Tears and Honors For FJHS National Champion We The People Team

Mike Fassold accepts a gift from his We the People students


Winning a national championship is wonderful thing for any group of students.  But there is a price to pay.  The school year must end.  The students must move on to the next phase of the educational journey, and the teachers must prepare for a new group of students waiting for them.

The Fishers Junior High School (FJHS) We the People team won a national championship, competing with schools from around the nation on their ability to handle civic issues and questions about the United States Constitution.

In a celebration of that achievement at FJHS Wednesday night, stories were told about how We the People almost didn’t happen there.  The major complexities of changing student schedules and providing support for the program carried an additional burden for counselors, Principal Chrystal Thorpe and the teacher, Mike Fassold.

All that work paid off with a national championship team.  Mike Fassold fought back tears when talking about his students.  It was emotional because he knows this group is moving on as the school year closes.

The Hamilton Southeastern School Board held part of its meeting during the ceremony, and passed a resolution honoring the team.   You can read the resolution at this link.

I had the honor of speaking before this class on fake news, and they were all very curious, wanting to know how to find reliable information from the various news sources available today.  I had been a practice judge for the HSE High School We The People team, and had the chance to have some practice sessions with the FJHS team just days before they departed for the nation’s capital.  I could sense this group to be special but didn’t know if they were national champion material.  They took the stage in DC and showed us all how to accept such a high honor with a great deal of humility.

So, it was a special night at FJHS honors these special students and teachers.  This is a group of junior high students I will never forget.

HSE School Board President Matt Burke presides as board Secretary Sylvia Shepler reads the resolution


The FJHS We The People team forms a circle, as they did so many times before competitions


Board Delays Action on 2018-2019 School Calendar

The Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) School Board is delaying action on the 2018-2019 school calendar.  Superintendent Allen Bourff recommended that board members wait until surveys can be conducted with staff and parents on how the new schedule for 2017-2018 is viewed, once everyone experiences the new one-week fall break.  Dr. Bourff expects to have a recommendation for the board this December for a 2018-2019 school calendar.  The Wednesday night agenda had a recommendation for the board to vote on, but that was scrapped in favor of waiting until late in 2017.

The board approved high school science resources for IB, AP, and Dual Credit Courses only.  For more information use this link.


Indy 500 Driver Gabby Chaves Visits Fishers City Hall

Mayor Scott Fadness joins the Harding Racing Team in front of Fishers City Hall


The Harding Racing Team made a visit to Fishers City Hall mid-day Wednesday.  Driver Gabbby Chaves provided autographs and had countless pictures taken with local race fans.  A slow drizzle of rain may have kept some people away.  The rain cancelled the noontime Concert on the Green.

Harding Racing is owned by two Indianapolis businessmen, Mike Harding and Dennis Reinbold.  The team manager is long-time IndyCar fixture Larry Curry.


Mayor Fadness settles into the cockpit in the Number 88 car…he and Gabby give the thumbs-up…note that a member of the racing crew had to remove part of the cockpit to squeeze the mayor inside the car

Jeff Hern Pleads Guilty in Campaign Sign Case

Jeff Hern entered a plea of guilty Wednesday morning on criminal mischief charges related to the theft of a political opponent’s campaign signs in the 2016 Hamilton County Council Republican primary election.  Reporter Chris Sikich of the Indianapolis Star reports that Hern must pay his primary opponent, Rick McKinney, $891 for the cost of the signs.  Hern will also provide a letter of apology to McKinney and admits to engaging in criminal mischief.

Special prosecutor Brian Eaton from Hancock County said Hern was treated no differently than anyone else in a similar situation with no criminal history.  Neither Hern nor his attorney commented after the court proceedings.

McKinney continues to argue that Hern should resign from his county council seat.  If not, McKinney is now urging Republican Party officials at the state or county level to throw him out of the party, preventing Hern from seeking re-election in 2020.

You can read Chris Sikich’s entire story at this link.


Kroger to Replace Marsh as Symphony On The Prairie Sponsor

The sponsorship for the summer musical series Symphony on the Prairie wasn’t open for long.  Kroger has take over as the sponsor for the symphony tradition, at Conner Prairie in Fishers.

The announcement was made this morning, and reported by Lindsey Erdody of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Marsh has sponsored the series since it began in 1982, and had been slated to continue as the title sponsor this year, before the grocery chain filed for bankruptcy.

You can read Lindsey Erdody’s story at this link.

City Releases Jennifer Messer’s Legal Billing Records

When the Associated Press ran a  story May 11th about attorney Jennifer Messer’s legal work for the City of Fishers, only two months of billing records were released at that time. Fishers city officials have now released records from 2015 through April of 2017.

The records show daily billing for legal services.  In most months, based on the claims submitted by Mrs. Messer, she was paid less than $200 per hour.  In a few instances, she was paid more, the most being $211 per hour one month.

The legal work was largely done from her home in suburban Washington DC.  Her husband is Congressman Luke Messer, and he is considering a run for the United State Senate seat now held by Joe Donnelly.

Here are the records, as released by the City of Fishers:

January-April 2017

January-December 2016

January-December 2015


Joe Weingarten Takes The Helm Of The Hamilton County Democratic Party

(Editor’s Note:  This commentary by Fred Swift appeared in the Hamilton County Reporter and is posted here as part of a partnership between the Reporter and LarryInFishers.com)


Fred Swift

Hamilton County Reporter 


It doesn’t sound like a job many people would want, being Democratic Party chairman in Hamilton County. And, the job doesn’t pay anything. But, Joe Weingarten asked for it, got it and is looking forward to the challenge.

The 11-year Fishers resident took over the position in March from Keith Clock who gave it up after serving more than 10 years. Weingarten wants to invigorate the party which hasn’t won a major office since Robert Wical was elected mayor of Noblesville 42 years ago.

The chairman’s job is to assemble and maintain a county organization of over 200 precinct committeemen, raise campaign funds, and spearhead an effort to win those elective offices on the local ballot.

Next year features big local elections with 58 positions on county ballots including those of nine state legislators whose districts are entirely or partially in Hamilton County, 13 county offices, nine township trustee offices and 27 township board seats. Every one of these offices is currently held by a Republican, many of whom have good name ID and generally favorable reviews on job performance.

Weingarten’s job would seem overwhelming. So, what’s he going to do?

He is going get more aggressive in speaking out on issues. He says, for example, that local officials are organizing Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFs) when they are not needed. He says he will question such things as Fishers’ payment of huge fees for a politically connected attorney to represent the city in Washington.

But, nuts and bolts are important too, Weingarten realizes. He claims to have 70 percent of the precinct committeemen jobs filled, and is encouraging party auxiliary groups such as a women’s Democratic organization and high school Democratic clubs. In early June there will be a ‘candidates school’ for persons interested in running for office next year.

The new party chairman sees a future for the county party which has been in the minority since the Civil War. He says more Democrats or folks that can be persuaded to vote for the party candidates, are moving into the county.

While Weingarten is officially retired, he operates a small business and is heavily involved with Boy Scouts as well as working on his political agenda. His task of building a party is not going to be easy. Republicans are aware of his plans and of the demographics that show more Democrats moving in. But, there are also a lot of new Republicans who have been leaving Indianapolis for years.

So, don’t look for a Democratic sweep in the near future, but hints of a two-party system may be on the way; not a bad thing for either party because with no competition the only existing party can become lax, and that’s no good and no fun in our political system.

Wanted: New Sponsor For Symphony on the Prairie

It should come to no one’s surprise, but the big question now is – what happens next?

The Marsh Supermarket chain has sponsored Symphony on the Prairie, at Conner Prairie in Fishers, since the series began in 1982.  With the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Marsh has officially bowed out as the sponsor of this very popular Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) summer series.

Lindsey Erdody of the Indianapolis Business Journal cites a news release from ISO.  The release says “details on the new era” of the series will be announced Wednesday.

You can read Lindsey Erdody’s full story at this link.