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Reader's Choice

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Clayshire Castle is almost 10,000 square feet and includes five guest bedrooms. The Smock's plan to turn it into a bed and breakfast, to open next May. [Order this photo]
* The top 15 read online stories from 2012

Editor's Note: During the 2012 year, the following stories were the top 15 most read on The Brazil Times' website, www.thebraziltimes.com, (in order of most views to least views):

July 5, 2012

Family builds local castle

Doug and Mary Jo Smock, along with their daughter Katie and her husband Bernie Voges, spent 10 years planning a bed and breakfast -- castle style. Clayshire Castle is the name of the local attraction, which sits in Bowling Green, Ind. The name means Clay County, as shire is an Old English word for county. Doug and Mary Jo have always had the dream of creating a medieval-themed bed and breakfast after they retire, but with low interest rates and the perfect property, the decided to start early. In September 2011, Daniel Builders, Cloverdale, began the ground breaking. The three-story castle, which is almost 10,000-square feet, sits on 120 acres and includes five guest rooms, a library, a game room/lounge, a full service kitchen and an exercise room, among other rooms.

June 3, 2012

One dead following Saturday accident

A 17-year-old Brazil youth died from injuries sustained from a single vehicle accident Saturday afternoon. In addition, a 16-year-old passenger suffered severe head trauma and was flown to an Indianapolis Hospital Trauma Center, Riley Hospital. The accident took place just east of the intersection of White Rock Road and South Leavitt Street, Brazil.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Troy Allen Jeffrey II, Brazil, was pronounced dead at the scene by Clay County Coroner Joel Reinoehl. According to officials, the preliminary cause of the accident at the time is believed to be excessive speed. Brazil Police Department Sgt. Dave Archer told The Brazil Times witnesses stated they saw the vehicle turn onto White Rock Road. The witnesses stated they believed the vehicle was traveling in excess of 100 mph. The passenger of the vehicle was identified as Dylan Robert Dorn, Brazil. He was removed from the vehicle with assistance from the Brazil Fire Department using the Jaws of Life. Dorn was then transported via TransCare to a nearby landing zone where he was loaded into an AirEvac helicopter and flown to the trauma center.

Aug. 19, 2012

Roeschlein joins Hoosier hoops

Clay City graduate Carmela Roeschlein has accepted an offer from new Indiana University women's basketball coach Curt Miller to join the Hoosier program. [Order this photo]
Clay City High School graduate Carmela Roeschlein had little doubt that she wanted to be a part of Indiana University once she finished her high school career. She just didn't think that she was going to be a part of the Hoosier basketball tradition. Roeschlein had an incredible career on the hardwood with the Eels, leading the program to three consecutive sectional titles and a berth in the regional title game in back-to-back seasons.

As part of that rebuilding for an IU squad that won just one conference game last year, the Hoosier coaching staff went after Roeschlein, who scored more than 1,500 points in her Clay City career. Once she accepted the walk-on offer with the Hoosiers, Roeschlein was charged with getting ready physically for the demands of collegiate hoops. Roeschlein, who was already known for her strength while at Clay City, expanded her work out regimen in order to endure the rigors of playing against bigger, stronger athletes at the Division I level.

June 3, 2012

Brazil teen dies in fall

A Brazil teen died in a Friday morning fall from a rural Putnam County railroad bridge.

Kody Allen Snyder, 16, Brazil, was pronounced dead at the Putnam County Hospital Friday following a fall from the railroad bridge, commonly known as the Big Four Arch Bridge. Putnam County Sheriff's Department investigators said Snyder and four other males from the Brazil and Terre Haute area were at the bridge near County Road 500 West, climbing through the compartments under the rail bed.

Snyder's companions, Justin Bryant, 21, Austin Bell, 18, Benjamin Crafton, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old, said they rushed down to the creek to help Snyder. They found him lying facedown in the water. The young men said they attempted CPR but to no avail.

They then placed Snyder into their vehicle and attempted to locate a hospital, but they were not familiar with the area and ended up on County Road 450 West, where they awakened the occupants of a residence.

The residents called 911 at 4:21 a.m. Lt. Dwight Simmons and Deputy Mike Downing, along with the Reelsville Fire Department and Operation Life, responded to the scene.

Further CPR was in progress upon the officers' arrival. Operation Life transported him to Putnam County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m.

Feb. 15, 2012

Several arrested in meth sting

Eighteen Wabash Valley residents, including seven with ties to Clay County, have been indicted on federal drug charges as a result of a 14-month, multi-agency investigation.

All 18 individuals were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 17 of the suspects were in federal custody and appeared before federal court. However, Sankey Rust, 32, Brazil, remains at-large on a federal warrant. Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton added his department had recovered a vehicle late Tuesday evening allegedly used by Rust. In addition, he said one person had been arrested on state charges for hindering the investigation.

Other Clay County residents indicted Wednesday included:

* Cassandra Cheatham, 43, Brazil,

* Jacob Dean, 24, Brazil,

* Gwendolyn Kallner, 44, Brazil,

* Christopher Loughmiller, 26, Brazil,

* Robert Moore, 46, Brazil, and

* Laura Sproul, 31, Brazil.

Sept. 19, 2012

Brazil man dies following accident

A Brazil man died as the result of injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident late Tuesday. According to officials with the Indiana State Police Putnamville District, an investigation into a motorcycle crash on United States 40 near County Road 625 West in Putnam County is ongoing.

The crash, according to officials, was the result of the driver losing control of the motorcycle while fleeing officials with the Brazil Police Department. The driver, identified as David L. Godsey, 28, Brazil, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A female passenger, identified as Jolene D. McCall, 25, Terre Haute, was airlifted to Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis. Speeds maintained close to 100 mph as officers pursued the motorcycle into Putnam County.

At 9:55 p.m., on U.S. 40 near Putnam County Road 625 West, Godsey allegedly lost control and traveled off the south side of the roadway. The driver and passenger were ejected from the cycle and both struck a wooden fence and drainage culvert. The pursuit lasted approximately eight-and-a-half miles.

Officials said the two on the motorcycle were not wearing a helmet, although one helmet was found on the ground at the scene of the accident. Putnam County Chief Deputy Coroner David Brown was on the scene and preliminarily determined Godsey died of blunt force trauma.

Aug. 15, 2012

Head-on collision results in fatality

A head-on collision involving two vehicles in the Cory area resulted in the death of one person Monday morning. At approximately 7:30 a.m., Monday morning, officials were dispatched to an area on County Road 200 South, west of CR 525 W., south of Cory.

According to information provided by Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton, two pick-up trucks hit head-on, killing one of the drivers. Names of both victims have not been released.

Heaton told The Brazil Times one of the vehicles was driving left of center on the road when the collision took place. He added although an investigation is ongoing, officials believe drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the accident. Heaton said one of the drivers was pronounced dead at the scene by Clay County Coroner Joel Reinoehl. The other driver -- an 18-year-old -- was airlifted via Air Evac to an Indianapolis hospital. Both victims had to be extricated from their vehicles, according to Heaton.

April 9, 2012

Brazil resident charged with 'sextortion' of children

A Brazil man, Richard Leon Finkbiner, 39, has been charged with what authorities have called "sextortion." He was charged with sexual exploitation of children with the specific allegations in a complaint being that Finkbiner induced and coerced at least two minors to engage in sexually explicit activity that Finkbiner captured with a webcam and began the process of blackmailing the alleged victims, essentially for more images that would be allured and compromising. Finkbiner was arrested at his Brazil home, where he owns and operates the business Clay County Internet.

Sept. 7, 2012

Sexual misconduct investigation leads to arrest of Brazil man

On Aug. 31, Brazil City Police Department Detective Johnnie Bohnert arrested Timothy J. Michael, 38, Brazil, for sexual misconduct with a minor. After a weeklong investigation, Bohnert was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Michael. The investigation determined that Michael had been having sexual relations with a 14-year-old female over a period of time. Michael was booked into the Clay County Justice Center on the charge of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, a class B felony. The victim's name in this case is being withheld due to her age.

April 8, 2012

Indiana to enforce statewide smoke-free law in July

On July 1, 2012, the statewide smoke-free law goes into effect. Smoking is prohibited in place of employment, public places and restaurants. Smoking is permitted in bars and taverns, cigar bars, Hookah bars, state and licensed gaming facilities and licensed horse track facilities. Smoking in cars is permitted as well.

If minors under the age of 21, who are not employees of the establishment, are permitted into any portion of the establishment at any time, restaurants must be smoke free. If the entire establishment is 21 and over, the establishment may allow smoking. Restaurants that only allow individuals 21 and up to enter the establishment can allow smoking.

Most workplaces, except for bars, taverns, membership clubs, tobacco retail shops, cigar bars, hookah bars, casinos and satellite or off track betting facilities, will be smoke-free by July 1, 2012. The distance from the entrance of the building an individual can smoke is at least 8 feet from the entrance of the building.

Fraternity and private clubs may allow smoking in their facility if they meet the following requirements: 501(c)3, established as a club or fraternity under the law, provides food and alcoholic beverages to only its members and their guests, vote every two years to allow smoking by its members during business meetings, provide a separate, enclosed, designated smoking room, which is ventilated, and only allow 18 and older to enter.

May 22, 2012

Northview graduate killed in Afghanistan

For the second time in two years, Clay County is mourning the loss of one of its own.

According to reports, Spc. Arronn D. Fields, Knightsville, died May 21, after sustaining injuries during a rocket grenade attack in Qal-ah-ye Mirza Jal, Afghanistan, during a mounted patrol.

Spc. Fields, 27, had deployed in February with the 381st Military Police Company, 81st Troop Command as part of Task Force Guardian, a multi-unit military police force from Indiana. Spc. Fields enlisted in the Indiana National Guard in 2006. He graduated from Northview High School in 2003.

According to reports, Spc. Fields had also served on tour in Iraq. According to reports, Spc. Fields is the 23rd Indiana Guardsman to die since 2001.

April 6, 2012

Murder charges dismissed

On March 23, an off and on case spanning more than 20 years came to an end, with the dismissal of the double murder charges against John Lovett, Brazil.

According to officials, Lovett has been the main suspect for the majority of the case, which focused on the murder of Tonya Pickett and her stepfather Ricky Mustard in November 1988. According to Dorie Maryan, Lovett's defense counsel, Lovett and his defense had maintained his innocence from the start. She added there wasn't ever any concrete evidence as the gun was never recovered and in 1988 there wasn't much along the lines of DNA testing. Maryan said the defense felt Lovett being capable of the rage needed to commit the brutal crime was highly unlikely due to the fact Lovett didn't have a criminal record before and has not shown any type of violent behavior in the years following the crime.

Jan. 5, 2012

McQueen sworn in as Police Chief during Thursday ceremony

In front of a crowded City Hall Chambers, Mayor Brian Wyndham appointed Brazil's new Police Chief Thursday night. Wyndham's choice was lifelong Clay County resident and 1993 Northview graduate Clint McQueen.

McQueen has served Brazil for 12 years as patrol officer and detective. McQueen said being chosen for this responsibility means a lot to him, and he and his team will serve and protect the community in any way he can. Wyndham also conducted a swearing in ceremony for new Police Captain Dennis Archer.

Dec. 2, 2012

Two arrested for molestation

Two Clay County men were taken into custody late Friday evening and arrested on preliminary charges of child molestation. According to information provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Department (CCSD), Tommy K. Edmonson, 64, Turner, and Jared Cooksey, 19, also of Turner, were both arrested on charges related to a child molestation investigation conducted by the department.

The investigation began Nov. 21, when officials were contacted by Child Protective Services in regard to the possible molestation of a Clay County youth.

Once notified of the possible crime, CCSD detectives began interviewing the victim and locating and interviewing potential witnesses. Due to the age of the victim and the time frame involved, a forensic interview was scheduled and carried out.

During the investigation, the young victim told interviewers that Cooksey's alleged molestation of them began about five years ago while Edmonson's allegedly began approximately one year ago.

Edmonson was preliminarily charged with Child Molestation (a class B felony) and Sexual Misconduct with a Minor (a class C felony). Cooksey was charged with Child Molestation, Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Criminal Recklessness (a class C felony) and Possession of a Handgun Without a License (a class A misdemeanor).

May 24, 2012

Girton signs to play baseball with Sycamores

During the past four years, Northview High School baseball coach Scott McDonald has always been able to count on Kodie Girton to pitch for the Knights against the squad's toughest opponents. The coaching staff at Indiana State University have noticed.

On Tuesday, Girton announced he was signing a Letter-of-Intent to play baseball for the Sycamores in the fall. So far this season, Girton is 3-0 with a 3.60 earned run average. He also has struck out 38 batters. At the plate, Girton has hit .345 for the Knights with a team-high six triples and 10 stolen bases.

Girton signed with ISU to pitch, but has also played in the outfield. While at ISU, Girton said he plans to study civil engineering, a program he said the university plans to install in 2013.

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