You have permission to edit this page.
A1 A1
top story
Dollar General store robbed at gunpoint

The New Castle Dollar General at 906 Broad Street was reportedly robbed at gunpoint around 6:30 pm Monday.

New Castle police report the suspect displayed a handgun. There were no injuries reported.

The suspect is described as slender black male in a black hoodie with red lettering. He was wearing black pants and possibly a white mask at the time of the alleged robbery.

The New Castle Police Department is also looking for a dark colored, 2-door car with a white driver side mirror and rust near the driver side rear wheel.

Contact the New Castle Police Department at (765) 521-6810 with any information you may have on the suspect or the vehicle in question.

Tigers top Titans for 41st straight TEC volleyball win

HAGERSTOWN — Success is no stranger to the Hagerstown High School volleyball team and the Tigers tied a record Monday night that few people thought would happen.

Hagerstown, ranked No. 5 in Class 2A in the latest poll, and a program that has won four sectionals in a row, hosted Tri in Robert E. Clark Gymnasium and defeated the visiting Titans in straight sets 25-10, 25-15, 25-12 to win its 41st consecutive Tri-Eastern Conference regular season match.

The feat ties the record held by Union County, a perennial TEC volleyball power before the Tigers took on that role. Hagerstown can set the new record with a victory at Cambridge City Lincoln Thursday evening.

The Tigers improved to 3-0 in the TEC and 14-3 for the season while Tri slipped to 0-3 in the conference and 0-12 overall.

“Really, we never focused on the streak,” Hagerstown Coach Brian Dale said afterward. “We play our matches one at a time and things start to add up. I didn’t think Union County’s streak would be tied or broken, so it’s a real testament to the girls we’ve had in our program over the last six years that we tied the record. It’s a nice accomplishment.”

Aided by an Allison Ayotte service ace and a Maddie Pruitt kill, Hagerstown raced to a 4-0 lead at the start of the first set. Two kills and four aces by Hallie Rogers, a Pruitt ace, kills by Jada Briar and Makayla Matanich, and a Bailey Jeffries tip boosted the Tiger advantage to 14-3.

Tri’s first five points came on Hagerstown hitting miscues. Ahead 15-5, a Makayla Matanich kill and ace, another ace by Meghan Dale, and five Titan hitting errors increased the Tiger lead to 23-5.

After the Titans got points on a mistake by the hosts and a Hailey Allee tip, Hagerstown reached set point on a Briar tip. After a point by Tri’s Graci Jessup and two Tiger errors, Hagerstown took set one in 15 minutes after a Titan miscue.

Aided by a Jessup kill, Tri actually had a 4-2 lead in the second set. But a block and two kills by Briar, a Makayla Matanich kill, plus four Titan errors gave the hosts a 10-4 advantage and prompted a Tri timeout.

After the short break, the teams split the next four points. Then the Tigers scored six of the next seven points, one on an Ashley Vinson service ace, to boost their lead to 18-7.

The Titans pulled back to within 19-12, but a Makynna Matanich kill started a segment when Hagerstown scored six of the final nine points to take set two after 18 minutes.

Two Pruitt kills book-ended a Tiger error and service ace by Tri’s Cayla Claar, and the third set was tied at 2-all. But four aces by Tori Kelley, a Rogers kill, and a Makayla Matanich tip helped Hagerstown score nine straight points for an 11-2 advantage, and the visitors called timeout.

The Tiger lead reached 14-4, but a net violation turned the ball over to Tri. The Titans’ Kennedy Peggs served two aces, Claar got a block, Ashlynn Boyd had an ace, and Jessup got a kill as Tri scored six of the next seven points to pull to within 15-11.

But that was as close as the visitors got. Three Vinson service aces, a Pruitt kill, block, and tip, and a kill apiece by Briar, Makynna Matanich, and Jeffries put Hagerstown at set point, 24-11.

The Tigers committed a hitting error, but then took set three on a Terraina Haskett kill after 16 minutes and won the match three sets to none.

“We didn’t play our best tonight,” Dale added, “but we turned things up a notch when we needed to. We’re not as much of a power-hitting team like we’ve been in the past, but our girls can hit the ball and play their roles well. We just want to keep getting better in every match we play.”

For Hagerstown in the match, Rogers had nine kills, Pruitt seven, Briar six, Makayla Matanich five, Makynna Matanich four, Jeffries three, and Haskett one. Briar had four blocks, Pruitt and Rogers two apiece, and Makayla Matanich one.

Rogers and Kelley had four service aces apiece, Vinson three, Dale two, and Ayotte and Pruitt one each. Rogers had 14 assists, Jeffries 10, and Vinson three.

Vinson had 18 digs, Makayla Matanich and Dale eight apiece, Rogers six, Ayotte and Kelley four each, Hattie Hobbs three, Carli Senese two, and Makynna Matanich and Haskett one apiece.

No individual statistics were available for the Tri players.

“It was a typical Monday match,” Tri Coach Danielle Henderson remarked afterward. “We got off to another slow start that put us behind again and makes us play catch-up. We didn’t give up, but we need to find a way to keep teams from having long runs against us. We’ll continue to work hard to get better.”

Hagerstown also won the junior varsity match 25-16, 25-19.

COVID-19 restrictions lessen for New Castle schools

The New Castle School Board relaxed some COVID-19 precautions Monday that have been in place to stop the spread of the virus among students and staff.

New Castle Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Matt Shoemaker said the recommendations are from the district’s COVID-19 health advisory board, which includes input from the Henry County Health Department.

With the adjusted rules, New Castle school libraries can begin circulating books again, as long as each book is quarantined for 24 after it is returned. Extra-curricular school activities can also start again, at the principal’s discretion and with seating charts and proper social distancing implemented.

Shoemaker also mentioned speakers are now allowed into the building for educational purposes, as well as one military personnel who is able to give 15-minute presentations as needed.

The school board approved the measures proposed by the advisory board.

“I want to thank the teachers and administrators for a very smooth opening,” Shoemaker said regarding the first day of school on August 10.

Shoemaker said the school district has been working tirelessly with the health department on the Re-Entry plan and said he has been hopeful at the early success. He said much of the positive results are due to the district putting so much time and effort into the virtual option for students.

As of Sept. 14, the district has 616 virtual students, which accounts for 20 percent of the student population. Shoemaker also mentioned the schools are not outsourcing their virtual work, so the students have the same teacher and lesson plans regardless of virtual versus brick and mortar.

“I’m really proud of what our teachers have done; it’s not easy,” Shoemaker said.

He said New Castle students aren’t receiving packets or recorded lectures like some other Indiana districts. Instead, the virtual academy gives them just-in-time instruction.

“What we are doing is not the norm,” Shoemaker said.

New Castle schools were excelling in distance learning even before they fully implemented the new virtual academy. Westwood Elementary School was designated one of the 2020 i-Ready Distinguished School of Remote Learning success this spring.

Shoemaker said the award looked at usage and student success with online learning. The award was given by Curriculum Associates.

“To get this is a really cool accomplishment,” Shoemaker said.

Now that school is back in session, NCCSC still learning how to make virtual learning as successful as possible. Shoemaker said they have two COVID-19 coordinators for the virtual program to track attendance, grades, and more. The coordinators had a survey two weeks into the school year to find out how they could improve, and are making calls to any concerned individuals about how issues can be resolved more effectively, Shoemaker said.

“I don’t think there’s any corporation that has a tracking system like we do, and I’m not saying it’s perfect, but we meet on a weekly basis to see what we can do better.” Shoemaker said.

Sherri Bergum, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Elementary Programs, also said the coordinators will contact parents and teachers if they notice a downward trend in grades.

“If they notice slipping, they will reach out,” she said.

Shoemaker said the goal is to make sure if students aren’t performing well in the virtual program, to get them back in the building as soon as possible.

Shoemaker also gave accolades Monday to the students of New Castle who are attending class in-person.

“How well kids have done with the masks is really impressive but really beyond expectation,” he told the school board.

Several members of the community expressed concerns regarding the effectiveness of virtual school, the consistency of quarantine timelines, and other COVID-19 related issues.

President Travis Callaway responded to the attendees, saying, “We are doing the best we can, let’s work together to find solutions.”

Callaway said if people have any questions or comments regarding the New Castle School District, they can contact their board members or the central office. New Castle School Board emails are available at and the NCCSC central office can be reached at 765-521-7201.

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 in the central office, 322 Elliott Ave.

Discussing the future of the Mount Summit school building

Blue River Valley held a brief school board meeting Monday to discuss new business and swear in new board member Carla Bryant.

In August, board member Mike Reynold resigned to be on the Sheriff’s Merit Board, leaving an opening for someone new. Bryant will be filling Reynold’s seat and is on the ballot for election next year.

Up for discussion again Monday was what the future holds for the old Mount Summit school building. Board president Jon Madison explained that there has been a bid on the building, but he would like to discuss financials with BRV’s lawyer Joel Harvey.

Carl Bauman put in the bid up for discussion. He attended the meeting and asked to speak on behalf of his reason for wanting the building. Bauman and his wife own Cozy Oak Furniture and would like to move their business into a larger space.

“My intentions for the building is to create a ‘live, work, learn’ facility. Our sales are three times what they were last year and have outgrown our current space,” Bauman explained. “We are looking to expand into creating custom kitchen cabinets and want to ramp up our marketing for that.”

Bauman continued on to explain he has assessed the building’s current state and understands it will require a new roof, windows, HVAC units, electrical work, and more. He is ready to take on this project in order to expand his business.

The live, work, learn facility aspect of the business is directed towards veterans. Bauman is a veteran himself, and his life goal is to help other veterans as much as he can. Cozy Oak Furniture employs veterans, recently hired five more and received a state grant to hire 10 more.

“We plan on starting a franchise concept in 2021 and by keeping our business here it will generate great tax revenue for your schools,” continued Bauman. “I just ask that you consider my bid on the building and keep my plans in mind when we start the negotiating process.”

Further discussion on the future of the Mount Summit building will take place during the next school board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12.