Community News Archives for 2019-09

Hoosiers encouraged to practice safety during dry conditions across the state

The fall season is here, which means bonfires and s’mores! However, due to a lack of rainfall throughout much of Indiana, many counties are abnormally dry. As dry conditions continue, having a bonfire can become a potential fire hazard if specific precautions are not taken.


The Indiana State Fire Marshal and Department of Homeland Security encourage Hoosiers living in a county with an active burn ban to adhere to the local laws governing the county. Several counties in southeastern Indiana are currently under a burn ban. To see a map of the counties currently under a burn ban, visit the IDHS website.


Even if a county isn’t under a burn ban, it is important to always practice proper outdoor fire safety. Before having a bonfire, Hoosiers should always remember to:


  • Make sure a fire extinguisher or source of water is available to extinguish any fire quickly before it gets out of hand.
  • Check the weather forecast. Weather fluctuations, such as sudden gusts of wind, could cause burning debris to spark a fire.
  • Build the bonfire away from power lines, overhanging tree limbs, buildings, rotten stumps, shrubs, dry grass and leaves.
  • Build the bonfire in an area that has gravel or dirt at least 10 feet in all directions.
  • Keep all flammable objects at least 15 feet away from and upwind of the burn site.

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) also encourages Hoosier farmers to take precautions. During harvest season, dry conditions, coupled with hot farm equipment, pose an added risk for farm-related fires.


ISDA Director Bruce Kettler urges farmers not to cut corners on their safety inspections and to take extra precaution in the coming months. 


“Farm vehicles get hot and dusty during harvest season,” Kettler said. “Knowing that, it’s important to keep this equipment clean from dust and debris, and to inspect fuel lines and electrical systems regularly. These are important steps farmers can take to ensure their safety and the safety of others.”

Enjoy fall camping discounts at state park properties

Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean camping has to be finished. Fall is a great time to visit state park properties, thanks to moderate temperatures and colorful beauty. 

State parks properties are offering an extra incentive for fall campers. Book a new reservation for a campsite, family cabin or rent-a-camp cabin for one or more consecutive weeknights (Sundays through Wednesdays), with arrival dates between Sunday, Sept. 29, and Wednesday, Nov. 6 and receive 20 percent off at the time of booking. 

This offer applies to all State Parks campgrounds, as well as Deam Lake, Greene-Sullivan State Forest and Starve Hollow State Recreation Area campgrounds and cabins. Reservations can be booked at or by calling 1-866-622-6746. Your reservation must be used by Nov. 6. Use the promo code “INFALL19” when checking out.

This offer applies to new reservations only and cannot be used in combination with any other discount or offer. The discount is not automatic, and must be requested by the customer at the time of making a reservation. The 20 percent discount will only apply to Sundays through Wednesdays of your stay, and will not apply to Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.  

Indiana HBPA's Grand Experience set for Saturday at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) will host its final “Grand Experience” of 2019 Saturday, Sept. 21 at Indiana Grand. The event will take place trackside in front of the grandstand in the Always Turned On tent beginning at 9 a.m. with a complimentary continental breakfast.


Each program features a different look into Thoroughbred racing and the final program of the year will place the focus on jockeys and their equipment and facilities at Indiana Grand under the theme “Come Along for the Ride.” Otto Thorwarth, retired jockey with more than 1,500 career wins, now serves as a track chaplain and will provide a look into the life of riding racehorses. In addition to his career as a jockey, Thorwarth also portrayed Ron Turcotte in the Disney movie “Secretariat” and will talk about his experience on the movie set with actors such as Diane Lane and John Malkovich.


Guests of “Grand Experience” will also receive a tour of the jockey’s quarters at Indiana Grand. Steve Cahill, clerk of scales, will provide a look inside the locker room and explain the equipment ad procedures that take place during a racing program.


“Grand Experience” is free to guests of all ages. The event will conclude at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Health officials urge precautions against mosquitoes as rare virus is detected in northern Indiana

State health officials are urging Indiana residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites in response to the detection of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus activity in northern Indiana.


Since mid-August of this year, three horses and one group of mosquitoes from Elkhart County have tested positive for EEE virus. No human cases of EEE virus disease have been reported in Indiana in 2019; however, three human cases have been reported in southwest Michigan this year, one of which was fatal.


“EEE, or triple-E, virus is rare but extremely serious. It can cause long-term complications and even death,” said Jennifer Brown, D.V.M., M.P.H., state public health veterinarian at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). “You can protect yourself from EEE virus and other viruses by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites whenever you spend time outdoors. You can also reduce the risk for yourself and your neighbors by eliminating mosquito breeding sites from your property.”


State health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning)
  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on clothes and exposed skin
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home


You can eliminate mosquito breeding sites from your property by doing the following:

  • Discard old tires, tin/aluminum cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water
  • Repair failed septic systems
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains
  • Frequently replace the water in pet bowls
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish


While rare, EEE virus can cause serious illness and has a fatality rate of about 33 percent in people. Many people who recover may still experience long-term complications. Symptoms of EEE virus disease include chills, fever, body aches and joint pain. Some people develop a more severe form of the disease that affects the nervous system and causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). People who are younger than 15 years and older than 50 years are at the greatest risk of severe disease if infected with EEE virus. People who think they may have EEE virus disease should see a healthcare provider.


To see the latest results of ISDH’s mosquito surveillance program, go to To learn more about EEE virus, visit the ISDH website at

DAV, RecruitMilitary® host Cincinnati veteran career fair at Great American Ballpark

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and RecruitMilitary® will co-host the Cincinnati Veterans Career Fair at Great American Ballpark Sept. 12 from 11 am to 3 pm. The event is free to veterans, their spouses, active-duty military personnel and members of the National Guard and Reserve.


More than 40 employers actively seeking the unique talents of America’s veterans will be on-site representing a range of industries, from construction to medical to administrative and logistics, with career opportunities from entry level to senior management. In addition to employment assistance, the 185-plus veterans expected to attend can utilize career counseling and resume assistance, network with fellow veterans and military personnel, and get support with their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and claims assistance—all at no cost.


DAV sponsors more than 100 traditional and virtual career fairs each year. Since the inception of its employment initiative in 2014, there have been nearly 172,000 attendees and 132,000 job offers. Last year, to support employers, dispel myths and demonstrate the business case for employing America’s nearly 4 million veterans with a service-connected disability, DAV developed The Veteran Advantage: DAV Guide to Hiring and Retaining Veterans with Disabilities. This guide offers best practices and helpful tools for employers and strives to inspire more organizations to consider the veteran talent pool.


DAV’s National Employment Director Jeff Hall, a combat-injured Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War, is available to discuss trends in veteran and military spouse hiring, valuable employment-related resources and job opportunities in the Cincinnati area and nationwide. To arrange an interview, contact Jeff at 859-442-2055. 


To register for the Cincinnati All Veterans Career Fair and access additional no-cost resources for veterans and their families, go to

Indiana health officials report first vaping-related death

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has confirmed the first death of an Indiana resident due to severe lung injury linked to a history of e-cigarette use or “vaping.”


The death, which occurred in an individual older than age 18, was confirmed Sept. 5 as part of an investigation involving health officials at the local and federal levels and in surrounding states. No additional details about the patient will be provided due to privacy laws.


Indiana is investigating 30 cases of severe lung injury linked to vaping. Eight of those have been confirmed. The majority of the Indiana cases have occurred among individuals ages 16-29. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than 215 cases have been reported, with more under investigation.


“The tragic loss of a Hoosier and rising number of vaping-related injuries are warnings that we cannot ignore,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “We know that these products typically contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and many cases report inhaling THC and other substances not available in commercial products. While it is unclear what substances are causing injury, when you use these products with other chemicals, you may not know everything that you’re inhaling and the harm it can cause.”


Dr. Box said many patients across the U.S. have developed severe symptoms that required emergency intervention and urged anyone who has vaped within the last 90 days and develops respiratory symptoms to stop using these products and see a healthcare professional immediately.


Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea


ISDH is working with affected individuals and their families to obtain products used by the patients and send them to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing. At this time, no common substance has been identified in the Indiana cases.


The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, among young people is a rising public health crisis across the U.S. The 2018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey (IYTS) found that vaping has increased 387 percent among high school students and 358 percent among middle school students since 2012 and that between 2016 and 2018, nearly 35,000 more Indiana students began using e-cigarettes.


In response, Dr. Box and Governor Eric J. Holcomb last week announced a $2 million plan to combat youth vaping that focuses on training and education for schools, parents and students, a youth-focused text-to-quit program and a statewide vaping awareness campaign.


Parents and educators who want to learn more about ways to protect Indiana youth from the dangers of vaping are urged to visit


For the latest on vaping-related injuries nationwide, visit the CDC website.


IDHS encourages Hoosiers to get involved with National Preparedness Month 2019

September is National Preparedness Month, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages Hoosier families to take the necessary steps to make sure households are prepared for all types of disasters.


“Preparation can help mitigate the effects and stress caused by any disaster or emergency,” said David Hosick, communications director for IDHS. “Indiana is prone to many different types of severe weather all throughout the year. Taking the time to learn how to prepare for an emergency can greatly increase your chances of staying safe.”


National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity for Hoosiers to learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid, how to check insurance policies for common hazards and how to make and practice a household emergency plan. Tornadoes, fires, snow and severe flooding are common occurrences to Hoosiers. Knowing how to stay prepared for these types of situations will not only minimize the effects, but also save lives.


Some helpful safety tips to consider are:

  • Become aware of disasters that could occur in the local area. Learn what to look for and what to avoid in each 
  • Discuss possible emergency scenarios with family members. Include events such as fires, natural disasters and man-made disasters. Make sure everyone in the family or workplace knows the steps involved in responding to these 
  • Establish meeting locations in the event of a potential disaster, and make sure all family members and employees are aware of them
  • Create a list of emergency contacts, and share it with family members and friends

National Preparedness Month also emphasizes the importance of creating and updating an emergency disaster kit. For more information on how to craft an effective emergency kit and emergency plan, visit


Hoosiers are encouraged to follow IDHS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram during September to learn more best practices on how to be prepared before a disaster strikes.