DNR advises stay away from black bear roaming around Scott County and environs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 13:58

 

 

That black bear which has made its presence in Scott County known for about the past week may still be with us.

Or it could have gone farther north.

First reported some three weeks ago as having been spotted in Harrison and Washington counties, the bear apparently wandered into southern Scott County at the end of last week. The animal reportedly swam the Ohio River from Kentucky into Harrison County. It was spotted around Pekin at one point early in its journey.

On Saturday, July 30, the local situation got pretty interesting when Clayton Brishaber was driving to work on Collins Road around 6 p.m. or so. The bear crossed the road in front of his vehicle, entering a yard from a soybean field. He snapped some shots of it from the safety of his vehicle and sent them to his in-laws, Kenny and Lori Spellman. They shared the photos with others. In no time at all, people started showing up in the area where Brishaber had first seen it.

When the Sheriff's Department was notified of the bear's appearance, two deputies, Rex Herald and James Shelton, went to the area, mainly to make sure people stayed away from the wild animal.

That was a little difficult for the officers to accomplish. Several people were seen driving up and down County Line Road and Collins Road, trying to catch a glimpse of an honest-to-gosh, wild black bear, the likes of which hasn't been seen in this county for many years, perhaps as much as a half-century.

Its movements on Saturday evening were tracked for a brief while. A drone with a camera was used without success in one attempt to discern if the bear was “...an anomaly (sighted) near a tree line...” at the eastern edge of a soybean field.

While all that was happening on County Line Rd., the bear was actually visiting the backyard of a house on Frontage Road for about an hour, it was learned later. As dusk fell, officers lost track of it, and sightseers finally gave up.

Some would-be trackers came back out late Sunday afternoon, July 31, but the bear wasn't seen again.

According to an Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) spokesman, the bear has since roamed further north.

“Keep your distance from it. Keep pets away from it. Don't feed it, and don't antagonize it,” advised that same spokesman when asked for information. He said officers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and IDNR are monitoring social media to track the bear's whereabouts.

Looking at Facebook, etc., has probably worked as well as anything for the time being. People have posted and re-posted photos of the bear, and there's rumors a bear was seen near Crothersville. That proved to be false.

“We aren't worried about the bear at this time. Everyone just needs to stay away from it,” the IDNR spokesman stated on Monday afternoon, August 1.

 
Changes begin on September 1.... Railroads cautioning communities: Expect more, faster, longer trains in coming years PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 13:54

 

Rails and cross-ties have been replaced and crossings torn up and repaved over the last several months in communities up and down the train tracks in Scott, Clark and Jackson counties.

There's a reason for all this activity. As new signs posted at crossings indicate, motorists can expect more trains with more cargo using the tracks. And they'll be moving faster, too.

A half-page ad in The Scott County Journal and The Chronicle published July 30 explained that plans made some three years ago by the Louisville and Indianapolis (L&I) Railroad and CSX Transportation (CSXT) are coming to fruition. Fueled by a $100 million investment by CSXT, the improved transportation line between Louisville and Seymour will accommodate more traffic on the rails hauling more products, equipment and crops.

Earlier estimates related that as many as 17 trains may be using the route daily. Initially, however, the number of trains will be increased to ten daily. Trains may reach up to 49 miles per hour in certain stretches and could measure up to 14,000 feet long.

All of this was made possible by the new type of rail installed. Instead of laying sections of rail held together by joints, a new, sturdier, “seamless” rail has been installed. Consequently, the tell-tale “clickety-clack” of trains as they travel has been eliminated as has the threat of derailments due to rail and/or joint failure.

The agreement between L&I and CSXT was signed last summer. CSXT had been attracted to the L&I route because of its relative straight line as it travels through communities. Previously, CSXT used an Ohio route which offered more challenges, i.e. more hills and curves, and which was aging more precipitously.

As noted in the advertisement, “The number and length of CSXT trains will vary and continue to adjust depending on rail freight volumes.”

CSXT serves the Port of Jeffersonville.

All of these changes will come on or soon after 12 midnight on Thursday, September 1.

Motorists and pedestrians should realize that they have responsibilities that come with the changes.

Everyone is reminded to “...always obey railroad crossing signals and warnings and to use caution when approaching all highway/rail grade crossings. A train can come at any time, so 'stop, look and listen' before proceeding through an open crossing,” the ad urges.

Organizations, public officials, transportation facilities and schools which would like to have presentations about rail and crossing safety are welcome to contact Operation Lifesaver, which is a nationwide public education program to promote awareness of safe behavior.

Operation Lifesaver can be reached at www.inol.org for more information.

To learn more about the improvement project, persons may call 812-258-9523 or 1-877-835-5279. Information about L&I is available at www.anacostia.com/railroads/lirc and about CSXT at www.csx.com.

 

 
Annual Leota Country Frolic set for 34th year in Finley Township August 26 and 27 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 29 July 2016 09:20

 

The 132nd anniversary of Leota's founding will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27, during the 34th annual Leota Country Frolic in the tiny Finley Township community southwest of Scottsburg.

Booths in the arts and crafts and flea market areas are now being reserved. Call Leon Dart at 812-216-0627 for more information.

The first event at the Leota Frolic will be the euchre tournament on Thursday, August 25, at 6:30 p.m. Sign up at the barn at 6 p.m. that evening to compete.

At the stage in the middle of Leota, lots of free entertainment is being planned for the two days of the festival. A full list of entertainers will be released soon. Festival visitors can either take a seat on the straw bales provided or bring a lawn chair to enjoy gospel, bluegrass and country music on Friday night and all day Saturday. A Talent Showcase is scheduled for 12 noon on Saturday. Ribbons will be presented to the best performers.

Children will have their own “Frolic” entertainment in their area by Coonie Creek from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and again from 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Youngsters can also compete for trophies in the pedal pulls set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Throughout the festival, everyone will enjoy the delicious food prepared by Finley Township organizations, including the sponsoring Finley Township Volunteer Fire Department. Firemen will set up their tent near the Leota Country Store and offer seating for those enjoying such favorites as bratwurst, tenderloins, bean soup, french fries, hot dogs and homemade pies. More food, drinks and seating will be located in the nearby barn

The eating spot is pretty close to the expansive display of farm machinery, which seems to grow each year in numbers and popularity.

Need an air-conditioned moment? Don't forget to stop by the Leota Country Store right in the downtown area. It will be open during the festival and features lots of gift and home décor ideas as well as jewelry, whatnots, candles and melt-in-your-mouth homemade fudge.

This year, the festival's souvenir will be a cross-cut saw. A homemade quilt will be raffled. Buy tickets for $1 each or six for $5.

Proceeds from the festival benefits the Finley firemen, helping them purchase equipment.

For general information about the Leota Country Frolic, call chairman Danny Robbins at 812-820-2743, Ward Bowen at 812-820-0493 or Charles Murphy at 812-752-3636.

 

 
CAUDILL PLEADS GUILTY IN 2015 HOMICIDE OF JOHN TURNER PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 29 July 2016 08:59

In a hearing held on Thursday, July 28, 2016 in the Circuit Court of Scott County, Indiana, JAMES MATTHEW CAUDILL, age 22, of Austin, Indiana, pled guilty to the November 2015 robbery and homicide of Coin Shop proprietor John Turner, age 78, also of Austin.

On November 7, 2015, Turner was found by his wife inside his coin shop located on Main Street in Austin, Scott County, Indiana around 4:00PM.  He was unresponsive and had apparently suffered an injury to his head.  It was soon determined that the head injury was likely a gunshot wound, and a homicide investigation was commenced by detectives from the Indiana State Police.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that JAMES MATTHEW CAUDILL had traveled to the Coin Shop with his girlfriend, Ginger Cox, age 23, on three separate occasions on the 7th.  On the third time, Cox waited in their van while Caudill entered the shop, shot Turner once in the head with a .22, and proceeded to rob the store, taking cash, jewelry, coins, and collectibles.  The two then fled the scene in their vehicle.

Caudill and Cox were arrested at Caudill’s residence on Water Tower Road 2 days later, on Monday, November 9, 2015.

Trial had been scheduled in the matter to commence on August 2, 2016, but yesterday Caudill’s attorney notified the prosecutors on the case that he would take a deal.

Caudill pled guilty to Robbery as a Level 5 Felony, Murder, and a Firearms sentencing enhancement.  He will be sentenced by the Court on August 11, 2016, where he faces a potential sentence of from 50 to 85 years.  He admitted in court that he entered the Coin Shop with the loaded handgun intent on robbing the store, and with the intent to shoot Turner if necessary.

In exchange for the plea, Caudill avoids the possibility of Life Without Parole.

The case was handled by Scott County Prosecutor Jason M. Mount and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Chris A. Owens.  Prosecutor Mount stated, “During this whole process, we have been in close contact with Mr. Turner’s family, and they are very relieved to have brought this matter to a close without the necessity of putting everyone through the stress of trial.  It is a testament to the excellent police work put in by the Indiana State Police that we were able to resolve this case in under a year, avoiding a trial, with a plea to the lead charge, and with a significant sentence.  Without a solid investigation, that would not have been possible.”
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department, the Austin Police Department, the Scott County Coroner’s Office, and the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office all also played significant roles in the investigation.

“Upon getting the call, the Indiana State Police immediately dedicated the manpower necessary to solve the case quickly, and the assigned detectives stayed on the trial until the answers were found.  I could not be more pleased with their efforts and their continued cooperation as this case moved from investigation to prosecution.” stated Mount.

The Scott County Prosecutors Office would also like to thank the family of John Turner for their ongoing faith and confidence in the Investigators and Prosecutors handling the case.  “Chief Deputy Owens was an invaluable asset to my office in this investigation,” Mount stated.  “He has been here now through several of these tough cases, and his experience and knowledge made him someone I can count on to do the things I might not have time to do, to research issues as they arise, and to bounce decisions off of as the case progressed.  His substantial input was also crucial to a quick resolution.”

Co-Defendant Ginger Cox pled guilty on June 20, 2016 to Aiding in Robbery Causing Serious Bodily Injury with a Firearms Enhancement and will receive a 35 year sentence.

 
Seven injured in two vehicular accidents on State Road 256 east of Austin PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 09:54

Two separate vehicular accidents east of Austin happening on State Road 256 injured a total of seven people, two of which were small children.

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