Man sentenced for molesting

A Crawfordsville man has been labeled as a sexually violent predator and placed on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life after pleading guilty to molesting a 4-year-old female relative.

Jacob A. Cross, 24, will serve eight years in the Indiana Department of Corrections and four years on probation after pleading guilty Monday to one count of child molestation. A second count was dismissed.

He was given 30 days credit for time served. He was not fined, but assessed court costs of $181, a $100 Child Abuse Prevention Fee and a $500 Sexual Assault Victims Assistance Fee.

According to Montgomery Circuit Court documents, Cross had sexual contact with the 4-year-old girl, once orally the other anally, at two different times between September 2012 and April 2013 in the bathroom at his house.

The girl reported the incidents to her mother’s significant other in 2015. The mother then contacted the Crawfordsville Police Department.

The child was interviewed by Crawfordsville detectives and was able to accurately identify genitalia on pictures that she drew. 

Cross originally denied the accusations and agreed to take a polygraph examination, which he failed. He later gave a detailed account as to what happened to Crawfordsville detectives.

A warrant was served to Cross in May 2015; he signed a plea agreement on Sept. 14

Nucor presents award to senator

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly from Indiana proudly held his newest award Tuesday proclaiming him as a Man of Steel. 

Jeff Powers, Nucor vice president and general manager, presented the award to Donnelly in front of Nucor teammates. He called the senator “a great advocate for the steel industry.”

Powers first met Donnelly in 2015 while on a trip to Washington, D.C. The two men discussed the steel industry and the problems facing steel manufacturers. Powers found the senator to be very supportive of steel made in the United States.

“Senator Joe Donnelly has been a true champion for steel workers and all manufacturers in Indiana,” Powers said. “He has been instrumental in helping strengthen U.S. trade laws and has fought to make sure our taxpayer dollars are used to buy American goods made by American workers.”

Donnelly, who grew up in northern Indiana, has relatives who worked in the steel mills. He was pleased to fulfill a promise he made to Powers that he would visit the Crawfordsville site.

“I would like to thank Nucor for having me out here today,” Donnelly said. “Every single day the products being made here are going into our national economy by creating jobs all over the nation. Nucor is one of the biggest job creators we have in Indiana, and what I have seen here is extremely high quality. Nucor is a real good cornerstone of the American economy.”

While in office, Donnelly has fought to stop foreign steel from entering the U.S. In particular, steel coming from China, is hurting American steel workers and the senator is working to stop these “dumping” practices immediately.

“I have worked hard in Leveling the Playing Field Act and have testified before the International Trial Court to end the dumping,” Donnelly said. “Our goal is that it doesn’t even come off the ship. All we ask for is a fair fight and that all the rules be the same for everybody.”

Powers said during the Washington, D.C. meeting in 2015, he had the opportunity to express his concern about dumping. Donnelly took the message seriously and told Powers to tell his workers he would do everything in his power to “make things right.”

Team members at Nucor are aware of Donnelly’s efforts and realize he is an advocate for the steel industry. The senator’s visit to Crawfordsville was encouraging for the workers.

“This visit had a tremendous impact on our people,” Powers said. “He has done such great things for the steel industry that we are honored to have him here.”

Walls Going Up

Officials at Franciscan Health Crawfordsville could not more pleased with how its renovation construction is progressing — especially since it’s currently under budget — and they hope the community feels the same way about the end result.

The renovations, which total approximately $15 million, include a brand new emergency room, a second and state-of-the-art CT imaging machine and moving the imaging from the women’s center back over to the hospital.

“The goal is to serve the community that we’re a part of,” Chief Operating Officer Terry Klein said. “And to better serve our community, we had to upgrade our technology. Our mission in Franciscan is to serve the under-served and under-serviced. And the under-serviced means, ‘Do we have the service here that we can provide to you?’ And if we don’t, that’s what we need to focus our energies on.”

The renovation designs, especially for the new emergency room, took a collaborative effort from all entities and departments at Franciscan Health Crawfordsville. The steel bones of the approximately $10 million dollar addition can now be seen from the road. Once it’s finished, the structure of the building will include a large patient drop-off area, a garage with space for two ambulances and the facade of the building will include a lot of glass and windows. 

“It will blend in, but it will have a more modern feel and a modern concept to it, especially with the canopy that hangs over,” said Greg Harvey, material director for the hospital. “And something else we’ve done with the new ER is we’ve kind of tried to mirror some of the architecture of the cancer center.”

And if it looks large, that’s because it will be.

The new emergency room will have a total of 15 rooms and will be approximately 14,000 square feet — nearly five times the size of the current facility. It will also be located right next to imaging services, cardiology and radiology, so the flow for both patients and hospital staff should be better and more efficient.

The brand new — and much needed — second CT machine saw its first patient Tuesday. The technology is faster and definitely upgraded, but that is not why it was needed.

“If the other one would happen to go down, then we would have nothing,” Jamie Reese said, who works with the imaging technology. “And we get a lot of CT scans through the emergency room. So if we’re running a full (outpatient) schedule, and we have a busy ER day, we have nowhere to put people. And so our outpatients are sometimes waiting an hour or more to get scanned. And if we have an ER patient, like a stroke patient, who has to be scanned immediately, I’ve had to get patients off the table before so I can scan the stroke patient.”

Klein said Franciscan Health Crawfordsville will eventually start doing cardiac CT, which diagnoses the cardiac vessels and is a service patients must travel to Indianapolis to currently receive.

It’s all part of the goal of the multi-million dollar investment — to better serve a community that deserves the best service possible.

“You’re not going to find technology like this in rural community hospitals,” Klein said. “You just aren’t. And it’s an enhancement to the community.”

Harvey said all of the construction should be completed by the end of July 2017.

County OKs economic road map

Officials learned a tough lesson in 2015 when the county didn’t land a new manufacturing plant, and Montgomery County Commissioner Phil Bane doesn’t want to come up short again. 

Bane said the county was a leading candidate for a new Toyota manufacturing plant, but the new plant eventually located in Jamestown. 

“Indiana West Advantage receives dozens of inquiries each year from manufacturers wanting to relocate to Montgomery County,” Bane said. “After we lost the bid to get Toyota here, even though we were close, we found out we lost because we lacked infrastructure along the Nucor Corridor and around the State Road 32 and I-74 intersection.”

On Monday, commissioners took steps to begin developing a plan to better prepare the county so it can start winning some of economic development battles with nearby counties.

In March 2015, commissioners approved a request from IWA to be the lead applicant for an economic development planning grant. Using grant administrator Kristy Jerrell of Jerrell Consulting, commissioners agreed to proceed with the grant application.

Jerrell said the non-competitive grant will include a study of not only the Nucor Corridor, but for the entire county. The study will provide information on potential development sites and what is needed to make the sites more appealing to manufacturers to better improve county chances of attracting new employers. 

“This study will give us an overview of the entire county,” Jerrell said. “We will identify what is already present and what the county should do to get the identified areas ready for expansion.”

The study, worth $40,000, is expected to serve as a road map for up to 20 years and it will be done at no cost to the county. IWA will pay the required $4,000 match and the grant will cover the balance of the cost.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to pursue the grant. Commissioner Terry Hockersmith cast the dissenting vote and said he was not ready to vote for the new plan until he had more time to look at the information provided by Jerrell. 

Jerrell expects to submit the Community Development Block Grant to the state by Jan. 31, 2017. If approved, there will be another public meeting at a later date for the purpose of accepting the grant.

In other business, commissioners approved the acceptance of two grants recently awarded to Montgomery County Emergency Management. Director Shari Harrington informed commissioner one grant in the amount of $18,448.21 will provide a solar powered road sign, a Sugar Creek stream gauge and equipment for five weather stations.

The second grant was for $8,000 and it will be used to upgrade the county’s mass notification system.

Montgomery County Highway Director Rod Jenkins reported the CSX railroad crossing at Nucor Road will be closed for repairs for the remainder of this week. Jenkins also reported Bridge 126 near Lake Holiday should open this week.

Commissioners received a report from the Montgomery County Medical Community Trust stating the organization has developed a plan to refocus its mission. The board will ask commissioners to approve the new plan in November.

CFD responds to Nucor fire

Around 9:30 a.m. Monday the Crawfordsville Fire Department was called to Nucor Steel for a fire in the company’s scrap yard.

Firefighters were on the scene for six hours fighting the fire which was centered around a pile of scrap metal.

Nucor officials will try to determine the cause of the fire. There was no estimate of loss as of 5 p.m. No injuries were reported.

CFD was assisted on the scene by fire departments from Lafayette, New Market and Walnut Township and Montgomery County Emergency Management.

CFD Assistant Chief Jim Fulwider said the assistance was needed due to the large amount of water and foam used during the event.