A Ferdinand teen was cited on intoxication and drug possession charges after he ran into a house along Chestnut Street in Huntingburg.

At 6 o’clock last night, Huntingburg Police were called to a car vs. house accident in the 1100 block of Chestnut Street. When they arrived, they found a 17-year-old male unconscious but breathing inside of his vehicle. Police say the vehicle had run into a house belonging to 65-year-old Elmer Kratzer. Police say Kratzer was inside the house at the time of the crash.

Kratzer was treated and released by EMS personnel while the driver was taken to Memorial Hospital. The driver was later released to Huntingburg Police after it was found that he was intoxicated and also was in possession of a synthetic drug. The driver was cited for operating while intoxicated endangerment and for possessing a synthetic drug.

The driver’s Jeep was a total loss and Kratzer’s home suffered 20 thousand dollars worth of damage. Huntingburg Utilities were called in to shut off water to the house after a water leak caused by the accident was discovered.

The Huntingburg Fire Department and First Responders, Memorial Hospital EMS, the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Huntingburg Utilities, and a wrecker from KARS also assisted.

Businesses in Jasper are continuing to utilize the city’s tax abatement program.

Last night, the Jasper City Council passed a resolution to start the process for another abatement. This new abatement will be awarded to Cash Waggner and Associates. The company is planning to renovate a 10 thousand square foot portion of the former JOFCO building along Vine Street and move its companies into the new building. Cash Waggner co-owner Nathan Waggner says the investment will amount to a quarter of a million dollars.

Jasper mayor Terry Seitz says the new investment will be important for that area:

The abatement was recommended on Monday by the Jasper Economic Development Corporation.

On a related note, the council also did an annual review for three abatements to other local companies. The abatements were for Kimball Hospitality, Kimball Furniture Group, and Stens. Seitz says the review process for the abatements works out well:

Seitz says despite one of the abatements being tabled, all three companies are doing well with their abatements.

Violations of a no-contact order landed a Pike County man behind bars.

At 9:30 yesterday, Huntingburg Police were called to a home in the 2000 block of Erin Court in Huntingburg. Upon arriving, police spoke with 43-year-old Jean Rhoads. Rhodes told them that Michael Weitkampshe had filed a no contact order against 43-year-old Michael Weitkamp, but Weitkamp continued to text and call her anyway. Rhoads then showed police several text messages from Weitkamp that were on her phone. Police confirmed that a no-contact order had been filed against Weitkamp during their investigation.

Weitkamp was later found and arrested for violating the order. He was lodged in the Dubois County Security Center on charges for invasion of privacy.

A project aimed at creating a new gateway for I69 traffic at Washington is now underway.

The project will add a new connecting road that will run between Business Route 50 and the US 50 bypass. A roundabout intersection will also be part of the plans. This will be the first roundabout in Daviess County. The total cost of the project: 3 million dollars.

Project manager Jeff Whitaker, who represents Bernardin Lochmueller and Associates, says utility relocation work has already begun in the area. He says they hope to begin major work in the area coming up next month.

The project has been contracted to Blankenberger Brothers Inc. They are responsible for building the first connecting road. A small temporary road will be laid down nearby for traffic to run on while construction on the roundabout is going on. The roundabout is expected to be completed in about 45 days. Officials say roundabouts have proven to be safer than standard intersections with stop signs or traffic signals. They say although there are about the same number of accidents, those that happen in roundabout intersections tend to be less serious.

The roundabout lanes are set to be 18 feet wide to allow large vehicles such as semis and buses to negotiate it. A concrete apron will also be put in to keep wheels on the pavement.

To help folks get used to the new roundabout, a community awareness event will be held on October 4th. Written information will be passed out at that time.

The project is being funded courtesy of city, county, and federal highway funds as well as economic development funding. The road is set to be open to traffic by the end of this year, although the contract runs through July of next year. That is to allow for seeding and sodding on ditches and nearby land.

The Daviess County Community Foundation has handed out this year’s scholarship awards.

During a ceremony Tuesday evening, the foundation awarded 62 thousand 900 dollars in scholarship funds to local students. More than 30 scholarships in all were awarded out of 13 different funds within the foundation.

This year marked the first year of the ceremony being held. It also was the first year for the Derek Ray Arvin Memorial Scholarship. 8 Washington High School seniors were awarded 1 thousand dollars each out of that scholarship. The winners were Brooks Brown, Jake Brashear, Cory Humerickhouse, Joshua Kirsch, Audra Stallman, Andrew Brothers, Ashlyn Stoll and Hannah Parsons.

City officials, business and cultural leaders got a chance to hear more about the importance of keeping downtown areas alive and well.

This morning, the Jasper Chamber of Commerce hosted a seminar titled “Creating Resilient Downtowns” at the Arnold Habig Community Center in Jasper. The event is part of the ongoing “Community Conversations” series being put on with the help of the Vincennes University Jasper Campus.

The speaker this morning was Dr. Michael Burayidi (BUR-A-YEH-DEE). Burayidi is the Irving Distinguished Professor and the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at Ball State University. Burayidi’s presentation included data compiled from 14 communities nationwide with downtowns that are considered to be healthy. The city of Lafayette was the lone Hoosier State city in the study.

Burayidi then applied the data to present a process for the development of a resilient downtown. That process focuses heavily on residential development, attracting immigrants, developing heritage tourism, and good design practices among other areas.

Burayidi says a healthy downtown is vital to any community:

Burayidi also compiled data on the downtown health of Jasper, Huntingburg, and Ferdinand. In all, the data found that Ferdinand had the healthiest downtown, though all 3 communities were lagging behind other downtowns in some areas. The primary area of concern: available housing.

Additionally, Burayidi’s presentation emphasized keeping local merchants downtown as retail chains often leave towns and cities without warning. He says the best way of doing that is to embrace them:

Burayidi has done extensive consulting work in downtown development. He is also the author of 6 books on the subject, including Resilient Downtowns. That book explores ways that small community downtowns have thrived through economic booms and busts.

Further investigation into a fire that killed a Santa Claus man on Friday has found a different source than what was originally stated by authorities.

Spencer County coroner Robert Fuller says authorities have now ruled out a dropped cigarette as the cause of the fire. Instead, he says structural evidence suggests that the fire began in the attic of the home and moved downward. That evidence led authorities to believe that an electrical issue sparked the fatal blaze.

Fuller says as this fire was investigated further, the initial story seemed to be a rush to conclusions:

As for the current investigation, Fuller says things are starting to wind down:

Now fire crews with both the Santa Claus and Carter Township Volunteer Fire Departments were originally called just before 6:35 am central time Friday morning to the home of Bryan and Maureen Gregory inside of Christmas Lake Village. Police say 66-year-old Maureen Gregory was able to get out of the house safely. However, Bryan Gregory did not make it out. Fuller says Gregory was found sitting in a chair about 2 feet away from the door. He says Gregory was likely overcome by smoke inhalation shortly after the smoke came down.

Maureen was taken to University of Louisville hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and first degree burns. The home was a total loss.