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Daniels settling in as city's new Behavorial Health & Justice Equity Director

The City of Shelbyville’s new Behavioral Health & Justice Equity Director knows of what he speaks.

Michael Daniels, a 1983 Shelbyville High School graduate, has returned home to help his hometown better improve mental health awareness, drug addiction and homelessness.

“My position here is to take a look specifically at folks in those categories and come up with what are the system level solutions,” said Daniels after making a presentation Monday morning to the Common Council outlining his first initiative. “What does diversion look like and divert to where? What does first response look like? Is it always appropriate to dispatch a police officer? Are there cases where a co-responder model where we are dispatching a peer support person and perhaps a social worker or medical person might make more sense?

“What is the solution to the homeless folks living on the land but also the much larger number of folks who are housing unstable and couch surfing and are one argument with their friend away from being homeless?”

Residents of Shelbyville and Shelby County have been asking for more services for years. Daniels believes he can find a way to improve life’s situations for those truly in need.

“There are far too many folks who end up where jail is the only place we have for them to go,” said Daniels, who has a second floor office at City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., in downtown Shelbyville. “We should not be criminalizing mental health disorders, addictions and homelessness, but sometimes the only choice we have is to take people and the jail is open (24 hours a day, seven days a week).”

Daniels grew up in Shelbyville, graduated from Franklin College, continued his education in Missouri before working in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Diego before an extended stint in Columbus, Ohio.

Daniels moved back to Shelbyville in March and officially started his new role this month. He announced his department’s first harm reduction initiative Wednesday – an outreach to collect 100 pounds of unused, expired or unnecessary prescription and non-prescription drugs in 100 days.

 

 

Through the end of the year, the department is partnering with Shelby County Coroner Brad Rund to take back 93,331 pills and tablets. That five-digit number reflects the number of American people who died in 2020 from drug-related overdoses.

Take back boxes are available locally at CVS and Walmart pharmacies, in the lobby of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and the Shelbyville Police Department, as well as at the Coroner’s office. MedWorks pharmacy also will be installing a take back box.

In addition, Daniels has partnered with Murphy Parks Funeral Services to collect medications from deceased loved ones and Blue Ridge Christian Church and Shelbyville Trinity UMC will provide information and mail-in take back bags at their sites.

Shelby Senior Services, Inc. also is releasing information to assist with the initiative.

Daniels’ career experience is invaluable to the city’s focus on helping its citizens, but his life experience – he is now is his 18th year of recovery from a methamphetamine addiction – will help him more closely relate to those in need.

“My role is to look at what are the best practices for communities like us nationwide,” said Daniels. “What works in major urban corridors may not work here, although I think there are some things we can learn from those efforts. And asking the folks who would use those services.

“I don’t want to build a homeless shelter if nobody who is homeless wants to go to a shelter. The solution might be in supportive housing. The solution might be in some sort of working with landlords and providing some sort of backstop for landlords that would make them feel better about renting to someone who has marginal employment. Or some cities have done tiny homes or trailer communities. The question is asking folks who are actually in that situation what are the solutions you need as well as talking to the folks who are in active addiction.”

Daniels visited the Shelby County Jail last week to collect data.

“I did a survey of every single person that was in the jail last week. That will get us some data about the prevalence of drug use and which drugs, and the prevalence of mental health and past trauma experiences,” he said. “What are the kinds of things we need? And what is the community response to this in terms of not just bricks and mortar, but how do we actively engage these folks rather than marginalize them?

“How do we engage them back into the community where they feel they are a part of the city? Where they feel they can give back to the community. That keeps folks in recovery a lot longer, if they have a purpose and a sense of belonging.”

Daniels is clear that he supports local law officials and the work they do. His goal is to provide more options than just a jail cell.

“We are in no way suggesting that we should just empty out the jail,” he said. “We are in no way suggesting that what the prosecutor and courts are doing is in any way incorrect. We are supportive of the work that they do. It’s my job to keep people from getting there in the first place and offering them the appropriate alternative.”

Building a homeless shelter is not necessarily the answer, according to Daniels. Not everyone wants assistance. But he is aware that there are very limited options for those finally ready to end a vicious cycle.

“There is no 24-hour crisis service,” he explained. “If the crisis you are having is at 3:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, maybe you can get in to see somebody at one of the facilities that is open 8-to-6. But that’s not when crises happen. They happen at 2:30 in the morning on a Saturday … in the rain. Right now, the only two places that are open are the emergency room and the jail. So what’s the solution to that?”

For more information, contact Michael Daniels at 317-398-6624 or email him at mdaniels@cityofshelbyvillein.com.

Honda begins Civic Hatchback production in Indiana; first time in America

Associates at the Indiana Auto Plant (IAP) Monday celebrated the start of mass production of the all-new 2022 Civic Hatchback at the Greensburg plant.

 

Honda has built Civic models in America since 1986, but this is the first time the Civic Hatchback has been built in the U.S.

 

A $50.2 million investment in IAP helped prepare the facility for mass production of the all-new version of Civic. The investment includes a building expansion for laser braze technology for the roof of the Civic Hatchback, the latest new model for the plant. Other new processes include a major increase in the use of high-performance structural adhesives for improved body rigidity and the application of acoustic spray foam to the Civic body structure for the first time for enhanced cabin quietness. 

 

IAP started production operations by building the Honda Civic in October 2008. As the first Honda plant in the U.S. to build the 2022 Civic Hatchback, this all-new model represents yet another production first for the Greensburg plant.  IAP also was the first Honda plant in the U.S. to build the Acura ILX (2012), Honda Insight (2019) and CR-V Hybrid (2020).

 

"We are proud the Indiana Auto Plant has been chosen to lead production in North America for an all-new model like the 2022 Civic Hatchback that is playing an increasingly important role in the U.S. market," said Larry Geise, plant lead at IAP. "Being selected to build the Civic Hatchback speaks to the experienced workforce we have here in Indiana and highlights the confidence Honda has in our associates to build the quality cars and light trucks our customers love."

 

Reintroduced to the U.S. market with the 10th-generation Civic in 2016, Civic Hatchback has proven itself a breakout hit and has grown to account for more than 20 percent of all Civic sales. With more than 1.7 million units sold in 10th generation form, Civic has been the No. 1 selling vehicle in America – car or light truck – with first-time buyers, Millennials, Gen Z and multicultural customers over the last five years1.

 

The 2022 Civic Hatchback builds upon the Civic Sedan's clean and simple exterior design direction in a fresh and exhilarating new way. It also promises driving enthusiasts an even more dynamic experience, with an upgraded 6-speed manual transmission available with both the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter and 1.5-liter turbocharged engines.

 

Manufacturing the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback

IAP is one of only two Honda plants globally currently producing the all-new 2022 Civic Hatchback.  Honda associates in Indiana leveraged their decade-plus of experience with Civic production to take on a number of new challenges to build the all-new 2022 Civic Hatchback.  This included new production technologies and processes.

  • Several IAP associates lived and worked in Japan for up to two years to collaborate with the R&D team and manufacturing associates from around the world who will build the all-new Civic.  This collaboration helped lead to changes in design and processes to make it easier for IAP associates to build Civic and achieve a high level of quality.
  • A new lightweight composite (resin) hatch replaces the previous steel structure, which contributes to a more coupe-like design and high fuel economy.  Associates at IAP used virtual training to develop the processes required to install the new hatchback, including a lift assist device to improve associate ergonomics when putting the tailgate in place.
  • IAP associates worked closely with Honda R&D team members to develop the strategy for application of structural adhesive to the Civic body to create the most rigid body ever for Civic Hatchback. The adhesive enhances safety and dynamic performance, reduces weight for fuel efficiency and increases cabin comfort. The solution created by IAP associates included investment in the installation of nine new robots to apply the adhesive.
  • Civic Hatchback features a laser brazed roof for the first time, employing Honda's latest dual beam laser technology to join the roof to the body side panels for a seamless exterior appearance and an even stronger vehicle body.  In addition to learning the new process, IAP associates devised a 57,600 sq. ft. expansion to make room for the new laser brazing equipment.
  • IAP is applying spray foam to hollow portions of the vehicle's body structure for the first time to reduce noise transmission for a quieter cabin. IAP associates studied the new hatchback design to identify where and how to apply the foam, resulting in the addition of new equipment and a critical change in the tailgate area to ensure high quality.
  • Honda's Anna Engine Plant in Anna, Ohio builds the 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine, while Honda of Canada Mfg. produces the 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

MHP Incident Command Covid - 19 update - September 21

MHP Priority Care and MHP Pediatrics walk-ins:  Walk-in volumes at both locations remain above normal.   

Emergency Department:  The Emergency Department saw 86 patients yesterday, which remains above our typical September volumes. 

Inpatient unit: Thirty-two of our 40 beds are occupied on our 3rd floor inpatient unit.     

  • We had four patients pass away on Friday and three of those deaths were due to Covid. 
  • We currently have eleven critical care patients on the 3rd floor and eight of those patients are due to Covid.  Of the eight Covid-related critical care patients, seven are unvaccinated.   
  • We have five patients on ventilators, plus eight additional patients that are on Vapotherm or BiPap.  Three of our five ventilated patients are due to Covid and none of those patients are vaccinated. 
  • Sixteen of our inpatients are Covid positive and twelve (75%) of those inpatients have not been vaccinated.   

Regeneron infusion:  We received 96 doses of Regeneron over the weekend, which should last us most of the week based on our previous burn rate.  Ten patients are scheduled to receive a Regeneron infusion so far today.       

Zaxby's set for Monday opening in Shelbyville

Zaxby’s, a casual restaurant that serves grilled and fried chicken with a wide variety of special sauces, arrives in Shelbyville September 27.

 

Franchise owner for Zaxby’s Shelbyville restaurant is Barred Rock, LLC, of Fishers, which also owns two Zaxby’s in Greenwood and one in Fishers. Barred Rock CEO Jeff Furlin says Shelbyville’s Zaxby’s is hiring 35 people, boosting to 100 the number of employees in the company’s four Central Indiana Zaxby’s.

 

Furlin obtained financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program to build the Shelbyville Zaxby’s. Lake City Bank and Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation provided the SBA 504 loan.

 

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local Indiana lenders to issue SBA 504 loans to help owners of expanding or startup small businesses buy real estate, buildings and equipment. SBA 504 loans offers small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.

 

Zaxby’s currently has over 900 restaurants in the U.S.

Southwestern school system to appeal mask mandate issued by Shelby County Commissioners

Following the Shelby County Commissioners approval of a mask mandate Monday morning, two Shelby County school districts publicly expressed their displeasure with the decision.

Southwestern Consolidated Schools superintendent Curtis Chase sent a letter to families in the school district Thursday and posted the letter to social media stating a plan to request an exemption from the mask mandate.

That will not happen at the next commissioners meeting slated for Monday morning at the Shelby County Annex. Southwestern is not on the agenda confirmed Kevin Nigh, president of the Shelby County Commissioners.

Chase stated in the letter, “We have reached out twice and requested information on the proper way to proceed as we also want this to be an opportunity to model for our students the proper procedure to follow if they are faced with a situation like this in the future they want to appeal.”

 

 

The mask mandate forced students and staff in all four Shelby County school systems – Shelbyville Central Schools, Northwestern Consolidated Schools, Southwestern Schools and Shelby Eastern Schools – to wear masks beginning Tuesday morning while inside buildings where social distancing cannot occur.

Chase stated Southwestern’s COVID-19 statistics as of Sept. 10 were 0.498% of students quarantined with a positive test and another 1.993% quarantined for close contact tracing.

Shelby Eastern Schools superintendent Dr. Todd Hitchcock released a letter Monday stating, “SES has tracked data on our positivity rate since we returned to school in the fall of 2020. To date, the overwhelming majority of our positive cases have been traced back to events not associated with school. While putting all students in a mask may make some feel better because of the extra precautions we are taking, we view it as the equivalent of prescribing a medicine that does not fit the symptom.”

The Public Health Order from the Shelby County Health Department came at a time when Major Health Partners Medical Center in Shelbyville is at full capacity due to a growing rate of COVID-19 cases. The mask mandate was enacted by the Shelby County Commissioners to last until at least Oct. 30, unless it is rescinded earlier.

As for contesting a Public Health Order, the school systems do not appear to have ground to stand on.

“I don’t know of any mechanism to appeal it other than to write a letter and ask,” said attorney Dennis Harrold, who represents both Southwestern and Shelbyville school systems. “I think you can express your concern and say we don’t think our school needs it. Other than that, it’s a situation where everybody has to deal with it. I don’t think there is a mechanism for appeal.”

Harrold added after Shelbyville Central’s school board meeting Wednesday night that he had discussed the situation with the county’s attorney, John DePrez.

“The schools can appeal the decision to the commissioners, and that is where we stand at the moment,” said DePrez Friday morning.

Shelbyville Central Schools board president Gayle Wiley opened the floor for public comment during Wednesday’s meeting but no one stepped forward to speak on the situation.

“The school has no power to change the mask mandate,” she said before allowing public comment. “The mandate is not a recommendation. It is an order from the county board of health and the county commissioners that does have the force of law for Shelby County. This board is committed to following the law.”

Northwestern Consolidated Schools superintendent Chris Hoke released a video message Monday following the ruling where he believed the Triton Central school system was in excellent shape with regard to COVID-19 cases but admitted the Public Health Order has to be followed.

One benefit to putting students back in masks is the relaxed quarantine rules set forth by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

On Sept. 8, Holcomb issued a new executive order that allows schools to alter quarantine protocols. As long as masks are worn by staff and students, students deemed in close contact do not have to quarantine.

Shelbyville High School only went to masks for all students Tuesday following the mandate. COVID-19 cases and close contract tracing have forced the school to cancel three straight varsity football games due to a lack of available players in the program.

Shelbyville’s athletic department expects the Golden Bears to be back on the playing field for a Sept. 24 home game against Yorktown.

Should a school system go rogue and not require students to wear masks while inside buildings and classrooms, the Shelby County Health Department would decide the process of enforcement, according to DePrez.

Major Health Partners’ latest Incident Command update Friday stated Indiana’s COVID-19 positivity rate has risen to 11.9% while Shelby County is at 12.8%.

MHP Priority Care is seeing approximately 70 urgent care patients per day with most presenting with COVID-like symptoms.

MHP is out of stock of Bamlanivimab and Regeneron, the drugs that were best treatment options in preventing COVID hospitalizations. There is no shipping date for a new supply.

All 40 inpatient beds on the third floor are full, including the Intensive Care Unit. There are 14 critical care patients, nine due to COVID-19.

There have been three COVID-19 related deaths in the last few days.

On Monday at 11 a.m., there will be a special meeting held virtually to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Shelby County. Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun does not believe there will be a public speaking session within the meeting but it provides an opportunity to hear from MHP as well as city and county officials.

The Zoom link is  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81640952890

Shelbyville Central Schools superintendent announces retirement plan

A shakeup is coming to Shelbyville Central Schools.

Superintendent Mary Harper (photo, center) announced her intention to retire following the completion of this school year.

As Shelby County’s largest school system searches for a new superintendent, Shelbyville Middle School principal Ryan Mikus will be preparing to become the district’s Director of Student Accountability.

SMS assistant principal Wes Hall will ascend to principal at the middle school and SMS athletic director Rex Olds will become the assistant principal.

Harper made her intentions public Wednesday night at the Shelbyville Central Schools monthly board meeting.

“I just have to say I am so lucky to be able to serve in the community where I live and I love,” said Harper. “The hardest part is leaving the people. Shelbyville has had so many dedicated educators and staff that care about kids, care about their families … this school board is so lucky.”

 

Shelbyville assistant principal Wes Hall, left, will become Shelbyville Middle School principal in 2022 after current principal Ryan Mikus, right, steps into a new role created by the district, Director of Student Accountability.

 

Mikus will start his new position on July 1, 2022.

“I will oversee a lot of the testing, state and national accountability regulations that they have in place for schools and corporations,” said Mikus after the meeting. “I will work with all the schools, not just the middle school, and not just with certain data. I will look at different assessments we have throughout the year and see what kind of practices we can do to support students based on the evidence we see.”

Leaving SMS will be tough he admitted, but the opportunity to analyze data to better the Shelbyville educational experience was a tremendous draw.

“I love data. I like seeing the proof and the evidence that what we are doing is working or what we need to do differently,” said Mikus. “I feel like the data and those numbers give us that evidence and objective so we can move forward and make better decisions to further instruction.”

The transition at SMS should go seamlessly with Hall and Olds having the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year to prepare for their new roles.

“Telling the staff got to me a little bit,” said Mikus, “but it is reassuring to know that the two guys following into the leadership positions will do a great job.”

Mosquito sample tests positive for West Nile in Shelby County

A Shelby County mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus.

 

The Shelby County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health test mosquitoes from different parts of the county periodically every summer. A mosquito sample recently taken in the northwest part of the city of Shelbyville has tested positive for West Nile. 

 

Robert Lewis with the Shelby County Health Department notes that we are approaching a critical period for potential transmission to humans throughout this month.  The substantial rainfall which we have experienced recently will result in adding significantly to the population of mosquitoes which are already out there.        

 

Recommendations for the appropriate use of repellents and elimination of breeding sites such as containers that hold water near homes do work, and when followed reduce human cases.

 

Thus far, no confirmed cases of human diseases, and no horse cases have been reported.

 

Two arrests in January AT&T store robbery in Shelbyville

An investigation into a January robbery at the Shelbyville AT&T store has resulted in two arrests.

The Shelbyville Criminal Investigations Division confirms two Marion County residents have been charged in the crime - Javenta Jmont Chapman, 21, and Andre Cherief Martin, 22.

The Shelbyville Police Department was assisted by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, Indiana State Police SWAT, and IMPD.

Investigators had been looking into robberies at other stores, including Greenfield, may be connected.

Shelby County Fairgrounds gets variance approval for electronic message center

The Shelby County Fairgrounds is getting a new electronic sign.

Green Sign Company of Greensburg, Indiana, will build the internally illuminated sign standing just over 13 feet tall and eight feet wide at the entrance of the Shelby County Fairgrounds, 500 Frank Street in Shelbyville.

The electronic message center will be four feet tall and eight feet wide and programmable for several individual messages.

A representative of Green Sign Company and Jeff Pruitt, president of the Shelby County Fair Board, appeared before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Tuesday night at City Hall to get approvals for two zoning variances regarding electronic messaging centers needed for the project.

Both variances were approved unanimously by the five-member BZA.

The electronic sign will replace the much larger, hand-operated message board that has been in existence since the mid- to late-1980s, according to Pruitt.

“It will be the first thing people see when they come into the fairgrounds,” said Pruitt. “We already have the money to pay for it. And we will use it for any kind of event we have at the fairgrounds.”

Pruitt stated the goal is to make the fairgrounds more user friendly which can help with the overall costs associated with the facility which serves as host for the annual Shelby County Fair.

“We want the fairgrounds to be used for any kind of event,” he said. “We are trying to grow it and let it be used for more than just the fair because you can’t support it with just the fair.”

The fairgrounds will host a truck and tractor pull Saturday night and a car show Sunday.

Veteran comedian closing tour with show at Strand Theatre

At 105 years old, the Strand Theatre has survived many things. The lingering COVID-19 pandemic is proving tough to overcome, though.

While sitting idle, the theatre has undergone much-needed repairs and is now prepped and readied for a big event.

Cue up Costaki Economopoulus.

The veteran comedian (photo) will finish off a nine-night tour through Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana with a show Saturday night at the Strand.

“I love that venue,” said Economopoulus. “It is such a great place. It’s going to be fun to work with Willie and help the Strand make some money.”

 

 

Economopoulus will be joined by comedian Willie G. (photo above), the son of Tom Griswold of the nationally-syndicated morning radio show “The Bob & Tom Show.”

“(The Strand) is such a cool space. It’s got some heart,” said Economopoulus. “I have never had anything short of a fantastic show in that space. It’s a great place to do stand up.”

Performing anywhere is a blessing, according to Economopoulus, who saw the entertainment industry, which includes the venues that host intimate shows, take a beating at the hands of COVID-19.

“This pandemic affected you so differently depending on what line of work you’re in,” he said. “When you talk to comics it was like the world had ended. They couldn’t do what they do. Restaurants, bars, the service industry, small venues were all brutalized.”

The Strand Theatre, around since 1916 in downtown Shelbyville, has survived and is ready to serve the community once again.

“It’s been more stressful trying to figure out how we are going to survive then it ever was getting started with nothing and building it,” said David Finkel, director of the Strand Theatre. “The stress is off the charts.

“We have been self supportive. We are in a model where the community has not had to support us, other than to show up. That’s pretty cool.”

Tickets are available for Saturday night’s show at https://strandpac.square.site.

The last time the Strand was alive for a large event was a hip-hop concert in February of 2020.

 

 

Economopoulus admitted he was in denial when the pandemic first took hold of the United States.

“The first couple of weeks of March I refused to accept that I would have to cancel every gig in my calendar,” he said. “It was a hard pill to swallow.”

So Economopoulus packed his family up and left Los Angeles to return to the family’s roots in the southeastern part of the country and lived a simple life. He would continue to make radio appearances and book an occasional corporate Zoom meeting.

“It was not great but it was better than nothing,” he said. “And the Zoom shows were psychologically good for me to know I was still funny. I needed those as benchmarks in my arc of getting my head together.”

Economopoulus has returned to the stage with a new act that has been refined as his rapid fire tour progresses.

“I’m doing a new hour … shaking off the rust and building a new show,” he said. “I’ve been very happy with how this week has gone. I’ve been off the road for over a year so for me, it’s nice to be back out.”

While the Strand sat empty, the stage was rebuilt to make it level from front to rear. And a new dressing room was built below it.

“As we have said, we have made lemonade out of lemons,” said Finkel of utilizing the down time to make a major change to the stage area. “We would never have been able to do that.”

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Finkel has halted booking efforts for the remainder of 2021 and early 2022 to see what the future holds.

“It takes a lot of savvy as a theatre owner and operator to understand what moves to make,” said Finkel. “Do you book or do you not book? Do you open or do you not open? Do you error on the side of safety and health? Do you error on the side of safety financially? Do you error on the side of safety organizationally?”

Masks will not be mandatory for patrons Saturday night. Finkel stated the staff will wear masks as a safety precaution.

“We are here and we are ready,” said Finkel.

Southwestern school system may challenge mask mandate set by Shelby County Commissioners

Word traveled quickly to Southwestern Consolidated Schools Superintendent Curtis Chase about Monday morning’s resolution approval by the Shelby County Commissioners.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to approve a resolution requiring all Shelby County schools to mask up students and staff again in an effort to quell the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Following a Public Health Order from the Shelby County Health Department, students and staff inside school buildings must wear masks starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The resolution is in effect until Oct. 30.

Chase believes his school system does not have enough COVID-19 cases to cause the need to return to masks inside the school’s two buildings.

“Our teachers in our corporation have done a great job putting protective measures in place to cut down on this,” said Chase Monday afternoon. “I’m proud of what we’ve done here and I’m proud of our data.”

In a letter sent to families in the school corporation and posted on social media, Chase listed as of Friday 0.498% of the students in the corporation were under quarantine with a positive COVID-19 test. Another 1.993% were in quarantine for close contact.

There are no documented or confirmed cases that have been traced to being transmitted in our corporation during the school day, wrote Chase in the letter.

The School Board of Trustees and Chase believe the mask mandate approved Monday morning is not in the best interest of students at Southwestern. Fact finding is underway to challenge the resolution.

“I’m in charge of keeping kids as safe as possible,” said Chase. “It should be a local decision.”

Students will have masks with them Tuesday morning, according to Chase, and will be wearing them when they cannot maintain proper social distance.

 

 

Northwestern Consolidated Schools Superintendent Chris Hoke posted a video message on social media Monday afternoon stating teachers will be handing out masks Tuesday morning in the school system.

Plastic face shields will not be deemed acceptable, Hoke noted.

Triton Central students currently in quarantine but asymptomatic can return to school. TC officials will be in contact with those students to mitigate their return date.

“There are valid arguments on both sides of this mask mandate,” said Hoke in the video. “There is a justifiable concern that any mitigation effort, by that I mean masking, that is not implemented county wide, meaning everyone, everywhere, all the time, and done with fidelity, meaning enforced and enacted without fail, is little more than a gesture that will have no actual measurable impact on the community’s spreading or the crisis at Major Health.

“What’s without debate, we will honor this mandate from the commissioners just as we have honored all other legally-issued orders throughout this pandemic. In short, it’s the law and we will adhere to it.”

Shelbyville cancels HHC football game at Greenfield-Central

For the third week in a row, Shelbyville High School will not play a varsity football game.

The Golden Bears’ Hoosier Heritage Conference contest Friday at Class 4A, No. 14 Greenfield-Central (2-2) has been canceled. Shelbyville’s “C” football game on Monday with Greenfield-Central also has been canceled.

COVID-19 positive cases and contact tracing within the school has stripped the football team’s roster of available athletes. Head coach Brian Glesing said 14 players, sophomores through seniors, were at the Golden Bears’ last practice Thursday. While he was sitting in his office Friday afternoon preparing to head out for the weekend, he got a text from another football player stating that he had received a contact tracing letter.

With more than half of the varsity players either having COVID-19, in contact tracing protocols or injured, the decision was made to cancel Friday’s game.

If the situation improves throughout this week, Shelbyville plans to return to McKeand Stadium on Sept. 24 against Yorktown. Homecoming festivities are to take place that night.

Shelbyville won its first football game in three years on Aug. 27 to even its record at 1-1. That led to an energetic Saturday morning after the win and a solid week of practice in preparation for the Delta game on Sept. 3.

“It’s tough. It’s not fair to anybody,” said Glesing Friday. “It’s not fair to our kids. It’s not fair to us. It’s not fair to our students. It’s not fair to the other teams were playing. I feel for them as well.”

Glesing believes the Golden Bears are handling the situation as best as they can.

“Our kids have been pretty resilient,” he said. “I’ve laid it out to them that it is out of our control. I feel sorry for our seniors. For the first time in their football careers they have some momentum, people pumping them up in school a little bit, and they got put on pause.”

Shelby County schools required to mask up as COVID-19 cases spike

In conjunction with a Public Health Order issued by the Shelby County Health Department, the Shelby County Commissioners approved through a 2-1 vote Monday morning to require masks in all county-owned facilities and require all students and staff in Shelby County schools to return to wearing masks in indoor settings effective Tuesday at 8 a.m.

The resolution stays in effect until Oct. 30, unless rescinded before the end of October. The resolution also could be extended past Oct. 30 if COVID-19 statistics do not improve locally.

“The numbers … our positivity rate is so high,” said Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Nigh as to why the mandate was issued. “The hospital is full. I felt strongly that we needed to do something.”

The City of Shelbyville issued a mask mandate for all city-owned buildings Wednesday at a Common Council meeting.

The number of COVID-19 cases have been on the rise around the state of Indiana with many hospitals around central Indiana reaching maximum capacity.

Major Health Partners of Shelbyville reported today that all 40 inpatient beds are now occupied, 17 are critical care patients and 11 are on ventilators.

The walk-in volumes at Priority Care, MHP Pediatrics and MHP Family & Internal Medicine have been much higher than normal in September.

As of noon Monday, Shelby County’s 7-day positivity rate is 13.4%. Shelby County has reported 6,107 cases and 105 deaths since the pandemic started in early 2020, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Shelby County students completed the 2020-2021 school year with a mask mandate in place.  All four school systems opened for the 2021-2022 school year with masks optional for students and staff.

That will change Tuesday morning.

Shelbyville High School has canceled its past two football games due to COVID-19 cases within the program as well as contact tracing throughout the school.

In its weekly update Friday, Shelbyville Central Schools noted there were 45 cases of COVID-19 reported to the district during the week of Sept. 6.

Twenty of those cases were from Shelbyville High School. Eleven more were from the middle school and 14 were in the three elementary schools.

Nigh cited the need to protect students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

“I felt this would be something of a little more protection for (the students) and to get our overall numbers to turn around,” he said.

Nigh and fellow commissioner Chris Ross approved the resolution. Commissioner Don Parker voted against the resolution.

Edinburgh man died in Sunday car accident

An Edinburgh man was killed in a Sunday I-65 car accident.

 

Just before 2:00 pm, Bartholomew County deputies responded to a traffic accident at the 69.5 mile marker on I-65 northbound.

 

The accident involved one vehicle which resulted in one fatality.  Richard Campbell, 65, of Edinburgh, was pronounced deceased at the scene due to injuries sustained in the crash.

 

This investigation is ongoing, however it is believed that reckless driving may have played a factor based on the alleged driving behavior of the victim.

 

Assisting agencies included CRH EMS, Columbus Township Fire Department, Columbus Police Department and Indiana State Police.

Shelbyville's Blue River Dental celebrates 20 years in business

20 years have passed for Blue River Dental.  A cause for celebration held recently with an outdoor party and open house at their Shelbyville North Riley Highway location.

 

Dr. Carrie Pumphrey looks back to the beginning of Blue River Dental.

 

 

Dr. Betsy Crandall says their current location, moved into years ago, is a great site.

 

 

Dr. Pumphrey says the technology of their profession leads to change that went beyond their college days.

 

 

Any business open as long as 20 years will start to see patients younger generation family members

 

 

 

 

Columbus man arrested in the death of his girlfriend after remains found in Bartholomew Co.

Human remains found in Bartholomew County are those of a Columbus woman.

 

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting announced the findings of the autopsy as the remains identified as Heather Ann Steuver, 37, of Columbus.  The remains were found in a shallow grave just off of 400 N. between U.S. 31 and River Rd. 

 

“The Coroner’s Office has ruled cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head and manner of death to be homicide," stated Coroner Clayton Nolting.

 

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office had taken a missing person’s report on August 26 for Steuver.  The report was assigned to Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Detective Kevin Abner.  As the investigation was worked by Abner, he indicated that he thought there were suspicious circumstances around Steever’s disappearance.  

 

As the investigation continued Det. Abner talked with Steuver’s boyfriend, Patrick Even David Doyle, 38, of Columbus.  After Abner spoke with Doyle and additional information was gathered, Doyle was preliminarily charged with Possession of Child Pornography - a Level 5 Felony.

 

 

At that time a 48-hour hold, with no bond, was placed on Doyle after the arrest on September 9.  As the investigation went forward, deputies went to the area where the human remains were recovered.  As a result of information obtained by Det. Abner, and Coroner Nolting's findings from the autopsy of Steuver, Patrick Even David Doyle was preliminarily charged with the murder of Steuver.

 

“Doyle is in the Bartholomew County Jail, not only with a preliminary charge of child pornography, he also faces a preliminary charge of Murder,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers. 

 

Doyle has also been placed on a 72-hour hold, without bond, as the investigation is completed and sent to the Bartholomew County Prosecutor's Office. Detective Abner had been working with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long after the human remains were located.   

 

Major Lane also praised the work done by Detective Abner during this investigation. 

 

“Abner put in long hours and worked diligently to obtain this result," added Major Lane.

 

 

Rush County wants to partner with internet providers for improved service

Recognizing the acute need for accessible, reliable and affordable internet service for all of Rush County, the Board of Commissioners issued a Request for Proposals (RFP).

Monies are being earmarked to assist internet providers who will partner with the county. Due October 22, 2021, the RFP was prepared by the Rush County Connect Broadband Task Force. Details of the requirements and submittal procedures can be found at rushcounty.in.gov/broadband, rushcountybroadband.com, or by an email request to broadbandconnect@rushcounty.in.gov.


Rush County is a ready partner, having spent the past two years working with Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) laying solid groundwork for improvement. Rush was the first county in Indiana with a fully-imagined Five-Year Digital Inclusion plan. The plan was developed by a 19-member taskforce and considers factors of accessibility and the “digital divide,” in addition to necessary infrastructure improvements to bring broadband access affordably to all residents.

 

According to Roberto Gallardo, PhD, director of PCRD, “Increasing access to affordable broadband and fostering digital skills is expected to be economically transformative for rural communities like Rush County. “


Rush County has been designated as a Broadband Ready Community by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). This means that Rush County has taken steps to facilitate broadband infrastructure improvements by removing barriers to permits and development.


Recent surveys conducted with GEO Partners LLC collected data from Rush County residents about their broadband speeds. Maps displayed in GIS layers have been created and record real-time internet speed data accurately pinpointing areas in the most need and those who are not served at the level promised.

 

Broadband task force co-chair, Mark McCorkle says, “This data has been particularly important to document unserved/underserved areas, highlighting the gaps in broadband service. Rush County must have better connectivity to sustain and thrive.”


About Rush County Connect Broadband Task Force Rush County Connect Broadband Task Force is an all-volunteer group working with providers, community leaders, organizations, businesses, local government, and residents to improve internet access and digital literacy throughout Rush County. Our vision is for every home and business in Rush County to have accessible, reliable, and affordable internet access and be able to fully participate in a digital economy and society.


Contact Rush County Connect Broadband Task Force
For more information about Rush County Connect Broadband Task Force, visit us on Facebook or contact Carole Yeend, co-chair, at (317) 407-3221 or broadbandconnect@rushcounty.in.gov

Shelby County Incident Command update - September 10

MHP Priority Care and MHP Pediatrics walk-ins:  Yesterday was the first day in the last several days where our walk-in volumes were not busting at the seams at Priority Care, MHP Pediatrics and MHP Family & Internal Medicine. Volumes remain much higher than our typical norms, but not as high as they have been the last two weeks. 

 

Emergency Department:  The Emergency Department is averaging 81 patients per day since September 1.  In the last 7 days, we are averaging 79 patients per day.

 

Inpatient unit:  We have two available inpatient beds on the 3rd floor at this time. 

  • We currently have 14 critical care patientson the 3rd floor and 7patients are on ventilators, plus several more patients that are currently on high levels of oxygen.Of the 7 patients on a ventilator, 5 of those patients are due to Covid. 
  • 18 of our inpatients are Covid positive and 13 of those inpatients are unvaccinated. 

Employee illness:  We have a total of 10 employees out with Covid or suspected Covid at this time.  5 employees have returned to work after completing their quarantine period. 

 

Regeneron supply:  We have 31 remaining doses of Regeneron at this time and this drug is currently on allocation. We have 70 remaining doses of the Eli Lilly infusion drug.We performed 115 infusions last week and 81 so far this week. 

 

Testing results:  Between 8/29 and 9/4, MHP has had 209unique patients test positive for Covid.  183 of those patients wereunvaccinated (88%), 18 patients were fully vaccinated (9%), and 8 patients had received at least one dose of the vaccine (4%).  This data does not include individuals who were tested at the Shelby County Health Department or any other testing location.

 

MHP Foundation:  Want to help or buy lunch for MHP front line staff members? Monetary gifts are greatly appreciated.  Gifts can be made online at https://www.mymhp.org/gift or by contacting Angela Gill at agill@majorhospital.org.

 

Your gift may be used to purchase personal protection equipment, disinfecting supplies, testing/medical supplies, meals and other support for staff, assistance for patients with unmet Covid-19 related needs, and more.

 

Remains found in shallow grave in Bartholomew County

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s detectives, along with the Columbus Police Department, Indiana State Police, and the Bartholomew Co. Coroner’s Office are investigating a find of suspected human remains. The remains were found in a shallow grave just off of 400 N. between U.S. 31 and River Rd.

 

The remains were removed from the location and turned over to the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office for further investigation.  An autopsy is scheduled for 2:30 pm Friday for identification and cause of death.  

 

The location of these remains occurred during an investigation of a missing person’s report.  Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Detective Kevin Abner is lead investigator.

 

The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the mentioned agencies and offices. They are also being assisted by Indiana Conservation Officers and the Columbus Township Fire Department. 

 

Bartholomew County Road 400 N between U.S. 31 and River Rd. was closed for multiple hours while the scene was being processed.  

Council extends mask mandate for all city facilities until Oct. 12

Following a plea from Major Health Partners, the City of Shelbyville has instituted a mask mandate in all city-controlled facilities.

Shelbyville mayor Tom DeBaun asked the Common Council at Wednesday night’s meeting at City Hall to extend an executive order for a mask mandate until Oct. 12.

“We are hearing pleas of assistance from our healthcare professionals, our pediatricians, and the (Shelby County) health officer, Dr. (Chris) Loman,” said DeBaun. “They have asked that we consider a mask mandate in city facilities. The county, I believe, will be doing the same thing at their meeting next week.”

Vaccinated or not, those entering city facilities must again wear a mask.

According to Major Health Partners incident command update Wednesday, Shelby County’s COVID-positivity rate has increased to 15.2%.

Priority care is averaging 70 walk-in patients per day; the emergency department is averaging 80 patients per day since Aug. 1. There are 17 critical care patients at MHP with nine on ventilators. There have been six deaths since Saturday, five due to COVID-19.

In other Common Council business Wednesday, ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds were approved, which includes funding for the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program.

 

 

M/I Homes’ representatives Brian Touhy and Tim Westerfield appeared before the council to discuss a new housing subdivision adjacent to Timber Creek Village Assisted Living, 990 Progress Parkway (photo above).

The 53-acre project needs to be rezoned and annexed into the city. Once that is completed, the plan is to build 162 single-family homes ranging from 1,500-to-3,000 square feet with an average price of $300,000.

The project will be formally presented to the Plan Commission at its next meeting, Sept. 27 at Breck Auditorium at Shelbyville High School.

The council voted 4-1 to dissolve the Northwest Shelby County Regional Sewer District, created in the summer of 2012, a move first enacted by the Shelby County Commissioners in late August. Despite a plea from Jeremy Miller, president of the Northwest Shelby County Regional Sewer District, for more time to discuss options with Indiana American Water, a vote was held.

Councilman Tyson Conrady was the lone vote against the resolution. Councilman Rob Nolley and councilwoman Joanne Bowen were not in attendance at the meeting Wednesday.

The council also annexed a five-acre piece of property at 1842 West 450 North, near the Indiana Grand casino, and the Zinser property along Amos Road just south of the Golden Bear Preschool.

Water set to flow once again through Julius Joseph Fountain

Nearly 100 years after its original installation in downtown Shelbyville, the Julius Joseph Fountain, now fully refurbished and modernized, will come back to life in the next few days.

“The fountain is installed and completed and we will fire it up Friday or Monday and run it for about a month then shut it back down again for winter,” said Tom Davis, of Genesis Property Development, to the Redevelopment Commission Wednesday night at City Hall.

Upon Joseph’s death in 1921, the German immigrant who was successful in the local furniture business left a $5,000 gift to the city to build a fountain.

That fountain became operational in 1923 and lasted until 1951 when it fell into disrepair and was dismantled. The fountain returned to downtown Shelbyville in 1980 and has served as the centerpiece of the Public Square since then.

As part of a massive downtown redevelopment project, the fountain was completely refurbished and the base was rebuilt to resemble the original version in 1923, along with street lights that run along the side of what is now a center island.

“It’s up and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s pretty neat to see something that is 100 years old standing and looks pretty new,” said Davis.

 

 

Traffic can now flow north and south through the Public Square (photo above) and access to West Washington St. is now possible.

The Balser statue will be returning in the coming days, according to Davis, and flags will be added to the three flag poles already standing.

Work continues on the east two quadrants of the Public Square with the goal of being finished by Thanksgiving.

The biggest issue holding up completion will be deliveries from vendors.

“The only issue we have right now is limestone delivery,” said Davis. “We have a single-source supplier, they are basically the only one that produces this limestone and we are the largest job they have on their books, and they are struggling to get us enough limestone on a weekly basis and staying ahead of us.

“We have a plan. We have had them schedule deliveries all the way through the first of November, which is about 10 more limestone semi deliveries. We know what we need to do but the Thanksgiving date is going to be real close. If we have good weather, we will make it by 100 percent.”

Davis was asked by RDC board member Sam Terrell about traffic flow through the downtown area. Davis admitted there is a traffic backup during the late afternoon rush hour but traffic is moving along at a reasonable pace.

The traffic lights at the intersection of Broadway and Harrison streets are controlled by the state. To adjust the timing of the lights to move more traffic through the intersection from north to south, and vice versa, that will have to come through the state, according to Davis.

In other Redevelopment Commission business Wednesday, an agreement with Mainstreet Shelbyville, Inc. was approved to set up a fund to assist downtown businesses purchase outdoor furniture.

“This is to encourage updating (furniture) and get a more consistent look throughout, not exactly the same, but nice furniture,” said city attorney Jennifer Meltzer.

Mainstreet Shelbyville will approve all the purchases, according to Meltzer. How the furniture is set up outdoors will go through the Board of Works or the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, especially concerning bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Shelby County Incident Command update - September 8

The Shelby Co Covid positivity rate has increased to15.2% according to the Indiana State Department of Health.https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/2393.htmIndiana’s overall positivity rate is 11.6%. 

 

MHP Priority Care and MHP Pediatrics walk-ins:Priority Care continues to average over 70walk-in patients per day.  MHP Pediatrics had 31 walk-in patients in the first 90 minutes of being open this morning and is on pace to see over 100 walk-ins by the end of the day. 

 

Emergency Department:  The Emergency Department is averaging80 patients per day since August 1.In the last 7 days, we are averaging 82 patients per day.

 

Inpatient unit: We have one available inpatient bed on the 3rd floor at this time.  Our inpatient Ambulatory Care Center beds are also filling.  We currently have 17 critical care patientson the 3rd floor and 9patients are on ventilators, plus several more patients that are currently on high levels of oxygen.  We have had 6 deaths since Saturday (9/4) and 5 of those were due to Covid.

 

Employee illness:  We have a total of 6 employees out with Covid or suspected Covid at this time.

 

Regeneron supply:  We have 91 remaining doses of Regeneron at this time and this drug is currently on allocation. 

Shelbyville High School cancels another football game due to COVID-19

Shelbyville High School’s football team will not play for a second straight week due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases within the program.

Shelbyville’s Hoosier Heritage Conference game Saturday afternoon at New Castle has been canceled.

The Golden Bears did not host Delta Friday night because of positive COVID-19 cases, in addition to contact tracing protocols, within the program.

The fate of Shelbyville’s week five game at Greenfield-Central on Sept. 17 is not yet determined.

There is no timeline in place for when the football program will play again this season, according to Shelbyville athletic director Jennifer DeMuth Hensley. There will be another meeting Friday to discuss the program’s health.

No other Shelbyville athletic events have been canceled because of COVID-19 within the Shelbyville student body.

Saturday’s game at New Castle and Monday night’s junior varsity football game are cancelled, though.

There also are positive cases within both soccer programs but no cancellations have been made as of early Wednesday afternoon.

Shelby Eastern updates Covid policy; no mask mandate at this time

Shelby Eastern Schools does not plan to mandate mask wearing in schools at this time.  Superintendent Todd Hitchcock did record a video with Covid policy updates for the district.

 

The policy information will be made available on the Shelby Eastern website.

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