Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brizzi and Ballard Both in the Hot Seat

Paul K. Ogden reports that "one only has to look at the campaign finance report of Mayor Ballard to see that Pay to Play politics is not limited to the Prosecutor's Office."

Friday, January 29, 2010

FBI asking questions about Carl Brizzi

A Fox 59 News investigation has revealed that FBI agents are asking whether Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has ever used his office's influence to benefit political and personal associates in criminal investigations and public issues. Check it out here.

"The FBI inquiries come in the wake of a high profile raid by federal agents in November at the offices of financier Tim Durham on Monument Circle," reports Fox 59. "Durham is a close friend and campaign supporter of Brizzi, donating nearly $200,000 to the prosecutor's re-election campaign in 2006."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

George's IRL Team Suspends Racing Operations

The Indy Racing League team owned by former Indianapolis Motor Speedway Chief Executive Officer Tony George is suspending operations, reports Inside INdiana Business. Vision Racing made the announcement through its Twitter feed today (28 January). The team says it will continue efforts to find a solid partnership so it can "take to the track once again."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mozart’s Serenade in C minor

The Indianapolis Chamber Winds will present Mozart’s Serenade in C minor, K. 388 at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (28 January) in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall of the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Avenue,Indianapolis, under the direction of UIndy faculty member Darin Sorley. For more information, contact Valerie K. Miller Wahlstrom, 317:788-2183.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

End Times for Durham?

Indianapolis financier Tim Durham’s famed 98-foot yacht is up for sale for $4.8 million, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal.


A legal brouhaha over the recent auction of a Duesenberg automobile by Tim Durham has taken a new twist, with Durham’s bank charging the financier didn’t have the right to sell the car in the first place, according to the IBJ.


Individuals holding large dollar amounts of certificates of investment with Fair Finance, which historically operated in Summit and Stark counties have consulted with Attorney David Mucklow regarding the most efficient method of recovering their investments, reports an Ohio-based website.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Indy Airport to get First Airline Lounge

Delta airlines has announced that it'll be opening a Sky Club in Indianapolis.

This Indianapolis Observer, who flies out of IND a lot, is grateful that finally FINALLY an airline has seen fit to put a lounge in our fair city. Even if it is Delta.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Indy's Uneducated

This question comes from Indiana Barrister:

"Schools say it would cost millions of extra dollars to do remedial education for 3rd graders who don’t know how to read. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the schools job to teach children how to read, so why should it cost extra for them to do their jobs?"

Your Indianapolis Observer can only shake its head. Who knew Indiana schools let kids get all the way through third grade without learning how to read?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Race to the Bottom

Paul K. Ogden writes in his blog today: "how long do we have to wait until the Indianapolis Star publishes an editorial about Mayor Ballard receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions from contractors and law firms getting no-bid contracts with the City?"

This Indianapolis Observer wonders why The Star continues to let bloggers beat them on the latest news!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who's Worse? City-County Council or State Legislature?

"Mock our General Assembly all you want, it is still light years ahead of the Indianapolis City-County Council in terms of competence and leadership."

So says Paul K. Ogden in his blog today. For this Indianapolis Observer, who remembers Harrison Ullmann's relentless excoriation of the state legislature in NUVO, that seems to put the C-C Council somewhere south of useless.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tony George Resigns from Hulman & Company

The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and affiliated companies, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has received the resignation of Anton H. "Tony" George from the board of directors effective immediately, according to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

His resignation removes George from any remaining role in Hulman & Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, IMS Productions and other affiliated companies.

He continues to be involved in racing through his ownership of Vision Racing, a competitor in the IZOD IndyCar Series of the Indy Racing League.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Indiana Horticultural Congress

The Indiana Horticultural Congress will be held 19-21 January at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis. It is an educational meeting designed to meet the needs of fruit, vegetable, wine, organics and specialty crop growers and marketers in Indiana and surrounding states. All interested individuals are invited to attend.

This annual conference for fruit and vegetable producers will address a broad range of production-related issues, including a daylong workshop on food safety. More than 60 sessions and workshops are scheduled. Registration is $50 for members of sponsoring organizations and $55 for non-members. Additional people from the same farm operation and spouses are $40.

It's hosted by Indiana Horticultural Society, Indiana Vegetable Growers Association, Indiana Farm Market Association, Indiana Raw Products Conference, Indiana Wine Grape Council, Indiana Winegrower’s Guild, Hoosier Organic Marketing Education, Center for New Crops and Plant Products and Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

For information, contact Tammy Goodale, 765:494-1296.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Barbie: The Fashion Experience

Barbie, arguably the world's most popular doll, is also everyone's favorite fashionista, inspiring young designers and professionals alike to create the fashion of their dreams. All ages will enjoy the hands-on exhibit at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 North Meridian Street, in which visitors can take their designs from the workroom to the runway, go backstage with Barbie and see her most famous looks from 50 years of fashion modeled by Barbie herself, as well as life-size designs by New York designers including Betsey Johnson and Nicole Miller.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Indy-Based Kiwanis Names New Executive Director

Stan D. Soderstrom (left) was named Executive Director of Kiwanis and the Kiwanis International Foundation today (15 January) by the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees.

Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization in more than 70 nations. As Kiwanis’ chief executive, Soderstrom is responsible for supporting the international board, and providing leadership and direction to staff and volunteers for the global organization of both adult and youth members totaling more than 600,000.

Soderstrom joined the Kiwanis staff in 1997, and recently held the positions of Interim Executive Director and Chief Impact Officer. In his previous role, he focused on the successful growth and development of the Kiwanis’ youth and adult leadership development programs around the world, as well as strategic planning and board governance for Kiwanis International and its two youth organizations, Key Club International and Circle K International.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Bloggers Take on Ballard, Again

"Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's tax and fee increasing administration is at it again - this time proposing to raise downtown parking rates at meters and city-owned garages," writes Paul K. Ogden. "Worse yet, it appears that the administration may try to enter into a long-term privatization deal to lease city-owned spaces, creating a one-time infusion of cash in exchange for a lengthy contract that would allow a private company to raise rates much more easily."


"The City of Indianapolis awarded $18 million in tax abatement incentives to Navistar several years ago to expand and retain jobs," explains Gary R. Welsh. "Instead, the company closed its factory and failed to retain 1,873 jobs as promised. A claw back provision allows the City to recovery some of the unused tax abatement dollars. The tax abatement money comes out of the pockets of the taxing districts located at the site of the factory. Instead of giving the money back to the taxing districts that lost the money, Ballard is giving the money to the ICVA and Economic Development Corporation, two nonprofit entities that essentially operate as slush funds for the mayor."

This Indianapolis Observer can't wait to see what they write after tonight's State of the City address by Mayor Greg Ballard!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Indy Might Host FIFA Event

Indianapolis was named as one of 18 cities that will move forward as part of the USA Bid Committee's formal bid to FIFA to host either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup, reports the Indiana Sports Corporation. The host countries for the 2018 and 2022 events will be voted upon in December. If the United States is successful in its bid for the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup, the list of 18 cities would be trimmed to approximately 12 sites in the years leading up to the event.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Florrie Binford Kichler Honored

Book Business Magazine recently named Florrie Binford Kichler (pictured), publisher and founder of Indianapolis-based Patria Press, to its list of top 50 women in book publishing, reports the News Bureau of Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. The first-ever list recognizes women who have made, and are still making, a significant contribution to the book industry.

Kichler, a member of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Women’s Alumni MBA Advisory Board, earned her bachelor’s degree in 1972 and a master’s degree in 1985. She is also president of the 3500-member Independent Book Publishers Association.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Peyton Manning Wins 4th MVP

According to the Associated Press, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has won the NFL Most Valuable Player award for a record-breaking fourth time. Manning, who also won in 2003, 2004, and 2008, threw for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns this season, the AP reports today.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Children’s Museum: 1.3 Million Visitors in 2009

Both attendance and membership at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis were at all-time highs in 2009: 1.3 million visitors and more than 31,000 members. It's estimated that attendance generated $73.4 million for the local economy. And at a time when retail sales have been down, sales in The Children’s Museum Store were up 25 percent.

New in 2009, aside from the temporary exhibit, "Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs" were "Take Me There: Egypt" (an international immersion experience) and "Barbie™: The Fashion Experience". The museum also completed a new Welcome Center and a covered Skywalk across Illinois Street.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis' 472,900 square-foot facility on 20 acres houses 11 major galleries.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thomas H. Lake Lecture

Dr. Ingrid Mattson (right) will give the seventh annual Thomas H. Lake Lecture at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis at 7 p.m. 25 March. Her topic is prioritizing giving needs, including ideas from a Muslim perspective.

Dr. Mattson is Director of and professor at the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, as well as Director of Islamic Chaplaincy, at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.

Born in Canada, Dr. Mattson studied Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (B.A. ’87), after which she lived in Pakistan working with Afghan refugee women for a year. She earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago in 1999, and her research is focused on Islamic law and society. Dr. Mattson became Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America in 2001 and President in 2006.

Each year, the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the center invites a renowned scholar to give an original public address on a topic related to faith and giving. The public lecture includes a question-and-answer session and an opportunity to interact with the speaker, allowing the community to engage him or her in thoughtful discussion on the ways religion or faith informs philanthropic practices.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

KFC: Indy Is Finger-Lickin' Good

The city of Indianapolis has signed a sponsorship deal worth $5,000 with KFC Corp., reports Anthony Schoettle at Indianapolis Business Journal.

KFC will use images of iconic Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders with Indianapolis firefighters and city fire trucks to help market the launch a new product, fiery grilled chicken wings, later this month. In exchange, Louisville-based KFC will provide $2,500 to the local fire department to buy 1,000 smoke detectors that will be handed out to the public. KFC also will pay $2,500 for about 150 fire extinguishers (each with a KFC logo) for 17 Indy Parks recreation centers.

The Indiana town of Brazil also is part of the chicken wing campaign, IBJ reports. Brazil will get $2,500 to repair or replace fire hydrants in exchange for putting the KFC logo on at least three of them.

This Indianapolis Observer notes that Brazil has a population of less than 8,300, making their "haul" about 30 cents per person. Indy's population is about 785,000, netting about .006 cents per person. Seems clear that Brazil has better sponsorship negotiators!

UPDATE (7 January 2010):
The national ridicule has started, for example this article on "KFC pays two cities to shill 'fiery' wings on public property.... 'It's offsetting a need, it's offsetting some of our budget costs,' [Jen Pittman, spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Ballard] said."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's (Almost) Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girl Scouts will begin fanning out all across Indiana this weekend. The annual cookie sale order taking starts Saturday (9 January). Orders will be delivered beginning 15 February, and there'll be booth sales at the usual locations 27 February through 13 March.

Watch for Operation: Cookie Drop. During order-taking, girls will be asking if you'd like to donate a box of cookies to our military. If so, they'll collect the money at
that time, and the cookies will be sent to the men and women deployed out of Camp Atteberry.

If you'd like more information, check the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana website or call the cookie hotline: 877:474-2249.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Northern Blooms"

The beauty of gardens creates a sanctuary, a place of deep, silent understanding -- especially on these cold winter days. Imagine flowers as you step into "Northern Blooms", a series of works from the studio of Creative Renewal Fellow, Gayla Hodson, and inspired by a recent trip to the Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia. The flowers (such as Meonopsis, at left) will be in bloom at AV Framing Gallery, 1139 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, during regular business hours through 23 January.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Republican Blogger Assesses Ballard's Term

Paul K. Ogden has a thoughtful assessment of the first half of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's time in office on his blog today.

His conclusion?

Chance of Winning Re-election: 15%.
Note: As things stand now, to win re-election Ballard would probably need a major scandal involving the Democratic nominee for Mayor to have a legitimate chance at re-election. Without that scandal, Ballard's image is too tarnished, and he has alienated too many Republicans, to win, regardless of how much money he is able to raise.