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Madison Regatta on for July 2-4
  • Updated

After months of speculation, Madison Regatta President Greg Thorpe announced Thursday that the Madison Regatta & Roostertail Music Festival will be back on July 2-4, 2021, in Madison, Indiana.

The event, canceled last year along with the rest of the 2020 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be back with a weekend of boat racing on the Ohio River — including the running of the APBA Gold Cup — and music at nearby Bicentennial Park in downtown Madison.

Coming off last year’s cancellation, Regatta officials were unsure if they would be able to raise the more than half-million dollars needed to stage the race, festival and Roostertail Music Festival, but commitments from the Jefferson County Board of Tourism and the City of Madison — each pledged $50,000 toward the race — and a sponsorship by local industry Nucor Madison helped clear the way for the event to move forward.

“The board and I are excited to be able to bring the Madison Regatta event to our beautiful riverfront this year considering the hard year we all had. This will be great for our community as well as the many loyal race fans,” Thorpe said. “We are eternally grateful for the financial support of the Jefferson County Board of Tourism, City of Madison and Visit Madison Inc. as well as our presenting sponsor Nucor Madison, among countless others.”

The boat racing portion of the event will feature the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series competing for not only the Indiana Governor’s Cup but also the APBA Gold Cup. The racing will also include the Grand Prix America series.

This year marks the 70th running of the Madison Regatta dating back to the 1949 season and not including a washout in 2013 and last year’s race. The Indiana Governor’s Cup has been awarded to the winner of the race every year since 1951.

This year will also mark the fifth time the city has hosted the APBA Gold Cup, the sport’s premier trophy. Madison previously hosted the race in 1971, 1979, 1980 and 2019 and was supposed to stage the event a year ago as part of its two-year agreement with H1 Unlimited. Jim McCormick drove the community-owned Miss Madison to victory in 1971 and Jimmy Shane equaled the feat with the team two years ago.

Madison Mayor Bob Courtney noted the community has always supported its race team and boat racing as fans and partners because what is good for boat racing is good for Madison.

“It is ironic that we find ourselves in a similar situation as Mayor Don Vaughn was in 50 years ago searching for ways to bring the Regatta to the City of Madison,” Courtney said of the town’s efforts to land the Gold Cup for McCormick’s historic win in 1971. “The Madison Regatta is an iconic event with deep community roots but even more so, it is an economic driver for the community’s tourism economy and we found it very compelling to work with the Regatta Board and its volunteers to join with the Jefferson County Board of Tourism to financially support the event this year.”

Although not as steeped in history as the boat races, the companion Roostertail Music Festival will once again include two days of music at Bicentennial Park in what before the pandemic hit was one of the fastest growing music festivals in Indiana.

The Roostertail Music Festival will begin Friday night after the annual Regatta/City of Madison Parade on Main Street with another evening of music on Saturday. The line-up of Roostertail entertainers will be posted soon and can be found online at www.MadisonRegatta.com/music/.

Although slightly smaller and slower than the H1 Unlimiteds, the Grand Prix America series puts the thunder in thunderboat racing as the premier supercharged automotive class of powerboats in the nation with speeds upwards of 160 mph.

“Its pure excitement for us at Grand Prix America to be a part of the Madison Regatta and all its historical glory,” said Dean Rojas, president of GPA. “We look forward to getting back on the water in Madison, Indiana!”

Tickets can now be purchased online. General admission, which allows entry to both the Madison Regatta and Roostertail Music Festival, costs $30 now through April 30; $40 May 1 through June 26; and $50 after June 27 when tickets will only be available at select locations and/or the gate.

For more information, visit www.MadisonRegatta.com.


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State of the City
  • Updated

Fifteen months into his first term in office and almost 18 months since taking over as Madison Mayor following the death of former Mayor Damon Welch, Bob Courtney says he’s still focused on his campaign “for a clean, safe and beautiful Madison” and he will accomplish that with “a head for business and a heart for Madison.”

He paused that work briefly Thursday night for his first State of the City address since taking office in October 2019 — a speech he had hoped to give in March 2020 until other, more pressing, issues began occupying much of his time with the arrival of a virus pandemic not seen in the US for at least 100 years.

“We wanted to do this last year and we were planning it in February and we thought we’d do it in early March and in early March our plans changed — just like everybody else’s did,” Courtney told the 70 or so people who filled all but a few of the seats that were packed into the council chambers at Madison City Hall as well as anyone watching on the city’s YouTube Channel. “Like the rest of our state and nation we joined together as a community to face COVID-19, a pandemic that ushered in massive unemployment,wrecked havoc on our economy and forced restrictions on our lives and our livelihoods, resulted in lockdowns and mandates and brought on a human toll that many families lost loved ones.

“I’m proud of our city and our residents for their perseverance. At times we felt like we were flying the plane while at the same time trying to learn to be the pilot. Every day was a new exercise, new information, new data to consume, new plans to make, pivoting,” Courtney added. “But one thing we did that I am really proud of ... is we leaned into it. While lots of communities across the state and across the country closed, we leaned into it and our drumbeat that we marched to here was ‘Let’s find a way. Let’s not be passive. Let’s not take a back seat but let’s find a way’ because our community deserved it. We didn’t look for the easy route. It’s hard. It’s still hard. But we always found a way.”

Courtney noted that the city — its companies, employees and residents — mobilized to support the community and its business, industry and residents with the assistance of the state and nation. The city went after grants to help save its smaller businesses and the lower wage employees who work there. The city, with the support of council, found jobs for many of those laid off so that they could still draw a paycheck during the pandemic while completing work the city needed done but might otherwise have deferred.

Courtney noted that the test Madison got from COVID — and is still dealing with — was made manageable by the dedicated work of a strong city staff and the support of residents just like when the city dealt with the passing of Welch as he settled into office.

“We were tested before COVID-19,” Courtney said. “We lost a true champion of faith and community” with the unexpected passing of Welch “but the city staff and community came together and provided a warm and helpful welcome as we began our service and for that I am incredibly grateful. And as we head into this year and beyond I am committed to honoring Mayor Welch’s legacy and finishing the work he started.”

Courtney, elected by a caucus, was allowed to serve out the remaining weeks of Welch’s term and then began his own four-year term but on Thursday he pledged to not only see his predecessor’s business finished but that Welch also be remembered with the renaming of a city park in his honor and memory.

“I’m committed to honor the legacy of Mayor Welch and finishing the work he started,” Courtney said.

Moving forward, Courtney said his vision for Madison is the same as his campaign promises while running for office: “Improving community safety, increasing economic opportunity and improving our quality of life and place in the city of Madison.”

He then went on to list his administration’s work to make Madison cleaner, safer and more beautiful from the efforts to expand the PACE program to rehabilitate dilapidated housing and increase property values to support the city’s tourism industry and work to upgrade the police department to address the community’s narcotics problems. He noted that police department procedures were reviewed and updated and officer compensation was improved. Additionally, he mentioned existing work and future plans to upgrade roads and sidewalks and to improve the city’s gateways and preserve green space along the Ohio River.

Courtney noted that much of that work took money — some of it city money and some of it grants — but that investment has also paid off in additional private investment.

“We fully believe we can attract private capital when we are willing to lead with our own capital first,” he said.

A bonus to that investment comes in improved quality of life as crime rates drop, dilapidated structures are refreshed and programs like the park system are restructured to make taxpayer dollars go farther and allow more improvements over a wider area.

“Quality of life. That’s an economic driver,” Courtney said. “That’s why people want to be here for tourism, those who want to live here and those who want to work here,” Courtney said.

Councilman Dan Dattilo, the only Democrat elected official in the city, got a brief taste of Courtney’s job when, as council pro tem, he became interim mayor for about three weeks after the death of Welch. He said Courtney has done a good job and has assembled a strong staff.

“I think they’re doing a good job and being very organized and I’m happy with everything right now,” Dattilo said of Courtney and his administration. “We’ve overcome a lot for sure. I think Mayor Courtney has a really good staff that helps him out and that’s always a positive. They’re unified. I don’t have anything negative to say and I’m the kind of person that if I disagree with you, I’ll have to say that. I’ve done that a couple of times but I think in general we’re moving in the right direction ... We had some tax money coming in, in a couple of ways that we were not expecting and we were able to use that in some positive ways so we’ve had some wins ... when we said we can hire some people who have lost jobs during this, I knew we were going in the right direction and we did just that.”

Courtney started out his address by relaying how, he is “humbled and honored” as a kid from Walnut Street who has felt the community wrap its arms around him as a child, now as mayor of the city and in the future.

He ended by saying the work to “make Madison a better place and the city we all dream about” is not done.


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Warrants, traffic stop lead to 10 drugs arrests
  • Updated

The execution of two Jefferson County search warrants and a traffic stop in Madison resulted in the arrest of 10 people on narcotics and other charges in Madison and Hanover on Wednesday and Thursday.

The charges filed ranged from manufacture of trafficking in methamphetamine to possession of marijuana and schedule drugs as well as visiting and maintaining a common nuisance and possession of a handgun without a license.

The string of arrests began when Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detectives Ben Flint and C.J. Miller, Hanover Police and officers with the Ohio Valley Crime Suppression Task Force, executed a narcotics search warrant in Hanover on Wednesday that led to the arrest of a Hanover woman and two men on drug-related charges.

While search the residence, located at 113 North Sycamore Drive in Hanover, police located a white crystal like substance that field tested for methamphetamine, hypodermic syringes, drug paraphernalia, illegal prescription drugs and US currency.

The arrests followed an investigation led by Flint and Miller with assistance by the task force.

Becky J Walters, 46, Hanover, is charged with dealing methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony; possession of methamphetamine under 3 grams, a Level 6 felony; illegal possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

Cody Douglas Burriss, 25, Butlerville, is charged with two outstanding warrants, possession of methamphetamine under 3 grams, a Level 6 Felony; illegal possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor; and visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.

Dustin Joy, 27 Jasper, is charged with possession of methamphetamine under 3 grams, a Level 6 felony; illegal possession of a syringe with prior conviction, a Level 5 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor; visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor; and providing false information to law enforcement, a Level 6 felony.

Later a traffic stop by Madison Police at Main and Mulberry streets led to the seizure of narcotics, a semi-automatic handgun and cash early Thursday morning.

Madison Police Patrolmen Trent Smith and Josh Nolan executed the traffic stop at 1:50 a.m., and found the driver, Michael D. Wilson, 38, Owenton, Kentucky, was operating the vehicle with a suspended drivers license. It was also discovered that the license plate on the vehicle had been revoked for failure to maintain insurance. Kendra E. Roark, 22, Vevay, was a passenger in the vehicle.

Officers found both Wilson and Roark to be in possession of narcotics, and Wilson was also in possession of a handgun without permit.

Wilson is charged with manufacturing/dealing methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony; possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance-controlled substance, both Level 6 felonies; possession of marijuana-prior conviction and possession of a schedule I, II, III, IV or V controlled substance, both Class A misdemeanors; and possession of a handgun without a license.

Roark is charged with manufacturing/dealing methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony; and possession of marijuana-prior conviction and possession of a schedule I, II, III, IV or V controlled substance, both Class A misdemeanors.

Later on Thursday, the sheriff’s office and crime task force executed a felony theft arrest warrant for Robert B. Davis, 33, at 1502 Wehner Lane, Madison.

During the service of the arrest warrant, criminal drug activity was observed and the investigating deputies were awarded a search warrant for the residence. They then located and seized suspected methamphetamine as well as hypodermic needles, marijuana and paraphernalia and charged four other people who were at the residence.

Davis is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 felony; maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class B misdemeanor; and warrant for theft, a Level 6 felony.

Breanna Christine Bradley, 19, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 felony; possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class B misdemeanor; and visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.

Courtney Suzanne Langle, 23, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 felony; possession of marijuana-prior conviction, a Level 6 felony; possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor; and visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.

Noah Raven Kain Rogers, 22, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 felony; visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

Charles Thomas Steele, 26, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 4 felony; visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.

All 10 people arrested were lodged in the Jefferson County Jail without bond pending their initial hearings in court.


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