Historic site gets new stewards

Indiana Landmarks finds area buyer for Huddleston site; family aims to preserve farmhouse for future generations

A home as unique as the Huddleston Farmhouse — a former inn for U.S. 40 travelers and a museum — doesn’t fit everyone’s needs, budgets or talents. After about a year on the market, Indiana Landmarks officials announced Friday that experienced Hoosier preservationists and organic farmers have purchased the historic Cambridge City house and 18 acres. Tyler and Gentry Gough already restored a 1902 shingle-style house in Greenfield and a 1928 Dutch Colonial house in Indianapolis’s Irvington neighborhood. They’re bringing those skills to a 14-room farmhouse built in 1841 that provided a home for the 13-member Huddleston family as well as shelter for weary National Road travelers. “You can tell they are passionate about it and they want to do it right and be respectful of the property and the land,” said Brittany Miller, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Eastern Regional Office.

Orchestra hires music director

Lopera offers ‘unbounding energy, passion’

After inviting audiences to watch five conductors audition for their potential new job, Richmond Symphony Orchestra has hired its top choice. Late last week, Maestro Andrés Lopera entered a three-year contract with RSO as its fourth-ever music director. RSO Board President Jeff Carter said Lopera “brings unbounding energy and passion to his role.”

“He is excited to work with the RSO’s talented musicians, engage the local community, and inspire a rising generation of music enthusiasts,” Carter said in a news release. “With vision and enthusiasm, Maestro Lopera will carry the energy of this season into the next.”

The search process began nearly two years ago, when RSO’s third music director Guy Victor Bordo announced he would retire at the end of the 2021-2022 season. Carter thanked board member Jeff Jackson and the search team he led for their careful work in narrowing the candidate pool of 53 to five and evaluating them further.

U.S. 40 crash damage estimated at $75K

Vehicle destroys library, business signs

Damage has been estimated at about $75,000 after a vehicle went off the road and crashed into several signs in downtown Centerville. The accident took place just after 10:30 p.m. March 12. A Centerville man apparently had a medical episode while driving east along U.S. 40 and crossed the center line, approaching several buildings on the north side of the road. Police Chief Ed Buchholz said security video shows that the driver first crashed into a picnic table outside the Centerville Christian Church’s Family Life Center, then destroyed a digital sign outside Delay Insurance Services and Associates. He then came close to the front of Centerville — Center Township Public Library.

Centerville to correct electric rate typo

Special council meeting, public hearing set for March 20

Although they don’t expect the outcome will change, Centerville’s council members are conducting another public hearing and special council meeting related to an already-approved increase in electric rates. An ordinance was introduced at a short March 6 meeting to correct a mistake in the newly increased rates that accidentally would have been a rate reduction for customers. Clerk-Treasurer Richard Tincher said someone had misplaced a “0” in the document. A public hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. March 20, with a special council meeting following to address the issue. Town officials are planning for customers to see the newly adjusted rate of $0.1455 per kilowatt-hour soon.

Costly ‘cats’ thefts grow nationally

Police aim to deter catalytic converter crimes

A school bus, local businesses and residents are all among those impacted by attempted or actual thefts of catalytic converters. As those thefts are rising nationally, local police departments encourage residents to keep an eye on their own vehicles and those of their neighbors to help prevent those quick thefts and related damage. Catalytic converter thefts in the U.S. increased 1,215% between 2019 and 2022, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The National Automobile Dealers Association says converters can be stolen easily from unattended vehicles. Because they aren’t readily traceable, there’s a lucrative market for stolen parts, and those thefts are collectively costing businesses and individuals millions of dollars.

Richmond Civic Theatre opens codebreaker show March 16

“Breaking the Code” play shows Turing’s life and work

An eccentric genius secretly played a major role in the Allies winning World War II after he broke a complex German code. However, instead of being celebrated for the rest of his life as a hero, Alan Turing died forgotten and alone after breaking another code: being gay.  

Starting Thursday, Richmond Civic Theatre presents Turing’s true but tragic story – the historical and biographical drama called “Breaking the Code.” The final show is March 26. “Breaking the Code” is the downtown Richmond theater’s first play featuring a realistic openly gay main character, said David Cobine, the show’s director. Turing broke the complex German code called Enigma, enabling allied forces to foresee German maneuvers.

ISTAR honors local seniors, teachers

Lincoln, Centerville, Hagerstown schools part of program

A few high-achieving seniors from several area high schools — and an educator of their choice — are honored each spring. 

The Indiana Student-Teacher Achievement Recognition program recognizes students and teachers for excellence, integrity and commitment. This year’s ISTAR banquet took place March 8 at Connersville High School. 

And, in an unusual occurrence, two of one school’s three featured seniors happen to be siblings. Twins Ben and Anna Schweitzer are both being recognized for Centerville Senior High School. 

However, they are not the first twins to both be recognized. For instance, Centerville’s Matt and Brett Stoughton both won in 2013. Centerville, Lincoln and Hagerstown participate in ISTAR, as well as Tri, Connersville, Union County, Franklin County and Rushville. 

Here are highlights from the biographies received for each honoree.

Centerville shopping for insurance, again

No resolution to employees’ health coverage issue

Already spending thousands of dollars more for health insurance than expected this year, Centerville officials still haven’t gotten their problem solved. Thus, they’re taking an unusual step in March: they’re shopping again for 2023 health insurance for town employees and their families. Health insurance registration is an issue that town officials thought they had resolved after a committee started research in August to find the best prices and recommended a provider late last year for council’s approval. They were excited about saving money by changing from Anthem to Principal. The council thought savings were so great, they voted to also offer vision and dental coverage at no cost to employees.

2 officers recognized for trauma-informed care

‘I honestly owe them my life’

Centerville’s police officers were encouraged to attend town council’s Feb. 28 meeting, but weren’t quite sure why. They soon learned that Centerville Police Chief Ed Buchholz was surprising one of the town’s officers with a promotion, and giving a Life Saving Award to two other Centerville and Cambridge City officers. Life Saving Award
Buchholz read a letter from a grateful survivor thanking CPD Officer Dylin Lakes and CCPD officer Jeramiah Lawson for their trauma-responsive care during an early February call. That compassionate response prevented a suicide.

Pershing cemetery now in IRS’ good graces

Shortly before spring and summer maintenance expenses begin, Zion Lutheran Cemetery’s board members are relieved that the organization’s tax-exempt status has resumed. The classification had lapsed due to a missed paperwork filing. Board President Paul Railsback said the Pershing organization has been reinstated by the Internal Revenue Service and Indiana Secretary of State’s office. He credited Secretary-Treasurer Donna Wright for her countless hours and persistence in completing the required paperwork. The cemetery’s tax-exempt status has been backdated to July 2022, so gifts made in that calendar year can count as tax-deductible.