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INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Two child advocacy organizations in central Indiana have announced plans to combine forces to further support families who have a child with a disability or special healthcare need. Family Voices Indiana, based in Fishers, and Indianapolis-based About Special Kids say they will merge in January.

They say the consolidation will enable both organizations to maintain and expand their offerings to parents and families around the state while increasing operational efficiency and maximizing donor dollars and grant proceeds. “

“Our goal is a world in which families are the center of care and all children and youth with health care needs or disabilities thrive – this new, bigger, and more robust organization will strengthen our work towards achieving that goal,” said Holly Wheeler of Family Voices Indiana.

The newly formed organization says it will operate under a new brand, which is currently being developed and will be announced when the consolidation becomes official early next year.

“We look forward to being able to help more families and professionals navigate the systems, identify resources and provide vital community connections. This is an important development for families and professionals throughout the state,” said Cindy Robinson with About Special Kids.

The organization says it is anticipated that all staff of both organizations will continue with the new organization and existing board members plan to continue in their roles.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The number of single-family building permits for central Indiana in March surged 66% from the same period a year ago, according to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis. The trade association says while the number reflects a continuing trend of new home construction, the number pales compared to the skyrocketing cost of building materials.

BAGI says the cost of framing lumber composite has increased by 317% last week compared to this time last year according to a national lumber report.

“These increases are being felt by both the builders and consumers as the scramble persists in an attempt to meet the market demand,” said Steve Lains, BAGI chief executive officer.

BAGI says more than 1,110 permits were issued in the nine-county area, compared to 680 in March of 2020. The organization says there has been a 48% increase in the first quarter, year over year.

“Market demand has not shown signs of wavering,” said Lains. “Consumers continue to sell their current homes for more money and with less time on the market. Record low-interest rates continue to be a driver for people to buy now, despite the cost increases with new construction.”

BAGI says Morgan County posted a deficit in March, but Marion County saw an 80% increase.

KOKOMO, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has released a series of safety guidelines and protocols it is implementing at its U.S. factories as the automaker returns to work next week.

The company has targeted May 18 to resume some production after it instituted a nationwide shutdown due to the spread of the coronavirus.

GM said the phased-in measures come from what they learned from their facilities in Kokomo, Warren, Michigan, Arlington, Texas, as well as plants in China and Korea.

“These procedures meet or exceed CDC and WHO guidelines, and are designed to keep people safe when they arrive, while they work and as they leave the facility,” said Philip Kienle, vice president, North America manufacturing for GM.

Kienle took part in the press briefing from the Kokomo plant where he has helped oversee the production of critical care ventilators.

He said the plant has shipped 1,100 units as of this week. The contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls for 30,000 ventilators by the end of August.

“Which we’re on target to meet,” said Kienle.

As the 80,000 GM workers in the U.S. return to work next week, their factories will look different from when they left their assembly lines.

Workers will be required to wear face masks, temperatures will be checked, and procedures to ensure social distancing have been put in place.

“We’re looking to keep the disease out of the workplace, we want to stop the spread of the disease within our workplace and we want to manage symptomatic or possible cases within the workplace,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hess, GM’s chief medical officer.

The company said it worked with leadership from the United Autoworkers union to develop and institute the procedures.

Hess said one of the biggest challenges workers will likely face is keeping a safe distance between each other, acknowledging that at times it will be impossible.

“When individuals can’t keep a six-foot distance within the workplace, we’re really relying on the protective measures of masks and safety glasses to be very protective in those environments,” said Hess.

The new protocols go beyond the GM facilities, Kienle said GM has shared it multi-faceted guidelines with its suppliers.

“Because safe operations of our supply chain are key to our ability to resume our production and to the health of those people in their communities,” said Kienle.

GM has plants in Fort Wayne, Marion, Kokomo and Bedford.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a homicide after a man was found dead on the city’s near northeast side.

According to IMPD, the man was found in the front yard of a residence in the 2800 block of Stuart Street at approximately 6:30 a.m.

The victim has been identified as 46-year-old Eric Averitte.

Around 6 a.m. officers responded to the area for a report of shots fired.

Police said Averitte did appear to be suffering from gunshot wounds.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – This week, for the first time, the Indy Fuel will host playoff hockey.

Games Three and Four will be played Wednesday and Thursday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Brent Hollerud, director of marketing for the Indy Fuel, stopped by Daybreak Tuesday.

He talked about what to expect from this week’s games and whether there are still tickets available.

For more on this story, click on the video.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Restaurants around central Indiana are coming together to help raise money for a restaurant owner who was injured in an attack.

The owner of Acapulco Joe’s, Grant Redmond, suffered a brain injury last month after police say he was attacked by a “dine and dash” customer. Redmond has been recovering since then but could still use some help with medical bills. 

Tuesday’s fundraiser is to specifically support IMPD’s victim’s assistance fund but it’s really easy to participate. A total of 21 different restaurants in the area will either give back a portion of their sales from Tuesday, the money from their tip jar or a specific donation amount as part of the fundraiser.

Half of the proceeds will go toward Redmond’s medical care and the other half will be donated to IMPD’s Victims Assistance Fund.

The total amount of funds raised will be announced on Tuesday, May 1 at 6 pm at Acapulco Joe’s on Illinois Street.

Just in case you cant make it for a bite out of the house today but still want to give back You can donate directly to Redmond’s GoFundMe page aimed at helping with his medical bills.

The following are a list of participating restaurants: