Community News

Feb. 19 – 24 is Emergency Management Agency Appreciation Week

Hoosier heroes step up to the plate to serve, protect and take care of Indiana every day. February 19 -24 honors a group of heroes who work year-round to ensure your county is ready to respond to a crisis.

Counties throughout Indiana have emergency management offices that take steps to reduce their communities' vulnerability to hazards and to help cope with disasters. These Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) work with other public safety partners and organizations to prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security joins Gov. Eric J. Holcomb in recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of all its dedicated emergency managers statewide and invites Hoosiers to join in honoring them during EMA Appreciation Week.

Recently, EMAs have been ramping up preparedness planning for the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024. They have been working with state agencies and their local partners to ensure their counties are ready to handle the influx of crowds. Their behind-the-scenes work will shine bright during a rare spectacle for Indiana.

“Emergency Management Agencies have the foresight to see how events big and small will affect their communities. We have been working with them hand-in-hand to understand potential problems that may occur and how state partners can work with EMAs to mitigate any issues. We cannot keep Indiana safe without these partners,” said IDHS Executive Director Joel Thacker.

IDHS will celebrate EMAs on FacebookX (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram. Follow along to learn about the people putting in countless hours to keep you safe. 


Indiana students to get free FAFSA filing help at College Goal Sunday Feb. 25

Ivy Tech Community College’s Logansport site is one of 40 locations where financial aid professionals will be volunteering from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, to help collegebound students and their families open the door to financial aid.

The 2024 free College Goal Sunday program, which has been offered annually for more than 30 years, is of particular interest this year because of changes in the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).

“The event on Feb. 25 takes on additional importance with only one College Goal Sunday opportunity this academic year,” said Bill Wozniak, co-chair of College Goal Sunday.  “The delay in the new FAFSA from an Oct. 1 launch to a late December soft launch has made many families anxious about getting the form filed. We hope all Hoosiers take advantage of College Goal Sunday, file the FAFSA, and get one step closer to fulfilling their educational goals.”

Wozniak continued, “Students who don’t complete their financial aid paperwork properly and on time are often very disappointed when they find out how much financial aid they lost. This is why the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association continues to provide College Goal Sunday. If our assistance gives students a better chance at education beyond high school and less debt, we’re fulfilling our mission.”

The free College Goal Sunday program assists Indiana students in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, scholarships, and federal student loans at most colleges, universities, and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The FAFSA MUST be filed by the State of Indiana priority deadline of April 15 to guarantee state aid for those that qualify.

One of many reasons College Goal Sunday is so important is because many families perceive the form to be too complicated and time consuming to complete.  In less than one afternoon during College Goal Sunday, students and their families can get free help and file the form.

“College Goal Sunday is a great opportunity to find the help you need to fill out your FAFSA,” said Darnell Ross, director of Financial Aid for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area. “Assistance also is available Mondays through Fridays in the Express Enrollment Centers at both our Kokomo and Logansport facilities. Students can call 1-888-489-5463 to make an appointment or just walk in and meet with our financial aid professionals.” Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area covers Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski and Tipton counties.

 

What students should bring

Students should attend College Goal Sunday with their parent(s) or guardian(s), and parent(s) should bring completed 2022 IRS 1040 tax returns, W-2 Forms and other 2022 income and benefits information.  Students who worked should also bring their income information. Students 24 years of age or older may attend alone and bring their completed 2022 IRS 1040 tax return, W-2 Form or other 2022 income and benefits information. Students and parent(s) are encouraged to apply for their U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs at studentaid.gov before coming to the event.

Volunteers will walk through the online form line-by-line and answer families’ individual questions as needed.  All sites offer FAFSA online capabilities, and many, including Ivy Tech Logansport campus, have Spanish interpreters.  A complete list of sites, which include Indiana University Kokomo, is available at CollegeGoalSunday.org.

Students who attend may also win one of five $1,000 scholarships. Students who attend College Goal Sunday and submit a completed evaluation form will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. The winners will be notified in spring and scholarships will be sent directly to the higher education institution selected by the winning students.

21st Century Scholars will also benefit from participating. These are income-eligible students who sign a contract in the seventh or eighth grade promising they will graduate from high school, meet grade point requirements, fulfill a pledge of good citizenship, and apply for college financial aid. Upon high school completion, Scholars who have fulfilled the commitment and demonstrate financial need receive state funds to help cover their college tuition and fees for up to eight semesters at eligible Indiana public colleges or an equal dollar amount at eligible Indiana private colleges. To fulfill their pledge, scholars must submit a completed FAFSA form on time, College Goal Sunday can help.

College Goal Sunday originated right here in Indiana and is now a national model. Following Indiana’s example, College Goal Sunday events organized by more than 34 states have opened doors to higher education for hundreds of thousands of students all over the country. Now in its 35th year, College Goal Sunday has helped more than 98,000 Indiana students and families complete the FAFSA properly and on time. College Goal Sunday is a charitable program of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA).

“Indiana is first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation in providing need-based financial aid to Hoosier students. Each year, Hoosiers have access to over $400 million in state financial aid and billions of dollars in federal aid,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery.

“Increasing the number of FAFSA filings will lead to many Hoosiers realizing their higher education possibilities are more tangible than otherwise thought,” Lowery continued. “Not only is the FAFSA a huge step in unlocking potential career options and better outcomes for individuals, but it is also a key to strengthening our communities as a whole.”

 

New tax information for Indiana's military service members

New for this year’s Indiana Individual income tax return is a deduction for military pay earned by Hoosiers who are active or reserve members of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard.

Retired military service members, or their surviving spouse, may also be eligible for this deduction.

This deduction is equal to the actual amount of military income received (i.e., military pay, retirement pay, and/or survivor's benefits) or $5,000, whichever is less. If both a service member and their spouse received military income, they may each claim the deduction for a maximum of $10,000.

Prior to 2023, the exemption was only for the period that military service members who were mobilized or deployed. Find more information in Information Bulletin #27.

Additional guidance for military service members including due dates and extensions of time to file for those serving in a combat zone, choosing the right form, and paying Indiana county taxes is available.


Golf cart permits now available in Starke County

The Starke County Sheriff's Department says golf cart permits are available now for county residents.

The ordinance has changed this year to make it easier for everyone. Instead of line up inspections, permits will be available with a completed application and $25 fee. The ordinance and application can be found on the sheriff's department's website, https://starkecountysheriff.com/.../reports.../golf-carts/ . Applications are available for pick up at the Sheriff’s Department as well.

Starke County Justice Center is available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., or you can mail a completed application and fee to 5435 E. State Road 8, Knox, IN, 46534

Indiana accepting nominations for Governor's Century, Half Century business awards

The state of Indiana is now accepting nominations for the Governor's Century and Half Century Business Awards, which honor Hoosier businesses that have remained in operation for at least 100 or 50 years, respectively, and have demonstrated a commitment to serving the community. 

Qualifying criteria are as follows: 

  • The business must have had continuous operations in Indiana for 100 or 50 years by Dec. 31, 2023.
  • The business must have participated in the same line of work for the duration of its operations. If different, an explanation of the evolution into the current business must be provided on the nomination form. 
  • The business must have had its base in Indiana since it was founded.
  • The business must recognize, acknowledge and agree that it is in full compliance with the Indiana Secretary of State.
  • The business must not have previously received a Century or Half Century award from the state of Indiana. Previous Half Century award recipients may qualify for a Century award.

February 11 proclaimed 211 Day in Indiana

Indiana 211’s mission is to improve quality of life for Hoosiers by promoting equity and connecting people to health and human service resources through highly skilled navigators, continuous community collaboration and a robust community database and technological innovations. National 211 Day celebrates and helps to spread awareness in the United States about assistance, resources and services offered by 211.

As a result, Governor Eric Holcomb has proclaimed Feb. 11, 2024, as 211 Day in Indiana.

Indiana 211 became a part of the Family and Social Services Administration in July of 2020, and since then, has assisted hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers connect with help and answers from thousands of health and human service agencies and resources in their local communities—quickly, easily and confidentially. Indiana 211’s team is comprised of experienced, responsive and compassionate community navigators who are skilled at actively listening and identifying needs and providing referrals that best meet those needs

In 2023, Indiana 211 answered approximately 180,905 calls and community navigators helped make over 637,930 referrals to community organizations and programs.

Indiana 211 uses statistical data from calls, texts, and web visits to help shed light on the nature of social needs in Indiana for community decision-makers and government across the state. Communities are encouraged to search the Indiana 211 dashboard, county-by county, by multiple counties or statewide, to identify top need categories by their chosen metric, including the percentage of unmet needs within each need category.

To access Indiana 211, simply call 2-1-1 or 1-866-211-9966 from anywhere in Indiana, text your ZIP code to 898-211 or visit our website at IN211.org.

ProPEL US 31 staffers in Fulton County on Thursday

Staffers gathering information and feedback for the ProPEL US 31 study will be in Rochester Thursday.

The team will be at Harvest Moon Foods from noon - 2 p.m. Then, two more available hours are scheduled at the Rochester branch of the Fulton County Public Library fropm 3 - 5 p.m.

Details are available at propelus31.com.


USDA reopens signup for Continuous Conservation Reserve program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (Continuous CRP) signup.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages agricultural producers and landowners in Indiana who are interested in conservation opportunities for their land in exchange for yearly rental payments to consider the enrollment options available through Continuous CRP, which also includes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) offered by FSA partners. Additionally, producers participating in CRP can now apply to re-enroll, if their contracts will expire this year.  

To submit an offer, producers should contact the FSA at their local USDA Service Center by July 31, 2024, in order to have an offer effective by Oct. 1, 2024. To ensure enrollment acreages do not exceed the statutory cap, FSA will accept offers from producers on a first-come, first-served basis and will return offers for approval in batches throughout the year. 

Additionally, producers with acres enrolled in Continuous CRP set to expire Sept. 30, 2024, can now offer acres for re-enrollment. A producer can both enroll new acres into Continuous CRP and re-enroll any acres expiring Sept. 30.

Rochester Fire Department performing ice rescue training tonight

The Rochester Fire Department wants to announce to the public that they are going to Prairie Edge Nature Preserve tonight off Third Street for ice rescue training.

The department wanted the public to be aware of the training sessioon set for this evening.


Candidates approaching filing deadline

There is one week left for candidate filing for the Indiana 2024 Primary Election in May.

Candidates wishing to be on the Democrat or Republican primary ballot must file declaration of candidacy paperwork by Friday, February 9 at noon, Eastern Standard Time.  Minor Party, Independent, School Board, and Write-In candidates will file declarations of candidacy for the November General Election later in the year, after the May Primary Election is held.

“It’s been great welcoming candidates into the Secretary of State’s Office as they officially file their candidacy.  In the final week of filing, it’s important to make candidates aware of the approaching deadline.  The 2024 Election season is starting off strong as we are anticipating a massive turnout,” said Indiana Secretary of State Diego Morales. 

Filing started on January 10. Candidates for federal, statewide, state legislative, and judicial offices including county prosecuting attorneys, file declaration of candidacy with the Indiana Secretary of State or the Indiana Election Division. The Secretary of State’s Office and the Indiana Election Division will be accepting filings 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday, February 9 at noon.

As a reminder, candidates for non-judicial county offices, township offices, town offices, school board offices, precinct committeeman or state convention delegate, file their declaration of candidacy at the office of the County Clerk in which they reside.

Under Indiana law, election officials are prohibited from accepting filings after the deadline of Friday, February 9, at noon.

Yakym announces District staff mobile office hours for February

Congressman Rudy Yakym (IN-02) announced the following dates, times, and locations that his office will be holding mobile staff office hours in February throughout Indiana’s Second District.

Mobile office hours will allow for Congressman Yakym’s staff to assist constituents with casework questions: 

 

Cass County

Thursday, February 15, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET

Walton Tipton Public Library

110 N Main St.

 

Elkhart County

Thursday, February 8, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Goshen Chamber of Commerce

232 S Main Street

 

 

Wednesday, February 21, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET

Nappanee City Hall

300 W Lincoln Street

 

 

Fulton County

Rochester District Office – Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

709 Main Street

 

 

Thursday, February 8, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET

Akron Clerk’s Office

206 W Rochester Street

 

 

Kosciusko County

Thursday, February 8, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

Etna Green Town Hall

106 S Walnut Street

 

 

Tuesday, February 27, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Warsaw City Hall

102 S Buffalo Street

 

 

La Porte County

Monday, February 12, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET)

La Porte Parks and Recreation Department

250 Pine Lake Ave.

 

 

Tuesday, February 13, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT (1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET)

Kingsford Heights Public Library

436 Evanston Road

 

 

Marshall County

Monday, February 26, 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. ET

Bunker Hill Town Hall

101 W Broadway

 

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Plymouth City Town Hall (Mayor’s Office on the Second Floor)

124 N Michigan Street

 

 

Miami County

Friday, February 2, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET

Peru City Hall (Conference Room on the Second Floor)

35 S Broadway

 

 

Thursday, February 15, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

Converse Library

108 S Jefferson Street

 

 

Pulaski County

Monday, February 12, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Pulaski County CDC/Economic Development (Board Room)

623 W Eleventh Street

Winamac

 

Tuesday, February 13, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET

Medaryville Town Hall

409 E Main Street

 

 

Starke County

Monday, February 12, 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. CT (12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET)

Starke County Courthouse

53 E Washington St

Knox

 

Tuesday, February 13, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT (12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET)

Hamlet Town Hall

10 S Starke Street

 

 

St. Joseph County

Mishawaka District Office - Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

2410 Grape Road, Suite 2A

 

 

Wednesday, February 21, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Walkerton Town Hall

301 Michigan Street

 

 

Wabash County

Friday, February 2, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

North Manchester Public Library

405 N Market Street

 

 

Thursday, February 15, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET

Wabash City Hall

202 S Wabash St.

 

 

Hoosier Pie Trail

The Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) and the Indiana Foodways Alliance are inviting pie lovers to indulge in the sweetness of Indiana pies with the annual "Pie Day-to-Pi Day" celebration and contest.

From Jan. 23, 2024 (National Pie Day) through February (National Pie Month) to March 14, 2024 (Pi Day), anyone who checks in at two restaurants on the Hoosier Pie Trail using the free Indiana Culinary Trails Passport will earn custom "Nothing Tastes Sweeter" socks.

Anyone who visits Wick's Pies/Mrs. Wick's Cafe in Winchester will be entered to win free pie for a year (one per month) from Mrs. Wick's Pie, lunch, as well as a VIP tour of Wick's Pies commercial bakery.

"The Hoosier Pie Trail includes 24 restaurants from the Indiana Foodways Alliance that each have something unique for everyone to savor,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. "From Indiana's favorite sugar cream pie the classic apple pie, the varieties are endless. I encourage everyone to explore the Hoosier Pie Trail and experience the sweets, today!"

Indiana Foodways Alliance has 21 culinary trails, including the Hoosier Pie Trail, which can be found on the Indiana Culinary Trails Passport, an all-inclusive mobile app. All you need to do is sign up online and check in with your smartphone.

Among area stops on the trail are Christo's in Plymouth, Corn Crib Cafe in Shipshewana and Southside Soda Shop in Goshen

"This passport was designed to encourage people to eat at locally-owned restaurants and establishments," said Elaine Bedel, Secretary and CEO of IDDC. "The Indiana Culinary Trails Passport is a gateway into Indiana's diverse culinary scene and gives users a roadmap to experience it."

"Mrs. Wick's Pie is an Indiana staple for baked goods and has set the gold standard for decades," said Kristal Painter, Indiana Foodways Alliance Board President. "So they are perfect for our 'Pie Day-to-Pi Day' promotion." 

 

Help America Vote Day on January 30

As the 2024 election season begins, and with the nation facing a continued shortage of election workers, Help America Vote Day is recognized on January 30. Help America Vote Day aims to address the nationwide shortage of poll workers, inspire greater civic engagement and volunteerism, and help ensure safe, secure, accessible, and transparent elections in 2024 and beyond.

While the specific duties and compensation for poll workers vary depending on location, most jurisdictions task election workers with setting up and preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, and issuing ballots. Poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. Election staff and poll workers are overseen by local election authorities, which also provide training in advance of Election Day. 

An aging population of election workers and concerns around health and safety have resulted in recurring shortages of poll workers.  There are millions of Americans, including many voters with disabilities, who intend to cast a ballot during early voting or on Election Day. Having an adequate number of poll workers to staff our vote centers on and before Election Day will ensure voters receive the assistance they need at the polls, reduce the potential for long lines or congestion, and help provide a positive and smooth voting experience for all voters.

For more information on Help America Vote Day and how to become an election worker visit HelpAmericaVote.gov. 

Friday is National Wear Red Day

Friday is the 23rd annual National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease.

Wear Red Day is always the first Friday in February, which is American Heart Month.

By wearing red, we raise awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in 3 deaths. We also raise awareness that a majority of cardiac events may be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

Millions of people, including celebrities and media personalities across the country, will wear red in celebration of National Wear Red Day.

People can participate in Wear Red Day by:

Key Facts:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and in Indiana
  • 1 in 3 deaths are due to heart disease
  • Mortality rates have dropped more than 50 percent in the last 30 years thanks to research, medical developments and education.
  • A majority of cardiac events can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Pulaski County Sheriff's Office warns of spam calls

Several spam calls were made Tuesday claiming to be a deputy from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office stated in a social media post that you should feel free to stop the call and call the dispatch center at 574-946-6655 and verify the officer to be real.

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office would never ask for payment or account information.

Attorney General reminds Hoosiers to be alert during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Attorney General Todd Rokita is asking Hoosiers to stay alert for signs of human trafficking in communities across Indiana and to report any suspicious activities to authorities.  

“Human trafficking may seem like an issue that doesn’t affect your specific community, but it’s sometimes brushed under the rug because victims are either scared to admit the truth or are groomed at a young age,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Online recruitment has played a major role in this crime. Our kids are extremely vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation due to their excessive online presence. I encourage all parents to monitor their child’s online interactions to keep them safe.” 

Human trafficking is a billion-dollar criminal enterprise. It occurs anytime someone uses force, fraud, or coercion to make another individual provide labor, services, or commercial sex acts. 

People in certain job roles — such as medical professionals, restaurant workers, teachers, and truck drivers — are particularly likely to encounter trafficking victims. 

With January being National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, it is a fitting time to remind Hoosiers to stay watchful and look out for signs of a potential trafficking victim. 

“Human trafficking is a rapidly growing crime in Indiana and across our country,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Increasing awareness and education on the topic is the first step in helping these victims. Hoosiers value justice, and these callous enslavers should pay for their despicable crimes.”  

According to the U.S. State Department, signs of human trafficking include observations that someone: 

·         lives with their employer. 

·         lives with multiple people in a cramped space. 

·         otherwise experiences poor living conditions. 

·         is prohibited from speaking alone to strangers. 

·         gives answers that appear to be scripted and rehearsed. 

·         has an employer holding their identity documents. 

·         shows signs of physical abuse. 

·         is submissive or fearful. 

·         is unpaid or paid very little. 

·         is under 18 and working in the commercial sex industry. 

If you have suspicions that someone is being trafficked, you should immediately call local law enforcement. You may also call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

The Office of the Attorney General operates the Address Confidentiality Program, which helps protect victims of certain crimes — including those who have been trafficked — by concealing their residential address from the public and thereby their victimizers.

Learn more about the program at the Attorney General’s website.

Indiana prepares for annual count of individuals experiencing homelessness

The statewide annual count of individuals experiencing homelessness will take place on Wednesday.

Service providers and volunteers in local communities across Indiana will be conducting the 2024 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count for the Indiana Balance of State (BOS) Continuum of Care (CoC) in 91 of the 92 counties in the state. Marion County (Indianapolis) conducts its own PIT Count.

The purpose of this annual count of people experiencing unsheltered or sheltered homelessness is to provide an easy-to understand data point that helps state and local leaders measure progress toward ending homelessness and helps plan services and programs to appropriately address local needs. The sheltered count is conducted at emergency shelters, transitional housing and safe haven projects across 16 regions that make up the Indiana BOS.

"It is essential to have an accurate Point-in-Time Count so that Indiana policymakers understand what needs to be done and what progress is being made," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. "It also ensures Indiana receives the resources we need to address the critical issue of homelessness and help some of the most vulnerable Hoosiers around the state."

It is critical that every county is engaged in the PIT Count so that IN BoS CoC can get the most accurate count possible. To make this PIT Count happen, hundreds of service providers and volunteers throughout the state work together to canvass their communities to find individuals experiencing homelessness. They are trained in the use of the PIT survey, best practices for approaching and interviewing those experiencing homelessness, exercising trauma-informed approaches and other necessary information that prepares participants for a successful experience. 

"Understanding the homeless population within our state is an essential step toward building a community where no one is left behind," said Jake Sipe, Executive Director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). "Recognizing the faces and stories of those experiencing homelessness allows us to confront the systemic issues that perpetuate this crisis."

More information about the PIT Count can be found here. Those interested in volunteering can reach out to their regional PIT Coordinators prior to participating in the count.

For past PIT Count results, please visit our website here

Indiana's Individual income tax filing opens Jan. 29

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) will start accepting filings for the 2024 Individual income tax season on Monday, Jan. 29, along with the Internal Revenue Service.

DOR encourages customers to use electronic filing, online payment and direct deposit to significantly improve the accuracy and speed of the return and refund processes. Customers must file both their state and federal tax returns and pay any taxes owed for 2023 by Monday, April 15.

DOR reminds Hoosiers they should wait to file their tax returns until they receive all their official tax documents and statements. Employers have until Jan. 31, 2024, to deliver Form W-2s to employees. Attempting to file without all required information can postpone a customer’s refund if one is due.

Please take note of these tax-related updates to Indiana Code:

  • The dependent exemption has increased from $1,500 to $3,000 for the first taxable year in which a particular exemption is allowed under Section 151(c)(1)(B) Internal Revenue Code (as effective January 1, 2004). IC 6-3-1-3.5
  • All military pay for reserve members of the United States armed forces and National Guard is exempt from income tax for taxable years 2023 forward. IC 6-3-1-34
  • Investors can provide qualified investment capital to veteran-owned businesses and women-owned enterprises and qualify for the higher maximum amount of venture capital investment credit. IC 6-3.1-24-8
  • The College Choice 529 Plan Credit has increased from a maximum of $1,000 to $1,500 for a married couple filing jointly or an unmarried individual, and it increased from $500 to $750 for those married filing separately. IC 6-3-2-2.6
  • The Indiana Earned Income Tax Credit is now 10% of the federal credit, with a prorated credit available for nonresident individuals. IC 6-3.1-21-6
  • The Career Scholarship Account program has a new income tax deduction for grants received and used towards qualified expenses under IC 20-51.4. IC 6-3-1-3.5

More credits and exemptions and answers to most questions for Indiana Individual tax returns can be found on DOR’s website.

Customers who wish to contact DOR directly can use INTIME’s secure messaging for the most efficient service.

2024 Indiana Eclipse Poetry Contest

Hoosier poets everywhere are being invited to submit an original poem inspired by this unique event.

The poet who submits a poem that best reflects the significance of the eclipse will receive a cash prize of $500, the opportunity to read the poem during an eclipse watch party in Indianapolis, and have their work featured on Indiana Humanities’ website and social media. A second-place prize of $200 and third-place prize of $100 will be awarded, also with the opportunity to read at the April 8 event. 

Submissions are due Feb. 9. A panel of judges will choose the winner and runners-up. Winners will be notified by March 1, so that the poem and poet can be incorporated into the many special festivities surrounding the eclipse programming. 

Guidelines 

  • Any Indiana resident may submit a poem. Please limit one submission per person. 
  • Poems must not exceed 35 lines or 350 words. 
  • If selected, the poet retains all copyright in the work and shall receive authorship credit in connection with the work. Although the poet retains all copyrights, Indiana Humanities shall be given temporary, limited-use rights for the poem to promote and connect audiences to the 2024 eclipse. 

How to Submit 

Send an email with your poem as a PDF attachment to Megan Telligman, director of programs, at mtelligman@indianahumanities.org. Please include “Eclipse Poetry Contest” in the subject line of the email. 

The PDF of your poem should include the title but no identifying information (e.g., your name). 

In the body of the email, include your name, address, phone number, email address, age and a short (one to three sentences) explanation of why you were inspired to write your poem. (This will not be included in the judging process — it’s simply for promotional purposes.) 

The deadline is Feb. 9, 2024, at midnight. Winners will be notified by March 1, 2024. 

Caston Robotics needs volunteers for event Saturday

Caston Robotics is seeking help to stage an event this weekend.

Caston Robotics is hosting its second competition for the 2023-2024 season on Saturday. This competition will feature VRC teams with at least 60 teams from all over the state in the blended VRC Middle School and High School competition.  

VRC Competitions in general require a lot of volunteers and this one will not be any different. Caston notes that to host a competition this size will require a lot of assistance.  They are in need of over 85 volunteers to ensure the tournament runs smoothly.

You can see more and sign up at the following link:

Winamac, Medaryville start day with boil orders after water line break

The towns of Winamac and Medaryville are under a boil water advisory until further notice. 

It is recommended that water be boiled for at least five minutes before used. 

The water line that was broken has been repaired with water pressure to be restored soon.

 

Indiana Sheriffs' Association Scholarship applications now available

Fulton County Sheriff Travis W. Heishman has announced that the Indiana Sheriffs' Association will again be awarding college scholarships to qualified high school seniors or college students who are pursuing a degree in criminal justice studies. There will be approximately 40 - $750 scholarships awarded to qualifying students throughout the state.

The Indiana Sheriffs' Association Scholarship Fund was established for the purpose of receiving, investing, and dispensing of funds to provide college scholarships to qualified students who are committed to pursuing an education and career the in law enforcement field.

To qualify for one of these scholarships, the applicant must be an Indiana resident, be a current member of the association or a dependent child or grandchild of a current member of the association, attend an Indiana college or university, major in law enforcement field and enroll as a full-time student (12 hours).

Applications needed to apply for the scholarships are available from your high school counselor. The scholarship application can also be down loaded from the Indiana Sheriffs' Association website: www.indianasheriffs.org. The applications must be completed and received by the Indiana Sheriffs' Association on or before April 1.

Ivy Tech to offer Essential Skills for Managers class in Logansport

Ivy Tech Community College is offering a one-day instructor-led training course to prepare leaders for supervisory positions in the workplace.

The course, Essential Skills for Managers, will be offered on Thursday, January 25, at Ivy Tech’s Logansport campus at 1 Ivy Tech Drive.

The focus of this class is to provide a foundational base of skills for all managers using research-based best practices. Essential Skills for Managers exposes and trains supervisors to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to successfully manage others.

The class objectives intend to help supervisors utilize tools and skills to effectively manage their teams and develop trusting and respectful relationships with their staff. In-class work will include identifying ways to decrease the escalation of problems or issues supervisors may have while providing tools to better utilize a Strengths Based Leadership Approach to understand preferences in communication and conflict management. Supervisors will learn to diagnose situations and identify appropriate leadership styles and strategies using the Situational Leadership model.

The class is set to go from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The $155 fee includes class materials and a 45-minute working lunch is provided.

To register for the Essential Skills for Managers class or for more information, contact Bonnie Devers, program manager for Ivy+ Career Link at Ivy Tech Kokomo, at bdevers3@ivytech.edu or 765-252-5497.

 

Community Foundation Scholarship application available

The Fulton County Community Foundation scholarship application for graduating seniors is due Tuesday, February 6,  by 3:00 p.m. ET.

Theapplication is entirely online and can be found at www.nicf.org under the Fulton County tab.

For more information about community foundation scholarships, contact Shannon Berger, Scholarship Coordinator for the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, at 574-223-2202 or email scholarships@nicf.org.

Students may also contact their school guidance department for more information.

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