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ROACHDALE, Ind. (WISH) — The federal government has launched a special investigation into Norfolk Southern railroad company after the fiery East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.

I-Team 8 told viewers last week about the truckloads of soil already arriving from Ohio at a Putnam County landfill. The announcement of a federal investigation came as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management released a statement saying waste shipments from the site to Indiana are on hold. A concern over a type of chemicals classified as dioxins caused the pause in shipments.

A third-party agency is testing the soil to see if it has dangerous levels of dioxins in it.

Gabriel Filippelli, a environmental geochemist and professor at IUPUI, who is closely following the type of contaminated soil slated to come to Putnam County, told I-Team 8, “Dioxins are a class of chemicals that are actually quite dangerous. They’re called persistent organic pollutants because they last in the environment for a very long time.”

“These materials probably do have dioxins in them, or at least that’s how they’re being listed right now,” Filippelli added.

On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it will temporarily stop the waste shipments to Indiana from the site of the Feb. 3 train derailment.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, said the waste should never have come to Indiana first without testing. “This halted shipment should stay halted, and the Biden EPA should explain why they started shipping material to Indiana instead of Michigan as originally planned.”

Previously, the operators of the Putnam County landfill, Heritage Environmental Services, told I-Team 8 it was only one of several facilities across the country slated to get the Ohio soil. Other sites included two in Michigan, where politicians also say they don’t want the soil to come to their districts.

The IUPUI professor said, “It’s the NIMBY attitude, ‘not in my back yard.'”

Filippelli also told I-Team 8 the toxic material has to go somewhere, and the landfill outside of Roachdale, Indiana, is qualified to take it, even if the third party’s testing reveals the soil has dioxins in it.

The professor said, “This facility is certainly capable of handling that, and I think what the public often doesn’t recognize is that this type of material has been going to that specific landfill for quite some time, so these hazardous wastes are regularly brought to these facilities. It’s just the profile of this case is hard to miss.”

If the testing reveals dioxins, Indiana Department of Environmental Management might require a special treatment before the soil can be disposed at the landfill. The state department plans to release the results of the soil testing when it is completed, although no timetable has been announced.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Purdue University professors told I-Team 8 Hoosiers should not be concerned about their water being contaminated by the train derailment, despite what you might see online.

Andrew Whelton is a professor teaching environmental and ecological engineering. He’s been following this situation in East Palestine from the very beginning.

He’s seen misinformation being spread online about the impact to Hoosiers.

“There’s a whole bunch of people pushing information that’s just not true. Not possible. There’s no way that West Lafayette’s drinking water could be contaminated by the disaster that occurred a 7 hour drive from here” Whelton said.

His Colleague Linda Lee who studied environmental contamination, agrees.

She told I-Team 8 that people here should not even be concerned about air pollution caused by the burning of chemicals from the derailed train.

“Unless we get wind currents that bring some of that over here, we don’t expect to be impacted, and by the time it travels very far, I would expect most of it to be gone or very diluted,” Lee said.

“Basically it’s like putting dye in a bathtub. You put a lot of red dye in a bathtub, it will be really dark, but as you fill that bathtub up with more and more water, the amount of chemical that is being diluted and it doesn’t pose a threat,” said Whelton who added, “The primary risk is right in the immediate area where the detonation occurred. Where the liquids were discharged into the rivers and streams and killed fish.”

Whelton told I-Team 8 people should pay attention to our upstream neighbors along the Ohio River for any concerning signs of contamination.

“Cincinnati has been doing a lot of water testing. All these different cities up along the Ohio river are not worried about the contamination coming down the Ohio River, so people in Indiana, especially those living down by the Ohio river, have nothing to worry about,” Whelton said.

Lee said the decision for crews in East Palestine to release the chemical and burn it early after the derailment likely lessened the groundwater contamination because it was released into the atmosphere in a different and less harmful form.

CINCINATI, Ohio. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) is launching a new logo and brand transformation campaign. The campaign includes a  redesigned Kroger logo, a new tagline: Fresh for Everyone, and the introduction of what it’s calling animated “Kroji”  emoji characters. 

Kroger is also launching a mass media campaign to showcase the new brand transformation. Advertising channels include retail, television and radio broadcast, digital, print, social, podcast, cinema, outdoor, and TV and music streaming services.

To celebrate the launch of the brand transformation campaign, Kroger is offering customers free grocery Pickup through January 1.

“Kroger’s new brand launch is a unifying framework for our seamless shopping experience that is designed to deepen our connection with customers and associates today and into the future, support our business transformation and provide an elevated creative approach,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Kroger chose Fresh for Everyone as our leading brand message because it is inclusive, clear and memorable and supports our vision of serving America through food inspiration and uplift.”

To learn more about the rebrand, click here

The last perfect bracket among NCAA Tournament fans is busted.

Well, as busted as you can get at 49-1.

A 40-year-old neuropsychologist who had the bracket on had changed his Twitter name to Gregg “Perfect Bracket” Nigl. Mr. Perfect is no more after Purdue’s overtime win over Tennessee.

Nigl (NIGH-gull) became an overnight celebrity after making it through the first two rounds with correct picks on all 48 games. It’s a nearly impossible feat, even during a tournament that’s gone mostly to the favorites.

Nigl had all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Elite Eight.

Here’s some brutal luck: The loss dropped Nigl’s bracket to sixth place in the NCAA’s bracket challenge.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new study published this week by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found a dramatic increase in calls to U.S. poison control centers for kratom exposure, and highlighted the need to educate pregnant women on the dangers.

It comes in pills and powder, but no matter the form, the leaves from the tropical kratom tree can used to do the same thing: treat pain, depression, anxiety and even help with opioid withdrawal. 

“It’s a natural plant that people look at and say oh it’s natural it’s safe but it’s a very potent plant,” Henry Spiller, MS, DABAT, co-author of the study and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the leaves contain compounds that can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants by interacting with opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in sedation, pleasure and decreased pain, especially when taken in large doses. In small amounts, the NIDA says users report increased energy, sociability and alertness.

However, even though it’s natural, Spiller said people need to be cautious. 

“People aren’t aware of the risks of this,” Spiller said.  

The study states that the annual number of calls to poison control centers increased drastically, going from about 13 calls in 2011 to close to 700 calls in 2017–that’s the equivalent of about one call per month to two calls per day, with two thirds of these exposures occuring from 2016 to 2017.

Side effects from the substance range from seizures to even death.

“There’s a whole number of other things that people aren’t aware that this does,” Spiller said.  

Tachycardia, irritability, hypertension, seisures, coma, renal (kidney) failure and death related to the use of kratom were the medical effects noted in the study.

“Kratom use has been associated with a variety of serious medical outcomes, from seizures and coma in adults to severe withdrawal syndrome in newborns,” said Spiller. 

The study also found that kids were exposed, including at least seven newborns. Five of the newborns were experiencing withdrawal. For Spiller, that was the most surprising result of the study.

“We need to let mothers know. This is going to affect your fetus, this is really going to affect your child,” Spiller stressed.

In total, the study says of 48 of those calls were pertaining to exposure of children 12 years of age and younger, and 69 percent of those 48 were under two years old.

Six states–Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin–have made kratom illegal and other municipalities have also banned the substance.

In Ohio, the state pharmacy board said they want to make it a schedule one substance, which falls into the same category as marijuana and heroin.  

However, at the last board meeting they received about 6,000 public comments from both sides of the spectrum and now they are taking time to review those before moving forward with a decision.

Kratom is currently listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a “drug of concern.” It is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means product quality, purity and concentration can vary dramatically. 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Jack Smith says Kratom saved his life.

“After I got to clean about three and a half years ago, a buddy of mine from Indonesia called me and said, “Jack you have to try this. I know how depressed you are,”” Smith described. “So he sent it to me, and I literally cried the first time I tried it. It was the first time I felt like the Jack I knew years ago before I started the pills.” 

Kratom is already illegal in a handful of states and cities throughout the United States, and now, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy is recommending the same thing. Smith says he believes the pharmaceutical industry lobby is pushing for it.

“If you ask me, it’s going to affect so much of pharmaceutical sales. That’s just my heart, when you affect somebody’s income… Suboxone, the pain pills, opiates… whatever it is. I get it but to come in and say, “we’re making this a schedule one drug.”

Smith was a NASCAR driver. In 2007 he broke his neck. He was put on pain pills and got addicted.

“I lost my contract. I was making $2.5 million a year, and I lost my contract because of my opiate problem,” said Smith.

He also says he has seen Kratom save the lives of thousands of other people.

“I had people coming in fully withdrawing off of heroin, as sick as can be. I know how that feels. I don’t wish that on anyone in the world. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. I would make them a drink. It would stop their withdrawals in 15 minutes. I’ve had grown man cry…. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.”

That kind of transformation doesn’t happen in the shop anymore. In the fall of 2018, Smith’s shop, Life of Kratom, was shut down for violations. He was giving out what the state of Ohio says is medical advice by telling people how to use Kratom powder and the ailments he says it can help treat.

He’s very careful with how he talks about the product now.

“It’s just a leaf from Indonesia and Thailand. It’s been around for thousands of years. It’s really just catching on in the last five years or so here in the United States. I have to be careful; I’m not a physician, so I can’t tell you any claims,” Smith said when asked to describe the product.

“My biggest thing that I fight right now is agriculture and pharmaceuticals, because when I have people come in into the store and they ask, “what is Kratom?” or “how do I take it?,”  I’m trying to live by all the rules and make everyone happier, and I can’t tell them,” Smith explained.

Smith says people can’t OD or die from Kratom, but he says if they take too much, they can get dizzy and vomit.

“It’s a shame that I can’t tell people that,” he said.

However, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy says Kratom is listed as the cause of death for six people in 2016 and 2017 and has recommended it be added to the list of Schedule 1 drugs.

Smith disputes that claim but does say the industry could benefit from regulations.

“You can’t die from this stuff. Every case they’ve had from someone passing away, some other drug was in it… opiates, fentanyl, Xanax… there was always something in there. It was never just Kratom,” he said. “So I tell people, to me [the Ohio Board of Pharmacy] is using it as a scare tactic. And I think, in the next year, you see all the studies coming out, they’ll find out the truth about it.”

“If there’s regulations on it, I think there needs to be regulations on testing and making sure the stores are legit,” Smith added. “I’m probably going to get a lot of flack over this, but I don’t think it needs to be head shops and stuff like that.”

People use Kratom for a variety of reasons and to holistically treat ailments. Chronic pain, anxiety, lethargy, and insomnia are just a few examples.

“What really amazes me is 40 percent of my business is 60 and over,” Smith said. “It’s amazing how many elderly people are coming here and using more holistic ways of managing… whether it’s pain… whatever it is.”

Smith has a message for those who think Kratom should be made illegal: “I tell pharmaceutical… I tell anybody… the politicians… come sit in my store. I welcome you. Come sit in my store for a day, three days, and just listen to the stories. I’m not a physician, I will tell you that, but what I can tell you is it’s amazing the amount of people that come in here and how it’s changed their lives.”

CINCINNATI (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed during a 12-hour standoff at an apartment complex in Ohio that left another deputy wounded and a suspect in custody, authorities said Sunday.

Capt. Jeff Sellars of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded about 7 p.m. Saturday to the Royal Oaks Apartments in Pierce Township, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Cincinnati, following a 911 call from a man who said he believed someone was inside his residence.

Authorities say the caller then said that he was armed and eventually told the dispatcher that he was suicidal.

But it was unclear from authorities’ statements whether the caller was referring to himself or to the person he said was inside his home. It was also unclear whether the suspect himself made the call. Authorities found only one person in the home.

Authorities say 23-year-old Wade Edward Winn was taken into custody. Clermont County Municipal Court records show Winn has been charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder.

David O’Neil, a spokesman for Ohio’s attorney general, confirmed the charges Sunday but said he couldn’t disclose where the suspect was being held.

The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said Detective Bill Brewer died from his wounds. The other deputy, Lt. Nick DeRose, was treated for a gunshot wound in the ankle and released from a hospital, O’Neil said.

“Deputy Brewer gave his life attempting to help a person who was admittedly suicidal,” Sheriff Steve Leahy said in a press release. “This will forever change the atmosphere of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a separate release that Brewer’s “valor is now recorded for all time, written in blood.”

“We mourn and we will remember,” Yost said

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday ordered all U.S. and state flags throughout Clermont County and at the Statehouse flown at half-staff in honor of Brewer. The Republican governor’s order is in effect from Sunday until sunset on the day of Brewer’s internment.

A court hearing was scheduled for Winn at 10 a.m. Monday in Clermont County Municipal Court in Batavia, O’Neil said.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Professional and passionate, that’s the best way to describe Janelle Coleman, a power player at “L-Brands.”  She started as an intern and worked her way up the corporate ladder.

“My mother had the talk with my brother and I that you have to work twice as hard to get half as much and so I have approached everything with that attitude, and I don’t expect anything to be easy,”, says Janelle Coleman.

She is a black woman on the move in corporate America, but that doesn’t stop her from getting the job done.

“I think being a black woman is a bonus and a value and I absolutely love being a black woman, and I live that in everything I do. I hope my preparedness leads me to opportunities and those opportunities are made available for me to be successful.”

Janelle Coleman says when it’s time to make decisions, it’s not about black or white, she says its about how you get the job done – with results.  She was born and raised in Cleveland, graduated from Ohio University, where she sits on the board today. 

She says she learned early on to always be ready and to have a plan B.  “So I’ve always had a love for fashion and so while I was at OU taking journalism classes I decided I want to take some fashion merchandise classes and learn about the fashion industry. 

And while taking classes on the business side of it, I saw a flyer on the wall that said The limited.”

After open interviews on campus, Janelle fell into her passion of public relations. She landed a job with “The Limited” in 1997.  It’s now known as L-Brands which includes Victoria’s Secret, and Bath and Body Works.  Now, 21 years later, Janelle is the Vice President of Community Relations and the President of L-Brands Foundation.

Janelle believes women in corporate America don’t get a pass.  She says they must show up for work every day, ready to work with no attitude and no drama.  Her goal is that diversity in the office and in top positions is something that doesn’t have to be discussed – it just is.

Read more stories Celebrating Women here