Fishers Businesses Giving Back to the Community

In spite of the busy schedules we face each morning, it’s comforting to know that some businesses still find time to help others in need. Maybe they do that extra something to help earn respect from their customers, or perhaps they help support other local vendors by using their products. Many reach out to charities or local schools to show they care. Here are some of these businesses which find time to give back to their community.

Tasteful TimesTasteful Times: A Gourmet Food Store

Tasteful Times, located at 11677 Olio Road on the northeast corner of 116th Street and Olio Road, sells high-quality gourmet food items and specialty wines. Although most of the food products are local, the wines come from all around the world. Some of these local products include Smoking Goose Meats, Best Chocolate in Town, Salt Sisters, Crazy Charlie Salsa, Riehle’s Select Popcorn, Local Folks Foods, Hoosier Momma and Traders Point Creamery meats.

For the past three years, this shop has helped support the Alzheimer’s Association of Indianapolis with a wine dinner that is held the week before the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event downtown. “We’re just a small, family-owned business,” says Jonathon Sadler, co-owner of Tasteful Times. “We love bringing people together around food and wine while giving back at the same time.” Besides donating food to the food pantry, Tasteful Times also offers gifts two to three times a month for silent auctions supporting everything from autism to cystic fibrosis. In addition, their staff helps customers – especially moms with young children – to their cars. The staff prides themselves on getting to know their customers and providing the best service possible.

“Our philosophy is to shop local, drink global, in our neighborhood market,” says Jonathon. Call Jonathon at 317-436-8226, if you would like to ask if Tasteful Times has a specific item.

Yogi Frozen YogurtYogi Frozen Yogurt

Yogi has two stores. One is located at 12660 East 116th Street in the same plaza as Sherwin Williams. The other is at 11803 Allisonville Road in the same plaza as Subway and Domino’s. Yogi offers ten different flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt and a vast array of delicious toppings. Customers are happy to decorate their base of frozen yogurt with their choice of toppings.

Yogi has offered a supply of gift cards to baskets that help support the Indiana School for the Deaf and New Britton Elementary School. Every February, an annual carnival is held called the “Bulldog Blast” where prize packages are awarded. “We highly support the HSE school system by donating to various fund-raising activities to help with the educational needs of our future,” says Louis Dabson, owner of Yogi.

He continues, “Here at Yogi, we believe it’s all about you. For just 39 cents an ounce, you can create your own Yogi frozen yogurt. Just grab a cup, fill with yogurt, add toppings, and weigh it. Louis says, “Regardless of whether people like ice-creamy treats or not, frozen yogurt is a sensible alternative to ice cream. It’s only 25 calories per ounce and full of active cultures and probiotics that help maintain a healthy body.”

Sunrise CafeSunrise Café

Sunrise Café, located at 9767 East 116th Street in the Kroger plaza off Cumberland Road, offers both breakfast and lunch food. This mom-and-pop establishment specializes in homemade breads, sauces, and strawberry jam. Its customers appreciate everything from the Eggs Benedict made from scratch to the down-home treatment they receive from the staff such as walking the elderly out to their cars to make sure they get into them safely.

“Everybody just chips in because we care about the community,” says Scott Horsfield, owner of Sunrise Café. “We give countless donations and gift cards to the police, firefighters, churches, and schools.”

They serve breakfast and lunch all the time during their business hours from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., seven days a weekA and offer gluten free items. Although Scott is the owner, he does all the cooking. You won’t see him walking around in a tie. Rather, he is amid the steam and collaboration of the kitchen crew. Lastly, his wife, Jennifer, completes the team as she runs the front of the restaurant.

Murphy’s PubHouse Murphys Pubhouse

Murphy’s PubHouse is located at 11650 Olio Road in the Kroger plaza. This is a family-friendly neighborhood sports bar and grill atmosphere. Craig Stonebraker, owner of Murphy’s Steakhouse, (Fall Creek and Keystone, near the Fairgrounds) has joined forces with his brother, Ryan, to create this popular pub that feels as inviting as any Irish tavern, except that it caters to everyone and kids are always welcome.

Talking with Ryan, I quickly saw the main focus for Murphy’s PubHouse donations is for the Indiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. After having donated gift cards to silent auctions and participating in the Americana Bank Chili Cook-Off, they are planning to sponsor the National MS Society in the MS Walk to be held on April 27 (www.walkmsindiana.org).

“One of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with MS a few years ago,” said Ryan. “When it came to giving back to the community, I knew I wanted to pick something close to home.” Ryan remembers his friend, Michele, as a healthy, athletic girl who was such a great person to be around. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with MS which was a shock to everyone who knows her.
“Michele is a huge Dave Matthews fan. She offered to let me have some of her Dave Matthews paraphernalia to put up on the walls here at Murphy’s PubHouse. I knew then that I would willingly vow to always help her out by supporting MS whenever I can.”

Diva Nail SpaDiva Nails

Diva Nails is located at 11434 Olio Road, at the corner of 116th Street and Olio Road behind Walgreens next to El Rodeo. This spa-like haven specializes in “pink and white” manicures and body waxing. Diva Nails gives back to the community by providing discounts to all students in K-12 no matter what school they attend as long as they show their student I.D. Planning a beach vacation for spring break? She can take care of all your needs from bikini waxing to eyebrow shaping.

Kelly Nguyen, owner of Diva Nails and Spa, is proud to offer a safe environment with a new ventilation system which aerates the shop of any smell of chemicals. In addition, the equipment is sanitized for every customer. The front area features a comfortable orange couch upon which clients may relax. The rear of the spa area is for pedicures where patrons can soak in tranquility and enjoy soft music.

“We provide free designs for kids, and we like to spoil them as if they are our own,” says Kelly. “We always have juice boxes, water, soft drinks, and candy for everyone.” Diva Nails welcomes any type group for parties such as weddings and birthdays. Customers are welcome to bring in their own cake or other foods, and Diva Nails will provide the drinks.

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For The Love of Baseball

First-year Hamilton Southeastern varsity baseball coach Scott Henson has big goals, and he’s already started taking steps to get the Royals headed in the right direction. He implemented a strenuous drill in the off season. He calls it the Royals Baseball Victory Challenge 2012. It is somewhat of a “baseball boot camp” if you will.

“The last two years in the HSE system I noticed a lack of toughness, and I knew that we had to get stronger and be tougher both physically and mentally,” said Henson. “I didn’t take lifting weights and becoming physically stronger as I should have years ago. Now, I know how important it is, and I want these kids to be as fit as they possibly can.”

Henson said his goal is to get the Southeastern program back – back to prominence, to where it was in the days he played against the Royals.
“Hamilton County baseball has always been good and tough, and I used to marvel at how structured the HSE program was and how well they performed,” he said. “In college, you have the Omaha Challenge where everyone is trying to reach the College Baseball World Series” said Henson. “Our Victory Challenge is something we want to accomplish – to get to Victory Field in Indianapolis for the state finals.” That’s a road HSE baseball has yet to follow.

The program has produced 11 sectional championships, the last coming in the 2003-04 season. The trophy case includes 4 regional crowns, the last also coming in the 2003-04 campaign. Henson believes he knows what it takes to win, be a constant winner, and help prepare kids for college and a chance to play baseball at the next level.

“One thing I want to impress on our kids is that when a scout calls or comes to see them play, the kids need to be sure they make time for them and to always be respectful. If they don’t like the school or might be waiting for another offer, then they need to be up front with the scouts and not waste their time.”

The Royals return with a strong pitching staff. One returning familiar face is Steven Curry, who threw a no-hitter in the 2010-11 season but missed last season because of knee surgery. Senior Mitch Roman, son of Dan Roman, the new baseball coach at Carmel, is a three-year starter in the infield and a solid hitter; and junior outfielder Tre Gantt has already made a verbal commitment to Cincinnati.

Henson also is high on pitcher/first-baseman Brendan Burns, a lanky 6-foot-5 southpaw hitter; pitcher Nathan Upchurch; and Roman, who moves from second to shortstop (replacing Wes Edrington, who decided to graduate early in December, passing up his senior season of baseball to report to Nebraska). He thinks all could have a chance to play at the Division I level in college.

Henson, who grew up in Pendleton, graduated in 1991, and was a catcher on the Pendleton Heights baseball team wants to know how it feels to reach Victory Field, home of the Triple-A Indians. “I was on a regional championship team at Pendleton, and we came close to winning a semi-state; we just never fulfilled our dream,” said Henson, who went on to play collegiately at the University of Indianapolis and IUPUI. “I think more than anything, more than individual glory, that I wanted us to do it for our coach, Bill Stoudt, an Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame coach.”

He’ll also have another Hall of Fame coach to impress (only this one will be sitting next to him), former Hamilton SE coach Ken Seitz, who along with son Kory Seitz will serve as assistants again this season. “When you have a chance to learn from two Hall of Fame coaches, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Henson, who pointed out he looks forward to bouncing ideas off coach Seitz.

Henson, who had a couple workouts with the Chicago Cubs and spent a lot of time working out with former Indianapolis minor-league great Razor Shines, said he hurt his back during his final year of college. He eventually signed a contract and spent some time with a Single-A Independent team. Henson spent a few years as the hitting coach in North Carolina at Northern Nash (Rocky Mountain HS), has coached catchers, and has gone to the final 4 twice in five seasons.

“My wife and I just wanted to get back home to be with family and friends,” he said. “I told my wife that my goal was to be a head baseball coach in Indiana in two seasons. “When I finished high school, I had a chance to go out of state and play college ball, but my family came first,” said Henson. His sister, Jessica, passed away at age 13 during his senior year. “I just couldn’t leave mom and dad. It was hard later on to move away, too. Now, I’m just happy we’re back home.”

Henson calls the HSE job one of the top in Indiana. “I plan to stay here. This is where I want to be,” he said.

Welcome home, Coach!

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Making the Move: Mass Transit Stops in Fishers

Executive Director of Central Indiana Transit Task Force, Ron Gifford, recently spoke via a live webcast about the impact of mass transit coming to Fishers, Indiana.

Conversation about embracing state-of-the-art mass transit for central Indiana is nothing new. Arguments for and against significantly upgrading IndyGo, the Indianapolis bus system, and developing an integrated light-rail system to connect adjacent counties have been going on for a couple decades now. The stumbling blocks have always been a combination of finding the money to pay for it; an “it’s not our problem” attitude by xenophobic elected officials; and the lack of political will to make something happen. Meanwhile, peer cities like Austin, Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Charlotte have moved forward with transit systems of varying kinds to transport commuters in their increasingly-congested metropolitan areas. Now, proponents believe it’s time central Indiana punched its transit ticket.

atgeist on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

After years of false starts and missed opportunities, a tipping point may have finally been reached. “We now have regional buy-in,” explained Ron Gifford, Executive Director, Central Indiana Transit Task Force, during a recent community conversation about the Central Indiana Transit Plan held in Fishers. “Local elected officials have stepped up because they understand the value of a really good transit system to economic development.” Gifford noted that Mayors Jim Brainard (Carmel), Andy Cook (Westfield), John Ditslear (Noblesville), and Fishers Town Council President John Weingardt all support the measure. “I’m optimistic because we’ve seen a great groundswell of public support. As we’ve pushed the issue throughout the legislature this session, there’s been an outpouring of organic support and the public contacting their legislators and letting them know this is a critical issue and asking for the opportunity for having a vote,” Gifford said.


The proposal calls for phased implementation of the $1.3 billion plan endorsed in 2011 by a cadre of elected officials and civic and business leaders. A combination of upgraded bus services and next-generation rapid transit vehicles would use dedicated transit corridors to move large numbers of commuters quickly and efficiently with both limited express and frequent-stop routes. Proponents offer four primary arguments in favor of the plan. “It gives access to jobs, education, healthcare, and entertainment to those who cannot afford, or are unable to drive, cars,” explained Gifford. “Mass transit also helps attract a young, professional workforce that prefers living in communities with high-quality transit service. It promotes neighborhood and commercial development and would ease traffic congestion and improve air quality by getting car commuters off the roads,” he added.

Phase One is a 10-year plan targeting Marion and Hamilton counties. Gifford said these are the two counties “most willing to do this,” and noted that Hamilton County’s population will likely double in the next 20-30 years. “We can’t build our way out of this with more roads,” he emphasized. Initially, the current bus system would be expanded, eventually tripling the level of services. Five rapid-transit lines have been identified, including what planners call the Green Line (also known as the Nickel Plate Line) – an existing rail bed that snakes its way from Noblesville past the Fishers train station and into downtown Indianapolis. Gifford credited forward-thinking Fishers leaders (The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority) who, some 20 years ago, bought the rail bed and designated it for future transit use. Gifford emphasized that proposed rail service would be nothing like the State Fair Train rumbling in and out of Fishers each August. Instead, planners are eyeing electric-powered transit vehicles to provide a quieter, more environmentally-friendly experience for commuters and the businesses and residences located along transit corridors.

Gifford said mass transit in other cities has had direct economic impact: where commuter stations are located, business has followed. A proposed funding mechanism would be adoption of what planners call EDIT – Economic Development Income Tax. A three-tenths-of-one-percent increase in income taxes would pay for and maintain the proposed system. That calculates to about ten to fifteen dollars a month for a family of four earning $50,000 annually. “One of the bigger challenges we have is talking to people about why this is an investment that makes sense. Why should we increase our local tax to pay for this?” said Gifford. “In the current political environment, that’s a tough conversation for some people. In our view, it’s really important that this go to local referendum – that the public be allowed to weigh in on this. Ultimately, we think a fully-informed public will value the investment and vote in favor of it.”

A necessary step in making this happen is changes to Indiana law that would provide funding flexibility at local levels of government and a referendum allowing public voting on the proposal. At the time of this writing, a bill addressing these changes is winding its way through the Indiana General Assembly. Renee Cox, District 3 representative on the Fishers Town Council, is closely watching the legislative developments. “We have seen, for the first time, a (mass transit) bill come out of committee, and that’s encouraging,” she said. “If we’re going to continue to sell business development for Hamilton County, a good transit system is vital to its success. We’re talking about planning for the future.”

Cox thinks the jury is still out on the proposed tax increase. People she has talked with express concern if it would be enough funding for sustainability, fearing future, additional tax hikes. Still, when asked about mass transit, she’s fond of quoting Indiana State Senator Jerry Torr: “We gave the people the Right to Work; now we need to give them a way to get to work.” Her hope is that people will put aside preconceived notions about mass transit – including rumors and misinformation – and come to the conversation with open eyes. “The real beneficiaries are those still to come – people who choose to live, work, and play in Fishers and other central Indiana communities,” emphasized Cox.

Planners have designated 2013 as a year for discussion about the Central Indiana Transit Plan. Detailed information is available at www.indyconnect.org. Future community conversations are planned across the metro area.

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Fishers Switch: New Leadership as Fishers Transitions to a City

The Fishers Town Council has four new faces, two of which were recently elected to serve in leadership roles. Pete Peterson (left) was elected Vice President and John Weingardt was elected as President by their fellow town Councillors.

(click the sound icon in the lower left to unmute the video)

The word CHANGE has several different meanings including: To go back, to make a shift, to alter, or to move forward with transformation. Last November, the community of Fishers voted for change that would indeed incorporate the definition of moving forward from that of being a town to that of becoming a city.

This change has brought together a new leadership team who will be responsible for developing a strategic plan that will lead the new city forward. It has been a documented journey with many ups and downs, but the citizens of Fishers made the final call.

The history of Fishers will once again be expanded in 2015, when Fishers residents elect their own nine-member City Council and their first Mayor who will take office in January of 2016. This is a historic time in Indiana history.

From humble beginnings …

The Town of Fishers, Indiana, formerly known as Fishers Station and originally as Fishers Switch, came into being in June of 1872 when Salathiel Fisher divided his land into town lots. In those days, it was common for new communities to spring up along railroads. Fishers was no exception, hence, the early reference to a train station or ‘switch.’

The railroad made its way through in 1851 bringing jobs and new settlers, eventually extending to Chicago in the early 1870’s when Fishers Switch was platted.

Over the years, Fishers’ population grew slowly to 388 by the 1960 census when rail shipment declined. The relocation of Indiana Highway 37 to the east side of town and the subsequent connection with I-69 insured the future growth of Fishers as a commercial and residential center.

The Town of Fishers would soon become a fast-growing suburb of Indianapolis. Fall Creek Township became the site of a consolidation of area schools. The development of Geist Reservoir in Fall Creek Township during the 1980’s also added to the area’s growth. With the continued extension of sanitary sewers eastward under I-69 and with stable interest rates, the population increased from 7,187 in 1990 to 37,835 by March of 2000; 52,390 in 2003 and to 78,651 in 2010.

This growth has set the stage for the future of Fishers as a city…

In the meantime, the Town of Fishers has a new Town Council President, John Weingardt, and a new Vice President, Pete Peterson – two very capable business leaders who bring a new vision to the development process of a new city. It could be looked at as a daunting task, but in listening to them discuss the responsibilities that are ahead of them, one feels the dynamic energy and seamless flow of business economics that will one day make Fishers one of the largest and most successful cities in Indiana.

“There are indeed many challenges ahead of our entire team, but we understand and look forward to doing what our citizens expect of us. We intend to concentrate on economic growth by adding jobs and new business development; moving forward with an exciting downtown redevelopment plan; utilizing the green space in front of Town Hall; and being open to needs of our community,” said an expressive Weingardt.

“Fishers has so much potential and room to expand in our zip codes. We have wonderful schools and land available that invites new development opportunities,” adds Peterson with a rapid-fire presentation that is contagious.

Both Weingardt and Peterson are newly elected representatives, winning their seats in November, 2011. With fellow town council rookies Rene Cox and Mike Colby, the runway leading up to the first mayoral election is sure to be full of change.

One thing is clear, the council seats are filled with individuals who are dedicated to the tasks in front of them and who were responsible for decisions that gained national attention.

To name a few would include:

  • Top 100 Best Places to Live in America (#12 Ranking) – Money Magazine
  • Forbes 11th Best Place to Move
  • Family Circle Names Fishers one of the 10 Best Towns for Families
  • Named a “Playful City USA” Community by KaBOOM!
  • Named Safest City in the Nation by CQ Press in their City Crime Rankings 2011-2012: Crime in Metropolitan America reports

The Fishers Town Council typically meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Monday evenings of the month in the Fishers Town Hall Auditorium.

We encourage you to get to know your Town Councilors listed below.

  • Scott Faultless
  • Stuart F. Easley
  • David C. George
  • Michael Colby
  • Pete Peterson
  • Renee Cox
  • John Weingardt

For more information, go to the Fishers website at: www.fishers.in.us.

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Hamilton County Citizens Go Through FBI Training

Community Outreach Specialist Kathryn Sipes and Terry Lee on the FBI Citizens’ Academy graduation night.

As part of a wide-ranging community outreach program, the FBI invites local leaders behind the doors of the Indianapolis field office to participate in the FBI Citizens’ Academy. By providing interactive opportunities, the aim of the seven-week program is to demystify the FBI and demonstrate how the men and women of the FBI protect citizens from harm.

“Qualified candidates are those individuals with a sphere of influence,” said Community Outreach Specialist Kathryn Sipes. “This year, we received close to 100 applications, and 30 were chosen to participate.” This year’s class included among its members Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness. “I am fortunate to be a part of the FBI Citizens’ Academy. I’m so impressed by the caliber of people in the Indianapolis FBI office, and the program is very impressive,” said Fadness.

Each of the seven sessions is presented by a senior special agent or subject matter expert. Topics covered include national threats such as terrorism, counterintelligence, and cyber crime. Participants get to experience how crime scene evidence is gathered and experience deadly force training with a firearms simulator.

Beth Taylor firing an MP5 submachine gun.

One of the highlights for the class is firearms day at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. The officers present a SWAT demonstration, and class participants have the opportunity to shoot several bureau weapons at the outdoor range. “I really enjoyed the range day and the SWAT demonstration—it’s not like what you see on TV,” said Terry Lee.

Participants attend a formal graduation ceremony after completing the course and receive a plaque and certificate to commemorate the achievement. Graduates are invited to join the FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association. The alumni association works to provide safer communities through service projects that promote a public interest in the FBI.

The role of the Citizens’ Academy is to inform the community of what the FBI is all about. “The program is really an intangible, incredible asset to the FBI,” added Sipes. This program gives citizens the chance to find out the truth behind made-for-TV dramatic portrayals of FBI agents and their work. “What impressed me the most is just how much the agents love their jobs and their country.” said Lee.

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Petal Pusher: McNamara Florist is Homegrown

Toomie Farris, owner of McNamara Florist, touches up some holiday decorations.

I defy you to walk into a McNamara florist shop and not come away feeling better. The combination of incredible smells, vibrant colors, and the presence of the miracle of living things is an instant mood enhancer. It is compounded by the fact that McNamara goes all out in its arrangements and decorations, especially during the holidays. The holiday decorating doesn’t just happen either; it takes months of preparation and literally days and weeks of work according to McNamara’s owner, Toomie Farris, who says they make 1600 arrangements for Christmas alone. He is so hands on that he does all the holiday ordering himself.

Farris has done it all for McNamara ever since he went to work for its founder back in 1980. Bob McNamara started the business in 1954 and is still on the company’s board of directors. Farris bought the business in 2007 after going through a string of transitions. Since 1990, it has been owned by several companies including Marsh Supermarkets, which sold out to a private equity firm in 2006 taking McNamara Florist along.

McNamara employee Barbara Hines works on a flower arrangement

It was at that point that Farris put a group of investors together and bought it. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t the best as the economy took a major dive in 2007. He says the impact was pretty dramatic. “We expected to be growing in upper single digits to double digits like we had for the last 10 or 15 years. Instead, we started declining in double digits which was pretty typical of retail around that timeframe. So it was challenging, but we managed to keep our head above water.” He adds that the economy is still not great but they are proud of their continued growth and expansion despite the weak economy.

The company’s growth includes moving the original store in Broadripple to Glendale last year and opening a store in Geist at Brooks School and Fall Creek and another store in Avon in November of this year. That brings McNamara’s store count up to 9, including a 6-acre greenhouse and garden center/flower shop complex in Fort Wayne, plus a 58,000-square-foot warehouse in Fishers. There is an industry trend toward importing flowers; and Farris says even though McNamara does import from six continents for seasonal varieties, they also grow a lot of their own flowers in Fort Wayne. “We’re pretty unique in the country in that we are vertically integrated – that we still are growing things ourselves. Most people just buy products from other growers. We really want to keep that homegrown local flavor as much as possible.”

Homegrown is what makes McNamara stand out. The company focuses on local relationships, and they are proud that most of McNamara’s store managers have been with them for a long time and have developed their own relationships in their own communities. He points out that companies such as ProFlowers, 1-800-Flowers, and FTD are national businesses that charge customers a service fee and then place the order with a local florist at a deep discount. So, he asserts that everyone loses in that situation: The customer is basically paying for the privilege of doing business with them and is being overcharged, and the local florist is being underpaid for the product.

Each McNamara store has decked the halls for the holidays.

Farris is very involved in a national movement called “Florists for Change,” which is made up of florists who want to create a different scenario. Farris says they don’t want to go the way of the local grocery store and disappear, and he thinks the kind of business that is personal and relationship-based is not just about selling product. “People can go buy flowers anywhere, if they just want to drop them in a vase or something. But if they want something to give their wife for their anniversary or they want to send it to the funeral home, they want it to be special. It means something. What we do is express emotions. It isn’t buying a widget, so there is creativity involved and there’s customization. As a business, we custom design same day and deliver. There’s not much else you can do that can be custom designed to your wishes – that you can call in the morning and have it delivered that afternoon.”

Farris says his company is also unusual in that it is expanding its retail stores when others are closing them and the small florist is being squeezed out. But he says part of the McNamara brand is being able to come into the stores and see and embrace what’s there and come away with ideas. He says they are available online 24 hours a day, by phone, and they will even come out to your home or business and work with customers on site. But he thinks people are still looking for experiences in retail and that’s why he’s still going all in on brick and mortar stores. “When they walk into one of our stores we want them to feel good and feel welcome, get ideas and be able to look at all the pretty things and be inspired.”

Like many businesses today, everything isn’t all rosy in the floral industry. Farris says it’s a tough business because the product is so perishable and it’s also so labor intensive. It takes a ton of people to make it work because they need designers, people to process flowers, drivers waiting to take the order. In fact, he says the company’s cost for labor is more than its cost for product. McNamara employs 120 people and is the biggest locally-owned florist in the state. If you are trying to follow the trend to “buy local,” that would be good to keep in mind.

After almost 60 years in business, Farris is still bullish on the future for McNamara. “We’ve just kind of gone through the evolution of building the brand and being a part of the community over all that time, and it’s just my watch right now to watch over it and continue the brand and values. We are proud that the founder, Bob McNamara, is still on our board of directors. So, we value that heritage and those core values. There’s a lot of tradition. Even though we change and update and we stay on top of design trends and everything else, we still think that foundation is really important.”

You may wonder what a guy who lives and breathes flowers likes when he picks out flowers for himself. Farris says he gets excited about seasonal flowers such as tulips in the spring and orchids in the summer and he adds, “For the most part, I just enjoy the beauty of flowers. I will take whatever is seasonal and really pretty and just drop it in vases to have at home. And I try to keep flowers around all the time.”

So, here’s my suggestion for a natural pick-me-up. Drop by your neighborhood McNamara Florist and fill your senses with the smells and colors of nature. If you want to take some home with you, that’s fine, too, since you will be helping the local economy.

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Net Literacy Program at Fishers Junior High Making a Difference

This Net Literacy Club meets every week under the guidance of Faculty Advisor, Deborah Kletch (left center).

Students at Fishers Junior High School (FJHS) are busy refurbishing old computers and loaning them to families in need. This is just one example of how these students are reaching out to others not only in Hamilton County but also around the world. These student volunteers represent the driving force behind the nonprofit organization Net Literacy.

“My students’ goal is to connect with not-for-profits in order to make a difference in the community,” says Deborah Kletch, faculty advisor and science teacher at Fishers Junior High. Kletch serves as the faculty Net Literacy board member and works alongside two middle school student board members. Here is what these two middle school students have to say about their involvement as student board members:

“I feel like I’m doing something for the community that can really impact people. Also, I feel smarter about computers since I’ve been volunteering.” (Liza Fortozo, 8th grade)

“I like to help people that are in need of computers. Many schools don’t have them, and this program is really helping education.” (Daniel Schiele, 8th grade)

The students at FJHS’s Net Literacy chapter have included four phases in their 2012-2013 goal of community service. They are as follows:

  1. Providing Computers for Those in Need at School: The students of the Net Literacy Program have recently completed refurbishing over 70 computers that were donated by businesses and private citizens. They will not only provide 20 computers to qualifying families of FJHS students that do not have a computer at home, but they will also train both students and their families on how to use the computers and the programs affiliated with the school, such as Skyward and Angel.
  2. Implementing Community Lab for Underserved: The students will donate computers so that a local nonprofit organization can build or expand its computer lab. Nonprofits interested in learning more should contact Deborah Kletch (dKletch@hse.k12.in.us) for more information.
  3. Teaching Internet Safety for Elementary Students: The Net Literacy students will continue to educate the youth and their parents about internet safety. They will visit Cub Scout meetings and cover topics such as appropriate identification and user names, keeping information private in social media/ game sites, and cyber bullying.
  4. Providing Computers for Medical Purposes in Third World Countries: Net Literacy will support IU Global Medical Brigades by providing computers that will be used by an American mission. As a result, the hope is for IU medical students to track patient demographic information and medical records data for established clinics in Haiti and other third world countries.

“We do more than just fix computers,” says Antonio Baltzell, youngest co-chair of Net Literacy and freshman at Fishers High School. “We work on promoting youth philanthropy, problem solving, and teamwork.” Antonio was responsible for starting the Net Literacy chapter at FJHS and is trying to implement a new one at FHS. Speaking from the heart, he says, “I find it motivating to do something to benefit society. I like the feeling of helping others. Most people think kids can’t make a difference; but when they put their minds to it, they can accomplish a lot.”

Net Literacy Began in Hamilton County and Carries International Impact

What began as a middle school student talking to a senior citizen about the need for computer access in his independent living facility has grown into an organization that has received national and international recognition. Net Literacy has been honored by two American presidents.

Sam Estrada (left) and Kasey Schoeff of FJHS are working hard to make a difference.

In 2003, a middle school student, Dan Kent, was teaching internet skills at the Carmel Clay Public Library to elementary students and senior citizens. One of the seniors explained to Dan the need for his neighbors, who were mobility impaired, to communicate to their grandchildren via email. As a result, Dan and his friends cultivated a plan to connect others in need. Not long after, Dan incorporated Net Literacy as a nonprofit. The first officers and board members were all middle school students, volunteering their time.

Today, this organization has provided over 20,000 donated computers to schools, libraries, nonprofits, and families and has developed an integrated series of digital literacy programs. (www.netliteracy.org) What’s more, its board of directors is 50% comprised of students.

“In 2003, Net Literacy was founded by middle school students and ten years later, the student volunteers at Fishers Junior High continue this community service initiative as they learn STEM, leadership, and social entrepreneurial skills,” says Dan Kent, president & executive director of Net Literacy. “I am proud of them for the contributions they are making for their classmates and community.”

Incidentally, Dan just recently presented the Net Literacy model to the United Nations Broadband Commissions in New York City. Net Literacy has established relationships with internet associations representing 270,000 internet companies on six continents, illustrating how engaged youth could help increase digital inclusion around the world.

Donating Your Old Computers to a Worthy Cause

If you are an individual or a business who may be upgrading your computer system, student volunteers would appreciate your contribution to Net Literacy as opposed to recycling them.

“The HSE schools donated equipment that was no longer of value to them but is making a huge difference to everyone in the community,” says Kletch. “We are in need of anything in Windows XP or newer, like CPU’s, monitors (which are hard to find), keyboards, and mice.” Please contact dKletch@hse.k12.in.us to make a donation.

You can trust that the students at FJHS will put any donated hardware to positive use as they continue to work diligently in utilizing and restoring technology. Together, these teens exemplify true leadership as they remain committed to making both their community and their world a better place.

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Movember: Men Grow a ‘Stache to Raise Eyebrows and Awareness

Bryan Kendall is chairman of the Movember Indy Committee.

No, the title of this article isn’t a misprint. That’s because for a growing number of men, the 11th month of the Gregorian calendar is Movember. Allow me to explain.

Movember is the name of an international fund-raising campaign to increase awareness about prostate cancer. The source for this odd moniker lies down under – literally. In Australia, the word “mo” is slang for moustache (that’s how Aussies spell the word). Throughout November, participants start the month clean-shaven and then grow moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer screenings and research.

The concept started in Australia in 2003 with five guys drinking beer (surprise!) and asking the question, “Whatever happened to the fashion trends of the 1980s – including moustaches?” This spawned a moustache-growing competition the following year that netted $5,000. In short order, the charity event went global. Last year, Movember campaigns in 14 countries raised an impressive $308 million.

Even ladies get into the spirit of Movember.

2010 was Indiana’s first such campaign as about 900 participants raised pledges equalling $75,000. Last year, more than 2,000 “growers” statewide netted $125,000. Bryan Kendall is chairman of the Movember Indy Committee. “Movember is designed to break down the wall of stigma and shame that often surrounds prostate cancer. We want men to understand that it’s OK to talk about it,” explained Kendall, whose father-in-law is a prostate cancer survivor.

Participants sign up online (www.movember.com) where registrants have a unique web page for emailing prospective donors and securely processing credit card payments. Money is pledged in support of a participant’s decision to grow a ’stache. Prostate cancer survivors are encouraged to participate, and they receive a special participation packet. “One in six men will be diagnosed, and more men die from prostate cancer than women from breast cancer,” said Kendall. “It’s one of the most curable kinds of cancer when discovered early.”

Several corporate teams are participating including Angie’s List, IU School of Nursing, Sun King Brewing, and Flat 12 Bierwerks. “Many employers have lifted opposition to facial hair, especially for this charity event,” explained Kendall. “We like to think of it as our brown, fuzzy ribbon for men’s health.”

A couple hairy parties are planned for Movember. A Kick Off Shave-Off is slated for November 1 at Red’s Classic Barber Shop, 22 East Washington St., Downtown (shave the date!). An end-of-event party will be held at Tomlinson’s Tap Room, City Market, Downtown, November 30, 7 p.m. to midnight, with a raffle, auctions, and live entertainment. Admission is $10. “Every dime of the admission cost goes directly to the prostate cancer charity,” said Kendall. Movember Indy has paired with several local craft breweries who are donating beer for the fund raiser. As organizers like to say, they’re changing the face of men’s health, one Hoosier at a time!

Additional Information about the local Movember events is available at www.movemberindy.com, and at 317.709.0005.

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Donna White: Breast Cancer Awareness Hits Close to Home

 

Donna White, a breast cancer survivor, recently modeled in the Project Pink Fashion Show which benefited the Central Indiana Susan G. Komen.

Donna White is the whole package: Smart, kind, loving, successful, great sense of humor, and in her own words, determined. This package is wrapped in a pink ribbon because she is also a breast cancer survivor.

“I was just finishing the process of getting my realtor’s license when the cancer was discovered. It took my breath away when the doctor told me. But life is beautiful and I knew I had lots more to do, so I told myself to just ‘get over it, girl, and get on with it,’” she said with a huge smile that lights up any room she’s in. And one thing’s for sure, she took her own advice and got over it!

Donna didn’t hedge about the anxiety of going through chemo, radiation, and reconstruction surgery. She spoke of the kindness and care she received, the other women she met during her treatment process, and the love and support she got from her husband, Jerome, and her family. The look in her eyes told me that, indeed, this woman is beaming with an energy that delivers a contagious outlook on life.

Spending time with her is, indeed, wonderful medicine for anyone lucky enough to be in her company for any length of time. She makes you laugh, and within that laughter is a kind of healing prescription for living life to the fullest. It wasn’t always easy for her to talk about her journey with cancer. “I had saved up all my tears, not speaking about what I went through. Outwardly, a lot of people didn’t even know I had cancer,” she said. “So what changed this?” I asked.

“Getting involved with Susan G. Komen as an Ambassador for the Komen Foundation. I knew as a breast cancer survivor I would, perhaps, be asked to share my journey and tell my story. I looked in the mirror and told myself, ’Girl, if my being a survivor gives another woman hope and encouragement and the support they need, then I needed to step up and be that person,” she answered.

Today, Donna is a successful Realtor with the Re/Max Legends Group located at 5645 Castle Creek Parkway North in Indianapolis. “When we moved to The Moorings in Fishers, I made it a point to get to know the real estate market on all sides of town so if someone calls me from any side of town, I am there .. no matter how far away they might live from my office,” she said. “I feel blessed, as the best thing about my job is meeting wonderful people. I feel privileged to get to know my clients and feel I have the ability to know what their needs are, as it is definitely a needs career. My personal motto has always been ‘Listen to your needs, and fulfill your dreams!’ It’s what I live by!”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Donna R. White serves as a wonderful mentor in this cause of awareness. As I said before, she is the whole package and much more!

To reach Donna, feel free to call her at 317.502.8012 or email her at donnawhitehomes@gmail. Visit her website at www.donnawhitehomes.com.

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Age in Place: Fitness 4 Function

Sharea Brehm is a personal trainer for senior citizens looking to keep their most precious possession: Independence.

Sharea Brehm is the picture of health with enough energy to power a village. Her new company, Fitness 4 Function, more than utilizes her dedication to helping older adults live longer, healthier lives as they maintain strength, mobility, and balance.

One of the issues that is very important to most seniors is the ability to keep their most precious possession: Independence. This is where Fitness 4 Function comes in.

Fitness 4 Function is a uniquely personalized service that assures older adults receive the necessary exercise and physical activity essential for functional living skills such as rising from a chair, climbing or descending stairs, answering the door, shopping, housework, or recreational activities that they always enjoyed when they were younger.

“I wanted to provide a service to seniors that was not being readily offered. Our personalized exercise training and physical activity can be provided one to three times per week or more if desired. We tailor these supervised sessions to the individual person’s functional fitness level and medical condition. The exercises are progressive and are adapted as they improve in function or as their medical condition and function changes,” she said.

“I have always felt that seniors don’t always get enough attention and that their level of function is sometimes overlooked. I wanted to provide this service in the comfort of their own surroundings. In their own environment, they can “age in place.” Seniors tell us they feel very comfortable with the one-on-one training that Fitness 4 Function professionals provide and enjoy the couples and group settings as well. It’s fun and enjoyable as they learn to strengthen limiting functions that, if left unattended, can result in deterioration of their once-active bodies,” Sharea adds.

Fitness 4 Function’s Sharea Brehm visits Pat Dunbar in her kitchen leading her through an exercise routine.

Exercise is not just for the young. Keeping up your range of motion in joints at any age is so important. Exercise helps build and rebuild muscle strength, balance, and mobility. It also helps reduce the risk for falls that result in bone fractures. Exercise works to enhance a person’s immune system, reducing the risk for infection. It enhances circulation and metabolism. All these are important elements that Fitness 4 Function is well qualified to deliver through their services of health, fitness, and function that meet personal wellness goals in a time period that works for each individual.

There are multiple levels of pricing based on individual, couples, and small groups as well as corporate pricing for larger groups. All exercise training is performed at a safe level under the careful guidance of a fitness professional. All the physical activity and exercises follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations. Another important element of care is the progress reports to family members or the healthcare provider upon request, and they can monitor blood pressure and pulse on a regular basis. Seniors also benefit if they are seeking to regain mobility after an extended illness or long-term bed rest.

Fitness 4 Function Professionals hold nationally-recognized certifications and have extensive experience in senior and geriatric exercise and are certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED.

For more information on Fitness 4 Function, give Sharea Brehm a call at (317) 513-3788 or email direct at: sharea@fitness4function.com. You can also visit their website at www.fitness4function.com.

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