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LACONIA, Ind. (WISH) — A sheriff’s deputy’s attempt to serve an arrest warrant led to a police shooting Friday at a home in rural Harrison County, the Indiana State Police say.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department about noon Friday requested the help of state police and crime scene investigators at the home in the 10000 block of North Tobacco Landing Road Southeast, which is about a mile north of Laconia. The town of about 60 people is about a 45-minute drive southwest of Louisville, Kentucky.

Investigators say Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean O’Sullivan went to the home to arrest 28-year-old Michael W. Kerns on arrest warrants from Kentucky and Indiana. In Harrison County, Kerns was wanted on 2022 charges of unlawful carrying of a handgun because of a prior conviction, unlawful possession of a syringe, possession of methamphetamine, and failure to return to lawful detention, according to online court records.

O’Sullivan approached Kerns, who was standing inside a detached garage with an open garage door, but he disobeyed the deputy’s orders, going into the garage and retrieving a shotgun, investigators say. Kerns exited the garage and raised the gun at O’Sullivan, who then fired his department handgun and struck Kerns in the shoulder.  

Officers took Kerns into custody and gave him medical treatment before he was taken to UofL Hospital in Louisville with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

The deputy was not hurt.

Harrison County Sheriff Nick Smith says, per his department’s policy, O’Sullivan will be put on paid administrative leave during the investigation.  

ELIZABETH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — North Carolina-based EBCI Holdings has finalized its purchase of Caesars Southern Indiana in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth. The new owner says it plans to retain the nearly 900 staff and management in their current positions. EBCI represents the commercial gaming and hospitality business for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

“As we’ve discovered, Caesars Southern Indiana also employs an excellent workforce and has made meaningful investments in the community over the last two decades. We look forward to building on that success,” said Scott Barber, chief executive officer of EBCI Holdings.

EBCI agreed to purchase the operations of the casino in December 2020 for a base purchase price of $250 million. EBCI will operate the casino under the Caesars brand. Caesars sold the property as a condition of its $17 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts last year.

The tribe operates two Caesars Entertainment casinos in western North Carolina. Caesars Southern Indiana is the tribe’s first out-of-state acquisition.

“Today marks a significant milestone not only for the tribe but also for our longstanding relationship with Caesars Entertainment,” said Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard Sneed. “Caesars Entertainment has been a great partner for us in North Carolina and we’re excited to continue that success in Indiana.”

The closing follows the approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission last month.

ELIZABETH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Gaming Commission has approved the $250 million sale of Caesars Southern Indiana casino in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth to North Carolina-based EBCI Holdings.

EBCI represents the commercial gaming and hospitality business for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which announced the purchase in December.

EBCI will operate the casino under the Caesars brand. Caesars sold the property as a condition of its $17 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts last year. The tribe expects to close the deal next month. EBCI says the current 900 workers will have the opportunity to retain their positions.

“We are delighted to move forward with Caesars and expand our already successful portfolio,” said R. Scott Barber, chief executive officer of EBCI Holdings. “Not only is it a beautiful, recently renovated property, but Caesars is also a storied brand in the southern Indiana community. We’re honored carry on that legacy as we continue to elevate Caesars’ world-class guest experience.”

While EBCI will operate the casino, VICI Properties Inc. will own the actual property.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates two other tribal casinos in North Carolina, also under the Caesars brand.

ELIZABETH, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The expected new owners of Caesars Southern Indiana have formed a new leadership team for the casino. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which in December announced plans to acquire the casino, says EBCI Holdings LLC will retain all of the casino’s employees when the $250 million deal closes.

EBCI Holdings will be led by Chief Executive Officer Scott Barber, a former regional president for Caesars Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: CZR). Adele Jacobs-Madden, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will serve as chief financial officer.

The Eastern Band says EBCI Holdings was created to diversify its holdings in the commercial gaming and hospitality industry. The acquisition of Caesars Southern Indiana will be the tribe’s first casino outside of North Carolina.

Caesars Southern Indiana is being sold as part of Caesars’ requirement to divest certain properties after its merger with Eldorado Resorts Inc. in July 2020. The casino employs more than 700 in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth.

“Caesars Southern Indiana is a beautiful facility with a well-established brand and a superb team of hundreds of local employees already in place. We want to keep the same friendly, fun, familiar environment for our guests,” said Barber. “Our intent is to build on the facility’s success and offer guests additional opportunities to play at EBCI’s Harrah’s-branded North Carolina properties while also having access to all properties throughout the Caesars Rewards network.”

The acquisition still requires regulatory approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission, as well as other closing conditions. EBCI Holdings expects to receive approval this fall.

HARRISON COUNTY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Harrison County has officially become a certified ACT Work Ready Community.  Representatives from the county’s education and economic development sectors underwent an extensive training to bolster the area’s work readiness initiatives. 

County leaders attended the ACT Work Ready Communities Boot Camp, which aims to prepare officials to implement and develop effective techniques to support the workforce needs. 

The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth by identifying skills gaps and quantifying the skill level of their workforce. 

“We at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development applaud Harrison County’s efforts in becoming a certified ACT Work Ready Community,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said in a news release. “The certification helps to provide counties with the data they require in their efforts to recruit companies and provide them with a productive workforce that meets their needs.

DOGWOOD, Ind. (WISH/AP) – Two tornadoes, one with winds up to 100 mph, hit southern Indiana on Monday, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

A survey team from the weather service said one tornado touched down on Rogers Campground Road near Dogwood in Harrison County near the Ohio River. Dogwood is about 5 miles west of the Louisville, Ky., metropolitan area. No injuries were reported.

The maximum width of the tornado was 140 yards. The “intermittent skipping tornado” traveled 2.2 miles, from a mile east of Dogwood to a mile southwest of Elizabeth, the survey team’s report said. 

A tornado warning for the area was issued at 3:12 p.m. Monday.  

The tornado first touched down at 3:38 p.m. along State Road 337. That’s where a heavy metal-chain fence weighing several hundred pounds was picked up and thrown about 30 years into the back of a house, which received significant damage, the weather service said.

Other damage recorded in the report included a chicken house weighing hundreds of pounds that was rolled over and moved several feet. Also, at least two barns and a mobile home were damaged.

The survey team shared a photo of the storm damage on its Twitter account.

On Wednesday, the weather service confirmed a second tornado struck southern Indiana on Monday afternoon. It says the twister with estimated peak winds of 105 mph touched down in Spencer County, damaging at least three homes, mostly to their roofs and facia. A detached garage was destroyed with the debris thrown at least 300 yards. At least three metal farm buildings sustained minor roof damage in the tornado’s 3-mile path.

NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ind. (WISH) – Storms on Friday afternoon in southern Harrison County damaged about 20 homes, Indiana State Police said.

The damage ranged from minor to moderate damage, a news release from police said. There were no deaths and only one minor injury to a New Middletown Volunteer Fire Department member.

August Veron, a resident of rural Corydon, shared video of the New Middletown tornado as it moved across farmland in the area.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area about 2:20 p.m.

Tornado warnings have been issued Friday afternoon across Indiana as storms have popped up and intensified. 

In central Indiana, the weather service at Indianapolis said the Emergency Management Agency in Madison County reported a tree blown into a house near Alexandria and a broken utility pole southeast of Frankton. In the unincorporated community of Moonville in eastern Madison County, several homes and a barn received storm damage about 3:35 p.m., according to the agency. Madison County Emergency Management Agency reported no injuries in the Moonville area. 

Matt Morris took video of what is believed to be a funnel cloud becoming a tornado around 3:50 p.m. near Moonville. It was around Madison County roads 200 E and 600 N.

Also in central Indiana, large trees were reported downed in Delaware and Shelby counties, the weather service said. It also reported flooding at the Delaware County fairgrounds.

CORYDON, Ind. (AP) – Authorities say five people have been arrested in connection with a social media threat of violence against a southern Indiana high school.

The arrests of the four juveniles and one adult follow posts made on Snapchat threatening Corydon Central High School and are the latest in numerous similar threats in Indiana since the shooting last week at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

Harrison County Sheriff Rod Seelye says he takes all such threats seriously and that investigators seized several firearms from the homes of those arrested. School officials say about 20 percent of Corydon Central students were absent Wednesday, roughly double the normal level.

ELIZABETH, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana business owner is still emotional after he was selected to take part in President Donald Trump’s “Made in America” week.

Brian Newton and his wife, Liz, traveled to Washington, D.C., this week. The couple run a broom business out of southern Indiana.

The brooms are made from materials found in Indiana and other parts of the country. Newton received a call from the White House last week to take part in the campaign.

Newton got to display his brooms for five hours inside the White House. The couple got to meet Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The Indiana Statehouse Bureau spoke exclusively with Newton after he got back to Indiana.

“To be honest with you, I felt a little bit like a cross between Forrest Gump and the Clampetts. We pulled up to the White House in our working pickup truck with the utility shell on it, and it’s like, wow, this is like the the coolest place we’ve ever been.”

The campaign is linked with an executive order recently signed by Trump to encourage more American-made products.On Friday, Indiana Statehouse Bureau Chief Nick Natario will explain how the executive order could impact Hoosier businesses.

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HARRISON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH/AP) — Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” has died.

Moran died Saturday at the age of 56, and the cause of death has not been determined. Moran had endured numerous struggles in recent years.

Authorities at Harrison County Dispatch released the following statement regarding Moran’s death:

On April 22, 2017, at 4:07 p.m., Harrison Co dispatch received a 911 call reference an unresponsive female. Upon arrival of first responders, it was determined that Erin Marie Moran Fleischmann was deceased. An autopsy is pending.”

Moran was already a veteran actress when in 1974 she was cast in “Happy Days” as Joanie, the kid sister to Ron Howard’s Richie Cunningham in the sitcom set in the 1950s. She would later appear with Scott Baio in the “Happy Days” spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi.”

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