Thursday, May 30, 2019

Beech Grove case stays in Philadelphia

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 30, 2019) IBG — Conrail’s headquarters and executives in Philadelphia are enough to let a former Indiana rail worker’s family bring a Federal Employers Liability Act case against the company in Pennsylvania over the worker’s fatal, allegedly work-related cancer, the state’s Superior Court ruled Wednesday.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania’s precedential ruling said that even though the late David Robbins worked 35 years for Consolidated Rail Corp. and its predecessor, the Penn Central railroad, in an Indianapolis rail yard, his family could choose to sue in Pennsylvania state court because current and former company officials who set policies allowing him to be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and substances were located in Philadelphia.

“Mr. Robbins … identified four fact witnesses, all of whom reside in Pennsylvania and were former Consolidated Rail employees. Additionally, the trial court noted appellants conceded that it is unlikely any party would seek a request to view the train yard at issue,” wrote Judge Correale F. Stevens for the unanimous panel. “Although the decedent worked at the train yard in Indiana, the policies and procedures related to the decedent’s exposure to chemicals and cancer-causing substances were determined at Consolidated Rail’s headquarters in Philadelphia.”

The appeals court upheld a Philadelphia judge’s denial of Conrail’s effort to have the case dismissed and moved to Indiana, ruling that the lower court had not abused its discretion by keeping the case in Pennsylvania.

David Robbins had worked from 1953 to 1989 at Indianapolis’ Beech Grove Train Yard, where his family alleges he was exposed to chemicals that resulted in his death from lung and liver cancer in 2014. His family filed a FELA lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 2017, the opinion said.

Conrail and Penn Central sought to have the case dismissed on the basis that Pennsylvania was an inconvenient forum: None of Robbins’ employee records were kept there, Robbins had never lived or worked there, and two of his former supervisors the companies identified as likely witnesses lived in Indiana and Illinois.

“Michael Scully, director of risk management for Consolidated Rail… confirmed the decedent never worked for appellants in Pennsylvania, and employment records for the decedent are stored in Jacksonville, Florida, or Mount Laurel, New Jersey,” the opinion says. “Mr. Scully averred there may be additional former supervisors or co-workers yet to be identified; however, it was not expected that the supervisors or co-workers would have worked or lived in Pennsylvania.”

But when Robbins’ family identified the current and former Conrail officers they intended to call in Philadelphia and pointed out that the employee records in New Jersey were closer to Philadelphia than Indianapolis, the trial court sided with them and denied the companies’ motion to dismiss in December, 2017. The companies appealed to the Superior Court.

The Superior Court panel said the trial court had properly considered whether any “weighty reasons” supported overriding the Robbins family’s choice of forum and rightly concluded that they did not.

Although Conrail offered to waive the statute of limitations if the case were dismissed from Philadelphia so it could be refiled in Indiana, the convenience of getting witnesses and evidence to Philadelphia, and the interest of a Pennsylvania jury in the policies set by a Philadelphia-based company, weighed in favor of keeping the case here, the opinion said.

“The trial court relevantly concluded there was no evidence that Indiana would provide easier access to the decedent’s employment records, which are housed in New Jersey and/or Florida,” Judge Stevens wrote. “Mr. Robbins specifically averred he ‘intend[ed] to call four former [Consolidated Rail] employees who worked in Philadelphia as fact witnesses at trial including Marcia Comstock (medical director), William Barringer (safety director), Ramon Thomas (industrial hygienist), and Paul Kovac (occupational claims manager).’ ...Mr. Robbins noted it is ‘convenient’ that appellants named only the decedent’s former supervisors and appellant did not indicate any of their current employees would testify.”

The opinion also said the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to admit issues or facts that Robbins had not responded to in a timely fashion, since the original request for admissions had come to Robbins from CSX Transportation, which is a part-owner of Conrail but not a party to the case.

Joseph Cappelli, whose firm represented Robbins, said he was glad the Superior Court said Conrail’s presence in Philadelphia meant cases could be brought there, after local judges had different opinions on the forum issue.

“We have dozens and dozens of these cases currently in Philadelphia,” Cappelli said. “We’re extremely pleased with this court clearing that up and setting this issue straight.”

Counsel for Conrail and Penn Central did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Judges Correale Stevens, Alice Beck Dubow and Judith Ference Olson sat on the panel for the Superior Court.

Robbins and his estate are represented by Thomas J. Joyce III and Shawn M. Sassaman of Bern Cappelli LLP.

Consolidated Rail is represented by Theresa A. Langschultz, Sharon L. Caffrey, Robert L. Byer and Shawn L. Pollack of Duane Morris LLP, and Evan M. Tager and Craig W. Canetti of Mayer Brown LLP.

Penn Central Corp. is represented by Frank A. Dante, Louis D. Abrams and Daniel L. Jones Jr. of Blank Rome LLP.

The case is Robbins v. Consolidated Rail Corp. et al., case number 1055 EDA 2018, in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

--Editing by John Campbell.

SOURCE: Law360

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Beech Grove Sports: Josh Fryar talks

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 26, 2019) IBG — There are days when a classmate in the hallways at Beech Grove (Ind.) will ask Josh Fryar if he plans to play college football. Those kids know Fryar as the friendly face on top of the 6-5, 315-pound frame.

“They ask if I’m going to Marian or somewhere local,” Fryar said.

Nothing against Marian, which has built on NAIA powerhouse under coach Mark Henninger on the strength of local talent. Fryar’s older brother, Jacob Fryar, is a sophomore tight end at Marian.

But what those classmates do not often see is the line of coaches waiting in the main office at Beech Grove to see Fryar, a junior, go through a workout. One day this month, assistants from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt were there the same day.

“It’s crazy how you walk through the door and see those coaches,” Fryar said. “I thought I’d be going to a Division II or Division III school instead of a huge Division I school.”

Photo: Wayne McGahee III/Tallahassee Democrat

Fryar is literally and figuratively one of the biggest recruits in the state. The multi-sport standout will make the first of his official visits next week to Oregon, where he has a scholarship offer. Fryar has other official visits set for Penn State (June 14-16) and Ohio State (June 21-23), two more schools that have offered. He has plans to narrow his list down to eight by July 4 and then make his decision during the middle or end of his senior season.

Other programs on his offer list include Indiana, Purdue, Florida State, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Washington State, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“I’m taking it real slow,” Fryar said. “This is the first time and probably only time I’m going to do this.”

The first program to offer Fryar was Indiana State, which was a significant to the family. When the late Bill Mallory was hired at Indiana in 1984, one of his first recruits was Jeff Fryar — Josh’s father — out of Lawrence North. Indiana State’s coach is Curt Mallory, Bill’s son.

I can’t describe what that was like,” Josh said. “Even though it’s a (FCS) school, you have a scholarship offer to play college football. It was humbling because it was coach Mallory and my dad obviously knew him really well. They wanted to be the first one to offer me because my dad was the first one to get recruited by Bill Mallory.”

Fryar came to Beech Grove from Roncalli, where as a freshman he saw action in two plays in the Rebels’ Class 4A state championship win over NorthWood in 2016. “Most nervous I’ve been in my life,” Fryar said. Jeff Fryar had been the offensive line coach at Roncalli for longtime coach Bruce Scifres, who retired after the 2016 season.

“I wanted to try something new at Beech Grove and I absolutely love it here,” Josh said. “I came in blind and didn’t really know anyone. But I love the people, love the teachers, the administration. They are so friendly and awesome to be around.”

College football coaches love Fryar’s athleticism and versatility. He is ranked as the No. 5 center in the country on the 247Sports national composite, but can also play guard or tackle. Coaches also like that he is a multi-sport athlete, playing on Beech Grove’s basketball sectional title team last season as a junior and is currently competing in the discus and shot put for the Hornets’ track team.

For Fryar, who was a standout wrestler from first through eighth grade, there was never a doubt he would continue with basketball and track. He plans to play all three sports again as a senior.

“You are never going to get a chance to play high school sports again,” he said. “Indiana basketball is Indiana basketball. In track, I like throwing the shot and disc. It keeps me active. I don’t want to be that guy who just plays football and lifts weights and doesn’t have anything outside of that to do. I want to expand my athleticism and show college coaches, ‘Hey, I can do this, too.’”

Related | Josh Fryar sets Oregon Ducks visit 

And while he is a star in football, Fryar said it was beneficial to play a supporting role on the basketball team. Beech Grove won its first sectional since 2008 in an emotional season that saw former coach Matt English die after a long battle with brain cancer and former assistant Mike Renfro take the reins.

“My sophomore year I was kind of pushing (former coach Matt English) that I could play varsity,” Fryar said. “But he had a plan for me. He wanted me to be a better basketball player and I trusted him. Sitting on the bench and cheering my teammates on made me have the perspective of, ‘You can change the outcome of a game even if you aren’t playing.’ It was awesome. That was the most fun I ever had in a basketball season. You can actually see the tradition coach English built here and we just want to keep it going.”

Fryar will have his college decision made by the time his senior basketball season begins. Coaches from Oregon and Ohio State were in again Tuesday to watch him work out. Fryar, who plans on majoring in communications, will get his first look at the Oregon campus when he arrives in Eugene on Monday.

“Distance doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “The relationship with the offensive line coach and strength coach is really important because I’m going to have to click with them. And mainly, you have to talk to the players. They will tell you straight up how it is. I’m just looking forward to taking my officials, talking to the players and seeing what it’s all about.”


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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Nite Owls embraces high tech

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 25, 2019) - A new project is in the works at Nite Owls Saloon and Grill in Beech Grove, Indiana. They are currently beta testing with Twitch TV and Just Darts to live stream their dart matches with other matches from all over the world.

They are in beta mode as of right now but all indications show this to be a win win for all involved.

Twitch TV is a live streaming video platform that focuses on video games, especially eSports competitions. In 2015, Twitch had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million views per month. As of May 2018, it had 2.2 million broadcasters monthly and 15 million daily active users.

Just Darts is a family owned amusement and entertainment company that has been in business in Indianapolis since 1981. They started Just Darts by placing a few dart machines in a couple local bars. They have since then evolved into a full line amusement company operating many diverse machines such as juke boxes, pool tables, dart machines, and video games in many locations. Just Darts also runs dart, pool, golf and bowling leagues all year round.

 Below is a recording of one of their remote tournaments

Nite Owls Saloon and Grill is located at 3535 South Emerson Avenue in Beech Grove, Indiana. They have a full food menu are renowned for their Hot Wings. You can follow them on Facebook below.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Josh Fryar sets Oregon Ducks visit

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 22, 2019) IBG — Under Mario Cristobal, the Oregon Ducks football program has seen a dramatic rise in its recruiting haul, particularly along the offensive line.

That effort, and the talent flocking to Eugene, is not lost on top prospects around the country. And several of them are anxious to visit to learn what all the fuss is about.

First reported by Indianapolis Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep, 247Sports four-star center Josh Fryar has scheduled official visits to Oregon on May 28 and Ohio State on June 19. The 6-foot-5, 294-pound interior lineman, out of Beech Grove High School (Beech Grove, Indiana), is rated the nation’s No. 7 center.
Despite his Midwest roots, he is quite familiar with the Oregon football program. “I know them well,” he said. “I watched them when I was growing up when they had De’Anthony Thomas.”

Fryar has also grown to appreciate the Cristobal era, particularly his emphasis on quality offensive line play. “(Cristobal) is awesome, and I think it’s the best because you see that they are getting up there to (being elite),” he said.

Oregon’s current eight-man 2020 recruiting class is rated No. 1 in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 12 nationally, but does not yet have an offensive line pledge. Given the limited options along the West Coast, Cristobal and his coaching staff may have to look across the United States to find offensive linemen that fit the program.

Fryar appears to be a fit, and is ready to check out Eugene.

SOURCE: The Oregonian 

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Beech Grove High School grad praises his teachers

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 16, 2019) IBG — Skylar Schlicher, a 2015 Beech Grove High School graduate, recently returned to visit his alma mater.

Schlicher is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where he serves as a geospatial intelligence imagery analyst in support of ground combat troops. He has served for 18 months and hopes to make military service a career. During his visit, Schlicher said, “I miss Beech Grove, the small town, the friendliness.”

He acknowledged being raised by his grandmother Janice Schlicher as his biggest cheerleader and encourager. He was active at BGHS in the marching band and on the swim team, competing in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 medley relay.

He praised many helpful and caring teachers at BGHS for making an impact.

Donna Hall encouraged him at the Hornet Enrichment Academy.

“She helped me graduate; I wouldn’t be where I am today without her help,” the former Hornet said. Schlicher also acknowledged swim coach Oskar Vuskalns for “really motivating me to bet better and be a better person.”

SOURCE: The Southsider Voice

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

New physician joins practice

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 11, 2019) IBG — Abhigyan Banka, MD, has joined Franciscan Physician Network Beech Grove Family Medicine. His special interests include: preventive medicine; sports physicals; women's health; acute and chronic conditions; joint injections and skin biopsies.

He joins Patrick Enight, MD; Victoria Othersen, DO, and a team of advanced practice providers whose offices are located at 2030 Churchman Avenue., Suite A, Beech Grove, Indiana. The practice offers a wide range of services to patients of all ages.

Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Banka most recently was on staff with Windrose Health Network in Franklin. In that role, he provided a full scope of care to patients in the medically underserved community.

Dr. Banka earned his medical degree with an academic scholarship from Nanjing Medical University in the People's Republic of China. He completed externships in urology and surgical intensive care with highest honors at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

He later completed a residency and served as chief resident of family medicine at Atlanta Medical Center in Georgia. Franciscan Physician Network Beech Grove Family Medicine is located at 2030 Churchman Ave in Beech Grove.

SOURCE: Franciscan Health

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Beech Grove man arrested for raping teen

Franklin, Indiana (May 8, 2019) IBG — A Beech Grove man was arrested after a teen less than 18 years old told police he threatened to kill her if she did not allow him to rape her, court documents said.

Timothy Garry Parks, 57, 1612 Main St., Beech Grove; was arrested on a charge of rape last week. The incident happened more than 18 months ago.

The teen told investigators that Parks raped her and performed another sexual act on her while they were staying at the same home in Franklin in October 2017, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Johnson Circuit Court.

Parks and the teen were staying in the same home while the teen’s mother worked an overnight shift. The teen went to her mother’s bathroom to take a shower, according to the report.

A towel the teen was wearing came loose and fell off her. Parks was sitting on the bed, and he slapped her and grabbed her face to discipline her for the towel dropping, the teen told investigators.

When the teen tried to leave the room, he grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her. He told the teen that if she did not allow him to rape her, that he would break her neck, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Parks then performed another sexual act on the teen, laughed at her and said that the incidents had been her fault, the affidavit said.

The teen also told investigators that Parks had attempted to have sex with her in March 2018 when he grabbed her and began unbuttoning her pants. She slapped him and ran, the affidavit said.

The victim told her mother in July about the incidents and investigators with the Department of Child Services and Franklin Police began investigating earlier this year.

He was arrested early Thursday and booked into the Johnson County jail, where he is held on $32,000 bond.

SOURCE: Daily Journal 
CASE FILE: Public Courts

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Beech Grove Proud: Hornets walk the walk

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 5, 2019) IBG — The Beech Grove Hornets team earned two awards during the IndyStar Sports Awards at Clowes Memorial Hall Sunday Night. The IndyStar Sports Award recognizes and honors the top athletic accomplishments in Indiana High School Sports.

Related | Beech Grove's season of triumph and tears
Related | Beech Grove wins sectional title
Related | Coach Matt English student news story awarded

This event was hosted by IndyStar and featured various awards, contests and a special appearance from Danica Patrick.

Mike Renfro accepts the Coach of the Year, as his son watches on during the Indiana Sports Awards at Clowes Hall on the campus of Butler University, Sunday, May 5, 2019. 
(Photo:Doug McSchooler/for IndyStar)

Here are the winners from the 2019 IndyStar Sports Awards, announced at Clowes Memorial Hall on May 5, 2019:

Top Team (Fan Vote): Beech Grove boys basketball

Beech Grove coach Mike Renfro, left, and Angela English, middle, join the team's five seniors, starting second from left: Romeo Echols, Jordan Brickley, Griffin Wade, John Parker and Gavin Hess. (Photo: David Dixon/Beech Grove High School)

This team had to endure losing their head coach to brain cancer, but they supported and leaned on one another and went on to win Sectionals.

Coach of the Year: Mike Renfro, Beech Grove boys basketball

Mike Renfro was a close friend of Matt English and took over as coach this season. (Photo: David Dixon/Beech Grove High School)

Renfro took over the day-to-day operations of the Beech Grove basketball program as the health of head coach Matt English declined. English died in December after a third battle with brain cancer at the age of 45. The Hornets won their first sectional title since 2008.

FULL LIST: IndyStar Sports Award Winners
SOURCE: IndyStar

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Beech Grove: City Council Candidates

Beech Grove, Indiana (May 3, 2019) IBG — The Indiana primary elections are May 7th, just a few days away. There are two contested candidates running for Beech Grove City Council and five contested candidates running for Beech Grove City Council At-Large.

The following contested candidates discussed their experience, qualifications, leadership, reasons for wanting to run for office and a desire to make a difference for Beech Grove, Indiana.


Dennis B. Buckley (D)

Rick Skirvin (R)


Robert Ferguson (R)

Background: Robert Ferguson has been a resident of Beech Grove since 2008. He works as a sergeant for a local police department and runs one of the busiest shifts in the city. He is a mentor, instructor, crisis Intervention and critical incident stress management team member. He previously ran for Beech Grove City Council At-Large in 2015. He attends Traders Point Christian Church at their downtown campus. He is married to his wife, Kara, and has four children: Zoe, Molly, Elly and his stepson, Reagan.
READ MORE: Robert Ferguson

David Grenoble (R)

Background: David (Dave) Grenoble was born in Beech Grove, raised in Southport and returned to Beech Grove in 1993 when he married Cynthia (Cindy Newman) Grenoble. David has umpired at Beech Grove Little League, coached booster football and wrestling from beginners to high school. David is a realtor for Indy’s Choice Real Estate. He has been involved with many different levels of political campaigns and said he’s running for “We The People.” David is a father of three and a grandfather of six.


Buddy Templin (D)

Background: William “Buddy” Templin is a lifelong resident of Beech Grove and a graduate of Beech Grove High School. Buddy is married to Lori and they have four children: Scott, Logan, Robbie and Emily, all BGHS graduates, and one granddaughter, Callie. Buddy is currently on the Beech Grove City Council and also served on the council from 2008-2011. In 2011, Buddy, along with other citizens, addressed the Indiana General Assembly, opposing a law that would affect the city of Beech Grove’s 911 communication. Buddy worked for Beech Grove for more than 30 years. He has been a Beech Grove business owner with TFIS-Security for more than 20 years.

Ashley R. Piland (D)

Background: Ashley is a financial coach at Southeast Community Services and has worked in non-profits for most of her life. She is a single mother of a little boy and still lives in her childhood home. As a local Alcohol Beverage Commissioner (ABC) representative in Beech Grove, she works with local businesses in getting their liquor permits set up, assisting the business to work through violations and anything else the businesses may need. Ashley said her experience will help her be an advocate for her neighbors and a voice for the city that she grew up in.

Kara Ferguson (R)

Background: Kara Ferguson has been a resident of Beech Grove since 2013. She works for Now Courier as the director of talent management. She has been in HR management for 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in HR from Oakland City University. She is a volunteer for Kentuckiana Pug Rescue and has three rescue pugs of her own. She attends Traders Point Christian Church. She is married to her husband, Robert, has one son, Reagan (12) and three stepdaughters, Zoe (17), Molly (12) and Elly (10). Kara wants to help improve the lives of its residents and serve her community.
READ MORE: Kara Ferguson

Daniel A. Norris (R)

Background: Daniel Norris graduated Thomas Carr Howe in 1981, is a veteran of the USAF, a former State of Indiana and City of Indianapolis employee and current Chief Financial Officer of Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency. He has two grown children; one is serving as a soldier and the other, a wife of a soldier. He currently serves as president of the Beech Grove Parks Board and as a president of the Gideon’s International Indianapolis Southeast Camp. Daniel has coached and officiated Little League Baseball, softball and Athletic Boosters soccer. READ MORE: Daniel Norris

Dan McMillan (D)

Background: Dan McMillan has been the city of Beech Grove Clerk-Treasurer for the past 7 ½ years. He said he know the finances of Beech Grove and the budgets. Dan grew up in Beech Grove and graduated in the BGHS class of 1972. He and his wife of 46 years, Susie, raised their daughters in Beech Grove. I would be proud to serve our citizenry in this capacity. Thank you.


Andrew Wells (R)

SOURCE: Southside Times