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Community News Archives for 2022-09

Fairland native builds on Seabees 80-year legacy

Since 1942, sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force have been building and fighting around the world. Petty Officer 1st Class Dakota Geary, a Fairland, Indiana, native is one of those sailors.

 

Eighty years ago, members of Navy Construction Battalions were fittingly nicknamed, “Seabees,” a play on the C and B initials. They are responsible for building military bases and airfields, supporting humanitarian efforts and conducting underwater construction projects.

Geary, a 2012 Triton Central High School graduate, currently serves with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One at the headquarters for naval construction forces in Gulfport, Mississippi.

“I'd like to thank my step father, Jeff Hipkiss,” said Geary. "He taught me all I know. He was great and raised me right."

The values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Fairland.

“I learned the importance of hard work and to take pride in what you do,” said Geary.

Serving in the Navy means Geary is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy protects waterways,” said Geary. "As Seabees, we deploy around the world to help improve the living situation of others. We do our part for positive community outreach."

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.
 

“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”

Geary has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“What I'm most proud of is helping people,” said Geary. "I've been to different countries to help people around the world. I've been to Afghanistan, Palau, Guam and Spain."

Geary can take pride in continuing an 80-year legacy of service in the United States Navy.

“We live in the greatest country in the world, so it's an honor to give back through military service,” added Geary.

Department of Agriculture warns of harvest traffic on rural roads

Harvest season is here, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne CrouchIndiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Director Bruce Kettler, Hoosier Ag Today and many other state agencies have teamed up to promote roadway safety this fall encouraging motorists to watch out and slow down for farm equipment on rural roads this harvest season. 

 

Lt. Gov. Crouch, as Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture, is a staunch supporter of Hoosier farmers and wants to ensure everyone gets home to their families safely. 

 

“There is nothing more beautiful than rural Indiana in the fall,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “But, with that beauty comes heightened roadway dangers during harvest season. I am encouraging all Hoosiers to be alert and be patient on rural roads this harvest season.”

 

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

 

“Rural road safety is something we all take very seriously. Each year Hoosiers lose their lives unnecessarily,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “I want to continue to encourage roadway safety for motorists and for farmers. These accidents can be prevented if we all slow down and use caution around farm equipment this fall.”  

 

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.

 

The following list includes several 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 a slow-moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
  • Please be aware of farmers working near the road and semi trucks and trailers parked alongside rural roads. 
  • 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.

“Despite encouraging motorists and farmers alike to take extra precaution on roadways during harvest season, crashes still occur every year,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “One death is one too many. I want to remind everyone to remain alert and exercise caution as you travel on Indiana’s rural roads this fall.”

Locations for new COVID-19 boosters added to vaccine map

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced today that it has added locations that are offering the new bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines, which protect against the two most common strains of the virus, to its map at www.ourshot.in.gov.

 

Appointments are not yet available online but can be made by contacting a pharmacy or healthcare provider, or by calling 211 (866-211-9966) for assistance.

 

Additional locations will be added as vaccine shipments continue to arrive in the state.

 

The FDA authorized the bivalent boosters on Aug. 31, and the CDC endorsed their use Sept. 1. The new boosters include protection against the Omicron variant that is the dominant strain circulating and replace previous boosters, which covered only the original COVID-19 strain.

 

“The Omicron variant has been the main cause of COVID-19 infections for months, so having a vaccine that specifically targets this variant as well as the Delta variant will help keep Hoosiers healthier as we enter the fall and winter, when respiratory illnesses often increase,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “I encourage individuals who are eligible to consider getting the new COVID-19 booster when they schedule their annual flu shot and make protecting themselves against COVID-19 part of their annual healthcare strategy.”

 

The Pfizer bivalent booster is authorized for individuals age 12 and older, while the Moderna bivalent booster is available to individuals age 18 and older. Individuals are eligible to receive an updated booster so long as it has been at least two months since they received their last booster dose or completed their primary vaccine series.

 

Online scheduling for boosters is expected to be available later this month at www.ourshot.in.gov.

Sidewalk construction project announced by Shelbyville Street Dept.

The Shelbyville Street Department has announced sidewalk widening on the east side of the Harrison Street Bridge is set to start this week.

 

Construction will begin on / or after this Wednesday, September 14.

 

During construction, the eastern northbound lane over the Harrison Street Bridge will be closed from John Street to Boggstown Road for approximately three weeks.

 
The contractor is Schutte Construction.

Indiana receives federal approval to continue extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration  received approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to continue its practice of extending postpartum coverage for Hoosiers receiving Medicaid during pregnancy from 60 days to one year.

 

Indiana has been providing this extended coverage since April; today’s federal announcement will allow it to continue.

 

More than 40 percent of individuals who give birth each year receive Medicaid. And, since more than half of postpartum complications occur after six weeks, extending coverage to a full year will help meet Gov. Holcomb’s goal of reducing Indiana’s maternal mortality rate.”

 

Previously, postpartum Medicaid coverage ended after 60 days. In May, Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning asked CMS for approval to extend the postpartum coverage period for traditional Medicaid, Healthy Indiana Plan Maternity and Hoosier Healthwise members. This will apply to all who received maternity care from Medicaid since April 1.

 

The postpartum coverage period is available to any individual who meets one of the following criteria:

  • Becomes pregnant while already enrolled in traditional Medicaid, HIP or Hoosier Healthwise
  • Applies and is eligible for Medicaid while pregnant
  • Applies for Medicaid after the child is born and was both pregnant and eligible in the month of application or one of the three months prior to the application month.

The CMS approval authorizes the extended coverage for Medicaid-eligible individuals for a five-year period, through March 31, 2027.

Gov. Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Queen Elizabeth II

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags in the State of Indiana to be flown at half-staff in honor and remembrance of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

 

Per President Biden's order, flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on the day of interment. Gov. Holcomb is asking businesses and residents in Indiana to lower their flags.

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