Bible, family picture grace Vice President Mike Pence’s official portrait as governor

He sits on his desk with law books on his left and a family portrait and Bible on his right. With a casual smile and unbuttoned suit jacket, Vice President Mike Pence’s official portrait as governor of Indiana aims to show a man serving the state, not the federal government.

It also reflects his Christian faith and family focus.

“The portrait is really just about paying tribute to all those who are not the subject of the portrait,” Pence said Friday at the painting’s unveiling at the Statehouse.

Pence, the state’s governor from 2013-17, was accompanied at the unveiling by Second Lady Karen Pence, his daughter Audrey Pence, his mother Nancy Pence and Gov. Eric Holcomb and his wife, Janet. State and local officials also attended. The event was open to the public, drawing about 300 people to the south atrium.

After his mother, wife and daughter removed draping to unveil the portrait, Pence’s voice cracked with emotion as he gave his remarks.

Continue reading → Bible, family picture grace Vice President Mike Pence’s official portrait as governor

How a low-key pharmacy could help ease the opioid epidemic

Drug addicts are resourceful when they want chronic pain medication.

They can go “doctor shopping,” looking for doctors who fail to check the state’s drug monitoring database. They can duplicate prescriptions that are supposed to be filled in the months ahead. And they can steal, a method that has ranked Indiana highest for pharmacy robberies.

Now, a new pharmacy hopes to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic by keeping a tight rein on prescriptions and thieves away from their front door.

Cordant Health Solutions, a Denver-based health care company, opened a controlled substance pharmacy in Indianapolis in October. Physicians send drug prescriptions for chronic pain electronically or via couriers to the pharmacy. After checking the state’s prescription drug database and, if applicable, a patient’s drug test results, the pharmacy delivers the medication to the patient’s home or work.

It is not a walk-in pharmacy. The doors are closed to the public. The address is not shared publicly.

Continue reading → How a low-key pharmacy could help ease the opioid epidemic

‘Walking school’ shows amputees a new life without wheelchairs

INDIANAPOLIS — After a moped exploded six years ago, Christopher Allen McCoy was in a coma for four months. He woke up in a hospital, missing both of his legs and his right hand.

“I was so scared,” said McCoy, 32. “I hated myself.”

McCoy sat in his wheelchair for three years after waking up, unsure of what he now could be. Amputees are often scared to use prosthetics because they do not have enough support or training to learn how to use them, leading them to give up and use a wheelchair.

For McCoy, that fear ended when he started following famous athletes with upper- and lower-extremity prosthetics. Two of his role models, Paralympic gold medalists Dennis Oehler and Todd Schaffhauser, invited McCoy to try out their Amputee Walking School in Indiana.

Continue reading → ‘Walking school’ shows amputees a new life without wheelchairs

The ups, downs and what’s new for Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration

The Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration has been around for decades, but organizers continually look for new ways to make the event stand out.

It’s not always easy, organizers said. But it’s always rewarding.

“The reason why we’ve lasted so long is based upon strong collaboration that we have with partners, with the government, with the city of Indianapolis and with the state,” said Tanya Bell, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo.

This year’s 11-day Summer Celebration, underway through July 16, has new sponsors, new programs aimed at higher education access and retention for black youth and — for the first time in the event’s 47 years — free admission to the many exhibits, conferences and workshops at the Indiana Convention Center.

Continue reading → The ups, downs and what’s new for Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration

DoubleMap innovates transportation system for the blind

After losing his eyesight, Christopher Baskins knew he would depend on public transportation for the rest of his life.

But Baskins, 34, remembers how he used to get lost at nighttime when the public buses he used wouldn’t call out his stop.

“It’s always my worst nightmare to get off and start venturing off into a neighborhood that you think is yours, and you find out it’s not,” Baskins said.

Baskins moved to Bloomington in 2009 and later enrolled in Indiana University, hoping that a smaller town’s transportation system would help him work and study at the same time. Two years later, IU partnered with DoubleMap, an Indianapolis-based company that provides transit software to universities, hospitals, corporations and airports.

The contract included fitting buses with automatic voice annunciations of every bus stop to make sure that visually-impaired riders like Baskins would never get lost on their way home.

Today, DoubleMap has expanded its markets across 35 states nationwide and three continents, acquiring about 200 customers so far.

“It speaks to you,” Baskins said. “I can be more independent, I don’t have to bother anybody, I can mind my own business like anybody else on the bus.”

Continue reading → DoubleMap innovates transportation system for the blind