News

2011 In Memoriam

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Prince Julius Adiniyi sharing the language of drumming. - GREG WHITAKER COURTESY OF TRADITIONAL ARTS INDIANA
  • Greg Whitaker courtesy of Traditional Arts Indiana
  • Prince Julius Adiniyi sharing the language of drumming.

For all that 2011 gave us, it also took some of us away.

We pause to remember:

Prince Julius Adeniyi, who channeled Yoruba culture to Indianapolis through music, dance, storytelling, drumming and food. His contributions included the Drums of West Africa, the OmoObukun African Cultural Resource Center and the Sambusa Hut restaurant.

Officer David Moore of the Indianapolis Police Department, who was shot four times and died following a mix up by the murderer's parole officer that allowed the shooter to avoid likely jail time. The parole officer was fired and Prosecutor Curry is seeking the death penalty for the shooter.

Matt Elliott of the "Old Dog Crew," who gave us the much-missed Northside News newsstand at 54th and College.

Dan Wheldon, winner of the Indianapolis 500 in '05 and '11.

Ross Faris, longtime Hilly Hundred Chair, urban farmer and Eli Lilly employee.

A makeshift memorial to victims of the stage collapse outside the - grandstand at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. - REBECCA TOWNSEND
  • Rebecca Townsend
  • A makeshift memorial to victims of the stage collapse outside thegrandstand at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The cold, hungry and uncared-for: At least 29 homeless people died on the streets of Indy in 2011.

The victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

This summer's tragedy marred the annual extravaganza of all things Hoosier. Sunnier days will return to the Indiana State Fair, but we'll never forget that tragic night when the rigging of the grandstand stage collapsed, taking the lives of seven people and injuring more than 50.

For the spectators, the performers and the state fair employees, even as the pain subsides, the scars will forever remain.

News editor Rebecca Townsend's dad, Phil Wilson, to whom all those who ever attended the Indiana State Fair and enjoyed being sprayed with the outdoor misting fans owe a debt of gratitude.

And speaking of depths of gratitude, the soldiers to whom we owe so much also continue to carry heavy loads both on and off active duty.

Indiana's active-duty soldiers, at least five of whom died in action this year. The Indiana National Guard reports that it experienced no active-duty casualties in 2011, though members remain concerned about the continued physical and mental stress soldiers experience even after they return from duty.

On Dec. 15, the Army reported that, as of Nov. 30, 2011, it had identified 260 potential soldier suicides nationwide for 2011. This is down from 305 in '10 and up from 242 in 2009. Estimates for military suicides from all branches run up to 18 a day. Regardless of the exact number, suicide remains a constant threat within the veterans' community and beyond.

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24-7, 365 days a year both online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

And, though thankfully no deaths occurred in the all-consuming fire, we pause to remember the Aristocrat restaurant and look forward to a rebuilt version in the summer.

Editor's note: Please share photos or remembrances of these or others we've omitted.

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