In case you missed it – February 13

Fortville officials weigh proposal to redesign downtown area

FORTVILLE — Fortville officials are considering a plan to significantly redesign the area’s downtown by adding curbs, crosswalks and sidewalks to make the community more pedestrian-friendly.

To do so, town officials are weighing creating two new tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts, to attract new businesses to the area. TIF districts, which encompass commercial property, use property taxes collected from businesses in the district to promote economic development and pay for town improvement projects.

The proposal is expected to go before the town council for a vote in March.

Judge hands teen driver max sentence in cyclist’s death

GREENFIELD — A New Palestine teenage who struck two bicyclist with his car while drunken driving will spend 9½ years in a state prison after pleading guilty this week to charges he faced, including reckless homicide.

Timothy Hughes, 18, pleaded guilty Tuesday to six felonies and one misdemeanor, admitting he was drunk behind the wheel when his car struck and killed Carla McCloud, 22, and injured her cousin, Amanda Wheeler, 22.

After sitting quietly through nearly four hours of testimony, Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver handed down the maximum sentence.

Culver called the 18-year-old defendant selfish, destructive and — perhaps most importantly — likely to offend again, based on a pattern of substance abuse and poor choices.

New Palestine Democrat seeks state House seat from Cherry

HANCOCK COUNTY — A New Palestine resident has announced plans to run against longtime Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, in this fall’s general election.

Democrat Nancy Tibbett filed paperwork last week to run for the Indiana District 53 House of Representatives seat, which represents Hancock, Rush and Shelby counties.

It will be her first time running for political office, and the first time since 2008 that Cherry, who has represented Hancock County in the state Legislature since 1998, faced a Democrat challenger. When he was most recently re-elected in 2012, he faced just one challenger, a Libertarian.

Utility company to offer water, sewer service, buy businesses

HANCOCK COUNTY — NineStar Connect is poised to expand its rural utility services by offering water and sewer service to thousands of businesses and residences that currently depend on well water and septic systems.

The Greenfield-based nonprofit cooperative, which currently provides Internet and electric utilities, is seeking approval from county officials to begin offering water and sewer services to residents and companies in nearly 45,000 acres of rural land between Greenfield and Fortville.

No water or sewer lines currently exist in the vast majority of the territory; roughly 2,700 homes and businesses lie in the area now, most of which are dependent on wells and septic systems.