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Beech Grove, Indiana

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Masonic Lodge hopes to save historic items

Beech Grove, IN (July 17, 2019) — The Beech Grove Masonic Lodge is hoping to salvage a big piece of presidential history after a large fire destroyed a substantial portion of their building. Fire broke out at about 3:00 AM, July 8th at Beech Grove Lodge 694 on the south side of Indianapolis.

The fire damaged most of the second floor, including the roof and attic. “The first floor has severe water damage and will probably need to be completely gutted,” said Kevin Upshaw, Master of Beech Grove Masonic Lodge.

A few valuable pieces of history got caught in the flames, including remnants of a visit by U.S. President Harry Truman.

“October 15th 1948, president Harry Truman visited Beech Grove lodge — We still use that chair that Harry Truman sat in, and it's really special to us,” Worshipful Master Kevin Upshaw said.


Beech Grove Lodge is noteworthy in Indiana’s Masonic history, as well as to the cultural heritage of the fraternity. In 1948, President Harry S Truman famously snuck away from the press during a campaign stopover in Indianapolis to attend the Master Mason degree of Donald Bauermeister, a young sailor from Indiana who was his physical therapist on board the Presidential Yacht back in Washington.


The President was crisscrossing the Midwest on a whistle stop campaign tour, and was traveling through Indiana at the time. Don and his father had attended Truman’s stump speech in Kokomo earlier in the day, and were invited by the President to ride in his private railroad car the rest of the way into the city. While underway, Truman suddenly informed his staff that he wished to visit the Beech Grove Masonic lodge that evening.

Harry Truman was an enthusiastic Freemason. Before becoming President in 1945, Truman had served as Grand Master for the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and remained an active supporter of the fraternity all his life.
 

Rumors of the President’s ‘secret’ trip to Beech Grove that night spread like wildfire, especially among the railroad community. The Secret Service had taken pains to convince the press that Truman had gone to bed early aboard his train at Union Station, and even used a body double decoy to convince them. Nevertheless, over a thousand people gathered in the streets outside of the lodge to try to catch a glimpse of the President entering the Masonic Hall at 7th and Main Streets.

Truman was famously on a campaign stop when he snuck away from the press to attend the Master Mason degree ceremony of a young sailor from Indiana who was his physical therapist on board the Presidential Yacht. Eventually, many of the items he touched and used during the ceremony would become part of the lodge’s history and lore.

Plaque outside the lodge

"By the time the president showed up here, there were 1,000 people in the streets surrounding this wanting to catch a glimpse of the president. It is an example of national history, because even today, it's very unusual for a president to suddenly say, 'Hold it, I want to go and do this,'" associate director for the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana Chris Hodapp said.

Everything from the “master’s chair” Truman sat in to items he used instantly became invaluable to the lodge. Now, many of those items are charred or covered in smoke and ash. Members of the lodge haven’t had the chance to evaluate all of the damage due to the building being unsafe.

He arrived just before the second section of the degree began, and nearly three hundred Masons packed into the lodge room, the social areas, and even lined the staircase. Because Masonic degree rituals are considered secret, Truman’s non-Mason security agents were not permitted to actually enter the lodge room during the ceremony. Forced to wait nervously outside, the President assured them he was in the safest possible place on Earth.

Inside, Truman was invited to preside over the ceremony, and sat in the Master’s chair. When asked how he wanted to be formally introduced to the gathered members and visitors, he humbly declined the presidential title and instead asked to be identified simply as a Past Grand Master of Missouri.

Monday's blaze started on the second floor near the East in the lodge room, and authorities have determined the fire was caused by an electrical problem. Thankfully, there were no injuries. The lodge room and about a third of the roof and attic area are a total loss, but the flames were confined to those areas by the closed Tyler's and Preparation room doors.


The present hall of Beech Grove Lodge was dedicated in 1942. Because of the major structural loss and tremendous water and smoke damage, it is expected that the building will be gutted and rebuilt, but the exterior facade will be retained. Charters of the lodge and the Eastern Star chapter were both consumed by the fire. On Wednesday members and work crews were hurriedly attempting to remove all surviving paper records and any other salvageable items, as the building is now unstable.

Papers and Records. Photo: Free Mason For Dummies 

Members of the lodge report that the famous meeting’s 1948 register book with the President’s signature suffered smoke damage from the fire, along with original photographs from the event. The Master's chair that President Truman sat in is currently buried under the collapsed portion of the roof beams, but a preliminary look holds out the possibility that it can be salvaged.

Upshaw says they’re still waiting on damage totals, but estimates are well within the tens of thousands of dollars. He says they plan to rebuild, but first must take stock of everything. Until then, they’re relying on the help of other lodges to get them through.

“We’ll keep going, and we’ll be back in there. It’s not the furniture that makes the lodge, it’s the brothers,” Upshaw said

SOURCE: Fox59
SOURCE: FreeMasonForDummies

Beech Grove High School Graduate Paints Mural

Noblesville, IN (July 17, 2019) — Sunday afternoon, Betsy Reason, the editor of The Times in Noblesville, Indiana received a news tip that an artist was painting a mural of a train under the railroad bridge, on the underpass wall, near the Forest Park boat launch in Noblesville.

So she grabbed her camera and headed that way.

After parking her car in the Son Shine Service lot on the south side of the bridge, she nervously walked north alongside the busy Indiana 19 and under the bridge until she was in sight of an artist painting the underpass wall.


His blond hair was tied back in a ponytail, and he wore a do-rag and headphones. She assumed he was listening to his favorite music.

The mural that he was painting -- of the Leviathan steam locomotive No. 63, in red, black and gold, exiting from a block railroad tunnel -- was beautiful.

He caught a glimpse of the journalist before she climbed over the guard rail, but he kept painting. She walked up closer to admire his work. By that time, he had removed his headphones.

She introduced herself, then he.

The 46-year-old mural artist was Travis Neal of Broad Ripple, and he was selected from applicants who responded to a Noblesville Parks & Recreation and Hamilton County Tourism/Nickel Plate Arts open callout for a commissioned mural artist.

The original concept started as a “White River monster,” he said, “a tall tale from the 1800s of a Loch Ness-style sea serpent” lurking in White River. The City wasn’t thrilled with the concept, so decided to change the theme. “So we went with the train,” Neal said, describing the Leviathan, a re-creation of the Lincoln Funeral Train, which stopped in Noblesville five years ago.

He started painting the mural Saturday morning, doing all of the blocking in and shading. The color work started Sunday. He was hoping to finish it up over the weekend. However, the sun became too intense on the mural before he could finish. So he’ll return again soon to complete the project.

“The detail work is taking a little longer than I anticipated,” Neal said of the 16-by-10-foot wall mural that may be a little wider.

The prep work included a masonry primer and pressure washing the wall. Darren Peterson, president of Nickel Plate Arts, an architect, artist and member of Noblesville City Council, volunteered his time to help prep the wall and gridded out the blockwork, to make it look like blocks, around the opening of the mural’s railroad tunnel. Peterson worked the early part of Saturday and Sunday with the mural artist.

‘The train’s all me,” Neal said proudly.

He answered interview questions between the sound of passing traffic under the railroad bridge. “Trucks are a nuisance,” he said, shaking his head. A few minutes later, he said, “The canoe buses are a nuisance. They go too fast, and they are really, really loud,” as one of the buses passed.

But he likes the spot. “I’m pretty thankful that I’ve been able to work in the shade. The traffic is kind of a pain in the neck, but it does provide a breeze.”

Neal said he’s enjoyed painting the mural. “It’s a labor of love. If I could do this full time, I would be a very happy boy. Every project is a new adventure, new challenges. I really enjoy that,” said the artist, who researched the train to figure out how to best portray the locomotive, which the City approved before starting on the wall.

“With shade like this, it will practically last forever, especially with the extra UV coat on it,” he said.

In total, he expects to put in 20-24 hours painting the mural.

While there has been a lot of traffic passing by, he said, some drivers have stopped. “Lots of people. People are very gracious.”

Mural artist Travis Neal of Broad Ripple has painted a steam locomotive train mural under the railroad bridge that crosses Indiana 19, between downtown Noblesville and Forest Park.

Neal has been an artist all of his life. “The mural thing kind of took off when I moved into my house in 2000 and painted my dining room wall kind of a tribute to my mom, a 12-foot-wide reproduction of (Vincent van Gogh’s) ‘Starry Night.’ Ever since my first taste of working large scale, that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

In summer 2018, he painted “Aquarium Surprise,” a cat looking in an aquarium, a wrap-around mural on the traffic control box at 116th Street and the pocket park in Fishers. He has painted murals all over the state, including Sailor Jerry murals, for bars and restaurants, all unique to each establishment, including the Free Spirit Lounge in Indianapolis. He does a lot of commercial work, particularly reproductions of logos.

The mural business is mainly weekend work. During the week he manages a Signarama sign shop in Carmel. Neal, an Indianapolis native, graduated from Beech Grove High School. He’s a member of One Zone Chamber of Commerce that serves Carmel and Fishers, spends a lot of time on Geist Reservoir and golfs often in Hamilton County. He has a wife, Carole, of 25 years in September, and they have three cats.

The project carried a commission and materials fee of $1,000 for completion and installation of the artwork on the wall. Noblesville Parks & Recreation and Nickel Plate Arts made the final selection from artists who submitted their applications by May 16.

This “art installation” of the Leviathan steam locomotive would “help drive local engagement,” “beautify the boat launch area” and “serve as a local landmark,” the callout said on the Nickel Plate website.

Neal agreed to collaborate with the Noblesville parks staff to confirm a design that would be “community friendly” and “ideally ties into Noblesville history, Indiana history and/or the local community.”

“I think Travis was the perfect fit to this project. It’s a project that is physically really challenging because of its location,” said Aili McGill, executive director for Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville. Being that there were a few entities involved, and the design changed from the first mural mockup, and it became a little trickier to implement, she said, “Travis has just the right personality to balance all of that, and he also has all of the skills we wanted. He’s incredibly talented.” She’s hoping that other artists who applied can be worked into future projects.

Over the weekend, social media was abuzz with comments on the Nickel Plate Arts’ Facebook post, picturing Neal and Peterson working on the mural together.

The majority of the Facebook comments were positive about the art.

But there were some who asked why the Leviathan reproduction was chosen over a locomotive that might have been more relevant to Noblesville and Hamilton County history.

That is a legitimate question.

So she asked McGill, who elaborated more about how the mural was originally going to be the river monster, “since that spot is so close to the river. Connecting the boat launch to Forest Park, that could be fun.” But the monster didn’t embody what the City wanted to say in that spot on the wall and asked for another mural proposal. “Because a river monster is a leviathan, we started playing with the idea of commemorating the Lincoln train that happened a couple of years ago.”

McGill said, “Looking at all of the locomotives that we could that depicts the history of the Nickel Plate Railroad, it was just going to be endless. We were a little concerned that we weren’t going to get all of the details right to make everybody happy. So we decided to do a train that’s been on those tracks, just not one that is specifically connected to the Nickel Plate Rail.”

The City has an ordinance that murals cannot be advertisements.

While the Leviathan mural may “not make those (Facebook) commentators happy,” she said, “We didn’t want this to appear to be a sign advertising actual train rides in the park.”

McGill said, “I am fairly certain that we’ll have other pieces that we’ll connect to the history of the railroad in Noblesville. We just don’t have them solidified yet.”

A dedication and celebration of the mural will be announced by the City of Noblesville soon after the mural is completed.

Visit Travis Neal on Facebook below:


SOURCE: The Times

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Brownfield property group purchases site

Beech Grove, IN (July 9, 2019) — Working closely with the City of Beech Grove and CSX Transportation, Indianapolis-based Real Estate Recovery Capital (RERC) has acquired a 115- acre former Brownfield site on Emerson Avenue in Beech Grove, Indiana.

The property is situated in an industrial/commercial area of the city and has a rare combination of size, industrial zoning, and significant railroad access. The property has been vacant for decades and was most recently used to hold rail cars.


"This property fits our investment criteria for Brownfield-related properties, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with the City of Beech Grove and CSX on the future of the site," said Dwight Stenseth, President of Real Estate Recovery Capital.

"We are pleased to support the City of Beech Grove in attracting industry to meet its transportation needs through rail," said Shantel Davis, CSX, VP Real Estate and Facilities.

Redevelopment of the site is currently in the planning stages.

SOURCE: PR Newswire
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Beech Grove man arrested on felony charges

Beech Grove, IN (July 9, 2019) — A woman was grazed by a bullet during a botched drug deal in a Greenwood apartment last week. The marijuana-sale-turned-robbery was arranged via social media app Snapchat and happened on Thursday, police said. The suspect was arrested on Saturday after a woman who set up the drug deal came forward. Greenwood police released information about the incident on Tuesday.

Brandon D. Saloane, 27, a convicted felon who lives in Beech Grove, was arrested on felony charges of robbery and battery causing moderate injury to another person. The robbery happened about 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in the 900 block of Coventry Court, which is in an apartment complex west of U.S. 31, between Fry Road and County Line Road.


The resident of the apartment told police that he had received a message from a woman on Snapchat who was wanting to buy marijuana, according to a probable cause affidavit. Snapchat is a messaging cell phone application, where the messages are only available to users for short periods of time.

A man was going to come to the Greenwood apartment to pay for the marijuana. Saloane arrived and paid the resident $180 in cash and, in return, was given marijuana, the affidavit said. Saloane used the restroom, then shoved a gun into the resident’s side and told him to give him “everything,” the affidavit said.

A female resident of the apartment was hit in the face with the gun, then Saloane fired the gun at the ceiling, or it went off while he was hitting her. The bullet grazed her cheek, and she and the male resident fled the apartment and called 911, the report said.

While they were waiting for police outside, they saw the robber, later identified as Saloane, leave the apartment with items shoved up his shirt, the report said. They later determined he had taken $2,000 and about one-fourth of a pound of marijuana, police said.

The victim was taken to Community Hospital South, where she received eight stitches in her cheek. She has since been released, said Doug Roller, deputy chief of the Greenwood Police Department.

The next day, police learned about a possible suspect when a woman reported to police that she had set up the drug deal and that Saloane had stolen her gun.

The woman who set up the drug deal had met Saloane about a month earlier, and the two smoked weed together, she told police. She told police that she arranged for Saloane to buy the marijuana, but he then took her handgun and robbed the people he was supposed to be purchasing marijuana from, she told police.

Saloane was arrested on Saturday at an apartment in Beech Grove, and police found marijuana and digital scales in the apartment and his vehicle, the report said. He told detectives he had thrown the gun in the river because he did not want his parole officer to find it, the affidavit said.

Saloane has been on parole for two attempted robbery convictions in Hendricks County and a drug possession conviction in Marion County in 2014. He was sentenced to more than five years for those convictions. Saloane, of 100 N. 5th Ave., was taken to the Johnson County Jail, where he was held on $34,400 bond. No one else was arrested.

SOURCE: Daily Journal

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Josh Fryar commits to Ohio State

Beech Grove, IN (July 4, 2019) — Indiana three-star offensive lineman Josh Fryar has committed to Ohio State, he announced via Twitter on Thursday.

Fryar, who is listed as a center but can play other positions on the offensive line, chose the Buckeyes over Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and Oregon. He is the No. 2 prospect out of Indiana.


While Fryar had offers from big programs like Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma and others, Fryar essentially narrowed his recruiting focus to Indiana and Ohio State. His father, Jeff, was a legendary offensive lineman under former head coach Bill Mallory at Indiana, and the opportunity to stay close to home was there for the center.

Ben Davis graduate Dawand Jones, an Indiana All-Star basketball player, is an incoming freshman at Ohio State. Fryar said he talked with Jones on the first day of his official visit.

Listen to Josh Fryar commit to Ohio State

“It was funny because me and Dawand and three other players played basketball at a park the first night I was there,” Fryar said. “He basically told me if you want a great education, want to work your butt off and have a chance to play in the NFL, Ohio State is where you want to be.”

While there are plenty of football-related reasons to pick Ohio State, Fryar said he was also looking beyond his playing career. He plans to get into communications with an eye on broadcasting.
“Education wise, there are so many connections for broadcasting with Ohio State,” Fryar said. “If you look at ESPN or NFL Network, there are a lot of Ohio State graduates there. And in football, I feel like they are going to push me to the maximum.”

The atmosphere he felt at Ohio State's spring game in April juxtaposed with the intimate and genuine feeling he had during Ohio State's Buckeye Bash & Barbecue on June 21 provided a place where he felt home away from home though. Fryar also made a visit to Ohio State spring practice.



The Indiana center becomes the No. 19 commitment of Ohio State's 2020 class and the sixth offensive line commitment. He is one of four offensive line commits that are rated outside of the top-300 and will likely need to redshirt a year. While he is classified as a center, he can play guard or tackle in Columbus.

SOURCE: 24/7 Sports

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