LOCAL NEWS

CPD busts meth lab

September 19, 2014

Local authorities discovered and dismantled a methamphetamine lab Wednesday afternoon after serving an arrest warrant on a Crawfordsville woman.

Felice P. Steffen, 32, was arrested on warrants for intimidation and criminal trespass. She is currently being held at the Montgomery County Jail on an $800 cash-only bond.

However, additional methamphetamine-related charges are expected to be issued.

Crawfordsville police officers arrested Steffen around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at her residence in the 500 block of South Washington Street. While serving the arrest warrant, they noticed signs of other illegal activity.

They acquired a search warrant and returned to the residence around 4:30 p.m. along with the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Team. Officers found and confiscated items that appeared to be precursors for producing methamphetamine. The items will be tested by the Indiana State Police Lab for confirmation.

“The officers involved in the arrest warrant were very attentive and noticed additional illegal activity,” Crawfordsville Police Chief Mike Norman said. “That led to this arrest and the dismantling of another meth lab. Seizing the distribution of methamphetamine improves our community’s safety.”

Pick up ... The FOP is calling

September 19, 2014

If the Baldwin Memorial FOP #90 is calling you, consider picking up the phone.

The local fraternal organization started its annual telephone campaign on Sept. 8. Its members hope to raise funds to support its many charitable programs, including its Holiday Food Basket program.

“We will be doing this program for about seven weeks,” said Jayne Gregory.

Financial assistance helps the FOP take children Christmas shopping as part of its Cops and Kids program.

Donations also help provide for a scholarship program for seniors in all three county high schools. The organization also helps support Riley Children’s Camp and the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County.

“If we can’t call you, please consider calling us at 812-648-2724,” Gregory said. “We would like to thank you in advance for helping us with these much needed projects, from all the officers and members of the Baldwin Memorial Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #90 here in Montgomery County.”

Russellville turns grief into action

September 18, 2014

It is difficult to understand what would motivate a young person to take his or her own life, but it does happen. 

Eleven-year-old Dalton Thrush took his own life Aug. 17, leaving his family, friends and community stunned.

In the aftermath of the boy’s death, several people from the small town of Russellville gathered to share their grief. Talk soon turned to finding ways to honor Dalton, help his family and help others in a similar situation. During that community meeting, the group decided to coordinate an event to create awareness of suicide and its prevention. 

The Adolescent Awareness of Depression and Prevention of Suicide event will take place from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Russellville Community Park. The day-long event will include music, games, children’s activities and access to information about mental health services. It is being spearheaded by Beth Kashman, a Thrush family neighbor, as well as Lisa Brock, Nicci Slater, Lori Horton and Misty Wiltermood.

Entertainment will be provided by the Dapper Dan Band, John Stevens Jr., Putnam County Star winner Cord Watkins and the Cockleburs. Neil Snyder, a local comedian, also will perform at the event. The event also features a corn hole tournament, free popcorn and a movie, a selfie-scavenger hunt and several raffles and drawings. Representatives from Bloomington Meadows Hospital, the Hamilton Center and Putnam County Hospital will be on hand to educate people about depression and suicide.

“We came together after Dalton’s death and we didn’t know what to do, but as we talked we knew we had to do something positive, and things just started to evolve,” Kashman said.

Proceeds from Saturday’s event will go toward helping the Thrush family finish paying for funeral expenses. Any remaining money will be distributed to programs that help prevent adolescent suicide.

According to statistics provided by The Parent Resource Program, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24. More teens and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.

“What we’ve found in talking with people is that adolescent suicide is a reality,” Kashman said. “We started hearing story after story about it, and we realized the problem is much bigger than this little guy.”

At the time of his death, Dalton was attending Roachdale Elementary School. He enjoyed riding his four-wheeler, being with his family and playing football. He also enjoyed fishing and wrestling.

Kashman, whose family is involved in motocross racing, said Dalton was looking forward to racing motorbikes next year.

“We need to get the information and education out there to kids that even though they may hurting or going through something that is really bad, there is help. They need to know there are people they can turn to for help.”

City dedicates park to Dr. Steele

September 18, 2014

Kathy Steele often peeked through the window of her school administration office to watch children play at the Hose Elementary School playground. Now the retired Crawfordsville school superintendent can walk down the street from her home and see children enjoying a playground named after her.

The Crawfordsville Park and Recreation Department dedicated the Old Mill School playground in Steele’s honor Wednesday evening.

“I see kids here every day when I walk my dog, and even more have come since the improvements were made,” Steele said of the playground. “It’s wonderful for children to have an opportunity to play in this neighborhood.”

The park is only half a block from Steele’s house. In fact, Steele used to bring her son Matt to the park when he was younger.

The park dedication resulted from cooperation between the city of Crawfordsville and the Crawfordsville School Corporation, which donated the land. School officials wanted to see the former elementary school continue to serve children, and the parks department carried out that desire by improving playground equipment. More playground equipment will be installed in the future.

Steele announced her retirement in the midst of the park planning process, which prompted the city to honor her 43 years of educating the community.

“If you think about how many people have been educated under her watch, you can tell she has had a huge impact on the community,” Mayor Todd Barton said. “She is a leader and has always been focused on improving the lives of children. Having a park named after her only makes sense.”

Despite her retirement, Steele has not slowed down. She is currently writing grants for Athens Arts and the Montgomery County Community Foundation, in addition to watching over the youth at the playground.

“Once you are an educator, you are an educator for life,” Steele said. “It’s something that doesn’t stop, and I am glad about that.”

County, city to receive $79,000

September 18, 2014

The snow storms that took place Jan. 5-9 were stressful for the citizens of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County, but the storms also created havoc with many governmental and department budgets.

Local officials learned this week that more than $79,000 will be sent from Federal Emergency Management Agency in the form of reimbursements. Five entities have received a total of $79,033.77. This figure represents the eligible 75 percent of the total cost to clean up the aftermath of the storm which totaled $105,378.53.

Here is the breakdown of those entities and how much they will receive:

City of Crawfordsville/Street Department — $18,822.54

Crawfordsville Community Schools— $3,246.15

North Montgomery Comm. Schools — $4,950.09

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department — $9,481.46

Montgomery County Highway Department —$42,533.46

Public Assistance will pay 75 percent of eligible expenses for damage to roads, bridges, utilities, debris removal, buildings’ contents and equipment, water control facilities, parks and recreational facilities and others, as well as emergency protective measures like traffic control and rescue operations. Snow Assistance will cover all eligible costs associated with snow removal for the 48-hour or 72-hour period with the highest costs.

The reimbursement was made possible by the collective efforts of elected officials, department heads and members of the Incident Management Team who all worked together to fill out all the necessary forms sent back to FEMA via the IMT’s Administrative/Finance Chief.

Statewide the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been working with applicants in eligible counties to document and distribute the funds. To date, $1,130,340 has been processed for reimbursement to applicants in the eligible counties. More money will be distributed as applications are processed.

In all, 30 counties were granted federal public assistance and/or snow assistance.

In addition to Montgomery County, those counties granted assistance include: Allen, Blackford, Boone, Clay, Clinton, Fulton, Hamilton, Hendricks, Huntington, Jasper, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, Marion, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash, White and Whitley.