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Norton KDH asks county to pay more for EMS
  • Updated

Jefferson County’s Council and Commissioners will hold a joint session next week to discuss a request by Norton King’s Daughters’ Health asking the county to increase it’s funding for emergency medical services from the current $100,000 annually to $500,0000 in 2024.

Council President Ray Black Jr. said at Tuesday’s County Council meeting that a letter was received one week ago requesting the increase.

On Thursday, Carol Dozier, chief executive officer of Norton King’s Daughters’ Health, released a statement about the request for additional financial support. She said the request is a response to recent increases in operating costs. The increase requested would be for $250,000 in 2023 and $500,000 each for 2024 and 2025.

“Across Indiana and Kentucky, most EMS (ambulance) services are provided by local county governments,” Dozier said. “Operating an ambulance service includes investments into ambulances and hiring of personnel to cover an operation that must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The county’s contract for ambulance services through the local hospital dates back prior to Norton’s acquisition of KDH in January 2022.

“For more than three decades, Norton King’s Daughters’ Health has provided Emergency Medical Services coverage for Jefferson County, Indiana. This commitment has saved Jefferson County taxpayers millions of dollars, including more than $4.5 million since 2019,” Dozier said. “Norton King’s Daughters’ Health has been working with Jefferson County officials for several years. By working together, we can ensure that local residents will continue to receive the best emergency services possible. It’s important to all of us who live and work in Jefferson County.”

Black suggested the possibility of an interlocal agreement with other local government entities in Jefferson County to contribute towards ambulance service costs. “I think not only is the county benefiting, but all other municipalities are, and I think that there might be a need for interlocal agreement, and for them to contribute to that.”

“I completely agree with that,” Council member Chris Shelton said. “This is a sizable sum and it would be the responsibility of every tax base entity so it would be Madison, Hanover, Dupont, Brooksburg and the county.”

Council member Heather Foy concurred that since the benefits are throughout the county that the municipalities should also contribute, and the agreement “should happen soon” before those entities begin planning their budgets for 2024.

However, the Council also wants to hear from the County Commissioners before doing anything. “There definitely needs to be further discussion with the Commissioners,” said Shelton. The Commissioners typically are at attendance at County Council meetings but a road school transportation conference was being held this week, and that schedule conflict prevented them from attending.

The decision was made to schedule a joint session with the County Commissioners and County Council. On Thursday morning, Sarah Morgan, administrative assistant for the Commissioners, confirmed that the meeting has been scheduled following the next Commissioners meeting which is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 23.

Fire damages FatBoyz body shop
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A vehicle fire Wednesday morning at FatBoyz Bodyworkz LLC on Madison’s hilltop spread throughout the building and led to the evacuation of the neighboring Jefferson County Public Safety Center that houses the county’s 911 dispatch center.

The fire, reported at 9:27 a.m., started in a vehicle inside the structure. Firefighters initially attacked the vehicle fire with water, attempting to limit the blaze to that. But flames spread throughout the building, breaking through the east side of the structure and then out the back.

“In an environment like that you’ve got gasoline, oil, paint, plastics, and everything that you don’t want which burns pretty intensely and very rapidly,” said Don McKay, an investigator for the city of Madison Fire Department and a member of Walnut Street Fire Company No. 4.

“It was one of those difficult to fight for several reasons,” he said, adding there were several hot spots that firefighters battled to get out.

McKay said there were other vehicles in the structure that were damaged “in varying degrees. Some not so much, other than smoke, which can be a problem. A couple were fire damaged.” He wasn’t sure exactly how many vehicles were involved within the structure, but estimated there may have been five or six.

McKay hesitated to speculate on whether the building is salvageable, noting the east side that sustained the most heavy damage might need to be demolished or at least heavily repaired. “The west side seems to be in decent shape,” he said.

FatBoyz, located at 606 Green Road, is right next to the Jefferson County Public Safety Center, 620 Green Road, which houses the county’s the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency and 911 operations.

Susie Lawrence, director of the 911 center, said dispatchers evacuated their building after seeing the expanding flames at FatBoyz and realizing smoke was beginning to come into their building. Based on those observations and the threat it presented, the decision was made to evacuate as a precaution.

Troy Morgan, the county’s EMA director, said in order to clear smoke from the county building, 911 operations were relocated to an alternate location but the central dispatch continuined to receive 911 calls and dispatch emergency responders. Non-emergency calls are being delayed until operations are moved back into the public safety center.

On the EMA side of the building, Morgan said there was one scheduled meeting that was not able to be held there but there was minimal disruption otherwise. He said he is currently working remotely but anticipates that both the EMA and 911 operations will both be working from their building by noon on Friday.

McKay said one firefighter received a lacerated hand from the metal on the garage door but there were no other injuries. All FatBoyz employees safely evacuated the building.

All city of Madison city fire departments were on scene along with additional manpower from Madison Township and Hanover Township fire departments. Madison Police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department assisted with traffic control. An investigator from the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office was on scene and Norton King’s Daughters’ Health EMS and the local Salvation Army provided support.

Biker gang leader sentenced to 120 years
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A motorcycle gang member who was convicted of murder and felony gang charges by a Jefferson County jury on Feb. 9, was sentenced Wednesday to a total of 120 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge D.J. Mote.

Michael J. “Billy Goat” Karnuth, 34, of North Vernon, Indiana, was sentenced to 60 years on the murder charge and an additional 60 years on a criminal gang enhancement to run consecutive. Karnuth was a member of the Warlocks motorcycle gang and was acting as a gang member at the time of the murder.

Three gang members and one female associate were charged in connection with the June 2021 attack with two pleading guilty, Karnuth found guilty by a jury and a fourth scheduled for a jury trial in April.

“This is a significant sentence which all but ensures a dangerous man will no longer be a threat to our community” said Prosecutor David Sutter.

In June 2021, Dustin B. “Kutter” Lindner, 35, Georgetown, Kentucky, died from a gunshot wound to the chest during a shootout near Dupont, Indiana. Lindner, a member of the Pagans motorcycle gang, was with Karnuth and members of another gang, the Warlocks, as they were attempting to execute an attack on another biker believed to be an imposter.

The group attacked the residence of Shaun Rudis, whom they believed was displaying patches and tattoos of the motorcycle gangs while not being a member. Rudis fatally wounded Lindner in the chest with a bullet fired from a .223 rifle when he returned fire in self defense.

Karnuth was president of the Heavy Hitters chapter of the Warlocks and had spent weeks gathering information on Rudis’ whereabouts and organizing the pursuit and attack on Rudis.

Following the shooting, gang members fled the area in two vehicles but crashed into each other. They attempted to dispose of a vehicle, firearms, and gang paraphernalia following the shooting, but those items were ultimately recovered by law enforcement.

“The conviction and sentence are the direct results of the outstanding investigation conducted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana State Police,” Sutter said.

The final defendant in the case, David Kenball “Karate Dave” Faulkner of Cleves, Ohio, is facing murder, attempted robbery, attempted burglary and gang enhancement charges and is scheduled for a jury trial on April 24 in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Charlie’s Beat
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You know you’re living in a real music town when it seems like every other bartender, waiter, barista, and bouncer you encounter is also a musician, and quite often working on their own album project. Such is the case in Madison, and why it was no surprise when I learned that the young man serving my brew at Crafted Coffee is also an aspiring singer-songwriter.

Noah Wright recently purchased Crafted Coffee from the original owner, the Crafton brothers. Noah and his family live just a few doors away behind the shop.

“I’m pretty excited about the potential of this shop,” Noah explained. “Not just as a coffee business, but as a nurturing space for the many creative people who call Madison home.

“My dream is to build a sort of culture of creative collaboration, with Crafted as the central locus. A space for artists, visual, musical, all kinds, to just loaf and talk and argue and engage with each other.

“Madison is a very fertile ground for artists to grow, and I want this shop to be the trellis or structure of it to flourish and climb, if that makes sense.

“It might take the form of songwriter meet-ups, where an experienced mentor like Robert Reynolds provides guidance and encouragement to budding songwriters. It might be a monthly paint night where artists gather and practice. One of our baristas, Bevany Phelps, has led a couple of these paint nights here.

“It might be a book club that meets here, or a writer’s night. It could be an open mic for singing or poetry. And I’m really thinking about the younger crowd. I think there are existing opportunities for the older folks in town, but less so for the Millenials and Gen Z. I’d like to fill that gap. Especially since I’m one of them!

“This whole dream ties directly in with my own interest in music and songwriting. I was a preacher’s kid, and I had to change schools all the time. One of the ways I made connections and new friends was through music.

“When I write my songs, the subject matter tends to be hyper local. It’s mostly about family, my wife, and my friendships in the community. I have about an albums-worth of songs almost ready to put out there, and I got a lot of great encouragement from Robert Reynolds. He says they are pretty good songs, and who am I to argue with Robert?

“So, I guess as the saying goes, keep your eye on this space! We’ll probably get an open mic going pretty soon, and then hopefully some of the other meet-ups, like painting and songwriting. And I think it’s about time to bring out my original songs and share them with the world. There’s so much I want to get going here, and we’re just getting started!

Hot Tip of the Week

First, before we look at the week ahead, a quick glimpse at the weekend behind us. I had a chance to catch Jimmy Mundane Band at Rivertown Grill last Friday, and I was suitably impressed. This Carrollton-based band knows how to rock! Keep an eye out for Jimmy Mundane playing more local venues as the season warms up. Looking at this coming weekend, there are at least two shows worth your special attention. The first is the Songwriters in the Round show at Red Bicycle Hall on Saturday, produced by House of Jane. If you like great original songs, sung by them that wrote ’em, don’t miss this event. The other show I’m excited about, and where you will probably find me on Saturday, is Tim Brickley and his band playing at the Taproom. Madison loves Tim, and the atmosphere will be pure joy and love. See you 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, March 16

Rivertown Grill — Fred Elam

The Central — Jam with Jimmy

Friday, March 17

1st Street Saloon — Gary Brown

American Legion — Madhouse Moxie

Rivertown Grill — Strange Brew

The Central — Taste of Ireland

The Drake — Vaguely Familiar

Brown Gym — Old School Band (senior citizens dance door opens 5 p.m./dance 6:30 p.m.)

VFW — Karaoke

Saturday, March 18

Off-Broadway Taproom — Tim Brickley & the Bleeding Hearts

Rivertown Grill — Bipolar 2.0

The Central — Rich Hardesty & the Little Nashville

Red Bicycle Hall — Songwriters in the Round

VFW — Hotwired

Sunday, March 19

Rivertown Grill — Hippie Fingers

Tuesday, March 21

Off-Broadway Taproom — Open Mic Night