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Commissioners do not place moratorium on solar plants

Despite a large turnout of Shelby County residents opposed to an incoming solar plant and a couple of persuasive speeches, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners did not approve a moratorium about the topic at its meeting Monday morning.

The opposed residents, known as the Citizens Against Industrialized Solar Plants in Southwestern Shelby County, first appeared at a commissioners meeting two weeks ago to make the local government aware of their presence.

That’s when county commissioner Don Parker first suggested a six-month moratorium on the topic, which would postpone any action by solar plant companies so that the Shelby County government can have more time to review the topic.

Kyle Barlow, leading the opposition, delivered a long speech about the dangers of solar plants, both to the farming industry and the environment.

“The destruction continues as it moves forward and starts ripping the most highly productive topsoil from the farmland,” he said. “The metal beams are driven into the ground, piercing our once ever-valuable water tiling system that has helped produce high yield and helped farmers manage the water supply for their highly sought-after crop.”

“Once the panels are in place, we face the likelihood and the likely possibility that at some point over the next 25-35 years they will start leaking their highly toxic and deadly chemicals with their ‘forever-life-labels’ into our ground and eventually into our water supply,” he added.

Barlow specifically asked for a moratorium so the commissioners could review and possibly strengthen the Shelby County ordinance in regards to solar plants.

“We think this is a dangerous road to go down, when not enough information is available to make a sound and more importantly safe decision for the future of our county,” he said.

Brian Fischer shared his experience with nearly building his own private solar farm.

Fischer said five years ago he spent a couple months planning with a solar company to build enough panels on his property that would allow him to have a six year payback, and have free electricity for the next 25 years.

Before the planning was finished, the state changed the laws about how power could be sold back to the electric companies, and the payback time doubled. So they didn’t build the farm.

“I considered myself a fairly reasonable thorough person, and I thought I’d researched all the effects of the solar array would have on me and my family for the next 30 years,” he said. “But I never once – not once – thought about what was in the panels, and if they were an environmental hazard.”

“I never once thought what happens if we have a hailstorm over the next 30 years, and they were damaged, and rain was washing over the broken panels,” he added. “I never once thought what if we have a tornado, and the panels are twisted up and the tile exposed toxic chemicals.”

Fischer clarified that one of the chemicals in the panels is cadmium, which is a known, cancer-causing chemical.

Commissioner Parker motioned to place a moratorium on the topic, but the motion failed.

The other two commissioners told the roomful of people that they did not second the motion because a moratorium had been issued from April to October of 2019, and they found that no change was recommended to the ordinance.

“I was in favor of a moratorium the first time around, voted on it, and I feel that this process has been looked at,” Commissioner Kevin Nigh said. “I was glad that the Plan Commission is going to review it again.”

Commissioner Chris Ross said this was a complicated issue.

Only one company has been approved to build a solar plant. Ranger Power is building one near Morristown.

The commissioners said no other companies have expressed any interest in building in Shelby County to them; however, members of the opposition say they have received letters from out of state companies looking to come to the county.

Even though the moratorium was not approved, the Shelby County Plan Commission is already reviewing the issue and will continue to discuss it at next month’s meeting. The commissioners said that if the plan commission found something, the commissioners would review the issue again.

SPD looking for suspect in bank robbery

The Shelbyville Police Department is looking for a white male following a bank robbery at Fifth Third Bank on Monday morning.

Police officers responded to the scene at approximately 9:45 a.m. after the hold up alarm went off. Officers determined upon arrival that the suspect had already fled the scene by the time they arrived.

Investigators from the Criminal Investigations Division were able to determine a description of the suspect after arriving.

The suspect is a white male who was wearing glasses at the time, along with a gray long-haired wig, white medical mask, blue latex gloves, faded blue jeans, black tennis shoes and a dark-colored long sleeve sweatshirt.

The suspect did not display a weapon during the incident and no one was harmed, according to police.

Police do not believe the public is in danger at this time.

The department asks that anyone with surveillance cameras around the area of 110 N. Harrison St. in Shelbyville, or anyone who might have seen the suspect, contact Detective Jason Brown or Deputy Chief Shawn Bennett at 317-392-5118.

No additional information was provided about the incident before deadline. The Shelbyville News will provide that information as it becomes available.

Sports Briefs


Tigers’ quick start leads to win over Pirates

After jumping out to a two-score lead in the opening quarter, the Triton Central football team went onto beat Greensburg, 20-3, to improve to 2-0 this season.

The Tigers’ Dylan Wasson recovered a fumble on Greensburg’s opening drive before Hayden Kermode scored on a 7-yard run.

Wasson picked up his second fumble recovery on the following Pirates’ possession, leading to a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Erick Hebauf.

Greensburg connected on a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter to make it 13-3.

Another fumble recovery by the Tigers led to a 12-yard rushing touchdown by Ray Crawford.

Golden Bears fall to Franklin, 63-6

Shelbyville’s football team lost to Franklin, 63-6, dropping to 0-2 this season.

The Golden Bears fell behind 28-6 in the first quarter, scoring on a rushing touchdown by Skylar Pickett, who finished with 49 yards on 23 rushing attempts.

Shelbyville’s offense finished with 146 total yards to Franklin’s 255.

Jalen Ward finished with three rushing touchdowns for the Grizzly Cubs.

Boys Soccer

Golden Bears continue title run in Shelbyville Invite

The Shelbyville boys’ soccer team won its fourth consecutive championship in its own invitational with a 2-1 win over Batesville.

Christian Haas scored about halfway through the first half. Brayden Basey added the second goal with 18 minutes remaining in the game. The defense secured the title the rest of the way.

The Golden Bears advanced after defeating Knightstown, 10-0. Eddie Carrizalez, Oscar Hernandez, Alex Gil, Al Hernandez and Alex Abell all scored two goals apiece. Kaleb Schaf and Jalen Hounshell shared time at goalkeeper to maintain the shutout.

Yellow Jackets fall to Owls

Morristown’s soccer team lost 7-0 to Muncie Burris

Burris took a 4-0 lead into halftime and were led in the game with three goals from Bryce Karnes.

Girls Soccer

Tigers shut out by Panthers

The Triton Central girls’ soccer team fell to Park Tudor, 11-0.

The Panthers broke open the game with seven goal in the first half. Colina Miroff led Park Tudor with three goals for the game while Jenny Walker and Grace Whitacre added two apiece.


Tigers pick up wins over Richmond, Hagerstown

The Triton Central volleyball team won both of its contests against Richmond and Hagerstown.

The Tigers fell to Richmond in the first set, 21-25, but rebounded with 25-15 and 25-22 wins.

Maddy Beaver led the attack with 10 kills while Maggie Schweitzer added six.

Julia Sanders had a team-high 27 digs with Amelia Shaw and Schweitzer adding 16 and 13, respectively.

Schweitzer also had 25 of the team’s 31 assists.

Beaver again led the attack against Hagerstown in a 25-15, 25-27, 25-19 win. She finished with 12 kills in the win.

Sanders had 22 digs and Brooklyn Schiffli added 19.

Schweitzer had a team-best 30 assists of the 37 the team compiled.

Spartans sweep past Yellow Jackets

Southwestern’s volleyball team defeated Morristown 25-19, 25-12, 25-18.

Beth Hodgin and Lilly Stoddard both finished with 12 kills for the Yellow Jackets.

Hodgin also led Morristown with eight digs, followed by Bella Thompson (with seven) and Gracie Laster (with six).

Emma Theobald had all 14 assists for the Yellow Jackets.

Yellow Jackets fall to Shiners

Morristown’s volleyball team followed their loss to Southwestern with a 20-25, 17-25, 25-20, 22-25 loss to Rising Sun.

Thompson led the team with 19 of the Yellow Jackets’ 29 kills and six blocks. Theobald and Hodgin had 16 and 13 digs apiece.

Theobald also finished with all 18 of the team’s assists.

Waldron wins 2 of 3 over weekend

The Waldron volleyball team defeated South Ripley and Southwestern (Hanover) but lost to Lawrenceburg.

Against South Ripley, Lauren Fischer, Nichole Garner and Madalyn Hudnall all finished with six kills apiece.

Megan Bogemann led the Mohawks with four aces and 11 kills. Garner and Shelby Fewell added nine and eight digs apiece.

Emily Tyree finished with 19 of the Mohawks’ 26 assists.

Following that win, Waldron lost to Lawrenceburg 22-25, 11-25.

Kaylee Young and Mackenzie Shaw finished with four kills apiece. Bogemann led the team with nine digs while Garner had eight and Josee Larrison, seven.

Tyree and Hadlie Ross both finished with six assists apiece.

The Mohawks rebounded with a win against Southwestern (Hanover), 25-15, 25-19.

Hudnall had a team-high six kills while Fischer and Garner finished with four apiece.

Shelby Fewell finished with five of the team’s nine aces.

Tyree led the team with five digs and nine assists.

SW sweeps past Saturday competition

The Southwestern volleyball team won all three of its matches on Saturday.

The Spartans first beat Indiana School for the Deaf, 22-25, 25-19, 15-2.

They then won 25-23, 20-25, 15-13 over Eastern Hancock. And the Spartans finished off the day with a win over Sheridan, 10-25, 25-23, 15-9.

Cross Country

Shelbyville competes in Franklin race

Shelbyville’s cross country teams competed at Franklin on Saturday.

On the boys’ side, Michael Fox led the team, coming in 73rd place at 19 minutes, 10 seconds. He was followed by Elijah Von Werder (20:01), Tristin Maloney (20:41) and Brock Kuhn (20:59).

Kaila Brattain led the girls’ team, coming in 83rd place at 24 minutes, 57 seconds, which was more than two minutes better than last year’s Franklin race.

Abby Malone also competed for the Golden Bears, finishing in 34 minutes, 14 seconds.

Boys Tennis

Shelbyville falls to state-ranked Delta

The Shelbyville boys’ tennis team lost to 27th-ranked Delta, 4-1, their first loss of the season The Golden Bears are now 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference.

Austin Perry picked up the lone win for the Golden Bears, bringing home a 6-2, 6-4 win. He remains undefeated with six wins, including two in the HHC.

The No. 1 doubles team of Layton Stieneker and Matt Bunton lost for the first time this season, dropping their match 1-6, 1-6. And Ethan Apsley and Karson Schaff dropped their No. 2 doubles match 1-6, 0-6.

In singles action, Aiden Asher lost 3-6, 1-6 and Austin Dwenger lost 3-6, 1-6.

Caden Tackett, Logan Prickett, Ian Blackketter, Charlie Rife and Reese Neisler all won in junior varsity action.


Morristown girls varsity golf finishes 3rd place at Morristown /Rushville / South Decatur

Morristown High School girls varsity golf finished third Friday with 269 at Hillcrest golf course against Batesville, Rushville and Oldenburg Academy.

Batesville had 190, Rushville 242 and Oldenburg Academy was incomplete.

For Morristown, Delaney Cornn shot 64, McKinley Kile hit 66, Gabby Brown 69 and Ryeland Brewer 70.

The girls played Monday with South Decatur at River’s Edge golf course.

Boys and Girls Club names Spahr as executive director

Scott Spahr knows he’s replacing big shoes.

Spahr, the Morristown Boys and Girls Club director, will be the next J. Kenneth Self Boys and Girls Club executive director in Shelbyville. He replaces John Hartnett, who is retiring in October after a 40-year career with the Boys and Girls Club.

“Those are huge shoes to fill,” he said of Hartnett’s legacy. “I think it will be a good fit.”

Having spent the last eight years as director in Morristown, Spahr is plenty aware of running the program.

“It’s been a godsend for us,” he said of his time with the Morristown Boys and Girls Club. “It’s been a great experience, and I can’t wait to keep on doing it.”

He also brings business acumen in management, having worked as a basketball coach at Shelby Eastern Schools, according to a press release.

“Scott is the right leader to replace the legendary John Hartnett,” said Brady Claxton, Self Boys and Girls Club board president, in a press release. “Scott’s extensive knowledge of what it takes to manage a successful club, along with his tireless work ethic to ensure the youth in our community reach their full potential as productive, responsible citizens will definitely expand the legacy left by Hartnett.”

Spahr is a retired United States Army veteran who has previously served on the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He was honored as Morristown’s outstanding citizen in 2014.

He will become the fourth executive director in the Boys and Girls Club’s 66-year history when he starts on Oct. 5. Hartnett will continue in his current role until Oct. 2, which is a Friday.

Spahr said he has no preexisting thoughts on any changes he wants to make and will start by assessing the big picture.

The goal, he said, is to “do what’s right for the kids.”

ISP arrests 2 Shelby County residents for attempted theft

Two Shelby County residents were arrested on Friday and initially charged with theft in Indianapolis.

Stefan Hartford, 40, of Shelbyville, and Jeremy Prater, 31, of Flat Rock, were arrested after Detective Chris Hanson was southbound on Interstate 465 near Pendleton Pike when he saw two vehicles stopped on the right shoulder. After seeing two men lying on the ground under an SUV that had an orange abandoned vehicle tag, Hanson pulled over to investigate.

According to police, Hanson determined that the men were in the middle of stealing a catalytic converter.

It was the second time in a week in which a trooper from the Indiana State Police prevented the theft of a catalytic converter from an abandoned vehicle that was left on an interstate.

The previous week, ISP Master Trooper Antwaun Johnson noticed two vehicles on the shoulder of westbound Interstate 70 with occupants who appeared to be stealing catalytic converters from abandoned vehicles.

Three Indianapolis residents were arrested from that incident on probable cause of theft: Joseph Didion, 51; Michele Didion, 49; and Frank Bruce, 45.

According to the ISP press release, the theft of catalytic converters from abandoned vehicles that are left on interstates around central Indiana is not uncommon

ISP reminds motorists to abandon the vehicle if it is only absolutely necessary and return to it as quickly as possible. Motorists are also encouraged to report suspicious activity around disabled or abandoned vehicles.

The use of any type of saw is rarely used when repairing vehicles along the road.

ISP asks that anyone who witnesses someone approaching a disabled or abandoned vehicle with a saw should provide a description of the person or vehicle they are driving.