photo by Kristy McCullah
A Jackson Circuit Court jury returned a not guilty verdict Thursday evening against Jackson County Commissioner and Crothersville school administrator Andrew ‘Drew’ Markel accused of the felony theft of a gun.
The decision came shortly after 8 p.m. and after the jury deliberated six hours.
The charges stem from a series of events culminating in Markel using a gift card that did not belong to him to purchase a firearm from Bite the Bullet on June 4, 2016, according to court records.
Markel was a part-time employee of the Seymour store, owned by Mark and Lauren Hopkins. He also is assistant superintendent with Crothersville Community Schools, but has been on administrative leave.
Indiana State Police began an investigation in June 2016 when the Hopkins reported Markel had purchased a handgun with a gift card originally issued to a customer Dec. 26, 2015.
That customer had purchased a handgun from the store but later decided to return it claiming it didn’t work properly, according to court documents. The customer received a $255.73 refund, which was put on a gift card to be used for a future purchase, according to court records.
The court document said that Markel took the handgun home for testing. He returned it to the storeowner saying the gun worked properly and that the customer complaint “appeared to be the result of user error.”
On Jan. 7, 2016, the customer came back to the store to look at other guns, and he and Markel got into a confrontation after Markel attempted to explain that the problem with the returned handgun might have been user error. Markel and another employee escorted the customer out of the store where the verbal exchange continued, the ISP’s report stated.
Markel’s employer told him to refund the money on the customer’s card and “zero it out,” according to court documents.
On June 4, 2016, Markel purchased a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun from Bite The Bullet.
The gun shop owners were able to determine that when Markel purchased the 9mm handgun, he had used the customer’s gift card.
Markel later told the owners he thought he had used a $100 gift card he received as a Christmas gift from his mother-in-law for the purchase, according to court documents.
Markel was represented by North Vernon Attorney Mark Dove; William Nash of Columbus was the special prosecutor in the case.
Jackson County REMC officials announced last week that the organization would be forming a subsidiary to bring fiber-optic broadband internet service to its customers.
The initial effort will be rolled out in much of Jackson County as Phase 1. The Electric cooperative’s initial investment will be nearly $5.5 million. The Jackson County Council unanimously approved tax abatement for the expansion last Wednesday.
“This is a very similar story to the challenging, but necessary decision that was made to provide electricity to the rural areas almost 80 years ago when the Rural Electrification Association was established to bring electricity to the rural communities,” said REMC General Manager Mark McKinney. “This was a difficult, yet strategic decision to provide high-speed broadband services over fiber-to-the-home connection to our members. This is a decision that will prepare us for the current and future needs of our members and the REMC.”
Several factors were taken into consideration: enhancing the quality of life for members, agricultural and agribusiness needs, providing an enhanced path for education and healthcare opportunities, keeping our communities economically viable, and developing a plan where no REMC member is left out. All of these factors fall under Cooperative Principle #7: Concern for Community, said McKinney.
The fiber optic network will not only provide high-speed broadband internet services, but will also enhance the efficiency and communications to the electric cooperative’s existing smart grid equipment.
Utilizing a multi-phased approach, the project will be take approximately five years to complete in its entirety, barring any unexpected delays.
“It is important to us that our members understand this project will be a significant undertaking,” said Matt Persinger, Technology Manager for the rural electric cooperative. “However, our members should rest assured your electric service will not be negatively affected. Safe, reliable, and affordable electric service will remain a key focus of our business.”
Jim Plump, Executive Director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation, supported the request for tax abatement to the county council.
“I would point out that Jackson County REMC serves customers in 10 counties in southern Indiana and the total investment in this project over the next five years will top $60 million throughout the service territory,” Plump said.
“Less than 6% of Jackson county REMC members have access to what the FCC defines as minimum download speeds,” he noted.
Plump told the council that Realtors have expressed concern about the difficulty in selling homes in rural areas of Jackson County that do not have adequate broadband service. “This is a major issue for working and learning from home. Think about those students who need high speed access to complete homework assignments, do research projects, take online tests,” he told the council.
He added that available, desirable housing for the county’s industrial workforce is an important part of his job to help industries expand.
Jackson County REMC can provide this vital service because they have 2,900 miles of distribution power lines to over 24,200 customers in their 10-county service area and they will be able to utilize those poles and easements to run this fiber to the home, Plump said.
“We are hopeful to be coming back within a year or two to request additional abatements on more investment in Jackson County,” he added.
While residents of the town of Crothersville will not be impacted by the REMC broadband decision, a portion of the town’s industrial park expanded towards Bethany Road is in the REMC territory and will be benefited as well as the cooperative’s customers outside of the town limits.
The projected investment by REMC in Vernon Township is over $214, 600.
Construction for the first phase in Jackson County is scheduled to begin August 1 of this year with completion around August 2018. The company said the project will result in five new employees in 2017 and possibly five more in 2018.
‘Transform’ was the theme of the 88th annual Indiana FFA State Convention held last week on the campus of Purdue University. Chapters from across the Hoosier state gathered to hear from motivational speakers, conduct membership business, attend leadership sessions, compete in state level competition, tour Purdue University.
Members from the Crothersville FFA who attended the four day convention did their part to transform their leadership qualities to bring back to the local chapter and community.
The Crothersville FFA was recognized and participated in the opening session for their community service project of delivering food to their community.
“Our presentation was pre-taped for the session and we explained our Toy & Food Drive project”, said Crothersville’s Deven Lemen. Lemen and chapter advisor, Linda Begley were featured on stage in the opening session for the work that the local chapter does to combat hunger in our community. “It was certainly an honor to share our story with so many”, said Begley.
By the end of the convention, the four members were presented with awards at the state level. Deven Lemen, participated in the Mulit-media scrapbook and placed 3rd overall in the Traditional Scrapbook. Kalynda Hoevener and Noah Hoskins served as chapter voting delegates and received their Hoosier Farmer Degrees, the highest degree that a state association can bestow.
The Crothersville FFA Chapter was recognized as a Gold Emblem Donor to the Indiana FFA Foundation for donating $1,034 to the Give Hope campaign. The chapter also received fifth place in the state for their safety program and fourth in the state for their community service programs.
Annual Drinking Water Quality Report
Crothersville Water Utility
We’re pleased to present to you this year’s Annual Quality Water Report. This report is designed to inform you about the quality water and services we deliver to you every day. Our constant goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. We want you to understand the efforts we make to continually improve the water treatment process and protect our water resources. We are committed to ensuring the quality of your water. Our water source consists of three (3) wells ranging in depth from 64 to 85 feet and 16 to 42 inches in diameter. The wells are drilled into a confined aquifer.
We’re pleased to report that our drinking water is safe and meets federal and state requirements. No detected contaminants were found in our drinking water supply.
If you have any questions concerning your water utility, please contact Crothersville Town Hall at 111 East Howard Street, Crothersville, Indiana. The telephone number is 812-793-2311. The facility is owned by the Town of Crothersville. Any questions or concerns can be directed to the following number: 812-793-2540 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We want our valued customers to be informed about their water utility. If you want to learn more, please attend any of our regularly scheduled meetings. They are held on the first Tuesday of each month at the Town Hall beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity. Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
•Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
•Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining or farming.
•Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, storm water runoff, and residential uses.
•Organic chemicals, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
•Radioactive materials, which can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.
In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health. Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791. Special Note on Lead: If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children., Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Our system is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 21 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead
A complete review of all testing performed on our utilities water can be seen at the Crothersville Utility Office, 111 East Howard Street, Crothersville, Indiana between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and until noon on Wednesday. Crothersville Water Utility works to provide top quality water to every user. We ask that all our customers help us protect our water sources, so that Crothersville residents may enjoy a safe and healthy water supply.
Crothersville Water Utilities
Two of our recent columns which generated a good deal of smiles and comments were on church bulletin bloopers and newspaper boo-boos.
Some of my Internet colleagues have sent more humorous gaffs from both the religious and journalistic realms for me to share.
•Over the massive front doors of a church, these words were inscribed: “The Gate of Heaven.” Below that was a small cardboard sign which read: “Please use other entrance.”
•Rev. Warren J. Keating, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Yuma AZ, says that the best prayer he ever heard was: “Lord, please make me the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”
•A woman went to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. “What denomination?” asked the clerk. “Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this?” said the woman. “Well, give me 50 Protestant and 50 Catholic ones.”
•On a very cold, snowy Sunday in February, only the pastor and one farmer arrived at the village church. The pastor said, “Well, I guess we won’t have a service today.” The farmer replied: “Heck, if even only one cow shows up at feeding time, I feed it.” And so the preacher began his sermon. An hour and 20 minutes later he said “Amen” and asked the farmer, what he thought of it. “Well,” said the farmer, “even if only one cow showed up to feed I would give her the whole wagon load.”
•During a children’s sermon, Rev. Larry Eisenberg asked the children what “Amen” means. A little boy raised his hand and said: “It means tha-tha-tha-that’s all folks!”
•A student was asked to list the Ten Commandments in any order. His answer? “3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7.”
•Bill Keane, creator of the Family Circus cartoon strip, tells of a time when he was penciling one of his cartoons and his son, Jeffy, said, “Daddy, how do you know what to draw?” I said, “God tells me.” Jeffy said, “Then why do you keep erasing parts of it?”
•After the church service, a little boy told the pastor: “When I grow up, I’m going to give you some money.” “Well, thank you,” the pastor replied, “but why?” “Because my daddy says you’re one of the poorest preachers we’ve ever had.”
•My wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to our six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” she replied. “Just say what you hear mommy say,” my wife said. Our daughter bowed her head and said: “Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”
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The Year’s Best Actual News Headlines
•Include Your Children when Baking Cookies
•Something Went Wrong In Jet Crash, Expert Says
•Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
•Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
•Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
•Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
•Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
•Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
•British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
•Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
•Eye Drops Off Shelf
•Teachers Strike Idle Kids
•Clinton Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
•Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax
•Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
•Miners Refuse to Work after Death
•Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
•Stolen Painting Found by Tree
•Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years at Checkout Counter
•Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
•War Dims Hope for Peace
•If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
•Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
•Deer Kill 17,000
•Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
•Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
•Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
•New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
•Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
•Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
•Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
•Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood
•Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
•New Vaccine May Contain Rabies
•Hospital is Sued by 7 Foot Doctors