News

The 2015 4H Fair is just around the corner in Dubois County and royalty for this year’s fair has been crowned.

This year’s Miss Dubois County is 18-year-old Moriah Fleck of St. Anthony. Fleck also was honored as the most photogenic of the contestants.

The first runner-up was Emily Gutgsell of Schnellville with Taylor Hopf of Kyana as 2nd runner-up, Jessica Hilsmeyer of Huntingburg was 3rd runner-up and Jade Hoffman of Celestine was named Miss Congeniality.

Last night also marked the crowning of the 2015 Teen Miss Dubois County. 16-year-old Lauren Tretter of Ferdinand took home this year’s crown with Melanie Roberts of Dubois as the 1st runner-up.

The 2015 Dubois County 4H Fair is set for July 14th through the 18th.

Now you will be able to watch yesterday’s 4H queen pageants on 18 WJTS. The pageants will air next Tuesday July 7th at 7:30 pm after the local 7 o’clock newscast.

The pageants will re-air on Sunday June 12th at 2 pm.

A Birdseye man was jailed after what can only be described as a car sale gone bad.

Tony LawsJust before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, Huntingburg Police were called to a residence in the 500 block of North Washington Street after intimidation was reported. Upon arriving at the residence, police talked with 45-year-old Ramon Segura of Birdseye. Segura told officers that 20-year-old Tony Laws (also of Birdseye) had come at him with a knife after an argument over the sale of a vehicle. Laws tossed the knife into the backyard before police arrived and later admitted to having the knife. However, he denied intimidating Segura with it.

HPD learned from a witness that Laws was operating the vehicle involved in this dispute. Laws also had never gotten a driver’s license.

Laws was arrested and booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He is charged with Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Ever Receiving a License.

Despite recent progress, the town of Ferdinand has some challenges to meet as the town develops its next comprehensive plan.

3 group planning meetings have been held thus far with youth, business leaders and leaders of local nonprofit groups. Some ideas that have come to light for the future include more affordable housing, sidewalks along Main Street, and making a run at the Stellar Communities designation in the future.

Town council president Ken Sicard says housing and jobs will continue to be the key issues going forward. Sicard says the town could wind up at the forefront of solving not only its housing problems, but setting a countywide example:

Sicard says any new housing that is built will need to be affordable for young couples. He says that would include homes in the $125,000-$175,000 range.

As for jobs, Sicard says the town will consider all options to bring in workers. He says recent expansions at MasterBrand Cabinets and Best Home Furnishings are a good example to follow:

On a related note, Sicard says there is still a need to bring youth back into the county. He says that will start with better promotion:

Now the 3 group meetings have been led by Evansville-based consultant Kathy Kleindorfer. Sicard says a comprehensive planning meeting for everyone in the community will be scheduled at a later date.

The town’s current comprehensive plan was implemented back in 2007.

Citywide alerts will now be easier to get for Huntingburg residents.

Last night, the Huntingburg City Council approved a contract for the launch of the eNotify alert system. The alerts will be primarily for utility issues such as boil orders or water main breaks.

Now the effort is being led by eGov, who is the website provider for Jasper, Huntingburg and Ferdinand. This system will be done as a partnership between the communities. The Jasper City Council has already approved eNotify.

Mayor Denny Spinner says the partnership turned out to be necessary as this process went along:

Spinner says the boil order in Jasper was an inspiration for the eNotify effort. He says details are still being worked out, but there will be an awareness campaign launched for this system once everything is in place.

Also last night, the council heard a further update on efforts at the Dubois County Leadership Academy, specifically on efforts to get more people involved. Those efforts are being led by current DCLA attendees Amanda Smith, Arlet Jackle and Tim Doersam.

Spinner says this year’s class is the smallest one in the short history of the leadership academy. He says this effort is needed to bolster things:

This is the 5th year for the Dubois County Leadership Academy. It was formed by Ferdinand town officials in partnership with Jasper and Huntingburg.

Though Operation Double Trouble just wrapped up on Wednesday, cases from Operation Big Brother continue to wind their way through the court system.

Tasha FreemanIn a news release, Dubois County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Beth Sermersheim says 25-year-old Tasha Freeman of Huntingburg entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced yesterday in Dubois Superior Court. Freeman, who pled guilty to a Class B felony for Dealing Heroin, was sentenced to 10 years. The first 7 of those years will be at the Indiana Department of Corrections while the remaining 3 years will be split between Work Release and Home Detention. Additionally, Freeman will have to pay $500 restitution to the Dubois County Sheriff’s Community Strike Fund.

Freeman also pled guilty to Class A misdemeanors for Possession of a Synthetic Drug and Possession of Paraphernalia. She will pay a fine and court costs under a plea agreement for those charges.

Now Freeman is not the only Operation Big Brother defendant whose case is moving along. 42-year-old Margaret “Faith” McDonald of Huntingburg pled guilty to a Class B felony for Dealing in Methamphetamine. Her sentencing is set for July 15th at 2 pm.

Sermersheim says there are just 4 defendants from Operation Big Brother that still have charges pending. These are Joseph Christmon, Brock Gill, Ryan Groeschen and Brian Perez. All 4 are set to go to trial over the next few months.

Sermersheim says to date, Operation Big Brother cases have yielded 103 years of total sentencing, 85 of which are jail time.

A fuel leak caused a pickup truck to catch fire at one of Jasper’s busiest intersections last night.

Just after 7 pm, Jasper firefighters were called to the intersection of State Road 56 and St. Charles Street on the city’s west side. When they arrived, fire chief Kenny Hochgesang says a 1990 Ford Ranger pickup truck belonging to Luke Hopf of Jasper was fully engulfed in flames.

Hochgesang says the truck died on Hopf as he was driving on State Road 56. Hochgesang says Hopf then pushed the truck onto St. Charles Street to get it out of traffic. At that point, Hopf discovered a fuel leak underneath the truck and Hochgesang says the fuel was burning and soon fully engulfed the truck in flames.

Hochgesang says Hopf was not injured and nobody else was riding in the truck with him. The truck was a total loss.

The Jasper Fire Department responded with 2 trucks and 28 men. They were on scene for about half an hour.

A Huntingburg woman was jailed after crashing her SUV while driving drunk..and left the scene.

Shannon StuckeyAt around 11:40 last night, Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies were called about an accident near County Roads 350 West and 100 South in Jasper. While en-route to the scene, deputies learned that the driver of the SUV involved appeared intoxicated and was trying to flee the scene. The female driver became irate with the person who was calling in the accident, so deputies say the caller backed away. The driver (33-year-old Shannon Stuckey) had left the scene by the time deputies arrived and found her 1995 Chevrolet Blazer halfway submerged in a stream.

Jasper Police officers were called in to help search for Stuckey. She was found a short time later about 50 to 100 yards from the crash site. She was then handcuffed and taken back to the crash site and deputies found that she was intoxicated after further investigation. A series of field sobriety tests and a blood draw at Jasper’s Memorial Hospital found her BAC to be .25% or more than 3 times the legal limit.

As for the accident, deputies say they learned from a Huntingburg police officer that Stuckey had hit a Dubois County highway gate set up to keep people off of Old Huntingburg Road. She then crashed through a 2nd gate prior to ending up in the ditch.

Stuckey was booked into the Dubois County Security Center on a Class A misdemeanor for operating while intoxicated endangering a person and a Class B misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident.

Memorial Hospital EMS and a wrecker from Uelbehor and Sons also assisted.