Local Coverage

This week marks the culmination of work on the largest investment in the history of a Spencer County theme park.

Thunderbird, which is Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari’s new steel roller coaster, will make its debut to the public on Saturday. The new coaster will go from 0-to-60 in 3 and a half seconds and features multiple inversions, including a 14-story Immelman loop, a G-roll and a loop that goes 125 feet into the air. There will also be rapid-fire near misses such as keyholes, themed elements, trees, and even the ground.

Of course, Thunderbird is the first winged steel roller coaster in Holiday World’s history. The price tag was $22 million, more than double the amount spent on any other ride in the park’s nearly 70 year existence.

Thunderbird is located in the park’s Thanksgiving section. Holiday World will also unveil the new SmokeHouse restaurant, Hevron’s Mercantile shop and George’s Gluten-Free Pizza and Snacks on Saturday.

For more information, you can call 877-463-2645 or you can go to HolidayWorld.com.

The night didn’t end well for a Ferdinand man who police say was threatening customers at a Mexican restaurant on Jasper’s north side.

Just after 9:30 last night, Jasper Police were called to El Maguey along North Newton Street. JPD says Rudy Villareala man had been chasing customers around the restaurant with a knife and had threatened to kill them.

The man (29-year-old Rudy Villareal) then had a short standoff with police once they arrived at the restaurant. After the standoff, Villareal was taken into custody without incident.

Now police say alcohol likely fueled Villareal’s rage. His BAC registered just over .24%, or 3 times the legal limit.

Villareal was booked into the Dubois County Security Center. He’s charged with intimidation with a deadly weapon, theft, disorderly conduct, resisting law enforcement, criminal mischief, public indecency, and public intoxication.

A Jasper man is in jail after police say he beat and confined a woman inside a residence over the weekend.

At 7 o’clock yesterday morning, JPD officers were called to a home in the 100 block of Jackson Street Duane Waldenfor a domestic disturbance. Police say 48-year-old Duane Walden beat a woman inside the home and kept her confined to the residence.

Walden left the scene before police arrived, but was found a short time later along 1st Street between Jackson and Main Streets. He was then taken into custody and booked into the Dubois County Security Center.

Walden is facing Level 6 felonies for battery and domestic battery. He also faces a Level 5 felony for criminal confinement.

The longest sentence to date has been handed down in the Operation Big Brother case.

The Dubois County Prosecutor’s office announced this afternoon the tenth sentencing related to the major drug bust that took place in June of last year and netted 15 people on drug related charges took place this week in Dubois County Superior Court. Rosetta Albright

A news release from Chief Deputy prosecutor Beth Sermersheim says 42-year old Rosetta Allbright of Schnellville, pled guilty to one count of Dealing in Methamphetamine as a Class B felony. The Probable Cause Affidavit Supporting the charge alleges that Allbright sold two grams of methamphetamine for $260.00.

Allbright was sentenced in accordance with her plea agreement this week, and under that agreement she received a 16 year sentence at the Indiana Department of Corrections. Allbright is also required to pay $520 in restitution to the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department.

The prosecutor’s office says this 16 year sentence is the largest sentence to date handed down in any of the Operation Big Brother cases. In total, ten of the fifteen Operation Big Brother cases have been resolved through plea agreements. Thus far, the sentences imposed in these cases total 93 years, with 78 years of jail time.

The five remaining Operation Big Brother cases are set for jury trial at this time.

Officials with the economic development group Dubois Strong say the organization has committed $10,000 over a two year period to the Mid-State Corridor project.

This venture formerly called the Interstate 67 project, would link Dubois County directly to Owensboro and Indianapolis, connecting the county via the proposed new road’s intersection with Interstate 69.

In a news release Hank Menke, president and CEO of OFS Brands in Huntingburg, leader of the Mid-State Corridor group and named to the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission, says the funding will support the group’s efforts for the next two years and will be used for engineering work and studying possible ways to pay for the project, such as a tax, tolls or local government involvement.

Menke says the corridor could benefit Dubois County in a big way. He says studies show that communities within 10 miles of an interstate are more likely to bring in jobs than those that are not.

After the publication of the Cambridge Study in 2012, the Mid-State Corridor group had findings that indicated the corridor would greatly impact the local economy and address safety issues on U.S. 231. The corridor would use the improved U.S. 231 and then connect to I-69 through the Mid-State Corridor. The money will be used for pre-engineering work and design and bring in experts to determine how the road can be funded.

Dubois Strong president Ed Cole says the project would create so many possibilities. He says an interstate-quality northern route that enabled a direct connection to I-69 would be a logistics economic game changer for Dubois County, Southern Indiana, and areas of Northern Kentucky.

Cole says the decision to support this venture stems from the potential to foster greater economic growth and strengthen the county’s competitive position, summarizing the entire mission of the organization’s strategic plan.

A new effort in collaboration aims to spur more economic growth in Dubois County.

This morning, local officials hosted an announcement for Current Blend. The group will be based out of the historic Parker House along 4th Street that is currently owned by the Menke family of OFS Brands.

A non-profit organization, Current Blend is designed to allow entrepreneurs in Dubois and surrounding counties to build their business through sharing ideas with other entrepreneurs and businesses. It will do this through using the Menke space as a gathering place. Current Blend will feature high speed internet, community programs and events to help you start or grow your business, and 24 hour a day, 7 day a week access to the building. Entrepreneurs will also be able to print, copy, or fax documents as needed to run their business.

The Current Blend idea started with a group meeting back in November of last year. The group, consisting of business leaders including Brenda Stallings, Ray Niehaus, and Dubois Strong president Ed Cole among others, continued meeting and OFS Brands was approached about using the 4th Street space in January of this year.

Stallings, who is Current Blend’s board president, says everything has turned out as planned so far:

Meanwhile, Cory Menke spoke on behalf of OFS Brands. Menke says though the company played a valuable role in making this effort a reality, there were many others who pitched in:

The new Current Blend space is set to officially open on May 1st. A soft open is planned for this Saturday’s Garden Gate Jazz Festival.

Current Blend will offer daily, weekly, and monthly membership passes. These range from $7 a day for a day pass to $50 a month for a monthly pass.

For more information or to join, you can go online to currentblend.org.

Construction on the new T-hangar at the Huntingburg Airport is winding down.

Last night, airport manager Travis McQueen told the Dubois County Airport Authority that the last piece of steel on the building was put up yesterday. Weyer Electric is now working in the building to wire lights and complete other electrical work, which McQueen says should all be done within a week.

The board also made an allowance for tenants to make improvements to the lighting in their particular hangar if they so choose. However, board president Brian Craig says there are some conditions:

Any improvements would be done at a tenant’s own expense. Work on the T-hangar is expected to be complete within the next month or so.

In other business, the board heard a progress report on government approval for its Airport Layout Plan (ALP). Craig says things are going well in spite of progress being slow at times:

The new ALP was put together last fall. It includes realigning taxiways and changes to the layout of the airport terminal area.

The deadline to have the plan approved by the Federal Aviation Administration is July 1st. Craig says the airport is still on track to reach that deadline.