Community News Archives for 2020-05

Our Hospice Wings for the Journey Summer Memorial Service cancelled

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Applying for Assistance

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

 

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

 

Additional Commodities

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

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


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

 

More Information

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Key components of the plans include:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Camping open for holiday wknd in Stage 3

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Camping open for holiday wknd in Stage 3

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Cormo USA prepares for Fall 2020 production in Rushville

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

 

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

 

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

 

About Cormo USA

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

State readies PPE marketplace to support Hoosier small businesses

Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced a new marketplace for personal protective equipment (PPE) that will serve as an added resource for Indiana small businesses returning to work in the coming weeks. The Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace, which is expected to launch next week, will ensure reliable access to PPE for small businesses and nonprofits lacking the resources needed to comply with safe workplace guidance during the reopening. 

“As we look toward a safe and responsible reopening across the state, we’re working to remove barriers for entrepreneurs and small business owners that could limit or delay progress,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace is another tool that will help support small businesses during this unprecedented time, ensuring they are able to continue operating while providing needed safety measures to protect workers and customers alike.”

The Marketplace, developed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) in partnership with the Indiana Small Business Development Center and the Indiana Office of Technology, will leverage PPE that is being manufactured and sourced by Indiana businesses across the state to help support supplies. 

In order to be eligible to utilize the Marketplace, an organization must:

  • Be a business or nonprofit organization registered to do business in Indiana with the Indiana Secretary of State;
  • Employ less than 150 associates; and
  • Be identified in the reopening plan as an entity that must use PPE as a condition of operating in order to comply with safe workplace requirements.

All businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to first source and procure PPE on their own with the Marketplace serving as an alternate backstop for employers. While the state will make every effort to provide needed supplies, it cannot guarantee the integrity of the PPE supply chain due to increasing demands worldwide. All requests will be evaluated and fulfilled based on work environment risk profile, stock availability, and the number of outstanding requests. At times, partial or delayed fulfillment of requests may occur.

The Indiana Small Business PPE Marketplace is another step forward for the IEDC, which has been working to secure PPE for the state’s hospitals, first responders, long-term care facilities and healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients. To date, the state has secured commitments for more than 7.84 million pieces of PPE – up from 6.3 million reported last week – with more than 2 million items already delivered to the Indiana State Department of Health for distribution. 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Indiana is home to approximately 104,335 small businesses that employ 941,578 Hoosiers across the state. To learn more about COVID-19 resources and no-cost counseling available to Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses, visit isbdc.org/indianacovid19smallbusiness.

Lt. Gov. Crouch announces additional COVID-19 Response Recipients; Franklin, Rushville

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced that an additional 49 rural Hoosier communities will receive more than $8.8 million in federal grant funding through the new COVID-19 Response Program.

 

“With today’s announcement, Indiana has awarded more than $10.7 million to our rural communities,” said Crouch. “From increasing access to necessary testing and medical supplies to providing businesses and their workers with much needed relief, these funds are directly assisting in the fight against COVID-19.”

 

On April 22, Lt. Governor Crouch announced the first 13 recipients of the COVID-19 Response Program who received more than $1.96 million in funding.

 

“Public-private collaboration and intergovernmental coordination are critically important in ensuring funding is distributed to our rural communities,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “The creativity and local partnerships OCRA has seen in these applications is inspiring and the Hoosier spirit of collaboration continues to thrive even through this crisis.”

 

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is continuing to develop a long term response program. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

 

For more information on the program, visit www.in.gov/ocra/3010.htm.

 

Grants to businesses to retain jobs

 

  • The City of New Castle is awarded $250,000 to fund a business grant making program to assist its hardest hit manufacturers and retail businesses.
  • The City of Franklin is awarded $200,000 to offer small business grants to address the needs of the community's businesses.
  • The Town of Edinburgh is awarded $240,000 to provide grants to small businesses to retain LMI employees and assist with working capital.
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Loans to businesses to retain jobs

 

  • The City of Rushville is awarded $250,000 to help fund its existing revolving loan fund to help local small businesses and create an expedited distribution system.