INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Temporary changes are on the way for more than a dozen IndyGo bus schedules.
IndyGo says these temporary changes will affect 15 bus routes. IndyGo said it’s hopeful the small changes starting Oct. 10 means more reliable service.
Ronika Gillespie relies on IndyGo — she rides the bus pretty much every day. “It’s pretty important, especially when you need to go where you’ve got to go. If IndyGo wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t be able to get around Indianapolis as much.”
The reason for the change? “Unprecedented staffing challenges” caused by the pandemic, IndyGo says.
Some are routes Gillespie rides. According to IndyGo, the affected routes include 2, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28, 30, 31 and 86.
“It does sadden me, because when the buses change, it messes up a lot of people’s schedules, especially daily routines,” Gillespie said.
Among the changes, the frequency of the No. 2 route, which passes 16th Street and Central Avenue, and the No. 86 bus will go from 30 minutes to one hour Monday through Saturday.
Bus routes 12 and 13 will go from a frequency of one hour to two hours on weekdays.
All other routes affected will keep current frequencies throughout the day, with no high-frequency during rush-hour windows in the morning and evening.
According to IndyGo,
- Routes 2 and 86 will transition from a 30-minute frequency to a one-hour frequency Monday through Saturday.
- Routes 12 and 13 will transition from a one-hour to two-hour frequency Monday through Friday.
- All other routes listed above will maintain their current frequency throughout the day with no high frequency service during rush hour windows between 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.
“It is what it is. I can’t fight it. I can’t do anything about it,” bus rider Melissa Allison told News 8.
Bus rider Michael Stewart said the temporary bus schedule changes don’t bother him. “If they’re temporarily changing them, then let’s try it out. We’ve got to take risks. There’s nothing wrong with something new.”
LAWRENCE (WISH) — Emotions are swirling for Nikki Battle and her 17-year-old son Jonathan Battle.
“I’m hurting,” Nikki Battle said. “As a parent, as a person, as a human being, I am hurting for him. Because when he was so upset that he started crying in the car, I was done.”
Nikki Battle says one of her son’s teachers at Lawrence Central High School cut his hair without her permission. She says her son received the unwanted haircut on Tuesday.
“It feels horrible,” Jonathan Battle told News 8.
Jonathan Battle, who is on the wrestling team, says he had been growing his hair out for months because he wanted a new style.
“Braids, yeah, braids,” he said. “Good braids.”
Nikki Battle told News 8 her son lives with autism and sometimes students pick on him at school. which is what she says happened this week.
She says the school called her to come get him. That’s when she noticed his haircut.
“Jonathan said that the gym teacher cut his hair? I’m like, why did you cut his hair? I’m asking (Jonathan Battle) this, he said, ‘He wanted me to look fresh.’ I’m like, no one consulted with me first. You just violated my son’s First Amendment right,” Nikki Battle said.
Battle says the teacher cut her son’s eyebrows and shaved his face.
The school district sent News 8 a statement that says, “The MSD of Lawrence Township and Lawrence Central High School take the allegations made extremely seriously and immediately investigated upon notification. It is not uncommon for school personnel to go above and beyond to meet the needs of students outside of the classroom. The staff member in question acted with the best of intentions to support the student.”
But that’s not how the family sees it.
“You cut my son’s crown,” Nikki Battle said. “You cut my king’s crown. That wasn’t your right to do that. I am mortified with this whole situation because you had no right. You didn’t talk to me about this. You had no permission. You had no right. How dare you?”
“I want my son to know that it’s not his fault,” she added. “You did nothing wrong. I love you very very much. You should always keep your head up, no matter what.”
The Battles say Jonathan doesn’t want to go back to school and prefers to finish his senior year online instead.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A central Indiana café is going viral for a policy not usually seen in Indiana or across the country: no tipping allowed.
At Top Out Café, which is upstairs inside North Mass Boulder, they brew up different coffees and dishes. It’s a labor of love for Erica Oakley, the company’s director of food and beverage.
“I love the atmosphere, the community feel,” Oakley said.
On the counter, you’ll notice something different: a sign that reads “No tipping.”
“We do a no-tipping system. We pay our employees a very living wage. We don’t want our guests who come in to feel pressured to tip. We want them to know that our team and our staff are paying our people a living wage and we want them to have fun when we’re here. We don’t want to make them feel obligated,” Oakley said.
Oakley told News 8 the policy has been in place at the café since it opened in July. The sign notes several reasons why.
For example: “Tipping can often create competition between employees” or “Tipping can feel awkward.”
“Everyone works just as hard without getting tips,” Oakley said. “I feel like they actually work better together because there’s no competition.”
Camille Engle has worked at the café as a barista since it opened.
“I feel really good about it. We get paid really well. We get $16 an hour. In my opinion, I have worked many, many jobs, and I’ve even worked in insurance and stuff. This still is probably one of the best paid positions I’ve been in,” Engle said.
Those being served by the café’s employees see the benefits of the policy, too.
“I think it’s great that the business is taking care of their employees so that customers don’t have to take on the burden,” Cameron Harris, a customer at Top Out Café, said. “Not that it’s a huge deal, I think, to tip.”
“I really enjoy it,” Tyler Cline, another customer, told News 8. It takes a lot of the pressure off when you’re ordering.”
The café has gone viral on Reddit because of the policy.
“I feel like it builds awareness and it builds conversation,” Oakley said.
Top Out Café is hiring now. To learn more about job opportunities, call (317) 953-6669.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students went back to class Thursday at George Julian School 57, two days after 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield was hit and killed by a car as she was walking home with her mom.
The pain of Crutchfield’s death is real for students at her school, including fifth grader Morel Coleman. “Kind of heartbroke,” Coleman said, standing with his mother.
His mother made it a point to show him the growing memorial outside the school because he often walks. He should “understand how crucial it is when you’re near the street and there’s cars around,” Laverne Coleman, his mother, said.
“Sometimes, I see cars speeding past the blinking lights” in the school’s walk zone, her son said.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has not completed its investigation of the fatal crash.
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Police said the girl, along with her mother and a crossing guard, were stuck at North Ritter Avenue and East Washington Street on Tuesday. The three were sent to area hospitals.
Detectives believe that the drivers of two vehicles — who stayed on scene — got into a disturbance just before the crash as they were traveling, eventually resulting in one of the vehicles crashing into a separate vehicle.
This is one of the areas Billy Martin works as a crossing guard. He says what happened earlier this week is few-and-far-between.
“A lot of folks treat these streets, especially around the schools for some reason, like it’s part of Interstate 70. They don’t obey the traffic laws. They’re on their phones,” Martin told News 8.
For years, IMPD has participated in “stop arm violation enforcement,” which includes patrols around school buses and school zones, Lt. Shane Foley told News 8 on Thursday. “In this week in particular, we’ve stepped up enforcement on East District, particularly on East Washington Street but also across the city. Our traffic control unit has been patrolling school zones.”
IMPD wants to remind Hoosiers to slow down in school zones and be aware. Foley said, “What we want people to realize is that if they go through a school zone, there is potential that an IMPD officer is in that same school zone, checking for speed and other traffic violations. So, if somebody is going through a school zone, they should expect that an IMPD officer is there.”
Anyone with information about this incident should contact Detective Eric Snow at the IMPD Crash Investigations Office at 317-327-6549 (voice only) or at Eric.Snow@indy.gov.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thousands of Hoosier families face the threat of being kicked out of their homes.
A new wave of evictions is hitting Indiana courts, but there is hope and help.
Central Indiana’s Fair Housing Center says there was an eviction crisis before the pandemic, and the pandemic made it worse.
Pastor Fred Dorsey says some people in his congregation at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church face eviction.
“Just had a meeting with a couple of them on yesterday. They’re at a point where they really don’t know how to feel or what’s the next step. I think this gives them an open door, a solution of something that can be resolved,” Dorsey said.
And they are not alone. In late August, the United States Supreme Court allowed evictions to resume nationwide.
“We’ve seen a substantial spike in eviction filings across the state of Indiana and here in Indianapolis,” Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Executive Director Amy Nelson said. “In fact, the week after the Supreme Court overruled the eviction moratorium, we saw-pre-COVID filing eviction numbers, which is significant because Indiana and the city of Indianapolis were already extremely high-evicting cities and states.”
Tuesday, the Helping Others Prosper Economically (HOPE) Team held a community meeting at the church with a goal of telling people facing eviction there is help, options and resources.
“It’s nothing else but to share the information, to help someone,” Kim Boyd, the HOPE Team’s founder and president, said. “Where they can go, who they can call, where they can tap in to. And just, we all kind of be our brother’s keeper.”
Nelson says resources are available if you can show COVID- related impact.
“There are a lot of rental assistance funds available. Those are not tied to the eviction moratorium. People can be requesting those funds through their city or state government in order to get access to it. We encourage anybody who fears eviction or who gets served with an eviction notice, that they contact Indiana legal services or another legal service agency to get represented,” Nelson said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Tuesday the city has a robust program that is trying to keep people from being evicted. Hogsett added that the city spent tens of millions of dollars over the last year in that anti-eviction program, which just received $91 million from the state.
“We have resources. They just need to reach out and make sure that they are provide the requisite legal council and assistance that they need in order to address their landlord concerns. In many cases, the landlord may have a legitimate concern. But in most cases, the landlord has adequate resources. The tenant unfortunately doesn’t, and we’re trying to even the scales,” Hogsett said.
- If you need help with rental assistance or you’re facing eviction, dial 211 to get connected to some services or call the Fair Housing of Central Indiana at 317-644-0673.
- Apply for emergency rental assistance or call 317-912-1260
- Indiana Legal Services can be reached at 844-243-8570
- More information can be found here in English and here in Spanish
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The president’s recently announced vaccine mandate could have a big impact on big employers at a time when many are struggling to fill open positions.
“We have roughly 425 employees and we work in aerospace, defense, power generation, oil and gas markets, nuclear and semiconductor industries,” Mike Griffith, president of Major Tool and Machine explained to News 8.
Griffith has been with the company for 27 years, and he’s well-aware of Biden’s mandate.
“I certainly (and) personally believe it’s a personal choice. I’m vaccinated myself. I chose to do that. But, I also believe it’s not my place or the government’s place to mandate that for companies,” Griffith said.
Biden’s order makes the vaccine — or weekly COVID-19 testing — mandatory for all businesses with 100 or more employees. Companies found in violation of the mandate could face thousands of dollars in fines.
Jerad Higman is the CEO of custom manufacturer Masaba. They have about 160 employees.
“I think it’s ridiculous, and I think for us, as business owners, it’s just one more hurdle we have to jump to maintain,” said Higman. “We’re struggling now to get people — employees. I think this is going to be one more thing. If this is mandated, we’re going to lose employees … For me it’s a personal choice. I don’t think you can mandate something like that. I really don’t, legally.”
Kevin Marks is President of Lock Joint Tube, which has over 600 employees in 4 states, including Indiana.
“I think everybody should go get vaccinated. The evidence is overwhelming. For me, it’s a pretty simple decision. If you’re healthy enough to go get vaccinated, go get vaccinated. But, I disagree with the President of the United States on this topic. We shouldn’t mandate it,” Marks said.
- COVID-19 vaccinations in Indiana: Get details and sign up
- Schedule a COVID-19 test in Indiana
- Indiana coronavirus resources and timeline of events
- More coronavirus coverage from WISH-TV
One of the business executives said they feel like the president’s announcement coming out now will “throw water on a pretty hot economy.”
The Indiana Chamber has and will continue to urge all employers across the state to encourage their employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Our stance has been that it should be left up to each employer to determine whether to adopt a vaccine mandate. We believe individual employers are in the strongest position to know the best route for them to protect their employees and to uniquely address any work environment challenges. With President Biden now putting forth a mandate, the Indiana Chamber and our Wellness Council of Indiana stand ready to offer assistance to Hoosier employers as they work to implement a policy to determine employee vaccine status and the logistics around testing for those who choose to not get vaccinated. Many employers throughout the state have already done their part to help increase the state’s vaccination numbers. Through our COVID Stops Here campaign with the Wellness Council of Indiana, we are encouraging more businesses and organizations to routinely communicate to their employees the benefits to them personally and for their employer of having most, if not all, staff vaccinated.Indiana Chamber of Commerce
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — This weekend, Indiana University will welcome football fans back to Memorial Stadium for the first time in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The home opener against Idaho is Saturday night, and university officials want fans to plan ahead.
Between Bloomington and Indianapolis sits Martinsville. Alongside the very busy State Road 37 in Martinsville, you’ll find Lisa White and her boutique shops. “This is home decor. We offer candles, home decor, just like little items, and then a boutique clothing for kids and women,” said the owner of White House Market & Co., Frilly Frolics and the Pretty Penny.
The stores have been at the same location for 1½ years, and White has a front-row seat to traffic. “Well, we hear ambulances at least once or twice a day because there’s always a wreck somewhere along here within 37 to Morton Avenue, which is there at that light. So, traffic is actually crazy.”
You see, the final stage of I-69 construction is in full swing, and the road work limits traffic and motorists’ options. IU wants fans driving south to the game to know about potential traffic troubles and to brace themselves for lane restrictions, reduced speed limits, and detours through Martinsville.
IU fan Christ Loveless told News 8, “Traffic from Greenwood to Bloomington’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, but we’re going early to tailgate, so we’ll be there for game time.”
The university said IU Athletics is paying the Martinsville Police to work intersections and streetlights in Morgan County city of nearly 12,000 during the 2021 football season to improve traffic flow and relieve congestion.
White called that “perfect. That’s great, that’s awesome.” She hopes the extra traffic drives business up. “Not everybody knows about me, so hopefully that improves my customer base.”
Her advice for drivers who detour by her store: “Stop in and get directions, and we’ll give you an easier way out of town!”
Indiana University said IU Athletics encourages fans to plan ahead and get to Memorial Stadium early for home football games. The university worked with Indiana Department of Transportation to come up with several travel route options for people coming from the north for IU home football games this season:
State Road 67 through Martinsville
- Follow State Road 67 to Martinsville.
- Turn Left onto State Road 39 through Martinsville.
- Turn Right to remain on State Road 39 and merge onto I-69 South to Bloomington.
State Road 67 through Spencer
- Follow State Road 67 to Martinsville.
- Continue on State Road 67 to Spencer.
- Take State Road 46 East to Bloomington.
State Road 135 through Nashville
- Take State Road 135 South through Morgantown and into Nashville.
- Take State Road 46 West to Bloomington.
I-65 through Columbus/Nashville
- Take Interstate 65 South to Columbus.
- Exit on State Road 46 and go West to Bloomington.
I-70 through Spencer
- Take Interstate 70 to US 231 South.
- Continue on US 231 South to Spencer.
- Turn left to follow State Road 46 East to Bloomington.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)- The victim was just 17 years old.
His family is left grieving and searching for the reason why their teen was targeted.
“I haven’t even been able to process this,” Ross Mitchell’s father, Ross Hunt, said. “It has literally ripped my heart out of my chest.”
“He was just an amazing kid, man,” Hunt said. “He had a lot of spirit, he had a lot of heart. He was my everything. He was absolutely everything I had. These people robbed me and his mother from his full life.”
Police say Mitchell was playing curb ball with his younger brother near East Ohio Street and North Randolph Street around 4:15 p.m. Monday.
Surveillance video tweeted out by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows someone walk in the alley and run away. IMPD said an unknown Black male wearing a light hoodie and dark pants walked from the alley and shot the victim.
Mitchell later died at Methodist hospital.
“To see that my son was murdered so cowardly, somebody had to sneak up on him and shoot him in front of his little brother, for no reason,” Hunt said. “This kid was getting ready to graduate. He was going to the military. He had huge plans.”
Hunt told News 8 Mitchell wanted to do mechanical engineering in the military. He says his son was athletic, full of energy and had a lot of ambition.
“He loved any kind of sports, he loved playing video games. He was more of a clown than anything; he just liked to have a good time. He loved to work out. He was in martial arts, he was in moi-thai kick-boxing,” Hunt said.
Mitchell’s family wants answers.
“I know something has to be done today,” Hunt said. “He has a lot of people who love him and care about him. This I promise you: We will be to get the people who did this. I guarantee we will.”
Anyone with information about this incident should contact Detective Mark Howard at the IMPD Homicide Office at 317.327.3475 or e-mail him at Mark.Howard@indy.gov. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Laughter, fun and pops of color — at Indy Arts Fest, central Indiana artists are being celebrated for the work they do. At Monday’s event, there were dozens of works of art and more than 70 artists from Indy.
Ezi Underwood has done artwork his whole life, but he went professional 5 years ago.
“My artwork is what kept me going, so I feel like that was what was given to me. And now, I want to give it to other people,” Underwood explained to News 8.
He’s one of several artists at Monday’s event, and says Indianapolis has opened its heart to art.
“Indy Fest has given a lot of brand new artists that has always had talent and has always been here. But the opportunity to be seen has been rare. So, that’s what I really appreciate about the fest this year.” Underwood explained.
Indy Arts Fest Organizer Koda Witsken said the event can be thought of as a mash up of a music and mural festival.
“Our goal is to highlight all the best kinds of artists in Indy and highlight how they deserve fair pay opportunities. Indy creatives are actually paid less than half the national average, so we’re really trying to show Indy what we’ve got — from body painting to music to obviously murals and graffiti,” Witsken said.
There were several food trucks, a mural gusts can draw on and help with and even a junk car for people to paint.
“Inside or outside — whatever they want. We have some spray paint and they just go nuts,” Witsken explained.
This festival means a lot to oil painter and muralist Megan Jefferson.
“It’s amazing to see how Indianapolis has really embraced artists lately,” Jefferson said.
“I just hope that people get a splash of beauty and joy from my work. Honestly, it’s my pleasure to create a splash of color that brings a smile to people’s face. When I can do that, my work here is done,” Jefferson said.
As a hip-hop artist, Underwood hopes people get something from his work, too.
“Hopefully, when they see my artwork, what they see is examples of my culture that I bring together to create a cohesive piece that inspires them to worry (less) about licensing and things that go on behind the courtroom and more about getting their ideas out there for people to see,” Underwood explained.
Witsken told News 8 that the plan is to host another event next year around this time.
To learn more about the Indy Arts Fest, click here.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the coronavirus rages on, local officials are trying to get as many vaccine shots in people’s arms as possible.
Johnny Smith got his Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Friday. “I feel like I might be protected better. I needed it. I’m just now finding it convenient for me. So, this is a blessing. I’m going to use it.”
The Marion County Public Health Department in partnership with IndyGo bus service on Friday offered the first of several vaccine clinics. A mobile vaccine clinic was parked inside the Julia M. Carson Transit Center in downtown Indy. They administered 31 vaccine doses Friday.
Carrie Black, a spokesperson for IndyGo, said, “By having a vaccine clinic here at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center, it’s the perfect place where people are coming and going. Riders who otherwise may not be able to get to a clinic can pause during their trip, get their vaccination, and then keep going.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns unvaccinated people to not travel this Labor Day weekend. They say even vaccinated people should consider COVID-19 risks. As of Friday, according to CDC data, every state in the nation, including Indiana, is at a high level of community transmission of COVID-19.
Virgil Maddenwith the Marion County Public Health Department said he’s been told by Dr. Virginia Caine, head of the department “that this is the most contagious of them all. So, it’s critical obviously to wear the mask, stay masked up. It’s more critical to be vaccinated because the delta variant spreads more rapidly, more quickly.”
Concern about the delta variant is why Brian Pinner got his Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the mobile clinic. “I got one to protect myself and other people that I love and care about. This is my community.”
People also got the jab at a vaccine clinic Friday on 33rd Street.
Officials want to vaccinate as many people as possible. “We just encourage people to get their shots. If you don’t want to get it for yourself, get it for your family, get it for the students going to school,” Madden said.
For anyone on the fence about the jab or who hasn’t gotten it yet, Pinner said, “Don’t be hesitant. Just do it.”
The mobile vaccine clinic will be at the transit center every Wednesday in September from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and every person who gets vaccinated will get a free 31-day bus pass.
There will also be a clinic starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Indy Labor Fest on Monument Circle.
According to the Marion County Health Department, people with unanswered questions or concerns about the vaccine can call the department at 317-221-2000 or visit cdc.gov/coronavirus or ourshot.in.gov.
Currently, 2,443 Hoosiers are hospitalized with COVID-19.
A total of 12,450,587 tests have been administered to 3,960,242 Hoosiers.
ISDH says 6,259,795 vaccination doses have been administered to Hoosiers, and 3,119,002 Hoosiers are fully vaccinated.
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According to the Regenstrief Institute, 770,198 Hoosiers are estimated to have recovered from the virus.
According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 219,254,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 4,545,000 deaths.
More information, including interactive graphics, can be found here.