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Carroll County quarterback Harrison Felts attempts to escape the rush during the Panthers’ scrimmage on Friday.

All Indiana counties under ‘high’ or ‘substantial’ COVID risk
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All counties in Indiana now fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high” and “substantial” risk category in terms of COVID-19 infections as well as all but one county in Kentucky.

Due to increasing coronvirus numbers, the King’s Daughters’ Hospital Convenient Care Center in Madison is expanding its COVID-19 testing hours. The testing site, located on the south (or back) side of the KDH Convenient Care Center, 445 Clifty Drive, will now test Monday through Friday from 1-7 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To schedule an appointment online, visit scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov or schedule by calling 211. Walk-in appointments are also available. Masks are required for everyone entering KDH Convenient Care for testing.

The CDC’s latest data from Aug. 1-7 shows 76 of Indiana’s counties at “high” risk including Jefferson and Switzerland counties, and 16 at “substantial” risk. In Kentucky, 120 of the state’s counties are at “high” risk — including Trimble and Carroll counties — with only four at “substantial” risk. Hickman County in highly isolated far western Kentucky is showing at “moderate” risk.

For the CDC’s guidelines, “high” transmission is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher. “Substantial” transmission is 50 to 100 cases per 100,000, or a positivity rate between 8% and 10%. “Moderate” transmission is 10 to 50 cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate between 5% and 8%. “Low” transmission is considered no more than 10 cases per 100,000 people, or a test positivity rate of less than 5%.

In metrics by the Indiana Department of Health, both Jefferson and Switzerland counties are “Orange” for medium to high community spread. In ranking incident rates by the Kentucky Department of Public Health, both Trimble and Carroll counties are “Red” for high community spread. Trimble’s incidence rate is 43.8% and Carroll’s incidence rate is 40.3%.

Over the last seven days, Jefferson County has recorded 130 new positive cases of COVID-19 to bring the county’s overall total to 3,634. Jefferson County’s seven-day positivity for all tests is 16.5% and seven-day positivity for unique individuals is 26.3%. Jefferson County has 45.9% of its population fully vaccinated and 49.1% have at lease one dose of a vaccination, according to the CDC.

In Switzerland County during the last seven days, there have been 22 new positive cases of COVID-19 an the county’s overall total is now 874. Switzerland County’s seven-day positivity for all tests is 19.1% and seven-day positivity for unique individuals is 38.6%. Switzerland County has 24.7% of its population fully vaccinated and 26.8% that have at lease one dose of a vaccination, according to the CDC.

On Monday, the Indiana Department of Health reported 1,208 additional Hoosier had been diagnosed in the last day with COVID-19, bringing the total to 786,272 Indiana residents. To date, 13,634 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 10 since Friday.

On Friday in Kentucky, there were 2,612 additional new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s overall total to 495,132. There were six additional deaths confirmed due to COVID-19, increasing the state’s total during the pandemic to 7,372.

Jefferson County Health Department is accepting walk-ins at its office for COVID-19 vaccinations at its office at 715 Green Road, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available. Individuals ages 12-17 must receive Pfizer vaccine and have an adult present.

Switzerland County Health Department continues to operate a vaccine clinic at 1190 West Main Street, Vevay. There will be a vaccine clinic Thursday, Aug. 12, at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Florence, Indiana, from noon to 2 p.m.

All Kentuckians can sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment near where they live or work at vaccine.ky.gov.

August loaded with popular festivals
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The summer of 2021 is nearing its end, but some of the most popular festivals and events will be gearing up over the next month — like the Madison Ribberfest BBQ and Blues and Swiss Wine festivals as well as the Neavill’s Grove Old Settlers Meeting — as summer winds down.

This year’s Ribberfest BBQ and Blues Festival is Friday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug. 21, and will include all of the events from the past including great blues music and competition BBQ.

The 19th annual Madison Ribberfest begins a week from Friday with music from Ghost Town Blues band, Reverend Shawn Amos, and finishing the evening with headliner John Mayall. There also will be performances by the “Famous” Amy Noel Band, the Revelators, Jay Jesse Johnson, the Joe Louis Walker Band with special guest Bruce Katz, Shemekia Copeland and Tab Benoit on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) provides a sanctioned competition for the Indiana State Championship Barbeque. There will also be a Backyard BBQ Blast amateur cooking contest, a Kids-Q competition and the Good to the Bone Rib Eating contest. Additionally, winners of the Pigmania contest will be announced Saturday evening.

Advance wristbands are $30 until Aug. 19, and then increase to $35 during the event.

The Swiss Wine Festival will be back for its 48th year in Vevay beginning Thursday, Aug. 26, with the Edelweiss Festival Queen Pageant and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 29.

The wine festival celebrates Switzerland County’s heritage, which dates back to the vineyards of John James Dufour in the early 1800s.

Eddie Montgomery, surviving member of the country music duo, Montgomery Gentry, headlines the Wine Festival music on Friday, Aug. 27, at 9 p.m. Other musicians will include the Jimmy Sowers Band, Tom the Torpedoes, Whisky Bent Valley Boys, Fuzzy Rojas and Saffire Express Band.

Traditional events such as grape stomping competitions and the Little Swiss Polka Dancers will be held, along with other entertaining activities. A 5K Walk/Run will be held on Saturday, Aug. 28, at 8 a.m. followed by the grand festival parade at 10 a.m. On Saturday at 10 p.m., there will be a fireworks show. Amusement rides will operate throughout weekend in Paul Ogle Park. Tickets are $6 adults in advance or $10 at the gate. Children 12 and under are $5 and children under 2 are free.

Old Settlers Meeting at Neavill’s Grove, on the last weekend of August every year since 1885 until last year’s COVID cancellation, will be back in 2021 on Saturday, Aug. 28. The event is typically a three-day festival, but due to ongoing COVID-19 issues, will be a one-day event this year on Saturday. There will be a parade of vintage and antique tractors at noon, followed by activities that include a bake-off contest and games for all ages. Music will entertain in the evening.

Coming up this Friday, country singer/songwriter JD Shelburne will be performing Music in the Park beginning at 6 p.m. at Bicentennial Park. Shelburne, a native of Taylorsville, Kentucky, will be singing from his new album, “Straight from Kentucky,” including this popular songs “Church Pew Barstool,” “Hometown in My Headlights” and “Sun-Bleached Polaroid.”

Tonight the Madison Community Concert Band will perform a concert at the Brown Gym at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m., Ed “Sax” Thomas, a native of Cincinnati, will be performing on the lawn of the Lanier Mansion in the Music at the Mansion series. Thomas is an accomplished inspirational saxophonist with soul stirring mixture of gospel and jazz sound.

September also promises to be a month of several local activities. Chelsea Jubilee returns Friday, Sept. 3, and Saturday, Sept. 4. Also, on Saturday, Sept. 4, there will be the Rockin’ on the River Car Show in Madison. The Canaan Fall Festival on Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11. Elsewhere, the Trimble County Apple Festival is on Saturday, Sept. 11 and Sunday, Sept. 12. More events will follow in late September, culminating with the Madison Municipal Airport Air Show — which this year will feature the Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 Flying Fortress — on Sept. 25 to the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26.

JCSO using cultural diversity training to build under*standing with the public
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Officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department went back to school recently for some training on cultural diversity that could possibly help them interact better with the public by seeing law enforcement from both sides of the badge.

The six-hour Indiana State Police workshop held at Hanover College was conducted by two state police officers who have given the presentation to hundreds of officers across the state in an effort to help police understand how they are perceived in public and what cultural fears and concerns some members of the public may feel about police. They showed videos of tense — and sometimes dangerous — police interactions with the public and then discussed ways to respond better in a similar situation.

“The focus is on helping law enforcement to understand and think like the person inside the car they are stopping,” Sheriff Dave Thomas said of the program. “It gives them a little different viewpoint on the way that person maybe is thinking when they stop them. We in law enforcement don’t always think of the people we pull over as being in fear of law enforcement but some of them are — and there are sometimes communication barriers — so the way we approach the situation can help alleviate that fear and result in a much better contact with the public.”

Thomas said it’s goes much deeper than race and gender and includes religion, nationality, age, family and past history with law enforcement as well as a number of other factors. The point is that some people have culturally acquired ideas about law enforcement and if an officer can learn and use the tools that help counter those beliefs, a motorist being stopped for a simple traffic infraction or courtesy such as a broken light can be resolved quickly without the situation escalating.

That makes for a much more pleasant — and safe — encounter for both the motorist and the officer and gradually builds trust and respect by both in each other.

If enough officers opt for this approach in policing — and Thomas said that’s what he wants his department to do — they can change the culture between law enforcement and offenders and that could lead to fewer encounters that escalate from a routine contact for a minor infraction into more serious charges that put the safety of the officer, the suspect and the public at risk.

Capt. Ruben Marte, who is with the ISP in Indianapolis, and Major Todd Smith, who serves as chief counsel for the ISP, said they have been presenting the program about seven years and have spoken to more than 7,000 officers as well as students and members of the community because the message they bring is worth hearing by all involved. The way people encounter other people often impacts how well they get along and whether they like and trust someone or fear and distrust them.

Smith said a key is for officers to form a rapport with the public — a public that doesn’t always feel comfortable speaking to police depending on where they’re from and how their community gets along with police. He said residents of Jefferson County may feel less anxiety when stopped by an officer than those in other communities and local officers need to take that into consideration when dealing with people.

If a crime has been committed or a routine traffic stop evolves into an arrest, the officer still has a job to do and the public to protect, but a routine contact doesn’t have to start out that way if the officer and the person stopped can begin on a more common ground. Starting on common ground also increases the chances of the encounter ending peacefully.

“We just need to understand each others’ point of view,” Marte said. “It’s building a bridge of understanding between the police and the public.”

“I just hope after this that my officers have a better understanding of how they’re seen by members of the public depending on how they are raised in certain cultures,” Thomas said. “This presentation is very good in that it teaches them how to form a rapport with people.”