The Shelby County Players head back to the stage starting this weekend.
The Shelby County Players head back to the stage starting this weekend.
Scott Gabbard with Troy and Jennifer Thopy highlighted the Shelby County Ag Promotion County and next week's Ag Banquet on this edition of Chamber Chat.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. That’s the importantreminder coming from Shelby County Traffic Safety Partnership with two of the heaviest drinking events of the year around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament.
All throughout March, officers will be conducting overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints to prevent dangerous and impaired driving.
This is part of a statewide enforcement campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court presstargeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Sheriff Louie Koch “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others. It’s simple: If you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”
According to ICJI, in March of 2019, there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana, resulting in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes (15 percent) and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.
“St. Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the, biggest drinking days of the year,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “If you’re out celebrating, make the right choice and find a sober driver to get you, and your friends, home safely. Luck won’t keep you out of jail if you’re caught driving under the influence.”
Impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March, according to ICJI. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and something the Shelby County Traffic Safety Partnership officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.
The following list includes several safety tips toprevent impaired driving this March.
Click here to watch a video that features aSt. Patrick’s DayDrive Sober or Get Pulled Oversafety message.
Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults, or VASIA, is now available in Shelby County.
The program featured in this edition of Chamber Chat.
Need to call the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) to figure out a tax issue? Try Thursdays.
While DOR’s customer service specialists are here to help any weekday during this busy time of year, the day with the lowest call volume is Thursday, followed by Wednesday.
Need to call sooner? DOR suggests calling early in the day. Customers who call between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday, often experience lower wait times.
“Providing best-in-class customer service to Hoosiers is a top priority for the DOR team,”
commented DOR Commissioner Bob Grennes. “Sharing the best days and times to call is just another way we strive to provide high-quality service and improve the customer experience.”
Customers with questions about individual income tax, may call DOR Customer Service at 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., EST.
Customers also have additional options to contact DOR including:
DOR strives for continuous improvement of all programs and processes. If a customer has feedback or has trouble finding an answer to their question, it is encouraged they submit their feedback using DOR’s online customer feedback portal at dor.in.gov/6404.htm.
For more information on the individual income tax season, visit DOR’s website at dor.in.gov.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has submitted its application for a 10-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s Medicaid alternative program for low-income, non-disabled adults.
This week, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified FSSA that it has completed its preliminary review of the application, which prompts the start of a 30-day federal public comment period.
The Healthy Indiana Plan was first launched to a limited number of Hoosiers in 2008 and expanded to cover any eligible adult in 2015 as an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion.
Today, HIP provides crucial health insurance coverage and access to quality care and services to more than 400,000 Hoosiers. Typically, the state’s waiver to renew HIP is reviewed and approved every three to four years. For the first time, Indiana is pursuing a historic 10-year waiver, allowing key staff to spend more time operating and continually improving HIP so that it meets its goals, such as helping members manage their own health coverage and make choices as consumers of health care.
With this waiver application, Indiana solidifies its commitment to HIP as the model for health coverage reform in Indiana for the foreseeable future. Therefore, FSSA does not have plans to seek a Medicaid block grant at this time. Last month, CMS announced new options for states to seek waivers to innovative adult health coverage programs similar to the way Indiana has done with HIP.
“We are focused on the renewal of our existing waiver, which already contains many of the elements CMS recently encouraged states to pursue,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA secretary. “While we’re excited that the recently announced program may help other states discover new avenues for health reform within their Medicaid programs, we feel the model we already have is the right one for Indiana.”
The extension request asks CMS to approve HIP through December 2030, locking in the plan that the state has achieved through a decade of data analysis, member and stakeholder feedback, and external reviews. In the current request, Indiana is asking for more flexibility in the contributions and copayments assessed, subject to capped amounts. The state is also asking to extend newer components of HIP, such as treatment for substance use disorder and serious mental illness, for five years.
FSSA also has an application pending with CMS to establish a new program to complement HIP, the HIP Workforce Bridge. HIP Workforce Bridge is designed to financially support HIP members who are transitioning to employer insurance or other health coverage.
Anyone wishing to provide comments on the HIP waiver application can do so at this link on Medicaid.gov where it is posted for a 30-day federal public comment period.
Shelbyville resident and Ball State University history student Emma Brauer will run an entire museum for a day as part of her capstone internship.
From January to April, the senior is interning full time at the Henry County Historical Society Museum in New Castle, Indiana, fusing her myriad academic focuses: a major in history, concentration in public history, and minors in anthropology and historic preservation.
At the museum, she’s busy coordinating Museum Day, which is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and grants visitors free admission from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 4. Brauer also is building a professional presentation to showcase in front of the historical society board members, and preparing for the museum’s March annual opening, which will include a new Henry County music exhibit and entertaining events.
Most exciting, Brauer is in training to run the museum during opening hours for a day nearing the end of her internship. As part of her internship final, she’s building an intricate historical narrative about Catherine Winters, who was 9 years old when she disappeared in New Castle, Indiana, in 1913. She was never found.
“To transfer my skills from Ball State to the museum I’m so passionate about is rewarding and invigorating,” Brauer said. “I’m further growing as a historian and learning more than I could have expected.”
While Ball State and the museum are developing her passion, her love for history ultimately started thanks to a special teacher at Triton Central High School: Doug Johnson. He taught her that history is the basis of humankind and motivated her to travel to the places she was studying to observe history up close.
“Both professionally and personally, I’ve been empowered through my past and now my present by studying what I love,” Brauer said. “I hope the results of my passion will inspire and motivate people.”
The history buff’s dream includes working at an Indiana museum before pursuing a doctoral degree. She’s striding closer to those career goals through the internship in her final semester at Ball State.
“I’m so grateful for the various Ball State classes, empowering professors, and immersive learning experiences that have led me to this point in my career,” she said.
Lilly Endowment has made an $8 million grant to the Ivy Tech Foundation to support Ivy Tech Community College’s new statewide Career Coaching and Employer Connection (CCEC) program. This new, more strategic approach will emphasize comprehensive career readiness practices working alongside academic preparation throughout a student’s college experience. The new approach will transform Ivy Tech’s current Career Development structure and programs to focus on intentional career advising and employer engagement.
“We are extremely grateful and honored for the investment the Lilly Endowment has made in Ivy Tech and our students,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said. “We have heard employers and have designed this program to ensure our graduates leave Ivy Tech career-ready, enter into available high-value, high-demand careers within local industry, and earn family-sustaining wages.”
The new career and employer-related support infrastructure is based on the study of best practices from 2- and 4-year institutions across America and in collaboration with Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Ivy Tech and Ascend evaluated the current employer experience with a series of employer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, and employer stakeholder discussions with industry partners representing Indiana’s high-demand, high-wage economic sectors. Employers expressed a desire to find meaningful ways to partner with Ivy Tech to hire talent and to engage with students, and expressed a high level of interest in industry-targeted career fairs, mentorships, resume reviews, mock interviews, and coordinated high school visits.
“Lilly Endowment is impressed with the quality of thought and planning that has resulted in this strategic new approach to help Ivy Tech’s students prepare for and find meaningful careers in Indiana,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “As Indiana’s community college network, Ivy Tech plays a pivotal role in helping its more than 160,000 students prepare for fulfilling careers and in helping ensure that Indiana employers have qualified employees so that their businesses can prosper in Indiana. We are especially pleased that Ivy Tech developed its new approach with much input from Indiana employers.”
Students will have a markedly different experience within this new approach. Each goal and supporting structure along the student pathway will align with best practice research and will be intentionally incorporated to help students secure meaningful career and wage outcomes. In direct response to students’ insights during focus groups, career readiness activities will be required and inextricably intertwined with students’ academic plans and coursework.
“Ivy Tech is an incredibly important institution for our state’s economic vitality,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “Their commitment to applying best practices to more effectively meet the needs of their students and employers is commendable. We are excited to work alongside Ivy Tech to integrate into their strategy the Ascend Network, a unique platform that uses software and a team of Ascend staff to guide students through their internship and job search process, and connect them with employers across the state.”
Each student will have a required career action plan that has iterative milestones every 15 credit hours, including resume development, interview preparation, employer engagement, and embedded “work and learn” experiences within their career focus.
“As the state’s Community College we are focused on aligning our programs with the needs of our state’s workforce,” Ivy Tech Senior Vice President for Workforce and Career Chris Lowery said. “This grant will help provide the resources needed to help guide our students into careers which are needed most in Indiana, both today and in the future.”
The most significant anticipated outcomes will be tied to Ivy Tech’s five-year metrics, including movement of student completions to high-wage, high-demand programs, and wages earned after graduation. Additionally, as Ivy Tech better supports students in career readiness, post-graduation results will attract students to programs related to high-wage, high-demand career paths.
Implementation of these strategies will result in a clear and meaningful pathway for students to and through Ivy Tech that equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive. Skilled graduates will enter high-demand, high-wage careers, ultimately enhancing the Hoosier workforce, economy, and communities across the state.
The College will roll out the new model through a phased approach over four years. The first phase commenced last fall with six campuses: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend/Elkhart, Kokomo, Sellersburg, and Madison. Student-facing activities will begin in the spring of 2020.
Ivy Tech will receive $5 million over the first three years of the grant and is eligible to receive an additional $3 million contingent on Ivy Tech securing at least $3 million for the new approach from other external sources.
In addition to Lilly Endowment, Ivy Tech has received support to establish CCEC from several other organizations that include: Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Glick Fund, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Garatoni-Smith Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and Salesforce.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has launched a new pilot program aimed at reducing serious injuries to children caused by abuse or neglect with support from a new federal initiative.
Through the Child Safety Forward grant, ISDH has partnered with the Indiana University School of Social Work to conduct the pilot program in Clark, Delaware and Grant counties. Working through the local Child Fatality Review teams, ISDH will also collaborate with the Indiana Department of Child Services to help identify cases for review.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime is providing $750,000 over three years and assistance from experts in addressing child maltreatment injuries and fatalities. ISDH is one of five agencies nationwide that has been awarded a federal grant to reduce and prevent child abuse or neglect deaths and injuries.
“It’s vitally important that we do everything we can to protect children,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “This grant boosts our efforts to protect Indiana babies and children by helping community partners identify risk factors, improve response systems and ultimately keep more kids safe.”
The initiative will:
“If we understand the caregiver stress factors that put children at risk of abuse or neglect, we can take steps to intervene before a life is lost,” said DCS Director Terry Stigdon. “I am encouraged by the opportunity to collaborate with the Indiana State Department of Health to improve outcomes for those we serve.”
The national Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is a Washington, D.C.-based strategic action network that works to achieve a healthy and equitable society. The Alliance will provide technical assistance and coaching, including case evaluation, digital mapping and safety practices.
In 2018, 65 child fatalities were determined to be a direct result of abuse or neglect. Delaware, Clark and Grant counties have injury deaths among children that are above the state average.
Child Fatality Review was established by legislation in Indiana in 2006. Participation in Child Fatality Review was voluntary until 2012, when changes to Indiana law mandated regional teams and placed Child Fatality Review under ISDH.
The Purdue Extension-Shelby County Office will be hosting an Ag Outlook Meeting on Monday, February 3rd starting at 11:30 AM in the Shelby County Extension Office Education Room. Purdue Ag Economist Michael Langemeier will present his forecast for Agriculture in 2020.
A lunch sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America will be provided.
Dr. Langemeier offers these thoughts before his arrival:
“Where is U.S. agriculture headed in 2020? Will low crop prices finally “turn the corner” and begin to recover, or are we locked in a period of low-for-long? Have the markets already factored in the trade deals?”
Indiana’s crops and the eastern corn belt had a rugged start last spring but most regions recovered. This program will discuss the latest local and national USDA yield estimates along with price prospects and potential marketing strategies for corn and soybeans.
Farmers have been trying to push costs per bushel lower. How much progress have they made and what are the prospects for lower input costs in 2020? How can crop farmers adjust to tighter, or even negative margins?
How will acreages shift among corn, soybeans, and wheat in 2020? What farm and agribusiness management strategies will work best in the current economic environment?
We have a new Farm Bill. What are some of the preliminary impacts as it is rolled out? What option should I pick to best benefit my farm?
What about land values and cash rents? How much did they change in 2019 and what might be the direction for 2020 and beyond? What will be the drivers to watch?”
This program is free but we ask that you please register ahead of time so that we can plan the meal. Space is limited to the first 25 registrants. You may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Extension Office at 317-392-6460 if you plan to attend.
Union Savings and Loan Association is proud to announce that Kaci Bennett has joined the USLA team as the Branch Manager of their new Rushville bank. The new office is under construction on SR 3 and US 52 on the south side of Rushville, and will be open for business in early 2020.
Kaci has 12 years experience in banking, with 6 of those in Rushville, and also extensive experience in the insurance industry. As Branch Manager, Kaci will be able to assist customers with all kinds of financial needs, from deposit accounts to auto, personal and home equity loans.
A resident of Rush County since she was 4 years old, Kaci is a 2005 graduate of Rushville High School, and married to Todd Bennett. She has 3 children, Conner, William, and Molly, who keep her busy with sporting events and activities. She also volunteers for the Rushville Food Pantry.
“We are extremely happy to have Kaci as our Rushville Branch Manager,” says President Melissa Myers. “We always place a priority on hiring local individuals who are involved in the community. Kaci is a great addition to our staff who will help us serve Rush County residents.”
To contact Kaci, call USLA’s Connersville office at (765) 825-2171 (where she is training for Rushville), or email her at email@example.com.
If it weren’t for Charlie Papazian, we wouldn’t have National Pie Day to celebrate. Papazian, an American nuclear engineer, teacher and an absolute pie lover, declared Jan. 23 (his birthday) to be National Pie Day. And we should all be thankful for that.
Pies are delicious, we can all agree. From pumpkin, to pecan, to apple, to all sorts of different kinds, everyone can find something that they truly love. So to celebrate this delicious holiday, we’ve rounded up the best deals and freebies available at your favorite restaurants and bakeries. Plus, we surveyed 1,000 Americans (via Google surveys) to find out their favorite pie and broke it down by state. And last but not least, we’re sharing an apple pie recipe from one of our favorite bloggers.
Disclaimer: Please read all coupon details and call your local restaurant to make sure the offer is eligible for your location.
Coco’s Bakery Restaurants: Get a free slice of pie every Wednesday when you purchase an entrée after 11 a.m.
Grand Traverse Pie: Get a free slice of pie with any purchase on National Pie Day.
Kohl’s: Kohl’s has a variety of pie pans, dishes and slicers. Go here to see the retailer’s latest promo codes.
Marie Callender’s: Get an appetizer, two entrees and two slices of pie for $25 when you order from their Pair & Share menu.
O’Charley’s: Get a free slice of pie with the purchase of an entrée.
Shari’s: Get a free slice of pie when you join the Shari’s Cafe Club and a free slice on your birthday. Also, get a free slice of pie with the purchase of an entrée every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sur La Table: Sur La Table has a variety of pie pans and dishes. And use this code to get 15% off any order plus free shipping with email sign up.
Target: Find everything you need to bake a pie at home, from pie pans to ingredients. And get free 2-day shipping on select items over $35.
Walmart Grocery: Order frozen pies or all the ingredients you need to make your own pie via Walmart Grocery. Get $10 off on orders over $50.
If you want to get your 2019 income taxes done and over with, you'll soon be able to file them with the state.
The Indiana Department of Revenue will start accepting tax filings on Monday, January 27.
Once you get the paperwork done, don't rush to submit it -- make sure the form is complete and correct or your tax return will likely be delayed, IDOR said Thursday.
The deadline to file income taxes is Wednesday, April 15.
The Governor’s Century and Half Century Business Awards honor Indiana businesses that have remained in operation for 50 to 100 plus years and have demonstrated a history of community service.
Indiana companies that have been in operation for 50 to 99 years and meet program criteria are eligible for the Half Century Award. Indiana companies that have been in operation for 100 years or more and meet program criteria are eligible for the Century Award. Award winners will receive a commemorative certificate and be recognized at a ceremony at the Statehouse.
Each business must have had continuous operations in Indiana for at least 50 or 100 years by December 31, 2019. Companies that have been in business for more than 50 or 100 years are welcome to apply for an award.
In 2019, the Chamber joined Chamber members at the Governor's celebration of Indiana businesses. Sandman Brothers, Inc. was recognized with a Century Award celebrating 100 years in business. The Cancer Association of Shelby County, Runnebohm Construction Co. and MHP Foundation were each recognized with a Half Century award.
A company may only receive Century or Half Century business recognition from the State of Indiana one time. Half Century Award recipients may later qualify for a Century Award. By completing an application the company certifies that it has not previously received the award for which it is applying.
The following link to the application and criteria for these awards can be found here: https://iedc.in.gov/programs/century-and-half-century-awards/apply
The Shelby County Chamber would like to celebrate our Indiana-based member businesses at this event in 2020. The event will be hosted at the Statehouse in March/April of 2020. Participants will be notified of the date and time 6-8 weeks in advance. Let’s have a great showing to honor the organizations that have achieved these member milestones.
Application acceptance begins in January. Applications are due by February 10, 2020. Please let the Chamber know if you have questions or need assistance.
Birth defects are the second-leading cause of infant deaths in Indiana, and about 2,500 Indiana babies are born with birth defects each year. Congenital malformations, such as cardiovascular, chromosomal, central nervous system and musculoskeletal defects, contributed to about one in five infant deaths in Indiana in 2018.
Governor Eric J. Holcomb has made having the lowest infant mortality rate in the Midwest by 2024 a top priority of his administration. To help accomplish this, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is joining with leading prenatal health organizations during National Birth Defects Prevention Month in January to increase awareness of five critical tips to reduce the chances of having a baby with a birth defect.
“While we can’t prevent all birth defects, we can increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby by helping her to be healthier when she conceives,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG.
The National Birth Defects Prevention Network’s awareness campaign theme, “Best for You. Best for Baby,” aims to raise awareness of these five tips:
ISDH encourages health advocates as well as the general public to be active participants in National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which is also supported by experts from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, Teratology Society and MotherToBaby.
The complete 2020 NBDPN Birth Defects Prevention Month information packet, including this year’s primary prevention tips, is available online at www.birthdefects.in.gov. All materials can be printed, electronically conveyed or added to websites for distribution as needed. Additionally, resources are available through the ISDH Liv app, a mobile application for women who are pregnant, parenting or planning to be pregnant. It is available for Apple and Android users by searching for Liv Pregnancy App.
Today, Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced the end of a third consecutive, record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana, with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) securing 296 commitments from companies to locate or grow in the state. Together, these businesses plan to invest more than $8.44 billion in their Indiana operations and create up to 27,137 new Hoosier jobs with average wages of $28.60/hour – marking the highest annual records for capital investment and average wages since the IEDC was established in 2005.
“I’m excited to announce yet another record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana as we work every day to ensure that Hoosiers have the best place possible to live, work and play,” Gov. Holcomb said. "As a state, we have worked tirelessly to create a nationally ranked, pro-growth business climate, and the results have solidified Indiana's reputation as a global destination for business, creating high-quality career opportunities for Hoosiers in the process."
These 27,137 new positions are expected to offer average wages of $28.60/hour, or nearly $59,500 annually, which is above the U.S. average wage and 21% higher than the state’s average wage of $23.01/hour (BLS, 2018). Moreover, of the 296 commitments made, 216 have committed average wages at or above the county average wage, and 56 are between 80-99% of the county average wage.
Businesses announcing the largest growth commitments, based on the number of new jobs or capital investment planned, in 2019 were:
IEDC incentives offered for these 296 commitments are conditional, meaning a company must create new jobs or provide workforce training in order to be eligible to receive incentives, and are based on new payroll for Hoosiers in order to protect taxpayer money while simultaneously attracting high-wage jobs and new investment to the state. The IEDC offered an average incentive of $0.21/new payroll dollar committed in 2019.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.
With 2020 just days away, The Salvation Army is hopeful that year-end giving will make a big impact in communities across the state. Red kettle donations were down across the state, but these late-December donations can help ensure that life changing programs are able to continue into the new year.
In the United States, around 30% of all annual giving takes place during the month of December. For many Salvation Army locations, a large portion of their annual budgets are supported by the annual Red Kettle Christmas Campaign and charitable donations made in last weeks of the year. These donations include cash and personal checks, corporate and foundation gifts, and gifts of stocks, mutual funds, and federally-mandated IRA distributions.
"We've built up some amazing programs across Indiana," said Major Bob Webster, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army in Indiana. "Everything from a world-class summer camp for low-income kids to our Pathway of Hope program, which is helping families break the cycle of poverty. These programs are dependent on the generosity of donors in every county in Indiana, because they serve Hoosiers from every zip code."
Year-end gifts can be designated to help a single county, community, facility, or program. Donors are able to earmark gifts for services like emergency assistance or food pantries. They can also ask that funds are used specifically to help children attend summer camp at Hidden Falls Camp or to help adults seeking treatment at the Harbor Light Center. Both of these Salvation Army facilities serve residents from every corner of the state.
Donors who are interested in making a year-end gift can contact the Indiana Divisional Headquarters in Indianapolis at (800) 589-1037 or find their local Salvation Army by visiting SalvationArmyIndiana.org. The easiest way to give is to visit the Ways to Give page on The Salvation Army's website: centralusa.salvationarmy.org/indiana/ways-to-give
Both designated and undesignated gifts can be sent through the mail to:
The Salvation Army Indiana Division
6060 Castleway West Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Thank you to all the donors and volunteers who made 2019 such a wonderful year. Because of their efforts, The Salvation Army helped displaced people find shelter, hungry families put food on the table, and at-risk children rediscover the joys of childhood. There will always be need in Indiana, but The Salvation Army is dedicated to continue serving Hoosiers and giving them hope for better days ahead.
The City of Shelbyville Street Department says the leaf machine will stop running on Friday, January 3 for the season.
Shelbyville residents can call the Street Department from now until next Friday to request pick up.
After January 3, leaves will have to be bagged in paper bags for pickup.
Call 317-392-5169 for scheduling.
With the recent snowfall and dropping temperatures, Indiana Conservation Officers advise being mindful of the potential hazards of frozen lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
It’s also important to keep a watchful eye on neighborhood retention ponds, lakes and other waterways for others who may venture out and find themselves in trouble.
Every winter, thousands of Hoosiers safely enjoy fishing, skating, hiking, or just sliding around on frozen ponds and lakes. And every year, people drown after falling through ice.
Just like driving differently on snow versus clear roads, some may need to re-learn how to safely have fun on ice.
Put safety first. The best rule of thumb is, when thinking about getting on the ice, believe it is thin ice unless proven otherwise.
Here are a few tips to remember when considering standing on or walking on a frozen lake or pond:
Wearing a life jacket is especially important when on the ice. If you fall through, a life jacket will keep your head above the water until help arrives.
The coating of snow that Indiana just received can make for treacherous ice conditions. The snow can insulate the ice, causing it to freeze at a slower rate. When snow and rain freeze into ice, it is never as strong as solid, clear ice.
If you see a pet or other animal in distress on the ice, do not go after it. Doing so can often end in tragedy. Instead, contact your local emergency response personnel, who are equipped to make a rescue.
Some bodies of water will appear to be frozen solid but actually can have thin ice in several potentially unexpected areas. Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice. Water that is surrounded by sand may freeze with inconsistencies in the thickness of the ice.
Underground springs, wind, waterfowl and other animals can also keep areas of ice thin.
Blue River Community Foundation submitted the following article announcing the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Shelby County - Maddie Robinson.
Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Shelby County. This prestigious award grants full tuition to any accredited public or private college or university in Indiana. In addition, it provides an annual stipend of $900 for required books and equipment.
Madeline (Maddie) E. Robinson is the Class of 2020 recipient for Shelby County. Maddie is the daughter of Rebecca and Heath Robinson. She will graduate in May from Waldron Jr./ Sr. High School and plans to attend Marian University to pursue a degree in nursing.
At the time of application, Maddie was ranked second in her graduating class and her GPA was 3.92 on a 4.0 scale. She is involved in several extracurricular activities including; National Honor Society (Vice President), Student Council (President), Sunshine Society (President), HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America), basketball, volleyball and softball. In addition, she is an active community volunteer who has served in various capacities for Waldron United Methodist Church, Shelby Senior Services, and her school community. Maddie is also employed at Especially Kidz as a certified nursing assistant.
Maddie’s dedication to pursuing a career in nursing is not only demonstrated through her current employment, but also with the academic track she committed to prior to high school.
After learning of Maddie’s selection, Whitney Moore, Waldron Jr./Sr. High School (WHS) Counselor, stated, “Maddie has been determined to enter the medical field in some way as long as I have known her. She approached me her freshman year to ask if we could arrange her four years at WHS to accommodate for 3 years (instead of our normal 2) at Blue River Career Programs (BRCP) in the Health Science programs and internship. Maddie has taken classes every summer to keep up with the requirements of the Academic Honors and Technical Honors Diplomas and provide flexibility to attend the career center. She has done internships and job shadowing to solidify her plans for life after high school and college. She is a highly motivated individual who is passionate about serving others and making a difference in the world, which she demonstrates regularly in her extracurricular involvements.”
The Foundation’s competitive selection process for this scholarship begins with an online application. Students must provide a written essay, two letters of recommendation, and a scholastic profile completed by their school counselor. Meaningful community involvement, extracurricular activities, academic history and commitment, character, and the student’s potential for success are also considered by the BRCF scholarship committee during the application evaluation process. Without question, selecting a student for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship continues to be a difficult decision for BRCF’s Scholarship Selection Committee.
According to Julie Alvis, Youth and Education Program Officer for BRCF, the committee evaluated a total of 55 fully completed, qualifying applications for the 2020 scholarship. “Shelby County students continue to impress the members of our scholarship committee. In addition to excelling academically, these students are leaders that are contributing to our community.”
After thorough review of each application, which the Foundation’s scholarship committee does in the blind (applicant’s names are removed from viewing during this phase of the selection process), eight finalists were selected for a personal interview. Selection criteria considered during the interview include determination, decision making skills, knowledge of what is required to succeed in college and the ability to apply that knowledge, goal orientation and evidence of life planning, and intellectual curiosity in the student’s chosen field.
In addition to Maddie, Alexandra Carter (Shelbyville High School), Catherine (McKenna) Hall (Shelbyville High School), Brooke Haney (Triton Central High School), Karmen Kissell (Southwestern High School), Reid Schene (Shelbyville High School), Joshua von Werder (Shelbyville High School), and Landon Watson (Shelbyville High School) were also interviewed for the scholarship. Due to their exceptional academic and personal achievements, these seven students will receive a four-year renewable scholarship from one of the 90 funds administered by BRCF.
Independent Colleges of Indiana oversees the administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program and provides final review and selection of the recipients. ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state and oversees the administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program.
Since the program’s inception in 1998, 4,769 students have been awarded over $405M in full-tuition scholarships; including the 23rd cohort.
The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are:
1. to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana
2. to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities
3. to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.
The place seems like a dream come true: the right space, the right location, the right price. But is it really for rent? Or will the renter or traveler arrive to find their money gone with nowhere to stay?
An in-depth investigative study by Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds that fraud is widespread in the online rental home and vacation rental market, with 43% of online shoppers encountering a fake listing and more than 5 million consumers losing money to such scams.
The investigative study -- Is That Rental Listing Real? A BBB Study of Rental Scams Involving Apartments, Houses and Vacation Properties -- notes that 85% of consumers encountering fake rental listings do not fall for them. However, these figures suggest that the volume of rental scams lurking on the internet is staggering. Get the full study at bbb.org/rentalscams.
According to the study, rental scams can take several forms, but perhaps most commonly, fraudsters simply copy the photo and description of a property, post it online with their own contact information and try to get a deposit and first month’s rent from the victim. The fraudster may communicate only by email or text message and may claim to be out of the country and unavailable to show the property. Once the victim sends money, the fraudster disappears.
In less common types of fraud, victims may be enticed to buy an online directory of homes supposedly for rent, or they may be tricked into signing up for credit monitoring that comes with recurring monthly charges.
“While an advertised rental that meets your needs at a great price might be tempting, it may just be a scam,” said Tim Mansicalo, BBB Central Indiana President and CEO. “Consumers shouldn’t rush into paying upfront fees for renting housing sight-unseen. Instead, take time to verify the details of listings.”
BBB Scam Tracker has received more than 1,300 reports of rental fraud from 2016 to 2019, while the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports more than $37 million from January 1, 2019, through October 20, 2019, in losses associated with complaints that mention the word “rent.”
Many consumers look for rental listings on free classified listing sites like Craigslist in the U.S. and Kijiji in Canada, as well as Facebook Marketplace. They also check websites such as Apartments.com, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and Homes.com. Fake listings turn up frequently on these sites, despite the companies’ efforts to keep scam listings off their sites and warn consumers about potential fraud. The study finds that while the most fraud reports come from the largest metropolitan areas, no geographic area in North America appears to be safe from it.
One Indianapolis woman lost more than $1,000 to a scammer that posed as an actual property management company. The scammer duplicated the company’s rental listing and took advantage of how large property management companies show rentals. By using a website called Rently, a self-showing solution for residential rental vacancies, the scammer was able to intercept the process and provide the woman with a lockbox code to view the property. The property manager contacted her after she visited a property, but the scammer acted quickly before anyone caught on by pressuring her to make a deposit via money order.
Scams also frequently appear on vacation rental websites such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.com. They follow the same pattern, preying on vacationers’ inability to check out a listing before paying money for it. Cases also have been noted of scammers luring a renter away from Airbnb to deal with the “landlord” directly or spoofing Airbnb’s site to impersonate the landlord and the company’s payment portal. These companies likewise have warned consumers about potential fraud and taken steps against fake listings.
Rental fraud often is committed by Nigerian criminal gangs that participate in other types of fraud. Law enforcement efforts have targeted perpetrators of a variety of rental fraud. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took action against a company that fraudulently sold credit monitoring that allegedly was required before a consumer could tour a rental property, while another company selling a fake directory of “pre-foreclosure” homes was successfully prosecuted in federal court.
In addition to warning consumers of red flags that may signal apartment or vacation rental scams, the report recommends:
Rental unit owners should watermark photos used for rental postings, which will make it more difficult for scammers to copy photos of other properties posted online.
Website platforms that list houses, apartments and vacation properties should make extra effort to screen for bogus listings, and they should explore ways to allow consumers to easily report scam listings.
Police should encourage victims to report not only to the rental platform, but also to the FTC, BBB, and IC3.
What to do if you are the victim of a rental scam:
File a report with local police.
Notify Better Business Bureau, or call (317) 488-2222
Report the fraud to bbb.org/scamtracker
The holiday performance for the Shelby County Players offers the truth about an old story and a sensory friendly show.
Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, and Gail S. Ennis, the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, have announced the launch of a dedicated online form at oig.ssa.gov to receive reports from the public of Social Security-related scams.
These scams—in which fraudulent callers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for purported Social Security number problems—skyrocketed over the past year to become the #1 type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration.
To combat these scams, Social Security and the OIG will use the new online form to capture data that will be analyzed for trends and commonalities. The OIG will use the data to identify investigative leads, which could help identify criminal entities or individuals participating in or facilitating the scams. Ultimately, these efforts are expected to disrupt the scammers, help reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of victims.
Commissioner Saul and Inspector General Ennis encourage the public to use the new online form to report Social Security phone scams including robocalls and live callers, as well as email, text, and in-person scams. The form allows people to create a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN), so if OIG contacts a person about their report, they will know the call is legitimate.
Social Security employees do occasionally contact people--generally those who have ongoing business with the agency--by telephone for business purposes. However, Social Security employees will never threaten a person, or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should just hang up.
Generally, the agency mainly calls people who have recently applied for a Social Security benefit, someone who is already receiving payments and requires an update to their record, or a person who has requested a phone call from the agency. If a person is not in one of these situations, they normally would not receive a call from the agency.
The Social Security OIG will also continue to take reports of fraud, waste, and abuse in Social Security's programs and operations. A separate online form for those reports remains available at their website.
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to encourage online shoppers to be extra vigilant to protect their important financial data.
The holidays offer cybercriminals the perfect opportunity to steal sensitive data and turn it into cash by either draining financial accounts, charging credit cards, creating new accounts or even using stolen identities to file a fraudulent tax return for a refund.
“We all need to proceed with a heightened sense of awareness during the holiday season to protect our financial and personal information,” said DOR Commissioner Adam Krupp. “Please don’t let your guard down, especially during the season of giving, because cybercriminals, in particular, are looking to prey upon Hoosier consumers.”
The IRS and DOR have several tips to help individuals protect themselves while shopping online:
To learn more about how to prevent identity theft, visit DOR’s website at www.dor.in.gov and click on “Stop ID theft” on the menu.
Old National Centre is offering special deals on all-in tickets (tickets with fees included in the price) for Black Friday!
Tickets to 20 upcoming shows are available for $15 and $25.
To take advantage of the deal, use the passcode BLACK.
The deal runs from Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8 a.m. and until Monday, Dec. 2 at 11:59 p.m.
Tickets available for $25 include:
- Steel Panther, Nov. 29
- Straight No Chaser, Dec. 8
- Nick Jr. Live!, Jan. 4 and 5
- Yacht Rock Revue, Jan 10 and 11
- Sublime with Rome, Jan. 18
- Alter Bridge, Feb. 9
- Little Big Town, Feb. 22
- Opeth, Feb. 25
- One Night of Queen, March 31
- Scooby-Doo! Live, May 9 and 10
- Whose Live Anyway?, May 17
Tickets for $15 include the following shows:
- Led Zeppelin 2, Jan. 17
- Ultimate '80s Party ft. Tiffany, Feb. 1
- The Motels, Bow Wow Wow & More, Feb. 14
For a full list of shows and more information, visit https://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/ll8g4c .