Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Ayres" Cherub Returns

Here's the legend:

It was 1946. World War II just ended and thousands returned home from military service. Among them, Virginia Holmes--a prize-winning commercial artist--came back to Indianapolis and started her career in the advertising department at L.S. Ayres & Company, then a prominent department store downtown.

When it came time to compose the 1946 holiday catalog, merchandise was still in short supply, so Holmes created whimsical cherubs to fill the somewhat empty pages. The cherubs captured hearts and began an Indianapolis holiday tradition that continues today.

Customer response to the cherubs was so great, Ayres perpetuated their appearance in its 1947 holiday advertising. It was Ayres’ 75th Anniversary, and that called for a special addition to their holiday celebration plans.

Ayres commissioned nationally recognized Indianapolis sculptor and Herron School of Art instructor, David Rubins to create a bronze cherub for the store’s landmark clock, located on the outside of their building on the corner of Washington and Meridian streets.

As the story is told, the whimsical Cherub mysteriously appeared atop the clock on Thanksgiving Eve 1947 to keep a watchful eye on the holiday shoppers until Santa took over on Christmas Eve. In the 66 years since, thousands have had the pleasure of seeing the Cherub perched atop the famous clock each holiday season. This powerful tradition lives in the hearts and minds and memories of a city and its grateful citizens.

The May Department Store Company purchased L.S. Ayres in 1986 and in 1992, moved the Cherub to its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

There was tremendous public outcry when the Cherub did not appear that holiday season. So May donated the Cherub to the City of Indianapolis and in 1994 Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. became the Cherub’s legal guardian.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sell Indy's Parks? Really?

"IndyParks put out a request for proposals Friday that could lead to privatization of some or all of the city’s parks and recreation facilities," reports

This Indianapolis Observer is stunned that the mayor would consider selling off the city's premier public spaces. Will there be nothing left owned by we the citizens?

International Festival Ends Today

Today's the last day for this year's International Festival. Get to the Indiana State Fairgrounds between noon and 6 p.m. and meet some of your neighbors who've come here from around the world.

A picture gallery!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Indy's International Festival Weekend

Here's what you missed on Friday: Naturalization Ceremony!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sell Off the City's Parks?

"IndyParks put out a request for proposals Friday that could lead to privatization of some or all of the city’s parks and recreation facilities," reports

This Indianapolis Observer is stunned that Indianapolis would consider privatizing the city's premier public spaces. Will there be nothing left owned by we the citizens?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Indy's Poverty Rate Skyrockets

Sheila Kennedy writes, "while we’ve been focusing on bright shiny objects like cricket fields and Super Bowls, we’ve had an 88 percent increase in poverty."

Yes, folks, the poverty rate in Indianapolis has increased an astonishing 88 percent over the last decade, according to the Center for Economic Opportunity, which used U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 and 2012 for its computations.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indiana During a War

"How could a Democrat obtain justice under [the president's] tyranny, they lamented, if a man could be both illegally arrested by the Army and later gunned down while in the act of fleeing, and his murderer acquitted?"

No, we're not talking the War on Terror under President George W. Bush, but an incident in Indianapolis during the Civil War.

Read it all here: "Murder in the Midwest"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cutting Off Your Nose....

The mother of your Indianapolis Observer used to warn: "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face."

It's the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating Gov. Mike Pence's ill-advised opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

As J. K. Wall reports in this week's Indianapolis Business Journal, "[E]ven conservative opponents of Obamacare said Pence's policy is problematic both economically and politically.... Even conservative health economists found Indiana's attempts to block Obamacare's tax subsidies puzzling."

It defies logic that the governor wants to keep 182,000 needy Hoosiers from enrolling in Medicaid, and disqualify, according to Wall, "an estimated 265,000 Hoosiers who would otherwise receive tax credits." But, there you have it.

In case your mother wasn't as descriptive as mine, that saying (which dates to the 12th century) describes a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem. As Devon Herrick, a health economist at the National Center for Policy Analysis, warns in the IBJ report, Gov. Pence is actively promoting "a strategy for getting defeated".

Friday, November 1, 2013

Leaf Season in Indy

Here's the latest from

1. 2013 Leaf Season – The 2013 Leaf Season will run from Monday, November 4 through Saturday, November 30.

2. Holidays – There will be NO TRASH, HEAVY TRASH, LEAF SERVICE or CURBSIDE RECYCLING SERVICE on Thursday, 11/28 in observance of Thanksgiving; however, all Thursday routes will be picked up on Friday, 11/29, and all Friday routes will be picked up on Saturday, 11/30.

3. Item Limits – Residents may set out up to 40 bags of leaves per week in addition to their regular trash. Please place leaves in the same location they put out trash (curb or alley), but keep them 3-5 feet away from their trash. Before 11/4 and after 11/30, all trash and yard waste must fit inside the 96-gallon cart (in cart areas). Items outside the cart will not be picked up.

4. Setout Procedures – Leaves should not be set out loose in cans. Loose leaves will pack into a can and not come out easily. As a result, all leaves need to be bagged for pickup. Kraft paper bags are acceptable, but not recommended. They tend to break down very quickly when wet, leaving a mess. Also, leaves should not be set directly in contact with the 96-gallon cart (in cart areas). If they are, the cart may not be able to be emptied. Additionally, before and after leaf season, all trash and yard waste must fit into the cart. Trash or yard waste outside the cart before 11/4, or after 11/30 will not be picked up. During leaf season, only leaves will be taken by the leaf truck. Additional trash that will not fit inside the cart but is set out with leaves will not be picked up.

5. Collection Procedures – Leaves and trash are collected separately. Please make sure residents who call in same day complaints understand that if only one has been picked up so far that day, the other will be picked up by a separate truck before the day is over. We will not inspect same-day complaints that are received in order to allow crews time to service all routes.

6. Compost – Leaves collected during the 2013 leaf season are taken to Southside Landfill where they are turned into compost. When ready, the compost is made available to Indianapolis residents at no charge. Please call Southside Landfill at 247-6808 for availability of compost.

7. Complaints prior to and after the leaf season dates: If we receive any calls regarding missed leaves either BEFORE 11/4 or AFTER 11/30 please make sure that they are coded as a missed hand or cart collection, and NOT as a missed leaf collection. Missed leaf collection codes are to be used only during leaf season. Again, in cart areas, all trash/leaves must be in carts in order for it to be picked up either before or after leaf season.