A sting operation in Newburgh lead to the arrest of two women for charges of prostitution on Tuesday, Oct. 12.
The operation was conducted after multiple reports had come in that a massage parlor in Newburgh, the Beachfoot Spa, had been offering illicit services to customers.
These previous reports led to a search warrant and arrest of one female for prostitution and promoting prostitution in November of last year.
After this event and the business reopening, reports began to trickle back into the sheriff’s department over the past few months. Many of the tips were filed anonymously over the phone. Many people who reported to law enforcement were suspicious due to the high volume of individual males who entered as customers and returned with some degree of frequency.
On Oct. 12 of this year, Warrick County Sheriff’s department detective Jason Utley made contact with a confidential informant who he had worked with previously on operations at this massage parlor, as well as others in Warrick County.
The confidential informant was sent in with an audio and video recording device as well as money provided by the department. According to the report, he was able to solicit two employees for a massage, which included sexual services that were agreed upon by the employees.
One of the suspects involved was involved in a previous sting on the business, while the other was new to the sheriff’s department.
After receiving a warrant to search the business, deputies entered the business at 12:10 p.m. Upon entry, they were able to locate the two women involved in the sting operation and detain them. Both were taken in handcuffs out of the building.
The two women arrested were Chumei Peng and Sumei Zhang, ages 59 and 51 respectively. Both Peng and Zang are from New York. The two women were both charged with promoting prostitution, a level five felony, and prostitution, a class A misdemeanor.
After Utley attempted to speak with both suspects, the two women were transported to the Warrick County Jail where they await trial.
This upcoming weekend, Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23, the eighth annual Smokin’ for Garrett Barbeque Contest will be held at Thresherman’s Park in Boonville. The steak cookoff will be held on Friday the 22 and the barbecue contest will be held Saturday the 23. The event, as in past years, will consist of several barbecue cooking contests at various levels of competition and various types of meat.
As with previous years, there will be two divisions of the competitions: the professional division and the backyard division.
Backyard is for amateur teams and will feature chicken, pork ribs and pork shoulder as the categories.
The professional division will include all amateur categories plus a category for brisket. Judgement for each category will take place at the same time for both divisions: chicken is judged at noon, pork ribs are judged at 12:30, pork butt is judged at 1 p.m. and brisket (which is only for the professional level) is judged at 1:30. Awards will then be given out at 4.
In addition, this will be the third year for the steak cook off contest which is overseen by the Steak Cookoff Association.
This event will open the weekend and will take place from 4:30 p.m. Friday when steaks are selected until 9 p.m. when awards are given out. The prize for first place is $1,000, second is $400, third is $250, fourth is $150, fifth is $75 and sixth to 10th is $25.
This means that there will be a total of $2,000 in cash prizes for competitors and the entry fee is $125.
In addition to the steak and barbecue contests, there will be a few other attractions for attendees this year.
Notably, there will be a car and truck show at Thresherman’s Park during and before the judging of the event as well as a vendor’s fair.
For younger attendees there will also be children’s activities held at the park including a coloring contest and hayrides as well as apple cider. Children will also be able to take home a pumpkin.
Tina Howton, the organizer of the event, discussed the significance that Smokin’ for Garrett has and how it has grown over the years. The event began eight years ago when Howton’s brother wanted to start an event to honor Howton’s son Garrett who passed away in a car accident. His idea was Smokin’ for Garrett, which not only offers members of the community a chance to gather and compete, but honors his memory and supports a good cause.
“Over the past eight years we’ve given out ten scholarships to high schoolers. We try to give it to technical degrees such as auto repair, welding or something like that. My son was a welder at S & S machine shop so it reminds me of him. We’ve given it to a dental assistant before too. We give welding equipment to all the warrick county high schools. We have a grief support group for bereaved parents called ‘While we’re waiting,’ ” explained Howton on the event’s contributions.
Howton went on, “Our reception from the community has been great. We’ve had tons of sponsors and people support us very well. I feel very blessed to have people coming out to honor my son’s memory and I’m very happy to see how it has grown over the years.”
The Warrick County electoral commission is holding a series of meetings regarding their new voting plan that will dictate how future elections in the county are conducted. The main change being proposed in these meetings is a shift away from the county’s current precinct based voting system towards a more county-wide poll center based voting system.
This means that any person in the county can vote at any location around the county on election day instead of having to vote in their specific precinct. In addition, there is a plan to make all three of the early voting locations used in the 2020 election permanent early voting locations. One meeting was already held earlier this month and another meeting is slated to be held on Tuesday, November 9th at 9 AM at the old Boonville Courthouse in the commisioner’s meeting room.
An additional part of the plan is closing several voting locations around the county as well as doing away with precincts. There will be 17 remaining polling areas in the next election if the voting plan is put into place, down from 24 in the 2020 election and as many as 59 in 2008 in spite of the county’s increase in population over that time. The seven voting centers that may potentially be done away with include Alcoa, Boonville and Castle High School’s and the Boonville American Legion, among others.
Andrew Skinner, President of the Warrick County Election Board said, “We wanted to make sure that we have enough vote centers that people can go and vote and not have to stand in line on Election Day, but not too many where we’re wasting resources.” He went on, “Every location that we started with has been a location that has been used in the past,” “We wanted to make sure that these were locations that were familiar to voters in Warrick County.” in regards to the change to early voting, Skinner commented, “The benefit of early voting is that voters don’t have to rely on just one day to go out and vote if that day happens to be inconvenient for them.”
The Warrick County Election Board is encouraging the community to give feedback about the decision and how they would like to see things done going forward. If attending the meeting in November is not an option, they encourage constituents to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them physically to 1 County Square, Suite 220, Boonville, Indiana 47601.