July 2014 Year in Review


New state laws approved by legislators took effect. Among them was a criminal code change for people arrested for crimes such as possession of a controlled substance or theft. Those people would be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony and would spend less time in jail if convicted.


Two days after a federal judge overturned Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, a federal appeals court issued an emergency order stopping same-sex marriages in the state until an appeal on the judge’s ruling could be heard. The stay stopped clerk’s offices across the state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and halted those couples’ weddings.

A Center Grove area man sentenced to 10 years in prison for paying a teenage girl for sex would remain on house arrest while he receives counseling and medical treatment. Paul Hewitt, 83, would normally have been sent to prison the same day as the sentencing, but Judge Cynthia Emkes wanted him to continue sex offender counseling, complete any medical procedures he needs before going to prison and pay for counseling for the victim.


A traffic stop was the subject of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, saying Franklin resident Pamela Konchinsky’s rights were violated. Two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers stopped her for about 10 minutes, checked her license and registration and told her to remove a sticker that said “Unmarked Police Car” from her back window, Konchinsky said.


About 20 jobs were coming to Johnson County after a company decided to expand in Franklin instead of at another facility in Michigan. Pridgeon & Clay wanted to expand its location in the Franklin Business Park, retaining 82 jobs and adding 18 positions.

The Johnson County sheriff wanted parents to hear and remember a story from earlier in the year. A forum was planned about the death of teen Samuel Motsay from a drug called

25i-NBOMe, or N-Bomb.


The county was fined $9,500 after a federal agency said the surveyor didn’t get permits before putting stones in two creeks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the county violated the national Clean Water Act when a contractor put riprap, or stones that are used to prevent erosion, into Grassy Creek and one of its tributaries, Short Run.


About seven years and three building site plans later, a religious group in Greenwood watched construction workers build their temple. The Sikh group at Gurudwara Shri Guru HarGobind Sahib Ji changes leadership every two years, and temple designs have changed as leaders have come and gone, delaying the project year after year.


A Greenwood company planned to relocate to Franklin and expand, bringing 40 jobs to the city over the following four years. Hetsco Inc., which does routine and emergency maintenance and construction management and labor for power plants and industrial operations, planned to buy and move into Franklin’s shell building on Graham Road.

One or more vandals broke into Webb Elementary School in Franklin. A parent who was at the school with a 4-H club asked a teacher to call police after finding a broken window. Whoever broke into the school apparently was cut by broken glass, as blood was found on the windowsill, an inside wall and on the floor. Nothing was taken from the school.


Development at a key Center Grove area intersection, hindered in the past by rules about sewer service, was allowed to move forward. Greenwood and Bargersville agreed to exchange sewer pipes, ending confusion about who should provide sewer service created during a fight to annex land along State Road 135.

A Franklin board recommended tax breaks for two companies that plan to create about 60 jobs and invest more than $8 million in the city. The proposed tax breaks would save Hetsco Inc. and Pridgeon and Clay a total of more than $600,000 over the next 10 years.


The governor’s office advised state agencies to ignore the same-sex marriages that occurred in June, which would affect 31 couples who were married in Johnson County. A memo from the governor’s chief counsel told state agencies to act as if the June 25 federal court ruling that overturned Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban never happened.

The increase Greenwood residents were paying in their sewer bill each month was adding up, and Greenwood was prepared to spend more than

$7 million on projects. The city council was considering borrowing $7.6 million to replace some of the oldest sewer lines in the city, which are downtown in the Pearl Street area.


Work to build a new road making up part of an east-west corridor through the county was delayed while the county changed the route to better handle future traffic. The proposed road would create a connection between Worthsville and Clark School roads, which was already a popular cut-through between interstates 65 and 74 near Shelbyville.


Moments after a plane sputtered, shook and slammed into a Greenwood neighborhood, three people tried desperately to save the pilot and co-pilot inside. A police officer and two others ran to the smoking wreckage of the small plane and pulled the co-pilot out. They ran back again, this time to get the pilot, Bill Gilliland, but he died immediately after the crash.


Friends and family remembered Bill Gilliland, 46, as an experienced pilot. He died in a plane crash near the Greenwood Municipal Airport.


Two stores offering organic meats and produce, foods free of artificial chemicals and specialty foods had opened in new locations on the southside. Earth Fare’s market was on County Line Road. Fresh Thyme opened a store on U.S. 31.


Nearly 2,000 non-livestock projects were on display at the Johnson County fair. The number and type of entries reflected changing interests among youth.


Waiting lists at day cares in Franklin were long, and a center near Interstate 65 in Franklin that was licensed for more than 100 children had closed, which led to even longer lists at local day cares that are already full. For example, more than 90 children were on a waiting list to get into the Discovery Child Development Center at Johnson Memorial Hospital.


Authorities said Trafalgar residents heard gunshots and bullets flying around their neighborhood as a man fired a gun in and at his home before leading police on a chase and killing himself. The man, Frederick Heller, pulled out a handgun and shot himself in his car after police stopped him on County Road 300S near State Road 135.

About 750 homes in Knollwood Farms subdivision weren’t connected with trails in the rest of the city. City officials want to get at least one trail from Franklin Community High School to the neighborhood, but the project was stalled because part of the land that would be needed wasn’t in the city limits. That was also a problem in several places along the west side of Franklin as the city looked to expand its trails.


Two Johnson County sheriff’s deputies were protecting themselves when they killed a man who shot at them in summer 2013, the county prosecutor decided. Derek J. Hobson of Greenwood ran from the officers July 13, 2013, through a cemetery east of Franklin. Hobson fired one shot at the deputies, and then his gun jammed.

Prosecutors planned to present evidence in the trial of three people charged in a deadly explosion that devastated an Indianapolis neighborhood that they say shows mounting gambling and credit card debt were motives in a plan to collect insurance money. Monserrate Shirley, her then-boyfriend Mark Leonard and his brother, Bob Leonard, faced murder and arson charges in the 2012 blast that killed a couple.


Greenwood used a tax break it had never used before when it enticed cosmetics supplier ULTA to build a distribution center in the city. The abatement provided bigger property tax breaks on equipment than on real estate and buildings and offered percentage discounts allowing the company to save more money over the course of the 10-year abatement than the city had offered in the past.


Both the town of Edinburgh and the state wanted to add warnings about the danger an area dam poses after two teens died this summer. In a typical summer, residents would swim downstream of the dam or wade out to sandbars and fish. But the accident was fresh in people’s minds, and residents reported not seeing a single person swimming in the river since the drowning. They also reported seeing fewer people fishing.


Workers at Lowe’s in Franklin came into work to find a hole in the roof, where one or more burglars had come into the store the night before. Franklin police were trying to find out who scaled the building, spray-painted a security camera, cut a hole in the roof and climbed down to a tall shelving unit to gain access to the store. Employees said it looked like copper pipe and fittings were among the targets, according to a police report.


Babar and Haris Suleman started an around-the-world flight for charity earlier in the summer, leaving from the Greenwood Municipal Airport and planning to fly to 14 countries to raise money for Seeds of Learning, an organization that builds schools in Pakistan. The pair from Plainfield were starting to cross the Pacific Ocean to the continental U.S. when they crashed into the ocean on one of the flight’s final legs.


Greenwood was hiring a lobbyist to persuade state lawmakers to help the city on a variety of issues, including possibly getting more money for road projects. The city hired Brian Burdick, attorney with law firm Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis.


More than two months of road construction would soon start at one of the Center Grove area’s busiest intersections — Smith Valley Road and State Road 135. The work scheduled to start Aug. 4 would prepare for the opening of a Walmart Supercenter in the summer.

An Indianapolis man who police said stole a gun from a Bargersville home, broke into multiple vehicles in the Center Grove area and led officers on a high-speed chase in a stolen car was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Aaron McCarty, 19, could have served additional time in prison for charges he faced in Marion County.


The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the father of a teenage pilot, who had been missing since their plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean. Rescue crews had been looking for 58-year-old Babar Suleman since the plane he and his son, 17-year-old Haris Suleman, were flying went down. Multiple agencies searched 4,874 square nautical miles for about 70 hours but found no sign of Babar Suleman.

Johnson County residents were able to check out books at any library in the county. Residents in Edinburgh, Greenwood and the rest of Johnson County would be able to take home books, audiobooks and DVDs from the library that was most convenient.


Since 2007, 83 meth labs had been found in homes, cars, motel rooms or out in the open in Johnson County. Twenty-four of those labs were found in Franklin, 22 were found in Edinburgh and 31 labs were found in unincorporated areas of the county. The number of local meth labs rose throughout the previous seven years. To this date, 11 meth labs have been discovered in 2014.


The state was working to buy one final property needed for a new Interstate 65 exit in Greenwood. The interchange project required properties from 15 landowners near Worthsville Road and I-65, where a new entrance to the city is planned. Over the previous year, the state purchased 14 of those properties after filing lawsuits and negotiating with landowners.


Greenwood stormwater workers pulled 256 tons of trash out of the drain pipes in the Whispering Trails neighborhood, on the northwest side of the city. In addition to the leaves and dirt they expected, they also found TVs, DVD players, BB guns, bricks, concrete blocks and sand.