Wolfies owner’s U-turn; Purdue vax numbers; Star City Jazz & Blues is back
Pardon me while I catch up after being on the road for a few days.
Sorry if it sounds as if I’m catching up, but … This and that, as I catch up after a few days on the dock at Lake of the Ozarks …
WOLFIES OWNER RETREATS ON SCHOOL ‘INDOCTRINATION’ EVENT: Scott Wolf – the owner and founder of the Indiana-based Wolfies Grill, including one in West Lafayette’s Wabash Landing – made a swift U-turn early this week after his face was featured along with 14 others on a panel promising a Friday forum aimed at ways to block critical race theory in Indiana schools and “stopping student indoctrination” on a handful of other topics. After the flier was distributed by Advance America, a conservative group, and widely mocked on progressives’ social media – starting shots at the obvious optics of having the lineup of 15 white men prepped to discuss matters of race and diversity – Wolf, through a spokesman, told The Purdue Exponent that he’d been listed as chairman of the event because it was going to be held at his restaurant chain’s Geist location. Maybe recognizing that his casual dining spots were about to become a flashpoint – not like Chick-fil-A is on either side of the cultural war divide, perhaps, but you get the drift – Wolf signaled that the restaurant was not affiliated with Advance America and was only there to host space for the event. Wolf’s representative told The Exponent that Wolf canceled the event once he learned what it was all about: "Since Wolfies Grill opened in 2004, we’ve been proud to be known as a place where all feel welcome. Going forward, we will institute a review process to ensure future events are consistent with this sentiment." (It’s worth picking up an edition of The Exponent to get the full coverage.) Advance America was spinning it another way, with updated fliers that said the gathering was simply postponed “due to overwhelming support & anticipated attendance.” Miller has been a player in conservative movements for ages, whether fighting same-sex marriage, promoting a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that backfired on the state or blocking civil rights efforts for LGBT Hoosiers at the Statehouse. Holding forums to come up with an “action plan for addressing indoctrination in public schools” is in his wheelhouse. This season’s edition calls for banning critical race theory in schools, requiring parental consent for mental health testing and sex education instruction, and banning gender identity instruction. Critical race theory – something that school administrators across the state say isn’t part of their curriculum – is the latest conservative target, picking up support from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and sucking school boards into the debate. For a timeline of how that’s played out in Hamilton County – the primary focus of this Advance America event – check this Indianapolis Star timeline about how things have played out at Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville and Carmel Clay school corporations. In Greater Lafayette, districts have been pressed to do more to deal with issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in curriculum, hiring and student discipline. The protests here over critical race theory have, at the very least, been muted. So far. How hot could they still get? Ask the owner of a restaurant who made a quick exit as plans for protests outside his locations, including the one in West Lafayette’s Wabash Landing, gathered steam.
PURDUE VAX UPDATE: Will Purdue’s take on vaccinations work to drive up numbers? The early results suggest so. As of Tuesday, the university reported that 60 percent of students and 66 percent of employees were fully vaccinated. Purdue officials said students and staff continued to upload their vaccination status heading toward the start of the fall semester in August, so those percentages were expected to increase. For a comparison, the Tippecanoe County Health Department on Wednesday reported that 92,623 residents, or 46.5 percent of the county's population, had been fully vaccinated. Purdue isn’t requiring a vaccination. But the university is making it a pain if students and staff don’t get shots, by requiring those who don’t submit proof of vaccination to spend the fall semester under a random testing protocol. How many students and staff will decide that’s worth it? That answer will come in a little over a month. Meanwhile, Tippecanoe County’s new COVID-19 cases have nearly doubled in the last four weeks, averaging 16 new cases a day over the past week, Dr. Jeremy Adler, the county health officer, said.
STAR CITY JAZZ & BLUES: This festival, revived and reconstituted from the late Uptown Jazz & Blues, is sneaking up on us this weekend. Two stages start on Fifth Street, between Main and Columbia streets, at 5 p.m. Saturday. Here are the lineups. On the Blues Stage: 5:15 p.m., Governor Davis; 7 p.m., Blue Sky; 9 p.m., Uncle Buck’s Mojo Box w/ Kyle Bledsoe. On the Jazz Stage: 5 p.m., Crick’s Up; 6:45 p.m., Clave Caribe; 9 p.m., Brent Laidler and the Nexus Quintet. Tickets: $10. More details: https://downtownlafayette.net/jazzblues.
Thanks to sponsor Long Center for the Performing Arts for the help to make these reports possible.
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