Township bill’s up. COVID hospitalizations up. Gov to Lafayette's Donte Wilburn: Thumbs up
This and that on a Wednesday morning.
This and that on a Wednesday morning …
First up, thanks to Stuart & Branigin for the firm’s support to make this edition possible.
Here goes …
FIRST BILL AIMED AT LOCAL TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES SCHEDULED FOR HEARING WEDNESDAY
One of two bills inspired by problems with township trustees in Tippecanoe County will get its first hearing Wednesday morning.
House Bill 1157, authored by state Rep. Chris Campbell, would stop township trustees from purposely neglecting to submit budgets they don’t like to the state. It does other things to give more oversight authority for township boards, but the budget provision takes aim at the playbook in the past two years in Fairfield Township. There, Trustee Taletha Coles refused to submit a budget that had deep cuts, so she could keep spending levels where they were from the year before.
House Bill 1157 will be among other bills scheduled for hearings through the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Here’s a link to find a livestream of that hearing.
Senate Bill 304, a bill sponsored by state Sen. Ron Alting and aimed at removing problem trustees, had not been scheduled for a hearing, as of Tuesday.
Here’s more on both bills:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, ON THE MAY PRIMARY ELECTION FRONT …
This report on fresh candidate filings went out Tuesday night to Based in Lafayette subscribers, with some intriguing matchups, including a primary for U.S. Rep. Jim Baird in the 4th District … not to mention new candidates for Fairfield Township and Wabash Township. In case it got tangled in your inbox, here’s a second chance …
LAFAYETTE ENTREPRENEUR RECOGNIZED AT HOLCOMB’S STATE OF THE STATE
Gov. Eric Holcomb spent a few minutes in this annual State of the State address Tuesday night to give a shout out to Donte Wilburn, a Lafayette business owner who in September was named the 2021 Small Business Week Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Indiana Small Business Development Center.
During a segment of his speech devoted to state incentives to help small Indiana businesses Holcomb saluted Wilburn, who owns Premier Auto Detailing and Wash and Legacy Courts, for overcoming a troubled youth and spending his time in a work-release program to work at a car detailing firm and chase a Purdue degree.
“He had big ambitions, so he started his own detailing company with a goal not just to make money, but also to give employees opportunities for careers and advancement,” Holcomb said, pointing to Wilburn seated in a Statehouse balcony. “We want more Donte Wilburns, and more Hoosiers to have greater opportunities to succeed.”
Wilburn wiped his eyes as members of the Indiana Senate and House gave him a standing ovation.
“I told you I’d see you, again,” Holcomb told Wilburn from the podium.
COVID UPDATES: BULLET POINTS FROM THE SURGE
Intensive care unit beds were down to zero at hospitals in a nine-county region that included IU Health Arnett and Franciscan Health facilities in Lafayette, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s daily report Tuesday. And that was after the hospitals bumped up ICU beds from 79 to 83, based on state figures. Of those ICU beds in the hospitals in the Lafayette region, 55.4% were being used by patients with COVID.
Statewide, hospitalizations for those with COVID reached a new high Tuesday, according to the state. The 3,467 people hospitalized with COVID topped the previous mark of 3,460 in November 2020.
At 166 cases, the COVID census in hospitals in the Lafayette region hadn’t topped high marks in November 2020 or during a one-day spike in November 2021. But the number was the highest it had been in a month. And the math continued to catch up with the hospitals: Omicron cases of COVID have been touted as less serious. But with exponentially more cases, hospital beds are filling up.
Here, let Dr. Jerome Adams, former U.S. surgeon general now working on health equity initiatives at Purdue, take a run at it …
Tippecanoe County reported 471 new cases in Tuesday’s state report. The seven-day average: 456 a day. That’s a new peak in the pandemic for Tippecanoe County.
On the West Lafayette campus:
Purdue opened the semester Monday with new case rates that kept pace with the rest of the community. In the first 10 days of 2022, 719 people – 464 students and 255 employees – had tested positive for COVID, according to the university’s dashboard update Tuesday. For context: That’s 45% of the 1,580 total cases on campus from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31.
The seven-day positivity rate at campus testing sites was 19.75%. That rate was 3.19% on Dec. 21, as the university prepared to shut down for a winter break. The overall fall positivity rate on campus was 1.73%, according to Purdue’s figures.
The load had the university recalibrating its testing protocol on a campus with an 89% vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff. Purdue quit doing walk-in appointments for testing, requiring an appointment, instead. Testing for university family members with or who experienced a high-risk exposure were being sent to a drive-through site at the Purdue West Shopping Center, near the corner of State Street and McCormick Road, instead of the Co-Rec. Purdue will continue routine surveillance testing for students, staff and faculty who haven’t been vaccinated, as they had during the fall 2021 semester.
Boiler Ambassadors, a student group, on Tuesday handed out N95 masks – recommended by Purdue in a letter to returning students last week – from tables outside Wilmeth Active Learning Center, the Purdue Memorial Union and inside Stewart Center. They planned to be back out Wednesday. And the university put N95 masks in dispensers in dining halls, libraries and other high-traffic spots on campus. Here’s a link to a story from WBAA’s Ben Thorp that takes a closer look.
On Tuesday, Purdue announced it would postpone its annual Ag Fish Fry, scheduled in Indianapolis for Feb. 4, until April 30, due to the recent surge in COVID cases. The Fish Fry is one of Purdue’s major alumni events each year. “We became concerned that we could not produce this event safely,” Danica Kirkpatrick, Purdue Ag Alumni Assn executive director, said.
INDIANA GUN PERMIT BILL MOVES ON
Last week, you saw Lafayette Police Chief Pat Flannelly, among other law enforcement officers, urging lawmakers to reject a bill that would eliminate the need for a permit to carry a gun in Indiana. On Tuesday, House bill 1077 advanced out of the Indiana House on a 64-29 vote. Here’s a link to coverage of Tuesday’s debate and vote, via The Associated Press.
The Tippecanoe County district county on House Bill 1077:
Yes: Reps. Tim Brown and Sharon Negele
No: Reps. Chris Campbell and Sheila Klinker
Excused: Rep. Don Lehe
HB 1077 moves on to the Senate, where a similar bill died a year ago.
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