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October 29, 2015 • Headline News
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Stolen pickup connected to burglary, chase

A truck that was stolen in Versailles and linked to a burglary that led police on a chase through Bartholomew and Jackson counties. Officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department assisted Columbus Police Officers with a pursuit that started in Columbus at SR. 46 and SR 11.

Suspects driving a white Ford pickup truck, which was later determined to be stolen in Versailles, fled Columbus Police Units south on SR11 into Jackson County on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The stolen vehicle belonged to Art Meisberger of Olean. Police caught up to the vehicle, and the driver fled on foot into a wooded area and has not been apprehended yet.

A female passenger in the truck was arrested and identified as Cassandra Smith, 25, of Logansport. Smith was charged with Theft, Auto Theft and Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing with a vehicle; all of these are Level 6 felonies. She was also charged with False Informing (Class A misdemeanor). She is being held without bond in the Jackson County Jail. Police have a possible itity of the driver.

The stolen truck appears to be connected to a previous burglary in the Napoleon area. A vehicle was abandoned in Osgood after a homeowner came upon suspicious behavior near his barn at 6:30 a.m. He chased the vehicle, but the suspects bailed out at CR 350N and Michigan Road. Police found stolen tools in it from a previous burglary in Napoleon. The other stolen vehicle incident happened about seven hours later. Ripley County Sheriff’s Department is working on this part of the investigation, and the tools were in the process of being identified and returned to the owner. “We have some leads that we are still working on in this case,” Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth said.

Homemade Halloween

Local mom creates her own costumes for kids

Sandy Day Howard

Halloween. It’s the time of the year that every kid gets to become someone else...a superhero, a princess, a furry, fluffy bunny. Ohhhhh, they are soooooo cute! Each year, parents spend about $950 million on children’s costumes. The most popular kid’s costumes vary from one area of the U.S. to the next. In Lincoln, Neb., the most popular costume is a pumpkin (they ARE known for agriculture there); in Boston, the number one ‘Googled’ costume is pirate (which seems to makes sense); in Austin, Texas it’s a dinosaur (that seems weird, assuming that we might think the Texans would go with cowboys).

We’ve all been there with our droopy eyed daughter or son in the Halloween store, holding a pricey ‘gotta have’ costume that will surely cause our pitiful child lifelong trauma should we decide against the purchase. “Pleeeeeease, Mom????? PLEEEEEEEASE???!!!!” Oh, the guilt! After your spectacularly tired child appeared at his/her October event in that exorbitantly priced gear, what happened to the pricy frock? Is it in a tub marked ‘Halloween’ in your garage or basement? Maybe it hangs in the back of a bedroom closet. Regardless, most of us look back on those costly purchases and realize that a little creativity and some scrap material could have been made into a get-up that would have been monumental in the spooky kingdom of Halloween costumes. An absolutely spectacular costume could have been created with just a little effort….and time.

Local mom’s handmade costume
Kayla Ballmer of Holton does just that. She uses a little effort, a lot of time, and has made some of the most spectacular Halloween costumes in the area for her kids, Oliver and Olivia.

Kids in homemade Halloween costumesSUBMITTED PHOTO
Oliver Ballmer is pictured in a firefighter suit that his mom made a few Halloweens ago, along with his younger sister Olivia who was dressed as a cute Dalmation puppy

“One year I made a partially homemade costume that included a fireman and Dalmatian. We built a fire truck around our wagon.” Kayla said. “The wagon was pretty cool! My husband got an old hose from the firehouse and spray painted an axe and stuck it on. He also built a ladder and put one of Holtons truck numbers on the side of it!” The Ballmer’s son, Oliver was ‘obsessed’ with fire trucks, Kayla recalls, and got to pick the theme that year. (Oliver passed away last year due to a rare heart condition.) “I have made a cowgirl/cowboy costume for my kids, a Dalmatian and Cruella Deville, and a crazy cat lady” the designer recalled.” Kayla’s artistic talent has helped her create a variety of costumes. Sometimes, though, the craftsman has been stalled by a lack of needed equipment and has had to reinvent her designs.

Kindergartners at VogtsSUBMITTED PHOTO
Olivia Ballmer as “Cruella” was made by her mom, Kayla, who also made the Dalmation puppy for Olivia’s cousin (pictured at right ) Crista Gayheart.

“The most difficult costume I have made was last year’s Cruella Deville costume!” Ballmer recalled. “I had an extremely difficult time finding Dalmatian printed fabric and had to settle for a cow print. I also wanted to make it my own, so I didn’t color Olivia’s hair half blank and half white. Instead I made a headpiece and made her hair fuzzy! In the end, after all the trouble I had putting it all together, I was super happy about it!” Olivia was proud of the “puppy napper”outfit, too. As she was going in to her preschool’s Halloween party, she looked back at her costume designer and, in classic ‘Cruella’ character said, “I’m going to get those puppies!”

Kayla’s friends and relatives praise her creativity. “They love the costumes! Or at least they tell me that they do because they don’t want to hurt my feelings,” laughed Ballmer. “I think they all like them and enjoy seeing what I come up with every year!” Ballmer doesn’t just get imaginative before the ‘spookiest time of the year’. She displays her talent year round. “I do creative things like this all the time!” she said. “Birthday parties are a big ordeal for me, and I make my daughter’s birthday outfit and decorations every year. If it doesn’t involve anything that needs to be sewn straight. I can figure it out!”
“The best costume I have made, in my opinion, is Cruella Deville with a Dalmatian even though it was the most difficult!” the young mother said. “I may change my mind after I complete this year’s ‘crazy cat lady’ costume!”

It would certainly seem that the rewards derived from constructing handmade costumes trump any compensation that might be derived from the common (and expensive) store bought Halloween garb. Especially once the holiday is over and the bright green M and M costume gets stored safely away in that tub under the basement stairs.

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