The ‘Tops of 2017’

Batesville, In. — 

Community mourns the passing of four leaders

Southeastern Indiana mourned the loss of four important community members in 2017. Jim Fritsch passed away in October at the age of 92. Jim was a standout athlete, WWII Air Force vet and former Batesville mayor. Batesville Tool & Die founder Ronald Fledderman also passed away in October. Mr. Fledderman started at a tool & die shop in Cincinnati and founded Batesville Tool & Die in 1978. He retired as chairman of the board in 2003. He also held many community posts. Steven Winz passed away in April. Winz was the longest serving employee ever for the city of Batesville. Mayor Mike Bettice acknowledged that Winz has more working knowledge about city drainage and water systems than anyone and was instrumental in starting the process of establishing the water supply line from Franklin County. Life-long educator and Fruedenfest fixture Andy Koors died in February. Andy embraced his German heritage and touched the lives of many people.

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RCCF celebrates 20 years and a new location

The Ripley County Community Foundation celebrated 20 years of operation and new location in 2017.

In November the foundation moved from their current location at 4 South Park Avenue to 13 East George Street. The new office opened for business on December 1.

Ripley County commissioners declared November 6 through 10 as “Ripley County Community Foundation Week.” Executive director of the foundation Amy Streator has expressed thanks to the town of Sunman, the city of Batesville and Ripley County for the designation.

Batesville mayor Mike Bettice also delivered a proclamation.

Twenty years ago a group of residents pooled $19,000 in order to help communities and causes in Ripley County and today the funds are valued at $11.7 million.

The foundation encourages and administers philanthropy to programs aimed at improving the quality of life in Ripley County. For more information go online here or call 812-933-1098.

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Major reconstruction of I-74 announced

The $61 million reconstruction of Interstate 74 between New Point and the State Road 101 exit was announced in 2017. Other than scheduled pavement overlays, INDOT engineers say this is the first full-depth reconstruction of the roadway since the original construction.

The project is also the first “Next Level Road” project announced by governor Eric Holcomb in the Greenfield District.

In 2017 work operations centered around the I-74 exits at New Point and State Road 101. In 2018 motorists can expect one eastbound and one westbound lane on the eastbound side while I-74 West from New Point to Penntown is completely rebuilt. In 2019 traffic will move to the new westbound lanes while I-74 East is reconstructed. The project also includes new bridge superstructures at Western and Little Laughery Creeks.

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‘The Sherman’ reopens

The opening of The Sherman returned a downtown icon to glory.

The Sherman house was originally built in 1852 by Johann Brinkman and he added the “Sherman” name to honor the Indiana 83rd Infantry Division and General Sherman. After 150 years of operation The Sherman House closed and reopened as The Sherman in February of 2017. New owners have completely redone the building, including 22 boutique hotel rooms and added a Biergarten and the Black Forest Bar.

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Overdose leads to murder charges

The July 2017 overdose death of Rachel Walmsley resulted in murder charges from Ripley County prosecutor Ric Hertel

Her husband, Nathaniel and alleged supplier, James Trimnell were charged and arrested. In early 2018 the wheels of justice begin to turn for the pair.

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Community outpouring follows tragic fire

Back in February a downtown Batesville fire displaced nine families and seriously injured one child. The child made a recovery and the community stepped up in a big way. Support came from residents, churches, the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Batesville Main Street and at least 10 local businesses. The city of Batesville took a tragic circumstance and showed southeastern Indiana residents how much we care about each other here.

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The sixth most important story for 2017 is the opioid crisis. As overdose reports increased in the area local law enforcement was issued NARCAN to help police reverse the deadly affects of dangerous opioids. And it wasn’t just heroin, synthetics entered the illicit market like fentanyl and carfentinyl- both so deadly just getting on exposed skin can cause death.

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Batesville airport closes

In 2017 the Batesville Municipal Airport ceased operations on December 1. The facility was built in 1962 and was operated privately by Hillenbrand Industries for 50 years until it was sold to Batesville Aviation Services owned by Shortty Whittington and his son John. Officials have expressed interest in combining forces with the City of Greensburg for a more regional air facility.

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Case loads increase, prosecutors added

In 2017 deputy prosecutors were added in Ripley and Decatur Counties. Both reported high case loads associated with the opioid crisis. In Ripley County prosecutor Hertel has specifically directed that position to mitigate domestic violence and violence against children issues.


Here are the Top Local Sports Stories for 2017.

Former Lady Bulldog named to HOF
Former Batesville Lady Bulldog and Purdue Lady Boilermaker standout
Cindy Lamping elected to The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Her
sister, Donna Hoeing is also a member of The Indiana Basketball Hall of

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Musketeers advance to ‘Elite 8’
The Xavier Musketeers advance to The Elite 8 while The Purdue
Boilermakers and The Butler Bulldogs make The Sweet 16 in The NCAA Men’s
Basketball Tourney.

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Boilermakers become ‘bowl eligible’
The Purdue Boilermakers Football team, under new head Coach Jeff Brohm,
qualify for a bowl game for the first time in five years as they defeated the Arizona Wildcats in The Foster’s Farms Bowl.

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Local youth soccer clubs have banner year
Great season for area Soccer Teams. Batesville, East Central, and
Oldenburg Academy win Girls Sectional Crowns while Batesville and
Jac-Cen-Cel capture Boys Sectional Titles. Both Bulldog teams and The
Lady Trojans reach The Regional Finals.

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Local ladies earn sports titles
The Oldenburg Academy Girls Tennis Team grab another Regional
Championship and reach The Semi-States while East Central and Greensburg
Girls Cross Country teams qualify for The Semi-States. Greensburg CC
runner Brenna Hanna wins Individual Sectional & Regional Crowns and
advances to The State Finals.

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The Jac-Cen-Del Lady Eagles and The Batesville Bulldogs capture The
Ripley County Basketball Tourney Titles.

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Changes for IU hoops
The IU Hoosiers fire Head Basketball Coach Tom Crean.  Former University
of Dayton Coach Archie Miller takes over the helm as the new IU Coach.

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Longtime Batesville Bulldogs Basketball Announcer for WRBI, Andy Koors,
passes away in January.

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Local youth sports programs shine
Southeastern Indiana once again brought home State Titles. Lawrenceburg
Tiger Wrestler, Mason Parris, repeats as The 220 # State Champion as
well as going undefeated again this past year. Oldenburg Academy Twister
Track Star, Curt Eckstein, wins The Boys 3200 Run.  Curt also captured
The Boys Cross Country State Championship back in the Fall of 2016. The
East Central Trojans and Coach Justin Roden win their second Football
State Title by defeating The Lowell Red Devils 14-7 at Lucas Oil Stadium
during The Thanksgiving Weekend.