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Jail inmate faces four charges following fight with another inmate, making threat

A Sullivan man was charged with four counts related to an incident at the Sullivan City-County Correctional Facility.

Richard Dean Taft, 33, was charged in Sullivan Circuit Court on Aug. 24 with two counts of intimidation and one count of battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, all Level 6 felonies; and disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor.

The charges were related to an incident on Aug. 20, reported to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department by assistant jail commander Doug Inman.

According to an SCSD incident report, Inman advised inmate James Willoughby was allegedly assaulted in his jail cell by Taft, also an inmate. Willoughby was taken to Sullivan County Community Hospital where he received stitches on his forehead and was diagnosed with a concussion.

Willoughby was interviewed at the SCSD office the next morning, who stated he and Taft were talking about another inmate, who Taft said when the inmate left he was going to move to his cell. 

According to the report, after Willoughby admitted describing the third inmate in a  derogatory way, Taft then started punching him repeatedly. After he left the cell, Taft allegedly made a threatening comment to Willoughby.

After the interview, Sheriff Clark Cottom was notified of the incident and the threat Taft had made to Willoughby if he reported the assault. Cottom took immediate steps to ensure Willoughby and other inmates’ safety.

Taft had been arrested previously on Aug. 15 along with nine other persons on drug charges.

For the previous four months, Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section investigators and the Greene County Drug Task Force had been working tips and other investigative information related to illegal drug activity in the Greene and Sullivan County area.  

At the conclusion of that investigation, felony arrest warrants were obtained, an earlier press release notes. Starting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 15, officers arrested 10 individuals, including Taft, on those warrants at either their home or on a traffic stop. 

Milk-shake it up baby!

Many Sullivan County 4-H fairgoers know of the famous vanilla-chocolate treat, but do they know of the man behind the milkshake?

That would be Rusty Deckard — Sullivan County Farm Bureau Inc. president.

Before taking over the coveted milkshake man title, Deckard could remember, as a youngster, when they were served during the annual fair.

“I was a 4-Her when it started,” he noted.

When Deckard began working for SCFB, he recalls, “I was in Wendy’s one night and seen ’em making their Frosties and talked to the manager, got the idea and then we bought a machine and started up making them like we do now.”

“They bought two machines that was going to serve tomato juice and done that a year or two and then they got to buying ice cream in quarts and half gallons, they would soften that up and chop it up into chunks, put chocolate milk in it,” he added. “It was a lot messier than it is now.”

With a nearly 30-year-old machine and several volunteers, “a lot of time and labor” went into making the desert.

Sponsored by SCFB, Deckard is simply “the one that runs it every year … and it’s all volunteer help,” he continued. “It’s an activity that we have very little trouble getting people to come in and work a two-hour shift.”

After taking money out for materials, the profits raised through selling the milkshakes are donated to the 4-H Council to use however they see fit.

“It’s just a project to support the 4-H and 4-Hers in the county,” Deckard said.

“It’s kind of a specialty of the 4-H fair for people to come out and get a (SCFB) milkshake,” he added.

In a seven-day period, it’s “meeting people and seeing people, and seeing the reaction of people whenever they taste a milkshake or whenever they find out it’s only a dollar,” that keeps Deckard returning year after year as the milkshake man. 

“It’s something that most everybody enjoys.”

Cool facts:

• The 2017 Sullivan County 4-H Fair sold over 7,500 milkshakes, but was “down just a little bit from last year,” Deckard noted.

• At the 2014 county fair, 1,424 were sold in a day, making it a record.

• The milkshake mix contains  2.5 gallons of vanilla and 2.5 gallons of chocolate.

• Each year, nearly 500 gallons milkshakes are used to cool off fairgoers.



Sullivan County Farm Bureau’s Rusty Deckard serves up the Sullivan County 4-H Fair vanilla-chocolate staple.  

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