Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Trash Pick-Up to Slide

OK, Indy residents: there will be NO trash pick-up on December 25 or January 1.

But you knew that, right?

All routes will operate on a slide schedule. Wednesday routes will be serviced on Thursday; Thursday routes will be collected on Friday, and Friday routes will be addressed on Saturday.

On your collection day, be sure to place your trash at the curb or in the alley before 7 a.m. to ensure proper pickup.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Indy's in the News, and Not in a Good Way

It's made the national news, folks. Kessler Estate For Sale recounts the story of the, ummmm, over-the-top extravaganza of a "house" at 4923 Kessler Boulevard East Drive, Indianapolis.

Yeah: the whole country can now gape at the late Jerry A. Hostetler's confection ("outlandish" doesn't begin to describe it; maybe "Midwestern Vegas Versailles" comes closer).

All 26,000-square-feet (plus "landscaped" yard) can be yours for less than $1.3 million. The real estate guy says it's "right in the heart" of Indy. Well, not really. But it isn't in Carmel, either.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brrr! It's Cold! Time to Go Ice Skating!

Public Skating in the Youth Arena at the Indiana State Fairgrounds takes place seven days a week.

Hours are 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6 for skaters 4 and older; children 3 and younger are free. Skate rental is $5 for hockey skates and $4 for figure skates.

The Youth Arena Skate Shop sells new and used skates and hockey equipment and does skate repairs and sharpening Wanna know more? call 317:927-7622.

(Photo by Tom Pickering)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Eskenazi Oops!

No, Eskenazi Health, you are not thankful for your principle donors. You are thankful for your principal donors.

(See double-truck ad in the Indianapolis Business Journal for 9-15 December.)

Principle: A basic truth, law, or assumption. Principal: First, highest, or foremost in importance.

Nice to know that neither the officials at Eskenazi nor its ad agency are well versed in English.

Friday, December 6, 2013

One Book / Two Cities

Indianapolis and our Sister City of Cologne, Germany, are trying something new.

You're aware of the "One Book, One City" initiatives: a nation-wide program in which everyone in a community reads the same book. Typically an annual event, the program is intended to foster a sense of community, promote reading among adults, and celebrate literature.

Indy has done this before. In 2009, for example, the book was Some Buried Caesar, a Nero Wolfe mystery by Indiana native son Rex Stout.

This is the first time, however, that two cities in two different countries will be reading and discussing the same book.

The choice is Vienna, a novel by Austrian author Eva Menasse. The book is available free (while, as they say, supplies last) at Indianapolis-Marion County Public Libraries. There also will be copies available for the usual library loan.

Vienna loops forward and back over the course of a century to follow a part-Jewish family separated by the Nazi invasion and World War II. The exchange of stories and anecdotes across generations is the principle means for family members to reclaim their roots – even if they do lead back to generational paradox.

Indianapolis and Cologne have exchanged library staff recently. This partnership is designed to bring our communities together around reading and discussing one book.

There's more on the Indianapolis Public Library website.

A video of the introduction of the book (including a Skype session with the Cologne library staff) is here:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Watching Indy Downtown Spin

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. is frantically trying to recast Friday's shameful shutdown of cocoa and cookie sales by the youth group of Christ Church Cathedral into an "oops" moment.

As they have for years, the kids were raising funds through sales of goodies to those attending the lighting of the Monument on on the Circle.

Note that the church predates the monument by decades, and that the "clean zone" sales restrictions were "forced" on Indy by the 2012 Super Bowl.

IDI called on city Code Enforcement to shut down the kids' fundraiser, which was conducted in front of their Monument Circle church.

There's no way this will reflect positively on the IDI "thugs", even as they pledge to "make up" the lost sales revenue.

(See also And a Merry Christmas to You and Ogden on Politics. WTHR-13 also had a segment with a very embarrassed Bob Schultz of IDI trying to "explain" what happened.)

In yet another instance of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, IDI announces "Velocity" today (3 December), a downtown development update, which includes "Encourage guerrilla-style street events that surprise people and use public spaces."

Except, evidently, when IDI calls out Indy Code Enforcement to shut down street events that use public spaces.

Such hypocrisy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And a Merry Christmas to You

The Indianapolis Star has the story: "Busted by the city for selling cookies during the Circle of Lights, the youth group at Christ Church Cathedral will receive an apology and a check from Indianapolis Downtown Inc. to make up for their lost revenues."

Let's see if your Indianapolis Observer has this right: the youth group of the church right there on Monument Circle for well more than a century is busted for selling cookies and cocoa in front of said church.

Why? Evidently this: "a new city ordinance, enacted for the 2012 Super Bowl, that requires sidewalk vendors during Downtown events to get a city permit to sell their wares."

Even when the city is taking up all the space in front of said church for a holiday event.

Of course, the "raid" happened because Indianapolis Downtown (obviously oblivious to the irony), "asked city code enforcement officials to do a 'sweep' of unauthorized vendors selling food and other items around Monument Circle during the lighting ceremony Friday night."

It would seem that they wanted to benefit from all the souvenir selling and refreshment sales during "their"event. They should be ashamed.

As Paul K. Ogden noted in his blog today (2 December): "questions should be asked as to why city officials are taking orders from a private organization such as IDI."

Questions, indeed!

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. needs a slap upside the head, not more of our tax dollars!

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 IBJ.com.

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 IBJ.com.

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 Indy.gov:

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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mitch Daniels Can't Avoid Politics

"When former Gov. Mitch Daniels became Purdue University's president," reports Gary R. Welsh, "he said he was getting out of partisan politics. Recent events suggest that's an impossible promise for Daniels to keep," Welsh writes in Advance Indiana today (31 October 2013).

"This week, he irritated some on his campus when he announced that Purdue, unlike IU, would not oppose the constitutional amendment opponents of same-sex marriage have vowed to push before the legislature next year.

"At first blush, that would appear to be consistent with his position since Daniels claims the university doesn't typically weigh in on social issues.

"The problem is that the proposed constitutional amendment puts at risk the domestic partner benefits the university has offered for several years and is inconsistent with the university's nondiscrimination policy.

"Thus," Welsh concludes, "some critics argue that he put his own political views ahead of the university's stated policies."

And, this Indianapolis Observer notes yet another reason his selection as Purdue prez was a bad move.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

False Precedent?

"Two weeks ago, Richard Posner, one of the most respected and iconoclastic federal judges in the country, startled the legal world by publicly stating that he’d made a mistake in voting to uphold a 2005 voter-ID law out of Indiana, and that if he had properly understood the abuse of such laws, the case 'would have been decided differently'."

"The law in question requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls as a means of preventing voter fraud. Opponents sued, saying it would disenfranchise those Indianans without photo IDs — most of whom were poor, elderly, or minorities. State officials said the law was necessary, even though no one had ever been prosecuted for voter fraud in Indiana."

(The rest is here: "The Debate Over Judge Posner's Unforced Error")

This Indianapolis Observer notes that, once again, Indiana is in the news (and, not in a good way).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Luck Bests Manning

Your Indianapolis Observer doesn't follow football, but today's AP story on yesterday's Colts-Broncos game did provide some chuckles.

"If Peyton Manning wanted a preview of what retirement might look and feel like, the Indianapolis Colts gave him a brief glimpse Sunday night," AP reports, commenting on his standing-applause welcome.

"That ceremony turned out to be about the only bit of hospitality his former team extended, handing Manning and the previously unbeaten Denver Broncos a 39-33 defeat."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Indy Native Makes Good

You probably already knew this, but (as the Indianapolis Business Journal points out in "Eight@8" this morning):

"Angela Ahrendts was born and raised in nearby New Palestine, Ind. (pop.: 2,055), and got her degree at Ball State in 1981. On Tuesday, she was appointed senior vice president at Apple Inc. (market cap: $453 billion), reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. Ahrendts has become an overnight sensation in the tech world, giving up her ridiculously lucrative job ($26.3 million in 2012) as CEO of high-end fashion label Burberry to take over Apple’s retail operations."

You go, girl!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hoosiers Sounding Like Idiots (it's a meme)

"Obamacare has proved to be not just ideologically divisive but linguistically fertile. There’s seemingly no event or passage in American history to which it can’t be compared." writes Frank Bruni in The New York Times.

"The terrorist attacks of 9/11? Check. Back when Mike Pence, Indiana’s Republican governor, was still in Congress, he summoned that day’s horror to characterize the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act."

Really, Gov. Pence? Having the Affordable Care Act upheld by the Supreme Court is like flying planes into the World Trade Center?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stutzman Sticks Foot In Mouth

"Marlin Stutzman was, until today, a little-known Republican back-bencher, representing northeast Indiana in the House. But with just one off-message statement that he was quickly forced to retract, he became the prominent public face of the House Republicans who are refusing to re-open the United States government."
(read the rest here)

This Indianapolis Observer hates it when the elected representatives from the Hoosier State prove themselves to be uneducated country bumpkins. How could the party of Richard G. Lugar have devolved to this level?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Death Spiral

The Indianapolis Star is going to source most of its news and features from USAToday -- except for an undefined bit of "local coverage" that seems to be metro- rather than city-oriented.

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that thunder you hear is Gene Pulliam rolling over in his grave.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Exodus Refugee Fundraiser

Here's a meal you won't be able to duplicate at home: local immigrant-owned restaurants will cater the annual fundraising dinner of Exodus Refugee Immigration.

"Home at Last in Indianapolis" set for 6 p.m. 26 September in the Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis. Tickets are $35 in advance, or $45 at the door.

Three women who were refugees will speak at the gathering, which also includes entertainment and a cash bar.

Exodus Refugee has a long history of welcoming refugees from many countries, cultures, languages, faiths and political opinions. It began in 1981 with the mission to serve the legal needs of immigrants and Cuban refugees, who had arrived as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980.

(Image courtesy of Exodus Refugee)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yet Another Example of Ballard's Mis-Management of City Resources

According to Gary R. Welsh, the Indianapolis Public Safety Director has ordered 150 Indianapolis police officers and homeland security department personnel to immediately abandon the $18 million, public safety regional operations center at the former Eastgate Consumer Mall the Ballard administration rushed into use for the Super Bowl in 2012.

This Indianapolis Observer wonders why the mayor thinks this kind of waste of taxpayer money is perfectly fine.

Check out the contract, as reported by Paul K. Ogden: "A review of the of the 25 year lease costing taxpayers over $18 million reveals it is so one-sided as to leave the City with no contractual recourse against the Landlord."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Here We Go Again

IBJ.com reports, "Indianapolis officials hope to include plans for a new downtown luxury hotel in their bid for the 2018 Super Bowl, but they’re not sure all the pieces for a deal—potentially on Pan Am Plaza—can be put together before a bid presentation for 32 NFL owners in May."

As Indy taxpayers should know, we (not the hotel owner or operator who profit from the venture) invested $48.5 million in the JW Marriott complex beginning in 2006.

There's no telling how much it would cost us to build yet another 4-star hotel -- at a time when downtown hotel occupancy is said to be well below 65% (city-wide occupancy in 2012 was a paltry 59%).

As the IBJ reported, "The idea is already meeting serious resistance from local hotel officials, who fear a new property will make it harder to fill their own beds."

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that the city leaders are, once again, selling off their children's futures to line their own pockets (and score Super Bowl tickets) today.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mayor Ballard Gets It All Wrong

The fallout from Mayor Greg Ballard's disingenuous interview with The Indianapolis Star continues.

For example, this, from Paul K. Ogden.

And this, from Had Enough Indy.

And this, from Gary R.Welsh.

How could a second-term mayor get so many of his facts wrong? How could a second-term mayor not have learned to tamp down his quick fuse?

This Indianapolis Observer is mystified.

Here's another recounting of Ballard's short fuse: "An allegedly visibly angry Mayor Greg Ballard apparently got into some sort of verbal altercation with City-County Councillor Zach Adamson at the recent Hob Knob event sponsored by the Indy Chamber."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Unintended Consequence of the Cricket Park

"The city of Indianapolis will pay at least $15,000 to replace one home water well and lower pumps in three others because they're being sucked dry by an irrigation system at a park where crews are building international sports fields," reports the Associated Press at IBJ.com.

Your Indianapolis Observer notes the AP's choice of the term "sucked dry" and ponders that it might be used in a broader context regarding the city's expenditures for the World Sports Park and other ill-advised ventures.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

No Money for Cops; Plenty for Pacers

"If you don't wake up and start firing every politician in this town who says he or she supports public subsidies for the wealthiest man in Indiana who doesn't even live in our city, then you deserve the poor government services you receive for the eternally higher taxes and fees this city can impose upon you."

You can read the rest here: CIB Prepares To Gift Another $11 Million To Billionaire Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers While Mayor Demands Taxpayers Pay More For Fewer City Services.

This Indianapolis Observer, who often disagrees with Gary R. Welsh, thinks he's spot-on for this topic. Can't understand how Republicans just roll over.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Indy's Slovenian Festival

Celebrate Slovenian heritage with music, food, beer and polkas at the almost annual Indy Slovenian Festival.

It all begins at 10 a.m. 1 September on the Slovenian National Home picnic grounds, 1340 Yates Lane, Avon (map).

Admission is $5 (note: kids 16 and under are free with a paid adult admission).

Beginning at 1 p.m., the Slovenian Festival serves sausage produced locally by Yaggers Conservation and Laško Pivo (beer). Other refreshments include typical Slovenian dishes such as potica.

The Slovenian National Home, sponsor of this event, has been a cultural organization since 1918 within the Haughville neighborhood.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Daniels' Education Scandal Continues

"[Former Indiana superintendent of public instruction Tony] Bennett changed the grades of privately run charter schools on behalf of his financial backers. Indeed, as the Associated Press reported, 'When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature ‘A-F’ school grading system to improve the school’s marks.'"

School reform is based "not around policies that would most help children, but around legislation that would most quickly expand the profit margins of its donors in the for-profit education industry" (and, more broadly, the pet project of the prominent GOP contributor in Indy whose charter school "might receive a poor grade").

As David Sirota concludes on Salon.com, "If you are backed by enough money, you will almost always retain your status in America — no matter how wrong you are and how many lives you ruin."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Are You Doing With Our Money, Greg?

"[Indiana] Attorney General [Greg] Zeller is using his public office to advocate for his personal religious views—views that are highly divisive in an increasingly pluralistic society. Such use of an elected office is improper, and it should stop."

So says Sheila Kennedy in "Fight the Culture War On Your Own Nickel, Greg".

This Indianapolis Observer agrees: "If lawyers in the office have enough spare time to work on numerous legal matters not germane to state business, it would seem the office is overstaffed."

What say you, Gov. Pence?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Indiana’s public schooling is doomed

The news on the education front only gets worse.

It's not enough that the defeated superintendent of public instruction in Indiana rigged charter school ratings to benefit a GOP contributor and that the governor tried to remove a textbook from classrooms, the beat goes on.

"Indiana’s public schooling is doomed," proclaims the headline on Slate.com. "As governor, Mitch Daniels cut $150 million from higher education. He'll wreak more havoc as Purdue's president."

"It shouldn’t surprise us that Daniels — known for his disdain towards public education and teachers — would be appointed the head of a leading public university," write Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen for an article which first appeared in Jacobin (the head line there is "What’s the Matter with Indiana?").

"During Daniels’ term of governor, student tuition at Purdue increased nearly 100 percent due to state funding cuts, and student debt reached a record high of $26,000 per student."

"Indeed, his decisions at the state level made him attractive as the ideal candidate to complete the job of dismantling the public infrastructure of a land grant university such as Purdue."

"The outcomes of these processes are striking: there is now a nation-wide drop in college enrollment — according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a decline of 2.3% this year alone.

Can there be any way faster to race to the bottom than by attacking public education?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blame Canada?

Really? Eli Lilly & Co. is suing Canadians 'cause the Indy-based company didn't make enough profit?

Seems that "under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a company can sue another NAFTA country if that nation’s laws affect its expected future profit. In this case, Eli Lilly is 'losing profit' because Canadian regulators dared to act within Canadian laws and rightly denied patents on two of Eli Lilly’s expensive drugs."

Read the whole thing here: Eli Lilly is Suing Canadians for $500 Million.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Education Shenanigans Under Daniels

Not only did former Gov. Mitch Daniels try to deep six use of a history text he didn't like, turns out his education boss rigged school ratings so a prominent GOP contributor's charter schools wouldn't be C-listed.

No wonder Gov. Pence and his henchmen are working so hard to marginalize Glenda Ritz. It was her election that caused both scandals to be uncovered.

This Indianapolis Observer is sure that there'll be more to come on these, and others.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Check Out Indy Island This summer

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has selected Los Angeles-based artist Rimas K. Simaitis as the 2013 resident of Andrea Zittel’s Indy Island at The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. Simaitis’s residency titled Island Fever will premiere in the Park today (20 July).

Commissioned by the IMA in 2010, Indy Island is a fully habitable experimental living structure that examines the daily needs of contemporary human beings, and explores the tensions between autonomy, independence and individualism. Simaitis's project Island Fever will allow park visitors to communicate with the island through an on-shore radio that will transmit signal to the Zittel structure by way of two smaller, floating satellite islands. The smaller, outlying islands will be equipped with an audio system designed to create vibrations and ripples in the water so visitors hear and see their messages travel across the lake to Indy Island. Simaitis will prompt visitors to reflect on cosmic relationships and diplomacy at an onshore phone booth, and to transmit their messages through the radio system in order to initiate contact.

During Simaitis's residency, Indy Island will be outfitted with a HAM radio station, a radio-telescope constructed from a beach umbrella and an empty pineapple can, a variety of antennas, and a radio spectrograph. He will use the spectrograph to capture images of the transmissions that will be shared on the Indy Island blog, www.imamuseum.org/island2013. At scheduled times Simaitis will invite visitors to the island in order to transmit their messages into outer space, listen for signals from extraterrestrials, and to try and communicate with amateur radio operators around the world and satellites orbiting Earth, such as the International Space Station.

“The term 'island fever' was traditionally used to describe the sensation of isolation and restlessness often felt by the inhabitants of island nations; but now, as islands have become destinations of escape for tourists, the term 'island fever' has taken on a new, contrasting meaning,” Simaitis said. “My residency on Indy Island is meant to explore this mixed feeling by providing a sense of isolation on an island well-equipped with its own means of escape. My intention for this project is not only to escape the island, but to reach out a bit further and enable visitors to do so as well.”

Island Fever is the fourth residency in Indy Island at the Art & Nature Park. The six-week residency allows an artist to enliven the park through the experimental living structure anchored in the Park’s lake. The resident is chosen through an open call for proposals conducted by the IMA. Students and emerging professionals in the fields of art, design and architecture are encouraged to apply. Simaitis was chosen from a pool of more than 150 applicants from around the world.

Rimas K. Simaitis (b. 1983) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His areas of research have included islands, space and relations between geography and culture. He developed an interest in radio transmissions when learning how Reggae music formed on the island of Jamaica. Due to the proximity of Miami and New Orleans to Jamaica, the island could receive the distinct music being broadcast from these cities. As a newly independent nation in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Jamaican islanders sought to form a new identity through music. Influenced by the radio broadcasts, they first developed an upbeat Ska style, but the hot weather eventually slowed down the tempo so the islanders could dance more comfortably—ultimately creating Reggae.

Simaitis’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; the New Wight Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles; the Roots & Culture Contemporary Arts Center in Chicago; SOIL in Seattle; and the Boise Art Museum. Simaitis holds an MFA from University of California, Santa Barbara, and two BAs from Seattle University. More information about his work is available on his website.

(Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Museum of Art)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mitch Daniels Sought To Censor Public Universities, Professors

The Associated Press has a fascinating look at former Gov. Mitch Daniels' efforts to interfere with what's taught by university professors -- while he was still governor of Indiana.

It's all the more interesting as he's now the head of Purdue University.

Here's some of what it says:
"Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels requested that historian and anti-war activist Howard Zinn's writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a "cleanup" of college courses. In another exchange, the Republican talks about cutting funding for a program run by a local university professor who was one of his sharpest critics."

"Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, said it's not unusual for governors or mayors to denounce art, music or popular culture. But he said he couldn't find any other examples of governors trying to censor political opponents. 'What sets this apart is what appears to be a back-channel effort by the governor to limit access to ideas,' said Paulson, also dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. 'Under the First Amendment, the government is prohibited from trying to suppress expression with which it disagrees.'"

"In a separate round of emails in April 2009, Daniels called for an audit and possible funding cut for a program run by Charles Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association and a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Little had been highly critical of Daniels' education overhaul in internal emails and he often critiqued the governor's performance at public meetings."

"'It is astonishing and shocking that such a person is now the head of a major research university, making decisions about the curriculum, that one painfully suspects embodies the same ignorance and racism these comments embody,' said Cary Nelson, an English professor at the University of Illinois who served six years as president of the American Association of University Professors."

and, finally
"Purdue University Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Krach, who hired Daniels last year, did not return an email seeking comment. Trustees are scheduled to receive a six-month assessment from Daniels this week."

Well, this Indianapolis Observer isn't surprised and muses that Purdue will suffer both academically and intellectually by choosing such an unworthy successor to France Córdova.

Great followup to the story by the IBJ's Lou Harry: Zinn and the art of historical revisionism
(And, major props for the terrific headline!)

Read what Sheila Kennedy has to say on the topic here: The Saga Continues.
Among her comments: " The Governor was NOT within his rights to dictate what can and cannot be taught in public school or university classrooms, and certainly not within his rights to try to cut off funding for a respected academic program because the scholar in charge of that program had been critical of his education policies."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

IEDC contractor steers Indiana investment funds to firms run by its chairman and his son

That's the headline in yet another article in today's Indianapolis Star about Indiana government corruption.

Kudos to reporter Alex Campbell for explaining how yet another GOP contributor -- Howard Bates (pictured, at left) -- is profiteering on the taxpayer's dime with the agreement of the political powers that be.

For shame, Gov. Pence -- and all the Republican legislators and staffers who condone such blatant misuse of tax revenue to line the pockets of the fat cats.

UPDATE: According to Paul Ogden, Gov. Pence agrees this apparent conflict of interest warrants further investigation.

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Turbo" Races into Theaters

It's always nice to see Indy showcased in the movies, even when the star of the flick is an animated snail.

Yes, Turbo -- a somewhat sluggish garden snail with racing dreams -- is the protagonist of a new fantasy film from DreamWorks Animation SKG.

One of the setting is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and your Indianapolis Observer can't wait to see it from a snail's eye view.

"Turbo" -- the movie -- opens 17 July.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Evening With Jose Antonio Vargas.

Jose Antonio Vargas (pictured), one of the leading voices in the U.S. immigration will engage in a community conversation on one of the most challenging issues facing our country and our city.

Vargas, an award-winning journalist and founder of Define American, comes to the Arch at Chatham, 617 East North Street, Indianapolis (map), at 6 p.m. 17 July.

Tickets for the evening are $50, and include the hors d'oeuvres and wine reception.

All of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Immigrant Welcome Center, courtesy of the Morales Group, Arch at Chatham and Buca di Beppo.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Not Too Late to Be Early

The 2013 Indianapolis Early Music Festival is well underway, but you still have two chances to catch performances in the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis (map).

Wayward Sisters present the "naughty list" music at 7:30 p.m. 12 July and The Flanders Recorder Quartet offers "a chest of flutes" at 7:30 p.m. 14 July.

Naughty list? That's music by braggarts, hotheads, curmudgeons and snobs, according to the festival: not all composers were nice guys. The Wayward Sisters are the 2011 winners of the Early Music America/Naxos Recording competition.

The chest of flutes will include works by Cabezon, Scheidt, Gabrieli, Bach and Brahms.

Single tix start at $22.

Did you know that Indianapolis Early Music is America’s oldest continuous presenter of Early Music? This is their 47th season.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Swimsuits in Michigan

The Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau in Michigan has signed an agreement with the Indianapolis Colts to arrange for the Colts Cheerleaders to shoot their 2014 Swimsuit Calendar in the Saugatuck-Douglas area next week.

As the Visitors Bureau points out in a press release, the agreement will provide the CVB with "promotional opportunities for the Saugatuck-Douglas area".

This Indianapolis Observer wonders why the Colts aren't shooting their swimsuit calendar in their own home town. (Of course, she also wonders why the Colts aren't the subjects of the photos, but that's another discussion.)

Yeah, the realities are that the Saugatuck-Douglas CVB must've dangled significant cash before their eyes, but -- heck -- haven't we ponied up enough Indianapolis tax dollars for Jim Irsay? Why is he (and "our" team) promoting travel to Michigan?

(Photo, courtesy of Saugatuck.com, is not a Colts cheerleader)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New IndyGo Route Traverses 86th Street/82nd Street

On Monday (10 June), IndyGo will introduce its new cross town service on Indianapolis's north side.

The Route 86 will travel along the 86th St./82nd St. corridor with service between Traders Point and Community North Hospital every 30 minutes, Monday through Saturday.

This new local service route has stops approximately every 1/4 mile and connects with seven other IndyGo routes. Buses will use the curb lane to stop for passengers wanting to board or exit. Expect to see heavier pedestrian traffic and stopped buses along the route especially at local bus connection points:
*West 86th St. at Michigan Rd. for connections with Route 34.
*West 86th St. at Harcourt Rd. for connections with Route 28.
*West 86th St. at College Ave. for Connections with Route 18.
*Inside the Keystone Crossing development for connections with Routes 26 and 18.
*Inside Castleton Mall parking lot for connections with Route 19.
*Inside Community Hospital North campus for connections with Route 4.

This Indianapolis Observer is grateful for a long overdue bus route.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Indy's Ethnic Eateries

Great article in today's Indianapolis Star on the tenth anniversary of IndyEthnicFood.com, a volunteer-run website directory of ethnic restaurants plus reviews, recipes, foodie festivals etc.

Check it out here: Indy Ethnic Food.

This Indianapolis Observer wonders why the city's oldest still-operating ethnic restaurant was left out of the story. Yes, folks, I'm talking about the Rathskeller, which has been serving German food in the Athenaeum since 1898.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

The Indiana Historical Society doesn't want Hoosiers to be caught unawares by the rise of the living dead.

It has scheduled an informational session at 7 p.m. 19 June in the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, to help everyone prepare.

According to the notice, "representatives from the Indiana State Department of Health will share tools on how to prevent Virus-Z infection, while trained experts from Indiana's Department of Homeland Security will demonstrate coordinated response strategies to the brain-eating hordes."

If that weren't enough, "Indy Trade School will teach you how to barter in the new world order, and you'll also learn survival skills from zombie-fighting veterans with military and public safety experience."

The final session is perhaps the most crucial: IHS staff will prepare you with the needed tools to record the memories of zombie apocalypse survivors."

Admission is $30, and you must be 21 or older.

Are they kidding? There's no hint that it's all tongue-in-cheek: "preparedness is your best defense".

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trash Slide in Indy

Now that your Indianapolis Observer has your attention: remember that curbside recycling, residential and heavy trash collection will operate on a slide schedule next week due to the Memorial Day holiday.

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, 28 May; Tuesday routes will be serviced on Wednesday, 29 May; Wednesday routes on Thursday, 30 May; Thursday routes on Friday, 31 May, and Friday routes will be serviced on Saturday, 1 June.

All services will return to normal schedules on Monday, June 3.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Somebody Needs a New Job

This Indianapolis Observer wonders: Can't anyone spell correctly any more?

Interactive Intelligence needs to fire (or at least ridicule in public) the people who wrote the copy for and those who approved the final version of this humongous banner hanging in the Indianapolis International Airport.

C'mon, no one noticed the misspelling? Surely Don Brown didn't approve this before it went up....

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Konishiki Comes to Indy

The annual gala sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Indiana is set for 11 June in the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 West Washington Street, Indianapolis. The event celebrates the 25th anniversary of the organization, which promotes friendship, exchange and cooperation between Indiana and Japan.

Special guest will be sumo wrestling star Yasokichi Konishiki, who is the first foreign-born wrestler to reach ozeki (the second highest rank) in Japan's national sport.

Guests of honor at the event are the Honorable Mike Pence, Indiana governor, and the Honorable Masaharu Yoshida, Consul General of Japan at Chicago.

Pawel Fludzinski, immediate past president of the Japan-America Society of Indiana, will receive the Bridge of Friendship Award. The government of Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, will be awarded to Robert H. Reynolds, Honorary Consul General of Japan at Indianapolis.

A reception for patrons begins at 5 p.m., with the general reception at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Business or traditional Japanese attire is requested.

For information and tickets, call 317:635-0123.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Representative Government: RIP

"Today [11 May 2013, Gov. Mike Pence] signed the second worst bill passed by the legislature this year, SB 621, which strips the Indianapolis City-County Council of power in order to make the most corrupt mayor in the history of Uni-Gov more powerful and unaccountable to the public."

(Read the rest here: "Pence Signs Second Worst Bill Passed By Legislature This Year"

This Indianapolis Observer is appalled, and the Indiana GOP should be deeply ashamed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Grand Opening of Indy Cultural Trail This Weekend

Now, here's an urban amenity that no other city has: the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

The grand opening of the eight mile meticulously designed and landscaped pedestrian and bicycle pathway connecting five of Indy's Cultural Districts plus downtown kicks off with a ribbon cutting at 3:45 p.m. Friday (10 May) outside the Indianapolis City Market at Market and Alabama streets (map).

The “Get Down On It” celebration begins Saturday (11 May) with more than 80 different family-friendly programs spaced out along the entire trail.

Programs include musical and artistic performers, dancers, balloon rides and more. See all of the programs, performance times and locations online. All “Get Down On It” programs are open to the public, and most are free.

Your Indianapolis Observer is planning on participating in Saturday's Parasol Parade, but can't decide which band to follow (starting about 10 a.m.).

Major props to Brian Payne, President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Indianapolis Foundation, for thinking up this fabulous feature and figuring out how to implement it, and to Gene and Marilyn Glick for being major donors of the project. A legacy to be proud of, indeed!

(Photo by Stephanie Stewart, courtesy of Indianapolis Cultural Trail)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Circle City Tours

Your Indianapolis Observer once provided Indianapolis tours, but there wasn't enough of a demand to keep the business going.

It seems things have changed, since Circle City Tours has been around for several years now.

Have you taken one of their tours? Which one?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

UIndy to Shut Down Campus in Greece

The University of Indianapolis is closing its undergraduate program in Athens, Greece, as a result of continued economic turmoil there, reports WISH-TV.com.

As of Wednesday, the university said it’s no longer accepting new students to Indianapolis Athens College. All undergraduate courses and most graduate courses will end 31 August.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Your Indianapolis Observer, a home-grown internationalist by nature, is perplexed by Mayor Greg Ballard's global initiatives.

Newly-designated Sister Cities for which there is no local groundswell of interest? Understandable, if insupportable.

Building a Chinatown? Fanciful thinking that'll go nowhere.

But, a cricket stadium for a city that can't maintain the city parks and swimming pools it has now?

That's just plain looney!

Full disclosure: your Indy Observer has never been able to sit through an entire cricket match as a spectator; the game is an acquired taste.

(Photo by Thad Zajdowicz)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Show House on Meridian Street Again

The 52nd annual St. Margaret's Guild Decorators' Show House and Gardens takes place 27 April through 12 May.

This year's house is the Schnull-Rauch House, 3050 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis. The Romanesque Revival structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places was build in 1902.

Home to the Junior League of Indianapolis from 1979 to 2009, it was sold to the neighboring Children's Museum of Indianapolis in 2009.

Tickets are $20 at the door. for tours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Mondays). There are a series of special events planned, including a "Tablescape Breakfast", historic trolley tours and a fashion show.

St. Margaret's Hospital Guild is a volunteer group of about 70 women that has supported Wishard Hospital (soon to be renamed Eskenazi Health) since 1907. Each year the Guild organizes the refurbishment of a classic home, opens the home for a two-week public tour, and donates the tour proceeds to Wishard Health Services.

(Photo courtesy of St. Margaret's Guild)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Better Late than Never!

Thank you, Joe Donnelly, for your elegantly worded statement of support of gay marriage.

Indiana residents salute you!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hey, Joe Donnelly...

We didn't vote for you over Richard Mourdock for you to go all wonky on us.

The parade is in favor of legalizing marriage between two individuals, whether of same or opposite sex.

Please don't make this Indianapolis Observer (and her fellow travelers) regret voting you into office last November.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Making Hoosiers Look Like Idiots -- Again

"Several men with assault rifles and hand guns crashed a Mayors Against Illegal Guns National Day to Demand Action event in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Thursday [28 March] and stood silently as the state chapter of Moms Demand Action held a rally in favor of limiting the availability of military style weapons and universal background checks."

Read the whole thing here:
"Men With Loaded Rifles Intimidate Moms Gathered At Gun Safety Rally"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bright Lights, Big City?

"No matter how much Indianapolis performs as a major-league city, there are those who will never consider it anything more than a few high-rises amid a sea of cornfields tended to by a bunch of hayseeds."

Thus sayeth on Anthony Schoettle IBJ.com. Read the rest here: "Can Indy's big-league efforts outrun small-town image?"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snow Delays Indy Trash Pickup

All residential trash, heavy trash and curbside recycling routes will run one day behind this week, according to the City of Indianapolis.

Monday routes will be serviced today (26 March); Tuesday routes will be serviced tomorrow (27 March), and so on.

All services will return to normal schedules Monday (1 April).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Find out how white, black and Latino residents responded when Somali refugees moved to a rural American town in the award-winning documentary Welcome to Shelbyville.

The film screens from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. Wednesday (27 March) in the Krannert Room at the Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 West 42nd Street, Indianapolis.

Welcome to Shelbyville explores immigrant integration and the interplay between race, religion, and identity in a dynamic dialogue. The story is an intimate portrayal of a community’s struggle to understand what it means to be American.

After the movie, discuss what lessons Indianapolis can learn from this community's experience grappling with rapidly changing demographics. The event is sponsored by Welcoming Indianapolis, a project of the Immigrant Welcome Center.

Reservations are requested at rsvp@immigrantwelcomecenter.org.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Indy Snow Force Ready for Heavy Snowfall

According to the City of Indianapolis, forecasts are predicting heavy snowfall, ranging from three to seven inches or more, beginning early Sunday morning and continuing through Monday afternoon or longer.

Indy Snow Force will activate at full force (90 trucks) beginning at 11 p.m. Saturday and extending through Monday, as needed.

Citizens with disabilities or those who may need medical or health-related assistance should contact Connect 2 Help at 211, or 926-HELP (926-4357). Residents may also visit www.Connect2Help.org for more information.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Marion County Lost Population

Indiana’s urban counties lose population even as people flock to large communities, reports the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

The center has examined migration data derived from federal income tax returns to analyze migration flows into and out of all 92 Indiana counties. As in other states, people in Indiana tend to settle in or near urban counties.

Urban core counties such as Marion, Lake, Allen, and St. Joseph have the highest level of in-migration in the state, but have even higher levels of out-migration, leading to negative net migration in these counties.

The study — “Indiana Migration Flows: An Analysis of IRS Data” — also found that suburban counties, such as Hamilton and Hendricks, have higher levels of in-migration than out-migration.

About 60 percent of migration activity occurs from people moving within the state, the study found.

For more information, contact Dagney Faulk, CBER’s research director at dgfaulk@bsu.edu or 765:285-5926.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Butterfly Kaleidoscope

Your Indianapolis Observer's favorite exhibit opens Friday (22 March) in the Hilbert Conservatory at the White River Gardens (next to the Indianapolis Zoo), 1200 East Washington Street, Indianapolis.

"Butterfly Kaleidoscope" lets visitors immerse themselves in the beauty of these wonderful winged insects as they return to the indoor gardens after a two-year hiatus.

As you walk through the tropical environment, 40 species of butterflies will flit nearby — and one might even land on you. Each day, new butterflies, such as the Blue Morpho, Monarch and Great Owl butterflies, will be released from the chamber.

Learn about the metamorphosis of these creatures — from egg to larva to pupa to butterfly. Feel the soft flutter of their wings as they float by on their way to take a drink nectar from glass feeders hand blown by Gloria’s Garden Glass. Children also will love the new interactive butterfly building station, where they can make a giant replica of these interesting insects.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Indy Author Makes the New York Times

OK, so it's not a review in the book section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times, but it's probably a mention that will be read in its entirety by more people.

Arthur Emery Farnsley II's Flea Market Jesus was the subject of a one-sentence book review in the Sunday magazine section on 10 March.

The entire review? "The folk religion of white Middle America."

Dr. Farnsley is Research Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.

You can read more about his latest book here and here.

(Photo courtesy of ArtFarnsley.com)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Indy Talks About Women in India

If you were outraged by the brutal rape and killing in India in December, and by the turgid legal response … If you are outraged that this is not uncommon around the world … And if you want to be part of efforts to change this situation, then you will want to be at the City Market, 222 East Market Street, Indianapolis for Foreign Policy and a Local Pint on 14 March.

Come at 5:30 p.m. for socializing with pizza and brews, and then stay for the 6 p.m. discussion.

The Village Experience is distributing a million dollars for projects empowering women in India. Learn how you can contribute to their work and of the work of other local groups addressing these issues. Talk with experts about the changing roles for women in India and other South Asian societies.

Ever think you’re the only one in Indianapolis who cares about global issues? You’re wrong, there are a lot of people like you. And you can meet them Thursday evenings at City Market with Foreign Policy and a Local Pint, a series of informal discussions about what’s happening in the world. Socialize with young professionals over free pizza and subsidized beer, talk to some of the world’s top experts, and discover local organizations working on issues in the countries we’ll discuss.

A tip of the Indianapolis Observer's hat to Provocate.org for organizing these events.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Guitars! Roundups to Rockers

"Guitars! Roundups to Rockers", an exhibit opening today at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, explores the Western connections of guitars and guitarists.

Guitars owned by Roy Rogers, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams Sr. will be among more than 100 instruments included in the exhibit, which runs through 4 August. According to the Eiteljorg, "The experience, including interactive content, is guaranteed to appeal to guitar gearheads, musicians and everyday music lovers of genres from Western swing to wailing rock, thrashing punk to bouncing jazz."

Guitars! is supported by ongoing programming, including films, performances, guitar instruction and a guitar “corral” that offers visitors a chance to pluck and strum.

Unfortunately, your Indianapolis Observer missed last night's sale, when autographed guitars from the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Carlos Santana, Pearl Jam, Keith Urban and others were auctioned off during the exhibit preview party.

Fortunately, you still have time to catch Cowboy Celtic, performing today between 2 and 4 p.m.

(Photo courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art)

Friday, March 8, 2013

How Buddhism Changes the Conversation

"Interfaith Encounters: How Buddhism Changes the Conversation" is the topic for a seminar featuring Dr. Kenneth Tanaka (pictured) set for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 18 March at Christian Theological Seminary, 1000 West 42nd Street, Indianapolis. Cost of $40 includes lunch.

Dr.Tanaka earned a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and is Professor of Buddhist Studies at Musashino University in Tokyo, Japan. Among his books are: Ocean: An Introduction to Jodo Shunshu Buddhism in America, Dialogue with Others and The Faces of Buddhism in America.

According to CTS, the number of Buddhists in America has grown 17-fold since the 1960s to about 3.5 million. People from many religious traditions have found the encounter with Buddhism enriching to their own faith.

The seminar will conclude with Dr. Tanaka, Cantor Robert Zalkin and Professor Marti Steussy in "A 3-Way Conversation: Buddhist, Jewish & Christian".

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Arsonist Torches St. John the Evangelist

An apparent arson has caused an estimated $400,000 in damages to a historic downtown Indianapolis Catholic church, according to the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

The church, across Capital Avenue from the Indiana Convention Center, houses the first Catholic parish established in Indianapolis in 1837. Construction of the current church was completed in 1871.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cronyism Begins to Infect Purdue

Your Indianapolis Observer thinks that this notice, courtesy of IBJ.com is just the camel's nose under the tent.

"Purdue University has hired a former official in Mitch Daniels' gubernatorial administration to lead the Purdue Research Foundation.

"Daniels, now Purdue's president, announced the appointment of former Indiana Secretary of Commerce Dan Hasler as president of the research foundation Wednesday. Hasler also will serve as Purdue's chief entrepreneurial officer."

Let's see how many Daniels' administration figures end up working in West Lafayette....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book & Author Luncheon

Five authors are featured during the 33rd annual Book & Author Benefit Luncheon sponsored by the Christamore House Guild, set for April 19, 2013, in the Indiana Roof Ballroom, downtown Indianapolis.

They are:
*Melanie Benjamin (The Aviator's Wife)
*Tara Conklin (The House Girl)
*Ann Hood (Obituary Writer)
*Phillip Margolin (Sleight of Hand)
*Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)

Mistress of ceremonies will be Diane Willis.

The event begins at 10 a.m., with books available for purchase and signing, followed by the luncheon program at 11 a.m. Tickets are $85 per person ($55 of each ticket is tax deductible; seats are limited and will be filled as paid reservations are received).

This springtime event has raised more than $1,000,000 over the past 30 years, serving over 650 students. The proceeds benefit the Frances Carter Coburn Scholarship Fund as well as programs offered through Christamore House, serving the educational and scholarship needs of many qualified students from the Haughville neighborhood.

For more than 100 years, the Christamore House has been serving the west side of Indianapolis. For most of that time, the Christamore House Guild (formerly call the Christamore Aid Society) has been there to help find volunteers and keep the doors open.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Art & Antiques Show & Sale

The 26th annual Indianapolis Art & Antiques Show & Sale is set for 8-10 March in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, Indianapolis (map).

It's presented by the Methodist Hospital Task Core in partnership with the Methodist Health Foundation in support of Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.

General admission is $12 at the door. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 8 March, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 9 March and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 10 March.

Special events include "A Taste of Elegance", the opening night preview and party on 7 March; a presentation on Soirée: Entertaining with Style by Danielle Rollins on 8 March; demonstrations featuring local artists on 9 March, and a presentation by John A Tiffany on his book, Eleanor Lambert: Still Here on 9 March.

Your Indianapolis Observer notes that Eleanor Lambert, New York City's fashion arbiter for decades, was born in 1903 in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

(Photo courtesy of Methodist Hospital Task Core)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Directions to Sister Cities

This photo of a directional sign in downtown Los Angeles points the way to LA's Sister Cities.

This Indianapolis Observer thinks Indy should do something similar for its roster of Sister Cities!

Photo by Darryl Musick

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Looney Hoosier Lawmakers At It Again

This Indianapolis Observer wonders where these lawmakers were when brains were allocated.

We've got big problems (oh, just for starters, mass transit, global climate change, obesity, unemployment, poor public education...) and yet they work on idiot legislation such as this:

"The Indiana state Senate on Wednesday advanced a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound procedure both before and after having a medication-induced abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy...."

"Dr. Anne Davis, the consulting medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Health, said the requirement would place an undue burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies."

No kidding!

There is absolutely no medical reason for one ultrasound, let alone two. (The bill also includes other bogus requirements.)

Too bad Hoosier Republicans don't believe in the same "right to privacy" as Iowa's Senior Senator Chuck Grassley, who said, in response to a question about microchipping people, "First of all, nothing can be done to your body without your permission. It’d be a violation of the constitutional right to privacy if that were to happen."

But, then again, the GOP evidently doesn't believe women are covered by the U.S. Constitution!

According to The Indianapolis Star on 25 February, "The Indiana Senate today changed a key provision of abortion legislation, no longer mandating that women getting an abortion-inducing drug undergo two ultrasounds.

"Physicians had said that given the small size of the uterus when the drug RU486 is given in the early weeks of pregnancy, the ultrasound would have to be done by vaginal probe. That, they said, is both invasive and unnecessary."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monsanto Seed Patent Case

Indiana makes the national news again, this time it's a 75-year-old Hoosier soybean farmer vs. big business.

At issue: can he buy soybeans from a local grain elevator and plant 'em? Or is he violating a Monsanto patent by "replicating" the genetically altered beans?

Bowman farms outside Sandborn (map) in southwest Indiana.

Read it all here: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Monsanto Seed Patent Case.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

James Dean Comes to Indy

The Indiana State Museum and IMAX® Theater are teaming up this week to host a special film festival in honor of Hoosier-born actor James Dean. The festival will feature all three of Dean's feature length films on three separate nights.

The festival will kick off Thursday (21 February) with a showing of East of Eden, for which Dean received a nomination for Best Actor in 1956. Rebel Without a Cause, Dean's most memorable film, can be viewed on the IMAX screen on Friday (22 February). Giant will wrap up the festival on Saturday (23 February), another film where Dean's acting was given a second posthumous Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

All showings will be at the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum and will start at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $5.50.

Want to learn more about this Hoosier icon? Don't miss the current exhibition Eternal James Dean at the Indiana State Museum through 2 June. This exhibit focuses on Dean "the man", his rise from Fairmount, Indiana, native to rising movie star and his love of racing. The exhibition features artifacts and historic photographs related to Dean's three feature films as well as personal items.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Foreign Policy & a Local Pint

This is from Provocate.org:

Indiana journalist and historian Doug Wissing (pictured) has a new book: Funding the enemy: How US taxpayers bankroll the Taliban. It’s a very well researched and very disheartening examination of how our decade long struggle in Afghanistan has seen much of the money flow to corrupt Afghan government officials, opportunistic American contractors, and the Taliban.

Educated as a historian and political scientist, Wissing has scrambled over avalanche-choked passes in bandit-ridden corners of Tibet to speak with the reincarnation of a valuable source. He’s gained insight into Washington insiders, Hong Kong Communist plutocrats, extreme body modifiers, modern medieval armorers and Belgian Trappist brewers who craft the world’s rarest beer. He’s listened to the lives of Vietnamese Impressionist painters, maverick mycologists, and Cuban internationalists.

His thought-provoking writing and meticulous research have resulted in six books and landed his unique perspective in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, salon.com, and on BBC and NPR networks, as well as in tastemaker journals from ARTnews to Saveur. His award-winning articles and radio stories on Afghanistan have attracted wide attention among U.S. policy-makers.

"Foreign Policy and a Local Pint" is a series of informal, community discussions on a variety of topics of global concern. Each “FPLP” talk will feature a leading expert in that field right here in Indiana as well as local organizations doing work in the countries being discussed. Enjoy pizza, beer, and a comfortable atmosphere conducive to meaningful, engaging conversation. Have fun, learn new things, and find out how you can become part of something special.

This presentation, the first, starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, 21 February, in the City Market, 222 East Market Street, Indianapolis.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Plot Thickens

"The downtown mafia's goal in installing [Mark] Miles was to permanently shore up its long-standing mantra that professional sporting events are the end-all, be-all for the economic future of Indianapolis and Central Indiana, and that professional sports can only thrive if billions of dollars in public investments are made to ensure their vitality."

So says Gary R. Welsh on his Advance Indiana blog. Read it here.

He talks about Joe Hogsett and Tony George and Tony Hulman and Mary George and Guy Trolinger and Bernie Ecclestone and the ADA suit and Greg Fehribach and Fred Nation and "Miles, Mr. Rent-A-Civic Leader himself", and Matt Tully. Riveting reading for this Indianapolis Observer.

"Even the lone anti-corporate welfare holdout among the [Indianapolis] Star's editorial team, Dan Carpenter, chimed in with his blessing of the deal--apparently after being drugged and sent away to a Gannett-run re-education camp for hopeless idealists."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hoosier Hysteria

OK, so it's not happening in Indy -- but once again the Hoosier state is making national (and international) headlines for being stupid.

Indiana group fights for “gay-free” prom screams the headline on Salon.com.

"After failing to ban gay teens from attending Sullivan County High School’s official prom, a group of Indiana parents, students and a local teacher is fighting for a separate “traditional” prom that would keep gay kids out."

Other mentions:
Indiana Anti-Gay Prom Plan Sparks Backlash
Indiana's Anti-Gay Prom Is Getting Worse
Sullivan High School's Students, Staff Distance Themselves From Anti-Gay Prom Plan Frenzy
Indiana school group petitions for a 'gay-free' prom

This Indianapolis Observer thinks that gay kids have been attending proms as long as high schools have been hosting 'em.