Editorial Roundup: Indiana

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. April 30, 2024.

Editorial: Indiana to host cicada emergences that last occurred 221 years ago

Parts of Indiana and Illinois will host a natural event this spring that last occurred in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was president. Two separate broods of cicadas — the 17-year Brood XIII and 13-year Brood XIX — will emerge in the same year.

“The majority of them for Brood XIX are going to emerge in southwest Indiana, the very far southwest corner of the state,” said Vince Burkle, the Fort Wayne-based assistant director and survey coordinator of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology. “And then you have Brood XIII, which will emerge up around Lake Michigan, around the Indiana Dunes and back up into Chicago.

“So over here in the Fort Wayne area, or any other part of Indiana, we will not see any of these emergences of these two broods,” Burkle told The Journal Gazette.

The black-bodied insects crawl out of the ground from around late May to June to reproduce. There are more than 3,000 cicada species worldwide, according to Purdue University. Three species make up Brood XIII, and four are a part of Brood XIX.

Cicadas’ loud buzz can be a noisy nuisance to residents of rural and suburban areas. Last week in Newberry, South Carolina, emerging cicadas were so loud that residents were calling the sheriff’s department asking why they were hearing a loud roar.

Male cicadas use tymbals, drum-like structures on their abdomen, to create a high-pitched buzz to attract females, which respond with a quick rub of their wings. The mating call and response sounds like the whine of electrical wires and can reach 80 to 120 decibels when at close range.

For perspective, leaf blowers, rock concerts and large sporting events generate 110 to 120 decibels. Sounds above 85 decibels can result in hearing damage or loss, depending on the duration of exposure, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Cicadas might look scary, with their red eyes, large wings and prickly feet, but they don’t sting, carry disease or bite, according to Purdue entomologist Elizabeth Barnes. But people hiking in the wooded areas of Jasper, Newton, Posey and Warrick counties in southwest Indiana, and folks in Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties in the northwest, might want to follow the lead of entomologists.

Scientists who study cicadas often wear earmuffs or earplugs in such areas to protect their hearing.


Terre Haute Tribune-Star. May 2, 2024.

Editorial: Recognition, opportunity at last: IHSAA sanctions girls wrestling

Female athletes at Vigo County and Wabash Valley high schools have helped open future opportunities for others. They are pioneers and groundbreakers.

Twenty-one years ago, Terre Haute North needed to win the final match of a wrestling dual meet against rival Terre Haute South. Amy Borgnini — the only girl on either team’s roster — got that thrilling victory. By 2006, Borgnini earned a spot on the U.S. national women’s team.

By the 2020-21 school year, more than two dozen girls were on Wabash Valley high school wrestling teams, including 13 at Northview. Gradually, there were enough girls involved statewide to allow females to wrestle against each other. Torie Buchanan of West Vigo, Terre Haute North’s Sophia Buechner and Northview’s Varzidy Batchelor won individual state championships. Still, their postseason tournament was not yet sanctioned by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

The IHSAA did, though, add girls wrestling to its “emerging sport process” in 2022, along with boys volleyball.

Now, the door is fully opened.

On Monday, the IHSAA Board of Directors approved full recognition of girls wrestling beginning with the upcoming 2024-25 school year, along with boys volleyball. The sports most recently given full recognition by the IHSAA were Unified flag football (2018) and Unified track and field (2013), as part of the association’s partnership with Special Olympics, and boys and girls soccer in 1994.

In explaining Monday’s decision, the IHSAA said girls wrestling, as well as boys volleyball, “have seen significant growth over the last 24 months.” Indeed, more than 1,400 girls at 177 different Hoosier high schools competed in wrestling in the 2023-24 school year, according to IHSAA figures.

Girls wrestling advanced quicker elsewhere in the nation. Indiana was one of only five states that had not yet sanctioned girls wrestling championships, according to National Federation of State High School Associations statistics cited in a USA Today report.

Nationwide, the number of high school girls wrestling teams quadrupled through the past decade, and the number of individual female wrestlers has quintupled to more than 50,000, the Associated Press reported. That marks a phenomenal increase. In 1990, barely 100 girls wrestled for high school teams throughout the entire U.S.

The explosion includes numerous Wabash Valley girls, and several have earned special distinctions. Two West Vigo Vikings won the prestigious McMillan Award as Vigo County’s best female athletes overall — Annalyse Dooley and Buchanan. No doubt, more honors are ahead for female wrestlers in west-central Indiana.

The sport is both exhausting and welcoming. It requires peak physical fitness, but also offers a chance for competitors of any size. Wrestlers compete according to weight classes. A singlet uniform and wrestling shoes are the only necessary equipment, so the sport is affordable.

Best of all, wrestling’s openness will now become complete as Hoosier girls compete against each other for IHSAA state championships, just as their male counterparts have done for decades. That opportunity is overdue.