SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — Nineteen-year-old Samaria Blackwell was laid to rest on Monday.
She was one of the eight people killed in the FedEx shooting a week and a half ago.
“Today is a tough day. Today is a sad day, but it is a day that is not without hope,” Tim Jensen, her former basketball coach, said.
There have been many reports of Blackwell’s hopes of becoming a police officer. Six different police departments from across the state were at the service and took part in the large police procession that led family and friends to the grave site. Those departments include IMPD, Avon, Beech Grove, Portland, Southport and the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department.
The parking lot was packed at Southport Heights Christian Church for Blackwell’s service. It is estimated that 500 people were at the service but even more people came to show their respects during the visitation.
“The people that are in there and the people that you will see are just a testament to everything that she has done and the people that she has affected,” Jensen said.
While Southport Heights isn’t the families current church, it is the church that Samaria’s parents were married in.
“It is really overwhelming and I think the family is sensing that,” Matthew Barnes, a representative for the family, said.
Blackwell’s family spoke for the first time publicly since her passing by releasing a statement the day of her funeral.
“On behalf of our family I want to say thank you to all who have demonstrated such incredible love to our family the past 10 days or so. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Your love has reached through the fog of our sorrow and has been felt. We covet your prayers going forward as well.Jeff Blackwell, Samaria’s father
Samaria was the baby of our family. We loved her with all our hearts and long for the day when we can see her again. We have hope because we believe in the promises of God, and while we cannot bring her back, we can go to her. Samaria recognized her need for a Savior, put her faith in Jesus Christ, and was baptized at a young age. The Bible says that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. The Scriptures also say that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
We look forward to that joy, but until then we will honor Samaria’s memory. While her race in this life was short, she lived it to the fullest. She was funny, thoughtful, and sincere. To know her was to love her. We hope that everyone who hears my words will experience the love of God as we have, and will be able to spend eternity with Jesus and with Samaria.
We want to thank the IMPD officers and chaplains who sat with us while we waited for the news. Particularly Beverly Wilson and Helen Jackson who serve as Victim Assistance Counselors with the IMPD. They went above and beyond their duty to serve our family.
We are praying for the officers who had to process the crime scene. In all of our interactions with IMPD we found them to be professional, compassionate, and caring. They embodied the reasons Samaria wanted to join their ranks and we will never forget their kindness.
We also want to say that we are praying for all of the other families who are experiencing this horrible loss. We especially want to say that we are praying for the Hole family. I cannot imagine how your grief is doubled. We pray that God’s love will surround you and you will sense His presence in a profound way.
I will close with a few Bible verses that Samaria had picked out for her basketball senior night ceremony – Romans 8:37-39
“’In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’”
“I think in heaven they are celebrating today. Samaria is experiencing a life that we could only hope to experience in the future,” Jensen said.
During her service, family and friends shared memories of the bright and “fiercely loyal” teen.
“It was a time of laughter, it was a celebration of life more than mourning a loss in there today,” Barnes said.
They worshiped through song and held each other closely as they prepared to say goodbye.
“There were laughs there were tears, but it was a great time of honestly, worship, inside the service today,” Barnes said.
The Patches for Stiches project has garnered worldwide attention. The project was named Stitches, honoring a nickname Blackwell had earned following a basketball injury.
“We have over 200 patches that have arrived from departments throughout this country and even outside the United States,” Deputy Chief Brian Nugent of the Avon Police Department said.
Nugent says when all of the patches have arrived at the station they will work with the family to decide how to display them. Police say they have already gotten offers for people to put them on a blanket and create a board displaying them all.
The Indianapolis Indians also made a custom jersey that was displayed at the front of the church with Blackwell’s name and high school number on the back.
SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — The local Burmese community is closely following developments in Myanmar after a military coup.
The community is banking on President Joe Biden’s administration and other international leaders stepping up to reverse the military action.
Myanmar is a country in unrest. Countless Burmese citizens who now live in the United States are watching the aftermath of the coup. For 50 years, ethnic cleansing has wreaked havoc on the region.
Elaisa Vahnie, executive director of the Burmese American Community Institute in Marion County, said Monday, “It is troubling, disturbing, and grave concern over what’s happening in Burma.”
In the last decade, some progress was made in creating a democratic government. The military, which holds quite a bit of power, has taken control after complaints of widespread voter fraud in November’s elections. The military has detained multiple government leaders.
“We always said that this could happen. The military always comes and takes over the power,” Vahnie said.
He said Indiana’s Burmese population sits at roughly 23,000. Many escaped to the United States the last time a military takeover happened, and safety concerns about family still in the country remains high among relatives living in the United States.
“They have shut down the Internet connection, telephone lines, and we have not been able to reach a lot of our family members,” the institute’s executive director said.
Vahnie said a mass exodus could happen. He’s hopeful international leaders will respond to the military takeover and provide safe haven for people looking to escape the Southeast Asian nation.
“This is unbelievable. This is something beyond one can imagine.”
The Indy Burmese community says the last time the military took control it said it would be for a few months but became 20 years.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Many Marion County bar and nightclub owners are preparing to reopen Tuesday at 25% capacity indoors, but some said the continuing restrictions are not doing them any favors.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett made the announcement on Thursday morning and cited the city’s progress in lowering COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. For bars and nightclubs with outdoor space, that can reopen at 50% capacity. Bar seating will remain prohibited, and people are asked to remain seated at a table while inside.
Local bars and nightclubs that have been shut down for several months during the coronavirus pandemic. A group of bar owners who met Thursday with News 8 said they are finding it hard to be excited about reopening.They say the mayor’s announcement felt like a slap in the face to the entire industry.
Ryan Greb of Taps and Dolls in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday found the most activity he’s had in months at the second-floor tavern with 50 taps, video games and weekend dance parties.
“We’ve been closed five months. We’re lucky we’ve even made it this long,” Greb said.
Taps and Dolls is not open just yet though. All the people at the venue were not there for fun.
Greb said, “We fall upon deaf ears. That’s what I say when it comes to this. Nobody’s listening to us. Nobody hears our cry. Nobody feels our pain.”
The eight Marion County bar owners noted Hogsett’s attempt to joke about the situation during his announcement. The mayor said, “I promise you that Dr. Caine and her team will go full ‘Footloose’ on your business if you’re operating as a dance club.”
That comment offended all eight bar owners.
Greb said, “I’m offended by it, that they would say it that way. It’s not a joke. This is not a joke to us. This is our lives.”
Cherie Smith from After 6 Lounge, which is also downtown, said what bothers her more than the joke is when it comes to the pandemic all industries don’t seem to be treated equal.
Smith said, “We shut down like everyone else did at the beginning of the year but we are the only industry left that has such strict restrictions in place.”
When Hogsett ordered a second round of closures back in July, he and the Marion County Department of Public Health pointed to data that showed a rise in cases for people from ages 18-30.
Bar owners say it’s not fair for them to take all the blame.
Smith said, “We do not think that, single-handedly, bars and clubs are the reason why the numbers have spiked in Marion County.”
The owner of Whiskey Business in Lawrence and Southport, Mike Doran said he just wants a little guidance from local government leaders, some such as “we’re gonna look for something to help you guys out. We’re gonna look for some kind of forgiveness.”
But so far, he says, that hasn’t happened.
Doran said, “It’s just close your doors. Sorry you (had to) put your life into this and your life savings.”
For many that savings is gone and if things don’t change, they fear their businesses will be next.
Greb said, “People come to town. There’s nothing here. They walk into the streets, and it’s a ghost town.”
Below is the full announcement from Mayor Joe Hogsett. App users can go to the WISH-TV Facebook page to view it.
- 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.
Treasured Teachers: Mrs. Carter from Perry Township
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Teachers in Indiana work hard. It’s one of the biggest understatements you can say but every year some districts see a drop in teacher retention, stagnating salaries and wonderful educators leaving the calling to use their skills in another industry.
Thursday on Daybreak, reporter Brenna Donnelly sought to honor one excellent local teacher for being exactly that, an excellent, treasured teacher.
She didn’t have to travel far; she found Mrs. Kerri Carter in a first-grade classroom inside Douglas McArthur Elementary School in Perry Township.
“Mrs. Carter is all heart for the kids,” said fellow first-grade teacher Angie Merder. “She is loving. She cares about them as a person.”
Our news crew went to Douglas McArthur Elementary to learn what we could about Mrs. Carter without her knowing. We met with her class in the library and got to hear from fellow teachers and students about what makes Mrs. Carter such an impactful teacher.
“I just want to read this to Mrs. Carter,” said Adrian, one of her students, as he held a hand-written nomination letter in his hands. “Mrs. Carter is the best.”
“First she helps me,” said another student, reading off her paper.
“She is nice and she helps me with math,” smiled another.
“I think Mrs. Carter is a nice teacher,” another echoed.
“She always makes every day good,” said a student.
“She wears pretty dresses,” said a boy with his nose pressed to his letter.
“I like the mistakes she makes and my class laughs,” grinned Adrian.
Merder says the proof of Mrs. Carter’s diligence with the students is evident in their love not only for her, but for learning. She says that requires a lot on the part of Mrs. Carter.
“Patience. Some ability to get down on their level,” she said. “and just developing their personality traits. Good morals and values and trying to model those so these 6-year-olds can mimic them.”
We gathered all the video clips of students and prepared to surprise Mrs. Carter in class a few days later.
“Is this Mrs. Carter’s class? First grade? At Douglas McArthur Elementary?” Brenna Donnelly asked, walking in the classroom with two cameras rolling.
Mrs. Carter looked dumbfounded but replied that it was. Brenna pointed at the group of eager students.
“They wanted to honor you as a great teacher on the news today, so we wanted to surprise you and let you know how much they love you, and how much we appreciate all that you’re doing for first-grade students,” Brenna said. “But we have another surprise for you.”
Our team sat Mrs. Carter down and played the video of student letters, and as the students cheered, grinned, and spoke her praises, she became emotional
“‘I’m very overwhelmed. I’m very touched. That kind of brings it all together of why I do this,” Mrs. Carter said. “It’s just made my world.”
The school’s principal, Star Hardimon, said Mrs. Carter deserves every ounce of this recognition.
“Year after year I have kids wanting to come back to the school and see her,” she said, noting a difference in students who have been through her classroom. “They’re very confident, they care about others and are so compassionate with each other.”
As an exceptional teacher with 29 years of experience in first grade, we gave Mrs. Carter an opportunity to share advice or encouragement to her fellow teachers. She advised balance in your life, but an undying pursuit to do what’s in your soul.
“After retirement, I will find other avenues to touch lives. It’s just something that was instilled in me. Both my parents were educators and so I, that’s just what I’ve seen. That’s just my calling as well,” she said through tears.
We honor your Mrs. Kerri Carter, and thank you for your service and love for the students of Perry Township.
If you want to honor a teacher as one of WISH-TV’s Treasured Teachers, email Brenna Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell her about your nomination on Facebook.
SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — Funeral arrangements have been announced for a Southport police officer who died while working a part-time security job.
The funeral for Detective Sgt. Jason Swanson will be at 10 a.m. March 13 at the The Life Center at Southport, 4002 E. Southport Road, according to a tweet from Southport Police Department. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Simplicity Funeral & Cremation Care, 7520 Madison Ave.
Swanson had been with the department since March 2015, according to the department. The funeral home had not posted an obituary for Swanson by midday Wednesady.
“A procession route to Crown Hill Cemetery has not been finalized yet, but will be announced when confirmed,” another tweet said.
The results of an autopsy were pending a toxicology report, the Marion County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday.
SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) – Southport Police Department is training people who live in the area on how to protect themselves from thieves.
Police started Monday to hold one class a month. During the training, residents can expect to learn what crimes are trending in the area and what you can do to avoid becoming a target. The first course was called Residential Safety and Security.
Southport resident Annie Singleton is a kids’ bus driver from the Marion County town. The kids have come and gone, and the community has changed since she moved to Southport 60 years ago.
“Of course, we didn’t use to have to lock our doors. Now we do. But, it’s still a great community,” she said.
“I think the local police they have a handle on where things are,” Singleton said.
According to Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn, the department wrapped up 2018 with no residential burglaries or robberies. Vaughn said he wants to keep it that way. That’s why police are hosting the training courses.
“It’s more of an interaction. They can say, ‘Well, I’m seeing this.’ A lot of times we can find problems that we’re not aware of,” Vaughn said.
Monday’s course focused on what residents can do to help prevent becoming a victim of a break-in.
The classes are being conducted the Southport Municipal Complex, 137 Worman St.
A list of the classes is on the Southport Police Department Facebook page. To register, call the Southport Police Department at (317) 787-7595.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Lauren Cullison’s October went well.
The junior at Southport High School smashed a volleyball better than any player in program history.
The goofy outside hitter who is verbally committed to play at the University of Indianapolis in 2020 now owns the most kills in a game and the most kills in a season at Southport.
Here comes the tricky part: The records were previously owned by Cardinals Head Coach Chelsea Hoffman.
“I’ve been trying to do it since freshman year. It’s been a huge goal of mine,” Cullison said. “My dad would be in the stands trying to signal to me if I was getting close.”
Coach Hoffman had a good seat to watch her own history go down.
“It’s not that I’m gone and 20 years from now someone I don’t even know breaks it. It’s the fact that I got to coach her and help her break it,” Hoffman said. “I think it is pretty awesome.”
Coach Hoffman’s tip of the cap isn’t enough though. At least, that is what IBEW Local 481 thought Instead, with the help of Lauren’s biggest supporters at Southport, IBEW Local 481 and WISH-TV delivered Cullison one last perfect set.
A surprise meeting with friends and family was topped off with a $1,000 scholarship check for college.
“I feel like, I don’t even know what’s happening, this is crazy,” Cullison said. “Without my family I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I wouldn’t have been able to play club volleyball and its a lot of money to do that, I’m really thankful.”
What is next, one thing is for sure. Lauren is going to kill it.
SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — The Southport Police Department on Thursday was mourning the loss of one of their own again in what has turned out to be one of the most difficult years the department has faced.
Southport Police Officer Rich Parnell lost his battle with cancer Thursday morning. Parnell is the fourth officer the small department has lost in the past 14 months. Three of those deaths have come in the past three months alone.
“It does affect you,” said Southport Police Chief Thomas Vaughn. “We can be tough and we can do our job, but we’re still human and we’re still feeling. A lot of these guys they worked the same days. Five or six days. they are family. Sometimes you see them more than you see your wives or your kids sometimes.”
Vaughn said he’s doing everything he can to keep morale up when times are at their lowest of lows.
“We’re all family here because we are so small,” Vaughn said. “We know everybody’s wives and kids. So to lose one. It’s like truly losing a brother each time.”
Losing four police officers is a huge hit for the Southport Police Department, which only has 45 officers.
Nearly all of them are reserves.
It all started when Lt. Aaron Allan was killed in the line of duty in July 2017. Vaughn remembered Allan’s kind personality.
“He was a teddy bear,” Vaughn said. “He was a big teddy bear.”
Then, Officer Joe Baughn died in June 2018 from pancreatic cancer.
“He was the jokester,” Vaughn said. “He always liked to tell jokes and give you a hard time.”
The hits kept coming.
Just a month ago, Officer Phil Parmelee died of a sudden heart attack.
“Phil was a former police chief, so he gave me a lot of stuff,” Vaughn said and then laughed as he reminisced about Parmelee’s knack for mentorship.
Then Thursday morning, Parnell, died after a yearlong battle with cancer.
“It (the cancer) was just everywhere,” Vaughn said. “His parents both passed away around the same time. He was the only son, the only kid. So, for the last year, every Friday, I would take him to chemo and his appointments. Rich had a big heart. Rich cared and did whatever he could for anybody.”
All tough losses the men and women in blue of Southport have taken to heart.
“It is very important to get these officers to understand it’s OK to grieve and it’s OK to break down,” Vaughn said. “We just need to manage that, make sure that they’re healthy mentally and emotionally.”
As the grieving process continues, Vaughn said, the public can do one simple thing to help ease the pain his officers are feeling.
“Just say ‘hi’ to them,” Vaughn said. “Just, you know, give them a hug. Do something. That’s the best way to show the support to them right now. They need to know that that community is still there and that they do care.”
Vaughn added that the department is also taking contributions to help fund Southport training and equipment as part of a new memorial dedicated to Lt. Aaron Allan. The cost is $100 per person and $250 per business. Each contributor’s name will be placed on the memorial wall outside the Southport Police station.
Since Parnell doesn’t have any family left, Vaughn also encouraged the public to attend his funeral and visitation on Monday. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. at Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center, 7602 Madison Ave. in Indianapolis. Services will start at 7 p.m.
SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — An officer with the Southport Police Department died Thursday following a long fight with cancer.
Officer Rich Parnell served as a member of the Southport Police Honor Guard and as a field training officer.
The department expressed condolences on its Facebook page.
Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn released the following statement on Thursday:
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Southport Police Department must announce the passing of Officer Richard “Rich” Parnell. Rich served the City of Southport Police Department with honor, integrity, and distinction since 2015. Prior to that Rich has a lengthy law enforcement career. Rich was a proud member of the Southport Police Honor Guard and also served as a Field Training Officer. Rich was diagnosed with Cancer in 2017 at which time he began treatment and has battled with the cancer advancing. On September 27, 2018 at approximately 11:00am Rich lost his battle against cancer while surrounded by his friends, family, and fellow police officers at an Indianapolis Hospital. Funeral Details for Officer Richard Parnell will be announced as soon as they are available.
Thomas L Vaughn
Chief of Police
City of Southport
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Central Indiana teachers are turning to an online crowdfunding website to purchase school supplies and tools for their classrooms with major success.
The website Donors Choose began in 2000 and is geared toward connecting teachers with education-minded donors and foundations who can make their classroom projects a reality.
Kristen Jordan taught social studies at Southport Middle School in Perry Township for the last 10 years and now directs the school’s Project Lead The Way computer coding class. Through Donors Choose, Jordan has funded 25 separate projects for her classroom.
“We’ve done calculators, we’ve done tablets and decorations, even rugs for social studies classroom, class sets of novels,” Jordan said, listing projects she and her fellow teachers have completed, “We’ve had science kits for eighth-grade science teachers. All of our math teachers use the same calculators through Donors Choose.”
She said the website hosts the fundraiser and purchases the requested equipment or item and ships it to the school so the teachers never actually handle the donated money.
“It gives us the chance to provide for our students, to provide things that maybe the school isn’t able to,” Jordan said.
In the Project Lead the Way class, Perry Township has supplied students with computers and tablets to help students learn more about computer science.
“I’ve kind of always wondered how apps are created, and we actually get to create our own and put it on the Google Play store at the end of the semester,” said Matt Youmans, a seventh-grader in Jordan’s class.
As Jordan’s class has grown to around 30 students, there aren’t enough tablets to go around. After posting the request on Donors Choose and telling the world her story, Jordan said a box arrived at school with two new tablets to help complete the classroom set.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling when you put out this idea and someone thinks it’s a great idea and they donate and they help bring your goal or your wish to life,” she said.
Jordan has also funded a class set of the game Battleship to teach her students about latitude and longitude in a fun, interactive way. She said science, technology, math and engineering projects tend to get extra attention with donors, along with projects for special-needs classrooms.
As for who donates, Jordan said, it’s almost always a mixed bag of group such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, local businesses such as Salesforce, and people across the country.
Students can write thank-you cards to each donor who helped their teacher complete a fundraiser. Jordan said that teaches students a great lesson in gratitude and responsibility as new equipment and technology flow in the classroom door.
“I think it’s cool because you don’t have to buy all the things and people support you for it,” said Angel Cazares, another of Jordan’s seventh-grade coding students. “It helps out a lot of people.”
Jordan has two open projects: one for headphones and another for 2 additional tablets.
To see other local classroom fundraisers, enter your ZIP code into the search bar on Donors Choose.