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Trimble County’s James Thomas Wilcoxson (10) goes to the basket in front of Shelby County’s Dillon Ritchey (3) during Thursday’s game in Bedford.


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Support sought for preservation historic home in Hanover
  • Updated

Indiana Landmarks wants to save a house in Hanover and is asking the Jefferson County Commissioners for help in doing that at their meeting Thursday.

Greg Sekula, representing the Southern Regional Office of Indiana Landmarks, asked for $7,500 to help save a two-story house located at 263 East Main Street in Hanover, just across the street from the town’s post office.

The Commissioners tabled any action on the request until their next meeting scheduled for Dec. 21, to research where the funds might come.

“We are interested in doing something,” said Commissioners President David Bramer. “Oftentimes it’s focused strictly in Madison for historic preservation, but we have an opportunity to help folks out there” in another part of the county. “When you have places like this, you try to do something to clean it up.”

“We have extensive history working here in Jefferson County over the years with a variety of projects” including bringing the structural engineer after the 2009 fire to the Jefferson County Courthouse, Sekula said. “One of our keystone programs at Indiana Landmarks is working to save endangered historic properties” including now “to save one of the beleaguered houses of Hanover.”

He said Indiana Landmarks is working with the Town of Hanover along with support from Hanover College “to help improve conditions in the community to be attractive for students in the college.” The organization has met with Lake Lambert, president of Hanover College, and Keith Mefford, Hanover clerk-treasurer, “to come up with a strategy to hopefully find a preservation sensitive buyer for this house.”

“There’s a great deal of need for the property,” Sekula said, noting the $7,500 request would be used for getting dumpsters and hiring workers to assist with the cleanup of the building to make the property a little more presentable for marketing purposes. The building also has structural concerns that need to be addressed including “a gapping hole in a back of the one-story section that we want to get patched,” he added. “Our goal is to clean the house out, take out the old carpeting and some of the paneling, and to expose the original good bones of the house which is a great 1855 Greek Revival style house.”

Sekula said that any time Indiana Landmarks is involved in a real estate transaction, covenants are attached to the building requiring a future buyer to present a rehabilitation plan and to be certain the rehabilitation program restores the historic integrity of the structure. “We will be guiding that process along when we hopefully find a buyer,” Sekula said. “That covenant goes with the deed on the property and it extends in perpetuity.”

Based on that all subsequent buyers will be bound by that covenant which involves keeping the house in good repair along with an annual inspection by Indiana Landmarks. “We ask them to make repairs over the years. It’s a long-term commitment that we have to the property.”

Sekula said Jefferson County and Madison are known throughout the state and the nation for their historic preservation efforts. “We’re hoping that culture will extend into Hanover as well. There’s a lot of good structures there, and I think there’s a strong commitment on the part of the town to want to see improvement to preserve some of these endangered historic properties,” he said.

Sekula noted that Indiana Landmarks was also involved in the restoration of the Levi Butler House, a circa 1847 house in Dupont. The house, an outstanding example of Greek Revival style, was saved from foreclosure and neglect in 2015, and has now been restored.

“We believe strongly in trying to preserve the heritage of the county and that extends beyond Madison to include other communities here in the county,” Sekula said.

The house targeted in Hanover features nearly 2,800 square feet of living area on the two floors. Indiana Landmarks’ research shows that John P. Smith purchased the lot on which the house sits in 1851 from the heirs of John Shannon. Smith sold the property in 1867 to John and Ann Litson, who owned the property until 1872. There were a succession of owners in the late 19th century including Hanover College professor Edward J. Hamilton.

Sekula noted the 19th century porch was recently removed from the house due to safety concerns but materials were retained that could help with restoration. “We dismantled that and saved everything,” he said. “All the scroll work is stored in the house right now. The posts are in the back under a car port structure. We had to take it down. It was dangerous. But we did save all those pieces. The obligation of a new buyer would be to put the porch back onto the house.”

Sekula added “most of the original windows are there and a lot of the wood trim. You just don’t see it because you’re focused on paneling, dropped ceilings” and other aspects of the house that overshadow the structure itself. The house also retains some two-panel doors and poplar flooring along with the staircase, which he said is one of the distinguishing features of the house.

Sekula said doing substantially more rehabilitation on the property would cost much more than the $7,500 Indiana Landmarks is requesting from the Commissioners but there needs to be a start somewhere.

“We’re treating it incrementally,” he said. “If we can get it cleaned and reveal the structure with the hope of finding a preservation-minded buyer that way.” He added that depending how that goes, Indiana Landmarks will then determine if it needs to invest more on the structure. “We are treating this as let’s do a little bit” with the market currently being strong. The house, currently on the market for $27,000, is something Sekula thinks can’t be found in Madison, particularly with the amount of square footage in the Hanover house.

Sekula also noted that other houses in vicinity of 263 East Main Street have recently been rehabilitated so the neighborhood is trending positive and once this house is done, “that block is really going to be turned around.”

He hopes seeing that impact will provide impetus toward restoration of other distressed properties in Hanover. “Things are moving in the right direction,” he said.


Madison Community Players will perform “A Nice Family Christmas” this weekend in Milton, Kentucky. Pictured, from left, are (Front) — Joe Morgan as Uncle Bob, Michael Hedges as Carl, Lindsay Holley as Stacy and Stephanie Hellmann as the grandmother; (Back) — Alec Lichlyter as Michael, Clarice Scheele as Jill and Tami Dubuque as the mother. The remaining performances are at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday at Richwood on the River, 1233 Highway 36 in Milton.

‘A Nice Family Christmas’


News
Jefferson COVID death toll increases to 105
  • Updated

Jefferson County recorded another COVID-19 death on Friday — the community’s 105th during the pandemic — as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise and the positivity rate increases.

In information released by the Indiana Department of Health, Jefferson County now has had 5,856 positive cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic and 105 deaths. The county’s positive cases have increased by 96 over the last two days including 60 in the last day. The county’s positivity rate is now 11.3%.

On Thursday, Jefferson County Health Department Administrator Tammy Monroe reported on increased incidences of COVID-19, noting that “as colder weather approaches and we start seeking indoor activities and gatherings the Jefferson County Health Department highly recommends masking up while indoor public places or gathering with those outside your immediate household.”

Indiana has had more the 10,000 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last two days — 5,653 on Thursday and 5,659 on Friday. Indiana’s overall total is now 1,118,335. Meanwhile, the state had 57 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last day, increasing the overall total to 17,117. The state’s positivity rate is now 13.1%.

Indiana now has 19 counties in the “Red” metric for high spread including Switzerland County. Jefferson County remains in the “Orange” for moderate to high spread. Incidence rates for Trimble and Carroll counties in Kentucky are keeping both “Red” for high spread.

In Switzerland County, the positivity rate is 13.9% with 8 new positive cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday for an overall total of 1,476. Switzerland County’s death rate remains at 12.

In Trimble County, the positivity rate is 18.89% with 19 new positive case of COVID-19 since Wednesday for an overall total of 1,360. Trimble’s death rate remains at 21.

In Carroll County, the positivity rate is 16.99% with 28 new positive cases in the last day for an overall total of 2,121 Carroll’s death rate remains at 31.

Kentucky had 2,841 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last day for an overall total of 792,015. There were 40 more deaths in Kentucky, bringing the overall total to 11,027. Kentucky’s positivity rate is 9.2%.

COVID vaccines and COVID booster shots are available at the Jefferson County Health Department, 715 Green Road in Madison, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., for ages 5 and older. All three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available including Pfizer pediatric doses. Walk-ins are accepted or schedule an appointment by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov

Vaccinations and boosters are available Monday through Friday at the Switzerland County Health Department, 1190 West Main Street in Vevay. Kentuckians can find where to get vaccinated at vaccine.ky.gov.


News
Man convicted in Predator Net sentenced
  • Updated

A Jennings County man who was convicted of child solicitation in a bench trial last month was sentenced Monday to nine years at the Indiana Department of Correction in connection with a Madison Police Department internet sting in the summer of 2020.

Dennis Lloyd Mothersbaugh, 41, of North Vernon, Indiana, was charged with soliciting an underage girl for sex on social media as part of MPD’s Operation Predator Net that arrested 20 men total over a period of several weeks.

Jefferson Circuit Judge D.J. Mote found Mothersbaugh guilty of Child Solicitation, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Paraphernalia and Resisting Law Enforcement on Nov. 11. At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Mote vacated the Sexual Misconduct with a Minor conviction and sentenced Mothersbaugh to nine years on the Child Solicitation conviction, a Level 4 felony; and 30 days each, concurrent, on the marijuana, paraphernalia and resisting arrest charges, all misdemeanors.

Mothersbaugh thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex when he traveled to Johnson Lake on Madison’s hilltop to meet her in August 2020. However, when he pulled into the pre-arranged meeting place, Mothersbaugh encountered police officers. When he was ordered out of his vehicle and as officers attempted to restrain him, he forcefully resisted.

“Mr. Mothersbaugh was clearly aware that the young teen he believed he was conversing with on social media was just 14 years old,” said Jefferson County Prosecutor David Sutter. “He initiated the conversation with the profile and the victim’s age was discussed.”

During his conversations, which actually were with MPD detectives working undercover, Mothersbaugh referred to the profile as “Sexy Butt,” discussed taking her on a motorcycle ride and referenced the “pleasure” he would give her.

“This case should ring a warning bell for all parents,” said Sutter. “There are very dangerous predators out there who every day try to engage young teens in harmful and illegal activities. Social media platforms have become an important part of our lives, but we all must remain alert to the dangers they can pose.”

Mothersbaugh has previous convictions in Jennings, Jackson and Bartholomew counties on charges ranging from marijuana possession to driving while intoxicated. He also made national news in 2018 for his arrest and guilty plea for assault and battery during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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