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Coach finds a winning way to improve burial vault business

From coaching in front of 110,000 people at Michigan to setting up a graveside service when no one else is around, Kyle York knows that timing is a key to success.

The man who’s led Trojan football back to winning ways shared his unique “day job” experiences and the strategy he’s employed to improve it at last Thursday’s New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. meeting.

York has taken a handoff from his dad, Mayor Greg York, and made some major moves with Wimmer Vaults, a company that’s been around since 1910. Those technological moves have resulted in improvements not only here, but with the burial vault industry at large.

York teased it was a debate as to what decision was crazier – a young coach leaving college football and returning home or his dad running for mayor in the town where he grew up.

York couldn’t speak for his dad. But even though Des Moines, Iowa was a nice place, he’s very glad to be home.

“In 2012, my wife and I decided to move back to New Castle, something we’d promised many times we would never do,” York said. “That’s a sentiment a lot of people share when they’re younger, but then when you get the opportunity to get away, you realize the grass is not always greener on the other side.”

York had been head football coach at Drake University for four years. Returning home with three children has proven to be a grand blessing – especially for his dad and mom, Penny York.

“We were eight hours away from our comfort zone, our family, our support system,” York said. “Des Moines a nice big city, kind of a smaller version of Indianapolis, but neither one of us felt very connected to it.”

Family is not only very important in York’s personal life, it’s also a key part of the business he runs.

“Can you imagine the feeling you’d have if you came to the cemetery after a funeral service for a loved one and there was no tent, no chairs, no vault,” York asked rhetorically at the EDC meeting. “What would you do? That is kind of ground zero for us and our company. If you are not there and ready for the family, it turns into a massive situation.”

York said Wimmer Burial Vaults operated for many years with a dependency on fax machines. A funeral home would send an order via fax and expect not only the machine to work, but the vault employees on the other end to respond professionally and timely.

But York realized it was both an out-of-date and risky system.

“The burial vault business is very time sensitive,” York said. “We can’t be late. We can’t forget. We have no do-overs or second chances.”

Unfortunately, a mistake was made once when a funeral director from another county had multiple burials and forget to send a fax to Wimmer Vaults. York said even though the sad situation was not his company’s fault, that funeral director took his business elsewhere, because of the system used by Wimmer at that time.

“That’s when I began looking into a software system,” York said.

Over a six-month time period, York turned a fax machine system into a computer-driven program called “VaultWrx,” an online, mobile-friendly ordering system.

“You can order, track and pay for the burial vault all through this system,” York said.

The system enables a funeral director to place an order simply by tapping a button with a computer mouse. The system shows not only how much the funeral home is charged but receive confirmation of the order and even a tracking process letting directors know estimated time of arrival at the cemetery.

“When I assign someone an order, the funeral home gets a text message. When that employee gets to the cemetery, the funeral home is notified that he’s on site. The confidence of our customers in our service has skyrocketed.”

York said the system now is being used by companies as far away as Mississippi and West Virginia.

“Every vault company wants it now,” York said.

York’s innovation has resulted in him playing a leading role in the burial vault industry. He is the youngest member of the National Burial Vault Association.

Trojans record largest football shutout in 89 years

SHELBYVILLE – Most folks know that the New Castle High School football team has a good defense in the 2020 season, and that was on vivid display Friday night at Shelbyville.

The Trojan defense held the host Golden Bears to minus-21 rushing yards on 25 carries and two first downs in the contest as New Castle rolled to a 55-0 victory at J.M. McKeand Stadium.

The Trojans improved to 1-1 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference and 2-1 for the season while Shelbyville slipped to 0-2 in the HHC and 0-4 overall.

One would have to go back 70 years to find a larger victory margin for New Castle football. On Sept. 29, 1950, the Trojans hammered Connersville 65-6, a 59-point spread.

As far as shutouts go, one has to go back 89 years for a bigger New Castle win in a whitewash. Back when the legendary Orville Hooker was both football and basketball coach, the Trojans blanked Wolcott 56-0 on Oct. 21, 1931.

Friday’s victory might have been New Castle’s largest-ever shutout on the road.

Through its first four games, Shelbyville has been outscored 227-13, including 123-0 in conference play.

The Trojan defense was very active against the Golden Bears and many different players, both on offense and defense, contributed to the big victory.

"Despite being up big, I got on our players in the locker room at halftime," New Castle Coach Kyle York said after the game. "I felt we didn't start the game well and weren't ready to play like we're capable of. In our conference, we have to be ready to play on every down. We finally got things going offensively in the second quarter."

Neither team started off well offensively. Shelbyville gained four yards and punted and New Castle lost five yards and punted for the only time in the game to open the first quarter.

The Golden Bears recorded their lone first down of the opening half after Aidan Tong runs of 11 and three yards, but the Trojan defense stiffened and the hosts punted for the second time.

Despite a 13-yard holding penalty during the drive, New Castle marched from the Shelbyville 47-yard line to its first touchdown of the night.

Big plays in the drive were consecutive 12-yard pass completions from quarterback William Grieser to Kyle Gabbard and Eli Cooper, respectively, and a 21-yard toss from Grieser to Gabbard on the left side of the end zone for the TD.

Ian Thurlow booted the extra point and the visitors led 7-0 with 1:43 left in the first quarter.

On their next possession, the Golden Bears faced fourth-and-four on their 34. The snap was bad to punter Eddie Carrizalez, who fell on the ball at the host’s 17.

But the Trojans failed to take advantage of the excellent field position, gaining only two yards, and Shelbyville took over the ball at its 15-yard line.

The Golden Bears lost three yards on their next possession and Carrizalez’s punt was blocked and recovered by New Castle’s Jack Taylor at the Golden Bear two.

On the next play, the Trojans’ Layne Nicholson barreled into the end zone from there for the touchdown, Thurlow kicked the extra point, and the visitors led 14-0 with 8:43 remaining in the second quarter.

Shelbyville lost four yards on its next drive and punted to the New Castle 47. Two major penalties, one on each team more or less cancelled each other out, and they didn’t prevent the Trojans from scoring their third TD.

Three Grieser to Gabbard pass completions totaling 21 yards and a Grieser toss to sophomore Quentin Boatright went for 33 yards and a touchdown. Thurlow added the PAT kick and the visitors led 21-0 with 6:03 remaining in the first half.

The Golden Bears gained one yard on their next possession and punted again. Nicholson fielded the ball on the New Castle 29 and returned it to the host’s 48-yard line.

Despite two penalties on the Trojans and one on Shelbyville, the Green and White consumed 3:05 of the clock on a drive for their fourth TD of the evening.

Big plays in the march were two Grieser runs totaling 11 yards, a 10-yard run by Taylor, a 25-yard Grieser to Gabbard pass completion, and a 13-yard Grieser to Ethan Hinton touchdown strike.

Thurlow kicked his fourth PAT of the contest and New Castle led 28-0 with 1:33 left before halftime.

Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Tong fumbled after a six-yard gain and the Trojans’ Nate Smith pounced on the loose pigskin at the Shelbyville 15 with 17.5 seconds remaining before intermission.

A five-yard Grieser to Gabbard pass completion and two pass incompletions left the Trojans staring at a fourth-and-five from the host’s 10-yard line with 2.4 seconds left in the second quarter.

After a timeout, a nifty play call allowed Grieser to scamper 10 yards into the end zone for the TD on the last play of the half. Thurlow’s PAT kick attempt was blocked, but New Castle went into the locker room at halftime with a 34-0 advantage.

Shelbyville had nine net yards of offense in the first half while the Trojans had 182, 36 rushing and 146 passing.

"We had a lot of guys step up and make plays tonight," Trojan senior linebacker Matt Bell said afterward. "We wanted to record a shutout and make a statement about our team. We know we have a gauntlet of good teams left on our schedule, and we're looking forward to the opportunity of playing them."

New Castle made sure there would be a running clock for most of the second half after what transpired on the first play of the third quarter.

Gabbard received the kickoff on the New Castle five to open the second half, ran right, and aided by great blocking from his teammates, sprinted down the right sideline for a 95-yard touchdown return.

"Without my blockers, I couldn't have made that return," Gabbard stated after the game. "It was great getting a lot of my other teammates into the game after we got such a big lead. We probably should have won last week's game, but that's in the past. Our goal now is to win all of the other games on our schedule and be prepared for the state tournament."

Thurlow’s kick attempt for the PAT was slightly off the mark, but the Trojans led 40-0 with 11:39 left in the third period.

Time went pretty fast thereafter with a running clock. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Tong fumbled at the Golden Bear 37. Taylor scooped up the football and returned it to the Shelbyville 10.

Eli Cooper came in to quarterback the Trojans. After three pass incompletions, Cooper scampered left into the end zone, but a personal foul on New Castle brought the ball back to the 18.

No problem. On the very next play, Cooper connected with Haidyn Bulmer on an 18-yard TD pass. Thurlow booted the extra point and the Trojans led 47-0 with 5:51 remaining in the third period.

The Golden Bears lost four yards and punted on their next possession. New Castle generated a first down and got down to the host’s 24-yard line. But the drive stalled and Shelbyville took over on downs at its 20.

On third-and-16, Shelbyville quarterback Colton Adkins completed a 39-yard pass to Ethan Watkins for the host’s second first down of the game, moving the pigskin to the Trojan 47-yard line.

But on the very next play, New Castle’s Jace Logston pilfered an Adkins heave at the Trojan 37 and dashed down the right sideline for a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The snap for the extra-point kick was fumbled, but Thurlow scooped up the ball and ran it into the end zone for the two-point conversion, boosting the New Castle advantage to 55-0 with 7:42 left in the game.

After the Golden Bears couldn’t move the ball and punted for the seventh time in the contest, Cooper ran for six yards and sophomore Wyatt Maiden ran three times for 34 yards and two first downs, closing the book on the 55-0 victory.

"We got a lot of players some time on the field tonight," York added, "and we'll probably need their contributions as the season wears on. This a special group that is fun to coach, and we have a lot of things we want to accomplish this season."

This Friday, New Castle hosts Yorktown while Shelbyville entertains Greenfield-Central.

New Castle 55, Shelbyville 0

NEW CASTLE;7;27;13;8;-;55


New Castle – Gabbard 21-yard pass from Grieser (Thurlow kick)

New Castle – Nicholson 2-yard run (Thurlow kick)

New Castle – Boatright 33-yard pass from Grieser (Thurlow kick)

New Castle – Hinton 13-yard pass from Grieser (Thurlow kick)

New Castle – Grieser 10-yard run (kick blocked)

New Castle – Gabbard 95-yard kickoff return (kick failed)

New Castle – Bulmer 18-yard pass from Cooper (Thurlow kick)

New Castle – Logston 63-yard interception return (Thurlow run)


First downs;9;2


Yards passing;168;46



Fumbles lost;0;2


Individual Leaders

New Castle: Maiden 3-34, Cooper 5-29, Grieser 7-24, Taylor 3-10; Shelbyville: Tong 15-22.


New Castle: Grieser 12-22-0, 146 and Cooper 2-8-0, 22; Shelbyville: Adkins 5-11-1, 46.


New Castle: Gabbard 8-84, Bulmer 2-22, Hinton 2-17, Boatright 1-33, Cooper 1-12; Shelbyville Watkins 1-39, Lux 3-5.

Records: New Castle 2-1, 1-1 HHC; Shelbyville 0-4, 0-2 HHC.

2020 Caine Grant applications now open

Applications for the Harold E. and Imogene L. Caine Memorial Fund opened Monday, Sept. 14.

This fund is to benefit children ages 5-years-old and under from nonprofit organizations through the Henry County Community Foundation. Funds may be used to purchase toys, clothing and food for children in need during the holidays.

Applications and information are available online through the Foundation website at The application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16.

Harold E. and Imogene L. Caine were residents of Mt. Summit and regular supporters of Toys for Tots. Harold and Imogene wanted to continue their legacy by giving local children in need gifts at the holidays and chose to establish this fund in their last will and testament. Since 2002, the Harold E. and Imogene L. Caine Memorial Fund has provided holiday cheer for over 3,000 Henry County children.

If you have any questions about the Harold E. and Imogene L. Caine Memorial Fund or how to establish your own legacy, please contact the Henry County Community Foundation at 765-529-2235 or visit

Criminal justice major finds great fit in policing

RICHMOND — Dylin Lakes saw many sides of law enforcement while growing up in the Hagerstown and Cambridge City areas.

Through experience of police situations involving friends and relatives, he saw officers who handled things well – and he saw some who did not. Those life experiences, and an overall drive to do something to impact people’s lives, are what led him to plan a career in law enforcement.

He had decided by the time he was a freshman at Hagerstown High on the career. Lakes learned a couple years later about the Indiana University Police Academy Cadet Officer Program.

He knew immediately he wanted to be a part of it. “I didn’t want a job that was 9 to 5, I wanted something that could change things, if I did it right. It’s a cliché answer, but I wanted to help people.”

After graduation in 2018 and starting his first year at IU East, Lakes applied in early 2019 and was accepted into the program. He worked part-time on the IU East force, took full-time classes and, this summer, graduated from the IU Academy as a cadet officer.

Work-study program

The Cadet Officer Program takes about two years, allowing full-time IU students to work in the criminal justice system and in a law enforcement agency while pursuing their degree. They receive comprehensive training coupled with university courses. IU’s is the only program in the nation that allows students to be officers.

IUPD-East Chief Scott Dunning says the program provides extra staffing options for him, but that’s not the main reason he appreciates it.

“The cadet officers are students first,” he notes. “The program is designed to assist those looking for a future in law enforcement or the criminal justice field. When a cadet officer completes the program, they are a certified law enforcement officer in the State of Indiana, with a degree and hands-on experience.”

Dunning has worked with the IU Police Department for more than 25 years, serving as chief of the IUPD-East since 2016. He’s also served as an instructor for the IU Academy for more than 20 years.

“The program has graduated more than 1,200 since it began in 1972, with many going on to municipal agencies and several are in federal positions.”

Lakes is the 13th IU East Cadet who has come through the program, Dunning says. He has two on the team now who will go to academy in the summer of 2021. Dunning appreciates how the program shapes cadets and prepares them for their careers.

“Watching Dylin mature and grow throughout is why I support the cadet program so much.”

Life changes

Lakes has seen the changes in himself too. He says the academy gave him more confidence he’d made the right decision for his future career.

“This program has been great. I’ve learned so much in the last two years. I’ve grown a lot as a person. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It’s a great program.”

When he first settled on the general field as a freshman in high school, Lakes originally leaned toward becoming an officer for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The more he looked into possibilities; he decided regular law enforcement was more in line with what he hopes to do.

Once he knew his path, he never considered going to another school or out of state. “I knew IU East was a good school with a good criminal justice program. I like Indiana. I like where I grew up. I like living here – it’s my home.”

Other career paths he may have considered briefly included welding – something he was good at in vocational classes – or auto bodywork, something he used to do with his dad.

Now that he’s graduated from the academy, he is working on his new class load for fall, doing shifts at work where he says his schedule is flexible to accommodate his classes. “I usually take the maximum classes every semester,” he says, probably because he’s eager to reach graduation and start his law enforcement career.

Though he finalized his career decision as a freshman, he believes the stage was set when he was a child. In some ways, he feels the career chose him as a result of life experience.

Lakes anticipates being a community-focused officer wherever he ends up. “I’ll be the kind of police officer who is respectful and fair, but not to the point where I’m not enforcing the law. I’ll be a peacekeeper – not a warrior.”

About the Cadet Officer Program

The application process for the Cadet Officer Program begins in September and is open until February. It is a two-year commitment during which students work and take classes and spend a summer at the IU Academy. Students must be 21 when they graduate the academy, so application is usually made in the sophomore year. For more information, visit IUPD-East online and Protect IU.

NCCC engineering students compete in project events

New Castle Career Center’s Engineering program is gearing up for a year full of competitions and learning.

Several engineering students will be participating in robotic and rocketry team-project events this year. These events give students the opportunity to compete against teams from all across the country. Projects are student-led, with Engineering instructor Kelly Neal overseeing the projects.

The robotics team is led by Madison French (NCHS) and includes David Gwinn (NCHS), Bryce Moore (THS), Liam Jester (BRVHS), Isaac Smith (NCHS), Jayden Wargney (BRVHS) and Nokolas Uhler (EHHS). The team will be contending in a For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST) technology competition.

The FIRST contest is designed for students to compete head-to-head by designing, building, and programming a robot to complete a series of tasks. The robot will then contend in an alliance format against other robots. The competition consists of a local, regional, and state championship, finally rounding out at the FIRST World Championship held in the spring.

The rocketry team is led by Danielle Pugsley (SHS) and includes Justin Hummel (SHS) and Brett Spears (HHS). The team will be participating in The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC), along with 1000 other teams from the United States.

Pugsley worked with Spears during the 2019-20 school year to design and construct a remote-controlled airplane. The airplane has the capability to drop a payload onto a specified target.

For this year’s TARC assignment, the task is to design a rocket that can carry an egg exactly 800 feet in the air, be deployed, and fall back safely in exactly 43 seconds. Teams receive point deductions if their rocket travels farther, is slower or quicker, or is otherwise off-target. The teams cannot purchase off-the-shelf rocket kits, and are required to design their own rocket from scratch.

“It seems to be my year for the females in the class to take charge,” Neal said. “This is great to show female leadership in engineering!”

Stay in the know with the competitions the engineering students are participating in by following the New Castle Career Center on Facebook.

For more information on the programs offered by the NCCC, visit nccareer