Examining the history of Beech Grove while highlighting businesses that are seemingly "Invisible" by others

Beech Grove, Indiana

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Steve McQueen’s Great Escape

Beech Grove, IN (November 7, 2019) IBG — There was the broken home. The violence, the neglect, the desertion: born in Beech Grove, Indiana, the young Terence Steven McQueen shuffled between his native Indiana and Missouri, and eventually California, passing from one home to another.

The child knew mostly misery. But he had been given something.

Somewhere, someone decided that McQueen needed to be baptized Catholic just as his mother had been before him. In the biographies this fact is mentioned in passing, understandably perhaps, as it appeared to have made little difference to the boy, the adolescent, and, later, the man. But the gift did matter.

Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968.

What the Hollywood star’s biographers also sidestep is his ending. In a strange way McQueen’s final earthly moments make sense of all the rest.

In that final “performance,” McQueen played a role much older than any he had acted on the Silver Screen, and, for once, it really was a matter of life and death.

But we’ll come to that.

What had passed for childhood soon he turned into a troubled youth. With no home, McQueen ended up on the streets, until a court sent him to one that was there to reform boys like him. The Boys Republic was to be the start of the end of childhood; for the young McQueen it was also the beginning of a mistrust of institutions — the image of authority had long since been fractured for this child from a broken home. It appeared to many that the only thing McQueen had been given in life was resentment.

From one institution to another he moved. Before living the life of a drifter and a vagrant. An angry young man can always find a home, however, in any military, and the United States Marine Corps was ready to receive a world-weary 17-year-old McQueen. It was 1947 and he would serve three years. Too early for Korea, he saw no combat, yet his time in the Marines was suspected of later killing him. Over 30 years on, he was diagnosed with a disease that was believed to have its origin through in the then routine removal of asbestos during a military chore.

He didn’t know it then, but the clock had begun ticking for Steve McQueen, curiously just as his luck was about to change.

From 1952 onwards, thanks to the G.I. Bill, McQueen set out to become an actor. For many years his desire for his acting talent to be recognized was more aspirational than real. Finally, however, six years later things began to shift. From 1958 to 1968, at rapid speed, McQueen ascended from bit-part player to television star, from supporting actor to lead, from movie star to superstar.

By the late 1960s, all Hollywood bowed before him; McQueen had become one of its new kings. By then, this King of Cool had touched the zeitgeist, or it had touched him, and thereafter bestowed upon him a glittering kingdom of tinsel. That was only one side of the story though.

There was another, darker side to this Hollywood luminary. This was not so surprising, given that there was very little light and much darkness at the heart of the world he inhabited. Perhaps inevitably, that darkness found its way into a man unable to resist its blandishments and allures. The public ascent had seemed rapid and assured; the private descent was to be equally so.

By the mid-1970's, there was a trail of broken marriages and emotional debris, Charles Manson-inspired death threats and drug busts, false starts professionally, and a reputation he didn’t need in Hollywood. That movie town no longer seemed to need this increasingly temperamental star. The movie business decided to move on. By then, McQueen was an actor in his 40's, with his looks fading as, inevitably, younger, hungrier actors jostled for his much-coveted crown. As the lights over Hollywood began to dim, it seemed that a king was being sent into exile.

His final cinematic outing was Tom Horn (1980). It was about a frontiersman finally cornered by modernity and the relentless march of time, facing death by hanging. As it happened, when Tom Horn was being made, having by then physically experienced the first signs of what was coming next, namely cancer, its star was equally cornered. Thereafter, McQueen’s life was hanging by an ever more slender thread.

Unexpectedly, as the end came into sight McQueen raised his gaze. When at the height of his former pomp, he had been asked by an interviewer what he believed in, the actor had declared: himself. Now, on learning that that same frail self was falling apart, another belief stepped in. For many years, McQueen had known a man called Sammy Mason. This man was as different as could be from the movie star and his circle. He was a family man, good at his profession and liked by his fellow workers, and, more important still, a Christian. One day the man who wore the tarnished crown of movie-stardom and who had ruled supreme in that fake empire, asked his friend what it was that seemed to hold him together.

But, by now, the clock began to strike as McQueen went to Mexico looking for a miracle cure to the cancer that was killing him. He didn’t find one.

By then, however, if only tentatively, McQueen had found something — or Someone — else. He asked to see the Evangelist Billy Graham. The movie star told the older man that he was now a Christian. He believed no longer in himself but in God’s only-begotten Son. They prayed together. Touched by the younger man’s obvious sincerity, Graham handed him his Bible.

Shortly before he died, McQueen said, “My only regret in life is that I was not able to tell people about what Christ did for me.”

On Nov. 7, 1980, the final chimes sounded; the race was run: Steve McQueen was dead.

On his coffin was laid the Bible that had been given to McQueen just days previously.

It was open at the following verse: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

SOURCE: National Catholic Register
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Siblings continue strong bond as religious sisters

Beech Grove, IN (November 7, 2019) IBG — Benedictine Sisters Jill and Susan Reuber have often shared the same path in life, but their roads to their religious vocations took different turns. They were born within two minutes of each other, part of triplets with their brother Eric.

Growing up, the sisters shared a bedroom and a car, became best friends and did many of the same activities — from playing in their high school marching band to working together at Dairy Queen. One of the few places where they were separated growing up was during Mass at their parish church.

“Our parents didn’t let us sit next to each other,” Sister Jill told The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “Probably because they thought we would talk to each other,” Sister Susan said. “Or hit each other,” Sister Jill added, smiling.

Benedictine Sisters Susan and Jill Reuber, pictured in an undated photo in Indianapolis 
(CNS photo/John Shaughnessy, The Criterion)

Yet despite this remarkable closeness, Susan had a quick, emphatic reaction years later when older sister Jill chose to make her vows as a Sister of St. Benedict. “I wasn’t going to do what Jill did,” she said forcefully.

That response makes both sisters smile at the same time.

So begins the story of how these two 39-year-old sisters are not only connected by blood and love, but now also by their faith and shared vows as Benedictine sisters. Sister Jill’s journey to religious life took its defining turn when she was a student at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

As a freshman and sophomore, she spent her spring breaks on mission trips to Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia. She was studying elementary education, and as a freshman wanted “to teach in the Appalachian Mountains,” she said.

“In my second year there, we prayed together in the mornings and the evenings. That’s where I found I wanted that prayer life, that community life,” Sister Jill said. “That’s when I started discerning that (religious life) is what I wanted to do. I also wanted God to give me a lightning bolt, to tell me what to do.”

There was just one problem with that lightning bolt plan. “During one Mass at camp, the priest’s whole homily was that God doesn’t give lightning bolts,” Sister Jill said.

By her senior year, she started visiting the Benedictine sisters’ community at Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana, in the Evansville Diocese. “I fell in love with prayer, community and the way the sisters loved each other.”

Following her college graduation, she entered the Benedictine community in Ferdinand in August 2003 and professed her final vows in 2011. She is now the community’s vocation director, seeking to lead other women to the life she loves. It’s the life she wanted, but one Susan “wanted nothing to do with it.”

“When Jill was discerning in college, she was right that I didn’t want anything to do with it,” said Sister Susan, a 2003 graduate of Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. “I wanted my own car, my own house and my own paycheck. But deep down, I didn’t want to do what Jill was doing. In college, for the first time, we really had our own identity.”

After graduation, she began a career in education, joining Roncalli High School in Indianapolis as an English teacher in her second year. “It was my dream job — teaching in a Catholic school, sharing my faith with my students,” she said. “Fast forward eight years to 2011. I’m starting to think something is missing in my life. I’m at school way too much.”

Right then, she gets a message from Benedictine Sister Michelle Sinkhorn — vocation director for the Ferdinand community at the time — inviting her to a “Come and See” weekend among the sisters.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to open that door,” Sister Susan recalled. “I talked to Jill, and she convinced me to come, that we could hang out for the weekend. In my mind, I was just going to see Jill.”

Then a series of lightning bolts hit, starting on that weekend.

“God opened my heart and said, ‘Why aren’t you pursuing this?'” Sister Susan recalled. “I saw how happy Jill is, and how happy the sisters are. At the end of the weekend, I sat down with Sister Michelle. I owned a house in Beech Grove, and Sister said, ‘Why don’t you visit the sisters at Our Lady of Grace Monastery there?'”

“The drive home was the longest two and a half hour drive I had ever made in my life. I’m going to have to quit my job and sell my house,” she continued. “Then at Roncalli, (Benedictine) Sister Anne Frederick handed me a brochure for their ‘Come and See’ weekend at Our Lady of Grace. She didn’t even know I had gone to Ferdinand. I saw that as a sign from the Holy Spirit that I should come here.”

She went to Our Lady of Grace for the weekend, thinking “I have to find something I hate about the place so I could be done with it.” She had a different feeling by the end of the weekend. When it was time leave, Sister Susan said, “I didn’t find anything I didn’t like. I fell in love with the sisters. What I was missing in my life was community.”

She entered the Benedictine community at Beech Grove in September 2012 and professed her final vows this past June. She also has returned to Roncalli as a teacher. Sharing the same vows has added another dimension to the siblings’ closeness. Living their vows also has brought them to a deeper relationship with God.

SOURCE: Catholic Philly

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Derailed: Talgo trains in limbo at Amtrak facility

Beech Grove, IN (November 6, 2019) IBG — Two massive brick warehouses have been a part of the landscape for more than a century. One of the buildings has a concrete sign that reads 1907. The other reads 1910. Both belong to Amtrak, which maintains its fleet here.

Most of the trains that come into this facility don't stay long. The big silver cars Amtrak is known for make a stop here, get repaired and return to service.

But in the front of the rail yard, there are two trains that never move.

Workers at the Beech Grove Amtrak facility pass these trains every day as they head past the front gate. They’re right next to the parking lot, just on the other side of a chain link fence. Weeds are growing up through the gravel next to their wheels. But they look different from the other trains there — they’re shiny white with a bright red stripe.

These are the trains the state of Wisconsin paid for, and at one point intended to run. But they never ran in Wisconsin, or anywhere.

A Long Time Coming

Before Gov. Scott Walker successfully blocked the high-speed rail line that would have connected Madison to Milwaukee in 2010, Wisconsin bought two trains from a Spanish company named Talgo.

The story of these trains is messy. And in a way, they're the physical reminder of the debate Wisconsin had almost a decade ago. While it's hard to say exactly when that story began, you could make an argument that it started when Wisconsin became a state in 1848.

The people who founded the state felt strongly about what government should and shouldn't do, and they spelled that out in the Wisconsin Constitution. One of the things they didn’t want Wisconsin to get into was borrowing money to build infrastructure, like roads and bridges.

Other states had gotten into money trouble by borrowing too much, and Wisconsin's framers were going to nip that in the bud. But times changed, and so did peoples' expectations for government. Over the years, voters amended the Wisconsin Constitution to allow borrowing for highways, forests, airports, port facilities and the like.

But even up until just a few decades ago there was one thing the state of Wisconsin couldn’t borrow for: railroads. And in 1989, then-Democratic state Sen. Joe Czarnezki of Milwaukee wanted to change that.

He introduced a proposal to end Wisconsin's 141-year-old ban on borrowing for railroads. And in 1992, voters passed it. "I don't know if we were visionaries, but it certainly was something where we were looking toward the future," Czarnezki said.

One year later, then-state Rep. Spencer Black, a Madison Democrat, wanted to put this borrowing power to use. He sponsored a plan that would give the state the power to borrow up to $50 million for railroads.

"I was concerned about transportation policies," Black said. "I felt it was too oriented toward building large new highways. It was neglecting nonautomotive transportation such as transit and rail transit."

To increase the chances of it passing, Black got it added to the state budget. The story of the day the Legislature voted on that budget is particularly interesting in the grand scheme of the high-speed rail saga. On that same day, according to the official Assembly journal from July 16, 1993, a 25-year-old lawmaker was sworn in. He had just won a special election for an open Assembly seat in the Milwaukee suburbs.

His name: Scott Walker, the future governor who would one day vow to kill Wisconsin's high-speed rail line. And on Walker's very first day in office, he got to vote on the budget.

And Walker voted "yes" — including on the $50 million in railroad bonding.

With Walker's help, the budget bill passed and Wisconsin could get into the railroad business.

A Major New Start

It would be 16 years before Wisconsin state government would decide to use this power.

After President Barack Obama signed the federal stimulus bill in early 2009, it looked like high-speed rail was about to take off in the United States. The stimulus set aside $8 billion for high-speed rail, and states like Wisconsin were about to compete for pieces of it.

And Wisconsin was getting ready for this rail boom.

On July 17, 2009, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle announced the state was making a deal with a Spanish train manufacturer called Talgo. "Today is a day that I believe we mark a major new start for transportation in the Midwest and in the United States," Doyle said.

Doyle said Talgo would open a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin and build two brand-new train sets for the state. He described it as a historic moment, imagining a future where passenger rail travel would thrive in the Midwest, with Wisconsin at the center of it.

Talgo, which had long dreamed of becoming big in the U.S., was also celebrating that day. "We have been patient," said Jose Maria Oriol, whose great-grandfather founded the company. "And now we can say that the dream in the Midwest (has) become a true reality."

Doyle's Secretary of the state Department of Transportation Frank Busalacchi was also there that day. Busalacchi had signed the contract with Talgo just days earlier. He said he helped design the trains. "I was able to pick the colors and I picked white with red trim, the Badger colors," he said. "And they were absolutely stunning."

But before the deal could be finalized, it had to be voted on by members of the state Legislature’s budget committee, the Joint Committee on Finance. It would be the first time Democrats and Republicans would debate this issue in public.

The Debate Begins

In 2009, Democrats ran the budget committee, just like they ran everything else in state government, so there was little doubt that the Talgo deal would pass.

But Republicans on this committee had a huge problem with the contract, namely the way it was reached by Busalacchi and Doyle.

From a procedural standpoint, there are a couple of ways the state can seek bids on a project like this.

One option is to open it up to private businesses to bid on through what's known as a "request for proposal," or RFP. The process for an RFP can be slow, but the idea is that it helps the state get the best bang for its buck. Other times, the state issues what's known as a "request for information," or RFI. While completely legal in Wisconsin, the requirements for an RFI are a little more relaxed, and the process is faster.

In the case of the Talgo deal, the Doyle administration chose an RFI. They started the process on Feb. 6, 2009, and Talgo was the only company that said it was interested.

Republicans on the budget committee, like Republican Rep. Robin Vos of Rochester, were livid about this.

"I looked on Wikipedia for what the definition of sweetheart deal is," Vos said. "It's a term used to describe an abnormally favorable arrangement. And it says sometimes it involves government officials and hints at the presence of corruption ... I cannot imagine a better definition in the state of Wisconsin for a sweetheart deal than the one you are presenting to us today."

But, Vos and his fellow Republicans were in no position to stop this train in 2009, so the Talgo deal passed on an 11-4 party-line vote. Wisconsin could officially use the nearly $50 million in rail bonding to build the Talgo trains in Wisconsin.

The End Of The Line

This wouldn’t be the only time the Talgo deal needed the Legislature’s approval — and in 2012, when it did — the political circumstances couldn’t have been more different. Walker had been governor for more than a year, and the Legislature was more Republican than it had been in decades.

Vos, the state representative who was critical of the Talgo deal back in 2009, was now the chair of the budget committee, and Republicans had a 12-4 majority.

On March 14, 2012, the DOT asked the budget committee for $2.5 million toward a permanent maintenance facility for Wisconsin's Talgo trains. This was always part of the deal with Talgo.

Technically speaking, Walker's DOT was asking the budget committee to vote "yes" at this meeting, because it had to. Wisconsin had a contract with Talgo and that contract included this maintenance facility.

"We had a contract," said Mark Gottlieb, Walker's DOT secretary at the time. "It was the administration’s job, in my opinion, to execute that contract and fulfill the state's obligation on it unless, and until, the Legislature told us that they were going to exercise their authority not to appropriate the money."

In other words, the Walker administration would keep its end of the Talgo deal unless the Legislature decided to break it. By this time, the trains themselves were just about ready, but the rail line between Madison and Milwaukee was already dead.

Wisconsin's Talgo trains in the process of being built. Photos courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation

That meant Talgo's trains would only ever run on the existing Amtrak Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago, which was one of the busiest routes in the country.

According to a DOT study, that inflated the costs. It found that running and maintaining two new Talgo trains from Milwaukee to Chicago would cost $10 million more each year than keeping the state's old Amtrak trains.

Republican lawmakers, like Vos, had heard enough.

"I do not believe that it is my responsibility to just turn a blind eye," Vos said. "It's not my job to fulfill a bad contract, to do something that is a bad decision for the state."

Going Nowhere In Beech Grove

According to court documents, the trains have been at the Beech Grove Amtrak facility in Indiana since the spring of 2014. Talgo is paying to store them there until they are sold or leased.

There is a chance these two trains could be sent to run on the Amtrak Cascades line through Washington and Oregon. These were not the only trains Talgo built in Milwaukee — the company also built two other identical sets to run in Washington and Oregon, which have been in use there since 2013.

But the Wisconsin Talgo trains have never run, and while they've been sitting in Beech Grove, safety regulations have changed. The Oregon Talgo trains are exempt from the new safety standards because they were already running. But the Wisconsin Talgos now require a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The FRA granted Amtrak that waiver in November 2018, but Amtrak still hasn’t decided if it will actually use the Wisconsin Talgo trains.

And until something changes, Wisconsin’s trains are still going nowhere.

SOURCE: Wisconsin Public Radio

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween 2019: Trick or Treat Times

Beech Grove, IN (October 29, 2019) IBG — Your Halloween candy supply is looking plentiful, you've assembled the family costumes, and all the Halloween decorations are placed accordingly—you're officially ready for Halloween. With the prospect of sweet treats and (possibly) an extended bedtime, we know that your little ones are eager to put on their kids' costumes too.

But when it comes to planning your Halloween activities, it can all start to feel like a bunch of hocus pocus, especially since parents all seem to end up asking each other, "What time does trick-or-treating start?"

Whether you're taking your dressed-up crew out around the neighborhood or staying home to greet eager guys and ghouls, it's important to know when you should be on duty during the evening.

RELATED | Marion County Halloween Safety Map

Below are the times we have for Halloween night, Thursday, October. 31. We will continue to update the list as more become available.

Marion County - October 31 
  • Indianapolis: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
  • Beech Grove: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
  • Lawrence: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
  • Southport: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
  • Speedway: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Locations:

Indianapolis Fire Department Locations:

And no matter what time you and your family set out to trick-or-treat, it's important to review safety guidelines with your children ahead of time. To ensure your night is spook-tacular and fun, follow these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. Avoid trick-or-treating alone. 
  • Walk in groups or with a trusted adult. Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. 
  • Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the number of treats you eat. 
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house. 
  • Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. 
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible. 
  • Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. 
  • Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. 
  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. 
  • Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. 
  • Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers. 
  • Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

But you can usually expect candy-hungry youngsters—especially toddlers—to show up at your door as soon as the sun begins to set, or even earlier. (Think between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.) Teens and tweens will likely wrap up their door-to-door visits around 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., or the time stated by your local curfew laws.

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Marion County Halloween Safety Map

Beech Grove, IN (October 27, 2019) IBG — There are nearly 10,000 sex offenders in the state of Indiana and more than 2,300 registered sex and violent offenders living in Marion County. We have inserted an interactive map of registered sex offenders throughout the State to help you to be aware of what is in your neighborhood.

The Indiana Sheriffs' Association also maintains an interactive sex and violent offender registry, including a map tool which allows you to search within a 2-mile radius of your house for listed offenders. The Indiana Sheriffs' Association also maintains an interactive sex and violent offender registry, including a map tool which allows you to search within a 2-mile radius of your house for listed offenders.

You can search Indiana's Sex Offender Registry and view the map here: iCrimeWatch.net

To search for offenders in your area, select your county from the map shown at the link above. After accepting the terms and conditions, click the "Search for Offenders in Your Area" button in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

TO VIEW A MAP: Enter your address, city and ZIP code into the forms presented. The website will create a map of all registered sex and violent offenders within a radius of .25-2 miles of your area, depending upon your settings. Offenders are listed by name and with photo and offense information as available.

TO VIEW A LIST: In the "Offender Search" screen, you can also generate a list of all sex and violent offenders in your city. Simply click the "City" tab and enter the name of the city you would like to search. Again, offenders are listed by name and with photo and offense information as available. The database also allows for searches of individual offenders by first or last name.

In Marion County, sex offenders are required to hang a sign on their front door, turn off the lights and not pass out any candy.

"We require who we're watching to stay at their homes, unless they are pre-approved to go to work. We have them stay in their homes, shut off their lights in front of their house and have a sign up that they aren't go to participate in Halloween this year," said Drew Adams, District Supervisor, Dept. of Corrections.

OUR QUICK SEARCH: You can also use our interactive map below to see how many predators are in your area. This interactive map is Statewide. To zoom in or out, use the + or - feature at the bottom right of the map. Once you zoom, you are able to click on a dot and an information window will pop out. You can also click on satellite on the top left that shows houses and streets.

Halloween is just around the corner and kids will be out in force, even though the weather may not cooperate, as a community, lets keep our precious ones safe.

SOURCE: Indiana Sheriffs Association

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