November end of year 2014


A Greenwood woman was arrested after police said she accepted $100 in exchange for sexual acts twice in three days, police said. Rachael Sims, 20, was arrested on two charges of prostitution and one charge of possession of marijuana. Sims had posted an escort advertisement on a website.


Local governments are considering an option to help redevelop properties that have been vacant for years and have thousands in unpaid taxes.


An Edinburgh resident threatened a woman at gunpoint and then fired shots at another man whom he earlier had fought with inside a bar, police said. No one was seriously injured, but the woman was hit in the face with the butt of the gun. William Sweeney, 47, 612 S. Walnut St., Edinburgh, was arrested on charges of criminal recklessness, criminal confinement, intimidation, pointing a firearm and battery.


Voters got in lines with 20, 50 or more people at polling sites, while workers called for more voting machines during an Election Day with more voters than expected. At the end of the day, 24 percent of the county’s 99,000 voters had cast a ballot. After 9 percent of voters cast ballots in the May primary, county officials were expecting an equally low turnout.

Three incumbents would keep their seats on the Center Grove school board for the next four years and make decisions about future building projects and advertising agreements. Voters in White River Township opted to keep Scott Alexander, Adam Norman and Jack Russell on the school board.


For the first time, two local school districts received straight A’s on their annual report card from the state. Both Center Grove and Clark-Pleasant schools received A’s from the Indiana Department of Education at all of their elementary, middle and high schools.


A Franklin woman who cut a teenager’s genitalia with a box cutter would spend no time in jail but has to undergo anger management counseling. Bonita Vela, 36, was sentenced to spend 10 months on home detention and six months on probation. She pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal confinement after she held the teen in a neighbor’s home for three hours and threatened him before cutting him.


A growing population with more money to spend has prompted another grocery store to expand on the southside. Kroger will replace its current store at the busy intersection of County Line Road and Emerson Avenue with a new, larger Marketplace store, which will sell groceries and home items. The new store is the fourth to announce plans for the southside recently. Meijer, Walmart and Aldi have built, begun to build or announced they will build new stores in Johnson County.


The Greenwood Community High School Marching Woodmen earned the Class B championship for a second year in a row at the Indiana State School Music Association state finals for their show “Beauty Within the Beast.” They edged out Concord and Northview high schools in a tight race. Center Grove High School finished fifth in its class.


After receiving a grant that paid students who took math, science and English Advanced Placement courses and passed the exams, Whiteland Community High School students earned a total of $20,500. The high school’s teachers, who qualified for bonuses if they met specific goals for students taking and passing the courses and tests, earned a total of $35,560.


A family anonymously donated $10,000 so all members of the Center Grove High School marching band would be able to go to New York City to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Despite a raffle fundraiser and appeals to corporate donors to help cover the cost of the trip, band director Kevin Schuessler had resigned himself to eight teens not being able to go.


In the upcoming weeks, a South Bend judge would make her decision on whether a death row inmate convicted of murdering a Franklin College student was competent to be executed. Attorneys for Michael Dean Overstreet and the state both filed their final arguments for and against his execution.


A former Greenwood police officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and would spend the following year on probation after he was arrested at a New Year’s party in 2014. Joseph Rodriguez was arrested at a party in the Hickory Stick subdivision in the Center Grove area.


The Greenwood Municipal Airport wanted to spend $7.4 million in tax dollars to launch the first phase of improvements at the city facility.


Friends were remembering an Indiana man, with family in Franklin, as a humanitarian dedicated to helping others who were struggling. Peter Kassig was captured in Syria while delivering relief supplies for an aid group he founded. The Islamic State group released a video that appeared to show that the 26-year-old aid worker had been beheaded.


Edinburgh Middle School received an F from the state, a first for a Johnson County school. School officials immediately started looking at ways to make improvements. The biggest reason for the failing grade was that teachers weren’t fully preparing students to master all that they needed to learn in their core classes.


More than 50 police officers and U.S. marshals went to more than a dozen homes and arrested 18 people, from a juvenile female to a 59-year-old man, and were looking for six others. Police set up dozens of undercover drug deals in the Edinburgh area and bought heroin, methamphetamine and prescription pills in order to build criminal cases against 24 people, police said.


A wet fall combined with an earlier than expected snowfall delayed multiple road construction projects throughout the county, including two major intersections along State Road 135, Worthsville Road east of Greenwood and Main Street in Franklin. It was too cold to lay asphalt pavement, meaning that work on the projects stalled.


Michael Dean Overstreet would remain on death row indefinitely but would not be executed unless the state could later prove he is competent. St. Joseph County Judge Jane Woodward Miller ruled that Overstreet’s severe case of paranoid schizophrenia prevents him from rationally understanding his execution, meaning he could not be put to death for the 1997 murder of Franklin College student Kelly Eckart.


Center Grove was looking to spend about $350,000 on a new lab where students would learn about science, technology, engineering and math. School board members were considering a plan to convert part of a former maintenance building near the high school into a lab that would give students another way to study math and science that they’ll need for careers in engineering and other technical fields.


About 500 children in Johnson County qualified for the Head Start program, meaning they’re at least 3 years old and their families met federal poverty guidelines. A total of 133 children, or about

27 percent of those who qualify for the program, were enrolled at Head Start centers in Greenwood, Franklin and Edinburgh. Seventeen families were on a waiting list to enroll their children at the Franklin center, and 75 families are waiting at the Greenwood center.


More than 300 families in need received enough food for a Thanksgiving meal at an annual event at SS. Francis and Clare Church in the Center Grove area.


In a section near downtown Greenwood, some of the homes are more than

150 years old, and the city wanted to get homeowners help fixing and maintaining them. City officials were considering adding a section of the city, northeast of Main Street and U.S. 31 and including homes on both sides of Madison Avenue.


About 100,000 shoppers were expected to head to the mall for Black Friday shopping. The mall has about 6,400 parking spaces.

The median amount local households donated to charity was $3,590 in 2012, the most recent year data was available.


As crowding at the Johnson County jail became more of a concern in recent years, expanding a program that sentenced people to work release and home detention was examined as an alternative. The 100-person facility that houses offenders on work release was at about 50 percent capacity, and the space for female offenders reaches capacity more than 85 percent of the time.


In the days leading up to Christmas, nearly 800 baskets of food would be delivered to families throughout Johnson County. Struggling families would open their doors to find a fresh ham, eggs, milk and bread to cook a holiday feast. The annual Good Cheer Fund delivery has been a lifeline for the hungry for more than 90 years. Financial donations are used to buy food, while students across Johnson County collect canned goods to fill the baskets.

Black Friday shopping traditions continued, even though many stores opened Thursday. Shoppers from Greenwood to Edinburgh said the stores were busy but not as much as in past years. They said that the earlier opening times and the sale prices offered beyond the traditional Black Friday store hours were spreading the crowd out.