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Community Briefs

Holcomb calls for attorney general to resign

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said Friday he agreed with Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma that the sexual harassment allegations made against Attorney General Curtis Hill warrant Hill’s resigning his post.

“Four women had the courage to step forward to report sexual harassment by the Indiana attorney general. The findings of the recent legislative report are disturbing and, at a minimum, show a violation of the state’s zero tolerance sexual harassment policy,” Holcomb said. “I concur with Sen. Long and Speaker Bosma that Attorney General Hill should resign, and I support a thorough investigation by the state’s inspector general.”

Professional development expert to visit CSF

Luis Cruz, Ph.D. will visit Frankfort on July 18 to present to the Community Schools of Frankfort staff on improving the district’s Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) according to their mission of continuously improving student learning. 

Now a consultant with Solution Tree, one of the nation’s top K-12 educator companies, Cruz formerly was the principal of Baldwin Park High School, located east of Los Angeles. He has been a teacher and administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Cruz presents on methods from the best-selling book “Transforming School Culture” by Anthony Muhammad.

As a public school educator, Cruz won the New Teacher of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year and other community leadership awards.

He and a committee of teacher leaders at Baldwin Park were honored with California’s Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for significantly closing the achievement gap between the general student population and students learning English as a second language.

Cruz began his post-secondary education at Mount San Antonio Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree. He received his B.S. from California State University, his M.S. from Claremont Graduate University and attained his Ph.D. in institutional leadership and policy studies from the University of California Riverside as a recipient of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute’s fellowship for doctoral studies.

West Nile mosquitoes found in Carroll County

State health officials are urging Indiana residents to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites as the state begins to see West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes.

On June 27, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced that mosquitoes in Elkhart County and Carroll County had tested positive for West Nile virus. As of July 5, mosquitoes in two more counties - Marion and Bartholomew - also were infected with the virus.

No human cases of West Nile virus disease have been detected in 2018; however, the ISDH expects to continue to see increased West Nile activity throughout the state as the mosquito season progresses.

“We see cases of West Nile virus disease in Indiana every year,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “When we find evidence of the virus in multiple counties, that means the risk is starting to increase statewide. Hoosiers in every county should be taking precautions against mosquito-borne diseases.”

State health officials recommend the following:

• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning);

• Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin;

• Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

According to the ISDH, even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so discard old tires, cans and pots; repair failed septic systems, drill holes in outside recycling containers; keep grass cut short; clean clogged gutters; continually refresh pets’ water, birdbaths and fountains; and aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.

To see the latest results of ISDH’s mosquito surveillance, go to gis.in.gov/apps/ISDH/Arbo/. To learn more about West Nile virus, visit www.in.gov/isdh/.

Biofuels execs pleased with Pruitt’s exit

Three leaders in the biolfuels industry said Friday they expect the biofuels market to be better since Scott Pruitt has resigned as U.S. Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency.National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)

“It’s no secret corn farmers have been frustrated with Scott Pruitt’s ongoing actions over the past year that have seriously undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Even with this leadership change at the EPA, our priorities do not change. We will continue to push the EPA to stop granting unjustified RFS waivers. We expect the EPA to account for the more than 1.6 billion gallons the agency waived from 2016 and 2017 RFS obligations, and we will continue ask EPA to follow through on the president’s commitment to remove outdated regulations to allow higher blends of ethanol like E15 to be sold year-round,” said Kevin Skunes, a North Dakota farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said Pruitt had strained the White House’s relationship with supporters, farmers and biofuel producers.

“We urge the EPA under the new leadership of acting Administrator Wheeler to reinforce those bonds and work as a partner to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House in efforts to revitalize rural communities and unleash American biofuels,” she stated. “He can start today by reversing the demand destruction caused by EPA waivers, acting on the president’s pledge to unlock E15, and upholding a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

Executive Director Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council echoed that Pruitt had undermined the trust that Trump’s Midwest supporters had placed in the president.

“We’re very hopeful (Pruitt’s resignation) will open a new chapter in the relationship between the EPA and rural communities,” she said.