- Jim Poyser
- Hundreds of bikers joined in Jan. 2 for the Mayor's Inaugural Polar Bear Pedal. Here, the pack takes off toward the Circle.
City-county government officials flocked to the Indiana War Memorial's ornate Pershing Auditorium for a New Year's Day ceremony to celebrate the inauguration of Mayor Greg Ballard for his second term of office.
Judge Dave Certo administered Ballard's oath of office as the first lady, Winnie Ballard, held a pocket Bible, which the U.S. government issued to the mayor during his military service in the Persian Gulf War.
- Rebecca Townsend
- Mayor Greg Ballard's children, Greg and Erica, introduced their father at his Jan. 1 inauguration ceremony at the Indiana War Memorial's Pershing Auditorium.
The mayor solemnly swore to "support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Indiana" and to "faithfully and impartially, discharge the duties of the Office of Mayor of Indianapolis, according to law and to the best of my ability, so help me God."
Judge Sheila Carlisle administered the oath of office to members of the soon-to-be minority Republican Caucus of the City-County Council. These members included Virginia "Ginny" Cain, Jeffrey Cardwell, Benjamin Hunter, Janice McHenry, Jeff Miller, Marilyn Pfisterer and Christine Scales.
- Rebecca Townsend
- Council President-Elect Maggie Lewis, D- 7th District, attended the mayor's inauguration.
Notable Democrats in the audience included Councilwoman Maggie Lewis of the 7th District, who the council is expected to nominate and confirm as council president at its Jan. 9 meeting, as well as at-large councilors John Barth, Zach Adamson and Leroy Robinson.The Democrats had their own swearing-in ceremony at the Indy Fringe Theatre.
The upcoming council meeting will mark a transition of power between the parties, as Republicans enjoyed the majority prior to the Nov. 8 municipal election.
The meeting's agenda and proposed business will be released to the public by Jan. 6.
In a recent email exchange Councilman Barth highlighted three of his council priorities for 2012:
"Three high priority items for me are 1) smoke-free air policy/ordinance (which all four at-large councilors are co-sponsoring), 2) addressing concerns at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, and 3) working with the city on a better approach to working with neighborhoods — including looking for a new, more interactive way to address abandoned housing and crime."
- Rebecca Townsend
- Councilman Benjamin Hunter with his wife Keri.
Councilman Benjamin Hunter, R-District 21, visited with NUVO for a few minutes following the mayor's inauguration ceremony. He said he is looking forward to working on a stronger smoking ban as well as overseeing the continued implementation of a nationally accredited professional standards unit within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, an initiative that he helped spearhead as head of the council's public safety committee.
He said the city is on-track to accomplish its accreditation goals by 2014.
In the mayor's State of the City address, which he delivered after taking his second term oath, he noted that the business publication Kiplinger last week described the city's entrepreneurial scene as "on the verge of making it big" and named Indianapolis one of the top ten cities in the nation to start a new business.
"Modern cities don't need harbors or ports to thrive," Ballard said. "They need leaders who harbor great partnerships with business rather than rail against it and data ports that move ideas and money around the world at the speed of business."
Ballard said he expects an influx of new residents as people quit migrating toward the suburbs and begin filtering back to the city's historic neighborhoods.
"The Indianapolis of tomorrow must act now to provide the services and amenities that attract and support people seeking a return to city life — chief among these is education," Ballard said.
"For the good of our community and our children, Indianapolis must raise its educational expectations — not just from our schools but from our students as well. We must also invest in the basic framework of modern city living — that includes transit, greenways and parks."
- Rebecca Townsend
- Sally Marchand Collins of the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association rocks the festive spirit as Mayor Greg Ballard (left) prepare for the mayor's first annual Polar Bear Pedal.
In classic everyday-guy Ballard style, the mayor emphasized his appreciation for and support of the city's greenways by hosting his first annual Polar Bear Pedal on Jan. 2.
Several hundred local bicycle enthusiasts joined Ballard on a blustery and brisk, snow-flurry-filled Monday morning for a 12.2 mile loop from the Indy Bike Hub YMCA at City Market along White River to Major Taylor Velodrome and back.
Hometown Indy boy Jacob Kokotkiewicz, who served in the Army Infantry, is now a year and a half into his job as a deputy sheriff. NUVO asked him: "Why come out in 25 degree weather to ride in the snow this morning?"
"Why not?" he replied. "Life's too short to sit inside drinking hot chocolate and wishing it was warmer outside."
Prior to the ride, Ballard said the event was "just a crazy idea that happened two months ago ... highlighting the connectivity in the city.
"...It's just the beginning. You're gonna see a lot more bike riding this year; more people riding to workÉThe feeling around here is tremendous."
Ballard touched on a similar theme as he concluded his State of the City address.
"There is every reason to believe we can become a capital of commerce, a capital of urban progress, a capital of education reform, and a capital of leadership and thought, " he said.
"As Mayor of this great city, I hope we recognize this moment. This is our time."