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This and that: A pre-Thanksgiving edition
On tap: Get in on LUM’s annual community feast. Lost bet leads to bomb threat leads to charges at Ross-Ade. Delays on North River Road. Purdue faculty rally for BMV branch. Purdue applications: Up big
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Some this and that, before all-out Thanksgiving prep starts …
SPEAKING OF THANKSGIVING ...: The 36th edition of Lafayette Urban Ministry’s community Thanksgiving dinner will be noon-2 p.m. Thursday at Central Presbyterian Church, 31 N. Seventh St. in downtown Lafayette. The Community Thanksgiving Feast is free and expects to serve 800 meals to community members looking for a place to land for the holiday. Entertainment will be provided by West Lafayette High School orchestra students, Blue Moon Rising and Larry Guentert Jazz Duo. If you’re up for helping out, LUM will take donations here: https://www.lumserve.org/programs/food-programs/thanksgiving/
DELAYS ON RIVER ROAD: Bad news for commuters … West Lafayette announced Wednesday that construction on its $13.9 million Dehart Combined Sewer Overflow Project would continue into spring 2023. That means the River Road and Happy Hollow Road intersection, closed in May, will stay closed into next spring. According to a city release, contractors have run into problems with poor ground conditions and what the city described as utility delays.
The project includes construction of a 15-by-15-foot sewer tunnel designed to collect and store 1.7 million gallons of stormwater during heavy rains to give the city’s wastewater treatment plant time to process sewage instead of having it overflow directly into the Wabash River.
LOST MORE THAN A BET THAT DAY: Here’s pro tip when taking up sports betting: Don’t threaten to blow up a stadium when as your parlay goes belly up. This week, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor charged Christian Garcia Vieyra, a 25-year-old East Chicago man, with a felony count of intimidation after he posted a message to a Purdue football social media account on Nov. 5, saying he was going to bomb Ross-Ade Stadium as the Boilers were on the way to losing to Iowa, 24-3.
According to court documents, Vieyra told a Purdue police detective he had made several bets on sporting events that morning, including on the Purdue-Iowa game. When that started to go sour an hour after kickoff, police say Vieyra sent a message with the bomb threat. According to court documents, Purdue police considered evacuating the stadium, but had been assured that a sweep before the game by the Tippecanoe County Bomb Squad had turned up no suspicious packages or objects at the stadium on the West Lafayette campus.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Vieyra told Purdue police a week later that he’d deleted the comment – and later, his entire account – “because he didn’t mean it.” Prosecutors say Vieyra told police he posted the message but that he had no intentions to carry out the threat.
If convicted of the level 5 felony, Vieyra could fact between one and six years in jail.
PURDUE FACULTY: SAVE THE WEST LAFAYETTE BMV: The University Senate, a body primarily made up of faculty at Purdue, approved a resolution calling on the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to back away from a plan to close its license branch on Navajo Street in West Lafayette.
The BMV announced the closure – coming Dec. 17 – over the objections of West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, the West Lafayette City Council and, now, Purdue’s University Senate. The BMV’s rationale: In-person transactions at the branch opened in 2002 are trending down and the state is doubling the size of its Lafayette branch, four miles away at Market Square Shopping Center. (For details, here’s an account from last week: “Indiana BMV: So long, West Lafayette branch.”)
The University Senate resolution leaned on many of the arguments floated in recent weeks about the convenience of having a branch near campus, the growth in enrollment at Purdue and in West Lafayette, and how Purdue’s international students rely on the branch for transactions that require in-person visits.
The BMV, facing pleas from the mayor and others, has not indicated it was ready to retreat from its decision.
PURDUE APPLICATIONS UP … AGAIN: Purdue, coming of a series of booming enrollment years leading up to the fall 2022 semester’s record 50,884 students on the West Lafayette campus, could be heading for even more. Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Monday gave faculty leaders on the University Senate a heads up that the number of student applications are running ahead of last year’s rate.
Leading up to fall 2022 enrollment, Purdue had a record 68,309 applications, which was 9,136 – or 15% a – more than the previous record a year earlier. Daniels said Purdue on track this year for 70,000-plus applications.
According to figures Daniels shared with the University Senate, applications stood at 53,058 as of Nov. 21. That was up 10.1% over the previous year. Applications from in-state students were roughly the same as they were a year ago. Out-of-state applications were running 14.5% ahead of last year at this time. International student applications were up 5.3%.
Keep those numbers in mind as an on-campus housing situation continues to play out. Purdue Exponent editor Emily Primm had this update this week: “(University Residences) ‘at capacity;' no on-campus options left for students who missed initial interest phase.”
PURDUE FISH FRY, BACK IN TOWN: The annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry will return to Tippecanoe County in 2023, after nearly two decades of hosting the event in Indianapolis, the university announced this week. The event – once an afternoon of campy performances mixed with ag forecasts and highlighting agriculture programs on the Purdue campus – will move to the recently renovated Tippecanoe County 4-H Fairgrounds in Lafayette on Feb. 4. The Ag Alumni Fish Fry had been held in Indianapolis in recent years.
Danica Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association, said in a university released that the move back to Tippecanoe County offered a better opportunity for alumni to visit campus and gave easier access to students looking to attend.
This year’s event will feature a conversation with incoming Purdue President Mung Chiang.
For more information or to register to attend, here’s your link: ag.purdue.edu/agalumni/fishfry.html
Thanks to Purdue Convocations for its support for today’s edition.
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