Friday, July 30, 2010

Are the Pacers Losing Money? Only the Simons Know!

"We're ... not being told what Herb Simon paid this past year to buy out his late brother Mel's 50% stake in the franchise. How much is an NBA franchise that is losing so much money worth? It's entirely relevant, but the corrupt leadership of the CIB made damn sure we won't know the truth."

Read the rest of what Gary R. Welsh has to say on his blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lilly Endowment Provides Grant to Vonnegut Library

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library says it has received its first major grant, reports Inside INdiana Business. Lilly Endowment Inc. has given the nonprofit $50,000 to help with strategic planning. The library named for late writer, artist and Indiana native Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is expected to open its new home in Indianapolis in November.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Advance Indiana Talks About Conflicts on C-C Council

Jackie administering federal funds on behalf of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation while participating in partisan politics in violation of the Little Hatch Act. Last year, Nytes' husband's business was awarded a lucrative printing contract from the cash-strapped parks department just weeks before she crossed party lines and supported the CIB tax, spend and borrow bailout plan. Ballard then awarded her CDC a million dollar grant less than two weeks after her vote.

Read the whole commentary on Gary R. Welsh's blog here. He also has interesting things to say on the management of the Indianapolis Indians vs. that of the Indiana Pacers (guess who comes out looking prescient!).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Indianapolis Area Among Top Cities For Exports

A new study shows Indianapolis is among the nation's leading metro areas for exports, reports Inside INdiana Business. Research from the The Brookings Institution shows the Indianapolis-Carmel area ranks ninth in share of exports and 20th in the value of exports.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bike to the Brickyard

Volunteers from the Speedway Trails Association will be staffing a Pedal & Park corral for the Brickyard 400, just one block south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 1111 Polco Street, Speedway.

The Pedal & Park corral for the Brickyard will be open race day, Sunday (25 July) from 6 a.m. to one hour after the race ends. Parking is free for bicycles, and the lot is secure and supervised. Area law enforcement officers close much of West 10th Street, but bicycles will be allowed to use this route to get to the Pedal & Park corral.

The Pedal & Park program was founded by the Greenways Foundation to encourage use of non-motorized transportation alternatives, promote activity on Indy Greenways, dispense relevant recreational literature, and raise funds for its partnering not-for-profit organizations.

Upcoming Pedal & Park events include; The Indiana State Fair, 6-22 August; Mass Ave Criterium, 14 August; Feast of Lanterns at Spades Park, 28 August; Dig-IN: A Taste of Indiana, 29 August; Penrod Arts Fair, 11 September; Diamond in the Rough, 18 September; Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Ft. Harrison State Park), 18-19 September; Rocky Ripple Arts Festival, 25 September, and the Carmel International Arts Festival, 25-26 September.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Convenience's Gonna Cost Ya at IUPUI

This Indianapolis Observer received the following notice from Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

"In order to continue to accept credit cards, payments made with MasterCard, Discover, and American Express on student bursar accounts at IUPUI (Indianapolis) a 2.7% 'convenience fee' (service charge) will be assessed by the third party vendor on the payment amount effective August 1, 2010. Unfortunately, because of limitations imposed by VISA we will no longer be able to accept VISA as a payment method for the student bursar account, effective August 1, 2010."

Oh, and "Note: the 2.7% rate is subject to change."

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that VISA opted out 'cause they prohibit a vendor's passing the service charge onto the client.

In any case, IUPUI should be embarrassed to "doing a Ticketmaster" on its students!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eiteljorg to Receive Museums For America Funding

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is the recipient of a $150,000 Museums for America grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, reports Inside INdiana Business. The institution is one of three museums in Indiana to receive the award. The funding will support Project New Moon, a major initiative to develop the Eiteljorg into an active, sensory and engaging experience.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Go Downtown During Black Expo

Here's more commentary on last weekend's chaos surrounding Black Expo, courtesy of Gary R. Welsh in his blog, Advance Indiana:

It is quite telling how the same government and business leaders who promote the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars of our tax dollars to subsidize downtown's convention and sports facilities are so willing to let a single event that is intended to benefit one minority group do more to wipe out the gains they claim to be making with all of those investment in the name of racial sensitivity.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black Expo's Black Eye

This Indianapolis Observer is horrified at the 8 or 10 shootings (nobody seems to know the exact count!) Downtown yesterday during Black Expo. (Here's the report in The Star.)

There are always shootings downtown during Black Expo. Why? In this case, the victims were all under 18 years of age. Who's shooting kids on the streets of Downtown? Why isn't anyone ever caught, charged and convicted for this public violence?

As Ruth Holladay notes in her blog today, "[T]hose who lead Expo, and the parents who permit their kids to be out on the streets late, have to 'take back the night'. They must make the Downtown safe again on the second Saturday of the 40-year-old event."

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. (who better?) needs to figure out what to do about this conundrum.

This CNN video has already gone viral on Facebook. "Hundreds of police officers patrolled the streets of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, early Sunday after three shootings within blocks of each other left 10 people injured," the story says. Great promo for Indy...NOT!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pacers Get Their Money (Big Surprise!)

Read the agreement summary here, and a "fact sheet" about the agreement here.

Bon chance, Indy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Woman Scorned?

Bren Simon described her stepchildren as spoiled, vicious and hurtful, and said they refused to accept her as family despite her best efforts during 37 years of marriage to late shopping mall billionaire Melvin Simon.

That's what Cory Schouten reports in today. The scene was a Hamilton County courtroom.

Bren sat with several of her attorneys, watching the previously recorded statements in which she blasted Deborah and her siblings Cynthia Simon-Skjodt and David Simon, the chairman and CEO of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.

Stay tuned.............

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Indy Loses Wine Contest to West Lafayette

Winemakers from around the world will send their best wines to Purdue University for the annual Indy International Wine Competition on 4-6 August, reports Inside INdiana Business. This competition, the largest in the United States run by a university will be in West Lafayette for the first time after 17 years in Indianapolis.

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Purdue Memorial Union. Judging will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 4 and 5 August, and 10 a.m. to noon on 6 August. Expected are more than 3,000 commercial entries from 39 states and 12 countries. More than 50 judges will come from the United States, Europe and Canada to taste, analyze and score the wines. Deadline to enter is 15 July.

A jury of wine industry peers serves as judges: winemakers and chefs, marketing executives and wholesalers, writers and journalists, enologists and winegrowers. They're listed here.

The Indy International Wine Competition is the largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition in the U.S., the world's largest wine market. More than 3,000 commercial entries from 12 countries and 39 US states will be evaluated by 80 judges.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Become an Indiana State Museum Docent!

The Indiana State Museum in Indy's White River State Park downtown is looking for people who love to teach, enjoy leading tours and are proud to be Hoosiers! They're recruiting for the next docent training course! Deadline to apply is 1 September.

A docent is a highly-trained museum tour guide who acts as a volunteer educator. Here are the parameters:

* The Indiana State Museum docent program offers a rewarding series of continuing education classes.
* Docents lead all public tours of the museum.
* Docents have strong public speaking skills and an ability to interact comfortably with groups.
* No special academic background is required but a strong desire to study and learn about Indiana's Science and Culture is essential.
* Participants must be at least 21 years of age.
* Docents receive all the benefits given to every Indiana State Museum volunteer, including museum membership and complimentary parking.

Of course, this means you basically have to be unemployed (or, at least not working during Wednesday mornings! That's because training (beginning 15 September and continuing through 23 February 2011) takes place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays!

Interested? Go online to learn more.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Astonishing, Truly Astonishing

Mayor Ballard has once again showed his contempt for Marion County taxpayers and willingness to divert taxpayer money away from parks, libraries and other needed government functions to give to corporate entities, in this occasion, the billionaire Simons, the owners of the Pacers.

That's from Paul K. Ogden's blog this morning.

This Indianapolis Observer is speechless. $33.5 million!

To quote Gary R. Welsh's blog, Advance Indiana:

Yes, while the City's park's department is being slashed, pools are being closed, library branches are being threatened with closure and hours of operation are being cut for those that remain open, Ballard thinks the taxpayers can afford to give tens of millions more to one of the state's wealthiest men...while average people suffer through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The Indianapolis Business Journal quotes a skeptical Mark Rosentraub, a sports economist and former dean at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

“I’m not sure how you can operate in one of the nicest facilities in the league essentially rent free, and be so far in the red,” Rosentraub said Monday morning.

Rosentraub also pointed out that eight of those 11 years were during relatively economic robust times.

“If the CIB is so convinced in the accuracy of those figures, which happened during some very robust times for the city and the state, you’d have to ask, 'Is the conclusion that the Pacers can’t be operated profitably in this city?' If that’s the case, what could possibly change in two to three years to turn this thing around, or are we looking at a long-term situation of paying to keep the Pacers here?”

While Rosentraub said he thinks the Pacers and Conseco Fieldhouse are important components to a vital downtown, he said the CIB and Pacers should put all the financial cards on the table.

“The CIB is a public agency,” Rosentraub said. “If these numbers are real, what’s the hesitancy?”

IMHO, whatever goodwill Ballard is attempting to garner via the utilities transfer / loan shell game, he has squandered on...a sports team's owners? Is he buying a job for himself after the next election?

As a closing note: check out the feature on Boston's Fenway Park in the Wall Street Journal: "the next time a sports franchise goes begging for taxpayer funding for a new stadium, politicians should have the guts to tell them 'pay for it yourself.' The Red Sox did, and increased their revenue and market value along the way." Too bad Indy just keeps shoveling money toward the billionaire sports team owners!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Art of the Possible

Once upon a time, when this Indianapolis Observer was waxing eloquent about some government ethical lapse or other, a seasoned pol said: "Politics is the art of the possible."

I kept that in mind listening to Jackie Nytes describe her support of Mayor Ballard's egregious bait-and-switch maneuver regarding Citizens Gas and water/sewer utilities. Sure, it's a hidden tax increase, but it's a tax increase spread over the widest possible tax base, she said. Everyone knows that it's not possible to pass a bond issue in this economic climate. How else is the city gonna get the money it desperately needs for streets, curbs and sidewalks?

OK, so it's slimy. It's backroom dealing. It's sleight of hand. It's politics as usual.'s perhaps the only possible way to get the funds Indy needs to spend right now.

If the whole scheme comes to pass, and Ballard's infrastructure slush fund is created -- will it all be spent for window-dressing downtown for Super Bowl 2012 in a sort of Potemkin Village sort of way? That remains to be seen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Garbage Burger?

Frankfort-based Shoup's Country Foods Inc.'s "Garbage Burger" is the winning entry in the signature food contest for the 2010 Indiana State Fair, reports Inside INdiana Business The traditional pork burger, topped with pulled pork and seasoned with Shoup's barbecue sauce, will be available at the fair for $7.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Innovation Showcase Highlights Startups

The second annual Indiana Innovation Showcase is set for next Tuesday at the Purdue Technology Center in Indianapolis, reports Inside INdiana Business. The event will feature entrepreneurs commercializing products from 40 startup companies in areas that include life sciences and alternative energy.

About 350 venture capitalists, angel investors and economic development leaders are expected to participate in the invitation-only program scheduled for 2-7 p.m. 13 July in the Purdue Technology Center, Purdue Research Park, AmeriPlex-Indianapolis, 5225 Exploration Drive, Indianapolis.

For more information, contact Jodie Daugherty, 317:231-6447.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Concerts on the Canal

One of the signatures of summer is the Concerts on the Canal series held outdoors at the Stardust Terrace of the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis.

On tap for this Thursday (8 July) is the Carmel Brass presenting "Red, White and Blue in Brass". Next week, it's Cathy Morris' unique blend of Latin, jazz and rock on electric violin on 15 July. The concerts continue through August, starting at 6 p.m. And, admission is free!

An outdoor grill and cash bar will be available by Hoaglin To Go. Antipasto and Greek hors d’oeuvres plates for four or eight people may be pre-ordered up to one week in advance. Free seating is available on the Canal walk area. Attendees may bring their own food and nonalcoholic beverages to the concert (all alcohol must be purchased on site). No pets and no smoking are allowed on the Terrace.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Public-Private Partnerships: Legalized Ponzi Schemes?

Here's what Paul K. Ogden has to say on his blog:

Public-private partnerships work like this: Government agrees to subsidize some big downtown project that the private sector found unprofitable to do on its own. The project is built. Years later the private company running the project is, as predicted, losing money and demands larger taxpayer subsidies or it will take a walk. The Government, having already gone out on the limb investing millions in taxpayer money on the project doesn't want to lose its original investment so it agrees to "invest" millions more in the public-private partnership. Sound familiar? It's going on all over downtown Indianapolis.

This Indianapolis Observer remembers all the hype -- these investments would pay off in the long run, yadda yadda. Well, they haven't. We do have a much more bustling downtown than we did in the 1970s, but...why the continued subsidies?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trash Days Altered by Holiday

There will be no residential trash, heavy trash or curbside recycling service today (5 July) for the official observance of Independence Day.

All residential trash, heavy trash and curbside recycling routes will run one day behind for the entire week. Monday routes will be serviced on Tuesday (6 July), Tuesday routes will be serviced on Wednesday 7July) and so on, through Friday routes being serviced on Saturday (10 July). All services will return to normal schedules next Monday (12 July).

Those of you who have Republic’s Trash and recycling collection will follow the above schedule. Those of you who have Ray’s Trash and recycling collection will receive service on your regularly scheduled day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

School of Public Health Proposed for IUPUI

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation of Indianapolis has awarded a $20 million grant to Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis to help fund its proposed school of public health and provide increased support for public health initiatives in Indiana.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July Ice Cream Social

OK, so the downtown celebration of the Fourth on the American Legion Mall has been cancelled: the ice cream social's still on -- rain or shine! From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can party like its 1888 at the President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis.

In addition to Blue Bell ice cream (a scoop included with each person’s price of admission) and a walk-through of the home, event will offer re-enactors, including Thomas Jefferson and a Civil War soldier, live music, Silly Safaris’ live animals, and a variety of Victorian games, including croquet. Children will receive a Passport to History, which will guide their search for historical figures and members of Benjamin Harrison’s household to earn the “stamps” for a prize.

The charge for adults is $10; children (ages 5 to 17) are $4, and children 4-and-under get in free.

On the 4th of July in 1888, Benjamin Harrison gave his nomination acceptance speech from his Indianapolis home, which would become his Presidential campaign headquarters and the backdrop for his front porch campaign speeches.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Durham Turns His Toys Over to the FBI

Beleaguered Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham on Wednesday voluntarily turned over a Bentley Flying Spur, a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and other high-end rides to the FBI, a move that sets the stage for the cars to be sold by a bankruptcy trustee, reports

The FBI late in the afternoon was collecting 15 vehicles from Durham’s Geist Reservoir mansion and another three from his home in Los Angeles.