Small businesses are the backbone to the local economy. News 8’s Aleah Hordges gives the INside Story of how women-owned businesses are evolving and driving change in entrepreneurship, despite economic uncertainty.
This is the third of a five-part series on women-owned businesses in central Indiana.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
AVON, Ind. (WISH) – Customers are calling Marsha’s Specialty Desserts and Tierney’s Catering delicious as the company aims to be part of every celebration.
Neighbors have referred it to as one of the best local gems in Avon.
It’s tucked away in a tiny strip mall of Rockville Road.
Co-owner Marsha Quarles describes the business as not just unique, but tried-and-true.
“We’re able to help bring your vision to life. That’s what we’re here for,” Quarles said.
She mentioned the business is a family affair as five other family members cook and run operations.
“We were always the family that had all of our cousins over for different events and everything had to match. The napkins matched the theme of the food,” Quarles said.
Marsha said her grandfather invisioned the catering company. The family opened up shop in 2012.
“He always told us that this is what we should do. We should cook and we should cater desserts. We should encompass it all into one and that’s how M&T was born,” Quarles said.
The menu doesn’t stop at desserts as customers also order Southern cuisine.
“We do a lot of champagne chicken. My aunt makes the best fresh green and macaroni and cheese.”
Marsha’s Specialty Desserts and Tierney’s Catering has done weddings, community events, parties and more.
The baker said there’s nothing the award-winning business hasn’t conquered.
“We’re small, but mighty,” added Quarles. “That’s what we like to say.”
The entreprenuer mentioned she hopes her comonay can influence other black entrepreneurs to dream, despite what obstacles may occur.
“Commercial real estate agent looked at me and he said ‘you will never ever be able to bake enough to afford a space; never’ and that always stuck with me,” Quarles.
No matter what other people may think.
“Don’t ever let what people think what you can or cannot do define you,” said Quarles.
Marsha’s Specialty Desserts will sell strawberry shortcakes at the Avon Farmer’s Market on June 7 from 4-7 pm.
AVON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Exactly one year since the merger of two Indiana agricultural cooperatives became official, the new organization announced plans to relocate from Avon to Indianapolis. Co-Alliance Cooperative Inc. says it is moving to a larger site to accommodate its growing team.
Last year the boards of directors and members of Avon-based Co-Alliance LLP and Harvest Land Cooperative, headquartered in Richmond, voted in favor of the merger, which took effect on February 1, 2021.
Co-Alliance says its overall employee numbers grew by one-third last year.
“With the tremendous growth of our member-owned cooperative, we have simply outgrown our current facility. The new headquarters will be more centrally located for employees and will allow our team to conduct business more efficiently in a space that better suites our expanding needs. We are excited about a future where we can collaborate more efficiently and better serve our members,” said Co-Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Still.
Co-Alliance is moving to an existing office near Interstate 465 and 10th street. Renovations are being completed and the move to the new offices is planned for early summer 2022.
Citizens of Avon, get excited! There’s a new Nothing Bundt Cakes location in your town!
Lisa and Curt Roberts, Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise owners, joined us today to share more about their new location and what you can expect from them during the holiday season.
Watch the video above for all of the details.
For more information visit, NothingBundtCakes.com.
AVON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Avon-based Harlan Bakeries LLC is adding an Evansville company to its portfolio. The company has acquired AmeriQual Group Holdings LLC, which produces, packages and distributes food products, though financial terms are not being disclosed.
Harlan did not detail whether any jobs would be affected by the deal, but President Hugh Harlan says the company plans to work with all employees to vertically integrate both businesses and ensure continued growth for both companies.
“The AmeriQual team is excited to be partnering with Harlan Bakeries as we move towards the next phase of our company’s growth,” AmeriQual President Dennis Straub said in a news release. “We believe that there are multiple growth opportunities with this combination and that our company cultures are very similar.”
Inside INdiana Business has reached out to Harlan Bakeries for more details on the acquisition but has not yet received a response.
AVON, Ind. (WISH) — A Speedway man died in a crash Sunday afternoon near Avon, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday afternoon.
Benjamin Melvin, 43, was the only occupant of a black Jeep that left the road. He was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the crash site, the release said.
The crash happened shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday on County Road 200 North west of County Road 800 East, which is also known as Dan Jones Parkway in Avon and Hornaday Road in Brownsburg.
The investigation of the crash was not yet complete Monday, and the news release provided no additional information.
The man’s name was corrected in this story after an error in the sheriff’s office news release.
AVON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The boards of directors and members of two Indiana agricultural cooperatives have formally approved a previously-announced merger. Avon-based Co-Alliance LLP and Harvest Land Cooperative, headquartered in Richmond, say the merger will officially take effect on February 1.
The deal was first announced in August. Together they will operate as Co-Alliance Cooperative, headquartered in Avon.
“Co-Alliance Cooperative brings together two extremely strong cooperatives with a successful history of servicing member-owners at the highest level. I anticipate this strong combination will provide synergies and resources that will enhance our customers’ experience and prepare us to meet the needs of our future stakeholders,” said Kevin Still, who is the current president and chief executive officer of Co-Alliance and will serve in that capacity in the new venture.
Current Harvest Land President and CEO Scott Logue will become executive vice president in the new cooperative.
While the merger will officially take place next month, executives from both co-ops say the deal has been in the works for years.
“These talks actually started back in 2011. And they progressed and you know how these things take time. And finally, this last summer, we really got down to talking and fortunately here in January the first couple weeks, our boards voted, and our shareholders voted unanimously almost to approve this merger,” said Still.
Still and Logue say the companies individually had strong balance sheets and no long-term debt, so together they have more negotiating power and can provide a return to its members.
“As we stand today, we were determined to keep a strong equity redemption and patronage payment program to our shareholders,” Still said. “And you know, we really think with the savings and synergies that we get with the new company, will maintain a good income and we can maintain that patronage.”
Logue added, “This historic merger creates a cooperative that can proactively navigate the ever-changing industries we service and provide an environment in which our customers and employees thrive.”
The newly formed cooperative services customers in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan & Illinois. Logue says there was very little business overlap in coverage areas.
“And where we did have some overlap there in Central Indiana, we had a very successful joint venture that Co-Alliance and Harvest Land had worked together since 2001 and operated that joint venture so that that relationship goes back nearly two decades,” said Logue.
It has four core divisions, including Agronomy, Energy, Grain and Swine & Animal Nutrition. Together, the new cooperative will have over 1000 employees and $1.3 billion in sales.
AVON, Ind. (WISH) — One of the biggest nights of the year for bars and restaurants could be even bigger for some as Marion County is left out in the cold due to coronavirus restrictions.
Although Marion County is mandating all bars shut by midnight Thursday, there are no similar restrictions across the county lines.
“I absolutely believe we’ll see a lot more business because people will leave Marion County and they will still want to celebrate,” said Mike Nyland, owner of Legends Pub & Grill in Avon.
Nyland opened Legends 16 years ago. He said New Year’s Eve is usually worth celebrating. “In a normal year, it’s one of our best nights of the year.”
Still, since he reopened during the pandemic, he’s done just fine. It’s a fact he attributes to being located in Hendricks County, not Marion County.
“It’s forced people to come out and see us,” Nyland said. “So we’re doing pretty well.”
But, he’s not celebrating. Building his own business from the ground up, he feels for other bar owners like him.
He says it’s a shame Marion County officials didn’t loosen things up for New Year’s Eve.
While Marion County is continuing with its nightly midnight closure restriction, Fishers is closing even earlier on Dec. 31 at 10 p.m.
“Everyone needs a win this year,” Nyland said. “That could have been the one win that they would have enjoyed for this year and tried to move into next year with a win. It’s a shame.”
So, Thursday night, he plans to staff like a Friday with 13 employees, all hands on deck.
While masks are required to come in the door, as per state code, they aren’t required when eating, drinking and smoking. Enforcing social distance means he plans to fit from 150-180 in a space that normally would have a capacity of 262.
For New Year’s, he’s staying open until 3 a.m. Friday, bringing in a DJ, and allowing dancing.
“Adults are people over the age of 21, so we cater to adults, and adults can make proper decisions,” Nyland said.
Nyland said business has been good so far this week so he’s hopeful that Thursday night brings more of the same, thanks in part to Marion County’s rules.
But, especially this year, there are no guarantees that one of the best nights of the year traditionally will go according to plan.
“Having a good New Year’s is always key,” Nyland said. “We’re hoping it’s the same this year, but it could go either way.”
Hendricks and Johnson counties are among the ones with no special restrictions for New Year’s Eve. In the words of one health official, they’re more worried about mask-wearing and social distancing than they are about hours of operation.
- Indiana State Department of Health coronavirus information (includes phone number to state hotline)
- Sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations in Indiana
- WISH-TV coronavirus coverage
- WISH-TV’s “Gr8 Comeback”
- Original Indiana Back on Track plan
- Revised Stage 3 of Indiana Back on Track plan (May 12-June 13)
- Revised Stage 4 of Indiana Back on Track plan (June 12-July 3)
- Governor’s order, July 1: Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Aug. 26: Extension of Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Sept. 24: Revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Jan. 28, 2021: 11th renewal of statewide emergency
- Governor’s order, Feb. 25, 2021: 12th renewal of statewide emergency
- Indianapolis government’s COVID-19 Community Resources page
- Gleaners Food Bank distribution sites in Indianapolis area, south central Indiana
- Second Harvest of East Central Indiana “tailgate” food distribution sites
- Food Finders distribution sites in west and north central Indiana
- Coronavirus COVID-19 global cases map from John Hopkins University
- CDC’s coronavirus page
- Marion County Public Health Department coronavirus information
- U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
- Indiana PPE Directory (for businesses, nonprofits and schools only)
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.
- March 6, 2020: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
- March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. A Hendricks County adult who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools says a parent and that parent’s children will self-quarantine after attending an out-of-state event where someone tested positive.
- March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
- March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
- March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will happen with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
- March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled.
- March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
- March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
- March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
- March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
- March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
- March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
- March 19: Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools; standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Indiana’s high school boys basketball tournament was canceled.
- March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
- March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the state Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
- March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 18. ISDH announces seven deaths.
- March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 23. Holcomb orders nonessential Hoosiers to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
- March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 28. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
- March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 33. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
- March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 42.
- March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 45.
- March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
- March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 77.
- March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
- March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6.
- April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
- April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
- April 3: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
- April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
- April 7: Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
- April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
- April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
- April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
- April 20: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
- April 22: The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
- April 24: The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department.
- April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
- April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
- April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
- April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
- April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
- May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the “stay at home” order to May 4.
- May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
- May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June.
- May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
- May 13: The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
- May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
- May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
- May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
- May 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
- May 27: Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
- May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
- June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
- June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
- June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
- June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
- June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
- June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening. Indiana records more than 40,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
- June 24: Holcomb says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
- June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
- July 1: The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
- July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
- July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
- July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
- July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
- July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
- July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season begins.
- July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
- July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
- July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
- July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
- July 30: NBA season resumes.
- Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
- Aug. 9: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Aug. 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000.
- Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
- Aug. 20: Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a cooperative house.
- Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
- Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
- Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
- Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
- Aug. 26: Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
- Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
- Sept. 2: Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
- Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
- Sept. 12: The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
- Sept. 21: The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
- Sept. 23: Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 24: The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
- Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
- Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game is limited to 7,500 fans.
- Sept. 28: Purdue University says it’s suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, for violations of a pledge designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on campus.
- Sept. 30: The Indiana State Department of Health’s online coronavirus dashboard began showing data on positive coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.
- Oct. 1: IU’s website shows two additional fraternities and a sorority at the Bloomington campus have been issued “cease and desist” orders.
- Oct. 2: Franklin College suspends classes and moves to virtual education and activities through Oct. 9 after a “concerning and unusual” increase in the positivity rate for COVID-19.
- Oct. 12: Franklin College returns to in-person classes.
- Oct. 13: Indianapolis-based drugmaker Lilly pauses its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
- Oct. 14: Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announces she has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Oct. 15: Gov. Holcomb issues executive order to extend mask mandate and Stage 5 reopening plan.
- Oct. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,000.
- Oct. 18: The Indianapolis Colts third home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
- Oct. 23: The Big Ten begins its football season.
- Oct. 30: Gov. Holcomb extends the public health emergency through Dec. 1.
- Nov. 1: Indiana National Guard to begin deploying to long-term care facilities to provide coronavirus assistance. The Mid-American Conference football teams begins its six-game regular season.
- Nov. 5: Indiana records more than 200,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 8: The Indianapolis Colts fourth home game was limited to 12,500 fans. .
- Nov. 10: Indiana’s death toll rises to 5,000.
- Nov. 12: Indianapolis calls for schools to go to virtual learning by Nov. 30.
- Nov. 15: Indiana adds coronavirus-control restrictions for all businesses and gatherings in counties with the highest number of new cases as part of an update to the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response.
- Nov. 16: Indianapolis limits capacity inside bars, private clubs, fraternal organizations and gyms to 25%; inside restaurants, libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools and shopping malls’ food courts to 50%; and inside religious services to 75%. Marion County Health Department requires preregistration for COVID-19 testing after increased demand at three drive-thru locations.
- Nov. 22: Indiana records more than 300,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 23: Indianapolis Public Schools returns to virtual learning through Jan. 18.
- Nov. 24: The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin; some games had no fans in the stands.
- Nov. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises above 6,000.
- Nov. 26: Butler University men’s basketball cancels Nov. 29 game against Eastern Illinois after a positive COVID-19 test.
- Nov. 28: Butler University men’s basketball team postponed two more games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
- Dec. 1: Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosts its first NCAA men’s basketball game, Kansas vs. Kentucky, since the start of the pandemic.
- Dec. 2: Indianapolis ends its rental assistance program.
- Dec. 5: The men’s basketball game of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2, Baylor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is postponed 90 minutes before tipoff after two Bulldogs test positive.
- Dec. 6: Indiana’s death toll rises above 7,000.
- Dec. 9: Indiana records more than 404,000 positive coronavirus tests. Holcomb says virus restrictions will now by county based on ratings that show the local virus spread. Indiana and Purdue universities cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game set for Dec. 12.
- Dec. 10: Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston says he tested positive for COVID-19.
- Dec. 11: The Pacers lose to the Cavaliers as the NBA preseason begins. The Carmel Walmart in Westfield closes for nearly two days to sanitize the store.
- Dec. 12: Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns tests positive for the coronavirus.
- Dec. 14: Health care workers receive the first coronavirus vaccinations in Indiana.
- Dec. 15: Vice President Mike Pence holds a roundtable in Bloomington at pharmaceutical maker Catalent on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Indiana and Purdue again cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game that’d been reset for Dec. 18.
- Dec. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 8,000.
- Dec. 20: The Indianapolis Colts allows up to 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Houston Texans.
- Dec. 22: NBA starts league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened to a 72-game schedule because of the pandemic.
- Dec. 23: In response to the high volume of unemployment claims, Holcomb extends the suspension of certain requirements to expedite the hiring and training of temporary workers to more quickly resolve unemployment issues. Indiana Pacers to host first home game against New York Knicks with no fans present.
- Dec. 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,000.
- Dec. 29: Indiana records more than 500,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Dec. 31: Indiana’s death toll for 2020 is 9,459 (as recorded through March 4, 2021).
- Jan. 1, 2021: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,500.
- Jan. 3: The Indianapolis Colts allow 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Jan. 4: Grades 1-12 schools in Marion County are allowed reopen to in-person learning. Perry Township Schools is the only district to reopen to in-person learning.
- Jan. 5: Purdue and Nebraska postpone a men’s basketball game over health and safety concerns.
- Jan. 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 10,000.
- Jan. 8: Hoosiers 80 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 13: Hoosiers 70 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 18: NFL announces the scouting combine will not happen in Indianapolis in February.
- Jan. 20: Indiana records more than 601,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indiana Pacers host up to 1,000 at a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the first fans since the pandemic began.
- Jan. 21: Indiana’s death toll rises above 11,000.
- Feb. 1: Hoosiers 65 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine. The Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade is canceled for the second year in a row.
- Feb. 4: More than 1,500 coronavirus deaths were added to the Indiana State Department of Health’s dashboard after an audit found they were not recorded. News 8 learns all games for the Big Ten men’s basketball tourney will move from Chicago to Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Feb. 7: Indiana to change school protocols for classroom quarantine and contact tracing.
- Feb. 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,000. Indiana records more than 650,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Feb. 17: Indiana officials announced plans for a $448 million program to give housing assistance to Hoosiers.
- Feb. 19: The NCAA says up to 25% capacity will be allowed for all rounds of the men’s basketball tourney including the Final Four. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the May 30 Indianapolis 500 will have fans.
- Feb. 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,100.
- Feb. 23: Hoosiers 60 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Feb. 25: Indiana records more than 660,000 positive coronavirus tests. Capacity limits at bars, restaurants, gyms, and music venues in Marion County were adjusted after a consistent trend in the community’s COVID-19 positivity rate.
- Feb. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 12,200.
- Feb. 28: Indiana National Guardsmen to end assistance to long-term care facilities.
- March 1: The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon says it will be virtual for the second year in a row.
- March 2: Hoosiers 55 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 3: Hoosiers 50 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 4: News 8 learns up 8,000 fans will be allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium for Big Ten men’s basketball tournament games. Indiana records more than 665,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- March 5: A three-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic opens at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 16,800 Hoosiers.
- March 12: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.
- March 18: NCAA men’s March Madness games, all of them at venues in Indiana, to start with First Four games in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
- March 26: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Compton Family Ice Arena at the University of Notre Dame.
- March 31: Holcomb’s emergency declaration with county-based restrictions and a mask mandate set to end at 11:59 p.m.
- May 4: Indianapolis Indians set to begin delayed season with away game against Iowa Cubs.
AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Hannah Blakley urged her husband to stay with his parents when she was assigned to a COVID unit at IU Health West.
Blakley, a registered nurse, feared she would expose him to the coronavirus and begged him to consider his own safety.
He refused to leave, telling her, “Whatever you’re going to go through is what I’m going to go through.”
This Thanksgiving, Blakley is grateful her husband insisted on staying by her side while she navigated the traumas of frontline health care work.
He sometimes holds her while she cries after returning home from 12-hour shifts in the COVID unit, knowing he can’t do much to ease her fears.
Blakley worries about the pandemic’s toll on frontline workers’ mental health, the state’s shortage of nurses and whether her patients – all of whom she develops relationships with – will live until her next shift.
“[My husband] just needed to let me sit there and kind of feel what I’m feeling,” she said in a video blog shared on the hospital’s Facebook page.
Blakley recorded and shared a series of vlog entries in April that reached millions of viewers across the nation.
The unfiltered videos offer a glimpse into the grief, fear and hope COVID unit nurses experience daily on the job.
The overwhelming exhaustion and stress are not limited to working hours.
In several vlogs, Blakley documents her feelings of mounting anxiety while commuting to work and describes her lengthy sanitization process before allowing herself to reenter her home after work.
“Is this the day that I bring COVID home to my husband? Is this the day that I walk in and my patient is on hospice?” she asks, sitting alone in her car. “Am I going to lose it? Is my coworker going to lose it?”
Her videos also capture fleeting moments of joy and a palpable sense gratitude.
Blakley’s accounts of COVID unit work convey her deep passion for nursing and her ability to recognize hidden blessings amid despair.
Despite mourning the loss of patients, she is still able to give thanks for her fresh set of scrubs, the new coworkers she meets and the time she spends bonding with patients’ families.
In one vlog, she reveals two of her patients improved enough to be discharged.
During discharge celebrations, Blakley and her colleagues cheer and clap, and play The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” while wheeling the patient out the door.
Those moments keep her going.
She hopes pulling back the curtain on the daily realities of her life – the good, the bad and the unthinkable – will serve as a reality check to people continuing to flout public health guidelines.
“There were a lot of elderly people that were healthy, who were dying because of COVID,” Blakley said. “Had the people around them just protected themselves more, wore their masks [and] washed their hands, it might have saved their lives.”
AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Managers at Majestic Care of Avon refused to answer questions about the source of a possible coronavirus outbreak at the 140-bed nursing home, located on South County Road 525 East.
Dozens of residents tested positive within days, according to daily updates from employees.
On Tuesday, relatives received a recorded message from the facility reporting 48 positive COVID-19 cases among Majestic residents and 13 cases among care team members.
The previous Friday, a message from the facility reported only three positive COVID-19 cases.
Families of residents said they were unable to access timely information about patient care and questioned the nursing home’s adherence to public health recommendations.
“Every time we try to call or anything, they never want to respond,” said Gerald Miller, an Ohio resident whose mother Cheryl Miller had been living at Majestic since early 2020.
Cheryl, 73, began complaining of chest pain Oct. 19 and tested positive for COVID-19 four days later.
Her family suspected she contracted the virus from her roommate, who exhibited symptoms first. Cheryl requested a room change but was not moved until she tested positive, her children said.
On Monday, her daughter called an ambulance for her after learning she was dehydrated, vomiting, disoriented and had difficulty breathing.
Majestic staffers “turned the ambulance away” and told paramedics Cheryl was “fine” and “asymptomatic,” Gerald and his sister told News 8.
Gerald’s fiancée, Rebecca Hess, called a second ambulance but it also left the facility without a patient.
“There are multitudes of workers getting sick, too. We just want to know what’s going on,” Hess said.
The state health department’s website shows 11 positive COVID-19 cases among residents at Majestic Care of Avon. The data was posted Oct. 21 and is scheduled to be updated Wednesday at 12 p.m.
Majestic Care of Avon managers did not respond to calls and emails from News 8 seeking comment.
AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Parents called for increased mental health awareness and anti-bullying measures at Avon schools after a series of abusive social media posts targeting local students.
The anonymous Instagram user behind the defunct “avonconfess” account began posting photos of students with insulting captions last week. Several posts urged children to take their own lives.
The account used the Avon Middle School North logo as its profile picture but has no affiliation with the district.
On Thursday, authorities said Avon school police identified and detained a juvenile who claimed responsibility for an Instagram account “targeting young female students.”
Officials and administrators did not confirm if it was the avonconfess account, which no longer appeared to be active Thursday night, and declined to share further details about the juvenile.
“Each time I looked, it was just updated. More and more students were being targeted,” said Ashley Staley, whose 12-year-old son attends Avon Middle School North.
On Oct. 2, her son’s photo appeared on avonconfess.
Staley tried to shield the seventh-grader from cyberbullying. She told him he had been featured by the notorious account but refused to show him the post.
“It’s troubling. It’s scary,” Staley told News 8. “We have got to take this stuff seriously.”
She reported the account to Instagram and went to her son’s school to share her concerns with administrators. The district responded days later, she said.
The Avon Community School Corp. (ACSC) addressed the district’s handling of the matter after fielding complaints from parents, students, alumni and community members.
“ACSC filed multiple complaints with Instagram regarding this egregious fake account,” a district spokesperson said Thursday in an emailed statement to News 8.
The district has a “strong Mental Wellness Team” of counselors and social workers who help students and staff address bullying, administrators added.
Parents feared cyberbullying could escalate to cyberthreats if administrators and authorities did not respond swiftly to alarming social media posts.
On Thursday morning, police increased their presence on Avon campuses after residents reported a post shared by another anonymous Instagram user.
The “avon_sucks2020” account posted a photo of nearly a dozen firearms with the caption “Which one should I use to shoot up Avon?” followed by a laughing emoji.
“Law enforcement responded immediately and investigated this to ensure the safety of staff and students in our schools,” administrators said in a letter to school families. “The threat was not deemed credible and was not directed toward any school.”
The school shooting threat remains under investigation, according to Avon police.
A avonconfess parody account with the same profile picture is sharing uplifting content. The anonymous user behind “realavonconfess” posts photos of Avon students with complimentary captions.
“Not only is this young woman gorgeous, she’s also sooo caring and an amazing person!!!” one post said.