Seeking to vaccinate as many local residents against COVID-19 as possible, the Jefferson County Health Department hosted mobile clinics throughout the county last week and provided the vaccine to 90 people at six mobile sites.
“It went really well. Overall, I was pleased,” said Tammy Monroe, Jefferson County Health Administrator. “That’s 90 more that received the vaccine that would not have received one if it had not been more convenient.”
One week ago on Wednesday, the mobile vaccine site was in Dupont where Dr. Paul Rosenberg and Dr. Pat Stack were glad to volunteer giving shots at the local feed mill.
“It’s an outreach to get people to be vaccinated,” said Rosenberg, noting that by bringing the vaccinations to where the people are eliminates a big barrier for some residents. In fact, most of the mobile sites were arranged to be at the same location and time as garbage dropoff day in those communities.
Rosenberg said the goal is to reach herd immunity to help stop transmission of the disease and protect everyone but to do that requires a high percentage of the population be vaccinated. He noted it’s important that people think beyond themselves and get vaccinated.
“You may think you can survive but what about someone else?,” he said, noting that others — 82 Jefferson County residents have died so far and more than 13,000 Hoosiers — may be more vulnerable.
It was light day for vaccinations Wednesday at Dupont where after two hours only three people had been vaccinated, and just eight for the day. But turnout was good Monday at Chelsea where 27 received shots. Twenty were vaccinated Tuesday at Deputy and another 15 Thursday at Rykers Ridge. On Friday, mobile vaccine clinics were held at three sites — House of Hope in downtown Madison with seven vaccinated, Canaan with eight and Brooksburg with five vaccinated.
All three vaccines were available at the mobile clinics — the Moderna and the Pfizer, which require two doses, and the Johnson & Johnson, which requires one dose — so JCHD will be back at the same mobile sites in three weeks for those who need their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer. Monroe said many opted for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be done with vaccinations more quickly.
JCHD will hold a vaccination clinic at Hanover Park on Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. during a senior citizen activity at the Community Building, but Monroe said the clinic “is open to anyone who wants to come” and JCHD welcomes participation from anyone still needing vaccination.
Monroe said JCHD’s building at 715 Green Road has been open for vaccinations occasionally during evening hours, but she said to call ahead at 812-273-1942 to check because evening hours have fluctuated.
Appointments can be scheduled by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211 and walk-ins are welcome Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone age 12 and older is eligible. An adult must accompany children ages 12 to 15 to the appointment and parental consent is required for all minors. In particular, she encourages young persons ages 12-17 to be vaccinated before school begins again in the fall.
In Jefferson County, 12,534 had been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday and 12,765 had received the first vaccine of a two-vaccine series. For those who have been vaccinated that’s 39.5% of the county’s population of 32,308 from 2019 Census data.
“We are pleased,” said Monroe, noting Jefferson County has done comparatively well. “We always want to do better and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated ... When you look around at surrounding counties, we’re ahead of them” in the percentage that have been vaccinated.
Switzerland County has 2,239 fully vaccinated and 2,248 who have received the first vaccine of a two-vaccine series for 21% of the county population. Vaccination percentages in other neighboring counties are Ripley, 33.6%; Jennings, 27.8%; and Scott, 29.7%.
Monroe said JCHD will continue working to make sure vaccine is available to as many people as possible even if that means some vaccine will be wasted when the vaccine is thawed out and then not utilized in the required time limit. She said some loss is to be expected now that more people have been vaccinated, and fewer people are scheduling their shots by appointment.
“We do have some waste every day ... but we are to have vaccine readily available,” Monroe said, noting the state wants to ensure there is ample supply daily available so that no one still needing vaccination is turned away. Waste “is inevitable. I hate it” but it’s a matter of making sure the vaccine is on hand. “We don’t want to turn anyone away.”
With the Centers of Disease Control and Normalcy (CDC) loosening mask requirements on people who have been fully vaccinated, Monroe said that being vaccinated is the best route toward a return to normalcy in the lives of each individual. For instance, she noted that prior to the vaccine that persons in close contact with those infected with the coronavirus would have to quarantine to two weeks. “Now, if you’re vaccinated and come into close quarters with someone who has the virus, there is no need to quarantine,” Monroe said.
Matthew Williams is already pretty well known around southern Indiana for his athletic skills, but the Southwestern High School senior is hopeful that someday he’ll be even better known for his music.
Williams ranks sixth in Southwestern boys basketball career scoring and was part of a Rebels team that advanced to the regional final this year.
But in spite of that athletic success, he is committed to music after graduation.
“I have loved music longer than sports. Sports is something I do,” said Williams, who has also competed in cross country and track at Southwestern.
Athletics will continue to be a part of his life, but Williams said his goal is a career in music. A day after graduating from Southwestern High School, Williams will be performing with others at a concert in Hanover Community Park. The concert, gates open at 5 p.m. with music starting at 6 p.m., will include two other more seasoned artists — Frank Pearson & Friends and Short & Company.
Williams’ commitment to music was strengthened during his junior year after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after just five games. He played two more games after that, continuing to feel unstable, and got it further checked. That’s when the ACL injury was confirmed.
“I was out for eight months and couldn’t walk for two,” Williams noted.
It was a difficult period for Williams, frustrated that he was physically unable to help his teammates and participate in sports, he turned to his singing and guitar, and music “really helped me through. It was something to do that I looked forward to.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic limited his interactions even more, that just provided “more time with the guitar ... I learned a lot more on music and I took it more serious.”
Before the ACL, Williams said he had plans to play college basketball, but now that’s changed.
“I am trying to get to where I can hopefully do music the rest of my life,” Williams said.
“I have got to have a job and need to provide for myself,” Williams added, noting he will work at Dow Corning Corporation in Carrollton, Kentucky, during the week with plans to perform music on weekends with hopes that his music will someday pay all the bills.
Williams said he was inspired when his family went to a performance in Nashville, Tennessee, of singer Mathew Barringer, a 2008 Southwestern High School graduate. Barringer invited Williams on stage to perform.
“I got to play before 1,000 people in Nashville. It was pretty crazy,” said Williams, who said it was totally unexpected. But the experience confirmed to him what he wants to do with his life. “I like the good feeling that people get from the music.”
Williams, a self-proclaimed country singer, said he sometimes performs rap and has also done rock.
“I have tried to expand to some variety, but country is what I feel most comfortable doing,” he said. “I grew up with country and that’s how I was raised. It’s how I have lived. I like it simple, and country tells a story more than other music.”
Saturday’s concert will be staged at the Hanover Community Park amphitheater as part of Hanover Town Council’s efforts to revitalize its parks. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from a link on the Town of Hanover Facebook page or Saturday at the park.
Paxton Media Group, owner of The Madison Courier and North Vernon Plain Dealer & Sun, announced Wednesday the purchase of Landmark Community Newspapers LLC, a chain of daily and weekly newspapers based in Shelbyville, Kentucky, that includes weekly newspapers at Carrollton and Bedford in Kentucky.
The deal, which was finalized this week, includes the purchase of all 47 newspapers in the Landmark chain.
“We are very excited to add these newspapers into the PMG portfolio,” said Jamie Paxton, PMG president and CEO. “PMG believes strongly in the value of local newspapers and the vital role they play in the communities that they serve. We appreciate Landmark choosing us to be the new stewards of these important community assets.”
The Landmark purchase includes 20 Kentucky publications, including papers in Elizabethtown, Shelbyville, Shepherdsville, Lebanon and Bardstown, among others. PMG, which is headquartered in Paducah, will now own 37 newspapers throughout Kentucky and a total of 120 publications across 14 states.
It continues an ongoing effort at PMG to acquire community newspapers in the company’s existing geographic footprint, said Mike Weafer, publisher of the Messenger-Inquirer and group publisher for the Kentucky-Indiana region.
“Paxton has been interested in acquiring newspapers as part of our strategy given the conditions and the nature of the newspaper industry,” Weafer said. “Acquisitions strengthen us and help us to persevere, so it is part of an overall strategy to continue to acquire newspapers.
“Landmark has a clustering of newspapers that are very geographically connected to Paxton papers,” he said. “So there is a lot of synergy that can be had with that.”
Landmark newspapers that were acquired in northern Kentucky include the Trimble Banner Democrat in Bedford, the News Democrat in Carrollton, the Henry County Local in New Castle, The Oldham Era in La Grange, the Grant County News in Dry Ridge and the News-Herald in Owenton. The deal also includes The Cats Pause covering University of Kentucky sports.
Landmark Community Newspapers traces its roots to 1966 when a group of eight local newspaper publishers decided to pool their resources and purchase a printing plant.
The company was incorporated as Newspapers Inc. two years later. Newspapers Inc. was then purchased by Landmark Communications Inc. in 1973.
In addition to its Kentucky newspapers, the purchase includes Landmark’s publications in Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
PMG will officially take over operations in early June, but there will be a transition period to PMG regarding systems and procedures, Paxton said.
This column is a kind of instant flashback, reverse chronology story. If you went to the House Band show at Mad Paddle Brewery last Saturday you saw the amazing musicianship and energy of fiddle player Corrina Wills. Now, after the fact, you can learn her story.
First of all, she is not related to the late-great Texas swing legend Bob Wills. Her real name is Rozlyn Turner.
“Bob Wills is just my all-time idol and he played my absolute favorite style of music. One of his most iconic songs was a tune called ‘Corrine Corrina’ and I just took my stage name, Corrina Wills, from that,” she said.
“I’m a Hoosier girl, born in Bedford and then spent some time around Bloomington. For the last eight years or so I’ve been living up the road in Greensburg. But I mostly play with bands up in Indianapolis. I play with the Wyatt Massingille Band, Christine Kindred, and Payton Collier a lot.
“My career as a fiddler started somewhat by accident. I started playing classical violin in the sixth grade in school orchestras, but when I was 16 I won a contest and I was interviewed in the local newspaper. I said something about how I loved the country fiddle sound, and that I’d like to play in a band someday.
“Some Bluegrass players saw the article and took it to mean that I was looking to join a band right then. Well, I’d never played a lick of Bluegrass, but next thing I know I was pulled into all these Bluegrass jam sessions and learning from these great players. By the time I was 18 I was playing fiddle in country bands. Like they say, be careful what you wish for!
“Anyway, more recently I’ve gotten several gigs down here in Madison, and I really love it here. I played with Hank Haggard at Mad Paddle back before COVID, then I did a St. Patty’s show with Rusty Bladen, and then I got the chance to do a guest appearance with the Mad Paddle House Band.
“It was Jerry Wade’s idea (owner of Mad Paddle) to bring me in for a guest appearance. He’s always adding new songs to their playlist, and he had a few songs that really need a fiddle, like Paper and Fire by John Mellancamp. And then they told me to learn Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, which I have to admit, as a country girl, I’d never even heard before.
“The whole experience has been incredible. When you team up with a new group of musicians, you honestly never know what to expect. But that group of guys is incredible. It’s been a real treat for me working with them.
“The House Band experience is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for right now. I just quit my day job and I’m making a go as a full-time musician. I’ve been spending a lot of hours each day practicing and improving, because if this is going to be my life, I want to be the best that I can be.
“The challenge of working with a bunch of top level musicians like Joe and Tom and Danny and Kerry and Deano the rest, that’s the kind of experience that can really elevate your playing and make you better.
“I’m super happy Jerry reached out to me and gave me this opportunity, and I hope to play in Madison many more times in the future.”
We got some two-fers going on this weekend. On Friday you can see Jhonny & Sallie at Lytle Park at 11:30 a.m. playing Live Lunch, and then catch them again in the evening at Mad Paddle. Then on Saturday Eric Bolander will be playing an early songwriter showcase at House of Jane, and then he’ll stroll across the street and do a full show at The Taproom. The other show of particular note this weekend is at Red Bicycle Hall, where Layla Tucker (daughter of country legend Tanya Tucker) takes the stage with songwriting legend Billy Don Burns. If you like real country, this is the show for you.
Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.
Thursday, May 27
Elks Lodge — (will have music)
Mad Paddle Brewery — The Mens Room
Friday, May 28
Lytle Park — Live Lunch with Jhonny & Sallie (11:30 a.m.)
Off-Broadway Taproom — Robby Cox
Mad Paddle Brewery — Jhonny & Sallie
Thomas Family Winery — Mel Deal & Rob Houze
Saturday, May 29
House of Jane — Charlsee Gandee & Eric Bolander
Lighthouse — Jimmy Davis
Mad Paddle Brewery — Grace Scott Band
Off-Broadway Taproom — Eric Bolander
Red Bicycle Hall — Layla Tucker with Billy Don Burns
Hanover Park — Matthew Williams, Frank Pearson & Friends and Short & Company (6 p.m.)
Sunday, May 30
Mad Paddle Brewery — Rusty Bladen on the Patio
Jefferson County continued to show improvement by moving into a “Blue” advisory when the Indiana Department of Health updated its COVID-19 metric dashboard at noon on Wednesday.
“Blue” advisory means the county is seeing minimal community spread of the coronavirus.
In Jefferson County, there have been just two new positive cases of COVID-19 since Monday. Overall, there have been a total 3,328 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 82 deaths. The county’s current seven-day average positivity rate is 1.3% and the seven-day positivity for unique individuals is 1.8%.
There have been two new cases of COVID-19 over the last two days in Switzerland County. Overall, Switzerland County has had a total of 800 positive cases during the pandemic and a total of eight deaths. The county’s current seven-day average positivity rate is 1.8% and the seven-day positivity for unique individuals is 3.9%.
The Indiana Department of Health announced Wednesday that 655 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total to 741,697 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus. To date, 13,155 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of six from the previous day.
On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 2,006,742 people have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky.
“When you look at this, it is just a miracle,” said Gov. Beshear. “Fifteen months after the first case of COVID-19 in Kentucky, not only do we have effective vaccines, but we have 2 million people vaccinated. It’s really exciting.”
The Governor also noted Moderna announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in a study of adolescents ages 12 to 17. The company said it plans to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand the emergency use of its vaccine for this age group early next month. If approved, it would be the second COVID-19 vaccine available for this age group, as Pfizer’s vaccine has already been approved for ages 12 and older.
On May 25, the Kentucky Department of Public Health reported 580 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the overall total during the pandemic to 456,626 positive cases overall. The total known deaths from COVID-19 in Kentucky is now 6,725 deaths, an increase of five (four from new deaths, one from new audit information).
In information from the North Central District Health Department, Trimble County has reported 728 cases of COVID-19 with five active cases and overall seven deaths during the pandemic. Carroll County has reported 1,025 cases of COVID-19 with 19 deaths.