Bradford Raths

A Thursday evening crash in northern Spencer County left 1 person dead.

Just before 7:20 central time, Indiana State Police say a 1994 Subaru Legacy driven by 41-year-old Melanie Rothery of Oregon City, Oregon had stopped along the southbound shoulder of US 231 just north of County Road 2250 north near Dale. Police say Rothery then tried to pull back into traffic, cross the southbound lanes of the highway and turn east onto County Road 2250 North. As Rothery pulled off of the shoulder and back onto the highway, a southbound semi being driven by 66-year-old David Wolfkiel of Owensboro attempted to get over into the left passing lane, but could not avoid the crash. The semi hit the Subaru at a right angle, pushing it into the median.

Rothery was pronounced dead at the scene. Wolfkiel complained of leg pain, but was treated and released.

Spencer County Sheriff’s deputies, the Dale and Santa Claus Police Departments, the Carter Township Fire Department, Spencer County EMS, and the Spencer County Coroner’s office also assisted.

A project that will turn part of the former JOFCO building into workforce housing got a boost at the state level today.

This morning, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority approved Miller-Valentine Group’s request for state housing tax credits to go ahead with the project. In all, Miller-Valentine received just under $1.2 million in tax credits and 500 thousand dollars in additional HOME funds.

TRI-CAP served as the local Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) for the application. Miller-Valentine’s application was 1 of just 16 that were awarded the tax credits today. 52 projects in all applied for the credits.

Miller-Valentine will be turning a large part of the building into 67 workforce housing units and the city of Jasper will kick in 500 thousand dollars in tax abatements and related incentives. The project is expected to cost between 12 and 13 million dollars in all to complete. Miller-Valentine applied for the grant funding last fall.

The state also awarded 411 thousand 500 dollars to a housing project at the Monastery of Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand. That project will convert Benet Hall into apartments.

A Schnellville woman was taken into custody in southern Perry County on narcotics charges following a traffic stop.

At around 8:50 last night, 2 Indiana State Police troopers noticed a blue Cadillac 2004 Cadillac Escalade at the intersection of State Roads 37 and 62 in Tell City with the tail light on the driver’s side not working. After stopping the vehicle, troopers spoke with the driver (Johnny Arnett of Rosetta AllbrightLouisville) and the passenger (42-year-old Rosetta Allbright of Schnellville). Allbright was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the stop according to state police.

Further investigation led to troopers searching the vehicle. They found 4 hypodermic needles with morphine in them in the front passenger seat, wrapped in a hooded sweatshirt that belonged to Allbright.

Allbright was taken into custody and booked into the Perry County Jail. She is charged with 4 Level 6 felonies for possession of a hypodermic needle and a Level 5 felony for possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance.

Arnett was released at the scene after getting a warning about the tail light violation.

Huntingburg’s EMS units will soon have a new home.

The city has been working over the last several months to refurbish the former gas garage along Van Buren Street for use as the new EMS garage in the city. City officials have been working with Suzan Henke and the Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service for this project.

Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner says this project was necessary to keep county ambulance service in the city. Spinner says a lot of work has gone into making the project a reality:

The building became available over the last 18 months for full use by the ambulance service due to several changes.

EMS units are expected to move into the building by the end of the work week tomorrow. Now tonight, the Huntingburg City Council will be ratifying a lease for the building. The county will be paying the building’s utility costs under the new lease.

Spinner says there is still some work to be done even after EMS units move in. That will include exterior painting and other work.

Spinner says once that work is completed when temperatures warm up, the city will be hosting an open house to show off its work.

2 more Operation Big Brother cases have now been resolved.

Yesterday, 68-year-old Edward Freyberger of Dubois pled guilty in Dubois Superior Court on 2 Class B felony counts for Dealing in a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance. According to probable cause affadavits, Freyberger sold a total of 85 Percocet pills for $550 and 25 Adderall pills for $175. The Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office says these were 2 separate incidents.

Dubois Superior Court Judge Mark McConnell sentenced Freyberger was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 2 of those years will be served at the Dubois County Security Center and the other 8 years were suspended to 5 years of supervised probation.

Now the State of Indiana asked McConnell to sentence Freyberger to 12 years to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections. The county’s Probation Department recommended a total sentence of 8 years, with 4 served on home detention with electronic monitoring and the other 4 on supervised probation. Freyberger asked McConnell for a sentence in line with the probation department’s recommendation.

As mentioned earlier, Freyberger’s case was 1 of 2 to be resolved yesterday. 25-year-old Christy Merkley of Huntingburg pled guilty to a Class B felony for Dealing in a Schedule 3 Controlled Substance. She is set to be sentenced to 14 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections. That sentence will run consecutively with a 180 day probation revocation sentence from Dubois Circuit Court. That sentence will be served at the Dubois County Security Center.The Prosecutor’s Office says Merkley also has a 2nd consecutive probation sentence for possession of marijuana that she will serve once she serves her prison term. Merkley is set to be sentenced on March 18th.

To date, 6 of the 16 Operation Big Brother cases have now been resolved. The remaining 10 cases will go to trial at later dates.

All of the defendants were arrested on June 4th of last year as part of the raid. Operation Big Brother is the 2nd major drug raid in the county in recent times. It has been led by the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office and Dubois County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Officer John Anderson.

Next Act Incorporated officials say things are going well with their fundraising for restoring Jasper’s Astra Theater, but there is more work to do.

Of course yesterday, the group announced that they had received a 50 thousand dollar grant from Friends of the Arts to go towards their efforts. The money will be used to create an endowment through the Dubois County Community Foundation and to purchase the Astra building.

Board president Marc Stecyzk says with yesterday’s announcement, the group has now raised about 150 thousand dollars since starting the effort back in December. He says once the group reaches the 200 thousand dollar mark, the community foundation will kick in its 100 thousand dollar matching grant. That would leave the group at 300 thousand dollars, 165 thousand short of their 465 thousand dollar goal with a deadline of March 31st to have all of the money raised.

Stecyzk says though things started off slowly, their early efforts are now paying off:

Stecyzk says publicity for the group should help going into the home stretch. He says the fundraising is being done in 2 phases:

The Friends of the Arts grant was the 2nd largest donation to Next Act’s effort. The largest is the 100 thousand dollar matching grant from the community foundation. That grant was announced back in November of last year.

For more information, you can go to thenextact.org.

Dubois County Emergency Management officials have announced details for this year’s Severe Weather Spotter Training.

The training will be held on Wednesday March 11th at 7 pm. It will take place at the Classroom Building Lecture Hall on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.

The training is free to attend and is open to anyone in the region. That includes weather spotters, emergency responders, and the general public. The goal of the training is to provide knowledge needed to identify and effectively report key severe weather features. It also is designed to help people stay safe during severe weather events including tornadoes and floods.

This year’s training is once again being coordinated by Joe Sullivan. Sullivan is the Warning Coordinating Meterologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Louisville.

If you are planning to attend, officials are encouraging you to go online to crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=spottertraining. Some of the material at the link will not be covered during the training.

Registration is not required to attend. For more information, you can contact Dubois County Emergency Management Director Tammy Humbert at (812)-482-2202 or by emailing duboisema@psci.net.