Local News Headlines: November 29, 2023

Repeat violent criminal sentenced to 22 Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery of an Indianapolis gas station
Damon Smithson, 54, of Indianapolis has been sentenced to twenty-two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to interference with commerce by robbery, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and unlawfully possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, on November 28, 2022, Smithson entered a Shell Gas station located on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Upon entering, he did not find anyone working, so he walked around the building until he found an employee sweeping outside. At that time, Smithson brandished a small revolver and ordered the employee to enter the business and give him all the money in the cash register. The employee complied with the demand and opened the register drawer. Smithson removed all the money from the register and fled the gas station.

On December 13, 2022, Smithson was arrested by IMPD. During the arrest, officers found a small .38 caliber revolver, which matched the revolver brandished during the robbery.

At the time of his arrest, Smithson had been previously convicted of multiple felonies, including armed robbery and two separate counts of robbery. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited under federal law from ever possessing a firearm.

Duke Energy to present check to Bloomington for installation of public mural
As part of their partnership to place murals on the Duke Energy Substation walls located at the northwest corner of W 11th St and N Rogers St, the City of Bloomington and Duke Energy Foundation are pleased to announce the first substation mural design and check presentation ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, November 30th at 11am at the substation site

Four local artists were selected by a group of artists, arts administrators, Maple Heights and Crestmont residents, and members of the Bloomington Arts Commission and then created the preliminary design of the mural based on themes of indigenous nature and wildlife, sustainability, diversity of personhood, and a sense of belonging in Bloomington. The themes were derived from community-based workshops and online surveys. The final mural design will be painted in Spring 2024, including a “community painting day” when all Bloomington residents will be invited to help paint the mural.

Preliminary design of the mural to be painted at the Duke Energy Substation at the intersection of Rogers and 11th in Bloomington

“Duke Energy is pleased to provide a platform to bring these artists’ visions to life, while adding to the beautification of the city of Bloomington,” said Liz Irwin, Government and Community RelationsMmanager at Duke Energy. “We hope these creative murals will be enjoyed by the community and visitors for years to come.”

The City of Bloomington began collaborating with Duke Energy on this project in early 2023, and Duke Energy Foundation has contributed $25,000 toward the project to be spent on artist honoraria, mural materials and supplies, and ongoing maintenance costs.

“Duke Energy has a strong history of investing in our communities,” added Irwin, “We appreciate the continued partnership and collaboration with the City of Bloomington and the engagement from local artists and community on the project.”

Santa Welcomes Children and Families to Winter Wonderland at Banneker

The City of Bloomington invites local children and their families to join us for a festive Winter Wonderland and Holidays Around the World celebration at the Banneker Community Center (930 W 7th St) on Saturday, December 9, from noon to 4:00 p.m. This free event promises an array of seasonal activities, including arts and crafts, cookie decorating, holiday carols, complimentary photos with Santa, and a toy giveaway. Embracing the spirit of diversity, the event will also showcase holidays around the world.

This year, a special two-hour sensory-sensitive experience from noon to 2 p.m., thoughtfully designed for families seeking a gentle atmosphere with low-light and low-sound settings will take place. Families interested in capturing photos with Santa in this sensory-sensitive environment can schedule appointments at bloomington.in.gov/csbm, during the designated time. For those who prefer to skip the photo session but would like to partake in the sensory sensitivity experience, feel free to join us between noon and 2 p.m.

This Week in Hoosier History

John George

1847  – John George died in Marion County at age 88. He was reputedly George Washington’s drummer boy during the Revolutionary War. He is buried in the Round Hill Cemetery in Perry Township. 

George enlisted in 1777 at the age of 17 in the First New Jersey Battalion, initially serving his first three years in the war as the drummer boy for George Washington’s Headquarter Guard. As the story goes, he was a participant in the Maxwell Brigade and saw his fair share of action at Clay Creek, Brandywine, the battles of Germantown and Monmouth and the brutal winter campaign of Valley Forge.

For George’s first three years, he was a private. Re-enlisting in 1780, he returned as a sergeant and was involved in the Battle of Yorktown, retiring from Washington’s Continental Army in 1783. Because of his service, George received a veteran’s land grant of 100 acres. He chose Kentucky, marrying and raising a large family. When his wife died in the late 1830s, he moved with his daughter and son-in-law, Peter Stuck, to Perry Township, living with them in a house just east of the current University of Indianapolis. Upon his death in 1842, he was interred in Round Hill Cemetery.

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