection Trooper Thumb weighed the truck and its steel coil cargo, discovering a combined weight of 176,300 pounds, or 96,300 pounds over the maximum allowable weight, without a special permit.

 

The fines for the overweight violation alone are just under $14,000. The truck, a 2000 Peterbilt, which belongs to Tri-State Trucking, out of Waterloo, Indiana, was impounded and the driver cited for the overweight violation and no truck registration. The driver was also issued a warning for no federally required markings or numbers on the sides of the truck. The steel coils, which had been in route from Butler, Indiana to Madison, Indiana were impounded with the truck until they can be properly unloaded and legally loaded onto other trucks.

 

Part of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division’s mission is educating and encouraging commercial carriers and drivers in regards to compliance as a way to reduce the potential for dangerous CMV crashes. For more information on the Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division you can visit their web site at https://www.in.gov/isp/3183.htm .

Indiana infant mortality rate shows biggest decrease in 6 years

Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell at the highest rate in six years, with the black infant mortality rate declining nearly 16 percent and the rate for Hispanic infants declining nearly 20 percent in 2018.

 

Data from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) show 559 Indiana babies died before the age of 1 in 2018, down from 602 in 2017. The overall infant mortality rate stood at 6.8 per 1,000 babies in 2018, down from 7.3 in 2017.

 

“Indiana has been investing heavily in improving health outcomes for moms and babies as we work toward Governor Holcomb’s goal of having the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “It’s heartening to see those efforts pay off so that more Hoosier babies can celebrate their first birthdays.”

 

The 2018 infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic white infants met the Healthy People 2020 goal of 6.0 per 1,000, while the rate for Hispanic infants fell to 6.1. The non-Hispanic black infant mortality rate fell from 15.4 to 13.0.

 

While encouraged by an across-the-board decrease, Box said the state will continue to work with partners to address persistent racial disparities.

 

Box said the state’s new OB Navigator program will help those efforts by providing personalized guidance and support to women in the 20 counties at highest risk of infant mortality during their pregnancies and for six to 12 months after their babies are born. The home visiting program, which was part of Governor Holcomb’s agenda in 2019, formally launched in Allen County this week and will expand to 19 other counties in 2020.

 

“Every baby deserves a chance to grow and thrive,” Box said. “The new OB Navigator program that is launching in the areas of the state at highest risk for infant mortality includes specific strategies to help connect at-risk women with community resources to help them have a healthy pregnancy and support them after their baby is born.”

 

To learn more about Indiana’s efforts to reduce infant mortality, visit https://www.in.gov/laboroflove/. Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at http://www.in.gov/isdh/ or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.

Murder charge in Hope stabbings

 A Bartholomew County has been charged with murder.

 

James Mee, 77, of Hope, is accused of stabbing his son, Charles, 50, in the neck on January 7. Charles Mee died at the hospital in Columbus a short time later.

 

Court papers say James Mee admitted to killing his son.

 

Mee is also accused of causing a head injury to his wife, Barbara Mee, 78, but does not face any additional charges, according to court documents.

 

A court date has not been set.

Kent Apsley to seek Superior Court 1 re-election

Judge R. Kent Apsley formally announced today that he will seek re-election to the bench. 

 

Apsley was elected Judge of the Shelby Superior Court 1 in November of 2014.  Prior to being elected Judge, Apsley served four terms as Shelby County’s elected Prosecuting Attorney. 

 

Apsley graduated from the Indiana University School of Law (Bloomington) in 1983 and was admitted to the bar in 1984.  In addition to his sixteen years as the elected Prosecutor, Judge Apsley spent another fifteen years in the private practice of law and as a Public Defender. 

 

“I have an incredibly diverse caseload primarily made up of major felonies, civil litigation, family law and adoptions.  In addition, Superior Court 1 functions as Shelby County’s Juvenile Court.  No two days are ever alike. I have really enjoyed my time on the bench and think my thirty-five years as a trial attorney have been a huge benefit.  I particularly enjoy presiding over civil and criminal jury trials, although I have to say it is very different after so many years of being one of the attorneys trying the case.”

 

Judge Apsley is a graduate of the Indiana Judicial College.  He also completed a two-year Graduate Program for Judges.  He and his wife, Marsha, live in Shelbyville, along with their youngest son, Ethan, a high school junior.  Their oldest son, Benjamin, is an I.T. Specialist. 

 

The Apsleys attend St. Vincent DePaul Church. 

 

Prior to be elected Judge, Apsley was one of the founders of the Blue River Foundation.  He has served on the boards of directors of Girls, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity, as well as his parish council.  He remains involved in the Knights of Columbus and served as President of the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys while a prosecutor.  He was actively involved in the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, prior to going on the bench. 

 

“I believe in the rule of law, in fidelity to the law and the Constitution of the United States.  I believe that the proper rule of a judge is to apply the law and to enforce the law as it written, not to create law.  Hard work, honesty and integrity mean everything to me.  I have been honored to serve as a judge for the past five years and would be gratified if the people of Shelby County would allow me to serve another term.”

Shelby County Republican commissioners, county councilman file for re-election campaigns

Filing is underway for Indiana's 2020 primary.

 

In Shelby County, county commissioners Kevin Nigh and Don Parker along with county councilmen Tony Titus, Ryan Claxton and Terry Smith appeared together at the county clerk’s office to file for the upcoming election.

 

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Rob Nolley.

 

 

Nolley says the experience and accomplishments of the group make them strong candidates in the upcoming election.  And, Republicans have held a strong controlling force on county elections locally.

 

 

The primary isn't until May 5, but candidates have to file by February 7 to get on the ballot.

 

Candidates for governor and president have an additional requirement: they have to turn in 45-hundred signatures from registered voters -- 500 from each congressional district.

 

Republicans say they finished gathering signatures for President Trump and Governor Holcomb back in October.

 

14 Democrats and two Republican challengers to President Trump are pursuing their party's nominations. The filing deadline falls four days after the Iowa caucuses and four days before the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, so some candidates might appear on the May ballot who have dropped out by then.

 

Former state health commissioner Woody Myers and Carmel businessman Josh Owens, who grew up in Shelbyville, are seeking the Democrats' nomination to run against Holcomb.

 

All nine U-S House seats are on the ballot, including two where the incumbents have announced they're not running again: Democrat Pete Visclosky's district in northwest Indiana and Republican Susan Brooks' seat north of Indianapolis. You'll also be picking nominees for all 100 state House seats and 25 of the 50 state Senate seats.

 

State party conventions will pick the candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Leising to seek another term in Senate

Republican State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) announced today that she will seek re-election to the Indiana State Senate.


Leising represents District 42 which includes all of Rush County, and portions of Decatur, Fayette, Franklin, Henry, Ripley and Shelby counties.


“Since the 2019 legislative session ended, I have spent significant time meeting with community leaders and members across the district,” Leising said. “In our meetings, we have discussed many of the issues that are negatively impacting our communities. If given another term in the General Assembly, I am determined to see that these issues are addressed. I humbly ask for your support.”


Leising serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. She is also a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Technology; Education and Career Development; Health and Providers Services; and Utilities.


Leising is a farmer, travel agent and retired nurse. She is a member of the Farm Bureau and is the former president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association.


While representing District 42, Leising has been honored and presented with the following awards: Indiana Farm Bureau’s Farm Woman of the Year; Indiana Conservation Officers and Their Families’ Legislator of the Year; National Rifle Association’s Defender of Freedom; American Legion of Indiana’s Distinguished Public Service; Indiana Volunteer Fire Fighters Association’s Legislator of the Year; Champion of Indiana’s Electric Cooperatives; Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council Legislative Excellence; Indiana Family Institute’s 100 Percent Legislative Rating; and Indiana Disability Rights’ Promoting the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities, among others.


Leising is a member of the St. Louis Catholic Church in Batesville.

 

She is married to Frank Thompson and has three children and eight grandchildren.

Stabbing investigation in Hope; one person dead

The Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department says one person is dead, another injured and an arrest has taken place in a double-stabbing in Hope.

 

After receiving a 911 call to an address on Scott Street in Hope, local and area law enforcement responded to an apparent domestic where at least one person is deceased.

 

Another person injured has been transported to Columbus Regional Hospital with what appears to be non-life-threatening injuries.

 

An individual has been taken into custody and there is no danger to the public.

 

This is an ongoing investigation - currently being investigated by the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, Columbus Police Department, Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Arbor Homes' Isabelle Farms presented at Shelbyville Common Council's first meeting of 2020

The Shelbyville Common Council heard a presentation on the proposed Arbor Homes development called Isabelle Farms.

 

Paul Munoz with Arbor Homes

 

 

The physical description of the land in the following PUD filed with the city in November 2019:

 

Arbor Homes (“Petitioner”) seeks to rezone approximately 83 acres of land surrounded by the City of Shelbyville, Indiana. The property is zoned by Shelby County zoning as R-2A. Arbor is proposing to rezone the property to Planned Development (PD). The proposed development will include 263 detached single-family dwellings. Isabelle Farms will provide a new housing opportunity to the City.

 

The property is located east of Mausoleum Road on the east side of Michigan Road and between Michigan Road and State Road 9. The property is adjacent to Knauf Insulation to the east, Ryobi Die Casting and other industrial uses to the west and Rolling Ridge subdivision to the North. The property is contiguous to a detention pond/pit to the south. The quality infill development of residential will help improve the look and feel of the State Road 9 corridor.

 

The proposed development is consistent with the goals and objectives of the City of Shelbyville Comprehensive Plan. Isabelle Farms is currently listed as single family residential in the Future Land Use Map. Development such as this one will help continue to provide quality affordable housing options within the community. Housing options that will focus on recruiting and attraction of new families and workforce as reference on page 34 of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Annexation of this property will allow for infill that prevents piecemeal development and helps with the responsible use of city services. The proximity to the City, existing infrastructure and existing services are key objectives to the growth and annexation plans.

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 statute 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. 

 

Shelbyville man killed in New Year's Eve accident

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department says a Shelbyville man was killed in a Wednesday two-car collision on North State Road 9.

 

It happened in the 3600 block Wednesday afternoon.  Roger New, Jr., 39, was driving a Ford F350 that crossed the center line and struck the side of an oncoming F450 driven by Ty Rininger, 25, of New Palestine. 

 

New's truck then rolled onto its top in the roadway.  He was declared dead at the scene.

 

Rininger and two passengers were uninjured.

 

 

 

Table games debut at Indiana Grand on Wednesday

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will be part of history as live table games come to Central Indiana.

 

More than 40 tables are currently being installed on the 200,000 square foot casino floor, offering in excess of 300 seats. Live table games are set to launch to the public at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

 

Seven different types of live table games will be offered, including craps, roulette, blaze roulette, blackjack, baccarat, three-card poker and Mississippi stud. Two areas will be utilized for the tables with approximately 200 seats provided in the main floor area found just off the parking garage. High Limit table games may be found in the former Poker Room at Indiana Grand represented by more than 100 gaming seats.

 

“Table arrival and setup is still on-going, but the amount of teamwork and effort provided by all of the involved departments has been masterful to watch,” said Colin Skidmore, director of table games and the Sportsbook.  “A lot of heavy lifting with deliberate and intricate placement has taken place. The coordination to get to this point has been paramount, and it has been wonderful to see everyone coming together to ensure the launch of table games goes smoothly.”

 

A full array of activities is planned on New Year’s Day to showcase the launch of live table games. A floor-wide celebration with live entertainment and commemorative gifts, while supplies last, will begin at 11 a.m. followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:45 a.m. Special guests and VIPs will take their seats for the first live action at Noon. Table games will then open to the public beginning at 1 p.m.

 

Indiana Grand began conducting Live Dealer Schools in September of 2019, to prepare a new workforce for the expansion. More than 1,000 applications were received for 300 new highly skilled roles as Indiana Grand takes a big step forward in the gaming culture for the Hoosier State. Of the new positions added, approximately 80 percent of those are slated as full-time opportunities. The addition pushes the total number of team members to more than 1,200 with Indiana Grand now the largest employer in Shelby County. The multi-faceted facility is also only one of four companies employing more than 1,000 people along the I-74 corridor between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

Shelbyville woman sentenced to 9 years For Neglect of a Dependent

Superior Court No. 1 Judge Kent Apsley sentenced Danielle Erin Johns (formerly Danielle Erin Lemen), 28, to nine years in prison for Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.  He suspended two of the years to probation, but also required home detention for the duration of that two years.

 

Shelby County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen says the case began on October 29, 2018, when a 4-month old child was taken to MHP Medical Center, then transferred to Riley Hospital for treatment.  The child had several injuries – including but not limited to two skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, bleeding behind one eye, multiple broken ribs, a fractured tibia, a fractured tibia, and bleeding on the spine.  Johns had been caring for the child, who is her niece. 

 

The infant victim underwent emergency brain surgery, and has had several visits and treatments with various specialists.  She seems to be recovering, though the long-term extent of her injuries are still unknown.

 

Shelbyville Police Detectives Brian Roberts and Deb Tilford investigated the case.  When police interviewed Johns, she denied any knowledge of the injuries.  She thereafter took and failed a polygraph, and subsequently gave three different versions of accounts relating to the injuries, but still denied hurting the child.  The prosecutor states Johns finally claimed that she had smoked marijuana and fallen asleep, dropping the child, and then later claimed that she had fallen onto the child after smoking marijuana though the prosecutor says these explanations are inconsistent with many of the injuries.  Johns finally admitted to causing the injuries at her sentencing hearing Friday.

 

The victim’s mother testified through tears at the sentencing hearing about the medical procedures and difficulties that the child faced, and continues to face.  She testified about the fear they felt when the victim learned to sit up and eventually to stand – worrying that a simple fall could cause serious injury.  The mother says she still worries about the child’s injuries causing problems as the child gets older – possible developmental problems, or even injuries from playing or sports being worse than most kids may experience.  She requested that Judge Apsley impose the full nine years in prison.

 

Johns’ attorney, Rock Lee, from Indianapolis, requested just one year in prison, followed by probation – pointing out that this is her first criminal conviction. 

 

Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen detailed the child’s injuries and continuing challenges, as well as Johns’ recent violation of a No Contact Order, in asking for a harsher sentence. 

 

Judge Apsley pointed out that the type of injuries, including a fractured femur, are not easy to cause, when he imposed the sentence.  At Landwerlen’s request, Judge Apsley also ordered Johns to complete an anger management course once released from prison. 

 

Landwerlen says while they wanted a bit more executed sentence, the victim’s parents are satisfied with the outcome.

 

Landwerlen added, “This is a sad case, where a family is torn apart and a beautiful, innocent, helpless baby has suffered more than any person ever should – all at the hands of the person trusted to provide her safety and security.”

Indiana one of first states to receive federal approval to expand Medicaid treatment for Hoosiers with serious mental illnesses

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced the federal approval of a Medicaid waiver that will offer new hope to thousands of Hoosiers suffering from serious mental illnesses.

 

The waiver, approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services late last week, gives Indiana Medicaid the authority to pay for acute inpatient stays in institutions for mental disease for individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Until now, Medicaid law prevented funding from being used for inpatient SMI treatment at any hospital, nursing facility or other institution with more than 16 beds. 

 

In 2018, FSSA received CMS permission to reimburse for inpatient treatment in these facilities for many Medicaid members with a primary diagnosis of a substance use disorder. Through this new waiver, Indiana will be able to cover acute inpatient stays in IMDs for individuals whose primary diagnosis is a serious mental illness. Because approximately 25% of individuals with a serious mental illness also have a substance use disorder, this waiver will allow for consistency in their treatment.

 

“My 2020 Next Level agenda is focused on improving the lives of Hoosiers, and a key part centers around increasing the capacity of mental health services throughout the state,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “With this waiver in hand, we will begin to accomplish this on day one of the new year.”

 

The waiver takes effect on January 1, 2020. According to Indiana Medicaid records, in state fiscal year 2019, only about half of Indiana’s traditional Medicaid members receiving inpatient psychiatric services accessed those services through an institution for mental disease. Approval of the waiver amendment will mitigate these barriers to access and will shift services from less appropriate settings to facilities like hospitals and larger mental health treatment facilities. Under this new waiver, many patients will be able to receive longer, more appropriate inpatient stays, aiding in achieving stabilization and more successful transitions back into their homes and communities. The change is expected to ultimately drive down the costs associated with overuse of the emergency department for mental health problems and psychiatric crises as well as other costs caused by lack of access to appropriate care settings. 

 

“This waiver allows Indiana to, for the first time, offer the full continuum of treatment for Hoosiers with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders,” FSSA Secretary Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H. said. “This begins a new era of vastly enhanced access and hope in many communities, aided by allowing some facilities already engaged in this vital work to expand.”

At present Vermont and the District of Columbia are the only other states/districts to receive a serious mental illness waiver.

Could be warmest Christmas in decades

You'll continue to see temperatures reach into the 50s during the holiday season.

 

The National Weather Service says Wednesday will likely be the warmest Christmas Indianapolis has seen in 37 years.

 

"Right now, our current forecast for Christmas day looks like a high of 55. Any snow that's left on the ground will melt and be gone. Maybe by the time we get to New Year's, we might see a break in it and get back a little closer to normal, but we're looking at 50s for the next several days," says National Weather Service of Indianapolis Meteorologist Crystal Pettet.

 

The same goes for the rest of the state too. Pettet says if the current forecast for Christmas Day holds, it will be the 11th warmest Christmas in the past 140 years.

 

But why is it getting warmer?

 

"We've seen an upper ridge of high pressure that's been building over the eastern U.S. and that's bringing that warmer air. It's coming up out of the Gulf. That's bringing us a lot warmer temperatures than what we've had before that ridge was parked a little off to the west. We were in a storm track that we're just not in right now," Pettet said.

 

She says this weather pattern will hold for another week or two. Pettet also says there will not be any snow or freezing rain in the immediate future.

Holiday trash pickup scheduled in Shelbyville for Christmas week

Holiday schedule for Shelbyville trash collection is in place.  There WILL be trash only collected Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) in the morning. Tuesday's recycling will be delayed until next week.

 

There will be NO trash or recycling collected on Christmas Day, Wed December 25. Wednesday's trash only will be collected on Thursday. Wednesday's recycling will be delayed until next week. 

 

The office will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25.

Nomination deadline for Chamber Gala is December 23

The Shelby County Chamber Annual Awards Gala is February 27.  The deadline to nominate someone to be honored at the event is just a couple days away.

 

Is there someone you think should be recognized for the great work they do in the community? 

 

The Chamber has extended the deadline for nominations to Monday, December 23.

 

Shelbyville State Rep. Sean Eberhart receives appointment from Gov. Holcomb

Shelby County connections in new appointments made by Governor Eric Holcomb.

 

Several new appointments and reappointments to various state boards, commissions, and task forces were announced by the governor. They include the Ball State University Board of Trustees, the Governor’s Residence Commission and the White River State Park Development Commission.

 

White River State Park Development Commission

The governor made two new appointments to the commission, who will serve until Sept. 30, 2023.  Among those was Lou Gerig, of Indianapolis.  Gerig is the president of Sease, Gerig & Associates,.  Gerig's company worked with Ranger Power in their efforts to build a solar farm tp Shelby County.

 

Upon the recommendations of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the governor also made four appointments to the commission, who will serve until Sept. 30, 2023.  Among those was State Rep. Sean Eberhart (House District 57).

Another round of wintry precipitation

The second round of winter weather is moving through central Indiana, adding to the four inches of snow that fell around Indianapolis on Sunday night.

 

The heaviest snowfall on Monday will happen along I-70 and I-74, says WISH-TV Meteorologist Marcus Bailey, and it will happen at the worst time -- when everyone is driving home from work.

"You're talking snowfall rates, during the late afternoon and early evening hours, around one or even two inches per hour," Bailey said.

 

Those that will see the heavy snow will be in Terre Haute and Crawfordsville, through the Indy metro, and out east towards New Castle and Richmond. By the time the snow comes to an end late Monday night and into early Tuesday morning, those communities could see an additional four or five inches of snow, on top of what was already on the ground on Monday morning.

 

If you're just south of I-70 -- like in Martinsville, Franklin and Shelbyville -- Bailey says you'll see more of a wintry mix during the evening commute on Monday.

 

"You'll see rain, sleet and snow," he said. "So your snow totals might not be as high, but you'll still get maybe an inch or two of additional accumulation."

 

In southern Indiana -- Bailey says cities like Vincennes, Bedford, Bloomington and Batesville -- will get more rain than anything else on Monday afternoon and Monday evening. It could turn into some freezing rain and sleet on Monday night, and possibly turn into a few snow flurries overnight into Tuesday morning.

 

Winter Storm Watch; wintry precip coming

A winter storm watch goes into effect Sunday night through Tuesday morning for portions of central Indiana and surrounding areas.

 

"Snow will arrive in central Indiana starting primarily on Sunday evening perhaps mixing with some freezing rain," says National Weather Service of Indianapolis Meteorologist Jason Puma. "This runs from Terre Haute over to Crawfordsville then through Indianapolis along the I-70 corridor up towards Anderson, Muncie, and Kokomo as well. In that area, we could see anywhere between 3 to 5 inches of snow with some light icing. Higher amounts are possible when it's all said and done by Tuesday morning."

 

Puma says freezing rain is more likely in the southern portions of the state like Seymour, Bedford, Columbus, and Bloomington.

 

"In the Indy metro, we're looking at primarily getting snow at this point. That will continue on into the morning rush hour, which could cause some tricky travel situations for the morning rush on Monday," says Puma.

 

He says there will be a brief lull in the middle of the day Monday.

 

"Then we'll have actually another round of snow across central Indiana starting late Monday afternoon continuing through Monday evening and ending overnight," Puma says.

 

That could also affect your morning commute on Tuesday.

 

"By the time we get to mid-morning on Tuesday, I think all of this precipitation will have come to an end, but the forecast can always change," Puma says.

 

Puma recommends you check the forecast periodically, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and make sure you give snowplow drivers enough space for them to do their job.

 

Duke Energy Indiana winter assistance funds increase to $750,000

Duke Energy has increased its winter assistance funding forqualifying Indiana customers who may struggle to pay their winter energy bills.

 

The company is contributing $650,000 for low-income customer energy assistance through its Helping Hand program this year. In addition, Duke Energy Indiana customers and employees have contributed more than$96,000 through November, and more is expected in December, raising this year’s total energy assistance to approximately$750,000. A portion of the company’s funding is the result of an agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.

 

“We know the winter months can be a hardship for some, and each year our shareholders and customers contribute to help families and individuals who may be struggling to pay their winter energy bills,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “This year, to reach more customers in need, we are increasing our shareholder contribution by $150,000. Last year, we were able to help more than 3,700 Hoosiers who needed assistance paying their electricity bills.”

 

 

Duke Energy works with the Indiana Community Action Association and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Energy Assistance Program, which determines eligibility and distributes the company’s assistance funds.

 

“Our clients are most vulnerable during the winter, and no one should be left in the cold,” said Elaine Zeider, manager of Family Services for the Area Five Agency on Aging and Community Services. “For years we’ve used Duke Energy’s Helping Hand funds to keep Hoosiers warm and relieve some of the stress of winter bills.”

 

For more information on the Helping Hand program, including eligibility for funds, participating agencies and how to make a donation, visit duke-energy.com/community/customer-assistance-programs/helping-hand.