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Roark gets 42 years for wounding officer during standoff
  • Updated

A Madison man who fired shots at Indiana State Police, seriously injuring a SWAT officer, was sentenced Monday to 42 years prison by Judge DJ Mote in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Wade D. Roark, 61, had been found guilty on all charges in a jury trial that concluded on Oct. 29.

Roark was sentenced to 38 years to be fully served at the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) on Count 1, Attempted Murder. He was also sentenced to 4 years on Count 4, Criminal Recklessness with the two sentences to run consecutively for a total of 42 years executed at the IDOC.

Although Roark was also found guilty on Counts 2 and 3 — Aggravated Battery and Battery By Means of A Deadly Weapon — but they merge for double jeopardy purposes, and do not add any additional time.

Jefferson County Prosecutor David R. Sutter thanked those that testified during the sentencing hearing.

“It is always difficult for victims and their families to testify at these hearings,” Sutter said. “I want to thank Trooper Livers and his wife, Dr. Amy Livers, for their testimony and sharing the struggles they have had since the incident.”

Indiana State Police Officer Joseph Livers was shot in the left leg with the bullet lodging in his right knee during the standoff between Roark and police at a home just off State Road 62 near the Jefferson-Switzerland County line

Medical professionals said the bullet narrowly missed striking an artery and Livers underwent surgery and still suffers from pain and infection from the injury.

During her court testimony at Roark’s sentencing, Amy Livers, who was 8 months pregnant at the time of the shooting, described her husband’s repeated surgeries and infections and continued risk of amputation of his leg.

As he was sentenced, Roark made repeated outbursts in court.

Following the sentencing hearing, Sutter again expressed appreciation for the professionals who worked on the case and the witnesses who testified during trial on behalf of the state.

“We again want to acknowledge lead Detective Brent Miller, Dr. Roy Miner, the ISP Swat Team, ISP Crime Scene Investigator Martin Mead, Deputy Ryan Harrison with the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department, ISP Hostage Negotiators, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Madison Police Department, and King’s Daughters’ Hospital Emergency Personnel,” said Sutter.

The incident began in the early morning hours of Nov. 23, 2019, when police were alerted that family members were locked in an upstairs bedroom at 8273 East State Road 56 with a shooter, identified as Roark, in the basement. According to the probable cause affidavit, police were told Roark had a handgun and had fired into the upper level of the home by discharging rounds up through the floor.

Police who responded to the scene acted quickly to evacuate other family members from the home and to safety while Roark remained holed up in the basement.

Roark refused officers’ commands to exit the basement and threatened to kill a male subject along with unspecified Hispanic men. Roark said he believed the DEA and Mexican drug cartel were after him and told police he had been awake for three days. Toxicology results demonstrated that Roark had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the offense.

Roark fired his 9 mm handgun multiple times with several rounds penetrating the first floor. After daybreak, he fired through a gap in the basement wall, striking Trooper Livers. ISP troopers returned fire and Roark surrendered shortly thereafter and was taken into custody.

“This was an extremely dangerous and volatile situation with many human lives in jeopardy,” said Sutter. “Justice was served today for Trooper Joseph Livers and his family. As always, we commend our law enforcement professionals, like Trooper Livers, who put their lives at risk for the safety and security of others on a daily basis.”

‘A Christmas Story, The Musical’
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The 1983 film classic “A Christmas Story” has been a holiday favorite for many over the years, so much that since 1997 a cable channel has annually run a 24-hour marathon during Christmas and in 2012 a musical version debuted on Broadway.

Now the musical version of the comedy is coming to the stage at Madison Consolidated High School.

“A Christmas Story, The Musical” will be performed this weekend by the Madison Theatre program at MCHS with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Opal E. Sherman Auditorium.

“Everybody likes the movie, ‘A Christmas Story,’ plus putting music to it makes it that much better,” said Gibsen Faulkner, who plays the Old Man in the musical.

“It stresses family a lot which I think is something that’s important in this day and age,” said Faulkner. “It stresses unity as well, especially around Christmas time because that’s a pivotal time for a lot of people. It’s funny. It’s light-hearted. There are a lot of funny moments in it. I think it’s a family show. It’s really good for families to come and see it.”

Set in the 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts — an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Rebuffed at every turn with a similar echoing response, Ralphie plots numerous schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream.

Owain Kelsey, who plays Ralphie, describes the character as “the average kid that wants a Christmas present but he does it in a very comical way.”

Lead characters in the musical have been cast with two actors. Kelsey is sharing the role of Ralphie with Wyatt Overpeck and Faulkner is sharing the role of the Old Man with Ethan Mack.

The character of the Old Man, who is Ralphie’s father, displays some gruffness, especially in the early parts of the musical. “I get to act loud and boisterous on stage,” said Faulkner, who noted that deep down the Old Man has a good heart.

“The dad really does care for his family,” said Kelsey. “In one part of the script when they’re talking about going to a baseball game, the Dad shows a little bit of affection towards Ralphie.”

The role of Jean Shepherd serves as narrator of the musical. Shepherd co-scripted the film, “A Christmas Story,” which is based on his own semi-autobiographical stories. The role in the musical is shared between Karson Couch and Will Ratcliff.

“I am recounting the story as if it was me when I was a child,” said Ratcliff, who noted that his part in the musical “is very different than any acting I have ever done because usually you act off of other actors,” but this part doesn’t provide for that. “Nobody’s going to react to me. I can act off of others, but nobody to me.”

The role of Ralphie’s mother is shared by Brooklyn Cornelius and Izzy Jett.

Others in the musical are Mia Mires and Mae Preston, sharing the role of Miss Shields; Kolton Lock as Randy Parker; Ruthie Whitaker as Schwartz; Chelsea Dattilo as Flick; Ellie Whitaker as Esther Jane; Poppy Kelsey at Mary Beth; Tyler Hook as Scut Farkus; Garrett Deuser as Grover Dill; Preston Kuppler as Fantasy Villain; Lilly Guirguis as Mrs. Schwartz; and Dillon Miller as Santa Claus.

Additional roles include Avery Clayton and Ava Overfield, other children; Saba Chabukashvili and Hunter Thompson, delivery men; Clint Hearne, policeman; Corleone Nicholson, fireman; Danny Winters, doctor and waiter; Jayla Perry, nurse; Andie Royce, Flick’s mother; and Andre Howard and Emma Reilmann, chief elves.

The dancing and singing ensemble includes Zoe Bullock, Shelby Priebe, Haleigh Pyles, Violet Reetz, Emma Wynn, Chabukashvili, Hearne, Kuppler, Nicholson, Royce, Thompson and Winters. Those appearing as neighbors, shoppers, parents, students and townspeople include Kiarra Bauer, Adrianna Dattilo, Sophie Guirguis, Lilly Guirguis, Tabetha Jameison, Reilly Kuppler, Jayla Perry, Mckalyn Stewart, Howard and Miller.

Leah Combs is sharing stage managers duties with Caleb Lee.

“There’s a lot to remember and a lot to do from lights to sound to huge set pieces that need to be moved on and off at certain times. It is a lot of work, but a lot fun,” said Combs. She said she has been involved in many school productions in the past as an actor, but this is her first time being stage manager. “Learning the other side to how shows are put on, it’s a completely different world,” and has given her a greater appreciation for the crew that works on the musical. “I really respect them.”

Others on the stage crew are Matthew Burkhardt, Crisnell Cabigting, Felicia Fischer, Brooke Hay, Libby Herbert, Maddy James, Kailee Lock, Laura Ratcliff and Claire Slygh. The tech crew includes Isa James, Owen Schmidt and Miriam Stancampiano.

The orchestra includes Mitchell Adams, Shawn Bentz, Nick Biallas, Erixana Brooks, Logan Combs, Gabe Gil, Jack Heckler, Hannah Johnston, Anni Kempton, Jaylin Lee, Kenton Mahoney, Ruby Massie, Karisa Shelton, Kyli Shields, Amy Whitaker and Nathan Wu.

Aaron Kelsey is the musical director with Melanie Torline serving as assistant director. Susie Stillwell is in charge of choreography. Teresa Grayson is the music director. Chricket King is the accompanist.

Tickets can be purchased online at with adult tickets $15 and student K-12 student tickets $5. At the door, adult tickets cost $17 and student K-12 student tickets are $7. Adult tickets for matinee shows are $5 off.

Charlie’s Beat
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As I interviewed Chuck Barnes about his life in music, he must have said “I’m a working drummer” at least five times. As his story played out, it became apparent what he meant by that turn of phrase.

“I like to work,” Chuck elaborated. “I mean, I like to play and I like the energy and the camaraderie of being in a band, and of course, I like getting paid. I’m 60 years old now, and I’m fortunate to be in a place where I don’t have to work in the factories or hold down a day job. But my retirement, if you can call it that, only works if I can work enough gigs.”

Chuck is a Madison native with a long career in the local music scene, starting way back when he was 14 years old playing with Bobby Robbins and other local notables. “I’ve played just about every bar and club in a hundred mile radius,” Chuck continues.

“About 17 years ago I had a gig lined up at Cuz’s Bar in Vevay, but several of my bandmates had to back out. So I called a guy I knew who lives up around Versailles to see if he could help, guy named Rick Winters. And Rick said sure, and he had a bass player he could bring too, named Eddie Feldman.

“Well, me and Rick

and Eddie played this four hour gig at Cuz’s,

no rehearsal or anything, and it was one of the tightest, best shows I’d ever played. We knew all the same songs, and we’re just in sync with each other. It was amazing. But Rick already had a drummer, so it was a one-time thing.

“Fast forward to about three or four years ago, and Rick’s drummer had fallen ill and passed. So he called me, based on that one show we’d done all those years before, to see if I wanted to join his band, Fullmoon Rising. The rest, as they say, is history!

“Rick and I both work on booking the band, and we’ve been very successful. We’ve played in Rising Sun, Greensburg, Columbus, Shelbyville, Vevay, Versailles, Crothersville, and of course, Madison. If you can drive there in 90 minutes or less, we’ll play it.

“Fullmoon Rising does a lot of Southern and classic rock, mostly from the later 60s into the 70s. We try to play stuff that will make you shake your head and say, Wow, I haven’t heard that one in 35 years! Knights in White Satin, for instance. Or the Badfinger tune No Matter What.

“That Badfinger song is a great story, actually. We were playing a gig and somebody in the audience called out a request for it. We had never played it together, not even talked about it. And we just looked at each other and played it! That’s the dream, right there, to work with a group of musicians who can play just about anything you toss out. These guys are great.

“We’re actually playing this weekend in Madison at the Rivertown Bar & Grill, if people want to come and check us out. Saturday night, December 4. The whole Madison music scene is starting to hop again, like I remember it back in the old days. Lots of venues with live music. Now we just need more people to get out and support it if it’s going to thrive and survive. Maybe we’ll see you on Saturday?!”

Hot Tip of the Week

The Madison Performing Arts Foundation continues to bring amazing classical music to our town, and staging the performances in some of finest acoustical venues for live music, which is to say, our beautiful historic churches. This coming Tuesday, the Louisville Brass group is doing their Holiday show at Trinity Methodist. It will literally send chills up your spine. But get there early and stake out your pew … it’s likely to be a full house. Show starts at 7 p.m.

sharp on Tuesday, and

it is a ticketless event, which is a fancy way

of saying “free”! Also, looking out a little further, you may want to mark your calendar for December 9. Cruz Contreras, founder of the band The Black Lillies, is coming to Red Bicycle Hall that Thursday night.

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, December 2

Central Hotel — Patriotic Karaoke

Broadway Hotel — Joe & Deano

Friday, December 3

Central Hotel — No Name Band

Mad Paddle — Fuzzy Rojas

Brown Gym — Four Goats & A Nanny (Senior Dance)

Off-Broadway Taproom — Hippie Fingers

Riverboat Inn — Joe & Deano

American Legion — Dusty Roads (open to public)

Saturday, December 4

Mad Paddle — Fabulous Hickbillies

Off-Broadway Taproom — Joe Clark

Riverboat Inn — Joe & Deano

Rivertown Bar & Grill — Fullmoon Rising

Thomas Family Winery — Anthony Ray Wright

VFW — Jordan Tyler Band (open to public)

Tuesday, December 7

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night

Trinity Methodist — Louisville Brass Holiday Concert (Free)

MCP to stage first production since breaking for COVID in 2019
  • Updated

Madison Community Players returns to the stage this weekend with “A Nice Family Christmas,” its first production in two years.

The play tells the story of a family getting together for a Christmas Eve celebration with problems and dysfunctions that create comedy and fun.

V. Lori Hedges, the director, said the play is the first for Madison Community Players since 2019 when productions stopped due to COVID-19 pandemic. She said “A Nice Family Christmas” reintroduces the group to the community with performances set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Richwood on the River, 1233 Highway 36 in Milton, Kentucky.

A Nice Family Christmas” is the story of a young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired, yet has been assigned a last chance story about a typical family Christmas. So he goes home to his family in Minnesota, where he and his two siblings gather at his mother’s apartment along with the wife of the oldest son with other family members popping up unannounced to add to the comedy.

“Uncle Bob just shows up, they didn’t know he was coming. Grandma shows up, they didn’t know she was coming. The grandmother is a really funny character. She’s just so feisty,” said Hedges. “She does things to push their buttons.”

Hedges noted several of the family members are dealing with various personal issues, adding to the commotion.

“Uncle Bob has a drinking problem and is estranged from his kids. The oldest son is separated from his wife and having to work things out.” Then there’s the newspaper reporter trying to save his career and his relationship with his girlfriend. “They’re all working on problems at the same time that they’re trying to celebrate,” Hedges said. “It all comes together in the end and works out. It’s a really good story and it’s really funny.”

The cast includes Tami Dubuque as the mother, Stephanie Hellmann as the grandmother, Joe Morris as Uncle Bob, Lindsay Holley as Stacy, Michael Hedges as Carl, Alec Lichlyter as Michael and Clarice Scheele as Jill. Emily Hall is the stage manager while Mary Ritchie is the board operator for lights and sound. Additionally, Shawe theatre students will be assisting.

Hedges said “A Nice Family Christmas” is a two-act play so there will be an intermission. She said there will be refreshments including the same type of cookies used in the play along with various beverages available.

“It’s not a dinner theatre, but a snack theatre,” she said.

Hedges noted the space at Richwood “is really beautiful” and will be decorated for Christmas “to make it more festive.”

Tickets for “A Nice Family Christmas” can be purchased online by using the eventbrite link on the Madison Community Players Inc. Facebook Page or purchased at the door. Tickets cost $12 with $2 off for a canned food donation.

“We would love people to come see our show because I know they are going to love it,” Hedges said. “It’s fun. It’s a Christmas show but it’s not just about Christmas.”

She said everyone involved in the play “has worked really hard and I’m really excited for people to see this show.”

Madison Community Players is working to schedule more productions in 2022 beginning in February with an evening of two one-act plays — “For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls,” which is a parody of Tennessee Williams’ ”The Glass Menagerie” and “Spooky Dog,” a parody of the cartoon character “Scoopy Doo.”

SW teachers voice concerns over proposed expansion of work day
  • Updated

A proposal to expand the work day of Southwestern teachers by 45 minutes was met by concerns from faculty members at Monday’s meeting of Southwestern School Board.

“I have spoken to multiple teachers and we have some concerns,” said Brandon Frye, president of the Southwestern Classroom Teachers Association.

Superintendent Jeffrey Bates said the proposal wouldn’t change the school day length for students, but it would change the work day for teachers. He noted that teachers now work from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. or from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., which amounts to 7 hours, 15 minutes. The proposed change being considered would create a teachers schedule from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., expanding teachers’ work day by 45 minutes to 8 hours.

Bates cited three reasons for the increase noting the move would address transportation issues, provide needed supervision, and create time for professional development.

For example, Bates said Southwestern is working to better implement Emotional Learning (SEL), a tool to help students succeed academically, professionally and personally and how that correlates with students’ emotional and social intelligence. He said teachers have emphasized the importance of SEL, and noted “we’re going to be doing so much more SEL stuff that there’s going to need to be training time for that, and a lot of that is going to be computer-based, so that gives you the opportunity 30 minutes a day to do some of that” without interfering with whatever else the teacher needs to do during the day.

Board member Lacie Deputy said there are issues that need to be dealt with in terms of transportation, noting parents have complained they are late for work because they cannot drop their children off at school until 7:45 a.m. and there are also challenges for students arriving on buses.

“The school is built on a country road,” said Deputy. “It’s not convenient. One way in and one way out. The buses are having to deal with cars” and there’s no way to separate them.

Board president Rick Stockdale noted the biggest challenge with that is in the morning dropoff and arrival period.

Deputy noted schools were opening at 7:30 a.m. prior to COVID-19. “It was doing something, and then we weren’t,” she said.

However, Frye questioned what students who arrive earlier will do until the school day begins.

“Are we just going to let them sit in the gym for 15 minutes or go to the cafeteria?” Frye asked, noting that he’s not sure how wise that is with the ongoing threat of COVID-19 spread.

One concern registered by Frye is that the expanded work day detracts from the salary increases awarded to teachers following the collective bargaining agreement approved in November with the longer hours essentially erasing that raise.

“We were all excited. We got money for the first time in over 10 years, and then we were hit with, boom, let’s change your day to eight hours, where I can pretty much guarantee you that you can ask any teacher that we work eight hours a day already,” Frye said. “I will be making less than I was (before the pay increase) if you change my hours” and calculate teacher pay based on hours.

“The daily rate will be less after the raise if you make it an eight (hour) day” for teachers, Southwestern teacher Karla Thornton added.

Frye said that on Monday he arrived at 7:15 a.m. and left 4:45 p.m. and that he “can guarantee every teacher (already) works more than eight hours a day” ... “in a time that we’re worried about our kids and their mental health, and their stability, and what all is happening with them, we also have to look out for our teachers as well. All those things are connected.”

Thornton said she’s typically at school working until 4 p.m. because of “things I need to get done” and if she must be in training until 3:30 p.m., then she will have to be at school longer to finish all that she needs to get done.

Board member Jonathon Simpson said he believes they can work toward a solution, possibly with implementation of some type of comp time. “Hopefully there’s something we can come up with. My mother-in-law is a teacher. My sister-in-law is a teacher. I know they put in more hours than eight hours a day,” Simpson said, telling Frye and Thornton “I know you do put in a lot of hours, and it’s appreciated. This is just something to deal with several issues and hopefully we can come up with an answer that we’re all happy with.”

Frye said he’s also concerned with how a day ending at 3:30 p.m. might lead to interruptions in his teaching day. “I do everything in my power to be sure my doctor’s appointments, my dentist appointments, and everything is after school. If we start doing 3:30, then I can’t do that, and then I’m going to have to start taking time during the day, which I don’t like doing that because I don’t like being gone.

“I am a true believer that it’s better for the teacher to be there. I want to there and want to be the one instructing, and not just giving them something for that day,” Frye said. “I think it will increase the number of people that will be gone (during the school day) as well.”

Frye said teachers are working on other options that might not increase the length of the teacher work day. “We just feel there might be other solutions,” he said.

Simpson said there have been general discussions about options to address the needs of the school corporation, and noted nothing yet has been implemented but he’s willing to consider whatever alternatives there might be. “We’re open to whatever we can come up with, and nothing is set in stone, but changes need to be made to meet the concerns,” Simpson said.

“I hope we can come to a resolution that’s beneficial and we can all agree upon,” Simpson added, noting he “sees points both ways. The best thing is to be able to discuss it and come up to a reasonable solution” to accommodate the teachers, the board, the school, the children, and “everybody in general.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved the adoption of an amended 2022 budget due to having an incorrect levy in the public notice advertisement for the operations fund. The operations rate should have been $1.23 for a tax levy amount of $2,862,055 with an operations budget at $3,726,500. The debt service rate remained at $0.2545, setting the tax levy amount at $696,361 and the budget at $671,394. With $10,495,800 coming from the state in the education fund and $100,000 in the rainy day fund, the total 2022 budget will be 14,993,694. In adopting the amended budget, the board also voted to rescind the original budget adoption of the 2022 budget.

Holcomb extends COVID emergency to Jan. 1
  • Updated

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced extensions to his executive orders related to the COVID-19 public health emergency on Wednesday as Jefferson County announced its 104th death of the pandemic and Switzerland County saw its metric level return to “Red” indicating high community spread.

Based on information reported Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Health, Jefferson County added one new death while the county remains in “Orange” metric for moderate to high spread with an 11.04% positivity rate. Since Monday, Jefferson County has seen 71 new positive cases of COVID-19 — 50 in the last day — to bring the overall total to 5,760. The county’s two-week metric score is now 2.5.

In Switzerland County, there have been 17 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last day for an overall total of 1,468. Switzerland County’s positivity rate is 14.2% and the two-week metric score is 3 as positive cases of COVID-19 have been showing an increase in the community.

After registering, 290 cases in August and 243 in September, Switzerland County saw just 70 positive cases in October, but that climbed to 92 in November. Switzerland County’s death toll remains unchanged at 12.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Governor’s office acknowledged the statewide COVID-19 public health emergency will likely extend into the new year after a failed attempt by legislators to quickly approve steps to let the declaration expire.

Holcomb signed the 21st month-long extension of the public health emergency — he issued the first one in March 2020 — along with an executive order continuing the orders until Jan. 1, 2022.

In November, Holcomb outlined administrative steps that the legislature could put into the state law that would end the public health emergency. However, Republican legislative leaders abandoned a planned fast-track approval of the measure following objections from medical and business groups over provisions added by lawmakers that would force broad exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements.

Indiana Democrats argue that Republicans were putting lives and the state’s economic recovery at risk by placating vaccine doubters.

Meanwhile, a statement was released by the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA), Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA), and Indiana State Nurses Association (ISNA) that encouraged more COVID-19 vaccinations to relieve pressure on the health care system and ensure safe gatherings during the holidays.

“We urge all Hoosiers who have not yet received a vaccine or who are eligible to get a booster to do so before winter arrives to ensure a hospital bed is available for all in need. The COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be safe and effective at reducing hospitalizations and death and the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness and protect your friends and family is to get vaccinated before gathering for the holidays.”

Indiana Health Department reported 63 deaths on Wednesday and 117 on Tuesday, increasing the pandemic’s death toll to 17,033. On Wednesday, Indiana added 6,164 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the overall total to 1,107,189. The state’s positivity rate is now 12.3%.