Local Coverage

District 48 State Senator Mark Messmer’s work on the Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee yielded a couple of bills this past week..including one that might have you think twice about how you insure your rental car.

Messmer is the Senate sponsor for House Bill 1062. The bill is designed to help the consumer by changing how rental car companies deal with damaged cars. Currently, if you choose not to buy the rental car insurance that is offered by a rental company, the company is not able to collect any payment for damage from the renter. However, Messmer says there is a huge caveat to insuring a rental car with your own car insurance policy:

House Bill 1062 would allow rental companies to charge renters for damages to a rental car either up to the amount of that person’s insurance deductible, or $500 if the person doesn’t know how much their insurance deductible is.

Now if the actual damage to the rental car costs less than what was collected from the renter when the car was returned, the rental company would be required to refund the over payment. House Bill 1062 has passed out of the Senate.

The House now either has to concur or send the bill to conference committee.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – A newspaper is reporting that top officials at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles knew for years that they were overcharging residents for driver’s licenses and other fees.

The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/1BGLzjk ) that officials did nothing to return the extra money until someone filed a class-action lawsuit in 2013.

The newspaper says the state overbilled residents more than $60 million between 2007 and 2013.

Among those who’d been informed of the overcharges were former BMV Commissioner R. Scott Waddell and his chief of staff, according to emails obtained by The Star.

Waddell received a spreadsheet from a deputy BMV director identifying 17 overcharges two years before giving sworn testimony claiming he’d known nothing about the problem.

State officials have characterized the overcharges as an innocent mistake.

Pike County authorities are investigating the death of a Winslow man after his body was found earlier today.

In a news release, Pike County Sheriff Jeremy Britton says the body of 41-year-old Anthony Arnett was found at around 4:40 this afternoon near his home in the 4200 block of South Pike County Anthony ArnettRoad 300 East near Winslow. Police say his body was found in an area just northeast of the residence.

Britton says the cause of Arnett’s death is undetermined pending an autopsy to be done by the Pike County Coroner’s Office. Britton says this investigation is still ongoing.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana Conservation Officers, Indiana State Police, a Pike County EMT K-9 Search Team, and the Pike County Coroner’s Office also assisted.

The report of an attempted auto theft in progress in Jasper resulted in the arrest of a Dubois man Friday evening.

At 7:45 last night officers with the Jasper Police Department were called to the complaint along the 3500 block of North Newton Street on the city’s north side. Police learned a male with Brock Gillblond hair wearing a green sweatshirt and blue jeans had made an attempt to to steal a pickup truck parked at that location.

Police say they apprehended the suspect, 23-year old Brock Gill of Dubois a few moments later just blocks away along East 32nd Street.

Gill was placed under arrest and charged with auto theft. He was later booked and lodged into the Dubois County Security Center.

A complaint of loud and disruptive behavior at a Jasper hotel eventually led to the arrest of 6 people on numerous drug charges Friday night.

Around 9 o’clock last night Jasper Police responded to the Econolodge Hotel along US 231 when an employee reported that there were multiple people in one of the rooms with a hotel guest.

The employee told police that the people in the room had been loud and disruptive as well as smoking in the room and refused to leave upon her request.

The employee also told police that there had been multiple people coming and going from that room since it had been rented.

Meanwhile, Jasper Police say they had also received information that people had been leaving the room through the window with backpacks and acting suspicious in the area.

Also Indiana State Police had received a tip that there may be large quantities of drugs that were being sold out of that room.

Police say when they arrived and entered the room, they found seven people and drugs in plain view. They say a brief struggle ensued between two of the individuals and officers.

Upon obtaining a search warrant, police discovered 21 grams of Synthetic Marijuana bagged in small quantities, 160-dollars in cash, drug paraphernalia, a small amount of methamphetamine, scales, rolling paper and numerous other misc drug related items.

The complaint and discovery of drugs resulted in the arrest of:

19-year old Cassandra Mattingly of Huntingburg

27-year old Tina Best of Velpen.

33-year old Derek Wigodinski of Saint Anthony

20-year old Jareth Weeks of Velpen

19-year old Roderick Williams of Marion,Iowa

and 18-year old Caleb Dubon Jr. of Huntingburg.

All six were charged with Class A Misdemeanor counts of Dealing Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Paraphernalia. A Class B Misdemeanor count of Visiting a Common Nuisance, and Level 6 Felony Counts of Possession of Meth and Criminal Trespass.

Police also say a juvenile in the room and was transferred to Juvenile Probation.

The six adults were taken to and lodged into the Dubois County Security Center.

Dubois County Emergency Management is looking for amateur radio operators for weather spotting as shortages are looming.

The agency says the operators are vital to the county’s weather spotting efforts in the event of severe weather. Agency director Tammy Humbert says the county is currently rated as one of the top amateur radio operations by the National Weather Service’s Louisville office. Humbert says the biggest problem is appealing to the next generation:

Now the current group of operators have been weather spotting for Dubois County EMA for many years, including Linus Mann. Mann, who started using amateur radio in 1991, says he became interested after dealing with severe weather-related issues at his job:

Mann says the fun of amateur radio along with learning new things is the biggest thing that has kept him involved through the years. Mann echoed the need for younger people to get involved locally. He says amateur radio is just the type of thing younger people should be interested in:

Mann says getting an amateur radio operator’s license is as simple as passing a test. That test is given by the Federal Communications Commission.

Now the emergency management agency will be hosting a field day for amateur radio operators and those who may be interested in learning more. The agency says that event will be held coming up in late June.

1 Dubois County school district is among those who will be getting grant money to implement 1-to-1 technology.

In a news release, the Indiana Department of Education says Northeast Dubois schools will be getting 86 thousand dollars towards 1-to-1 technology. The grant funding was announced yesterday.

In the release, state superintendent of public instruction Glenda Ritz says the schools selected for the grants laid out thoughtful, student-centered plans to bring modern learning into their districts. Ritz says those who were honored are models for the rest of Indiana’s schools on how to utilize technology in education.

Northeast Dubois was among 19 school districts in all who received funding. The 19 winners were chosen from a group of 88 schools that applied. Paoli schools were the other area district to receive money. They received 100 thousand dollars, the maximum amount that could be awarded to any district.

Nearly 2 million dollars in funding was announced yesterday.