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BLOOMFIELD & MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Hundreds of Hoosiers in the western and southwestern sections of the state will have gigabit broadband internet service following a partnership between the Utilities District of Western Indiana (UDWI) and South Central Indiana (SCI) REMC. The two companies plan to expand fiber to the north-central sections of UDWI’s territory to bring high-speed internet to around 200 unserved homes and businesses.

SCI REMC will use existing fiber assets to attach to UDWI’s existing pole plant to quickly provide internet service.

“It’s a special thing to be able to work together with other local organizations to achieve the same end goal. The partnership will allow SCI to bring fiber to areas that we normally wouldn’t be able to reach, and we look forward to working with UDWI on this project,” said James Tanneberger, president and CEO of SCI REMC.

Indiana announced the second round of the Next Level Connections Broadband grant program last year, which awarded more than $50 million for 50 broadband expansion projects across the state. SCI REMC was awarded two grants and is using one of them to help build fiber in the new partnership.

“We are grateful for opportunities that allow UDWI to serve its members in ways beyond utility service. This partnership allows UDWI to further strengthen its internal goal of improving service and reliability for its members, and we are excited for this project to begin,” said UDWI Chief Executive Officer Doug Childs. 

UDWI says construction is slated to begin this year, with anticipated completion in mid-to-late 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Bloomfield family is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the killing of 40-year-old Wilma Hochstetler.

She and her husband were shot nearly two weeks ago on the city’s west side. The family was on North High School Road after their car broke down.

A family friend says two people robbed the family, shot her husband and then shot Wilma. Wilma died at the scene while her husband, Jonathon, was taken to a hospital. He had surgery and is expected to fully recover.

At the scene, Jonathon asked his 6-year-old son to get his cellphone from the vehicle. The little boy grabbed it and handed it to his father so he could call 911.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has not released suspect descriptions in the shooting. IMPD says it’s unclear what led up to the deadly shooting.

The armed robbery happened around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 17 near the 3000 block of North High School Road, according to Andrew Yutzy, a longtime family friend.

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Greene County Sheriff’s Department is searching for a 17-year-old boy who was last seen at a residential group home in Indianapolis. 

Chaise Smith was described as 5-feet-9 or 5-feet-10 and 185 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. According to the sheriff’s department, he was last seen about 4 p.m. Friday at 1404 S. State St. in Indianapolis. That’s the address of the Resource Treatment Center of Acadia Healthcare. 

No other information was provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana University employee has been fired after police arrested him for allegedly raping a student. The victim believes she was drugged then raped at the man’s apartment. 

It all started here at Brothers Friday night, where police say the victim was drinking and having fun with friends. Then things went dark. The next memory she had, police say, was waking up with her hands and feet duct taped together and her mouth taped shut. Naked and disoriented, the victim managed to free herself while the suspect 22-year old Gregory Danielson slept.

Police believe the two knew each other. 

“That’s absolutely awful. I can’t imagine a worse thing. That’s personally one of my worst fears,” said IU student Mia Friedel.

The victim called her roommates, who then called police. Police found her wandering around downtown on 6th Street wearing just a shirt. Officers believe she was sexually assaulted. Her family believes she was also drugged. Police took her to the hospital for evaluation.

“All the girls should be able to walk around without having any concern that that such evil things can happen,” said IU student  Abdul Basit.

On Monday, detectives interviewed Danielson. They say he initially lied about the incident until police found a roll of duct tape and used duct tape in his trash can. They say he then said the victim agreed to be tied up. Officers arrested him anyway. He’s now in the Monroe County Jail with no bond facing a rape charge, according to the jail officials.

“A lot of people are lost and it just manifest in a not so great way in this city,” said IU student Conor Crittenden.

According to the university, Danielson was a temporary employee for IU recreational sports. He has been barred from campus and was fired on Tuesday.

“Especially if it’s a faculty member, somebody who is supposed to be ensuring the safety and education of our students, it’s just horrific,” said Friedel. 

Danielson’s initial court hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Monroe Circuit Court 2.

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A McDonald’s manager took a photo or tried to take one of a 10-year-old boy in the restaurant’s men’s restroom, police said Friday. 

Tyler Mathew Johnson, 36, of Terre Haute was arrested Friday and faces preliminary charges of attempted child molesting and voyeurism, the Monroe County sheriff said in a news release. 

Police said the incident occurred in a stall of the men’s restroom at the McDonald’s, 4499 W. State Road 46. That is southeast of Ellettsville. 

“The boy immediately told a family member what happened,” the release said.

The boy said he saw a cellphone, likely taking a photo of him, held over the top of the door while he was in the restroom stall. The boy later described the phone cover’s design and the shoes of the person holding the phone. The man left before the boy exited the stall. 

Detective with the sheriff’s office later examined video from the surveillance system and saw a man talking with another person. A short time later, that man entered the restroom with a cellphone in hand. He left the bathroom before the boy. The boy is seen on surveillance video talking with his family member about what happened.

Restaurant employees watched the surveillance video with detectives and identified the man as Johnson. 

Johnson was listed Friday as being in the Monroe County jail. Police said information on any bond set for his release and his jailing booking photo were not available. No court case had been filed in online records by Friday afternoon. 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana University running back Morgan Ellison has been suspended for 2½ years from the college and dismissed permanently from the football team, IU announced Friday night.

An IU panel had earlier determined the sophomore standout had sexually assaulted a female student. A person with knowledge of the accusations confirmed the panel’s decision Oct. 11 to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details have not been made public. In its findings, the school’s sexual misconduct hearing panel said Ellison should be suspended from Indiana for 2½ years and required to undergo counseling. 

As of last week, Ellison had not been charged with a crime and it was not immediately known whether he had an attorney.

Ellison led the Hoosiers in rushing in 2017 as a freshman but was suspended indefinitely before this year’s opener. Coach Tom Allen had said that Ellison had returned to practice but he spoke the day before the panel’s decision, which was dated Oct. 3.

Ellison ran for 704 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 and was twice named Big Ten freshman of the week.

Jeff Keag, senior assistant athletic director for media relations with Indiana University Athletics, issued this statement Friday night:

Effective today, October 19, 2018, sophomore Morgan Ellison has been suspended for two and one half years from Indiana University, dismissing him from all university-related activities and resulting in his permanent dismissal from the football team.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Lucas Oil Stadium will be rocking this weekend with the Indiana High School Athletic Association Football Championships.

The best teams in Indiana will be fighting for a state title on Friday and Saturday.

All the action will begin with the Class A Final between Pioneer and Eastern Greene. The Panthers head to Indy with a perfect 14-0 record on the season and looking for their first state title since 1997. The Thunderbirds are coming off a hard fought win against Lutheran in the semi-state. Eastern Greene will be going for it’s first ever state title.

The Class 3A game also will be Friday. Brebeuf is back in the state finals for the first time since 2013. The Braves will match up against Evansville Memorial. The Braves head to Lucas Oil Stadium after a shout-out win against Mishawaka Marion in the semistate. As for the Tigers of Memorial out of Evansville, they will be going for their first-ever football state championship.

Wrapping up Friday night will be the Class 5A game, Kokomo vs. Columbus East. The Wildkats come in trying to win their first state football title. Kokomo hopes to keep its momentum going after its impressive 21-14 win over Michigan City. The Olympians are back in the state finals for the second year in a row. Columbus East dominated the Irish of Cathedral in semistate to earn a trip to Lucas Oil.

Saturday will start with Woodlan vs. Southridge. The Warriors hung on to beat Eastbrook 15-14 to advance to Indianapolis. Woodlan will be going for its first state football championship. As for the Raiders, they beat Scecina 24-7 to advance to state. A win on Saturday would also give them their first ever state title.

In the Class 4A game, Lowell will face East Central. The Red Devils took down a tough Bishop Dwenger team in the semistate to advance to state for the first time since 2009. The Trojans of East Central knocked off Greenwood to get an opportunity to play in the state finals. East Central played for a state title back in 2015.

Finally, in the Class 6A game on Saturday, it’s powerhouse Ben Davis against Penn. The Giants will bring a perfect 13-0 record to Lucas Oil as they go for an incredible 15th state title. As for the Kingsmen, they dominated the defending state champs Carmel last week to advance to state. The last time Penn won a state title was 17 years ago.

Tickets are $15 per day. All seats are general admission. Age 5 and younger are admitted at no charge. Single-day tickets may also be purchased at the Lucas Oil Stadium Ticket Office on the southeast side of the venue at street level near Capitol Avenue.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – A Habitat for Humanity group is planning to build possibly hundreds of homes on an 84-acre site in Bloomington.

Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County CEO Darryl Neher says the land on the city’s south side would allow it to build a multi-income neighborhood with anywhere from 260 to 350 housing units. The (Bloomington) Herald-Times reports that could include Habitat’s traditional volunteer-built houses, container homes and multi-family housing.

Monroe County Commissioners are preparing to transfer the county-owned property to the nonprofit organization.

Neher says the land transfer would give Habitat enough land to continue projects over the next 10 years.

County Commissioner Julie Thomas says the organization’s plans are “innovative and bold.”

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (AP) – A judge has sentenced a southwestern Indiana man to 15 years for causing a crash that killed three family members returning from a band competition in Indianapolis.

Greene Superior Court Judge Dena Martin sentenced 20-year-old Mason Hartke of Jasper on Wednesday to five years on each of three counts of operating a vehicle causing death while intoxicated. She suspended 1½ years of each sentence.

The Nov. 13, 2016, crash along Interstate 69 in Greene County killed 17-year-old Sophie Rinehart, 46-year-old David Rinehart and 74-year-old Ruth Rinehart. The crash occurred after David Rinehart, of Newburgh, pulled off to a shoulder after hitting a deer.

Sophie Rinehart had performed with the Castle High School marching band the previous day in Indianapolis.

Hartke told state police he believed he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A Bloomfield man is in custody after police say he shot and killed a friend then buried the body.

William Abel, 24, faces felony counts that include murder and obstruction of justice, as well as one misdemeanor count of false informing.

Authorities say Abel shot and killed Chase Aliano, 21, attempting to cover up the incident by hiding Aliano’s car, burning the victim’s clothing and other possessions, and burying the victim’s body.

The investigation started on Feb. 3, when the victim’s father, Steve Aliano, contacted the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office to report his son missing on Feb. 3, stating that Chase had last been seen on Jan. 31 at Abel’s residence in Bloomfield, where Chase possibly intended to sell firearms to Abel.

On Feb. 4, a deputy from the Greene County Sheriff Office visited the Abel residence and, after receiving consent from Abel’s father, searched the property, eventually finding Chase Aliano’s red Chevy Tracker in the woods, partially hidden from view by an old mattress, and with a mismatched license plate attached.

According to the sheriff’s office, William Abel admitted that he’d tried to hide Aliano’s car, after which Abel was taken to the Greene County Jail to be interviewed.

Abel first told authorities Chase Aliano had come to see him on Jan. 31, to sell him firearms, and then left with a female, asking Abel to hide the Chevy Tracker while Aliano traveled to purchase drugs. However, after questioning, Abel changed his story, stating that the two men went to a cabin on Abel’s family’s property on Jan. 31, firing pistols Aliano brought with him and smoking methamphetamine.

Abel’s account continued, as he claimed Aliano pointed his gun at Abel as they left the cabin, firing and missing. According to deputy reports, Abel says Aliano shot back at him, so Abel fired again, this time seeing Aliano fall to the ground, at which point he approached Aliano, fired a third time.

Deputies say Abel was not able to provide a reason why Aliano would point his firearm in Abel’s direction, stating that the two men had gotten along well that evening.

Abel told authorities he then wrapped Aliano’s body in a sheet and used the car to drag the body into the woods, removing all of the clothing, placing the body in a hole in a creek and then covering it with rocks and sticks. Abel said he then burned both Aliano’s clothing and his own, and returned the following day to bury the body more fully. He also reportedly shot at Aliano’s cell phone and then threw it into the woods.

Deputies escorted Abel back to his residence, where he indicated the various locations where the incident took place, including the location of the victim’s body and Aliano’s other firearms.

After repeated interviews, Abel stated he could not in fact clearly remember whether Aliano fired at him, as he had claimed.

Preliminary findings from an autopsy conducted at Terre Haute Regional Hospital indicate that Aliano was shot six times, in a manner inconsistent with the narrative provided by Abel.

William Abel is being held at the Green County Jail without bond.

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