Sunday, February 28, 2010

Take A Tour of the Circle This Summer

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana offers free guided tours of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis at 10:30 a.m. on the Fridays and Saturdays of the second and fourth weekends of June through October. No reservations are required, but there's no tour "if it's raining cats and dogs".

The tour around the physical and symbolic heart of Indianapolis tells the intriguing story of Monument Circle, past and present. You'll hear about the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and why the woman on top faces south. You'll learn the roundabout's role in the original city plan and the stories of the encircling architecture.

The tour departs from Borders Café, 11 South Meridian Street, a block south of Monument Circle. Where to park? Least expensive option is is one of the Circle Centre mall garages, $1.50 for three hours (enter from Georgia, Illinois, or Washington streets).

For more information, email Historic Landmarks or call 317:639-4534 or 800:450-4534.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brownsburg DOESN'T Make the News

Two big news events happened just west of Indy this week. First, a truck rammed into the Hendricks County Bank and Trust at 9:20 a.m. Thursday, pushing a brick wall three feet into the main office at the corner of Main and Green streets in Brownsburg. The next day, most of the eastern portion of the county (maybe a hundred thousand customers) were without electricity during the business day for more than 1-1/2 hours because of a Duke Energy glitch.

There was no reporting on either incident in The Indianapolis Star. WRTV-Channel 6 videoed the truck crash, but no other media reported on it.

This Indianapolis Observer thinks it's about time for a real news organization to begin operation in central Indiana.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sister City Delegation Visits Indianapolis

Indianapolis hosted a delegation of government, cultural and business leaders from its sister city of Hangzhou, China, yesterday, reports Inside INdiana Business. The group met with Mayor Greg Ballard and executives of Indianapolis Economic Development Inc. and toured several local attractions, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Conseco Fieldhouse.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, is a Sister City to Indianapolis. It is known for its pharmaceuticals and a manufacturing sector with a focus in automotive components.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Story of Madam C. J. Walker

A'Lelia Bundles, a journalist, former ABC News executive and an Emmy Award-winning producer, will discuss the life of Madam C. J. Walker (her great-great-grandmother) during a presentation 1 March in Room 450 of the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Ms. Bundles wrote the biography of Madam Walker, On her own ground. The life and times of Madame C.J. Walker. Madam Walker was one of the 20th century's most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs, and one of 15 women named to the National Business Hall of Fame. She moved her business to Indianapolis 100 years ago in 1910.

The event (a part of Women's History Month) will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center's fourth floor pre-function lounge. Ms. Bundles will speak at 6 p.m., and a book signing will follow.

Sponsored by the IUPUI Office for Women, Campus & Community Life, Multicultural Center, Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retnention and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

City Approves Additional Funding For Agencies

The City-County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County is directing $5.5 million to four groups to help seek new investment and create jobs, reports Inside INdiana Business. Indianapolis Economic Development Inc. will receive $3.5 million, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association $1.5 million and the Department of Metropolitan Development and the Office of Education Innovation will split $500,000. The money comes from companies that received tax abatement packages but failed to meet obligations.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conner Prairie's Summer Camp

Each week from 7 June through 30 July, the Adventure and Art Camps will be home to hundreds of children ages five to 14 who will spend their days exploring the land, water and sky, while "letting their inner artist shine". Registration for Conner Prairie Interactive History Park’s 2010 Summer Day Camps begins 5 March.

At Adventure Camp, children ages eight - 14 will take on the White River with canoe trips and tubing excursions, while five to seven year olds will explore Conner Prairie’s pond in pedal boats. Children will also hike through the backwoods of Conner Prairie, take on a challenge course, fish, swim, cook over a fire and explore the wild outdoors. New this year, adventure campers will slide into even more fun with Conner Prairie’s new Water Whoosh slide and Slip & Sled activity. With age-specific activity groups for all children, Adventure Camp has outdoor fun for every child.

At Art Camp, children ages eight to 14 will have the chance to explore painting, acting, pottery and weaving. From historical to modern crafts, campers will use the outdoors as inspiration for their work. Nature hikes and creative mediums will keep kids active while their inner artists take flight.

Both adventure and art campers will explore Conner Prairie’s historic areas, where they’ll discover what it was like to live and play in 19th-century Indiana, cozy up with animals big and small and see history in action. They’ll feel the heat from a blacksmith’s forge, soar 350 feet in the air aboard 1859 Balloon Voyage, jump in and help with farm chores and dance to the beat of a water drum.

New this year, School Break Camps will be offered 8 and 9 April and 21 and 22 October. April’s Spring Break camp for six to 13-year-olds, titled “Archaeology, Action and Art!” will run 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Campers will learn about and participate in a simulated archaeological dig, create pottery, canoe the Conner Prairie pond, build a wigwam and enjoy s’mores over the fire. Camp is $55/non-member, $50/member.

Adventure Camp and Art Camp run Monday through Friday, 7 June through 30 July, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Early arrival beginning at 8 a.m. and late departure until 5:30 p.m. are available. Camps are $185/week, $170/week for members. Additional children in the same family receive a $5 discount. For more information or to register, please call Guest Services at 317:776-6006, 800:966-1836, e-mail or online.

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, formerly known as Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement, was created by Eli Lilly in 1934. During January, February and March, Conner Prairie’s indoor areas are open. On 27 March, Conner Prairie’s five themed historic areas will re-open for the outdoor season. Go online or call 317:776-6006 or 800:966-1836 for dates, times and ticket prices.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mitch for President in 2012?

"Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has cracked open the door on a potential 2012 presidential run," writes Peter Schnitzler in

"Washington Post political writer Dan Balz on Monday quoted Daniels in a blog post as saying he’s reluctant, but now 'open' to the idea. Balz interviewed Daniels at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington D.C. over the weekend."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

'The Cherry Orchard' at Butler Next Weekend

Butler Theatre will present 'The Cherry Orchard', a play by Anton Chekhov, 24-28 February in Theater 168 of Lilly Hall Studio on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis. It is part of “The World Comes to Butler,” the theater's 2009-2010 season.

All performances take place in Lilly Hall Studio Theatre 168. They'll be at 8 p.m. 24-27 February, and 2 p.m. 27 and 28 February. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Call 317:940-9247 or email for tickets.

The play, in a translation by Paul Schmidt, will be directed by Elaina Artemiev. Written in 1903, the play was given its first production early in 1904. Chekhov viewed the work as a comedy and was deeply frustrated that Konstantin Stanislavski, directing at the Moscow Art Theatre, made it into a tragedy. Most people would have difficulty thinking of the play as a comedy because the loss of the family estate seems so poignant. Yet, as we observe the life onstage we conclude that the characters’ actions are either ridiculous or utterly inept. One might feel sorry for the family – but then surely they could have done a better job of preserving the heritage that they claim is so important to them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Museum of Miniature Houses

Several new exhibits are now on display at the Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections, 111 East Main Street, Carmel.

• "Home Suite Home" An exhibit of miniature homes depicting different architectural styles.

• "Chimney Sweeps" Thought to bring good luck, the Museum is displaying a whimsical collection of over 60 chimney sweeps. Some made of metal, some porcelain, another is a nut cracker, and several are even hand-carved!

• "Model Ships" From a whaler to a paddle boat, lovingly assembled model ships with intricate detail.

• Miniature Early American Tools and Implements Most made by Harold Cooley and donated to the Museum by Harold and Bea Abbott.

The Museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, and $2 for children under 10. For more information, call 317:575-9466.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Electric Cars in Indy?

A report on says that a plug-in electric-vehicle demonstration program in the Indianapolis area could begin as early as this spring, citing an announcement today by an official for clean-energy consortium Energy Systems Network.

Paul Mitchell, CEO of ESN, said officials are working to use plug-in hybrids made by several manufacturers, including Norwegian car maker Think Global, which plans to manufacture U.S. models in the northern Indiana city of Elkhart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New IUPUI Master's Degree

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has approved the state's first Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety (MSCJPS) degree program, at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, reports the IUPUI News Bureau.

Combining the strengths of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, the master's program promotes criminal justice with a management focus and offers the only opportunity for graduate study in Indiana in the broad and intricate field of public safety. An information session on the program will take place at 5:45 p.m. 11 May in Room 409 of the IUPUI Campus Center.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ballard Packs for India

According to staffer Joseph Baker, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is heading to India at the end of April, "to help generate additional relationships/economic development opportunities with South Asia".

This Indianapolis Observer wonders if he's just checking out where all those outsourced Hoosier jobs went!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bayh Quits!

As Paul K. Ogden notes on his blog: "There has to be more to this story. A two-term incumbent U.S. Senator doesn't suddenly pull out just days before the filing deadline unless there is a bigger reason than what Bayh cited."

Or, as Matthew Tully sez on his Indianapolis Star blog today, "What began as a slow and snowy Presidents Day in Indiana suddenly became one of the biggest political days in the state in this young century."

This Indianapolis Observer wonders when the second shoe's gonna drop!

UPDATE (16 February 2010):
Wonkette says, "Here is why he is not running: Congress is broken and our nation is on the brink of failure, so like a brave statesman, it is his duty to… run away from the problem as fast as possible and make buttloads of $$$ lobbying for one special interest or another!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Butler Ballet Dances "Swan Lake" in April

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s "Swan Lake", arguably the most popular of all classical ballets, will be performed in April by the Butler Ballet: at 8 p.m. 16 April, 8 p.m. 17 April and 2 p.m. 18 April. All three performances are in Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus in Indianapolis.

This romantic and tragic story is brought to life by the timeless beauty of the swans, the dark evil of the sorcerer and the eternal triumph of pure love. Music will be performed by the Butler Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Richard Auldon Clark.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Molecular Medicine Program for High School Students

Fifty of Indiana’s top high school students will gain special insights into the worlds of science, medicine and genetics during the Molecular Medicine In Action (MMIA) program at the Indiana University School of Medicine 7 and 8 March, reports the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis News Bureau

The two-day successful program, now in its eleventh year, grants these select students the opportunity to work alongside some of the nation’s top researchers in the labs of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, located on the IUPUI campus.

IU scientists will guide students through laboratories and workstations where they will learn how gene mutations are identified, how DNA is isolated, how to use the latest microscopic imaging techniques and other fundamentals of modern biomedical research.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ever Wished You'd Attended Medical School?

The Indiana University School of Medicine's Mini Medical School, a program open to the public, has four sessions scheduled this winter. They are a live taping of the Sound Medicine radio program (18 February), a hands-on experience at Fairbanks Hall Medical Simulation Center (24 February), a session on the aging brain and gender differences in coping and managing (3 March) and "Why are we getting fatter?" (10 March).

Details on each session, including time and location, are on the website along with registration information. There is no charge to participate, but space is limited.

For more information, contact Mechele Hodge, 317:278-3315, or Michelle Benberry, 317:274-7722.

Mini Medical School is sponsored by the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indiana University National Center of Excellence in Women's Health and the IU School of Medicine Faculty Community Relations Committee. Presenters are faculty of the IU School of Medicine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coats the Carpetbagger

As Matthew Tully wrote in today's Indianapolis Star, "it's hard to get past the idea that Coats is a Virginian who wanted to be a North Carolinian but will now try to convince Indiana voters that he is still a Hoosier. Good luck with that."

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that maybe Dan Coats should be running for senator in one of his two favorite states (neither of which is Indiana)!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lawrence Krauss Discusses Physics

Lawrence Krauss will speak at 7:30 p.m. 24 February in the Reilly Room of the Atherton Union on the campus of Butler University, Indianapolis, as part of the 2009-2010 J. James Woods Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics.

Krauss is professor of physics and director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. A renowned theoretical physicist, Krauss is also a best-selling author. His seven popular books — including The Physics of Star Trek, Quintessence and Hiding in the Mirror — help make key theories and questions in modern physics accessible to lay readers. Krauss frequently writes for magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Saints Victory is a Win for One Indy Company

According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the Saints’ victory in yesterday's Super Bowl will do a lot more for the bottom line of the sports licensed division of Adidas Group than a Colts win would have.

Pre-game orders for Saints apparel, in the event that they won the game, were quadruple those for the Colts, according to Joe Cripe, vice president of operations for the sports licensed division, which is based in Indianapolis. According to the IBJ, Cripe expects to be producing Saints gear nonstop at least until Friday, with rotating 12-hour shifts at the Indianapolis plant.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentine's Day at the Ballet

Well, it's on the two days BEFORE Valentine's Day, but Friday or Saturday are better for a night on the town than Sunday anyway. The Indiana Ballet Company presents "From Shakespeare with Love" at 7:30 p.m. Friday (12 February) and at 2 and again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (13 February) in the auditorium at the Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis.

This original creation by the Indiana Ballet Company's Artistic Director, Alyona Yakovleva, reaches through history to weave together a timeless connection and expression of love through the universal language of dance. It includes diverse choreographic styles, periods and musical selections along with readings from Shakespeare.

For ticket and show information, go online or call 317:228-1917.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Two Authors Head to University of Indianapolis

The Kellogg Writers Series at the University of Indianapolis welcome two authors to campus this month. Organized by the university’s English department, the series will feature young-adult novelist John Green (pictured, left) on 8 February and fiction writer Doug Crandell (pictured, right) on 10 February. Each appearance begins at 7:30 p.m. in Good Hall on the UIndy campus, 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, and admission is free.

Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska (2005), won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in Young Adult literature, was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and has been translated into 13 languages. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines (2006), was a Michael L. Printz Honor Book and also a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. His latest novel, Paper Town (2008), was on the New York Times bestseller list for children's books and, in 2009, won the Edgar Award for best young adult novel.

Crandell has authored five books including The Flawless Skin of Ugly People. His short stories and essays have been anthologized in Mother Knows: 24 Tales of Motherhood; Stories From the Blue Moon Café: An Anthology of Southern Writers, and When I Was a Loser: True Stories of Barely Surviving High School. His new novel, The Peculiar Boars of Malloy, will be published this spring.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Weber, 317:788-3373.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Morris-Butler House Tours Resume

The Morris-Butler House, an 1865 Victorian landmark at 1204 North Park Avenue, Indianapolis, offers tours focused on architecture, decorative arts and family life in the Victorian era. From the dramatic formal parlor to the private living quarters for family and servants, you'll learn how an upper-middle-class family and their staff lived in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Rare furnishings, including an ingenious Wooton desk, fill rooms adorned with stenciled ceilings and elaborate wallpaper and plasterwork. In addition to its large permanent display of nineteenth-century art, the Morris-Butler House collection contains sculptures, paintings and lithographs from all over the world.

The home is owned and operated by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Open February through mid-December (closed January and holidays). Tours ($5) begin promptly on the hour.

The Morris-Butler House, a brick Second-Empire residence in the Old Northside neighborhood, takes its name from the two families who once lived there. In 1864, John Morris, the son of an Indianapolis settler, commissioned the construction of this house on land he bought from Ovid Butler, the founder of Butler University.

Morris was one of the first downtown residents to move to the new suburb north of downtown, but he was certainly not the last. What we now call the Old Northside quickly became the most fashionable place to live in Indianapolis. The Morris family occupied the house from 1865 to 1878, when they moved to Woodruff Place.

Noble Butler, a renowned bankruptcy lawyer, moved into the house three years later with his wife and seven young children. Members of the Butler family occupied the house until Florence Butler, Noble’s youngest daughter, died January 7, 1957.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Science Education in the Modern World; Why and How

Dr. Carl Weiman (pictured), the 2001 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, will speak at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis on 11 March as part of the Center for Teaching and Learning's Winter Lecture series. This lecture series honors nationally recognized scholars who have made a contribution to their discipline as well as teaching and learning within their discipline.

Dr. Wieman will talk of how, guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing how many teachers badly misinterpret what students are thinking and learning in traditional science classes and from exams. However, research is also providing insights on how to do much better. The combination of this research with modern information technology is setting the stage for a new approach that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students is needed for the 21st century. Wieman will discuss the needs of science education in the modern world for all citizens, and describe what research is telling us about how the brain learns, the failures of traditional teaching practices to meet today's educational needs, and teaching practices that have been shown to be much more effective.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is possible. The event on 11 March in CE 450, Campus Center, IUPUI, will begin with a reception from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. followed by the lecture from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Music for All National Festival to be in Indy

The Music for All National Festival will be held in Indianapolis 4-6 March. It includes the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, National Percussion Festival and the Middle School National Music Festival. The Festival also features concerts by the Honor Band of America, the Honor Orchestra of America and the Jazz Band of America.

Concert venues include Hilbert Circle Theatre (Honor Orchestra of America), Clowes Memorial Hall (National Concert Band Festival and Honor Band of America) and The Warren Performing Arts Center (Sandy Feldstein National Percussion Festival and Middle School National Music Festival).

For more information, go online.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Art Park Opens in June at IMA

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is set to open one of the largest museum art parks in the country, reports Inside INdiana Business. A grand opening for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will be held 20 June. The park, located on land adjacent to the museum, will feature eight inaugural work by international artists, followed by the ongoing commission of temporary, site-responsive artworks. To date, IMA has raised $23.6 million toward the Park’s campaign goal of $25 million.