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Baseball league to start at Alquina

Baseball players will have a new field to play on at Alquina next spring.

The Alquina Blue Arrows Park committee has approved adding a ball field to the park, located on the grounds of the former Alquina school.

Previous members of the Connersville Babe Ruth Board decided there should be more options for baseball after the board was dissolved in 2019. Babe Ruth leagues were taken over by Connersville Parks and Recreation.

Jarrod McGlothen, former Babe Ruth president, said, “As a collective effort, both organizations will work hand-in-hand to grow awareness to this beautiful park ... (W)ith the addition of a ball field in the spring of 2021, more people will have a place to come without worries of being billed to practice in their community.”

Alquina Park Board member Chad Gronning is excited for the changes coming to the park.

“I am very pleased to see the baseball fields coming to the park for the community and kids of all ages to enjoy. We feel that the organization bring this new activity to Alquina is well organized and knowledgeable in this adventure.

The park is also adding a shelter. It already includes a playground, disc golf, walking track, mini lawn tractor pulling track.

Justin Halcomb, another board member, “I think it’s great that our beautiful park will host Babe Ruth games next year. I have great memories of playing Babe Ruth as a kid and think it’s wonderful that a new generation will get to make similar memories at Alquina Blue Arrows Park.”

McGlothen said members of the new board are past Babe Ruth board members.

“We are going to start fresh. We have years of experience of running leagues,” McGlothen said. “We also have the knowledge and ability to grow. We want to give the community another option for baseball. We want to provide a great experience for kids who enjoy the sport and their parents. With the the opportunity we’ve been awarded from the Alquina Park board members, we will have a name change to become the Alquina Youth Baseball and Softball Recreational League.”

McGlothen said leagues will be developed for age groups from 5-12 years old. Fees will be kept to bare minimum.

“The goal for our part is to help develop skills, friendships, and a environment where kids can make memories.”

Because of time restraints, the park will be limited to one field in the spring of 2021, with more fields to be added later.

When grandpa's headstone needs cleaning, do it right

So often, well-meaning relatives visit a cemetery and see a tombstone so dirty or worn that they can barely read it. They resolve to clean the stone.

But if they happen to use an off-the-shelf chemical cleaner or a brush that’s too stiff, they can permanently damage the stone. Or if the stone has been broken and they use metal pins to put it back together, they may be setting it up for further damage.

Jonathan Appell brought that message – and how to do things right – to a cemetery restoration workshop at City Cemetery on Monday.

Appell is a cemetery restoration professional from Connecticut. He’s making a tour of all 48 contiguous states, doing one workshop in each. He chose City Cemetery from several that competed for his time in Indiana, said Aimee Brumfield, president of the Fayette County Cemetery Commission, who arranged the visit.

Appell said tombstones show a lot of weather-related wear, in addition to being knocked around by lawn mowers and, sometimes, by vandals. Weather can discolor the tombstones. White turns dark gray or black. Lichens, which people often think is moss, grows on the stones, and it can be yellowish-green or gray.

He demonstrated a cleaner called D/2, a non-chemical formulation which can be sprayed on tombstones. Initially, it may turn a color such as orange or bright green, but that means it’s working. It can be left to sit on the stone and will continue cleaning for several months after an initial application.

Soft-to-medium bristle brushes can be used to scrub off the dirt and grime, and lichens can be gently peeled away with a plastic scraper. Metal could dig into the stone.

He warned against claims by companies or friends that recommend sandblasting. The process of sandblasting takes away the surface of the stone, hollowing out the letters on the stone.

He showed a stone in the City Cemetery which had been repaired by pinning it together. The metal pins shrink and expand with cold and heat, sometimes cracking the stone anew. If they are iron, they rust, which can stain the stone.

His home base is a cemetery in Connecticut which has the oldest readable tombstone in the United States, dating from 1648. He got his start in cemetery preservation there in 1987.

He believes preservation is important so that families and localities can help preserve and honor their past.

About 35 people attended this workshop, Brumfield said. She was pleased with the turnout, which included professionals in tombstone cleaning and repair as well as hobbyists and relatives who just want to do right for their ancestors.

Appell said that spreading the word about how to do it right is important, too. So many times, he said, people don’t have the money to hire a professional.

He’s making the tour because, “There is a great need to teach people how to clean and repair” gravestones. And, he admitted, there’s also the challenge of visiting 48 states in 48 days.

Family fought for their lives together

Imagine: a son, father and mother all fighting for their lives.

Ryan, Ray and Carol Stephen all had COVID-19 within two weeks of one another.

Carol, 78, started feeling ill in March.

“Mom typically gets sick around that time of year with respiratory issues, so at first we thought that is what was wrong. When she continued to feel ill, we decided to take her to Reid,” Ryan Stephen, their son, said.

When Carol went to the hospital at the end of March, she tested positive for COVID-19 and was put on the ventilator about a day after she was put in the hospital.

From there, she spent over 60 days on the ventilator.

While she was on the vent, her husband, Ray, began to feel sick. Ray was placed in the hospital shortly after his wife.

“My dad, who is 84, ended up getting COVID-19 and was in the hospital for about a month. Luckily he was only on the vent for a few days.”

When he didn’t think things could get worse, Ryan fell ill with COVID-19.

“I was not put on the vent thankfully, but was in the hospital about eight days. I was able to visit my parents in the hospital, since we were all there together. My parents were in rooms next to me,” he said. “I remember the nurse wheeling me in to see my dad; he was off the vent but was very delusional. Then, when I visited my mom I remember seeing her on the vent and thinking to myself, ‘this is bad.’ I was worried when I left the room it would be the last time I saw her.”

While in the hospital, the couple had their 60th wedding anniversary on April 9. Both on the vent, one room apart, fighting for their lives.

Carol had the tube down her throat for over 30 days, then the staff did a tracheotomy. The family was told that if people keep have the tube in their throat more than 30 days it starts to do more harm than good.

When she was somewhat out of the woods and well enough to be moved, Carol was transferred to a hospital in Dayton, Ohio, that could work with her more to get her off the ventilator and some rehab started.

“When she was off the ventilator and the tube removed she was transferred to Whitewater Commons in Liberty for rehab on how to walk, speech, pretty much everything. All the time we couldn’t see her until the last few weeks,” Ryan said.

Carol came home on July 24.

“We have been told many times mom should not be with us right now but with God’s love and her being a fighter, she is. Both of my parents still have a hard time grasping what happened over the last several months. I have to remind them what they went through, then they recollect,” Ryan said. “I am so thankful that they are here with me today, I am blessed.”

It’s time to roll up your sleeve and get a flu shot

This year, getting an annual influenza vaccination is more important than ever, says a Purdue University nursing expert.

There are many reasons for getting a flu shot, says Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing who specializes in public health in Purdue University’s School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Chief among the reasons is that both the flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses that present similar symptoms.

“Both COVID-19 and the flu can impact the elderly and those with chronic conditions – such as heart and lung disease – the hardest.” Richards says. “Severe cases of both COVID-19 and the flu require the same lifesaving medical equipment.

“This highlights the importance of getting the flu vaccine, not only for your own personal health, but also for the health of your community. Receiving the flu vaccine will help reduce the burden of respiratory illness on our overstretched health care system.”

Once a person has had a flu shot, it takes up to two weeks to reach peak effectiveness.

Children over the age of 6 months and people in high-risk categories such as older adults, pregnant women, and those with asthma, heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, should get a shot.

If a person cannot get a flu shot for medical reasons, Richards says, practicing good hygiene is the best method to minimize exposure.

“Washing hands, covering one’s mouth when coughing and properly disposing of tissues and avoiding close contact with others are simple steps to be safe during this time,” she says.

Richards says that if a person is experiencing high fever, a cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue, they should stay home.

“Most healthy adults will recover from flu without medical intervention. If your symptoms deteriorate rapidly, call your health care provider,” she says. “Everyone should stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of over-the-counter medications.”

With similar symptoms, it may be hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, and testing may be ordered.

“If symptoms worsen, call your health care provider for advice on next steps, such as testing,” Richards says.