Community News

State's Rental Assistance Portal to go live July 13

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) wants to remind Hoosiers that the state’s Rental Assistance Portal will be available beginning Monday, July 13 at 9 am Eastern. The application can be found by visiting www.indianahousingnow.org.

 

“The application portal is designed to help Indiana renters adversely affected by COVID-19 living outside of Marion County avoid eviction by connecting them with programs that can help them cover monthly rent payments or past due rent,” said Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who serves as board chair of IHCDA. “We are pleased, along with our network of program partners, to assist Indiana renters.”

 

Last month, Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced $25 million in relief for renters through the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. This, combined with other funding sources including the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), will provide Hoosier renters that have been affected by COVID-19 with a variety of resources after they have applied through the Rental Assistance Portal.

 

“It is important that all Hoosiers have equal access to the rental assistance that is available,” said Jacob Sipe, Executive Director of IHCDA. “We are thankful for a wide variety of local, community and not-for-profit organizations who are assisting us in communicating information about the Rental Assistance Portal throughout the state.”

 

IHCDA developed a communications toolkit for organizations to share information about this and other housing and utility resources available in Indiana.

 

Individuals seeking rental assistance living in Marion County should visit: www.indyrent.org. The application to apply for this program also opens on Monday, July 13.

 

Hoosiers that are homeless, in a housing crisis, or in need of immediate assistance should call 2-1-1 and ask to connect with a navigator.

 

Homeowners in need of assistance paying their mortgage payment should visit: www.877gethope.org.

USDA reminds Indiana producers to complete crop acreage reports

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds Indiana producers to complete crop acreage reports by the applicable deadline for their county. Acreage reporting dates vary by crop and by county. Contact your FSA county office for a list of acreage reporting deadlines by crop.

 

“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Steven Brown, State Executive Director in Indiana. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”

 

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable in Indiana:

 

July 15, 2020     

All other crops, Perennial Forage and Cucumbers (Planted 5/10 to 6/15 in all Indiana counties)                     

 

August 15, 2020                    

Cucumbers (Planted 6/16 to 8/5 in Fulton, LaPorte, Porter and St Joseph counties)

 

September 15, 2020               

Cucumbers (Planted 6/16 to 8/15) in Knox County)

 

Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but you must call first to make an appointment. [BC-FST1] 

 

FSA county offices in Indiana provided maps to producers along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions. After planting is complete, producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools bythe applicable acreage reporting date.

 

After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, FSA will make software updates andsend producers the completed Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) to sign. Producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email, or Box by the applicable acreage reporting date.

 

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:

 

  • If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

 

  • If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.

 

FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.

 

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

 

When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they can also take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff.

 

Applications can also be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus for 2018 and 2019 as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.

 

For questions, please callyour FSA county office. To locate your local FSA office visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

 

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors 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 they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

 

Society of St. Vincent dePaul (SVdP) Thrift Store to reopen next weekend

The Society of St. Vincent dePaul (SVdP) Thrift Store will re-open Saturday, July 11, after closing in early March because of the COVID-19 risks. Clothing and shoes will be sold for $1 each.


Many protective measures are still necessary, according to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and have been put in place at the 424 E. Jackson St. store in Shelbyville, said Jim Carrier, president of SVdP Society Shelby County. Store hours will be 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.


Here’s what visitors need to know:


• Five to six adult shoppers (18 years of age and older) will be allowed inside at a time. No one younger. Others may need to wait outside for a turn to enter.


• Masks are required to enter the store and to remain inside the store. A mask will be provided to those who do not have one.


• Customers are asked to be considerate of others and maintain a distance of six feet from other shoppers and from store volunteers.


• Hand sanitizer will be provided. There will also be a hand washing station in the furniture room.


• The fitting room will be closed.


• Surfaces will be disinfected throughout the hours of operation as suggested in guidelines by local ordinances and the Centers for Disease Control. The focus of SVdP Society’s membership continues to be on the health, safety, and well being of its guests, volunteers, and community. https://www.Cdc.gov/coronavirus.


Donations will be accepted at the Society’s warehouse, 628 Hodell St., by appointment after July 11. Call 317-395-7027, leave a message, and provide a phone number so the call may be returned. The normal warehouse schedule – open to the public the first Saturdays of each month, 9-11 a.m. – will tentatively resume on August 1.


All profits generated by the store and accepted from donations are used to assist Shelby County residents with tangible assistance on a person-to-person basis. The aid may involve intervention, consultation, and oftentimes include direct dollar and in-kind service. SVdP Society Shelby County is a not-for-profit organization established in March 2018 as part of a larger international Society of St. Vincent dePaul.


The local Society welcomes new volunteers. Additional information is posted on social media through the Society of St. Vincent dePaul Shelby IN Facebook page, the website www.svdpshelbycounty.org, or by email to shelbycountysvdp@gmail.com or telephone, 317-395-7027.


“We are committed to serving all of you even in the midst of these new challenges,” said Carrier. “We are grateful for your continued support.”


 

Fireworks to be displayed at state parks

The public can watch fireworks at several Indiana State Park properties in recognition of Independence Day. Standard gate fees of $7 for in-state vehicles and $9 for out-of-state vehicles will apply for admission throughout the day at each site.

 

Social distancing is expected when visiting state park properties, and masks are recommended. Please enjoy your visit responsibly for the safety of other guests and DNR staff. Personal fireworks are prohibited at Indiana State Parks.

 

In the days before each event, watch individual state park Facebook pages for any updates or changes based on weather.

 

Sites currently scheduled to host fireworks shows and viewing are:

 

Clifty Falls State Park

The City of Madison’s fireworks, scheduled for July 4 at 10 p.m., can be viewed from Clifty Falls State Park. Additionally, Clifty Inn will host a viewing area for inn guests.

 

Patoka Lake

Enjoy the 15th annual “Thunder Over Patoka” fireworks display at Patoka Lake Beach on July 4. Fireworks will start around 10 p.m. Bring family and friends, lawn chairs, and blankets. The beach will be the primary viewing area.

Expect increased traffic. Anyone planning to attend the fireworks should plan to arrive early to the property and beach area. The staff recommends spending the entire day at Patoka Lake to ensure getting in for the show. While there, visit the Nature Center, have a family picnic, play a round of disc golf and enjoy the beach. Parking spots will be limited, and staff expects to meet parking capacity. Once that happens, vehicles will be let into Newtown-Stewart State Recreation Area, one by one, only as another vehicle leaves.

Campers who leave through the entrance gate anytime on July 4 should expect that they may not be able to re-enter the property very quickly. A special viewing section has been set up for fireworks viewing in the modern campground’s section C. If viewing fireworks from the beach, campers should follow the path past the camp store to the beach instead of driving. This will allow vehicle traffic at the beach for those entering the property on the day of the fireworks.

 

Pokagon State Park

The July 4 fireworks display presented on Lake James by the Lake James Association is currently continuing as planned; however, the traditional guest shuttle service will not be offered this year due to social distancing requirements. Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Guests may park in designated paved lots throughout the park. Pokagon will provide a drop off only lane at the inn, but vehicles cannot be left at that location, and shuttles will not run to the parking lots. Guests are asked to please plan accordingly.

 

Raccoon SRA (Cecil M. Harden Lake)

Raccoon SRA’s fireworks show is scheduled for July 4 at 10 p.m., sponsored and provided by the Raccoon Lake Homeowners Association. The Bellmore Fire Department contracts the pyrotechnics company, and they will be collecting free-will donations in lieu of gate entrance fees from 4 to 10 p.m. The beach will serve as the primary viewing venue.

 

Postponed and canceled events

  • Versailles State Park’s fireworks show is scheduled for July 11 at 9:30 p.m
  • Monroe Lake’s will host its fireworks on Sept. 6, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
  • Fireworks at Indiana Dunes State Park and Mississinewa Lake have been canceled for this year.

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 farmers.gov 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 farmers.gov/sign-in.

 

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

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 on.IN.gov/where2fish.

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 blueriverfoundation.com or contact Julie Alvis at jalvis@blueriverfoundation.com 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.

Our Hospice Wings for the Journey Summer Memorial Service cancelled

Our Hospice continually evaluates our community-based programs and has made the decision to cancel the annual Wings for the Journey June memorial service that was scheduled for June 14, 2020.

 

“This memorial gathering is important to us and the participants and we hope to be able to hold the traditional December memorial event; but at this time, we feel a responsibility to our group members, our staff and our community as a whole to do our part in minimizing the exposure to others in our effort to reducethe spread of the virus,” said Laura Leonard, Our Hospice President. “We will provide updates when we can resume groups and memorial events.”

 

Wings for the Journey is an ongoing and open support group for anyone who has experienced the death of a child. For more information about the group, or if you need support, please contact the Our Hospice Bereavement Team at 812-341-8042

Farmers in Indiana can now apply for financial assistance through USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP),which provides direct payments to offset impactsfrom the coronavirus pandemic.The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers’ complete applications. The agency set up a call centerin order to simplify how they serve new customersacross the nation.

 

“We know Indiana producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said Steven Brown state executive director for FSA in Indiana. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”

 

Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billionfor vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

 

“We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” Brown said.

 

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

 

Producers can download the CFAP application and othereligibility forms fromfarmers.gov/cfap. Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

 

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

 

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at farmers.gov/cfap.

 

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

 

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  2. shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
  3. not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.


More information about this process is available on farmers.gov/cfap.

 

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit farmers.gov/cfap or call 877-508-8364.

 

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus

Ball State students will return to campus for classes on August 24, as scheduled

 Relying on the recommendations of two working groups, and recognizing the desire of students to return to campus for classes this Fall semester with their classmates and their professors, the Ball State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously today (May 27) to approve plans for face-to-face instruction to begin on August 24, as scheduled, and the Board authorized the administration to take several steps to advance the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.

 

“We have heard from many returning and prospective students that they value the personal education that we uniquely provide,” President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “Our students told us they also want to participate in immersive learning projects, student life, and our vibrant campus experiences.”

 

“We will also implement several health and safety protocols grounded in our paramount priority — the health and safety of our students, our faculty and staff, and our campus visitors.”

 

President Mearns said research shows that students often choose the University because of the faculty-student partnerships for which Ball State is known.

 

“Our students want to come back to campus for this reason,” he said. “I am also confident our faculty and staff will be ready to safely provide distinctive, high-impact learning opportunities when our students return.”

 

President Mearns said that in the past month, the Academic Planning Group assembled and led by Provost Susana Rivera-Mills, reviewed a vast array of courses that Ball State offers to undergraduate and graduate students, and evaluated how faculty can use technology to improve learning.

 

Key components of the plans include:

  • Faculty will prepare classes that can quickly shift from being taught in-person to online, depending on conditions on campus and in the community.
  • Faculty will front-load learning activities that are best facilitated by face-to-face instruction so that those activities are completed before the Thanksgiving break. After the Thanksgiving break, all remaining instruction, as well as all final projects and exams, will be completed online.
  • The University will cancel the two-day Fall break and will schedule class sessions on Labor Day. These changes enable students to have 13 weeks of on-campus instruction before the Thanksgiving break.
  • To accommodate faculty and students who may be in high-risk populations, the University will offer more online courses.

 

“The Provost and I fully appreciate that these adjustments will require additional preparation,” President Mearns said. “We have great confidence in the dedication of our faculty and staff —and their determination to adapt and to innovate in order to serve our students and to fulfill our mission.”

 

Within two weeks, Provost Rivera-Mills will provide faculty and staff with more detailed information. Provost Rivera-Mills said the University is putting systems into place to support faculty as they design their bimodal courses.

 

“Our success is in the hands of our faculty and staff,” she said. “As a community, we will do all we can to support each other in this challenging time.”

 

The Board of Trustees also authorized the University to implement a Housing and Residence Life plan to provide on-campus housing options for students. The plan will retain a sufficient number of rooms in residence halls and in other University-owned facilities to quarantine and isolate students who may be exposed to or who may test positive for the COVID-19 virus.

 

Also, to mitigate the risk of students transmitting the novel coronavirus while living in a residence hall, the University will adjust the room assignments to reduce the number of students who use the same restroom and other common areas.

 

The Board also approved the Return to Campus Plan to put additional health and safety protocols into place, making  COVID-19 testing readily available while supporting contact tracing, maintaining an ample supply of personal protective equipment, and expanding availability of annual influenza vaccinations.

 

The University will incorporate staggered and alternating work schedules, reconfigured workstations, remote work, and other accommodations to limit density on campus and maximize safety. Other new policies and procedures will focus on social distancing, employee health screening, crowd limits for public gatherings and University-sponsored activities, and travel restrictions.

 

Ball State’s operations will remain aligned with guidance from governmental agencies, public health officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After regular review, any changes will be posted on Ball State’s COVID-19 website.

 

Board Chair Renae Conley believes the University will fulfill its mission to provide an exceptional educational experience, which has been recognized nationally.

 

“I am confident in our plans knowing that so many people carefully developed the recommendations that are based on the best available research,” she said. “They worked with deliberate speed to create our plans. We are on the right path.”

 

Vice Chair Matt Momper said he is confident about the upcoming school year.

 

“As one of three trustees who have children attending Ball State, I know we are doing everything in our means to promote a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” he said. “My daughter, who is a graduate student, also teaches two classes. From that perspective, I am confident in our plans to keep our classrooms as safe as we possibly can.”

Camping open for holiday wknd in Stage 3

Camping at both public and private campgrounds is opening back up across Indiana today.

 

Gov. Eric Holcomb signs an executive order Thursday putting Indiana into Phase Three of his reopening process from a coronavirus shutdown. Holcomb indicated on Monday that in this phase of the reopening process campgrounds could reopen as normal.

 

This includes camping at Indiana's several state parks, said Deputy Director of State Parks Ginger Murphy with the Department of Natural Resources.

 

The original plan before the governor chose to open things back up was for camping in state parks to resume by May 24, which is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The holiday weekend is normally a big camping weekend at state parks and that plan left many people having to cancel their camping plans.

 

"People who had to cancel their reservations have the chance to rebook a site that became available. That started on Thursday," said Murphy. "If people chose to keep their original Sunday night reservation then those folks will be able to come on Friday or Saturday. We are holding those sites open for them."

 

Murphy said everything is opening up fully at all state parks with little to no changes in how things normally operate within campgrounds.

 

"There will still be some facilities closed, but not the bathhouses," Murphy said. "Our campground comfort stations and restrooms will all be open. We are cleaning those per CDC guidelines so people will be able to use those restrooms as they normally do; use the showers as they normally do."

 

Hiking trails, nature centers, saddle barns, state park inns, and boat rentals will also be open for people to visit but could have slightly different operating hours depending on which park you visit. What will be remaining closed are playgrounds within campgrounds and also state park swimming pools.

 

Murphy advises the usual when you are planning a visit: be sure to practice as much social distancing as you can, wash your hands regularly, and wear a mask if at all possible.

Camping open for holiday wknd in Stage 3

Camping at both public and private campgrounds is opening back up across Indiana today.

 

Gov. Eric Holcomb signs an executive order Thursday putting Indiana into Phase Three of his reopening process from a coronavirus shutdown. Holcomb indicated on Monday that in this phase of the reopening process campgrounds could reopen as normal.

 

This includes camping at Indiana's several state parks, said Deputy Director of State Parks Ginger Murphy with the Department of Natural Resources.

 

The original plan before the governor chose to open things back up was for camping in state parks to resume by May 24, which is the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The holiday weekend is normally a big camping weekend at state parks and that plan left many people having to cancel their camping plans.

 

"People who had to cancel their reservations have the chance to rebook a site that became available. That started on Thursday," said Murphy. "If people chose to keep their original Sunday night reservation then those folks will be able to come on Friday or Saturday. We are holding those sites open for them."

 

Murphy said everything is opening up fully at all state parks with little to no changes in how things normally operate within campgrounds.

 

"There will still be some facilities closed, but not the bathhouses," Murphy said. "Our campground comfort stations and restrooms will all be open. We are cleaning those per CDC guidelines so people will be able to use those restrooms as they normally do; use the showers as they normally do."

 

Hiking trails, nature centers, saddle barns, state park inns, and boat rentals will also be open for people to visit but could have slightly different operating hours depending on which park you visit. What will be remaining closed are playgrounds within campgrounds and also state park swimming pools.

 

Murphy advises the usual when you are planning a visit: be sure to practice as much social distancing as you can, wash your hands regularly, and wear a mask if at all possible.

Additional assistance for children who receive free and reduced-cost meals at school

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced today that families whose children receive free or reduced-cost meals at school will receive “Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer” benefits beginning this week. These benefits are intended to reimburse the families of about 600,000 Hoosier children for the cost of meals that their children were unable to receive due to COVID-19-related school closures.

 

Families who do not currently receive SNAP will receive an electronic benefits transfer card in the mail by the end of May, along with instructions on how to activate and use their card. Families do not have to apply for Pandemic EBT, also called “P-EBT.” The P-EBT card works like a bank debit card and can be used at any store in the United States that accepts SNAP, but cannot be used for cash withdrawals at ATM machines. FSSA worked with the Indiana Department of Education to identify these families based upon their child already receiving free and reduced-cost meals at school.

 

Families who already receive SNAP benefits will have the additional benefits applied to their SNAP accounts on their Hoosier Works EBT card by the end of May.

 

For P-EBT, each household will receive an amount equal to the value of the daily allotment for breakfast and lunch multiplied by the average number of school days missed since school was cancelled. Families will receive this amount for each eligible child in the household for the number of days the child was eligible for free and reduced lunch. The value of the school meals per day is equal to the federal reimbursement rate for breakfast and lunch at the free rate, which is $5.70, as specified by the United States Department of Agriculture.

 

The Indiana Department of Education calculated an average of 56 missed days of school through the end of the school year (including spring break) for Indiana students, counting all weekdays from March 13, 2020, through May 29, 2020. The first date was the day following Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order closing schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The second date represents the average last day of school for schools in this school year.

Tree give-away set for Blue River Memorial Park on Wednesday

The City of Shelbyville Stormwater Utility and Shelbyville High School Earth Club and partners will once again host a tree give-away.   This year the event will be held at Blue River Memorial Park near the splash pad.  The event will run from 1:00 - 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 20.

 

The 1200 tree seedlings come from the Department of Natural Resources Vallonia State Nursery.  This year, we will offer White Pine, Swamp White Oak, Red Oak, Bald Cypress, Sycamore, Black Cherry, Chinkapin Oak and Tulip Tree.

 

The tree give-away would not be possible if not for all of our partners and volunteers.  Over 12,000 tree seedlings have been distributed thanks to the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District, Shelbyville High School Earth Club, City of Shelbyville Stormwater Utility, local tree hero Kris Schwickrath, the Shelby County Recycling District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

For more information or to volunteer to help with the give-away, please contact Derrick Byers dbyers@cityofshelbyvillein.com, 317.364.4990.

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

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

 

Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, May 15.

 

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

Cormo USA prepares for Fall 2020 production in Rushville

Cormo USA Inc. has signed a lease agreement for its first production site in the United States in preparation for the fall 2020 corn harvest. The leased space in Rushville, IN, comprises an expanse of 108,000 sq. ft. containing manufacturing hall and office space, and is Cormo’s first facility outside of Europe. Cormo USA began moving in on May 1, 2020,  and has begun initial site improvements as well as completed its first hiring within the local community to assist with corn stover sourcing. The company plans to continue improvements and additional local hires into the early summer to ensure the site is ready for equipment installation before the upcoming harvest season.

 

This inaugural U.S. production plant provides Cormo USA with the necessary environment to assemble its first commercial-scale plant, while simultaneously completing the planning stage for its state of the art facility located in the Rushville Commerce Park. The company currently expects to break ground on the 20-acre facility during the spring of 2021.

 

“This facility is strategically located in one of the most innovative agricultural areas in the U.S. and Indiana is a major hub for transportation and business, setting Cormo USA up with all the tools it needs to thrive in the long-run. We’re extremely grateful to the City of Rushville and all those involved who helped make this a realization, and we look forward to launching production this fall,”  said Stefan Muehlbauer, CEO of Cormo USA.

 

About Cormo USA

Cormo USA Inc is a joint venture partnership between Switzerland based Cormo AG and Sustainable Projects Group Inc. The company specializes in the recycling of corn harvest field waste into sustainable, value-added products such as peat moss substitutes and superabsorbents used in filtration, packaging, and building industries. For more information about Cormo USA, visit www.cormousa.com.