This and that: A Monday morning edition
State honors West Side for STEM excellence. Tricia’s Hope marks 10 years for its Survival Ball this week. And a judge gets his arms around what’s coming in case to oust the Fairfield Township trustee
Thanks today goes to Brokerage Brewing Co. in West Lafayette for its support of the Based in Lafayette reporting project. Brokerage’s Broktoberfest returns this week, Thursday through Sunday. For details of the four-day event, check the links below.
This and that to start the week …
WEST SIDE HONORED, GETS $250K GRANT FOR EXCELLENCE IN STEM EDUCATION
West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School was honored Sept. 9 for its work in science, technology, engineering and math during what was billed as the first Indiana Educational Excellence Awards Gala. The high school was among a handful of schools and districts across the state surprised with grants for tied to early reading initiatives, work-based learning, progress in special education and students from low-income households, among other categories.
West Lafayette won the Excellence in STEM Award, given to a high school that had a student selected for the 2022 Governor’s STEM Team – Siya Goel, a West Side senior, was chosen for the team for engineering – and that had the highest percentage of STEM course completions during the 2021-2022 school year.
West Lafayette will receive a $250,000 grant with the award.
According to an Indiana Department of Education release, grants awarded that night “must be used to sustain and expand the school’s current, impactful programming, support teachers who lead this work, as well as mentor other schools to drive additional, innovative strategies through a community of practice.”
“We are ecstatic that the efforts of our teachers, students and families have been so widely recognized,” West Lafayette Superintendent Shawn Greiner said. “Our students and schools will only be stronger with the investment of the award funds once a plan is in place.”
SURVIVAL BALL: 10 YEARS IN FOR TRICIA’S HOPE
Tricia Rausch started Tricia’s Hope, a Lafayette-based nonprofit aimed to provide emotional and financial support to cancer patients in treatment, after navigating the struggles of being diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31. Saturday, Tricia’s Hope will host its 10th annual Survival Ball at Lafayette Theater, Sixth and Main streets in downtown Lafayette.
Ahead of the music, auctions and stories of surviving cancer, I talked with Rausch about hitting the decade mark.
Q: You’re 10 years into the Survival Ball. How did it all start?
Tricia Rausch: The First Survival Ball was actually held on the fifth anniversary of my diagnosis. For those not in the breast cancer world, the five-year mark holds a real significance because there is still no cure for breast cancer, so living with no evidence of disease (NED) for five years represented a big victory for me.
I founded Tricia's Hope after my own battle with breast cancer. My husband, children and I were blessed to receive the love and support of our family, friends and extended community during the most difficult experience we had faced, and we wanted to pay it forward. I certainly wouldn't say that I am thankful for cancer, but I am thankful for the lessons I learned, including some ways to help others and what types of strains a cancer diagnosis really places on an individual. I understand how expenses like grocery bills and childcare can add up quickly, especially when treatment impacts your ability to earn a living. That is why Tricia's Hope grant dollars can be used for childcare, to hire a cleaning service for your home, purchase a fuel card for your trips to the hospital, pay rent or a variety of other needs. With our help, cancer patients can channel all their energy toward fighting cancer.
Q: How has Tricia’s Hope grown through the years? Have priorities stayed the same, or have you seen shifts in the needs that need to be covered?
Tricia Rausch: In the first few years of Tricia's Hope, we raised funds to support other, more established, charities in the community in addition to providing between five and 10 individualized grants per calendar year. As the years have passed and we have continued to grow, we have been able to shift to focus primarily on providing direct assistance to individuals that are in active treatment. Our mission at Tricia's Hope has remained the same: To provide emotional and financial assistance to cancer patients in treatment.
Q: How many people have you been able to help in that time?
Tricia Rausch: We have provided over 120 individualized grants. I am not sure how many family members we have impacted. We have also sponsored therapeutic art making classes with a licensed instructor and therapist, and provided other emotional support opportunities for survivors in the community.
Q: How about in the past year?
Tricia Rausch: So far this year, we have awarded 31 individualized grants, and the pace of applications does seem to be increasing. There is no doubt that patients, especially those receiving radiation that require daily trips to the doctor, are feeling the price of fuel, and I have observed that in the form of their grant requests.
Q: What can people do to help?
Tricia Rausch: Attend the Survival Ball on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7pm at the Lafayette Theater. The link for tickets can be found at www.triciashope.com. You can also go online to make a donation to help us provide financial assistance to cancer patients in need, and you can spread the word about Tricia's Hope through social media platforms. Find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Q: What other context should I know?
Tricia Rausch: In addition to assisting patients, we work hard to be good stewards of the donations we receive at Tricia's Hope. It is a great responsibility to be trusted with the gift of someone's financial contribution. With the dedication of our board of directors, accounting team and local businesses that sponsor the Survival Ball, we can ensure our donations are directed back to the people in the community that need the help most. We have very low overhead expenses, no salaries or building costs to maintain, and that means donations have a bigger impact.
IF YOU GO: Here are some of the details.
TODAY’S THE DAY TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE BASED IN LAFAYETTE REPORTING PROJECT.
JUDGE LOOKS FOR GUIDANCE ON FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE REMOVAL QUESTIONS
With one more vote pending in the process to remove Taletha Coles as Fairfield Township trustee before her term is up at the end of December, Tippecanoe Circuit Court Judge Sean Persin called the principal players into court Friday to get a feel for what could be coming his way in the coming weeks.
Persin declined to take any formal action during a brief hearing Friday, attended only by County Attorney Doug Masson. (The court sent a notice of the meeting to the township offices, but neither Coles nor her attorney appeared in court Friday.)
The judge said he planned to wait for the Tippecanoe County Council to vote Sept. 27 on a resolution recommending that Coles be ousted from office for not performing their duties or spending public funds for personal use. Five of the seven council members would have to vote for the measure. During a public hearing last week, council members didn’t publicly say how they planned to vote, though several sounded ready after hearing testimony about spending sprees, belligerence over budgets and reluctance to share receipts after accusations of using a township credit card spa days, drinks in bars and other personal uses.
The Fairfield Township Board and the Tippecanoe County commissioners, the first two steps in four-step process laid out in a law in effect since July 1, already have voted to oust Coles, a Democrat.
Persin told Masson that he wanted to be prepared, in case the county council followed suit. Persin said he was still navigating the process, given that this would be the first case since the General Assembly laid out the process during the 2022 session.
A resolution passed by county commissioners in late August already has been filed with the court. The county council’s version would be similar, Masson said.
Masson told Persin he was still trying to figure out whether a county attorney or the Indiana attorney general’s office would present the case in court. (An attempt to get a read on that Friday via the attorney general’s office wasn’t successful.)
Masson said the court would have between five and 20 days to hold a hearing on Coles’ fate as trustee. Persin said he would look for guidance from the county and from Coles’ attorney to get a sense of whether it would be a matter of hours or a full day in court before he contemplated dates.
“I’m not taking any action until the county acts,” Persin said.
IF YOU GO: The Tippecanoe County Council will hold a special meeting on the removal of the Fairfield Township trustee at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the County Office Building, 20 N. Third St.
Thanks, again, for the support from Brokerage Brewing Co. during the first year of the Based in Lafayette reporting project. Check out Brokerage’s Broktoberfest, Sept. 22-25. For details, here’s a link.
THANKS FOR MAKING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE BASED IN LAFAYETTE REPORTING PROJECT WORK. READY TO SUBSCRIBE? FREE AND FULL-RIDE VERSIONS ARE THERE FOR YOU.
SUBSCRIBERS: If you want to be a Based in Lafayette influencer, for real …