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ZPD K-9 Mika Reporting for Duty With this month’s cover we welcome to Zionsville Mika, a new addition to the Zionsville Police Department’s K-9 Unit. As we have learned from recent incidents, dogs in the K-9 unit do an incredible job in helping police officers protect the citizens of Zionsville and surrounding communities. For that reason, and the fact she is so dang cute and that we are suckers for a pretty face, we have Mika gracing our cover this month. Thanks to the Zionsville Police Department and Corporal Stutesman, Mika’s handler, for their cooperation in making this story possible. Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Laura Arick

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A Star-Studded Event Benefiting The Humane Society


for Boone County

PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803

Body Outfitters: Connected Workouts Boost Fitness,

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803

Health and Accountability During Pandemic

PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418


Alchemy Spirit House’s Toast to Valentine’s Day


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Cupid Versus COVID-19: A Perspective on Dating

HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison janelle@collectivepub.com / 317-250-7298

During a Pandemic

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20 Dr. Servies Speaks About Navigating Through Uncharted Waters as a County

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help work at the shelter and to foster animals, there is a need for donations of requested items and monetary donations that will go toward the care of the animals and day-today operations of the shelter. HSforBC’s efforts and services have been even more critical to the community this past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This annual Fur Ball raises awareness and funds that are crucial to its operating budget and to its volunteer board and staff.

A S t a r - S t u d d e d E v e n t B e n e f i t i n g

The Humane Society for Boone County

A VIRTUAL “PAWTY” LOADED WITH FUN! Zionsville Monthly is proud to be a long-standing sponsor of HSforBC’s Fur Ball and joining us this year, in addition to the presenting sponsor—TDS Telecom—are fellow sponsors [including but not limited to]: Dentons Bingham Greenebaum as the VIP Virtual Viewing Party sponsor, D. R. Horton Homes as the online auction sponsor, Tracy Ridings REALTOR®/Broker with F.C. Tucker Company as the Virtual Viewing Party Kit sponsor and The Farmer’s Bank as the Best Cat and Dog Mask Contest sponsor. HSforBC is putting together an online auction that will include some unique and exciting items including a chance to bid on naming a litter of puppies or kittens that are in the care of HSforBC. The online auction will go live a week prior to the Fur Ball and will end that following Sunday. All contest prizes and auction items will be scheduled for pickup from the shelter following the virtual event. “The VIP Virtual Viewing Party will start at 7:00 p.m.,” Austin shared. “The VIP pre-party is ticketed, and the entire event will be run on a

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of HSforBC

What’s February without a Mardi Gras Pawty? Join us on Saturday, February 20, for the 2021 Virtual Fur Ball presented by TDS Telecom, supporting the Humane Society for Boone County (HSforBC). While it may look completely different from years past, this year’s signature event and primary fundraiser for HSforBC will be the “must attend” virtual event of the Mardi Gras season!


his year’s Virtual Fur Ball will feature acclaimed radio personality and Boone County resident Kristi Lee as the event emcee. Lee is with the nationally syndicated radio show, “The Bob and Tom Show” and also hosts the “Kristi Lee Uninterrupted” podcast. But wait—there’s more! HSforBC’s Executive Director Susan Austin has pulled a kitty from her magical hat of tricks and has lined up “America’s Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy as the speaker for the VIP Virtual Viewing Party!

Galaxy, a renowned cat behaviorist and author, is the host of the hit television show “My Cat from Hell” featured on Animal Planet. Thanks to Austin’s well-penned plea to Galaxy, he will be entertaining the VIPs with his witty cat stories followed by a Q&A session.

WHY IS HSFORBC AN IMPORTANT ORGANIZATION TO OUR COUNTY? HSforBC provides food, health care, vaccinations and spay and neuter services for all animals in its care. It is 100% volunteer operated and receives no tax dollars. In addition to its need of volunteers to ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY

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virtual platform. Then at 7:30 p.m., we’ll throw the ‘doors’ open—NO leash required, and then everyone can join in [virtually]. Tickets will go on sale at the first of February and will be $500 which provides 10 emails to access to the virtual gala and $50 for individual tickets with single email access.” Although the event will be all virtual, it is guaranteed to lively and fun! Attendees are encouraged to get creative and have fun with the Mardi Gras theme. For the first time in the event’s history, Austin and her team will be presenting the event live from the shelter! “We’ll share what we did and our successes in 2020 along with a couple of stories from our fosters and caretakers,” Austin said. “We’ll highlight our programs, including how we expanded our pet pantry program as well as showcase some of our adoptable critters—live from our shelter!”

SAVE THE DATE AND PURCHASE YOUR TABLES/TICKETS TODAY! This “must attend” virtual Mardi Gras party features lots of fun, an online auction, and the ever-popular dog and cat mask contest! Individual virtual tickets and virtual tables of 10 are available to purchase for this fundraising event. The ticket link for this event will be live as of February 1, 2021 and will close by February 15 [see website link below]. HsforBC relies on corporate sponsors as well as donations of auction items from companies and individuals for this event to raise funds for the care of homeless dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. To purchase tickets to this year’s Virtual Fur Ball, and for information on how to sponsor/support this fundraiser and HSforBC, visit hsforbc.org.


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an equipment standpoint, most of the [virtual] workouts that I’ve built since last March have one [appropriate] weight. That doesn’t mean we can’t progress those weights down the line, but to be creative and consistent with one piece of equipment—that won’t crush the budget—is a simple start.”

Keeping It Simple and Neutralizing Excuses

B o d y

O u t f i t t e r s

Connected Workouts Boost Fitness, Health and Accountability During Pandemic Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

Perhaps you are one of the millions of Americans who have purchased fitness equipment and technology-based fitness tools for their homes last year—both as a way to stay healthy, relieve stress and build a strong immune system throughout the pandemic.


spoke with Mark Moreland, owner/personal trainer at Body Outfitters Personal Training Studios, to learn more about how he and his staff have been meeting their clients where they are throughout the pandemic and how Body Outfitters is keeping the momentum going into 2021.

Connected Workouts Moreland described his studios’ reaction as proactive rather than reactive to the stay-at-home order. Prior to Gov. Holcomb’s lockdown orders last March, Moreland told me that he and his staff had read the tea leaves and had already begun making a “hard pivot” to virtual training. “It’s been a fun challenge to try to meet people where they are, but that’s what we do all the time at our studios,” Moreland said. “We’re just playing a little bit of an away game right now. We’ve been doing live sessions since March, so we’re dialed in. Our coaching cues are even better, and we know what these [sessions] look and feel like.”

For existing and new clients, Moreland and his staff set up appointments with their clients—either in person or virtually— and develop a customized workout plan. “We set up [virtual] appointments on Zoom or a preferred platform of your choice,” Moreland explained. “There needs to be a visual aspect of [the session] so that we can get body cues, and then we can offer the three things that we specialize in: knowledge, accountability and the appropriate level of intensity. That’s what we bring to the table.” In the first session of the live sessions that Body Outfitters offers, Moreland shared that he or any of his trainers begin with assessment workouts and build a plan that helps their clients progress. Your “coach” gives you body cues to ensure proper movement—which is the foundation to any plan customized for you by Body Outfitters trainers. “We’re going to build a plan for you based on where you are and where you want to be,” Moreland stated. “You don’t need anything super fancy. From

Moreland and his staff utilize another tech tool called “True Coach” for their virtual clients. True Coach is an app that allows trainers and clients to connect and be held accountable outside of live sessions. “We build our programs in True Coach, which by itself doesn’t have value to the client, but we use that to create an account and upload videos and examples,” Moreland shared. “The app also allows us to track when you’ve completed your workout and when you haven’t, so there’s a level of accountability. The difference between this and a live appointment is you can do it whenever you want, and you can do that workout again if you want to. There’s no need to have super unique workouts every time unless that what the client wants.”

Moreland continued, “The other thing that we’re doing to meet people where they are is, we have been posting simple movements for people to do at home with simple equipment on our social media channels. One of the videos that I built for my clients during the lockdown is a stair workout. If you have stairs, that’s all you


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that your body adjusts to it. That’s true with nutrition as well.”

Create Your Space, Look and Time

need for this workout. And if you don’t have stairs, a simple step is all you need.” Prior to the pandemic, and at least for me personally, not having “time” was the biggest excuse or barrier that kept many from carving out time for working out. Once the virus rampaged the entire planet, people began looking at their health and fitness as a means of surviving and less as an onerous task. “Most people’s previous excuses have been neutralized,” Moreland said. “Time is not a barrier anymore as many now have a surplus of time. Now that we’ve removed that barrier, it’s about consistency. I would say consistency and fitness are more important than how much it costs and what kind of equipment you have. It’s about doing something regularly enough

For those who want to work out from home and don’t have the advantage of “changing one’s scenery,” instead having to create that mental/physical space within the confines of their home, Moreland talked about identifying your personal “triggers,” creating your workout outfit and carving out time that becomes YOUR care time. “We all need a trigger,” Moreland admitted. “I own a gym and have been training for 23 years, and I still need a trigger some days when I don’t feel like working out. My ‘trigger’ is putting on my workout clothes. As soon as I put on my workout clothes, it’s almost like putting on a new identity—now I’m ‘Workout Mark.’ Then once I get moving, I start to feel better, and it helps pump up my energy.”

Body Outfitters Is Ready When You Are For those who are missing in-person sessions and feel comfortable venturing

out, Moreland discussed what measures both his Carmel and Zionsville locations have taken that go above and beyond the recommended safety protocols and pandemic restrictions. “We’re by appointment to begin with, so we have a controlled flow of people,” Moreland stated. “It’s easy for us to stay 6 feet apart, and our coaches and staff wear masks at all times. Our classes and groups are down to a four-person maximum. We have the space to spread people out and give you 8 to 10 feet apart from one another. And our treadmills are more than 6 feet apart.” Moreland concluded, “We’ve added significant air filtration systems at both of our locations. It kills 99.9% of things that come through the air. I can’t tell you that we are safer than your other gyms, but I can show you how we’re controlling our environment, and then you can choose to participate or not.” For more information on Body Outfitters and its Carmel and Zionsville locations, visit bodyoutfitters.com.



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Fresh Out of the Barrel

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Toast to Valentine’s Day Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Alchemy Spirit House

This may not be the most conventional Valentine’s Day in our lifetimes—thanks to COVID-19—but it doesn’t have to be unmemorable or lacking in zest!


uckily, our friends at Alchemy Spirit House have created some delectable libations and debuted a couple of new selections to set the mood and give us reasons to toast!

Zionsville’s First Microdistillery If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Mark Nigbur, founder and owner of Alchemy Spirit House, he is a bit of a “rock star” in the distilling industry and has built a solid reputation—nationwide—for his brands over the years. In my story that was featured in Zionsville Monthly the fall of 2019, I introduced Nigbur, his wife, Laurie, and their young son, Harrison. The Nigburs relocated to Zionsville from Maui to open Alchemy Spirit House. Located on South Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana is a working microdistillery showcasing an intimate, 30-seat tasting room with an industrial speakeasy atmosphere. One master distiller, one distiller/ mixologist and one tasting room director collaborate to serve tasting flights and classically inspired one-off cocktails craft-

ed exclusively with Alchemy’s innovative distilled spirits. Since Alchemy’s official opening in 2020, Nigbur and his innovative staff have been delighting their customers throughout the pandemic—both in-house and throughout surrounding communities—with their impressive collection of incomparable sprits and the Alchemy Fresh at Home cocktail kits. These kits consist of one of Alchemy’s microdistilled spirits, additional ingredients and easy instructions on how to create the specific cocktail, all of which can be ordered inhouse or over the phone.

Candy Is Nice but Alchemy’s Craft Cocktails Are Sweeter!

Adding to an already impressive lineup, Alchemy has recently released its Alchemy Spirit House Reposado Agave Spirit No. 9 and the highly anticipated Alchemy Spirit House American Blended Whiskey single barrel. Zionsville’s first and ONLY tequilas are made from weber blue agave from Jalisco, Mexico. While perfect foundations for a margarita, both of Alchemy’s tequilas can be enjoyed neat. “The tequila is an 11-year-old weber blue agave that we ferment, distill and bottle in-house,” Nigbur explained. “Our Blanco is unaged, and our Reposado is aged for three months in French oak. They’re distilled the way tequila was distilled 50 years ago. The Blanco starts out sweet and ends spicey, and the Reposado starts out sweet and ends with spice and a hint of smoke.” Nigbur continued, “The new whiskey is an American blended whisky. It’s an 8- to 9-year-old George Dickel Whiskey from Tennessee. We blend it with our distillate that we have aging, and then we bottle it.” So, step up your game this Valentine’s Day and place your pickup orders or enjoy the evening in-person at Alchemy Spirit House. And indulge yourselves with Zionsville’s best microdistilled spirits! All Alchemy Fresh at Home cocktail kits orders must be placed by 10 p.m. the night before the designated pickup day. Call (317) 600-1858 to place your orders. Visit Alchemy Sprit House online at alchemymicrodistillery.com for hours of operation and additional information.

Let’s face it, times have been tough and more than a little underwhelming. Why not make this Feb. 14 a little (or a lot) better—depending on how you pour—by ordering one of Alchemy’s specialty craft cocktails, available only on Valentine’s Day! “We will be featuring a Godiva Chocolate Martini with an Ovaltine rim, inhouse, on Valentine’s Day,” Nigbur shared.


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Reporting for Duty Z P D

K - 9

M i k a

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick

The Zionsville Police Department (ZPD) and Zionsville community collectively mourned the passing of K-9 Jelka in the summer of 2019. Jelka’s handler of four years, ZPD’s K-9 Corporal Josh Stutesman, shared that he had reservations about selecting and working with another K-9 until he was introduced to Mika last November.


pon meeting the 1-year-old Belgian Malinois/Hungarian German Shepherd mix, Stutesman felt an immediate connection with Mika—one that he attributes to divine intervention and to his previous four-legged partner Jelka’s spirit. After six weeks of training up at Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, K-9 Mika reported for duty on Dec. 18, 2020, where she serves ZPD and the local community as a drug-detection, tracking and apprehension canine. I spoke with Stutesman about how Mika is adjusting to her official role and

to life in Zionsville, as well as the general purpose and success of ZPD’s K-9 Unit.

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ZPD’S K-9 UNIT ZPD K-9s are full-fledged police officers, and in addition to being terrific companions, they assist the department in reducing the number of officers needed for a search. K-9s also perform more thorough searches. ZPD currently has two K-9s, Thor and Mika. K-9 Thor and his handler, ZPD Officer Jacob Shelburne, have been a team since 2017. The benefits of having a police K-9 on the department include the following:


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A K-9s keen sense of smell helps them to detect items that a human officer might miss, especially drugs and bombs. With training, K-9s can even sniff out drugs that are sealed in plastic. K-9s can search for flammables and explosives. A positive indication from a K-9 is legal grounds to establish probable cause for a search. K-9s are frequently used to track missing people in search-and-rescue missions. Once a dog is given a piece of an item with the scent of a specific person, they can lead the police down the path that person took. This is also useful when tracking down suspects or escaped convicts. During a pursuit or search-and-rescue mission, every minute counts, so having this extra knowledge is invaluable. A K-9 program is costly. The cost of a K-9 can be as much as $10,000 upfront, and that doesn’t include the training of the dog and its handler, which can cost thousands more. Additionally, there are more expenses, such as insurance and specialized patrol vehicles. However, once the program is up and running, most departments can’t imagine going back to the days without a K-9 program.

A DIVINE MATCHUP I spoke with Stutesman about what it’s been like working with Mika after suffering such a devastating loss with Jelka and how much the community’s support helped him and his family through that grief. “I’m overwhelmed, not surprised, but overwhelmed by the support that I’ve gotten [from the community] with Mika and with the passing of Jelka,” Stutesman shared. “Typically, they don’t allow you to pick such a young dog—they’re usually 2 ½ years old before you can pick them—but there was something about her, and thank God that he guided me to her because I was leery about picking a second dog because I knew that no one would be like Jelka.” But, as Stutesman expressed, Jelka may have also had a hand—or paw, in this case—in his finding Mika. “I’m a believer that Jelka helped push us together,” Stutesman said. “I see a lot of her in Mika, and that’s helped us bond as quickly as we have.”


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A SPECIFIC SET OF SKILLS Not all K-9s have the same skill sets. In the case of Mika, she is a “dual purpose” or “multipurpose” canine. “Mika searches out narcotics in vehicles, homes, backpacks, lockers, purses or wherever I need her to search out,” Stutesman explained. “She is a tracking dog as well. So, if we have suspect that has run into the woods or into a home, etc., she would be able to track them down and locate them so we can safely apprehend them. If I need her to, she can also apprehend.” In addition to developing high-level skills, it is important for both a K-9 and its handler to develop a strong level of trust between one another. “Mika knows my emotions, and when we’re out working, that is something that helps build up the trust between us ever more,” Stutesman said. “People said they could see the bond that Jelka and I had, and I guarantee that they’ll be able to see it between Mika and I too. We have two incredible dogs here in Zionsville, and Mika’s only going to continue to get better from here on out.”

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK ZPD K-9s are undoubtedly earning their keep. Along with their handlers, the K-9s work alternating 12-hour shifts. And in their “downtime,” they are training with their handlers and sometimes other officers. But just like us, when their shift is done, K-9s like to come home and chill out. “We put in about 156 hours every two weeks, and we are on-call 24/7,” Stutesman said. “So, we could get a call at 1 o’clock in the morning to come out and search a vehicle. Working 12-hour shifts and

being always on guard is very tiring, so we have to give the K-9s a chance to rest so that they’re in tip-top form to do their jobs.” Additionally, Stutesman shared that the handlers and their K-9s train about 30 hours plus a month with a training group in Fishers, Indiana. “We have an amazing group that we train with from Fishers, Noblesville and other surrounding communities/ counties,” Stutesman expressed. “All of the training has to be real-life-scenario based. What happens with dogs is that if they’re not comfortable going into the woods because they don’t like the grass or the twigs hitting them in the face but they see their handler walk into the woods, showing them that it’s fine, that’s all they need to see to be comfortable with the situation.”

think we’re doing our jobs.” If you are interested in helping support the ZPD K-9 Unit with monetary donations for the care and upkeep of Mika and Thor, please direct your tax-deductible donations to Zionsville Police Department K-9 Fund, 1075 Parkway Drive, Zionsville, IN 46077.

KEEPING CRIME AND DRUGS FROM COMING INTO OUR COMMUNITY Since its inception, ZPD’s K-9 Unit has not only served our community and county but has assisted neighboring communities and counties as well. Stutesman emphasized the importance of keeping crime and drugs out of our county before it has the opportunity to penetrate Zionsville, and the K-9s are a vital part of those efforts. “Our K-9 unit is becoming seen as something that can be utilized beyond our town’s boundaries,” Stutesman said. “And that is a result of Officer Shelburne’s and Thor’s hard work and what they put into the unit as well. We both want to go out there and show the town and the surrounding counties that we’re not just strictly [protecting] Zionsville. Because we know what hap-


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pens in adjacent counties is only a few steps from coming into our town. So, if we can stop it from even entering our town and county, the better off we are. Our department has allowed us to help out surrounding towns, cities and counties, and without that support coming from our department, we would just be in our little bubble here, hoping that nothing comes in.” Stutesman concluded, “As K-9 handlers, we are more than happy to go out and help other communities because the more work we get to do with our dogs, the better and the more determined we are to make this one of the best K-9 units in the county and surrounding counties. If we’re out there helping to not only bring our community together but also work to keep it one of the safest places in America, then I



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D r . S e r v i e s S p e a k s A b o u t

Navigating Through Uncharted Waters as a County

medical and county officials but also to the county’s school districts and municipalities— all of which have been trying to navigate these uncharted waters successfully and safely over the last 10-plus months. “Last October, I retired from the clinical side of medicine,” Dr. Servies said. “We were well into the COVID-19 response that started March 2, 2020. As the county health officer [prepandemic], I would go up to the office once or twice a month and sign papers, etc., and leave. Now, since March 2, it’s been an 8 a.m.–4 p.m., five-days-a-week situation, not counting weekends and holidays.” As a direct result of the county’s response to the pandemic, Dr. Servies found himself working with county officials, school superintendents and folks that he

Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Witham Health Services

Boone County Health Officer Dr. Herschell Servies Jr. was recently awarded the 2020 Hometown Community Service Award, presented by Home National Bank. Additionally, he was one of two doctors named 2020 Healthcare Providers of the Year by Boone County Chamber—a distinction that Dr. Servies shares with his colleague Dr. Crystal Jones. Both doctors are affiliated with Witham Hospital Services in Boone County, Indiana.



Many residents know Dr. Servies as a lifelong Boone County resident and devoted physician who has served the greater Boone County community for the majority of his career. His role as the

health officer at Boone County Health Department for the last two decades plus has become an even greater service to our county throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March of 2020. Dr. Servies’ extraordinary leadership and proven guidance have been instrumental to not only


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typically had not interacted with a great deal. “I’ve become really good friends with all of the school superintendents,” Dr. Servies shared. “I’ve also gotten to know our county commissioners, county attorney and others really well. I’ve made a lot of friends, and I’ve made enemies too because of the decisions that have had to be made that nobody else wanted to make.” Dr. Servies sits on two command task force committees, one for Boone County— the Boone County Unified Command Task Force—and another for Witham Health Services that is comprised of the hospital’s top doctors and specialists, including Dr. Jones, who is an infectious disease specialist. These task forces were organized to help our county’s respec-


2021-01-20 2:23 PM

tive medical and elected leadership navigate through the COVID-19 crisis and to provide guidance for the entire county as it pertains to the pandemic protocols and, most recently, the vaccination efforts. “It’s been terribly emotional for me at times, making these decisions,” Dr. Servies expressed. “This is my home and community, and I know that many of the events are not only traditions but are for the churches and civic organizations to raise money for scholarships and all that. That’s why this has been so emotional for me.” Dr. Servies continued, “We’ve made decisions that include converting areas of the hospital so that we can have beds for COVID-19 patients and plans to convert the

impact on people’s desire to become vaccinated and rightfully so. But Dr. Servies, along with his task force members, continue to work at educating the public with facts and is encouraging people in our county to get vaccinated when it becomes available to them. “We’ve got to start getting these vaccines in peoples’ arms,” Dr. Servies said. “I was one of the first doctors here to get it, and it so happens that on my three-week return for the second dose was just a few days after my knee surgery. I really didn’t feel like getting it done, but I still went in and got it. I know that there are rumors that the vaccines won’t cover the most recent mutations, and there is no easy way to get the truth out there to

Boone County Fairgrounds into a field hospital situation should we need it. We’ve had discussions about obtaining special equipment and ventilators. There for a while, we were running out of ventilators. And now, the big issue is getting all of our employees immunized. This whole thing has been a learning process, and there’s something new each day.”

THE PUSH TO GET OUR COUNTY VACCINATED The greatest concern that Dr. Servies has is that the public—in general—is suffering from information overload and has become leery of recommendations that have been published by the CDC and other medical and scientific sources. This distrust has had a significant

everybody, but the bottom line is the vaccines are going to cover the mutations.” When asked what we as individuals and residents of Boone County can do to bring our positive cases down and reduce our current category of “red” to the bottom of the stack, Dr. Servies responded, “Wash your hands, wear masks, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick and continue social distancing. If we don’t remain diligent on doing these things and if we don’t start getting shots in the arms of people, then people are going to die. Period.” For the most recent information on COVID-19 vaccine registration and who is currently eligible, visit ourshot. in.gov.

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ANSWERS YOUR FINANCIAL QUESTIONS Which is the correct spelling: Advisor or Adviser? As it turns out, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn’t care as long as the “advisor” doesn’t spell it b-r-o-k-e-r. Regulation Best Interest restricts the use of the word Advisor

The SEC issued a ruling known as Regulation Best Interest to reduce investors’ confusion. The regulation restricts the use of the term “advisor,” regardless of its spelling, to companies who operate as Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). Brokers and others who manage personal finances who are not RIAs have been asked to remove the term “advisor” in their marketing. The ruling went into effect on June 30, 2020. According to a CNBC article (“Your financial advisor may not actually be an ‘advisor’”), a joint study conducted by the Rand Corporation and the SEC’s Office of the Investor Advocate estimates that more than 40% of investors think “broker” and “advisor” are interchangeable titles and believe both are required to act in their clients’ best interests. So just what is the big deal here? What’s the distinction between a broker and an advisor? Simply put, it is the difference between selling and advising.

What does a Broker do?

A broker performs transactions on behalf of a client and receives a sales commission for facilitating the transaction. Brokers may also personally benefit from commissions paid by companies to incent the distribution of a specific product. These products could

include annuities, certain share classes of mutual funds, long term care, and life insurance. The only requirement is that the product must meet the low bar of being “suitable” for the client. It could be said there is a conflict of interest innate to this arrangement.

What does a Registered Investment Advisor do?

Conversely, RIAs are paid a fee for the advice they provide rather than sales commission on products sold. Financial advisors are held to a higher standard than “suitable”: they work in “fiduciary” capacity, which means they must act in the client’s best interest when providing advice or recommendations. In a fiduciary capacity, advisors typically have fewer conflicts of interest embedded in their recommendations. Earning compensation by providing sound advice mitigates the potential conflict of interest inherent to those living on commissions from product sales.

What happened to the DOL Fiduciary Rule? Before Regulation Best Interest, in an earlier attempt to contain the conflict of interest rampant in the financial industry, the Department of Labor (DOL) approved a fiduciary rule that would require anyone offering retirement investment guidance to operate strictly in the clients’ best interest. However, the implementation of the so-called

“fiduciary rule” suffered a series of delays and was eventually vacated by a March 2018 circuit court ruling. At that time, the DOL laid out a picture of America’s advice crisis in a widely distributed Fact Sheet that highlighted the flaws with the current system, much of which is relevant today: While many advisors do act in their customers’ best interest, not everyone is legally obligated to do so and some do not. Many investment professionals, consultants, brokers, insurance agents and other advisers operate within compensation structures that are misaligned with their customers’ interests and often create strong incentives to steer customers into particular investment products. These conflicts of interest do not always have to be disclosed and advisers have limited liability under federal pension law for any harm resulting from the advice they provide to plan sponsors and retirement investors. (Fact Sheet, United States Department of Labor, April 2012)

Why does Fiduciary matter?

To the advisors at SYM, the fact that so many practitioners resisted the obligation to put client interests first speaks volumes about the size of this problem throughout the industry. While regulatory agencies continue to address the challenge, it is critical that clients understand their professional relationships. Fiduciary duty is the strictest duty of care within the U.S. legal system. We believe strongly in maintaining a client-first, transparent

partnership with our clients. We operate in this manner because we believe it is the right way to conduct business. We do this by pursuing a combination of investments designed to provide the optimal combination of after-fee, after expense, after-tax returns in the context of a portfolio’s risk profile and your financial situation. SYM’s commitment to ethical behavior incorporates fiduciary duty and expands it. Every employee is required to abide by a firm-wide code of ethics overlay designed with the goal to shield clients from even subtle conflicts of interest. At the individual level, many SYM employees are also bound to additional codes of ethics as articulated by the CFP® (Certified Financial Planner®) Board, the CFA® (Chartered Financial Analyst®) Institute, the Indiana CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Society, the AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary®) board, the FPQP™ (Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™) board, and the Indiana State Bar Association. It’s in our DNA. If you or someone you know could benefit from a fiduciary relationship with a Registered Investment Advisor, we are here to serve.

Visit us at sym.com and reach out to start a nocost, no-obligation conversation.


DISCLOSURES: The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation is granted by fi360, formerly known as the Center for Fiduciary Studies. Those who earn the AIF® mark, successfully complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care, pass a comprehensive examination and attest to a Code of Ethics. Certified Financial PlannersTM (CFP®) are licensed by the CFP® Board to use the CFP® mark. CFP® certification requirements include: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, completion of the financial planning education requirements set by the CFP® Board (www.cfp.net), successful completion of the CFP® Certification Exam, comprised of two three-hour sessions, experience requirement: 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process, or 4,000 hours of Apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements, successfully pass the Candidate Fitness Standards and background check, agree annually to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) are licensed by the CFA® Institute to use the CFA® mark. CFA® certification requirements: Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or have equivalent education or work experience, successful completion of all three exam levels of the CFA® Program, have 48 months of acceptable professional work experience in the investment decision-making process, fulfill society requirements, which vary by society. Unless you are upgrading from affiliate membership, all societies require two sponsor statements as part of each application; these are submitted online by your sponsors. The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified public accountants in the US who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements. Certification is administered by each state. The Financial Paraplanner Qualified ProfessionalTM (FPQPTM) is a designation covering the financial planning process, the five disciplines of financial planning, general financial planning concepts and terminology. Individuals who hold this designation have completed the 10-module course of study, and then successfully passed an exam. Designees must adhere to the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct and complete sixteen hours of continuing education every two years. The opinions expressed herein are those of SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”) and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. SYM reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security. SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. SYM-20-67.

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2020-11-24 6:27 PM

Profile for Collective Publishing

Zionsville MONTHLY January 2021  

ZPD K-9 Mika Reporting for Duty With this month’s cover we welcome to Zionsville Mika, a new addition to the Zionsville Police Department’s...

Zionsville MONTHLY January 2021  

ZPD K-9 Mika Reporting for Duty With this month’s cover we welcome to Zionsville Mika, a new addition to the Zionsville Police Department’s...