Bradford Raths

The Daviess County Sheriff’s office says they have received word from authorities in Alabama that the individual who committed suicide on an Alabama interstate highway Wednesday has been positively identified as a man wanted for questioning in a homicide case in northern Daviess County.

Alabama Law Enforcement say 40-year old Jeffery Dyer who was named a “person of interest” in the investigation of the murder of Travis Woodruff on Tuesday night in Odon, shot himself to death near the southwest Alabama town of Daphne after being stopped by police on Interstate 10 on Wednesday.

The scene of the roadside shooting in Alabama is about 680 miles south of the scene of the slaying in Indiana.

Investigators have yet to find the cause of Woodruff’s death. An autopsy on Woodruff’s body was planned for Thursday, however results have yet to be released. The families of both of the individuals have been notified.

The investigation is ongoing.

A longtime Jasper physician is being recognized for his support and contributions to his alma mater.

Indiana University’s Alumni Association says it will honor Dr. Terry Brown with a Maynard K. Hine Medallion. Dr. Brown practices at Jasper’s Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center.

The Maynard K. Hine Medallion is awarded to those alumni who make significant contributions to support the campus and its alumni programs. The medallion is named for the first chancellor of IUPUI and Dr. Terry Brownrecognizes 30 years of steadfast service to the IU School of Medicine through the medical education program in Evansville and the time Dr. Brown has served on the school’s alumni association board of directors.

After earning a bachelor’s degree and MD from IU, Brown completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at IU in 1981. He has hosted fourth year medical students in his clinic since 1985 and was appointed volunteer clinical assistant professor at the school’s Evansville campus in 1995, steadily rising to volunteer clinical professor.

A lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association, he has been an active member of the IU School of Medicine Alumni Association board since 2003, serving as director, treasurer, president-elect, and president.

Brown will receive the award at the 2015 IUPUI Alumni Leadership Dinner Feb. 26 at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.

The push continues for building a new interstate grade highway to connect Dubois County to Interstate 69.

Last night, Mid-States Corridor project leader Hank Menke gave an update on the project to the Jasper City Council. Menke asked the council to kick in some money to help keep things moving with the Mid-States Corridor group.

Menke says the money will go towards having pre-engineering work and a P3 study done in order to assess the costs of the project. He says the work will be done with the help of other groups in Florida and Texas.

Menke says public money can only help the efforts:

Menke also credited the work of new District 63 state representative Mike Braun in keeping things moving. Menke says Braun has had regular discussions about the Mid-States Corridor with Indiana Department of Transportation commissioner Karl Browning.

On the private side, German American Bancorp CEO Mark Schroeder says the highway is needed to keep companies such as GAB viable:

The council approved using EDIT funds that have been specifically designated for the Mid-States Corridor. Menke says the private support will help to keep things going over the next 2 to 3 years. No money for the project has been allotted by INDOT at this point.

Menke says the Mid-States Corridor group is still closely monitoring the construction of Interstate 69. He remains confident that stretch of highway will be finished. Menke also says communities such as Washington are already reaping the benefits of having an interstate with new warehouse and other businesses already locating near the highway.

Menke says a final route and specific locations for the Mid-States Corridor in Southwestern Indiana are still being determined.

Jasper city officials continue working to resolve the future of the city’s former power plant.

Tuesday night, utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger told the Jasper Utility Service Board that the 2nd phase of the environmental assessment on the plant building and property will soon get underway. The first phase of the study was completed last month.

Now the city had put out requests for expressions of interest on the plant late last year. More than 20 were sent out, but only a few of them were returned by the December 1st deadline. Hauersperger says most of the power firms that did return them stipulated that the city would have to buy power from them, which cannot be done since the city has a contract for that through the Indiana Municipal Power Agency. The most viable option for the plant came from salvage companies and the utility service board approved sending out bid packets to the salvage companies at last month’s regular meeting.

Hauersperger says nobody else has expressed interest in using the building as a power plant at this point. Thus he says not much has changed in terms of the options:

Hauersperger also says efforts to revitalize the power plant as a power plant were a good idea that just didn’t work out:

A full report on the environmental study is expected at a later date.

District 48 state senator Mark Messmer says a bill aimed at a new kind of economic development has taken another step towards becoming reality.

Senate Bill 359, which is aimed at implementing a sales tax exemption for data warehouse equipment, passed out of the Senate’s Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy earlier this week. The bill specifically targets investments of $100 million or more in equipment and investments in high technology district areas of cities or counties. The goal is to entice larger companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to consider putting data warehouses in Indiana.

Messmer says these tax exemptions have a track record of success in Colorado, Iowa, and other states. He says there are several different positives to getting this type of investment in the Hoosier State:

Exemption applications would have to be reviewed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

The bill is now in the full Senate awaiting a vote.

A bill that would remove state superintendent of public instruction Glenda Ritz from automatically chairing the State Board of Education has passed out of the Indiana Senate.

Senate members voted 33-17 yesterday to move the proposal (known as Senate Bill 1) forward. If approved, state board of education members would be able to elect their own chairman, thus Ritz would likely be removed from that role.

Local senators Erin Houchin and Mark Messmer voted in favor of the proposal. Messmer says though the dysfunction on the board has been ongoing for awhile, he is not placing blame on either Governor Mike Pence or Ritz.

Messmer says the bill is not making major changes to anything as has been widely reported:

Now Senate Bill 1 would also shrink the board from 10 to 9 members. The board would then consist of the superintendent, four members appointed by the governor and 1 appointment each for the Republican and Democratic leaders of both the House and Senate. Currently, all board members are appointed by Governor Mike Pence.

Supporters say the change is needed to fix the dysfunction on the State Board of Education. Meanwhile, opponents say the measure will disenfranchise voters who elected Ritz to the superintendent’s office in 2012.

The Indiana House approved a similar bill last week.

Well now that the snow is coming to an end, the deep freeze will be setting in across our listening area.

According to our weather partner southernindianaweather.com, high temperatures today will reach the upper teens this morning. At that point, meterologist Michael Wilhite says temperatures will fall through the afternoon and into the evening.

Wilhite says the cold will be historic:

Wind chill readings could fall as low as 25 to 30 degrees below zero this evening. The cold will continue tomorrow as highs will only be in the single digits. Low temperatures tomorrow night will once again fall below zero. We are under a wind chill advisory locally until 7 o’clock tomorrow evening.

Now the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is advising people to take precautions to stay warm over the next couple of days. These are:

Stay indoors. Make trips outside as brief as possible. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, and cover any exposed skin with a hat, scarf, and gloves.

If travel is necessary, make sure the vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket, and flashlight. Try to keep the fuel tank above half full.

Check on your pets and family friends/neighbors as necessary.

For more winter weather preparedness information, visit GetPrepared.IN.gov.