Good morning Columbus. What you need to know — heartbreaking heroin story from Hope (video); Super Saturday nail-biter; 2-year-old injured; is Indy cool enough for Amazon

Good morning Columbus —

Today we are introducing you to Bartholomew County resident Erika Hurt as part of our project examining the opioid epidemic in Bartholomew County.

You may remember the devastating photo of Erika, taken outside the Dollar General store in Hope. She’s passed out in her car, barely alive, a needle dangling from her hand, her 10-month-old son in the back seat. She had just shot up with what she thought was heroin.

That Erika is alive is a miracle.

Her story has some themes addiction experts say are common to people who struggle with addiction — childhood family dysfunction and trauma, a prescription for hydrocodone when she was a teenager and easy access to drugs.

Hurt told writer Julie McClure that she found it fairly easy to obtain free drugs — by hanging around with what she referred to as “that crowd” at Central Middle School and later at Columbus East High School.

We also talked at length with Hurt’s mom, Jami Smith, because when a family member is struggling with addiction, the disease sends the entire family into a frightening tailspin.

Watch the video below and read Erika Hurt’s story here: The Erika Hurt story.

Here’s what else you need to know —

Jake Hofelich, left, and his mom Brandy are dresses in blue and gold to support the Smith Elementary Sonics in the boys Elementary Basketball League championship at Columbus East High School in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, Jan 27, 2018. Smith beat Richards to win the championship. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Catching up on Super Saturday action.
We had a nail-biter at the elementary cheerleading competition this weekend: Link here for all the anxious final moments.  And Mike Wolanin’s photos from the Elementary Basketball League Championships clearly showed that the day was filled with fun. Above, Jake Hofelich, and his mom Brandy got behind the Smith Elementary Sonics in the best of ways!  Love these photos: Link here.

Child airlifted after crash.
Indiana conservation officers are investigating an off-road-vehicle crash that injured a 2-year-old child. Story here.

This is the headline: Is Indianapolis Cool Enough for Amazon? It Just Might Be.
New York Times writer James Stewart examines why long-shot Indianapolis might make sense for Amazon’s new headquarters — a $5 billion investment and 50,000 jobs. He also notes that an Irish betting site “had Indianapolis tied for for last among the finalists, with the odds of being chosen at 20 to 1. (Boston and Atlanta have been vying for the best odds, with Boston on top this week at 2 to 1.)” Link here for the interesting read.

Bruno Mars accepts the award for album of the year for "24K Magic" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

He’s out of this world, and That’s What I Like.
All is right with my music world this morning. Bruno Mars won nearly all the Grammys. Link here.

And we have our own local connection to the Grammys.
Grammy award-winning artists Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis were in Columbus recently to talk to young people about digital responsibility. Here’s the story and photos.

The rest: Soccer in Indy, Pence and a beverage giant is born.
Indy Eleven to play home matches at Lucas Oil Stadium … State of union is Tuesday but tonight Columbus native and Vice President Mike Pence will be here Caffeine-lovers take note:  Keurig to buy Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

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Scarlett Syse is group editor of The Republic. Contact her at