Greater accessibility focus of court’s changes

February 29, 2012 in Letters to the Editor by Submission For The Southside Times

An open letter to Beech Grove residents:

I have been very busy since the Nov. 8 election. One of my first acts as judge was to appoint Cindy Johnson as the city court clerk, under Ind. Code 33-35-3-1. Cindy has been an asset to the court over the past four years and I believe she will continue as such.

I spent December and the first week of January auditing the financial status of the city court. With the help of the former clerk-treasurer, the court clerk and the State Board of Accounts, I reviewed all the revenues, disbursements and budgets of the last three years — 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The rumors of the court’s porous financial health have been greatly exaggerated. Over the past three years, the court has brought in roughly $324,855.25 to the city, while the court’s budgetary line items totaled $335,766.00 over the same period, for a difference of roughly $10,910.75. I would also like to note that these numbers do not account for budgeted monies that were not spent or man hours saved by no longer having to send our police officers to Marion Superior Court for infraction trials and ordinance violation trials.

It is my belief that confusion over the court’s finances could possibly be from the way the budget reads. Currently the line items allotted to the court are placed under the heading “Department of Law;” so are the line items allotted for the city attorney. According to Ind. Code 3-4-9 et al., the city attorney and Department of Law are executive offices under the mayor.

Additionally, the State Board of Accounts conducts audits of city courts, independent of the executive branch. Thus, it is inappropriate to include expenses relating to the city attorney or the executive branch when examining the court’s expenses and revenues.

An upgrade of the court’s case management system is under way. The system we currently use is cumbersome, expensive and inflexible. In an effort to improve this program, we have been working with the technology arm of the Supreme Court, JTAC. With their help, we will be moving to a new system that is friendlier, easier to use, and best of all, free. Once in place, the Odyssey system will result in a savings of around $8,000 over the next four years. JTAC has already visited the court to test our systems. Odyssey should be up and running by late spring 2012.

Beginning April 3, the court’s hours will shift to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Court will remain in session until all cases are heard each Tuesday. It only took a couple days on the bench to hear people say they would go ahead and admit the charges because they couldn’t miss any more work. I believe the court’s schedule should not be an impediment to an individual’s due process, and under my watch, it won’t be.

Finally, the court clerk and I have reviewed all of the court’s procedures with State Board of Accounts and the Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission. These agencies have guided us in ensuring the court’s administrative processes are in good shape.

Andrew J. Wells
Judge, Beech Grove City Court

(Editor’s note: Court is conducted at 802 Main St. on the second floor. Daily court business, filings, payment of judgments and other business matters can be conducted in the court office at Beech Grove Police Department, 340 E. Churchman Ave., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.)

Merchants support Samaritan’s Cupboard

February 29, 2012 in Letters to the Editor by Submission For The Southside Times


I would publicly like to thank two Main Street businesses for their assistance to our food pantry, Samaritan’s Cupboard.
Greg and Michelle Burge, owners of Beech Grove Firearms, gave a large monetary donation for food. Laura Lewis, owner of Beech Grove Meat Market, allowed us to shop for food items at her cost, and set up a donation box in the store.

Samaritan’s Cupboard is a ministry of Beech Grove Wesleyan Church, 120 S. 4th Ave., and is open to residents of the city of Beech Grove on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Identification is required for each person to prove residency in Beech Grove.

Thank you once again, Laura, Greg and Michelle, for your generous donations. May God bless you.

Pastor Bill and Mary Carpenter
Beech Grove Wesleyan Church

State survey reveals widespread discrimination still exists

February 29, 2012 in Letters to the Editor by Submission For The Southside Times


A research study recently released by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) shows that discrimination in Indiana remains a problem. The ICRC’s study is based on the findings of the Statewide Perception Survey, which found that approximately 58 percent of Hoosiers have been discriminated against in their lifetime and more than 88 percent look at discrimination as a problem in their community.

“This study confirms what we have suspected for a number of years,” said Jamal L. Smith, executive director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. “Despite state and federal legislation, education and the mounting research on the benefits to diversity in neighborhoods, schools and businesses, discrimination still exists.”

Created by state statue in 1961, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers. The agency cites a lack of understanding and knowledge of civil rights and other anti-discrimination laws as the reason a majority of Hoosiers will face discrimination in their lifetime.

“It is our job to ensure that every Hoosier is aware of their rights and responsibilities under Indiana civil rights laws,” added Smith. “We are more than just a watch dog agency that charges businesses with civil rights violations. Our agency has taken a proactive approach to educating the public to ensure equal opportunities for all Hoosiers.”

Over the past year, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission has gone through a massive rebranding and reorganization effort. In addition to a new logo, training materials, the implementation of social media, a monthly newsletter and video segment, the agency has launched the Power of Diversity statewide series.

The series targets employers, educators and housing providers in an effort to prevent illegal discrimination from occurring. The series traveled to more than a dozen locations in 2011, with more stops are planned in 2012.

For more information on the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, or to view the study or findings of the Statewide Perception Survey, visit:

Brad Meadows
Indiana Civil Rights Commission

What’s best solution to fix ‘grave’ matters in Beech Grove?

February 29, 2012 in Opinion by Submission For The Southside Times

by Karla Richardson

Dick Templin decided to volunteer at the Beech Grove Public Library and was told to research history files to become familiar and help others with research. In doing his research, Templin came across a book with names of people buried at the two cemeteries in Beech Grove. Templin’s interest was sparked upon finding a souvenir book published in 1930 by the BG Civic League, which referenced the Lick Creek Cemetery (formerly known as Blackwell Cemetery). Templin stated, “This sparked my interest, as when I was a young boy, I walked through Lick Creek Cemetery many times and remembered what it had looked like. My grandmother had always told me there were Civil War Soldiers buried there. This is true and I am currently researching this.”

A resolution was passed more than 55 years ago by the City of Beech Grove to convert the Lick Creek graveyard or Blackwell Cemetery into the Beech Grove City Park. Under this resolution, they were to follow Indiana Code 23, which states, “a notice must be given to any relative of any person who may be buried in the cemetery and they shall have six months from personal notification or from last publication of such notice to remove the body along with any monuments, markers or other embellishments installed on or belonging to the grave of such person.” After the six-month wait, the resolution allowed the city of Beech Grove to declare the cemetery as a town park.

Any remaining unclaimed monuments were to be removed and placed in a convenient part of the park in the form of a memorial shaft. It is believed the remaining bodies were never removed and the tombstones were placed on top of the bodies.

Templin has diligently been working with the historical society to locate records of such notices. To date, he has not yet been able to locate such records to confirm that all provisions were followed. In addition, the memorial that stands in the park is a tribute to Beech Grove residents who died in war. None of these veterans were buried in this cemetery. The bodies still believed to be buried were those of pioneers of Beech Grove before it became a city.

The first to be buried was Henry Coffman, who was born 1811 and died at 36. The last to be buried is believed to be Gilbert Reynolds in 1903. He was the uncle of longtime Beech Grove Resident Norman Middleton. Alice Mae Crider Reynolds, great-great-grandmother of Middleton, died at the age of 41 and remains in the Lick Creek Cemetery. Middleton said he has an infant relative buried there as well. Middleton provided a picture of Alice and Gilbert Reynolds from his hobby of genealogy work.

Jeanie Dinius with DNR-DHPA has been working with the historical society to determine if the city did anything wrong at the time the cemetery was converted into a park. She does not believe anything illegal occurred. However, several residents question that.

The historical society has asked the parks department for permission to resurrect the tombstones from the graves and place them properly and legally. This will involve a change of ordinance and approximately $5,000 for equipment to locate the underground tombs in addition to the cost of restoring the grounds after excavation.

Janice McCartney, one of three homeowners whose property adjoins the cemetery, said she learned the details in the fall. McCartney said, “I think this is the appropriate thing to do for the bodies that remain in the ground. I just ask they repair any damage to my yard.”

Park board member Rick Skirvin said, “I believe it is in the best interest of history to preserve what was once part of Beech Grove. I think we owe it to the resting departed to acknowledge the cemetery’s existence.”

What do you think about this? Should the city do this to the unclaimed graves or leave them alone? A previous homeowner found the pictured tombstone in his back yard while plowing. A tombstone was also hit several years ago while digging to install the black iron fence that is now at the park entrance off Churchman Avenue.

Torry's Top Ten: Signs your kid’s school is having budget issues

February 29, 2012 in Torry's Top Ten by Torry Stiles

10. You discover the American literature textbook is a collection of Spider-Man back issues.

9. The football concession stand is taking bids for beer vendors.

8. Instead of music class, the homeroom teacher plays an old “Sing Along with Mitch” album.

7. The playground equipment is worn out, but the janitor is offering floor buffer rides for $1.

6. Parent-teacher night has a $5 cover charge.

5. The art teacher is doing tattoos as an after-school activity.

4. The classroom computer broke down and was replaced by a Commodore 64.

3. Calisthenics class in gym has been replaced by roof re-tarring over the gym.

2. Turnip Taco Tuesday.

1. Johnny made the honor roll, but it’s $50 more for high honors.

What's It Worth? – February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 in What's It Worth? by Larry D. Cruse - Weichert, Realtors®- Tralee Properties

Type of property: This home is a beautiful two-bedroom, two-bathroom, brick ranch condominium.
Age: Built in 1999.

Location: Located in Greenwood just off Ind. 135 near Dye’s Walk Golf Course in the Ashwood Community.

Square footage: Spread across the single-level home is 2,084 square feet of comfortable living.

Rooms: In addition to the two bedrooms, there are seven other areas throughout this elegant condominium. The great room has a masonry gas log fireplace with built-in bookshelves and raised ceilings. The kitchen has wonderful light wood-stained cabinets, a center island with casual seating a walk-in pantry and is joined by the breakfast room. A pair of white trimmed French doors for privacy and seclusion guards the entry into the den. The laundry room also has custom cabinets that match the rest of the house and it includes a very spacious countertop with a vanity sink. The final attachment to the home is the screened-in patio that is surrounded by a variety of landscaping.

Strengths: Ashwood is an exquisite community that retains home values into the high six figures. This particular home offers all of the quality and care that a meticulous buyer would look for and expect in an excellent home.

In my opinion: $259,000

Business Briefs – February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 in Business Announcements by Submission For The Southside Times

Former Beech Grove police chief heads St. Francis Health security

Richard Witmer has been appointed director of security and safety for Franciscan St. Francis Health. Witmer oversees all aspects of the security operations at Franciscan St. Francis hospitals in Indianapolis, Mooresville and Beech Grove. A Southport High School graduate, Witmer earned an associate’s degree at the University of Indianapolis. He also graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and FBI National Academy and has supervised and taught various police-related courses.

Tax-Aide sites open and ready to help

Nearly 500 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers located at about 150 sites throughout Indiana are now are at the ready to help low-to-moderate income taxpayers of all ages prepare their 2011 Income Tax Returns free of charge. Clients are asked to bring the following items: 2010 tax return; all W-2 and 1099 forms, including ones for employment, pension, Social Security, annuities, interest income and dividend income; information on dependents; documentation for possible deductions, such as property tax payments and charitable contributions; voided check if they want refunds deposited directly into their accounts; and, photo ID. Volunteers are IRS trained and certified, and ready to prepare a variety of returns and have the ability to file electronically. Some Tax-Aide locations accept appointments through April 17, but others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. For a complete list of locations and hours, visit

500 Festival announces sponsor of the 500 Festival Volunteer program

Citizens Energy Group becomes the presenting sponsor for the award-winning 500 Festival Volunteer Program. More than 7,000 volunteers lend a hand annually to help execute all the 500 Festival events. Nearly 4,000 volunteers assist with the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Finish Line 5K and 1,500 volunteers assist with the 500 Festival Parade. Citizens Energy Group is a Public Charitable Trust providing safe and reliable utility services to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Indianapolis area.

St. Francis Health surgeons spearhead medical mission to Nicaragua

The Operation Walk Mooresville medical and support team will be in Managua, Nicaragua, Feb. 26 through March 3 to provide hip and knee joint replacements and foot and ankle care for patients. Operation Walk is a private, not-for-profit, volunteer medical services organization dedicated to providing surgical treatment to help patients affected by diseases of the hip and knee joints regain mobility and quality of life. Operation Walk Mooresville has performed hundreds of free total joint replacements for patients in Nicaragua, Cuba and Guatemala.

Car obsession drives repair career

February 23, 2012 in Community by Clint Smith

In the contributor’s notes for 2010’s Best American Short Stories, Wayne Harrison, a writing instructor at Oregon State University, briefly discussed his life before teaching.

“For five years after high school, I turned wrenches as a general repair mechanic,” wrote Harrison. “We were genuine grease monkeys with aching backs and manifold burns and hamburgered knuckles. I miss that life. I don’t remember it involving politics or posturing or concern about tenure. … Sometimes what I wouldn’t give to go back for an afternoon.”

Harrison is not the only one with that lasting belief.

Back in the early ’80s, Jack Dietzel, owner of Cartech, 5420 Victory Dr., was an automotive-obsessed teenager in Champaign, Ill., who dreamed about fixing cars. His life changed during a high school presentation by Lincoln Technical Institute, but enrolling in the automotive program provided few options.

“My choices were to either go to Chicago — and I had no desire to go there — or we could go to Indianapolis, which was the racing capital of the world,” Dietzel said. As a young man, Dietzel’s decision was simple: “Indianapolis — that’s where I wanted to be.”

More than 14 years later, Dietzel opened Cartech, an auto shop specializing in domestic and foreign repairs with particular expertise in Cadillacs. Although Cartech has an Indianapolis address, Dietzel said he enjoys being part of the Beech Grove community. As a small, neighborhood business, it’s his hope that his shop’s integrity and reputation will speak for themselves. “It’s my goal to repair cars at a reasonable price and in a timely manner,” Dietzel said. “I tell people, ‘yes, as a business we’re here to make money, but we’re really here to fix cars.’ ” It’s all fulfilling to Dietzel. “Taking something that doesn’t run, and making it go; that’s what this is all about.”

Like most other business undertakings, Dietzel didn’t achieve the accomplishments alone. Before settling in the Southport area, he and his wife, Norene, lived in Beech Grove. Their daughters, Katie, Ashley and Krystal, also support the business. Norene plays an integral role in managing the shop, while their daughters have been employees throughout the years.

Bryan Dudenhoeffer, Dietzel’s shop foreman, has been with Cartech for nearly 16 years. In the heart of the shop, with cars in varying stages of repair, Dudenhoeffer joked that he gets along with his boss about 98 percent of the time. But there’s more to his enduring loyalty.

“The family-type atmosphere around here is the best part of the job,” said Dudenhoeffer, in between delivering high-torque bursts to a wheel stud with an impact wrench. As a husband with three young children, the foreman said there’s a freedom to his job that he wouldn’t change.

As a veteran businessman, Dietzel runs a tight ship; but he’s also a mechanic who simply enjoys solving problems. Each vehicle that arrives is like a new challenge for the shop owner. “It may sound cheesy,” said Dietzel with almost a teenage glee, “but I like it when cars get towed in. It’s hard to explain, but I just get a charge out of it.”

Chef challenge returns to Taste of the Southside: Food extravaganza Sunday at Valle Vista

February 23, 2012 in Community by Submission For The Southside Times

Greenwood’s culinary competition will be back at this year’s Taste of the Southside, which will be presented Sunday by Community Health Network.

Top chefs in the county will square off in two sessions during the evening’s Chefs Challenge, sponsored by South Magazine. Chef Keith Angell from Hal’s Fabulous Las Vegas Bar and Grille, 2011 defending champ, will be back to defend his title against Chef Richard Goss from Richard’s Kitchen, Chef Joseph Hewett from Indigo Duck Chef Arturo Johnson from Greenwood Village South.

The title of Best Chef is up for grabs. “Chefs will have about 30 minutes to prepare whatever they would like with the various ingredients they’ve been given,” says Carolynn Hobson, volunteer coordinator of the competition. Judges include Richard Marchbanks, The Indianapolis Star; Mark Wallis, American Senior Communities; Dave Woloszyk, Hartshire Lakes Apartments; and Dr. Patricia English, Community Health Network. “The Chefs Challenge is always a fun event with a big draw of people attending The Taste,” says Hobson.

The Taste of the Southside is an epicurean event for food lovers. Samples from more than 40 area restaurants, bakeries, caterers and wineries are featured.

The tasty event will run 4:30-7 p.m. Sunday at Valle Vista Golf Club and Conference Center, 755 E. Main St., Greenwood. Attendees must be 21 or older. Advance tickets are $35 or 2 for $55. Details are available at or 888-4856. Tickets will also be available at the door for $40. VIP tickets are $50 or 2 for $75.

The Chamber and Community Health Network encourage attendees to bring non-perishable canned food items for donation to local food pantries. The Taste also offers a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia, wine baskets, restaurant gift certificates and getaway packages.

Wine offers total symphony of tastes

February 23, 2012 in Living by Submission For The Southside Times

By Charles R. Thomas, M.D.

One of the essential tools used to teach students to learn how to taste wine is a component tasting. There are four basic tastes: Salt (Saltiness), Sugar (Sweetness), Acid (Sourness) and Tannin (Bitterness.)

Although all these tastes can be appreciated anywhere in the mouth, there are areas which are especially gifted in detecting an individual taste. On the tongue, there is a virtual map showing the various areas and the tastes they detect:

Saltiness is detected on the tip of the tongue.

Sweetness is found just behind the tip of the tongue.

Sourness is located on the sides of the tongue and the cheek pouch.

Bitterness is found on the back of the tongue and the soft palate.

When tasting, one should take about a tablespoon of wine into his (or her) mouth and circulate the wine around the mouth. Try to leave the wine in your mouth as long as you can. As the wine touches all the parts of the mouth, it will stimulate the various areas that are endowed with tasting those special tastes. Since there is rarely a salty taste in wine, we are really dealing with the other three tastes.

As the wine courses into the mouth, the first area to come in contact with the wine is the front of the tongue where one can detect sugar, if present. As the wine courses backward in the mouth, the acid content will become apparent. (All wines have acid.) Take time to notice each component. Keep moving the wine around and ask yourself what you are tasting. Lastly, as you finally swallow the wine, notice whether or not you feel the roughness or bitterness on the back of the tongue or palate. Some wines contain tannins; some don’t. Some are sweet and some are not. You cannot just taste the whole wine; you must acknowledge each area separately in order to arrive at a judgment.

Some tastes will alter your appreciation of others, especially acid and sugar. Prominent acid will cover up sugar, so the wine will not seem as sweet. High sugar will cover up a strong acid taste. In order for you to appreciate this, do this simple test. Pour a half glass of Coca-Cola or some other soft drink and let it stand for about four hours. Then pour a fresh half glass and compare the two. The fresh glass has lots of acid in the form of carbonic acid (fizz) so the Coke is pleasantly sweet, but the flat glass will taste sickeningly sweet because the acid has bubbled away and no longer balances the sweetness with the acidity of the carbon dioxide.

Now for your exercise. You will mix up some samples using about five ounces of either water or a white wine as the base. Make four samples. In the first glass, place one teaspoon of lemon juice. In the second glass, place one teaspoon of sugar and mix until it dissolves. In glass three, put one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of sugar and mix. In the fourth glass, place a teabag and then microwave the mixture for 90 seconds on high power. Let it stand until cool.

You are finally ready to test these samples. Taste No. 1 and notice the sting on the sides of the tongue. This is what acid or sourness tastes like and, more importantly, where in your mouth it is perceived. Next, taste sample No. 2 and notice sweetness on the front of the tongue. Thirdly, taste No. 3 and see if you can distinguish both sweetness and acid independently. Also notice that it doesn’t seem as sweet although you added just as much sugar as you did to No. 2. The same goes with the acid. As a follow-up, you may want to add twice as much sugar or acid and see if you can tell which is the sweeter or more acidic. Lastly, taste No. 4 and appreciate the bitterness on the back of your tongue. For additional experience, mix equal parts of No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4. See if you can pick out all three tastes in the same mouthful.

Your ability to separate the different tastes of the wine in your mind is comparable to listening to a symphony orchestra while being able to hear the individual sounds of each instrument. It’s easier than you think.