Thursday, February 28, 2019

Beech Grove welcomes new centenarian club member

Beech Grove, IN (February 28, 2019) IBG — One hundred years ago, on February. 23, 1919, Viola Arnold was born. It was a different age. The president was Woodrow Wilson. Congress had just passed an act to establish the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Women could now vote. A gallon of gas was $0.25 a gallon and a dozen eggs were $0.55. Future baseball player, Jackie Robinson was born, as was Nat King Cole. A “dingbat” was a stupid person, the Adventures of Ruth played in the movie theaters and the names Mary, Helen and Dorothy were just a few of the popular baby names for the time.

Saturday, Feb. 23, saw the Altenheim Senior Living facility’s reception hall decked out in long tables, balloons, chocolates and cakes, celebrating longtime Franklin Township’s resident guest of honor, Viola Arnold. The birthday girl marveled at the attention as longtime friends, family and church members steadily made their entrance to congratulate her upon reaching this milestone. “To me, it just feels like another day,” she stated, with a smile upon her face. “It’s no big thing, but it is, I guess. So far, I’ve been able to remember things fairly well, but I’ve noticed I’ve been getting a little bit less sharp.”

Remembering a close-knit community Back in the day, Franklin Township and Wanamaker was a close-knit community. Family members remained close. Everyone knew everybody. There were no strangers. “My maiden name was Rode. My great-grandparents emigrated from Germany. They had a business downtown … a livery stable where they boarded horses,” Viola recollected. “They bought this piece of ground out in Franklin Township and built a log cabin (where the present-day Hanna Haunted Acres sits). This farm finally came down to my mother and father. That’s where we lived.” In time, her father passed and her mother had a stroke. Her four brothers and one sister took care of their mother at the farm until her last days.

Viola was no longer a child, having worked at a couple of insurance agencies until landing a job at a factory on the Southside that produced tubes for jet engines — Tube Processing Corp.

“I retired to care for my mom,” she said. “We sold the farm when my mother died. There were six of us … if there had only been one or two, we might have kept it.” 

Viola and her brothers moved into homes close, along Hanna Street. Her sister moved to Edgewood Avenue.

Time marched on. Viola has lived in Altenheim since January 2017. Prior to that, she resided at other assisted living facilities, finally deciding she needed more long-term help, resulting in the move to Altenheim. Her son, John Arnold, reflected upon his parent’s history. “My parents grew up in church together. They had a few dates before World War II and then dad went to war. After he came back, they got married around 1947.” John smiled as his eyes looked back on precious memories. “I was going through mom’s stuff and found old letters between them written back and forth during the war.” Those are certainly keepers!

John’s dad and Viola’s husband, Harold Arnold, died in 1988. As guests milled about the room, ate cake, and reflected upon numerous photos of another time and place, Viola was busy entertaining her guests. She was busy! Driven by faith “I think my faith drives me. I was born and baptized as a baby. I’ve belonged to the St. John’s Lutheran Church on Southeastern Avenue ever since.” It’s faith in our salvation and faith that Jesus will take us to our final home! Her son, John, stated, “She’s made me a better person. In the last few years even! More calmer.” He looked back. “It was sad when we had to sell her house. However, she has taught me a lot more patience in things.” Viola agreed. “He never had patience before, but he does now! He lives one day at a time, just like I do.”

And … the secret of reaching the age of 100? “I don’t really have a secret. God has been good to me. And I think there’s a reason He’s keeping me here on this earth,” she offered. “And … I eat a lot of chocolate. I’d like to have a glass of wine, but no one’s offered it to me.”

STORY: Rick Hinton
SOURCE: The Southside Times

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

KeyBank in Beech Grove set to close May 31

Beech Grove, IN (February 27, 2019) IBG —Cleveland-based KeyCorp has announced plans to close 16 KeyBank branches throughout central Indiana. The bank says the consolidation is part of an effort to bring a new digital banking experience to the region. The affected branches will close on May 31 and KeyBank says they were carefully chosen so clients will still have a convenient location available.

KeyBank at 4645 South Emerson closes on May 31, 2019

Every employee affected by the consolidation will have a job opportunity at a new location, according to the bank.

KeyBank says it is also expanding its ATM presence in central Indiana, with more than 50 new ATMs being installed over the next several months. The bank is also adding the number of bankers within the market to more than 90 full-time employees.

The branches affected by the consolidation include: 

Linwood branch 4404 E. 10th St.
Rockville branch 5242 Rockville Road
Market Tower branch 10 W. Market St., Suite 100
Willow Lake branch 2433 Lake Circle Drive
Broad Ripple branch 6410 N. College Ave.
Clearwater branch 4729 E. 82nd St.
Beech Grove branch 4645 S. Emerson Ave.
Pleasant View branch 12591 Southeastern Ave.

Greenwood branch 980 E. Main St.

Noblesville branch 110 N. 9th St. Pebble Brook branch 17665 Pebble Center Drive

Whiteland branch 39 N. U.S. 31

Edgewood branch 3228 Nichol Ave.
Northgate branch 2246 Broadway St.

Southway branch 300 Southway Blvd. East
West Jefferson branch 2405 W. Jefferson St.

SOURCE: Inside Indiana Business

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Looking Back: The Beech Grove Shops

Beech Grove, IN (February 27, 2019) IBG — The Beech Grove facility had been transferred to the control of the New York Central Lines and at one time operated over 2,000 miles of track in the eastern half of the country, providing both freight and passenger service from the East Coast all the way to the Mississippi River. During this time, the railroads were about the only travel method of choice for any long trip.

The massive complex in full swing after the recent addition of a new passenger paint and trim shop.

Various railroad companies aggressively competed for passenger business by introducing express routes between several major cities and offering more comfortable travel with club and dining cars and sleeping accommodations. The many staging tracks at the Beech Grove Shops are filled with cars awaiting either maintenance or some upgrading.

The Beech Grove Shops earned a reputation for first-class innovation and workmanship, providing passengers on the New York Central Lines the most modern amenities.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New AG education manager has Beech Grove ties

Beech Grove, IN (February 25, 2019) IBG — Today, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture announced the hiring of Kimberly Barkman as Agricultural Education Program Manager. Barkman will serve as a liaison between ISDA and the Indiana Department of Education, and schools with an agriculture program.

 “We are pleased to name Kim as our very first Agricultural Education Program Manager,” said Bruce Kettler, ISDA Director. “Her passion for students and almost decade long career in agricultural education has prepared her well for this position. We’re excited to welcome her to the team.”

Kimberly Barkman

Barkman grew up on a tobacco farm in Switzerland County. She participated in 4-H and served as the 2003 District 12 FFA President. In 2007, she graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education.

Taught at Triton Central and Beech Grove City Schools

Prior to joining the department, Barkman was an agricultural education teacher at Triton Central for two years and then taught at Beech Grove City Schools for six years. “ISDA historically has been connected to agricultural education and leadership development,” said Rob Hays, Indiana FFA Director.

“By creating this new position and bringing Kim on board, we are excited to strengthen our support of classroom teachers and agriculture offerings, along with supporting FFA efforts.” In her new role, Barkman will be responsible for supporting course framework and agriculture-based Career and Technology Education curriculum in schools across the state. She will also interpret education policies and review state standards as it relates to agriculture.

A large part of her job will be serving as a resource and liaison for Indiana’s agricultural education teachers to strengthen their programming. “I’m excited to be a voice and advocate for agricultural education in Indiana,” Barkman said. “I look forward to having a larger impact by supporting school districts and teachers across the state.” Barkman currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband, Nicholas.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Coach Matt English student news story awarded

Beech Grove, IN (February 21, 2019) IBG — A Beech Grove High School documentary about late Athletic Coach Matt English is a national finalist for Varsity Brands School Spirit Award in the Coach Category. Matt English, 45, died on December 10, 2018 after a six-year battle with brain cancer.

Beech Grove Proud: The late Matt English

 “I’m so proud to announce that our Beech Grove Student News story of Coach English has been awarded as a national finalist for Varsity Brands School Spirit Award in the Coach Category,” said Nick White, who teaches student media, journalism, broadcasting & public speaker of BGHS. “Coach English was and continues to be very important to the Beech Grove High School community."

This is an honor for him above all else

“It is extremely difficult to be recognized and awarded as a national finalist. This couldn’t have been done without the hard work of Emily Johnson and the rest of the Beech Grove Student Newsletter staff. Thanks also, Ms. Fangman, for being involved with this submission, and to the English family, all the staff members, coaches and community members that helped us tell this important story. We were selected as one of just 12 finalist winners nationwide!”

Beech Grove High School Documentary on the late Coach Matt English

 “This coach has a long-standing history of success,” White continued. “This coach recognizes the link between athletic involvement and student achievement, and therefore encourages both academic excellence and good character. This coach also prioritizes sportsmanship and humility, both on and off the playing field.”

Other nationwide finalists include:
Brody Massengill – South Johnston High School | Four Oaks, NC
Eva Perez – Edinburg High School | Edinburg, TX
Jermaine Christian – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
John Lambourne – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
Juan Monge – Felix Varela High School | Miami
Kori Johnson – Costa Mesa High School | Costa Mesa, CA
Lindsey Needham – Denmark High School | Alpharetta, GA
Paul Alberson – Marshall High School | Marshall, MO
Melissa McPherson – Azle High School | Springtown, TX
Mike O’Neill – Collierville High School | Collierville, TN
Tlaloc Venancio – Crawford High School | San Diego

Varsity Brands is awarding $100,000 across 25 categories, including $3,000 to each winner and a $25,000 grand prize for America’s most spirited high school.

SOURCE: Southside Times

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

School districts gain money for vulnerable kids

Beech Grove, IN (February 20, 2019) IBG — Every district in Indianapolis is tentatively slated to get more state dollars per student under House Republicans’ 2019 budget plan released this week — exceeding some school leaders’ expectations. For the most part, new money added to the budget to fund each student along with higher enrollment estimates are driving the increases.

But even though some districts are projected to lose students, they would still get more money because of changes to Indiana’s funding formula that add money for vulnerable students and because lawmakers put more money in the budget overall. “I just didn’t think they’d be able to reach that level when they started the session,” said Patrick Mapes, superintendent in Perry Township. “It’s very much appreciated.” In Indianapolis Public Schools, the city’s largest school district, per-student funding is expected to go up more than 3 percent to $8,029 from $7,764. Overall, the district would see about 4 percent more in total state dollars.

Compared to other districts, IPS receives more per student in part because of the number of students there from low-income families. Having more English-learners and students with disabilities can also bring in additional funding per-student. “There are still too many moving pieces in other parts of the comprehensive budget proposal to get a clear picture of what this will ultimately mean for our students and employees,” an IPS spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The estimates are far from final, as the Senate will still offer its own budget draft and lawmakers will eventually have to come to a compromise. But the House draft, which easily passed out of the Ways and Means Committee on Monday, will likely see support from the full House in the coming week. This year, district funding estimates could be even more volatile because of problems with a calculation that drives extra aid to districts with larger shares of students from low-income families.

It’s unclear how this might affect schools because the calculations were not changed from last year. “We used the numbers that we felt gave schools the most realistic proposal,” said House Ways & Means Chairman Todd Huston. He said that he was not sure when more accurate projections would be available, but House Republican staff was working with other state agencies to dig into the problem. The budget draft proposes increasing Indiana’s contributions to schools by $461 million — or 4.3 percent — through 2021, a little more than increases in years past. The basic per-student funding that all districts get would jump from $5,352 per student this year to $5,442 per student in 2020, and $5,549 per student in 2021.

 House lawmakers also made some big overall changes to how schools are funded that do more to support some of the state’s most vulnerable students. Funding for preschool for students with disabilities increased for the first time in more than 25 years, going from $2,750 per student currently, to $2,875 per student in 2020, and $3,000 per student by 2021. In 2018, about 13,000 students qualified for the program, costing the state about $36 million.

The increased grant would up those totals to about $37.3 million in 2020 and $39 million in 2021. The budget draft would also send more money to educate students learning English as a new language for the fourth year in a row. Last year, lawmakers set aside about $32 million. Over the next two years, there’d be more than $40 million available for grants, at $325 per student, up from $300 previously. Higher per-student grants for English learners would help the district shift more money to teachers and other employees, said Mapes, the Perry Township superintendent.

Beech Grove Schools

Raising teacher salaries has been a hot topic during this year’s legislative session, and while money is not specifically earmarked for raises in the House budget plan, Mapes said it doesn’t need to be. “That’s local control,” Mapes said. “We have an elected school board whose job is to make that decision for each school corporation in the state. It’s not the job of the legislature to direct down a salary schedule.” In Beech Grove, the funding forecast is slightly less optimistic — the district is the only in the county projected to lose funding overall through 2021, by a small margin of less than 1 percent.

That’s driven by a projected loss of about 116 students out of a total of 3,033. “We all need to take three steps back and not panic because … there’s a factor here that’s real critical — the standpoint that our enrollment has gone up for nine straight years until this year,” said Paul Kaiser, superintendent in the district. Lawmakers “are estimating our enrollment is going to continue to drop.”

Kaiser noted that the district does have a high rate of students transferring in from outside the district — Beech Grove had the second highest rate of students transferring into the district last year, with almost 1,200 students coming in. Like the rest of the county, Beech Grove is expected to get more dollars per student, so if transfers work out like Kaiser expects, the additional money would turn things around.

He said he isn’t sure why enrollment was down last year. “We’re hoping last year’s drop in enrollment was a blip on the horizon,” Kaiser said. “And if it’s not, then we’ll have to decide what we want to do.” Part of Kaiser’s strategy is going to district voters in the fall to ask them to approve a tax increase — a move many school districts across the state, including IPS, are increasingly making to bring in more revenue.

One group that would see reductions under the House plan were virtual schools and virtual programs operated by school districts — they were cut from 100 percent of what students in traditional schools get to 90 percent, equivalent with students at virtual charter schools. Lawmakers made the change in response to a rapidly growing virtual school in the Union school district, near Modoc, helped throw off school funding estimates in 2017.

Even with the funding cut, budget projections show Union still would receive more state money, driven largely by growing enrollment. House Republican staff did not confirm whether the change in all district-based virtual school funding resulted in cost-savings for the state.

 SOURCE: ChalkBeat

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Skirvin announces run for Beech Grove Mayor

Beech Grove, IN (February 14, 2019) IBG — Rick Skirvin has announced that he will run for Beech Grove Mayor. Skirvin, a Republican, will be running against current Mayor Dennis Buckley, who is seeking a third term in the primary election May 7th.

Rick Skirvin is running for Mayor of Beech Grove, Indiana

"I feel as a community we can do better; we have undeveloped properties, empty storefronts, a lack of parking on Main Street and an administration that lacks experience in business". Skirvin said. "I want to bring transparency and fairness to the citizens and re-establish Main Street as a destination". 

Skirvin owns several small businesses, including one in Beech Grove. He has served on the  Beech Grove School Board and the Beech Grove Parks Department. In addition, he is a Board member of the Beech Grove Moose Lodge #1883.

Related | Beech Grove Moose Lodge Moving Forward
Related | Beech Grove man tackles thief

He also volunteers annually with the Appalachian Service Project, a faith based organization that assists families and attempts to eradicate substandard housing in Central Apalachicola.

"My family also volunteers at Homeless and ReEntry Helpers downtown feeding the homes. In my spare time I also minister the sacrament of marriage to Beech Grove residents free of charge".

A lifetime resident of Beech Grove, Skirvin graduated from beech Grove High in 1987 and attended IUPUI for Criminal Justice. He has four kids who all attend Beech Grove City Schools: Alex Holsclaw, Aeriel Skirvin, Nick Ward and Ricky Skirvin. 

From Rick Skirvin: 

As the father of fourth-generation “Grovers” and a 1987 graduate of BGHS, I, Rick Skirvin, want to see Beech Grove grow to the next level. That’s why I’m announcing that I’m running on the Republican ticket for Beech Grove Mayor. While advances have been made in the past eight years, part of my vision is to work with business owners to help further develop visibility for Main Street. I want to make new businesses feel welcome. Main Street is the jewel of Beech Grove. I look to attract more anchors, address parking issues, help businesses cut through red tape, and deal with other challenges they face today, as well as focus on transparency. 

Plus, details matter. I envision that when residents from Indianapolis and surrounding areas come to Beech Grove, they’ll immediately know they’re in our City, because of our enhanced identity, such as our streets being ploughed, our fire and police vehicles, special signage, and more. I want our City to maintain its autonomy with the services the City provides. We’re our own City. We Are Beech Grove, which means it’s important that we maintain our own sewers and not lose additional utilities and services that we have to date.

Open and honest communication and running a positive campaign are also keystones to my campaign. In talking with residents in my leadership roles as a 13-year school board member and former president, a current business owner, a 13-year Parks board member and former president, a former Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy, and a trustee of the Beech Grove Moose Lodge, I know people want every avenue of communication available to them. That’s why I look to develop a Beech Grove City Facebook page, just like the one I set up for the Parks Board. Residents love it. It’s updated regularly, so residents can easily access the latest information on what’s happening with our Parks. 

With 45% of our community consisting of rentals, I want to help be the voice and provide a package of services to realtors, homeowners, and tenants that entices buyers to invest in our City, become stakeholders and realize the value we offer. And, instead of issuing citations, I want a committee to knock on doors and talk to residents to find out what help they need to keep their properties up and provide the resources to make that happen. Again, it’s another example of open, honest communication. 

So, please join me in this exciting time of change and allow me to help you continue Beech Grove’s Pride momentum now and into the future. -Rick Skirvin

Check your eligibility and register to vote online by visiting: 

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Hoosier State train could derail without state cash

Beech Grove, IN (February 8, 2019) IBG — Supporters of the Hoosier State train are fighting for continued public funding of the Indianapolis-to-Chicago rail service—even as they acknowledge that the route’s travel times and ridership levels are both in need of improvement.

For the past two years, Indiana has contributed $3 million annually to support Amtrak’s Hoosier State service, which runs between the cities four days a week. But that financing ends June 30, and Gov. Eric Holcomb did not include Hoosier State funding in his proposed budget for the two years beginning July 1.

The governor’s spending plan isn’t binding—House lawmakers will introduce their own version of the budget in weeks to come—so supporters of the Hoosier State line aren’t panicking yet. But they are working to advance their views.

Tod Bassler of Indianapolis, a board member of the not-for-profit Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, said the route is an important part of Indiana’s transportation infrastructure, serving business people to college students.

“Killing it is not a good idea for Indiana,” Bassler said. “We’ve already talked to our lawmakers. We’re promoting a letter to write to lawmakers to ask them to continue to support funding the train.”

The Hoosier State is one of Amtrak’s 29 state-supported routes around the country. Indiana began subsidizing the Hoosier State in 2013, after Congress ended federal funding for Amtrak passenger routes shorter than 750 miles.

In addition to state funding, the Hoosier State also receives a combined $500,000 annually from five local communities along the route: Crawfordsville, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Rensselaer.
The Hoosier State line has a bit of a rocky history. Iowa Pacific Holdings, which operated the service beginning in 2015, pulled out two years later after the state denied the railroad’s request for additional funding. Amtrak, which had run the service when it was federally supported, came back to run it again.

Until Hoosier State funding became a line item in the current state budget, state funding came from a variety of sources, including a 2015 tax amnesty program that supported the service for the 2015-2017 budget cycle.

The line’s ridership is the smallest of Amtrak’s state-supported routes, and its ridership has declined over the past five years.

During Amtrak’s 2014 fiscal year, which began in October 2013, the Hoosier State carried 33,930 passengers. That number dropped to 27,876 in the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Ridership was up 4.3 percent during the first three months of the current fiscal year.

For the 2018 fiscal year, gross ticket revenue totaled $902,000.
Low ridership numbers mean government support subsidizes about 75 percent of the cost of each Hoosier State ticket sold, said Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Manning.

Put another way: For every ticket sold, Amtrak receives $32.85 from passengers (including train fare and on-train food and beverage sales) and $100.89 in state and local funding.

Ridership woes

The state’s contract with Amtrak doesn’t specify ridership targets, Manning said, but INDOT entered into the contract looking for growth.

“The state’s desire has been for ridership to increase to a level that would reduce the need for such a large percentage of financial support coming from the taxpayers. To date, those increases in ridership have not materialized,” 

For their part, Amtrak officials said there’s only so much they can do to boost ridership. The Hoosier State takes nearly five hours to travel from Indianapolis to Chicago, two hours longer than it takes to drive between the two cities’ train stations.

Reducing the length of that trip is critical, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “We’ve said for a long time that the route needs investment for it to be competitive for drive times,” Magliari said. “Ridership isn’t going to change significantly without a change in the product.”

But Amtrak doesn’t own the rails between here and Chicago; it pays freight-rail companies for the right to run on their tracks. So even though Amtrak wants improvements on the Hoosier State, it doesn’t control the infrastructure.

For most of its 196-mile route, the Hoosier State runs on CSX-owned tracks.

In February 2018, Patrick Engineering did a study for INDOT that analyzed the capacity for passenger and freight traffic along the Hoosier State line. That study looked at the infrastructure improvements that would need to be completed to preserve freight rail capacity if the Hoosier State line were to increase to two round trips daily.

One of the assumptions of the study was that INDOT and other financial supporters would pay for upgrades to existing CSX tracks, allowing the Hoosier State to achieve operating speeds of up to 79 miles per hour. But so far those plans have not advanced. And INDOT has not included any Hoosier State capital improvements in its state budget request, Manning said.

Nor is CSX eyeing big outlays on its end.

“At this time, other than routine maintenance, there are no plans for larger-scale infrastructure improvements along this area of track,” a CSX spokesperson told IBJ.

“I think probably the most viable option, should there be long-term investments, is a federal grant,” Manning said. Federal grants typically require a local match that could be shared by INDOT, Amtrak and CSX, Manning said.

Amtrak has partnered successfully with Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin to pursue federal funding to upgrade passenger service in those states, Magliari said. “We’re willing and have offered to work with the state of Indiana, as we have with other states, to go after federal dollars to improve this route.”

But in Indiana, Manning said, “I’m not aware that we’ve had formal discussions with Amtrak or CSX about pursuing a grant at this point.”

Vital Link for Indiana

If public funding for the Hoosier State were to evaporate, Indiana would still have a rail connection to Chicago. Amtrak’s Cardinal line, which links Chicago with New York City, departs Indianapolis for Chicago on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Still, Hoosier State supporters say Indiana can’t afford to lose what they see as a vital link in the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“If they increase the frequency and the speeds, they’ll see a significant increase in utilization,” the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance’s Bassler said. “If you kill it, it’s going to be very hard and very expensive to bring back.” Amtrak’s Magliari echoed that sentiment. If Amtrak drops the Hoosier State, he said, the freight railroads will fill that capacity with their own trains. “If we stop running as often as we’re running, it becomes difficult to run again.”

Beech Grove's Heavy maintenance facility could be hurt

A reduced frequency between Indianapolis and Chicago would also hurt operations at Amtrak’s Beech Grove heavy maintenance facility, which employs about 500 people. The facility is one of three such operations in Amtrak’s system, and it does work for Amtrak and other rail companies.

If service drops to three days a week, Magliari said, the Beech Grove facility would lose flexibility to ship equipment back and forth on the line.

Investing in passenger train service is also beneficial for other reasons, Bassler said, especially as surrounding states improve their own service. “Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan are doing great with their passenger rail services. Indiana, we’re on the fence—but we could go either way,” he said.

Rail service is especially important to international students at Purdue University, who fly into Chicago and need a way to get to campus, Bassler said.

Purdue was unable to provide someone to talk about the Hoosier State by IBJ’s print deadline. But a 2017 study from the school’s Joint Transportation Research Program suggests the Hoosier State’s importance to the school. That study, which was based on passenger surveys, showed that 35 percent of Hoosier State passengers in 2016 were 18 to 24 years old. And about a third of passengers identified themselves as students.

Among passengers who started their train trip in Chicago, 40 percent were bound for Lafayette. Another 45 percent traveled all the way to Indianapolis, and the remaining 15 percent exited at either Dyer, Rensselaer or Crawfordsville. Bassler said when he rides the Hoosier State, he sees a mix of students, business and leisure travelers, along with Amish passengers.

Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee, said he was unaware that the governor’s proposed budget does not include Hoosier State funding. Likewise, Crider said he hasn’t heard of any Amtrak or rail-service bills making their way through the Senate.

But Crider, who is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he expects the issue to come up during the legislative session. “I’m sure we’ll have some discussions about it.” Speaking of rail service more generally, he said, legislators are aware of its importance to the state, especially as freight volumes increase. “It’s a growing concern that we support the rail industry.”

Monday, February 4, 2019

Protecting At Risk Mothers

Indianapolis, IN (February 4, 2019) IBG — Indiana State Representative Cindy Kirchhofer is pushing legislation to protect at-risk mothers and infants. “Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality populations,” said Kirchhofer. “We are committed as a state to reducing those numbers.” Kirchhofer's House Bill 1007 has two components to tackle the alarming infant mortality rates in Indiana.

State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove)

First is attacking substance abuse disorder and connecting women with treatment programs. She said that mothers who consume drugs or alcohol during pregnancy significantly increase the risk of complications. The second piece of the bill focuses on creating a clear OB navigation system to connect expecting mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies.

“This is bill is working to pair Hoosier mothers with much-needed treatment and services so more babies are born healthy and live to see their first birthday,” said Kirchhofer. HB 1007 passed unanimously in the House and is now being considered in the Senate.

Chair of the House Public Health Committee, State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer explains her legislation focused on helping expectant mothers and babies, and fighting the opioid epidemic in Indiana.