- Courtesy of ed_needs_a_bicycle via Flickr Creative Commons
A spike in readership
The literary proclivities of Indy youth spiked this summer as measured by at least on metric: Participation in The Indianapolis Public Library's 2013 Summer Reading Program spiked to the highest number since 2004 — a total of 59,836 children and families, including more than 24,000 kids aged 6-11 and more than 16,000 toddlers and preschoolers. An added bonus: The library allowed kids to use their reading efforts to work of library card debt. More than 1,100 children took advantage of the opportunities, working off almost $25,000 in fees. The library will continue to offer this option for the rest of the year to readers under 18. In addition to all the local reading success, participants in the program donated 1,210 books for students involved with Christel House International Learning Centers in India, South Africa and Mexico. Local readers can continue to support Indy' literary culture by visiting the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation's book sales at the Library Services Center, 2450 N. Meridian St. Half-price book day is from noon-7:30 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 16, followed by $7 bag day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 17.
Broad Ripple brouhaha
Ill ease continues among villagers over plans to redevelop the Broad Ripple brown field site at and around the abandoned Shell Station on College Avenue just north of Central Canal. Protestors gathered at the site last Friday to demonstrate their discontent. Meanwhile, staff with the Department of Metropolitan Development's planning division issued a tentative recommendation in support of the plan, while noting that the height variances requested would exceed the Envision Broad Ripple zoning guidelines by 20 to 40 percent. The hearing examiner will consider the proposal during at 1 p.m. Aug. 15 meeting in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County Building. Rudy Nehrling of Good Earth Natural Foods has requested a continuance because he said the staff report was not publicly available five days prior to the meeting, providing inadequate time to digest the latest report. Nehrling added that he would like to see an independent traffic study not paid for by the developer.
The results of the annual statewide homeless tally were released on Aug. 7. Officials found 688 unsheltered people and 5,396 people in shelters, safe havens or temporary transitional housing. Of these people: 1,543 were under 18 years old; 1,116 of the adults counted were women fleeing from domestic violence; and 743 of the adults counted were veterans. The total number of homeless individuals dropped three percent from the total counted last year, but the number of homeless households — at 4,375 — was up 4 percent over last year. Among the measured subgroups, the total number of households with dependent children saw the largest annual drop, down 23 percent to 739. The number of homeless veterans spiked 12 percent to 743, though officials noted their hope that $3.2 million in federal grant money heading to Indiana will help improve services to veterans and their families experiencing or close to homelessness. Locally, a new effort "to make homelessness rare, short-lived and recoverable in Indianapolis" will launch on Wednesday with a new cooperative Continuum of Care effort. Blueprint 2.0, the plan guiding the effort, is posted at indycoc.org. The COC's first full meeting is set for 1–4 p.m., Aug. 14, at 37 Place, 2605 E. 25th St. Also upcoming: The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention will host "The Cost Of Doing Nothing, A Conversation On Poverty" from 4-6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the NCAA Christine Grant Ballroom, 700 W. Washington St.