January Mayor issues executive order on bias crimes

Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak signed an executive order to provide additional education and outreach in Zionsville to ensure that those who commit hate crimes are properly identified. In the executive order, Haak also urges the state legislature to pass legislation providing all Hoosiers protection against bias crimes.

The Zionsville Town Council also unanimously passed a resolution encouraging the Indiana General Assembly to pass bias crimes legislation at the state level during the 2019 legislative session.

The order instructed the Zionsville chief of police and the Zionsville Police Department to establish training to educate all Zionsville officers on ways to identify bias crimes and to collect data associated with crimes motivated

by bias.

“Zionsville is open for business to all and we want to ensure that all residents and visitors feel welcomed, safe and protected in our community,” Haak said.

Doctor’s victims seek fertility fraud law

Matt White found out that he had three half-siblings he never knew about.

Those three join a list of more than 40 people who White encountered after investigators found that a fertility doctor used his own sperm to impregnate unsuspecting patients. The list could eventually have more than 50 names, White believes.

“The number is going to continue to grow,” White, 36, said. “This guy knew what he was doing. It was calculated. It was planned from 1974 to 1987.”

The doctor, Donald Cline, now 80, of Zionsville, was stripped permanently of his Indiana medical license. In a Marion County criminal court, he was fined $500 and received a one-year suspended sentence in December 2017 for two counts of obstruction of justice after he lied to investigators from the Indiana attorney general’s office.

They asked him questions about a complaint that Cline, not an anonymous person, was the sperm donor to some of his patients.

Cline, whose office was on the north side of Indianapolis, retired from practice in 2009.

Cline is believed to have anonymously conceived children without telling female patients that he was a sperm donor between 1974 and 1987. Some of the half-siblings are seeking a law, which Indiana does not have, to specifically make fertility fraud a crime.

Chamber names Storen Financial Zionsville Business of the Year

Owners and representatives of Zionsville businesses filled the ballroom at the Golf Club of Indiana for Zionsville Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

Storen Financial was recognized as business of the year. The business of the year is awarded to a company that demonstrates leadership, innovation, commitment and good corporate citizenship in the Zionsville area.

The person making the nomination said that Storen Financial has provided financial and physical support for local organizations including Lions Park, churches, youth groups and others.

FEBRUARY Lt. Young earns ZFD Firefighter of the Year title

Lieutenant Mitch Young has been named Zionsville Fire Department Firefighter of the Year.

Young and other outstanding members of the department were honored during the department’s 19th Annual Firefighter’s Ball and Awards Banquet Saturday, Feb. 2, in the Cardinal Room at Golf Club of Indiana. The event is organized each year by volunteers with the ZFD’s Support Services.

Firefighter of the Year is the top award presented each year. It is given to an active, regular member of the department who has made the most significant contribution to the department during the year. Award recipients are nominated by fellow firefighters.

Young was commended for his strong morals, determination and leadership.

Remembering a pillar of the community

“What part of this town didn’t she work to build? She was a pillar of our community,” said Deputy Mayor Ed Mitro, when asked about the legacy of former Zionsville Town Clerk Bev Harves.

Harves died Feb. 7 at the age of 84.

She served the community of Zionsville in many ways, including as town clerk from 1976 to 2004.

“When Bev began working as town clerk, she did a little bit of everything,” Mitro said. “She had a very small staff and they really were responsible for running the business of our town. In 1976 we had around 3,000 residents — today we are approaching 15,000 — Bev is responsible for much of this growth. Bev was a visionary and there is hardly a part of town that exists now that her fingerprints haven’t touched.”

Mitro had the opportunity to work with Harves for several years. He said she was an institution for the town and helped everyone she met.

“She was wonderful,” Mitro said.

“She was kind and she never met a stranger. Bev had this way of always greeting you with kindness and making you feel important. She was special, and she loved Zionsville.”

Bench trial begins for accused Clements’ murderer

A three-day bench trial was held for the Indianapolis man accused of murdering an elderly Zionsville man who was outside his home after picking up the mail in 2016.

John A. Clements, 82, was randomly gunned down in his quiet Zionsville neighborhood in a case that seemed almost impossible to solve until police in a different case compared DNA from shell casings found at the scene with a database of samples from people arrested in other states.

Because of that evidence, Damoine Wilcoxson, was ultimately identified as a suspect in the Zionsville shooting and charged in Clements’ death at 823 Terrace Court, Zionsville.

Wilcoxson found guilty in Clements’ murder

Boone Superior Court I Judge Matthew Kincaid on Thursday, Feb. 21, found Damoine Wilcoxson, 23, of Indianapolis,

guilty of murder.

“The Clements family and the Town of Zionsville were rocked by the senseless broad daylight shooting of Mr. Clements. Hopefully, this verdict will help heal this heartbreaking loss,” Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said.

Sentencing was set for March.

MARCH Fallen officer honored on anniversary of death

A year after Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett was gunned down in the line of duty, the fallen officer was honored.

Pickett, a Zionsville resident, was shot March 2, 2018; he died March 5 at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis after being sustained on life support.

Hundreds of people from Boone and Hendricks Counties, and across the state, gathered Saturday, March 2, in the Witham Building at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds to honor Pickett’s life, legacy and those he left behind. The event, while emotional, was also a day of celebration and good works.

ZCHS Winter Guard claims state title

Under the guidance of first year Director Brayton Mendenhall, the Zionsville Community High School’s winter guard won the Indiana High School Color Guard Association State Championship Saturday, March 16.

Mendenhall has 25 years of experience in color guard, but this was his first year as director at Zionsville Community High School.

“This was a great day for our program and a stepping stone to building a program that is world class,” he said.

Wilcoxson murder sentence delayedThe sentencing of convicted murderer Damoine Wilcoxson was postponed, after Wilcoxson’s attorney failed to appear.

Court convened briefly for the sentencing hearing, but with no defense attorney present, Boone Superior I Judge Matthew Kincaid delayed the hearing, as court staff tried calling and emailing William Madison Hawkins, requesting the attorney to appear so the hearing could proceed.

While court staff tried to locate Hawkins, Wilcoxson was returned to the Boone County Jail.

Ultimately, a new sentencing date had to be set for April.

APRIL

Zionsville Indoor Percussionwins 4th state championshipZionsville Indoor Percussion topped 17 Scholastic Class A winter percussion groups to claim the IPA state title Saturday night at Ben Davis High School.

It was ZIP’s fourth Indiana Percussion Association Class A state championship in five years.

Percussion Scholastic A scores at the state finals began in the low 70s, with scores among the top five finishers all within a narrow margin: fifth-place Brownsburg scored an 88.700, followed by Hamilton

Southeastern with an 88.888; Carroll High School with a 88.925, and Northview with a 89.250. Zionsville earned top honors with a score of 90.288.

Sycamore Flats plan advances to town council

The proposed Sycamore Flats development was passed from the plan commmision and scheduled to be heard by members of The Zionsville Town

Council.

The Zionsville Plan Commission voted 5-2 in favor of the proposed project, with residents filling both the meeting room and overflow area, with many sharing input regarding the project.

Sycamore Flats was a proposed mixed-use development earmarked for 165 and 253 W. Sycamore Street.

The developer was asking the town to rezone around 4.3 acres from the Village Business designation to a planned unit development.

The project was set to include more than 180 upscale apartments, a parking structure for residents, and 5,000 square feet of retail space.

Wilcoxson receives maximum sentenceDamoine Wilcoxson was sentenced to 65 years in prison for gunning down 82-year-old John Clements while Clements was at home caring for his wife in September 2016.

He was already serving time in Marion County for unrelated crimes committed in the weeks following Clements’ murder.

Investigators seek clues in homicide near rail trailZionsville resident Samuel Thomas Bennett was jogging on the Big Four Rail Trail behind Zionsville Town Hall when he was killed April 28.

Zionsville Police department assigned four detectives to the case, and the department began working with outside agencies as well.

Bennett, 23, was found dead on a corner of the Quail Run apartment complex property where he had collapsed.

MAY

Man confesses to buying gunA Zionsville man confessed to buying a revolver for another man two weeks before a revolver with the same serial number was found near the scene of the April 28 homicide of Samuel Thomas Bennett.

David Meschino Jr., 28, said he bought a .357 revolver in June and Ruger SR40 and Smith and Wesson MP Shield pistols March 21, all for James E. Hughes of Zionsville, according to a probable cause

affidavit.

Police found a revolver — with a serial number matching the one Meschino bought —in a wooded area near Zionsville Town Hall and the Big Four Rail Trail on Sunday, about 12 hours after Bennett’s body was

found in that area, according to court records.

Town council deadlocks in Sycamore Flats voteMonths of growing debate surrounding the plans for the proposed Sycamore Flats retail and apartment complex, near Sycamore

and Main streets on the edge of Zionsville’s downtown culminated in a stalemate May 6.

After 3 1/2 hours of presentations, public input, questions and debate on the project at a meeting of the Zionsville Town Council, the vote to approve the project was tied — three council members had voted in favor of the proposed development; three were opposed. One member was not able to attend the meeting because of a family emergency, and a new vote was set for a meeting in June.

Hundreds of residents attended the meeting, packing the downstairs council chambers as well as an upstairs overflow area, with two large screens projecting the proceedings. Many wore red to illustrate opposition to the project.

Families, retirees, and groups of teens and young adults were among the crowd, with some standing for hours, as others resorted to sitting on the floor or the windowsills.

DNA connects revolver to HughesDNA on a revolver found near a Samuel Bennett’s body matched DNA of James E. Hughes. Hughes was arrested May 8 and charged with murder.

ZPD Officer Thomas Lucas reportedly found a Charter Arms .357 Magnum 5-shot revolver near the location where Bennett was found.

Police took DNA samples from the revolver that had a serial number matching one bought by David Meschino Jr., 28, of Zionsville.

Hughes allegedly told Meschino that someone “had a beef” with him and he had a felony arrest record that prevented him from buying firearms, although Hughes actually did not have a felony record, police reported.

Lids building listed for saleLids Sports Group was been listed for sale following news that it was moving its day-to-day operations from Zionsville to Indianapolis.

The Zionsville property was owned by Genesco — the former parent company of Lids. The 150,000-square-foot building in Creekside Corporate Park was listed for $18.5 million. The three-story building was built in 2016, and sits on 16 acres.

JUNE Baumgardt sentenced

With his June sentencing, a chapter of the murder of Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett was closed. In exchange for the state dropping the death penalty, shooter Anthony Baumgardt changed his plea to guilty and will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Boone Superior II Judge Bruce Petit accepted the plea agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, Baumgardt, then 22, changed his plea and admitted to killing Pickett, for which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said, in a written statement, that the sentence “meets the wishes” of Jacob’s wife, and Pickett’s parents and the rest of the family.

“Today’s result allows for finality and some closure for the Pickett family, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and our entire law enforcement community on this particular case, instead of years of trial preparation, depositions, hearings, a trial and the possibility of decades of appeals,” Eastwood wrote.

Council kills Sycamore Flats proposalWhat at first seemed like an approval for the proposed Sycamore Flats development from the Zionsville Town Council, ended in a denial after a motion by council member Susana Suarez to continue the decision to the next council meeting was voted down 4-3.

Voting against continuing discussions were council president Josh Garrett and council members Tom Schuler, Kevin Spees and Jason Plunkett. Voting to continue looking at the project were council members Suarez, Elizabeth Hopper and Bryan Traylor.

JULY

Barton accepts plea dealRitchie Barton pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a charge of aggravated battery and two counts ofattempted battery by means of a deadly weapon, at a plea change hearing in July.

The charges stem from an early morning incident, at Crawsford Manor on the Hoosier Village campus in Zionsville, in 2018 when Barton stabbed Saundra Finchum in the sternum and legs after telling her “I’ve got to kill you,” she told police. After tussling with Finchum and a neighbor’s guest, Barton stabbed at two police officers who were trying to apprehend him, stopping only when he was Tased.

Finchum survived her injuries.

At the hearing, Boone Superior I Judge Matthew Kincaid said the case was shocking and sad.

AUGUST Suspicious package found in a church

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the Zionsville Police Department in the investigation of an “improvised incendiary device” found at Zionsville Presbyterian Church Sunday morning, Aug. 4.

According to ZPD, at about 1 p.m. that day, police officers and the Zionsville Fire Department went to the Presbyterian church, at the corner of 116th Street and Michigan Road because of the suspicious item. Officers learned the item was taken into the church by a woman, described as middle-aged, with dark hair.

The Indiana State Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team was called to the church to investigate the item, which was deemed safe and not an immediate threat.

A person of interest was later identified, but not charges were filed at that time.

SEPTEMBER

Beck wins Miss Fall Festival CrownZionsville High School Junior Presley Beck has been crowned Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen 2020.

A beaming Beck said that the pageant world was new to her, and that she thoroughly enjoyed the process and the people involved.

The local program, which is a precursor to the Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen pageant, and part of the Miss America Outstanding Teen program, was held Sept. 14, at Zionsville United Methodist Church.

Ball pleads guilty in plea agreementJohn Austin Ball changed his plea to guilty on seven charges in a plea agreement submitted to the court Sept. 27. This includes a new charge of providing a firearm to an ineligible person who then uses the gun to commit a crime. In this case, Ball provided Anthony Baumgardt with the gun used to kill Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett.

He changed his plea to guilty on possession and dealing in methamphetamine, illegal possession of a syringe and drug paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance. Those guilty pleas were in addition to the new charge.

OCTOBER Zionsville man indicted by U.S. Attorney

Scott Genung, 43, Zionsville, was indicted by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler for possessing firearms and ammunition illegally, following a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The

gun shop where he was working also was closed.

Zionsville Police Department aided in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ investigation that led to the indictment as well as the closure of G2 Sports Products/G2 Firearms Sales on Oct. 8.

Genung was indicted after an investigation revealed that he regularly carried and sold guns and ammunition at the G2 gun shop in Indianapolis, according to the complaint filed by the FTA. The complaint noted that Genung was a convicted felon who could not legally possess weapons.

Residents learn about candidates during forum

While the standing-room-only crowd, along with webcast viewers, had the opportunity to learn a bit about the candidates for town council ahead of the fall election, they heard much more from the two candidates for Zionsville mayor.

A dozen candidates for five contested town seats participated in the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Mayoral and Town Council Candidate Town Hall Forum Tuesday evening, Oct. 22, with town council candidates giving opening and closing statements, as well as answering a single question about their top three issues. The mayoral candidates — incumbent Republican Tim Haak and Democrat Emily Styron — fielded nearly a dozen questions after their opening comments.

NOVEMBER

Eagles claim State Soccer TitleThere wasn’t any panic in the Zionsville Eagles.

They had worked too hard and too long to falter in the state title game.

So even down a goal midway through the second half, and seemingly not having any breaks go their way, they didn’t stop believing they would get the job done.

And in a blink of an eye, the Eagles turned it around. Chris Freeman and Alex Carr scored 34 seconds apart, and Ben Weidner got an insurance goal in the final minutes as Zionsville captured the boys soccer state title 3-1 over Lake Central.

“This is such a great feeling,” Zionsville head coach Rob Jordan said. “Our kids played hard, and it’s good to see them be rewarded for such a great season. I told the boys, I have been chasing this thing for 34 years and to finally get it is total elation. The look in their eyes, seeing that happiness, is the best thing I have ever seen.”

Last year, the Eagles were so close to winning the state title, only to see Chesterton score in the final minute of overtime to win 1-0.

This year, the goal was to not only get back to the State Finals, but to finish the job. Mission accomplished.

“This season was all about working together and unfinished business,” Freeman said. “We have had that goal to get back to this game and win it. It feels so nice to win it, share this moment with all our friends and families and our teammates.”

Zionsville’s mayor unseatedWith a robust general election turnout of nearly 32 percent, it was clear that Zionsville’s races and ZCS operations and construction referendums led voters to the ballot box this fall.

Nearly 8,000 ballots were cast in the mayor’s race between incumbent Tim Haak (R) and his challenger Emily Styron (D), with Styron winning 50.55% to 49.45%, a difference of just .1% or 98 votes.

Many of the council seats — all held by Republicans — were set to turn over, with several town council members not returning in 2020.

Despite the fact that the mayor’s seat flipped from a Republican to a Democrat, all of the town council seats stayed within the Republican party.

Incumbents Bryan Traylor, (R-District 1), and Josh Garrett (R-District 5) ran unopposed for re-election.

District 2 went to Jason Plunkett, a Republican who previously had been appointed to an at-large seat. He defeated his challenger Julie Johns-Cole 63% to 37%. The District 3 seat went to Craig Melton (R) over Tim Ottinger (D), 61% to 39%.

The contest was a bit closer for the two at-large seats, with the two Republican candidates Alex Choi and Brad Burk coming out on top (29% and 28% respectively) over the two Democratic challengers Bret Brewer (20%) and Kristine Towns (19%). Libertarian candidate Michael Kaminski claimed 4% of the vote.

Closer still was the race for the District 4 seat, featuring Republican Joe Culp and Democrat Andrea Simmons.

Culp won with 52% of the vote, compared to Simmons’ 48%, which represents a difference of 79 votes.

Weather cancels Christmas paradeWind, rain and cold prompted officials to call off the Christmas in the Village parade Saturday, Nov. 30.

“Unfortunately, it appears the forecast is going to get progressively nastier throughout the day, and as such we have decided to cancel the parade,” the sad annoucement from the chamber read.

“This includes all parade volunteers, participants, and scheduled entertainers and vendors. We’re so sorry the weather turned out this way!”

Some of the planned activities took place anyway. Santa held special hours at the Santa House instead of riding in the parade.

DECEMBER

Johns-Cole named deputy mayorMayor-elect Emily Styron announced the appointment of Julie Johns-Cole as deputy mayor for the town of Zionsville. Johns-Cole currently serves as the state director for the Indiana 211 Partnerships,

Inc., a statewide non-profit. She is a small business owner, and a non-profit leader and community volunteer. Johns-Cole’s prior experience includes having served as executive director for the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce.

Former Lids building sells to Group1001

The Town of Zionsville announced that Group1001, an Indiana-based insurance holding company, purchased the former Lids building as part of its ongoing growth and expansion plan.

Group1001 will continue to maintain its presence at its headquarters on Pennsylvania Parkway in Indianapolis, and the Zionsville building will allow for future space for the growing company.

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