Friday, July 31, 2009

Animals and All That Jazz

Mark your calendars for the next installment of "Animals & All That Jazz" at the Indianapolis Zoo. On 6 August, Harvey & the Bluetones (pictured) will perform from 5:30-8:30 p.m. -- and, if you click here, you can access a $5 off coupon for that evening.) As usual, this event is free for members and included with regular Zoo admission.) Future concerts are 13 and 20 August.

Music-lovers can relax at the CafĂ© on the Commons picnic area (seating available on a first come first serve basis) or can gather around a picnic table or bring their own lawn chairs. "Don’t worry if you see a few clouds rolling in—the concert will move into the Party Pavilion in inclement weather," the Zoo notes. "Enjoy the music while you visit with friends or come and go from the concert to see the animals. The exhibits, rides, and the Kroger Splash Park will run until 7 p.m." There's more about "Animals & All That Jazz" online.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Capital Improvements Board Waltzes Along

"I'm glad I didn't waste the time to go over to the City-County Council meeting tonight," writes Gary R. Welsh in his Advance Indiana blog, "to listen to more than three hours of BS from high-paid downtown elites who've been doing the same song and dance for the past couple of decades that got the CIB in the financial mess it's in today, and each of whom has a personal financial stake in the outcome."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Council members are getting played...."

Did we elect naifs to the City-County Council? This Indianapolis Observer once thought that only seasoned politicos (or, at least friends or relatives of seasoned politicos) got elected. Guess not!

Here's what Paul K. Ogden reports on his blog today (emphasis added):

"I was at a Pike Township town hall meeting hosted by Councilors Jose Evans and Mike Speedy last week. CIB's representatives at the meeting were CIB executive director Barney Levengood and CIB board member Dorothy Henry. Like at the council meeting, Levengood and Henry attempted to skate by the Pacers $15 million question without answering it. Unlike the council committee meeting last night, in Pike the audience would not let them off the hook. They kept asking follow-up questions. Levengood and Henry eventually conceded that, yes, the $15 million Pacer subsidy was still part of the package and that the CIB intended to go through with it. Councilor Mike Speedy seemed stunned. I think he had been led to believe the CIB had dropped the idea."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back-to-School Event at the Children’s Museum

Celebrate the start of the new school year with games and activities at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis. Best part: admission is free -- because the event is scheduled during Target Family Free Night on Thursday, 6 August.

After meeting Indiana Fever basketball star Tamika Catchings and mascot Freddy Fever, families can enjoy fun activities for children of all ages relating to back-to-school AND see the museum’s permanent exhibits. For kindergartners, a yellow school bus will be parked outside to practice getting on and off before the first day of school. All kids can learn to dance to Zumba, a fusion of Latin music that doubles as fun and fitness.

Families should plan to arrive early to see Catchings (between 4 and 5 p.m.). The back-to-school event will run from 4-8 p.m.

Monday, July 27, 2009

IMS and Tony George

This Indianapolis Observer has had conversations with several members of the out of town press who are "shocked" and "amazed" at Tony George's ouster from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It seems that George, himself, is confused:

"I continue to be perplexed by the board’s recent decision to relieve me from my responsibility as CEO of the enterprise. To date, I have not received a reasonable explanation as to why; the statement they released to the press not withstanding, I feel as though after 20 years I am entitled to one. I understand that maybe they don’t feel that they owe me an explanation."

So writes Tony George at Vision Racing (source also of his photo, above).

This Indianapolis Observer is worried that this inter-familial dispute will adversely affect the Greatest Spectacle in Racing -- definitely a troublesome thought on the speedway's centennial!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Indy Mayor Leaves Town

"Mayor Ballard Touts CIB Tax Increases As Critical for Economic Future of Indianapolis; He Then Heads to Brazil During Committee Hearing on Proposal"

that's the headline on a posting on Paul Ogden's blog (and, that's the Brazil in South America, not the one in west-central Indiana). Read the whole thing here.

This Indianapolis Observer is speechless.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just Don't Go Away Mad....

News reports say that outgoing Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood will soon become vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corporation in Florida.

Monday, July 20, 2009

WIndiana Focuses on Wind Energy

The second annual WIndiana conference opens tomorrow (21 July) at the Indianapolis Convention Center. The two-day conference focuses on wind resources in Indiana for both utility level wind development, urban or smaller wind power, helping Indiana manufacturers enter or expand their presence in the wind industry supply chain, and what the future holds for the wind industry in the state.

WIndiana is hosted by the Indiana Office of Energy Development and Purdue Discovery Park for the Indiana Wind Working Group. Some 600 people are expected to attend the conference. The exhibition area includes over 50 exhibitors from a variety of vendors and organizations from across the country. On the second day of the conference, attendees can take a bus tour of the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, or tour the small wind facility that has just been installed at the Normandy Barn located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Politics is Never Transparent

On the surface it sounds inconsequential: the Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Mayor Greg Ballard wants to bid out management of the city's golf courses. But, then, things get murky. As Paul Ogden explains on his blog, it appears the contracts will be let for "personal services", as Mayor Steve Goldsmith did a few years ago. Ogden continues, "When contracts are for personal services, it is much easier to shake down potential contractors. It happens all the time with the city's legal work. That work is routinely channelled to the city's big law firms which contribute the most to the winning mayoral candidate. Indeed, then Mayor Goldsmith's financial reports at the time showed that every golf pro who won a contract to run a city golf course had made significant contributions to the Goldsmith campaign. Is there reason to expect anything less from the Ballard administration?"

This Indianapolis Observer doesn't play golf, but...good heavens, guys! Many Indy taxpayers do.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Negotiations with Gannett Go Federal

The Indianapolis News Guild will enter federal mediation with The Indianapolis Star next month, reports Editor & Publisher.

The Guild has filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint claiming the company threatened to issue its final offer if the union did not agree to certain bargaining dates.

The Guild also claims, "Gannett is claiming economic needs without providing proof, and they have so far failed to provide any relevant information to us regarding their justification for a double-digit percentage pay reduction".

Indiana Living Legends Gala is Tonight

Anita DeFrantz, Bobby "Slick" Leonard, P.E. MacAllister, and Melvin and Herbert Simon will be honored this evening at the annual Living Legends Gala in the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis. The Indiana Historical Society sponsors the event. Katharine M. Kruse and Joseph F. Miller are the co-chairs of the Indiana Living Legends 2009 event.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Delbrook Series Opens 9 September at Butler

The 21st annual Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series begins on 9 September with Butler University professor Andy Levy (pictured). His new book, A Brain Wider Than the Sky, earned rave reviews from both Time and Newsweek. He’ll be followed by mystery writer Walter Mosley (15 September), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham (23 September), C.J. Hribal (6 October), Katie Ford (19 October), Michelle Huneven (28 October) and Nick Flynn (11 November).

All events are free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary. For more information, call 317:940-9861.

Levy's presentation is at 6 p.m. 9 September in Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall on the Butler University campus. The Edna Cooper Chair in English and director of the Writer's Studio at Butler University, Levy’s credits include The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story, co-author of Creating Fiction: A Writer's Companion, and co-editor of Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology. His book The First Emancipator (Random House) was cited as a “Best of 2005” by the Chicago Tribune, Amazon and Booklist, and received the Slatten Award from the Virginia Historical Society. A Brain Wider Than the Sky, his new book, is about his battles with, and the history of, migraines.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dillinger On Display in Indy

An exhibition of media related to John Dillinger and his gang, including newly rediscovered documents, photos and testimonials, goes on display tomorrow (15 July) through 31 December 2009 at the Indiana State Library, 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis. Admission is free.

The exhibit was produced by students from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis with the assistance of Exhibit House through a grant from the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis Solution Center. Historical materials used for the exhibit come from the collections from the Indiana State Archives, the Indiana State Library, the Indianapolis Star, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Features of the exhibit include letters and official state documents pertaining to Dillinger from the Indiana Department of Correction, the Indiana State Police, the Governor's Office, and the offices of the Attorney General and Secretary of State. Materials from the Indianapolis Star include original depression-era photographs and articles about Dillinger and his gang.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lucas Income Goes to Colts, Not Indy

"Unlike the RCA Dome, all of the revenues generated from the stadium go to the Colts, and taxpayers get stuck footing the bill for all of the expenses, which are close to $15 million a year higher than the RCA Dome," writes Advance Indiana.

This Indianapolis Observer is speechless, once again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Super Bowl Surprises

"Most of the companies that agreed to help underwrite the 2012 Super Bowl are standing by their commitments even as the recession wreaks havoc on their businesses," writes Cory Schouten in The Indianapolis Business Journal. "Of $25 million pledged by more than 80 companies before last year’s bid process, only about $1 million is at risk, said host committee head Mark Miles. And some of that $1 million likely still will be paid, Miles said, though donors want to modify the five-year payment schedule to preserve cash during the recession.

"The host committee has been quietly approaching other potential donors to make up for the shortfall. And even though the big game is about 940 days away, event officials already are working out details for the festivities from a suite atop Pan Am Plaza."

OK, so far, but then he includes this zinger of a paragraph (italics added):

"During the event, the group must maintain a one-mile-wide 'clean zone' around Lucas Oil Stadium to prevent any non-NFL-sanctioned marketing activities. And it might temporarily relocate the U.S. Post Office facility across from the stadium."

What? What's a "clean zone"? One mile is virtually all of downtown (remember: it's a mile square, and the stadium is just south of South Street)! No non-NFL-sanctioned marketing activities by any of the downtown businesses? They can't "market" themselves during the Super Bowl timeframe? What the heck does that mean? And -- "relocate" Indy's main post office????

Paul K. Ogden has this to add: "Let's say you own a restaurant, six blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium and you want to put up a banner inside your establishment welcoming out-of-towners during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. That would be illegal under most 'clean' ordinances. Instead you have to buy your banner from the NFL or be subject to a several thousand dollar fine."

Remind this Indianapolis Observer again why hosting the Super Bowl is such a super idea!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Young GOP Chooses Hate"

The Daily Beast reports that Audra Shay (pictured), the Young Republican leader who became the subject of a national controversy after racist comments she wrote on Facebook and other social networking sites became known, won the race to become head of the Young Republicans by approximately 50 votes (out of about 950 voting delegates) at their national convention this afternoon in Indianapolis.

This Indianapolis Observer is appalled.

Learn About the CIB from the Guys in Charge

A presentation titled "Future of the Convention Center, Downtown & Proposal from the Special Session of the General Assembly" will be given by Don Welsh, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, Barney Levengood, Executive Director of the Capital Improvement Board, Craig Huse and John Short, members of the CIB, at 6:30 p.m. 21 July in the Perry Township Government Center, 4925 South Shelby Street, Indianapolis. (That's behind the fire station on Thompson Road near the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and Thompson Road.

It's hosted by Mike Speedy, 317:786-6689 (City-County Councilor for District 24) and Jose Evans, City-County Councilor for District 1. They promise time for comments and questions following the presentations, so this is your chance to make your voice heard.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Indianapolis Early Music Festival Continues

The Harmonious Blacksmith performs as the fifth event of the Indianapolis Early Music Festival 2009 at 7:30 p.m. 17 July in the Basile Opera Center, 4011 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis.

The program will be "Zimmerman's Coffeehouse", music of Bach, Telemann, and others as performed in this historic venue in Leipzig.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Indianapolis and IUPUI Reach Product Review Deal

The city of Indianapolis says a new agreement with Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis should save money, reports Inside INdiana Business. The city's Department of Public Works has entered into a deal for IUPUI to provide technical evaluation of new products and services. The process had previously been handled by outside consultants. The new deal is expected to result in lower costs and shorter review times.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rain Stopped the Show Last Night

So, they're gonna try the fireworks downtown, again, at 9:47 p.m. tonight.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

KNOZONE Gets Website

The city of Indianapolis has launched a new website for its voluntary air pollution reduction program called KNOZONE, according to Inside INdiana Business.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Like Palin, Like Ballard?

Sarah Palin, Republican governor of Alaska, has announced she'll resign later this month, long before her term expires. The blogosphere is speculating that Greg Ballard, Republican mayor of Indianapolis, may be contemplating following in her footsteps . . . annointing Mark Miles to serve as his replacement.

This Indianapolis Observer is astonished at how, ummmm, interesting politics -- especially as practiced by Republicans -- has become.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Loser in the State's General Assembly

Capital Improvements Board bailout supporters were among the losers in the recently ended Indiana General Assembly, writes Paul Ogden. "CIB lobbyists were all over the Statehouse for the regular and special session. Wonder how much that cost the CIB. In the end, they only got a loan, the right to raise the hotel tax and right to raise additional taxes in 2013, long after Mayor Ballard's political career will have come to a merciful end. CIB proponents did not have a Plan B if they did not get the tax increases they wanted."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Osama Bin Ladin Has Visited Indy!

Steve Coll, writing in The New Yorker, quotes Mrs. Osama Bin Ladin saying this:

"...we passed through London before flying to a place I had never heard of, a state in America called Indiana. Osama told me that he was meeting with a man by the name of Abdullah Azzam."

The year was 1979.