Sunday, May 23, 2021

Law Firm Holds Open House

M. Michael Stephenson and Brady Rife pause for a moment at the firm’s open house on Friday. | Anna Tungate

The firm isn’t brand new, and much of the team has been together for decades, but Friday’s open house - delayed by the pandemic - celebrated the new offices of Stephenson Rife, LLP in the Intelliplex.

After graduating from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, Stephenson worked with attorney John Tinder, a friend of J. Lee McNeely’s who eventually became the 7th District United States Court of Appeals Judge. The connection led Stephenson to the then-McNeely Sanders firm in Shelbyville nearly 40 years ago.

Brady Rife, now a partner with Stephenson, started working for the McNeely firm while in law school some 20 years ago.

“Brady and I decided that we would take a small group of people and create a much smaller, more niche-related practice,” Stephenson said.

The seven attorneys - also including Bob Thopy, Denny Harrold, Sean Roth, Eric Glasco and Jeremy Musgrave - and 21 support staff members cover the gamut of legal needs locally and beyond.

“Our practice isn’t just in Shelby County, but in fact across the state and across the other states,” Stephenson said. “Although our firm name is young, the group of people is cohesive.”

A VIEW FROM MY SCHWINN: The Inge Krueger Rogers Interview

ABOVE: Inge Krueger Rogers poses with her pet tortoise, Charlie.


Dear readers,

As promised, this week is the interview with my cousin Tom’s wife, the Baroness von Krueger. The interview is taking place at their log cabin located east of town on State Rd. 244 in a place they have named Kein Berg.

I was planning on asking my usual stupid questions. At the last minute I decided against it. Over the years we have had fun with the Baroness von Krueger character. She has joined in every harebrained scheme Tom and I have thought up, including our attempt to enter their donkey Cletus in the Indiana Derby. It is time to meet the real Inge Krueger.

Kris: Inge, you have been a member of the family for 45 years. I just realized on the way over that I have been the typical “ugly American” and never asked you about your homeland. Please tell me a little about your family and growing up in Germany.

Inge: Amazing, what you realized on the way over, I knew only a few minutes after we first met. I’m just kidding. Well, mostly kidding. I grew up in West Germany. I lived with my brother Hans and our parents Paul and Paula Krueger. One fact about my family that I am sure you and your readers will find amusing is that I do have a cousin named Freddie Krueger.

Kris: Where did you live in West Germany?

Inge: Our home was in the foothills of the Taunus Mountain range about 45 miles northeast of Frankfurt.

Kris: Did your childhood include any American TV shows or activities that would be familiar to my readers?

Inge: I did have a bicycle, but it wasn’t a Schwinn. I can’t think of any American TV shows we had when I was young. As a child, I did enjoy books. Grimm’s Fairy Tales would be something German that your readers probably also enjoyed as children. The brothers Grimm wrote a great number of fairy tales including Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin.

Kris: Was marrying an American and moving to America a difficult experience for you?

Inge: Tom and I lived in Germany for 12-and-a-half years. So, it wasn’t so much that I married an American as Tom married a German. When we first moved to America, we lived in Bayonne, New Jersey. I could see the Statue of Liberty from my kitchen window.

Kris: I’m not used to asking real questions. Anything else you can think of that would be of interest to my readers?

Inge: Tom and I were living in West Germany when the Berlin wall came down and East and West were reunited as one Germany. It was a very exciting time and a lot of celebrating.

Tom and I named our place here in Shelby County “Kein Berg,” which translates as “No Mountain.” Since I had a view of mountains growing up in West Germany, Tom thought it described our view from our log cabin here in Shelby County perfectly.

Kris: One last question, why do you have a pet tortoise?

Inge: His name is Charlie, and you wouldn’t understand. It’s a German thing.


  • In line with other Hoosier communities, 61% of all properties in Shelby County saw assessed values rise amid the hot real estate market. Property owners began receiving notices of their latest assessments in recent weeks, which will be used to calculate property taxes due in 2022. Twenty-nine percent of county assessments stayed the same and 10% decreased, officials in the county assessor’s office said. Of the 1,147 properties identified and assessed as single-family rentals, 24% saw increased assessments, 71% stayed the same, and 5% decreased. Collectively, the total assessed value of rentals increased by about 3%. Most duplex and triplex rental properties - 80% - decreased. The 220 properties assessed in total went down by about 4%. About half of the larger apartment properties, defined as four or more units, increased while about half stayed the same. The 118 properties assessed in this category saw total assessed value increase by approximately 4%.

  • Shelbyville High School’s Malea Terrell (high jump), Sam Price (400), Megan Eads (long jump), Beau Kenkel (1600) and Stephanie Howard (1600) qualified for the track and field regional.

  • Morristown boys golf team earned second place in the Mid-Hoosier Conference match yesterday at North Branch Golf Course. Asher Caldwell scored runner-up honors with an 81 and earned All-Conference honors.

  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,968 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 4 from the previous day, out of 19,846 tests, an increase of 11 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 96. The State lists 16,982 fully vaccinated people for Shelby County as of yesterday.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: In a divided nation, college vaccine mandates are mostly following familiar fault lines. As of this weekend, only 34 — roughly 8 percent — are in states that voted for Donald J. Trump, according to a tracker created by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Nine of those were added on Friday, when Indiana University and its satellite campuses became rare public universities in a Republican-controlled state to mandate vaccines. Indiana now has at least 14 campuses that are requiring the immunization, the most of any Republican-controlled state. (The New York Times)

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    The Early Learning Ministry Action Team of Shelby County hosted a free event yesterday on the St. Joseph Catholic Church grounds. | photo by Jack Boyce

    “This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.


    News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.

    20 YEARS AGO: 2001
    Brent Sandman and Greg Gerline spoke to the Shelbyville Common Council about updating the 1969 transient merchant ordinance to make it more difficult for peddlers to obtain a permit. The city had little or no say about the quality of what was sold. “At the (Bears of Blue River) Festival flea market, you expect it. But Elvis all over a Winnebago as you come into town isn’t what we want for Shelbyville,” Sandman said.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    Shelbyville Junior High School teams won high placings in the Hoosier Academic Super Bowl, Junior Division, including first in the state in the science division. The science team of Kris Copes, Daniel Moore, Allyson Kendall and Travis Kopp placed first in the regional event. The English team of Heather Gillen, Ellen Crohan, Amber Beikman, Melissa Winkler and Rachel Roller placed second at the regional. Other competitors that earned merits were Mark Beasley, Andrew Bradley, Joey Fitz, David Smucker, B.J. Haehl, Ron McCullum, Jerritt Ross, Josh Thurston, Matt Haehl, Ebon Worland, Doug Morin, Brad Hook, Andrew Sanders and Toshi Kobayakawa. The teams were coached by Linda Chesser, Marilyn Conner and J.P. Slater. Team shirts were designed by Margaret Mardis and printed by Scott Harper.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981
    Bill Coffey opened a new auto repair shop, Bill’s Car Care, at 319 N. Vine Street. He had formerly been employed by Scripture Chevrolet and Jerry Porter Dodge.

    The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame board of directors met to establish a scholarship in Nate Kaufman’s name. Kaufman, 78, had recently suffered a health setback and was hospitalized. Kaufman had raised all $300,000 to buy and refurbish the Indiana Hall of Fame building. Richard Gottlieb, a longtime friend and business associate of Kaufman, told Jim McKinney of The Shelbyville News, “Nate worked his a— off raising money for others. He worked harder raising the money for the Hall of Fame than he ever worked at anything in his life. He raised every g— d— dime for it by selling plaques for $1,000 then establishing gold-plated plaques for $5,000. That’s the way Nate’s always been - he constantly was raising money for some worthwhile cause. It was he and John C. DePrez who went out and got people to give to SCUFFY - if it hadn’t been for them, there wouldn’t be any United Fund in Shelby County. And Nate raised most of the money for the new Boys Club building, too.” Kaufman didn’t start at the top of the ladder. He and his family once operated a downtown fruit stand, selling fruit on street corners and in schools and restaurants. He had officiated numerous state tourney basketball finals games. He also coached the former St. Joseph High School team into its only berth in the National Catholic High School Tournament in Chicago in 1926. The St. Joe team had lost only twice all season, to Waldron both times. Kaufman had opened a small insurance business in Shelbyville in the 1940s, building it into one of the biggest agencies in the nation. His son, Bart, was leading the Kaufman Financial Corp. by 1981.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    Beth Moore was the winner of the 11th annual Earl Trees safety patrol award. Harold Pickett, representing Williams Industries, the trophy sponsor, made the presentation along with Lt. Robert Williams, juvenile officer. Beth, a Major School student, was the first girl winner. Other contenders were Kevin Wise, St. Joe; Kerry Leffler, Loper; Scot Conrad, Addison; Brian Limpus, Hendricks; Kyle Bruner, Coulston; and Daniel Craig, Pearson.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961
    Noble Henry Jones, 55, Moral township trustee and treasurer of the Northwestern Consolidated School District, died suddenly of a heart attack. He was married to Berniece Boring. They had four children.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951
    Shelbyville firemen were given a scare when an alarm was turned in from the Standard Oil Co. bulk plant at 44 John St. But smoke caused by welders had been mistaken for a fire. Firemen had responded to a disastrous bulk plant explosion and fire three years earlier.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    Four Shelbyville youngsters found a French 75 shell, a remnant of World War I, while swimming in the Big Blue River behind the Porter Steel Specialist Company factory. “Unaware of the possible danger, the youngsters took the shell apart, piece by piece, but the detonator cap and all the explosive originally in the shell had been removed,” The Republican said. The boys - Jim and Charles Scudder and Cleatus and Louis Luther - took their find to Charles Major School, where it was put on display.

    Marilyn Kanouse was named queen of the junior class prom, held at Paul Cross gym for the first time. “The floor…had been polished to such a high degree that the faculty and other older folks, of whom there was a fair sprinkling, had some difficulty negotiating the intricate dances,” The Republican said.

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931
    Happy Hour Links miniature golf, on Harrison St. at the foot of Muchmore Hill, and The Lucky Thirteen, a course on State Road 29, opened for the season.

    All public schools in Shelbyville closed at noon on the final day of school. “The decision to close at noon instead of in the afternoon may have been influenced somewhat by the fact that a circus, the first to visit Shelbyville this year, will give its first performance Thursday afternoon,” The Republican said.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    The year’s first street oiling occurred, started on S. Tompkins St.

    Local Boy Scouts left for their bicycle trip to Brown County. Scout leader W.W. Blakley drove alongside in his car, which carried supplies and camping equipment.


    Sheila Annette (Siefert) Bass, 85, formerly of Shelbyville, passed away on May 19th in Austin, Texas, where she had been residing with her son since earlier this year. She is preceded in death by her parents (Hank & Vera Siefert), her husband, Jim Bass, and her brother, Dick Siefert. She is survived by her brother Tom Siefert (Terre Haute, Indiana), sons Andy Bass (Tampa, Florida) and Gary Bass (Austin, Texas) as well as her granddaughter Caroline Bass (Mason, Ohio).

    She was a devoted wife, loving daughter, beloved sister, awesome mom, and supercool nana. She married Jim Bass in 1955, became a mom to Andy in 1963, and become a mom to Gary in 1965. After graduating from Shelbyville High School, she worked at W. S. Major Hospital (four years), The Shelbyville News (four years), and as a tutor for Shelbyville Central Schools (five years). She later worked for Security Savings and Loan Association in Indianapolis before moving to Fort Lauderdale with her husband in 1985. After the death of her husband in 1991, she became the Conference Services Desk Manager for the Fort Lauderdale Bonaventure Resort & Spa for eight years, where she received countless accolades and awards including being the company’s Employee of the Quarter. Upon retirement in 1998, she moved to The Villages, Florida, where she was very active spending time with treasured friends, establishing The Villages Hummel Club, and volunteering at The Villages Regional Hospital. And, of course, being the best mom and nana EVER. She will most remembered for her effervescent smile and effortless manner as well as her indomitable spirit. We were all blessed for having her brighten our lives in her own singular way.

    Services will be announced by Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Carmony-Ewing Chapel, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations can be made to the U. S. Humane Society. Online condolences may be shared with Sheila's family at

    Clara Josephine “Jo” Kilgore, 87, passed away on May 20, 2021. She was born Clara Josephine Edwards on September 7, 1933 in Rush County, Indiana to Olin and Lanelle (Krammes) Edwards. She graduated from Manilla High School in 1951 and married Walter Philip (Phil) Kilgore on December 20, 1952 to whom she was married 58 years before his death in February 2010. They resided together in Morristown, Indiana for most of their married life before moving to New Palestine.

    Mrs. Kilgore enjoyed working at the Kopper Kettle and IPC in Morristown for many years and made many life-long friends there before retiring in 1987. She was a long-time member of the Morristown Christian Church. She loved cooking and baking for others and was especially known for her delicious noodles and sugar cookies. She was an avid sports follower and also thoroughly enjoyed any game in which her grandchildren were involved.

    Surviving are children Phyllis Combs of New Port Richey, Florida, Kerry Kilgore of New Palestine, Indiana and Charlie (Terri) Kilgore of New Palestine, Indiana; niece, Debbie Barrie of Greenfield, Indiana and 6 grandchildren, Jessica (Joe) Canter, Brittany (Ian) Nickerson, Caleb (Stephanie) Combs, Caitlin (Michael) Specht, Kelsey (Kenny) Glesenkamp and Brianna Kilgore, 6 great grandchildren (Elodie, Walter, Ada, Cambria, Emersyn and Benjamin) and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by one brother, Frank Edwards, of Rushville and a sister, Carolyn Brinkman, of Indianapolis. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by a stillborn child and her son-in-law, Harry Combs, as well as her parents, three sisters and three brothers.

    Visitation will be on Monday, May 24, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory, 1484 W. US Hwy. 40, Greenfield, IN 46140. A funeral service will take place on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. also at the mortuary. Burial will follow at Asbury Cemetery in Morristown. Thank you to the staff of Heart to Heart Hospice and Greenbriar Village for their care and love.
    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at or to the Morristown Christian Church. Envelopes will be available at the mortuary and church. Friends may share a memory or condolence at