Friday, July 30, 2010

This Summer Plan a Block Clean Up on Your Street-

This month as part of my community project for school, I decided to organize a block clean up. With the help of my neighbors we made our block even better. I walked door to door and talked to my neighbors about doing the clean up and picked a time that worked for the most people. I got trash bags and gloves from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. I brought out snacks and drinks if people got hungry or thirsty. I got some tools from the garage. Many of my neighbors also brought out tools like shovels and wheel barrows. My neighbor Brad let us use his truck to put trash, weeds, and dirt in, this helped a lot. After an afternoon of hard work we had a party to celebrate the success of a clean street. It was really a lot of fun and we all feel better having done it.
Sam Ryan

Study Circle Focuses on Poverty

Recently a group of residents of the Southeast joined together to form a study circle with the topic being poverty. The Southeast was home to nearly 25,000 residents as of the 2000 Census. Of these neighbors, one in four lives below the poverty level, creating many needs and opportunities for support (Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center).
“Poverty is like the elephant in the room in the Southeast,” says Angie Calvert, co-facilitator and host of the circle. “It’s obvious it exists here, but people don’t usually want to talk about it.” Having spent her childhood in poverty, she knew it was an isolating condition that was hard to escape. When Angie was presented with the opportunity to start a Study Circle poverty was something she had wanted to talk about openly with a group of fellow residents interested in the same topic. She used the grant from the Making Connections Study Circle program to host discussion meetings over several months. Participants were Rob Uppencamp, Greg and Becky Besser, Ryan and Trish VanHoy, Michelle Chenoweth, Rodney Benifield, Kate Voss, John Loftlin, Carmen DeRusha, and Tori Calvert (Facilitator).
During the first session, the group identified what poverty looks like in the Southeast. Members of the group came up with a variety of answers, ranging from lack of economic education to no job opportunities. The discussion identified a question that continued to present itself throughout the later circle meetings: What exactly is poverty? The group eventually came up with a definition they could all agree on. They defined poverty as the inability to meet ones basic needs.
The second session was geared around envisioning our community without poverty. The group envisioned our community as a safe, clean, visible, green place with no police brutality and more quality education. The group came up with the following top five visions of what our community would look like without poverty: a culture of civic engagement and civic mindedness, well-informed, educated, and critical thinkers, flourishing eco-friendly infrastructure, safe and secure, and core set of basic needs are met for everyone.
The third discussion topic was the views that exist about the causes of poverty. The members discussed views that were identified both from the group and from the study circle help guide. The group talked about possible causes, such as economic inequality from birth, class segregation created by physical barriers (the interstate), lack of personal responsibility, and bad policy making. "As a facilitator, I was neutral throughout the discussion and didn't add my opinions. It was eye-opening to hear what others thought about poverty in Southeast - especially when we discussed the current picture and causes of poverty,” Tori Calvert says about the study circle. “The topic that most interested me was teen pregnancy, and it would be very interesting to hear what teens think about our ideas" she adds. The group settled on the number one cause of poverty in the Southeast as the lack of support people living in poverty experience.
Focusing on the topic of lack of support, the forth sessions discussion was about what they could do to help build support in the area. The group discussed many ideas, like starting a community garden, starting a non-profit that addressed poverty in a more social aspect, and creating resource kiosks throughout the southeast. Before settling on an action item, the group visited the Ki EcoCenter, a non-profit organization addressing poverty issues by providing youth based empowerment, involvement and development. The group also met with Jim Mulholland, Southeast Community Building Coordinator, to discuss what kind of things the community could best benefit from.
The study circle group decided to implement celebratory events in areas where they can find a few residents who would like to see more engagement in their neighborhood. The group is hoping the events will spur interaction, thus build social and economic support through building relationships. The events will have entertainment as well as resource information. The group is also considering making a documentary short video that explains how the idea of the events originated. “Finally, a group of people willing to step up and address something that has been an issue and overlooked for so long”, says Rob Uppencamp, study circle participant. “I am proud to be involved with this group and excited about the impact it could have. This has been one of the most encouraging and involved groups I have been associated with. This type of involvement is what study circles were intended to promote.”
If you would like to participate in the planning process of the events or would like an event to happen on your block, contact Angie Calvert at or 317-634-5079 ext.101.

Fountain Square Library Threatened With Closing

In April, the Board of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library announced a plan to close the Fountain Square branch as part of a cost cutting effort. This plan involved closing the Martindale Brightwood and Glendale branches in December of 2010 followed by the Flanner House, West Indianapolis, Spades Park and Fountain Square branches in December of 2011.

In response, many Southeast neighborhood leaders began to meet locally and with leaders from other neighborhoods to challenge these closings. They began to plan strategy designed to highlight how crucial each of these branches are to the city neighborhoods in which they sit. These efforts led to a campaign to Save Our Libraries. This group established various facebook pages, a website at, a letter writing effort, and other activities.

On Saturday, May 8th, volunteers stood at the doors of many of the township libraries passing out flyers to encourage those patrons to see the closing of these branches as a city wide concern. One of the inequities of the Board proposal to close six branches was the perception the Library was balancing its budget on the backs of the poorest residents of our city.

On Monday, May 10th, fifty Fountain Square residents attended the public hearing at the IMCPL service center. Though many of them were unable to get inside the building, the presence of over 300 people for this hearing demonstrated the deep passion of many about the closings. On Tuesday, May 11th, Mayor Ballard pledged to find a “short term solution” to the Library crisis, but gave no details on how this solution would be funded.

On Wednesday, June 9th, many neighborhood residents brought lawn chairs and books and filled the sidewalks of Fountain Square in a demonstration of how important our branch is to our neighborhood. These residents were excited to hear that the Library Board was postponing their final decision on the closings until their July 8th meeting.

Much of the solution to this crisis involves finding a more sustainable and reliable source of long range funding for our library system. John Day, State Representative, has promised to propose legislation that would allow Marion County to utilize County Income Tax to help fund our libraries, something only Marion County isn’t allowed to do. In addition, many are suggesting that the property tax cap advocates have created this crisis. Regardless, what seems clear to many is that a world class city doesn’t close libraries.

Fountain Square Arts Council- Art Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade? The Fountain Square Arts Council knows that in the south east we do. This year’s Fountain Square Art Parade will be held on Saturday September 18th in conjunction with the Fountain Square Art Fair and Masterpiece in a Day.
Last year the FSAC moved ahead with the 1st annual Art Parade on July 4th despite the weather. Of the 50 registered entries for the parade, over half showed up to show their support of the event, and residents of the community stepped out with umbrellas and rain gear to watch the parade.
Artists with specialties in all areas, as well as neighborhood residents, community organizations and leaders, schools and churches who wish to share visual and performing arts are encouraged to participate in this one of a kind celebration of public art. The FSAC was inspired last year by groups like Friends of Fact, Norwood, I’CAN, the Libertarian party, and Herron Art Students who were in full parade attire to march on even with rain falling consistently throughout the day.
Be sure to include the parade as a fun and interactive free experience for the entire family as part of your September. Come early and watch as artists create one of a kind works of art, or wander through the Fountain Square Art Fair. Stick around after the parade to grab dinner at one of the many destination restaurants in Fountain Square. Information on how you or your group can participate can be found at There will be no cost for you or your group’s parade entry and submissions. We look forward to seeing what this year will bring for the Art Parade. Questions? Interested in learning more? Please email

Alabama Transformation Begins

For nearly eighteen months, residents of the 1500 block of Alabama Street have been meeting to dream, plan, and work toward the transformation of their esplanade and street. This partnership between Southeast Neighborhood Development and the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association is designed to replicate the award winning efforts on New Jersey Street.

In May, historic lighting was added to the esplanade and several houses received repairs and painting. In June, twenty-five trees and many flowers and other plants were added to the esplanade. In July, the city of Indianapolis will add a plaza, rain gardens, an art circle and other amenities to the south end of the esplanade. Once this is complete, permanent public art will be added to the plaza. SEND will also be rehabbing one house and making repairs on several others. All of these efforts are designed to build a stronger community on Alabama Street.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why put a Parolee Center in a Residential Neighborhood?

By Jan Fiscus, a concerned neighborhood resident

During the winter, Indiana Department of Corrections quietly moved the Women's Detainee Center out of 512 Minnesota. Just as quietly, they moved in the Parolee Center where 2,900 parolees will report to weekly. The Women's Detainee Center housed women and did not significantly contribute to the neighborhood's foot traffic or exposed increased risks for Bates-Hendricks children. Now that the Parolee Center #3 was moved into 512 Minnesota, there is increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic that contributes to safety concerns for the children. IPS Garfield Phoenix Elementary School #31 is within 650 feet of this Parolee Center. Neighborhood children will be walking home to/from school and playing in the same areas as ex-offenders waiting for buses. Is this the influence that we want in any residential neighborhood? Residents of Southeast support 'second chances' for ex-offenders, but do not believe that densely populated residential neighborhoods are the place for rehabilitation.
Why would Indiana Department of Corrections put our children's safety at risk with this influence? It generally all boils down to money and IDOC owns the building at 512 Minnesota. Residents believe that IDOC is a government agency that needs to relocate out of any residential neighborhood, not just ours. Prior to Bates-Hendricks neighborhood, IDOC was pressured to leave another working class neighborhood. Now, residents want them to leave all residential neighborhoods. There are many vacant industrial offices downtown or in non-residential neighborhoods that would be better options.

To learn more come to the next meeting at Immanuel Church of Christ, corner of Morris and East Street, on April 12th 6:30-7:30 pm. This will be our second gathering concerning the Parolee Center and we encourage all to join us whether you are a Bates-Hendricks neighbor, or just someone that cares about children's safety.

Southeast Community Services Senior Center has New Coordinator

By Merelaine Haskett

A local, long time resident of Fountain Square, as well as an avid neighborhood activist and supporter, Elaine Cates, is now the new Southeast Community Services Senior Center Coordinator. Elaine has been an employee of the Southeast Community Services Center for several years, and is very familiar with neighborhood resources and families. She moved from the position as Employment Specialist to Southeast Community Services Senior Center Coordinator in January 2010.
Many adjustments are being made due to funding which has changed, such as the catered hot $2.00 lunch with CICOA (Central Indiana Council on Aging) services had to discontinue the Thursday meals from April to June. Elaine discussed with the group of seniors what they would like to do. No one wanted to close the center that day. They have decided to have an Easter pitch-in lunch with ham for the April 1 meeting. Other plans for meals on Thursdays consist of trying out a few new places to eat, having a brown bag lunch, and a picnic-in-the-park.
The Southeast Community Services Senior Center, has had a successful first dance with 7 guest centers and a total of 75 persons attending the St. Patrick’s Day Dance. Special guests appeared as a surprise. “Diana Ross” impersonated by Jeniece Fleming, and her friend, Vincent Jordan, impersonated “Smokey Robinson” to delight the crowd. Jeniece Fleming is also on the staff of Southeast Community Services as Youth Program Coordinator. A great time was had by all of those present.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, each week, offers energetic exercise classes for the seniors, taught by Debra Richardson who has a studio on Woodlawn Avenue.
They are making good use of a Christmas gift, which is a Wii (pronounced wee) with a bowling activity. There are five University of Indianapolis Students working with the seniors on this activity. The faces of each senior will be placed on a bowling character with the Wii program and they will have a bowling competition using the Wii characters. The students were able to involve every senior. Even those who often think they can’t participate did so with this activity. Other activities vary depending on the season and the time of year. Currently, activities include crafts and special speakers. For Easter the group enjoyed decorating Easter eggs and a visit from a real Easter Bunny (in costume).
Any senior 55 years or older in the Fountain Square area is welcome to come see our center, eat a lunch with us, and join up with this active group. For more information, call 236-7400 x233.

Calendar and Commercial Parking

The most recent projects of the Southeast Learning Partnership, SELP, concern the community calendar and a survey of parking in the Fountain Square commercial district. The calendar, funded by Making Connections Indianapolis, provides an up-to-date resource for regular and special events in the Southeast area of Indianapolis. Listed events include monthly neighborhood meetings, educational courses, and special activities for children and families. Although Making Connections Indianapolis has managed the community calendar in the past, SELP, whose members are residents/partners in this area will be publishing the resource now. The calendar benefits many groups in the southeast. Community organizations receive free marketing for their events, and the printed version of the calendar can be especially useful for residents who don’t have consistent access to the internet. The calendar is published every month. Those who wish to submit information for the calendar should contact Scott at Pick up copies of the community calendar through out the commercial district along Virginia Avenue, Shelby Street, Prospect Street, East Street, State Street and the Twin Aire retail strip. Copies will also be sent to schools and Neighborhood Association Presidents as well as Garfield and Bethel Park.
Southeast Neighborhood Development Corporation, (SEND) requested the survey of parking available in the Fountain Square commercial district. The survey provided counts and categorized the supply of parking available in the area. The survey will be incorporated into a larger parking study by Development Concepts, Inc. (DCI) to better use existing parking and to plan for future demand.
The study will:
· Identify where additional parking is needed and can be accommodated.
· Assist to reduce parking conflicts between the Fountain Square commercial district and surrounding neighborhoods.
· Benefit the overall area by increasing attractiveness to business, patrons and residents.
· Identify a strategy for implementing a comprehensive parking strategy for Fountain Square.

This project was completed over several days in the middle of February 2010. Generally parking on-street, off-street, and in private/restricted areas were counted along Virgina Avenue from the Interstate to the fountain, along Shelby from Pleasant Street to the Interstate overpass, along Prospect Street from the Interstate to State Street, and along Woodlawn Street. The results numbered 2,961 parking spaces in this area. For more information about the use of this project, contact Bryan Conn at SEND. This project fits into SELP’s purpose through the organization and collection of data.
The SELP meets on the second Monday evening of every month at 5 PM on the second floor of the SECS building at 901 Shelby St. All people interested in the progress of Southeast Indianapolis are welcome to attend. Snacks and childcare are provided. For more information, contact Jerry Keys, chairperson at

By Susan Beauchamp

The Vegetable Juice Can Massacre

By Phyllis Nash

I had a difficult time last week. All I wanted to do was pour some V-8 juice over two stuffed peppers. Since I try to go vegetarian as much as I can, this is one of my favorite dishes along with tofu stir-fry with fried rice.
The expression, “No wine before its time.” makes for successful dining, but shabby kitchen gadgets couldn’t care less and they like to fail at the worst time and sour an other wise gala event.
We’d never gotten a superior can opener or vegetable peeler for years, nor did my Mom or Dad. I remember the difficulty that my Mom went through with her can opener. It had a wooden handle with red paint peeling off and a claw on the end. One levered it up and down around to can to open it. I still have a metal opener with a claw that might punch a hole in a milk can in a pinch.
I don’t know of a household today that never had a metal can opener with the rotary wheel that turned while one cranked around the handle. These work a while and likely keep people from starving for lack of open cans, but they will eventually freeze up too—for spite, I always suspect. There must be legions of them in landfills, secreted away in the backs of drawers. Maybe in frustration they have been flung violently out of vehicle windows into cornfields or even tossed into out houses.
I ardently hoped for a less inferior opener and peeler, so I was pleased when my oldest son got me an electric can opener that worked well until it wore out!
Before Indy became my home, my husband had gotten me a pair of wonderful manual openers from a thrift sore. We only needed to use one of them, which we mounted on the side of wooden cabinet. It cranked easily and never wore out. Possibly I have them somewhere, but don’t know if they should be mounted on a metal cabinet. My youngest son was dubious about an electric opener from a thrift store. He thought that I could only use it temporarily.
I’ve heard that a couple of prison inmates invented the pop-top cans, so for a time now openers are rarely needed. Whoever it was that invented the pop top cans saved home cooking from becoming extinct. If not for these pioneers, cooks enmasse would have left their kitchen stoves and country to visit Borneo or some other country or at the least hole up at Wal-Mart never to return home! Many times I’ve given up on a can or jar and just fixed something else!
So going back to the stuffed pepper supper day, it turned out to be a long evening. Somehow I’d failed to position the 64 oz. juice can properly underneath the opener. It only pushed the can and would do no more than open a small hole. I next turned the can upside down, hastily sticking a bowl underneath the can as the juice squirted into the sink and I pushed the lever. The opener whined and got stuck on the can and wouldn’t release no matter how I pushed and pulled. I got most of the juice out of the can, through the small hole, but it was tough going. Eventually, I got the peppers prepared and refrigerated them. The juice can stayed stuck on the opener all night.
My son came over next day and easily released that can. I pushed the lever and the opener missed a few beats like it always does, but then it made cooperating noises after the rough start. Funny how I’m soothed by knowing the opener seems to be rejuvenated and that I can keep it!
The stuffed peppers turned out well, but no one but me seems to like vegetarian Mexican rice stuffed peppers with pepper jack cheese.
Now, whenever possible, I buy pop-top cans. It used to be that was all one needed. I want to avoid buying a “soda can opener’, which was advertised as “a safe easy way to lift pull-tabs!” God knows that I’ve tried, but a tin can lid graze and cut stings and can take forever to stop bleeding, just like a paper cut! Not to mention plastic and cardboard container packaging that can cripple a person trying to open them!
Things are looking up though. There is something out called a “jar opener” being sold in hardware and building supply stores. More and more Aladdin like packages can be opened like magic! Many more times when I pull up the plastic tab on the half & half carton or the bleach bottle it lifts neatly off the container oftener instead of separating from the seal (whereby one has to poke with a spoon handle to get at the product.) I find comfort that all can be opened for now!

Keeping Pleasant Run....Pleasant

By Kelli Mirgeaux

The Pleasant Run Greenway Trail, with its vast reach and connectivity to several community parks, is a southeast staple for residents to enjoy biking, walking, running, rollerblading and simply interacting with nature. However, unwelcome trash along the trail and in the stream and as well as an overgrowth of invasive plants limit the trail experience for pedestrians. As an extension of public space beautification efforts in the area, SEND formed a committee that solely focuses on Pleasant Run. The committee has several goals in place:
· Organize regular volunteer days to beautify the greenway
· Coordinate with IndyParks and City Maintenance
· Raise awareness of the greenway trail amenity and issues related to pollution of the stream
· Promote trail improvements during the re-purposing of the Citizen’s Gas Coke Plant and advocate for a connection with the Cultural Trail

Since the committee’s inception in 2007 there have been an average of 3 clean-ups per year, hundreds of trees and shrubs planted in the greenway and massive invasive plant removal efforts. In its most recent accomplishment, over 50 people from SEND, neighborhood residents, Indy Parks, and Community Courts worked together to clean up trash and plant of trees on March 20th. The next volunteer effort will be part of the White River Clean-Up on May 1. If you would like to get involved in the committee, it meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at noon in SEND offices. As always lunch is provided.

A New Reading Room for SENSE

By Jamie Fahrner

Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence (SENSE), a mayor sponsored charter school in the southeast, received one of six Ben Carson Reading Room Grants in Indianapolis. The Carson Scholars Fund (CSF) is a non-profit organization started by well-known pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. Through CSF and its partners over 4,000 scholarships have been funded and more than 45 reading rooms. The funding for the six Indianapolis Reading Rooms has been provided by Indiana University’s Medical School and the Indianapolis Colts. The CSF reading rooms are places for children to kickback and enjoy reading. In one of Dr. Carson’s books, Gifted Hands, he wrote about how his life changed once he realized the joy of reading. Until receiving one of these grants, SENSE Charter School students did not have a comfortable relaxing space where they could independently read.
When the students found about this project, they wanted a voice in the future of their reading room. By an overwhelming vote, the students chose “Wonderland” as their theme. William Phillips, local artist and SENSE art teacher, definitely had a task ahead of him. After hearing more from the students about what they wanted “Wonderland” to look and feel like, his imagination took off. Mr. Phillips has turned an ordinary room into a place filled with wonder and creativity. With sloth-esque characters, fairies, and a dreamy eyed dragon reading books, his central mural has captured the original vision of “Wonderland.” Mr. Phillips stated that he is so excited to see what the kids think of this work. He is looking forward to them feeling like that they have been given a place that transports them to the fictional worlds they are reading about.
The SENSE Reading Room opened May 3, 2010. All six reading rooms in Indianapolis opened that day. Dr. Carson spoke via teleconference to each of the schools and answered questions from students. The Grand Opening was a celebration for SENSE as well as the community.

Gravy—Is it the State Beverage?

by Chef Wendell Fowler

“By gosh, gravy is my downright birthright.”
Traditional, albeit fatty foods make us feel good…temporarily, at least. With its big round molecules, ethereal greasy gravy feels good on the tongue as it carries the meats flavors and luscious, rendered mammalian body fat. (Cue salivation)
If gravy was not on the Sunday table as we grew up, we whimpered in disappointment. Growing up I observed my beloved grandmother as she fried chicken in an Iron skillet, pulled out the browned pieces, tossed in a handful of flour, cooked and stirred the roux, added chopped organ meat, and finally milk to create thickened, creamy giblet gravy: delicious magic.
‘God's gravy’ describes juices that emanate from meat joints during roasting served; i.e., au jus, similar to what is served with Prime Rib. Gravy originated in England. It was described as a sauce made from greasy pan juices that naturally flow from meat and vegetables during cooking. Before the advent of refrigeration sauces were created to disguise the foul taste of partially decomposed meats.
When I see gravy today, I’m grateful for a 2008 NY Times article quoting the world’s most esteemed cardiac specialists warn that eating animal fat is tied to colon cancer as well as heart disease. Treating animals with varies types of man-made hormones, illegal and nefarious compounds are a widely accepted practice within the miscreant U.S. meat industry. Tasty hormone pellets are regularly inbred in virtually all cattle. There’s a mind-blowing amount of growth hormones, antibiotics, insecticides, DEA residue, and a nightmare of unnatural aberrant compounds used in animal husbandry and milking procedures. Like heroin, DEA is now illegal, however, clandestinely obtained. These toxins are stored for life in body fat, so, the more body fat you have, the more charming cancer-causing toxins you're storing.
The New England Journal of Medicine, reports that 88,751 women from 34 to 59 years old filled out questionnaires describing their diet and medical history. The women, all nurses, were followed for six years, and 150 of them developed colon cancer. The more animal fat the women ate, the more likely they were to get colon cancer. Those eating the most animal fat were nearly twice as likely to develop colon cancer as those eating the least animal fat. Book em’, Danno.
The viscous medium drowned whipped potatoes, stuffing, and anything that impeded its forward flow. Sure, it’s cool to cheat for one day, but the long term damage from such a poisonous sauce made from saturated fat take time to surface. Are you prepared to expose your holy temple to such risks?
Grandpa freaked us out by pouring gravy onto his pie and cottage cheese. Grandpa succumbed to cancer. As more naughty toxins from food and environment accumulate in our body's jiggling fat tissue, sooner or later our holy temple reaches the point of diminishing returns in specific areas of the body. Literally, the body is so satiated with toxins throughout its fat cells that these specific areas of the body are unable to reproduce or regenerate normal cells; big time trouble.
Is it time to derail the Gravy Train? Keep what comes into your body in its purist state. Curtail your ability to store toxic chemicals in fatty tissue and promote the regeneration of normal, vigorous cells by eating an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, drink plenty of pure water or fresh juices, eat foods which are low in animal fat and high in fiber, breathe clean air, stay trim and fit, and exercise regularly. That’s what the Cosmos intended.
If you would like Chef Wendell to address your group or organization call (317)-372-2592 and visit

Trusted Mentors Moves to Southeast

Trusted Mentors is a non-profit organization that uses the power of mentoring to help at-risk adults stabilize their lives and avoid homelessness. Now the agency has a new home in the Fountain Square neighborhood. Founded in 2003 as a program at Immanuel UCC, Trusted Mentors was launched to assist adults at-risk of homelessness by providing mentors to strengthen their support network. Preventing homelessness remains a key element in the agency’s mission, but in addition to expanding its office space, it has also expanded its mission to assist ex-offenders through mentoring.
Recognizing an opportunity to join the efforts to end homelessness, Jeri Warner serves as Executive Director at Trusted Mentors and says that the program is making a difference in the community. Though she notes that mentoring is usually seen as “youth-centered”, she believes that adult mentoring is just as effective. “Mentoring is highly valued in the corporate and professional worlds and our work is proving that mentors are just as important outside of a professional environment.”
Since 2003 the agency has grown to serve more than 125 at-risk adults from 12 different referral agencies across the city. By 2009, Trusted Mentors had outgrown its office space and found itself in search of a new home, and last July relocated to 872 Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square. A decision that Warner says has turned out to be a great fit. “Trusted Mentors is an up and coming organization and we’re excited to be in an up and coming neighborhood. We’ve already met some wonderful people and made some great connections and we look forward to growing in the Southeast community and involving our neighbors in our work. “
Trusted Mentors provides training for all of its mentors and hopes to develop its current location into a destination spot for mentors and mentees in the program; a place for them to share coffee, access the internet, and spend time together. “It’s important for people to have a place where they feel welcome, Warner said, “and we are in the right spot for that.” Trusted Mentors has bright future, much like the neighborhood it now calls home.
For more information about Trusted Mentors, visit their website, call the office at 985-5041, or stop by (872 Virginia Avenue).

OK…Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

The last article, which I wrote about homelessness in this publication, wasn’t given any credit to the writer. The mayor’s office or the city of Indianapolis took credit for getting half of the homeless people who were driven out and away from the Davidson Street underpass into shelters. As a matter of fact, only one of these homeless neighbors went into shelters; most scattered to the wind in many directions into many neighborhoods.
I realize the political spin of the official statement. Don’t make our leaders look callous or ignorant. Certainly not! The truth is that many hard core homeless are those who are mentally ill, alcohol or drug addicted, or ex-felons. Most of these individuals do not want to go into shelters and are also not accepted by shelters.
Most of the night time shelters are crammed full and the people’s time there is short and restricted in several ways. One of the restrictions in Indianapolis is that the shelters are Christian backed and funded and all within must attend and follow all Christian programming. There aren’t non-denominational or secular night shelters. The Horizon House, a day shelter, is funded by United Way and is a secular resource, which assists and welcomes many people.
This writer shall continue to strive for more humane accommodations for the ill and addicted. They do not belong “out of sight, out of mind”, but where help can be provided.
I’ll be working with the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) to continue to provide resources for all our neighbors. The Homeless Connect event at the Indianapolis Convention Center on March 23, 2010 was an opportunity for over a thousand people to obtain services including counseling for employment, housing, mental health, physical health, veterans services, legal aid, and a lunch. Many organizations had representatives to assist our residents. I hope that this event can be repeated regularly. What can you do to help?

Richard Campi

“Accurate census poll means cash for Indiana”

The headlines in March 9th editions of The Indianapolis Star, screamed at me and since cash has a nice ring to it I read on. The article pointed out how the census count affects the amount of federal funding states and local governments receive. “About 27% of the federal funding Indiana gets each year is distributed on the basis of census figures. Indiana got $7.4 billion in census-related funding in 2008. About 47,000 Hoosiers were not counted and that cost the state more than $227 million in federal funding. Indiana ranked 41st on a per capita basis in census-related funding. The bulk of census-guided federal assistance goes to state governments, making it particularly important that states do what they can to ensure everyone is counted.”
“The state is focusing on populations that are particularly important to educate, such as college students. Indiana is the country’s second-largest net importer of college students and many students incorrectly think they are counted on their parents’ census form. A full-time student living on campus or elsewhere should complete a form and report that residence. Local community leaders need to get involved in promoting participation.”
“Medicaid, funded jointly by the state and federal government, is the largest source of federal funding tied to census figures. Highway and other transportation funding is next, followed by housing programs and education grants.”
The Census is seeking people who would like to work on collecting information. For further information call 1-866-861-2010 or

Flavors of the Southeast Side, by Claire Norton

Adding to the growing list of international cuisines offered in downtown Fountain Square, the newly opened Red Lion Grog House brings a taste of old English fare. Located in the historic Murphy Building, this revamped space nestles in nicely with its surroundings. With its comfortable atmosphere and kind, easy service some might be fooled into thinking it’s been around forever.

In addition to the widescreen TVs that televise all major sporting events, this venue also offers live entertainment weekly. While a fine place to have a pint and watch a game, it’s also a great place for lunch or dinner with co-workers or friends.

The Red Lion’s hearty menu that boasts items like Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash causes ordering to be a feat. With so many rich entrees it’s hard to decide. But with a bar that serves a unique assortment of imported beers as well as fine wines, you might be wise to let your drink selection help choose the right meal for you.

Always believers in going all out when we eat, my husband and I selected the Shepherd’s Pie and the Chicken Pot Pie dinners. The rest of the gang ordered burgers and sandwiches and provided abundant raves for the hand-cut chips (and the rest of the meal, of course). As expected, the meals are heavy. The sauces are salty. There is plenty of meat and cheese on nearly every dish. Although probably not ideal for vegetarians, the Red Lion does offer a portabella sandwich and entrée options. The lone vegetarian among us loved her meal.

For a look at the menu and what’s on tap, visit the Red Lion Grog House online at

United We Stand, Divided We Fall Off Broken Sidewalks

In 2009, Jeff Miller, Fletcher Place resident and SEND Board member, spearheaded an assessment of every street and sidewalk in Southeast Indianapolis. What Jeff discovered was shocking. While 13% of the residential streets in Indianapolis were in disrepair, over 35% of streets in Southeast neighborhoods were in need of attention. While 25% of the sidewalks in the city were substandard, over 40% of the sidewalks in Southeast neighborhoods were missing or in need of replacement. These statistics proved what many Southeasterners have known for years – we’ve been neglected.

How can our neighborhoods be so far behind others? Why do some neighborhoods in Indianapolis receive governmental attention while others are allowed to disintegrate? How is it possible that the 30,000 residents of Southeast neighborhoods aren’t receiving the same service as those living in Meridian Kessler?

In fairness, the answer is complicated. Resources are limited. City officials blame the age of our infrastructure and the high cost of repair. They say their hands are tied. They don’t publically acknowledge other factors – the low voter turnout in our neighborhoods, a low homeowner rate and property tax base, and that we have few wealthy and connected residents. The truth is that we’ve been easy to ignore.

This is especially true when we don’t work together. The Southeast neighborhoods (Bates Hendricks, FACT, Fletcher Place, Fountain Square South, Irish Hill, North Square, SECO, Twin Aire, and WeCan) have all been successful at addressing minor issues within their boundaries. There are many dedicated, hard working people in all of these associations. Unfortunately, we have not always been very good at addressing major issues together. We have not spoken with a unified voice to City Hall.

However, in 2010, this may change. In January, neighborhood leaders began talking about how we can better work together. How can we pressure institutions and government officials to care about our broken streets and sidewalks? How can we identify other issues and problems we all share? How can we do this in a way that avoids the petty turf issues of the past? How do we hear each other and then speak with one voice? One possibility used by similar neighborhoods in other cities has been a neighborhood congress.

A neighborhood congress is a periodic gathering of anyone who lives, works, or cares about a specific neighborhood. It is a chance to celebrate accomplishments, acknowledge failures, identify arising concerns, and agree on unified action. It is an opportunity for people to speak and vote. It is a place where people can unite around certain actions. And the more who gather, the more powerful their voice.

On Thursday, April 22nd, from 7-9 p.m. at the Fountain Square Theatre Building, we will hold the first Southeast Neighborhood Congress. We’ll celebrate accomplishments like the sidewalk and street assessment. We’ll acknowledge efforts that have failed. We’ll discuss new concerns and consider further actions. For too long, the city of Indianapolis, local foundations, and institutions have ignored the plight of Southeast Indianapolis. It is time for that to change.

For more information about the neighborhood congress, contact Jim Mulholland at 503-5852. To view the street and sidewalk assessment, go to

901 Farmers Market Opens in May

People are becoming aware of the types of food they eat, where it is grown and how it is transported to their local market. The availability of such information encourages health-conscious shoppers to seek locally-grown foods. Farmers markets give residents access to fresh produce and provides an outlet for local farms.
The 901 Farmers Market will be opening for its second year in the Fountain Square neighborhood. The Market will be open from noon-3pm on every other Sunday starting Sunday May 23rd, and continuing through October. It will be held in the Southeast Community Services Center parking lot at 901 South Shelby Street. Fresh and locally-grown produce, free-range eggs, annual and perennial plants, herbs, freshly baked desserts and artwork are among the items that will be for sale. A flea market will be held as well on and off throughout the summer season.
When planning your garden this year why not plant a couple more rows and sell it at the Market?! Artists are encouraged to sell their artwork too. Spaces are available for $10. For more information contact Kate Voss at 317.972.4988 or Terri Garcia at 317.236.7400.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Refresh Your Community

In 2010 Pepsi is giving away millions of dollars and up to 32 grants each month to individuals, businesses and non-profits that want to better their community. These attainable grants for individuals with inspired ideas can be applied for online at

It takes an idea that will engage your community, an online application and the participation of your neighbors to vote your idea to the top. Collaborate with your neighbors and see if you can come up with inspired ideas for the Southeast side.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indy Reads has Record Year in 2009

(Indianapolis, IN) – In 2007, the first year that Indy Reads operated as an independent non-profit, the adult literacy organization provided free tutoring to 351 adults in Marion County. Now, just two years later, Indy Reads has more than DOUBLED their services.
“We’ve worked with 725 literacy and ESL students this year,” said Indy Reads Director of Programs, Tom Miller, “plus there are another 125 who used our Literacy Labs.”
“This is extraordinary: 850 adults! We’ve helped more adults to read in Indianapolis than ever before in our 25 year history!” said Executive Director Travis DiNicola. Indy Reads began as a volunteer based organization and received not-for-profit status in 1984 and was a program of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library until the end of 2006 when the organization became independent. “IMCPL remains our greatest partner in providing literacy services,” said DiNicola, “but by being independent, we are able to reach more adults in more communities than ever before. We could not have done this without the very generous help of all of our community partners and dedicated volunteers. Our newest program, providing Literacy Labs in neighborhood centers, jails, and IPS schools, helps us to reach even more adults who struggle with reading.”
The Literacy Lab program provides short-term services for clients, while also giving those clients access to long-term instruction. The Literacy Labs are located where the adult students live and work: in their neighborhoods, providing them the immediate help they need. Free labs are open at designated times, during which “Reading Coaches” volunteer to help adults with “tactical” or task-based reading, writing, and life-skill issues—such as applying for a job, reading a prescription, understanding their bills, and responding to letters from a landlord—as well as providing basic literacy tutoring, and assistance with preparing to take the GED.
Current Literacy Lab locations include: IPS’s John Hope Education Center, the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, the John H. Boner Community Center, Horizon House, LYN House, and Jail II, all in the IPS district, plus a lab at Northview Middle School in Washington Township. The next lab planned is for IPS #14 on Market Street.
Indy Reads 2009 student profile (does not include Literacy Labs):
Ages 18-99, average age being early 40’s
46% African-American, 21% Caucasian, 15% Hispanic, 6% Asian
55% women, 45% men
Average entry reading level – 3rd grade (grade level necessary to read a newspaper – 6th)
50% adult literacy students, 50% ESL students
45% of adult literacy students live in the IPS district
59% meet with their volunteer tutor in urban IMCPL branches serving IPS (more than one third of volunteers live in IPS).

“It’s great to see that we are providing services beyond Marion County now – that was something we could never do before we were independent,” said DiNicola. “The past three years have been inspiring. I’m especially pleased by a new partnership with Washington Township’s Adult Ed program, the Boone County Learning Network, where we train their volunteers, and by our ongoing partnership with IndyPendence JobCorps, providing tutoring to their young women. However, it is important to note that the largest numbers of Indy Reads students live within the IPS boundaries and are served by the IMCPL. This continues to be where the need is greatest. And, though we are helping more adults than ever before, there is a waiting list for our services. Our greatest need for 2010 continues to be more volunteers, and the funds to train them. People ask – why help adults – well, the answer is clear: you are helping to break the cycle. Almost all of our students are parents, and the number one reason a child won’t graduate from high school is if his mother can’t read. Improving adult literacy improves the quality of life for everyone in our community.”

Indy Reads is the only nationally accredited organization in Central Indiana which uses trained volunteers to provide free basic reading, writing, and life-skill instruction to adults through one-on-one tutoring, small group sessions, English as a Second Language instruction, and a Literacy Lab program at neighborhood centers. Indy Reads mission is to improve the literacy skills of adults in Central Indiana who read or write at or below the sixth grade level. Our goal is to “Make Indianapolis 100% Literate.” Visit for more information.

Scare in the Square, Rocky Horror Halloween a howling success

The Fountain Square Merchants Association (FSMA) showed the neighborhood a frightfully good time with Scare in the Square on Halloween. More than 600 costumed trick-or-treaters, their families, and friends walked to 25 neighborhood businesses for candy and other goodies. Twenty two businesses sponsored the event by giving additional candy or money to the Merchants Association. FWSMA established Scare-in-the-Square-central in the Deano’s Vino parking lot. The Association gave away hundreds of treat bags, and hundreds of pounds of candy, peanuts, and apples, and poured out 20 gallons of cider for thirsty walkers.

Participating merchants included:

• Deano’s Vino
• IMPD South
• Liberty Tax
• Subway
• Buds Supermarket
• Salvation Army
• Fountain Square Bldg
• Virgil’s Barbershop
• Santorini Greek Kitchen
• IFD Station #3
• Fountain Foliage
• Hero House
• Maria’s Pizza
• Arthur’s Music
• Fountain Square Branch, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
• Indianapolis Downtown Antiques
• Luxor
• American Hardware
• Peppy Grill
• Siam Square
• Sam’s Silver Circle
• Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company
• The Dugout
• Naisa Pan-Asian Café
• Indy Swank

2009 Treat Trail Sponsors:
• The Fountain Square Merchants Association
• Cops for Kids, Indiana State Police Alliance
• Green 3 Landscape Design
• Mike McCormick, CPA,
• Southeast Neighborhood Development
• Koehring & Sons
• Halstead Architects
• Mass Avenue Knit Shop
• Impact Group
• Biz on Fletcher
• Southeast Community Services
• Center for Environmental Management
• Claus German Sausage & Meats
• AV Framing Gallery
• Big Car
• National Alliance for Child Safety
• Daskalos Chiropractor
• Flowers on the Square
• Fountain Foliage
• The Brass Ring
• Fountain Square Theatre
• IndyES Productions

Scare in the Square was followed by Rocky Horror Halloween at the Fountain Square Theatre. Some 300 people came – some in costume – to watch two showings (one at eight, and one at midnight) of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was the first time for this FSMA event, which netted more than $1,000.

Neighbor Power! and GINI Two Successes for Our City

More than 200 neighborhood leaders recently met to celebrate community accomplishments and ensure future success for the city at Neighbor Power! A Gathering to Inspire Greater Indy Neighborhoods at the University of Indianapolis.

The Southeast neighborhoods were well represented at Neighbor Power! — picking up multiple awards at an exciting ceremony on Oct. 16 and sending several leaders to present in workshops during the gathering on Oct. 17.

The Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association won Neighbor Power’s new Inspiring Places Award or its no House Left Behind initiative identifies the worst abandoned homes and helps turn these properties into assets—making this neighborhood in the southeast side of Indianapolis an even better home for its residents. The award came with a $1,000 prize and a one-of-a-kind physical award created by SEND’s Kipp Normand.

Bates Hendricks and SEND also won a Collaborative Spirit Award presented by Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center for the 2008 Fab For Less project designed to enhance the 1400 and 1500 blocks of South New Jersey Street. This initiative engaged residents in visioning, planning and implementing a transformation of their two blocks and eventually leveraged more than a million dollars of investment.

A host of neighborhood leaders — many representing the Southeast — led workshops on a wide variety of topics, sharing their successes and finding connections with other leaders for future collaborations. Workshops covered topics from economic development innovations, to green development, to helping young people. One workshop even ended in a parade around the facility. Workshop leaders from the Southeast included Despi Mayes of the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association, Jeff Miller of Fletcher Place, Connie Zeigler of the North Square Neighborhood Association, Jerry Keys of the Pleasant Run Grocer, Elizabeth Ryan of the Fountain Square Arts Council, and Mark Stewart and Paul Baumgarten of SEND.

All in attendance enjoyed a moving keynote talk by Sacramento, Cal. mayor and former NBA standout Kevin Johnson. And Neighbor Power! included a session to brainstorm “what’s next” for neighborhoods and the city and concluded with a networking reception.

Now, everyone is invited to continue the conversations started at Neighbor Power! and sign-up for peer-to-peer networks on a variety of topics at If you missed it, videos of all of the workshop presentations will be available online in the coming months.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Children's Nutrition Begins with Parental Education

Precious little one’s dietary needs are the same as they were 20 years ago; however, the food they eat is not. Today’s foods aren't even kissing health on the cheek. I submit, ‘Lunchables’. Alluringly marketed, this Anti-Christ of nourishment is laden with an un-Godly amount of salt, HFCS, synthesized fats, food colorings, nitrates and immune-depleting sugar.

Kids need 40 heavenly vitamins a day to grow mentally and physically. They require a variety of fresh, chemically-free food in its natural, cosmic wrapping. Today’s foods are nutritionally D.O.A.; devoid of their cosmic life force due to reckless industrial modification and ethical malnourishment..

Small adults require freshly prepared, pure whole foods primed with love; the key ingredient. Vulnerable bodies require quality materials, not holiday sugary treats, to grow big and strong with alert minds eager to absorb knowledge. Find time for preparing wholesome, balanced lunches, or find time for illness. Sugar profoundly depletes immune function.

It’s time for devoted parents to update their nutritional literacy. Time-strapped Mom’s and Dads’ lament the daily hassle of preparing healthy lunches. One child told me her parents gave her a Pop Tart and a can of Mountain Dew, kissed them goodbye, hastening them to the bus stop. The quandary? The Indiana State Board of Health warns, due to malnourishment, parents today will outlive their children. Before packing those recyclable brown bags with convenient, dead foods, caringly consider your choices. Are they based on personal convenience or your brood’s primary requirements?

The CDC states 1 in 200 rosy-cheeked kids under 18 are avoiding meat and embracing the earth-friendly vegetarian diet. Thanks to YouTube, animal slaughter videos have shocked the developing sensibilities of U.S. children. Kids raised vegetarian lower their risk of ‘Diabesity’, cancer, GI problems, and have steadfast immune systems. At the lease, cut back and make one home-dinner a week vegetarian night. The average family spends $4-5 K annually factory-farm produced meat.
Dust off the thermos for hearty vegetable and bean soups. Make a garden salad or whole grain pasta salad with vegetables mixed, walnuts and last night’s chicken breast. Pack a low-cal dressing separate and let them add it in.

Its critical children obtain adequate amounts of clean, locally produced protein, vitamins B 12 and D-3, iron, zinc, calcium and other nutrients most people get from meat, eggs and dairy. If they are uber-picky, provide youngsters with a food-based multi-vitamin-mineral supplement.

Your kids truly love you. Love them back responsibly with ‘good for you’ green eating behaviors.

Eat Right Now
Chef Wendell Fowler
Please visit:


Written by: Allen Janke

Even more is happening in the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood! Thanks to an IMAGINE grant through the city, this time the focus of neighborhood community leaders and volunteers was a section of the southeast quadrant. Specifically included this time was the area South of Iowa St., North of Beecher, and East of East St., West of Pleasant Run Parkway. This neighborhood has experienced a resurgence of involvement thanks to emerging neighborhood leaders and the strong overall planning of the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association and SEND.

The weekend of October 17th and 18th was a huge success thanks to the volunteer efforts of Bates Hendricks southeast quadrant neighbors, churches, and businesses. Heading up the planning of the nearly month long community event were the members of the New Street Block Club, formed in early 2007. A five 40 cubic yard dumpster event was designed by these members as the main component of an IMAGINE grant.

Creation of a successful IMAGINE grant project is all in the details leading up to the work. Word was spread for two of the four weekends leading up to the main beautification/clean up events. Flyers were distributed and banners were displayed to welcome neighbors to the big event weekend. On October 9 and 10, a large group led by the New Street Block Club cut out excess alley brush and readied trash for the dumpster day. Over five tons of street curb debris was removed to restore the look and functionality of our streets!

Even more impressive than the cleanup was the after party turnout after! Sunday October 18 the 1800 block of New Street was shut down to host the first ever New Street Block Party. The over 200 in attendance enjoyed carnival games, a bounce house, free cookout, and pumpkin painting—just some of the activities of the day. A raffle designed to reward those who had participated in the cleanup was held and gift cards were distributed to the winners.

While we were able to make a big impact in a fairly short time span, much of the real success was meeting many of our great neighbors. Continue to build on this effort, whether you live in the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood or not! Reach out and talk to the couple down the street who’s lived there almost as long as you have. Take a moment and say “hello” to those you may see but to whom you never talk. Get to know your neighbors and start a block club of your own. You’ll find a whole bunch of people who care as much as you do.


A special thanks goes out to our two church affiliates on Iowa Street, Wesleyan Christian Church and Eastside Tree of Life Full Gospel Church, and Heat Exchanger Design, Inc. on Beecher Street. Also thanks to Foster Pilcher and Rob Uppencamp (VP of Bates Hendricks NA) for spearheading the IMAGINE grant momentum and playing a vital role in each cleanup. And of course to all the members of the New Street Block Club—Keep up the good work!

Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. Honored at 2009 National Keep America Beautiful Conference

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 7, 2009) – Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. was honored Friday at this year’s annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference for distinguishing itself as an exemplary affiliate organization. Taking first place in its category, the organization was honored for its outstanding community beautification program.

The 56th Annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference, held in Washington, D.C., brought together award-winning affiliates from across the country to share best practices and celebrate the successes of the last 12 months. The Keep America Beautiful Affiliate Awards are open to all Keep America Beautiful affiliates for program activities during the 12-month period from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. The honored affiliates encourage individuals to make simple daily choices and to engage in volunteer activities that improve their communities and the local environment.

“It is my privilege to celebrate Southeast Neighborhood Development and its dedication to improving the quality of life in its community while protecting the environment,” said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “Communities like Indianapolis serve as influential and inspiring leaders in our national effort to keep America beautiful.”

Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. took first place in the beautification category for its housing rehabilitation effort in the Bates Hendricks neighborhood. This effort was done in conjunction with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s revitalization of the landscape on the South New Jersey Street medians in the neighborhood. 1,300 visitors from the area came to witness the transformation of South New Jersey Street at an event and home tour in August of 2008. This served as a celebration of the community’s hard work and as a showcase for affordable near-downtown living. Further results included: 30 of the 40 homes on the block were improved; three homes were completely rehabbed; one dilapidated home was removed; private owners invested their own dollars in improving 16 properties; sidewalks and curbs were replaced; the street was repaved; historic lighting was added; the esplanade was landscaped and public art was installed on the street.

About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. This national nonprofit forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry Reaches out to Fountain Square with 2nd Annual FREE Santa Breakfast

INDIANAPOLIS—IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry, located at 1224 Laurel Street in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis, hosted its 2nd annual FREE Breakfast with SANTA on Saturday, December 19th. The event drew more than five hundred children and their family members for a morning of fun and excitement.

The aggressive focus that Emmaus Lutheran Church has placed on children and caring for them at all ages, led to the planning of the 2nd Breakfast with Santa Claus. The event is offered entirely FREE for children, and they were not disappointed. Besides a FREE breakfast, there were FREE pictures with SANTA, cookie decorating, crafts and games. The South Marion County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans helped to sponsor the annual event.

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry was founded by historic Emmaus Lutheran Church which has been in existence for more than 105 years. Emmaus is known also known for offering a quality Christian education for elementary school students. The opening of the Christian based childcare ministry in 2008 was a natural progression for the church in its continued outreach to the community.

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry celebrated its 1st anniversary in August of this year by expanding its facility. This expansion includes a new infant room and new space for 3, 4, and 5 year olds, which now includes Pre-K for 3 and 4 year olds as part of its offering.

The childcare ministry is available to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years of age and offers such amenities as a strong academic curriculum, before and after school programs, full day care, summer camps and field trips. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ministry is registered with the Indiana State Division of Family Resources and the Indiana State Fire Marshall and accepts CCDF vouchers.

For more information call 317-632-1486 option #3, and ask for Kathy Moore, IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Director.

A Stranger in My House: Privacy, Protection and Public Safety

By Tori Calvert

I am a resident of Fountain Square. I am a renter. I am a daughter, sister, and aunt. I am also a law-abiding citizen who values family, community, safety, and privacy. I live with my sister, also a law-abiding citizen, and her one-year old daughter on Leonard Street.

On a recent Friday afternoon, a police officer dressed in street clothing entered my single-family residence without permission (the door was closed but not locked). My sister was home alone, and when she heard some commotion in the house, she walked out of the bathroom to find a male officer in our home and two officers, one female and one male, on our porch. An officer immediately asked her if she knew John Doe (name has been changed). She did not recognize the name and told him so. They curiously looked past her into our home as if to question her truthfulness, then showed her a photo and asked if she knew the person. She did recognize the person, and at this point the officers realized they were in the wrong house (whether or not they had authority to be in any house is unknown since they didn't offer that information) and abruptly turned and left, leaving our front gate open.

It is my understanding that the City of Indianapolis and Marion County officials use tax dollars to employ law enforcement officers who are trained in public safety. I do not have any sense of increased safety, and in fact, I feel much less safe than I did before this incident. I now worry that an officer can enter my home at any time with or without reason, and I am helpless to stop him or her. I feel unsettled knowing that some law enforcement officers patrolling or working in my neighborhood while armed with deadly weapons are not thorough enough to identify which houses they have authority to enter. I feel sad that I am left wondering if IMPD officers are trained to apologize when they've made a mistake that has disrupted the lives of the citizens they have sworn to protect.

This incident has also caused me to question the dynamics of my community. Am I the minority in feeling so violated? Has this happened to other people who had the same feelings of helplessness and were afraid to speak up? Are there characteristics attributable to me and my neighbors that make us susceptible to this behavior?

But I am also hopeful. I have faith that decent residents and police officers in my neighborhood can work together to improve community policing practices. I dream of the day uniformed officers walk by my home and wave to my niece, possibly stopping at my fence to ask about my concerns. And at the very least, I hope to be part of a local government system in which I’m not told that officers were “doing their job” when I retell this story to the Citizens' Police Complaint Office, a system in which police officers do not disrespect the privacy of law-abiding citizens and do apologize when they make mistakes.

Neighborhood Gathering

The Southeast Neighborhood Gathering was held on November 5 beginning at 5:30 pm at the Southeast Community Services Center. About 150 residents joined together for a pasta dinner provided by Aramark. Jennifer VonDeylen gave the opening presentation, “A Lot to Be Thankful For!” Then Jim Mulholland led three groups in a fun Jeopardy Game about Southeast Neighborhood facts and events. The winning group went for dessert first! Terri Garcia of SECS and Mark Stewart of SEND welcomed all to the event. Participants were then invited to give their input about neighborhood involvement and improvement at two successive breakout sessions. The topics were:
  • Housing
  • Community & People
  • Beautification
  • Commercial Viability & Workforce
  • Infrastructure
The information gathered will be distributed to neighborhood organizations and partners early in 2010 and also published in the Southeast Square Newspaper.

This event would not be possible without he countless number of volunteer hours from residents and contributions from the following organizations: Aramark, Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association, Citizens Gas, Friends & FACT Neighborhood Association, Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative/Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Indianapolis Making Connections, and the Southeast Learning Partnership. Thank you all.

Get involved in your neighborhood! Look for the list of Neighborhood Association meetings in this publication (pg 9.) Start a Block Group or Crime Watch. Call the SEND offices for a list of committees and meeting times. Come assist the SELP in gathering data and documenting the neighborhood on the second Monday of each month at 5pm in the SECS 2nd floor meeting room. Your involvement is wanted and encouraged to make Southeast Indy the best place to live!