Friday, April 30, 2010

A Note from Cliff Myers, Southeast District Commander

We had a very busy week and close calls for our officers. In two separate business robberies on Friday, our officers confronted armed gunmen. The community was a great help in locating the bank robbery suspect on East Street. Thanks to some very alert citizens, we were able to quickly set up a perimeter leading to our encounter with the armed gunman. Thankfully no innocent lives were lost.

It is storm season. Keep one eye on the weather.

Have a great weekend.

Save the dates:

May 13th, 630pm-830pm at Conseco Field House, Free self-defense training-open to the public – FREE PARKING

May 20th, 10:00am-2:00pm Garfield Park, Southeast District Community Day

City Announces Great Indy Spring Cleanup ToxDrop Event

The City of Indianapolis will offer a special Great Indy Spring Cleanup ToxDrop Event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, 2010. The Great Indy Spring Cleanup is a citywide effort to beautify and strengthen our communities that aims to achieve litter abatement through neighborhood-driven initiatives.

“I am committed to growing a sustainable and livable city,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Every family can make a difference by not only picking up and pitching litter, but making the effort to dispose of waste properly. Let’s come together and take pride in improving our city to make it a brighter and safer place to live, work and play.”

The ToxDrop Program provides an opportunity for residents to properly dispose of all their unwanted and unused household hazardous waste. For a detailed list on acceptable household hazardous waste items, please visit

“I encourage everyone to participate in this special ToxDrop event,” said City-County Councilor Christine Scales, who collaborated with the City of Indianapolis to organize the May 3 ToxDrop. “Properly disposing of household hazardous waste improves our environment and creates a stronger, safer community.”


Great Indy Spring Cleanup ToxDrop Event


AMC General Cinema Parking Lot

4016 E. 82nd St.


Monday, May 3, 2010

5 to 7 p.m.

About ToxDrop

ToxDrop is an Indianapolis/Marion County program managed by the Department of Public Works, located at 2700 S. Belmont Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46221. Through year-round Saturday collection site locations and periodic ToxAway Day events, the ToxDrop program has made significant advancements to help residents properly and safely dispose of household hazardous waste. For more information about the ToxDrop, including sites near you, visit

To learn more about Mayor Ballard’s vision of making Indianapolis the most sustainable city in the Midwest, visit

City Dispatches Mowing Crews to Neglected Properties

The City’s Department of Code Enforcement (DCE) dispatched mowing crews to neglected properties today. Nearly 800 notices of violation have been sent to properties with weeds and grass over 12 inches in height.

“High weeds and grass calls to the Mayor’s Action Center are among the top calls each season, and the City is prepared to tackle these issues before they become a public nuisance,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Effectively addressing high weeds and grass and other property maintenance issues can mean the difference between a blighted neighborhood and a vibrant, safe, thriving neighborhood – the kind every citizen deserves.”

Property owners receiving a notice of violation will have five days from the date of the notice to cut their overgrown property. If a property owner fails to mow the property, the City will dispatch a mowing vendor to cut the property and will bill the owner a minimum of $291 for the mowing service. Additional costs can be assessed for lots over an acre or for additional clean-up.

The City is only required to issue one notice of violation per calendar year for a property in violation of high weeds and grass. If a property owner fails to keep the property in compliance, the City will continue to mow the property without further notice and bill the owner for each time the property is mowed.

Property owners who fail to pay a mowing invoice will have a lien attached to their property tax bill.

“DCE is equipped with a full-time inspection staff and 12 contract mowing vendors to tackle problem properties this season,” said Rick Powers, Director of the Department of Code Enforcement. “Major process improvements made last year enabled us to respond more quickly to a record number of high weeds and grass cases, investigating 14,114 properties, completing 9,101 mows, and decreasing the average call-to-cut time from 42 to 16 days.”

To report a property with high weeds and grass, please contact the Mayor’s Action Center at 327-4MAC (4622). Be prepared to provide an exact address and any identifying features of the property. A weekly report of properties in violation will be updated every Monday to the DCE website and can be accessed at To track the status of a high weeds and grass case, please access the case research tool at

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Join us to exchange ideas on how to plan, market and recruit for a successful community event in Indianapolis

Get Neighbor-Powered!
This topical peer-to-peer discussion forum is a follow up event to the 2009 Neighbor Power! gathering where more than 250 Indianapolis residents came together to share ideas about how to make their neighborhoods better places to live, work and play. At Neighbor Power! more than 100 people expressed an interest in continuing a local conversation on particular topics. This "MAIN Event" forum is the second of a series of topical peer-to-peer discussions to network local leaders to one another, highlight good neighborhood work, and inspire further community action.

Explore our newly updated website at Browse 2009 session videos and resources on topics such as abandoned housing, youth engagement, and neighborhood events.

Who: Anyone interested in creating a new community event (from small block parties and neighborhood cleanups to a full scale parade), volunteer recruitment strategies, the vendor selection process or improving an existing event.

New to the community events scene? Come learn about what's happening in your neighborhood. Learn tips on how to improve your event from top to bottom.

We'll have experts on hand for a panel Q&A session to answer all of your event questions.

What: Get Connected! Join your peers and learn about community events, share

ideas, and plan actions.

When: Thursday, May 20th from 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Where: Harrison Center for the Arts (Underground Room)

1505 N. Delaware Street

Snacks will be provided. Space is limited for this event. RSVP to Jon Berg at or 317.396.0588 ext 15.

FREE Skin Cancer Screenings

May 1 Hendricks Regional Health No Appointment Needed
May 1 St. Francis Hospital 317.782.4422
May 3 Methodist Hospital, 317.916.3525
May 3 Indiana University Hospital 317.274.7744
May 5 St. Vincent Hospital 317.338.2273
May 6 St. Francis Hospital 317.782.4422
May 6 Community Regional Cancer Care North 800.777.7775
May 8 Hendricks Regional Health No Appointment Needed
May 12 Clarian North Medical Center 317.916.3525
May 12 St. Vincent Hospital 317.338.2273
May 13 Community Regional Cancer Care East 800.777.7775
May 15 Central Indiana Cancer Centers 317.356.2422
May 17 St. Vincent Mercy Hospital 800.450.4548
May 20 Ball Memorial Hospital 765.741.1073
May 22 Witham Health Services at Anson 765.485.8120
June 1 Clarian West Medical Center 317.217.3627
Call a location near you to reserve your FREE skin screening.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do you know a child with a disability or a chronic illness? Maybe you know a child who is struggling in school?

Most families are given the diagnosis but receive no guidance on how to help their child. Indiana families of kids with special needs can find help with accessing healthcare options, financial aid, educational supports, respite, medical equipment, special education law, state and federal programs, support groups and all other issues related to children with special needs… by calling About Special Kids (ASK.) ASK can help… FREE of charge.

One of the parents we helped said, “I used to cry because I didn’t know what to do to help my child. Once I found ASK, I never cried again. I never cried from not knowing.”

Call 800-964-4746

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shepherd Community Health Fair

May 22, 2010

9am – Noon

As part of their leadership development curriculum, Shepherd Community Center’s Middle School Academy students have organized a health fair that will take place on Saturday, May 22nd from 9am – Noon. The health fair is open to the community. Representatives from the American Heart Association, Diabetes Association and Fit City will be on hand, as well as a dietician and other health specialists. Bring your family and friends and stop by and take part in these free health screenings, and support our students! Contact Amy at 375-0203 for more details.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mayor Ballard, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood and Rep. Carson to Participate in “Safe Routes to School” Event

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Mayor Greg Ballard, and U.S. Rep. Andre Carson will participate in a local Safe Routes to School program by walking to school with St. Thomas Aquinas students and their families on one of their “walking school bus” routes on Friday, April 23. The Safe Routes to School program is part of the Department of Transportation’s commitment to livable communities and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative.

The Safe Routes to School program encourages walking and biking to school by making routes safer and more appealing for students and their parents. St. Thomas Aquinas received a Safe Routes to School grant in 2007 and now operates two daily “walking school bus” routes as well as three other routes that operate two or three times a week. Walking school buses are operated by parent volunteers who supervise each route, with the goal of alleviating parent concerns about safety and encouraging more students to walk and bike to school.

Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, also will lead a “bike train” to school that same morning. He will meet students and grandparents at the corner of Pennsylvania Street and 58th Street at 7:30 a.m. Information on the school’s SRTS program can be found at

Pleasant Run Beautification Event

The next Pleasant Run Beautification event will take place Saturday May 1st from 9:00 to 11:00. We are doing this one in conjunction with the White River Clean-up. If you can help out, please sign up at When you sign up, put "Pleasant Run" in the comment field. By signing up, you get a free T-shirt, a Chipotle card for a free burrito, and a free lunch at 11:00. And of course you get the satisfaction of knowing you made Pleasant Run all the more pleasant. To meet for the event, just come to the interstate underpass at Shelby and Pleasant Run at 9:00. See you there!


Join local inventor and entrepreneur Scott Jones, WISH-TV Anchor Karen Hensel and WIBC Morning News Hosts Terri Stacy and Joe Staysniak as they kick off the first of three contests for Lemonade Day: The Best Tasting Lemonade Contest. A project of the Think Forward Foundation, Lemonade Day Indianapolis is a free, citywide initiative designed to teach kids how to start, own and operate their own business - a lemonade stand.

On the afternoon of April 25th at Broad Ripple Park, more than 25 kids will compete for the Best Tasting Lemonade title. Indianapolis-Area youth will bring their lemonade stands, enough lemonade for the judges and will go head-to-head in a lemonade taste-off with the winner being awarded a new iPad. The event is open to the public, rain or shine. Then, on May 2nd, Lemonade Day, the contestants will join more than 5,000 other Indianapolis-Area youth in setting up their lemonade stands around the City and becoming lemonade tycoons! Kids can still register at Broad Ripple Park that day or at the College Avenue Branch of the Marion County Public Library. For more information or to sign up, visit and click on Indianapolis.

Mayor Announces Indianapolis Will Receive $10 Million for Energy Retrofits

Mayor Greg Ballard today announced that Indianapolis will receive $10 million in Recovery Act funding to “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits on the City’s Near Eastside. Indianapolis is one of 25 cities selected to receive up to $452 million in funding as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative.

“The energy efficiency building retrofits will provide support for our continued investment in urban infrastructure to create a more sustainable city for generations to come,” Mayor Ballard said. “We thank the Department of Energy for acknowledging our steps to make city government more energy efficient, in turn serving as an example for all Indianapolis residents and business owners. Expected results of this project are lower energy bills for participants, economic recovery and job creation.”

The Indianapolis Retrofit Ramp-up Project aims to create sustainable neighborhood-scale energy efficiency pilot projects in a 470-square-block Near-Eastside neighborhood. The program will transform the area to a more energy efficient and economically sustainable community by retrofitting a diverse range of buildings including residential, industrial and commercial units, schools and nonprofits. The project will provide for investments in energy efficiency education, outreach and program delivery.

The retrofit programs developed will serve as a model for energy efficiency neighborhoods across the country. The Department of Energy will observe the Indianapolis retrofit and other pilot programs to develop best-practice guides to comprehensive retrofit programs that can be adopted and implemented by communities across the country. City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability staff will work with Department of Energy officials to finalize project details.

Examples of energy efficiency upgrades include insulation, window replacements, energy efficiency appliances and lighting. Installation of low-flow water fixtures such as faucets and shower heads are included. The Retrofit Ramp-up Project is expected to begin in the fall of 2010.

The city of Lafayette partnered with Indianapolis on the application, demonstrating regional cooperation on energy efficiency.

To learn more about Mayor Ballard’s vision of making Indianapolis one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest, visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayor Ballard, Public Safety Officials Detail Crime Fighting Efforts

Chief of Police Announces Early Morning Warrant Sweep; Public Safety Director Discusses Strategies to Keep our Neighborhoods Safe

Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Frank Straub, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Paul Ciesielski and neighborhood and community leaders gathered today to announce an early-morning warrant sweep and street-focused strategies to fighting crime.

Compared to 2009, crime in Indianapolis is down three percent—with some categories, including armed robberies and car jackings, down double-digits.

“As long as I am Mayor, we will not waver in our fight against crime,” declared Mayor Ballard. “We owe the citizens of Indianapolis nothing less. But our fight needs your vigor and your vigilance. We must have the energetic and courageous support and assistance of the people of Indianapolis.”

While one of the purposes of the news conference was to inform the public about a warrant sweep conducted in the early hours before the news conference, Director Straub addressed the broader issue of public safety in Indianapolis.

“The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is committed to a policing paradigm that will fight crime and violence on all fronts,” said Director Straub. “We will relentlessly pursue habitual offenders, their illegal activities, and restore safety to challenged neighborhoods. At the same time, we will partner with the community, ministers, schools, public health and other officials to address the underlying causes of crime and violence.”

IMPD Chief Ciesielski spoke directly about the need for the warrant sweep:

"Today's city-wide sweep symbolizes the kick off of a renewed effort to reduce crime in this city. The police department will not only intensify its enforcement, but its commitment to working with the community. We need everyone to get involved to make a difference."

Mayor Ballard also mentioned the community crime prevention grants that have been issued the past two years, and his belief that these grants have a positive effect on crime and the youth of Indianapolis. Community leaders Reverend Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition and Reverend Melvin Jackson of Westside Ministries attended the news conference as well.

“We will continue to work with neighborhood leaders. We will continue to use the community crime prevention grants to attack problems such as domestic violence and to foster an atmosphere of peace and cooperation with our public safety officers,” stated Mayor Ballard.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mayor Ballard Addresses Utility Transfer Benefits in Response to Council Questions

Dialogue with Community to Continue at Public Forum Tuesday Evening

Mayor Greg Ballard and Citizens Energy Group responded to questions posed by City-County Council President Ryan Vaughn regarding the proposed transfer of the City’s water and wastewater systems to Citizens. The report submitted to President Vaughn details how the transfer will provide more predictable utility rates while helping the City fix crumbling streets, bridges and sidewalks. The report can be found on the utilities Web site,

“I thank President Vaughn for starting the Council review process with thoughtful questions regarding the transfer of the water and wastewater utilities to Citizens,” said Mayor Ballard. “In addition to President Vaughn’s questions, we have received numerous helpful questions regarding the utility transfer in our public forums and meetings with other community stakeholders. Answering these questions, and taking people’s good ideas and concerns into account, is an important part of the process of ensuring we structure a final utility transfer agreement maximizing benefits to utility ratepayers and the Indianapolis community.”

The questions issued by President Vaughn mark the beginning of the Council’s formal review. Councillors will analyze the proposed transfer and are formally charged with approving the transfer. If approved by the Council, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission then will review the proposal through its public process. Before being considered by the full Council, the Mayor’s Office and Citizens will complete briefings to Council committees. Council briefings include:

April 21 at 5:30 p.m.: Economic Development Committee

April 22 at 5:30 p.m.: Public Works Committee

April 27 at 5:30 p.m.: Administration and Finance Committee

May 3 at 5:30 p.m.: Rules Committee

May 11 at 5:30 p.m.: Rules Committee

“During the public forums on the utility transfer and our Mayor’s Night Out meetings, the people of Indianapolis have made it clear that our city’s infrastructure problems must be addressed and utility rates must be predictable. The utility transfer is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address both of these critical issues,” said Mayor Ballard.

As the proposal moves to the Council review, Mayor Ballard and Citizens continue to listen to suggestions provided by residents, community leaders and business owners that will help shape the final transfer agreement. Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback at the next public forum scheduled for 5 p.m. April 20 at Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center, 2805 South Lynhurst Drive.

The report issued today details how Citizens will reduce future water and wastewater rate increases by about 25 percent by 2025 compared to any other option available to the City. Water and wastewater rates will be going up in the coming years due to necessary system improvements, including a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency requiring construction of a combined sewer overflow project to prevent raw sewage overflows into area waterways.

Citizens will reduce future rate increases through the annual savings available through the utility transfer. These savings will be achieved through efficiencies gained by combining the water and wastewater utilities with Citizens’ gas, steam and chilled water systems, value engineering and a more efficient capital structure

“Independent organizations, including J.D. Power & Associates, confirm Citizens’ customers are pleased with the value being delivered by our well-maintained utility systems,” said Carey Lykins, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “We are eager to further define how bringing the water and wastewater utilities into the public charitable trust will deliver savings for customers as we embark on important system improvements that will ensure safe, reliable drinking water and cleaner rivers and streams.”

Citizens is already working with the water and wastewater system operators, Veolia Water and United Water, to identify the most efficient and effective ways to operate the systems. Citizens expects Veolia and United to have significant roles in the operations of the systems.

On March 10, 2010, Mayor Ballard signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to transfer the City’s water and wastewater utilities to Citizens, a public charitable trust operating like a not-for-profit for community benefit.

More information about the utility transfers and the schedule for public meetings is available at or by calling 317-327-4MAC.

SE Library Strategy Meeting for Tuesday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. at 901 Shelby


LISC gathered a group of leaders from the six neighborhoods impacted by the announced plan to close six public libraries, of which Fountain Square would be one. This was a very healthy and productive discussion and I wanted to share the major points.

First, we discussed what was happening in each neighborhood and discovered we are all engaged and energizing our folks very quickly. Many of us are planning to attend the Library Board of Trustees Meeting today at 3 p.m. at the Library Services Center at 2400 N. Meridian.

Second, we agreed that the Library Board and Staff is not the enemy. They do not want to close libraries, but are forced to by the present financial environment. However, we also agreed that the present cuts are being made on the backs of the poorest neighborhoods with the poorest residents and that this is not acceptable.

Third, we agreed on the following message:

- Ask the Library Board to hold off on making a decision so city leaders can develop other options.
- Emphasize how critical our libraries are to the vitality and life of our neighborhoods.
- Point out that the present cuts are not equitable, largely impacting the most in need of these services. Ask the library to evenly spread the pain of these cuts across the city.
- The closing of libraries isn't a neighborhood issue; it is a city issue.

Finally, we adopted the following next steps:

- Energize people to attend the public forums on May 10th and 12th.
- Collect a group of experts to examine taxing options.
- Collect marketing experts to create a unified message and campaign.
- Seek gap funding to assist the Library until systemic change can happen.
- Organize neighborhoods and involve them in the strategy.
- Ask Library leaders to help inform our strategy.

With this in mind, we are scheduling a SE Library Strategy Meeting for Tuesday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. at 901 Shelby. At this meeting, we'll share additional information and develop our own plan for participating in these efforts.


Jim Mulholland
SEND Community Building Coordinator


Mayor Greg Ballard today will introduce to schoolchildren throughout Marion County an educational initiative aimed at improving air quality in the City of Indianapolis. “Air Schmair,” a children’s book created and published by the City’s Knozone program, encourages children and their parents to focus on sustainability and contribute to creating a cleaner, healthier environment by recycling; walking or riding bikes to close destinations rather than driving; carpooling; and turning off lights when rooms are not in use.

As part of Brightpoint’s Bright Green Earth Week, Brightpoint Americas President J. Mark Howell and employee volunteers will hand deliver books to students at The Project School as Mayor Ballard reads aloud “Air Schmair.” Brightpoint employees also will deliver copies to schools, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library branches and nonprofit organizations according to a distribution plan created by the City.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mayor Announces Plans for Summer Employment, Education Program

YouthWorks Indy to Provide Education Stipends, Paid Work Experience for up to 600 Marion County Residents

INDIANAPOLIS – City of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard today announced a summer jobs and educational program for up to 600 Marion County youth.

The YouthWorks Indy (YWI) summer enrichment program will operate from June through September 2010 and will provide education, work readiness and work experience opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth and young adults. In its second year, the program is available to residents of Marion County who are ages 16-24, enrolled in high school, a high school graduate or equivalent, or out of school seeking a GED.

The Indianapolis Private Industry Council (IPIC) will manage the $2.8 million program using federal stimulus and workforce investment funds designated for employment and training.

“YouthWorks Indy creates opportunities that provide participants with a paycheck while offering them on-the-job training and instructional classes,” Mayor Ballard said. “This program helps close education gaps that can become barriers to future job and college options for our youth.”

The program focuses on the three areas of education, employment, and work readiness. It provides opportunities for 420 youth enrolled in high school and 170 youth who are out of school seeking a GED or careers in information technology. Some of the 420 in-school youth will participate in a program track in high growth sectors like health care and STEM fields.

“We are excited to expand the successful aspects of last year’s summer enrichment program for local youth,” said Brooke Huntington, President and CEO of IPIC. “This unique combination of work and educational credentials will maximize the opportunity for long-term success among participants by putting the youth on track to receive specific educational credentials to ensure long-term education and job prospects.”

Improvements made to last year’s program include more effective scheduling of work days and instructional classes, an increase in the number of teachers and mentors working with youth, and financial incentives for program completion, Huntington said.

Part of the participants’ time will be spent in the classroom and part gaining work experience at local companies and organizations. The program will provide an hourly wage for work of $8.50, up to $170 per week, and a stipend of $50 per educational session, up to $250 per week, to cover transportation and meals. Additional financial incentives will be awarded for program completion.

Online applications will be available at and beginning April 19, 2010. Participants must complete the online application and bring all required eligibility documents for enrollment listed on the Web sites to intake sessions scheduled with the education/training providers the week of May 3. Priority of selection will be given to veterans (past or present), fall 2010 enrolling Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) participants, Youth Employment Services (YES) participants and current WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker or Youth participants. Participants are scheduled to be selected no later than May 14.

Program Highlights for In-School Students

Indianapolis Public Schools will assist up to 240 in-school students by offering remedial and for-credit classes in English and Language Arts at Washington and Broad Ripple high schools. Students will attend classes for three weeks and be placed at a job site for three weeks, in addition to participating in a one-week job readiness training course. In 2009, IPS participated in the YouthWorks Indy program and this year increased the number of teachers-to-student ratio.

Indianapolis Metropolitan High School will assist 60 in-school youth who are enrolled in the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program by offering remedial and for-credit instruction in Algebra II, Geometry, and English II. Students will receive work-readiness training and be placed in summer job assignments.

Metropolitan Indianapolis Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (MICI-AHEC) will assist 60 youth by offering training and certifications in CPR, first aid, and Health Insurance and Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) and place students in jobs at medical/health care sites. This component achieved 100 percent completion rate in 2009 and is being expanded this year.

STEM Club at IUPUI will assist 60 juniors and seniors by offering an organizational behavior class equivalent to three college credits and exposure to STEM-related occupations.

Program Highlights for Out-of-School Youth

MSD Washington Township will work with Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana to assist 140 out-of-school youth working toward a GED. Participants will receive 160 hours of instruction at community and continuing education sites, after which they may take the GED test. They will be placed in job assignments and receive work-readiness training.

IA Services will assist 30 out-of-school youth in technical training, offering certifications in print/copier maintenance, fiber installation, and an A+ certificate. Participants will receive work readiness training and be placed in IT-related jobs in local firms for on-the-job experience.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The proposed transfer of the water and wastewater utilities gained approval from the Indianapolis Board of Public Works during the board's regular meeting on April 14, 2010. Resolution No. 20, 2010 and Resolution No. 21, 2010 regarding the proposed transfer of the City of Indianapolis' water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group and PILOT financing, respectively, were approved by a 6-0 vote. The Board's endorsement represents the first approval to refer the transfer to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for final approval later this year.

"Approval by the Board of Public Works is a critical first step in the process of the transfer of the water and wastewater utilities to Citizens, our local, non-profit charitable trust," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "The completion of this transfer will ensure consistent and predictable water and wastewater utilities for the residents of Indianapolis while allowing the City to invest an additional $425 million into our crumbling infrastructure."

On March 10, 2010, Mayor Ballard and Carey Lykins, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to transfer the City's water and wastewater utilities to Citizens, a public charitable trust operating utilities for community benefit. Pending negotiation and approval of the final agreement, the City will receive $425 million that will be used to address the City's challenges, including our public infrastructure. In addition, Citizens agrees to assume approximately $1.5 billion of City debt - the combined debt of the water and wastewater utilities.

"Citizens is committed to providing the residents of Indianapolis safe and reliable water and wastewater utilities," said Lykins. "Bringing the utilities into the public charitable trust will ensure professional management, excellent customer service, well-maintained utility systems and more stable rates."

Citizens estimates by the year 2025 that the increase in combined water and wastewater rates will be 25 percent lower than projected under its ownership compared to other options available to the City. Lower water and wastewater rate increases will be achieved through an estimated $40 million in annual savings available by combining operations of the water utilities with Citizens' gas, steam and chilled water systems.

The City-County Council will thoroughly review and analyze the proposed transfer and is formally charged with approving the transfer. If approved by the Council, the IURC will then review the proposal through its public process.

Since March 10, Mayor Ballard, his administration and Citizens have provided briefings, listened to feedback and answered questions about the transfer during three public forums and 16 meetings with neighborhood, business and technical advisory groups. Valuable suggestions have been provided by residents, community leaders and business owners that will help shape the final transfer agreement.

The public will have another opportunity to ask questions and give feedback regarding the utility transfer proposal on April 20 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center, 2805 S. Lynhurst Drive.

For more information about the utility transfers and the schedule for public meetings, visit or call (317) 327-4MAC.

Dining Out for Life

Hey friends! On Thursday, April 29, I hope you and your friends will join me for Dining Out for Life. Simply dine out for lunch or dinner at one of the 30+ participating local restaurants around the city, and they will contribute between 25-50 percent of your check total to the Damien Center, a critically important HIV/AIDS assistance organization based here in Indy. There's nothing you need to do but bring your appetite and enjoy a great meal.

I'll be hosting once again at Adobo Grill on Washington Street , so I would love to see a big group of my friends there again this year, but feel free to choose any participating restaurant you like. Reservations are recommended - it's always a popular event.

See for a list of restaurants, or visit for more information about the Damien Center.

I hope to see you all at Adobo Grill. Thanks in advance for your support of the Damien Center.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Community Greening, How KIB can help YOU!

Come to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful on:
Saturday, June 12th
This is a workshop for groups and individuals
who have had little to no experience working
KIB. You will learn about ALL that KIB has to
offer, and how to access our resources. If you
are a long-time KIB partner, and are already
aware of all we do, please forward this to
someone who doesn’t know about KIB. This
workshop will be 1/2 presentation about KIB,
and 1/2 Questions and Answers.

Please RSVP to Phil Schaefer
Vice President of Programs
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.
1029 East Fletcher Avenue
Indianapolis, In 46203
317-264-7555 x109


Mayor Greg Ballard today announced a series of events that
will highlight City of Indianapolis sustainability initiatives.
SustainIndy activities include the Great Indy Spring Cleanup, a citywide
effort to beautify and strengthen our communities. Mayor Ballard earlier
this week signed the Guaranteed Energy Savings Contracts, approved by
the City-County Council April 5. SustainIndy announcements and
activities include:

1) Environmental Sustainability Announcement for The New Wishard
2 p.m. April 14, Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center, 1481 W. 10th St.,

2) Greening of the City-County Building Employee Surveys
April 16

3) The Great Indy Cleanup Kickoff*
8:30 a.m. April 17, Peddler's Mall, 38th Street and High School Road

4) Introduction of "Air Schmair," Office of Sustainability's new
children's book on air quality
11 a.m. April 19, The Indianapolis Project School, 1145 E. 22nd St.

5) Bicycle Friendly City Celebration*
2 p.m. April 22, City Market

6) Great Indy Spring Cleanup neighborhood efforts, including three
special Tox Drop locations and Earth Day Indiana Festival at White River
State Park*
April 24, locations TBA

7) Arbor Day Celebration*
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 30, Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington

8) Great Indy Spring Cleanup neighborhood efforts*
May 1, locations TBA


The Indy Parks & Recreation Garfield Park Arts Center (GPAC) this weekend offers Egyptian dance, an Egypt-inspired vintage film, a historic interpreter and a hands-on arts activity showcasing Middle Eastern inspiration and creativity.

The weekend's showcase event is the Egyptian Dance Celebration performance from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 17. Egyptian dance artists dressed in elaborate costumes will perform routines to the sound of energetic music. A $5 donation is suggested for this event. For an additional charge, visitors may try authentic Egyptian dishes from the Luxor Café beginning at 6 p.m.

Vintage Movie Night follows the Egyptian Dance Celebration at 9 p.m. The featured film will be "The Ghoul" (1933) featuring Boris Karloff. The suggested donation for Vintage Movie Night is $2.

Intermediate to advanced dancers are invited to attend Egyptian and Middle Eastern Dance workshops Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18. Led by Master Dancer Faten Ali-Munger, with support from the GPAC, the workshops feature Los Angeles-based instructor John Compton. Call Ali-Munger at (317) 250-2029 for workshop times, costs and to register.

Visitors to the GPAC this weekend may make scarabs from terra cotta clay in the GPAC's Arts for All studio. An actor portraying the ancient Egyptian character Mayet will share artifacts and speak about life in 31 B.C. This weekend the GPAC will be open 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

$1 Access Pass to The Children's Museum, Conner Prarie, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Historical Society, NCAA Hall of Champions

The Children's Museum, Conner Prarie, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Historical Society, NCAA Hall of Champions all have an access pass program for $1 per family member per visit. The application is on-line and can be accessed at -- there is also more information on-line at this link. The family must be on Hoosier Healthwise or access Foodstamps or Tanf. They must bring their card to verify and have a State ID and only 2 adults in the household can apply.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Poetry for "Moving Forward" bus shelters announced

From more than 100 entries, the following poets and their poems were selected for the three “Moving Forward” bus shelters by Donna Sink:

“Invisible Movements” by Karen Kovacik of Indianapolis
“The Painters” by Richard Pflum of Indianapolis
“The Bowl of Possible Peas” by John Sherman of Indianapolis

Each poet receives a $1,000 honorarium. A poem will be featured on each bus shelter located on the south side of Virginia Avenue near Lexington Street, McCarty Street and Woodlawn Avenue along IndyGo bus routes 12, 14 and 22.

The entries were so impressive that a fourth poem, “City Generation” by Elizabeth Weber of Indianapolis, was chosen and will be placed at “Poet’s Place” on Alabama St. near Marsh the Marketplace. Poet’s Place is dedicated to Jim Shackelford, a retired city planner who was an early Cultural Trail leader and champion.

Read the poems and learn about the selection process.

The shelters will be installed during construction of the Southeast Corridor, from Pennsylvania and Washington streets to Shelby and Prospect streets on Virginia Ave. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in late 2011.

Upcoming public meetings

Tuesday, April 27, 6 p.m., Fountain Square Theatre Building, 1105 Prospect St. - Southeast Corridor public meeting

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

City Announces 21 IPS Schools Participating in The First Tee Program

More than 8,000 IPS schoolchildren learning game of golf, character development through nine core values

Mayor Greg Ballard today announced that more than 8,000 IPS schoolchildren are now learning the game of golf and character development through The First Tee of Indianapolis program. The First Tee of Indianapolis Executive Director Brad Beck, Indy Parks Director Stuart Lowry and IPS 94 George S. Buck Elementary School joined Mayor Ballard in announcing the participation of 21 IPS schools in The First Tee program.

“Through the game of golf, The First Tee of Indianapolis impacts young people by providing facilities, resources and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values,” Mayor Ballard said. “I support the expansion of The First Tee program in schools across Indianapolis so that youth of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to learn early on the game of golf and the values it teaches and enjoy it throughout their lives.”

Becoming a sponsor of The First Tee National School Program provides participating schools with developmentally appropriate golf equipment, the National School Program curriculum based on national physical education standards, and training of physical education teachers. To support the local program at IPS schools, The First Tee of Indianapolis and Indy Parks & Recreation provided $26,500 in available golf funds donated to The Indianapolis Parks Foundation. A matching PGA grant awarded through The First Tee provided the additional funding needed.

“IPS over the past few years has been working on lifetime sports, and The First Tee sport of golf is one of the great lifetime activities to learn,” said IPS Wellness Coordinator Audrey Satterblom. “Character education is one of the areas in physical education we work on as well, and The First Tee’s nine core values support the philosophy of what we are trying to do –help our youth become better human beings.”

“This is part of our outreach efforts to expand the program to schools throughout Indianapolis,” said The First Tee of Indianapolis Executive Director Brad Beck. “Our ultimate goal is to have more affiliate sites at golf courses around the City where the program can grow. Participating in the National School Program shows the youth how golf can be fun and teaches core values they can take to the classroom and home, and become productive citizens, our future leaders.”

Launched in 2004, The First Tee National School Program trains physical educators to introduce children to the game of golf and The First Tee Nine Core Values during regular physical education classes. The golf industry partnerships established by the National School Program encourage students to pursue their interest in golf and adopt its values beyond the classroom. There are more than 2,600 participating elementary schools in the country.

The First Tee of Indianapolis program provides opportunities for boys and girls to develop skills that will enable them to become responsible citizens and leaders in their communities. Participants receive mentoring and tutoring from positive role models, golf lessons, opportunities to pay for reduced fees, and tournament play, education and scholarship opportunities. For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Community Grarge Sale

April 6, 2010
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.April 8, 201012 p.m. – 6
Pride Center
1129 S. Vandeman St

All Items are new

Pants Suits $2.00
Blouse $1.00
Pants $1.00
Shoes $2.00
Coats $3.00
Purses $1.00

Sponsored by:

Southeast Community Services
The Norwood Association

Thursday, April 1, 2010

City of Indianapolis Announces Campaign to Promote U.S. Citizenship

Working to reach the thousands of qualified residents in Indianapolis who are eligible for United States citizenship, the Office of Mayor Greg Ballard, along with the International Center of Indianapolis (ICI), today announced a partnership in conjunction with the National League of Cities (NLC) to strengthen local civic engagement in the naturalization process.

“One of the pillars of strength for Indianapolis is its diversity,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “We are a city that is proud of our citizens and their backgrounds and we are excited to partner in this effort to make our immigrants future citizens of our great city in every sense of the word.”

Through the NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign, the City and the International Center will work with NLC to provide outreach materials including a campaign toolkit and public service announcements reminding eligible residents of the benefits of U.S. citizenship. The campaign is an initiative of NLC’s Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration (MAII) project. Supported by the Knight Foundation, MAII is a resource for city officials and community-based organizations to address immigrant challenges in their communities.

“The International Center is proud to be a partner in this significant effort,” said International Center President and CEO Diane G. Thomas. “This work reminds us all that Indianapolis is a city that attracts international activity and welcomes the contributions of our multinational community.”

According to the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, which conducts naturalization ceremonies throughout the year, more than 2,300 new citizens were naturalized in Central Indiana in 2009.

“We know that there are many more qualified eligible residents not currently engaged in the process, and this program will make them better aware of the benefits and the steps necessary on the path to citizenship,” said Thomas.

In addition to the promotional aspect of the NewCITYzen campaign, the outreach project will tap into the expertise of the many local direct service organizations that work primarily on a grassroots level with those seeking citizenship. Free naturalization information workshops, presented by representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will be held throughout the year at various locations in the city.

“The National League of Cities is pleased to collaborate with the City of Indianapolis and the International Center of Indianapolis on the NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign,” said Ricardo Gambetta, Manager of Immigrant Integration Programs for the National League of Cities. “Promoting citizenship and naturalization strengthens the community, as well as the country as a whole. Our experience is that strong community involvement by immigrant residents ensures a more stable community and maximizes the benefits that immigrants can bring to a city.”

The list of workshops and other local resources can be found under the “Events” tab of the International Center’s Web site at and on the Mayor’s Web site at

Indianapolis is the fourth – and the largest -- city in the nation to participate in the NewCITYzen campaign to date. Other cities participating in the campaign include Fort Wayne, Indiana; Littleton, Colorado; and Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The International Center of Indianapolis works to strengthen Indiana’s global connections by providing organizations with the insight and tools to more effectively work in an international environment. Programs include training for global competency, protocol services, assisting new international residents and visitors in learning about local resources, and connection with emerging leaders from other countries through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State.

The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

NLC Resources:

An August 2009 report, Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: American Cities Series, published by NLC, details Indianapolis’s experiences in response to a nearly 300 percent increase in the city’s Latino population between 1990-2000. To view the Municipal Innovations report, visit

For more information on MAII, please contact Ricardo Gambetta, NLC’s Program Manager, Immigrant Integration, at (202) 626-3153 or, or visit


Mayor Greg Ballard today announced the Great Indy Spring
Cleanup, a citywide effort to beautify and strengthen our communities.
The Great Indy Spring Cleanup aims to achieve litter abatement through
neighborhood-driven initiatives.

"Every resident, every family can make a difference," said Mayor Greg
Ballard. "Let's all come together, take pride, and clean up streets,
alleys and public places to make our city a brighter and safer place to
live, work and play."

The Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services and Keep Indianapolis
Beautiful Inc., with support from the Department of Public Works and
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Development, are coordinating with
neighborhood associations and groups across the City to organize cleanup
efforts during the month of April and continuing through October. For
information on organizing a cleanup in your neighborhood, visit

Now through April 16, visit your neighborhood Marion County Public
Library, YMCA, or National City Bank branch to pick up a pair of gloves
and a trash bag to clean up the litter in your neighborhood and
participate in Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc.'s "Every Litter Bit
Helps" program. Simply dispose of the bag with your weekly trash pickup.
Visit for more information.

Join the thousands of volunteers who have signed up to combat heavy
litter and debris that has accumulated in public spaces. Participate in
the Great Indy Spring Cleanup!

Mayor Declares 'Butler Blue Friday’

Today, Mayor Greg Ballard declared this Friday, April 2, 'Butler Blue Friday' in support of the Butler Bulldogs as they take on Michigan State this Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Indianapolis is certainly excited to have a hometown team represented in the tournament and we stand behind our Butler Bulldogs wishing them the best,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “I encourage all residents to wear ‘Butler Blue’ this weekend as we cheer on our team to victory. Go Dawgs!”

Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) Endorses Water and Sewer Transfer Plan

The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC), a public-private partnership tackling citywide issues for 45 years, has formalized its support of the City of Indianapolis’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to transfer water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

The GIPC Board voted unanimously to pass a resolution expressing its endorsement of the utilities transfer, during a special meeting Wednesday, called specifically to address the matter.

“The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee understands the importance of securing the future of our City’s most valuable assets, the utilities and our infrastructure,” said Deborah Daniels, Chair of GIPC. “By transferring the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group, Mayor Ballard is ensuring consistency and predictability on the part of the utilities, which is an essential tool to attracting new businesses and investment to our city; and creating an innovative solution to the dilemma of our City’s crumbling roads, sidewalks and bridges.”

In addition to supporting the transfer of water and wastewater utilities, GIPC’s resolution encourages members of the Indianapolis City-County Council and several other boards “to act in the best interests of Indianapolis and its residents by approving the transfer.” The motion within the GIPC Board to issue such a resolution followed a presentation and discussion with Mayor Greg Ballard and Carey Lykins, Citizens CEO, regarding the details of the MOU.

"Mayor Ballard and Mr. Lykins provided GIPC board members with information that gave us confidence that this transfer will remove politics from our water and sewer systems while making certain the city meets federal mandates and regulatory standards,” said Ellen Annala, CEO of United Way of Central Indiana and a member of the GIPC Board. “We were convinced that Citizens Energy Group, with its history of serving our community for 123 years, has proven itself as a community partner that operates for the benefit of its owners -- the residents of Indianapolis. Even though it is inevitable that our utility rates will increase in the future, the information provided also convinced us that this transfer will create operating efficiencies that will provide rates that are lower than what otherwise has been projected."

GIPC is a non-partisan, not-for-profit corporation formed for the purpose of improving Indianapolis. Its membership includes more than 100 of Indianapolis’ most engaged business and community leaders. Since its inception in 1965, GIPC has served as a think tank for six Indianapolis mayors. Among countless other initiatives, GIPC successfully led charges for the development of Eagle Creek Park on the city’s Northwest side, and the downtown Indiana Convention Center.

GIPC’s board has, on various occasions throughout the Progress Committee’s history, chosen to endorse specific actions and projects significantly impacting the City’s progress. In summer 2009, GIPC was the first organization to publicly support plans for a new Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis.