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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Monday, October 21, 2019

Trial begins for Beech Grove man facing felonies

Beech Grove, IN (October 21, 2019) — Over the summer, a woman who lived in a Greenwood apartment complex was grazed with a bullet when a drug deal went wrong. The marijuana-sale-turned-robbery that led to her injury was arranged via a social media application and happened in early July, police said.

The Beech Grove man accused of shooting at the ceiling in the botched drug deal and causing the injuries to the woman is facing a jury trial this week.

Brandon D. Saloane’s trial starts Tuesday in the Johnson County Circuit Court. He is facing four felony charges from the events that happened on July 4. The trial is expected to last two to three days. Charges include two level 3 felonies of armed robbery and robbery, a level 4 felony of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and a level 6 felony of battery with moderate bodily injury.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Daylon Welliver will argue the case and is expecting to call at least six witnesses, although more could be called for the prosecution’s case, he said. Saloane has opted to represent himself in the proceedings, Welliver said.

RELATED | Beech Grove man arrested on felony charges

The charges and trial stem from the July 4 robbery 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 in Greenwood.

The resident of the apartment told police 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 cell phone application where messages and photos 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, according to court documents. Saloane arrived and paid the resident $180 in cash and, in return, was given marijuana. Saloane used the restroom, then shoved a gun into the resident’s side and told him to give him “everything,” court documents 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, a Greenwood police 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 a quarter of a pound of marijuana, police said.

The victim was taken to Community Hospital South, where she received eight stitches in her cheek. The next day, police learned about a possible suspect when a woman reported to police she had set up the drug deal and 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 said 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 after the robbery 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 a river because he did not want his parole officer to find it, court documents said.

Saloane had 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 in prison for those convictions.

SOURCE: Daily Journal

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Amtrak rolls out more comfortable cars

Beech Grove, IN (October 18, 2019) — If you haven’t traveled by train in a while, Amtrak is summoning you to a new level of comfort on the rails.

For coach trips on Midwestern routes, Amtrak is introducing refurbished Horizon cars that make some riders mistakenly think they’re in business class. From the carpets on up to leatherette seats that promise more lumbar support, it’s an overhaul of cars that have been around since the 1980s. “These cars are workhorses. You’ll find them all over the Midwest,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

Amtrak Executive Vice President Roger Harris in a refurbished Horizon coach used in the Midwest.

On overnight runs to the East Coast, Amtrak is now using remodeled coach cars, also dating from the 1980s, with plusher reclining seats, suitable for sleeping on the cheap. Called Amfleet II, they still have legroom that puts airlines to shame. “This is like first class but it’s coach,” said Roger Harris, executive vice president at Amtrak.

For those who book the sleepers, the railroad is getting a new fleet with more room for luggage, softer linens, a sturdier pullout table and more power outlets.

The smallest accommodation, the roomette, no longer has a toilet in the compartment in the new Viewliner II railcars. Amtrak executives said passengers never liked the in-room toilet anyway because it took up precious space and your traveling companion had to scram if you wanted privacy.

The new cars have shared bathrooms and shower facilities, but each room still has a sink that flips out of view when you don’t need it.

Reclining seats in Amtrak’s refurbished Amfleet II coach cars available for long-distance runs.

Amtrak officials showed off the cars Wednesday as centerpieces of new efforts to boost ridership. For routes serving Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri, the national passenger railroad works in close partnership with state transportation agencies, which fund 75 percent of the $3 million cost for the new and improved equipment.

Harris said the cars will make Amtrak more competitive both on long-distance and short haul routes already in demand in the Midwest, such as Hiawatha Service from Chicago-to-Milwaukee and Wolverine Service from Chicago-to-Detroit/Pontiac.

He also said the public is gravitating to rail travel as a more relaxed and environmentally responsible way to get around. “I think the trend has definitely caught hold more in Europe, but we’re seeing it today also with customers in congested urban areas [and] with younger customers,” Harris said.

Overall Amtrak ridership was up about 1 million last year to 33 million people, he said.

Magliari said the Midwest routes also have gotten more popular, especially with service to college towns as debt-conscious students decide to forgo a car.

The refurbished coach cars are being added to Midwest trains through next spring, while the overnight routes to the East Coast all will have them by yearend, Amtrak officials said. The work is being done at Amtrak facilities in Chicago, Beech Grove, Indiana, and at a contractor in West Quincy, Missouri, Magliari said.

The new Viewliner II’s are made by CAF, a firm headquartered in Spain and with U.S. manufacturing in Elmira, New York. Larry Chestler, vice president for long distance service at Amtrak, said two of 25 cars have been delivered, with the rest due to arrive in 2020.

SOURCE: Chicago Sun Times

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Milestone Contractors building new headquarters

Beech Grove, IN (October 17, 2019) — An Indianapolis-based contracting and construction firm plans to spend $11 million to build a new headquarters and maintenance hub in Beech Grove.

Milestone Contractors LP received approval Wednesday for incentives from the city of Indianapolis tied to an effort to build a 25,000-square-foot office building and 52,000-square-foot garage near South Emerson Avenue and Subway Street. There would also be infrastructure improvements to the site as part of the development.

The company, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based The Heritage Group, often works as a contractor on road projects for local governments and the Indiana Department of Transportation. Its current headquarters is on the south side, at 5950 S. Belmont Ave., but it has multiple satellite offices in Indianapolis and the rest of the state.

RELATED | Brownfield property group purchases site

The addresses listed on documents filed with the city are 2851, 2900 and 2961 Connection Ave. and 3101 S. Emerson Ave. None of the addresses are yet listed as owned by the company, according to the Marion County Assessor’s office, though they could be under contract.

General location of Milestone's new headquarters

Milestone asked the city for a five-year property tax abatement for the project. It said it expects to create 25 new jobs and retain 110 existing workers as a direct result of the project.

According to city documents, the abatement should save the company an estimated $778,195 in property taxes over the five-year period, but it would still pay $445,092 in taxes relative to the new investment. The properties are currently tax-exempt.

Once the abatement period concludes, Milestone would pay about $246,657 annually in real property taxes.

A staff report from the city’s Department of Metropolitan Development indicates the 25 new jobs created would pay an average of $37.10 per hour. The average wage for the 110 retained positions is about $36.85 per hour.

Rick Skirvin, Beech Grove Mayoral Candidate had this to say, "I would like to Welcome Milestone to Beech Grove and thank them for choosing our city to grow in."

The incentives request, which city staff recommended for approval, was OK’d by the Metropolitan Development Commission. The plan also requires final approval from Beech Grove.

SOURCE: Indianapolis Business Journal

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Northern Tool + Equipment lands in Beech Grove

Beech Grove, IN (October 12, 2019) — A growing tool and equipment retailer with more than 100 stores in 21 states is entering Indiana with two Indianapolis area stores that are set to open October 31st.

Burnsville, Minnesota-based retailer Northern Tool + Equipment is targeting busy retail areas near Interstate 465 on the south and north sides of the cities with the new stores. One is at at 5236 Victory Drive in Beech Grove, is just south of I-465 and east of Emerson Avenue. The other one is at 9345 Waldemar Road, just west of Michigan Road and south of I-465, near the Pyramids office complex.

Northern Tool + Equipment at 5236 Victory Drive in Beech Grove 
Photo: Invisible Beech Grove

The stores will open in newly constructed buildings of more than 22,000 square feet each and will employ 20 people apiece, the company said.

“Indianapolis is a perfect market for our business given the city’s size, its vibrant Midwest economy and its strong concentration of our core customers of both homeowners and business owners,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing Wade Mattson said in a written statement.

Mattson said the company also was attracted to Indianapolis because of the city’s “larger-than-average distribution and warehousing sector, along with its unique convergence of five interstate highway corridors.”

Northern Tool + Equipment at 5236 Victory Drive in Beech Grove 
 Photo: Invisible Beech Grove

The company said it plans to open additional stores in Indiana over time, but hasn’t determined how many or how soon.

Northern Tool + Equipment, founded by Don Kotula, is a family-owned company that opened its first store in Burnsville in 1981. Today, the company has more than 105 stores, most of them in the eastern half of the country, with Indiana becoming its 22nd state.

The company is in expansion mode. It recently opened stores in O’Fallon, Illinois; Metairie, Louisiana; and Abilene and San Antonio, Texas. Texas is by far its busiest market with 29 stores, followed by Florida with 13 and Minnesota with 10.

Geared towards both construction professionals and do-it-yourself customers, Northern Tool + Equipment sells everything from hand tools and power tools to pressure washers, semi trailer accessories and metal fabrication equipment. The stores also offer a parts, service and repair department.

The stores carry more over 9,000 products and more than 1,500 types of parts.

Northern Tool + Equipment at 5236 Victory Drive in Beech Grove 
 Photo: Invisible Beech Grove

The company, which manufactures its own North Star line of pressure washers, generators and compressors, has estimated annual revenue of nearly $1.5 billion.

Real estate broker Gary Perel, a principal at Indianapolis-based ALO Property Group LLC, said Northern Tool + Equipment’s likely competitors include places like Tractor Supply, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Real estate is booming in Indianapolis, Perel said, including both new construction and redevelopment projects—so it makes sense that a new retailer serving that market has come to town. “I think where you’ve got residential growth, you’ve certainly got increasing demand for that type of product.”

Beech Grove Store Job Openings HERE
Beech Grove Store Information HERE


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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Jostens 2020 Photo Contest

Beech Grove, IN (October 10, 2019) — Attention Middle School, Junior High School and High School students. Get those photos ready and get them to Jostens for your chance at a cash prize and more in the 2020 Photo Contest.

Upload photos any time between 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 – through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, March 1, 2020 (“Entry Period”). A team of industry professionals will judge all photo submissions to select the winners of the Jostens Photo Contest. Winners, Finalists, and Honorable Mentions will be announced in April.

To be eligible for the contest, entrants must be a legal resident of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, or a legal resident of the provinces or territories of Canada (excluding Quebec) AND a current middle school, junior high school or high school student. All entrants must also be 13 years of age or older.

Each individual photo will need its own model release form signed by all individuals who are personally and substantially identifiable in the photo (including crowds, landscapes and illustrations). Photos submitted without a completed model release will not be accepted in the competition.

More information at Jostens Photo Contest

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Indiana voter registration ends Oct. 7th

Beech Grove, IN (October 5, 2019) — Hoosiers must register to vote by the end of the day Monday if they want to cast a ballot in this November’s election. Indiana law cuts off voter registration 29 days before the election. That means this year, it’s Monday, October 7th.

Hoosiers can register at their local county clerk’s office or online, at IndianaVoters.com. If they’re signing up at the clerk’s office, the cut-off time is the end of the business day. But online registrations are available until midnight.

Those registering to vote must have a driver’s license or state identification card. They must also be 18 years old by Election Day and have lived in their precinct at least 30 days prior to Nov. 5.

In addition to registration, the Indianavoters.com and the app allow you to look up your polling location, get directions to your polling location, find out who’s on your ballot, track your absentee ballot application and contact election officials.

In order to be eligible to register to vote, you must:
• be a citizen of the United States,
• be at least 18 years old by Election Day,
• have lived in your precinct for at least 30 days before the election; and
• not currently be imprisoned after being convicted of a crime.

If you have any questions, call the Hoosier Voter Hotline at 866-IN-1-VOTE.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

City Council candidate host community discussion

Beech Grove, IN (September 24, 2019) — Gary Hall, a candidate for Beech Grove City Council District 2 is holding a discussion at the Indianapolis Public Library - Beech Grove Branch, Wednesday, September 25 at 6:00 PM. Gary invites all residents to openly share their ideas and enjoy an informative discussions about Beech Grove.

Gary stresses that party affiliation does not matter and everyone’s thoughts and recommendations about the Parks Department are encouraged and appreciated. The Beech Grove branch of the library is located at 1102 Main Street in Beech Grove. The session will be held in the basement. Gary has planned to do these community discussions on a weekly basis.   

More information about Candidate Gary Hall can be found at his Facebook page Gary Hall for Beech Grove City Council District 2 and also at RickSrivin.com/GaryHall.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement, but a general story. Reference to this story or any specific political candidate, purpose, service, organization, ect, does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Invisible Beech Grove or it's affiliates. 

Man arrested for striking officer with car

Beech Grove, IN (September 24, 2019) — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) identified and arrested a man for allegedly striking an officer with his vehicle after stealing items from the Walmart store in Beech Grove.

Just before 5:45 p.m. on August 17th, IMPD officers were dispatched to 4650 South Emerson Avenue to assist an off-duty officer. An off-duty IMPD officer was working at Walmart assisting with security when he attempted to apprehend a shoplifter. During this time, the suspect struck the officer with his vehicle and fled the scene in a silver four-door sedan. The officer was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries and later released.

Detectives reached out to the community earlier in the month for their assistance. Through tips and information provided to the detectives from the community, detectives identified and arrested 31-year-old Cody Amos for his involvement in this incident.

We continue to encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact Detective Carroll at (317) 327-6331 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS (8477). Citizens can also download the mobile P3tips app for Apple or Android phones to submit a mobile tip or go to CrimeTips.org to submit a web tip.

You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to a felony arrest. Only tips submitted directly and anonymously to Crime Stoppers are eligible for these cash rewards. This release may be updated as more information becomes available. Information given via Crime Stoppers should be considered anonymous.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Beech Grove Based Bollywood Beats Hosts Workshops

Beech Grove, IN (September 19, 2019) — Garba folk dance of India has made its mark in Indianapolis. A Grade-1 course was conducted by world's largest authentic Garba Dance School, known as the Soni's School of Garba Dance. SSGD director Suhard Soni said it was "our maiden appearance in Indianapolis and other cities of Indiana. It was on the invitation of Bollywood Beats (owned by Jenny Bhupatkar Chakrabarti)." Beech Grove based Bollywood Beats is hosting a number of workshops in Indianapolis, Carmel and Columbus to promote authentic Garba Dance among juniors as well as other groups. Jenny and Suhard Soni had worked together in Mumbai. This led to the visit of Suhard and party in Indianapolis for the first time.

SSG Dance re-establishes the genuine Garba folk dance in fusion with a touch of modern dance, to make this dance form even more delightful to perform and enchanting to watch. SSGD director Suhard Soni imparted basic as well as fine foot steps and body movements which dancing. The participants found Garba "interesting, entertailing and energetic." As it was 'energy consuming' sufficient water breaks were given to the participants."

Ravinder Singh was the oldest participant. Her daughter Jasmine Singh also attended the workshop. The mother-daughter pair can be seen participating a cultural activities. All participants were awarded certificates on completion of the course. Encouraged by the response, Jenny Bhupatkar Chakrabarti said "we are having workshops on Tuesday, Wednesday,Saturday and Sunday in Beech Groove. On Friday and Saturday workdshops will be organized in Carmel and Sunday in Columbus.

If anyone wish to register they can contact Bollywood Beats / Jenny Bhupatkar on 812-603-0177 or bollywoodbeats.indy@gmail.com SSGD director Suhard Soni said " I, along with my brother Jigar Soni, is the co - founder of the world's largest Authentic Garba School, known as the Soni's School of Garba Dance. SSGD have a presence in 25 cities in nine countries worldwide, including India, the USA, the United Kingdom and Ireland , Switzerland, the UAE, Oman and Singapore.

As members of the UNESCO - World Dance Council - the school now offers a graded course which is taught according to a structured syllabus. In Septmber 2017, Suhrad Soni along with his brother Jigar were awarded in the UK House of Commons ( Parliament House ) London, for their significant contribution towards promoting Authentic Garba globally.

Suhrad and Jigar have taught Garba to some of the biggest names, Including the Bollywood superstar Salman Khan! They have not only taught but performed Garba for the richest family in India, the Ambani's for the recent wedding of Akash Ambani. Just few days ago, on September 12, their music video, the Garba Raas Anthem, "Radha Ne Shyam", with the one and only Dandiya Queen - Falguni Pathak was released. The video has been produced and choregraphed by Soni's School of Garba Dance with Suhrad and Jigar as the Lead dancers, along with Falguni Pathak. The music is composed by Shail Hada, who is known for his work in Bollywood."

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Haunted Theme Park Hiring Actors For Season

Beech Grove, IN (September 5, 2019) — A Southeast Indianapolis theme park is seeking actors, makeup artists, tractor drivers, combine drivers and parking lot attendants for Hanna Haunted Acres. Every October, they get to scare thousands of people as they face their fears at Indianapolis’ largest Haunted Theme Park throughout the month of October.

What to Expect:
While being a haunted house actor is a lot of work, it is also a fantastic stress reliever and incredibly fun. Most of their actors find a community and social group made up of more than 150 actors and actresses, and many go on to form lasting friendships. You’ll need to plan on being on your feet and moving quickly to get your scares throughout the night.

All their positions are paid at $9.00/hour after working 10 days, plus bonuses. Payroll is paid twice; once at the midpoint of the season and the last check is sent out two weeks after they close. Any bonuses earned during the season are sent out in November.

Event Dates:
Their events run from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2nd and are open from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on the first and last Friday and Saturday and Sundays through Thursdays. All other Friday and Saturday nights are from 7:00 pm until 12:00 pm. They stay until there are no lines for any of their haunts, so hours will vary throughout the season. They also require training prior to the start of the season.
Check out their complete schedule here: HannaHauntedAcres.com/hours

Job Fair:
Their upcoming job fairs are Friday Sept. 6th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Saturday Sept. 7th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. If you are interested in joining them for the upcoming 2019 season, please plan to attend on one of these nights. (You only have to attend one job fair). Please wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes or boots and casual attire. Please no high heels or sandals. You must be 16 or older to work at Hanna Haunted Acres. Please submit your application at: Jobs.HannaHauntedAcres.com/jobs

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SOURCE: Hanna Haunted Acres

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dome car from the 50's could be in Beech Grove

Beech Grove, IN (August 30, 2019) — Amtrak's Great Dome car, a regular feature during fall foliage season on the Adirondack between Albany and Montreal, has been retired. The two-level passenger car with a glassed-in upper level stretching the length of the car was the last of a fleet of six originally built for the Great Northern Railway's Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle in the mid-1950's.

The exterior of the Amtrak dome car that gives a panoramic view of the Adirondack fall foliage.

The Milwaukee Road operated its own fleet of 10 "Super Dome" cars that were similar in appearance, with the glassed-in upper level also stretching the full length of the railroad car. They were used on the railroad's Hiawatha passenger trains and later on such trains as the City of Denver. Those dome cars ended up with cruise lines or scenic railroads.

Interior of the Amtrak dome car which operated on the Adirondack during the autumn foliage season in Troy ,New York 10/01/2009. Michael P. Farrell / Times Union 

Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said "due to the age and expense of maintaining this vintage car, the Great Dome Car will no longer operate as part of Amtrak's fleet."

The car is believed to be in storage at Amtrak's Beech Grove repair shop

Amtrak now operates two-level Superliner lounge cars with windows that stretch from just above the floor to wrap around part of the ceiling. Because of the cars' height, they operate mainly between Chicago and destinations in the south and west. Lower clearances on eastern routes prevent them from operating into New York City. That's why the Great Dome car operated on the Adirondack only between Albany and Montreal.

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SOURCE: My San Antonio

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Local non-profit joins forces with several churches

Beech Grove, IN (August 29, 2019) — Volunteers of all ages gathered at Mt. Comfort Church to pack small bags of rice, vegetables and vitamin supplements. While the food was packed into compact bundles, it’s intended to have a big impact: The packaged meals, 30,000 of them in total, will be transported to Haiti.

The event, held Saturday, was sponsored by four area churches — Mt. Comfort Church, New Palestine United Methodist Church, McCordsville United Methodist Church and Gateway Community Church — in partnership with the nonprofit organization Pack Away Hunger.

Volunteers with Pack Away Hunger at Mt. Comfort Church pause for a photo suitable for social media as they work. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

Ethan Maple, a pastor at Mt. Comfort Church, was one of the event’s organizers. “We’ve had probably about 150 volunteers participate, between all four churches and the community. We had some organizations hear about what we were doing and wanted to participate, so we’ve welcomed them as part of the team,” Maple said.

Maple said the components for the packed meals cost about $10,000. He said this was the largest project the four area United Methodist churches had worked on together, and they hoped to continue collaborating in the future.

“We’ve pooled our resources to come up with that $10,000, we’ve pooled our volunteers to do the packing, and we’re going to make a big splash, hopefully,” Maple said.

Pack Away Hunger, which is based in Beech Grove, works with both local food pantries and shelters in Indiana and with organizations around the world. Because the four churches had such a large pool of volunteers, they decided to focus on packing meals for Haiti, where the need is currently one of the world’s greatest, Pack Away Hunger staffer Lisa Patton said.

With each one among dozens of volunteers making individual contributions, the group assembled 30,000 meals to go to Haiti. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

The meals packed by the organization are called “Nutri-Plenty” meals and contain a mixture of rice, soy, vegetables and flavoring as well as “a scientifically proven blend of 21 vitamins and minerals shown to help alleviate and also reverse the effects of micronutrient malnutrition in young children,” according to Pack Away Hunger’s website. They are intended to contain the maximum possible nutritional benefit while still being easy to transport across the globe.

Once the meals are packed, they are distributed by Pack Away Hunger via partnerships with local organizations in Haiti. The organization also distributes meals in Guatemala. Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, has experienced both political crises and natural disasters leading to widespread food insecurity. According to the nonprofit World Food program, 50 percent of Haitians are undernourished.

Nutri-Plenty packets away assembly into meal kits bound for Haiti. The packets contain a mixture of ingredients designed to address malnutrition in children. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

Patton said the Pack Away Hunger model allows everyone, including young children, to contribute something concrete to a charitable cause. Nine-year-old Bryn Spruenger helped pack vegetables and spice packets at the event and said it felt good to do something for those in need.

“It’s an opportunity for the whole family to give back to those in need,” Patton said.

“Even if they don’t have houses, they could at least have stuff to eat and they could stay healthy,” Spruenger said.

Korey Collier, who attends New Palestine Methodist Church, volunteered at the event along with his wife and children. He said it was inspiring to see people from the four congregations come together for a common cause. “As a family, we’re trying to instill thankfulness in our kids for what they have. For them to realize that there are kids in other parts of the world that don’t have food to eat everyday, we try to open their eyes to that reality,” Collier said.

Once the meals are packed, Pack Away Hunger distributes them to children in need via a partnership with Nehemiah Vision Ministries, which is also based in Indiana and operates schools and healthcare services in Haiti.

Volunteers add ingredients to food packets that will be sent to Haiti, where malnutrition affects as much as half of the population. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

Maple said he thought the event was a powerful demonstration of what churches and communities can accomplish when they come together to work as one.

“It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, this is an event that everybody can get involved in, and it’s an opportunity to serve,” Maple said. “All these people who are serving, they may just have a little small part in putting part of the meal pack together. But the impact they have, what we’re doing together, is huge.”

Patton said Pack Away Hunger is always looking for people to get involved and sponsor events. “The need here in Indiana is great, unfortunately,” Patton said. For more information on sponsoring or joining an event, visit PackAwayHunger.org Monetary donations can also be made online.

SOURCE: Daily Reporter

Friday, August 23, 2019

Too late for Refined Metals cost recovery suit

Beech Grove, IN (August 23, 2019) — U.S. Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood, writing for a unanimous panel on Thursday, said the 19 years that elapsed between Refined’s settlement, which was reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators, and its suit against NL Industries Inc. was too long. The decision hung in part on which provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act was available to Refined to pursue cleanup costs — a contribution action or a cost recovery action, which has a longer statute of limitations.

“If it were the latter, we would need to conduct a searching examination of what actions to clean up the site anyone has taken, and when. But we can skip that inquiry, because we agree with the district court that this is a … contribution action, and the limitations period had expired by the time Refined filed suit,” the panel said.

The case involves a contaminated site in Beech Grove, Indiana. Refined has owned the site for nearly four decades and agreed in 1998 to pay $210,000 and work to remove the contamination. The agreement also included a provision that the EPA and the state wouldn’t sue “on at least some of their potential claims.” In 2017, Refined sued NL, the prior owner, seeking some of its cleanup costs.

Companies can try to recover their cleanup costs under CERCLA in two ways. Companies often prefer cost recovery under section 107(a), which blocks the defendant from making certain arguments and carries a longer statute of limitations. This method is usually for “costs incurred during a self-initiated environmental clean-up.” Refined believes that under a cost recovery claim, the clock didn’t start until 2014, when the EPA agreed to "final corrective measures” after considerable work had already been done, the opinion said.

NL, however, said Refined is limited to the other section of CERCLA, 113(f), which allows for a suit seeking contribution for a party that has handled its liability through a settlement. If this provision is triggered, 113(f) is the only means for a company to pursue recovery.

The court disagreed with Refined’s argument that because it never admitted liability in the 1998 agreement, it didn’t have to face a contribution claim, and found that 113(f) applied .

Refined also argued that the agreement did not resolve its CERCLA liability but pertained to other statutes, meaning that it wasn’t forced into a contribution claim. But NL told the court that a settlement only needs to resolve some portion of a responsible party’s liability under any law.

“We agree with the latter point: a settlement need not resolve CERCLA-specific liability in order to start the clock on a contribution action,” the panel said.

Circuit Judges Diane P. Wood, Joel M. Flaum and Diane S. Sykes sat on the panel for the Seventh Circuit.

A representative for NL Industries declined to comment.

A representative for Refined did not immediately return a request for comment late Friday.

Refined is represented by Robert L. Collings of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP.

NL Industries is represented by Joel L. Herz of the Law Offices of Joel L. Herz.

The case is Refined Metals Corp. v. NL Industries Corp., case number 18-3235, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

SOURCE: Law360

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Remembering the Hoosier State

Beech Grove, IN (August 10, 2019) — Amtrak’s Hoosier State train, Nos. 850 and 851, died on Sunday, June 30 at Indianapolis, after a long illness. She was 38. The immediate cause of death was removal from life support by Indiana state officials. During her lifetime, she ran between Chicago and Indianapolis, but her later life was difficult and plagued by ever-increasing weakness, except during one brief period in 2015-17. She is survived by Amtrak’s Cardinal, which traverses the same route on its journey between Chicago and New York, but only three days per week.

Among the mourners were 153 customers (one less than the train’s entire seating capacity) and the crew who rode eastward on the last run from Chicago, according to Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari. He also told Railway Age that there were 130 westbound customers on the final day, excluding private car customers. Dave Bangert reported in the Lafayette Journal & Courier that two vintage cars built by Pullman-Standard ran behind the Amtrak consist, one sporting the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Tuscan Red livery. Also among the mourners was Dr. Helen Hudson, a retired high-school teacher who had won awards for sprucing up the grounds of the Crawfordsville station.

The Hoosier State was born on Oct. 1, 1980, at a time when there were no passenger trains between the Indiana capital and the Windy City. She had a difficult childhood, with the one bright period from 1987 until 1995, running as a daily train to and from Chicago, on a schedule separate from the Cardinal. She was discontinued at that time, but came back from the grave in 1998, operating on the days when the Cardinal did not run. From Dec. 17, 1999 until July 4, 2003, she had grown to become the daily Kentucky Cardinal, serving Louisville either as a section of the Cardinal or as a stand-alone train, depending on the day. She was cut back to the four-times-weekly schedule between Chicago and Indianapolis on that date, a schedule she maintained until her death.

Related | Hoosier State Train will cease operations
Related | Amtrak: Dead train rolling 
Related | Legislators fighting for Hoosier State Line 
Related | Amtrak suspends Hoosier State line 
Related | Hoosier State train could derail without state cash

The long illness to which the Hoosier State succumbed began in 2008 with the passage of Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA), which required the states through which they run to absorb the full cost of trains traveling less than 750 miles. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) later sought a non-Amtrak operator to run her, but a deal with Chicago-based Corridor Rail Development fell through in 2014.

Amtrak continued to operate her on a short-term basis, and she survived on one reprieve after another, often under threat of impending sudden death.

The Hoosier State rallied in 2015, when Iowa Pacific Holdings contracted to operate her, under the leadership of Ed Ellis. During the period of almost 18 months when Iowa Pacific supplied her equipment and on-board services, she was the most luxurious train in the Amtrak system. She ran with 1950s-vintage coaches and a dome car that originally ran on the Santa Fe, and she sported the historic orange and brown livery of the Illinois Central Railroad. 1960s-vintage GP40FH-2 locomotives that had originally operated on the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and acquired from New Jersey Transit, provided motive power. Business class passengers sat and ate on the upper level of the dome car, and breakfast or dinner was included in the price of their tickets. Coach passengers ate at tables on the lower level of the dome car.

During that period, the Hoosier State served the last freshly prepared meals on any Amtrak train on a regularly scheduled basis. This writer’s only experience riding the train during that period included a dinner of chicken piccata prepared by the train’s chef, lemon pudding cake from a local supplier, and coffee served in a china cup. Nothing approaching that sort of meal had been available on Amtrak since 2005.

Amtrak re-assumed the Hoosier State’s operation on March 1, 2017, but Indiana officials balked at paying for it. Last February, Gov. Eric Holcomb proposed a budget that eliminated funding for the train, and the legislature passed it. The funding ended on June 30, so the train made her last trip from Indianapolis to Chicago and back that day.

The Hoosier State consist was denied the honor of lying in state in its ancestral home, Indianapolis Union Station, which has become a conference center owned by the Crown Plaza hotel chain and used for special events. The station building is not normally open to the public, but many of the architectural features from its debut in 1888 survive. The “Union Station” concept began in the Indiana capital in 1853, and a series of historic sign displays in the station building tells its story. The display is collectively entitled: “Take a Walk Through History. It will stop you in your tracks!”

For this writer, it did, but that was because of the severe downfall of rail passenger service in the city. There were more than 200 trains in each direction that stopped at the station in 1920, a number reduced to 59 by 1936. That number went down to three by 1971, of which only one survived until 1979. Then there were none, until the late Hoosier State was born. The station was restored as a hotel in 1986, but without trains. Concierge Richard Yarborough gave this writer a tour of the facility, and said that more than 500,000 people per month passed through the station in its heyday. He added that “Indianapolis could have been a major city for transportation” if events had happened differently.

Anyone who rides passenger trains is sad to see one removed from the rails. The loss means that a travel opportunity, or even some mobility or convenience, is no longer available. Still, questions persist about whether and for how long the ill-fated Hoosier State could have avoided becoming The Little Train That Couldn’t Any Longer, and about the best way to serve a city pair like “Indy” and Chicago.

The Hoosier State was not a mighty long-distance train that ate up one scenic mile after another. Neither was she part of a strong corridor that served the traveling public frequently and conveniently. Even her own boosters did not always realize her full potential. During the Iowa Pacific era, that railroad established a website for the train. It promoted the train, her business class and her destinations, and bore a copyright date of 2019—long after Iowa Pacific abandoned her and Amtrak took her back. While the site also contained some strange promotional copy for a vape shop for smokers, the original copy from there also presented her as a four-day-per-week operation. While that was technically correct, the point of the Hoosier State train was to provide service between Indianapolis and Chicago and intermediate stops on the days the Cardinal does not run, thereby providing daily service for those communities.

That was the reason why the service ran, but her own promoters presented her in a false light by implying that there was no train running on the other three days of the week. Indianapolis and Lafayette (the home of Purdue University) have bus service to and from Chicago. The other three stops, Dyer, Rensselaer and Crawfordsville (home of Wabash College), have no such service. Until the Hoosier State train died, residents of those communities could visit Chicago any day they wished. Now they can only do it on Thursdays or Saturdays, because of the Cardinal’s tri-weekly schedule.

Philip Streby is one of Indiana’s most active advocates. He is Treasurer of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA) and serves on the Boards of Directors of two national passenger-rail-advocacy organizations, the Rail Users’ Network (RUN) and the Rail Passengers’ Association (RPA). He is also an Amtrak retiree and worked as a conductor on the Hoosier State and the Cardinal. He detailed his campaign to save the train in the April 2019 issue of IPRA’s newsletter, All Aboard Indiana in an article entitled: “Growing the Vitality in the Midwest is reason enough to Save the Hoosier State Train.” He stressed the “business case” for keeping the train, writing: “The Midwest is one of the economic regions in this country, and needs a vital and balanced system of roads, airports, waterways and railroads (including passenger trains) if it is to grow and prosper. Younger generations are moving to where good public transportation exists, and right now, Indiana is not attracting that talent.” He continued with an example: “A huge portion of Purdue University graduates look outside Indiana for job opportunities.”

Streby campaigned hard to save the Hoosier State, but he believes that the state of freight railroading today could doom trains like it. He told Railway Age: “I worked that train when it was part of the Cardinal service. The disastrous 90s should fairly well illustrate what happens when service is reduced. People left Amtrak in droves when 7 and 8 [the Empire Builder] went to four days a week.

Other trains faced a similar fate.” Many of Amtrak’s long-distance trains were cut to three or four days per week as part of the infamous Mercer Management-recommended cuts of the mid-1990s. Some of those trains were restored to daily operation in 1997, while others died completely. Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson has threatened recently to impose similar cuts to long-haul trains again, which has made riders and advocates nervous.

Moving forward more than two decades, Streby continued: “Worse now is Precision Scheduled Railroading, which is neither precise nor scheduled. It has been set up by the beancounters who know nothing of railroading, only the bottom line. Trouble is, that bottom line is eroding because the shippers are being short-changed and they know it. The service is going out of the [freight railroad] shipping industry, just like the service went out of the passenger railroad industry.” He also expressed that the key word is “scheduled,” and that neither freight nor passenger trains keep schedules very well any more.

Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari told Railway Age that “We [at Amtrak] were really saddened by the outcome” that the Hoosier State has been discontinued, and he also placed the blame squarely on the Indiana officials who commissioned two engineering firms to make recommendations on how to make the route driving-time competitive. He said, “We’ve been very public in saying the status quo was not sustainable. But the state has chosen, for whatever reason, not to invest in the service.” Magliari also cited PRIIA Section 209 and said that more decisions about train service will be made in the state capitals in the future. In the past, the Hoosier State was used to bring equipment needing repair to Amtrak’s shops at Beech Grove, and to take repaired equipment from there to Chicago to be placed back into service. He added it was hard to understand why the state “made a decision to make it harder to keep and attract work for more than 500 high-value employees.” Magliari said that the Cardinal will continue to perform that function, but the time required for it could affect that train’s on-time performance.

F.K. Plous, Railway Age contributor and longtime Chicago advocate, refuses to mourn for the recently deceased Hoosier State. Plous works for Corridor Capital LLC, the company that made the unsuccessful attempt to get the contract to operate the train in 2014, but now he is not convinced that it was worth saving. He told this writer: “I refuse to ‘grieve’ the Hoosier State. It was such an anomalous and irrelevant little gesture of a train that even the tiniest regret amounts to overkill. I often characterize pathetic and irrelevant trains like the Hoosier State as ‘rolling museums,’ but in the case of the Hoosier Stat,e that appellation is not fitting because a museum usually makes an effort to recreate as faithfully as possible something that existed in the past while the Hoosier State represented nothing that existed in the past.” Plous mentioned the James Whitcomb Riley, which began running between the two cities in 1941 on the New York Central (Big Four) route and made the trip in 3½ hours: “By taking five hours for the same trip, the Hoosier State ‘revived’ something that had never existed, a pokey, lurching unreliable streamliner between those two cities.”

Plous did not criticize Indiana for running a train per se, but for running a train that appeared to have so little going for it. He speculated about what a better operation would be like: “If we could just go back to a reliable, daily, James Whitcomb Riley-like schedule, we could probably carry 300 passengers a day. If we could invest in infrastructure as Michigan and Illinois are doing and run 110-mph trains that make the trip in three hours, we could probably fill two or three frequencies a day. And if we could extend the improved infrastructure to Louisville and Cincinnati, we could fill ten daily trains between Chicago and Indy with five going to Louisville and five to Cincinnati.”

Plous is not the only advocate who has called for a “Hoosier Corridor” instead of the single train that ran until recently. Streby and others, including this writer, have recommended such a service. Some have also said that Louisville is not far enough, that trains should continue through Kentucky and go to Nashville. In the meantime, though, it is more difficult to generate enthusiasm among politicians and their constituents for frequent service on a corridor when the only train still running on that mileage only operates a few times each week, and not even once a day.

The demise of the Hoosier State may be a harbinger of things to come. Plous explored the history of the train and its imminent termination in a feature article in the April issue of All Aboard Indiana, the same issue that included Streby’s article quoted above. He blamed the State: “The more knowledgeable rail advocates, of course, understand that the State of Indiana actually sentenced the Hoosier State to death many years earlier when it repeatedly refused to invest the money needed to make intercity passenger trains successful. The news accounts rarely mention it, but the Hoosier State farrago is simply a private shame of the State of Indiana, which will not fund passenger trains even though it has a rail map with the potential to support a very strong and functional corridor service with a high potential to enhance the state’s business growth.” Plous particularly praised Indianapolis as a destination, with its station surrounded by a compact and active downtown, and with government facilities, sports and entertainment venues within walking distance.

Although Amtrak trains are part of America’s interstate commerce, it appears that decisions about where Americans can go by train will increasingly be made in state houses, as Magliari mentioned. There are only a few long-distance trains whose routes extend 750 miles or more. Much of the rest of the Amtrak network consists of state-supported trains. Under PRIIA Section 209, the states must pay the full cost of enhancing and operating these trains within their borders. States like Illinois, Michigan and California are investing in their corridors, and those corridors are popular. States like Oklahoma with the Heartland Flyer and Vermont with the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express only operate a train or two, without the commitment of investing in a corridor or running multiple frequencies on a line. The trains in those states depend more on the fortuity of local politics than the trains running along strong corridors. The Hoosier State may have been the worst example of such a train, but it may end up setting the standard for a grim future for shorter-distance Amtrak trains from now on.

Plous concluded his statement for Railway Age by placing the blame directly on Indiana officials: “Sorry to be so rough on Indiana, but they deserve it, even if they’re not the only one. New York DOT doesn’t understand the wealth-generating potential of the Water Level Route [the historic New York Central main, where Empire Service trains run today]. Pennsylvania does not understand the potential of the former Pennsylvania Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) main line. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee are totally clueless about the economic potential of their rail routes. But Indiana should be particularly ashamed, because it’s got Michigan and Illinois right next door to serve as exemplars.”

This writer will miss the Hoosier State, because it is always sad when a train dies. She was too slow, was not marketed properly, and the Indiana politicians appeared particularly clueless about passenger trains. But this writer’s ride from Chicago to Indianapolis in 2016 was a wonderful blast from the past. The ex-Santa Fe dining car provided a taste of rail travel as it once was. The chicken piccata and lemon pudding cake were delicious, and the coffee even tasted particularly good, probably because it was served in a china cup.

Written by David Peter Alan
SOURCE: Railway Age