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December 16, 2014 • Headlines

Santa and Mrs. Claus visited Friendship during the Friendship Christmas Walk. To make sure you have access to all the local photos and stories, click here and subscribe to the Osgood Journal and The Versailles Republican. New subscribers receive a $10 gas card!
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A Christmas homecoming for a soldier

Mary Mattingly

Christmas came early for a Versailles couple. Tyler Ballmer surprised his family Dec. 9 and came home after being deployed in Afghanistan. He was one of 160 members from the Indiana National Guard engineering unit #1413 welcomed home at the armory in Franklin, IN last week.

Tyler Ballmer


Tyler Ballmer is greeted by his 10-month-old son, Peyton.

Families waited for over two hours to see the Hoosier servicemen and women return home. Fiance Leslie Cooper was there and later hid and videotaped the arrival of her son, Lucian, 7 years old, from school to get his reaction upon seeing Tyler sitting on the couch. “He didn’t know what to do at first, and said ‘Tyler?’ Then he jumped on his lap and cried” overwhelmed by joyful emotion. Tyler felt the same. He could now hold his baby boy, who he left as a one-month-old. Peyton, who says “Da-da and Bubba” is 10 months old. “He sat in my arm when I left, and he’s just huge to what he was! Even though I saw the videos, it’s just not the same,” Tyler, a 2005 South Ripley graduate, said. Lucian, the little man of the house, looked much taller, but Ballmer was more impressed with his mental growth and maturity than anything. That’s what 9 months will do for a first grader!

Ballmer, the son of Kevin and the late Susan Ballmer, served in the army for 2½ years and was in construction equipment repair. Currently, he has no assignment to be deployed again and will be looking for a job close to home. He and Leslie had the same wish for Christmas. “Being home!” they both replied. “I didn’t want him to miss his son’s first Christmas!” Leslie added.

A 2005 Milan graduate, she was also in the military for nine years. The videos and other communication helped bond with his baby and family, but it’s nothing like being there. Welcome home, and Merry Christmas to all soldiers!

Family Dollar preparing to relocate

A Versailles retailer has plans to relocate. Family Dollar is planning to relocate at the former Bovard Funeral Home property on US 421. Bill Tippman, vice president with Atwater Group, a real estate group, told Ripley Publishing they are in the process of purchasing the property from Ed Cummings, the current property owner. Cummings owns the adjacent McDonald’s. Tippman said Family Dollar will then lease the property from Atwater Group. A few zoning variances are being requested, but the timeframe is to demolish the former funeral home and begin construction in the spring. It is expected to take from four to six months to build a Family Dollar building. Tippman added the retailer wants a bigger store to offer its full line of merchandise.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• County ready to take on Mother Nature (front page)
• Milan and CSX close to reaching deal for dam (front page)
• Look up Americans, it's not as bad as you think by Lee H. Hamilton (page 4)
• IRS pension update: New limits for 2015 (page 4)

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