Zionsville Monthly-March 2021

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Zionsville’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council: Empowering Future Leaders

This month, we are pleased to feature ZCHS sophomore and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council President Noah Alt, along with Mayor John Stehr, on our cover. Mayor Stehr established the town’s first Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) upon taking office in January. The purpose of MYAC is to empower high school students residing in Zionsville by actively involving them in local community affairs. Stehr expressed that this endeavor underscores his dedication to engaging with the younger generation and providing them with a platform to express their thoughts and ideas.

4 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024
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18 COVER STORY
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Laura Arick Business Spotlight is sponsored content. ZIONSVILLE 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 6 Popcorn: Rob Harrell’s Latest Book Delights Readers with Another Burst of Humor and Heart 10 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents: “DEAR DUKE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE” 12 Civic Presents: ANASTASIA 14 The Great American Songbook Foundation Presents: StageStruck 5! 16 Business Spotlight: Airy Time Heating & Cooling: Your Reliable HVAC Service Providers and Air Quality Experts 20 Efficiency in Action: Justice Center Development Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget ZionsvilleMag @ZionsvilleMag zionsvillemonthlymagazine.com ZIONSVILLEMONTHLYMAGAZINE

with Another Burst of Humor and Heart

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

CRAFTING LAUGHTER AND EMPATHY THROUGH LITERATURE

Once more, I had the chance to sit down with Harrell, exploring the journey of his career and the driving force behind his newest endeavor—a touching and comedic narrative revolving around Andrew, a middle school-aged character navigating anxiety amid a series of unfortunate events.

Since October 2018, “Zionsville Monthly” has had the privilege of featuring Zionsville resident and author Rob Harrell in previous issues. We are pleased to announce the publication of his latest novel “Popcorn,” due to be released on September 3, 2024.

FROM CARTOONIST TO CANCER SURVIVOR TO YOUNG ADULT & CHILDREN’S AUTHOR

Harrell’s book “Wink” has garnered national critical acclaim, earning recognition from Time magazine as one of the top 10 in the Young Adult & Children’s category, and has been published in 15 languages. Harrell, an exceptional author, illustrator, cartoonist and cancer survivor, previously shared with our readers his remarkable journey of overcoming an extremely rare form of ocular cancer in his right eye, which resulted in loss of sight but propelled him into a remarkable career as an author and artist.

Harrell wrote and drew the syndicated daily comic strip “Big Top” through 2007 and currently creates the long-running strip “Adam@Home,” appearing in over 140 newspapers worldwide. He’s also the creator of the beloved kids’ series “Life of Zarf.”

We have previously discussed his first hybrid novel “Monster on the Hill,” published in 2013, which was adapted into the CGI animated film “Rumble” and released in 2021 by Paramount and ReelFX. In addition to these accomplishments, Harrell’s other published works include “Batpig: Go Pig or Go Home,” “Batpig: Too Pig to Fail,” “Batpig: When Pigs Fly,” “Wink” and “Life of Zarf: Troll Overboard.”

“A part of me didn’t want to write another ‘kid with an issue’ story, but after COVID, universally, it seemed that everybody in the world is dealing with some level of anxiety … like it’s kind of its own pandemic now,” Harrell shared. “I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was a little kid; I just didn’t have a word for it. I was always an intense kid or worried kid, so anxiety has always been with me. I also had some OCD stuff like tapping things, and the more I got to thinking about [the next project], I felt like I was equipped to write a book similar in tone to ‘Wink’ but all about anxiety and OCD. This book is called ‘Popcorn’ because of Andrew’s analogy of what he’s feeling and going through. He feels like a kernel of popcorn in hot oil, and he’s wondering how long until he pops. My intention with this book is to show how [Andrew] comes out on the other side of his panic attack and how important support and empathy are to someone who is going through something rough in life. If put into the right hands, I

6 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024

think that this book could be therapeutic if only by letting kids know they’re not alone in dealing with anxiety and feelings of dread. I’m excited for this book to get out and to see people’s reactions to it.”

“I started my career as an illustrator and then as a cartoonist,” Harrell continued. “It’s always been about writing a funny joke, and then ‘Wink’ was just such a rewarding experience, and I realized that I enjoy the [experience] of connecting with people over books like ‘Wink.’ There are some great books out there about anxiety, especially for young kids, so does the world need one more [book] about it? I don’t know, but I don’t think it hurts. I tried to make ‘Popcorn’ a fun book to read, and I think it normalizes the subject

INSPIRING AND CONNECTING WITH THE NEXT GENERATION OF CREATIVES

Harrell is a dedicated member of his community, often visiting schools and local libraries to engage with young minds.

who liked to draw cartoons to doing what I’m doing now. When I get to ‘Wink,’ I talk about empathy and my [cancer] experience. I intend to make the conversation more about anxiety and depression when I go out and talk about ‘Popcorn.’ That is all very important to me, but when I’m speaking with kids, it’s also important that I show kids that I took this particular path and I get to do what I dreamt of doing when I was a kid … it is possible. If I had an author come and speak to my school when I was a kid who liked to draw and write, it would have exploded my brain! The bottom line is, I feel like in

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4/5 & 4/6

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THE LINE UP

WHO’S BAD | The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience

JOHNNY FOLSOM 4 | Tribute to Johnny Cash

ARI AXELROD | signature & heartfelt spin on musical theater, pop & beyond.

SWEET CAROLINE | The Life and Music of Neil Diamond Presented By Don Farrell

JAZZ BRUNCH HOSTED BY BLAIR CLARK| Featuring Pavel Polanco-Safadit

DECEPTION: An Evening of Magic and Lies | Magic Show

STORM LARGE | Actor, Singer, Songwriter seen on America’s Got Talent

DUELING PIANOS BY BABY GRAND ENTERTAINMENT | Live Jukebox Experience

DRAG ME TO BRUNCH HOSTED BY PAT YO’ WEAVE | 11 am Show 21+ Only

Visit FeinsteinsHC.com to purchase tickets.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents:

DEAR DUKE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE

APRIL 21 @ 3:00 P.M.

Antonia Bennett, a renowned jazz vocalist and daughter of the iconic Tony Bennett, will join the Carmel Symphony Orchestra for a special concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 21 at the Palladium. The concert aims to celebrate the 125th birthday of Duke Ellington, a legendary figure in jazz history. Under the baton of Principal Guest Conductor Joel Smirnoff, Bennett will perform alongside the orchestra, presenting two beloved selections from the Great American Songbook: Ellington’s “The River” and Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.” Tickets for this memorable event start at $67 and can be purchased online or at the Center for the Performing Arts box office. For more information and ticket bookings, please visit thecenterpresents.org or contact (317) 843-3800.

Antonia Bennett lives by Duke Ellington’s timeless advice: “Number one, never give up. Number two, remember number one!” With a voice The New York Times compares to “Billie Holliday and Rickie Lee Jones, with a hint of Betty Boop,” Bennett is a jazz vocalist and a gifted interpreter of the Great American Songbook, as well as an accomplished songwriter.

Growing up surrounded by music legends like Rosemary Clooney and Frank Sinatra, Antonia started singing with her father at age four. After attending Berklee College of Music, she began her career in New York City, opening for Tony at prestigious venues worldwide.

Her latest album “Embrace Me” further solidifies her place in the jazz world, earning praise from critics for her captivating performances.

You can catch her live performances and stay updated on her latest projects at AntoniaBennett.com. Be sure to follow Bennett on Instagram @antoniabennett and on Facebook @itsantoniabennett.

Describing interviewing Tony Bennett as an incredible lifetime event would be an understatement. Having had the opportunity to interview his daughter, Antonia, feels like a fitting bookend to what I

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS

consider the greatest honor of my career. I also enjoyed the privilege of speaking with Principal Guest Conductor Joel Smirnoff about the upcoming concert and working with Ms. Bennett.

Smirnoff shared, “What is cool about this concert is that it will feature a couple of arrangements that were done by a famous arranger for Frank Sinatra and a few other people—Nelson Riddle. I bought two Nelson Riddle arrangements that were done for Ella Fitzgerald and I sent them to Antonia. We are reviving these two wonder arrangements from 1959 that came from this fantastic relationship Fitzgerald had with Riddle. So, there’s stuff going on in this concert that’s pretty unique.”

Janelle Morrison: As an advocate for the preservation/education of the Great American Songbook, I think it’s important that we engage and inspire younger generations so that they not only participate by buying tickets but will become the next stewards of these standards.

Antonia Bennett: The songs are so good and they’re here for everybody! I was lucky to be exposed to the Great American Songbook as I was growing up. I think my generation might have been the last generation before the internet … I got the internet in college. Before [the internet], we had variety shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and whatnot. We would sit and watch these shows with our parents, and on these shows, they would have people like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or my dad [Tony], along with whoever

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Joel Smirnoff, Principal Guest Conductor / Antonia Bennett, vocalist / Ellington, The River / Gershwin, An American in Paris / Antonia Bennett, vocal arrangements Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography //Patrik Andersson, Peter Mellekas and Craig Allyn
CARMELSYMPHONY.ORG.
AT

the contemporary acts were. They were all mixed in together, and we were really exposed to everything relevant at that time. People today, instead of watching a show together, are taking their devices and watching what they want separately, and it’s a very different thing from the generations that came before and watched things as a family, I think.

JM: Even the way we listen to music is vastly different today. Before the internet, we listened to artists’ entire albums on cassettes or vinyl rather than streaming singles, and I think we got to know the artists/bands in a different, more engaging way.

AB: Absolutely.

JM: As a performer collaborating with symphony orchestras and jazz ensembles, have you observed a resurgence in people’s interest in experiencing orchestral music and jazz genres since the pandemic?

AB: Just two years ago, Samara Joy won [a GRAMMY] for Best New Artist. My dad used to say all the time, “Oh, you’ll see … jazz is coming back.” And I always said, “Well,

it never went out.” But it goes through phases. There are always different fads that are coming in and going out, and nothing can stay up high on its own forever, but there are always going to be people who are interested, and there are always going to be new and younger people that learn about this music and are interested in it.

I think the popularity is coming from what is happening now. We’ve been through such a terrible time and were isolated for so long [during the pandemic]. There is something wholesome about the music, and with all the politics that are going on, and with what is going on in Russia and the Middle East, these are very hard times. People really just want goodness and wholesomeness. They’re craving that more, and these songs really lend themselves to those things.

JM: If we take a step back and look at the original “Roaring 20s,” there are a lot of similarities in what is going on today compared to 100 years ago.

AB: Everything comes back into fashion. I never thought I would see those high-waisted jeans again that just a few

years ago, they were calling “mom jeans.” And now, if you wear skinny jeans, those are the new “mom” jeans. Everything comes back around, but you have to be true to yourself. That’s what I try to do … I try to gravitate towards quality and things that really move me. That’s the core thing for me. It has to feel good to me. I do this not just because it’s my livelihood, but because I love to do it and I want to do something that means something. I hope people like it as much as I do. You can sing a song over and over again and find new meaning in the words and find a different angle because these songs are deep.

JM: Do you have any new and exciting projects that you’re working on and any fun collaborations?

AB: Yeah—I have a record in the can that’s due to be released this year, and I’ll be touring in the States so people will be able to find me in different areas, and that’s exciting. Randy Brecker is playing on one of the tracks, and Dave White is doing background vocals for me on one of the songs on my record as well. We’re currently working on the release dates!

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THE CIVIC PRESENTS:

ANASTASIA

APRIL 26 - MAY 11, 2024

SHOWTIMES:

THURSDAYS, FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS AT 7:00 P.M.

SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS AT 2:00 P.M.

From Tony winners Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, creators of such Broadway classics as “Ragtime” and “Once on This Island,” this dazzling show transports its audience from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family. (Concord Theatricals.)

DON’T WAIT! PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS AT THECENTERPRESENTS.ORG.

While the historical reality has debunked the claim of Anastasia’s survival, storytelling, particularly in mediums like musicals, can offer a different lens through which to explore themes of identity, loss and resilience. “Anastasia,” the musical, despite its departure from historical accuracy, can

still provide an engaging and empathetic portrayal of a refugee’s journey and the universal desire to reconnect with one’s past and family. Fictional narratives like this allow audiences to delve into emotional landscapes and empathize with characters navigating complex personal journeys, even if they diverge from historical truth.

BELLA AGRESTA ANYA

This is my second show with Civic, and when I saw that Anne Beck was directing, I knew I had to do this show. I think something about Anya that I hope people will understand is that she was just trying to find out who she was. She wanted to find her family and to know who she was … she didn’t want to be [the ] Princess Anastasia.

I didn’t see the movie “Anastasia,” but what I love about this musical is the music. When I was in high school, I was in show choir and a lot of people would sing songs from the show. I’ve always loved the music from this musical, and that’s one thing that helps me get into character because I’ve always really been into music. I think the music and the lyrics are so beautiful. I really love “In My Dreams” … it is so beautiful. I also really love “In a Crowd of Thousands” that Anya sings with Dmitry.

TROY BRIDGES DMITRY

This is my first civic show. I’ve seen a couple of shows here in previous years, and I loved the camaraderie. I always knew this was a theater that I wanted to get myself into. When I saw “Anastasia” come up, I was excited to audition for it.

I think, historically, “Anastasia” is really interesting. It was an atrocity that happened so long ago. Disney can paint this picture or fairy tale, but at the end of the day, it was a travesty and I think it’s important for audiences to understand that.

I’ve had a really good experience trying to understand what Dmitry’s motives are. At one point, he’s trying to get out of Russia and get all this money and whatnot, and then later on, he has this whole character development where he and Anya start getting really close and it just completely flips. It’s been really fun getting to understand that.

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Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Joshua Hasty Photography

STEVE KRUZE VLAD POPOV

I think this is my 13th production with Civic. The experiences are always top-notch. All you have to worry about is bringing the work to the character into the rehearsal room and onto the stage. Everything else gets taken care of.

For me, as a history buff, I happily went back down the rabbit hole to find from the historical perspective what’s happened in the last 20 years, discovering bones and things and finding out that nobody made it out. So, this story is a little more fictional as time has gone along, but that point in that country’s development and learning how things changed and why some of that stuff happened has been interesting, as has figuring out how this character Vlad, who is an amalgam of every sycophant hanging at every table, [is] trying to get a name for himself.

NATHANAEL HEIN GLEB VAGANOV

This is my first show with Civic. Some of my friends were in “The Sound of Music” and it was amazing. I can see there’s a really strong family-like feeling amongst the people that have been here.

I’ve never played an antagonist before. I think Gleb is a really great first one to have a go at. I think Gleb is conflicted about what he truly wants and is stuck in this sense of duty and wanting to obey orders. You can say that he also wants love and wants to grow. I think throughout the story, these things really grate on each other a lot: his wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, to be a good soldier, and do what’s “right” for the country, and yet he’s taken with Anya. As much as Gleb wants to love Anya, to do that would betray his father’s memory, and it would make what he [his father] did wrong.

CAST LIST

Anya Bella Agresta

Dmitry Troy Bridges

Vlad Popov

Gleb Vaganov

Countess Lily Malevsky

-Malevitch

The Dowager Empress

Maria Fyodorvna

ENSEMBLE:

Steve Kruze

Nathanael Hein

Nina Stilabower

Jill O’Malia

(All ensemble members will play multiple roles.)

Tsar Nicholas II David Brock

Tsarina Alexandra Heather Hansen

Little Anastasia ................................. Louisa Zabel

Young Anastasia Keegan Connor

Olga Romanov ..................................... Emily Lantz

Tatiana Romanov Renée La Schiazza

Maria Romanov

Alicia Barnes

Marfa Kelsey McDaniel

Paulina

Alexis Koshenina

Dunya/Countess Gregory ................ Braxton Hiser

Count Ipolitov ........................... Matthew Sumpter

Gorlinsky

Count Leopold

Daniel Wilke

Tanner Brunson

Count Gregory Josh Vander Missen

Sergei Alex Smith

Alexei Romanov Jackson Duncan

Nolan Daugherty

Chris Ritchie

13 civictheatre.org | 317.843.3800 4/26-5/11 ANASTASIA IS PRESENTED BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CONCORD THEATRICALS. WWW.CONCORDTHEATRICALS.COM
BY TERRENCE MCNALLY MUSIC BY STEPHEN FLAHERTY LYRICS BY LYNN AHRENS INSPIRED BY THE TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX MOTION PICTURES BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT WITH BUENA VISTA THEATRICAL FROM THE PLAY BY MARCELLE MAURETTE AS ADAPTED BY GUY BOLTON ANASTASIA Carmel Monthly Ad.indd 1 3/25/2024 10:11:49 AM
BOOK

THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK FOUNDATION PRESENTS:

STAGESTRUCK 5!

“StageStruck! 5: Exploring Nostalgia and the Hollywood Musical” is the central theme of an upcoming international academic conference scheduled for May 15-17 in central Indiana. Organized by the Great American Songbook Foundation, based in Carmel, and co-hosted with the University of Sheffield (U.K.), the event will be held at the Center for the Performing Arts. Welcoming scholars and students globally, the conference will feature a hybrid format, allowing for interactive online participation alongside on-site attendance.

see, and that is the work in the archives and music library. I think this conference is a perfect example of the kind of scholarly work that will come from this conference and previous conferences. There are scholarly articles, recording projects, documentaries and books that come from these. Dominic has become a great friend and champion for the foundation who came here [Carmel] as a researcher in 2013, and he’s come back at least every other year since to help us with projects and to research his other projects.”

Broomfield-McHugh spoke about his reasons for selecting Carmel and the Center for the Performing Arts as the conference venue above all other global options.

A GATHERING POINT FOR GLOBAL TALENT AND EXPERTISE

The City of Carmel and the Center for the Performing Arts are excited to welcome convention attendees back to their renowned performing arts campus. This will be the fifth StageStruck! conference organized by Dominic Broomfield-McHugh, Professor of Musicology at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of recent publications such as “The Oxford Handbook of the

The Music Man to 1491,” both released by Oxford University Press.

Great American Songbook Foundation Executive Director Chris Lewis spoke about the importance of the foundation bringing in academic scholars such as Broomfield-McHugh.

“Dominic is an example of someone that’s been impacted by our mission,” Lewis stated. “That’s a component of our mission that people don’t typically get to

“The facilities are beautiful—the Palladium and the whole center,” Broomfield-McHugh acknowledged. “It is such an attractive place to visit. There is such a strong sense of community in the city. And while the facilities are beautiful, they mean nothing if the people that are inhabiting them aren’t creating an atmosphere and a culture. There is a very strong sense of culture when you encounter people in Carmel. I really enjoy visiting, and it is total self-indulgence, frankly. The most important reason, from my academic point of view, is, clearly, this is the place to go for academic specialism. It is so exciting to bring academics from institutions [throughout the world] into this place where everything is the ‘Songbook,’ and that is very exciting for them.”

CELEBRATING THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL

Alongside the conference, the Great American Songbook Foundation will present a mini-festival celebrating the Hollywood musical. Open to both conference participants and the public, the festival will feature screenings of timeless films, Q&A sessions with industry experts, and an exclusive concert by the foundation’s founder Michael Feinstein. All festival activities are included with full conference registration and can be added on with single-day passes. Tickets for individual events will be available for purchase to the public later this spring.

Great American Songbook Foundation Director of Programs Renée La Schiazza shared more details about the conference and the public engagement opportunities.

“We’re bringing in over 30 speakers from seven different countries and locations throughout the U.S. for this

14
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the Center

conference,” La Schiazza said. “People are traveling across the world to come to Carmel and present on these themes of research that they’ve been exploring for their careers. From the national perspective, we’ll be hosting speakers from 15 states, including experts from Indiana, which I think is important [because] we’re not only getting that global perspective, but we’re also engaging experts that are doing their work right here in Indiana.”

La Schiazza expressed that the foundation is thrilled to bring international experts to Carmel for discussions that often lead to publications and industry projects, making significant contributions to musicology and the film industry. It’s also a special chance for central Indiana community members to enjoy classic film musicals.

That’s why the foundation is hosting a mini film festival of the Hollywood musical on May 14 and 15, featuring multiple screenings open to the public. With MGM’s 100th anniversary upon us, it’s the perfect time for this celebration.

Attendees can experience rare screenings of these classics on the big screen, participate in Q&A sessions with conference experts and industry guests, and gain insights into the filmmaking process. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Carmel and its residents.

“Residents from central Indiana can come here to the Center for the Performing Arts campus and experience these films in both the Palladium and the Tarkington [Theatre], and we’ll have artifacts on display from our collections that cross over into the films,” La Schiazza shared. “People will get a chance to engage with these experts from around the world, and I think it’s going be a really great week!”

StageStruck! 5 is supported in part by the City of Carmel.

Registration for the conference is open until April 15 at TheSongbook.org/ StageStruck2024, where you can also find the complete schedule. For any inquiries, feel free to reach out to info@TheSongbook.org.

StageStruck! 5:

Exploring Nostalgia and the Hollywood Musical

Attendance and pricing options include:

• On-site: Full conference $230, single day $70

• Online: Full conference $90, single day $30

• Student: Full conference on-site $80, single day on-site $20, online only FREE

Reduced lodging rates are available at local hotels.

The scheduled keynote speakers are:

• Maya Cantu, Bennington College –“‘A Bed of Roses, Thorny Side Up’: Countering Nostalgia in Bradford Ropes’s 42nd Street and in the Backstage Novel”

• Desirée Garcia, Dartmouth College –“How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Musical?: Genre, Nostalgia, and Race”

• Julianne Lindberg, University of Nevada, Reno –“A Star is Born (1932-2018): Nostalgia, Hollywood Pastiche, and the Idea of Entertainment”

• Hannah Lewis, University of Texas at Austin –“La La Land’s Nostalgia”

The conference also will include a showcase of the Great American Songbook Foundation’s archival holdings of musical film and theater, including the papers of “The Music Man” creator Meredith Willson, songwriter Gus Kahn, and EGOT-winning performer Liza Minnelli.

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Zionsville’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council:

FutureEmpoweringLeaders

This month, we are pleased to feature ZCHS sophomore and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council President Noah Alt, along with Mayor John Stehr, on our cover.

Mayor Stehr established the town’s first Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) upon taking office in January. The purpose of MYAC is to empower high school students residing in Zionsville by actively involving them in local community affairs. Stehr expressed that this endeavor underscores his dedication to engaging with the younger generation and providing them with a platform to express their thoughts and ideas.

The mayor appointed Mary Grabianowski, a former government teacher at Zionsville Community High School and a member of Zionsville Plan Commission, as the council’s advisor. Deputy

Mayor Kate Swanson also provides instrumental guidance and advisory support to the MYAC.

ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY’S YOUTH

MYAC convenes every month, focusing on educational activities, leadership development and fostering civic engagement.

“I think one of the things we should be doing in municipal government is having an eye on the future, the next generation, and the town that the [next generation] is going to inherit from us,” Stehr said. “The best way to be engaged with that is to get the young people involved and to hear what they have to say, what they want, and what they desire.”

The mayor has found this inaugural youth council to be remarkably impassioned for the continued prosperity and future of their community.

“Frankly, I have been surprised at how engaged they are and how interested they are in municipal government,” Stehr expressed. “They are taking this advisory [council] seriously and they have voices that deserve to be heard. Since we started mid-school year, we only have this council for another couple of months before graduation, so I think it’s important that we get together on a service project— which [MYAC] already discussing—and [MYAC] also going to make a presentation to the town council before this session

18 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick and submitted

breaks. Next August or September, we will have MYAC line up with the school year and will choose the next council at that time, and the next MYAC session will run through May of the following year. While I appreciate the [ZCS] school district being a partner in this, I’d like for all Zionsville high schoolers to know that MYAC is open to them whether they go to private schools or are homeschooled. We have such talented and bright kids here … I sincerely admire and appreciate them.”

When asked why it is important for the young citizens to not only feel that they are engaged but are truly being seen and heard by the community, Stehr replied, “This is a talent pool that we want to eventually come back to Zionsville. If they don’t feel that they were ever part of the community and have an invested interest in Zionsville, why would they want to come back?”

APPLAUDING THE RISE OF FUTURE COMMUNITY LEADERS

MYAC President Noah Alt shared that he is the oldest of eight children in his family. Alt has resided in Zionsville since age three and has attended ZCS schools since eighth grade. He is active in football and lacrosse and is passionate about his faith,

family, community and politics. Alt also shared that he is interested in the sciences and has an “affinity towards medicine.”

“I have always had an interest in politics,” Alt said. “I think it is super important, no matter what side you are on, to know what you’re voting for—or the lack thereof if you choose not to vote. I think policies and politics matter because people matter. I am also the class president of my grade [sophomore] and I love making sure that change is happening. So, when I saw the opportunity to join MYAC, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to help make sure that the young citizen voices in Zionsville are being heard. I’m so grateful that God has given me this opportunity to lead in this way, and making sure that my peers’ voices are being heard is so important.”

Alt stated that MYAC currently has 20 members and typically meets once a month with the mayor and deputy mayor. The MYAC leadership meets with Deputy Mayor Swanson and plans the following month’s meeting and any activities or service projects between MYAC meetings. Members of MYAC will also meet with the department heads to gain a better understanding of each department’s roles and duties.

Alt also discussed the council’s upcoming community beautification project and how he has enlisted the help of ZCHS students in addition to MYAC members.

“The service project that we’ve decided on is a cleanup [project] on Main Street,” Alt said. “We will be painting the light posts, sweeping the sidewalks, and planting flowers.”

Looking ahead to the immediate future of MYAC, Alt stated that one of the advisory council’s goals is to establish connections with local and state elected representatives. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for members to shadow these officials, gaining insight into their duties and responsibilities. Additionally, it seeks to foster a broader understanding of how local and state governments operate and collaborate.

Be sure to keep an eye out for announcements this summer from the Town of Zionsville for enrollment in MYAC before the start of the next school year.

MYAC’S EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP

MYAC President Noah Alt proudly represents the council along with his fellow MYAC officers:

MYAC Vice President Aiden Cope, grade 12. A follower of Christ and a member of Best Buddies, he loves politics. Cope plans to attend Hanover College, major in political science, and play baseball.

MYAC Secretary Parker Coyle, grade 11. President of PUENTES (a club that aims to support communities in Latin America; ~$2,000 raised for schools in rural Honduras; -$2,500 raised for a service trip to Guatemala), played basketball freshman/sophomore year, tutors Spanish I-IV and physics, and likes to code in his spare time. Coyle plans on majoring in computer science.

MYAC Communications/Social Media

Director Emma Vargo, grade 11. She is the team captain for Zionsville varsity softball, an officer for Best Buddies, and part of Key Club, Operation Honduras (PUENTAS) and Unified Basketball. Vargo plans to attend Indiana University and major in political science and communication.

19 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024

Efficiency in Action

Justice Center Development Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget

Zionsville Monthly had the privilege of touring, along with Boone County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe and former Boone County sheriff Mike Nielsen, the newly enclosed areas where the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, community corrections, probation, coroner’s office and other facilities such as training rooms and a new infirmary will be housed upon completion.

This is the first installment of a multi-part series where we will explore the newly constructed areas of the Boone County Justice Center and provide reports as we tour each section.

BUILDING FOR TODAY AND BEYOND TOMORROW

Discussions surrounding a proposed justice center for Boone County commenced in 2015, involving former county commissioners, county councilmembers,

and former Boone County sheriff Mike Nielsen. Nielsen, currently serving as the Boone County Executive Project Manager, is overseeing the construction of the justice center, collaborating with various teams and departments in the process. He reports directly to the current county commissioners: Donnie Lawson, Jeff Wolfe and Tim Beyer of Zionsville.

Initially, projections in 2015 outlined the county’s population growth, justifying the need for expansions to the existing jail in Lebanon, Indiana. However, the $3.7 billion Eli Lilly development and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s LEAP District in Boone County, both currently underway, were unforeseen. These projects are anticipated to significantly impact the county’s growth trajectory.

The Boone County Justice Center aims to streamline operations, offer convenience, and yield cost savings by consolidating multiple legal, judicial, medical and mental health services under one roof. Rather than merely “warehousing” individuals, the center is geared towards rehabilitation, rethinking criminal justice for the community.

In addressing the challenges associated with increased caseloads, providing scalable infrastructure, ensuring resource efficiency, enhancing community accessibility, and bolstering confidence in the legal system, the Boone County Justice Center is poised to immensely benefit a growing county.

MAXIMIZING EFFICIENCY AND PROFESSIONALISM FOR A GROWING COUNTY

The newly constructed buildings will serve as the sheriff’s office and administration offices, the BCSO emergency command center, the community corrections and probation facility, and the coroner’s office. They include a new kitchen for the entire complex and an infirmary, along with residential housing for the inmates who are working their way back to becoming gainfully employed, productive and healthy members of the community.

Currently, the administration building and the designated areas for community corrections and probation are completely enclosed. Construction is underway for the mental health block, as well as the

20 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024
Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Janelle Morrison

areas designated for the coroner and pre-booking.

Most of the ceilings in the facility are approximately 10 feet high, except for the entrance area, which boasts ceilings over 20 feet. There have also been some engineering changes, providing the opportunity to expand parking within the next year and a half.

Metal detectors will be stationed at the main entry, manned by staff. There is a dedicated room off the main entrance designated for full-body scans after passing through the metal detectors.

The exterior of the building is made of masonry for security purposes, and the interior walls are steel stud construction. For ease of maintenance, the jail cells will be modular in nature. The multi-purpose rooms near the sheriff’s office are designed to accommodate officer interviews without requiring access to that area. Command and support staff will be located down the hallways, fostering efficient communication and workflow.

“The fact about this particular area is that we had this department operating out of an area that was built for about half the number of people that were there,” Wolfe stated. “We had converted closets and storage rooms into office spaces. This is purpose-built for a department of our size plus what we are anticipating for the future.”

Wolfe shared that the projected growth is approximately 140,000 people in Boone County in the next 10 years.

“If you look at the reality of the LEAP district, that number could be significantly higher,” Wolfe said. “This is what we’re planning for, and [we anticipate] that we’ll have a rise in the crime rate for the county purely from a population change standpoint.”

Moving into the conference and training center areas where future press conferences will be held by BCSO and related department heads, Wolfe shared, “We’re installing state-of-the-art technology for the sheriff to conduct press conferences. There will be a designated entrance and exit for the media, along with a separate entrance for the sheriff, ensuring seamless access for both parties.”

The lower level of the newly constructed expansion area is dedicated to investigations. There is a garage where vehicles can be brought in for processing. Over the past decade, BCSO expanded its crime scene investigation program but lacked proper facilities for evidence processing. This space will feature lockers for deputies to securely store evidence, ensuring its integrity. Also housed in this area is a space dedicated to the officers’ health and well-being.

Nielsen added, “One of the big focuses [of] this expansion is on mental and phys-

ical health. This workout area will house different workout machines and free-lift weights and those types of things to help with that focus on the well-being of the officers. This area will also be outfitted with locker rooms for convenience.”

The infirmary site features a secured hallway that offers holding areas for inmates in need of medical assistance or support.

Wolfe said, “Previously, the infirmary was no larger than one of these [new] holding areas in totality. There will be five hospital beds plus a bariatric bed and additional office space for nurses and doctors. It will be climate-controlled so that the area can be isolated for situations like COVID.”

UNDER BUDGET AND ON SCHEDULE

“We are over 50% completed and are at or slightly below budget at this time,” Wolfe shared. “This is a BOT (build-operate-transfer) project so the total budgeted number of $59,151,323.00 will not change. Where there can be minor changes to the FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment), we are paying for with cash and we are well within budget.”

Nielsen added, “We have a great team put together between the design, construction and development teams and the on-site teams. We’ve all gelled well, and in addition to favorable weather conditions, I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re on budget and ahead of schedule.”

At the outset of planning years ago, when Nielsen served as the county’s sheriff, a design centered on rehabilitation rather than incarceration has been a primary focus for the commissioners and the sheriff.

“One of the things that’s really impressive about this whole project design is that we literally sent K2M our specs and they built the project to those specs,” Wolfe explained. “We didn’t adopt their ideas … they have built exactly what we asked them to.”

Stay tuned for upcoming reports on the expansion areas of the Boone County Justice Center. For more background on the justice center project, visit the Boone County Commissioners’ website at livinginboonecounty.com.

21 ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY MARCH 2024
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