A1 A1
Mother, son die in hilltop apartment fire Monday night in Madison
  • Updated

A 40-year-old mother and her 15-year-old son died in a late night structure fire at the Presidential Estates apartments Monday on Madison’s hilltop.

According to Madison Fire Department, the two occupants were reported to still be inside the residence when firefighters arrived to what was already a “well involved” fire at approximately 11:30 p.m.

“Fire suppression and rescue efforts were put in place immediately, but due to the fire’s advanced stage, those efforts were slowed due to the structural compromise,” said a release issued by Madison Fire Department. “The two residents were found inside the apartment but they had succumbed to injuries sustained from the intensity of the fire.”

According to Jefferson County Coroner Rodney Nay, both victims — Cynthia Elaine “Cindy” Sampson Geerts, 40, and her son, Conner Zane Geerts, 15 — died from “smoke inhalation.”

He said both had mobility issues — Cindy Geerts could not walk and used a wheelchair — and neither made it out of the burning structure.

The apartment, located in the 2800 block of Windridge Drive, was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and the building burned for at least an hour with flames spreading to the second floor and breaking through the roof before being brought under control using a variety of firefighting equipment and firefighters from both hilltop and downtown companies. The blaze also damaged an adjoining apartment

Located on a southeast corner lot near the south end of Presidential Estates with only one way in and one way out, fire trucks were positioned at locations to the south and west of the structure with other equipment located going north on Windridge to Ivy Tech Drive.

As the firefighters battled the blaze, residents from other apartments in the complex looked on, some shooting video of the raging fire with their cellphones and others weeping out of concern for their neighbors.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Indiana State Marshals Office, Madison Fire Department, Madison Police Department and the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family for their tragic loss,” MFD said in its statement.

Conner Geerts was a student at Southwestern High School. Funeral arrangements for both are pending at the Morgan-Nay Funeral Centre in Madison, www.morgan-nay.com.

For a video report on this story, visit our media partner WKMNews.com later on Tuesday.

Charlie’s Beat
  • Updated

When I first learned about the Many Voices concert to benefit the Ohio Theatre, coming up Nov. 13 at the Fairfield Inn ballroom, I was intrigued, but not really sure what to expect. I mean, after all, the musical line-up is all local talent I’ve heard many times before.

Jimmy Davis, Joe Perkinson, Deano Crafton, Amy Noel, Leah Pruett, Johnny & Sallie. Plus a core band composed of Brook and Carrie Reindollar, Chip Binzer, Chris Watson, Rick Bennett, Meg Bramer and Anthony Ray Wright. Also Snaps for Sinners will be

coming to town for this event. These folks are great talents, to be sure. But what’s different about this show?

“Well, I asked each artist to choose a song or style that uses a different color of their voice, something they don’t normally perform,” explains Camille Fife, organizer of the event and host for the evening. “You’re going to hear these folks like you’ve never heard them before, it’s very exciting!

“For example, we have Chip Binzer doing a Sinatra song. Jimmy Davis will be doing Minnie the Moocher, made famous by Cab Calloway. Amy Noel is doing a Celtic tune. And Leah Pruett is singing a Streisand song. Now picture this … Joe Perkinson as

Phantom of the Opera! Deano Crafton is working on a blazing guitar song called Hummingbird. And Catherine Sallie Evans will be vamping out What Lola Wants Lola Gets.

“But maybe the one I’m most enthused about is Carrie Reindollar singing a song called Black Coffee. She absolutely kills it, and it’s made even more astonishing because we almost never hear Carrie sing, she’s always playing her horn. Just wait until you hear


“I’ll be acting as host for the show,” Camille continues, “and I’ll open the event with a tune titled The Terrific Rainbow. That will kind of set the tone for the many colors of voices we are about to hear. I’ll also sing a short piece by Handel that I really like, and

we’ll end the show with an ensemble version of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

“This entire event has been planned for some time as a benefit for the Ohio Theatre. In fact, it was our hope to present the show in the theater. But between COVID and renovation delays, we’ve moved it to the Fairfield Inn ballroom.

“The ballroom is a great venue, but the seating will be somewhat limited. I encourage people to get tickets now if they want to attend, before they are sold out. Just search ‘Many Voices Concert’ on Facebook and you’ll find the ticket link. There is also an option to stream the show to your home.

“Theater has always been a love of mine, and I actually thought I might go into it as a career before kids and life intervened. Having a viable theater is an important artistic resource for any community. And right now, Madison really doesn’t have that outlet available.

“That’s why it’s so important that we all work together to get the Ohio Theatre completed. I want to specially thank Morgan & Nay Funeral Home for being the primary sponsor for this event, and the 20 plus musicians who are donating their time and energy to make it possible.”

If you’d like tickets for this event but don’t want to purchase online, you can contact Rodney Nay at 812-265-5577 and he will take care of you.


Before we get to all the Halloween parties on Saturday, I want to make sure you take note of the show at Mad Paddle on Friday. The band madESSENCE is pretty much an All-Star lineup of Madison’s finest musicians and singers, and they’ve cooked up a bunch of new songs for this go-around. On Saturday I count NINE live music events in Madison (and one in Friendship!) and every single one of them is encouraging costumes and promising some spooky Halloween fun. The party at Thomas Family Winery is the granddaddy of the bunch, going on 25 years. But Rusty Bladen is building his own tradition at Mad Paddle, too. Oh, and if you are an Audible Point fan from back in the day, you can catch them at their old haunt, the Electric Lady.

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

Friday, Oct. 29

Central Hotel — Jimmy Davis Band

Mad Paddle — madESSENCE

Off-Broadway Taproom — Jordan Wilson Coalition

American Legion — Fullmoon Rising (open to public)

Saturday, Oct. 30

Central Hotel — Jordan Tyler Band

Thomas Family Winery — Jimmy Davis, Bill Lancton & Friends

Lighthouse — Amy & Michael

Mad Paddle — Rusty Bladen Halloween Party

Off-Broadway Taproom — Jordan Wilson Coalition

Am. Legion — Fullmoon Rising (open to public)

VFW — Diamondback (open to public)

L&L Lounge — Dirty Laundry

Electric Lady — Audible Point

Friendship Tavern — Moonshine & Wine

Monday, Nov. 1

Crafted Coffee — Open Mic Night

Tuesday, Nov. 2

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night

US 42 scheduled for two-year closure in Gallatin
  • Updated

A section of US 42 in Gallatin County is scheduled for a lengthy closure beginning next week to reconstruct a 1.2-mile area prone to landslides along the Ohio River.

According to a statement by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the closure will begin on Nov. 1 and take months to complete while rebuilding a section of the highway between Markland Dam and Craigs Creek. The closure is scheduled to last two years to allow crews uninterrupted access to make the repairs.

“Crews have been doing preliminary work since July, and now the next phase of the project is ready to go,” said Bob Yeager, chief district engineer for the Department of Highways District 6 office. “The project will greatly improve safety by correcting landslide problems between Markland Dam and Craigs Creek.”

Along with constructing a new road, crews will relocate utilities and install a tie-back wall, officials said.

Motorists traveling in the area should following detour signs. The $18 million project is scheduled to be completed in November 2023.

City offers safety tips for Halloween
  • Updated

With all the fun that goes with Halloween, the City of Madison is encouraging families to take safety precautions to avoid potential dangers.

“Halloween is a holiday children and many adults alike look forward to,” said Madison Mayor Bob Courtney. “It’s fun to see everyone in costume and going door to door trick-or-treating. Halloween also poses some potential dangers, so we want to offer some tips to keep everyone safe.”

Courtney said it’s frightening to realize that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year with low visibility at dusk and dark contributing to this risk.

The National Safety Council (NSC) advises:

• Never allow children to go out alone. A responsible adult should always walk with trick-or-treaters.

• If you do allow older children to go out alone, review a route beforehand and agree on a time they will return home.

• Teach children never to enter a stranger’s home or car.

• Tell children not to eat any treats until they return home, and can check for any that could cause an allergic reaction.

• Adults and children should put cell phones away and pay close attention while walking and crossing streets.

In addition, motorists should pay extra attention while driving on Halloween. The NSC urges drivers to follow these safety tips:

• Watch closely for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.

• Be very observant when entering and exiting driveways and alleys.

• Watch for children in dark clothing, especially at twilight and at night.

• Discourage new and inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.

“We urge everyone to spend some time thinking about how to make the holiday safe,” Courtney said. “By taking a few simple steps beforehand and staying alert during trick-or-treating, you can ensure a fun and safe time for all.”

Meanwhile, the City of Madison Halloween Festival is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Bicentennial Park. Following the festival, families can enjoy trick-or-treating at the City of Madison Campground from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Traditional trick-or-treat is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday in Madison and Hanover. In Kentucky, Bedford, Milton and Carrollton will hold trick-or-treat from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Switzerland County’s trick-or-treat will be 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday in Vevay and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday in Patriot.

A Trick-or-Treat Drive-Through event will be held by Jefferson County Purdue Extension at Jefferson County Extension Office, 3767 West State Road 256, Madison, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and community groups are invited to participate. Visit Madison Inc. will hold its Jack-O-Lantern Walk and Trick-or-Treat from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday on the front lawn of the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site.

General Butler State Resort Park, in Carrollton, will hold the Butler Boo Bash this weekend with Halloween-related activities. Events include paranormal tours of the historic Butler Turpin House, hayrides, campfires, costume contests, and more. For more information, call the park at 502-732-4384.

Trimble communities awarded $1.22M for water projects
  • Updated

Trimble County has been awarded $311,106 for three drinking water and wastewater projects from the Better Kentucky Cleaner Water Program (CWP), along with a $909,500 Community Development Block Grant to the City of Bedford.

The grant to Bedford will support the Bedford Wastewater Improvements project, which also received CWP funds to replace three wastewater pump stations to better serve more than 300 customers. Additionally, $250,000 of the grant to Trimble County will go toward that project, according to Trimble County Judge/Executive Todd Pollock, who said that replacing the pump stations is an overall $1.8 million project, and that funding was very much needed since the pumps dated back to their installation in the 1980s.

The pumps are beyond their useful life as replacement parts are no longer available, said Pollock, a former mayor of Bedford. All three stations will be configured with SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) controls, resulting in improved efficiency through the potential use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) and more efficient pumps.

“We’re very fortunate,” said Pollock, noting it’s a project vitally needed to maintain clean drinking water for residents. “We would have had to sell bonds because we needed to do something,” he said. “We can’t have the pump station going down.”

Pollock said $55,000 has been earmarked for the City of Milton for improvements to sewer lines, particularly with infiltration and inflow (I&I), a primary challenge of the Milton wastewater system for many years. The project will implement Phase 1 of a multi-phased approach to systematically narrow down the locations of I&I, identify the defects, and address the I&I sources.

Another $6,106 will go to a waterline extension project on Hardy Creek Road for cost overruns in which Carrollton Utilities has been working. The project impacts five households who will now have access to clean drinking water in their homes for the first time. Two of the homes currently utilize cisterns, while two other residences use hand-dug wells and one residence uses a creek for its water source.

“I would like to thank the Governor and the General Assembly for appropriating these funds for rural drinking water and wastewater projects,” said Pollock. “Small counties like Trimble County are doing their best to stay up to date, but with the rising costs of repairs it would be impossible without the funds. I would also like to thank the individuals from KIPDA (Kentucky Regional Planning and Development Agency), Jarrett Haley, Danielle Story and Justin Carter for their hard work to make this happen.”

The Trimble funds were part of an overall $16.5 million awarded Tuesday by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to deliver clean drinking water and improve sewer and water infrastructure in four nearby counties. Other counties receiving award commitments included Henry County, $592,224, to fund three projects; Oldham County, $1,565,673 to fund three projects; and Jefferson County, $14,079,994 to fund three projects.

“We are so thankful that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is back in the business of allocating funding for water and sewer infrastructure,” said Henry County Judge/Executive John Logan Brent. “Without state and federal help, rural communities like ours would never be able to expand and improve the infrastructure that is vital to promote economic growth.”

“As were building a better Kentucky, modern infrastructure is vital,” said Beshear. “Today’s awards from the Cleaner Water Program will ensure we can continue attracting new investors and providing clean water and quality service for Kentuckians. These are top priorities for my administration as we work to improve the lives of our families and create opportunity in every corner of Kentucky.”

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), $250 million was appropriated at the close of the 2021 General Assembly through a bipartisan agreement for clean drinking water and wastewater grants to fund projects across Kentucky.

The Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) submitted the funding requests for these projects to the KIA. With the exception of Oldham County, the $16.5 million funding award uses the counties entire county allocation from the Cleaner Water Program.