Rising costs propel county coroner's budget




Daily Journal staff report

The costs of testing that are needed to determine how someone died is increasing, and the county and its taxpayers are responsible for those costs.

Since Coroner Dave Lutz took office eight years ago, the total budget has nearly doubled from $35,000 a year to $60,000, and he has had to ask for more money almost every year.

This month, Lutz asked the county council for $10,000 more to cover mainly drug screening tests and autopsies, and he expects the coroner will have to ask for at least $15,000 extra next year.

Increasing autopsy prices are the main reason he has had to ask for more money, Lutz said.

This year, each autopsy cost the office $1,300, and the price will go up to $1,500 next year. The office handles 24 to 30 autopsies a year, which means the county could spend at least $4,800 more on the autopsies next year, Lutz said.

The county is required to do an autopsy when someone who dies doesn’t have a medical history, is under the age of 18 or died

while working.

The coroner also is required to do an autopsy when police think a crime was committed, Lutz said. Prices for those autopsies will increase to about $3,000 next year, because the doctor who does the procedure has to go to court hearings that require him to spend more time on the case.

Higher prices for specialized drug tests also could require the coroner’s office to spend more, but Lutz said none of those tests have been needed this year. Typical drug screening tests cost $165 to $200, but specialized tests that look for synthetic drugs can cost up to $500, Lutz said.

Holiday bazaar set

at Greenwood church

People can grab a cookie and Christmas gift and help a church with its missions.

Greenwood United Methodist Church, 525 N. Madison Ave., is hosting Santa’s Cookies and Bazaar from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Homemade cookies, cheese balls, sweet breads and other baked goods can be purchased. Vendors will have crafts, toys and books for sale.

Pictures with Santa will be taken from 11 a.m. to noon.

Proceeds go to church mission projects.

Lights to line roads

at local cemetery

A Greenwood funeral home and cemetery is presenting a festival of lights.

More than 7,000 luminaria lights will line Forest Lawn Memory Garden’s roadways from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday during the annual light show.

People with relatives in the cemetery are encouraged to attend and get a free luminaria to honor their loved one.

Nonperishable food items can be donated and will be given to families in need.

Movie about theater

for sale at museum

A DVD about the history of Franklin’s Artcraft Theatre is available for sale at the Johnson County Museum of History.

“The Historic Artcraft Theatre of Franklin, Indiana: Celebrating 90 Years of Entertainment” tells the stories of the Artcraft through oral histories, behind-the-scenes tours, vintage photographs and artifacts.

The video segments include profiles of the “Popcorn Lady” Irene Petro, who worked at the concession counter for more than 30 years; and Trueman Rembusch, the colorful owner of the theater in its heyday.

The video also demonstrates the 1950s-era projectors, which are both still used at the theater. The DVD also explores the theater’s historic renovations and current efforts to bring the theater back to its mid-century grandeur.

The cost of the DVD is $10; proceeds benefit the museum and the theater. It can be purchased in the gift shop on the main floor of the museum, 135 N. Main St., Franklin.

Information: JohnsonCountyMuseum.org, 346-4500

Humane Society seeks volunteers, donations

The Humane Society of Johnson County is looking for community volunteers and donors.

Ways to help include volunteering, fostering animals, becoming a member of the humane society, providing supplies for the humane society’s wish list or making a donation.

The humane society is seeking donations of hard-sided animal carriers for cats and dogs, which may be new or used in good condition. These carriers are needed to transport animals for vet care or adoption events.

Donations are being sought for the Dudley Fund, which provides money for surgeries for homeless animals, such as for:

  • Channing, a Persian cat that came to the Humane Society after being found wandering, badly matted and in poor health due to malnutrition. The vet said he will make a full recovery, however, he needs dental surgery to aid in that recovery.
  • Cindy, a small dog with two bad knees who is now in the Humane Society’s care. Surgery on her knees will make her pain-free and ready to lead a happy life in a permanent, loving home.

The surgeries are expensive and help is needed to aid Channing, Cindy and other animals. All donations to The Dudley Fund will help the humane society continue to assist these animals.

Donations can be sent to the Humane Society of Johnson County, 3827 N. Graham Road, Franklin, IN 46131.

Donations can also be made on line at www.HSJC.org.

For additional information, call the Humane Society at 535-6626.

Johnson Memorial

seeking volunteers

Johnson Memorial Hospital needs volunteers to work in several areas of the hospital.

Those who can spare four or more hours each week or who would like to learn more should call Ann Cook, volunteer coordinator, at 346-3760 or email acook@johnsonmemorial.org.

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