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Hastings receives Indiana DARE Officer of the Year Award; Reflects on 20 years as DARE Officer

Shelbyville Police Department School Resource Officer Floyd Hastings attributes his recognition as Indiana DARE Officer of the Year to the community.

“I’m very proud of what the community has done over the last 20 years with the DARE program and has allowed us to do with the program,” he said. “There’s no way that I could’ve done it by myself. Like I said, everybody’s name should be on that plaque. My wife Jennifer, my kids, Tyler, Trevor and Brooke. Our family members – you could just keep naming names all day and not stop on the people who have supported me over the years.”

DARE – Drug Abuse Resistance Education – fosters solid community relations as parents, schools and police departments work together to help the children of Indiana resist drugs and violence, according to Shelbyville Police Department website.

Hastings was recognized Thursday morning at Governor Holcomb’s residence. He serves as the school resource officer (SRO) for Shelbyville Central Schools.

hagunnell / Photo provided. 

Officer Floyd Hastings (second from left) received the Indiana DARE Officer of the Year award at Governor Holcomb’s residence on Thursday. Hastings has served as a DARE Officer for more than 20 years. Also pictured from left: his wife Jennifer Hastings, Shelbyville Police Officer Sgt. Jeremy O’Connor and Hancock County DARE Officer Sgt. Christine Rapp.

“That was the first time that my wife and I, and [SPD Officer] Jeremy O’Connor went,” he said. “Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch was there, and she presented us the award, along with Indiana DARE rep. Christine Rapp from Hancock County. It was a short, nice little ceremony. Not real large. I’d never been there, that was different.”

Hastings started at the Shelbyville Police Department in 1996. He became a DARE Officer in 2001.

“I’ve always wanted to be a policeman since I was in second grade basically,” he said. “So when Mary Joe Phares was our first DARE officer, she was an officer from 1997 to 2001, and in 2001 she won the DARE officer of the year. So I’m kind of the second one to receive it with the Shelbyville Police Department.”

Phares retired in 2001, he said. Hastings decided to go for the position for two reasons.

“In 2000, I hit a subject with my police car and killed him here in Shelbyville, and he was intoxicated, but that kind of got me into thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I need to get into the schools,’” he said. “I had a very difficult time after I hit him – Why did that happen?

“And my daughter was at Loper. Brooke would come home and talk about it and I thought that may be something I could get into,” he continued. “[Phares] retired and I thought well, somebody needs to step up. Me and another officer applied for it and I got it.”

That lead to 21 years of serving the community. He started as an SRO at Shelbyville Schools in 2016.

“I work for Shelbyville Central Schools,” he said. “I retired in 2016 as a full time [SPD] officer. In 2014, DR. David Adams asked me if I’d wanted to work for Shelbyville Central Schools as a school resource officer. I had two years left, and he said come and see me. So in 2015, he said once you’ve retired, I want you to float my elementary schools. I asked if I could still do DARE, and he said of course.”

Prior to that, he served at all county schools.

“For a period of time there I was teaching all of Shelby County Schools, which really kept me busy,” he said. “I was jumping from one school to the other.”

In his 21 years as a DARE Officer, Hastings was able to support the schools in a multitude of ways, more so than just holding assemblies or going into the classrooms to teach kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“Over the past 20 years, we got an old 1962 Mercury Monoray donated to the DARE program, which we mocked up into a police car,” he said.

“I was able to get a golf cart,” he continued. “I bought a golf cart and we used it a lot with drunk goggles, we get students and have them drive a course, then they drive a course with the drunk goggles on to tell the difference. We don’t have that golf cart anymore, but when I retired I donated it to the SCS and the high school uses it about every day still.”

Hastings would also have golf outings, chili cook offs, and have pool parties for the graduating classes, too.

“We still do the chili cook offs and I have to give a shout out to the Eagle Riders, they help me a lot with that,” he said.

Hastings is really proud of the money he and the DARE Program have been able to provide the Shelbyville Central Schools Education Fund.

“The DARE program has given that organization over $5,000 for the teachers in the classroom and they greatly appreciate that,” he said. “It helps the teachers buy things in classrooms they wouldn’t have to buy out of their own pocket. I’m really happy with what the community has been able to help me support because if it wasn’t for the community, I couldn’t supply and do the things I’ve done in the past. I’m very grateful for that.”

Hastings said the pandemic changed the way he would teach in the schools.

“The pandemic screwed a lot of my classes up,” he said. “The schools now have a new, it’s called ‘Too Good For Drugs,’ which they implemented, which was kind of a segue out of the DARE program. I still do things in the school with the DARE program, but I’m not going into each individual class.”

After more than 20 years, and with this new program, Hastings thinks this year will be his last going into the classrooms to teach.

“After 20 years, I think it’s time. I’m getting up in age, and they still have the Too Good For Drugs program, which they teach in every classroom. So it makes it nice. I still support the program, I still support the schools financially with DARE money that I raise and things like that. I’m not quite out of it, but really I think the award was more toward the last 20 years, versus just the last year.”

Hastings will still serve as the DARE Officer for the city, raising funds and compiling resources for the schools when they need it. In fact, he just completed a dish soap fundraiser, where he said they raised a couple thousand dollars for each school.

And the DARE Program will still sponsor the showing of “Elf” at The Strand Theatre the weekend of Nov. 26. (Tickets are available at Shelbyville Paint and Flooring, at the door, and online at https://strandpac.square.site.)

“I always sponsor, the DARE program always sponsors the movie Elf at the strand each year,” Hastings said. “That will be coming up here soon. It just helps the strand. I get tickets I pass out to my teachers, students, their families, to let them go and have a night out with the family. The strand will be showing the movie Elf.”

Because really, it’s the help of organizations like The Strand and the community support that allowed Hastings to make such a positive impact, he said.

“I got DARE officer of the year and I’m pleased,” he said. “It’s not just me whose name should’ve been on the plaque. It should’ve been all the officers who do the things they do without being recognized.”

Indiana on par with average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner

Indianapolis — A year ago, many Hoosiers pivoted their traditional holiday plans to smaller or virtual gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast forward 12 months and Thanksgiving is practically back to normal. Families can’t wait to gather this year, meaning many Hoosiers will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal for a large group with all the holiday favorites – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more.

In preparation, Indiana Farm Bureau surveyed shoppers across the state to identify the average price of these traditional Thanksgiving meal items.

INFB’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey shows that Hoosier shoppers can expect to spend approximately 12 percent more at the grocery store than in 2020. According to this year’s pricing survey, the individual meal price is approximately $5.36. Despite the increase from 2020, this year’s meal price is on par with the U.S. average of $5.33 – roughly 3 cents more per person than the national average.

“There is no question that this has been a tough year,” said Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president. “Coming off the heels of the pandemic, widespread supply chain issues are pushing prices higher and the economy is stretched. This year’s Thanksgiving market basket reflects what Hoosiers are seeing when they go to their local grocery stores. However, the increased price of Thanksgiving dinner in Indiana is comparable to costs across the rest of the country.”

The main drivers of an overall increase in price are inflation, disruptions to the supply chain and a significant increase in food consumed at home – all lingering effects of the pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past 12 months, overall inflation has increased by 6.2 percent and the price of food consumed at home has increased 5.4 percent.

In the food supply chain, just 8 cents of every consumer food dollar can be attributed to farm production. Using this figure, the farmer’s share of this $53.58 market basket would be less than $5. The rest is for food processing, packaging, transportation, wholesale and retail distribution, food service preparation and other marketing costs.

“In the mid-1970s, farmers on average received more than 30 cents on the dollar for consumer retail food purchases. We’ve seen a steady decline from year to year since,” said Chism. “Hoosier farmers continue to find ways to streamline their operations and decrease costs of production to accommodate for this decline, while still providing safe, affordable food for Hoosiers and families all over the world.”

The total market basket price of $53.58 includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a carrot and celery veggie tray, whole milk, cranberries, whipping cream, ingredients for pumpkin pie and miscellaneous baking items.

This year, shoppers can expect to pay approximately $1.58 per pound for a whole turkey, or $25.22 for a 16-pound bird. Other traditional Thanksgiving items that Hoosier shoppers can expect to be a bit more expensive this year include pumpkin pie filling, pie shells, rolls, peas, whole milk and cranberries. Items that may be more affordable this year include stuffing, a veggie tray and whipping cream. Sweet potatoes remain relatively unchanged.

Some Hoosiers may omit the turkey this year and opt for a ham instead. INFB also collected prices for other frequently served Thanksgiving items and found that consumers can expect to pay $11.13 for a 4-pound ham, compared to $10.60 in 2020.

Three items on the shopping list are more expensive in Indiana this year than they are nationally, including a 16-pound turkey, stuffing and pie shells. Alternatively, most items on the shopping list came in less than the national average, most notably sweet potatoes, whole milk, whipping cream and peas.

The INFB Thanksgiving market basket survey was conducted in late October/early November by volunteer shoppers across the state who collected prices on specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. Volunteer shoppers were asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals. Indiana’s survey was completed in conjunction with a national survey administered by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

More details about AFBF’s national Thanksgiving market basket results can be found at https://www.fb.org/newsroom/farm-bureau-survey -shows-thanksgiving-dinner -cost-up-14.

Local Briefs

Recycling District moving offices

Effective Monday, Nov. 22, the Shelby County Recycling Office will be at a new location. The new address is 20 W Polk St, Suite 203, Shelbyville. The phone number will remain the same, 317-392-8904.

– Information provided

Morristown Varsity Softball Chili Dinner fundraiser

The Morristown Varsity Softball team will host a chili dinner from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Morristown High School cafeteria, according to a flyer. This will be during the basketball game.

The dinner costs $7 and funds will go toward purchasing new uniforms and field repairs.

Third annual Morristown Tree Lighting Festival

The third annual Morristown Tree Lighting Festival will begin at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department, 422 W. Main Street, according to a Facebook post.

The event will feature crafts, DJ Scotty Scott, Barnyard Party Pals, cookies, hot cocoa, story time, a Santa appearance, and a tree lighting. Story Time will be at 6 p.m. and the Tree Lighting will be at 6:30 p.m.

Duke Energy, Toray Resin Company partner to construct solar energy facility

Duke Energy Indiana is partnering with Toray Resin Company, an international plastics manufacturer, to construct a solar energy facility capable of producing up to 900 kilowatts of power at its campus in Shelbyville.

The solar project is the first to come from a Duke Energy pilot program that aims to make it easier for businesses, schools and nonprofits to incorporate clean, renewable energy sources into their energy mix.

“Many of our customers are looking for renewable energy choices,” said Stan Pinegar, president of Duke Energy Indiana. “Through a unique leasing arrangement, we’re proud to be partnering with Toray Resin to break ground on a solar facility that will provide power for their manufacturing operations in a sustainable and cost-effective way.”

Under the program, Duke Energy will design, construct, operate and maintain the Blue River Solar Facility on Toray Resin’s Shelbyville campus for a monthly service fee. The program provides Toray Resin with the advantages of clean energy to help power their operations, while minimizing upfront costs and maintenance obligations.

Construction on the ground-mounted solar project is underway and is expected to be completed by summer 2022.

“This project supports our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 and aligns with our vision to deliver innovative technologies and advanced materials while balancing development and sustainability,” said Dennis Godwin, president of Toray Resin Company, a subsidiary of Toray Industries. “It reflects our commitment to take the steps necessary to reduce our CO2 footprint, and we will continue to pursue renewable energy sources to help power our operations. This solar project will be the first for Toray Resin Company as well as the first in Indiana under the pilot program.”

Under Duke Energy’s solar services pilot program, eligible Indiana customers can lease an onsite solar system for a period of up to 20 years. Duke Energy installs, operates, owns and maintains the system, while customers receive all of the kilowatt-hour (kWh) and solar renewable energy credit (SREC) output. Initial program capacity is limited to a total of 10 megawatts (MW) for eligible commercial and industrial customers within the Duke Energy Indiana service territory.

This program joins the company’s other efforts to promote clean, renewable solar power, including building and operating a 17-MW solar plant at a southern Indiana naval base and purchasing up to 20 MW of solar power from four solar sites that generate up to 5 MW each.

Other renewable programs include the company’s GoGreen Indiana program, which gives customers the ability to support the development of green power sources. Customers can purchase a minimum of two 100-kWh blocks of green power for $1.80 per month. The 200-kWh commitment equates to about 20 percent of an average residential customer’s energy use and helps to avoid 4,800 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

And the current upgrade and modernization of the company’s nearly 50-year-old Markland Hydro Station near Florence, Ind., along the Ohio River, aims to ensure customers can continue to reap the benefits of low-cost, carbon-free electric generation for years to come.

Turning Point asking for gift donations from community

Looking to put a smile on a child’s face this holiday season?

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services has an opportunity for you to help.

The organization’s annual holiday store is currently accepting gift donations for local families. Clients in need have the opportunity to get help in having gifts for their children from donations made by the community.

A year ago, 122 families, including 235 children, received help through Turning Point.

Donations can be made through Turning Point’s wish lists on www.amazon.com, www.walmart.com and www.target.com, which is a new addition this year. The links for the wish lists can be found at www.turningpointdv.org/events, under the Holiday Store headline.

Donations can conveniently be made from “the comfort of your own home to spread holiday cheer to others,” according to a press release.

The deadline to make donation selections is Dec. 6 in order to make sure participating families receive gifts in time for the holidays.

All gifts, checks and gift cards should be sent to Turning Point’s administrative offices, which is in the United Way Center building at 1531 13th St., Columbus, IN, due to current COVID-19 protocols.

Turning Point serves Shelby County as well as Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson and Johnson counties. For more information on the holiday store, e-mail Volunteer Coordinator Dede Parker at deirdreparker@turningpoint dv.org.

For more information about Turning Point’s services, call the 24-hour helpline at 1-800-221-6311.