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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Big Ten championship football game has been played at Lucas Oil Stadium since 2011, but this year’s expectations remained uncertain Wednesday.

Less than five weeks after postponing fall sports to spring because of the pandemic, the Big Ten changed course on Wednesday. The conference plans to begin its season Oct. 23. The development of rapid daily testing for the coronavirus was a major factor in the decision.

Business operators in downtown Indianapolis are eager for the usual championship game crowd.

The Associated Press reports all 14 teams will be scheduled to play eight regular-season games in eight weeks, plus have the opportunity to play a ninth game on Dec. 19 when the conference championship game is played. The College Football Playoff selections are scheduled for Dec. 20, which means the Big Ten’s best should be back in the hunt for a national championship — if all goes well, AP reports.

Indiana Sports Corp, founded in 1979, seeks out sporting events to bring to the Indianapolis area. The nonprofit made a deal to host the game at the stadium through 2021. This year’s game was planned for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Wednesday’s Big Ten announcement thrilled the owner of a bar in the stadium’s shadow.

“I think it’s great!” said Stadium Tavern owner Rob Strong. “I think they should return sooner than Oct. 23 or 24, whichever it is. It will be a great boost to our economy if we get to have the Big Ten championship back over here at Lucas Oil and we’re opened up at a fuller capacity than 25%.”

At present, Marion County limits restaurants, bars and nightclubs to 25% capacity indoors and 50% outdoors.

Strong said he is disappointed that fans will not be allowed inside the championship football game, though he hopes the faithful might stop by his bar to be close to the stadium where the game is expected to happen.

“If I were a fan of whatever college was playing, I would definitely want to be closer to the action, closer to the players,” Strong said. “Lucas Oil is 500 feet away from us, so that’s pretty close.”

“Hopefully people want to come in and party and hang out and eat, drink a little bit, have a lively atmosphere other than sitting at home,” Strong said. “I know everybody is kind of tired of that.”


“Now that the Big Ten Conference has decided on a regular season start date, we are working hand-in-hand with them on the possibility of a Championship Game in Indy and the best date to do so.”

Indiana Sports Corps

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — City leaders and neighbors are calling for increased safety on the roads after two brothers on bicycles were hit by a car Saturday night.

The youngest of them, 11-year-old Isai Raymundo, died in the crash.

Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the two brothers, ages 11 and 15, crossed North Post Road to get from one apartment complex to another. Before they reached the other side, they were hit by a southbound car. The 15-year-old went to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

“It’s sad when anybody loses their life, but especially when it involves children,” Lawrence Deputy Police Chief Gary Woodruff said. “That’s really tough. So, of course, our hearts go out to the affected family and everybody that was affected as a part of this terrible tragedy. It is compounded with their age and the fact that they’re siblings.”

Without police lights, the few lights that are in place along North Post Road don’t give much to illuminate the street. On top of that, drivers often go faster than the 40 mph speed limit.

“There’s a lot of people that walk around here because they don’t own cars and stuff,” area resident Brisa Olvera said. “So, kids, children, old people, everybody is walking. Especially from these apartment complexes right here. Then the traffic is always crazy. I always kind of struggle to get out of here because there’s cars coming from all sides.”

Lawrence police hadn’t released by Sunday what led up to the crash, but two Indianapolis City-County Council members released a statement asking drivers to slow down and saying they were heartbroken about the incident.

“We are heartbroken to learn that last night, two young brothers out enjoying the summer night on their bikes were struck by a car as they attempted to cross Post Road. One brother, just 11 years old, was killed; his 15-year-old brother was seriously injured. This morning, as many of our neighbors are sending up their Sunday prayers, we hope they will join us in sending up one for the family and loved ones of these boys as they grapple with their devastating loss.

Unfortunately, last night’s accident was one of several in recent weeks involving cars and pedestrians or cyclists. We implore motorists in our Districts and across the city to slow down and be extra careful to look out for your neighbors on foot or bicycles. Doing so can reduce the number of preventable and senseless accidents and help other families avoid this type of tragedy.”

Indianapolis City-County Council members La Keisha Jackson and Keith Graves

Neighbors say there’s a way to help drivers and pedestrians at the same time.

“They probably need a green and red light right here for both the apartment complexes and something. Yes, lights would probably work,” Olvera said.

Police say the crash is still under investigation.

The driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office identified the 11-year-old killed in the crash after the video aired Sunday night.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens of city leaders hit the pavement and everything around it Friday as they worked on recovering downtown Indianapolis. WISH-TV sponsored Friday’s event which is all in support of downtown businesses.

The words “Back Downtown” were scrawled across volunteers’ shirts. They wore the phrase as they worked on revitalizing the downtown area to try to get people to help out the businesses in need.

120 red shirts filling the streets is a huge change from what the area has seen in the last few months. As restaurants reopen and virus restrictions fade, they’re working hard to beautify the downtown area by cleaning rails, painting boards and weeding. This is all part of a $750,000-campaign to make downtown look like a positive destination spot instead of a scary, dirty place.

City leaders are using #BackDowntownIndy to show off the work they’re doing and bring more people back downtown as the city celebrates its bicentennial.

“The last 6 months have been among the most difficult in that 200-year history,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “But Indianapolis is coming back and you’re a part of that. We’re all a part of that. Together, we are in this together and Indianapolis’s future is brighter than its past.”

All of the volunteers were encouraged to eat at downtown businesses after they finished their work to help kickstart downtown’s economic recovery.

Hogsett says Indy is back open, so get downtown, help out some local businesses and help with that revitalization.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Due to the ongoing public health crisis, fans aren’t allowed at professional baseball games and the minor league teams had to cancel their seasons altogether. The phrase “you’re killing me, Smalls!” may have crossed the minds of many the baseball fan this year. But, Victory Field has the next best thing that may cure your baseball blues.

Friday night, fans can get both a theater fix and a baseball fix as Victory Field shows “The Sandlot” on their video board. It’s the first of three baseball classics to be featured as part of their “Flicks at Victory Field” series. The first installment of the series Friday has already sold out.

To social distance, on-field seating will be limited to 100 pods with each pod seating six people. There is additional seating on the Yuengling landing, which has a 40-person capacity, and there is plenty of other seating to choose from in the lower seating bowl.

Tickets are available at the door for $10. Concession stands will be open and gates open at 6 p.m., with the film starting at 7 p.m.

If you can’t make it out this Friday, Victory Field will be playing “Angels In The Outfield” on Sept. 25 and “A League of Their Own” on Oct. 9.

RUSHVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Several dead animals, and more on the verge of death, were found inside a Rushville barn on Friday. Rushville Animal Shelter says the animals were competing for resources to stay alive.

The Rush County Sheriff’s Office says it was at the Rushville Horse Sale Barn where they received reports of a dead animal. The owner, who they aren’t naming, did not cooperate with the investigation. When they went in with a search warrant, they found three dead animals and 28 more that were malnourished.

“Shock,” Rushville Animal Shelter director Kasey Hanna said. “It was shocking. You just never understand why.”

Horses, donkeys, mules and a bull all had ribs prominently showing in pictures from the shelter. The Rush County Sheriff’s Office says the building the animals were in was collapsing and there wasn’t any food or water available.

“There was absolutely no water,” Hanna said. “The animals about trampled us to get to that. Then we had animals down–specifically a donkey that it took three staff members to finally get him on his feet.”

That donkey was one the shelter took a liking to as they helped him recover, but what he had been through was too much and he died.

“That donkey had all the love and attention he could get,” Hanna said. “He really made an impact on some little girls’ hearts. And that’s what it’s about. We were there for him when he needed us.”

While four animals couldn’t be saved, Rushville Animal Shelter says this is still the biggest animal seizure they’ve seen–rescuing 27 animals at once. The sheriff’s office says the case is still under investigation.

“I mean, it’s upsetting,” Hanna said. “It’s upsetting that we’re just now really getting to a solution that we hope we’re getting to a solution. But most of all, it feels good to know that these animals are somewhere safe right now. Even as sad as it is with our little donkey passing away.”

Rushville Animal Shelter has already raised over $4,000 to help with food, boarding and veterinary care as the animals recover at rescues around the area.

“They’re doing well, considering the situation,” Hanna said. “It’s going to be a very slow recovery. Whenever you get into situations like this, it takes time. A long time to get them back where they need to be. But we are confident that we are on the right track.”

If you’d like to help these animals get taken care of, you can help donate through a GoFundMe set up for the animals or just drop in with a donation at the Rushville Animal Shelter.

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The owners of Clay Terrace in Carmel are looking to make changes to the retail space. They want apartments and hotels to join the many retail stores and restaurants that line the boulevard.

According to city officials, having Clay Terrace as a mixed-use area was always the plan. But it wasn’t until 15 years after it was built, during a pandemic, that the owners decided it’s time to move forward with that plan.

Clay Terrace is one of Carmel’s top places to shop.

“Retail is being pummeled,” Carmel Department of Community Services Director Michael Hollibaugh said. “Now is probably a great time to look afresh at how services are delivered and the environment where that is occurring.”

That’s exactly what Washington Prime Group, who owns Clay Terrace, says they plan to do. They want to rezone the area to include more than just retail, which should be fairly easy considering it was part of the plan before Clay Terrace was even built.

“So when the original plan was adopted and approved in 2001/2002 there were multiple phases that included in fill, mixed use, additional residential and what this is is kind of a phase one of that,” Hollibaugh said.

City officials say the area has been passed through several different owners, which may be why they haven’t rezoned the area to include these types of spaces in 15 years. But they’re happy it’s finally happening.

“It certainly is consistent with the direction that the city’s trying to promote,” Hollibaugh said. “Which is more mixed-use — a more vibrant center that’s not just 9 to 9.”

In early renders of this proposal, Washington Prime Group shows off the possible inclusion of apartments above retail stores, a lifestyle hotel, as well as brand new retail and office spaces. The group says the plan is still in it’s early stages, so not everything is set in stone.

“In a challenging environment where nobody really knows the future of office, nobody really knows what the future of retail, hospitality (is),” Hollibaugh said. “All those industries are being challenged right now. So we’re going to help them set the table with a good concept or plan of attack and then we’ll let them fill it up.”

The next step for this project is to have the redevelopment proposal go before the Carmel Plan Commission on September 15.

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — This year, 185 police officers have died in the nation in the line of duty.

It’s the goal of Cops Cycling for Survivors to honor their memories while making sure their families are cared for.

For the last 19 years, cyclists have ridden 1,000 over 13 days across Indiana. This year, the event was cut down to one day on a single track because of the virus.

Indiana State Police Maj. Anthony Casto rode 91.1 miles around a track.

It took “about 5 hours and 17 minutes peddling.”

But as he rode, the names of hundreds of Indiana officer who have fallen through the years were read aloud for eight hours in remembrance.

“There’s so many names,” Casto said. “Even as I was riding around, you hear the speakers and it’s like, you know, there are people that I knew from different agencies and it just brings back memories.”

“Everybody goes on with their lives,” said Kevin Getz, a Cops Cycling for Survivors board member. “All too often, the survivors are kind of thought about during the one year anniversary, the five year, the ten year. Well, we want to remember our survivors and our affected agencies on any given Tuesday in the middle of may.”

Casto’s 91.1 miles wasn’t random. That mileage matches up with state trooper Peter “Bo” Stephan’s assigned ID number. He died last year and left behind his wife and young daughter.

“I believe she’s 5 months old, I want to say now,” Casto said. “Again, this is something she’ll never know her father but through efforts like this, the organization of cops cycling they’ll be able to support her and she’ll know her father’s spirit.”

So after 91.1 miles of reflection, Casto walks away from the track with heavy legs and a heavy heart.

“Do a lot of praying,” Casto said. “I prayed for the families of the survivors, pray for this country, that there be healing and that we treat each other with kindness. What this country needs to take the next step to grow and be better than we were yesterday.”

But he also walks away knowing he’s keeping Trooper Stephan’s memory alive and showing that his family is cared for.

“Remember our survivors,” Getz said. “Especially in the local communities when you know them. Say ‘hey, how are you doing?’ you’re never forgotten. That’s the biggest thing. The biggest takeaway is making sure that they’re never forgotten and that their officer who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us is never forgotten.

The donations for this event help fallen officers’ loved ones get aid and are given to scholarships, funds and camps started in officers’ memories. Donations can be made on the organization’s website.

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Fishers has the cure for the COVID-19 blues this weekend as they kick off the 8th annual Blues Fest in the Nickel Plate District. That’s right, it’s the 8th annual Fishers Blues Fest.

This show is going to be anything but blue as people try to get one of the limited spaces available to see the show, because remember, we’re still in a pandemic.

Both Friday and Saturday, fans can see four locally and nationally renowned blues artists take the stage to jam out.

Many vendors will set up stands selling food, drinks and alcohol. Precautions are being taken with the Fishers Health Department to make sure lines have people spaced 6 feet apart, and seating for the show also has people socially distant.

A full lineup for the weekend is listed below:

Friday, September 4

Saturday, September 5

This event is first-come, first-serve and will be happening from 7 to 11 on both Friday and Saturday nights.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Teachers’ Treasures and retailer Ikea are teaming up to help some teachers in need.

The average teacher spends from $800 to $1,200 every school year to get school supplies for their students. That means classroom budgets for anything else aren’t all that high.

Through the Classroom Refresh Contest, one lucky teacher will get $1,000 to spruce up his or her learning space. All teachers have to do is complete an entry form. If they’re one of 10 finalists, teachers will submit a picture of their space, and a paragraph about why it needs refreshed. That information will be shared on Teachers’ Treasures Facebook page for the public to vote on who deserves the prize money the most. Teachers who don’t win the refresh contest can enter a raffle by buying things from Teacher’s Treasures throughout September. That raffle could win a teacher $800 in Ikea gift cards.

“Our teachers are truly unsung heroes, yet we recognize that they often lack the resources needed for their classrooms and students. And this year especially, whether school is in person or virtual, there is an additional burden being placed on teachers,” said Aubrey Merki, loyalty manager for Ikea Fishers. “We are so thrilled to partner with Teachers’ Treasures to help alleviate even some of this burden for local teachers, especially those serving in low income school districts.”

Ikea is making sure there’s plenty for teachers to shop for if they want to enter that raffle. They’re donating $30,000 to Teachers’ Treasures to help stock those shelves.

Teachers’ Treasures is a resource center providing free school supplies to teachers in Marion County who serve at-risk kids.

“Teachers’ Treasures is proud to partner with Ikea Fishers in support of teachers for the 2020-21 school year. Not only has Ikea Fishers donated dozens of pallets worth of product to our free store shelves, they are also stepping up by providing teachers with gift cards to lessen the financial burden of preparing their classrooms. We are so grateful to our community partners for uplifting our Indianapolis educators,” said Alicia Van Rensurg, resource development manager for Teachers’ Treasures.

You can learn more about the Classroom Refresh contest and enter on Teacher’s Treasures website.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Members of Indiana Task Force 1 are home after a week of disaster relief efforts in Louisiana during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

Members of Indiana Task Force 1 have been to 20 to 30 hurricanes, but never during a global pandemic.

Indiana Task Force 1 members pulled up to their Indianapolis headquarters Wednesday and unloaded their bus as quick as they could, happy to be back home.

“I’m sure the guys are ready to get home and see their families and get in their own beds for the evening,” said Gerald George, Task Force 1 leader.

That’s something many can’t do this week as countless Louisiana homes sit underwater or in piles of rubble, caving in from debris that Hurricane Laura left behind.

Members of the task force witnessed some of that devastation firsthand in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

“We saw an airport down there where the hangars were just ripped apart and large giant jumbo jets wrapped up in sheet metal,” Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Incident Support Team Public Information Officer Michael Pruitt said.

Indiana Task Force 1 compares Hurricane Laura to the damage from Hurricane Michael in 2018, but a big difference from that hurricane is the added challenge of helping people during a pandemic.

“We saw people trying to do their best down there to practice social distancing and wearing the masks,” Pruitt said. “But obviously it was not the first thing on their minds. Many people lost so much of their own personal property and were struggling. So I don’t think they were concerned as much about the coronavirus as we were.”

They say, thankfully, they haven’t heard any reports of disaster relief teams testing positive for the virus. If they did, relief for Hurricane Laura and any possible future disasters could be greatly impacted.

“The last thing we would want to do is for our teams to get ill,” Pruitt said. “Because if you take our teams out of the system, we’ve lost all our rescue resources.”

They say that’s why, especially now, it’s important to be prepared for anything, because who knows what 2020 will throw next.

“We are not out of severe weather time here in Indiana or we could have earthquakes,” Pruitt said. “There are many types of hazards that we’re not used to dealing with in Indiana that could come along and we should always be prepared.”

Indiana Task Force 1 may be back home, but they say hurricane season is still ongoing, so they’re prepared to ship out again if another disaster strikes.