Local News Headlines: April 1, 2024

Final Legislative Update for the 2024 legislative session
The following links will provide information about individual bills which conclude the 2024 Indiana Legislative Session.

Indians Announce Partnership with AAA Insurance, Perks for AAA Hoosier Motor Club Members
The Indianapolis Indians announced a new partnership with AAA Insurance, co-presenting sponsor of Half-Off Wednesday Nights and Friday Fireworks throughout the 2024 season. The partnership also includes benefits for AAA Hoosier Motor Club members, including $4 off all tickets, a 10% merchandise discount online at IndyIndians.com/Shop and in the team shops, and 10% concessions discount for fans who show proof of their AAA Hoosier Motor Club membership on Half-Off Wednesday Nights.

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Profile Films of 2023 Governor’s Arts Award Recipients Released 
The Indiana Arts Commission announced that short films profiling each of the 2023 Governor’s Arts Award recipients have been released and are available for viewing. The films premiered at the 2023 Governor’s Arts Awards Statehouse Celebration on Tuesday, February 27th.  

Originally presented in 1973, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to arts and creativity in Indiana. Presented biennially, the awards are the highest honor the state gives in the arts and recognize those who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters, and advocates to grow arts and creativity on the state or national level.

The 2023 recipients are Bryan Ballinger (Huntington), Christy Burgess (South Bend), D. Del Reverda-Jennings (Indianapolis), Jim Smoak (Pekin), and Shaun Dingwerth and the Richmond Art Museum (Richmond). You can learn more about each of the recipients in their video profiles or on the Governor’s Arts Awards webpage.  

Each award cycle, a Hoosier artist is commissioned to create the awards. The 2023 award artist was Emily Bennett, fiber artist from Terre Haute. Bennett was also profiled in the films. The 2023 Governor’s Arts Award films can be viewed on the Indiana Arts Commission’s YouTube page. A playlist contains each of the seven films.  

Bloomington offers grant funding up to $25,000 for Solar, Energy Efficiency, & Lighting 
The City of Bloomington’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development is providing technical assistance and grant funding up to $25,000 for organizations and small businesses to improve building efficiency and install solar through the 2024 Solar, Energy Efficiency, & Lighting (SEEL) Program. Nonprofits, community organizations, and small businesses are invited to apply beginning March 28. 

Nonprofit organizations, schools, early childhood centers, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, and small businesses with under 500 full-time employees that own at least one facility within city limits are eligible to participate. If an organization rents its facility, the organization is eligible to participate with permission to participate in the program from the property owner. A building owner form will be required to verify eligibility. 

Organizations completing solar projects will receive a solar feasibility assessment from the SEEL program partner, MPI Solar, and a $25,000 grant for an 8 kW minimum solar system installation or addition. Solar applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funding has been allocated. 

The energy efficiency grant track will provide matching grants of $10,000 for energy efficiency upgrades, as well as sponsor the cost of an energy assessment (valued at $3,000) to be performed by IFF. Eligible projects for energy efficiency grant funding include LED conversion or upgrades, ventilation and cooling upgrades (including HVAC), and water heater upgrades. Organizations interested in energy efficiency projects should check the website for cohort deadlines, as all applications will be closed on June 14.

Any remaining energy efficiency or solar project costs can either be covered by capital from the organization or financed through low-interest loans from IFF or Hoosier Hills Credit Union. Connections to additional financing options can be secured through CDFI Friendly Bloomington if needed. Additional rebates and tax incentives, including federal and state tax credits and incentives, are also available. 

Past participants in the SEEL program are encouraged to apply, but past solar grant recipients must have received their last grant at least 12 months prior to applying. 

More information about the program and the application form link are available at bloomington.in.gov/sustainability/seel. Questions about the program should be directed to sustain@bloomington.in.gov

The 2024 program is a collaboration among the City of Bloomington Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, MPI Solar, IFF, and Hoosier Hills Credit Union.

This Week in Hoosier History

1849 – The Greencastle Fire Department started as a volunteer department with one horse-drawn steam engine. It eventually became a paid department with a few paid firemen. Still, after a short period, it returned to a volunteer department. Only after a big uptown fire did the city see the need for a paid department. The department employed four firefighters for many years until the early 1950s.

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