Community News Archives for 2023-05

VOICE Indiana members from New Palestine, Eastern Hancock receive honors

The Indiana Department of Health is recognizing members of VOICE Indiana, who were honored as 2023 Group Youth Advocates of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for their advocacy efforts in the fight for a tobacco-free future.

The teens were celebrated on May 18 at the 2023 Youth Advocates of the Year Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled that VOICE Indiana members were chosen as Group Youth Advocates of the Year,” said Miranda Spitznagle, director of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Division at the Indiana Department of Health. “VOICE Indiana is a model organization that demonstrates the power that youth voices can have in advocating for the future and health of young people, and we are pleased to support their work as part of our youth engagement initiative. These four exceptional young advocates further exemplify the qualities of a new generation of leaders who are leading the way toward a healthier, tobacco-free future.”

VOICE Indiana is a statewide youth empowerment organization, focused on engaging, educating and empowering teens to celebrate a tobacco-free lifestyle.

The youth ambassadors who represented VOICE at the Catalysts for Change ceremony were: Brenna Bastin from New Palestine High School,  Suhita Chintachalaruvu from Hamilton Southeastern High School, Nicole Liu from Noblesville High School and Hannah Martin from F.J. Reitz High School. Additional VOICE Youth Ambassadors are Gracie Castner from Eastern Hancock High School, Lauren Jeffries from Boone Grove High School and Nelli McLeod from Terre Haute North Vigo High School.

Every year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids honors a National Youth Advocate of the Year, four Individual Youth Advocates of the Year and one Group Youth Advocates of the Year. The winners receive scholarships to continue their tobacco prevention efforts and serve as youth ambassadors for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags statewide to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day.

Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Monday.

Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff on Monday to commemorate Memorial Day.

Make water safety a priority

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, Indiana Conservation Officers remind Hoosiers to make water safety a priority now and throughout the summer.

“We urge all Hoosiers to recognize the danger water poses when on or around our waterways,” said Capt. Jet Quillen of the Department of Natural Resources Division of  Law Enforcement. 

Follow these basic safety tips:

  • Discuss the dangers of water with your family and loved ones before going out.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Go with a buddy.
  • Do not venture around flooded or fast-moving waterways.
  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Keep an extra watchful eye on children.
  • Avoid alcohol.

If you go boating, make sure you know the rules and boat safely. Reduce speed in unfamiliar areas and be aware of unusual water conditions respective to your size and type of boat. These are not only safety tips, but also important environmental considerations, such as preventing beach erosion. Regardless of your boat type, assess water levels before going out and monitor your speed while underway.

Designate a sober boat operator. Alcohol causes impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction time. Wave action, sun exposure, and wind can magnify these effects. It is illegal to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Indiana while intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. Indiana law defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater.

Each life jacket should be United States Coast Guard approved, in good working condition, and size appropriate for the wearer. New life jackets are designed to be lighter, less obtrusive, and more comfortable than those of the past. Inflatable life jackets allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling, and can be much cooler in warmer weather than older-style life jackets.

To learn more about boating education and safety, see

"Click it or Ticket" ushers in Memorial Day Weekend

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) is urging people to buckle up ahead of the summer holidays.

Starting May 22, state and local law enforcement agencies are teaming together to increase patrols as part of the national “Click it or Ticket” high-visibility enforcement event. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with grants administered by ICJI.

Officers will be out in full force leading up to the Memorial Day holiday to make sure drivers and passengers are buckled up and children are properly secure. Their goal is to reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities from lack of seat belt use.

Data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) shows that unbuckled motorists make up almost 40% of all passenger vehicle deaths in the state. Since the “Click It or Ticket” initiative began more than 20 years ago, seat belt use has gone up over 30% in Indiana to 93%, which remains higher than the national average of 91.6%.

Despite making progress and advances in vehicle safety, in 2022, 236 unbuckled vehicle occupants lost their lives on Indiana roads – the third highest in the past decade. Young drivers, especially males, were the most likely to speed and the least likely to be buckled during a crash.

Nationally, there were 11,813 unbuckled vehicle occupants killed in crashes.

“These numbers are not just statistics, they represent real people and families that have been forever changed by the tragedy of a traffic crash,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Many of the people we lost would still be alive today had they made the decision to buckle up. Seat belts make a difference. They save lives.”

Research has repeatedly demonstrated the safety benefits of seat belts and the dangerous consequences when people choose not to use them. Buckling up can reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by up to 65%. Without a seat belt fastened, people can be ejected from a vehicle and killed, and that risk increases if the driver is speeding or impaired.

Tragically, vehicle collisions continue to be a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, and NHTSA data shows that approximately 46% of all car seats are being used incorrectly. Parents and caregivers who do not buckle up are more likely to have kids who are improperly restrained.

"The loss of a child due to inadequate vehicle safety measures is a tragedy. However, it is also preventable," said Jim Bryan, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. "We owe it to our children to prioritize their safety and take every necessary precaution when it comes to their well-being.”

Indiana law requires the driver and all passengers to buckle up. Children under age eight must be properly restrained in a child car seat or booster seat according to the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions.

During the campaign, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. Drivers can be cited for lack of seat belt use, as well as for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16.

The NHTSA reports that in 2021, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing a seatbelt. That’s why one focus of the campaign is nighttime enforcement.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, what type of vehicle you’re driving or the type of road you’re driving on, the best way to stay safe in case of a vehicle crash is to wear your seat belt,” said McDonald.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make sure children are in the right car seat and that it’s used correctly and properly installed. Resources can be found at To schedule an appointment with a certified car seat safety technician at one of Indiana’s 100 fitting stations, visit


USDA warns of scams related to Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act provides $2.2 billion in financial assistance for farmers and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs prior to January 1, 2021.

USDA has become aware of some lawyers and groups spreading misleading information about this process, pressuring people to sign retainer agreements, and asking people to fill out forms with private and sensitive information. 

More information is available in this report from USDA.



TC's Schweitzer is top DAR Good Citizen Essay Contest winner

Hallie Jo Schweitzer, a senior at Triton Central High School, is this academic year’s Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Essay Contest winner for Shelby County.

The Mary Mott Greene chapter of DAR sponsors the contest annually. Guidance department staff or teachers select one student as their school’s Good Citizen. Each Good Citizen participates in the contest by submitting requirements that include an essay written on a topic provided by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.

A panel of judges then selects one of the Good Citizens to represent the county at the state competition level. Judges review each Good Citizens’ personal accomplishments within school and the community during their academic careers, letters of reference, grade transcript, and future plans.

Schweitzer is the daughter of Alan and Susan Schweitzer of Shelbyville.

Representing their respective schools as DAR Good Citizens are:



Simon Klinger, a senior at Morristown High School, son of Lisa Klinger of Morristown.



Jonah Patrick DeArmitt, a senior at Southwestern High School, son of Mike and Jennifer DeArmitt of Shelbyville.



Josephine Lynn-Marie Larrison, a senior at Waldron High School, daughter of Isaac and Elissa Larrison, St. Paul.



Bowling fundraiser to benefit Shelby County's Special Olympics

Shelby County's Special Olympics Indiana program is hosting a bowling fundraiser on Thursday.

The event will be held at Blue River Bowl, 1601 S. Miller Street starting at 5:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.

The cost of participation is $15 per bowler, which covers 90 minutes of unlimited bowling with a minimum of three bowlers per lane (maximum six bowlers per lane). 

Bowling shoe rental is also included in the cost. 

To reserve a lane (or several lanes) for this evening, please contact Blue River Bowl with the number of lanes needed and your desired start time (no later than 7 p.m.).

Fifth percent of all proceeds raised will be donated to the Shelby County Special Olympics organization whose mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to develop athletic skills, improve physical fitness, promote socializing and friendships, and develop leadership skills and outstanding sportsmanship. 

Shelby County's program currently offers eight sports to over 200 athletes throughout the year.

Involvement in Special Olympics is at no-cost to the athlete, so fundraising within our community is essential to the fulfillment of our mission. Funds raised at this event will not only help fund our singles and doubles bowling competition and training (a program currently serving approximately 50 athletes six months out of the year), but it will also help finance the involvement of over 50 athletes at the Special Olympics Summer Games held at Indiana State University and Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute beginning June 9.


Shelby County Diligent Diggers to host annual sale on May 20

The Shelby County Diligent Diggers will host their annual plant sale on May 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at Clearwick Park, 2609 Berwick Drive, Shelbyville. 

It was formerly held at the Shelby County Fairgrounds stage.

For more than 25 years the Diligent Diggers have been planting and maintaining the gardens at the Shelby County Public Library. Plant sale proceeds will be used to continue the library gardens.

All plants are locally grown and include: iris, hostas, daisies, herbs, columbine, tomatoes, house plants, sedum, yard art and much more. Prices start at $2. 


Stamp Out Hunger food drive on second Saturday of the month, May 13

Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers, who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation.


Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than 1.82 billion pounds of food the past 30 years.


Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved.


The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, United Way, Vericast, Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, CVS Health, Kellogg’s, and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive.


To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on May 13. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted, and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

Shelby County Development Corporation among Duke Energy grant recipients

Duke Energy is awarding more than $125,000 in grants to 26 local and regional economic development organizations to spur new jobs and investment in Indiana communities.


The grants are through Duke Energy’s Partnership Program, which funds marketing and strategic efforts to grow cities and towns.


Grant dollars are used to support marketing campaigns and promotional materials, website development and updates, conference and tradeshow registrations and continuing education.


Since the Partnership Program was established in 2017, Duke Energy has contributed more than $700,000 in grant funding to organizations that are helping create vibrant economies in Indiana.


To qualify for program consideration, each applicant submitted a plan that would have a direct impact on their community’s economic growth. These awards help local and regional economic development organizations fund marketing and strategic efforts in the communities they serve. Amounts varied depending on the size and scope of the project.


Among the grants awarded:


Shelby County Development Corporation – $5,000


East Central Indiana Regional Partnership – $5,000


Greensburg-Decatur County Economic Development Corporation – $5,000


Hancock Economic Development Council – $5,000


I-74 Business Corridor – $5,000


Three primary polling places open on Tuesday in Shelby County

Spring Primary election day voting is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.



There will be three polling locations in Shelby County:


West Street United Methodist Church, 629 S. West Street

Crossroad Community Church, 475 Progress Parkway

Shelby County Fairgrounds - Family Arts Building, 500 Frank Street


GIANT fm News and Shelby County Post will have election results immediately after they are tabulated.

The first DNR Free Fishing Day is this weekend

Every year, Indiana DNR offers Hoosiers four opportunities to fish for free. The first Free Fishing Days is this Sunday, May 7. 


The other dates this year are June 3-4, and Sept. 23. Whether you’re fishing for dinner or a new thrill, a free fishing day is your chance to get on the water.


On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout/salmon stamp to fish in the state's public waters. All other rules such as seasons, bag, and size limits apply.  For public places to fish near you, see


Free Fishing Days are an excellent opportunity to learn how to fish, take your family fishing, or introduce a friend to fishing. To see what properties are hosting events, go to the DNR Calendar. Prefer to learn on your own? See Fishing Tips and Videos.


2023 Indiana Free Fishing Days are Sunday, May 7, Saturday and Sunday June 3 and 4, and Saturday, Sept. 23. 

Free admission provides a great opportunity to enjoy your favorite DNR property or visit a new site. Find DNR properties across the state and the facilities they offer.