Commission: No change to farm rules
GREENFIELD — For now, no changes will be made to the county’s zoning ordinance regarding large-scale animal operations.
After 45 minutes of discussion Tuesday night, the Hancock Area Plan Commission decided to make no changes to the current ordinance, despite a request from a citizens group to increase the buffer zone between animal farms and their neighbors.
Board members decided the commission should wait until a study being considered by the state Legislature is complete to revisit the issue.
Farmers, neighbors and representatives from the city were present at the meeting to discuss the amendment proposed by a group of Hancock County residents.
Missing jury postpones trial
GREENFIELD – The murder trial of Amanda Gonzales, one of three people accused of plotting the shooting death of an Indianapolis woman, was postponed Monday morning after no jurors showed up to the Hancock County Courthouse.
Seventy-five people were mailed general notices of jury duty, Hancock Superior Court 1 Judge Terry Snow said. But those potential jurors apparently never received a secondary notice summoning them to court Monday to hear the case against Gonzales, forcing the court to reschedule the trial.
Snow’s office is responsible for assembling the jury pool, and Snow said both letters were sent out on schedule.
He said he’s not sure what happened to prevent the letters from reaching the recipients’ mailboxes.
“It’s rather embarrassing, but there is absolutely nothing we can do about,” he said. “You can’t have a jury trial without a jury.”
Jurors are told to arrive at the courthouse by 8:30 a.m. on the first day of the trial, and people usually start getting there around 8 a.m. As the 9 a.m. trial time edged closer and closer, it became apparent Monday there had been a problem, Snow said.
His staff called six people on the jury list at random to find out where they were. Every person they contacted said they had not received a notice to appear at the courthouse Monday.
“I’ve been a judge for 12 years and a prosecutor for 16 years before that, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of something like this happening,” Snow said.
The court postponed Gonzales’ case to April 13.
State shuts down popular eatery
GREENFIELD – Riley House Restaurant has been closed by the state pending a hearing amid allegations the business owner owes more than $350,000 in taxes and has been operating illegally since 2012.
A closed sign was propped by the door of the business at 1020 W. Main St. on Tuesday. State officials said the business will remain closed until the back taxes are paid.
Restaurant owner Kimberly Lawrence reportedly owes more than $353,800 in unpaid taxes dating back to 2006, court records state.
That total includes $277,000 in unpaid sales tax, nearly $34,000 in unpaid withholding tax from employee payroll, more than $40,000 in unpaid food and beverage tax and the rest in unpaid corporate tax.
The Indiana Department of Revenue filed a motion to close the business Tuesday in Hancock Superior Court 1. Once the motion was approved, paperwork ordering the restaurant to shut its doors was hand-delivered, according to a news release from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Monday.