Thursday, January 4, 2024
‘I Never Changed My Path’: Local Alum Always Prepared for Next Step
ABOVE: A screenshot shows Shelbyville’s Julia Prickett on-air for WLFI in Lafayette.
by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS
If you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait to see if Julia Prickett gives you hope.
“Sunny skies are boring,” the 2020 Shelbyville High School alumnus and soon-to-graduate meteorologist confessed in a recent interview.
But just as intriguing as Hoosier weather has been Prickett’s experience at Purdue University and current stint on WLFI News 18 in Lafayette, both fulfilling lifelong dreams.
“I have always had an interest in weather and meteorology,” Prickett, the 2021 Shelby County Fair Queen, said.
She grew up watching movies such as “Twister” and idolizing WTHR meteorologist Angela Buchman.
“If you ask my parents, I never changed my path,” Prickett said. She is the daughter of Mike and Kevin Prickett and has two younger brothers, Logan and Reece.
She instead honed that interest in the Golden Bear TV studio at SHS.
“The class wasn’t just about TV, but how to collect and write news,” she said. “I also learned the craft of public speaking and communication.”
GBTV could only accept eight of approximately 25 applicants annually, and as a senior, Prickett assisted the teacher with training the incoming juniors.
“I learned a lot from that experience, which propelled me at Purdue,” she said.
Prickett, who will graduate in May with a degree in Mass Media Communications and a minor in Meteorology, continued her studio work in West Lafayette with Fast Track, the university’s weekly news program. She also developed relationships with professors, one of which connected her to a WLFI News 18 internship, where she gained experience forecasting and portraying forecasts to an audience.
In August, she was asked to fill in at WLFI for two weeks. That meant waking up at 1:30 a.m., doing full make-up and hair – “You can’t just get up and go,” she said – a 3 a.m. call time, morning shows from 5 to 6:30 a.m. and continuing with cut-in or maybe even radio work until 8:30 a.m., then on to class.
“I really had to make huge adjustments, because I’m a night owl,” Prickett said.
In recent weeks, she has continued freelance work for the station in the evenings, which she calls “a whole different ball game.”
She arrives in the studio at 2:45 p.m., is on-air for the 5 and 6 p.m. shows, takes a break for dinner and then returns for cut-ins until around midnight.
“You have to work yourself up to evenings in the industry,” Prickett said. “I’ll likely start by working mornings, but both are great shows that I really enjoy.”
The forecasting process is naturally complex, involving consulting with the National Weather Service and meteorologist colleagues via chat. The goal is to prepare people for the day or the next day, which is why she often uses phrases such as “as you’re heading out the door” or “as kids are off to school.”
Although live TV work is in front of a green screen, Prickett knows where to point thanks to three supporting screens showing how the current temperature, radar and other measures appear to the viewer.
“All of the screens really serve as a springboard for me to convey a forecast to an audience, as I don't have a script,” she said.
Instead, she may be instructed via an ear piece to banter with the hosts or make adjustments on the fly. The constant changes are what Prickett most enjoys about the industry, she said.
Now, she’s looking to continue that experience in a full-time position. The advantage of having a news station near campus and a light course schedule her final semester will allow for an extensive job search. Although she hopes to land a position in Indianapolis someday, Prickett said she has an open mind about her first full-time job.
“I want to see where the opportunities lie,” she said.
She does have one request: “I hope it’s somewhere there’s a variety of weather.”
BELOW: A screenshot shows WLFI main morning anchor Joe Paul and Julia Prickett on the set.
A semi driver from Montana struck a parked, unattached semi trailer at Kroger Warehouse on CR 125 W. The unattached trailer was knocked over and damaged.
Burglary was reported in the 100 block of E. Polk St., Shelbyville.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Thank you again for supporting local news. I truly appreciate seeing the names of donors come across my email. I stepped into The Bookmark (Three Sisters) downtown yesterday and had to thank the first four people with whom I spoke; they all support The Addison Times (including the coffee shop’s owners). I will create a more permanent, shorter call-out in future editions, but as a reminder, donors of at least $5 per month receive a quarterly print Addison Times magazine with exclusive coverage. Donations can be made at this link or by mailing a check to The Addison Times, 2356 Steeple Chase, Shelbyville, IN, 46176. Again, thank you so much for your support. - Kristiaan Rawlings, editor
NATIONAL NEWS: There are 1,700 plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened with extinction, and in the aggregate those species get $1.2 billion spent toward their preservation. That top-line number, however, really obscures the reality with the funding situation, as half of that money goes to two fish, salmon and steelhead trout, and of the remaining balance the funding tends to be diverted toward more charismatic endangered species like manatees, grizzly bears and spotted owls. The animal with a budget line that got the least amount of money was the Virginia fringed mountain snail, which had $100 thrown its way toward preservation, but that’s still more than can be said for about 200 plants and animals for which no money at all was spent. All told, 67 percent of spending on endangered species goes toward fish, with 7 percent going to mammals and just 5 percent to birds. (Associated Presss/Numlock)
This Day in Shelby County History
2014: Nearly 40 homes had been affected by recent flooding, Shelby County Emergency Management Director Mike Schantz reported. Of that number, six sustained major flood damage, meaning there was two to four feet of water in the home.
2004: A sheriff’s deputy who was checking the water level on a county road found - and arrested - a stranded motorist. Deputy Michael Cleveland noticed a stuck vehicle just west of CR 800 West, but he was unable to reach the vehicle due to the depth of the water, about four feet. The driver of the stranded vehicle had made it out, but struggled to maintain her balance as she approached the deputy. Although she said she had only been drinking for about 10 minutes, she failed a breath test and was charged with driving while intoxicated.
1994: On first reading, the Shelbyville Common Council approved an ordinance making it illegal to put yard waste in the same container as other trash. The ordinance would need a final reading and to be signed by the mayor before it went into effect. A truck had been following city garbage trucks picking up yard waste for 10 months and taking it to a compost pile at Caldwell Landfill in Morristown.
1984: A frozen pipe burst at the Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library, leaving the children’s room a mess and damaging 500 books.
1974: Certain-teed Corporation, which had recently purchased PPG Industries, announced plans to expand the local insulation plant. The summer project would increase employment from 400 to 520. Company officials said an uninsulated house required heat input of 90,000 BTU per hour, contrasted with input of 23,000 BTU per hour in an insulated house. In related news, Blue River Vocational-Technical Center director Marvin Copes said the center’s heating fuel use had been cut nearly in half thanks to recently installed insulation.
1964: The Shelbyville Desk Company, 403 S. Noble St., celebrated its 20th anniversary under current ownership. In 1944, the United Industrial Syndicate company had purchased the local wood office furniture manufacturer from the two local families who had operated the business continuously since it started in 1887. R.S. Morris, general manager since 1922, had recently retired and was succeeded by J. Robert Karmire. The factory employed 60. The company had recently purchased the grounds and building across the street from the Shelby Lumber Company. The area was used as storage but expansion plans were in the works.
1954: Fire severely damaged the back half of the Club Cafe, 49 E. Washington St., causing smoke damage next door at Shelbyville Motors Inc., 55 E. Washington St. The building was owned by Raymond Hamblen and Earl Washburn. The Club Cafe was operated by Ruby Rogers. Big clouds of smoke drew a large crowd of spectators to the scene.
1944: Although William Hartin Harrell, son of Pvt. and Mrs. William Harrell, had been the first Shelby County baby born of the year, and winner of many prizes, a second child had been born on Jan. 1 a few hours later, The Republican reported. Karen Nadine Stevens, daughter of Cpl. and Mrs. Marion Stevens, Morristown, was born at 8:37 p.m. Cpl. Stevens was stationed in Louisiana.
1934: Shelbyville High School graduate Paul Johnson, who had moved to New York after graduating from Indiana University to work for Dupont, received a patent for developing a new process to manufacture methylene chloride and chloroform.
1924: Sufficient snow fell for sledding for the first time of the winter. “At noon, a number of the kiddies could be seen sliding through the streets on their sleds, being pulled by automobiles or horse-drawn vehicles,” The Republican said. “They were having the time of their lives.”
The new Ford Touring Car arrived at Shelby Motor & Tractor Co. (F.I. Stafford). The price was $295 (approximately $5,235 in today’s money).
1914: Peter Hoop, of Hoop Bros. drug store on S. Harrison St., discovered a small fire in the front of the store after closing hours. He was able to extinguish the blaze before it became a bigger issue. A cushion on a chair in front of the store had caught fire after a cigar stub was thrown on it.
Janet Alice (Skillman) Rhoades, a lifelong resident of Shelby County, passed away Sunday, December 31, 2023, at Ashford Place in Shelbyville with her family by her side. Janet was born in Shelby County on September 20, 1939, to the late Charles E. and May C. (Price) Skillman.
Janet was a 1957 graduate of Fairland High School. She married Cecil V. Rhoades on October 11, 1957, and he survives. Janet worked at Western Electric in Indianapolis until the plant closed and then moved to Nashville, Tennessee for a few years until she came back to Indianapolis and retired from Western Electric on Franklin Road in Indianapolis.
In addition to her husband, Cecil, Janet is survived by daughters Christina “Chris” Bullard (Jim) of Shelbyville, Indiana, and Susan Kent (Jerry) of LaBelle, Florida; grandchildren Jeremy Bullard (Rhonda), Chelsey Smothers (Matt Branson), both of Shelbyville, Kyle Kanouse (Emily Smith) of Hollywood, Florida, and Tiffany Haggard (Jeff) of Greenwood, Indiana. She is also survived by seven great-grandchildren, Olivia Bullard, Nolyn Smothers, Addysenn Smothers, Mavrik Branson, Hailie Haggard, Madisyn Haggard and Jaxson Haggard. Janet is preceded in death by her parents, and a sister, Patsy Wischmeyer (Jack).
Janet loved spending time with her family. She and Cecil spent many winters in Punta Gorda, Florida as snowbirds. She also collected many things like music boxes, cherished teddies, Hershey’s, Campbell Soups items, and “I Love Lucy” memorabilia. She loved going on cruises and Branson, Missouri and taking in all the shows. Janet loved the holidays, but Christmas was her favorite time of year. Janet and Cecil bowled in leagues in both Indiana and Florida and played shuffleboard and Bingo. She was an avid Indy 500 car race fan and went to the 500 races for many, many years. We can’t forget about her being a huge fan of IU basketball.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home in Shelbyville. Pastor Merry Popplewell will preside. Friends are welcome to visit from 5-8 p.m., Friday, January 5, 2024, at the mortuary. The burial will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Shelbyville, IN. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions be made to Mountain Mission School, 1760 Edgewater Dr., Grundy, VA 24614 in memory of Janet. Online condolences may be shared at glennegeorgeandson.com.
Nile Richard "Dick" Matlock, age 84, of Morristown, peacefully passed away Saturday, December 30, 2023, surrounded by his family. Dick was born on the farm on December 7, 1939, and was the son of Nile and AnnaLee (Jeffries) Matlock, who preceded him in death. He married Carolyn (Purcell) Matlock on January 27, 1961.
He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Carolyn Matlock; children, Debbie (Tim) Redd of Shelbyville, and Danny Matlock of Morristown; granddaughter, Meggon (Danny) Eaton of Shelbyville; great-grandsons, Brandon and Jason Eaton; and brothers, Fred (Glenna) Matlock and David (Connie) Matlock, both of Greenfield.
Dick served his community most of his life. He worked 26 years at Detroit Diesel Allisons in Indianapolis. He served 31 years on the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department, where he held various positions, including Chief. He was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer Leader for many years. He was “Citizen of the Year” in 1993-1994. He worked at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 56 years as a member of the Yellow Shirt Safety Patrol. He was nominated for and won the Rose Award in 2020. He was a member of the Shiloh Christian Church.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2024, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory, 1484 W. US Hwy. 40, Greenfield, IN, 46140. A funeral service will be held on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 11 a.m., at the mortuary, with visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow at Asbury Cemetery in Morristown.
Harry E. Miller, 68, of Moore Haven, Florida, formerly of Shelbyville, passed away Monday, January 1, 2024, at his home. Visitation will be from Noon to 2 p.m., Sunday, January 7, 2024, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Carmony-Ewing Chapel, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. Funeral services will follow at 2 p.m. Sunday, at the funeral home, with Dennis Hirschauer officiating. Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Shelbyville. Online condolences may be shared with Harry’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.