An international treasure at IUK
Nikki Giovanni visits Kokomo; also, battery plant places first steel, KPD arrests two on drug charges
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An evening filled of humor, laughter, and storytelling by the one and only Nikki Giovanni left an audience in IU Kokomo’s Havens Auditorium in satiety Tuesday night. The soon-to-be 80-year-old international treasure graced the campus with her presence once again.
Having been a guest lecturer at IU Kokomo in the mid 90’s and early 2000’s, Giovanni spoke with an untamed familiarity with the city and school community. She bluntly spoke on matters concerning herself, current and historical events through a lens of a strong black woman, as if she was in her home sharing glass of wine with a friend.
Tina Robinson stated, “The evening was full of snippets of information about women who have made a difference in our history and sprinkled with Nikki G. style humor. I hated for it to end.”
Giovanni, having been dubbed by one writer as the “Poet of the Black Revolution,” indeed she had the audience busting a gut as she shared her life. She delved into relationships that influenced her the greatest in her formative years, from the Pullman Porters that watched over she and her sister on trips they took, her grandmother she helped hang bed sheets with to be dried in the southern breeze, to her dear friend Rosa Parks who she appreciated for deciding to sit back down, even reading a poem dedicated to her dear friend, Rosa.
Giovanni strolled her way through current events that have left a legacy of tragedy and controversy in our society. She commented on Donald Trump, Tyre Nichols, even the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, which she had been asked to speak at a rally to a somber crowd one evening after the tragic drama unfolded. She made an extraordinary connection between the Virginia Tech story and where she attained her education at Fisk University.
The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, was present at Virginia Tech mourning the loss of students and faculty who had lost their lives senselessly. Afterwards, Giovanni had an opportunity to speak with the Queen and expressed that the Queen’s great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, had saved her alma mater, Fisk University, with money earned by the Fisk Jubilee Singers which the Queen had tour throughout the country.
Giovanni spoke of historical figures most have only ever read about in the history books. She spoke of them as close friends and family. While telling the story of her life, she read a couple of her poems, which left people mesmerized by her way with words.
Giovanni, a wordsmith born a Tennessean, an Ohioan by way of the south, has won numerous awards including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award. She has been nominated for a Grammy for her poetry album, “The Nikki Giovanni Collection.” She has also been named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.”
As one audience member, Stefani Quarles, put it, everyone “was in the presence of a beautiful, timeless legend in the small town of Kokomo, Indiana.”
Stellantis/Samsung places first steel
The first I-beam which will serve as part of the framework for StarPlus Energy, the new electric vehicle battery plant on the city’s north side, was put into place on March 22. Officials from Stellantis and Samsung SDI joined local officials in signing the beam to commemorate the construction milestone.
The event was highlighted by the presence of Seiwon Chun, CEO of the joint venture. He signed the beam before being joined by the other officials in attendance. The group then watched as a giant crane moved the beam into position.
Construction on the $2.5 billion battery plant is taking place seven days a week, with a target of the first quarter 2025 as the start of production at the facility. Once in operation, the facility will manufacture lithium-ion batteries for use in Stellantis electric vehicles. The plant is expected to employ 1,400 workers.
Former Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman participated in the signing and called the installation of first steel “a transformative moment” for Kokomo and the surrounding community.
Visit the Kokomo Lantern’s Facebook page and group for additional photos and video of the I-beam being moved into place.
KPD arrests two on drug charges
On March 21, 2023, officers with the Kokomo Police Department's Drug Task Force executed a search warrant in the 800 block South Plate Street. Officers located suspected methamphetamine, heroin, and a handgun that was reported stolen to the Kokomo Police Department in February 2023.
As a result of the items located, Chevron Smith was arrested and charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Neglect of a Dependent, and Possession of Stolen Property/Theft.
Monick Smith was also arrested and charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Neglect of a Dependent, and Possession of Stolen Property/Theft.
This case remains active. Please contact the Kokomo Police Department at (765) 456-7017 if you have additional information about this case. You can always report tips anonymously by downloading the "Kokomo PD" mobile app from the iOS or Google Play Stores. You can also text a tip to us by texting TIPKPD, then a space, and then your tip, and send it to 847411.
Remember all defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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