April 2014


The state will spend $200 million on two Interstate 65 projects. One project will widen I-65 between Southport Road on the southside and State Road 44 in Franklin. The other is in the Lafayette area.


The city of Greenwood plans to install electronic signs to promote events, such as the annual Freedom Festival and sell advertising space to earn money for the city.


A Jan. 6 fire that destroyed a Franklin building that housed three businesses started in the attic of one office, but investigators couldn’t determine what sparked the blaze. Three months after the building at 191 Commerce Drive burned, the Franklin Fire Department was closing the investigation and listing the cause as undetermined but accidental.


A single-engine plane had been in the air for about 30 minutes and a student pilot had taken control when the engine suddenly lost power, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report of a March 18 crash in Greenwood. The student pilot, Brent Abshier, and instructor Dennis Rumley had just been practicing what to do when a plane’s engine shuts down and how to recover when the real emergency began.


A new state law gives six counties the option to let voters decide at the ballot box if they want to create a mass transit system, likely an express bus route with limited stops. The county council would get the first opportunity to put the question on the ballot, and if they didn’t, three township boards representing the northern third of the county could.

Manufacturing was the second-largest career field in Johnson County, employing 14 percent of the county’s nearly 70,000 workers. But that rate was down from more than five years before, when as many as 17 percent of residents worked in that field.


Starting in summer 2014, offenders convicted of crimes such as theft or possession of narcotics no longer would be sent to a state prison and instead would stay in the county jail. One question was whether the state would pay counties for keeping those offenders in their jails, since that will remove as many as 3,800 people from state prisons and save $12.5 million by 2020.

Donald L. Whitmire, 27, Indianapolis, an inmate in the Johnson County jail was accused of punching a correctional officer in the face then ran through the booking office, fighting with officers. A correctional officer who was punched in the jaw and an inmate punched in the eye were both taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital.


A company that builds indoor sports complexes for events such as youth sports tournaments was planning a development in Greenwood. GoodSports Enterprises Global planned a development at the southeast corner of County Line Road and Interstate 65.


GoodSports Enterprises Global proposed building a $22 million hotel and field house with indoor basketball and volleyball courts at the southeast corner of County Line Road and Interstate 65, with the facilities opening in 2015.


Since 2009, police in the county had arrested more than 1,900 teens or young adults for underage drinking, often finding them at house parties.

A Greenwood board gave final approval to doubling the size of a taxing district that will collect property taxes for economic development projects, such as replacing downtown streets and sidewalks. The city was expanding its eastside tax-increment financing district to include more of downtown.


A cosmetics retailer plans to open a distribution center in Greenwood that would add more than 500 jobs over the next five years. ULTA Beauty of Bolingbrook, Illinois, was spending

$51.6 million to lease and buy equipment for a more than 670,000-square-foot distribution center in the Southpoint Business Park.


The land around County Line Road and Emerson Avenue was some of the priciest for sale in Johnson County, and developers believed it would sell because the intersection attracts thousands of people every day.


State Road 44 from State Road 144 to Interstate 65 was no longer a state highway. Although road signs still call it a state highway, Franklin officially owned the road and was responsible for all maintenance.


A 13-year veteran of the Greenwood Police Department was suspended and the chief was asking that she be fired after repeatedly showing up late for work and violating multiple other departmental rules. Officer Paula Redd had been suspended with pay until a hearing by the police merit commission May 8, when the board would consider Chief John Laut’s recommendation to fire her.


Center Grove police were investigating a bomb threat written on a restroom wall at Center Grove High School. The school was partially locked down after a student found and reported the threat, a school spokeswoman said. Students were kept in their classrooms, but teachers were allowed to walk the halls.


For the first time in seven years, more than 90 percent of the seniors at Franklin Community High School graduated in four years. Franklin’s graduation rate had been the lowest in Johnson County, but at the end of last school year, 93 percent of seniors graduated on time, which is the same as Center Grove, Whiteland and Indian Creek high schools. At 95 percent, Greenwood had the county’s highest graduation rate.


Since the guidelines went into effect the previous July, about 28 people had filed paperwork in Johnson County courts trying to get convictions removed from their record. People convicted of misdemeanors and some felony charges can petition to have their criminal records sealed if they haven’t committed other crimes since then and met other requirements. But the process can cost thousands, and guidelines can be difficult to understand.

Because e-cigarettes were relatively new, many schools hadn’t updated student handbooks or policies banning students from using them. While principals can tell students to stop using e-cigarettes, they couldn’t punish or suspend students who get caught with them.


Police said the owner of Evergreen Photographic Illustration and Design took pictures of a naked young boy, and they were investigating whether he took inappropriate pictures of other children. John Spurr, 64, was arrested on three charges of child exploitation after a woman reported finding child pornography on his computer.

Property bills were in the mail, and more than half of property owners would find that they were paying less than the previous year. In 2014,

55 percent of all taxpayers would pay less, while 42 percent would pay more, and just 3 percent were unchanged.


The frame of a house that burned in Nineveh still stood as a reminder of the fire that killed a mother and two small children nearly six months before. Fire investigations, including those by insurance companies, had prevented demolition of the building. An investigation wrapped up during the first week of April, so the building could come down.


A longtime Greenwood eatery was changing. Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria was converting the 400-seat dining room into banquet space and moving the restaurant into the 50-seat carryout and bakery area. The owner wanted to grow the catering and banquet business, which was the official caterer for the Indianapolis Colts and the largest part of Jonathan Byrd’s operations.


One year after deciding to build the new aquatic center on the southwest side of the city in Freedom Park, Greenwood officials brought up a new idea to locate the facility on the opposite side of the city, near where a hotel and sports complex were planned. A pool engineering firm was estimating the cost to build the new pool, water slides and lazy river near the Interstate 65 exit at County Line Road.

More than 1,000 acres of land along State Road 135 in Greenwood would open up for development once the city finalized a sewer service deal with Bargersville. After a court battle over land near State Road 135 in the unincorporated Center Grove area, both Greenwood and Bargersville owned sections of sewer system within the other’s boundaries. The dispute, rules and expenses related to sewer service were hindering development there.


A man recently released from prison held a gun inches from his girlfriend, a correctional officer, and fired a shot shattering the car window in a Greenwood neighborhood. The two met at the state correctional facility in Edinburgh, where she worked as a correctional officer and he was serving a 2½-year sentence. Both ended up held at gunpoint by police in a church parking lot.


Concrete medians and a new turn lane could cut down on accidents and backups at Franklin’s most dangerous intersection, but no work was planned. The intersection of Westview Drive and U.S. 31 had been deemed the city’s most dangerous, with an average of about one accident per week since the start of 2014.

Marla Clark and Joe Villanueva, two Republicans running for Superior Court 4 judge, topped the primary election season spending list in 2014. They spent more than $12,000 on billboards, yard signs, advertisements and brochures. The two candidates were seeking the judge seat in the new court that opens next year — the first contested local judge race since 1996.


Nobody had stepped forward with a

$2 million winning Powerball ticket that was sold by the Nineveh Mini Mart. The ticket had the first five numbers and the Power Play correct but missed the Powerball number.

A hotel and sports complex project planned for Greenwood wasn’t the developer’s first project for the property. Jerald Good, owner of GoodSports Enterprises Global, planned a hotel and water park for the land when Cabela’s was going to build a destination store on County Line Road near Interstate 65. When Cabela’s dropped its plans to build in Greenwood, the Splash Universe project went away, too.


About 150 soldiers were honored at Franklin College, where friends and family said goodbye for the next several months. The soldiers from the 1413 Engineer Company, based at the Johnson County Armory in Franklin, left for Texas to start training before nine months of work in Afghanistan.

The idea of a new tax on hotel and motel stays isn’t dead. County council members who voted no to the innkeeper’s tax formed a group with other economic development officials to research the county’s best attractions and ways to promote them to answer questions about how to spend the money from an innkeeper’s tax, a

5 percent tax on hotel and motel bills in the county.


Crews started tearing down the charred remains of a Nineveh house where a fire killed two young children and their mother. As the demolition progressed, workers gave the husband and father of the deceased, Christopher Abbott, mementos that survived the blaze, including family photos and house keys.

After a year of concerns and practice runs, local students finished the first day of ISTEP testing without any problems.


For the first time, at least 90 percent of the third-graders from each of Johnson County’s public school districts passed IREAD-3, a reading test recently required by the state.

Architects have two ideas for what to do about Indian Creek Elementary School, where parts of the building are between 28 and 75 years old and need to be upgraded: demolish and rebuild nearly 40,000 square feet of the school’s oldest sections or construct a new wing for prekindergarten through second grade at Indian Creek Intermediate School. The costs of the two projects would be similar — between $8.2 and $8.5 million.