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BC-IN--Indiana Weekend Digest, IN

May 23, 2019

AP-Indiana stories for the Memorial Day holiday weekend of May 25-27. May be updated. Members using Exchange stories should retain the bylines and newspaper credit lines. If you have questions, please contact the AP-Indiana bureau at 317-639-5501, 800-382-1582 or indy@ap.org.



KOKOMO, Ind. _ A white whale has been set free inside Kokomo’s Foster Park, beckoning to passers-by along Wildcat Creek, urging them to stop and look and even step into its enormous, toothless jaw. Its tail, mid flip, one end pointed toward the ground, the other flexing upwards, belies the whale’s otherwise stationary posture. Its mouth stands lazily, permanently agape, as it has for 55 years. Willie the Whale has been an iconic Hoosier landmark since 1964, the backdrop of hundreds of thousands of photos through the decades, chronicling trips to the Indianapolis Zoo, an amusement park and even a mini-golf course. Now, he’s in Kokomo. By George Myers. Kokomo Tribune. SENT: 1,550 words, photos requested.


INDIANAPOLIS _ On the southeastern edge of Marion County, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, lies a family cemetery dating back to the 1800s. Each regally weathered, centuries-old white marble headstone marks the life and death of the dozen or so members of the Joyce family who are buried there. Beyond the cluster of family graves, near the fence line in the back of the cemetery, is a small tree stump. Next to it is another headstone — this one grey and made from granite, new and modern looking. It reads: PRICE JOYCE, DATES KNOWN ONLY TO GOD, FREE AT LAST. It is the marker of an enslaved black boy who was brought to Indiana from Virginia. It was placed there by a 66-year-old white man from Indiana, a direct descendant of Price’s slaveholder. Its existence signifies his act of atonement for his ancestors’ sins and for his own racist past. By Suzette Hackney. The Indianapolis Star. SENT: 2,150 words, photos requested.



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. _ Some see smartphones as a barrier to engaging with nature. But last week, Bloomington High School North students got a crash course on the ways technology can help them better understand the natural world. Students in Angie Shelton’s science class spent an hour taking pictures of trees in the woods — not for Instagram or social media, but for science. Using an app called iNaturalist, the students identified the trees’ species and recorded measurements of the trunks’ diameters. The data recorded on the app goes to a massive database that scientists can use to monitor native and invasive species. By Brittani Howell. The Herald-Times. SENT: 690 words, photos requested.


GARY, Ind. _ Patty Sprague took a break from mowing the lawn of an abandoned home in the Emerson neighborhood of Gary. A passing motorist drove by, honked the horn, and gave her a thumbs up at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Tennessee Street. Sprague waved back, wiped sweat from her face, and finished her can of Diet Coke. Seven years ago, she moved to Northwest Indiana after meeting her husband, a Crown Point resident. She figured she could flip a house by renovating it and reselling it. The city of Gary, she learned, had hundreds of such homes available. Sprague changed her mind about flipping that old house. Instead, she adopted it. And then she adopted another nearby abandoned house. And another. And another. “I eventually adopted this entire neighborhood,” she said. By Jerry Davich. Post-Tribune. SENT: 1,020 words, photos requested.



WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. _ A herd of 36 alpacas, including a newborn, was a big hit during a tour of an organic farm at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. “I definitely want an alpaca now,” Terre Haute resident Jeff Dierks said after a close inspection of the animals. Angie Dierks said the couple has had other animals, including horses and goats, but “we’ve never had an alpaca.” The White Violet Center, a mission of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, selected alpacas because they are raised for their fleece rather than meat and are thus a “no-kill” animal, said Lorrie Heber, the center’s director. By Dave Taylor. Tribune-Star. SENT: 660 words, photos requested.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. _ Nicholas Port had everything lined up for a study that would help determine the effectiveness of vision training in athletes. The grant was written, the funding was secured, and IU baseball coach Chris Lemonis had agreed to let some of his players participate. “Then I read in the newspaper Lemonis was going to Mississippi State,” Port said. It only took about a week for Indiana University to announce Jeff Mercer, then head coach at Wright State University, would replace Lemonis. But meeting with an associate professor in the IU School of Optometry about a research project wasn’t exactly at the top of the new coach’s priority list. About a week before data collection was supposed to begin, Port got word that he could meet with Mercer. The new coach wasn’t just OK with his players participating in the study, he was excited to be a part of it. By Michael Reschke. The Herald-Times. SENT: 730 words, photos requested.

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