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MONTHLY

Melissa Callon

COLLECTIVE PUBLISHING PUBLICATION

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DECEMBER 2020

OWNER OF POSITIVE LOTUS AND LOCAL CHAMPION FOR POSITIVITY

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Joe Kempler (317) 523-6405 Scot Pollard (317) 900-3500

www.WestClayRealtors.com 2020-12-18 11:44 AM


CARMEL

CARES

Thank You for Doing Your Part

Engage, support and shop local businesses…virtually

With continued surges in COVID-19, we recommend conducting your shopping and dining with your local favorites, virtually. Reach out to your local businesses to find out about their pick-up and delivery options and be sure to follow them on social media for online events and special promotions.

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Be sure to explore what Carmel’s three main districts have to offer by visiting them online at CarmelCityCenter.com CarmelArtsandDesign.com MidtownPlazaCarmel.com Let’s work together to keep our merchants and community healthy.

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See you at our place! Now offering curbside pickup and Tony’s grill-at-home options

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Steer your hunger (317) 638-tony (8669)

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MONTHLY

17 COVER STORY

Melissa Callon: Owner of Positive Lotus and Local Champion for Positivity As we joyously say goodbye to 2020 and hopefully the abject negativity that the year created, our cover features Melissa Callon, a champion of positivity. What better way to usher in a new year than sharing with our readers the personal story of someone who has experienced some very difficult times in her life and has consciously chosen through it all to remain positive and also to share her positive outlook with others. With that we say hello 2021 and hope that this time next year we are talking about what a wonderful year it’s been! Cover Story Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photo // Laura Arick

6 The National Charity League Carmel Chapter Is Calling on Moms and Daughters

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West Clay Realty: Trusted and Proven Experts in Real Estate Open New Brokerage Harmony Steak House: Brings Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Asian Fusion to Anson

20 Building a Stronger, Healthier and More Vibrant City Amid a Pandemic

CARMEL MONTHLY PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803 PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418 DIRECTOR OF SALES / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418 HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison janelle@collectivepub.com / 317-250-7298 DECEMBER WRITER / Janelle Morrison Business Spotlight is sponsored content.

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Go to gooddaycarmel.com to receive its e-newsletters for events in Carmel.

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in 27 states. The six-year core program focuses on developing socially responsible community leaders while strengthening the mother-daughter relationship and building strong friendships with other local women and their daughters.

Building Leaders and Lifelong Friendships

T h e N a t i o n a l C h a r i t y L e a g u e C a r m e l C h a p t e r I s

Calling on Moms and Daughters Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

I recently came across a press release that introduced me to the National Charity League-Carmel Chapter, and having been involved with several nonprofits from the area, I was surprised that I had never heard of NCL. So, I reached out to the founders of the Carmel chapter, Jennifer Goehl and Jennifer Hare, to learn more about it and how others can get involved.

G

oehl and Hare are Carmel residents with daughters in the same grade. They shared with me the organization’s history and purpose in hopes to spread awareness and to offer a way for moms and daughters to get involved in the community while spending quality time together.

What Is the National Charity League (NCL)? The National Charity League established its Carmel chapter in April of 2019.

Since then, the chapter, comprised of Carmel mothers and daughters grades seven through 12, has been growing in size as well as purpose, as this group of philanthropic ladies has partnered with several local area nonprofits, providing hands-on volunteer services. NCL was established in LA in 1925 and incorporated in 1958. It is the premier mother-daughter organization of women and their daughters grades seven through 12. Currently, the membership is about 70,000 strong in 260 chapters

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Goehl and Hare established the Carmel chapter nearly two years ago, and they recruited friends to help establish a board of directors. From there, they focused on recruiting members: Carmel moms with daughters grades seven through 12. “I became aware of NCL in Atlanta, Georgia, because my niece and my sister-in-law were a part of their local chapter,” Goehl shared. “At that time, my daughter was 3 [years old], and I watched my niece and sister-in-law regularly volunteer for years, and I wanted that for me and my daughter.” By the time Goehl’s daughter was in sixth grade, Goehl had already researched to see if there was an existing local NCL chapter. “The chapter in Hamilton County had limited spots at that time, and so I was like, ‘We’ve got to figure this out,’” Goehl said. “I talked with Jen [Hare], whose daughter was also in sixth grade at the time, and we realized that there was so much opportunity for membership in Carmel that we could realistically pull a chapter together.” Goehl added, “We have so many different schools [in Carmel], and because we are so large [of a district], when the girls get into high school, they sometimes feel lost because it’s so big. It was icing on the cake, the thought that these girls are going to get involved in community service, learning about leadership and cultural experiences all before high school. And they’re all going to fall into the high school together, so they’ll have familiar faces there, bringing them all together and hopefully building friendships that will last for years to come.”

Pivoting Around COVID-19 to Continue Helping Others The time commitment for both mothers and daughters varies by the daughter’s

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age, but the minimum volunteer hours are 10–15 per year. The Carmel chapter has a proprietary app where members can go and see a vast number of service opportunities. Obviously, the current pandemic has cut short many of the traditional volunteer opportunities, but both Hare and Goehl reassured me that they have become creative and have pivoted their platform to meet the needs of the philanthropic organizations their chapter serves as well as offering ways their members can fulfill their annual time commitments. “Yes, COVID-19 did rock our world a little bit back in April,” Hare said. “We decided to align ourselves and follow along with the recommendations of the Carmel Clay School system. When they decided to go all virtual [earlier this year], we decided to change our entire platform to all virtual. That meant a number of our volunteer opportunities quickly got shut down. We typically volunteer with assisted living facilities such as The Stratford, and for the safety of our members as well as the community, we had to shut those [opportunities] down.”

Hare shared that they began creating volunteer opportunities for their members to do at home and have signed up for virtual walks with organizations like the American Heart Association. “Volunteering brings a kind of joy that you can’t get anywhere else—even during this pandemic,” Hare emphasized. “We can still be doing things for others, and we can still share a lot with one another.” When asked why moms and daughters should consider joining NCL during this current membership drive, Goehl replied, “I’m doing this to show my daughter how to give back, what leadership looks like and to further develop our relationship. It’s a way to bring moms and their daughters together, and in doing so, they develop relationships that will last a lifetime.” Hare concluded, “Intentionally setting aside time with your daughter to further develop your relationship, whether its through the volunteering or [chapter] meetings, that time is priceless. It’s a relationship builder that I will be forever thankful for.”

Be sure to follow NCL Carmel Chapter on Instagram at ncl_carmel or on Facebook at National Charity League, Inc. Carmel Chapter. For more information about the club’s structure and history, visit nationalcharityleague.org. To inquire about membership, contact Elizabeth Warren at membershipcarmel@nclonline.org.

ALTMAN, POINDEXTER & WYATT MAKING A DIFFERENCE Christine Crull Altman

Anne Hensley Poindexter

Scott P. Wyatt

John D. Proffitt Retired

CONGRATULATIONS This Month We Honor Our County’s Healthcare Heroes on being selected by Altman, Poindexter & Wyatt for Making A Differrence in our community!

Altman, Poindexter & Wyatt Would Like to Thank To All of Hamilton County’s Frontline Health Workers and Related Staff for Making A Difference in our community! As we close the last chapter of 2020, and look towards a new year with hopeful eyes, we would like to give our thanks to those men and women who perpetually leave the safety of their own homes, enter their respective health care departments–while donning PPE–to care for our community’s ailing and dying. They have our admiration and eternal gratitude for their sacrifices and commitment to caring for people despite putting their own lives, and those of their families, in constant danger. For their sakes and that of ALL members of our community, we implore everyone to wear a mask, follow the protocols, so that we may put an end to this pandemic in 2021.

CARMEL MONTHLY

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DECEMBER 2020

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SPONSORED CONTENT

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Rick Harrison, Principal, Senior Financial Advisor

ANSWERS YOUR FINANCIAL QUESTIONS

Two Documents Every 18-Year-Old Should Sign Financial and health care power of attorney documents are fundamental components of any estate plan. Executing these documents is essential to allow others to act on our behalf when we are unable to act for ourselves.

W

hen we think about who will act on behalf of our adult children when health or other emergencies arise in their lives, we tend to automatically assume that as parents we can always step in for our kids when they can’t fend for themselves. Right? Wrong! On a child’s 18th birthday, he or she becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. This is true even if you are still paying for his or her college tuition, housing, cell phone and car insurance, and it’s even true if you still carry the adult child on your health insurance plan and claim him or her as a dependent on your income tax return. More importantly, without proper documentation parents don’t have the authority to manage their adult children’s

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be a ten-year or more window of risk where there is no spouse to assume the role of agent and advocate and you as the parent will be in the best position to act during times of crisis. Fortunately, a simple solution exists. When your children turn 18 years of age, ask them to sign both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive, documents which will allow you to make decisions regarding emergency health care or step in and manage your adult children’s financial affairs should they be unable to do so themselves. Be sure the documents are valid not only in the state where you reside, but also in your children’s states of residence. The Health Care Directive consists of three parts: a health care power of attorney, which authorizes an agent to make medical decisions on someone’s

behalf; a HIPPA release that will provide the agent full access to medical records; and a living will, which expresses a person’s preference regarding end-of-life care. While the health care directive gives authority over medical decisions, a Durable Power of Attorney appoints an agent to act on an adult child’s behalf in a wider range of financial and legal matters. Not only limited to parents, any trusted family member, friend or adviser may take on the role of agent. A power of attorney may become effective from the moment it is signed or it may be activated by a specific event—for instance, if he or she becomes incompetent. The problem with this approach, known as “springing power,” is that someone must decide when an individual has reached that state. For that reason we recommend a durable power of attorney that takes effect immediately. Certainly these situations are not fun to ponder. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our adult children.

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2020-06-22 2:40 PM


West Clay Realty: Trusted and Proven Experts in Real Estate Open New Brokerage Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Paola Williams Photography

It has been an impressive evolution for Carmel residents and real estate experts Joe Kempler and Scot Pollard who have recently gone out on their own and formed West Clay Realty. Amid a pandemic, the duo has generated nearly $25 million in real estate sales and are looking ahead at 2021 being another strong year in residential real estate. THE “GO-TO” TEAM IN THE VILLAGE OF WESTCLAY Over the years, Kempler has built his reputation for attention to detail, first-rate customer service and expertise on the Village of WestClay and the Carmel real estate markets. His reputation and Pollard’s recognition as a former NBA player

and philanthropist have created a powerful and proven alliance that led the two former Encore Sotheby’s brokers to go out and create their own boutique brokerage in the heart of the Village of WestClay, where Kempler and Pollard both reside. Kempler attributes his customers’ referrals and what he has learned from

the different real estate brokerages he has been affiliated with to his continued success and his decision to branch out and reinstate West Clay Realty (an original endeavor) along with Pollard. “We’ve been blessed with having a lot of people continue to come back to us and refer us over the years,” Kempler said. “I’ve been associated with three great [real estate] brands, and they’ve taught me a lot. Getting back to West Clay Realty—which is where I began my career in real estate— has been a fun evolution.” The West Clay Realty office is conveniently located in the heart of the

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Village of West Clay at 1905 South New Market Street, Suite 165. “We have moved our office around the corner from our previous location, just south of the Meeting House in the Village [of WestClay],” Pollard said. “As I’ve talked about in the past, when I was interviewing with different real estate companies, trying to find the best fit for me to begin my real estate career, I felt going with Joe [Kempler] was the best fit for me. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with our relationship with Encore [Sotheby’s], Joe and I simply felt that we wanted to have more control over our listings, our client portfolios and our future. I felt it was still a good fit for me to stay with Joe as he re-creates West Clay Realty, and it’s been a great decision.” Pollard added, “Joe and I have developed a reputation of being your hometown Realtors. We live and work in the neighborhood, and while we also service our buyers/sellers in the surrounding areas, we do enjoy being the faces of real estate in West Clay.”

Kempler and Pollard’s confidence comes from experience, their understanding of the ebbs and flows of the local market and their empathy for what their clients’ need in their home environments during these challenging times where one’s home is truly a sanctuary for most. Pollard added, “Our optimism comes from our confidence, and our confidence comes from preparation, work ethic and from doing the right things for our clients.” An example of Kempler and Pollard’s customer-centric philosophy can be seen in their marketing initiatives. While building the West Clay Realty brand is important, it is secondary to promoting current inventory. “Another thing that sets us apart is when we do advertising, our primary focus is on our customers and their properties,” Kempler said. “For instance, when we advertise in Carmel Monthly, we’re advertising the properties, and it’s mostly about the clients and less about us.”

REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS FOR 2021

CHAMPIONS FOR THEIR COMMUNITY

Kempler’s thoughts for the impending new year mirror what has transpired in the local real estate market throughout 2020—a most unprecedented year in all industries and for residential real estate in particular. “Part of the success of the [residential real estate] market this year has been the result of a strong seller’s market,” Kempler shared. “There haven’t been that many homes on the market. I see that being the case going into next year. The feds have committed to keeping the interest rates low, and I think it will be another good market for residential real estate going into 2021.” Pollard added, “In uncertain times such as these, there are predictors that make us feel confident that not only are we going to continue to be successful real estate brokers on our own but also that the market is going to continue to be strong, despite all the things that might otherwise be ‘alarming’ in a normal market.”

Kempler and Pollard epitomize the notion of “working, living and playing” in one’s community. Both contribute in meaningful ways to the community at

large and especially to their neighborhood to help build stronger and healthier communities. For example, the duo donates a portion of every transaction to the MIBOR Foundation to help fight homelessness and sponsors an outdoor concert series in their neighborhood. “A good portion of our engagement efforts goes towards community events,” Pollard said. “We have concerts in the Village every year. We were able to get ours in this year before everything was really locked down, and we look forward to continuing those going forward.” Kempler added, “It’s been a tough year to get out and do the things that we wanted, but we’re going to have more of these events and community gatherings once it’s safe and practical to do so.” If you are in the market to sell or buy a home in the Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville or Village of WestClay areas, contact Joe Kempler or Scot Pollard and let these experts be part of your moving plans in 2021! Contact Joe Kempler at (317) 523-6405 or Scot Pollard at (317) 900-3500. Visit West Clay Realty at westclayrealtors.com.

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一攀眀 䘀䐀䄀 䌀氀攀愀爀攀搀 吀爀攀愀琀洀攀渀琀 倀爀漀瘀攀渀 琀漀 刀攀氀椀攀瘀攀 䬀渀攀攀 倀愀椀渀 䠀礀愀氀最愀渀 椀猀 愀 最攀氀 氀椀欀攀 猀甀戀猀琀愀渀挀攀 猀椀洀椀氀愀爀 琀漀 琀栀攀 猀礀渀漀瘀椀愀氀 ˻甀椀搀 椀渀 礀漀甀爀 欀渀攀攀猀 眀栀椀挀栀 爀攀搀甀挀攀猀 椀渀˻愀洀洀愀愀漀渀 愀渀搀 椀渀挀爀攀愀猀攀猀 挀甀猀栀椀漀渀椀渀最  愀渀搀 氀甀戀爀椀挀愀愀漀渀 漀昀 礀漀甀爀 欀渀攀攀猀 䤀䴀䴀䔀䐀䤀䄀吀䔀䰀夀⸀ 䠀礀愀氀最愀渀 椀猀 愀 瀀甀爀椀ǻ攀搀 挀漀洀瀀漀甀渀搀 眀栀椀挀栀 椀猀 昀漀甀渀搀 渀愀琀甀爀愀氀氀礀⸀ 吀栀椀猀 琀爀攀愀琀洀攀渀琀 瀀爀漀琀漀挀漀氀  椀猀 甀猀攀搀 琀漀 琀爀攀愀琀 琀栀攀 猀礀洀瀀琀漀洀猀 愀猀猀漀挀椀愀琀攀搀 眀椀琀栀 愀爀琀栀爀椀椀猀⸀ 䄀搀洀椀渀椀猀琀爀愀愀漀渀 琀愀欀攀猀 伀一䰀夀 䴀䤀一唀吀䔀匀 愀愀攀爀 愀 挀漀渀猀甀氀琀愀愀漀渀 愀渀搀 椀渀 漀ϻ挀攀  椀洀愀最椀渀最 猀琀甀搀椀攀猀 愀爀攀 瀀攀爀昀漀爀洀攀搀⸀

䌀䄀䰀䰀 ⠀㌀㄀㜀⤀ 㘀㠀 ⴀ㜀㐀㌀㌀ 䘀伀刀 䄀 刀䤀匀䬀 䘀刀䔀䔀 䌀伀一匀唀䰀吀䄀吀䤀伀一 吀伀 匀䔀䔀 䤀䘀 夀伀唀 儀唀䄀䰀䤀䘀夀 䘀伀刀 吀䠀䤀匀 吀刀䔀䄀吀䴀䔀一吀⸀ 㠀㈀ ㈀ 䌀氀攀愀爀瘀椀猀琀愀 倀欀眀礀 ⌀㤀䐀 䤀渀搀椀愀渀愀瀀漀氀椀猀Ⰰ 䤀渀搀椀愀渀愀 㐀㘀㈀㔀㘀

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A TALE OF GROWING MULTIPLE BUSINESSES

Harmony Steak House

Brings Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Asian Fusion to Anson Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Staff

Harmony Steak House goes beyond the boundaries of taste—it’s an exceptional dining experience. The newly opened Japanese steak house boasts authenticity in a nontraditional way. The owners, Ren Yang and his wife Lin Guo, are successful restaurateurs in both the Indianapolis area and in Chicago and are excited about their latest venture—Harmony Steak House—located in Whitestown at The Shoppes at Anson.

The Yang’s latest restaurant offers an expansive menu of traditional Japanese cuisine and Asian Fusion that features superb quality ingredients, creative sushi entrees, entertaining hibachi, all in a casual environment that is both elegant and family-friendly. Their dedication to the highest standards of food and customer service is what drives the Yangs’ success. They opened two of their six restaurants (Meet Noodles and Tsaocaa Indy) in the Castleton area in 2018 and 2019 and began looking at the Zionsville/Whitestown area in 2018. “We had been watching the [Anson] development since 2018, and we wanted to move to the Zionsville/Whitestown area and open a nice, elegant, sit-down restaurant,” Ren shared. “We like the area for its communities, schools and because it feels comfortable.” The Yang’s began the interior construction of Harmony Steak House in 2020. Although the project was delayed by a couple of month’s due to the pandemic, the couple was thrilled to complete the construction in November and officially open at the end of November. The pair are working fervently to build up their staff and levels of service to the exceptional standards that they are used to providing their customers while contending with the pandemic and required safety protocols.

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TRADITIONAL AND ASIAN FUSION CUISINE REDEFINED In addition to an inviting and kid-friendly atmosphere, Harmony Steak House consists of three dining experiences: the main kitchen, the sushi bar and the hibachi grill. Each brings flavor and fun to the dining experience. The talented culinary crew at Harmony creates an array of colorful and brilliant sushi displays made up of hand-wrapped sushi rolls and firstrate sashimi. In addition to Harmony’s signature and classic rolls, the menu also features some locally influenced creations such as the Whitestown and the Zionsville rolls, featuring colors to represent the communities. Another signature sushi roll, the Harmony Signature Roll, is a delectable roll that combines the taste variations of shrimp tempura, spicy crab meat, avocado, Jalapeno, topped with seared filet steak slices, spicy mayo and Chef’s special sauce—yes, please! If you’re looking for an entertaining and delicious dining experience, be sure to try one of Harmony’s hibachi combo. Or any of the exquisite appetizers,

teriyaki entrees and Japanese-style ramen noodle dishes that pair beautifully with Harmony’s signature cocktails or traditional sake that is offered in addition to its full bar, stocked with an impressive collection of top-shelf spirits. Ren added, “We tried to create something a little bit different [with the bar]. It has a different design, and we carry a lot of Japanese-style sake, traditional signature Japanese cocktails, but you

can order any kind of cocktails and spirits at the bar.” In addition to Harmony’s exceptional dine-in experience, people can enjoy its full menu via carryout by visiting the website and placing an order online. Special event catering is also available! “We continue to work at improving not just our food but our service,” Lin emphasized. “We are happy that people have been enjoying the atmosphere of our restaurant because we think that’s the most important thing we can bring to our customers. People are not just looking for good food. They can buy fast food or make their own food at home, but people go out to eat because they’re looking for a place to go to feel happy and comfortable.” So, if you’re looking for a delicious lunch or dinner in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere, come out and try Harmony Steak House and help us welcome Ren and Lin to the community. For more information, hours of operation and to view the full menu, visit harmonysteakhouse.com. Be sure to follow Harmony Steak House on Facebook, Instagram and Yelp.

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Owner of Positive Lotus and Local Champion for Positivity Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick

Carmel resident Melissa Callon by day is a practicing registered nurse as well as a champion for positivity, self-acceptance and a healthy body image. Callon’s own personal story with alcohol addiction and recovery is one of the reasons she decided to create her own clothing and accessories brand—Positive Lotus—that she launched in June of this year.

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Positive Message for Difficult Times

In a world that encourages materialism and constant comparison, Callon’s message is that true happiness begins from within. “My collection of apparel and accessories is a reflection of this message and

shows that you do not need outside influences (such as the perfect body, house, clothes, money, drugs or alcohol) to truly feel good about yourself,” Callon shared. “I struggled with [alcohol] addiction in my teenage and early adult years. By the time I was 23, I was ready to admit that I had a problem and went into a recovery

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program. It was hard for me to admit that I had a problem because I didn’t know many people, at my age, that were getting sober.” After a lot of hard work and self-discovery, Callon found her calling and became a registered nurse. She has been sober for a little over seven years and going strong.

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“We’re currently working on new designs for spring,” Callon said. “We started this brand to be all about building selfworth and a positive self-image. We offer small to plus sizes at the same price that we offer all of our other sizes. We want to make sure that we offer comfortable clothes at a reasonable price for all body shapes and sizes.”

A Fun and Purpose-Driven Brand

“Another reason why I wanted to start this brand was to show women—especially—that you don’t have to wait until later in life to get sober,” Callon expressed. “Addiction affects all ages, races and backgrounds. I got the idea for the [Positive Lotus] line while I was out shopping for a gift for a friend. What I noticed is that there are a lot of products out there that are alcohol-centric. For instance, products that say, ‘Mama needs a drink’ or ‘Rosé all day’ and things like that. I thought to myself that I would like to see stuff out there that reflects my message that you don’t need drugs or alcohol or the perfect hair, clothes and/or home to feel good about yourself.” Callon continued, “That was the inspiration behind Positive Lotus, and I came up with some sayings and mantras that I use in my recovery program, like ‘Grow through what you go through,’ ‘Attitude of gratitude’ and things like that for my clothing line.” When asked why she chose the lotus flower as her insignia, Callon replied, “The lotus flower is kind of an obsession for me because it grows through the mud and dirty water and eventually comes through that darkness to blossom into a beautiful and lovely flower that we see. For me, it’s a representation of any dark and difficult times that you may go through. It’s important to me that people know that it’s possible to come out on the other side and be a better person because of it.”

Living Her Message While building her business, Callon continues to care for patients as a registered nurse, and all this while living though the nation’s worst pandemic since 1917–18. Unfortunately, Callon and her fiancé, Ben—who helps her with the business side of her brand— both contracted COVID-19 and have made full recoveries. Having survived it, Callon is even more determined and driven to grow her brand and make a positive impact on peoples’ lives. “I didn’t realize the mental impact that [COVID-19] has with having to isolate and stay home before having it,” Callon shared. “I was blessed that my symptoms were mild, but my fiance got really sick at one point. Luckily, being a nurse, I was able to help monitor, but I started to think about all the other people, especially people dealing with addiction who are trying to sober in these challenging times. I just want them to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, no matter how bad it gets, you CAN get through anything—sober.”

Something Positive for All Body Types Positive Lotus currently features a robust collection of apparel and accessories for a variety of sizes and body shapes—including plus sizes—on its website and is looking to build on those collections going into next year.

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Positive Lotus promotes positivity and healthy body image, and it also supports local and national causes that focus on inspiring and empowering others. Callon shared that her company donates 5% of all its sales to the Natural High organization. Natural High is a drug abuse prevention nonprofit that provides classroom and family resources for 6th–12th graders. The mission is to inspire and empower youth to find their Natural High and develop the skills and courage to live life well. “Being a body positive brand is just a part of our mission,” Callon explained. “It is important to us to give back to the community for causes that are meaningful to us.” Positive Lotus was featured by A-Plus’ website, an organization founded by actor and technology investor Ashton Kutcher, for the positive work it is doing. Callon is passionate about helping local organizations and causes. She also believes in the importance of supporting local and works with not only local graphic designers, printing companies and minority-owned businesses but is also looking to get even more involved with local nonprofits and organizations that align with her positive messaging and areas of interest. While working through the challenges this year has brought, Callon said, “We will continue to adjust with the punches and are grateful for all the ‘little wins.’” Be part of the positive and follow Positive Lotus on Facebook at Positive Lotus, Instagram at thepositivelotus and shop online at positivelotus.com.

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did share that the city took advantage of the favorable market conditions and low interest rates and refinanced several of the city’s bonds, including redevelopment bonds, which saves the city over $16 million in interest.

B u i l d i n g a S t r o n g e r , H e a l t h i e r a n d M o r e V i b r a n t C i t y

Amid a Pandemic Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the City of Carmel

As the year comes to a close, and we take a moment to reflect on everything that has transpired since last January, pre-COVID-19 and throughout the pandemic, I thought it prudent to speak with Mayor Brainard about some of the most critical moments that continue to help shape our ever-evolving city, some of the lessons learned and what we can look forward to in the upcoming new year.

T

he mayor shared that the municipality’s departments have kept the city’s essential services “open for business” throughout the pandemic and have worked fervently at keeping these services operating without interruption. Brainard also shared that the city’s road

construction and redevelopment projects have also continued without interruption as a result of the city’s early COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts. While the mayor’s State of the City address was rescheduled for spring of 2021, at which time he plans on detailing the city’s fiscal health in great detail, he

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Looking back at how the city’s departments have functioned throughout the pandemic, what are some of the highlights that may have been overshadowed by news of the pandemic that you think deserve some praise? We have got a great city staff, and they continue to work hard to provide essential services and keep everybody safe within Carmel. The city’s employees have done a tremendous job. When we went virtual back in March with all the city services, our IT department stepped up and made it so every employee had remote access from home so that they could still work and provide essential services to the public. Our EMS and public safety continued delivering services to the city, and our fire department has had at least one COVID-19 public information booth set up in the parking lots of businesses around the city to distribute face masks, hand sanitizer, and to answer questions about COVID-19. When stores ran out of hand sanitizer, our street department learned how to make it and distributed it free to local businesses.

You mentioned that at the onset of the pandemic, the city didn’t wait for state resources to begin testing for COVID-19 and that the city partnered with a local laboratory to administer the early tests. What were some of the additional efforts that the city did to mitigate contagion and to get ahead of the virus’ surges?

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put systemic racism on a national—and global—stage. In addition to being one of a handful of police departments in the nation that is accredited by CALEA, what steps has the city and the Carmel Police Department made to improve its policies and procedures to ensure the fair treatment of all citizens of and visitors to our city?

We did our own contact tracing to speed up the time required to find out who needed to quarantine. When we discovered there were new ways to detect the virus in wastewater, we started testing our sewage for traces of the virus. This can give us about a 10-day advance notice of what’s going to happen at our hospitals because those virus levels spike up before people start going to the hospital with symptoms of COVID-19. This helps us and our hospitals in Carmel make better, informed decisions based on data.

To ensure the health and safety of our community, the city canceled several community events due to challenges related to the pandemic and the physical distancing requirements that the CDC issued, as well as the mandates issued by Gov. Holcomb. How difficult were these decisions to make, knowing there would be lost revenues not only for the city but

for local businesses who benefit from the tourism? It was a tough decision to cancel these events that are very special to our community, but it was the right decision to keep our community safe. The Carmel Christkindlmarkt, the Carmel International Arts Festival, among many others, have been such successes here in Carmel, but we knew that we could not conduct these events safely [and in accordance with physical distancing protocols] and generate the numbers that the organizing groups needed to break even. We didn’t want the community to remember a less than ideal experience either. So, with regards to Christkindlmarkt, we are taking this year off and are preserving our funds for next year. Plans are already in place for 2021, and we are only 11 ½ months away from opening the Christkindlmarkt, and that will come sooner than we think.

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In 2009, we started the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Human Relations to discuss issues and provide a place for people to go if they have a complaint or concern. We created a forum to raise these issues with me and with the community. We must all look at how we can make a difference every day and make the world, our country, our state and our city a better place.

In 1996, Carmel Police Department (CPD) was one of the first departments in the state to install dash cameras in every car, and it is required that the cameras be turned on in every interaction with the public. This protects both sides [the public and officers] of those human interactions. In addition, CPD was one of the first departments in Indiana to add body cameras to every officer. Those are also required to be turned on during every interaction with the public. CPD has worked hard over the last few decades to hire personnel that reflects the community it serves. This must continue to be part of our everyday consciousness. For a city to be successful, it has to be a place that welcomes everyone, regardless of background, country of origin, race or religion.

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As we look forward to 2021, what can we as a community do to assist the city in its efforts to keep our business community from faltering, our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and our neighbors and loved ones safe, until the vaccinations become widely available to the general public? First of all, we can’t overwhelm our hospitals because not only will there be tragic deaths due to the inability to treat heart attacks, strokes and other emergency situations, in addition to COVID-19 patients, but we could have the possibility of another lockdown, and that’s going to hurt our business community even more. The best thing that we can do to help our business community, our neighbors and friends is to follow the rules. We know washing our hands, staying physically distant, wearing masks and not having large gatherings in our homes works. The inoculation of health care workers has begun, but we still have several months to

go before enough people can be vaccinated to end this pandemic. In the meantime, we must take care of one another, help support our local businesses through online shopping, delivery or curbside

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Carmel MONTHLY December 2020  

Melissa Callon: Owner of Positive Lotus and Local Champion for Positivity As we joyously say goodbye to 2020 and hopefully the abject negati...

Carmel MONTHLY December 2020  

Melissa Callon: Owner of Positive Lotus and Local Champion for Positivity As we joyously say goodbye to 2020 and hopefully the abject negati...