December year end


Workers in nearly every other central Indiana county make more than those in Johnson County on average. The county’s average hourly wage of $16.52, which is based on an average of what local workers are paid every week, which was the lowest or second lowest among central Indiana counties in recent years.


State highway planners outlined where you would get on and off State Road 37 if it were turned into Interstate 69, with interchanges at County Road 144 and Smith Valley, County Line and Southport roads. The construction would require expanding the highway, constructing overpasses or underpasses and relocating businesses and homes and would take years to build.

A second state investigation found that the number and types of childhood cancer cases in Johnson County in recent years do not meet the guidelines to be ruled a cancer cluster. And the cancers that local children have been diagnosed with are not connected to the water supply.


Since the recession hit, more local families are living in poverty, monthly expenses are increasing and incomes are nearly stagnant. In the past five years, the number of people and families living in poverty, especially families with children, has been on the rise, reaching 14 percent.


A Nineveh woman died in a single-vehicle rollover accident just west of Interstate 65 in Bartholomew County between Columbus and Edinburgh. Bartholomew County sheriff’s deputies identified the victim as Megan E. Cummings.


A Franklin company was working with the state on a plan to remove years-old contamination from its property. An Indiana Department of Environmental Management investigation found contamination on the property of Reed Manufacturing Services. The investigation was started to trace back contamination that was found in nearby Webb well fields, owned by Indiana American Water Co., which are no longer in use.

With a week left to collect signatures, both opponents and supporters of a $10 million Center Grove student activity center said they were confident they could win the petition drive.


The Daily Journal was named the best newspaper in the state. The paper earned the Blue Ribbon award from the Hoosier State Press Association. The award recognizes the best paper in the state, regardless of circulation size.


The number of Hispanic students in Franklin jumped more than 91 percent in the past five years. Methods teachers used to use were no longer effective with this growing group of students, so schools were coming up with new plans to meet the needs of students whose first language was not English.


When students bring home ISTEP scores from last year, they will be spending part of their day practicing for the next year’s exam. When ISTEP results come out, the scores will be nearly a year old, and teachers won’t be able to start remediation for students who have fallen behind their peers.


The soon-to-be former middle school property will cost the city of Greenwood $1 million, but the possible return on that downtown investment could be worth the price. Two- and three-story downtown offices and condominiums, high-end steak and seafood restaurants, new retailers and trails connecting to city parks were all possibilities for the property.


One person was injured and a part of Interstate 65 was shut down for hours after an accident in a construction zone, south of Franklin.

Dozens of friends and family members of a missing Greenwood woman sifted through police reports, anonymous tips and leads from strangers on the Internet. Friends and family of Larissa Sam don’t know where she went after she was last seen leaving a relative’s home June 21.


More than six hours after a serious accident, family members of Allen Bidwell, of Greenwood found out he was in an Indianapolis hospital in critical condition with head and spinal injuries. No one in the family was contacted about the accident. His wife tracked his phone to a tow yard, heard about an accident on Interstate 65 and had to call hospitals to find out what happened to her husband.

An abandoned, overgrown property at a major Whiteland intersection will be home to five or six doctors by the end of the year. Johnson Memorial Health purchased the 1.8-acre lot with plans to build a 10,000-square-foot medical office on the space, which used to be home to a grocery store and has been empty for more than a decade.


Supporters and opponents of a proposed $10 million Center Grove student activity center turned in their petitions. County officials would have a total of 35 days to verify and count the signatures to see who had the most, deciding whether the project can be built or will need to be put on hold.


State Rep. Woody Burton, Sen. Greg Walker and Sen. Brent Waltz met with about a dozen of Johnson County school leaders to understand what improvements need to be made to the ISTEP exam. Lawmakers are also considering suspending A-F grades for schools, which are based on ISTEP scores.


Franklin schools and Johnson Memorial Health reached a five-year, $200,000 agreement. The hospital would provide nurses for each Franklin school and be able to put up signs at school facilities, and the school district could spend the money on promoting itself and training for teachers.


Police investigated two threats at Franklin Community High School in one week. Someone wrote “shoot up the school,” accompanied by drawings in a boy’s bathroom. Parents were notified by email the day of the second threat. Meanwhile, other high schools in central Indiana and around the country were locking down because of threats made at their schools.


Franklin Community Schools cancelled class for all students the last day before winter break because of bomb and shooting threats at the high school. Someone scrawled the words “shoot up the school,” with a drawing twice in three days. Then someone said a bomb was in the athletics wings of the high school. Some parents questioned why they weren’t told about the drawings in the bathroom until the second one was discovered and students began talking about it.


Johnson County residents make more money and measure better on certain health factors such as life expectancy and obesity, making it one of the state’s thriving counties, according to a study by the IU Public Policy Institute.


Greenwood school officials looked into potential ways to save a former log cabin, one of the first in Greenwood, that was in the way of a new middle school. But officials found the cost to move the cabin too high and instead offered to let the fire department do a controlled burn for training.


A man pleaded guilty to raping a woman in her Valle Vista home in Greenwood. Ira Link, 43, Beech Grove, could face up to 64 years in prison after police said he forced his way into an elderly woman’s home to rob her and then raped her.


Preparing for his next round of chemotherapy, 12-year-old Cooper Davis got to focus on something else for a few hours: the latest “Star Wars” movie. Canary Creek Cinemans in Franklin hosted a special showing for Davis, his family and another boy who is being treated for cancer at Riley Hospital at Indiana University Health.


Police found the person responsible for a bomb threat at Franklin Community High School that led to officials canceling classes the final day before Christmas break. A student, who officials would not identify, was responsible for the threat, police said.