Indianapolis, In. — Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced the Stellar Communities Designation Program, through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Development, will now combine communities, creating a region that will emphasize collaboration between neighboring towns, cities and counties“We are all a part of this great state, and through the regional Stellar Community program, we must continue to improve our neighborhoods and encourage a partnership between communities,” Crouch said. “Through OCRA’s Stellar Program, we are supporting initiatives to attract, retain and develop talent in and around Indiana, and to do this our communities must work together.”Under Crouch’s leadership, the Stellar Community program is a multi-agency partnership designed to recognize smaller communities that have identified plans for community and economic development projects and what the next steps are through key partnerships. From 2011 to 16, the state allocated $89.4 million to designated communities, which were combined with $108.6 million community partner contributions.“Stellar communities will no longer be applying as individual communities. We are now looking for applicants to be collaborating with their neighbors on creating a regional development plan” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “Each submission should discuss how they believe each community uniquely works together to create one complementary region.”Eligible communities include local units of government that are a county, city or an incorporated town not currently considered a HUD recognized entitlement community. Only communities that participate in the state Community Development Block Grant program are eligible.Crouch said that although any eligible community can apply, regional mentorship with past StellarDesignees and Finalists is highly encouraged.All participating communities must commit at least four years to the project. This collaborative effort will bring together mentorships and partnerships to advance comprehensive solutions to regional and local challenges throughout rural Indiana.Golden believes the philosophy of great partnerships also applies to the program execution. She said they have great partners and without their help, OCRA could not have a successful program. These partnerships include the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and a number of other state agencies that help provide a complete state approach. Additionally, participation from Ball State University and Purdue University will complement the new regional perspective.For more information about the program look here.
The StandUp4SEALs Beach Challenge will mark its third year in Ocean City on May 23 with a new name and a broader beneficiary base.A standup paddleboard race is open to individuals or relay teams.The event is now known as the Memorial Beach Challenge and will benefit not just the families of Navy SEALS killed in service but the families of fallen heroes in all branches of the military, according to an event c0-founder, Mike Vaules.Registration is open for the Challenge’s three events: a stand-up paddleboard race, a beach obstacle course race and a fun run for kids.Register and get more information at memorialbeachchallenge.com.In its first two years, the event became a popular part of Ocean City’s Memorial Day Weekend calendar with more than 600 competing in the combined events in each year.Kids climb makeshift sand mounds as part of the fun run in the Memorial Beach Challenge.The Challenge provides a spectacle for visitors watching obstacle-course competitors run through a water-filled pit sprayed by a fire hose, crawl under the Ocean City Music Pier, carry sand-filled sacks, perform calisthenics, traverse balance beams, and climb walls.The stand-up paddleboard race includes a box course that starts and finishes on the beach and takes racers through the surf.This year’s event is set for 8 a.m. Saturday, May 23, on the beaches surrounding the Ocean City Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace. The bulk of the course will be between Fifth and 14th streets.The Memorial Beach Challenge benefits the Navy SEAL Foundation, the 31 Heroes Project (named for the SEALS killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011) and the Travis Manion Foundation. Manion was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a Marine from Doylestown, Pa., who was killed in action in Iraq on April 29, 2007. One of the obstacles in the annual Beach Challenge is a water-filled pit.