News

A new playing surface for Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium will soon be a reality.

This afternoon, the Greater Jasper School Board voted 3-0 to allow the Jasper Football Boosters to begin raising funds for the new field. That approval is contingent on the school district not having to pay for any of the field work. Board members Nancy Habig and Arlette Jackle were not at the meeting.

Now the boosters would look to raise 7 to 800 thousand dollars to fund the turf. After a work session earlier this month, the board felt that all of the due diligence concerning a field turf playing surface had been done. The work session came about amid health concerns following an NBC News story linking rubber in the turf to cancer.

In the end, superintendent Dr. Tracey Lorey says there was enough information for the project to go forward:

Another key selling point for the board was the life of the new surface. Board member Ken Schnaus pointed out that if the surface was installed by someone other than the school district, it would likely last several years longer.

The football boosters will now look to negotiate field naming rights to businesses or individuals in their efforts to fund the new turf.

Several years back the stadium itself was named after Jerry Brewer, the longtime football coach who guided the Wildcat program for 44 years. That would not change as the naming rights would be for the playing surface only.

A traffic stop on Jasper’s south side led to the arrest of a Pike County man on drug charges.

At 9:35 this morning, Jasper Police pulled over a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Jesy Evitts of Otwell Jesy Evittsfor speeding along US 231 just south of Division Road. K-9 units from the Jasper Police Department and the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department were also called in to assist.

After one of the K-9’s indicated that illegal drugs and/or narcotics were in Evitts’ vehicle, officers then searched it. The search found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance. Police say Evitts did not have a prescription for the substance. They say Evitts also had a prior conviction for possession of marijuana.

Evitts was arrested and booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is facing Class A misdemeanors for Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Dubois County continues to have the lowest unemployment in the state, but the numbers are rising.

Numbers released this morning shows the county still leading the way at 4.1% unemployment. That’s an increase of 3 tenths of a percent over October’s number. Unemployment in Dubois County has now risen
6 tenths of a percent since September.

Even with the rise, Dubois County is #1 in state unemployment for the 26th time in the last 31 months. Hamilton County is still in 2nd, 3 tenths of a percent behind.

Among other counties, Daviess and Warrick counties remain in the top 10 this month. Daviess County was 4th at 4.6% while Warrick County was tied for 5th at 4.7%. Martin County dropped out of the top 10 with
November unemployment at 5%.

Continuing locally, Spencer County and Pike County unemployment numbers are up to 5.5%, Perry County is at 5.6%. Orange County came in at 6.3% unemployment in November and Crawford County once again had the area’s highest unemployment at 6.5%. Fayette and Lake Counties tied for the highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.9%.

Now the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released state numbers on Friday. The department says the state added 15,800 private sector jobs in November. That’s good for the largest 1 month gain in 15 years.

State unemployment held steady at 5.7% in November due to 12,300 people joining the state’s workforce. 75,000 have joined since the beginning of the year. Indiana has experienced private sector job growth 17 of the past 23 months, with gains averaging 4,500 per month during that period. Since July 2009, the low point of employment in Indiana, the Hoosier State has added 264,800 private sector jobs, with the
Manufacturing sector accounting for more than one-third of the total.

Authorities have now released the name of the young boy who passed away Saturday morning after being severely injured by the man who was taking care of him.

Jefferson County Kentucky medical examiner Dr. Jeffrey Springer says 17-month-old Xavier Miller died of blunt force trauma to the head. Springer ruled the cause of death as a homicide.

Jasper Police Detective Sgt. Rick Chambers tells WBDC News that this case is still under investigation. Charles HopfThe man arrested in this case (21-year-old Charles Hopf of Jasper) is facing a Level 1 felony for aggravated battery causing the death of a child under the age of 14.

Miller was found with severe facial burns, bite marks on his arm, cuts on his upper lip, and a life-threatening brain injury, all allegedly caused by Hopf. Miller’s mother, India Clay, had left him with Hopf at 6:30 Friday night while she went off to work.

Hopf’s initial court appearance was scheduled for this morning.

UPDATE: Jasper Police say the child succumbed to his injuries just before 7:10 this morning. Hopf is now facing a Level 1 felony for aggravated battery causing the death of a child under the age of 14.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Jasper man was taken into custody early this morning on felony battery charges after a young child was found with life-threatening injuries.

At around 4 o’clock this morning, Jasper Police were called to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital to investigate the possible physical abuse of a 1-year-old boy. Police say the child was brought to the ER at around 12:30 this morning.

Police found that the boy had severe facial burns, bite marks on his arm, cuts to his upper lip, and Charles Hopfhad suffered a severe, life-threatening brain injury. Police further found that 21-year-old Charles Hopf had been caring for the boy at the time the injuries were sustained.

The boy’s mother, India Clay, told police that she had left him with Hopf at around 6:30 last night before she went off to work. During an interview with police, Hopf confessed to biting the child on the arm earlier in the evening. Hopf also told police the head injury may have occurred when he pushed the boy down after becoming frustrated with him. As for the burns, Hopf stated that he had been giving the child a bath and the water was accidentally turned on too hot.

Hopf was booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is facing a Level 3 felony for Aggravated Battery.

The 1-year-old boy was airlifted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville for further treatment of his injuries.

Another economic vision will soon become reality in the City of Jasper.

This morning, Jasper mayor Terry Seitz was joined by local and state officials to announce a new “shovel-ready’ site within the city limits. The 142-acre site will be located on the south side of town just off of US 231 near the Kimball Industrial Park. The site also features a 155 thousand square foot building that is ready to accommodate business services and general light manufacturing.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says the designation is another positive step for the city:

Now the shovel ready program is run through the state’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs. It is designed as certification for areas across Indiana that have proven to be prepared for economic development and investment opportunities.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who oversees that department, was on hand for this morning’s announcement. She says though there are some who question its effectiveness, the program has produced good results:

This announcement is the 2nd major economic development news in Jasper this week. On Wednesday night, the Jasper City Council approved a new tax increment finance district that will cover most of the city’s industrial area, including the shovel ready site.

Kimball International board chairman and CEO Bob Schneider says the new area will work hand-in-hand with the TIF district to move the city and the county forward:

Also on hand this morning were representatives for 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon and senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly, Susan Reed with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, and Dubois Strong president Ed Cole.

Jasper attorney Scott Blazey says he plans to seek the Republican nomination for the 3rd District seat on the Jasper City Council.

The 47-year-old has been associated with the Ripstra Law Office in Jasper for 23 years. He is trained as a certified Family Law Mediator.

Blazey is also a member of both the Dubois County Bar Association and the Indiana State Bar Association. He is a past president of the Dubois County Bar Association and a founding member of the Dubois County Drug Court.

In a news release, Blazey says his experience as an attorney will serve him well on the council should Scott Blazeyhe be elected. He says he intends to be the volce for the 3rd District.

Blazey is a 1985 graduate of Heritage Hills High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville in 1989 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Dayton in 1992.

Blazey has been a youth basketball and soccer coach for the past 15 years for both the Greater Jasper and Southwest Dubois School Corporations. He is the current Freshman Girls Basketball Coach at Jasper High School.

Blazey attended the Republican National Convention in 1988 as a student representative for the Indiana Delegation. He is also a former Chairman of the Dubois County Republican Party, having served in that role for 4 years along with having been on the Dubois County Election Board. He has been the attorney for the Holland Town Board since 1996.

In the community, Blazey is a member of St. Joseph Parish and the Jasper K of C. He also is a member of the University of Evansville Alumni Club where he helped to establish a Dubois County Scholarship Program.

Blazey’s other community service includes being a member of the Dubois County Museum and being a former member of the Mentors 4 Youth Board of Directors.