Speed Limit Change on 116th East of I-69

Construction is coming to the area of 116th Street East of I-69 to Cumberland Road, and along with that will be a lowering of the speed limit.

The current speed limit along that stretch of road is 40 miles per hour….the limit will be reduced to 30 miles per hour from 100 feet west of USA Pkwy to 200 feet east of Spyglass Ridge Drive.  The action will allow for the construction project aimed at widening that area of 116th Street.

Director of Engineering for the City of Fishers, Jeff Hill, told the Board of Public Works and Safety the lower speed limit would likely continue through July.

The board approved the request unanimously.

Two Disturbing Sports Stories

I don’t normally write about sports on this blog, particularly national sports stories.  However, two stories have come to my attention today that go beyond sports.  They both tell a story of where America is today.

First, the NFL Raiders.  Oakland has been the home of the professional football franchise (except for a few years in Los Angeles along the way).  If you have ever known a Raiders fan, you know just how fanatical they are.  You will find them in Indiana, Chicago, basically anywhere in the USA.

We have word today that the NFL owners have voted to allow Mark Davis, who inherited the team from his his father Al Davis, to move the team to Las Vegas.  The mayor of Oakland has lashed out at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the front man for the billionaire owners, for saying her city has  no “viable” stadium option.

What Goodell should have more accurately said was Nevada is willing to sink $750 million into a new Las Vegas stadium and Oakland will not.  These NFL owners, for the most part, want you to show them the money.  Once you do, they say yes.

This is tragic for the Oakland fans.  The move to LA was not a good time, but Al Davis saw the error of his ways and took the team back north to its roots.  Oakland fans will now join the fan bases of St. Louis and San Diego as cities without an NFL franchise.  For St. Louis, this is the second time in recent history they have lost an NFL club, first the Cardinals went to Arizona then the Rams back to LA.

The NFL suffered a decline of about 7% in its television audience last season.  League officials blame the presidential election and the length of the games as culprits.  Maybe both had something to do with it.

Maybe the owners should look in the mirror at the problem.  These constant franchise moves are angering the fans.  Going for the money all the time will catch up with them over time.

Now, to the second issue, the Women’s USA National Hockey team.  Training camp should already be underway, preparing the squad for the World Championships, set to start soon.

USA Hockey is refusing to pay the women what they are requesting in stipends and financial incentives for this team.  The dispute has spiraled into a giant national discussion.  The women are woefully underpaid compared to the men.

The American Women’s Hockey players are three-time defending champs in the World Championships.  Yet these ladies feel they are not receiving what they have earned.

USA Hockey has not enhanced its reputation by trying to lure good women players not on the team to essentially be replacement players.  Based on the media reports I have seen, women players are sticking together and refusing to be replacements.

My daughters loved playing sports but found other interests and never pursued athletics at a high level as they found other interests in life.  If they were treated like this, I would be very angry.

Let’s hope USA Hockey’s executives realize what they are doing.  A world class group of women athletes deserve better treatment.

The two takeaways from these two sports stories?  It’s money over fans int the NFL and we continue to treat women athletes as second class citizens.

My Time As A Shark

HSE High School Teacher Kelsey Habig has the hallway to her classroom ready for the Sharks!

 

When I tell people I just spent time as a Shark, I get some interesting looks and reactions. No, I am not loan sharking and no, I haven’t taken up marine biology.

I accepted an invitation from HSE High School Teacher Kelsey Habig to be one of her Sharks.  For the last few years, Ms. Habig has invited people from the local community to help with her Shark Tank exercise.  If you have ever seen the television program Shark Tank, this exercise is much like that.

But in this case, her students are not pitching a business.  They’ve been instructed to find an issue they are passionate about, research it, then find a solution to the problem connected to that issue.

Those of us playing Sharks are not as tough as on the TV show (I could never imagine myself as Mark Cuban) but the Sharks do challenge the students and suggest ways to improve their presentations.

The fellow Sharks during my four days included local business people, professionals such as doctors and lawyers, city staff and local elected officials (including the mayor and members of the city council).

I look forward to participating in Ms. Habig’s Shark Tank for a number of reasons, but one in particular.  These students choose their topics.  They select the subject they are most passionate about.

Some subjects are the same as when I was in high school (Oh so many years ago).  Some argued the homework load is too burdensome.  One worried that athletes participating in extra-curricular sports do not have the time for part time jobs, robbing them of extra money.

One young girl concerned about the potholes in the student parking lot may actually get something done about that, but not right away.  The girl concerned about people judging others by their looks hit a cord for me, because I had been plagued with a serious skin condition in my teens, just as she had.

So, I enjoyed talking with these students and making suggestions on how their presentations could be made better, although most all of them were very good.

My daughters graduated from high school many years ago.  Shark Tank allows me to understand what is important to HSE High School students today.  That’s the best part of being a Shark.

Thank you, Ms. Kelsey Habig, for inviting me back for a second year to be one of your Sharks.  I really believe I got more out of the experience than anything I could say to your students.

116th Street Spring Break Closure East of I-69

 

The City of Fishers needs to do some major work along 116th Street, and is choosing to get this done during HSE Schools Spring Break.  This will be a partial closure between Exit Five Parkway/IKEA Way and Cumberland Road. The driving restrictions will be in effect from March 30 at 9 p.m. to April 10 at 5 a.m, coinciding with Hamilton Southeastern School District’s Spring Break.

Marathon Pipeline will remove casing from their existing pipeline that runs under the eastbound lanes of 116th Street. Fishers Departments of Engineering and Public Works plans to make additional repairs and improvements to 116th Street during the partial closure.

The lanes and roads affected by the detour and partial closure include:

–Westbound 116th Street between Exit Five Parkway/IKEA Way and Cumberland Road will be closed. Traffic will be detoured north on Cumberland Road to Exit Five Parkway/121st Street and south on Exit Five Parkway to 116th Street.

–Eastbound 116th Street will be directed to drive in the westbound lanes of 116th Street from Exit Five Parkway/IKEA Way to the signal just west of Cumberland Road at Kroger. Traffic will then switch back to the eastbound lanes.

–Southbound Cumberland Road will be closed from 126th Street to 121st Street.

–Westbound 121st Street will be directed to go north on Cumberland Road to 126th Street and then continue west on 126th Street.

Westbound drivers are encouraged to detour south on Cumberland Road from 116th Street to 106th Street to access I-69 and other Westside destinations.

Businesses along Exit Five Parkway and 121st Street with regular truck deliveries should consider adjusting delivery times to before or after morning rush hour. Delivery routes along this route should use northbound Exit Five Parkway rather than Cumberland Road during this detour.

Noblesville Hosts “Rails vs. Trails” Listening Session

(L-R) Hamilton County Commissioners Mark Heirbrandt, Steve Dillinger, Christine Altman – Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear, Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness & Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath – all listening to public comments

 

The Noblesville City Council Chambers were packed Thursday night, requiring much of the crowd into overflow rooms nearby with a video feed of the proceedings.  That’s how many people were on hand for the listening session about the proposal to transform the Nickel Plate Rail Line into a hiking and biking green-way trail.  But a good part of the audience clearly favored keeping the Nickel Plate a rail line for trains.

Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear opened the proceedings by assuring the crowd he is only doing what’s best for the people of his city.  “I will assure you that any and every decision I have ever made as the mayor (has) been for the benefit for all of Noblesville,” said Mayor Ditslear.  “I just want to make that point – I’ve been accused of other than that and that is not true.”

The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority is to receive requests for proposals for the Nickel Plate Rail Line, and Ditslear said he hopes the Indiana Transportation Museum, the past operator, submits a proposal, along with other interested parties.

Noblesville, Fishers and Hamilton County are partners in the proposed $9.3 million Nickel Plate Trail.

Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke gave those assembled a brief presentation on the trail plans.

There were 17 speakers from the public in a segment that lasted just under an hour.  All but 2, maybe 3, were in favor of preserving the rail line, due to its historic value.  Many reminisced about the days of hearing the trains and how that brings back fond memories.  A number of those speaking have volunteered on the train operation, including the Fair Train.

Some argued that trails could exist along the line with the trains.  Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness has said he does not believe there is enough room to accommodate such a plan.

One young man began crying while talking about the train, and received thunderous applause from the packed chambers.

Glen Schwartz, a member of the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority board, says the studies he has seen put the price tag to put the rails back in shape for the trains to once again use them, would be no higher than $3.7 million, which would take a 5-7 year period to complete.  He believes the Fair Train could run from Noblesville to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis at a speed of 10 miles per hour, costing $55,000 to repair some rails and ties.  To get the rails in shape to travel 25 miles per hour, from Tipton to the State Fairgrounds, would cost $3.7 million, according to Schwartz.

There was no Fair Train in 2016 for the first time in many years after a track inspection found the rails to not be safe.

After the public comments, those in attendance were given the opportunity to talk one-on-one with officials from all the government agencies.

Now that the listening sessions are over, we will watch what the next steps will be in this process.

 

Glen Schwartz argues for preserving the Nickel Plate Rails

School Board Narrowly Passes Recommendation For Jr. High Honors Biology

The Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) School Board enacted an administration recommendation to continue an Honors Biology program in the junior high schools, allowing those students to be transported to the high school laboratories for class.  The action also allows plans to move forward with enhancing 7th & 8th grade science classes to conform with the rigor of the new state standards.

The vote was 4-3.  Mike Bottorff, Sylvia Shepler and Amanda Shera cast the no votes.

As board comments became more critical of the proposal presented by school administrators, President Matt Burke urged his colleagues to support the measure.

“When we have a strong recommendation coming from our administrators, that have spent considerably more time than us evaluating this, and we call into question their judgment, we need to think about what message we are sending to our administrators,” Burke said.  “We have to decide, are we going to trust our administrators in some of these types of situations?”

In other school board items from Wednesday night:

–A series of resolutions passed unanimously clearing the way for the financing of renovations to the Cumberland Road Elementary School and the HSE Schools Administration Building.

–There will be a new alternative school for HSE students in the fall of 2017.  The school district will end the arrangement with a group in Noblesville.  Administrators are close to a decision on leasing space locally for the facility.  Alternative Schools are for students unable to function in a regular school setting.

–HSE will become a GoOPen District following the board action.  GoOpen is a national Department of Education effort to share educational materials.

–Minor changes to the student handbooks were approved by the board.  Those handbooks are now available online only.

–HSE Schools will be migrating Learning Management Systems from the Blackboard program to one called Canvas, after board approval of the contract.  Canvas has not yet agreed to all the contract language, but any changes would come before the board for a vote.

–The board honored Fishers High School students that competed at the state Science Olympiad competition on March 18 at Indiana University.

The state competition comes on heels of FHS winning the 2017 Regional Science Olympiad at Vincennes University last month. Students from 12 area school districts competed in 23 events in 12 hours that tested their acumen in earth science, physics, computer science, technology, biology and chemistry.

The regional results were:

  • First Place – materials science, optics, wind power, and write it, do it.
  • Second Place — ecology, hydrogeology, experimental design, and remote sensing.
  • Third Place — anatomy & physiology, dynamic planet, invasive species, and microbe mission.
  • Fourth Place:  hover craft, chemistry lab, robot arm and towers.

 

–Finally, this was the last school board meeting for  HSE Schools Community Relations Director Beverly Redmond.  She is leaving the school corporation and moving to Chicago. There will be a reception in her honor Thursday, March 30th at the HSE Schools Administration Building on Cumberland Road, 4-6pm.

(Editor’s Note:  a previous post said the reception would be held on Monday, March 27th….this is incorrect and the corrected information is provided above)

 

 

 

Nickel Plate Listening Session Packs City Hall

Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath talks to a group of people at the listening session

 

It was a packed crowd at Fishers City Hall Tuesday night for the listening session about the proposal to transform the Nickel Plate Line into a biking and hiking trail.  There were people in favor of the trail proposal, there was a large contingent on hand advocating continued train use of the line, and there were attendees just wanting to listen before taking a position.

‘I’ve got mixed feelings on this one,” local resident Christina Minear told me.  “That’s why I came tonight to find out and hear from both sides what’s going on.”

Fishers Deputy Mayor Leah McGrath opened the event, introducing people from the mayor’s office, police department, engineering and parks, all staffing tables to take comments and ask questions.

“We have a lot of public hearings in our community,” McGrath told the crowd.  “Sometimes, what that means, is the first ten people at the (microphone) are the ones to steal the show. Tonight, what we want to do is give each of you an opportunity to talk with all of us (with the city).”

Former Fishers Town council member Mike Colby was not happy with the format of the listening session.

“The way these things are setup now, you’re going up and asking questions about the trail,” Colby told me. “My question is, can we keep the rail and eliminate the trail, or in some cases they want to do both.  But it’s not setup that way.  The basic question of how many people support the trail and how many people support the rail hasn’t even been addressed.  There wasn’t an opportunity to even get up and ask that question.”

Colby also asked why Mayor Fadness was not in attendance for the listening session.

Fishers City Spokesperson Ashley Elrod says the mayor had a conflict.  He attended the Advancing Indiana Municipalities dinner Tuesday night.  Mayor Fadness leads the legislative committee for that group.

Joe Eaton, a Fishers resident since 1990, liked the way the session was organized.

“It’s a great turnout tonight, I think it’s a great format that people are getting the opportunity to ask individual questions,” said Eaton.  “Being a resident of Fishers since 1990, I think the trail is a phenomenal opportunity, great amenity to enhance the community in a way that we really haven’t had.”

The City of Noblesville will host a listening session Thursday night, March 23rd, 6-8pm, at their city hall.

Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County announced February 28th a proposal to convert the 9.2 mile Nickel Plate Rail Line to a biking and hiking trail, much like the Monon.  The project would cost about $9 million.  The idea has drawn praise from those wanting to expand such trails, but there has been vehement opposition from those wanting the line to remain a train rail line.

 

 

 

City Councilor Brad DeReamer makes his point to a person attending the listening session

 

Fishers Police Chief Mitch Thompson talks safety issues to a group at the listening session

Fishers Police Chief Swears-In Two Officers, Honors One

Chief Mitch Thompson swears-in new officers Adam Dietz and Corey Miller

 

Fishers Police Chief Mitch Thompson had two big jobs at the March 20th Fishers City Council Session – he swore-in two new officers and honored another for his length of service.  But there was a family connection to those two events.

Andy Deitz was given a 25-year service award by Chief Thompson.  The family connection is that one of the newly-sworn officers is Andy’s nephew, Adam Dietz.

Also sworn-in as a new officer at the City Council ceremony was Corey Miller.

 

Andy Dietz, after receiving his 25-year service award

Portillo’s One Step Closer To Opening in Fishers

Wendy Hunter, representing Portillo’s before the Fishers City Council, was asked when residents can expect the Chicago-based eatery to open.  If you approve this rezoning, Hunter said, she will announce the opening date in a week and a half (from March 20th).

After hearing that, council members quickly acted to approve the rezoning of the property the restaurant plans to use in constructing their new building, to be located on the southeast corner of Interstate-69 and 116th Street.

Council members all said their constituents have been more excited about the possibility of Portillo’s coming to Fishers than most any other city project.  Based on the council’s Monday night action, those constituents will soon know when Portillo’s will be open in Fishers.