​​​MONDAY APRIL 24, 2017

Volunteer at State Parks

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is encouraging Hoosiers to volunteer at Indiana state parks during National Volunteer Week  April 23-29.  From maintaining trails to entering computer data, there are numerous ways residents can donate their time and talents to our state parks and lakes.

​Thunder Over Louisville was a success despite the nasty weather 

Those who went early to watch Thunder Over Louisville on Saturday from Indiana's riverside had a good shot at getting a great spot, if they didn't mind the weather.  Crowds were sparse the first half of the day, as Thunder fans walked through the wet streets or set up for the day under awnings and tents. The temperature hovered around 50 degrees and the rain kept a fine mist going.  But people were cheerful — hoping it would clear up.  The crowd size didn't affect police and first responder operations — more than 350 were on the ground or on the river to make sure everyone had a safe day.  At the Instant Command post, officers and staff with Jeffersonville and Clarksville Police and Fire departments, the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Transportation, Coast Guard, American Red Cross and other state and federal agencies worked to make sure everything was smooth.  They had extra 911 dispatchers on duty, cameras set up along the river and in downtown Jeffersonville and teams ready to mobilize if there was a safety concern.  When the sun came out in the afternoon and the clouds started to lift, more people started streaming in and the previously damp, quiet Riverside Drive came alive with the festivities.  The fan-favorite air show, for some, is a family tradition.  And this year was no different.  Whether it was a little drizzle or a downpour, Thunder over Louisville spectators loved the show.  The fireworks started right on time at 9:30 and was a real crowd-pleaser again this year.  So with 2017 under their belts, preparations are underway for next year.

New Albany Cup for drone racers
Listen up all drone racers and enthusiasts.  The city of New Albany has partnered with AT Drone Racing to host the New Albany Cup on April 29-30, on the New Albany riverfront.  “This event will be a great educational and learning opportunity for residents to see firsthand and get their hands on new and upcoming technology," New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said in a news release.  The New Albany Cup is a two-day drone event, featuring a MultiGP drone racing event on Saturday and a team racing event on Sunday. The New Albany Cup is part of the larger FPV Race League season, totaling five events throughout the Kentuckiana area. For more information about the FPV Race League, visit their website here:


Saturday, April 29 (MultiGP Event) 11 a.m. - noon: Practice runs for racers.  

Noon - 4 p.m.: Qualifier Racing

4-6 p.m.: The Main Event

Sunday, April 30 (Team Event) 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Practice runs for racers.

1 - 4 p.m.: Team Racing

Protective netting will be set up to ensure the safety of all spectators.  You can bring a cooler and snacks (no alcohol permitted) down to the event. You are also free to bring your own drone for the free-fly portions of the event and show off your skills. There will be raffles and giveaways throughout the event, including numerous drone giveaways.


Indiana caregiver up for the Exceptional Caregiver of the Year Award

​In honor of Home Helpers 20th anniversary in 2017, 20 caregivers have been selected as semi-finalists in this year’s Exceptional Caregiver of the Year Awards. From this group, 10 finalists will be selected to travel to San Diego for the Home Helpers National Conference, where our single Exceptional Caregiver of the Year will be announced.  Tammy Herrmann of Batesville, Indiana is one of the caregivers nominated this year and has made into the semi-finalist round.  But she needs your help to advance further.  Simply go to and search Tammy Herrmann.  Click on her heartwarming video and share it on Facebook and other social media.  Every time her video is shared, she recieves a nomination for advancement.  Tammy is one of many caregivers who has touched the lives of so many people.  Every day, the in-home caregivers at Home Helpers help the elderly and their families cope with the challenges of health issues and aging. The Exceptional Caregiver Awards showcase some of the best in-home aides from all over the country. Finalists are chosen based on their great compassion and dedication to helping others. 

Cancer was the likely cause of death for former child star Erin Moran

The Harrison County, Indiana Sheriff's office says the autopsy results show she died of stage 4 cancer.  In a release, they also said no illegal drugs were found in her home in New Salisbury, Indiana.  Moran was found unresponsive Saturday, after authorities received a 911 call. Moran had endured numerous struggles in recent years.  Moran was already a veteran actress when in 1974 she was cast in "Happy Days" as Joanie, the kid sister to Ron Howard's Richie Cunningham in the sitcom set in the 1950s. She would later appear with Scott Baio in the "Happy Days" spinoff "Joanie Loves Chachi."  Her more recent credits included "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote," but she never approached the success of "Happy Days" and was more often in the news for her numerous personal and financial struggles and was reportedly homeless at times.  Her "Happy Days" co-stars remembered her on social media. "Such sad sad news. RIP Erin," Howard tweeted Saturday. "I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens."   

Traffic has increased on the RiverLink toll bridges after an initial decline this winter, according to figures released Monday

There were almost 7 million crossings on the Lewis and Clark, Kennedy, Lincoln and bridges during the first three months of tolling, the data show. Traffic on the spans dropped slightly in February before climbing last month.  In March, an average of about 89,500 vehicles used the three spans on weekdays, while 67,530 typically crossed on weekends. A number of average daily crossings was not included in a press release from C2 Strategic Communications, a consultant for Kentucky and Indiana that handles public relations for the RiverLink system.
Officials have projected that 110,000 crossings each day are needed to pay off construction bonds for the project that built two new spans, rehabilitated the Kennedy Bridge and reconstructed the Spaghetti Junction interchange.  “Revenue collected to date is in line with expectations, and both states are meeting their financial obligations for the Bridges Project,” the press release said.  The new data also indicates that more people are opening RiverLink accounts, giving them the ability to pay the lowest toll rate. When tolls started at the end of December, there were 78,500 accounts; by the end of March, 107,550 accounts had been created.  Nearly 275,000 transponders had been issued by the end of March, a 60 percent increase since the start of tolling. Local transponders, which work on the three bridges between Louisville and Clark County, Ind., made up 85 percent of the devices.

Two Arkansas killers executed
Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they're guilty but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for Monday might become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the U.S. in more than 16 years.  Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are set to die in what would be the second and third executions in Arkansas this month. The state set an aggressive plan to execute several inmates before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.  The state executed Ledell Lee last week in the state's first use of capital punishment since 2005. Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a short period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of the sedative midazolam expires on April 30.  Courts have blocked four of the eight scheduled executions.  The last state to put more than one inmate to death on the same day was Texas, which executed two killers in August 2000.  Williams was sent to death row for the 1994 rape and killing of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson, whom he kidnapped from a gas station in central Arkansas.  Authorities said Williams abducted and raped two other women in the days before he was arrested in Errickson's death. Williams admitted responsibility to the state Parole Board last month.  "I wish I could take it back, but I can't," Williams told the board.
Jones was given the death penalty for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips. He strangled her with the cord to a coffee pot.  In a letter earlier this month, Jones said he was ready to be killed by the state.  "I forgive my executioners; somebody has to do it," wrote Jones, who had a leg amputated in prison because of diabetes and uses a wheelchair.  The inmates have suffered several legal setbacks as the executions near. A federal judge on Friday rejected their request to stop the executions over their health concerns.  Two federal judges ruled against the inmates in separate cases Sunday. One denied a stay of execution to Williams, saying that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction in the case. Another federal judge denied the inmates' request for changes to the rules for witnesses to view the executions.  After the setback in a lower court, both inmates on Sunday asked the appeals court to halt their executions based on their poor health.  Lawyers for Jones' say he suffers from diabetes and is on insulin, has high blood pressure, neuropathy and had one leg amputated below the knee. He is on heavy doses of drugs they say could prevent the lethal injection drug midazolam from working and lead to a "tortuous death."  Williams' lawyers say he weighs 400 pounds and it will be difficult to find a vein for lethal injunction, so the drugs are unlikely to work as intended.

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