Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sign Unseen

The recent removal of the Sanders Jewelry sign and white backing revealed another red sign with cursive letters presumably not seen since 1955. Sigler’s Jewelry, which operated at S. Harrison St. until Charles and Betty Sanders purchased the business in 1955, was owned by John and Lena (Stine) Sigler.

Mr. Sigler, who had become a watchmaker apprentice at the turn of the century, moved to Shelbyville in 1907 and started working at the C.C. Steinhauser Jewelry Store. He married Lena in 1909, and they moved out of state for three years before returning to start Sigler’s Jewelry in 1916. They lived at 208 W. Broadway until passing away, John in 1963 and Lena in 1966.

The couple’s 39-year tenure nearly mirrors that of Doug and Nancy (Sanders) Seeman, who joined Nancy’s parents in the business in August 1982 and retired last fall.

The re-emergence of the Sigler’s sign fulfills Mrs. Seeman’s promise in an interview last year to save their sign. “When we retire though, the Sanders name will retire, too.”

County BZA Approves Two Petitions; a Third Fails to Advance

With only three Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals members present at Tuesday’s meeting, petitioners needed unanimous approval. Only two of the three on the agenda succeeded.

A New Palestine area wedding and event venue is on hold after the board approved the application, 2-1, but it fell short of the necessary three votes. Applicant Taylor Williams, who has an option to purchase 3615 W 1200 N, New Palestine, had requested three variances that would have allowed the venue in a Residential Estate District, permitting two primary structures, a residence and an existing barn; a grass parking area with paved and ADA-compliant spaces; and a small wooden sign. 

But neighbors, several from across the road in Hancock County, had concerns about noise, drainage, hours of operation, the frequency of events, parking, presence of alcohol, traffic, lights and holding weddings while farming operations occurred in nearby fields.

Williams, who would live onsite with his wife, addressed each point but said there were still unknowns, such as how many events would be held. He pledged to work with the neighbors. “Anything we can do to minimize the sound and to make sure we’re not affecting them as much as possible is what we’re going to do.”

The motion to vote included nine stipulations suggested by Plan Director Desiree Calderella, such as mandating patrons and contractors to vacate the premises by 11:30 p.m., and lighting, design and signage requirements. The board added a no-parking-on-the-roadway stipulation, too. 

Board members Doug Warnecke and Dave Klene voted in favor, Kevin Carson voted no. Williams can reapply.

In other action, the board unanimously approved development standards variances for a proposed barn at 4622 W 1120 N, New Palestine. Petitioner Andrew Milby had approached the board last month, but the request was continued after BZA members and neighbors questioned the size and location of the structure. 

Milby submitted a revised plan that reduced the barn to 1,200 square feet and moved the location away from the front of the home. No members of the public raised concerns about the project at Tuesday’s meeting.

The BZA also unanimously approved six variance requests for Central Rent-A-Crane, which is planning to relocate a Bluff Road facility in Indianapolis near the I-74-Pleasant View interchange. The development would include an office and shop building, covered outdoor storage, outdoor gravel storage, paved parking, a fuel station and scale. The variances are in regards to structure height, driveway width, chain link fence height, outdoor storage, signs and the storage tank location.

Attorney Peter DePrez, with the Brown, DePrez and Johnson firm, and Chris King, with Runnebohm Construction, presented on behalf of Central Rent-A-Crane.

The approval included sign guidelines, stipulations that the black vinyl chain link fence not incorporate barbed or razor wire and that a canopy cannot project more than six feet from the facade unless it includes support walls. DePrez said the company was in favor of all suggested stipulations.


  • City parks are experiencing some issues with homeless people and vandalism, parks staff told the Shelbyville Parks Board yesterday. Police have been called to assist multiple times, including this week after employees found deadbolts had been removed from bathrooms at the fairgrounds. “They pretty much turned it into like a rec room or a residence,” Sports Director and Maintenance Supervisor Chris Stephens said. Staff removed approximately a truckload of items from the space. Another restroom was used as an apparent residence, complete with a dog who barked at parks staff trying to investigate the matter, Stephens said. Vandalism also is a challenge. The rubber playground surface at Kennedy Park has been repeatedly torn. Parks Director Karen Martin noted that replacement is expensive and asked the community to intervene if they see others damaging the surface. Also, a message was recently spray-painted near the top of the Big Blue River rail bridge near the trailhead. It’s not parks property, but it includes inappropriate language in a visible place. “Even though it’s vandalism, I’m kind of impressed they climbed up there to write it as neatly as they did,” a meeting participant said.

  • Shelby Eastern Schools approved the 2021 Success Plan at last night’s board meeting. Masks will not be required in SES schools, classroom spacing will return to pre-pandemic arrangements and there will not be assigned seating in the cafeteria. Due to federal guidelines, masks will still be required while riding school buses.

  • Several hires were approved at last night’s Shelby Eastern Schools board meeting, including Collin McCartt, Morristown varsity boys basketball head coach; Austen Clark as Morristown soccer coach; and Eric Screeton as Morristown Jr.-Sr. High School assistant principal and athletic director.

  • “Much Ado About Nothing” part of the free Shakespeare in the Park series, is set for Blue River Memorial Park, July 24, 7 p.m.

  • The Strand Theatre added two board members, McKenna Hall and Elizabeth Finkel.

  • The Shelby Community Band will perform at Blue River Memorial Park this Saturday, July 17, 7 p.m. The free concert is themed “American Faces” and features mezzo-soprano Samantha Beckham as soloist.

  • As of yesterday, the state reported 5,061 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 2 from the previous day, out of 20,560 tests, an increase of 13 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 97. The state dashboard lists 19,885 who have been fully vaccinated in Shelby County.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: More Hoosier veterans are now able to get support from the state’s Military Family Relief Fund. The fund provides up to $2,500 to veterans and their families who are struggling with financial issues – anything from utilities and rent to medical bills to emergency car repairs. Prior to July 1, only veterans who served on active duty for more than one year – in war time – were eligible for the fund. Those two requirements have been eliminated. (Indiana Public Radio)

  • NATIONAL NEWS: The U.S. State Department is dealing with a flood of passport renewal applications, with the Postal Service fielding 3.5 million applications for a passport in the first six months of this year, up from 3.2 million over the same period of 2019. Applications are taking longer to process, with turnaround time for a standard passport hitting 12 weeks of processing and six weeks of mailing for a total of 18 weeks. (The Wall Street Journal)

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
Catherine Creed, 80, was named Homemaker of the Year at the Shelby County Fair. The emcee announced, after distributing the award, that Creed had worn her dress inside-out at the event.

30 YEARS AGO: 1991
The 11 senior citizens who would vie for King and Queen titles were W.A. Yoder, Chester Ballard, Paul Hirschauer, Paul Stafford, Ellen Young, Doris Hinkle, Marjorie Ballard, Helen Hirschauer, Catherine Creed, Faye Stith and Rusty Kettler. (Paul Stafford and Doris Hinkle were the eventual winners.)

40 YEARS AGO: 1981
A state electrical inspector toured the Shelby County jail following the second electrical fire in as many months at the facility.

Mayor Dan Theobald advocated for the purchase of a second ambulance.

A proposal to pick up trash only at the edge of city streets and not in city alleys was shelved by the board of works following several complaints.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971
Thirty-five employees of Shelbyville’s Indiana Bell Telephone Company went on strike and picketed outside of the local office. Local manager Allen Elder said no disruptions to customers would occur since direct dialing was increasingly used.

60 YEARS AGO: 1961
Dennis Blind was hired as a new coach and teacher at Shelbyville High School. Blind, a former Purdue star, would succeed “Dee” Compton, who had left for Indianapolis Manual High School. As a teacher with six years of experience, Blind would make $8,000 a year (approximately $73,000 in today’s money).

70 YEARS AGO: 1951
The Shelby County square dance championship team advanced to state competition. Members of the team were Morris Dale Pile, Elizabeth Keeling, Rex Thoman, Lois Fischer, Charles Eberhart, Shari Vernon, Don Meyer and Eleanor Firsich. Tilden Evans was caller for the winning set. Approximately 300 had attended the championship held at Taylor’s Rollerdome.

80 YEARS AGO: 1941
Resurfacing work began on the first block of W. Franklin Street, from Harrison to Tompkins. The Republican called it “probably the roughest stretch of street in the entire city.” The paper said the “crown on the street is to be removed and the entire street leveled and resurfaced. After that job is finished, the first block on East Franklin Street - another stretch almost or equally as bad - is scheduled for resurfacing.”

90 YEARS AGO: 1931
The Sheriff’s Department said no calls came in over the weekend, but on Monday morning, five automobile thefts were reported. Later in the day, five train cars derailed at the St. Paul stone quarry. Obstructions kept the cars from plunging into the river.

100 YEARS AGO: 1921
An abundance of coats, shoes and underclothing was donated by Shelby County residents and stored at the Shelbyville Trust Company on Public Square to be sent to European countries. “A number of Boy Scouts and young women in automobiles were assembled at the headquarters this morning, and they were kept busy during the entire day answering calls and collecting the clothing,” The Republican reported. The Rotary Club announced plans to pack and transport all donated goods for mailing.


  • Abandoned vehicles were cited in the 1600 block of Fountain Lake Dr. E and 200 block of N. West St., Shelbyville.

  • Thefts were reported in the 700 block of S. Harrison St. and at 2500 Progress Parkway, Shelbyville. Burglary was reported in the 100 block of S. Harrison St.

  • Jail book-ins: Ladarrious Alexander, 24, failure to appear; Jack A. Black, 27, unknown hearing, hold for Decatur Co.; Jamie T. Gasper, 27, criminal trespass, domestic battery; Mason P. Murnan, 28, hold for Hancock Co.; Michael S. Pollard, 35, strangulation, domestic battery; Keith E. Richee, 54, probation violation; Ryan J. Ruhlman, 37, probation violation; Timothy Short, 40, domestic battery; Dwain F. Snyder, 57, possession of meth, syringe, marijuana


William Otto “Bill” “Pops” Willey, Sr., 78, of Morristown passed away Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at Hancock Regional Hospital in Greenfield. He was born February 26, 1943, in Indianapolis, the son of William Albert Willey and Mary Frances (LeMaster) Hillyer.  On March 9, 1963, he married Sandra Louise Brunnemer, and she preceded him in death on November 6, 2016.

Bill is survived by his sons, William Willey Jr. and wife, Glenda, Steven Willey Sr. and wife, Danyel, both of Morristown, Michael Willey and wife, Jenny, of Greenfield, Edward Willey and wife, Kelley, of Fountaintown, and Richard Allen Willey and wife, Maren, of Morristown; 18 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, David Brunnemer of Indianapolis; sister-in-law, Diane Mandrell of Indianapolis; best friend since childhood, Carl Abner and wife, Diane, of Greenfield; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to Sandra, Bill was preceded in death by his parents.

Bill owned and operated Bill’s Hauling and Cleaning. He enjoyed collecting junk and going to stock car races. Bill loved to spend time with his family, especially his great and great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 16, 2021, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Frazier Chapel, 124 E. North St., in Morristown. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17, 2021 at the funeral home. Interment will be at Asbury Cemetery in Morristown. Memorial contributions may be made to the Town of Morristown, 418 W. Main St., Morristown, Indiana 46161, please note for Morristown Parks in memo. Online condolences may be shared with Bill’s family at

Virginia “Ginny” Higgins, 89, of Shelbyville, passed away Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at Heritage House of Shelbyville. She was born July 16, 1931 in Shelby County to Bernard Jeffries and Isabelle (McColley) Jeffries.

Ginny lived in Shelby County her entire life. She graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1950. Ginny held various positions while employed with Farmer’s National Bank for 28 ½ years and at Shelby National Bank for 5 ½ years, before retiring in 1984. Ginny was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Women of the Moose, and Auxiliary of the American Legion, VFW Auxiliary and St. Anne’s Alter Society.

She married John V. “Jack” Higgins on June 2, 1954, and he preceded her in death on February 2, 2018. Ginny is survived by several nieces and nephews including, Karen (Mike) LeBrun, Susan (Todd) Hill, Sara (Alan) Davis; great-nephew, Shane Hill; and step-great-nephew, Alex Davis. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her brother and three sisters.

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m, Saturday, July 17, 2021 at Murphy-Parks Funeral Service, 703 S. Harrison Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176. Funeral services will follow at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home with Father Mike Keucher officiating. Burial will be in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to a special charity in care of the funeral home. Funeral directors Greg Parks, Sheila Parks, and Stuart Parks are honored to serve Ginny’s family. Online condolences may be shared at