Skip to main content
A1 A1
News
breaking
Elwood officer, 24, fatally shot during traffic stop; suspect arrested

A traffic stop took a tragic turn early Sunday morning when an Elwood Police Officer was fatally shot.

Officer Noah Shahnavaz, 24, conducted a traffic stop just after 2 a.m. Sunday, July 31 along Indiana 37.

For an unknown reason, the suspect, Carl Ray Webb Boards II, is believed to have exited the vehicle and fired multiple rounds at Shahnavaz, striking him at least once before fleeing the scene in the vehicle, according to the Indiana State Police (ISP).

When additional officers arrived on the scene, they administered life-saving measures. An ambulance transported Shahnavaz to Ascension St. Vincent Mercy in Elwood before he was later transferred to an Indianapolis hospital by helicopter, where he died.

“A senseless act of violence robbed this young man of the life and career he had ahead of him,” Mayor Todd Jones said.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department located the vehicle just after 2:30 a.m. Boards, authorities said, did not pull over and continued south on State Road 37. Hamilton County deputies pursued Boards and used a tire deflation device. When the car continued south toward Interstate 69, the Fishers Police Department used the Precision Immobilization Technique to stop the car and take the suspect into custody, authorities said.

Boards is being held in the Hamilton County Jail and has no bond. The preliminary charges against him are resisting law enforcement, possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and murder. Boards is the owner of Webb’s Cut & Care at 525 S. Washington St. in Marion.

“Shahnavaz was a five-year veteran of the United States Army and proudly served the Elwood community for the past 11 months,” stated the ISP.

The Indiana Fallen Heroes Foundation has established a memorial fund for Shahnavaz. Anyone who wishes to donate can visit any First Merchant Bank branch or donate online by visiting www.indianafallen.org and clicking on “fallen heroes” to select Noah Shahnavaz.


News
featured
Jim Breuer brings 'Freedom of Laughter Tour' to Wabash
  • Updated

“Saturday Night Live” and “Half Baked” star Jim Breuer is set to bring his “freewheeling” stand-up comedy to the Honeywell Center’s Ford Theater this weekend.

The radio show host and touring comedian has been a regular on “The Howard Stern Show” and has been named to Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time” list.

But, leave your young children at home.

“This show is for mature audiences,” said Honeywell Arts & Entertainment digital marketing manager Kaitlynn Still.

Most seats for the 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 show are either $25 or $35, with limited premium seating for $75. Tickets are available by visiting www.honeywellarts.org or calling 260-563-1102.

“I’m going to crush it,” said Breuer, during a recent phone interview with the Plain Dealer. “I’ve never had so much fun in my life. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much fun doing stand-up than in the last three or four years. I’m so free up there. And most of its improv. Usually, the first 20 minutes or so is kind of off-the-cuff and depending on the energy of the room and how we’re doing with one another is how the rest of the set will go. But, I can assure you, most people that are going to come to see that show is going to come back again and again.”

Breuer also took the time to discuss his comic beginnings, his movie and television career, his outspoken viewpoints, his faith and more.

Comedic influences

Breuer said Steve Martin was the first stand-up he truly connected with, but his “Mount Rushmore” of comedy included Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Sam Kinison.

Breuer said of those, Pryor cast the longest shadow over his comedic style.

“(Pryor) was by far the most influential because his delivery is he says and then he acts it out,” said Breuer. “And that’s what I do. I’m just a storyteller. I was the kid on the corner. I was the kid on the street. I was imitating everyone. I was telling the stories. Doing what I do.”

‘Live from New York …’

Breuer is probably best known for the three years he spent as a cast member of the long-running NBC sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live.” From 1995 to 1998, he played such re-occurring characters as Goat Boy and his impression of actor Joe Pesci.

“That was a good crew,” said Breuer. “That was a really solid cast.”

Among the comedic greats he starred alongside – a long list, including Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon – was Norm Macdonald, who died last year at the age of 61.

“Norm was the most honest, up front, subliminal, hilarious guy that I probably ever came across,” said Breuer. “I just never saw anyone so fearless in circumstances where I thought the stakes were so high. He would just break them down into nothing. He really did. He taught me a lot.”

Breuer said his favorite memories of that time weren’t of the show itself, but of his life at the time.

“Not so much being on television,” said Breuer. “It was going from a blue-collar kid to enjoying my marriage to we’re making money. We’re living in Manhattan. I’ve got a doorman. I’m buying everyone dinner and wine. It was bringing my friends along. It was the original, real-life ‘Entourage.’”

‘Half Baked’

Besides “Saturday Night Live,” Breuer is also probably best known for his role as the perpetually stoned character Brian in the 1998 movie, “Half Baked.” The movie was co-written by co-star and fellow comedian Dave Chappelle.

“I kept in touch with Dave up until about four years ago. Maybe five years ago,” said Breuer. “Then he kind of stopped hitting me back.”

Last year, Chappelle’s comedy special on Netflix, “The Closer,” received a fair amount of negative response – even from some Netflix employees – in response to jokes regarding queer and transgender people.

Breuer said he rejected the term “controversial” being applied to Chappelle’s special.

“It’s not controversial. Nothing he does is controversial. That’s a word to stir up nonsense to be quite honest with you,” said Breuer. “There’s nothing he says in my opinion that is controversial. The only thing controversial are the confused and those who are emotionally distraught and haven’t solved or healed their issues that need to lash out at whatever triggers their lives.”

Put the phones down

Breuer said the advent of smartphones has been a net negative for stand-up comedians like him.

“I definitely feel the same freedom, but I’ve definitely felt censored the last couple of years,” said Breuer.

Breuer said to keep viral videos of half-formed jokes from circulating online without context he has begun filming all his shows.

“I still continue to film every one, just in case someone thinks they have something or they think they’re smart,” said Breuer. “At the shows, if I see someone with their phone up I just gently point them out as I continue the routine. I go, ‘Please stop recording.’ I don’t point them out. It’s not to be recorded. Enjoy the event where you’re at and you’ll see it eventually. If I see myself being recorded what that person doesn’t realize, you just killed the show. You’re taking away the performance. All my natural instincts and abilities are completely taken away. So if that’s not your objective, then the worst thing you can do is film. It’s the worst thing you can do. Especially if they know you’re doing it. You’re destroying what is meant to make you happy, and to make you think, and to make you laugh.”

Vaccine requirements

Last year, Breuer canceled several dates due to the venues requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. (“At this time, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, masks, proof of vaccination and proof of a negative COVID test are not required at Honeywell venues,” stated their website.)

Breuer said he was skeptical about COVID-19 vaccines in general and felt such requirements were “pure recklessness.”

“If you don’t watch television and you don’t get caught up in what they call ‘news,’ your common sense would tell you that is pure lunacy,” said Breuer. “When you live in a society where they’re dangling a fish going, ‘Jab yourself so you can see a ball game. Jab yourself so you can get educated. Jab yourself you can go see a concert.’ If you feel that’s what you gotta do, go do it. But I would never force that on anyone that just wanted to simply laugh.”

His faith

Breuer said his faith in God has always been important to him, but that he “wasn’t a church kid.”

“My dad didn’t believe. He never wanted to do anything with church,” said Breuer. “My mom had believed in God. And I just figured out real young that you learn to listen to your God-given instinct. And your morals. You know what is right. You know what your intentions are. Your intentions are either good or bad. It’s going to either feed a good situation or a bad situation. When you have that grounding, no matter what temptation comes to you. Lust, money, fame, vanity, taking a shot. That’s all fear-driven.”

Breuer said his faith has “been the great balance” of his life.

“It has definitely saved my life and guided me and continues to do,” said Breuer. “Now, am I perfect? No. But I’ve watched so many people worth millions, tens, hundreds millions of dollars, be in the highest positions. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t have that you’re going down. If your god is vanity. If your god is to make as much money in the world. Those gods are soul-less. It’s soul-less. It means you will sell yourself to do anything to get to that god. And that is a dangerous, reckless part of society.”

His political views and his career

Especially during the past few years, Breuer has been outspoken on many issues in public, often with a contrary viewpoint to what might be considered mainstream.

Breuer said this hasn’t hurt his career, and, in fact, has helped him connect with audiences.

“What I discovered is that the more that I stick to my common sense, the more I grow as a human,” said Breuer. “Just like everyone else that spreads truth, what they believe is truth, what they believe in their natural ability to think, you’re going to have a lot of naysayers. You’re going to have a lot of people that want to stop that. It’s a very well-designed order that they’ve put into place in most of society and I don’t fear them. I don’t fear that whatsoever. I will not be controlled by people that are emotionally disturbed.”

On July 1, Breuer released his latest comedy special, “Somebody Had to Say It” on YouTube, where it now has over 992,000 views.

“I’m shocked. I’m not on television,” said Breuer. “I haven’t been on TV in forever. It’s strictly word of mouth and we’re up to basically a million views. … It just just shows you how many people think and feel the same way and want to laugh about exactly what I was putting out there. The cool thing is I filmed that special a year ago. It’s been out since last October but only on my Patreon page. So it’s already over a year old and it’s still relevant today and people are still feeling what I was talking about a year and a half ago. And a year and a half ago when I was talking about it, people were really coming after me. I’m fearless to that.”

‘Find the good’

Dee Breuer, Jim’s wife, has been receiving treatment for cancer for several years. Jim Breuer said about five years ago she was told she had less than a year to live.

“As we speak today she’s getting her treatment and it’s going on five years of her doing really well,” said Jim Breuer.

Jim Breuer said his family can cope with their health struggles because they never take anything as a given.

“The greatest thing is my wife and I are very in tune with the fact that none of us know how long we’re going to be here: you, me, everyone who is going to come see me. We’re all on borrowed time,” said Jim Breuer. “We try to deny that all we want. We can try to make all the plans. We’re going do this and we’re going to become the greatest comedian. None of this matters because you’re on a plan you’re creating. You don’t know when the end day is coming. So, our attitude has always been, ‘We’re here now so let’s live it to the greatest while we’re here.’”

Jim Breuer said the best piece of advice he ever received was to “always find the good.”

“Find the good in people. Find the good in a situation. Find the good in life. Find the good in yourself. Find the good. Because it’s there,” said Jim Breuer.


News
featured
Come out and meet 'The Karens'

In the past few years, the term “Karen” has taken on a whole new meaning.

What used to just be a common name has now become a pejorative term for a certain type of woman, namely an unpleasant one who probably wants to speak with your manager.

Now, two comedians named Karen are set on taking back the name and sharing a few laughs in the process.

“Lots of laughter will be on the bill when comedians Karen Mills and Karen Morgan entertain with their own brand of family-friendly humor in this show,” said Honeywell Arts & Entertainment digital marketing manager Kaitlynn Still. “Unlike those other insolent ‘Karens’ you may read about in the news, the Karens promise an evening of zero toxic behavior and plenty of clever and intelligent humor. Karen Mills, a former All-American basketball player and ovarian cancer survivor, can be heard daily on SiriusXM comedy channels. Karen Morgan, a former trial attorney, began her comedy career as a finalist on Nick at Nite’s ‘Search for the Funniest Mom.’ Her comedy special, ‘Go Dawgs,’ airs on Dry Bar Comedy.”

The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4 at Eagles Theatre. Tickets are $15 and $25 and are available by visiting www.honeywellarts.org or calling 260-563-1102.

During a recent phone interview with the Plain Dealer, Morgan said Wabash will be the start of their “The Karens” tour.

Mills said they both perform separate dates before they combine forces.

Mills said before her comedy career, she played basketball at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

“When I graduated everyone thought that I would coach including me but I didn’t love it as much as I loved playing,” she said. “I kind of floundered for a number of years.”

Mills said she found the next chapter of her life after she moved to Atlanta, Georgia and attended an open mic at The Punchline comedy club.

“Every time I would see a comedian on ‘Johnny Carson,’ I would think, ‘I think could do that.’ I finally got the courage to go give it a whirl,” said Mills.

Mills said the manager of The Punchline said they thought she could be professional, but that she would have to start writing her material.

“All I knew how to do was to tell a joke,” said Mills. “I didn’t know how to take my life experience and turn it into stand-up. So I took a writing class and I went back and performed again at the open mic. He hired me. It just started building from there. And that was 28 years ago. I kind of moved up from opener to feature to headliner and then I’ve done some different tours.”

Mills said it was preferable to be able to tour with a companion like Morgan.

“The road can be lonely for a road comic,” said Mills. “So, it’s always nice to have a friend you can work with.”

Morgan said when the “Karen” phenomenon first happened, they “were kind of hoping it would go away, but it hasn’t.”

Morgan said it was at that time they decided “to just embrace it.”

“We just laughed about it for so long,” said Morgan. “So it’s like, ‘Well if you can’t beat them join them.’ It is much more fun to do shows like this together when you’re on the road. It’s just a pleasant thing. I’ve known Karen for a long time. I’m just a baby in comedy. I’ve only been doing it 18 years. So when we had this opportunity. Someone said, ‘You should do a show together about The Karens.’ And we’re like, ‘Sure that sounds fun.’”

Morgan said the natural demographic for the show was probably middle-aged females “with some life experience,” but that they’ve been able to attend to other audiences who might not have thought they were the target market.

“The people who get dragged to this show are the husbands or partners or the people who don’t necessarily think oh that’s a great idea to go have a comedy show,” said Morgan. “I love having those people at shows because they’re like pleasantly surprised. ‘I thought this was going to suck.’ And then they have a good time and they’re like, ‘See comedy is fun.’”

Mills said many times she has heard women tell her their husbands would have loved it if they had tagged along.

“Or the husband does come, get dragged there and goes, ‘I didn’t think women were funny but you were great,’” said Mills.

Morgan said they start the shows by each performing their own sets before coming out on stage together.

“We make fun of the whole ‘Karen’ phenomenon, the ‘Karen’ debacle,” said Morgan. “We’ll maybe take some audience interaction in terms of questions and situations people may have been found themselves in. It’s a little combination of our solo acts and also our coming together. People come out prepared to laugh. Take a night to have no worries. This is a night of fun. This is a night to really go out and have a little break, a little laugh vacation with us. It’ll be fine.”

Mills said they considered their show a respite from “all the horrific things going on.”

“Just have a day of laughter, and it will really serve you well,” said Mills.


News
Local libraries are now completely fine-free

Local libraries in Wabash County are now completely fine-free.

On Friday, July 22, North Manchester Public Library (NMPL) adult department manager and marketing coordinator Jeanna Hann said they were “thrilled” to announce that they would cease charging and collecting late fees for overdue DVDs and WiFi hotspots.

“NMPL has not charged late fees for overdue books for years, but the library wanted to make the switch to become completely late fine-free,” said Hann. “Patrons will still be charged for any lost or damaged items.”

Hann said the change was partially inspired by the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Resolution on Monetary Library Fines As A Form of Social Inequity” from January 2019.

“Monetary fines present an economic barrier to access of library materials and services,” stated the irresolution. “There is mounting evidence that indicates eliminating fines increases library card adoption and library usage. Monetary fines create a barrier in public relations and absorb valuable staff time. ALA policy ‘asserts that the charging of fees and levies for information services is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions.’ ALA states, ‘Libraries will need to take determined and pragmatic action to dismantle practices of collecting monetary fines.’ Monetary fines ultimately do not serve the core mission of the modern library.”

Hann said those with existing late fines on their account will have their accounts cleared.

“In addition to fines being ineffectual at preventing late returns, as a financially punitive action, fines go against our morals as a public library,” said NMPL circulation librarian Cody Coble.

Hann said they weren’t concerned about this change causing items to simply not be returned at all.

“Research and lots of recent experience from libraries that have gone fine-free shows that overdue fines do not affect how fast people bring back books,” said Hann. “Return rates are the same before and after libraries go fine-free. And some libraries get more materials back after going fine-free.”

NMPL director Diane Randall said fines “are often a roadblock to those in the community who can most greatly benefit from the library’s resources and services.”

“Through eliminating fines, the library is striving to improve equity of access by removing financial barriers to library and information services for the community,” said Randall.

Meanwhile, Wabash Carnegie Public Library (WCPL) circulation manager Cody Abbott said they have been mostly fine-free, including all materials other than DVDs and WiFi hotspots, since 2020.

“WCPL has made moves towards becoming more accessible for the community by removing the majority of overdue fines from our collection,” said Abbott. “This fits with our mission to be a gateway to the wider world with as few barriers as possible. These moves towards removing fines have a positive impact on our patrons and the community as a whole. We are always evaluating our systems to determine modifications or additions to better our services with patron experience in mind.”


News
Learn More Center receives $10K Dollar General literacy grant

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently announced the recipients of approximately $170,000 in grants to nonprofits in Indiana focusing on adult literacy.

Among those chosen was the Learn More Center in North Manchester and Wabash, which received $10,000.

“The Learn More Center is thankful to be chosen as one of those organizations,” said development officer Gary Montel.

Montel said this “generous” grant will be used for their campaign, “Paving the Way – Pushing Forward to Success.”

“This campaign aims to build roads to success, continuing the work of our mission for students who face difficulties and often feel they are unable to succeed,” said Montel. “Learn More Center staff work with students to identify goals and provide tools to succeed. We identify barriers to success and together build a plan to overcome those barriers. Together we increase employability, digital literacy, and academic skills to strengthen students’ workforce skills and enhance their futures. These students increase their literacy skills, prepare for High School Equivalency exams and develop college and career readiness.”

Montel said while many of their students face significant barriers, those can be overcome “with intentional, individualized instruction, learning and testing accommodations and connections to community resources.”

“Students receive individualized, tailored instruction and materials and one-to-one tutoring,” said Montel. “These are tremendous benefits to individuals with learning disabilities and those facing a range of other challenges to overcome. The Learn More Center helps them to develop necessary ‘soft’ workforce skills. Together with career exploration and development of these skills, LMC helps to ‘Pave the Way and Pushing Forward’ to the success of securing gainful, sustainable-wage employment.”

Montel said funding from the grant will be used for student instruction, materials, food, outreach, recruitment and professional development.

“It will further enable the Learn More Center and our students to break barriers and help students achieve success where they may have not thought it possible in the past,” said Montel. “This funding helps provide a beacon of light in the dark, shining the way to achievement. Learn More Center has been blessed with Dollar General support for multiple years. We are truly thankful for the continued support and generosity of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s adult literacy grant.”

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation funds are part of nearly $8.2 million awarded throughout the 47 states in which Dollar General operates to support adult, family and summer literacy programs.

In August 2021, the Learn More Center recognized the 40 students who have earned the High School Equivalency diplomas during the past year, said Montel.

Montel said in addition, 17 students were nominated and joined the National Adult Education Honor Society, “demonstrating the attributes of dependable attendance, cooperative attitude and work ethic.”

The Learn More Center had been operating in North Manchester for around 18 years. The adult basic education center serves students 16 years and older if they have exited public high school. They encourage 16- to 21-year-olds to finish high school either through their school or another method. They have around 20 students regularly attending their center in Wabash and eight to 10 in North Manchester during any given week. At the Learn More Center, educational programming is offered at the Wabash County Community Learning Center in Wabash and the Town Life Center in North Manchester.

For more information, call or text 260-330-1461 or visit www.learnmorecenter.org.


Back