Community News Archives for 2023-07

American Red Cross offers heat safety tips

High temperatures are expected throughout much of the Indiana region in the next few days. For this reason, it is important to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The American Red Cross offers steps you can take to help stay safe when the temperatures soar.

  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Take frequent breaks and use a buddy system when working outdoors.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

Heat Exhaustion

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heaving sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin. Fan the person.

If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature.

Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

Risk Factors

Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S. More than 600 people in this country die every year from heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some people are more at risk of developing a heat-related illness, including adults over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants and children, and athletes. Some may take medications that make the effects of extreme heat worse. People with heart disease, poor blood circulation, obesity and mental illness are also at risk for getting sick if the temperatures climb.

For additional extreme heat safety tips, please click here. You can also download the Red Cross Emergency App to receive full weather alerts in Spanish as well as English to track conditions with six different weather overlays. More information here.

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Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event set for Wednesday

Veterans who served in the military between 1955-1975 are invited Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., to attend a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” event in the Shelby County Courthouse Annex, 2nd floor, 25 W. Polk St. 

Veterans will be given a gift of gratitude on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion and Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. A veterans benefit officer will be onsite.

Welcome Home Vietnam War Veterans is one of two veterans projects underway through the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). Board members of the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” project hope to do an event in every Indiana county to honor veterans, according to Bonnie K. Wooten, NSDAR Service for Veterans vice chair, and project board member from Indianapolis.

A veterans benefit officer will be onsite Wednesday to provide veterans with information about potential benefits they may not know about.

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Blue River Community Foundation celebrates 2023 Spirit of Community recipients

The 2023 recipients of Blue River Community Foundation’s Spirit of Community Awards were recently announced.

First awarded in 2016, the intent of these awards is to shine a light on the extraordinary generosity and leadership of outstanding individuals, families, or companies who demonstrate community spirit through their service and giving. An award also is presented to a Shelby County nonprofit organization that has shown a measurable difference in bringing about a positive change in the community.

The recipient in the individual/family/business category receives $500 to direct to any nonprofit organization in Shelby County. The nonprofit organization recipient is awarded a $500 grant to continue their impactful work in the community.

BRCF has announced the 2023 Spirit of the Community Award winner in the individual category is Kay Koenig (photo, far left). Her leadership, generosity, commitment, and advocacy to ensure our community is accessible for all is an inspiration and an exceptional philanthropic example for Shelby County community members to follow.

Koenig’s nomination came from Susan Furgeson, who wrote:

“Kay has spent countless hours over the last several years working to make Shelby County more accessible. She was instrumental through her service on the Major Health Partners (MHP) Patient and Family Advisory Council in making certain that the MHP building has ample handicapped parking spaces and automatic doors for the main restroom facilities. She recently re-joined the council where she continues to share her time and knowledge to encourage improvement in accessibility.”

Koenig served on the Mayor’s Livable Communities Coalition and met monthly to discuss issues related to mobility and accessibility. As part of her service on the coalition, Koenig evaluated accessibility at various community events and provided feedback about ways to improve accessibility at these events. She was recently asked to re-join the coalition and agreed to do so.



More recently, Koenig donated automatic doors and the installation costs to the Grover Center, the Strand Theatre, and Cagney’s Pizza King. She has hosted ribbon cutting events for the installation of the doors with the goal of raising community awareness around accessibility needs.

Koenig also has generously given her time to a variety of organizations that have asked her to provide advice and feedback on ways they can make their premises more accessible. She is currently working with Shelby County Players as it continues plans for a new facility.

Koenig has enjoyed her work in this area so much that she wants to teach others about the joy of giving back to the community. To that end, in celebration of her 80th birthday last year, she threw a “Pay It Forward” party. With her invitations, she described her experience in giving back, and encouraged others to do so as well.

As extra incentive, she sent checks with many of her invitations and asked the recipients to donate the money to a cause they cared about. She asked the recipients to let her know where donations were made, and she shared information about these great causes at her party. She even had “Pay It Forward” stickers made so that her guests could put reminders on their calendars to continue to think about ways to give back in the future, hopefully developing new “Pay It Forward” habits.

Despite having significant mobility issues of her own, Koenig is tireless in her efforts to improve accessibility for others, and to educate the general public about the importance of accessibility.



In the nonprofit category, BRCF received multiple nominations for Little Yellow Jackets Preschool. In 2023, Early Learning Shelby County will break ground on a new facility to offer care for children ages 0-5.

However, the new center will not be able to handle all of Shelby County’s childcare needs; a county that is in a childcare desert. Providing quality early learning opportunities is an effort of many organizations in the area and this year’s Spirit of the Community award winner in the nonprofit organization category is a group that is excelling.

The Little Yellow Jackets Preschool at Morristown Elementary has grown its program to provide care for 60 children in its first two years of operation. The program has obtained a Level 3 Paths to Quality rating, providing children from ages 3-5 with high quality early learning opportunities.

Early Childhood Education Director of Morristown Elementary School, Ashley Evans, shared the following with BRCF:

“We have worked hard to obtain the ability to provide our families with tuition assistance programs to ensure all children have the opportunity to receive a quality education despite financial circumstances. We are working hard to make a difference in this community by providing a program that not only impacts our children in a positive way, but helps strengthen our community as a whole. We strive to be the best we can be to our students and families and believe that providing opportunities for students to learn about inclusion, focus on kindergarten readiness, and provide a play-based environment that meets students where they are but helps build them up through knowing they are loved, brave, and can do anything they put their minds to.”

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Health officials launch start smart campaign to promote back-to-school vaccine clinics

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has partnered once again with local health departments and other healthcare entities across the state to host summer back-to-school immunization clinics as part of a statewide effort to help families easily access required and recommended school immunizations prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year.

Now in its second year, the Start Smart campaign includes a map showing dates, times and locations of community immunization clinics. The map can be found at The clinics are open to children ages 5 and older. Families will not be charged at the site of the clinic but should provide insurance information if available.

“Routine immunizations are the best way to protect children from highly contagious diseases like measles, mumps and chicken pox and can help ensure every student has a healthy start to the school year,” said State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “During last year’s back-to-school outreach, nearly 50 percent of children who were behind on their immunizations got caught up on at least one vaccine, giving them protection that can last a lifetime. We hope to see even greater success this year.”

IDOH is also mailing letters to parents of children whose state immunization records show they are behind on a required immunization. A list of immunizations required for school can be found here

“Partners across the state are coming together to make it easier than ever to ensure that your child is protected from preventable illnesses before the start of school,” Dr. Weaver said. “I encourage every parent of a school-age child to check their child’s vaccine status today and to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider or take advantage of these convenient opportunities in their communities.”

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Lane closures scheduled for portion of I-65

Indiana Department of Transportation contractor Force Construction plans to restrict Interstate 65 northbound this week to perform full-depth concrete patching at Columbus.

Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, the right lane of northbound I-65 is scheduled to close near State Road 46 (MM 68). The right lane will remain closed through 6 a.m. on Monday.

This work will be rescheduled to the following weekend if necessary due to inclement weather.

Dakich Cycles for the City receives $10,000 donation from Horseshoe Indianapolis

Indiana Derby Week is filled with all types of activities leading up to Central Indiana’s biggest summer sporting event Saturday. Part of the events in the lineup include several philanthropic initiatives, including a $10,000 donation to Dakich Cycles for the City.

Dan and Leigh Dakich created the not-for-profit foundation a few years ago and have already provided hundreds of bikes to less fortunate kids in Central Indiana. As a result of the partnership with Horseshoe Indianapolis, Dakich Cycles for the City donated 12 bicycles and one tricycle to kids in need in Shelby County.

A special check presentation was recently held at the track during live racing as the bicycles were delivered and ready for their new owners.



“This project started off to help out a couple of kids that needed a bike, and this has just grown from there to include hundreds of bicycles every year for kids that need a bike,” said Dakich, a former Indiana basketball legend and sportscaster. “Every kid should be able to have a bike. I had a bike when I was growing up, so I know how invaluable it is. We try to assist as many kids as we can each year, and this project is especially important to my wife, Leigh. We are so happy to include these kids in Shelby County. Leigh and I appreciate this donation from Horseshoe Indianapolis, which will go a long way to help a lot of kids down the road.”

The Shelby County CASA program (Court Appointed State Advocates) was contacted to get sizes and types of bikes needed. Bikes are then coordinated by Indy Sports Corp through the Dakich organization and Dick’s Sporting Goods assembles the bikes. Each kid also received a helmet and lock to go along with their new bicycle. The bicycles are in the process of being delivered to area children, ranging in ages from one to 18 for both boys and girls.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to do something positive for the youth of our local community,” said Trent McIntosh, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Horseshoe Indianapolis, located in Shelbyville. “Providing these bikes to area kids that otherwise do not have one is a great gesture, and we are proud and honored to be included in this project that will make such an impact to 13 kids in Shelby County.”

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