Community News Archives for 2020-02

Motorists urged to drive sober for St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA tournament

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. That’s the importantreminder coming from Shelby County Traffic Safety Partnership with two of the heaviest drinking events of the year around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament.


All throughout March, officers will be conducting overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints to prevent dangerous and impaired driving.


This is part of a statewide enforcement campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.


“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court presstargeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Sheriff Louie Koch “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others. It’s simple: If you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”


According to ICJI, in March of 2019, there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana, resulting in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes (15 percent) and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.


“St. Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the, biggest drinking days of the year,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “If you’re out celebrating, make the right choice and find a sober driver to get you, and your friends, home safely. Luck won’t keep you out of jail if you’re caught driving under the influence.”


Impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March, according to ICJI. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and something the Shelby County Traffic Safety Partnership officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.


The following list includes several safety tips toprevent impaired driving this March.


  • Before the celebration begins, plan a safe way home.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
  • If you do drink, use a taxi, public transportation, ridesharing service or designate a sober friend or family member, and give them your keys.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help make arrangements to get them home safely.


Click here to watch a video that features aSt. Patrick’s DayDrive Sober or Get Pulled Oversafety message.

VASIA featured on Chamber Chat on GIANT fm

Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Incapacitated Adults, or VASIA, is now available in Shelby County.


The program featured in this edition of Chamber Chat.



DOR's call volume reduced on Wednesdays and Thursdays

Need to call the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) to figure out a tax issue? Try Thursdays.

While DOR’s customer service specialists are here to help any weekday during this busy time of year, the day with the lowest call volume is Thursday, followed by Wednesday.


Need to call sooner? DOR suggests calling early in the day. Customers who call between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday, often experience lower wait times.


“Providing best-in-class customer service to Hoosiers is a top priority for the DOR team,”


commented DOR Commissioner Bob Grennes. “Sharing the best days and times to call is just another way we strive to provide high-quality service and improve the customer experience.”


Customers with questions about individual income tax, may call DOR Customer Service at 317-232-2240, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., EST.


Customers also have additional options to contact DOR including:

  • Visit a DOR office – get assistance from customer service specialists in one of DOR’s 12 district office locations throughout the state during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., local time.
  • Email DOR – send an email. All questions are addressed within four business days. The form to send an email is available at
  • Follow DOR on social media– search @INRevenue on all social media platforms to find the latest DOR news, updates, helpful customer tips and get questions answered on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

DOR strives for continuous improvement of all programs and processes.  If a customer has feedback or has trouble finding an answer to their question, it is encouraged they submit their feedback using DOR’s online customer feedback portal at


For more information on the individual income tax season, visit DOR’s website at

Indiana seeking 10-year extension of Healthy Indiana Plan

  The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has submitted its application for a 10-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan, the state’s Medicaid alternative program for low-income, non-disabled adults.


This week, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified FSSA that it has completed its preliminary review of the application, which prompts the start of a 30-day federal public comment period.


The Healthy Indiana Plan was first launched to a limited number of Hoosiers in 2008 and expanded to cover any eligible adult in 2015 as an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion.


Today, HIP provides crucial health insurance coverage and access to quality care and services to more than 400,000 Hoosiers. Typically, the state’s waiver to renew HIP is reviewed and approved every three to four years. For the first time, Indiana is pursuing a historic 10-year waiver, allowing key staff to spend more time operating and continually improving HIP so that it meets its goals, such as helping members manage their own health coverage and make choices as consumers of health care.


With this waiver application, Indiana solidifies its commitment to HIP as the model for health coverage reform in Indiana for the foreseeable future. Therefore, FSSA does not have plans to seek a Medicaid block grant at this time. Last month, CMS announced new options for states to seek waivers to innovative adult health coverage programs similar to the way Indiana has done with HIP.


“We are focused on the renewal of our existing waiver, which already contains many of the elements CMS recently encouraged states to pursue,” said Jennifer Sullivan, M.D., M.P.H., FSSA secretary. “While we’re excited that the recently announced program may help other states discover new avenues for health reform within their Medicaid programs, we feel the model we already have is the right one for Indiana.”


The extension request asks CMS to approve HIP through December 2030, locking in the plan that the state has achieved through a decade of data analysis, member and stakeholder feedback, and external reviews. In the current request, Indiana is asking for more flexibility in the contributions and copayments assessed, subject to capped amounts. The state is also asking to extend newer components of HIP, such as treatment for substance use disorder and serious mental illness, for five years.


FSSA also has an application pending with CMS to establish a new program to complement HIP, the HIP Workforce Bridge. HIP Workforce Bridge is designed to financially support HIP members who are transitioning to employer insurance or other health coverage. 


Anyone wishing to provide comments on the HIP waiver application can do so at this link on where it is posted for a 30-day federal public comment period.

Shelbyville resident interns at Henry County history museum

Shelbyville resident and Ball State University history student Emma Brauer will run an entire museum for a day as part of her capstone internship. 


From January to April, the senior is interning full time at the Henry County Historical Society Museum in New Castle, Indiana, fusing her myriad academic focuses: a major in history, concentration in public history, and minors in anthropology and historic preservation.


At the museum, she’s busy coordinating Museum Day, which is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and grants visitors free admission from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 4. Brauer also is building a professional presentation to showcase in front of the historical society board members, and preparing for the museum’s March annual opening, which will include a new Henry County music exhibit and entertaining events.


Most exciting, Brauer is in training to run the museum during opening hours for a day nearing the end of her internship. As part of her internship final, she’s building an intricate historical narrative about Catherine Winters, who was 9 years old when she disappeared in New Castle, Indiana, in 1913. She was never found.


“To transfer my skills from Ball State to the museum I’m so passionate about is rewarding and invigorating,” Brauer said. “I’m further growing as a historian and learning more than I could have expected.”


While Ball State and the museum are developing her passion, her love for history ultimately started thanks to a special teacher at Triton Central High School: Doug Johnson. He taught her that history is the basis of humankind and motivated her to travel to the places she was studying to observe history up close.


“Both professionally and personally, I’ve been empowered through my past and now my present by studying what I love,” Brauer said. “I hope the results of my passion will inspire and motivate people.”


The history buff’s dream includes working at an Indiana museum before pursuing a doctoral degree. She’s striding closer to those career goals through the internship in her final semester at Ball State.


“I’m so grateful for the various Ball State classes, empowering professors, and immersive learning experiences that have led me to this point in my career,” she said. 

Ivy Tech Community College receives $8 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment has made an $8 million grant to the Ivy Tech Foundation to support Ivy Tech Community College’s new statewide Career Coaching and Employer Connection (CCEC) program. This new, more strategic approach will emphasize comprehensive career readiness practices working alongside academic preparation throughout a student’s college experience. The new approach will transform Ivy Tech’s current Career Development structure and programs to focus on intentional career advising and employer engagement.


“We are extremely grateful and honored for the investment the Lilly Endowment has made in Ivy Tech and our students,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said. “We have heard employers and have designed this program to ensure our graduates leave Ivy Tech career-ready, enter into available high-value, high-demand careers within local industry, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

The new career and employer-related support infrastructure is based on the study of best practices from 2- and 4-year institutions across America and in collaboration with Ascend Indiana, the talent and workforce development initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Ivy Tech and Ascend evaluated the current employer experience with a series of employer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, and employer stakeholder discussions with industry partners representing Indiana’s high-demand, high-wage economic sectors. Employers expressed a desire to find meaningful ways to partner with Ivy Tech to hire talent and to engage with students, and expressed a high level of interest in industry-targeted career fairs, mentorships, resume reviews, mock interviews, and coordinated high school visits.


“Lilly Endowment is impressed with the quality of thought and planning that has resulted in this strategic new approach to help Ivy Tech’s students prepare for and find meaningful careers in Indiana,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “As Indiana’s community college network, Ivy Tech plays a pivotal role in helping its more than 160,000 students prepare for fulfilling careers and in helping ensure that Indiana employers have qualified employees so that their businesses can prosper in Indiana. We are especially pleased that Ivy Tech developed its new approach with much input from Indiana employers.”


Students will have a markedly different experience within this new approach. Each goal and supporting structure along the student pathway will align with best practice research and will be intentionally incorporated to help students secure meaningful career and wage outcomes. In direct response to students’ insights during focus groups, career readiness activities will be required and inextricably intertwined with students’ academic plans and coursework.


“Ivy Tech is an incredibly important institution for our state’s economic vitality,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “Their commitment to applying best practices to more effectively meet the needs of their students and employers is commendable. We are excited to work alongside Ivy Tech to integrate into their strategy the Ascend Network, a unique platform that uses software and a team of Ascend staff to guide students through their internship and job search process, and connect them with employers across the state.”


Each student will have a required career action plan that has iterative milestones every 15 credit hours, including resume development, interview preparation, employer engagement, and embedded “work and learn” experiences within their career focus.


“As the state’s Community College we are focused on aligning our programs with the needs of our state’s workforce,” Ivy Tech Senior Vice President for Workforce and Career Chris Lowery said. “This grant will help provide the resources needed to help guide our students into careers which are needed most in Indiana, both today and in the future.”


The most significant anticipated outcomes will be tied to Ivy Tech’s five-year metrics, including movement of student completions to high-wage, high-demand programs, and wages earned after graduation. Additionally, as Ivy Tech better supports students in career readiness, post-graduation results will attract students to programs related to high-wage, high-demand career paths.


Implementation of these strategies will result in a clear and meaningful pathway for students to and through Ivy Tech that equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive. Skilled graduates will enter high-demand, high-wage careers, ultimately enhancing the Hoosier workforce, economy, and communities across the state.


The College will roll out the new model through a phased approach over four years. The first phase commenced last fall with six campuses: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend/Elkhart, Kokomo, Sellersburg, and Madison. Student-facing activities will begin in the spring of 2020.


Ivy Tech will receive $5 million over the first three years of the grant and is eligible to receive an additional $3 million contingent on Ivy Tech securing at least $3 million for the new approach from other external sources.


In addition to Lilly Endowment, Ivy Tech has received support to establish CCEC from several other organizations that include: Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Glick Fund, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Garatoni-Smith Family Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and Salesforce.