By Karen T. Braeckel
In January Indiana begins a yearlong celebration of its 200th birthday.
Although the actual day falls on Dec. 11, 2016, the Indiana Bicentennial Commission plans to celebrate all year with various legacy projects it endorses.
Our series “So you think you know Indiana?” received the commission’s endorsement, and Indiana newspapers across the state may run the stories free of charge. We hope you choose to participate – and believe you will when you see the quality of the material.
The series includes 15 approximately 720-word stories with art. Newspapers may run as many as they choose in whatever order. We will offer several PDFs ready to drop on the page as well as text and art for those who want to design their own.
Newspapers can download materials beginning Friday, Jan. 15. Watch for more information on access. Advertising or NIE managers may sell sponsorships for the series as long as they run the logos of the original funders.
The Indiana Newspaper in Education Foundation, the Indiana State Reading Association, and the Indiana Library Federation financially supported the project, while the HSPA Foundation provided the necessary in-kind services to make it possible.
Do not mistake this series as something for young readers only. All ages will enjoy the stories, so market to various audiences – schools, history buffs and those who just like interesting facts.
Story topics include (alphabetically): African Americans; Civil War; immigration; famous Hoosiers; food heritage; landmarks; museums; myths; American Indians; origins of names of towns, counties and other places; overlooked Hoosiers; presidents and vice presidents; quirky facts; transportation and women.
To ensure the quality of the series, the partners hired one of the best-known authors of Indiana history and a talented graphic artist with decades of experience in the newspaper industry.
Former Indianapolis Star feature writer/columnist Nelson Price wrote all 15 stories during the past 18 months to provide Hoosiers with interesting facts they may not know.
Price, a fifth-generation Hoosier, previously wrote for The Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne) and the former Indianapolis News, where he was the education reporter.
He authored “Legendary Hoosiers” (Guild Press of Indiana, 2001), a book for young readers that presents the lives of famous people from Indiana. He also wrote “Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman” (Hawthorne Publishing, 1997 hardcover; 2005 softcover), a book of profiles of 160 famous Hoosiers; and “Indianapolis Then and Now” (Thunder Bay Press, 2004).
On radio Nelson hosts “Hoosier History Live”, a weekly talk show on WICR-FM (88.7) in Indianapolis – the only live radio show about a state’s history in the nation.
Two Indiana governors named him a Sagamore of the Wabash.
Graphic designer Beth Winchell began her career in newspapers in 1980 as an ad compositor at the Chronicle-Tribune (Marion). Later she accepted a position as an advertising designer at the Naples (Florida) Daily News, where she designed special section covers and developed ad campaigns for real estate, retail and entertainment clients.
Returning to her Hoosier roots, Beth joined The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News in 1992 and has run the gamut of design work from automotive ads to a weekly NIE feature called, “Read the Zoo,” and almost everything in between. For three years she coordinated The Star’s print advertising creative showcase.
In November 2015 – after 35 years in the newspaper industry – Beth retired from Star Media, where she coordinated content and design for weekly and monthly advertising features as well as vendor and custom print publications.
Members of the Indiana Newspaper in Education Advisory Board and NIE Foundation work diligently to provide quality material for our newspapers.
Because they get little credit for their work, I want to acknowledge them here: Barbara Barbieri, The News-Banner (Bluffton); Karisa Campbell, Fort Wayne Newspapers; Greg Erbeck, Gannett Co.; Earlene Holland, Dubois, Indiana, (ex officio); Jack Humphrey, Evansville; Chris Judson, Concord High School, Elkhart, ISRA past president; Carol Lutz, ISRA state coordinator; Lisa Plank, United Way of Central Indiana ReadUP program; Justin Rumbach, The Herald (Jasper); Susan Scholl, Carroll County Comet; Mike Snyder, Indianapolis (formerly with The Commercial Review in Portland); John Wolf, literacy specialist, Indiana Department of Education; and Robyn Young, Avon High School and president of the Indiana Library Federation.
Humphrey is president of the Indiana NIE Foundation, and Wolf chairs the Indiana NIE Advisory Board. I serve as treasurer of the NIE Foundation and a nonvoting member of the board and foundation.
Please know how much I appreciate your kind expressions of sympathy. I am overwhelmed by your support through the many messages, cards, flowers, donations – and the hours you traveled to attend my husband’s funeral. John and I were blessed to be part of the HSPA family.
Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.