25-year-old woman charged with child molesting

PUBLISHED: Sept. 15, 2017

BY: SHANNON HALL, COURIER & PRESS REPORTER

EVANSVILLE — A 25-year-old woman was charged with multiple counts of child molesting this week.

Keshia C. Warfield faces three different felony counts of child molesting after two children told their mother about the alleged abuse and they reported it to authorities.

One child at the house where Warfield temporarily lived told police that Warfield touched their genitals on top of their clothing, a second child said Warfield touched touched their genitals underneath the clothing. Continue reading “25-year-old woman charged with child molesting”

Fatal child neglect charge for Newburgh man

PUBLISHED: Sept. 19, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall & Tori Fater, Courier & Press reporters 

A Newburgh man accused of fatal child neglect in Warrick County has been arrested.

Thaddious Rice, 23, was taken into custody on a warrant Monday afternoon and is being held in Warrick County jail without bond.

He has been charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death in Warrick County in connection with the death of 10-month-old Jaxson Wheeler. The child neglect charge is a Level 1 felony – under Indiana law, the most serious felony level after murder. Continue reading “Fatal child neglect charge for Newburgh man”

Local woman offers haunted experiences

PUBLISHED: Sept. 20, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter 

Joni Mayhan has always been sensitive to spirits. It wasn’t always easy to have the spirits around her, especially as a child.

“It’s not all that I got into ghosts — ghosts kinda got into me,” she said.

She experienced interactions with ghosts throughout her childhood, but in the past 10 years or so, Mayhan started to embrace the spirits that come to her and began writing paranormal books she’s investigated. Continue reading “Local woman offers haunted experiences”

Commissioners: Gas tax will help with Vanderburgh roads, bridges

May 16, 2017

By Shannon Hall

Not much new information was revealed at Tuesday’s State of the County address by the commissioners.

Commission President Bruce Ungethiem said he was told Vanderburgh County would receive about $3-4 million a year from the gas tax, which will be implemented July 1. Hoosiers will now pay 28 cents per gallon at the pump, but local government will reap some of the rewards. Continue reading “Commissioners: Gas tax will help with Vanderburgh roads, bridges”

Police: Mother passes out while driving two sons

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PUBLISHED: May 18, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

A woman was arrested Wednesday morning after police reported finding her passed out in a running, black Ford Explorer with two children in the vehicle.

Tierra Maupins, 26, was arrested and preliminarily charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a child under 18 in the car and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent or more.

Dispatch received multiple calls about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday that a woman was slumped over in an Explorer with two children in it on Riverside in the right turn lane to go north on U.S. 41. One passerby told police that the vehicle was in drive but he was able to put it in park, according to the probable cause affidavit. Another witness had her two children, ages 1 and 3, in the parking lot nearby.

After an ambulance was called, Maupins woke up, and police smelled a “strong odor” of alcohol on her breath, court documents state.

Maupins told police that she “partied the night before” but stopped drinking at midnight, according to a probable cause affidavit. Maupins failed three of the four sobriety field tests and provided a chemical test where it showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.16.

The Department of Child Services was notified and took the two children into their custody.

Point Zero Eight

The Courier & Press is documenting every person in Vanderburgh County who is arrested and charged with drunken driving and following the cases through the courts. Since Feb. 1, almost 150 people have been charged with drunken driving in Vanderburgh County.

Driving under the influence is usually a misdemeanor charge, and those charged don’t serve jail time outside of their initial arrest. But it’s a misdemeanor that could turn deadly quickly.

Last fall, the Tri-State community had five fatal deaths involving intoxicated drivers, according to local law enforcement.

To follow along online, go to courierpressblogs.com/dui.

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Commissioners to decide how to spend gas tax money

May 20, 2017

By Shannon Hall

With Vanderburgh County possibly receiving $3 to 4 million in 2018 from the state gas tax, county commissioners face a task to compile a list of necessary fixes.

The Indiana legislature passed a gas tax increase that takes effect July 1. The bill will increase the gas tax to 28 cents per gallon, and local governments will receive a chunk of the revenue.

The money collected must fund roads, bridges or maintenance equipment for roads or bridges, according to Vanderburgh County Commission President Bruce Ungethiem.

He said commissioners plan to pick roads in the worst conditions.

“This will be a joint effort between the County engineer, the county Garage Superintendent and the commissioners,” Ungethiem said.

The county is required to inspect bridges every two years. A consultant will look at each of the county’s 157 bridges and examine the type of bridge and the age. According to the consulting report from this year, three bridges in the county are eligible for replacement.

Roads are a little different.

County Engineer John Stoll said his department usually hears about road conditions from the public, the county highway department superintendents, and county engineer.

“We make a list of what we get plus what we find, and we prioritize things on the basis what’s the worst and what needs to get done,” Stoll said.

The $3 to $4 million is still an estimate of how much Vanderburgh County will receive, and it’s unclear when the county will start receiving the money, but it’s more than what the county engineer usually receives.

“We’re usually limited by what the revenues come in,” he said.

Stoll said the engineering department and the highway department receive about a combined $1 million for road maintenance.

“If we get revenues like that, then that would actually allow the county to pursue some reconstruction projects that haven’t been able to be done in the past, which that will be a good thing,” Stoll said. “We have plenty of need for substandard roads to get totally rebuilt.”

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Wildcats take over Newburgh riverfront

May 22, 2017

By Shannon Hall

NEWBURGH — From 8:30 a.m. to mid morning on Monday, no one walked the halls at Newburgh Elementary.

Instead, hundreds of tiny feet pounded along Newburgh’s riverfront for the third annual Wildcat Mile.

“Every student gets to do this every year,” said Erin Purdue, a teacher at Newburgh Elementary and one of the organizers of the Wildcat Mile. “They have race bibs (and) they get their own number.”

As the name says, the race is a mile long, though kindergarteners run a slightly shorter course than the students in grades 1 through 5.

“We want this to be a real race-like experience for them,” said Purdue. “They can walk, they can run, either thing.”

Not only do the kids have the opportunity to race each other, but this year, they learned how to jazzercise.

Eleven-year-old Adam Meyer said he enjoyed the event.

“‘Cause,” he said with a quick drink of water, “it’s fun.”

The elementary school holds the annual event to promote healthy lifestyles as part of the school’s Heros initiative, which promotes good health and wellness.

Kathy Rowe, a former Castle High School teacher, sat at a bench and soaked in some sun while her grandson — Ethan — pumped his legs for the mile.

“I just think it’s awesome that Newburgh Elementary focused on education, physical activities and healthy foods,” Rowe said. “It’s commendable.”

Dozens of grandparents and parents volunteered to keep the kids motivated during the race.

“It’s amazing they do this event,” said Ann Cunningham, a parent of two Newburgh Elementary students. “It’s so fun.”

She has cheered the kids on for all three years.

“I like to run,” she said. Cunningham’s motor also runs, so they hope someday they can run 5K races with three generations.

Purdue said she doesn’t think the Wildcat Mile will stop any time soon.

“It’s a real positive environment,” Purdue said. “Everybody gets cheered on at the finish line. … and it’s a great way to spend the second-to-last day of school.”

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Former Harrison hoops standout died from gunshot wound to head

PUBLSIHED: May 23, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

A former Harrison High School basketball standout was found shot to death in the 400 block of South Morton Avenue, between Cherry and Walnut streets, on Tuesday morning, according to the city police.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear identified the deceased as Deniko L. Scott, 22, of Evansville. Scott played high school basketball at Harrison, graduated in 2013 and was named second team All-Metro and an honorable mention for all-state from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association his senior year. Continue reading “Former Harrison hoops standout died from gunshot wound to head”

Residents upset over Lincoln Estates ownership change

PUBLISHED: May 24, 2017

BY: Shannon Hall, Courier & Press reporter

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s office received information on 17 Lincoln Estates residents who may need help after a recent ownership change at the complex.

Friends and families concerned about Lincoln Estates residents flooded the Potter’s Wheel and interrupted the mayor’s traveling town hall Wednesday night to voice concern about an ownership change at the complex. Continue reading “Residents upset over Lincoln Estates ownership change”

Lincoln Estates property foreclosed in 2016

May 27, 2017

By Shannon Hall

The Evansville Housing Authority knew that changes could happen at Lincoln Estates but they didn’t move families from their voucher program until the property changed ownership.

The new ownership, which bought the property in April, notified a few dozen residents that they can no longer live at Lincoln Estates because of unpaid rent, said Rick Moore, Evansville Housing Authority executive director.

Others, he said, have leases that end soon, and the company isn’t renewing the leases so they can renovate the apartments.

The sudden change caused low-income residents to move within 30 days. Some residents complained at the mayor’s town hall Wednesday that it’s a hard task for low-income residents to move so swiftly and to pay for all the moving costs.

According to court documents, Lincoln Estates Redevelopment, LP, didn’t make any mortgage payments for the Lincoln Estates housing complex to the bank from March to November 2015.

It’s unclear who represents Lincoln Estates Redevelopment, but the investment group contains various investors including the Evansville Housing Authority.

The investment group decided it was best to offer to buy the property instead of paying the rest of the mortgage said, Evansville Housing Authority Executive Director Rick Moore said.

“Because it was not operating efficiently over time … it just didn’t make financial sense for us to continue and try to keep this afloat,” Moore said. “It wasn’t just that we couldn’t have afforded it. The financing and the banks that we would have to go to fund that project to keep it affordable, they wouldn’t approve it.”

Moore said when he was hired as the Evansville Housing Authority executive director in 2011, Lincoln Estates operated at a deficit.

Lincoln Estates Redevelopment LP received a court order in July 2016 to pay almost $2 million to the mortgage holder in unpaid principle, interest, late charges, real estates taxes, hazard insurance and default interest, but the bank bought the property days after the court’s judgment.

The Evansville Housing Authority offered the bank about $1.5 million for the property, but it rejected their offer, Moore said.

“They thought they could get more out of it, which they eventually did,” Moore said. “So our offer was based off what we thought we could cash flow, and so they just didn’t accept.”

Bayview Loaning Services LLC held the property for about 9 months and then sold it in April to City Pointe Evansville LLC for $2.6 million.

The Courier & Press has been unable to identify individuals associated with City Pointe Evansville LLC.

According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, City Pointe Evansville LLC lists George Zarris as the registered agent the company.

Listed agents can be lawyers, partners, or the actual owners of the corporation. A George Zarris who lives in Crown Point, Indiana denied being involved with City Pointe Evansville, LLC.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” he said Wednesday.

Moore said about 20 families who the Housing Authority houses through the government subsidized voucher program have been relocated.

The property was built in 1999 with private developers using tax credits. Using tax credits guarantee the property stays as affordable housing for 15 years. After that, the owners could opt to apply for additional tax credits.

But before the period ended, Moore said the partnership began looking at the different possibilities for the property. Applying for additional tax credit wasn’t an option because Moore doubted it would be approved because of the lack of cash flow.

It’s unclear what the future holds for Lincoln Estates.

The management group currently collecting rent from Lincoln Estates residents told the Housing Authority that they would allow people who have housing authority vouchers to return living at the complex when the renovations finish, Moore said.

“It’s unfortunate because Evansville needs more affordable housing,” Moore said. “We’re in the business of trying to provide that.”

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