Community News Archives for 2020-06

Indiana businesses encouraged to apply for Manufacturing Readiness grants

Applications for the Manufacturing Readiness Grant program, which Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) first announced in May, are now open to Indiana manufacturers across the state. 

The Manufacturing Readiness Grants, administered by the IEDC in partnership with Conexus Indiana, are part of the $10 million Economic Activity Stabilization and Enhancement (EASE) program designed to stimulate manufacturing investments that will position Hoosier operations, and the sector overall, for future growth and prosperity. Through the program, $4 million is now available to Indiana companies in the form of matching grants, encouraging operational investments for:

  • Companies committing to modernizing their operations by integrating smart technologies and processes in order to improve capacity and efficiencies, and
  • Companies investing in health care manufacturing technology to support critical COVID-19 response efforts. 

Indiana startups, small businesses, entrepreneurs and manufacturers investing in these activities may apply for a matching grant up to or equal to the amount of the qualified investment in new equipment and machinery (minimum 1:1 investment match). Funding will be awarded up to $200,000 per company, but matching grants may exceed that threshold for significant projects that will support COVID-19 response efforts, such as the manufacturing of critical personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies or vaccines. 

To be eligible, applicants must be registered to do business in Indiana with the Secretary of State's Office and have plans to purchase smart manufacturing or health care manufacturing technology and equipment that will be located and utilized in Indiana. Applicants do not need to be headquartered in Indiana, but grants will be prioritized for companies that maintain their primary operations in Indiana. Applications will be evaluated based on the project's overall expected impact on the company's operations (i.e. percentage of resulting smart manufacturing operations); its workforce, training and wage increases; new Hoosier jobs; and the state's manufacturing capabilities. 

Indiana companies are encouraged to submit applications online.

Conexus Indiana, a nonprofit-branded initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), will review and evaluate all grant applications, leveraging a statewide committee of industry and academic professionals. The committee will make grant recommendations to the IEDC for approval and expects to issue an initial round of recommendations in August. Interested companies are encouraged to apply as soon as possible due to high demand. 

Shelby, Johnson county areas benefit from environmental settlement

A $600,000 grant resulting from a legal settlement equips the Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. (CILTI) to add to the properties it protects in Johnson and Shelby counties.


Under the terms of the grant from American Electric Power, the funds will be used to purchase additional land at CILTI’s Meltzer Woods Nature Preserve and Hills of Gold Conservation Area. The 60-acre Meltzer Woods Preserve in Shelby County stands as one of Indiana’s last fragments of old-growth forest. Johnson County’s Hills of Gold Conservation Area – which includes CILTI’s Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow, Glacier’s End Nature Preserve and a conservation easement connecting the two – offers a remarkably diverse terrain and one of the most biodiverse forested areas in Indiana.



The funds provided come from American Electric Power (AEP), Indiana Michigan Power’s parent company, under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizen groups.


The settlement included an agreement by AEP to invest $3.5 million to improve air quality and to reduce pollution in Indiana through various projects. The AEP settlement monies are being overseen by an oversight committee that includes Citizens Action Coalition, Clean Air Council and Indiana Wildlife Federation, with the Sierra Club as a non-voting member and Environmental Law & Policy Center as a non-voting legal advisor and facilitator.


“These funds will allow us to protect more of Indiana’s natural heritage in areas that have unparalleled biodiversity and significance,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI. “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to make these areas available for study and enjoyment forever.”

Human Services accepting applications for energy assistance

Human Services, Inc., Shelbyville, is now accepting applications for the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) CARES Act fund. The program is available to income eligible households, new and returning.

To be eligible for the EAP CARES Act Fund a household must:

• Have at least one household member that experienced a job loss or reduction in hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 6th to July 3rd, 2020
• Qualify for the Energy Assistance Program
• Apply for this program before July 31, 2020

Households that are eligible will receive a one-time benefit of $350 on an electric and/or gas bill.
Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please contact Human Services, Inc. (317)398-3153 for more information.

Children's Museum of Indianapolis open to donors; to members June 29

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is opening back up, but with a few new guidelines because of the pandemic.


The museum is encouraging people to make a reservation on their website, so they can keep track of how many people are in the building.


Brian Statz, the vice president of operations for the museum, said they plan to keep capacity under 50% as they open back up.


"Right now, we are just allowing a few hundred in each day," said Statz. "But we will gradually increase that amount, over the next two weeks, until we get up to about 3,000."


To keep things clean he says they have sanitizing station, and are requiring anyone over two-years-old to wear a mask, unless you can't for a medical reason.


"In addition to our enhanced cleaning, if a parent says, 'You know what I would like to wipe this down before my child plays with it.' Be our guest."


Statz says that some of the interactive exhibits like the Dinosaur Dig, Playscape, and the water table up in ScienceWorks are temporarily closed, and some of the exhibits like the touchable sculptures have been removed.


However, the Dinosphere, Sports Legends Experience and the carousel is open.


Statz says he hopes people will give the museum a shot.


"I think opening this museum, and opening a lot of other places around town, will help our community start to get back to normal."


On June 24, the museum opened to donors, and will open to members on June 29.


You can find a full list of closed and opened exhibits on the museum's website, and when those exhibits will be closed for cleaning.

Indy Zoo open; buy tickets online in advance

After being closed for three long months because of the coronavirus, the Indianapolis Zoo is back in business.  The Indy Zoo reopened Friday as party of the city's reopening plan.


Judy Palmero, the public relations director for the Indianapolis Zoo, told WISH-TV the park is reopening with certain safety restrictions: all tickets must be purchased online in advance, guests are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing, and all transactions will be cashless.

USDA Service Centers resuming office visits in some locations while taking precautionary measures

USDA is beginning a phased approach to reopening offices to in-person visitors, including its USDA Service Centers that deliver important programs to farmers and ranchers. These reopening procedures have been developed to maximize the safety of USDA employees and the agricultural producers who rely on USDA programs and services.


Some USDA Service Centers in Indiana will begin allowing in-person office visits by appointment only. The reopening status of USDA Service Centers across Indiana is different depending on local conditionsAll Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business should call ahead to confirm the office’s status and make an appointment before visiting. Visitors will be pre-screened based on health concerns or recent travel and must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment.  Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office and work with our producers in person, by phone, by email, or by using other online tools.


Online services are still available to customers, including our new Box and OneSpan functionality that enable customers to sign and share FSA and NRCS documents with USDA Service Center staff in just a few clicks. Producers can get started with a simple username and password for Box or, for OneSpan, a quick identity verification. Additional services are available to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. Through the FSA website, customers can access certain FSA programs and view FSA data, including maps, on FSAfarm+. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at


For the most current updates on available services and flexibilities due to COVID-19, or to find contact information for your local Service Center

FDA issues recall for Metformin

A popular diabetes medication is being recalled over an impurity that could cause cancer.


Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets made by Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Marksans Pharma Limited, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Apotex Corp. are all under recall, according to the FDA, due to the presence of NDMA, an environmental contaminant that the FDA calls a "probable carcinogen", in a number of tested lots.


Metformin is typically prescribed for those with Type-2 Diabetes; if your medicine falls under this recall, contact your doctor or pharmacy for advice on what to do next.

Indiana BMV to allow walk-ins starting June 15

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will resume walk-in service beginning Monday, June 15.


Hoosiers will be able to complete all transactions needed in a branch with the exception of driving skills exams. The BMV said it is working on a timeline to resume those tests.


The BMV will continue to accept a limited number of appointments.


The majority of branches will return to a five-day-per-week schedule, serving Hoosiers Tuesday through Saturday. Branch hours are available at the BMV website.


The BMV will continue to limit the number of people permitted in a branch at one time and follow social distancing procedures.


BMV employees who work with the public are required to wear masks and customers visiting a branch are encouraged to do the same.


The Indiana BMV encourages Hoosiers to complete transactions online whenever possible.

Free Fishing Weekend, June 6-7

This weekend, June 6-7, is Free Fishing Weekend for Indiana residents, who will not need a license to fish public Hoosier waters on those days.

The weekend kicks off National Fishing and Boating Week, which is June 6-14.

DNR properties are open and have abundant fishing opportunities. For public fishing areas and access sites, see

Blue River Community Foundation announces summer scholarship workshop

Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) is offering a summer, scholarship workshop for Shelby County high school students on track to graduate by June of 2021. Students will learn about scholarship opportunities available through BRCF including the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, as well as, applying through the online application, writing an expressive essay, selecting recommenders, interviewing tips, and hearing suggestions about the transition from high school to college from members of BRCF’s Alumni Scholar group.


Interested students are encouraged to select one of the following dates to attend:


June 24: 1:00-2:30 p.m.

June 27: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.


To register, or learn to learn more about this event, visit or contact Julie Alvis at or 317.392.7955 ext. 102.


The deadline to register is June 22nd.

IU regional campuses, Ivy Tech Community College sign guaranteed admissions agreement

Transfer students now have a clear pathway to an Indiana University degree, thanks to a new agreement with Ivy Tech Community College.


Effective June 1, Ivy Tech associate-level graduates from across Indiana are guaranteed admission, based on select provisions, into certain programs at all IU regional campuses via a Guaranteed Admission Agreement (GAA).


Aligning current best practices and the state's established initiatives, the GAA spells out necessary coursework toward degree requirements at both institutions. Admission to all campuses also comes with an application fee waiver.


"Our regional campuses have continued to spark growth and innovation for students' education and careers, exemplifying the hallmark of research, discovery and service of IU's 200-year history," said John Applegate, IU executive vice president for university academic affairs. "These guaranteed admissions agreements solidify IU's commitment to best practices in transfers and steady progress toward degrees."


This guaranteed admission eliminates any loss of credits while minimizing cost to students and ensuring they are able to complete their bachelor's degrees on time.

"Since 2005, Ivy Tech and the IU regional campuses have been working together to improve transfer opportunities for students. This guaranteed admissions agreement takes our partnership to a new and higher level that directly benefits Hoosiers seeking bachelor's degrees," Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said.


"This agreement means that students can enroll in their first two years within one of the program areas covered by the agreement with assurance of their ultimate admission into the four-year regional campus of their choice as long as they complete their associate degree with the required grade point average. In uncertain times like these, students and parents are looking for certainty, safety and affordability."


Ivy Tech students who want to take advantage of this opportunity can work with their Ivy Tech academic advisors to confirm that their academic plan meets all the requirements.


Students can further maximize savings on their degree by taking advantage of scholarship and grant opportunities at both institutions, which is critical to Hoosiers now more than ever during the COVID-19 crisis.