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Thumbs down: Potty politics

The residents of Midtown's historic neighborhood association expressed outrage when the mayor's urban improvement initiatives targeted an Edward Pierre picnic shelter and public restroom facility, along with a tree estimated at 100 years old. Pierre was one of the city's leading architects; his design footprint is expansive. Neil Bloede, president of the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association, said he sees the mayor's neighborhood liaison at his group's monthly meeting but did not receive any advance notice of the plan to target what the mayor referred to in a recent debate as a crime hotspot. The residents reacted immediately after they saw the demolition. The Mid-Century design of the Tarkington Park structure should have been preserved, said neighbor Vess von Ruhtenberg, who lives in a Pierre-designed home. Melina Kennedy was on the spot to decry the move, saying such "top-down" moves would not happen in an M.K. administration.

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Thumbs up: The <new> homeless rag

Those of you telling bums on the street to "get a job" should be happy to hear that several homeless people now have the opportunity to work by selling papers downtown. Hawking Homeward Bound News, a new paper dedicated to features and covering homeless and labor issues, can earn the sellers 75 cents for each $1 newspaper sold. Publisher Jeff Tavares, himself a photojournalist, runs the nonprofit, all-volunteer effort. He said he hopes the paper will help inspire vendors to move beyond the hopelessness of homelessness.

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Thumbs down: Dissent within the 1 percent

Thanks to a disagreement over how to split the teams' billions of dollars, the NBA is at a standstill causing Commissioner David Stern to cancel the first two weeks of the season. The Pacers, who had a surprising playoff appearance last season, are one of the youngest, most promising teams in the league, but until this disagreement gets settled nobody will get to see them play. After 100 days of the lockout, it doesn't seem that much progress has been made; the entire season is certainly in jeopardy. Maybe the out-of-work players can head on down to the Statehouse, join the chorus of general dissent and help inspire positive social change!

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