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November 21, 2017 • Headline News
Amy Streator, director of the Ripley County Community Foundation, is shown presenting a check to Mike Stephens for window repairs to the Osgood Historical Museum. They are standing among items from the old Damm Theater displayed at the museum. The funds are from the Black Memorial Foundation. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Despite the cold temperatures Saturday, Nov. 11 Girls On The Run has a great day with 768 participants - 270 girls from area schools, 63 volunteers, and 435 other participants. Girls came decked out in a variety of ways to keep warm and just have a fun day . SUBMITTED PHOTOS
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PAGE UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING NOVEMBER 21, 2017.



Officers honored for outstanding work
Drugs drive 75% of crimes

Wanda English Burnett
EDITOR

“Violence against women is up.” Those were the words of Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel, who gave the startling statistics to back up his words. He noted in 2013, there were 40 cases filed for crimes against women, such as strangulation, domestic violence, battery, sexual battery, rape, stalking etc. This year there have been 74 cases filed through October 31 and he expects more to be filed in the final months of the year, bringing the statistics double what they were four years ago.

Ric Hertel, Tom Baxter, Jeff Cumberworth, and Stan HoltWANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Pictured from left are Prosecutor Ric Hertel who honored ISP Det. Tom Baxter, Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth, and Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt for their excellence in law enforcement.

While Hertel says he doesn’t know if more women are coming forward now, which is a good thing, or it’s the increase in awareness, but he feels strongly that the number is not good and has hired deputy prosecutor Ashlee Satterfield, who will deal primarily with crimes against women.

Other statistics provided at the 2nd Annual State of the Streets address by the prosecutor, were: victim cases in general are up. There were 272 crimes such as burglary, robbery, etc. filed in 2013 and through October of this year there were already 301 cases filed. Drug related crimes are up with 125 filed for the year of 2013 and 204 already filed as of October 31, 2017. These range from misdemeanor to serious felony crimes.

Right on track to having at least the same amount of cases filed as last year, which was 731, the prosecutor said 606 have been filed in the first 10 months of 2017, with 87% of those being filed in Ripley County Superior Court. It’s not all doom and gloom. Juvenile filings are down. The prosecutor thinks maybe it’s a new approach to proactive work through the community court services and educating students in the schools.

Last year Indiana led the nation in the highest number of meth labs. “We want to be a leader, but not this way,” Hertel noted. He was happy to report that those crimes are down 20% from last year. But, sadly enough the product is still getting through and while the labs aren’t operating as much here, they are pouring crystal meth into the country by what he called “super labs” in Mexico. Actually, now there are more meth arrests than marijuana. For the first time ever, the Indiana State Police Lab is testing more meth than any other drug including marijuana. The solution is not to simply incarcerate people. Hertel said the Ripley County Jail, which is a 99-person capacity jail, is always at capacity and more often than not substantially above capacity. Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth agreed the jail was overflowing with more than 130 inmates at times.

The Sheriff’s work release program is something the prosecutor said he’s a “big fan of”. He noted that in this situation, people go to work and report back to the jail. It is only for low-level offenses. “We would certainly like the Courts to use this option,” he noted. Hertel says the Courts are cognizant of the capacity of the jail and work together to try to place those they can on probation or a work program. The prosecutor’s office handles all criminal filings and probation violations. “Probation is a privilege and they (offenders) have to be held accountable if they violate that trust,” Hertel noted.

The overwhelming theme of the evening was “working together”. Hertel noted Ripley County has a very cohesive team between local law enforcement, state, schools, the hospital, Safe Passage, and the Children’s Advocacy Center in Dillsboro, just to mention a few of the components that have to come together to fight the crime problem.

Tim Putnam, CEO of Margaret Mary Health, spoke to the crowd gathered at the Big Four Café in Batesville, saying they are fighting the opioid epidemic on their end. He said they “work closely with folks in Cincinnati, share stats, overdoses, etc.” He said while people can find their own ways to get on drugs, there are many instances when a valid prescription can get the ball rolling. Sometimes the prescriptions are used the wrong way, or fall into the wrong hands. Putnam reported that doctors are prescribing 20% less of strong pain medicine that can play into an addiction role. He said their physicians are monitored closely, and they teach people to dispose of medicine properly. Due to the drug epidemic, he says another problem has spiked – reports of Hepatitis C. This is usually caused from sharing needles and is a great concern. “Medical professionals have to be a part of this effort. We stand firm with law enforcement,” Putnam concluded.

Hertel noted that Putnam was being modest about what they really do behind the scenes for the community. They provide law enforcement with the life-saving drug Narcan and draw blood at any hour of the day or night for officers as the situation dictates. “They are an important component to the community,”Hertel noted of MMH.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter was in attendance and spoke briefly. He said he respected the job law enforcement does and is always willing to lend a hand to Ripley County law enforcement. He was impressed with the hospital’s effort to come on board. Speaking of all those involved in the law enforcement process, he noted, “You inspire me more than you’ll ever know.” He said while every agency may not always agree – they always leave with an agreement, they are together when it comes to solving crimes and keeping their communities safe.

Three outstanding law enforcement officials were recognized at the event: Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt, Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth and ISP Detective Tom Baxter. Hertel introduced each one, calling them true leaders – people you want on your side if something criminal happens to your family.

Batesville Chief Stan Holt

Chief Holt has a list of roles he has served in over the years, beginning as a jail officer in 1990 and working up to his current position as Chief. He has significant extensive law enforcement training and is a member of the Drug Free Coalition in Batesville. Hertel noted, “Whether serving a minor case, or a major one, Chief Holt is willing to roll up his sleeves and go to work.” He has played a significant role in every major case in Batesville for the past 20 years. Chief Holt responded to the accolades in his usual humble manner saying “How blessed I am to have a career in law enforcement.” He spoke highly of the prosecutor saying the officers can count on him 100%. His wife and twin daughters were in attendance.

Ripley County Sheriff
Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth was introduced, but to most, needed no introduction. Hertel said he started at the ISP as a motor carrier in 1985 and has served as a trooper for 25 years. He has served with the Tactical Intervention Platoon, was a Trooper Trainer, HPV member (drove those fancy mustangs motorists love to hate) was in the motorcycle division and more. Now he serves the community as the sheriff, a title he doesn’t take lightly. As the sheriff his duties are more administrative, where he has introduced the Spillman software, making it easier to communicate with other agencies, supervises 12 deputies, 14 jailers, and three office staff, plus a nurse, cook, reserve and special deputies. He has started a scholarship program with the women inmates raising and selling mums. This July a K9 unit was brought on board with Adam Hunger. He instituted having a detective within the department and has two school resource officers serve through the office – Jac-Cen-Del and Milan. Hertel noted Sheriff Cumberworth leads by example and words and has a professional approach. Sheriff Cumberworth thanked Hertel and those attending, which included a large portion of his staff, his parents, wife, and her parents. He expressed his appreciation for the award, and said, “I don’t know everything…but, I’ll ask”. He admitted sometimes he’s wrong. In a very humble speech he talked about getting Narcan at the jail and said “yes” they’ve had some overdoses in the jail. This isn’t something he’s proud of, but part of what they do. He noted there are four faith-based classes inmates can attend. “We are doing the best we can with what we have,” he noted, as he addressed the overcrowding at the jail.

ISP Detective Tom Baxter
Indiana State Police Detective Tom Baxter was recognized and much like the others, had a list of trainings after he began his duties as a trooper in 1987. He has worked out of the Versailles Post his entire career, where he’s been a field training officer, and for 10 years was part of the ISP Scuba Dive Team.He is also trained as a police composite artist. Now he supervises other detectives and has worked several major cases. He is a member of the Child Advocacy Center, and an elected official in Ohio County where he serves as commissioner. Det. Baxter said, “To be recognized …is a reflection of the team I have.” He said he serves a large area and sometimes the tasks seem daunting. He went on to say when it’s overwhelming and he needs help, he has a family of officers and people he can call on and they always respond. From ISP officers to the deputies at the sheriff’s department and other officers in the county he said, “I am so grateful when I ask these officers to do something, I can count on them. We’re a team and are going to continue to do our job.” The detective’s parting comment was, “Please be patient with us, our work isn’t finished.” His family was also in attendance at the event where he was honored.

The evening concluded with Prosecutor Hertel saying a leader is a humble person, which was evidenced in the speeches by those chosen. He said, “A leader is a humble person who recognizes those who are responsible for their success. They do what is necessary to get the job done.”


JCD students enjoy electric safety by Duke Energy


Jared Rogers
STAFF WRITER

As the faces of Jac-Cen-Del elementary student “lit up” during a recent demonstration in the school’s gym, the reason was clear. Linemen from Duke Energy were “lighting up:” various objects using a small electrical line. Though objects did indeed catch fire, safety was the purpose for the event, as veteran lineman Jim Townsend and T.J. Lewis shared insights on how electricity works and how to be safe when near it.

JCD students watch Duke Energy presentationJARED ROGERS PHOTO
Third, fourth and fifth graders at the 10 a.m. presentation cackled and gasped as they watched with delight. Several were eager to ask and answer questions.

Students learned the difference between “insulators,” materials that inhibit an electrical current and “conductors”, materials that readily transmit electricity. “You cannot see it or smell it; that’s what makes it dangerous,” Townsend told the groups of students who attended in grades K-6. “You should always assume an electrical line is active and conducting current,” he continued, “So don’t touch it.”

Dressed in full safety gear consisting of a hard hat, goggles, sleeves, gloves, and treated clothing, Lewis tested the conducting properties of several different items as Townsend quizzed students on how the material would react. The presentation came to life for JCD students after an interest was shown by second graders to learn about electricity. In particular, Parker Pindell, who is working on a Genius Hour project on electricity wanted the linemen to come to show the students about electricity. As a part of “Genius” projects, at the school, teachers attempt to connect student interests with real life examples and experiences. Duke Energy gives similar presentations to other area schools and several local fire departments.

In concluding his talk, Townsend presented kids with an emergency situation and asked what they would do if they were inside a car that was in an accident involving an electrical line. After teaching the students about the properties of grounding and conduction, it didn’t take them long to figure out the best courses of action: Stay in the car until emergency help arrives, if possible in the event of a fire, jump with both feet at the same time out of the car and onto land to avoid shock. Townsend also said one should drag their feet as they walk away from the vehicle about 30-40 feet, in order to stay grounded until they were a safe distance from the line.

No one hopes to have to deal with electrical emergencies like this, but such advice is practical for both kids and adults alike. Of course, a little fire helps boost audience interest.



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