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July: Dave Redman And Brent Steele Announce Retirements; Teen Given Award; First Female Animal Control Officer Named; Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced For Starting Fires
Updated December 31, 2015 8:45 AM
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Senator Brent Steele
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Ben Ellis and Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham
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Dustin Taylor
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Dr. Michael Baker
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Dave Redman

(UNDATED) - In July Purdue Extension Director David Redman and Senator Brent Steele announced their retirement, teen given award after locating missing man, first woman named Lawrence County animal control officer, Heltonville man pleads guilty to setting Denham's and Walmart fires.

Senator Brent Steele Retiring After 2016 General Assembly Ends

Senator Brent Steele announced his retirement after the 2016 General Assembly ends.

Steele, 67, says he wants to practice law and spend more time with his family especially his grandchildren.

Steele has served 20 years as a state lawmaker serving in the Indiana House from 1994 to 2002, representing District 65 - a seat now held by fellow Republican Eric Koch.

When Lawrence County native Becky Skillman became former Gov. Mitch Daniels running mate, Steele was appointed to replace her as senator for District 44, which includes Lawrence, Brown, parts of Bartholomew, Jackson and Monroe counties.

Republicans will choose a candidate to succeed Steele.

Lola Nicholson Named First Female Lawrence County Sheriff's Department Animal Control Officer

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham named Lola Nicholson as the first female animal control officer for the department.

Nicholson is replacing Tyler Strahl, who resigned from the position to pursue his law enforcement career.

Nicholson worked as a dispatcher for the department and recently as the department's receptionist.

As animal control officer Nicholson will handle domesticated animal calls in the county. Sheriff Branham says 50 percent of the calls are about stray animals.

Ben Ellis Given Citizens Appreciation Award After Finding Lost Man

On July 9, Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham presented Ben Ellis with a "Citizens Appreciation Award" for helping locate his missing neighbor.

According to Sheriff Branham, the elderly neighbor became disoriented on May 28 and became lost in the woods.
Emergency personnel rushed to the scene, but Ellis had began his own search and found the man.

Sheriff Branham also presented Ben with a department challenge coin for his efforts.

Heltonville Man Pled Guilty To Starting Fire In Dunham's Sports and Walmart

In July, a Heltonville man pled guilty to starting fires in Dunham's Sports and Walmart in December of 2014.

According to court records, Dustin Taylor plead guilty to a felony count of arson. Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins, on August 5 sentenced Taylor to 11.5 years in prison.

The fire, on December 12, 2014, closed the store for several months. The store had to pay a $25,000 insurance deductible, with the insurance company shelling out more than $900,000 for the damages caused by the fire. The store remained closed until late February.

Alabama Man And Woman Wanted On Murder Charges Led Local Police On High-Speed Chase

An Alabama woman, who led police on a high-speed chase through Daviess and Martin counties, and her cousin are now sitting in an Alabama jail. 30-year-old Candie Zito and her cousin 26-year-old Cory Zito are facing murder charges in Alabama after they allegedly killed 22-year-old Anthony Shane Gibson, then set his body on fire and stole his car. The two then fled to Indiana.

Norman Man Arrested After Hurting 18-Month-Old

A Norman man was arrested July 20 after he allegedly hurt an 18-month old boy at a home in the 1400 block of Norman Road.

According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnil, the boy suffered a subdural hematoma to the brain - blood hemorrhaging behind his eyes and severe bruising all over his body. The boy had both new and old bruising.

Troopers arrested 23-year-old Christopher Hawkins on a charge of battery on a minor under the age of 14 resulting in serious bodily injury.

Bill Silvers Dies

The former news director at 1340 AM WBIW died July 22. 83-year-old William C. "Bill" Silvers of Bedford passed away at 5:19 pm at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Silvers was the news director and did on-air news for more than 40 years for 1340 AM WBIW.

Bedford 10/11-Year-Olds All Stars State Champions

The Bedford 10/11-year-old All-Stars defeated New Castle 9 to 8 for the State Championship July 25. To make it to the championship game, the Stars defeated New Albany, the former state champs, 9 to 6 the same day.

Doctor Found Guilty Of 11 Counts Of Misconduct

Dr. Michael Baker was found guilty of 11 counts of misconduct.

Baker was a practicing OB GYN in Washington with an office in the Heartland OB GYN clinic. He surrendered his privileges at Daviess Community Hospital in January.

Baker was accused of improper sexual relations with a patient, not documenting prescriptions of a controlled substance, not documenting visits, violation of HIPPA (patient privacy) laws and others.

Lawrence County Abstract Inc. Closed Their Doors

Lawrence County Abstract Inc. closed their doors on July 31. Founded in 1939 by Stella Allen, the business has been located at 1011 15th Street since 1965.

The current owner, Jerene Wigley, has served the community for more than 48 years and is retiring.

Wigley learned the business from the ground up while under the employ of Attorney Robert H. Skinner. When Skinner retired, Wigley purchased the business in 1991.

Improvements Began at Lawrence County Courthouse Grounds

Improvements to the Lawrence County Courthouse grounds began on July 27, as a part of the City of Bedford's Stellar Community initiative.

The work to be completed includes additional parking, new lighting, new sidewalks, as well as improved hardscape that better accommodates the public entrance on the north side of the building.

Landscaping and other features will be added that celebrate Lawrence County's unique heritage. In addition, a new flagpole and flag was donated by Steve Fergusson that will be located on the west-side of the courthouse.

Hoosier Uplands Celebrated 50 Years

Hoosier Uplands celebrated 50 years with a 60's themed event at the Opera House in Mitchell

Hoosier Uplands (originally named LOW) was incorporated in 1966.

Dave Redman Retired As Purdue Extension Director

In July, Lawrence County Purdue Extension Director Dave Redman announced his retirement. Redman's official last day was August 7, 2015. Redman had been with Purdue Extension Lawrence County for more than 25 years.

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