Make your home page

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An excavation and concrete business in Jackson County is making a big move. S&J Excavation and Concrete LLC, which previously operated out of the owners’ home, plans to invest up to $1 million to set up shop at the Brownstown Industrial Park.

The company was founded by Shanty and Jeremy Morrow in 2016. Jeremy Morrow tells The Tribune in Seymour that the company has grown beyond their home.

In an email to Inside INdiana Business, Morrow said the investment figure is just an estimate as the company is still finalizing plans.

The company is looking to construct two buildings in the industrial park. One would house the company’s corporate offices and a shop for working on and repairing equipment. The other would serve as a storage facility.

Morrow says the company doesn’t plan on adding jobs as a specific result of the expansion, but the company is currently looking to hire more employees. He says a time frame for completing the expansion is not known.

The Tribune reports the Brownstown Town Council approved the naming of the street in the industrial park that will lead to the company’s new location to Veterans Drive.

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing nearly $4 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Indiana. The Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corp. will use a $1.9 million loan and a $1.9 million grant to deploy a fiber network it says will connect thousands of citizens to high-speed broadband internet in Jackson and Lawrence counties.

The USDA says the investment is part of the $550 million allocated by Congress for the second round of the ReConnect Program. Through the program, the department says more than 4,800 people, nearly 200 farms and 36 businesses will have access to high-speed internet.

“I’m so glad to see this investment in infrastructure in my home state of Indiana,” said USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. “In my conversations with our overseas trading partners, we often speak about the important role of innovation to global agriculture. But innovation depends on access to reliable, high-speed internet. I’m hopeful that investments such as ReConnect can help farmers operate more effectively and efficiently to deliver their products to those across Indiana – and, indeed, across the world.”

The USDA says the second round will enable it to implement new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with its partners and by building on progress of the first round of funding.

In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 healthcare centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities in 33 states.

SEYMOUR, Ind. (WISH) — An 81-year-old Seymour man died in a crash involving three trucks and two SUVs on U.S. 50 between Seymour and Brownstown on Friday afternoon, Indiana State police said Friday night.

Herschel Williams was taken from the crash scene to Schneck Medical Center, a Seymour hospital, where the county coroner pronounced Williams dead. At least one other person was taken to a hospital for injuries.

State troopers and Jackson County sheriff’s deputies were called just after 1 p.m. Friday to the 3000 block of U.S. 50. The crash was in front of Schneider Nursery near County Road 260 East.

An investigation found that Williams was eastbound on U.S. 50 in a 2014 Ford F150 truck when, for unknown reasons, his vehicle crossed the centerline and struck the driver’s side of a 2018 Chevrolet Equinox sport-utility vehicle driven by Brandy Schafstall, 45, of Seymour. The SUV overturned once and came to rest on its wheels. She was also taken to the medical center and evaluated for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, the state police said in a news release.

Williams’ truck then continued eastbound and struck head-on a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado truck driven by Seth Zike, 40, of Brownstown. The truck overturned and came to rest on its top in a ditch. Zike and three passengers in his truck were taken by ambulance to an undisclosed location for treatment of their injuries, the news release said.

In an attempt to avoid Schafstall’s SUV that had come to rest in the middle of the road, a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox SUV driven by Haley Godsey struck a guardrail. Additional information on Godsey was not included in the news release.

Also, police said, a 2001 Toyota truck was damaged by debris in the road as its driver tried to avoid the other vehicles in the crash. The driver of the Toyota was not named in the news release.

Alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be factors in the crash.

State troopers and Jackson County sheriff’s deputies were called just after 1 p.m. July 17, 2020, to the 3000 block of U.S. 50 in rural Seymour, Indiana. (Photo Provided/Indiana State Police)

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — The Jackson County Fair addressed animal welfare concerns after a Facebook post appearing to show a sick kitten sparked hundreds of comments.

Fair board members denied claims of animal mistreatment but confirmed two kittens in their petting barn had been diagnosed with a viral herpes infection.

The infected kittens had eye lesions but no upper respiratory symptoms, fair representatives said Wednesday.

“We’re treating every single one of the animals, whether they need it or not,” board member Linda Myers told News 8. “We’ve cleaned the eyes out. We’ve consulted with our veterinarians here in the county. They gave us medicine and we’re treating them twice a day on a daily basis.”

At least one of the infected kittens appeared to be interacting with children Wednesday evening in the petting area.

The feline herpesvirus is “highly contagious” among cats, according to experts, but cannot be contracted by humans or dogs.

The cat enclosure in the petting barn houses approximately seven kittens, fair volunteers said. 

“I interact with them every day and they seem happy and healthy,” said Adam Newkirk. “Animals are our livelihood so we do not want to hurt them in any way.”

The kittens were delivered to the fairgrounds Sunday from “reputable” farms in Jackson County, according to Myers.

Within a day, volunteers had noticed “potential eye problems” in two kittens and called for veterinarians, she said.

Feline herpesvirus vaccinations are recommended for kittens at least eight weeks old. Fair kittens were too young to be vaccinated, Myers said.

All petting barn kittens — healthy and infected — will be available for adoption Saturday at 10 a.m.

“We will give the new owner a packet that says how they can continue to treat the eye problem,” Myers told News 8. “With treatment, it will be gone in about two weeks.”

The Jackson County Fair is not giving away sick or malnourished kittens as fair prizes, according to the board.

SEYMOUR, Ind. (The Tribune) — A powerful series of storms swept through Jackson County on Thursday afternoon in advance of Indiana’s severe weather preparedness week, which begins Sunday. 

One of those storms left a Brownstown man looking to pickup the pieces of his farm, including a pole barn and three grain bins that were destroyed. 

No one injured by the storm damage at the farm of Mike Isaacs in the 4100 block of North County Road 25 East.

That’s a good thing because the barns, the grain bins and even his cattle, which weren’t hurt, can be replaced, but people can’t be, Isaacs said.

Isaacs said he was at work at Independent Land Surveying in Brownstown with his brother, Jonathan Isaacs, when the storms started blowing through the area. “I saw the top of the dark cloud that was moving through,” Mike Isaacs said.

The brothers went to his home after hearing about the damage and were going about putting together a game plan to get to their cattle, which were in another barn, and then move them to a cousin’s place while repairs occur.

Duane Davis, executive director of the Jackson County Emergency Management, said most of the damage from Thursday’s storms was confined to the Isaacs’ farm and nearby farms. 

“Right now I believe it’s going to be mostly straight-line winds,” Davis said.

Besides the damages at the Isaacs farm, there were several overturned irrigation systems, some down trees and a television tower and some small grain bins, trashcans and shingles blown off roofs into fields. 

Schools in Jackson County delayed dismissal from school for students who ride the school bus as a precaution. Events at Crothersville Community Schools and one at Seymour Middle School was canceled, too. 

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (AP) — An organization that promotes the separation of church and state wants a southern Indiana county to immediately remove a Nativity scene from its courthouse lawn, but local officials have no plans to take it down before Christmas.

An attorney for the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a letter to Jackson County’s commissioners that a “concerned local citizen” contacted the group about the lighted display outside the courthouse in Brownstown.

Attorney Ryan D. Jayne’s letter requested the immediate removal of the Nativity display, which spans both sides of the courthouse lawn in the city about 60 miles south of Indianapolis, The (Seymour) Tribune reported. (The Tribune is a newsgathering partner with News 8.)

The scene includes a lighted Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus, wise men, animals and angels, but no other holiday decorations.

Jayne called it a “crystal clear constitutional violation,” and said that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is “impermissible to place a Nativity scene as the sole focus of a display on government property.”

“It is unlawful for the county to maintain, erect or host a holiday display that consists solely of a Nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for and endorsing one religion,” Jayne wrote.

He said the county remains vulnerable to a lawsuit as long the religious display remains up.

The scene, which remained on display this week, has been erected on the courthouse lawn for a number of years during the holiday season in the rural county.

Commissioners President Matt Reedy said the county plans to remove it after Christmas. He said he would not speculate about whether it will be placed on the courthouse lawn again next year.

Reedy said the resident who contacted the organization should have instead brought the issue to the commissioners during one of their meetings.

“You can get on the agenda and share your concerns,” Reedy said. “We take everyone’s concerns seriously.”

He said he wouldn’t give much consideration to the letter because the commissioners handle requests from people, not letters.

“Letters signed by groups — or anonymous — do not merit much attention,” he said.

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Bartholomew County police said Monday they are continuing to search for a missing 25-year-old from Brownstown in Jackson County. 

Joseph Ross disappeared May 13 after entering a wooded area near Amberley Addition in Columbus and has not been seen since. The neighborhood is east of South Marr Road between U.S. 31 and State Road 46.

Ross is described as 5-feet-10 and weighing from 135-145 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a green T-shirt.

“We continue to follow all leads; however, we remain extremely concerned about Joseph’s welfare,”  said a Facebook post Monday from Detective Terry Holderness of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office. 

Anyone with information was asked to contact Holderness at 812-565-5927 or call the office’s tip line at  812-379-1712. You do not have to leave your name. People can also email information to

SEYMOUR, Ind. (WISH) — A boy reported as a runaway from north-central Ohio was found Tuesday by Indiana State Police riding on a semitractor-trailer on Interstate 65.

Motor Carrier Inspector Michael Buckley was operating the scale house at the commercial motor vehicle weigh station north of Seymour along I-65 northbound when he noticed the 17-year-old boy on the catwalk between the semi cab and the trailer.

The boy initially tried to hide from state police troopers called to assist. The troopers eventually took the boy into custody and determined he was reported as a runaway from Shelby, Ohio, about 60 miles north of Columbus, Ohio. Troopers said they believe the boy climbed about the truck, without the driver’s knowledge, somewhere in Kentucky before dawn.

The boy will not face any charges, police said. He was being held Tuesday in the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center in Brownstown, Indiana, until he could be returned to Ohio.

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — A man’s body was found outside a Jackson County elementary school Tuesday morning.

Police were called to Brownstown Elementary School around 10:15 a.m. after someone spotted the body, according to 24-Hour News 8 partner The (Seymour) Tribune.

The school of around 700 students was placed on a soft lockdown as police responded.

Brownstown school officials released this statement:

There was no threat to any students or staff at any of our schools. Classes are continuing as scheduled. When we first received information on this incident, we implemented our school emergency guidelines. We also activated our school and corporation crisis response teams. Our crisis response teams immediately went into action and are providing help for our students, parents and faculty.

The following statement was also emailed to parents at Brownstown Central High School:

Parents, at BES this morning, the police were called to identify a body that was found. All students were and are safe. A letter is coming home with your BCHS student today regarding this.

The man’s name has not been released. Police continue to investigation.

JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — An Orange County man has been charged after police say he was stalking and intimidating a couple because he was not chosen as a school’s basketball coach and fourth-grade teacher.

40-year-old Travis Tarrants faces two felony charges of stalking, two felony charges of intimidation and two felony charges of criminal mischief in the case.

Court documents state that Tarrants began harassing a man because he was chosen over Tarrants for a fourth grade teaching position and basketball coaching position at Springs Valley School Corporation in French Lick.

Investigators believe that Tarrants placed four phone calls to the Department of Child Services, making claims that the victim was engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage student and that he was sexually abusing his fiancee’s daughter.

Tarrants is also accused of placing packages of dead animals in the mail, including four skunks and a raccoon. One of the packages was listed as being sent from the man’s fiancee and was mailed to the Seymour School District Administration building.

Two more packages were intercepted by the Indianapolis Post Office. One was listed as being sent from Medora High School’s athletic director and the other from Brownstown High School’s basketball coach. Both were sent to the victim at Medora High School.

Another package was intercepted at the Jasper Post Office. It contained a dead raccoon and was sent to the post office box for the Medora school. His fiancee was again listed as the sender and also contained a message that said “RESIGN! IT WILL NOT STOP.”

Several letters that were mailed were also located by investigators. Letters were sent to both victims at their place of business, making claims of a sexual relationship with an underage student.

One letter was purported to be from a 15-year-old student. It contained a picture of a man’s genitals and the male victim’s telephone number.

Both victims also received threatening voicemails, threatening to kill the man’s fiancee and her baby. Investigators believe the phone number on the calls was “spoofed” or masked.

Tarrants is also accused of writing “(Explicit) u” and “u will die” on the vehicle’s of the victims in white spray paint.

Search warrants located white spray paint, clothing with white spray paint, a note with the male victim’s name and home address and receipts for envelopes that matched the ones that were sent.

In an interview with investigators, the girlfriend of Tarrants said that he had trapped five to seven live skunks in late spring. She said she thought it was odd that he had kept them alive for several days.