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May 2018

Festival season in Indiana

Looking for fun summer activities the whole family can enjoy?

For upcoming events in your community and throughout the state, check out the 2018 Indiana Festival Guide. With county fairs, art and music festivals, car shows and everything in between, there is something for everyone in the Hoosier state.

Staying local is a good way to discover the best Indiana has to offer, connect with friends and family, save money and help support the economy. In fact, Indiana welcomed 79 million visitors in 2016, generating more than $12.2 billion in revenue and supporting over 242,000 jobs.

Go to VisitIndiana.com for trip ideas and information on lodging, events, attractions, restaurants and discounts. Copies of the festival guide, the 2018 Indiana Travel Guide and other helpful publications can be downloaded or mail-ordered for free at VisitIndiana.com or by calling 800­-677-­9800.

Summer is a great time in Indiana. Stay safe and experience all that our state has to offer!

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Grants pave way for local road projects

Communities across Indiana will soon be able to apply for state matching grants to improve local roads and bridges.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will begin accepting applications on Monday, Aug. 6, for matching funds for shovel-ready local construction projects through Community Crossings, Indiana’s local road and bridge matching grant program.

The grants are a result of legislation passed by House Republicans in 2016. In the past two years, the state has awarded $300 million to Indiana cities, towns and counties through the program.

These funds help communities address their immediate road-funding needs to keep Indiana’s roads and bridges safe. A strong infrastructure supports a more robust economy and keeps our communities moving forward.

Projects eligible for funding through Community Crossings include road resurfacing, bridge rehabilitation, road reconstruction and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance in connection with road projects. Material costs for chip sealing and crack filling operations are also eligible for funding.

All application materials must be submitted by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 28. Click here for more information about the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program.

Improving School Safety

Ensuring school safety is an issue at the forefront of our country right now. This is a complex problem with no simple solution, but taking a multifaceted approach can help better protect our students.

Indiana is on the right track. Last year, the Security Industry Association highlighted our state as a “national leader” for implementing and investing in school safety policies. Indiana is 1 of 5 states with a “red flag” law, which allows guns to be taken from individuals a court determines to be dangerous to themselves or others.

Indiana’s School Safety Specialist Academy has trained and certified nearly 2,500 specialists at no cost to schools. We are also 1 of 2 states to require every school district to employ a certified specialist who is trained annually on best practices.

In addition to these measures, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new law authored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara putting more protections in place for Hoosier students. The law appropriates up to $5 million to the Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Fund in addition to the $45 million already allotted to support initiatives to keep schools safe and secure.

Under the new law, school safety specialist training will include information on identifying, preventing and intervening in actions by a person on school property who has the intent to harm others.

The mass murderer in the recent Parkland tragedy pulled the school’s fire alarm in order to fill the hallways with students and faculty. To help prevent copycat attacks, protocol in the event of an unplanned fire alarm is updated to allow an employee to barricade or block a door for up to three minutes while the fire alarm is investigated by a designated school official.

Students go to school to get an education, and they should not have to worry about senseless violence in their classrooms. Hoosier lawmakers, educators and law enforcement officers have worked and will continue working to ensure the children in our schools are safe and protected.

Teachers make a difference

The single most important factor in a student’s success is an excellent teacher. Most of us can name a teacher who had a major impact on our education or career choice. To recognize educators and their vital roles, the country is celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11.

Even the smallest act of kindness can help show your gratitude, like sharing a picture of yourself with an influential teacher or a picture of your child with their teacher and a simple thank you message on social media using #TeacherAppreciationWeek.

House Republicans are working to encourage the best and brightest to enter the teaching profession and make a difference in students’ lives. We created the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, which was recently awarded to 200 highly qualified students across the state. The scholarship is available to top-performing students each year who commit to teaching in Indiana for five consecutive years after college graduation. Recipients receive $7,500 per year for up to four years to obtain a teaching license. Learn more about the scholarship here.

Each year, the Indiana Department of Education conducts the Indiana Teacher of the Year program to recognize outstanding classroom teachers from across the state. One person is chosen to represent Indiana teachers at the national level. For more details and to apply for 2019 Indiana Teacher of the Year, click here.

We are fortunate to have the leadership and perspective of multiple educators in the state legislature. As teachers and public servants, Reps. Tony Cook, Wendy McNamaraand Jeff Thompson all work tirelessly to make Indiana a great place for our children.

Please take a moment this week to make sure our Hoosier educators know they’re valued!

Kicking off summer travel season

Our Hoosier state is home to beautiful parks, great restaurants and fun attractions for the whole family. To kick off the summer travel season and highlight all that Indiana has to offer, we are celebrating Visit Indiana Week May 6-12.

More than 200 attractions, parks and restaurants across the state will offer discounts to travelers, featuring a different and exciting theme for each day of the week:

  • State Parks Sunday: Kick off the week with free admission to 51 of Indiana’s State Parks and Recreation areas.
  • Museum Monday: Experience 1 of 29 Hoosier museums offering a wide array of exhibits at a discounted rate.
  • Tastings Tuesday: Sample local beverages at 35 Indiana wineries, breweries and cideries.
  • Wild Wednesday: Get up close and personal with animals and the wilderness at 13 of Indiana’s zoos, sanctuaries and farms.
  • Throwback ThursdayDiscover more than 200 years of Indiana’s rich history at35 historical destinations across the state.
  • Foodie Friday: Come hungry to 1 of 28 Indiana eateries offering discounts.
  • Sports and Outdoor Saturday: Embrace your adventurous side at 21 sporting events or activities.

For more information on Visit Indiana Week festivities, click here.

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