Monday, May 31, 2010

And, the Winner Is....

Dario Franchitti, the winningest British driver in U.S. open-wheel history, won yesterday's 500-Mile Race.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

....Start Your Engines!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trash Pickups Delayed Next Week

This Indianapolis Observer has received a reminder from the Indianapolis Department of Public Works:

There's no residential trash, heavy trash, or curbside recycling service on Monday, 31 May (Memorial Day). All residential trash, heavy trash, and curbside recycling routes will run one day behind for the entire week, with Friday routes being serviced on Saturday, 5 June. All services will return to normal schedules on Monday, 7 June.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Would a Tax By Any Other Name Still Reek?

"An Indianapolis City-County Council committee yesterday voted 6-1 to raise a number of business taxes, er "fees," as requested the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard."

Read the rest of "A Tax By Any Other Name is Still A Tax" on Paul K. Ogden's blog here.

He concludes, "Mayor Ballard and the Republican Council: Make no mistake about it, a tax increase by any other name is still a tax increase."

No kidding!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Teach For America

Teach For America will place 75 of its new teachers in Indianapolis schools for this year's fall term.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Castroneves on the Pole, Again

According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 36 qualifying attempts were completed in Segment 1 that filled the 24 available positions. The remaining nine spots will be filled May 23 on Bump Day.

Helio Castroneves captured Pole Position with a run of 2 minutes, 38.7485 seconds. His run included a lap at 228.213 mph – the fastest of the month.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Danica Booed at IMS

News reports say that popular driver Danica Patrick was booed by the crowd at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today when she blamed her poor qualifying run on her race car's setup.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Nut Graph

"Mayor Greg Ballard's proposed designed to do an end-run around property tax caps by increasing water bills instead of property taxes."

--from Kurt Wiegand's "letter to the editor" in today's Indianapolis Star

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Re-re-reinventing the City Market?

A market virtually since the founding of the Hoosier capital city, the Indianapolis City Market has announced plans to reinvent itself, once again. nevermind that we spent $2.7 million three years ago to renovate the main hall -- an effort that has not stemmed the institution's decline.

This Indianapolis Observer has visited (and shopped in) vibrant food markets in other cities (Seattle, Los Angeles, Paris...). Indy is stymied because office workers won't buy fresh when they've got to return to work, and there just aren't enough people living downtown to make it worthwhile. Tourists? With Market Square Arena an unpaved parking lot, there's little reason to head to that side of town.

The solution? Dunno. But pitching more money into yet another renovation is probably throwing good money after bad. Hmmmmm. $2.7 million would keep those six library branches open for another year, yes?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

History, Myth, and Current Events

The whimsical ceramic figurines (pictured) of Professor Dee Schaad, chairman of the University of Indianapolis' Department of Art & Design, are a familiar sight on the UIndy campus. This month, local art lovers have a chance to see them in a downtown Indianapolis gallery.

The exhibition, "History, Myth, and Current Events", continues through 1 June at Carreño Studio and Gallery, 901 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis.

Professor Schaad cites influences such as Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymous Bosch in discussing his humorous and sometimes grotesque portrayals of figures from literature, politics, mythology and pop culture.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shell Game Continues with Utilities Scam

Gary Welsh writes in his blog today: "City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn continues in his efforts to ram through a plan to transfer the utilities currently owned by the City of Indianapolis to Citizens Energy, a public benefit corporation owned by the residents of Marion County, in a deal that forces the utility to pay $263 million to the City to finance pork barrel projects supported by Mayor Ballard and the Republican-led council, and that forces on Citizens a one-sided operating agreement that allows the client of Vaughn's law firm to continue operating the water utility."

No equivocation there, folks. All eyes are on the City-County Council tonight. Will they roll over and do Barnes & Thornburg's bidding? Indy taxpayers are about to take it on the chin, again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"The Simons just can't pick up the team and move."

"This morning [16 May] Francesca Jarosz of the Indianapolis Star has an interesting front-page article about the Pacers contract suggesting it is unlikely that the team would move. The article (which apparently is not on-line) for the first time contains the correct observation by a reporter that in order for the Pacers to even exercise the early termination provision, the team has to be relocated and sold."

Read more at Paul K. Ogden's blog: "The CIB Continues to Misrepresent the Pacers-Conseco Fieldhouse Contract".

Maybe, surmises this Indianapolis Observer, the Capital Improvements Board thinks that if they want something to be true, and repeat it often enough, it will become true....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wanna Get World Cup Soccer in Indy?

Hey, soccer fans! If you'd like to help Indianapolis win its bid to be one of the host cities for either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup™, go online to sign the petition! Indy is an official US Bid Committee host city.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Utilities Ownership Swap Explained

Paul K. Ogden explains the water company sale to the gas company in his blog today.

"Folks, we are selling the water and sewer utilities to ourselves, a paper transaction used to generate up front cash for a tax increasing, corporate welfare loving administration that is recklessly spending our tax dollars."

Even this Indianapolis Observer understands that. What is inexplicable is why we're going along with this obvious sham: "the pretend sale of the utilities that is nothing more than a last ditch effort by an unpopular Mayor to save himself by handing out election year, pork barrel projects."

UPDATE (15 May):
There's much, much more explanation (historic, legal, political) on Gary R. Welsh's Advance Indiana blog here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Mayor Ballard

This Indianapolis Observer remains astonished at the politically obtuse Indianapolis Mayor. Prime example today? The ballooning payoff planned for the Pacers.

As Paul K. Ogden notes in his blog today: "Having [Paul] Okeson represent the public against the Pacers is a little like putting John Dillinger in charge of counting the money in the the bank vault then wondering why stacks of cash are missing. Okeson, a former Mayor Ballard Chief of Staff who went from that job to one with city contractor Keystone Construction, has made it clear from the beginning that his role on the board is to find some way of getting the billionaire Simons family $15 million more of our tax money...strike that, it's up to $18 milion now."

Gary Welsh, over at his blog, agrees that Okeson should resign for his myriad conflicts of interest.

Let's see: closing six library branches saves $2.2 million a year. So, that one-time payoff to the Simons equals almost eight years of keeping those branches open. Way to go, Ballard!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Richard Branson Due in Indy in September

Virgin Group Founder and Chairman Sir Richard Branson will keynote the annual user conference for ExactTarget clients set for 14-16 September in Indianapolis. Registration is available online.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Say You Weren't Warned!

"Corporate giveaways are a way of life in Indianapolis," notes Paul K. Ogden in his blog today. Next up? Millions for the Pacers, even as we close library branches. What's wrong with this picture, Indy?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kenyan-Americans Win Mini-Marathon, Again

The "500" Festival reports that Janet Cherobon has won her fourth straight Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis -- and broke a race record!

In fact, a pair of familiar faces sprinted to the finish to win the men’s and women’s races in the 2010 Mini-Marathon. Janet Cherobon made it four wins by edging out Belainesh Zemedkun near the finish, while Festus Langat won his second straight Mini-Marathon by pulling away from a three-man race down the stretch.

Cherobon, a Kenyan native who lives in Rome, Ga., has won several marathons this year. Her college resumé includes collegiate national championships in the 5,000-meter outdoor and 10,000-meter outdoor; she will be inducted in the NCAA Division III Track and Field Hall of Fame later this month. Weather conditions didn’t affect the 31-year-old Cherobon, who won in a record time of 1:10:59 – well below her 2009 winning time of 1:12.22.

In the men’s race, Langat was in a pack that included Ondara Macdonard and Alene Reta. But a late kick down the stretch put Langat in control. The Kenyan native who lives in West Chester, Pa., won in 1:02.51, three seconds ahead of Macdonard.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Progressive Dinner Tour on Old Northside

Six historic sites on the city’s Old Northside will celebrate spring by hosting “Stroll into Spring,” a six-course progressive dinner tour from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 14 May. The progressive dinner tour will feature a blend of private homes and historic museums that includes the Morris-Butler House, the Patton home, the Hammond home, the President Benjamin Harrison Home, The Propylaeum Club, and Butler-Vonnegut House, and their individual architectural interest, art, and music as well as memorable food.

The special evening will begin at the Morris-Butler House, 1204 North Park Avenue, Indianapolis, with hors d’oeuvres. Soup will be served at the Pattons’ home, 1508 Broadway, Indianapolis. The Hammond Home, 612 East 13th Street, Indianapolis, will serve the salad course. Palates will be cleared with sorbet at the Harrison Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis. The entrée will be served at The Propylaeum Club, 1410 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis. The evening will close with dessert provided by the Yellow Rose Inn at the Butler-Vonnegut House, 604 East 13th Street, Indianapolis.

Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the Morris-Butler staff: 317:636-5409. Deadline for reservations is Monday, 10 May. Tickets are $70 per person. Proceeds from the evening support educational programming at both the Harrison Home and the Morris-Butler House.

Parking will be provided at the Morris-Butler House, the President Benjamin Harrison Home and The Propylaeum.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Public Gardens Day

In celebration of National Public Gardens Day -- tomorrow (7 May) -- the horticulturalists of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 North Michigan Road, Indianapolis, will offer guided, in-depth tours of the gardens at 9 a.m., 11 a.m, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tours start at the IMA’s Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse gate. In addition to the tours, the Greenhouse will offer a 10% discount off entire purchase to all shoppers from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Renewable Energy Forum

A Renewable Energy Forum will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday (7 May) in the University Place Conference Center and Hotel, Indianapolis, by the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at the School of Engineering at Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Keynote speaker is Paul Dickerson, a partner at Haynes and Boone law firm, where he established a Clean Tech practice group in 2008. From 2005 until 2008, he served as the COO of the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy where he was in charge of the EERE’s budget for transitioning clean energy technologies to the marketplace.

The workshops will also feature Wally Tyner from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University; Mike Neibler, the CEO of Xylogenics, Inc., and Cary Aubrey the Bio-Fuels Program Manager from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

Registration is $75 ($15 for students) and includes lunch. Contact Amanda O'Neill, 317:274-0815.

The Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy was established in March 2007 to address the societal needs for clean, affordable and renewable energy sources, improve the nation's energy security, and reduce global warming. Its primary mission is to promote research excellence in the area of renewable energy through collaborative efforts among faculty in the disciplines of engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental affairs. It will promote renewable energy applications through teaching, learning, civic engagement, and synergistic partnerships with industry, government labs and local communities.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The artist reception and open studio night for "I AM MAY" is 6 to 10 p.m. Friday (7 May) in the Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis. Featured artists are Phillip Lynam, Ben Valentine, John Ross, Lindsey Lord, Amelia Morris, Tascha Horowitz, Thomas Lemanski, Gary Hutchison, Heather Hudson and Kris Arnold.

Also that night:
In the Gallery Annex and Hank & Dolly's Gallery - Herron High School inaugural Senior class show.
In Gallery No. 2 - Into the Maelstrom - new work by Brian Hull.
In the gymnasium - Bicycle polo!
In the courtyard - Mary Claire performs at 8pm.
Across from the Harrison Gallery - Youth Music Exchange.
In the Underground - St. Richard's School student work.
Throughout the building - 21 HCA artist studios.
And, check out the release of Artur Silva's clothing line, Cultural Cannibals, in his 2nd floor studio.

The exhibit hangs through 29 May. There's more information via email.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Broad Ripple Art Fair

Indy kicks off its art fair season 15 and 16 May with the Broad Ripple Art Fair. The Art Fair takes place on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center (820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis), the 12-acre ARTSPARK and the North Side Optimist Opti-Park, located at 67th Street and College Avenue in the Broad Ripple Village Cultural District. Parking is available around Broad Ripple or you can take a shuttle bus from the following locations: Broad Ripple High School, Broad Ripple Park and Glendale Mall (overflow parking lot on Rural street).

With more than 225 artist booths, four stages of live entertainment and two gourmet food courts, families will have plenty to see, do and buy! Note: visitors on Saturday (15 May) may stop by the Indianapolis Art Center's booth in the Artist Field to get a free pass to return on Sunday (16 May). Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday -- and, yes, it's held rain or shine! Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults, and $2 for children(ages 3-12).