Monday, March 9, 2009

Mini-parks are here to stay!

By: Jon Clucas

Last August and September, several news sources, including Indianapolis Business Journal, the Indianapolis Star, and the Associated Press, reported that Mayor Ballard was considering selling some of Indianapolis' neighborhood mini-parks. Ballard was quoted in the Star saying, “I love green space, too, but I don't make the connection between a property the size of this room and green space.” In August some reports made Ballard seem committed to selling parks; the September articles mostly reported that the Mayor withdrew his plans to sell parks, but many of the articles seemed wary.

For now, we can put our wariness aside. Indy Parks Public Information Officer Paula Freund confirmed that the City of Indianapolis "is not in the business of selling parks." In fact, Indy Parks is planning on expanding in 2009, and in working with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, one of its four priorities is land acquisition. In addition, Indy Parks is in conversations with Rupert's Kids (a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping troubled teens and directed by Rupert Boneham) to expand the involvement of Rupert's Kids in maintaining Indy Parks properties. Rupert's Kids already maintain nine city-owned mini-parks effectively through the Park Adoption Program, saving the city park maintenance costs; the teenagers involved with Rupert's Kids are paid by the organization. Not only do Indy Parks hope to have Rupert's Kids take over maintenance of an additional thirteen mini-parks this year, Rupert's Kids may take over maintenance of two larger parks this year as well.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is also planning on adding parks this year. Each year KIB tries to build or improve six to nine pocket parks. As a nonprofit organization, KIB's work comes at no cost to the city. KIB's pocket parks are maintained by neighborhood associations and other project partners, also at no cost to the city. This year, KIB plans to help the Global Peace Initiative build a new pocket park on Prospect Street near Santorini Greek Kitchen.

Some parks are built and maintained without any involvement from Indy Parks or Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. If one of these parks is sold, the buyer could likely be interested in developing and maintaining the park beyond what the seller was capable of. Including regional parks, community parks, and neighborhood mini-parks, Indy Parks currently owns 206 parks, many of which are located in the Southeast Square. That number will not go down in 2009, although it might go up. In short, no mini-parks are disappearing in 2009.


The Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence, more commonly known as SENSE Charter School, located at 1601 S. Barth Ave., continues to fulfill its mission - “to build a strong foundation for learning and living, by creating in its students a thirst for knowledge and an enthusiasm for learning.” Now in its fifth year, SENSE, a grades K – 6 public charter school, continues to be recognized for outstanding student performance as measured by the state-wide standardized tests, which are administered to all public school students, and the Mayor’s Office as presented in its Accountability Reports, which are available on the Mayor’s Office web site.

The Mayor’s Accountability Report cited the school’s leadership as “Exceeding Standards” and noted that each and every year over 90% of the parent report being satisfied with the school.
Last year SENSE was awarded the “Top Gainer” designation by the Indiana Student Achievement Institute and was one of six elementary charter schools, nation wide, designated as a Silver-Gain Award winner by the EPIC National Charter School Consortium. This year SENSE was selected to become a member of “Schools That Can,” a national organization created to support urban schools that demonstrate outstanding student performance.
The SENSE curriculum is a back-to-basics approach with key emphasis on strong reading and math skills. SENSE supplements the core academics with Spanish, art, music and physical education at all grade levels. For students in grades 3-6 who are struggling academically, SENSE provides the Sylvan Learning Center Academic Reading Program during the regular school day at no cost to the families.

Created to serve the southeast neighborhood, SENSE has maintained its neighborhood focus. Over 90% of SENSE students live in the southeast neighborhood, and almost 80% share the school’s zip code. As a public charter school it is free - there are no costs associated with attending it.

SENSE will begin open enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year March 2, 2009. For more information and an enrollment form you can call the school office at 317-423-0204 or visit their website:

Fountain Square Academy Outperforms Area Schools

Enroll for Fall 2009 Today

By: Kevin Teasley

The Fountain Square Academy, now in its 4th year of operation, serves more than 200 students in grades 5-12. This unique school expects its students to go to college. To make good on the promise of a college education, the school pays college tuition and buys the college textbooks for its students once they qualify to attend Ivy Tech or IUPUI. This semester, 10 high school students are enrolled in freshmen level math, English and computer science classes at Ivy Tech. The school hopes students in the future will graduate with as many as 60 college credits along with their high school diploma.

The school provides the transportation to Ivy Tech and/or IUPUI. Students take the classes during their high school hours.

To further improve the education for its students, the school recently agreed to partner with Garfield Park so its students can access the Burrello Fitness Center and its gym as well as access to the music and arts center in the park. The school plans to have a full sports program in the Fall of 2009 including basketball, track and cross country for both boys and girls. The school provides students transportation to the park daily.

This year, Fountain Square Academy’s 10th graders outperformed every traditional public high school in the Indianapolis Public School system. The school’s 5th and 6th graders progressed better academically than 95 percent of their peers across the country.

The school is on the rise and is now enrolling students for Fall of 2009. Enrollment forms are available at the school or on the web at .

Falling for Fletcher Place

Hi. I live in Fletcher Place and always enjoy reading your newspaper, which I pick up at the Fountain Square library. I was intrigued by the article title "Falling for Fletcher Place," by Kristen Meyer. But after reading the article I think that a clarification in your next issue might be helpful. The writer, I believe, refers to Fletcher Place Community Center in Fountain Square, rather than Fletcher Place. We no longer have a community center. Since she is happy about her volunteer activities there and its social work, they probably deserve a plug with contact information, in case others would like to volunteer or access services. No specifics or contact information was included.

Thank you.

Kathy McKimmie

In response to the thoughtful request above, here is the contact information for Fletcher Place Community Center:

1637 Prospect Street
Indianapolis, IN 46203
Phone: 317.636.3466
Fax: 317.636.3467

Dyngus Day in the Square

By: Jon Clucas

In a country where George W. Bush was President for the first twenty days this year, we are certainly all aware of Easter Sunday, if not familiar with the traditions of dying hard-boiled eggs, eating chocolate rabbits, and going to church to celebrate the Eternal Resurrection of Christ Jesus of Nazareth. Easter Monday also has traditions, though. Traditions which are much less familiar than the Easter Sunday traditions. Also known as Dyngus Day, the day after Easter is a day that has long been celebrated in Poland by dousing significant others (or friends, or strangers) with water in honor of the god Dyngus.

The Polish Dyngus Day tradition is also practiced outside of Poland. In the United States, Dyngus Day is particularly popular in Buffalo, New York and South Bend, Indiana. Democratic politicians often celebrate Dyngus Day in South Bend to start the primary season. Notable Presidential candidates who have done so include Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

This year, Dyngus Day falls on April 13. If you are not fully satisfied with your April Fool's Day, you might try the Dyngus Day tradition of dousing someone in the southeast square with a bucket of water on the day after Easter!

Indianapolis Comedy Play Premiers in Fountain Square

Point of Contact: Bob Rini

The cast of "Indianapolis Jones - Spy Catcher" (clockwise from left: Steve Demuth, Serita Borgeas, Gary Harrells Lennae Gordon, Vic Vickers, Melissa Debening, and Jarin Harrell) are hard at work rehearsing the Stage Actors' Workshop production of the John Burkhart scripted comedy. The Indianapolis premier of the show, directed by Bob Rini, is scheduled to run weekends March 6th through 16th 2009 at the University of Indianapolis Community Theater located at 1035 Sanders Street in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis. Ticket prices are: Adults $10, Seniors, Veterans, Students $6, and Children 12 and younger $4. Call 317-201-3436 for information, directions or reservations.

Play Synopsis: Evil spy Drat Bullbreath is sending secret messages to his equally evil assistant, beautiful and dangerous Anne G. Jolie by means of letters to the advice column in the local newspaper, the Indianapolis Southeast Circle News. Ace spy catcher Morse Code is hot on the trail of the spy ring. Indy Jones, crack reporter and part time advice column editor, notices something unusual about the letters she is receiving. She confides her suspicions to her co-worker and closest friend, Debby Deadline. They discover secret documents that place them both in grave danger! Can Morse save them and the entire nation from the evil spies?

The Stage Actors' Workshop is a not-for-profit community theater acting company comprised of talented people who do theater for the love of it. Their mission is to bring to the public live family-friendly stage shows that are entertaining and educational at a cost that will not break the family budget. Bob Rini has served as the company's artistic director since its inception in 1998. They offer affordable acting classes for adults and children. More information may be obtained by e-mailing them at .

Southeast Leading Organizations for 2008

By: Jennifer Rice

As promised in the last issue of The Southeast Square News, this article celebrates the outstanding organizations and initiatives working in our neighborhood for 2008. The list was created by residents at the Southeast Neighborhood Gathering last year.

Friends & FACT is a neighborhood association that serves Fountain Square. Friends & FACT have years of experience in working at improving this neighborhood. They organize clean ups and beautification projects. Friends & FACT made Stacy Park a place many can enjoy. Their meetings are well attended and the group’s membership includes some of the area’s most engaged residents.

Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI): the Southeast was selected as a demonstration neighborhood for GINI in 2006. The initiative is designed to support comprehensive community development, through development of neighborhood quality of life (QOL) plans. Residents and stakeholders worked hard to develop a revised QOL plan in 2007 and are now in the process of implementation, with ongoing support from GINI.

Indianapolis Churchman Avenue Neighbors (ICAN) started when a resident began to reach out to her neighbors, resulting in the formation of a successful block club. Members of ICAN united to clean up Churchman Avenue and the areas around their block. The group has grown into a neighborhood association and is making a difference both in their immediate area and throughout the Southeast.

Making Connections is an initiative of the Annie E. Casey foundation that focuses on building strong neighborhoods, strong families and strong children. Making Connections does work with resident leadership and engagement, school readiness for children and encouraging residents to build assets. However, this list of activities does not do justice to all of the work they do in the community. Making Connections is an engaged organization that is a vital part of the Southeast.

Salvation Army is a valuable asset in the Southeast. The Salvation Army provides support for residents in a variety of ways, including their food pantry and youth activities. As one resident put it, “This is an organization that has stepped up to help in a neighborhood that needed it.”

Southeast Community Organization (SECO) is an active neighborhood association in the Southeast with over 165 members. They work hard year round on neighborhood improvement by organizing clean ups, developing summer youth programs including a Little League. Residents look forward to their annual Christmas party and Easter egg hunt.

Southeast Community Services (SECS) provides many types of support for residents and has been in existence since 1972. They are dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency for low-income residents. SECS services include employment counseling and placements, life skills training and emergency assistance to name just a few. The community center is a hub of activity and a gathering place for numerous meetings and events.

Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) is a community development corporation. Their mission is to revitalize the Southeast side of Indianapolis and enhance the quality of life for its diverse spectrum of residents. SEND’s work is evident in the commercial revitalization of Fountain Square, in housing rehabilitation and neighborhood beautification projects. SEND’s Fab For Less event draws visitors from all parts of the city and suburbs, while making a significant impact on neighborhood block revitalization.

Spruce Street Squad started as a crime watch group and has grown to function as a block club. Led by a resident who is determined to improve her neighborhood, this group created their own quality of life plan. They are well organized and have several projects in the pipeline.

Southeast Music News

By: Ryan Williams

Now that Fountain Square is thawing a bit, you can expect more great music to come back to the area. Radio Radio leads off with a great bill on March 6th, featuring The Hard Lessons, My Dear Disco, Javelins, and Great Lakes Myth Society. On March 21st, they feature Brian McGee and The Hollow Speed with Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes.

Big Car Gallery has one musical event on their calendar, but it's a big one. The entire evening on March 6th is devoted to electronic music and experimental video projects. Expect to see and hear a display you wouldn't ordinarily find on your First Friday outings. And I mean that in a good way.

Sam's Saloon has a packed schedule this spring, kicking off March 4th with Smoke Ring and Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies. From there, indie rock fans should put the March 6th show from the Moon Buggie Kids and The Dig on their calendars, along with the Heavy Hometown, One Happy Island, Sam Eakin and Turophile show on March 14th and The Chairs on March 21st. Fans of a harder style of rock should look for the Devil To Pay, STATE and Admiral of Black show on March 12th and Cursed For Manners and Broken Equilibrium on March 27th. From there, Sam's Saloon switches over to alt-country shows with Nightjar on March 28th, Roothog on April 10th, Ribbonpigeon on April 18th, and Husky Burnette on April 25th. Finally fans of punk will want to check out The Bass Line Bums on April 3rd and Versificators and Bantha Fodder on April 11th.

Deano's Vino continues to host acoustic and jazz music on the weekends, and Maria's Pizza features live jazz on Friday nights. Finally, remember the Fountain Square Theater's Swing Nights on every second and fourth Friday. Enjoy!


By: D. DelReverda-Jennings

BOI WORKSHOPS: 4755 Kingsway Dr., Ste. 314. Business Ownership Initiative of Indiana. Upcoming Workshops: "Sales 101" How to understand the difference between sales and marketing, the importance of sales to the small-business owner, steps in the sales process, and the language and psychology of sales. "Marketing Your Personal-Care Business" Learn key principles of marketing that you can use to find clients for your personal-care business. "Personal Money Management for Entrepreneurs", as well as Workshop Courses in how to better manage your personal finances to position yourself for business ownership: How To Start A Business The Right Way, Understanding Financial Statements, Analyzing Your Business Idea, Minimizing Risks In Your Business, Issues for Small Businesses With Employees, Winning Sales Strategies (two-part series), Small Business Banking Resources. Small Fee Applies. INFO: 317-917-3266, ext.100 , .

ASANTE CHILDREN'S THEATRE: “People Get Ready: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield.” The Frank and Katrina Basile Theater located in the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio St. Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 8:00pm. (School Night at the Theatre), through Sun., March 15th at 4pm. Tickets go on Sale Feb.1,'09. Call for more ticket INFO: 317-627-4755.

WOMEN IN ART: The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. 500 W. Washington St. White River State Park. Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 10am - 5:00pm. In honor of Women’s History Month the Eiteljorg presents the 4th annual juried Women In Art event. The market will feature basketry, sculpture, fiber arts, ceramics, woodworking, painting and other arts. Enjoy and purchase artwork by some of the region’s best female artists. Katrina Gorman, Amy Gunderson, Agatha Onye Ndika, Dixie Ferrer, Cathy Claycomb, Theresa Turner, Dee Di Camillo, Jennie Elkins, Theresa Thomas, Shirley M. Brauker, Lynn Medsker, Mint Evans, Francie Broadie, Camille Richards, Judie Huss, Peg Neal, D. DelReverda-Jennings and many more! Free with general museum admission. INFO: 317-636-9378 , 317-275-1319 , , .

STILL SEARCHING FOR MUSICIANS: The Wheeler Arts Community is seeking acoustic, unplugged musicians to perform during First Friday art receptions between 7-9 pm. Any genre of music that would complement a visual art experience is acceptable. There is no compensation; however, tip jars are encouraged and approximately 100-200 people attend each reception. INFO: Please direct inquiries and music samples (MySpace pages or CD's if you have them) to Katie; , 317-916-9375 .

ARTIST CALL: Artists show your work! Gallery Seven operated by the Pike Performing Arts Center is a unique exhibition space offering an opportunity to community visual artists to be showcased during regular operational hours and during ticketed Pike Performing Arts Center programs or by appointment. Artist contracts run for one month. Free. INFO: Jared Duymovic, Community Outreach Coordinator; 317-216-5450 , , .

ARTSWORK MEETINGS: ArtsWORK Indiana is an informal, statewide group of people interested in improving arts-related professional opportunities and careers for people with disabilities. The schedule for upcoming meetings are: March 26th, April 23rd, and May 28th, 2009. Meetings will be held at 2:00pm. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) in Adult Lecture Room A. Please support us and put these ArtsWORK Indiana meeting dates on your 2009 calendar! Free! INFO: Chris Karson; , .

ARTSWORK WORKSHOP: Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St. April 4, 2009 from 1 - 2pm. This is a free workshop on careers in the arts for people with disabilities. Local event partners are the Indianapolis Art Center and the Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent Living. Event Sponsor: ArtsWORK Indiana along with Local Co-Sponsors. Attend this workshop to: Receive tips, tools and resources for pursuing a career in the arts. Learn about the resources available at . Hear the lessons learned about forging a career in the arts from someone who has been there - Indianapolis artist and gallery owner Wug Laku, and learn about opportunities to explore the arts through programs at the Indianapolis Art Center. Sign language interpretation will be provided. Please let us know of any additional special accommodations. INFO: Kristina Davis , , 317-232-1279 , Connections Indianapolis.pdf .

INDY FILM FESTIVAL: Indianapolis International Film Festival. July 15-25, 2009: Seeking entries in the following categories: American Spectrum Features (40 min. or longer), American Spectrum Shorts (under 40 min.), World Cinema Features, World Cinema Shorts, Documentary Features, Documentary Shorts, and Black Expressions (films presenting the Black experience in an increasingly globalized world). The festival awards the Eric Parker Social Justice Award to the feature film that best presents a vital social issue and suggests ways to correct it (last year's winner was a documentary by a woman depicting the strength and community of women in the Congo surviving rape). Fee - $30-$75. Deadline: March 15, 2009 (late), April 15, '09 (extended). INFO: 317-513-9379, FAX: 317-968-0402 , , , OR write > Indianapolis International Film Festival, 719 1/2 Massachusetts Ave. Suite B, Indianapolis, IN. 46204.

Garfield Park Events for March-April 2009

Garfield Park Hours:
Burrello Family Center, 2345 Pagoda Drive
Mon. 9:30a-9:00p, Tues. 11:00a-9:00p, Wed. 9:30a-9:00p, Thurs. 11:00a-9:00p, Fri. 9:30a-8:00p, Sat. 9:30a-4:30p
Garfield Park Arts Center, 2432 Conservatory Drive
Mon. Closed, Tues. 1:00p-5:00p, Wed. 1:00p-5:00p, Thur. 1:00p-5:00p, Fri. 1:00p-5:00p, Sat. 10:00a-5:00p, Sun. 1:00p-5:00p
Garfield Park Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Drive
Mon.-Sat. 10:00am-5:00p, Sun. 1:00p-5:00p
Sunken Gardens
10:00a-5:00p, through Apr. 14, 7 days a week

To sign up for any of the following activities at Garfield Park, you can call Indy Parks at 317-327-PARK or visit the Burrello Family Center at the park.A registration form is located on the website for Indy Parks as well.

Club Meetings
The following clubs have their meetings at the Garfield Park Conservatory and are open to the public:
• Garfield Park Conservatory
• Central Indiana Orchid Society
• Circle City Aquarium Club
• Garfield Park Master Gardeners
• Indianapolis Bonsai Club
• Indy African Violet Society
Please call 317-327-7580 for meeting dates and times.

Arts Events and Classes

Through the Lens III
All Ages, Mar. 13th-Apr. 3rd, Fri., 6:00p-9:00p, FREE
The Indiana Photographic Society celebrates “Beautiful Indiana” with its third annual Through the Lens Exhibit. Society artists will show their work in both black & white and color photography. The exhibit will be open from March 13-April 3 during Garfield Park Arts Center regular hours.

Central Indiana Youth Barbershop Chorus
Ages 12-18, Ongoing, Wed., 6:45p-8:45p, FREE
The Central Indiana Youth Chorus is a chorus of young men and women ages 12-18 who sing 4-part a cappella barbershop music. The chorus meets every Wednesday from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at the Garfield Park Arts Center, 2332 Conservatory Drive. For more information, call 474-1637 or visit

Nature and Gardening

Jungle Tales – Garfield Park Conservatory
Ages 2-5, Mar. 10th and/or Apr. 14th, 10:00a-11:00a, $2 per class
This program focuses on a different nature-related topic each month.Activities may be messy and might be outside.Dress appropriately.A parent is expected to stay with each child.

Junior Gardener Club – Garfield Park Conservatory
Ages 6-12, Mar. 14th and/or Apr. 11th, 11:00a-Noon, FREE
Come out to the Conservatory for a fun-filled garden lesson and activity. The Club will focus on a different topic each month.

Tropical Trees – Garfield Park Conservatory
Ages 8-14, Apr. 25th, Sat., 2:00p-3:00p, $3
Did you know that most of our fruits and spices come from the tropics? Come see some of these cool trees in the Conservatory and learn about some of their unique adaptations.

Starting a Vegetable Garden – Garfield Park Conservatory
Ages 18+, Mar. 14th, Sat., 1:00p-2:00p, $3
Want to grow your own food? Find out how to get started planning and planting your garden.

Escape to the Tropics – Garfield Park Conservatory
Ages 1+, Mar. 6th, Fri., 6:00p-8:00p, FREE
Bring the family to enjoy a tropical festival. Grab your favorite floral shirt and come enjoy crafts, refreshments, games and more! Learn what life is like for people who live in the tropical rainforests.

African Violet Show – Garfield Park Conservatory
All Ages, Apr. 25th, Sat., 10:00a-5:00p, FREE
The Indy African Violet Society presents their annual show featuring a variety of these common house plants, including some for sale. Society members will also be available to answer questions.

Reptile and Amphibian Show – Garfield Park Conservatory
All Ages, Mar. 21st, Sat., 10:00a-2:00p, FREE
Join the Conservatory in welcoming the Hoosier Herpetology Society and their cold-blooded friends. Come and see a variety of different reptiles and amphibians from both Indiana and the tropics.

Spring Bulb Show - Garfield Park Conservatory
All Ages, Mar. 27th-Apr. 3rd, Mon.-Sun., $2-$5 depending on age
It’s springtime at the Garfield Conservatory! Come see our stunning display of tulips and other spring blooms against the backdrop of our permanent tropical collection. The bulbs will be for sale beginning April 4 at 10AM. Flowers are sold on a first come, first served basis and prices will vary.

Orchid Show - Garfield Park Conservatory
All Ages, Apr. 18th-19th, Sat. and Sun., FREE
This weekend, the Garfield Conservatory will be filled with a variety of blooming orchids from across the state. Come check out this event is presented by the Central Indiana Orchid Society. Vendors will also be available with orchids for sale.

Fitness and Sports

Taijiquan at the Conservatory
Ages 18+, Tues. & Fri., 8:30a-9:15a, many dates thru Mar. & Apr., $35 for 8 classes
Taijiquan is a holistic health improvement system. In this course, you’ll learn practical ways to achieve many of the treasures Taujuquan offers and establish a foundation on which you can base a lifetime of improvement. Call instructor Matthew Hays at (317) 985-7542 for more information.

Garfield Park Fitness Class - Garfield Park Burrello Family Center
Ages 18+, Mar. 30th-May 8th, MWF, 10:00a-11:00a, $30, 18 classes
Class consists of warm-up, simple beginning steps, walking, small kicks. Work on legs, abdominal muscles, and thighs. After class, learn to use the weight equipment properly.

Indy in Motion - Garfield Park Burrello Family Center
Ages 18+, Ongoing, MWF, 5:30p-6:30p, FREE
Indy in Motion is a total fitness and health program initiative through the Marion County Health Department. There will be incentive awards for regular participation in activities. All activities are free. For more information, call 221-3122.

Garfield Park Weight Room
Ages 18+, Ongoing

Garfield Spring Coed BB League- Garfield Park Burrello Family Center
Ages 10-13, Apr. 13th-Jun. 18th, MWTh, 5:00p-9:00p, $40, 30 classes
This league is designed to improve players’ skills, through inter-league play.

Garfield Spring Coed BB League - Garfield Park Burrello Family Center
Ages 6-9, Apr. 18th-Jun. 26th, WFSat., 11:00a, $40, 30 classes
This league is designed to improve players’ skills, through inter-league play. Registration for this program will start on Feb. 6.

Garfield Spring Basketball League - Garfield Park Burrello Family Center
Ages 14-16, Apr.-Jun. 17th, 5:30p-8:30p, $40, 30 classes
This league is designed to improve players’ skills through inter league play. Registration for this program will start on Feb. 6.

2008 Mayor’s Community Service (MCS) Awards

By: Jane Mullikin

Karen Mitchell, a resident of Grandville Co-operative and a recent graduate of Making Connections Indianapolis Resident Leadership Facilitation training was honored by Mayor Greg Ballard and Deputy Chief Mayor Olgen Williams with one of the 2008 Community Service Awards on December 16, 2008. Following is the essay nominating Karen for the award:

When Karen Mitchell says, “We’ve come a long way, but I’m not finished yet,” she means it--and the more she says it, the harder she works.

Karen worked as a Corrections Officer while raising a family of six, eventually becoming disabled after back surgeries. Not the kind of person who gives up or gives in, Karen became concerned about the dilapidated condition of the Grandville Co-operative on the near Southeast side of Indianapolis. Through the grapevine she learned the Co-op, a low income housing project, was close to bankruptcy created by a lack of oversight of the management company and was possibly on HUD’s closing list. Karen ran for the Board.

After gaining a seat on the Board of Directors in 2003, Karen began a vigorous campaign to revitalize the condition of the buildings and the grounds, to put in place proper oversight of the management company and to insure Grandville would be able to pass all audits and inspections. In her spare time, she went back to college.

Once the set of goals described above had been reached, Karen began her campaign to enrich and transform the lives of the community. She started with HOPE team and provided permanent housing for a group of Katrina families, Prenatal Housing Program from HIP, and has now added Making Connections Indianapolis’ Play and Learn for the preschoolers, Youth Leadership Facilitation training for the teens, a Junior Leadership Committee, and a Study Circle from Making Connections. Subsequently, with the raising of community awareness she was able to instigate a Grandville Planning Committee. She plans and oversees community social activities on a year round basis.

The Board Treasurer estimates Karen’s volunteer hours per month at about 167. Board meetings, hearings, orientations consume about 32 hours; administrative duties (there is no paid staff) at about 35 hours per month; direct services/security will consume around 100 hours. Karen is actually on duty 24/7 and makes every effort to be available whenever a community member needs guidance, comforting, and a ready should upon which to cry.

As the Southeast Organizer for Youth Initiatives with Making Connections Indianapolis, I have been working closely with Karen for some time now. I am a part of a world where many wonderful community members pour themselves into community service, and I still stand in awe of all that Karen Mitchell is accomplishing in the Grandville Co-operative. She stands head and shoulders above the crowd. --Jane Mullikin

Flavors of the Southeast Side

By: Claire Norton

It’s small, but it’s hard to miss. Painted with a vibrant pink and orange, the tiny carryout-only Bravaro’s Pizza is located at 1324 South East Street.

Bravaro’s certainly was not established for its ambience, but ambience means little when delivery and carryout are the only options. My husband and I picked up a medium cheese pizza, deciding to play it safe with an unknown-to-us eating establishment. Once we exited the building and climbed back into the car we realized we probably didn’t have to play it quite so safe. The heat of the pizza steamed our windows and the smell permeated everything, promising we were in store for a treat. As soon as we got home and walked through the door we cracked open the box and were greeted by a thick crust, generously topped with cheese and a slightly sweet sauce. It was a pleasing pizza to say the least.

Pizza is considerably standard fare, but I can only imagine the other standard fare Bravaro’s offers is just as satisfying. In addition to pizza, their specialties include Philly Cheesesteak, lasagna, gyros, spaghetti and Fettuccine Alfredo. Standard appetizers such as breadsticks, wings, French fries, and elephant ears are also on the menu.

Bravaro’s is open Monday-Thursday from 4-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 4-2 am and on Sunday from 4-10 pm. Call 317.624.9111 for carryout and delivery. Delivery is free in certain locations with an $8.00 minimum order. Visit their website for more information about their menu and specials.

Test, Plant, Meet, Enjoy

By: Irvin Etienne

March and April at last. Surely there won’t be too many hits from winter now. As you know there are no guarantees. You hope for the best. Not too many overly warm days to push growth early and no late super-cold nights to ruin everything. It’s a battle of wits and nature has all the weapons.

I’m hearing that more and more people are starting vegetable gardens now to save on groceries. Great idea at any time. Before you plant I suggest you get your garden soil tested. In our older neighborhoods it’s hard to know what may have been dumped in times when we were less careful. What did the previous owners do with the oil from their car when they changed it? How much lead paint was scraped off the house that time it was repainted? I’m going to get mine checked before I plant anything that is going to produce food for the table. Better to be a little cautious. I’m not plugging any place in particular but Purdue sends samples to A&L Great Lakes Laboratories in Fort Wayne. The website is or phone them at 260-483-4759. You can get the necessary work done for around $10.

By mid-April it’s easily late enough to start seeds. You can start even earlier if you have good natural artificial light in a warm place. Most seeds aren’t too happy below 65 or 70 degrees. Heat mats can help but they are not what I call cheap, usually at least $20 for less than two square feet. Shop around before you buy or get a friend to buy one too since often you save a bit ordering multiples. Even better, get your friend to buy two then convince them they only need one and to give you the extra one. You have to be resourceful in these tough economical times. One thing you don’t want to cut corners on is the soil for your seeds. Use a good quality mix that is sterile. If you are using natural light through a window be sure to rotate your plants so they don’t bend toward the light. Remember many of the early planted vegetables like lettuce, radishes, peas, and mustard can be direct sown in March or April even before all danger of frost is past.

If you don’t have a suitable spot (vegetables don’t like shade for instance) look into one of the community gardens. You can get a plot for a small fee that you more than earn back with the first crop of greenbeans or tomatoes on the table. Also don’t forget you can grow your vegetables right in with your annual and perennial flowers. There’s no law saying they have to be confined to a VEGETABLE GARDEN. Peppers are very ornamental and many of the hot varieties are sold as annuals to be used just like marigolds. Be adventurous. The fruit of a yellow tomato is the perfect contrast to blue salvia and a perfect color echo for a yellow daylily. A ‘Burgundy’ okra plant can act as a great small shrub giving you beautiful color, fantastic texture, and one of the ingredients for gumbo.

You might want to talk to our neighbors at KIBI for more information on what has been called Urban Farming. Come to a FRIENDS and FACT meeting. You can ask me questions directly and meet the people that maintain a local community garden. Gardening can be a fun relaxing hobby anytime but when times are tough it can be a true refuge. See you when you have some zucchini to trade for green peppers.

Just How Dis-shoveled Are You?

By: Richard Campi

This certainly has been a very cold January and part of February. Those of us that felt we really should have some snow finally got it! This is to the peril and dismay of most of the ones who do the shoveling and drive very far. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was pleasantly surprised that the city of Indianapolis, through the news media, asked that the populace shovel the sidewalks, etc. This is required by ordinance and I hope that many of you able-bodies did your duty and good deeds and did shovel your walks.

I know that this is repetitious to many, but we as property owners are responsible by thought and law to remove any debris from the walk, street and alley adjacent to our properties and to halfway across. It would help if renters as well as passersby would “lift a finger” or at least some trash when one sees it. Ask for more public trash receptacles in heavy pedestrian areas and “Pitch IN!”

There is a plan in progress to assess the quality or lack thereof of our streets, sidewalks, storm sewers, tree lines, posted signage, street lights, etc. This is to being done by residents street by street throughout the southeast of Indianapolis. This survey will be submitted to the City of Indianapolis to assist in prioritizing repairs. Surveyors will receive $12.50/hour to do this job in the spring. If you wish to assist, contact Jeff Miller at 917-0545 or If you wish to learn more about your neighborhood, attend your neighborhood association or contact them for more information. A listing of these meetings is in this paper.

Richard Campi
866 Fletcher Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46203

Southeast Youth Study Circle

By: AJ Moore

The Southeast had a youth study circles this fall. This was where the youth of the Southeastern community came together and had facilitated meetings where we shared ideas on how to make our community more fun, safe, and overall better.
We have had many opportunities for people to come out and try new things, things we picked out to do as a group, like our jewelry making class put together by Jerry Day. In the class we made our own pendant necklaces from scratch using silver, jewels, and a blow torch. It was a very fun and exciting experience.
We have also had a computer class taught by Ryan Williams where he helped us make our own social network based on the Southeastern Community! Feel free to check it out; anyone is welcome. The website is:
Last but certainly not least, we had a photography class. This wasn't just any photography class. We made our own cameras out of cans! After we took the pictures with our can cameras we went to a real darkroom and got to watch them develop. How cool is that! This class was hosted by Bruce Ryan. That was a very exciting experience. We will be doing this again, and making photos for an Art Show. I would also like to thank the person who dedicates her time to the study circles whenever needed: Elizabeth Ryan! Thanks Elizabeth so much for everything you have done for us.

James Ray and Patrick Howard, two neighborhood youth, making pendants during a silversmith class taught by Jerry Day at the Goodlife Center.

Shyhidah Akbar and Morgan Besser busy designing FSQOutreach.ning, a SE online community for neighborhood youth at the Computer Lab at Southeast Community Severcies, taught by Ryan Williams.

Hosted by Victory Memorial and the Good Life Center, about a dozen youth from a variety of areas in the Southeast came together to share ideas about what they felt regarding our community and their lives. They meet for about 10 hours over three weeks, sharing food and very thoughtful discussion. From these meetings the group formed action ideas that they felt would help engage the youth of our neighborhood. Currently they have met for three different events sponsored by the Good Life Center and funded by a Great Indianapolis Neighborhood Initiative (GINI) grant. With an additional grant from Making Connections Indianapolis, the youth leaders in connection with the Good Life Center will continue to grow opportunities and add partners to pursue the ideas and actions identified during the study circle meetings. A big thank you goes out to the youth who took their time to participate in the circle. For any additional information regarding this Study Circle or the process of Study Circles, please contact Elizabeth Ryan by phone at 974-5741 or email at .