The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 1, 2014

2013 Difference Makers

When selecting the 2013 Community Person of the Year Award, The Herald Bulletin’s editorial board chose a handful of other nominees to recognize for their contributions to the Madison County area.

Stephon Blackwell

Anderson’s cost-cutting measures over the last few years seemed like they would threaten the maintenance of attractive city parks, one of the hallmarks of a thriving community.

In August, Stephon Blackwell — who had served previously for Mayor Kevin Smith’s administration — was named parks superintendent. His selection was a wise choice; he has enhanced Geater Center programs by partnering with others groups.

Though he was told the Geater Center had neither boxing equipment nor trainers, Blackwell found a way to start a boxing program, a sorely needed activity for youth. The Crumes Boxing Club — named for 1947 Indiana Golden Gloves champ Wendell Crumes — is a labor of love for Blackwell.

Also, under Blackwell’s leadership, a local youth football league has been a leader nationally in adopting the new safety standards set by USA Football in its Heads Up Football program.

Jim Brown

Following CEO Jim Brown’s leadership in recent United Way annual campaigns, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has become the corporate leader in local community involvement. The casino pitches in generously with resources to help local organizations and people in need.

Hoosier Park had faced a tough battle in 2010 as its corporate owner, Centaur, turned to bankruptcy due mostly to a $500 million licensing fee owed to the state of Indiana. Assets were $580 million and liabilities were $680 million. The numbers were staggering.

But the filing for Chapter 11 never affected Hoosier Park’s day-to-day operation. Brown led his team through a bankruptcy that was resolved in 2011.

This year, Centaur took ownership of the Shelbyville racino, itself in bankruptcy. Also in 2013, Hoosier Park underwent major renovations, including the addition of a larger stage for entertainment. And new facilities are proposed for jockeys and trainers.

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