HA: A Day on the Ice


Editor’s note: Reporter Jessica Campbell recently was invited to take part in ice rescue training with the La Porte Fire Department on Stone Lake in La Porte. This is a detailed description of the day, as told from Jessica’s point of view.

Growing up on Lake Michigan, you bet I took I advantage of it.

Every summer was buoy swimming and beach volleyball, kayaking, water skiing and watching the sunset devour Chicago’s skyline. Winter never stopped my “beach gang” either. New Year’s Day began with our type of polar bear swim or, for us, flying into the icy water, falling backward to make sure every inch of us would be red when we came out, and screaming toward the towels and parkas our laughing parents were holding out to us.

When I agreed recently to head out on Stone Lake and try the ice survival suits used by the La Porte Fire Department for ice rescues, I thought, “I’ve got this.”

And when it was over, I realized I didn’t feel the cold quite as much as those polar bear dunks in a swim suit, but the experience still left me shaken up.

These rescues are three to four minutes of cold temperatures, ice water and pure adrenaline.


Becoming buoyant

I was given the opportunity to accompany each La Porte fire station during their annual ice safety training.

On Monday afternoon, I was set to meet Assistant Fire Chief A.C. Pressler at Cummings Lodge. When I arrived, he was already standing in the lake, knee-deep with chunks of hard ice floating around him.

We went inside the lodge, where he helped me quickly don the yellow survival suit, something that looked more like a HAZMAT suit without the face mask.

Instead of hazardous material, however, this suit protected my body, as well as the clothes I was wearing, from the 32-degree-or-below lake water. The suit was fairly lightweight and Pressler said it weighed a little more than a life jacket at best. It is made of different layers and is pretty well padded and insulated.

“There is a waterproof barrier and an insulation barrier,” Pressler said as I slid into it by sitting down and sliding each foot in. “The insulation doubles as a flotation device. From the head to the toe is buoyant.”

The neck clasp was the most difficult part to wriggle up – and the most important. If it wasn’t snug, and squishing your face together, then that dryness inside would not last long.

The La Porte Fire Department has three of the yellow suits, and is trying to replace the older versions they still have. The older version, which my “victim” – a member of the fire department – wore throughout the training, looked more like a wetsuit used in triathlons and did not have the multilayer components. It also had a few holes in it, letting my victim come closer to the real thing than he would have liked.

Pressler said two suits were donated a few years ago and the department received a $4,000 grant which funded the purchase of another suit, as well as the large red safety sled firefighters will use in some cases.

“(With) the new, modern suits, the technology is just better,” Pressler said. “We were pretty fortunate with the grant. Our plan is to get a couple more to replace the old suits and have nothing but the good ones out there.”


Into the cold

When the firefighters had me wrapped securely in the suit, Pressler, the victim and I began our journey toward the middle of the lake. The first few steps were navigating around slippery, small chunks of ice until I could step onto the thicker ice.

I walked arm-in-arm with Pressler, thinking we were going out to a designated place on the ice where I could jump into the water.

While my body weight was enough to hold me on the ice, Pressler would have had to lay down on his stomach to distribute weight so as not to break the ice.

However, he didn’t do that.

With my arm trapped, he jumped up and threw his weight down onto the ice, breaking it beneath him and dragging me sideways down into the water.

It was a shock. It wasn’t the cold, but the shock of being in the water surrounded by ice – and I was fine.

I was dry and laughing.

Pressler had hooked me to the tether being held by a few firefighters standing on the shore. The signal to be pulled out was to tap my head, Pressler had told me. So once I tapped, I quickly slid back to shore on my stomach like a flat water slide.

That experience – walking and unexpectedly falling into the water – is what Pressler calls being able to rescue yourself.

“The first thing they teach you is a self rescue, because if you can’t rescue yourself, then you have no business going in after somebody else,” he told me.


Rescue procedures

The annual training the departments take part in allow each firefighter a chance to wear the suit and practice the techniques needed for a successful rescue. The firefighters will go out on various lakes and at different areas of those lakes, Pressler said.

After self rescues and learning how to quickly put the suit on, they move on to saving victims and using the sled.

“You learn other techniques: Rescuing with a tether, rescuing without a tether,” he said.

While it varies among departments, La Porte uses a system with two station engines and about five to seven firefighters on a rescue.

“There are two guys from Station 2 and one guy will go out and one guy will be ready to go out just in case something happens to him, so they both show up in suits,” Pressler explained. “The guy driving the truck will just be in turnout gear and will be one of the guys on shore. The engine from Station 1 will show up with at least one guy in a suit and at least two guys ready to stay on shore.”

Three to four firefighters are in suits and the rest are back-ups and pullers, he said.

The need for the sled depends on the ice and situation, but it is helpful when used, Pressler continued.

“You’re not going to pull a person out of the lake and they are going to walk to shore,” he said. “They’re zapped. They have no energy, and when they get out, their clothes freeze instantly. They are like the Tin Man.”

The sled gets a victim back to the shore without having to be dragged across the ice. It is safer for him, Pressler said, but when it comes down to it, the number one thing is getting the victim out as soon as possible.


‘Doing something right’

The three- to four-minutes between a call and the rescue is within the as-soon-as-possible timeframe. That was the amount of time needed to rescue a young man who fell through the ice four years ago.

Pressler said it was an odd situation because just a few hours before the man fell, the fire department had been on the lake practicing rescue techniques.

At 5:30 p.m. on really cold night – a Friday, Pressler remembered – a man left a friend’s house and walked across the lake to get home. His friends said they saw him, then he disappeared.

“The guys showed up, jumped out of the truck in the suits, had the gear, had the rope and ran out there and plucked him out of the water,” Pressler said. “He couldn’t do anything; couldn’t move and had trouble breathing. He had probably been in the water for about 10 minutes.”

The man survived, and Pressler said the quick response of the team that night was due to the constant training and practice in getting the gear on and getting out the door.

“Of course, knowing what to do when you get there is important too,” he said. “But that was proof we are doing something right.”

When it comes to land surrounded by lakes and ponds as La Porte is, Pressler said, residents are usually aware of the dangers associated with the ice and there are not many ice rescues. The last was the incident four years ago.

“People are pretty good and are pretty smart about staying off the ice,” he said. “We really don’t get the opportunity for ice rescues and I think it has a lot to do with the people being educated.”

Even so, members of the fire department are out on the lake every year, studying and practicing.


The rescue

When I finally reached my victim, who was actually firefighter James Snyder, I was instructed to jump in behind the struggling, cold individual and attach a tether to him so we could be pulled out by the men on shore. I then rescued him with the sled – with help from Pressler.

It was similar to lifeguard training: Approach from behind because the victim will grab you.

Though I fumbled with the tether and it took me a lot longer to drag the sled over the cracking ice than it would have one of the firefighters, I had fun learning the ropes.

I enjoyed the experience, and Pressler agreed it was fun to get out of the station or office from time to time.

Yet, throughout the rescue training, I could still hear the radios of the fire department as emergency calls continued to go out.

It was still business.


Finding Sanctuary

Finding Sanctuary

Salem couple opens doors to rescued farm animals

By Jessica Campbell and Annie Quigley


Lucy, a piglet only a few weeks old, tumbles off a transport truck onto a treacherous Illinois highway. A family stops alongside the road after spotting the pint-sized pink hitchhiker, and saves her from the speeding traffic. Though the fall bruised and scared her, it helped Lucy evade a more frightening fate.


Three months later, we cruise down Highway 37 and the country roads outside of Salem. We pull into the yard of Uplands PEAK Farm Sanctuary. There we meet Lucy. Waddling around the fields, she is one of six pigs relaxing in the fall sun and welcoming newcomers like ourselves to their farmland home.


Mark and Michelle Pruitt, ages 51 and 40, founded the state’s first sanctuary to rescue and care for farm animals in October 2013. Uplands PEAK (People, Earth and Animals in Kinship) Farm Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that is now home to six pigs and two goats, as well the Pruitts and their five companion animals—three cats and two dogs. Still working through the obstacles of starting a small business, the Pruitts have received support from groups in Indiana and outside advocates. In turn, they’ve opened their gates to the community to offer experiences such as volunteering, farm animal education programs and events to raise awareness of factory farming.


Gene Baur, who founded the first farm animal sanctuary in 1986 and continues to encourage sanctuary start-ups, says farm sanctuaries are the response to factory farming. The number of farm animals slaughtered has dropped five to ten percent in the last 10 years.


“People are changing,” he says. “They are eating less meat, doing meatless Mondays and becoming more plant-based. Farm sanctuaries help people take the steps towards a change.”




There is no strict schedule to a day on the farm, except feeding times. At 7 a.m. the humans rise, drink coffee with their usual breakfast of oatmeal and then feed the cats and dogs. The farm animals are anxiously waiting at the gate at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast. During the day, Mark tackles tasks like refurbishing the shed or barn, and Michelle settles in for a day of computer work as she plans events, applies for grants and keeps up PEAK’s social media. At 4:30 p.m., dinner is served to the four-legged occupants, and Mark and Michelle continue working into the night, checking in on the animals one last time around 8 p.m.


The Pruitts parent the animals 24/7, working around their individual feeding and health needs. Mark knows their personalities and their bowel movements, the best indicators of health. “They are like children,” he says, “except they are 500 pounds.”




Three years ago, Michelle sat in her living room watching a YouTube video on veganism. The same day, she became vegan cold turkey. Mark followed soon after. The two, who are a Match.com, self-proclaimed “online dating success story,” were drawn together by a mutual desire for a non-corporate life. The idea of a farm sanctuary seemed a promising way to build an experiential community.


So, PEAK was born. The name Uplands PEAK represents both the Hoosier Uplands area and the Pruitts’ message and values. “Our primary mission is to rescue and rehabilitate animals,” Mark says. That mission is not easily accomplished. But the Pruitts blindly threw themselves into the venture of starting the first and only farm sanctuary in Indiana and one of eight in the Midwest.


“I wouldn’t in a million years have imagined that I would be doing this,” Mark says, laughing out loud, arching up his eyebrows at Michelle and waiting for her answer.


“Same for me,” she responds, nodding. “I mean I have always loved animals, like a lot of people, but never made the connection with animals that you eat. Once we went vegan, we just wanted to do all that we could for them.”


This mindset is not lost throughout Indiana. Volunteers from Indianapolis, Louisville and Bloomington flocked to the sanctuary even before animals were there. On average, the Pruitts received 10 to 20 volunteers during a volunteer day. “We knew we had something and knew people were really invested in getting this place up and running,” Michelle says.


In their first six months at the farm, they acquired six rescued pigs, and two goats, more than enough for the beginnings of a small family.


All eight animals at PEAK have come from neglectful, abusive or harmful situations. “As soon as you say you are starting a sanctuary, you get contacted about every animal you can possibly imagine,” Michelle says. Sometimes people call them with a pot-bellied pig or an unwanted rooster from a backyard-chicken start-up. Since these animals aren’t in danger, just inconvenient, they don’t fit the farm’s mission, and the Pruitts offer to help relocate them. As of yet, they haven’t had an emergency where they had to immediately rescue an animal.


When a new animal arrives, they take care of medical issues like check-ups and spay and neuter services. In some cases animals require more attention, such as Erica the pig when she underwent several surgeries at Purdue University, because local veterinarians did not have the resources to perform them.





The 20 acres of land, and one large grasshopper-green barn, once used to store old cars, needed more than a few touch-ups since the purchase. So, the Pruitts hold Volunteer Days, encouraging people to spend a day working on the farm.


We’re here today to volunteer, so we sign in and check the day’s to-do list: clean out the barn, scoop poop and pick up walnuts. It’s flannel-shirt weather. Mark, in jeans, a long-sleeve shirt and boots that possibly used to be a hunter green color, leads us to the main task of the day—cleaning out and restocking the barn.


We’re volunteering alongside other animal-lovers, aspiring vegans and a young girl who just wanted to pull the pigs’ tails. In 2013, Mark and Michelle painted, gutted and divided the barn into two compartments, transforming the bigger side into the animals’ stalls. The smaller side was still occupied by the previous owners’ goods.


We spend the morning transitioning out rickety shelves and old two-by-fours, re-flooring the ground with sand and opening up the barn to store farm machinery during winter. We work for two hours and then pull out lunch while Mark throws un-cracked walnuts to the eager pigs.


The Pruitts fundraise through events planned a couple times a year, including PEAKsgiving, an all-vegan cookout and bon-fire. For these gatherings, the Pruitts offer guests a chance to stay the night in the bed and breakfast, a room within their house with its own bathroom and entrance.


Both the humans and the animals at the farm welcome general visit days, where interested helpers can call ahead and spend a day on the farm; the only rule is no animal products can be brought to the property.


Kristen Lund, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Evansville, is visiting the farm for the second time. She remarks on the growth of Lucy, comparing her to a photo she took with the pig months before.


“I think it’s awesome having the sanctuary right in the middle of farm country,” Kristen says, trying again to pose with the sniffing pig. “It’s a great way to spend time with animals that you don’t typically see.”




Over the last year, the Pruitts have learned the ins and outs of farming life. They overcame obstacles of the animals and farm equipment, battled the unexpected winter and established an online presence.


The winter of 2014 is one that no Hoosier will ever forget. The constant below-freezing temperatures hit Indiana hard, and PEAK got the worst of it, complete with lows of -10 degrees.


That winter, the Pruitts focused all their energy on keeping the animals safe and warm. Thick snow froze and covered the farmlands. There was a constant struggle to ensure the animals were clean while keeping the water and hoses from freezing.


Nevertheless, the Pruitts made it through the rough winter with five happy and healthy pigs.


Mark acknowledges the hardest part of running the sanctuary, at least at the beginning, was that neither he or Michelle had any experience with farm animals or knew anyone who had ever lived or worked on a farm.


For hands-on training, Michelle attended a seven-week internship in the spring of 2013 at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in New York, and Mark tagged along to learn about fencing and animal care. Now, the hardest part is keeping up with the monetary requirements of eight animals and the farm in general.


An anonymous offer of $15,000 in matching funds by opening day kick-started the fundraising. In 2014, a $5,000 grant from the Humane Society of the United States helped with expanding and readying the farm for animal upkeep. All the money collected through events, donations and fundraisers goes directly to the animals and “behind-the-scenes” costs like $3,500 yearly for insurance, $400 a month for animal feed and a couple hundred dollars a month for utilities.


Erin Huang, director of the Indiana Humane Society, says the farm is well-thought of in the animal welfare community. “Organizations formed for the purpose of rescuing animals certainly have a noble goal,” Huang says.


Gene Baur mentions a number of “mom and pop” sanctuaries have been popping up all over the country. A vegan animal-rights activist, Baur is now the president of Farm Sanctuary, the world’s largest farm animal rescue and protection organization. He is encouraged by the growing interest in the cause.


“The most important thing is getting the word out,” says Baur, who travels the world speaking about the practices of factory farms. “We are getting people to see that they are farm animals and not commodities.”


The Pruitts have taken Baur’s message to heart.


While Baur, the Pruitts and other animal rights activists see many problems in today’s farming culture, many in Indiana pride themselves on their commitment to responsible farming.

The Certified Livestock Producer Program, a relatively new program from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), seeks to train and reward outstanding farm management practices.


The program builds from consumers’ desire to know how their food is produced and provides resources to help farmers share this information with the public. Those certified must go above and beyond industry standards in all aspects, including animal care.




During a break in our farm chores, Mark talks about the farm’s role in the community. In modern farming, he says, it has become more rare to see animals outdoors. On our drive to PEAK that day, we passed many family-owned farms. “You passed long barns, right?” Mark asks. Those small barns hold about 20,000 chickens each, he says. “I bet you didn’t see any did you?”


Being able to see, touch and experience farm animals draws people to PEAK, he says. Recently, while giving a presentation to a group of Indiana University students in Bloomington, Mark asked his signature question: “How many of you have ever actually touched a live farm animal?” Even in a group of vegans and animal rights activists, only two people raised their hands. Mark believes the experience of being in close proximity to free farm animals will change hearts and minds.


Today, as if to illustrate his point, Erica gets a scratch behind her ear and collapses onto her back, rolling over for a belly rub. Michelle runs up the slight hill towards the fence, arguing with William the goat as he attempts to jump over it. The goats head butt and fight each other for food, sleep 18 hours a day and lovingly nudge every visiting human that comes up for a pet.


“We want people to come out and experience the animals,” Mark says. “That’s how change happens.” “From that connection,” Michelle adds.


Mark believes it becomes more difficult to eat animal products when you come face to face with what will be on the plate, knowing it has eyes and breathes.


“She,” Michelle corrects, “Let’s leave out ‘it.’”


Although most of their neighbors are traditional farmers, the Pruitts chose Salem for its location in the crossroads of Southern Indiana. They have room to expand the farm, creating more space for chickens, sheep and cows. And it’s only a 45-minute drive from their home in Louisville, an hour and half from Bloomington and two hours from Indianapolis.


“We wanted to be somewhere that was an accessible day trip for people, because visiting and volunteering is obviously the backbone of our existence,” Michelle says.


To the Pruitts, the farm is an opportunity to teach their neighbors about the vegan lifestyle through education and experience, not an advocacy mission.


“We are not marching down the streets of Salem with signs saying, ‘Throw out your meat!’” Mark says.


Animals are their own best advocates Marks says as we pile our tools back into the shed and head back to the house. “They are going to convince people more than I ever will,” Michelle says. “And that’s just really the opportunity that we try to give them.”





Sanctuary Stories

It took us a tank of gas and a map to get to Uplands PEAK Farm Sanctuary; it took the animals a little bit more.


Andy & Annie

Young pigs Andy and Annie spent the first two months of their lives waiting for illegal home-slaughter in a backyard. The two pigs escaped to find themselves running around the streets of rural Minneapolis. Animal Control officials, not knowing how to handle the farm animals, sent them to Chicken Run Rescue. Though the chicken adoption organization is renowned for its animal care, they do not typically work with pigs. So the still-tethered Andy and his sister Annie moved once again. After staying with a foster couple, the pigs were placed in small dog carriers sent on their way. The siblings finally arrived at their new home, becoming PEAK’s first residents.


Brandi, Isaac, & Erica

Brandi, Isaac and Erica, sibling pigs from Albany, New York, lived in a small barn holding well over the maximum number of animals. The pigs rarely saw daylight. By the time the police arrived to seize the animals, 50 were already dead. Brandi, Isaac and Erica were kept by Woodstock, the New York sanctuary where Michelle Pruitt interned for almost two months. When Woodstock called to ask if the Pruitts would be able to take in the three, the couple was more than willing. The Pruitts fostered the three pigs until the neglect case was resolved. Now they roam the sprawling lands of PEAK.


William (Insert picture of the goat)

William, a 2-year-old pigmy-mix goat, was tethered in a backyard in Louisville. He wasn’t a victim of abuse, but goats are pack animals and need company. They’re also prey for other animals and a backyard didn’t allow much room to move about. Family members of William’s owner eventually called Animal Control and asked for the young goat to be taken somewhere new. The Pruitts took in William this past May, after the frigid winter had passed. Now William loves to explore and play on the farm.



Early in the summer of 2014, a local townsman discovered a barn near Salem with five goats and six horses. The goats had been nailed in the unkempt, dirty stall for a year. Though there was hay in the barn, it was too high for the animals to reach. After a search and seizure, two goats, Twiggy and Luke, were found underweight, losing hair and dirty. The horses went to a horse rescue, but Twiggy and Luke were brought to PEAK. Luke, who was older, died shortly after arrival, but Twiggy is happily staying at PEAK. The court case is not yet resolved, but for now, Twiggy is comfortable as the newest member of the family.

INSIDE Magazine: Running Just to Run


One of the recreational sports clubs on the IU campus is not quite like the others. They run. That’s it.

You may have witnessed them: running along Third Street in the late afternoons, dancing at Dunkirk in candy-striped cross country shorts, or shoveling down two or three $4 Scholars Inn burgers before running back to the stadium to add on a few more miles for the day.

Some are new, running for fun and keeping the Freshman 15 off, and some are old, following pre-designed workouts and strategizing for the end of the season national meet. They receive no endorsements, no scholarships, no fancy shoes, nor have a professional coach.

But they all want the same thing.

They run for the pleasure of running. Running to just run.

Sara Brown did not start off her IU career like this. She was recruited during her senior year of high school in Lilburn, Georgia to run cross-country and track for the women’s varsity running team. Sara, now a junior studying speech language and pathology, spent her freshman year as a redshirted Division 1 athlete. The lack of racing and change of college life was hard for the back of the pack runner.

Sara’s freshman year was a brutal transition from high school. She battled through bronchitis, sinus infections, and mono throughout the spring season, and was forced to forfeit the track period. Over the summer she recovered enough for a decent summer training plan. But when she returned to running in the fall of 2013, Brown knew something was not quite right.

“I was not doing well,” she said describing her first couple practices of the 2013 season. “It was a snowball effect. The worse I was doing, the worse I was mentally.”

She first thought about quitting in October, and by Christmas break she was done. During a winter practice, the women’s team was doing 16×400 meter sprints on the indoor track. Sara was halfway finished and running a slower pace than she desired. Her teammates rushed around the track flying past her. Through each set, Sara kept pushing her body and mind. Just keep going. Sara prides herself in never quitting workouts, even if it is at a “grandma-like” pace she says. But this was different. She walked off the track and out of the building.

It was her final varsity workout.

Sara’s running is not over. Her love of the sport brought her to a new environment, one that takes place every weekday in the parking lot of the varsity tennis courts.

She stumbled upon the IU Run Club, one of the 35 club sports sponsored by the Recreational Sports program.

“It was a really hard decision to quit the team,” Sara admits. “I did not hate running, I was just unhappy. I found out about Run Club through the manager of the varsity team, Dustin Spanbauer (who happens to be one of the coaches of the club).”

Trying not to be “show-offy”, Sara did not reveal her past status at first. But she was welcomed kindly. She was a fellow runner, so already part of the team.

“The club is so supportive,” she adds. “It is a group of people getting together and going for a run. They are motivated group of people.”

Motivation. Dedication. Reputation. The run club has incorporated all of these traits each season since Indiana Running Company manager, Ben Bartley, created it in 2002 while he was attending IU. The club is part of the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association, an organization governing all events and communication amongst college running, cross-country, and track clubs. Over the years, the club has grown and flourished due to its participants die-hard commitment towards its success. Nine board members, elected each year, direct the club. This year the club has about 60 members, and is headed by junior Cameron Nowrouzi.

The year is split up into cross country and track and field seasons, with a national championship meet at the end of each one. Last year, the men’s team took home first place from the NIRCA Cross Country National meet held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, beating out teams from all over the country. Out of 300 runners, four IU men, Philip Rizzo, David Eichenburger, Nikolas Jeftich, and Ryan Wells, placed in the top 15. The women came in eighth, with Kathryn White placing 14th as IU’s lead runner. In the T&F meet, held in Bloomington last spring, both the men and women’s team placed fifth, as well as third in the men’s half-marathon category.

Most people are unaware of the club’s history and rankings. And the pressure of what it takes to continually place in the top ten, are some of the problems the club faces, according to some of the athletes.

Emily Odle, a senior majoring in anthropology, says intimidation stops many people from joining the team.

“We have a reputation that the club is overwhelming and too serious,” she says. “But we have people who want to train and do workouts and we have people who just want to run with others.”

According to Cameron, there are about 40 people that attend practice everyday so far this year. In the past it has been difficult for the team to gain and keep new members.

“People would sometimes feel intimidated or feel that the intensity may be to hard for them to do recreationally even though we do encourage all levels to come out,” he says. “This year we seem to have a lot more people who are willing to stick around and put in the hard work that the club does, since they can see that we won nationals last year. They are willing to put in the hard work because they want to win as much as we do and become a part of a winning tradition.”

This broad range of goals and abilities is what makes the club special—and the option to make one’s experience of the club as he or she wants. The social aspect of the group is what drew Emily to the club, and back into running in general.

Emily transferred to IU her sophomore year after running for Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois for a year. Due to personal issues, Emily withdrew from school to be closer to home, and applied to IU. Though she had heard about the run club through a friend, Emily had no plans on running for another team.

“I went on a running hiatus for about two to three months,” she says. “I felt lost without my coach and teammates at Olivet. I became disinterested in running and only ran when people made me.”

Emily’s best friend Katy White, one of the club’s top runners, forced the reluctant athlete back into her running shoes a few days before the 2012 Fall season began.

“During that run I knew is was going to run again,” she said, adding in that her other option was to try out for the rowing team. “I didn’t know what I wanted from the run club yet, but I was comfortable and felt accepted, so I just kept coming.”

Acceptance into the family is Run Club’s secret weapon. The ease of integrating oneself into a group of like-minded (crazy, as some say) people helps transform the club from just a sports group to an actual team. Both from former varsity levels, Emily and Sara agree that the club functions as an actual college sport, without the added benefits and pressures.

“People had scholarships and the caliber to run for other Division 1 or 2 teams and decided to come to IU for the education and college experience,” Sara says. “We have people who were big in high school and are training just as hard as other school’s varsity teams.”

Sara said the two teams have similar goals and interests, but more is expected of the varsity team.

“Everyone on the varsity team are motivated, but there are a lot of extra factors,” Sara acknowledges. “There is free stuff, scholarships, and a higher expectation of you. At Run Club, everyone is motivated, but their motivation comes from their own personal goals. Some people want to go for a nice run and others want to kick some ass.”

The club meets every weekday evening at varsity tennis courts. They stretch and double-knot their shoe-strings while Cameron checks in people for attendance for club maintenance, and updates them on any new information or upcoming meets. Once all routes are established for the nights run, different groups take off. The fast sub-7 minute fellas head for Cascades Park for a hilly workout, while the long distance-minded ladies make their way to the cross-country field for a longer workout.

The route and mileage for Emily depends on the training formula she and volunteer, unofficial coaches Josh Foss and Spanbauer have premade. With a top placement in mind at Nationals, Emily bases her daily schedule around her running workouts. She shoots for 55 to 60-mile weeks, including two to three faster workouts, recovery runs, a long on the weekends, and any supplemental activities she can fit in, such as weightlifting and swimming.

Adding the hours spent in running clothes with the time spent in class, doing homework, and fitting in meals, Emily’s schedule does not allow for frequent late night trips to the bar or Netflix marathons.

“Some people don’t get it,” she says, adding in that her life is frequently described as ‘sacrificing her college experience.’ “The love of running makes it worth it. Knowing that there are others going to bed early to run in the morning gives me a sense of community.”

Even without the pressure of a coach or a mandatory attendance policy, those showing up each day at practice are there for the love of running and the shared commitment.

“It is hard to keep motivated,” Emily confesses, “especially when we have the ‘don’t have to run and no one will know’ kind of environment. But that is the beauty of Run Club. You are free to train and get out of it what you want.”

At 6 p.m. each weeknight, Sara and Emily stand in the parking lot, surrounded by fellow student runners. Practice begins, and everyone takes off, loosening out their legs with each stride. Throughout campus people make room for the group charging towards them down the sidewalk. They look like simple runners, but they are more than that. 

Exercise-inspired yoga classes influence Bloomington students, studios

Emily Trinkle teaches Yoga Playlist at Vibe Yoga Studio. Vibe offers classes that are following the trend toward exercise inspired yoga.
Emily Trinkle teaches Yoga Playlist at Vibe Yoga Studio. Vibe offers classes that are following the trend toward exercise inspired yoga.

Facing a wall of mirrors, everyone in the light-yellow room stands on a spongey mat. Their arms rise above their heads, stretch and lower back down in a prayer position at their chests. The room is quiet. Exhales hum from each spandex-clad body as instructor Emily Trinkle makes her way toward the back of the room.

Approaching the iPod speakers, Trinkle, 24, with short, dark brown hair and a large lotus flower tattooed on her shoulder, turns the music on to begin the class.

“It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurkng in the dark.”

As Michael Jackson blasts, Trinkle returns to her mat, instructing her students to inhale.

”You’re paralyzed.”

Trinkle has been a yoga instructor at Vibe Yoga Studio since 2011 and has watched yoga in Bloomington grow, in studios, students and classes. Following the movement away from traditional style yoga to more exercise-inspired practices, Bloomington has responded with the creation of studio-unique classes, such as Trinkle’s Yoga Playlist, which embodies customary poses formed around music.

“It [Yoga Playlist] is a creative sequence that changes from class to class depending on the teacher’s theme,” Trinkle said from the Vibe studio at 1705 N. College Ave. “But it is a little bit different in the sense that the playlist rotates, so there is a different kind of music theme for each class.”

The class is modeled after another Vibe Yoga class called Hot Hip Hop, a popular class that differed from a traditional yen yoga practice, which incorporates slow stretching and meditation. After a trial period last fall produced positive feedback from students, studio manager Erin Thomas and owner Laura Patterson, incorporated the class into the weekly schedule, promoting Trinkle to the main Yoga Playlist instructor.

“Thriller” by Jackson is just one of the themes the Tuesday/Thursday Yoga Playlist incorporates. Other themes have included cover songs and boy bands nights.

“It gets people out of their heads and into their bodies a little bit more,” Trinkle said. “We, here at Vibe, like variety and offer that wide spectrum of classes.”

Christine Eartheart describes the poses of laughter yoga. She teaches this form of yoga at multiple exercise fitness studios around Bloomington.

Christine Eartheart describes the poses of laughter yoga. She teaches this form of yoga at multiple exercise fitness studios around Bloomington.
Christine Eartheart describes the poses of laughter yoga. She teaches this form of yoga at multiple exercise fitness studios around Bloomington.

Thomas started teaching at the studio when it opened five years ago. Initially, five instructors taught 20 classes. Now, Vibe has grown into one of the most popular yoga and pilates studios in Bloomington, with 25 teachers, about 100 paid memberships and up to 70 classes taught throughout the year. Through community classes and walk-ins, Thomas said she sees over one thousand visitors in a month.

“We have about 13 different formats of classes,” she said. “We have the passive class restorative yen yoga and slow flow ­­- on the other end of the spectrum, hot power vinyasa, hot fusion, yoga playlist and hip hop vinyasa.”

Since the opening of Vibe Studio, Thomas said a new yoga studio has opened in Bloomington each year. Despite being competitive businesses, yoga is built on a non-competitive philosophy.

“Our philosophy has always been, ‘Do what we do, do what we do well and know that the people who need it will be here’” she said. “I think people in Bloomington are realizing there is a need in the community for yoga and in town you can find a variety of classes in each studio.”

Know Yoga Know Peace at 234 N. Morton St. and Yoga Mala at 116 S. College Ave. are just some of the yoga studios that provide alternative classes for the rising population of yoga enthusiasts.

Christine Eartheart is a 32 year-old life-coach and teacher of a form called laughter yoga, which again steps outside the conventional style. She works form her own studio connected to her house, in addition to teaching classes at the multiple studios in Bloomington, including Vibe. It is an improvised practice using free-form laughter expressed through exhaling, meditating and light stretching.

Though Eartheart agrees with the opinion of unique classes causing divergence away from traditional yoga, she says to just look at the classes’ attendance.

“I continuously see new people finding out about yoga and trying yoga,” she said. “Once upon a time people thought it was just meditating and getting into these weird positions and chanting. Now it is just really accessible.”

As the yoga community in Bloomington continues grows with each new studio and class, the needs of yoga students alter as well. According to Thomas, studios like Vibe are embracing the accessibility yoga provides people with the introduction of new classes.

As the music winds down, Trinkle guides the class into one last pose before the end of class. She paces the room, and stops to correct the downward dog poses of her students, whose gender and strength vary considerably.

“It (Bloomington) is a melting pot,” she said. “It is a huge variety and it is great because all the studios in town can meet people’s different needs.”

Running the running store

Photograph by Jessica Campbell
Ben Bartley, the owner of the Indiana Running Company store, assists a customer in finding a pair of running shoes. Bartley founded the store to fulfill the lack of running stores in Bloomington.

It was nearing 106 degrees, but Ben Bartley pushed the pace faster, flying over his first encounter of paved ground in a 7:15 mile. He wasn’t in the middle of a daily run on the B-Line Trail in Bloomington. It was mile 59 of the June 29, 2013, Western States 100-mile Endurance Race, and dark was approaching.

Bartley, age 29, is the owner of the Indiana Running Company with stores located at 121 N. College Ave., and East side store on 1567 S. Piazza Dr. The “father” of several running organizations in the area, Bartley’s store has helped establish Bloomington as a strong and diverse running community.

From Indianapolis, Bartley attended Pike High School and was a soccer player before altering his view on running from a conditioning tool to a sport he could participate in for years.

“I saw running as something people did their whole life,” he said. “I can go see 60-to 70-year-old guys running 5Ks or marathons, where I didn’t often see 60-to 70-year-old guys playing soccer.”

Bartley came to IU and walked on the track and field team as a freshman in 2002. After running as a middle-distance athlete, he was cut from the team, but he remained determined to keep running, he initiated the IU Run Club, a club team sponsored by the university.

“While I was coaching the run club, I was coaching my alma mater, Pike High School, all through the end of my senior year,” he said. “So, going into my junior year I had an incoming class of freshman that I had known through coaching. They wanted me to coach them to walk on the team, and that’s kind of how IU Run Club got started.”

As coaching became the path for Bartley’s future, he switched from majoring in the IU Kelley School of Business to an Education major. He then was offered to teach and coach at Pike after graduation.

“I taught and coached for a semester and figured out that it really wasn’t I wanted to do,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Okay, what could I do in Bloomington that I would really enjoy and wouldn’t hate going to work everyday?’”

In 2007, seeing an opportunity for a running store in the area, Bartley opened the downtown Indiana Running Company store and founded the Bloomington Area Runners Association (BARA), a group of about 40 to 50 committed local runners representing the city of Bloomington.

Sarah Foss, a graduate student at IU and employee at Bartley’s downtown store, said he is more than just a money-making business owner.

“Ben spends a significant amount of time developing groups like BARA, working for the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association, NIRCA, running with a wide range of local runners, helping out with track nights and IU meets, timing local races, etc.,” she said. “I think it’s really cool when people are able to give back to society doing something that they love, and Ben has seemed to master that pretty well.”

Over the last few years, Bartley began distancing himself from the coaching Run Club and BARA, to focus more on his own running. In 2012 he competed in his first 50-miler called Dances with Dirt in Nashville, Ind. After that race he was hooked, and returned in 2013 to win the race, setting a new course record.

“I had a blast, and it didn’t feel like it was mentally difficult to run for eight hours,” he said. “I was never in that pain of racing like you get in an 800. So, I was like, ‘I can endure things this long. The 50-mile wasn’t so bad. Maybe I can do two of them.’”

The sun was just setting at Western States and a twisted, swollen ankle forced Bartley to a power-hiking pace. It was the dead of night. His wife Stephanie was with him, and he still had 20 miles to go. He finished 164th out of 277 participants, crossing the finish line in 27 hours.

“It was a late night walk with my wife at Western States,” he said. “I wanted to finish. I wanted to take it in, and I wanted to do it again.”

Story and photos done by Jessica Campbell for IU Journalism 303 Class

Food program termination decreases security

Story and photos by Jessica Campbell

Reporting by Jessica Campbell and Allylah Msenya


ELDORET, KENYA — Weighing in at 32 kilograms, or about 70 pounds, Emily Meli registered as a HIV-positive client of AMPATH, and added her name to a list of more than 30,000 families receiving food prescriptions in addition to the antiretroviral drugs that also treat her infection.

In early 2012 Meli visited Module Four of the AMPATH center and was handed a four-pound package of cornmeal. But when she returned, two months later, she was given nothing.

Emily Meli awaits in her home for her family after attending a GISE group in her home town of Kepseret, Kenya.

Emily Meli awaits in her home for her family after attending a GISE group in her home town of Kepseret, Kenya.

AMPATH is the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, a consortium of ten North American universities, lead by Indiana University in partnership with Moi University and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), both located in Eldoret in western Kenya.

From 2005 to 2012, AMPATH had partnered with the World Food Program (WFP), to provide food to the clients and families of clients living with HIV. That ended when the WFP greatly reduced their funding last year.

The program was initiated after AMPATH workers realized that the antiretroviral medication given to those living with HIV was not properly treating malnourished clients.

With the decline of the donated food necessities, the importance of nutrition and diet has increased among clients and their families. The result has been a greater dependency on supplemental food, a higher number of diagnoses of communicable diseases and an increase demand for education about sustainable practices for growing and providing food.

The WFP funded program had delivered about 250 metric tons of food per day to individual clients of AMPATH. The goal was to support an entire family of one HIV positive client while creating more long-term food secure situations through education. A family was considered “food secure” when its members no longer lived with hunger or fear of starvation.

Now that the WFP has reduced it’s funding of the program, food donations are given only to the HIV positive client, not the entire family.

“Before we used to cover them almost like a blanket and ensure food security,” said Jennifer Kigen, the assistant nutrition manager of AMPATH, “but now we are only dealing directly to the clients.”

Nutritionists and doctors working at AMPATH must now assess a patient on a scale of malnourishment-mild, moderate or severe-based on the person’s Body Mass Index rating, height, weight and size of the middle upper arm. Photographs are taken before and after the start of treatment to track his or her progress. Each client of AMPATH is given an identification number and card, and all interactions with the program is documented and recorded at the center.

A client is then issued the only two supplements. Its all AMPATH has available to distribute now that WFP is gone. The primary contribution from WFP is Plumpynut, a therapeutic feed given more commonly to children, and corn-soy blend (CSB), a special type of flour containing specific nutrients and minerals.

Plumpynut, a gel like supplement made of powered sugar, peanut paste, skimmed milk power, vegetable oil, vegetable fat, vitamins and minerals, is given to severely malnourished children. It is distributed through the government in Nairobi by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is sent to Eldoret for AMPATH’s use.

Tekla, an AMPATH client who asked that we do not use her last name so as to remain anonymous, recently found out her status after taking her nine-year-old daughter, Joy, to the hospital for chest pain. She and her daughter both tested positive for HIV and received Plumpynut and CSB rations.

“We eat any time we get, food usually ugali (a cornmeal staple of the local diet) or a mixture of corn and beans,” Tekla said. “We have a small farm so we are able to grow food to eat or sell, but we cannot sustain her [Joy] diet without dairy or meat.”

Because the virus made the child severely malnourished, the therapeutic food was immediately administered and just the one package a day has improved her weight.

“It depends on the age,” said Mary Chelimo, a pediatric nutritionist at AMPATH. “Children six to 23 months take one packet, but as a child gets older they can take two or three a day. For mild to moderate levels of malnourishment, we give the corn flour supplement.”

Originally, the WFP distributed CSB in certain amounts to specific groups of clients, such as pregnant or lactating mothers, young children and teenagers. Though it has decreased, the WFP program continues to provide about 19 pounds for mothers and adults, and 13 pounds for children ages two through seventeen years.


AMPATH nutritionist, Mary Chelimo, advises proper nutrition and diet to clients of all ages living positively with HIV.

AMPATH nutritionist, Mary Chelimo, advises proper nutrition and diet to clients of all ages living positively with HIV.

Mothers to be, and those currently lactating are special cases in terms of dispensing therapeutic feed. It is recommended that mothers either choose to breast-feed or formula feed their baby for six months without changing methods. According to Chelimo, before 2007, all children were on formula to decrease the chance of spreading HIV through breast milk. Because the percentage of children surviving up to six years old was low, breast-feeding only while on medication for six months is now recommended.

“I can say when children were on formula most mothers were not all faithful,” she said. “They were mixing feeds, maybe giving milk, formula, porridge because they did not know there was a difference.”

After six months, mothers can begin to switch from formula or milk and begin therapeutic feed if necessary.

The Plumpynut packages, cost AMPATH 300 Kenyan shillings, ($4), are free of charge to the clients. They are given to families on a weekly basis, for a maximum of three months, unless adequate weight gain is not achieved.

One of the problems of the therapeutic feed is that it is not an entire meal replacement; it only corrects the body, it does not completely sustain it said Chelimo.

Malnutrition among those taking ARVs is the largest problem Chelimo and her colleagues face.

For Emily Meli, inadequate amounts of food result in more severe side effects from her ARV therapy.

“I am taking the drugs, but without the correct amount of food it is hard,” she said. “The drugs make me weak and sick.”

Before the drugs, Meli was able to plant and harvest produce from her farm regularly, but now that she’s on medication she cannot work due to the persistent dizziness, and frequent coughing, chest pains and spitting up blood.

Another problem the nutritionists at AMPATH see is the sharing and distribution of the free supplements to one’s entire household and others throughout town. If a food insecure mother is given supplemental feed due to her positive HIV status, the probability she will share the feed with family members is very high.

Kigen described the situation as useless, especially if it is the mother living with HIV.

“The mother goes home and one or many of the children are malnourished, she will definitely share and it would not be adequate according to our prescription or according to the dietary allowance,” she said. “So, it poses a great challenge for us… You cannot help, because they [the mother] go back to their homes and share.”

With the introduction of antiretroviral treatment, the discovery was made, that without adequate food the medication for HIV is far less effective.

Before initial ARVs are issued, the first thing measured is the nutrition of the client. Because the drugs and side effects are very strong and can last for weeks, the guarantee that nutrition is available is important to the doctors and nutritionists.

Without adequate food to go around, advice is the only other thing that can be distributed to clients.

Chelimo said they make sure the person receiving the ARVs has knowledge of good nutrition and is aware that the drugs will not work without food.


Even for food secure families, knowledge and education is the first step taken in assessing patients. At the Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital, the nutritionists working with diabetes and hypertension preach good nutrition through posters and pamphlets given to all of their patients. Diabetes and hypertension are two common diseases in the Eldoret area.

Chelimo, who works exclusively with HIV-positive clients at AMPATH, may have one diabetic person per month, but has a difficult time working with him or her because of the restricted diet they must adhere to.

“You can get a patient with HIV, diabetes and cancer, so we have to sit and come up with a decent meal plan,” she said. “We have to look at diet, blood sugar, and CD4 count.” CD4 count is an indicator of the HIV virus’ impact on the body.

At the MTRH, where a patient’s HIV status may or may not be disclosed to the doctors, most of the patients seen in the nutrition office are known to have been diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension. Though the majority of the patients are food secure, they still lack the knowledge of how to maintain proper nutrition for optimal health.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type seen by the officers working with the hospital patients. Found in both teenagers and adults, it more frequently affects women than men. It is caused by obesity or stress. Type 1 diabetes can be present at birth or developed during childhood. Type 3 diabetes is induced diabetes, usually developed in adults during pregnancy and among people with dangerous highly blood sugar levels.

A Diabetes Care Diary is given to all diabetic patients so they can track their blood sugar at home for three months. The diary helps the doctors see how patients is doing and teaches the patients how to control the disease and sustain themselves.

Helen Chemoiwo, a nutrition officer working at the MTRH, says nearly 75 percent of all of her diabetic and hypertensive patients are overweight.

“Family history and improper nutrition are the main causes of diabetes and hypertension,” she said. “They just do not know much about proper amounts and how to track their blood sugar.”

According to Chemoiwo, education about exercise and diet is the only way to help prevent these diseases. She recommends regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, and cycling to help maintain proper weight.

At MTRH, the doctors are focusing on preventative techniques, reaching out to individuals and entire villages at a time. They make home visits along with workers doing HIV testing in homes to check the blood sugar of clients.

Deborah Tulienge, an officer of the Chronic Disease Management office at the MTRH, said they are setting up blood sugar readings in towns throughout the region to test people as well as to teach them about how to control and prevent diabetes.

“We do a lot of education,” Tulienge said. “The city worker cannot just go up to a house and prick. They first bring a lot of information on prevention, diet and exercise.”

Preventative care is the number one focus for the CDM office. For those already diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, prevention of further complications is the next step Tulienge said.

The CDM office began training workers during the past year to go out and screen patients in towns throughout western Kenya, at several clinics that are closer to villages, but far away from the hospital and AMPATH center.

Every few months, physicians and nutritionists travel to each of the clinics to check on patients and reinforce that everyone is being well taken care of.

“We used to think diabetes was a rich man’s disease, but it is not,” she said. “Down in the rural, life has its own stresses that will pre-expose them to these conditions. They are eating what they have on hand and find they are still predisposed to diabetes because it is not a balanced meal.”


A harvested gourd lays in the farm of Emily Meli in Kepseret, Kenya.

A harvested gourd lays in the farm of Emily Meli in Kepseret, Kenya.

Working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Tulienge said the officers go to the clinics to teach, and encourage people to grow their own fruits and vegetables to sell and to eat themselves, so they can get a secure meal.

“We educate them and train them on how to grow vegetables,” she said. “We also tell them that they should find ways of making money by planting fruits and selling their fruits.”

For most families, farming and producing their own vegetables and fruits is the only option. Now confronted with this realization, AMPATH has made it a mission to help families and those living with HIV and other communicable diseases become more sustainable food producers.

In the wake of the termination of the WFP donations, Moses Makaya, the nutrition manager at AMPATH, said lessons have definitely been learned from the loss of food support.

“Our focus now is to teach people how to fish and show them where the lake is,” he said, “instead of us just giving people food.”

Programs, such as farming training sessions and Group Integrated for Savings Empowerment (GISE), have been established throughout the local towns promoting a more supportable lifestyle for those unable to afford much.

Specific groups are organized that put together people suffering from similar conditions. There are groups for those who are HIV positive, who are caring for orphans and vulnerable children, who are diabetic patients and so on. The sessions occur from every week to once a month, and provide a dependable teaching atmosphere.

Monica, a mother of five children, lives with her own mother and has to travel many miles by motorcycle to get to the AMPATH clinic every two months. She receives her ARVs each visit and a small bag of CSB.

“I get a little flour when I come to the clinic,” said. “I am able to plant. I grow beans and corn at home.”

According to Chelimo, who worked with Monica when she first came to the clinic, Monica was very weak but has made huge progress during her seven months of treatment. She has learned how to farm and grow her own food.

“I have three meals a day,” Monica said, “The main is rice or ugali. I have milk, meat and eggs and vegetables too.”

With the elimination of the food from the World Food Program in 2012, the amount of pressure to help care for the patients and clients of the MTRH and AMPATH center increased within a couple of months.

Chelimo describes the ending of the donations as a huge blow when the program pulled out, but said there is another way to look at it.

“It helps everyone in the long run to become more self-sufficient,” she said. “Yes, it is a big blow, but maybe some will wake up now and start to look for ways to help their families because organizations cannot feed you forever.”

Indiana Diving Club wins team title at national championships

IDS Reports

POSTED AT 11:29 PM ON Aug. 19, 2013


Four IU divers joined together to form the Indiana Diving Club and took the overall team title Sunday at the AT&T USA Diving National Championships in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Indiana Diving Club featured IU graduate Amy Cozad and seniors Kate Hillman, Darian Schmidt and Conor Murphy. The group won three silver medals and a bronze medal during the six-day competition, with a total score of 244 points. Second-place Miami Diving finished with 97 points.

Saturday’s events included Cozad taking silver in the 10-meter platform. After competing in the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, last month, Cozad earned second with 340.45 points. Hillman finished eighth in the event with a score
of 266.45.

The duo of Murphy and IU graduate Casey Johnson finished third in the 10-meter synchronized event Saturday, scoring 321.15 points. Taking fourth place in the synchronized event were sophomore Andrew Hull and junior Danton Rogers with a score of 281.28.

Schmidt also competed Saturday, finishing fourth in the 3-meter springboard event with 441.15 points.

IU’s divers capped the competition Sunday with strong performances from Schmidt, Cozad and Hillman, as each took home silver in his or her events.

Schmidt, along with teammate Michael Hixon, totaled 385.26 points in the 3-meter springboard synchronized competition. Cozad and Hillman also contended as a synchro event on the platform with a score of 286.08 points to take home silver. Both teams finished just five points from first place.

Murphy also ended the meet with a sixth-place finish in the 10-meter platform event with a score of 372.90.

For the overall individual titles, Schmidt took fourth place and Cozad finished sixth.

Jessica Campbell