A house fire in Santa Claus this morning left 1 person dead and sent another to a regional hospital.

Just before 6:35 am central time, firefighters with the Santa Claus and Carter Township Fire Departments were called to a home on fire in the 900 block of South Snowball Lane inside of Christmas Lake Village. The home was totally engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived. Indiana State Fire 1Police say 66-year-old Maureen Gregory was able to get out of the house safely. However, her husband (65-year-old Bryan Gregory) did not make it out.

The Indiana Fire Marshall’s Office has ruled the fire accidental. They say it started in the living room after Maureen Gregory had dropped a cigarette and could not pick it up before the fire started. Fire 2Meanwhile, investigators say Bryan Gregory had tried to get out of the home, but passed out due to smoke inhalation before he could get out.

Maureen Gregory was airlifted to University of Louisville hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and first degree burns. State police say she is currently listed in stable condition. Authorities say the home was a total loss.

Indiana State Police, Santa Claus Police, the Spencer County Coroner’s Office, the Indiana State Fire Marshall’s Office, and Spencer County EMS also assisted at the scene.

Southridge Middle School will have a new principal next year.

During last night’s Southwest Dubois School Board meeting, current principal Al Mihajlovits stated that he will be stepping down as the middle school principal at next month’s board meeting. He says he plans to move into a role at the corporation’s central office sometime this summer.

The 64-year-old Mihajlovits has served the Southwest Dubois district for 40 years in all. He has been the principal at Southridge Middle School since 1994. Mihajlovits says the decision was not an easy one:

Mihajlovits was appointed as transportation director for the school corporation back in August.

Meanwhile, superintendent Mike Eineman says current assistant principal Annette Altmeyer will likely succeed Mihajlovits as middle school principal. She was appointed as assistant principal at August’s board meeting.

Altmeyer says she wants to keep the middle school moving forward:

Prior to coming to Southridge Middle School, the 45-year-old Altmeyer taught 7th grade math at Heritage Hills Middle School. She also taught algebra and geometry at Heritage Hills High School.

In other notes, the Southwest board recognized the corporation’s students of the month last night. This month’s winners were Holland Elementary School 3rd grader Xavier Horton, Huntingburg Elementary 5th grader Esmeralda Garcia, Southridge Middle School 8th grader Lauren Bailey, and Southridge High School senior Elizabeth Brinkman.

A Bloomington man was taken into custody last night after he physically abused his mother.

At about 9:05 pm, Huntingburg Police were called to an apartment in the Oakridge complex on a report of battery. When they arrived, police found Pamela Ratliff locked in a bedroom. Ratliff, who lived at the Toby Brownapartment, told police that her son (36-year-old Toby Brown) had pushed her and hit her in the face, which police later confirmed. When asked about the incident, Brown told police he thought the woman he hit was his girlfriend and not his mother. Brown was found to be in possession of a Schedule 4 controlled substance after a search.

Brown was arrested and booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is facing a Class B misdemeanor for battery and a Class C felony for possession of a controlled substance. That charge is a felony because the substance was found in a government family housing unit.

Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies also assisted.

A nationwide event aimed at removing unwanted prescription drugs from homes is set for later this month across our listening area.

This year’s 8th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held next Saturday, April 26th from 10 am to 2 pm. Folks can drop off their unwanted, expired, or unused prescription medicines at any Indiana State Police post during that time frame, excluding the Indiana Toll Road site.

Locally, the Jasper and Evansville Posts will be taking the prescription drugs. In Dubois County, two additional collection sites will be set up. These will be the St. Anthony Fire Station and the Dubois Fire Station. Both of those locations will be open from 10 am til noon next Saturday.

Officials say even controlled substances like ADHD drugs will be accepted as part of this year’s take back day. New or used needles will NOT be accepted as the collection is intended to be for liquid and pill medications only.

The DEA says past Drug Take-Back Days have been very successful. They say more than 324 tons of prescription drugs were collected last October alone.

Folks in Dubois County interested in buying rain barrels will once again have a chance to do so.

Officials with the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District say they will be selling discounted rain barrels again this year. They say last year’s sale was a huge success, thus prompting sales again this year.

As they did last year, the SWCD will be selling a kit for the rain barrels. The kits will include a 55 gallon rain barrel, a downspout diverter, and a base. The cost of the kits will be 80 dollars. Officials say the kits regularly sell for about 140 dollars.

To order a kit, you can contact the Dubois County SWCD at 482-1171 extension 3. You can also email Mike Smith at

The deadline for ordering the rain barrels is Wednesday, May 14th.

Kits will be available for pickup at the Farm Bureau building at the Dubois County Fairgrounds coming up on Saturday May 17th between 8 am and noon. The other pickup time will be Monday, May 19th from 4 to 7 pm.

The St. Meinrad Archabbey is set to host an organ and percussion concert next weekend.

The concert will feature organist Douglas Reed and percussionist Ross Erickson. They will be performing three composition pieces including the Symphonie romane Op. 73 written by Charles-Marie Widor.

Reed has performed in Europe and the Far East. He’s also performed for numerous schools and chapters of the American Guild of Organists across America. Reed became an assistant professor of music and the university organist for the University of Evansville back in 1975. He currently serves as the school’s professor emeritus of music, though he is still the university organist.

Reed has received several honors throughout his career. He was honored with the Sadelle and Sydney Berger Annual Award for Scholarship. He also was awarded a Global Scholar Grant back in 2007 from the University of Evansville for the study of Global Christian song.

Meanwhile, Erickson is a current percussion teacher at the University of Evansville. He also serves as the principal percussionist for both the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the Owensboro Symphony.

This program is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Guest House and student parking lots.

For more information, contact Mary Jeanne Schumacher at (812) 357-6501.

Local students will be taking part in a statewide challenge on fuel efficiency later this month.

Coming up on Monday April 28th, students from Forest Park, Jasper, South Spencer, and Southridge High Schools will be taking part in the 19th annual Indiana Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education Alliance Super Mileage Challenge. The challenge will be held at Lucas Oil Raceway park on Indianapolis’ west side starting at 8:30 am on the 28th.

In this competition, students build their own cars under the supervision of a school faculty member. Students are responsible for designing and building the cars as well as for raising any and all funding needed for their project.

Engines are provided by Briggs and Stratton Corporation, but all other parts have to be bought by the team or donated by event sponsors. The challenge is sponsored by Vincennes University, the schools of technology at both Ball State and Purdue Universities, and Lucas Oil Raceway Park.

Now there are 31 cars in all entered in this year’s challenge. The cars represent 23 Indiana high schools. 2 cars from Greenville High School in Tennessee are also competing this year. The cars are broken up into four classes. These are stock, new stock, unlimited, and exhibition. 7 cars each will run in the stock and new stock classes. 15 cars will compete in the unlimited class while 2 will compete in the exhibition class. Cars in the unlimited class are among the most economically built in the world. The average mileage: more than 1 thousand miles per gallon. This year’s field will seek to break the 15 hundred mile per gallon barrier.

To be eligible, a school has to submit a detailed technical proposal covering all aspects of designing and constructing the car. The proposal thus ensures that students will be exposed to scientific principles that go into high mileage and technology of car building.