LOCAL NEWS

NWS asked to assess storm

The National Weather Service will visit the county tomorrow to determine what type of storm caused widespread damage.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency director Shari Harrington said she believes the damage could have been caused by either an EF-0 tornado or straight-line winds.

Harrington requested experts from the NWS look at the damage.

The worst-hit area seems to be along Memorial Drive near the Montgomery County Jail, she said.

EF-0 tornadoes are capable of producing winds below 73 mph, causing branches to be broken off of trees.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A line of severe thunderstorms packing strong winds and heavy rain blew through the area midday Tuesday, downing numerous trees and power lines and flooding roadways.

Police and highway department crews handled widespread reports of trees and lines blocking traffic. “Significant” power outages were reported in the area due to broken poles and transmission line damage.

Wind speeds as high as 60 mph were reported, said Brian Campbell, assistant emergency management director.

Winds blew an air handler from the roof of the Montgomery County Jail, causing water to pour into the kitchen. Other parts of the roof were damaged.

“I was standing inside the jail and the skies just blackened quickly and the next thing, the wind started blowing and it sounded like a jet engine taking off,” said Chief Deputy Sheriff Ryan Needham.

The jail was operating on generator power Tuesday afternoon.

Damage was also reported to area homes, outbuildings and crops

No injuries were reported.

A quarter to half inch of new rainfall was expected from Tuesday afternoon’s storms, according to the National Weather Service.

Severe storms are possible through Friday.

Storms over the next few days will have the potential to bring a few inches of rain to parts of central Indiana, according to the NWS.

With many locations already having saturated ground and elevated water levels, any additional rain would bring a return of flooding and make existing flooding worse, the weather service said.

Olympic Gold Medalist to speak at Rock Point

It isn’t everyday that an Olympic athlete makes a stop in Crawfordsville. 

On Friday, however, diver and four-time Olympic medalist David Boudia will be here speaking at Rock Point Church.

Boudia won two medals in each of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games while representing the United States, including gold in the 10-meter platform in 2012 in London. He also won six NCAA titles while competing at Purdue. 

Boudia became a Christian in 2010 and has been open about his faith ever since, including during the 2012 Olympic games. Rock Point Discipleship Pastor Jeff Strickland believes Boudia’s story is unique and one Crawfordsville residents may be interest in.

“I think he does a good job at saying sports are awesome and they are important and they are incredibly enjoyable, but they’re not the most important thing in life,” he said.

Tickets are available for the event for $5 on Eventbrite.

 Boudia will speak from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and is open to anyone ages 10 or older. If all 500 pre-sell tickets are not sold, tickets will be available at the door.

Copies of Boudia’s autobiography “Greater Than Gold” will be available for purchase, and Strickland and Rock Point are looking forward to giving the Crawfordsville community this opportunity.

“Our goal is to give an opportunity for a bunch of people in our community to hear from a gold medalist,” Strickland said. “I think that at the heart of Boudia’s message is really there are more important things than a gold medal.”

County closer to rebuilding highway garage

Montgomery County commissioners now know how much it will cost to replace the county highway garage destroyed by fire in November 2016. Commissioners received two bids that pleased local officials.

The lowest bid of $385,800 was from Gibson Commercial Construction of Indianapolis. The second bid received was from Ezra Industrial Construction of Crawfordsville. The bid amount was $393,730.

“Actually, the bids came in a little lower than what I expected,” County Building Administrator Marc Bonwell said. 

County Highway Director Jeremy Phillips agreed with Bonwell that both bids were acceptable.

Both bids contained options for other construction projects at the county highway site, such as remodeling the shop area. 

Commissioners plan to fund the construction project with insurance funds plus money  from the Cumulative Capital Development Fund.

Both bids were taken under advisement and will be presented to architect Steve Akers. He has been hired by commissioners to provide professional services for the project.

Commissioners expect to make a decision on the bids at its July 24 meeting.

Residents will soon see action at the Binford Street Office building. Commissioners entered into contracts with Fishero & Fishero to pave a new parking lot. The contract is in the amount of $10,699. Paving the lot, which will provide 30 parking spaces, will be completed by David Price Excavating.

During public comment three residents spoke about wind farms in Montgomery County. Two speakers, April Johnson and Patricia Southwood, presented information to commissioners regarding negative effects of wind turbines. Rick DeWitt spoke about the county’s present wind turbine ordinance.

Montgomery County Commissioner John Frey said there are issues with the present ordinance and in his opinion “would not stand up in court and is not worth the paper it is written on.”

Montgomery County Commission President Jim Fulwider said commissioners continue to look into wind farms and are reviewing the county’s ordinance.

In other business, commissioners approved:

• The re-establishment of the Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax rate to $.0333 per $100 of assessed value.

• Set the Cumulative Bridge Fund tax rate at $.10 per $100 of assessed value.

• Entered into a $14,775 contract with Fishero & Fishero to repair and patch sandstone on the county courthouse.

One-way road request comes to halt

Changing Beecher Young Boulevard to a one-way street came to a dead end Monday during the Crawfordsville City Council meeting.

On a 2-3 vote, the ordinance did not pass first reading. Council members Mike Reidy, Scott Molin and Jennifer Lowe voting against the ordinance.

The roadway in question is only 13-feet wide, which causes problems with traffic traveling both north and south. However, the council could not come to an agreement.

During public comment, two business owners spoke of concerns they have by designating the street a one-way thoroughfare.

Local property owner Ralph Corey initiated the one-way traffic request. Reidy would like to hear from Corey, noting the property owner had not attended either meeting that the matter has been discussed.

The council scrutinized eight properties receiving tax abatements to ensure the companies are in compliance to the city’s tax abatement ordinance. Pace Dairy, IMPA, Random House, LSC Communications, MG Crawfordsville, Crawford Industries, Crown Cork & Seal and TIN Inc., all were found to be in compliance. According to statute, the council must approve a resolution stating each business is compliance in order for the abatement to continue.

The council conducted public hearings on three additional ordinances.

One ordinance moves money from a Civil Defense fund to be used for the Elmore Street facility for Emergency Management Agency office renovations. The council approved a motion to suspend the rules and passed the ordinance on three readings.

The Cumulative Fire Fund tax rate and the Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax rate were re-established to the maximum rate available by a unanimous vote. Both actions are done annually.

Councilmen Dan Guard and Charlie Warren were not present for the meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Presented a first reading of an ordinance that repeals a handicap parking designation at 115 S. Grant Ave.

• Approved an ordinance designating one yield sign on Copperleaf Drive and one yield sign at Shadow Wood Drive.

• Approved an ordinance establishing a Police Confidential Money Fund.

CPD joins seat belt enforcement patrols

Crawfordsville Police Department is joining 20 other law enforcement agencies and Indiana State Police in enforcing seat belt laws across 30 rural counties with the highest rate of unrestrained crashes.

Beginning Tuesday, multiple weeks of high-visibility day and nighttime patrols will be watching for unrestrained passengers in the front seats and back.

There were 12,797 passenger vehicle fatalities on rural roads in 2015 as compared to 8,262 fatalities on urban roads, according to a press release from Buckle Up America, a campaign from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Half of those killed in rural areas weren’t wearing seat belts as opposed to 46 percent in urban locations. In addition, 61 percent of motorists killed in pickup truck crashes weren’t wearing seat belts.

“Our law enforcement personnel witness this preventable loss of life when unbelted motorists are involved in crashes,” CPD Chief Mike Norman said. “Our job is to keep community members safe. If the enforcement crackdown gets people to buckle up in every seat and every trip, it will save lives.”

The annual enforcement campaign is made possible through federal highway safety funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. To learn more about seat belt safety, visit www.

nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/

seat-belts.

The NHTSA offers the following tips:

• Secure the lap belt across your hips and pelvis, below your stomach.

• Place the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest and rib cage, away from your neck.

• Never put the shoulder belt behind your back or under an arm.

• If your seat belt doesn’t fit, or you have an older car with lap belts only, ask your dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits.