Last spring, Lincoln High School’s Pride of the Green was dealt a harsh blow when the Indiana State School Music Association canceled the 2020 marching band competition season due to COVID-19.
Even still, band members practiced and prepared, and this weekend, members of its Vincennes Indoor Percussion group took to the competition floor once again.
“It was wonderful,” said percussion director Garrett Coffer. “At the beginning of every show, I give them a talk, have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment with them, if you will. It’s been 11 months since we’ve been able to perform in front of a big crowd, so, I told them, ‘This is the year to go out and do it, to give it everything.’
“It was that moment the excitement on their faces really started to show,” Coffer said proudly.
Officials with the ISSHA gave the go-ahead for the indoor percussion season, and it kicked off on Saturday with a competition at Franklin Central High School.
The LHS drum line finished second overall.
VIP is made up of both the drum line and the color guard, a non-musical section that provides dance, choreography and important visual aspects to a performance.
It’s very similar to marching band, but it only includes those two groups of performers, and it’s only done indoors.
Currently, there are about 30 students in the VIP, many of them seniors who, last year, were facing the possibility of not performing at all during their final days of high school.
So this season, Coffer said, is more important than most.
“These kids, especially the seniors, didn’t get to have a band season,” he said. “And while there are a lot of different guidelines in place due to COVID, at least they are getting to do this.
“This is a great way to end their year,” he said. “And the parents, they were ecstatic to be back in the stands and watch these kids do what they love to do.”
This year’s show was created specifically for these 30 VIP members, Coffer explained, catered specifically to their talents.
Entitled, “Not Just a Phase,” its theme is the moon, specifically its many phases.
“And in it, we’ve incorporated a lot of other things that go through phases, including life itself,” Coffer said. “It’s very abstract in the sense that you never actually see a moon. But the music, the colors, certainly give you that feeling.”
Coffer, too, said much of the show is very “relaxed, even melancholy” with a calming element — providing a much-needed escape from the trials and tribulation of the current world.
“We usually do a lot of high-energy playing,” he said. “But it’s not that way this year.
“It’s all original, focused only on them, written only for them, and they are really enjoying it.”
VIP’s season runs through the end of March.
Good Samaritan has announced that its Breast Care Center recently received nearly $10,000 from the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust — money that will directly support the health needs of area residents.
Since 2002, Breast Cancer Awareness license plates have been available in Indiana, serving as the primary funding source for the trust, which has since distributed over $6 million to organizations throughout the state for innovative projects for breast cancer screening and diagnostic and support services.
Indiana residents can purchase the special group recognition plate at the BMV for an annual fee of $40, $25 of which is a direct donation to the Breast Cancer Awareness Trust.
The funds received from the license plates are then used to support medically under-served populations across the state, doled out to medical facilities through competitive grants.
Good Samaritan has been awarded funds several times in the past.
“This is maybe the seventh or eighth time,” said Breast Care Center Manager Crystal Beadles, said of Good Samaritan’s past allocations.
Each fall, she says, information is gathered and used to show the financial need in our service area, with the trust limiting the requested amounts based on population.
The grant money locally will be used to pay for screening mammograms and diagnostic breast imaging, as well as biopsies, for uninsured and under-insured patients.
“Early detection is the best protection,” Beadles said. “Without regular mammograms, tumors could grow undetected and spread to other parts of the body.”
As with many cancers and illnesses, early intervention is key, but the under-insured — who are often low income — may put off annual exams or treatment because of financial concerns.
A 2017 study from Washington University in St. Louis found uninsured women were 60% more likely to die from breast cancer than those who had insurance. One significant factor, they found, is that the uninsured are 2.6 times more likely to receive a late-stage diagnosis.
Beadles explains that the mission of the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust is to improve access to breast cancer screening and support services — funding that could prove to be lifesaving.
“We are very appreciative of this grant and having the chance to help our patients,” she said.
Too, says Beadles, residents can stay close to home for their treatment, should they ever receive a cancer diagnosis.
“Good Samaritan has state of the art technology and a comprehensive breast center, so patients can stay here for their care.”
Indiana residents who are unable to pay for their mammograms are encouraged to call the Breast Care Center at 812-885-3627 to inquire about financial assistance.
Beadles says the process is quick and easy and based on household size and income.
“We welcome anyone interested to call us.”
For more information about the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust, visit www.BreastCancerPlate.org.
Officials with a Texas-owned local utility provider say their request for Hoosiers to conserve natural gas is a proactive approach to disastrous conditions occurring in the South.
“We do not have an emergency situation here,” said Alyssia Oshodi, a senior communications specialist with Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, which purchased Vincennes’ Vectren Corp. in 2019.
“The system here is working as it should. The supply is there. We are just asking for people’s assistance to mitigate any disruption that could occur.”
A winter storm moved through huge swaths of the U.S. early this week, dropping record amounts of snow and ice, both here and in the South — Gulf states whose infrastructure simply isn’t equipped to deal with freezing conditions.
Residents in states like Texas and Oklahoma are now suffering without power or enduring rolling blackouts to conserve energy; natural gas plants there, too, have been shut down.
At least 30 people in the South have died in the extreme weather this week, some while struggling to find warmth inside their homes. In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. Another perished as they used a fireplace to keep warm.
Record low temperatures were reported in city after city, and residents were reporting hours and hours without power or heat.
Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi have implemented the rolling blackouts to ease the burden on power grids straining to meet extreme demand for heat and electricity. In Mexico, rolling blackouts Tuesday covered more than one-third of the country after the storms in Texas cut the supply of imported natural gas.
The worst U.S. power outages by far have been in Texas, where 3 million homes and businesses remained without power as of midday Wednesday.
CenterPoint this week issued a press release asking Hoosiers to do their part in the now nationwide effort to conserve natural gas.
But they reiterated that a shortage here is highly unlikely.
“We just want to ask people to assist us in doing everything we can to prevent a power disruption,” Oshodi said.
So in response to the high heating demand, CenterPoint Energy — which is the main supplier of natural gas to Knox and surrounding counties — is asking its Hoosier natural gas customers to temporarily lower their thermostat settings to 60-65 degrees during the day and to lower their usual thermostat settings at night by at least five degrees to help conserve natural gas.
The utility serves approximately 113,000 natural gas customers in its southwestern Indiana territory alone.
The utility also suggests lowering the temperature setting on your water heater and limiting the use of hot water. Residents can also open blinds and shades to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat during the day and close them at night to reduce heat loss.
“Again, we are not in a situation where there is any cause for concern,” Oshodi said. “There could come a time when we would be in danger of running short, but we are not there yet.
“We’re just asking our customers to conserve because we are seeing these extreme temperatures.”
Temperatures here, as with much of the U.S., have been unseasonably cold, dropping into the single digits overnight and bringing wind chill factors well below zero.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, however, are calling for a gradual warmup.
The bitter cold remains today and Friday as highs are expected to be only around 20 degrees; lows will remain in the single digits.
Saturday’s high is expected to be only slightly warmer at 28 degrees. Sunday, however, brings chances of rain showers and a warmer 38 degrees.
Temperatures are then expected to be in the mid 40s by this time next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.