Discover more from Based in Lafayette, Indiana
Good news, bad news: The West Side BMV edition
It’s not staying open, and no one on the West Side is happy about that. But here’s what the BMV will do. Plus, hospital flag record volumes in their ERs, encourage flu, COVID vaccinations.
Support for Based in Lafayette comes from your membership and Purdue Convocations, presenting A Feeling of Norwegian Christmas. The all-female brass ensemble tenThing brings Christmas music traditions from Norway and across Europe - along with American holiday favorites - in a way you have never heard before. Sunday, December 11th at Loeb Playhouse. details at convocations.org
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS ON WEST LAFAYETTE BMV: WHICH DO YOU WANT FIRST?
OK, I’ll start with the bad news.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles isn’t backing off unpopular plans to close the license branch on Navajo Street in West Lafayette.
BMV Commissioner Joe Hoage said in a release Thursday that the state agency had heard the community’s concerns – particularly about what the license branch closure would mean to Purdue students, and particularly for Purdue’s international students. Hoage said the BMV would hold some special days on campus, do additional training for staff at the Lafayette branch surrounding the needs of the community’s large international population and add a BMV Connect kiosk in West Lafayette that would be able to handle many annual renewals and other routine transactions.
But the West Lafayette BMV branch still would close after business on Saturday, Dec. 17, due to shrinking in-person transactions in the past several years, as announced in November to a solid round of boos on the West Side.
That would leave the Lafayette BMV branch, four miles away at Market Square Shopping Center, 2200 Elmwood Ave., as Tippecanoe County’s lone license branch.
And that one will move into new digs on the other side of Market Square, in space that until recently held the Carnahan Hall venue. That spot will have double the testing stations and seven more customer service stations than are in the current Lafayette BMV, according to state officials.
The Lafayette BMV branch will move into its new location Dec. 20.
“Not thrilled,” West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said Thursday. “We did as much as we could, but it seemed that the decision had already been made.”
The move had been railed by residents and the subject of resolutions from the West Lafayette City Council and the faculty-led University Senate at Purdue calling on the state to reconsider.
Hoage said in the release that his staff had worked with state Sen. Spencer Deery, a West Lafayette Republican elected in November, on a plan to soften the blow in West Lafayette.
Deery said he met the governor’s chief of staff two weeks ago to make the case that population growth in and around West Lafayette and the local international population – many of whom need to bring paperwork for IDs and other BMV transactions that can’t be done online – were reasons to at least delay the closure. Deery said Hoage didn’t back off the BMV’s decision but was willing to make some accommodations.
“As the BMV knows, if it were up to me, I would have put it on pause and watched population growth and usage data for another year or two before making a final decision,” Deery said. “But other than on that ultimate question, they have responded to everything I asked for, including a commitment to adapt if needed, based on community input as the plan is implemented. Sometimes you have to take the points you can get and make the best of what's possible.”
Hoage said the plan included:
Additional training of branch associates, starting in early 2023, to support the needs of foreign nationals.
A special event on the Purdue campus with a BMV mobile branch.
A BMV presence at student fairs and special events to provide education on required documentation.
A BMV kiosk in West Lafayette. Location: TBD.
For those keeping score, those things would be the good news.
“To their credit, it seems that they will be ensuring that students and area residents have support and access to perform transactions,” Dennis said. “And we will soon know the location of our BMV Connect kiosk. Like I said, good but not great.”
HOSPITALS: ‘WE ARE SEEING RECORD VOLUMES’
Lafayette’s two hospitals sent a joint warning to the community Thursday that their emergency rooms were at triage levels with an early surge in flu and other respiratory illnesses.
Doctors at Franciscan Health and IU Health Arnett were urging residents to get flu shots and COVID-19 boosters to help keep themselves from getting sick and facing potentially long waits in the ER.
“The bottom line is we are seeing record volumes in the emergency departments,” Dr. Daniel Wickert, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, said in a release Thursday. “We have broken capacity records over and over the past several days.”
Both hospitals have imposed limits on the number of visitors on their campuses.
Dr. Chris Mansfield, chief medical officer for IU Health, said: “We have seen rates of respiratory illness, such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), spike much higher and much earlier this year, which is putting a strain on local health care systems.”
Mansfield said flu vaccines and COVID-19 boosters can reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death.
Here’s information the hospitals offered about vaccinations:
Franciscan Health: Patients should contact their primary care physician to schedule flu shots and COVID-19 boosters.
The IU Health Arnett Retail Pharmacy, located at Entrance 4 of IU Health Arnett Hospital, is providing walk-in flu shots for individuals 12 and older. No appointment is necessary at this location. Pharmacy hours: 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
COVID-19 boosters are available by appointment only at the IU Health Arnett Retail Pharmacy. Register online at ourshot.in.gov or call 211 or 765-448-8900 to schedule an appointment.
Tippecanoe County Health Department: The county’s vaccination clinic, 1850 S. 18th St., offers flu and COVID-19 shots by appointment by calling 765-423-9221. The clinic also accepts walk-ins for COVID-19 boosters.
The clinic is open for flu shots from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
COVID-19 boosters are available: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, noon-5 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday.
For other locations: Call 211 or visit ourshot.in.gov.
WINTER MARKET OPEN SATURDAY: The McAllister Recreation Center’s Winter Market – and attempt to extend the season after the farmers markets closed in Lafayette and West Lafayette at the end of October – has grown to 20 vendors since starting in early November, Tyler Laufman, McAllister program director, said. The Winter Market will be open at 2351 N. 20th St. in Lafayette from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. the next two Saturdays, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. “The word is starting to get out, and I’ve had new vendors reach out to me each day,” Laufman said.
AND FINALLY: If your plans aren’t set for Friday night, friends I trust assure me this free show, with donations going to the Shirley Martin Scholarship for Young Songwriters, should be a fine one …
Thanks to Purdue Convocations for its support of today’s Based in Lafayette edition.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT, LOCAL REPORTING.
LOOKING FOR A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR SOMEONE LOCAL? HOW ABOUT A SUBSCRIPTION TO BASED IN LAFAYETTE? HERE’S HOW.
HAVE FOUR OR MORE FRIENDS YOU THINK MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN A BASED IN LAFAYETTE SUBSCRIPTION. CALL THEM UP, AND GET A DISCOUNT. HERE’S THE DEAL …