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Community News

Blue River Community Foundation's Summer Scholarship application cycle

Shelby County high school students on track to graduate by June 30, 2023, can now apply for scholarships during Blue River Community Foundation’s (BRCF) summer scholarship cycle. Students applying during this cycle are considered for both the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship and BRCF administered scholarship opportunities. Applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements (listed below) for Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship consideration; however, all students are encouraged to apply for over 175 scholarships awarded annually through BRCF’s Scholarship Program.
 

The deadline to apply is September 1, 2022.


Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program
Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) is proud to partner with Lilly Endowment Inc. to select one Shelby County high school senior as a nominee for the 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program (LECSP). Independent Colleges of Indiana on behalf of Lilly Endowment Inc. will make final scholarship selections and notify BRCF of their decision by December 8, 2022. BRCF will notify the
recipient of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship no later than December 20, 2022.

 

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program is designed to:


• to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana
• to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities
• 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 scholarship provides full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis, leading to a baccalaureate degree at any Indiana public or private college or university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
 

Minimum requirements that must be met for consideration include:
• Reside in Shelby County
• Graduate by the end of June with a diploma from a regionally accredited Indiana High School
• Intend to pursue a full-time baccalaureate course of study at an accredited public or private
college or university in Indiana
• Demonstrate the following:
? Participation in community activities
? Leadership skills in school, community, and/or extracurricular activities
? Commitment to academics and ability to succeed at the next level
• Must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and a minimum 1100 total score on SAT or ACT equivalent

 

Lilly Endowment created LECSP in 1998 and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $425 million. Over 5,100 Indiana students have received Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships since the program’s inception; including 41 Shelby County recipients.
 

BRCF Scholarship Program
Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) administers over 92 scholarship funds established by caring and generous donors who are passionate about supporting students as they pursue their post - secondary educational goals. During the most recent cohort, BRCF administered funds awarded 190 scholarships to 134 students for a combined total over $439,000. High school applicants who complete the summer cycle application in full are considered for all scholarships administered by BRCF for which they are eligible.


Current college students and nontraditional students are encouraged to apply for BRCF scholarships during the Foundation’s winter scholarship cycle which opens November 1, 2022, for the 2023-2024 academic year. High school students not applying during the summer application cycle may also apply during the winter cycle; however, they will not be considered the Lilly Endowment Community
Scholarship.
 

For a complete list of these scholarship funds, please visit the Foundation's website, www.blueriverfoundation.com or BRCF’s Scholarship Resource Guide. For more information about the summer scholarship application cycle, contact Julie Alvis, Communications and Scholarships Director, at 317.392.7955 ext. 102 or jalvis@blueriverfoundation.com.

Moving day is Monday for Shelby County Health Department

The Shelby County Health Department will be relocating to its new facility on Monday. 

The office will be closed Monday and Tuesday for the move and plan to be open on June 29.  

The health department’s new location will be 20 W. Polk Street, Suite 202. It is inside of Annex 2 across the street from the Shelby County Courthouse. 

The health department is the final county office to relocate to Annex 2.

If you have any questions, call 317-392-6470.

 

 

IRS expands voice bot options for faster service, less wait time

The Internal Revenue Service today announced expanded voice bot options to help eligible taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding long wait times.

 

"This is part of a wider effort at the IRS to help improve the experience of taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We continue to look for ways to better assist taxpayers, and that includes helping people avoid waiting on hold or having to make a second phone call to get what they need. The expanded voice bots are another example of how technology can help the IRS provide better service to taxpayers."

 

Voice bots run on software powered by artificial intelligence, which enables a caller to navigate an interactive voice response. The IRS has been using voice bots on numerous toll-free lines since January, enabling taxpayers with simple payment or notice questions to get what they need quickly and avoid waiting. Taxpayers can always speak with an English- or Spanish-speaking IRS telephone representative if needed.

 

Eligible taxpayers who call the Automated Collection System (ACS) and Accounts Management toll-free lines and want to discuss payment plan options can authenticate or verify their identities through a personal identification number (PIN) creation process. Setting up a PIN is easy: Taxpayers will need their most recent IRS bill and some basic personal information to complete the process.

 

"To date, the voice bots have answered over 3 million calls. As we add more functions for taxpayers to resolve their issues, I anticipate many more taxpayers getting the service they need quickly and easily," said Darren Guillot, IRS Deputy Commissioner of Small Business/Self Employed Collection & Operations Support.

 

Additional voice bot service enhancements are planned in 2022 that will allow authenticated individuals (taxpayers with established or newly created PINs) to get:

  • Account and return transcripts.
  • Payment history.
  • Current balance owed.

 

In addition to the payment lines, voice bots help people who call the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) toll-free line with general procedural responses to frequently asked questions. The IRS also added voice bots for the Advance Child Tax Credit toll-free line in February to provide similar assistance to callers who need help reconciling the credits on their 2021 tax return.

 

The IRS also reminds taxpayers about numerous other available self-service options

Shelbyville Street Dept. scheduled for painting on Tuesday

The Shelbyville Street Department will be painting the following traffic islands on Tuesday, June 14.  Work is weather permitting.

 

North Harrison from Boggstown Road to Michigan Road

North Riley Highway at the intersection of Rampart Street

 

Short lane restrictions will be in place from 8am-3:30pm. 

 

IDEM issues statewide Air Quality Action Day for Tuesday

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has issued an Air Quality Action Day (AQAD) and is forecasting high ozone levels for tomorrow, June 14, 2022 in the following regions:

  • Central IndianaMarion, Bartholomew, Boone, Brown, Delaware, Hamilton, Hendricks, Howard, Madison, Shelby 
  • North Central Indiana – St. Joseph, Elkhart
  • Northeast Indiana – Allen, Huntington, Wabash
  • Northwest Indiana – Lake, Porter, LaPorte
  • Southeast Indiana – Clark, Floyd
  • Southwest Indiana – Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick 
  • West Central Indiana – Vigo, Carroll, Tippecanoe 

IDEM encourages everyone to help reduce ozone by making changes to daily habits. You can:

  • Drive less: carpool, use public transportation, walk, bike, or work from home when possible
  • Combine errands into one trip
  • Avoid refueling your vehicle or using gasoline-powered lawn equipment until after 7 p.m.
  • Keep your engine tuned, and don’t let your engine idle (e.g., at a bank or restaurant drive-thru)
  • Conserve energy by turning off lights and setting the thermostat to 75 degrees or above 

AQADs are in effect from midnight to 11:59 p.m. on the specified date. Anyone sensitive to changes in air quality may be affected when ozone levels are high. Children, the elderly, and anyone with heart or lung conditions should reduce or avoid exertion and heavy work outdoors.

Ground-level ozone is formed when sunlight and hot weather combine with vehicle exhaust, factory emissions, and gasoline vapors. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks ultraviolet radiation, but ozone near the ground is a lung irritant that can cause coughing and breathing difficulties for sensitive populations. 

IDEM examines weather patterns and current ozone readings to make daily air quality forecasts. AQADs generally occur when weather conditions, such as light winds, hot and dry air, stagnant conditions, and lower atmospheric inversions, trap pollutants close to the ground.

To learn more about ozone or to sign up for air quality alerts, visit SmogWatch.IN.gov.

MIBOR REALTORĀ® Association joins the Blue River Community Foundation in support of new park

MIBOR REALTOR® Association joins the Blue River Community Foundation to support the creation of the linear Porter Park, now known as Shelby Mills.

 

MIBOR REALTOR® Association’s Economic and Community Development Council (MIBOR ECDC) granted $7,000 to the project and partnered with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to secure a $4,500 Placemaking Level Two Placemaking Grant.

 

The MIBOR ECDC is an advising body of MIBOR made up of dedicated REALTOR® members who represent the broader geography contained with the MIBOR service area. Their mission is to support organizations and initiatives that build and maintain inclusive and vibrant communities, attract, develop, and retain a skilled regional workforce and work towards the attraction and retention of quality jobs for central Indiana.

 

A linear park, behind the historic Porter Center in Shelbyville, will be constructed to encourage trail users to utilize the west section of the Shelby County trail system. Despite the current attractions at this location, the historic Porter Center and public art sculpture, the section of the trail immediately to the west is very unattractive and unwelcoming. The large area of deteriorated asphalt will soon become a destination for all trail users alike as both a rest area for trail users and a storybook trail for children. Additionally, because the area will be filled with native trees, plants and flowers and a rain garden, visitors will learn about what types of plants and similar elements most benefit the local ecosystem. With a new gateway, landscaping, rain garden, rest area, and a Shelby County history storybook trail, the area will be transformed.

 

The result will be a beautiful gateway to the west side of the trail system encouraging users to continue along the pathway where the city is adding more mileage, an opportunity to learn local history, and a chance to enjoy the scenery along the way. The contribution from the National Association of REALTORS® will specifically facilitate the creation of the 15 storybook page kiosks along the trail that will provide a unique local history lesson to children.

 

“The Porter Park project was chosen as one of Blue River Community Foundation’s implementation projects through Lilly Endowment Inc,” said Jennifer Jones, executive director of the Blue River Community Foundation. “After a great deal of community input, we learned that our community members desire more public arts projects and areas to gather with other community members. Not only do projects such as this serve and satisfy our current community members, but they will also entice new residents to call Shelby County home. We are grateful that MIBOR recognized the benefits of a project such as this in our community and that they have invested their dollars in making this project be the best it can be. We are so very excited to see how it all comes together!”

Blue River Community Foundation announces Summer Scholarship Workshop

Blue River Community Foundation (BRCF) is once again hosting a summer, scholarship workshop for Shelby County high school students on track to graduate by June of 2023.

 

Students attending will learn about scholarship opportunities available through BRCF including the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, as well as, applying through BRCF’s 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 23: 1 - 3 pm


July 14: 10 - noon


To register, or to learn more about this popular event, visit blueriverfoundation.com or contact Julie Alvis at jalvis@blueriverfoundation.com or 317.392.7955 ext. 102.

 

The deadline to register is June 20.

 

Link to flyer promoting workshop:


https://mcusercontent.com/e34060166b13f923e4a3299f1/files/19766f57-eefa-68b9-7afb-6ce31964079c/Workshop_Flyer_Class_of_2023.pdf

 

Link to register:

 

https://app.smarterselect.com/programs/81051-Blue-River-Community-Foundation


 

Shelby Co. Health DepartmentĀ has allotment of at-home rapid test kits

The Shelby County Health Department has an allotment of FDA Emergency Use Authorization at-home rapid test kits. Results in 15 minutes.

 

They can be used in Facilities, by employees, or individuals.

 

These tests are free.

 

Go to the Shelby County Health Department at 1600 East State Road 44 to pick up.

                                                                                               

Shelby County's Diligent Digger Garden Club holding annual plant sale Saturday

Diligent Digger Garden Club is having their annual plant sale Saturday, May 21 from 9:00 am - noon at the covered stage at the Shelby County fairgrounds.

 

The majority of plants for sale are perennials, which have a life span of many years.

 

The club members provide these plants from their gardens in addition to various items related to gardening at reasonable prices.

 

The Shelby County Diligent Digger Garden Club was formed in 1992 when the Shelby County Garden Club, which started in 1935 and the Diligent Diggers club which started in 1950, merged into one club. Diligent Diggers is a not for profit club which will use the profits from the plant sale to maintain the flowers and shrubs in front of the Shelby County Public Library and to plant new annual plants to add color to the existing landscaping.

 

The club appreciates the community support of this fund raising project!

 

New property assessment information for 2022, Pay 23

Taxpayers should be aware of some changes for the January 1, 2022, assessment which may cause significant increases in the assessed values of their properties.

 

The value changes will not impact the 2022 property tax bills.

 

The changes are beyond the control of the Assessor’s Office.

 

Changes are:

 

• Statewide certified agricultural land base rate increased from $1,290 to $1,500 per acre. This rate is set by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and is the same in all 92 counties.

 

• Cost tables used for assessments were updated. These tables are also set by DLGF and they

determine the approximate building costs of structures throughout the state. The tables were last updated in 2018. Due to increased material costs, the majority of cost schedules increased, and the four primary schedules (dwellings, general industrial, general commercial mercantile, general commercial residential) increased an average of 10% to 15%.

 

• Real estate market: This is perhaps the biggest factor and the one everyone is familiar with at this point. Each year the Assessor’s Office must review property sales and adjust property values accordingly. According to a recent article on marketwatch.com, median home prices in the US increased by 16.9% in 2021 and Shelby County was no different. This office must keep assessments in line with the market by law, which means as the market goes up, so do assessments and vice versa.

 

 

To summarize, many changes have occurred over the last year that will impact assessed values across the board. However, taxpayers should not panic. As assessments increase, tax rates decrease because the property tax levy, the amount of revenue collected via property tax, is frozen. There is no way to estimate what taxes will do as the Assessor’s Office has no control over tax rates.

 

More information regarding appealing assessments and specific property values are provided on Assessment Notices (Form 11s) mailed on April 27, 2022. The appeal deadline is June 15, 2022. This can be done by filing an Appeal Form 130 (Taxpayer’s Notice to Initiate an Appeal) that can be located at the resources listed below:

 

Assessor Shelby County Website: https://engage.xsoftinc.com/shelby

Shelby County Website: www.co.shelby.in.us

Department of Local Government Finance website: www.in.gov/dlgf

DNR LE hosts two recruiting events May 23, 24

DNR Law Enforcement will host two conservation officer recruiting events on Monday, May 23, and Tuesday, May 24 for District 6, which includes Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Marion, Brown, and Bartholomew counties.

The May 23 event will be held at DNR Fire Headquarters inside Morgan-Monroe State Forest, located at 6220 Forest Road, Martinsville. The May 24 event will be held at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds Conservation Building, located at 750 W. 200 S. Columbus.

Both events will start at 6:30 p.m. and will cover critical portions of the 2022 Indiana Conservation Officer hiring process, including duties of a conservation officer, preparation for the written exam and core values training, and physical agility testing requirements.

Participation at either recruiting event does not guarantee you a position but should provide insight into the competitive hiring process.

To see if you qualify to be an Indiana Conservation Officer and to complete the pre-screen exam, see on.IN.gov/dnrlaw and click on Become a Conservation Officer. 

Waldron's Chad Williams named DNR photo contest winner

A well-known Shelby County photographer has been recognized for his work by the state's Department of Natural Resources.

 

In honor of the state’s Historic Preservation Month, which is May, the DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology announced the winners of its annual Historic Preservation Month photo contest.

A variety of the entries and the winning photos will be shared on the DNR Instagram account (@indianadnr) all week.

The winners are:

Altered Category
Chad Williams of Waldron
Photo of barn at sunset in Waldron

 

 

Artistic Category
Michael McQuillen of Indianapolis
Photo of the Indiana Statehouse reflection

Black & White Category
Amanda Bennett-Cole of Lafayette
Photo of City Methodist Church in Gary

Color Category
Carla Hall of Roann
Photo of the Stockdale Mill in Roann

Kids Category
Kara Baker of Peru
Photo of barn in winter in Peru 

Planting season is here; remain alert to large farm equipment on Indiana roads

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana State Police and Hoosier Ag Today want to remind all citizens of farming season. They want to encourage motorists to slow down and be patient as motorists will start to see more of the large, slow-moving farm equipment traveling Indiana’s rural roads and highways.

 

In Indiana, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020 three vehicles were involved in crashes with farm equipment, which resulted in two deaths.

 

While the term “farm equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common types motorists will encounter during planting season include sprayers, tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment, and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds less than 25 mph.

Some safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

  • Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
  • Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
  • Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
  • Do not try to pass slow-moving farm equipment on the left without ensuring that the farmer driving is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over to allow a pass when the farmer is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
  • Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

 

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler wants to remind motorists that farmers work hard to ensure they are being as safe as possible.

“Hoosier farmers are trying to get to their fields safely and quickly, just like our Hoosier motorists are trying to get to work safely and quickly,” said Kettler. “I want to encourage motorists to be aware during this spring season and know that encountering farm equipment is likely and to slow down when approaching.”

For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag TodayIndiana Department of Homeland SecurityIndiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police.

2022 Primary Election mail-in absentee application deadline is today

Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan is reminding Hoosiers that today, Thursday, April 21, is the final day for a circuit court clerk to receive an absentee ballot application from an applicant requesting delivery of an absentee ballot by mail.

 

The application to request a mail-in ballot must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., 12 days before the election. Applications may be submitted to the circuit court clerk in person or by mail, fax, email, or online through the Indiana Voter Portal at IndianaVoters.com.

 

New this year, Hoosiers with print disabilities can visit IndianaVoters.com to request a ballot that allows the use of personal assistive technology devices to vote. 

Section of Shelby County N. Frontage Road to be closed for culvert project

A contractor for the Shelby County Highway Department will be closing North Frontage Road between W 300 N and W 400 N beginning Thursday, April 14 for two days, weather permitting, to replace a culvert.

 

The last address accessible from the north is 3423 North Frontage Rd.

 

The culvert being replaced is approximately 1500 feet northwest of the intersection on W 300 N and there are no addresses between the intersection and the closure from the south.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quit Now Indiana offers free help to quit tobacco

Hoosiers wanting to quit tobacco use can now get free nicotine gum, patches or lozenges. In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Tips from Former Smokers (Tips) campaign, Quit Now Indiana is offering this promotion while supplies last.

 

The Tips campaign is the nation’s first federally funded national tobacco education campaign. Tips has had significant and sustained impact over the past decade, helping more than 1 million U.S. adults quit smoking and inspiring millions more to try to quit.

 

“The powerful stories shared in CDC’s Tips campaign, coupled with free evidence-based support services, have proven successful in helping adults quit smoking,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Quit Now Indiana and the Indiana Department of Health are committed to providing Indiana residents the tools they need to prevent smoking-related diseases and disabilities.”

 

The Quit Now Indiana promotion is available to individuals who enroll in one of Quit Now Indiana’s services, such as phone counseling or Pick Quit, a new individual services program. Once enrolled, participants will receive a free two-week supply of nicotine gum, patches or lozenges.

 

“People who use tobacco often go through several quit attempts before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available in Indiana that can improve your chances to quit for good,” said Miranda Spitznagle, director of Tobacco Prevention and Cessation at the Indiana Department of Health. “Quitting tobacco is one of the most important decisions people can make to improve their health and the health of their family.”

 

Take the first step toward a tobacco-free life and get free help from Quit Now Indiana by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, texting READY to 200-400 or visiting QuitNowIndiana.com

Covid-19 funeral assistance is still available

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to provide financial assistance for individuals who incurred COVID-19 related funeral expenses for loved ones.

 

Since launching the program on April 1, 2021, FEMA has provided more than $2.1 billion in COVID-19 funeral assistance to eligible applicants across the country, but assistance is still available for those who qualify.

 

"This program was created to address the unique financial challenges faced by our nation caused by the pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly a million loved ones, friends and neighbors across the country,” said Thomas C. Sivak, FEMA Region 5 administrator. “While we cannot bring those people back, this financial assistance can help ease the burden of their final arrangements.”

 

Eligible applicants may qualify for up to $9,000 for each deceased individual per application, with a maximum of $35,000 for families who may have multiple funeral expenses due to COVID-19. Since the assistance began on April 12, 2021, the average amount of assistance awarded is $6,500.

 

Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday. Multilingual services are available. Please note, phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number. Applicants who use a relay service, such as a videophone, Innocaption or CapTel, should provide FEMA with the specific number assigned to them for that service so that agency representatives are able to contact them.

 

Additional information about COVID-19 funeral assistance, including frequently asked questions, is available on FEMA.gov.

Wortman Family Foundation for Shelby and Hancock Counties awards over $200,000 through inaugural cycle

 

Pictured:  Bob and Sue Ann Wortman

 

Advisory board members of the Wortman Family Foundation for Shelby and Hancock counties gathered in late March to evaluate the 23 requests received for funding through the foundation’s inaugural cycle. Nonprofit organizations serving Shelby and Hancock Counties were invited to submit proposals that focused on health and education as well as projects and programs that enhanced quality of life.

 

Bob Wortman and his advisory board are pleased with the nonprofit community’s response to this new opportunity and are delighted to announce this year’s grant recipients.

 

Fifteen applicants were chosen to receive funding. $126,161 will be awarded to the following organizations:

 

· Blue River Youth Choir

· Hancock County Children’s Choir

· Hancock County Senior Services

· Morristown Boys and Girls Club

· Morristown High School – Science and Music departments

· Morristown Visionary Committee

· Nameless Creek Youth Camp

· Shelby County Pantry Pals

· Purdue Extension of Hancock County

· Shelby County Youth Assistance Program

· Shelby Bridge Ministries

· Shelby County Players

· Shelby County Public Library – Velma Wortman Morristown Branch

· Shelby County YMCA

 

In addition to the competitive cycle grantees, the Wortman Family Foundation for Shelby and Hancock Counties will be supporting the following projects with annual gifts to each of $25,000 for five years: 

 

Early Learning Shelby County – capital campaign for a quality daycare facility in      Shelby County

 

Hancock Health Foundation – programming for mental health and addiction services

 

Shelby County Players – capital campaign for new performance facility

2022 primary election voter registration ends today

Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan reminds Hoosiers that today, Monday, April 4 is the final day to register to vote in Indiana’s 2022 primary election.

 

“Exercising the right to vote is foundational to our nation’s democracy,” Secretary Sullivan said. “Today is the deadline to register to vote in Indiana’s 2022 primary election. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to do so online at IndianaVoters.com or by visiting your local election administrator’s office.”

 

If you still need to register to vote you can register in person at your local county election administrator’s office by the end of the business day or you can register online before midnight at indianavoters.in.gov

USDA encourages producers to enroll grasslands into special CRP signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages producers and landowners to enroll in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) starting next week through May 13, 2022.  Grassland CRP provides a unique opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners to keep land in agricultural production and supplement their income while improving their soils and permanent grass cover.   The program had its highest enrollment in history in 2021 and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to equip producers with the tools they need to help address climate change and invest in the long-term health of our natural resources.

 

Grassland CRP is a federally funded voluntary working lands program. Through the program, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides annual rental payments to landowners to maintain and conserve grasslands while allowing producers to graze, hay, and produce seed on that land.  Maintaining the existing permanent cover provides several benefits, including reducing erosion, providing wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and capturing and maintaining carbon in the soil and cover. 
 

“Grassland CRP is an important working lands conservation tool that offers a win-win to both our country’s producers and the environment by supporting and enabling grazing activities, while at the same time promoting plant and animal biodiversity and stemming rangeland conversion,” said Susan Houston, Acting FSA State Executive Director in Indiana. “We had a successful signup last year, and we look forward to broadening our base and working with new producers, particularly our historically underserved producers, to ensure they can access the program and its many benefits.”  

 

FSA provides participants with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. The annual rental rate varies by county with a national minimum rental rate of $13 per acre for this signup. Contract duration is 10 or 15 years. 

 

Broadening Reach of Program 

 

As part of the Agency’s Justice40 efforts, producers and landowners who are historically underserved, including beginning farmers and military veterans, will receive 10 additional ranking points to enhance their offers. 

 

Additionally, USDA is working to broaden the scope and reach of Grassland CRP by leveraging the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program?(CREP) to engage historically underserved communities. CREP is a partnership program that enables states, Tribal governments, non-profit, and private entities to partner with FSA to implement CRP practices and address high priority conservation and environmental objectives. Interested entities are encouraged to contact FSA. 

 

More Information on CRP 

Landowners and producers interested in Grassland CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or to apply for the program before the May 13 deadline.  Additionally, fact sheets and other resources are available atfsa.usda.gov/crp.

 

Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. The working lands signup announced today demonstrates how much it has evolved from the original program that was primarily intended to control soil erosion and only had the option to take enrolled land out of production. The program has expanded over the years and now supports a greater variety of conservation and wildlife benefits, along with the associated economic benefits.
 

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov

Duke Energy upgrades underground power lines to improve service in Shelbyville

Duke Energy is strengthening part of its electric grid in Shelbyville to improve reliability and reduce power outages.

 

Crews are working to replace more than 1,800 feet of aged, underground power lines along Aaron Drive, Berwick Drive, Hickory Lane and Ruby Drive. The new underground cable lines will be more reliable and reduce the risk of prolonged power outages for homes in the area in the future. Work will begin in April and is expected to conclude by June.

 

Customers may see large electric utility equipment in the area of the underground cable line improvements, including utility trucks and digging and boring equipment.

 

“This important work is part of a smart, multi-layered energy grid improvement strategy to help improve electric reliability and strengthen the electric grid against severe weather and other impacts,” said Duke Energy government and community relations manager Jean Renk. “Making the right investments today means that the energy grid customers and their families depend on will be more reliable and more responsive in the future.”

Shelbyville's Girls Inc. receives Duke Energy Foundation grant

The Duke Energy Foundation announced it is awarding more than $300,000 in grants to 24 innovative K-12 education programs serving communities across Indiana.

 

The grants support a wide range of educational programming for K-12 students, including summer reading programs; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; programs that support underrepresented, low-income or diverse populations; and efforts to reverse academic declines due to disruption caused by COVID-19.

 

Over the past three years, the Duke Energy Foundation has awarded 76 strategic charitable grants totaling more than $1.1 million to nonprofit organizations working to bolster education in Indiana communities. 

 

Among those receiving grants is Girls Inc. of Shelbyville & Shelby County.  $10,000. will be used to provide scholarships for girls from underserved communities to attend Girls Inc. of Shelbyville and Shelby County’s summer literacy program.

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN PICKERS to film in Indiana

The American Pickers are excited to return to Indiana! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series in May 2022.
 

AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.
 

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. The Pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.
 

We at American Pickers continue to take the pandemic very seriously and will be following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming outlined by the state and CDC. Nevertheless, we are excited to continue reaching the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking and are eager to hear their memorable stories!
 

The American Pickers TV Show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location, and description of  the collection  with photos to:  americanpickers@cineflix.com or call (646) 493-2184, or through Facebook: @GotAPick .

 

 

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