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News
ISP investigating shooting death near Dupont
  • Updated

Indiana State Police and the Jefferson County Coroners Office are conducting a death investigation into an early morning shooting Tuesday near Dupont.

Shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call reporting that shots were fired at a residence in the 8000 block of North John Deere Road near Dupont. Deputies responding to the address located an adult male, who had sustained a gunshot wound, lying in the yard of the residence. The man was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

Indiana State Police Investigators were requested to lead a homicide investigation into the shooting. The initial investigation indicates that an altercation at the residence led to shots being fired with the male shot at least once before he died as result of injuries he sustained.

The victim has been identified and his family has been notified but the name is being withheld at this time.

No arrests have been made at this time. However, detectives believe the incident was not a random attack and do not believe there is any threat to the general public at this time.

The investigation is ongoing and active at this time. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Indiana State Police-Versailles Post at 812-689-5000.

Indiana State Police were assisted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Conservation Officers, and the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office.


News
Flooding challenges HMI's mission to preserve Madison's past for the future
  • Updated

As president and executive director of Historic Madison Inc., John Staicer knows how important historic preservation is to the City of Madison.

But on Tuesday afternoon, as he worked to clean up flood damage to the Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum and the African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Madison, Staicer was thinking more about the other residents and neighbors who were impacted by Saturday’s flash flooding.

“Our damage was bad,” Staicer said, but for “those who lost houses and possessions, and didn’t have flood insurance, it’s much harsher” and what they are going through is horrible.

On Friday, Staicer and his wife, Maureen, had left Madison for a vacation and were in Akron, Ohio, when she saw posts on Facebook about flooding in Madison.

“When I saw it was over the bridge” at Crooked Crook on Milton Street, “I knew it was not good and I came back here. Over the years, I’ve seen floods come and go on Crooked Creek, but never over top of the bridge, so I knew that it was bad news for Saddletree.”

Historic Madison Inc. has owned the Schroeder Saddletree Factory since the 1970s, and Staicer said “this is the worst we have seen,” in terms of flooding during that time. In the past there has been high water but never enough to get into the museum while HMI has owned the property.

As a historian, Staicer is well aware of Madison’s history with flooding and its impact on the Saddletree Factory property, which is located alongside Crooked Creek at 106 Milton Street. Located on the side of the Schroeder house is wording long ago etched into the bricks indicating the high water mark when the creek flooded in January of 1902.

On Tuesday Staicer pointed out darkened bricks — about 10 rows up on the structure — where Saturday’s flood waters climbed.

Staicer said the flash flood put 18 inches of water into the front two rooms at the Saddletree home and water throughout the rest of house plus “a ton of mud in the basement,” but none on the floors inside the Blacksmith and Assembly Shop building that sit at a higher point on the property. He also noted there was 12 inches of water in the ME Church property owned by HMI at 309 East Fifth Street, which flooded for the second time in six years after also being hit by a flash flooding in 2015.

Located in the front two rooms of the museum is the Schroeder’s piano that visitors have been allowed to play when they tour the museum. Staicer is concerned whether it will ever play again. “It took in 18 inches of water, and we can clean it up and make it look nice again,” but he’s not sure if it will be playable.

Special period carpet, a replica of carpet from the house, was also soaked. The plan is to clean it if possible.

“I hope we can clean it up and re-lay it,” he said, noting that will depend on how well it cleans. “Hopefully, the wool doesn’t shrink so it can fit back into it.”

Replica wallpaper also will need to be replaced, but before they can even do that they will need to check for plaster damage and possible structural damage and make sure the walls are dry.

“It’s not just what you see on the surface,” he noted.

Staicer estimates it will take some time for Saddletree Museum to be repaired and again open for tours. In addition to the force of the water, he said water also got into the house by soaking through the bricks.

“With thousands of gallons of water, it will take awhile to dry out,” he said, adding that flood waters were left standing against the bricks for maybe a couple of hours — “long enough for the brick to absorb the moisture” and so that the wetness was still showing Tuesday afternoon.

“We are going to let the whole building dry and that could take a couple of months,” he said.

At the same time, coping with the flood damage did allow another layer of history to be peeled away and exposed to historians. While removing flood-soaked linoleum from the 1950s or 1960s, they found an even older linoleum that he thinks dates back to the 1920s.

“We found out more history about the building,” Staicer said, describing the discovery as a “mixed bag” because “I didn’t want to learn it this way.”

Staicer said damage to the AME Church was mostly from water and mud and that except for a few benches there has been “nothing in there since the last flood.”

“We had taken everything out,” he added, noting HMI just recently received a grant to repair the mechanics of the building destroyed by the 2015 flood.

“We want to rebuild in a way so that it’s flood proof” in terms of the electrical system, air conditioning and heating system by placing those systems “high enough from the ground to not be impacted.”

Staicer said while they can’t stop water from getting into the building during flash flooding, maybe they can “mitigate the flooding by moving the mechanics up above.”

There’s plenty of work ahead in recovering from Saturday’s flood — as well as the one from 2015 — but Staicer said all HMI can do is keep moving forward in its mission to preserve Madison’s past for the future.

“We’ll get it back together sooner or later,” he said.


Community
Two to reign for Regatta
  • Updated

The 2021 Madison Regatta & Roostertail Music Festival will have two queens — Chloe Ferris and Katie Royce — who will be crowned at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Regatta Judges Stand on Vaughn Drive.

The pageant was completely canceled in 2020 — along with the rest of the events — due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s event saw only two contestants register by the extended deadline. It was decided that they should share the crown with both contestants reigning throughout the Regatta Festival. The 2019 Regatta Queen, Kennedy Rachelle Easton, will be on hand Monday to participate in the crowning.

Ferris and Royce are both 2021 graduates of Madison Consolidated High School. Ferris is the daughter of Scott and Nicole Ferris and will be attending Manchester University. Royce is the daughter of Jennifer and Bill DeVries and Jamie and Becky Royce and will be attending Bellarmine University.


Community
Eight to compete for Miss Jefferson County Fair
  • Updated

Eight girls will compete in the Miss Jefferson County 4-H Fair Pageant on Saturday at North Madison Christian Church.

The girls will be judged in three categories — interview, professional wear and formal wear — and the queen and her court will serve at the county fair as well as other community activities throughout the following year. The queen will represent Jefferson County and compete at the state pageant in January 2022.

“We are very excited about this group of girls and proud of their involvement in our community,” said Cara Fox, pageant director. “It is a wonderful opportunity to serve locally.”

The contestants include: Caroline Bechman, a Madison Consolidated High School graduate, daughter of Chance and Carrie Bechman; Olivia Bruce, a Southwestern High School graduate, daughter of Jeff and Dawn Bruce; McKenzy Gray, a Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate, daughter of Robert and Stacy Gray; Erika Hazelwood, an University of Evansville student, daughter of Mike and Regina Hazelwood; Jorja Hazelwood, a MCHS student, daughter of Rusty and Jessica Hazelwood; Olivia Kelley, an Indiana University student, daughter of Brian and Angie Kelley; Isabella Marcum, a Southwestern graduate, daughter of Timothy and Angela Record; and Bailie Prescher, a MCHS graduate, daughter of Marco and Tonya Prescher.

Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. Saturday with the pageant starting at 7 p.m.


News
Council extends Madison disaster declaration
  • Updated

In a meeting attended by several residents appealing for help recovering from Saturday’s flash flood — and a pleading for the city to look into the problems causing the floods in the future — Madison City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution extending a local disaster declaration issued by Mayor Bob Courtney indefinitely.

A powerful thunderstorm dumped an estimated 6-8 inches of rainfall on Madison and nearby areas late Friday night and early Saturday morning, resulting in a flash flood that swept through the North Walnut Street neighborhood, as well as other areas in downtown Madison, forcing the emergency evacuation of 35 residents and damaging more than 60 homes and businesses.

Courtney asked city council to extend his declaration — it legally can remain in place only seven days without council approval — to allow the city the best opportunity of receiving state and federal disaster assistance to help pay for the cleanup and provide assistance to those impacted by the flooding.

“We are continuing to coordinate with state and federal officials,” said Courtney, who noted the city is now under two public health declarations since the COVID-19 declaration issued last year is still in effect. “We need to keep this in place until it’s rescinded and not rescind it until we exhaust all options for state and federal assistance.”

The council unanimously approved the mayor’s request but asked for a clarification on who and how the declaration can be rescinded when the time comes.

According to Courtney, based on the damage report in downtown Madison — mainly in the neighborhoods around North Walnut Street but also at other locations along the path of Crooked Creek — as well as on the Madison hilltop, that may not be something the city has to consider for some time. He said it could depend on how soon Gov. Eric Holcomb decides on a state disaster declaration.

“My heart goes out to you. I grew up there and I have friends there,” Courtney said, referring to his childhood on Walnut Street. “Five to six inches of rain overwhelms all the tributaries and storm drains. I’ve seen pictures where I thought I was looking at the Ohio River. I was on-site and saw the destruction for myself.”

He added that there are a number of communities in Indiana that are hurting just like Madison and a disaster declaration by the governor would trigger state and federal assistance for all and Holcomb’s office is currently collecting damage totals to assist in that decision.

Either way Courtney said the recovery will take time and be painful. City workers have already hauled away 100,000 pounds of wet debris from area homes and Courtney said the crews will continue picking up debris “as long as it takes.”

Much of that debris used to be the hard-earned — and in many cases cherished — belongings of residents and several home owners and renters attended Tuesday’s meeting and spoke of the pain and fear they experienced during Saturday’s flooding and the frustration they’re feeling now during the cleanup.

Pointing to a flash flood in 2015, several visitors reminded the council that this is not the first time they’ve been hit. There were tears and anger and a call for help in cleaning up the mess and getting back on their feet physically and financially as well as a call for something to be done to prevent such flooding from happening again.

Jayme Brashier, of 905 Walnut Street, said she is “largely in shock from the devastation” and the “emotional and financial and physical” toll after having her home flooded a second time in six years and seeing her third vehicle lost to flood water.

“I’m still working on replacing the things I lost from the 2015 flood,” Brashier said, noting she had just paid off the car she bought when her other vehicle was destroyed in 2015. “I owned my home outright in 2015 and I was making it a showplace ... now I’ve got a disaster loan that I’ll be paying on for 20 years and I no longer own my home.”

Brashier said she now has a flood insurance policy with a $4,000 annual premium due to her home’s location in a flood path and even that insurance is unlikely to cover her latest losses not to mention the things that cannot be replaced.

“Nobody is going to make me whole ... nobody is going to make us whole on the heirlooms and collectibles I wanted to pass on to my children,” she said.

Other residents focused on the terror of being in the flash flood and knowing that you’re stranded in the path of something you have no control over and having to ride it out waiting for help.

“You guys have no idea what it feels like to have water running by your house — all away around it — and you can’t get out” said Cindy Bird, of 906 Walnut Street. “You have no idea what it feels like to have it rushing into your basement. It sounds like the river.”

While Brashier said help from the city had been slow and she still had water to the top of her basement on Tuesday, Bird credited Courtney for being quick to the scene and with so much destruction, resources obviously were stretched.

“Bob was wonderful. He was at my house that night ...” Bird said. “A lot of people are mad but we’re mad at the system. We’re not necessarily mad at you ... a lot of people don’t think you did great, but I think you did great.”

However, Bird did point out that Saturday’s flood marks the second time in six years that the neighborhood has been hit hard and something needs to be done. Jim Cunningham, of 426 Moody Park Lane, agreed, noting the small mobile home park he owns on Moody Park Lane was hit in 2015, too, but nothing like Saturday morning.

“I’m 63 and that’s the first time water has got up in those mobile homes,” Cunningham said.

He said the neighborhood “never flooded” until the new US 421 route was built to the hilltop and suggested that development on the east end of the hilltop — shopping malls, department stores, a hospital, churches and the roundabout — are releasing water more quickly into Crooked Creek where it all comes down on the northeast end of the downtown. He said he’d had heard the Army Corps of Engineers had studied the area at one point in the early 1990s and suggested that finding a copy of that report could shed some light on how to slow storm water from slamming the neighborhood again.

Courtney said the city’s first task is to assist with the cleanup and pursue any and all help that is available for residents, renters, business owners and the city.

He also noted that Saturday’s storm was unprecedented in size and scope and that areas of Madison and Jefferson County other than the North Walnut Street neighborhood were hit hard as well as other communities in the state.

“This flash flood affected property 5 miles from here,” Courtney noted. “There were businesses on Wilson Avenue on the hilltop that had 2- to 3-feet of water in them ... it didn’t start downtown but it dropped downtown.”

He said the response will require a “multi-jurisdictional effort” involving city, county, state and federal resources” to overcome but the city can be thankful that there was no loss of life.

“We need to figure out how we can mitigate this in the future — not prevent it — because this was a natural disaster affecting miles around,” Courtney said, noting the community needs to first find financial assistance and then strategies for mitigation.


Community
Charlie’s Beat
  • Updated

“My grandfather, Walter Cicenas, played violin in the Indianapolis Symphony,” says Nick Cisenas. “This was in spite of the fact that he was legally blind! That’s the kind of musical background I come from. We overcome adversity when it comes to expressing ourselves musically.

“For my part, I suffered a pretty serious shoulder injury back in 2008 which totally knocked me out of playing music for a while. And honestly, it still hurts a bit if I play for a long time. But it’s time to get back to it. It’s too important to me to let it go.

“I suppose I should back up a bit and tell the story that came before that injury in 2008. My father, Mark Cisenas, was a very gifted musician. He played in several bands like Vicious Blend and Square One. He was actually a good friend of Greg Ziesemer, who many people will remember from his time here in Madison. Greg is a heck of a singer and player.

“Anyway, dad played a lot of instruments, like guitar, keys, harmonica and bass. But he didn’t play drums. So naturally I was recruited to be the family drummer. I took some lessons and I got to where I could hold a beat. But I gravitated to guitar and bass.

At some point when I was about 17 years old some friends asked me, had I ever met Jimmy Davis? They said he was this great guitar player and I might like to play with him. And it turned out I’d grown up like half a mile from his house, but I’d never gotten to know him. He was a couple years older than me.

“But in time I did meet Jimmy, and he asked me to play bass in his band. And we played a lot of gigs over about a 10 year period. Like, a whole lot. That was back in the Madtucky Band days, and then at Jimmy Davis Band. So many shows at JoeyG’s and the Electric Lady. Great memories. But then I injured my shoulder and I really couldn’t even hold a bass anymore.

“Now it’s been 12 or so (years) and the shoulder is mostly healed. So I picked up the old bass and I let Jimmy know I was available. The first big show back was the big Boone Derby Party over at Richwood Plantation back in May. Man, I practiced for six weeks before that gig, learning all the songs.

“And it was great! All the wonderful things l like about performing and playing with other musicians came flooding back. It really wet my appetite. I’m ready to get back to a regular playing schedule.

“I will say after being out of the game for over a decade that the important things have not changed. The spirit and ambition among the area musicians are still there. Most of the players get along very well, with a lot of cross-pollinating and collaboration.

“And the scene has gotten even bigger and better, with the Taproom and the Red Bicycle Hall and Mad Paddle all featuring regular live music. I’m sad to see the Electric Lady is still not open to the public and going strong. I spent a lot of time on that stage, for sure.

“But for my part, I just want to get out there again. Get back to playing steady. Maybe write some new songs. I’m seeing guys again from 10 years ago and they’re all saying, man, it’s great to see you out again. Well, it’s great to be out, that’s for sure. And hopefully I’m here to stay this time!”

HOT TIP OF THE WEEK

If you look at the Thursday calendar you will see something special ... Thursday music is back at Off Broadway Taproom! Owner Ryan Shaw is getting back to his full five-day a week schedule as fast as he can. On Friday AND Saturday at Mad Paddle Brewstillery you can catch Nashville recording artist Rhonda Funk. I caught her show several months back at Mad Paddle and she is the real deal. Check her out. And on Saturday at the RiverBoat Inn there’s a band with a great name, Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need! See you out there.

Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.

This Week in Music

Thursday, June 24

Off Broadway Taproom — Two Buck Chuck

Elk’s Lodge — Robbie Davidson (open to public)

Mad Paddle Brewery — Jordan Tyler, Acoustic on the Patio

Friday, June 25

Lytle Park — Live Lunch with Pat Younger (11:30 a.m.)

Cuzz’s Bar (Vevay) — Old Man River

Mad Paddle Brewery --Rhonda Funk, with Joe & Deano

Off-Broadway Taproom — Vaguely Familiar

Saturday, June 26

Mad Paddle Brewery — Rhonda Funk

Goodwill Cons. Club — Full Moon Rising

Riverboat Inn — Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel

Thomas Family Winery — The Famous Amy Noel

Off-Broadway Taproom — Music TBA

Moose Lodge — Country Bourne

Big Blue (Vevay) — Headbangers Ball!

Sunday, June 27

Stream Cliff Farm — Jimmy Davis

Tuesday, June 29

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night


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