NFPA – Fireworks Safety

National Fire Protection Association

The leading information and knowledge resource on fire, electrical and related hazards.

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. The only safe way to view fireworks is to attend a professional show. With many professional firework shows being canceled this year, it is important to know that fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of injuries each year.

A few ideas to get into the patriotic spirit, without fireworks:

  1. Use glow sticks, they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler. Fun for all ages.
  2. Loud and proud. Noise makers are sure to make a statement. They can be found at local party supply store or make your own.
  3. Outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Don’t forget the bug spray!
  4. Red, white and blue silly string…fun for all ages.
  5. Make a patriotic craft with the family.
  6. Throw a birthday party for the USA, and don’t forget the cake.

Facts about fireworks:

  • More than 19,500 reported fires are started by fireworks annually.
  • Burns account for 44% of the 9,100 injuries treated in emergency rooms seen in the month around July 4th.
  • Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency rooms were extremities: hand, finger, or leg. One-third were to the eye or other parts of the head.
  • Children ages 10-14 had the highest rate of fireworks injury, with more than one-third (36%) of the victims of fireworks injuries under age 15.
  • Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room firework injuries.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2018 Fireworks Annual Report

Find more information about firework safety and fire safety in general at

FSSA Recovery Capital Index

FSSA encourages Hoosiers to participate in survey to measure addiction treatment, recovery resources in Indiana

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction today announced the launch of the Recovery Capital Index, designed to measure the sum of resources necessary for an individual to initiate and sustain recovery from addiction and to help track the overall recovery capital of the state and communities.

“People in recovery have been telling us for decades that there is more to recovery than just maintaining sobriety,” said Jay Chaudhary, DMHA director. “A well-rounded, fulfilling life is the key to a thriving recovery. The Recovery Capital Index will help the state measure the quality of life for Hoosiers in recovery and ensure that Indiana remains a great place to recover.”

Recovery capital is the overall measure of internal and external resources available to an individual with a substance use disorder to ensure their continual success in recovery. The RCI provides a comprehensive picture of a person’s whole well-being using an online, automated 68-question survey. Generally, the higher the level of recovery capital, the better the chances of someone maintaining success in recovery.

The state of Indiana has invested more than $45 million of federal State Opioid Response grant funding over the past four years to combat the drug epidemic and improve mental health. DMHA plans to use aggregate and geographically analyzed results from the Recovery Capital Index to drive future decisions about funding and resource allocation. Chaudhary said mapping and measuring recovery capital will also allow DMHA to see the effect of its investment and track it over time.

To complete the Recovery Capital Index survey, text “RECOVERY” to 833-638-3784. All Hoosiers are encouraged to complete the survey, not just those directly affected by addiction.

To help drive participation, Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by substance use disorder, will place stickers on over 200 NaloxBox units and 19 naloxone vending machines across the state. The stickers will prompt users to scan the QR code or text “RECOVERY” to 833-638-3784 to access the survey and additional information about naloxone, including training videos.

NaloxBox – Accessible 24 hours a day for naloxone pick up at an outside location with no personal interaction needed.
Distribution Center – A community partner that can distribute naloxone to the public, hours and accessibility vary, please contact center to confirm availability.

Division Street Clinic25 W Division StNaloxBox
Community Center30 E Virginia StNaloxBox
Oxford House of SW IndianaJohn StreetNaloxBox
Community Garden1105 N Fourth AveNaloxBox
Evansville Recovery Alliance1307 Fountain AveNaloxBox
Oxford House of SW Indiana1033 S Burkhardt AveNaloxBox
Brighter Side Recovery3116 E Morgan Ave
Suite B
Distribution Center
View full Indiana map of resources at

To find a naloxone distribution site near you, visit DMHA has contracted with Commonly Well to administer the survey statewide. Commonly Well is a public benefit company that uses technology and data to help communities and organizations employ well-being initiatives.

EWSU Bill Relief

Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Opens Bill Relief Program Application to Customers July 1st

The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) is launching the Bill Relief Program July 1, 2022, to help income-eligible individuals and families in the community lighten the cost of their utility bill. Customers with a total household income of $50,000 or less may qualify for assistance.

Customers with active city water service who apply for the program and qualify will receive a $3 monthly credit applied to their account each month for one year. The credit offsets the 2022 water rate increase, which will be $2.27 per month effective July 1st (assuming an average monthly water use of 5,000 gallons). After one year, customers may have the opportunity to reapply for the program for additional 12 months. Dollars not used for the utility bill relief credit will be allocated to provide assistance to income-eligible customers in disconnected status.

Who’s Eligible

Eligibility is based on combined annual household income. EWSU customers with a household income of $50,000 or less may qualify for assistance.

How to Apply

  1. Visit
  2. Fill out the application, including EWSU account number and household income.
  3. Applicants will receive an email verifying the application was received and whether the request was approved or denied.

Program Funding

Funding for the Bill Relief Program is provided by the American Rescue Plan, which provides direct relief to Americans and the economy during and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Evansville has allocated $4 million in federal funds for up to two years. EWSU is working toward sustaining it as a long-term program, dedicated to offering assistance to individuals and households in greatest need.

Find Out More

To learn more about the Bill Relief Program, visit or contact EWSU Customer Service at or by calling 812-436-7846.

Indiana Lifts Water Bill Tax

Also starting in July – unrelated to the EWSU Bill Relief Program – water customers across the state of Indiana will benefit from changes in Indiana utility tax regulations that lift the state tax on water consumption. Beginning July 2022, all EWSU customers will see a decrease in rates and charges on their utility bill. This reduction comes from the amendment to the Public Service Commission Act, submitted by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and passed by the Indiana State Legislature in April 2022. A residential customer who uses an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month will see a $0.46 decrease in their bill each month.

About EWSU

Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) provides high-quality, safe and dependable water and sewer services to more than 63,000 customers in Vanderburgh County and parts of Gibson, Posey, and Warrick counties. EWSU maintains more than 1,000 miles of water lines, 800 miles of sewer lines, 15,000 hydrants, seven water storage facilities, two wastewater treatment plants and one water filtration plant. The utility also manages the City’s street sweeping and trash and recycling contracts. EWSU meets or exceeds all state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards while protecting land and water resources for future generations.

Caplan’s Mid-June Newsletter

Sudden Branch Drop

At this time of the year, it is not uncommon for large branches to suddenly drop from oak trees without warning. Although this phenomenon is not limited to oaks, the sheer size of their branches makes summer branch drop (also known as “sudden limb failure”) in oaks much more hazardous for life and property than branch drop by other tree species.

Summer branch drop is not related to wind and often occurs in the afternoon on hot, calm days. Unlike most breaks due to wind, which occur where a branch attaches to the trunk, a break due to summer branch drop usually occurs 3 to 12 feet away from the trunk, along the length of the branch. The branches that break are usually long and horizontal, as opposed to upright, frequently extending to or beyond the average tree canopy. While some limbs that drop show evidence of wounds or decay, many of these failed limbs appear to be quite sound.  Older, less vigorous trees seem to be more prone to this problem. Once a tree has lost a limb due to summer branch drop, it is more likely to lose another.

Another consideration is that these long, horizontal branches may have been damaged by earlier storms. While there is usually no visible cracking on the outside of the limb or bark, the branch may have over-flexed in heavy winds, sort of like how we get a sprained ankle. A number of the interior wood fibers snapped in the wind, but not enough for the branch to immediately fail. The weight of the branch continues to snap these wood fibers one by one, until “the final straw that breaks the camel’s back” occurs, and the limb fails.

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent summer branch drop, several things can be done to mitigate this hazard in oaks and other commonly affected tree species. On mature trees, shorten and lighten long horizontal branches and open up the tree by thinning to healthy lateral branches to reduce branch weight. (This does NOT mean topping the tree!) Inspect the tree for externally visible defects and prune out damaged or sickly low-vigor limbs that have decay or cavities. Finally, do not park cars or place play structures, benches, or picnic tables beneath older, susceptible trees. Falling limbs can’t harm people (or property) if they aren’t under the tree.

No Fruit This Year?

I’ve had numerous complaints this year about a lack of fruit in home orchards. I meant to discuss this in an earlier newsletter, but it get slipping my mind. It came back to me as I was examining the complete crop failure on my bush cherry this weekend.

We had a a lot of strange weather this spring. It was very cool and wet most of the spring…especially during bloom time for many of our home fruit trees. We did not have any killing freezes during bloom time, so we can rule that out. However, the weather did play a minor role in our problems: it reduced bee flying.

I noticed that my bush cherry was absolutely loaded with flowers this spring. But, unlike previous years, I did not notice any bees working the blossoms. Neither my neighbors nor I use any insecticides, so there should have been plenty of bees in the neighborhood. But the problem is, bees don’t like to fly during cold, wet weather. Bees CAN fly in the rain, but they don’t like to; the rain (even mist) adds heavy droplets to the bees’ furry bodies, which inhibits their ability to fly, and reduces the amount of pollen they can collect.

There’s nothing to be done for this year. Keep up with irrigation this summer; be sure to prune properly this winter (or have me come out and prune your fruit trees for you!); and if you are spraying fungicides for foliar disease, continue to do so. Also, try to reduce insecticide usage, especially on blooming plants

Japanese Beetles Flying

Japanese beetles are flying throughout the tri-state. They were a little slow getting started this year, most likely due to the prolonged cool spring we had. But, they are out in abundance right now…at least, in some neighborhoods.

Adult Japanese beetles are about 1/2 inch long, metallic green and bronze in color, with a row of white hairy tufts along each side of the body.

Japanese beetles have an annual life cycle. The adult beetles emerge from the soil, usually in early June in southern Indiana. They will feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of over 350 species of plants. After feeding for a few weeks, the beetles will mate. The females will drop to the ground and, if the soil is soft and moist enough, will burrow down several inches to lay their eggs. The eggs will hatch after 2 or 3 weeks into white, C-shaped grubs. The grubs feed on the roots of turfgrass throughout the summer. As the weather cools, the grubs move downwards into the soil profile, where they will spend the winter. In the spring, the grubs will move back towards the surface, where they will pupate. After several weeks in the pupal stage, they will emerge as adult beetles and start the life cycle again.

An interesting observation I’ve made over the years: Japanese beetles will appear in a new neighborhood in huge numbers. They will be very troublesome for three years or so. After the third or fourth year, the population crashes, and from that point on, they are more of a nuisance than a serious pest problem.

Controlling Japanese beetles is difficult, partly because the adults do not emerge from the ground all at once. While there is a wide range of insecticides that will kill the adults, the beetles have to eat some of the plant in order to be poisoned, so your plants will still be damaged. Also, the beetles you kill today will be replaced by a new emergence of beetles tomorrow. Avoid over-applying insecticides, because this can be harmful to bees and other pollinators.

For non-flowering ornamentals, the best product to use is a soil application of imidacloprid, sold as Bio Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control. This systemic product is applied to the ground next to the plant and watered in; it will move upwards through the entire plant, providing about 90 days worth of control. This product should not be used on summer-blooming plants, as the product has been reported to be harmful to bees.

Control the beetles on food plants with foliar applications of insecticides. Bifenthrin, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, neem, and permethrin are safe to use on fruit and vegetables if harvest restrictions on the label are followed. Sevin is also available as a 5% dust to be used at the rate of 1/2 pound per 1,000 square feet (be aware: the dust form of Sevin is extremely toxic to honeybees!). For other products to use on ornamentals, check out this publication:

Beetle traps are not very useful for controlling Japanese beetle, because the traps tend to bring more beetles to the property than would have been there anyway. If you use a trap, try to place it as far from the garden beds you are trying to protect as you can. The idea is lure the beetles away from your garden, not toward it.

I’m Here to Help!

If you have questions or wish to have me visit your property,
please contact me!
Phone and Text Messages: 812-449-7067

AARP – Walk Audit Tool Kit

Learn how to access and report on the safety and walkability of your neighborhood and inspire needed change.

In too many communities, people can’t safely walk to where they need or want to go due to a lack of sidewalks, crosswalks, or other safety features which allow streets to be safe for pedestrians and drivers.

A walk audit is a simple activity in which an individual or team observes and evalutes the walkability of a location to document how and if pedestrians can safely travel along a street, navigate and intersection and get from point A to B, C and so on.

The AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit can be used by local leaders, advocates, community organizations and residents to:

  • Inspire the developmet of pedestrian friendly streets
  • Gather input about community infrastructure needs
  • Help reduce traffic congestion and pollution
  • Educate residents about street design elements that support safety
  • Increase exercise opportunities for people of all ages
  • Encourage social interactions among neighbors
  • Enable people to get around without having to drive
  • Give a boost to property values
  • Empower community leaders and residents to be the agents of change

The tool kit publication provides step-by-step instructions and checklists for examining intersections, sidewalks, driver behavior, public safety and more.

Since the walk audit survery is user-directed, it can take as little or as much time as desired by, spending 15 minutes at one busy corner or devoting several hours to documenting several roadways in a neighborhood.

The documented results can be shared with elected officials and other local leaders when advocating for safe street features.

UNOE June General Meeting

I-69/Ohio River Bridge Project

Mindy Peterson, I-69 ORX, Public Involvement Director
Danny Corbin, INDOT, Project Manager
Toby Randolph, I-69 ORX, Deputy Project Manager

C.K. Newsome Community Center
Thursday, June 23, 2022
6:30pm – 8:00pm

INDOT Wants Your Input

Public hearing planned of US 41 pedestrian bridge near Bosse High School

The Indiana Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing for a proposed pedestrian bridge over.

Public Hearing
Benjamin Bosse High School
1300 Washington Avenue, Evansville

June 29th
Doors open at 4:30pm
Formal Presentation begins at 6:00pm

The public will have a chance to view project displays and speak with project representatives before formal presentations begin. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide comments on the project.

An open house on a proposed intersection improvement at US 41 and Washington Avenue will be held in conjunction at the school. Attendees will have the chance to view project displays and talk with representatives for this project. However, no formal presentation is planned.

This public hearing will include appropriate COVID-19 safety measures. Masks and sanitation stations will be made available for attendees.

To accommodate those unable to attend in person, the public hearing presentation and comment session will also be broadcast live on the INDOT Southwest Facebook page:

FSSA – Division of Mental Health and Addiction

Stop the Stigma Grant

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction is providing a funding opportunity for organization working to stop the stigma of mental health.

Stigma, distrust and lack of a clear informational education on mental health continues to be a barrier to access mental health services for communities of color which include BIPOC, Latino-Hispanic and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Division of Mental Health and Addiction is granting funds to increase mental health awareness to Stop the Stigma in the Black and Latino-Hispanic communities to help overcome barriers to seeking mental health services. Priority will be given to respondents with knowledge and expertise of any organization or grassroots agencies that have well-established relationships with these populations.

Details about the RFF and how to apply are available on the DMHA funding page.

Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA)

Demographic Data and Assistance Opportunities

Indiana Housing Dashboard

The IHCDA provides a platform for users to track demographic and housing trends across the state at a county-by-county level. It allows users to see data snapshots for each county in the state, to compare data points across different counties, and to export a Housing Needs Assessment with detailed housing and demographics analysis for each county.

Total Population trend for Vanderburgh County

Watch the below video to learn how to use the dashboard and then visit the dashboard at

Instructional video for using the dashboard

Renter and Homeowner Assistance Opportunities

IHCDA believes that growing Indiana’s economy starts at home. Everyone can agree that all Hoosiers should have the opportunity to live in safe, affordable, good-quality housing in economically stable communities. That’s the heart of IHCDA’s mission.

Family Poverty Rate trend for Vanderburgh County

Their charge is to help communities build upon their assets to create places with ready access to opportunities, goods, and services. They also promote, finance, and support a broad range of housing solutions from temporary shelters to home ownership.

Median Household Income trend for Vanderburgh County

They have assistance opportunities for both renters and current home owners. See if you qualify for assistance at

Caplan’s June Newsletter

Japanese Maple Scale

Japanese maple scales (JMS) attack a wide variety of trees and shrubs. They are common on dogwood, elms, flowering fruit trees, maples, magnolias, lilac, and roses. Heavy infestations can kill tree branches. Unlike the closely related soft scales, these insects will be dry and not coated with sticky liquid excrement.

This scale is very difficult to control during the growing season because the susceptible stage of crawlers is present throughout most of the summer. There are two generations a year in Indiana with crawlers being found from early May through June an again from mid August through September. The prolonged crawler period makes this insect particularly difficult to control with insecticides.

Homeowners can apply horticultural oil in early or late June. Professionals can apply pyriproxifen, buprofizen, or azadirachtin at this time and may get better results. Each of these produces will kill crawlers but not natural enemies. Repeat in August if scales are still alive. The easiest method of control is to apply horticultural oil during the dormant season.

More information on JMS can be found here:

Jumping Worm Prevention

Jumping worm (a.k.a. snake worms, crazy worms, Amynthas spp.) is an invasive species that dramatically alters the ecosystems where they are introduced. Unlike the earthworms we are familiar with which live deeper in the soil, jumping worms feed primarily on the topsoil. They rapidly consume nearly all of the organic matter in the topsoil. Plants have a hard time growing and establishing a sturdy root system in this soil. Additionally, jumping worms generally leave castings on the top layer of the soil which makes them more likely to get washed away in the rain. This further decreases the soil quality by removing even more organic matter.

There are several visual traits you can use to tell the difference between jumping worm and common earth worms, but the easiest way to identify them is by their behavior. Jumping worms wiggle more than other worms and have been described as jumping, thrashing, and moving like a snake. You can also identify jumping worm based on changes in soil quality. Soil invaded by jumping worm has a grainy, “coffee ground” texture and little or no organic material in it.

Jumping worm can spread through soil, compost, and other similar organic material. You can reduce the risk of spreading it between job sites or to your home by:

  • Cleaning equipment and tires between locations. Pay particular attention to large clumps of dirt that might be caught in tire treads.
  • Clean dirt off your boots between locations. Jumping worms and other invasive species only need a little soil to move from one place to another.
  • Whenever possible, remove soil from new potted plants intended for outdoor planting. You can do this by removing the soil from the plants and throwing it in the trash then either planting it directly into the ground or repotting if with sterile or local soil. If you use local soil, make sure it’s from the place you intend to put the new plants. Jumping worm populations can be patchy so soil from one place may be clean while soil from a few blocks away may be infested.
  • Avoid walking through or using equipment in areas with jumping worm. If you have to enter these areas, thoroughly clean any soil off yourself and your tools before leaving.

Other prevention measures:

  • Seal unused fishing bait and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Check fishing bait before you buy it when possible. If the worms thrash strongly, don’t buy them. They could be jumping worms.
  • Check any worms bought for composting before putting them in your compost pile. If you suspect they might be jumping worm, don’t risk it. Dispose of them by putting the in a tightly sealed container and throwing them in the trash.

Oak Leaf Miner

I’ve been receiving calls from people concerned about white spots on their oak leaves. After examining a few of these leaves, I believe that most of what we are seeing is caused by an insect called the oak leaf miner.

Leaf miners are insects whose larvae live inside the leaf. They feed on the cells between the upper and lower surfaces. Different species of leaf miners attached different species of plants. For example, if you grow columbines, I can almost guarantee you’ve had columbine leaf miner.

Often, you will see a little zigzag track of feeding damage as the insect grows inside the leaf. While unsightly, the feeding damage by the leaf miners causes little or no permanent damage to the plant. Usually, control is not warranted especially on blooming plants.

Diagnosis Services

There are hundreds of insects and diseases that can attack your landscape plants. There are thousands of non-infectious causes of plant problems, such as root damage, drainage problems, and nutrient deficiencies. The first and most important step in controlling these plant problems is properly identifying what the cause of the plant problem is.

My specialty, derived over decades of work experience, is to examine plants, examine the symptoms, and determine what the cause of the plant problem is. In many cases, changes in the way you manage your landscape can fix these problems. In some cases, pesticides may be required. And in other cases, the only recommendation is to remove the plant.

I do not apply pesticides to landscape plants. This is choice I made in setting up my business. I want you, my customer, to know that I am being 100% honest with you in my diagnosis. I do not want my customers wondering if I am making a recommendation because it puts money in my pocket. If I say a plant needs to be chemically treated, or pruned, or removed…it’s because that’s what’s best for the plant, and your landscape.

If you see something unusual going on in your landscape or garden, call me as soon as possible. The earlier we start working on a plant problem, the better the chance we can save the plant.

I’m Here to Help!

If you have questions or wish to have me visit your property, please contact me!
Phone and Text Messages: 812-449-7067