In case you missed it – January 2

Soggy winter leaves park flooded

GREENFIELD — Riley Park could be closed until next week as park employees work to clean up from the area’s latest flood.

The park is in a flood plain close to Brandywine Creek and is prone to flooding, parks superintendent Ellen Kuker said. But the park typically doesn’t have standing water this time of year. This December, however, has brought nearly double the average amount of rain. More than 5.59 inches of rain fell in Hancock County so far this month.

Greenfield couple welcome baby girl on Christmas

Ashley and William Dillon will spend years trying to outdo the shock, excitement and overwhelming joy brought by this holiday season. The couple were planning to have a calm, quiet Christmas at home this year; waiting eagerly for a special kind of present: Their first daughter, Zophia Alicia Dillon, was due to be born any day. With family members stationed around the country on military bases, the Dillons postponed their celebrations until a time when everyone could be together. They planned for Friday to be a day of relaxing, time for the couple to spend alone before they became a family of three. But Zophia had other plans in mind; the best Christmas gifts are always surprises.

The baby was born Christmas Day at the couple’s home in Greenfield with the help of paramedics from Buck Creek Township Fire Department, just hours after Ashley Dillon had been sent home from a hospital. Her little girl wouldn’t arrive in time for Christmas, she was told.

City purchases 15-acre extension with grant

GREENFIELD — An expansion to Beckenholdt Family Park will soon offer a secluded retreat for local walkers and nature buffs.

The Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department has purchased a 15-acre plot of land adjacent to Beckenholdt Park, which will be used to expand the green space on the city’s northwest side by about 25 percent. The purchase, made possible by a roughly $220,000 grant from the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, will allow visitors to explore a wetlands area on the park’s western boundary.

Bank robber gets 10-year sentence

GREENFIELD — The Fortville man who called in a bomb threat to distract police while he robbed a nearby bank will be allowed to serve his prison time in a drug treatment program that offers him the chance to earn a lesser sentence.

Matthew Irwin, 31, will spend the next 10 years in an Indiana Department of Correction facility after admitting to calling in a bomb threat to Mt. Vernon High School so he could rob a bank in Fortville. Those years will be served in the Purposeful Incarceration program at Irwin’s request. The defendant told Hancock Circuit Judge Richard Culver last week that drug addiction drove him to commit crimes, and he hoped to seek treatment while locked up.

Local party changes leader; chairman looking for candidates

GREENFIELD — Local Democrats have a new leader who hopes to reignite the party in time for the 2016 election.

Randy Johnson has been tapped to replace Phil Hunt, who recently resigned as chairman of the Hancock County Democratic Party.

Johnson, who has lived in Hancock County since June 2014, is retired from the United Steelworkers International Union. Though he’s fairly new to the county’s party, he’s been involved with the national Democratic Party and spoke at the Democratic National Committee in 2012.

He hopes to help strengthen the party and find quality Democrat candidates for the 2016 elections after no local Democrats ran for election this year. Right now, residents don’t see an active Democratic Party in Hancock County, and Johnson hopes to change that.