All Indiana

Girl Scout Cookies arrive in central Indiana

Girl Scout Cookies arrive

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than 2 million boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are stacked and waiting for distribution in central Indiana, and the Girl Scouts say they can’t wait to hand them out.

The shipment from Little Brownie Baker in Louisville, Kentucky, came this week, and News 8’s “All Indiana” got a sneak peek inside the Planes Storage Co. warehouse on the east side to see the load.

Deana Potterf, chief communications officer with the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, says 200,000 cases of cookies were delivered. She says half are ordered cookies and half will be sold in front of grocery stores and door to door, and through the Scouts’ new e-commerce webpages.

“It’s so much more than the cookies than themselves. They’re really delicious but at the same time you’re really helping support the Girl Scouts,” Potterf said. “You’re helping that girl learn marketing, people skills, business ethics, entrepreneurship. She actually has a digital cookie website that she can build now.”

Girl Scout Cookies are a cultural phenomenon partly because of the popular flavors but also because there are 1.7 million Girl Scouts nationwide, including 25,000 in central Indiana’s 45 counties. Chances are if you haven’t eaten a Girl Scout cookie, you’ve met a Girl Scout.

Potterf says sales in front of grocery stores will begin Valentine’s Day and last through mid-March. Each box is $5 this year and, once again, buyers can choose to donate a box to Operation Cookie Drop, the service project that sends cookies to local military service members and veterans. They also go out to firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders.

“Patriotism and service are really at the foundation of the Girl Scouts and so this is a great way for us to take all that community enthusiasm to support those hard-working people,” Potterf said.

Last year, more than 76,000 boxes of cookies were donated to Operation Cookie Drop. Potterf says their No. 1 drop-off spot is Stout Army Air Field in Indianapolis. The military members there also receive milk from partner Prairie Farms to go with their cookies.

Girl Scout Cookie trivia

Question: What’s the post popular cookie in central Indiana?

Answer: Thin Mint. The Girl Scouts reports 30% of this year’s shipment were Thin Mints! Samoas are No.2 followed by Tagalongs.

Q: What’s the name of the new cookie the Girl Scouts are selling this year?

A: Lemon-Ups, featuring positive messages on lemon-flavored shortbread. The Scouts retired the powdered, lemon-flavored Savannah Smile this year.

Q: There is only one time since its inception that the Girl Scouts haven’t sold cookies. When was it?

A: Girl Scout Cookies were not sold during World War II, due to a flour and sugar shortage. (Instead, the scouts sold calendars.)

Q: According to local Girl Scout leaders, what is the strangest way someone has picked up their troop’s shipment of cookies from the warehouse?

A: A hearse.

Q: According to local Girl Scout leaders, what is the best way to enhance the flavor of Girl Scout Cookies?

A: It’s a four-way tie: freezing a Thin Mint: deep-frying a Samoa, which is done at the Indiana State Fair; eating any of the cookies with milk: and trying some of the savory Girl Scout Cookie dishes at the annual Cook Off at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in February.


Hamilton County’s ‘Wellness Unit’ part of nationwide effort to improve mental health among officers

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — An initiative to improve employee well-being at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is among a spate of efforts across the nation to address mental health concerns among officers.

Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush announced the department’s new “Wellness Unit”  — devoted to the physical, mental and spiritual health of its deputies, correctional officers and civilian employees — Friday in a Facebook post.

“Our guys really care about the public,” he said Monday in an interview with News 8. “When you see somebody who’s injured or victimized, it really impacts us… We’re only human.”

The Wellness Unit launched in January with funding approved by county council members and commissioners.

Appointments are held off-site at undisclosed locations to protect the privacy of employees. Supervisors are not briefed on which employees seek counseling or what they discuss during sessions.

Information gathered during counseling sessions will not be used to demote or discipline employees, and will only be disclosed if required by law, including when somebody poses an immediate danger to themselves or others.

The department’s entire staff will receive training related to suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, critical incidents, addiction, mindfulness and officer wellness, the sheriff said.

Nearly 1 in 4 police officers has thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI); the suicide rate for police officers is four times higher than the rate for firefighters.

Years of daily exposure to stress, trauma and tragedy can have other devastating consequences if appropriate coping skills are not developed, according to Susan Sherer-Vincent, a licensed clinical social worker, certified alcoholism counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist involved in launching the Wellness Unit.

“Think of the hurricanes that come in, in Florida, and think of the palm trees where they bend,” she explained. “But then, what happens afterwards? They go back up. That’s called resilience. We want our officers to bend, not break.”

Until approximately 3 to 5 years ago, officers were often conditioned to “pull [themselves] up by the bootstraps and go to the next call” instead of addressing personal struggles, Sherer-Vincent said.

Cultivating resiliency can be difficult within a law enforcement culture that equates mental health challenges with “weakness,” she said.

“[Officers] are trained to have the warrior mentality,” Sherer-Vincent told News 8. “Truly, they would have been made fun of [in the past for seeking counseling].”

She compared strong, silent officers with underdeveloped coping skills to California’s famed redwood trees.

“They’re pretty sturdy. But what would happen if you took an ax and hit those every single day, day after day, for years? They would eventually fall,” she said.

Quakenbush credits his wife, church and non-law enforcement friends with providing “a really good support system.”

“But sometimes, you need a professional,” he said, urging employees to “talk through” negative emotions instead of turning to alcohol and other substances for temporary relief.

Several internal cases that resulted in disciplinary action during his year-long tenure as sheriff may have been prevented with wellness-focused intervention, Quakenbush said.

He was unable to comment on personnel matters. 

Sources within the department indicated some of the cases involved employees with substance abuse issues that had escalated over time, possibly as a result of work-related stress that had gone unaddressed. 

“I wouldn’t say that [disciplinary action] was happening often,” Quakenbush told News 8. “But seeing it happen and knowing that we probably could have done something about it made it impactful and something that we wanted to make a priority.”

Hamilton County announced its Wellness Unit days after New York City police officials revealed plans to hire a team of psychologists to combat a spike in officer suicides.

On Feb. 13, Indianapolis police officials said they planned to swear in the department’s first full-time therapy dog by the end of March.

  • FIND SUPPORT: Learn more about supporting law enforcement wellness on