Community News Archives for 2019-05

Boxwood blight discovered at Home Depot stores

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been made aware of a shipment of boxwood plants at Home Depot stores that contain the boxwood blight fungus. They have originated from a nursery named Cottage Gardens in Ohio.

 

Boxwood blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata) is a fungal disease that infests members of the popular Buxaceae family, and is often transported through the nursery trade. Hosts include Buxus (boxwood), Pachysandra (Japanese spurge) and Sarcococca (sweetbox). Annual inspections of nursery stock by the DNR verify that this pathogen is not indigenous to Indiana, nor can it be found in nursery stock that is sourced locally.

 

When the fungus, which can lay dormant in drier conditions, is present, it can be found on all above-ground portions of the plant and presents itself as dark leaf spots. It causes rapid defoliation, which typically starts on the bottom of the plant and moves toward the top. This fungal pathogen can move through sporulation in water and from dropped leaves. As a result, infection can spread to surrounding plants from a single infected plant.

 

The infected nursery stock is currently being pulled from shelves in 13 Home Depot stores by nursery inspectors and Cottage Garden representatives and will be disposed of in a manner that will prevent the pathogen from spreading to other stock.

 

There are several varieties of boxwood sold in Home Depot stores. The only species that is currently testing positive for the fungus is Korean boxwood (Buxus Koreana), however the DNR is testing other species to ensure the pathogen has not spread. If you have purchased a Korean boxwood from a Home Depot store in the last month please contact the DNR for further guidance at 866-NO EXOTIC.

Oak threat in Indiana expands statewide

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed more than 70 Walmart stores and 18 Rural King stores in the state have received rhododendron plants infected with sudden oak death (SOD), a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees. Shipments containing infested material were sent to nine other states as well.

 

Workers from the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology have been visiting stores across Indiana to destroy any stock that has been found infested and quarantine any stock that is symptomatic. The division has made this its top priority.

 

The DNR has destroyed approximately 1,500 infested rhododendron so far and pulled another 1,500 from stores. The DNR has also ordered these stores to stop selling rhododendron until further notice. Any quarantined material not infected will be released following testing at Purdue University.

The DNR is also following up with homeowners that have called in to say they’ve purchased material that they believe is infested or are seeing signs/ symptoms of sick trees in the environment.

SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on the West Coast. SOD has not been established in the Midwest, to date. SOD can kill standing oak trees, which could happen if SOD-positive rhododendron were planted within about 6 feet of a standing oak.

SOD travels in more than a hundred species of host plant material. It causes some browning of the leaves in the host but does not kill it. For a list of those plants see the following https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pram/downloads/pdf_files/usdaprlist.pdf

If you have purchased rhododendrons in the last four weeks from Walmart or Rural King, destroy them, or call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) for instructions.

This is an ongoing investigation, and guidance could change as more information is gathered.
To learn more about SOD, see: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/phytophthora-ramorum/sod.

 

 

ORIGINAL RELEASE - MAY 22, 2019

 

The Indiana DNR confirmed today that it has intercepted plants containing a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees, sudden oak death (SOD), for the first time in about 10 years. 

Inspectors from the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology detected SOD (Phytophthora ramorum) in several varieties of rhododendrons being sold in Columbus, Noblesville, South Bend, Sullivan and Tippecanoe. 

SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on the West Coast. SOD has not been established in the Midwest, to date. SOD can kill standing oak trees, which could happen if SOD-positive rhododendrons were planted within about 6 feet of a standing oak. 

SOD travels in more than a hundred species of host plant material. It causes some browning of the leaves in the host but does not kill it. For a list of those plants see the following https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pram/downloads/pdf_files/usdaprlist.pdf 

If you have purchased rhododendrons in the last four weeks in these communities, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) for instructions. 

The DNR is destroying all rhododendrons from the source nursery, Park Hill Plants (Oklahoma), and any other host plants that were co-mingled with them. In addition, the DNR is quarantining the sale of four other common SOD host plants (viburnum, azalea, cameilia, and pieris) for further testing to determine if they contain SOD. Testing will determine if other species are infested and require destruction. 

This is an ongoing investigation, and guidance could change as more information is gathered. 

To learn more about SOD, see: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/phytophthora-ramorum/sod

 

 

DNR finds oak threat in store rhododendrons

The Indiana DNR confirmed that it has intercepted plants containing a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees, sudden oak death (SOD), for the first time in about 10 years.

 

Inspectors from the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology detected SOD (Phytophthora ramorum) in several varieties of rhododendrons being sold in Columbus, Noblesville, South Bend, Sullivan and Tippecanoe.

 

SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on the West Coast. SOD has not been established in the Midwest, to date. SOD can kill standing oak trees, which could happen if SOD-positive rhododendrons were planted within about 6 feet of a standing oak.

 

SOD travels in more than a hundred species of host plant material. It causes some browning of the leaves in the host but does not kill it. For a list of those plants see the following https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pram/downloads/pdf_files/usdaprlist.pdf

If you have purchased rhododendrons in the last four weeks in these communities, call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) for instructions.

 

The DNR is destroying all rhododendrons from the source nursery, Park Hill Plants (Oklahoma), and any other host plants that were co-mingled with them. In addition, the DNR is quarantining the sale of four other common SOD host plants (viburnum, azalea, cameilia, and pieris) for further testing to determine if they contain SOD. Testing will determine if other species are infested and require destruction.

 

This is an ongoing investigation, and guidance could change as more information is gathered.

 

To learn more about SOD, see: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-disease-programs/pests-and-diseases/phytophthora-ramorum/sod

Duke Energy cautions customers in Indiana to guard against utility scammers

Duke Energy is warning its customers in Indiana to be on guard against phone calls from utility scammers who are demanding that customers pay their electric bill immediately or risk having their electric service disconnected within the hour.

 

Local law enforcement officials say the number of scam calls reported by citizens has increased in the past few days.

 

“These scammers are thieves who prey on unsuspecting customers with the sole purpose of stealing their money,” said Marvin Blade, Indiana vice president of community relations for Duke Energy. “The scammers typically target elderly residents or small family-owned businesses, including restaurants, repair shops or other retail businesses.”

 

The best way to defend yourself against these scammers is to recognize how the scam works and understand that Duke Energy never asks customers for prepaid debit cards.

 

Typically, the customer receives an unsolicited phone call from an individual who falsely claims to be a Duke Energy representative demanding immediate payment, usually in the form of a prepaid debit card. Scammers have even duplicated the Duke Energy upfront Interactive Voice Response system, so when customers call back phone numbers provided by the scammer, it sounds like a legitimate Duke Energy phone number. Some of these criminals also use caller-ID spoofing to replicate Duke Energy’s customer service number.

 

Red flags for scam activity

  • The caller becomes angry and tells the customer his or her account is past due and service will be disconnected if a large payment isn’t made – usually within the hour.
  • The caller instructs the customer to purchase a pre-paid debit or credit card – widely available at retail stores – then call him or her back to supposedly make a payment to Duke Energy.
  • The scammer asks the customer for the prepaid card’s receipt number and PIN number, which grants instant access to the card’s funds.
  • The customer has received no other notice from Duke Energy that an account is overdue.

How to protect yourself

  • Duke Energy never asks or requires a customer with a delinquent account to purchase a prepaid debit card – or iTunes card -- to avoid disconnection.
  • Customers can make payments online, by phone, automatic bank draft, mail or in person at any number of retail outlets.
  • Customers with delinquent accounts receive advance disconnection notification with the regular monthly billing – never a single notification one hour before disconnection.
  • Customers who suspect or experience fraud, or feel threatened during contact with one of these thieves, should contact local law enforcement authorities and then the Duke Energy Indiana phone number listed on their bill (800.521.2232). Never dial the phone number the scammers provide.

Customers can get more scam and fraud prevention information at our “Report Fraud and Scams” web page.

 

 

USDA reopens continuous CRP signup

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications beginning June 3, 2019, for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs.

 

“USDA offers a variety of conservation programs to farmers and ranchers, and the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool for private lands management,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “CRP allows agricultural producers to set aside land to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

 

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the continuous CRP signup when 2014 Farm Bill authority expired. Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last December, Fordyce said FSA has carefully analyzed the language and determined that a limited signup prioritizing water-quality practices furthers conservation goals and makes sense for producers as FSA works to fully implement the program.

 

Continuous CRP Signup

 

This year’s signup will include such practices as grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices approved for this program.

 

Continuous signup enrollment contracts are 10 to 15 years in duration. Soil rental rates will be set at 90 percent of the existing rates. Incentive payments will not be offered for these contracts.

 

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Signup

 

FSA will also reopen signup for existing Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreements. Fact sheets on current CREP agreements are available on this webpage.

 

Other CRP Signup Options

 

Fordyce said FSA plans to open a CRP general signup in December 2019 and a CRP Grasslands signup later.

 

 

CRP Contract Extensions

 

A one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants who have expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter describing their options.

 

Alternatively, producers with expiring contracts may have the option to enroll in the Transition Incentives Program, which provides two additional annual rental payments on the condition the land is sold or rented to a beginning farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

 

More Information

 

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

 

Producers interested in applying for continuous CRP practices, including those under existing CREP agreements, or who need an extension, should contact their USDA service center beginning June 3. To locate your local FSA office, visit www.farmers.gov. More information on CRP can be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.

FUSE announces Sara Cummins to serve as Interim Executive Director

FUSE (Families United for Support and Encouragement) announces new interim executive director in the following release:

 

As Denise Arland, our founding Executive Director, transitions out of her full time roll with FUSE this month, we are pleased to announce that Sara Cummins will serve as our Interim Executive Director as the FUSE Board continues its search for a full time Executive Director. Sara has been with FUSE since 2015 and has been the Development Director for the past two years, leading the fundraising efforts that allow FUSE to continue our mission. Sara shared, "I love my job as Development Director of FUSE, and that part time role better fits my family life at this time. During this transition, I am honored to take on the role as Interim Executive Director to give our Board of Directors the time it needs to find the right person to lead FUSE into the future and best serve our families."

Sara is the parent of a two young child with rare disorders.  In 2013 Sara reached out to FUSE for resources and referrals to assist her son and family, and her passion for our organization was ignited as she connected with other families for support.  Sara started volunteering for FUSE as a member of the Cruisin’ for FUSE Charity Motorcycle Ride in 2014.  Sara left her career in the retail management industry to join FUSE as our Development Associate in 2015. She moved into the Development Director position in March 2017, drawing upon her skills in sales and marketing to secure funding for our operations.  Sara has served as a parent representative on the First Steps Local Planning and Coordinating Council since 2014. 

 

Sara is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Shelby County and a 2017 graduate of Indiana’s Partners in Policymaking Academy, an eight month training program of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. Governor Holcomb appointed Sara to the Interagency Coordinating Council in 2018. In 2018 Sara became the first Indiana Early Childhood Leadership Parent Cohort with the Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) and Division for Early Childhood (DEC).

 

She also recently joined the Major Health Partners Family and Consumer Advisory Council.

Sara will have the assistance of our support staff and members of the FUSE Board. Denise Arland will continue to support both programs and administrative needs for FUSE, working 15 hours a week until the new Executive Director transitions into the organization. Courtney Locke is the FUSE Administrative Assistant who brings additional experience and skills to her role to help families. Courtney lives in New Palestine but grew up in Shelby County, where she and Sara attended high school together. Courtney has a young son with autism who was diagnosed in 2015. She began attending FUSE events that year, and joined us as part time staff in 2018. Courtney also works part time as a Direct Support Professional for a waiver service provider. Courtney's previous career included over 10 years in financial services as a loan officer. Courtney graduated from Partners in Policymaking in 2017 and has stayed active with the council as a volunteer. In the past she has also volunteered for events with the Autism Society of Indiana and at Easterseals Crossroads in the Autism Family Resource Center. She was a HOSTS mentor at New Palestine Elementary, helping children learn to read. Currently she serves as moderator for on online ABA parent group,  and she runs a parent group with another mom for her son's ABA therapy center. Courtney will be assisting Sara with parent contacts and taking a lead role in program coordination in the coming weeks.


Sara emphasized, "While Denise may be moving on to a new phase of life, FUSE isn't going anywhere! We will be right here empowering individuals and families, connecting them with resources, and continuing the programs that help our families grow and live their best life." 

 

For assistance with programs or resources, families and individuals with disabilities can reach Sara at scummins@fuseinc.org or 317-462-9064. 

As weather warms more motorcycles on the road

The warm weather of spring and summer brings increased motorcycle traffic with Hoosiers out riding for recreation and transportation.

 

According to ICJI, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, motorcycles are involved in less than 2 percent of crashes in Indiana, but make up nearly 13 percent of all Indiana traffic deaths. Motorcycle crashes – and resulting injuries and deaths – have all declined over the past five years. According to ICJI motorcycle deaths have fluctuated from a low of 100 in 2016, to a high of 147 in 2017 to 112 in 2018. The Indiana State Police offer these safe driving tips so that everyone can share Hoosier highways safely.

 

Tips for passenger vehicles:

 

  • Watch attentively for motorcycles. Check blinds spots before changing lanes and look twice at intersections before you turn or pull out into traffic.
  •  Use your turn signals when changing lanes.
  • Anticipate hazards that may confront and affect a motorcyclists like large pot holes, debris, or other hazardous road conditions.
  • Be cautious and observant when turning left. This is a primary cause of most crashes between vehicles and motorcycles, as cars frequently turn left into the path of oncoming motorcycles. Always take a second look for oncoming traffic.
  • Remember, motorcycles are entitled to operate in a full lane.
  • Allow a safe following distance as motorcycles stop quicker than cars.
  • Never Drive Distracted or Impaired
  • ALWAYS LOOK TWICE BEFORE PULLING OUT OR TURNING!

Tips for motorcycle riders:

 

  • Wear protective equipment and clothing, especially a helmet. Motorcyclists age 18 or younger and those with a motorcycle learner’s permit are required to wear a helmet. Motorcyclists of all ages and abilities are less likely to be killed or injured if they wear helmets.
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright Hi-Viz clothing, by using reflective tape and by using your motorcycle’s headlight.  Always use turn signals when changing lanes and turning.
  • The top unsafe actions motorcycle operators can avoid are following too closely, unsafe speed, improper passing and disregarding a signal or sign.
  • Look for road hazards, especially potholes.  Be especially cautious around intersections, alleys, driveways, and other areas where an animal, pedestrian, or vehicle might enter your path.
  • Avoid riding in the blind spot of other vehicles.
  • Ride defensively; always leave enough reaction time for unexpected movements from other vehicles.
  • Be cautious in construction zones watching for different pavement heights and drop-offs.
  • Never ride impaired.

One of the best ways to avoid a motorcycle crash is to prepare for and pass the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles motorcycle skills and riding test, or to successfully complete an approved motorcycle safety course. More information is at www.RideSafeIndiana.com.

 

Motorcycles are harder to see then other vehicles; consequently, many crashes occur because other motorists don’t see the motorcycle. All motorists should take the time for a second look before pulling into an intersection or making a left turn. It only takes a second to take a second look and maybe save a life. 

Hoosier businesses encouraged to prepare for emergencies now

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages Hoosier businesses to prepare for every possible emergency during Business Continuity Awareness Week, May 13-17.

In recognition of the positive impacts continuity planning has on state resiliency, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, proclaimed May 13-17 as Business Continuity Awareness Week in Indiana. The state’s observance coincides with a national recognition. The week’s theme, “Investing in Resilience,” emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt and respond to an emergency with little to no disruption in daily business functions.

“When disasters occur, many private companies may not have the means to reopen,” said Scott Huffman, state continuity of operations/government planning manager. “It is imperative that organizations create a well-developed Continuity of Operations (COOP) or Business Continuity plan so they can continue to provide their much needed services.”

A Business Continuity or COOP plan provides the framework to help private businesses continue daily operations after an emergency. A well-developed plan is tailor-made for the organization, identifies risks that could disrupt services and provides alternative methods to effectively continue operations.

Business Continuity Awareness Week serves as an opportunity for organizations to review their pre-existing plan, create a plan if one is not already implemented and discuss the importance of following the continuity plan.

Organizations can share how they are participating in the week by using the #bcaw2019 hashtag on social media.

For more information on continuity planning, visit the IDHS website.

Indianapolis to host first ever Made in U.S.A. trade show

INDIANAPOLIS (MAY 6, 2019) MADE IN AMERICA 2019, the first-ever exposition and celebratory event solely focusing on U.S. manufacturing and products made in the USA, will take place at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, October 3-6, 2019. With more than 800 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees expected, this four-day event will bring together the largest-ever network of industrial professionals, keynote speakers and conscious consumers for one common goal: raising awareness for the economic, environmental and community impact of American manufacturing.

 

"We are so pleased to announce that the inaugural Made in America 2019 show will be held in Indianapolis," said President and CEO Don Buckner, Sr. “After meeting with several venues around the country, we selected the Indianapolis Convention Center for its facilities, which are second to none, and the incredible hospitality by Mayor Hogsett and the team at Visit Indy.”

 

“As a top convention destination, Indianapolis prides itself on being a city that truly welcomes all,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We are certain visitors to downtown will find easy access to our thriving cultural institutions and bustling culinary and brewing scene, or perhaps enjoy the changing of the seasons during a walk on the Cultural Trail.   The city of Indianapolis is ready to extend its legendary Hoosier hospitality to thousands of visitors this October for Made in America 2019.”

 

For this monumental event, more than 450,000 square feet of the Indiana Convention Center has been reserved to showcase American-made machines and products by 800 U.S. manufacturers. While all exhibitors will share a commonality in their U.S.-based productions, the variety of represented product categories and industries will be incredibly vast, ranging from aerospace and automobiles to apparel and textiles. This event will truly be the most comprehensive representation of American manufacturing and production ever in its purest form.

 

The Made in America Kickoff Show will take place on Thursday, October 3, 2019. This night will include live performances by top-selling American billboard artists and keynote speakers. Friday, October 4, will feature the past, present and future of American manufacturing, with speeches by industry leaders and a celebration honoring U.S. military veterans who helped lay the foundation for American manufacturing. The closing evening event on Saturday, October 5, will be the first annual “Made in America Awards” to honor the American manufacturing tradition and to recognize the accomplishments of American production heroes, the heart and soul of homegrown manufacturing.

 

To learn more about exhibiting your American-made machines or products at this historic event or to join the movement to keep America on track to be the #1 manufacturer in the world, please visit MadeInAmerica.com and follow us on social media at https://www.facebook.com/MadeinAmericaCom/, https://www.instagram.com/madeinamerica_com/ or https://twitter.com/by_america.

 

To attend visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-attend/

 

To register as an exhibitor visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-exhibit/

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