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July 21, 2015 • Headlines

Versailles State Park closed Friday evening due to downed trees and blocked roads. The park was "technically" closed on Saturday with no admission charged at the entrance, according to Natalie Brinson. The campground store was also closed and so was the pool.
This was the scene at The Versailles State Park after the storm. Having possibly taken the worst hit in Versailles, the park closed on Friday evening. See more photos and read stories about the storm in the Osgood Journal. Pick up a copy of the newspaper at your local newsstand.
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Osgood takes brunt of storms
‘It’s the worst I’ve ever seen’

Mary Mattingly

Osgood residents had a lot to be thankful about Saturday morning. For one, there were no injuries from Friday’s severe storm. Yes, they lost many trees, some that were completely uprooted, and a few that fell on vehicles and houses, but no one was displaced as a result, and no one hurt. Steve Wilhoit, Osgood street and gas superintendent, was thankful a tree just missed hitting the town’s gas substation. “I’m thankful for that! There was 150 pounds of pressure there,” and that could have caused more problems for the town. Saturday morning, as he perused the town, he said, “I’ve never seen it this bad. Even with a tornado,” said Wilhoit. “It’s just crazy.”
Storm damage on SR 48


The storm affected several properties in Osgood, Milan, Versailles and Napoleon. This was about five miles outside of Napoleon on SR 48.

Most of the Osgood residents Ripley Publishing spoke to agreed: This was the worst they had seen in decades, if ever. Wilhoit had stopped at West Fairground Road Saturday afternoon to assist with cleanup after Friday’s straight line winds knocked down many trees and power lines, damaged homes, flooded and closed roads. Patrick Rose, Ripley County EMA manager who lives in Osgood, was nearby, assessing the damage, along with Rich Corkham, and Matt Chastain, representing the state EMA. Shawna Bushhorn was part of the damage assessment team, and was documenting damage, despite her own Osgood home being damaged. The National Weather Service reported it was straight line winds that did the damage. There was no tornado activity that appeared on the radar, John Franks, meteorologist told Ripley Publishing Monday. The winds could ramp up to 100 mph, but he thought it was more around 65 to 70 mph. Severe thunderstorm warning notices were issued Friday around 6 p.m. Franks noted that precipitation follows these storms, “and with the weight of the water, the down bursts can be severe.”

In the midst of a heat index advisory, and possibly the hottest it’s been all summer, most of Osgood spent Saturday and Sunday cleaning up. They had been without power overnight, but for the most part power was restored by 6 a.m. Saturday. Napoleon wasn’t as lucky. They were still without power late Saturday, and rounding up generators for the annual Napoleon Firemen’s Picnic that night, and hoping ominous clouds didn’t come their way. (See related story in the Osgood Journal.) Several Duke Energy trucks backed up traffic along US 421 from Osgood to Napoleon throughout Saturday, and within town streets, as the linemen stopped to make repairs to restore the power. There were six or so poles with loose lines, which provided most of the power for the town, according to a Duke worker there.

House checks
Osgood Town Marshal Eric Roush came on duty at 6 p.m. Friday, just when the storm was starting. He waded through two feet of water that evening on Beechmont Street and knocked on doors to check that all were okay. One of those homes belonged to Bruce and Tawana Heaton. They were outside cleaning up yard debris Saturday. Most of their neighbors were doing the same. A nurse in Greensburg, Tawana was at work at the time, moving patients to safety. Bruce commended Roush for his diligent work that evening, grateful he was there to check on everyone’s safety.

“We had no evacuations or injuries, so that was good. We had to redirect traffic as roads were closed from flooding,” Roush said. There was pea size hail and visibility was limited at one point where he couldn’t see 10 feet in front, he added. A one man office at this point, he was grateful for Ripley County Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth’s help, cutting up trees that were blocking roads, and directing traffic. Trevor Comer, a sheriff’s deputy, was off duty but also came on to help with traffic. Roush too said it was probably the worst storm he’s seen in Osgood for decades. Firefighter Dave Brook said his house shook and he can’t recall in his 33 years with the department a storm that caused as much damage.

US 50 near SR 129 was closed around 6:30 p.m. due to flooding and fallen trees. Sheila Lord who lives at the corner of Beechmont Street couldn’t help but be sad as she looked at what remained of her mother’s day gift 14 years ago. It was an apple tree, and the remains of it were heaped in a pickup truck. “I know it’s just an apple tree, and I’m glad no one was hurt, but it was more than a tree to me,” she said. Her husband assured he would get her another.

Fairground Road
The East Fairground Road neighborhood, just off of SR 350 and past the underpass, took the brunt of the storm. Most of the residents had just cleaned up from last Monday’s storm when this one came.
Storm damage in Osgoo


The storm moved a column from Penny and Charles Schornick’s home on East Fairground Road but a concrete flower planter kept it from leaning further.

Penny Schornick was outside Friday evening. “It just came on. I couldn’t get the back door open because of the pressure,” she said. She managed to get in with the help of her husband, Charles. They have lived in the house, which was built in 1864, all of their married life, some 46 years. They lost power, and she called 911 because he was on an oxygen tank at night. “I’m thankful we had two tanks full. It lasted until we got power this morning,” she said. “I was worried though for him.” Their son from Greenwood was there with his family helping clean up the house he grew up in. His own home was still without power that morning, he said. The insurance representatives were there promptly in the morning, surveying the damage. One of the four tall porch columns is now leaning. The Schornicks are not sure if it jeopardizes the foundation. “Good thing we had that flower pot there,“ Charles said. The bottom pillar was butted against it. The porch furniture was found in their neighbor’s yard, and a big rock was tossed onto the porch. They also lost shingles and eight trees.

Neighbors Jeff and Cathy Volz were also working to clean up their yard. A big tree had fallen in the back on their garage, and another large pine was uprooted out front. The 1860 house was missing some shingles, but was otherwise okay. Of the storm, she said “It was the worse I’ve seen” having live there for 20 years. “I’m thankful that’s all we lost, but sad our yard is gone.” Friends came to help move a tree off of the front of William J. Wagner’s house on N. Buckeye. “This is the worst I’ve seen,” Ron Spurlock said. “There are so many lines down,” he noticed as he came in from Greensburg. Piles of brush and limbs lined US 421 for pickup. The town crews were all working that day, and they also had help from two chipping contractors and local tree service companies. They were back Sunday and Monday. Jac-Cen-Del School lost a big tree uprooted in front of the school, and across the street a large tree fell on top of a vehicle. One house on Michigan Road and 650 North had a tree land on it, but it didn’t compromise the structure so the residents could remain living there. A part of the highway between Osgood and Napoleon was blocked by downed trees and power lines Friday and part of Saturday. Bypass roads such as Michigan and Finks road were blocked at one point also.

The damage spread from SR 350 at the Osgood town sign, to the fairgrounds, and ending about five miles north of Napoleon. John Lovins watched the storm come in Friday, and saw the red oak tree fall, among others on his property there and on his farm on SR 350. He started cleaning up that night, and had help from relatives. Jerry Heckman’s home on Wabash Street didn’t get much damage, at least not like his neighbor’s across the street, but his farm a few miles from Eckert Street did. He said the grainery was moved off its foundation, at least four feet. “They’re not saying it’s a tornado, but come look at that and I think they will think differently,” he said. Patrick Rose reported that the Ripley County Emergency Operations Center was activated to a Level IV,” which means it was staffed and personnel were ready for daily operations. He did not receive any more damage reports over the weekend. There were flash flood warnings issued though for the area and a flood watch was in effect through Sunday midnight.

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.

• High winds shut down Napoleon annual picnic (front page)
• 4-H Fair King and Queen, scheduled activities (front page)
• JCD bookstore registration (page 2)
• School supply list online (page 2)
• JCD offering chance to earn college credits (page 4)
• On the Record from the Ripley County Courthouse (page 9)
• Want to buy the newspaper? Click here to find out where!

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