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Hickory Creek taking steps to fight COVID outbreak

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes and long-term living facilities have been among the hardest hit.

Hickory Creek in Connersville has now joined the list of nursing homes facing that fight.

In a press release, the facility revealed that 29 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among the residents.

“While the source of COVID-19 is unknown, we have acted quickly and diligently to provide the necessary care to our residents,” Jessica Ucul, Director of Marketing and Community Relations, said in the release.

Ucul said that the Indiana National Guard will be working in the facility, beginning on Nov. 2.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have provided actionable guidance to mitigate the spread in nursing homes and Ucul said that Hickory Creek will be utilizing this guidance to take appropriate steps within the home.

Some of those steps include:

Enhanced infection control precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Residents who test positive have been cohorted within the home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Only staff and essential personnel will be permitted entry. Staff and essential personnel are to be screened for COVID-19 before entering.

Restricting all visitation except for situations such as end of life.

Regularly testing staff and residents for COVID-19 based on current protocols.

Providing face coverings for residents, if tolerated and following CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/long-term-care.html.

Hickory Creek encourages the public to review the CDC website for information about COVID-19 in long-term care, including its symptoms, how it spreads, and actions people can take to protect their health.

That website can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ index.html.

“We are acting with diligence and enforcing the highest health standards required to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 while maintaining our person-centered care approach; communicating compassionately and effectively to our residents and their family, and maintaining an environment that feels calm, comfortable and home-like,” Udul said. “The health and safety of our residents, staff, and ultimately the community that we serve, is our highest priority.

“We’d like to thank the community, St. Gabriel Church, and our dedicated staff for their support during this difficult time.”

Little girl, big heart

Over the weekend in Cincinnati, seven-year-old Maizy Blazek learned about compassion.

“We were detoured through downtown Cincinnati where of course there were homeless on every corner,” mother Mandy Blazek said. “We had packed snacks and drinks for our little trip so I handed them through the car window to the people standing on the corner. No big deal, but then I had to have the conversation about homelessness with my kiddos.”

After learning about the struggles many face in life, Maizy decided to take matters in her own hands and help those who needed it most.

Maizy, a second grader at Eastview Elementary has always donated books and toys to the blessing boxes across own. Now, she is helping in other ways. Maizy woke up one day and decided to do her part.

“Yesterday morning, Maizy woke up and said ‘we have to do something to help homeless people’ so in about 36 hours, we’ve managed to put together backpacks filled with things including blankets for 15 people,” her mother said. “We’re going to hand them out in Indianapolis on Thursday.

“This is all because a kind little girl decided she wanted to help. God love her little soul. I really didn’t plan on sharing this at all but I’ve decided that she really deserves the credit.”

The family couldn’t have done all of this by themselves, Mandy said.

“All of the food was donated from the caring heart, helping hands pantry in town and so many others that have given things and money. We have so much to be thankful for.”

Maize said she does want to do it again around Thanksgiving.

“We went to Newport yesterday and took one of the backpacks with us and she handed it to a man in Cincinnati,” Mandy said. “We all cried because he was so grateful. I think that’s what made her decide that we need to do it again.

“We decided to take one with us and give it to one of the men that started this whole thing for her. The man was so very grateful! We all cried. He shook her hand and held his hand on his heart as we drove away.”

The family always have snacks and drinks with them, but never the bags like they have right now.

“I believe we will probably always try to keep a couple with us from now on.”

If you’re interested in helping, please message the family or call 765-309-3382.

Fayette County Council at Large Candidate Thomas Peck

With the 2020 election coming up on Nov. 3, the News-Examiner will feature profiles for local candidates involved in contested races.

Today, the race in question is for Fayette County Council at Large.

Candidate’s Name: Thomas Peck (Polypartisan caucused with Democrats)

Age: 32

Occupation/career: Insurance, formerly in education and corporate training

Education: Bachelors

Office sought: County Council At Large

Civic boards served on: 4-H Advisory Council (MI)

Memberships: Good Shepherd Lutheran (Fayetteville, AR), National Wild Turkey Federation, SCRA Criminal Justice

What do you see as the top 3 issues facing Fayette County as part of the position you are seeking, in priority order?

Three of the top issues facing Fayette County are the impending tax shortage in FY21 and FY22, our multiple food desert zones and the Spend to Income Ratio.

In the office that you are seeking, what will you do to benefit Fayette County?

As part of County Council, I will do my best to be a coalition builder, bringing together people, ideas, and resources.

How have your life experiences prepared you for the office you are seeking?

I have had a great amount of experience in training, risk analysis, budgeting and research in growing companies, schools and organizations.

If you win the election, how will you try to have an effect on your number one issue?

My main focus will first be learning the best way to attack the issue of the expected tax revenue loss.

As part of my “Growing Fayette County” platform, I constantly look and listen for solutions and fixes for this issue. I am researching possible actions the county can take to increase the tax base vertically, while also engaging with companies as a private citizen to explore the tax sinkholes in our community.

By looking into ways to re-establish our Spend to Income Ratio similar to 2016 levels, I believe that the county can excel in the years to come.

I have a belief that Fayette County can grow through a emphasis on responsible spending, creating a better community for our disadvantaged, and working on making our businesses much more accessible, and giving our population a greater and more varied access to groceries and produce.

Fayette Foundation finds its new Executive Director

With the retirement of Fayette Community Foundation Executive Director Anna Dungan drawing ever closer (Dec. 4), the FCF has been on the hunt for a successor.

It appears that they have found their person.

The Foundation has announced that 32-year-old Alexandra Pflug will be moving into the position, effective when Dungan steps down.

“I am really excited about this opportunity,” Pflug said of her selection. “There really are a number of reasons that I want the job. First and foremost, I really care about the community that I grew up in.

“I think there is a bright future ahead for Connersville, and I would like to be a part of that.”

A Connersville High School graduate, Pflug has also worked with Earlham College and Miami University.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University, and a Masters of Education in 2019 from Miami University.

She will be a welcome addition, according to Board President Colin Judd.

“It is with great confidence that we welcome Alexadra to the Community Foundation,” he said. “Alexandra’s work with Earlham and Miami will make for an easy transition for her into her new role. She is well suited to guide the organization forward.

“I am excited to engage the donors, staff and board members to build upon the momentum and positive impact Anna has created.”

Alexandra, who goes by Ally, is married to Justin and has two children, Alexander (5) and Henry (2).

As is the case with Alexandra, Justin is a CHS graduate. Following some time in Michigan, the family returned to Connersville and have bought a home.

Pflug had her final interview for the Foundation position on Sept. 24 and found out one day later that she was selected for the job.

“In addition to my experience in the development field, I have an interesting mix of experience, which I think made me a very strong candidate for the job,” she said. “I have a passion for development, and I believe there are opportunities to train non-profits and entrepreneurs.

“These are the leaders and people who want to make a difference in the community.”

Pflug says she has no illusion about the size of the shoes she is filling.

“Anna did such an amazing job for the Foundation,” she said. “She spent two decades in that position and I think that alone is a testament to the job that she has done.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for all that she has done during her time as Director.”

Following in Dungan’s footsteps won’t be easy Pflug admits.

“I just don’t want to let the community down,” she said. “I worry a little sometimes if I will be up to the task.”

Founded in 1986, the Fayette Community Foundation, a tax exempt organization, continues to serve and meet its original mission: to inspire a spirit of philanthropy. The Community Foundation manages more than $12 million in assets, annually awards more than $300,000 in grants, and hold more than 175 funds.

The Foundation is located at 521 Central Ave. For more information about the Foundation, call 765-827-9966 or email info@givetocfc.com.