Community News Archives for 2020-08

Harrah's Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand donate $50,000 to IMPD Mounted Patrol Unit

officials from Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino presented the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit a $50,000 contribution to aid a capital fund for a new equine facility. Following today’s donation, the unit has raised nearly $200,000 towards a goal of $1 million.


The presentation took place at the IMPD’s Mounted Patrol headquarters, located on the west side of Indianapolis, with remarks from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IMPD Chief of Police Randal Taylor, IMPD Operations Department Chief Josh Barker, IMPD Horse Patrol Sergeant Allan Whitesell, Mounted Horse Patrol Association Board President and Executive Director Chris Golightly, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino SVP and GM Mike Rich, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino SVP & GM Trent McIntosh.


“We’re here to keep our community safe and improve relationships,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “There are no better ambassadors than the horses I stand in front of today. One day soon you’ll see a state of the art location at this site.”


I want to thank Mike and Trent of Indiana Grand and Harrahs for this $50,000 contribution,” added Mayor Hogsett. “These officers and these animals deserve it.”


The IMPD Mounted Patrol Unit currently operates out of a small barn and three small construction trailers on the former grounds of the Central State Hospital. The current facilities were not intended for long-term use. The $1 million capital fundraising project will provide a new equine facility on 20 acres on the same grounds.


“When you tour the grounds, you see a new facility is needed,” noted Indiana Grand Racing & Casino SVP & GM Mike Rich. “We’re thrilled to be able to help kickstart this campaign.”


Both Harrah’s Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand teams toured the IMPD Mounted Patrol Unit’s facility in January, and met with Sergeant Whitesell and members of the board to learn more about the capital initiatives.


“Our teams are passionate about finding ways to work on projects we believe are impactful to communities,” said Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino SVP & GM Trent McIntosh. “These equine athletes help the IMPD do their jobs every day.”

FDA with Costco shrimp recall

 If you bought frozen shrimp from Costco, you might not want to eat it.


The shrimp could be contaminated with Salmonella, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The shrimp was sold between February and May under brand names like Kirkland, Fresh Market, Unistar, and Wellsey Farms.


If you have any of the recalled shrimp, the FDA says you should return it to the store.

Crider: Indiana Senate Republicans offering paid internships

The Indiana Senate Republican Caucus is offering paid spring-semester internships in its communications, information technology, legal, legislative and policy offices during the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly, said State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield).


Qualified candidates may be of any major and must be at least a college sophomore. Recent college graduates as well as graduate and law school students are also encouraged to apply. Positions are open to Indiana residents as well as nonresidents who attend a college or university in Indiana.


Interns earn a $750 biweekly stipend and benefit from scholarship and academic credit opportunities, professional development, community involvement and networking.


Senate internships are full-time positions at the Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis that typically begin with a mandatory orientation in late December and conclude at the end of the legislative session in April 2021. The Indiana Senate is currently developing plans to conduct legislative work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and, as always, strives to provide a safe working environment for all interns, staff and senators.


"This is a great opportunity for any college student or recent graduate to gain firsthand experience working in state government," Crider said. "I strongly encourage those looking for an internship to consider this program."


For more information and to access an application, visit


The deadline to apply is Oct. 31. 

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign underway

In 2018, there were just under 4,000 alcohol-impaired crashes in Indiana that resulted in 83 deaths. That's just one of many reasons more than 200 state and local law enforcement agencies have joined the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.


Of those crashes, 48 of them and 1 death happened during the Labor Day Holiday weekend. The campaign is going on now through Labor Day again this year. The patrols for it are supported by money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which are distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.


"People are having more parties as summer is winding down. We just typically see an increase of DUI arrests over this time period," says Sergeant Matt Ames, Public Information Officer for the Putnamville District.


Ames says one person is killed every 50 minutes by a drunk driver in the U.S. It's something Ames calls "totally preventable."


"Unfortunately, the tragedies of someone choosing to drive drunk touches every county in the state of Indiana at some point or another," says State Police Sergeant John Perrine, Public Information Officer for Central Indiana. "If we catch someone driving impaired, they will go to jail."


Perrine says there are several strategies they will implement during the campaign to catch people who are driving impaired.


"Sometimes it's high visibility patrol. Sometimes it's DUI checkpoints. Sometimes it's unmarked cars. We have different strategies in place and we'll be using all of those," says Perrine.


In Indiana, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher are subject to fines and having their license suspended for up to a year.


Ames says police will catch drivers, but they could also use your help.


"If you happen to see an impaired driver, make sure that you call 911 and give the dispatcher an accurate description of the vehicle and a possible license plate number," says Ames.


Both Perrine and Ames say planning a safe and sober ride home is something you should do if you plan on drinking. They recommend using a ride-sharing service (like Uber or Lyft), public transportation, or a taxi to get home safely.


"Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving," says Ames.

Adding derecho to your list of weather terms

For some, the word derecho became a new weather term this week.  The wide-ranging storm system hit the Midwest hard on Monday.


National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Frazier.



The more conventional wind damage associated with a tornado was felt near two northern Indiana  communities.


Kroger celebrates educators and parents with Extra Credit Wednesdays promotion

Kroger is offering more ways to save on back-to-school essentials during its first Teachers and Honorary Teachers savings event this fall. Now through September 9, teachers, school administrators and parents who shop at Kroger on Wednesdays will save an extra 10% on general merchandise, including school and craft supplies, toys, games, sporting goods, housewares, apparel and electronics.


“We’re always excited by back-to-school season,” said Colleen Juergensen, president of Kroger Central Division. “We’re uplifted and encouraged by the enthusiasm for education we see at this time of year. And, especially during this challenging time, Kroger is pleased to offer this discount to teachers and ‘honorary teachers’ as a demonstration of our gratitude for what they do for their students and our communities.”


To receive the Teachers and Honorary Teachers discount, customers can shop in-store at Kroger or via Kroger Pickup using their shopper’s card on any Wednesday during the promotion dates and simply request the discount at checkout.


For more information on the discount, please visit

Study: Up to 84,118 K-12 students in Indiana may lack internet access at home

When K-12 classes start in the next month across Indiana, school teachers may have students whose educational achievement suffered due to the lack of internet access during the pandemic, says a new policy brief from Ball State University. 


How Many School-Age Children Lack Internet Access in Indiana?” found that about 68,649 to 84,118 Indiana school-age children do not have internet access at home.  


The study also found the most urban areas of the state (including the city of Indianapolis and northwest Indiana near Chicago) and the most rural parts of the state have the highest percentages of households without internet access. 


“The lack of access to appropriate devices and the internet — also known as the digital divide —could increase educational and social gaps among children,” said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and the brief’s lead author.  “With the closing of school buildings during the final months of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential closing of schools if COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the coming months, this policy brief helps to gauge the impact on vulnerable children without access to internet.” 


He pointed out that various studies over the last decade suggest that moderate and monitored home computer/internet use has positive impacts on children’s social development, cognitive development, and school performance.  


“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to acknowledge the impact of the digital divide on children who have limited alternatives to remote and virtual learning during school closures,” Hicks said. “This inequality in internet access could further increase the learning gap between children with and without access to the internet.” 


CBER’s study found that among households with school-age children and without internet access, most are single parent households (57%), have parents not in labor force (18.9%), are low-income families (35.2%), have non-English speakers at home (22.4%), and are households living in rental property (49.3%).  


The study also found:  


  • About 42,413 households or about 6.5 % with school-aged children do not have internet access at home. 
  • The absence of broadband access disproportionately affected students in families with characteristics that already challenge academic success. 


Hicks said CBER’s research points out that the interruption of school in March 2020 resulted in wide variation in delivering online education because there are large gaps in internet access across the state.  


“In the coming months, Indiana lawmakers will need to fund efforts to remediate students whose educational achievement suffered due to the pandemic,” Hicks said. “Indiana policymakers must also prepare for learning impacts of school closings during the 2020-2021 school year.”  


In addition to Hicks, the CBER research team included Dagney Faulk, director of research: Srikant Devaraj, research professor; and Yuye Zhang, a graduate research assistant specializing in GIS.