Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Art students paint the town, and this is just the beginning

Hoping to “jumpstart a new theme of public art downtown,” Arthouse owner Kandi Jamieson and her students are working on a colorful public mural, located on the Girly Steel Studio building.

Jamieson had the opportunity to do a public mural while living in Boise, but said “I was intimidated and never did anything with it. I regret that.”

As luck would have it, after a previous Arthouse story was published, artist and welder Joanie Drizin of Girly Steel Studio mentioned to Jamieson that Billie Caldwell, owner of the Girly Steel Studio building, was interested in having a mural painted on it.

Caldwell even offered to supply all of the materials for the project.

Jamieson put together a mural painting class and enrolled ten students. The students collaborated on a design and made it come to life a few weeks ago when a string of nice days was conducive to starting the project.

“I have never done an outside public mural until this,” Jamieson said. The students hadn’t either, and they’ve enjoyed the process of watching their vision come to life. Jamieson plans to continue the mural painting with subsequent classes, and she has a couple more locations for public art already lined up. She’s been excited to see the enthusiastic response so far.

“There’s a lot of public art in Boise, a lot more art on the historic buildings, sculptures, fountains. We want a bigger arts district here in Noblesville.”

The mural, located at 336 S. 8th St, between Hannibal and Division, is about half done and will end up wrapping around the entire building.

Through the month of April, Arthouse has student works on display at the Hamilton County Public Library, and another session of classes begins this week. Visit or call 773-0038 for details about classes or the mural painting.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1807 Conner St.

Location: 1807 Conner Street

Owner: Donna Parker, since 2003

Style & History: This 1.5 story Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog home was built circa 1927. The bungalow home is similar to the Arts and Crafts style of homes, with its large porch piers, small size and dormers.

What are your favorite features? “The style is cozy and comforting. I have a love affair with my house and can’t stop. I feel it's my obligation to be a keeper and preserve my home, she's 84 years old, and yes she is wrinkled and flawed, but always welcoming and warm. Hope I look that good when I reach 84.”

What work have you done on your house? “Work projects, constantly! I’m refurbishing the upstairs bathroom, which wasn’t original so I’m redoing the floor with coin tile, the ceiling with tintype reproduction and a claw-foot bathtub that I bought at an auction for $5. I’ve redone the kitchen with an original dining room chandelier, the downstairs bathroom with original claw-foot tub, and refinished the living and dining room hardwood floors. I had a gas log fireplace installed and when workmen removed the baseboard, on the back of it was written ‘Fireplace’, that was my sign I was doing the right thing. Future project well be to refinish the upstairs wood floors, and then I’m done!”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “It’s welcoming, friendly, walkable, historic and there are great activities to enjoy and wonderful people. It’s a good life!"

Company turns your old appliances into jobs

DAO Recycling has two missions: to protect the Earth through recycling items that would otherwise go to the landfill, and to create green jobs for people that have major barriers to employment.

Cal Hultquist and Dana Eveland founded DAO in 2009 with $4000 and a truck. The founders, both certified through the EPA, each have areas of expertise that make DAO work. Hultquist was involved with the Recycling Task Force in Atlanta, GA and is a former government investigator, and Eveland is a certified mechanic with experience in logistics transportation. Together the environmentalists are committed to educating the public on how to recycle appliances and put people back into the workforce.

DAO will pick up and recycle major appliances, riding mowers and heavy metal items for no charge. Most appliance pickups are scheduled within 72 hours and free drop-offs can be made 24 hours a day at the Recycling Center located on the near east side of Indianapolis, 3518 E. Michigan Street. Visit or call 317.375.7788 to learn more about the extensive list of recyclables DAO accepts, including polystyrene (Styrofoam) as well as items such as metal clothes hangers, carpet, bikes, musical instruments, packing materials, and mattresses. Most items are free to drop off, but some such as mattresses incur a small $5-$10 fee due to the processing required.

DAO offers Industrial, Commercial, Farm and Medical recycling in addition to residential recycling. The free and secure IT equipment recycling is beneficial to businesses as well as the environment. As of January 1 of 2011, entities may no longer dispose of electronic devices such as computers, monitors, printers, TV’s, etc. in with municipal waste that is intended for disposal in a landfill or incinerator.
The Discount Appliance store, located on the west side at 6250 W. 38th Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week and offers a wide range of refurbished appliances and services, including delivery, setup and repair.

Conner Prairie awarded $10,000 to recreate natural habitat

Public voting and community support has secured Conner Prairie a $10,000 Golden Eagle Environmental Grant to help return much of the park’s 850 acres back to a natural wildlife habitat.

Containing Hamilton County’s largest contiguous stretch of undeveloped land, Conner Prairie’s initial phase of the project was completed in 2009 in partnership with the USDA. This phase returned 200 acres of farmland back to a natural habitat of warm season prairie grasses. The second phase of the project, funded by the grant award, will be to create wetlands. Once complete, guests will be able to view native plants, animals and birds from an observation deck and boardwalk accessing the wetlands and adjacent grass restoration area.

Representatives from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, IUPUI’s Center for Earth and Environmental Science and Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), determined the final grant amounts for the top grant recipients..

IPL Golden Eagle Environmental Grants provide funds for projects that will preserve, protect, enhance, or restore environmental and biological resources throughout IPL’s operating territory. This year for the first time, IPL partnered with Emmis Communications to broaden involvement in the environmental grant process by inviting the public to vote for their favorite project on WIBC. Three area nonprofits with the highest number of votes received the Golden Eagle Grant, and IPL awarded six runners-up grants of $1,000 for their projects.

“Conner Prairie received the grant due to the communities support via a social media campaign. It was the first time they implemented this strategy and it seemed to work for the benefit of all parties involved,” Alpha Garrett, Conner Prairie’s Public Relations Manager said.

Camptown, a program that helps kids reconnect with nature through school programs, river clean-ups and other environmental educational programs was another Golden Eagle Grant recipient, as was the Hoosier Heartland Resource Conservation Council for their invasive plant project, an effort to educate the public on harmful non-native invasive plants and how to remove and replace with native plants.

Noblesville Schools, Riverview present Wellness Extravaganza

With the arrival of Spring, now is a perfect time to re-commit to exercise and healthy eating habits. The Noblesville Wellness Extravaganza hopes to help with that.

The public is invited to run, walk, skip or jump to a night of fitness, fun and prizes.

Brian Clarke, the NHS Wellness Department Chair and Strength and Conditioning Coach coordinated the event last year, which drew over 1,000 attendees, and is doing so again this year.

Noblesville Schools, in conjunction with Riverview Hospital, Butler University and Radio Disney, are partnering to bring the extravaganza, which will take place at the Noblesville High School this Thursday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m., to the community.

“Our mission is simple,” Clarke said. “We want to expose families and community stakeholders to many different activities, healthy foods, local health groups and screens, and overall lifestyle opportunities in our schools and community.”

The two hour event will have an array of different physical fitness activities for both kids and adults and healthy snacks available. Local wellness and recreation businesses will be participating, and parents can pick up summer camp information as well.

Butler basketball players will be on hand to meet and sign autographs and Radio Disney will be broadcasting live.

In the fitness regime, try challenges such as the Scooter Triathalon, Fitness Monopoly, Zumba, Ballet and Tap Dancing, a Bounce House and more.

Health professionals will offer BMI, Body Comp and Blood Pressure testing, and Chiropractors will offer information on spinal health.

Door Prize drawings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. Prizes include Wii Fit, gift certificates, free personal training, free bowling/mini golf, swim lessons, massages and more. You must be present to win.

Noblesville High School is located at 18111 Cumberland Road. Enter through Gate #1, 2, or 18. Contact Brian Clarke at with questions about the event.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Co-op school could close without a new home

Forty five families—including sixty kids in total—are counting on a Fishers based cooperative preschool to be able to find a new home by this August.

Founded in 1996, Fishers Pointe Cooperative Preschool, now in its third location, quickly outgrew it’s previous two locations. Currently located in Northeast Community Church (9959 East 126th St.) for the past five years, the school’s lease with the church is up in August. The school learned last winter that their lease would not be renewed due to the growing church’s plans to utilize the space differently. Parents have been searching ever since for a new, suitable space to house the school.

Space shouldn’t be an issue, right? Not in Hamilton County. But it is.

“We can’t find the square footage that a quality program requires,” teacher Carla Bidwell said. “Enrollment is not a problem for us. Having dedicated, hard-working parents is not a problem. We have no problem with any of that, it’s just the space.”

There are a dozen cooperative preschools in the metropolitan Indy area. Fishers Pointe is the only cooperative preschool in Hamilton County, having started here because “Hamilton County fit our demographics,” Bidwell, a founding member of the co-op, said.

The school follows the high standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and is a member as well of the Indiana Council for Preschool Cooperatives. These groups set the standards for minimum square footages per child, curriculum and parental involvement.

“We don’t want to step away from that high standard,” Bidwell said. “We’re finding that church buildings are small, or their educational areas are small.”

Lisa Switzer, co-president of the co-op since last May and searching diligently since for a new space via emails, phone calls and letters, along with co-president Courtney Floyd, Switzer added that “the ones who’ve wanted to welcome us in just don’t have the space, and if they do have the space, they already have a preschool of their own.”

The possibility of locations other than churches is being explored as well. “We have a commercial Realtor, it’s just—what can we afford?” said Switzer. They hope to stay in Fishers but are exploring the outskirts of Fishers, such as the south side of Noblesville or the east side of Carmel.

Office space and warehouse space that hasn’t been built out is generally out of the budget for the school, though they are looking into getting pre-approved for a mortgage, should they find a suitable space to purchase.

“We’ve increased our fundraising and are trying to raise enough money [for those options],” Floyd said.

When it comes down to it, if the school can’t find a space, or finds a space to purchase and can’t afford a mortgage, they won’t be open in August.

“And we’re bound and determined not to see that happen,” Floyd said.

“We’ve worked too hard for that,” Switzer added.

The parents are optimistic they’ll have a new home. “Even though we don’t know what our address is going to be in the fall, parents are writing checks and enrolling their children,” Bidwell said.

For more information on Cooperative Preschools,  visit

Co-op preschool fosters love of learning, community

You know what I love? I love the constant discovery of whole new worlds that I never even knew existed and seeing the passions of people who are so synced with their gifts, doing what they love. Kids radiate this.

Recently I was doing some writing research about preschool philosophies. I already have experience with several of the different types of preschools, but I didn’t know about Cooperative Preschools (Co-ops.) I was so intrigued by the one I was corresponding with in Indy that I was wishing there was something similar here in Hamilton County.

And then a friend of mine, Sara Heiliger, clued me in that there is. Fishers Pointe Co-op is the only co-op preschool in the county. It’s awesome, and it may need to close if a new space isn’t found in the next few months (see related story on page __.)

I went to check it out for myself. I saw kids totally immersed and learning (that’s what I love to do, too.) I saw teachers and parents who are deeply committed to this school and its philosophy.

I saw why it’s so loved by Sara and all of the families involved. The philosophy is play based, allowing for a child’s freedom to explore their interests in an open-ended and organic way with age appropriate activities and guidance in the classrooms.

For parents, co-ops offer a place to become involved in their child’s preschool experience, as well as a community of other families that you actually get to know, due to the co-op structure. Parents help in the classrooms a couple times per month and work together to run the school. Because co-ops are parent run, tuition is much less than non co-op preschools.

I want to see the school continue, and am hopeful that somehow they can find the space they need to continue their tradition.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Historic Homes of Noblesville--1464 Harrison St.

Location: 1464 Harrison St.

Owners: Gary and Heather MacInnis, since 2006

Style & History: This Victorian home, built by Loren L. Hankley circa 1910 features two front porches, which is an unusual element. It retains the ten foot high ceilings and beautiful original woodwork. It was a single family home until being converted to a duplex sometime during the 1920’s. The MacInnis family has restored both sides of the duplex.

What are your favorite features? “We love all the decorative trim on the exterior. It gave us a chance to use a lot of color!”

What work have you done on your house? “We’ve put in a new furnace and ductwork, added AC, rewired the house (due to an electrical fire which occurred three days after closing because of improper splicing of old ‘knob and tube’ and romex in the attic), remodeled a bathroom and kitchen, rebuilt one of the porches, fenced the backyard, landscaped, repainted the exterior, and replaced two windows. We plan to do more painting and rebuild the other front porch in the future.”

What do you like about this area/neighborhood? “It's close to the playground at North, so in the summertime we take the kids down there to play. We also love being able to walk downtown and to friends' houses that live nearby.”

‘Give your stuff away’ day coming up in May

I’m not ashamed to admit it—I’m a trash picker. My poor, embarrassed family has witnessed me pulling good stuff out of other people’s trash on the sly and climbing into dumpsters. “It’s for the good of the earth,” I say.

I was looking through the archives of last spring’s columns that I wrote, specifically I was looking for the one about making a new Springtime tradition in Noblesville—Curb Shopping—modeled after the New England origins where towns and villages designate a weekend or two each spring for residents to set unwanted but perfectly useable items at the curb. Then you take a stroll through the neighborhood and come home with some new treasures.

What’s great about this is that items are recycled and not cluttering up landfills and wasting resources. And, they’re free.

It’s good for the pocketbook and the Earth. And, no one needs to risk their life climbing into a dumpster to salvage them.

I got great response from that column. One reader said she regularly sets her kid’s toys out that they have outgrown in a big box with a FREE sign. Another reader said he put out a couch that wasn’t needed. It was gone in two hours.

I put out a call to help organize one of these neighborhood swaps and was met with great enthusiasm. But after my column ran, I learned that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There’s already an organization spreading the word all over the nation for this great cause. The day is called Give Your Stuff Away Day and it happens the second Saturday in May, which is May 14 this year.

The website is and it’s got all of the info you need to know to participate in this. My hope is that this will really catch on and become a re-established tradition. So while you’re doing some spring cleaning this month, set aside items that you don’t want or need and put them out on that day.

PS—as I’m writing this column, a friend ironically posts a photo on facebook of a gorgeous dresser in a dumpster downtown. It’s missing some drawers, but it’s way too good to be thrown away. Put things like that beside the dumpster. Someone wants it. Do them a favor and save them from having to dumpster dive.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Indy's Child and Cincinnati Parent articles

Here's the Indy's Child Arts & Enrichment article.  And here  is the Cincinnati Parent A&E article. Lots of camps to choose from--I'm amazed at all of the offerings out there (especially growing up in a very rural area-we didn't have stuff like this!)

I loved writing this one--10 Free Things to do in Indy this Spring.  Some of them we've done, some we haven't.  My goal is to check more of them off my list this Spring.