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Named to Hall of Fame By Zionsville Based US Basketball Writers Association

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Bill Benner Named to Hall of Fame By Zionsville Based US Basketball Writers Association Recently we saw an interesting story carrying a byline of Zionsville, Indiana. The story was about the Zionsville based US Basketball Writers Association having named Bill Benner to its Hall of Fame. Needless to say, we were surprised that this organization was based in Zionsville. So, with our curiosity piqued, we reached out to USBWA Executive Director and Zionsville resident Malcom Moran to find out a bit more about the association and much more about its recent selectee, Bill Benner. Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Laura Arick

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the center of this issue you will find something new to our publication, Zionsville Matters. We are proud to partner with the Town of Zionsville in producing this special section. Expect to see Zionsville Matters appearing in Zionsville Monthly on a bi-monthly basis as a means to keep the residents of Zionsville informed.

09 A Message About Staying Safe Around Retention Ponds 14 Indiana Regenerative Medicine 17 Village Mattress Pairs with Local Artist Rob Schaefer to Support Local

18 Our Local Experts on the State of Residential Real Estate Spring 2021

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 FEBRUARY WRITERS / Janelle Morrison

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And be vocal in the moment to correct the situation.” Instructing kids to get off the ice and come over to the safety of the shore is key, but Randolph explained it is important to share with the kids why you instructed them to get off the ice. “Be part of the education process and tell them, ‘Hey, I’m not trying to be mean, but you can fall through that ice, and I’m telling you this so that you can be safe.”

Why Retention Ponds Are Not Safe for People and Pets

A Message About Staying Safe Around Retention Ponds Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CFD and ZFD

I’ve recently seen and have heard of too many incidents where kids are scampering across iced-over retention ponds. Having knowledge of what can compromise the ice covering these ponds, I felt compelled to reach out to our communities’ fire departments—Carmel Fire Department (CFD) and Zionsville Fire Department (ZFD)—to hear what the safety experts have to say about water safety in the winter. And I asked the departments to share what to do if you or someone else falls through or drives into the ice on a retention pond.

Be a “Present” Adult in Your Neighborhood


FD’s public educator Vincent Randolph reminded us that winter water safety practices are just like summer water safety practices. “Be a very present parent,” Randolph emphasized. “Don’t assume that your children or the children in your neighborhood are going to do the right thing if left to their own devices. From an adult perspective, I urge adults to be vigilant, be visible and be vocal. There is so much concern about how I will be perceived if I

Retention ponds are NEVER safe for humans or pets to walk on. Randolph explained why. “We assume that the ice looks safe on the surface, but what’s going on underneath reminds me of a duck. A duck is calm on the surface but underneath those legs are paddling. The ice on the surface of a retention pond [looks solid], but beneath the surface, the water is circulating. There’s a lot going on underneath that can weaken the ice about 15%. There is no 100% safe ice, and we’ve got to always be on our guard around retention ponds.”

try to get children off the ice, and if I yell at them, how I will be perceived. Adulting isn’t easy, but we need to be active adults. It takes a village to save a child.” If you live near or on a retention pond, take a moment to look around the pond on a regular basis to see if there’s anyone out there doing something unsafe on the ice or who has fallen in and needs help. “I want to make sure that kids see me watching them [near or on the ice],” Randolph stated. “I want them to see me watching them because my visibility is going to send them a message that they are not doing something right or safe.


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What to Do If Someone Falls In or Drives Into a Frozen Retention Pond Both CFD and ZFD extensively train, annually, on ice and water rescues. And both departments directed that the first step is to call 911 should you or someone else fall through the ice—on foot or in a vehicle. “Whether it’s a pet or a person, do NOT go out onto the ice,” Randolph stressed. “Coming straight from the division chief of training and safety Aaron Gibbons and echoed by me, ‘Call 911.’ Encourage

the person in the water to stay as calm as possible and keep those legs moving.” CFD Public Information Officer Tim Griffin added, “If you see someone or a pet in need, don’t go out after them. If you have some sort of life preserver or flotation that they can grab hold of, then throw it out to them and call 911. Make sure you have the location so that we can get out there as soon as possible. If you haven’t heeded the warnings and you’re out on the ice and it starts to crack, you want to spread your weight out. Don’t

stand straight up—it puts all your weight directly at the breaking point. Spread your weight out and slowly try to move across the ice back to the shore.” The best way to avoid driving into a frozen retention pond, Griffin reminded us, is to be aware of the driving conditions and drive slowly, especially around bodies of water. “The first thing you want to do, if you’ve driven into a pond, is to get out of that car as soon as possible,” Griffin said. “Get unbuckled and get on top of the car or, if you’re close enough, get back onto the shore. Then, and only after you’ve gotten out of the car, call 911 if you’re able. It is a good idea to have a glass break [to break your window if it fails to open] and a seat belt cutter in the car. A lot of these come as dual purpose. Again, do not wait in your car for help to come—get out of your car and get on top of it until help arrives.” Be aware and stay safe out there this winter.

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Bill Benner

Named to Hall of Fame By Zionsville Based US Basketball Writers Association Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Laura Arick and submitted

One of Indiana’s most renowned contributors to Indianapolis sports journalism, Bill Benner, has been selected into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) 2021 Hall of Fame Class. The USBWA, headquartered in Zionsville, Indiana, has selected Benner—a lifelong Hoosier and highly respected, awardwinning Indianapolis sports journalist, commentator and local sports expert— as one of five sports writers selected throughout the U.S. to be inducted this April. Included in this year’s HOF class are Benner’s fellow inductees Pat Forde, Dana O’Neil, Brian Morrison and Loren Tate.



he United States Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 and is recognized as one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. Since its inception, USBWA has served the interests of writers who follow college and high school basketball in the U.S. The USBWA’s postseason awards program honors national and district Players of the Year and Coaches of the Year, as well as the winners of the Most Courageous Award, the Katha Quinn Service award and inductees into the USBWA Hall of Fame. The organization’s executive director, presidents and nine district representatives throughout the U.S. are responsible for selecting the

Malcom Moran: USBWA executive director and Zionsville resident

USBWA HOF Class nominees. USBWA executive director and Zionsville resident Malcom Moran shared his thoughts on Benner’s selection and his contributions to sports journalism over the decades.

“If Bill [Benner] had continued as a columnist and did not have these other careers that he’s excelled in, he would be just as authentic [now] as he was then,” Moran stated. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that his handling of different platforms would be just as authentic, just as responsible, and he wouldn’t use it as an excuse to go off the deep end. The thing that gave [Bill] so much credibility is that when he was critical of someone or something, it was absolutely authentic. It wasn’t to irritate his audience or to draw attention to himself. It was because he had a remarkable institutional memory and it gave him a sense of conviction when he wrote. And I think that’s why it’s all the more reason to celebrate his work the way that the organization [USBWA] is.”

A LONG AND ILLUSTRIOUS JOURNALISM CAREER Benner’s career as an Indianapolis sports journalist and columnist spans several decades. Benner was a sportswriter and columnist for The Indianapolis Star from 1968–2001, then served as a sports columnist for The Indianapolis Business Journal from 2001–13. During his career with the newspaper, Benner covered high school sports, the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Colts, three Olympics (Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta) and two Pan American Games (Indianapolis, Havana), Masters and U.S. Open golf, tennis and more than 20 NCAA Final Fours. He became a full-time sports columnist in 1990. Today, Benner continues to host the “Inside Indiana Sports” segment on the statewide “Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick” television show and is serving in his third term as a board member of Special Olympics Indiana, on which he also served as board chairman in 2009 and 2010. Benner also serves on the board of Finish Line Youth Foundation. When asked what Benner thinks about the evolution of journalism—specifically sports journalism—Benner replied, “I’m still a guy who likes to have a little ink on my fingers as I read the morning paper. In the good ol’ days, there was a true depth of coverage because media companies devoted people resources towards reporting and commenting on the news


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A younger Benner in the newsroom at the Indianapolis Star.

of the day, whether it be sports, features, music, the arts, you name it. Social media has dramatically changed what newspaper are. Let’s say, for instance, if the Pacers have a bad first quarter, the tendency is to say the team is doing this wrong or that wrong and to be critical in the moment rather than in the days of traditional print journalism to actually allow the game to end. The Pacers might end up playing very well and win.” Benner added, “The old days afforded time and perspective, whereas today—driven by social media—that is not a luxury. Is it better or worse? I will allow other people to say. It’s just dramatically different.”

A FEW SNIPPETS FROM BENNER’S MEMORY REEL Benner shared a few memories of his innumerable experiences that chronicle the evolution of Indianapolis—once a city that you flew over, it became the amateur sports mecca of the world. “One thing that I was very fortunate to cover, both in the ‘beat’ realm and then later as a columnist, was the evolution of Indianapolis as a sports capital,” Benner shared. “I covered the first Pacers game in Market Square Arena back in 1974 and saw the impact it had on downtown development. I witnessed the formation of the Indiana Sports Corporation as the umbrella organization that would attract sporting events and sports associations.” Benner considers himself fortunate to have witnessed and written about the arrival of the Colts organization, the construction and life of the Hoosier Dome, Bankers Life Fieldhouse—then Conseco Fieldhouse—the attraction of the Final Fours and of the NCAA itself. “I was fortunate to write all about that and to help chronicle Indianapolis’ unmatched, unparalleled success in the

realm of using sports to create an identity for itself,” Benner expressed. “It’s even more phenomenal if you take yourself back to the mid-1970s and recognize what Indianapolis was then and what it is today. And that’s notwithstanding the long-term impact and presence of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what it’s been.” Like any Hoosier who walked the earth in the era of Indiana University and Purdue University’s rivalry in the days of head coaches Bob Knight and Gene Keady, Benner remembers the intensity of those collegiate basketball tournaments and what it was like covering two of the greatest college basketball coaches in the history of collegiate sports. “I evolved to covering college basketball, including Final Fours, when Keady and Knight were in their heyday,” Benner said. “I felt compelled, especially as a columnist, to write my true feelings and observations. And [Knight] certainly had his controversial moments, and I didn’t shy away from weighing in on those moments. Because I was as concerned about the reputation of Indiana University as I was about the championships that were being won.” Benner continued, “With Bob Knight, everybody who covered him—and I mean everybody—eventually came to a crossroads, and you essentially had to choose [your path]. And when my crossroads arrived, I chose that I was going to stay true to what I thought was my role and responsibility as a journalist and as a sportswriter. That being said, I never doubted for a second that if I had to choose one coach to win one game, especially if the other team had more ‘talent,’ I would have chosen Bob Knight—he was a great, great basketball coach.”

ONWARD AND UPWARD With the upcoming March Madness ahead of us, we asked Benner if Indianapolis’ best sports days were behind us or if there are better days still to come. “I think as we reemerge from COVID-19, we’re also going to reemerge with a greater and true appreciation for seeing live sports and being part of that atmosphere,” Benner expressed. “I think we [all] miss being part of the collective moments. I miss going to games, and I truly do miss

the emotions of the crowds.” The days of being confined to one’s living room or “mancave,” watching sports on one’s big-screen TV are numbered, and soon, sports enthusiasts will join together, creating and witnessing the vibrant energy that modern-day downtown Indianapolis was designed to cultivate. “I don’t like sitting in front of my big screen [TV] watching sports all the time,” Benner admitted. “It’s just not the same. It cannot replicate what it’s like to be there. I’m very hopeful that [March Madness] will reignite our thirst and our passion for being there with thousands of others, feeling the ups and the downs. I think, in some cases, we began to take it for granted, and as we come out of this [pandemic], the perspective will have changed and for the better.”

BENNER’S CAREER AT A GLANCE • Served as senior associate commissioner for external affairs for the Horizon League (2010–13), director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (2005–10) and vice president of communications for Indiana Sports Corporation (2001–05). • Served as senior vice president for corporate, community and public relations for Pacers Sports & Entertainment and executive director of the Pacers Foundation. Benner also served as co-chair of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee media relations committee and currently serves as speakers bureau co-chair for the Indy Championships Committee. • Spent 10 years as an adjunct faculty member of the Butler University department of journalism, where Benner taught sports journalism. • Served as co-chair of the media relations and media operations committee for the 2012 Super Bowl and continued a history of involvement in major sporting events in Indianapolis, having also served on local organizing committees for multiple NCAA Men’s Final Fours, the 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Fours, the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials and numerous Big Ten women’s and men’s basketball tournaments. Benner also served on the committee that produced a successful bid for the 2024 NBA All-Star.


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e ll i v s on i Z





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hind Town Hall, whether it be our

headed to the State Championship

staff, the members of our boards,

game. We seriously leaned into

commissions and committees, our

being Zionsville Strong! I also recognize that this is a

police officers or our firefighters. For this first issue, we’re focusing on

time of great stress, anxiety and

the theme of kindness—being kind

hardship for many. In challenges

to yourself, being kind to others

like we are facing, our town has

and being kind to our Earth.

shown its support, cooperation and

Acts of kindness and compas-



in our neighborhoods, in our part-

community. Last year, we showed

nerships with community groups,

kindness to each other and our re-

in our traditions (both old ones

siliency in many ways—we masked

and new ones) and in the way we

up for each other, supported our

govern at the local level. characteristics showing up in

during Night on the Bricks. The

every corner of our experiences.

Bike to Be Heard event brought

Health, economics, relationships

together nearly 500 people on a

all benefit from building stronger

ride promoting social justice. And

social networks and a greater sense

elcome to the inaugural issue of

last November, residents and com-

of community belonging. If we can

Zionsville Matters. This bimont-

munity leaders lined the streets of

start this year focused on kindness

lhy publication will bring Town

Zionsville and joined in a parade to

as the first priority in all situations,

governance news and updates

support the Zionsville High School

then we are most definitely off to a

Eagles Football team as they

good start.


TOWN HALL QUICK HITS Community composting is coming to Zionsville! Interested? Let us break it down for you…

The Town of Zionsville has partnered with a trusted local service, Earth Mama Compost, to recycle your household’s food scraps (and more) rather than wasting them in a landfill. They’ll bring everything you need to get started and swing by your house every other week for contactless pickup. SIGN UP NOW AT: EarthMamaCompost.com

Sign up for just $10/month: EarthMamaCompost.com

Everyone can help contribute to our Town’s sustainability. LEARN MORE about Zionsville’s NEW Climate Action Plan and more everyday ways that you can make a difference at www.zionsville-in.gov/ClimateActionPlan.


Zionsville Fire

While Heritage Trail

Department was

Dog Park memberships

selected as one of

are currently sold out,

250 fire departments

interested Zionsville res-

nationwide and only

idents can sign up for the

one of four in Indiana

waiting list by visiting the

to participate in the

dog park website at www.

second phase of the


National Fire Protec-

Beginning on March 15,

for curbside compost pickup for

tion Association pilot

names will be randomly

a discounted rate. The Town of

program to build a

selected from this waiting

Zionsville has partnered with Earth

digital community-risk

list via a lottery system. If

Mama Compost to offer residents

assessment tool. This

your name is selected, you

special pricing for curbside com-

tool will enable leaders

will be notified and can

post pickup ($10/month). Sign up

to make data-informed

complete your application

through the Earth Mama website at

decisions around fire

to begin utilizing the dog


prevention and more.

park on April 1.

What You Need to Know This Month

You can also help grow our impact by gifting this service to a Zionsville friend/neighbor.

Resiliency depends on these

businesses through carryout, shopped online and dined outside

to your homes, sharing the stories of the people be-

Diverting waste through composting is cheap, easy, and impactful. PLUS, in the spring, you will receive a bag of the organic soil you helped create!

resiliency. This has been reflected

sion energize and support our

Zionsville residents can sign up

The snake, turtle and other animals and exhibits at the Zionsville

Applications are open for the Community

Nature Center (ZNC) are on the move a few blocks away to the

Enrichment Grant Program. Eligible nonprofits located

Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library. ZNC and the library

in Boone County and serving Zionsville residents and

have entered into a shared agreement to combine resources and

businesses may apply. Find out more about this program

temporarily house the nature center within the library.

and eligibility at zionsville-in.gov/communitygrant.

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MONISHA MITCHELL Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

of death among young athletes, and I think it’s important for people to be aware of it. When you get a diagnosis like mine, one of the things you need to know is that you’re not alone.” Throughout February, Mitchell has been raising awareness through a few unique and multipurpose initiatives. “I kicked off a good old-fashioned bake sale,” Mitchell enthused. “I thought it would be great to do it for first responders, so while the proceeds go to ACHA, the treats have been going to your favorite first responders or local health care provider.” Garnering support from small businesses, Mitchell had T-shirts created for Heart Month, and those

You may have seen this remarkable lady about town wearing a few different hats and always working to help keep our community informed and inviting to all who live, work and play in Zionsville.

proceeds have been going to ACHA as well. And local jeweler, Robert Goodman Jewelers, commissioned beautiful hand-fabricated heart-shaped pendants in sterling silver for Mitchell’s advocacy efforts and is selling these pendants for $55 each, at their store until they run out. All of the proceeds


are also being donated to ACHA. “For the education piece of this, I blog for

his month, Monisha Mitchell has been advocating for people who

Indianapolis Moms Blog and have posted about

suffer from congenital heart

advocacy and specifically how women and peo-

defects and spreading aware-

ple of color should advocate for themselves. Going

ness about the Adult Congenital

back to what I shared about having symptoms all

Heart Defect Association (ACHA). Mitchell was

my life but only being diagnosed two years ago, if

diagnosed two years ago with a type of extremely

I was a white male—it [her defect] would’ve been

rare congenital heart defect: anomalous right

caught a long time ago. I spent nearly a lifetime try-

coronary artery intermurial inter-arterial. She

ing to figure out what was wrong, and I’ve learned

has suffered symptoms of this defect that went

a lot of tricks and tools for how to navigate the

undiagnosed since she was 16 years old.

health care system and advocate for myself. My nurse practitioner once said to me, ‘I am so glad

Part of Mitchell’s advocacy is to not only shine women and people of color—specifically—to be

“My move to Zionsville was intentional,” Mitchell

you wouldn’t be here.’” Empowering others is important to Mitchell

their own advocates when it comes to health

shared. “I have two adult children and a grand-

care-related issues and to be good to our hearts.

daughter. I also have a 5-year-old son. My middle

and is what continues to drive her passion for

child graduated from Zionsville Community High

advocating and raising awareness for all of the

School. And I wanted my little guy to have the

causes with which she is actively involved.

MEET MONISHA MITCHELL Mitchell is a licensed therapist with a bachelor’s

[Zionsville] experience—from the beginning—of

“Last year, I wrote a blog for the Zionsville

degree in criminal justice and a graduate degree

having the same classmates and growing up togeth-

Moms Group and had a mom reach out to me,”

in public management. She attends Traders Point

er. I want a strong sense of community for him.”

Mitchell said. “She shared with me that her mother was complaining of stomach aches, and she told

Christian Church, volunteers at Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis and serves on the board of the Zionsville Moms Group. She is proud to call Zionsville home, where she lives with her 5-year-old son, not

ADVOCATING FOR HEART HEALTH AND UNDERSERVED PEOPLE After her diagnosis, Mitchell began researching

her mother to ask the doctor to check everything because it could be a symptom of heart attacks. I was like, ‘Yes!’ The fact that this mom had retained

far from her adult children and granddaughter on

her type of congenital heart defect. Frustrated

the information that I shared and took it to some-

the north side of Indy. Mitchell is a member of the

from the lack of available research, Mitchell

one else is what’s impactful to me.”

Zionsville Police Department (ZPD) Use of Force

discovered the Adult Congenital Heart Defect

Board and of the Zionsville Diversity Coalition.

Association, where she found not only a plethora

ell’s efforts are just ramping up. Join her team at

of information but a strong support system as well.

Team Take Heart at https://shar.es/aoYUtf and fol-

In her youth, Mitchell would come to Zionsville for horseback riding lessons. A few decades

“I was looking for answers, and almost all of the

Heart Month might be wrapping up, but Mitch-

low her social media awareness and fundraising

later, her work in health care brought her up to

research that I found was postmortem,” Mitchell

page: instagram.com/teamtakeheart2021. Also, be

Zionsville to meet some of her clients, and she fell

stated. “I know my specific congenital defect is

sure to check out her blogs online at Indianapolis

in love with the town all over again.

very rare, but it’s also the second-leading cause

Moms Blog and Zionsville Moms Group.

LocalDeals_Insert2021_Meet the Neighbor.indd 1


that you fought for yourself because if you didn’t,

a light on this specific defect but also to remind

2021-02-16 5:08 PM

Committing to Social Justice and Unity:

“All in This Together for Social Justice” Writer // Amanda Vela • Photography // Submitted

ZIONSVILLE LocalDeals_Insert2021_Diversity.indd 1

A message of social justice, unity, diversity and inclusion for all people told through the viewpoints of four Zionsville students—that is what is at the heart of the traffic control box at the northwest corner of Main and Sycamore streets.


he project, “All in This Together for

A winner was selected from each Zionsville school:

Social Justice,” is the brainchild of an

elementary, middle and high school.

8th-grade Zionsville Middle School

The traffic control box features the words “All in This

student, Phoebe. Inspired by the

Together,” transgender symbols, a raised fist symboliz-

Black Lives Matter murals, Phoebe

ing unity and solidarity with our community figura-

organized an art contest as part of a Girl Scout silver

tively standing up for social justice and lifting up those

award. Phoebe raised all the funds to accomplish this

who are made to feel unequal, as well as other imagery


that brings awareness to social justice and unity. As the

Phoebe worked in collaboration with the Zionsville

Town of Zionsville continues to be engaged in honest

Cultural District, the mayor’s office, Palette Art Studio

community dialogue around social justice, diversity

and Robert Goodman Jewelers. Art entries were

and inclusion, this art project is indicative of the stu-

submitted, and a panel of judges selected the winners.

dents’ perseverance and their generation’s willingness

Judges included Phoebe, Sen. J.D. Ford, Zionsville

to become engaged in supporting human rights at a

artist Cynthia Young, Zionsville business owner Lolly

young age.

Mahaney, Zionsville photographer Tom Casalini and Zionsville Diversity Coalition member Monisha Mitchell.

Making art is often a form of self-expression, a way for the artist to paint, draw, sing or form what they or

2021-02-16 5:05 PM

Artist Statement: Phoebe, Zionsville Middle School “All in This Together”

others feel strongly about. Artwork can move people to look more closely at their own emotions, at social issues and at the environment that surrounds them. Thanks to these young students, the topic of social justice is being discussed, opposed, considered,

The “All in this Together” themed

supported and impacted here in Zionsville.

social justice box was inspired by oth-

“I think there are a lot of really strong young leaders in this community, and it’s exciting the way that they want to make a dif-

er street art around Indianapolis and

ference,” said Mayor Emily Styron. “This is our message that social

around the country. I feel that art is a

justice matters and that these are part of our values as a town.

beautiful way for students to express

We’re committed to the meaning of the message.”

their vision of social justice for all. My panel reflects the theme through

“Zionsville enjoys a rich history of supporting the arts, which continues to underscore our uniqueness as a community,” said

representing everyone. I included

Zionsville Town Councilor Brad Burk. “Public art is especially

symbols of physical disabilities,

important because it helps illuminate our past—and all we hope to

LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter, alongside images of peace and love

be. Art can also encourage us to think, discuss and learn. Believing

in the world. I believe that only if we are all in this together, we will

in dynamic and strong community values and encouraging diver-

make it through.

sity, our future is in good hands. We should be proud of our young artists and their timely message of togetherness.”

Artist Statement: Audrey, Zionsville West Middle School “Hope”

The art on this traffic control box created a safe space for our town’s youth to share messages of social justice and unity and for self-expression. As a community, we are opening our eyes to the topics of diversity and inclusion and letting our students’ voices

My art is supposed to represent

for positive change to be heard. In doing so, we will become a

unity and equality among everyone,

destination for people from all walks of life.

no matter race, religion, sex or body

“This artwork serves as a beautiful and resilient representation of social justice in our community. Let the voice of these young

type. I tried to represent many differ-

change-makers ring positively in our Zionsville community,” said

ent groups of people because I wanted

Mayor Emily Styron.

the minorities of Zionsville to have a piece of art they could look at and

If the artwork has moved you, the Town of Zionsville encourages you to keep the momentum going and ask for ways to continue

know they are beautiful and loved.

to have a dialogue around social justice. Projects like this help

The woman in the middle is supposed

define and shape the quality of life in Zionsville. They speak to the

to represent all of Earth.

is engaged in.

Artist Statement: Nina, Eagle Elementary “Together”

Artist Statement: Grace, Zionsville Community High School “Unity Over Division”

My artwork shows all kinds of people protesting together for peace and justice. Social justice means to me that

My artwork reveals that despite our

things are fair for everyone, no matter

many differences, at the end of the

who you are, where you live or come

day we are all human and have loving

from, how much money you have or

hearts within us to spread love and lift

what you look like.

one another up. We should come together and take a stance and promote the diverse nature of our world. My intention was that the fist be transparent because I didn’t want it to be labeled by a color but instead a raised fist that symbolizes unity and solidarity. My hope is that my artwork will inspire others in Zionsville to lift up high those that are treated as different so that they can feel the strong support and know that WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

LocalDeals_Insert2021_Diversity.indd 2

Ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Oct. 25, 2020.


important, although sometimes difficult, conversations our town

2021-02-16 5:06 PM

A study by University of East Anglia states: Living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. A new report reveals that exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress and high blood pressure.

Unplug and Refresh Mindy Murdock, director of recreation services, shared some thoughtful recommendations on ways to “unplug” and “refresh” throughout the winter and develop new or enforce existing habits as we move further into the year. “Our parks are there to really help support you, not just physically but mentally too,” Murdock

The Month of

YOU Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

expressed. “There’s no reason why we can’t meet up outside—social distancing—in parks. The parks provide a place for families and/or friends to safely meet up with each other and let the kids blow off some steam and not be in a confined space.” If you’re looking for a socially distanced way to engage in a group activity such as a meditation group, outdoor yoga or “Boot Camp” type of class, Murdock reminded us that there are plenty of park spaces throughout Zionsville to conduct those types of mentally/physically beneficial activities.

ZIONSVILLE LocalDeals_Insert2021_Month of You.indd 1

Raise your hand if you feel like this has been the longest winter—ever! It’s not that we’ve had the coldest season on record or the most treacherous weather conditions in our area, but throw in the pandemic-related restrictions and it stands to reason why most of us have a case of the “winter blues.”

And as warmer weather prevails, the more opportunities for those kinds of engagements will arise. “If I’m working in the office and I need to get away from the cell phone ringing and the emails blasting, I can get up and go take a walk on the [Big4] Rail Trail,” Murdock stated. “Or I go down to the nature sanctuary and clear my head. Another benefit of having parks in our community is that there are places that you can go and close your eyes, meditate and take in a few deep breaths. Let go of the anxiety and stress that you might be holding


Antidotes to Cabin Fever and Healthier Living ur town boasts some remarkable

in or if you’re just having a really bad day. You can relieve some of that depression and anxiety.” So, take 15–20 minutes in your day to take in the

parks and pathways that are per-

beauty and convenience of any one of our remark-

fect for a brisk stroll or bike ride

able parks or pathways that provide some respite

and taking in some much-needed

from the day-to-day stresses and pandemic-relat-

fresh air. You can practice social

ed restrictions that afflict us all. And breathe a little

distancing outdoors simply by maintaining the 6-feet rule and wearing your masks while enjoy-

easier and feel lighter afterward. Visit the Zionsville Parks Department page for

ing a change of scenery and getting OUT of your

a complete list of parks, trails and amenities at

house or office.


2021-02-16 4:59 PM

and dropped off at GreenCycle where they are transformed into soil-enriching compost. “One of the questions that I have fielded is how much does this cost the town,” Mayor Emily Styron shared. “It literally costs the town nothing. The town is a broadcaster for the program, and we want to promote the success of it because it aligns

A Few Easy Ways to Be Kind to Our Planet

with our Climate Action Plan goals.” Visit earthmamacompost.com for more information.



Offering Residents Environmentally-Friendly Options The mayor’s executive assistant, Carol Johnson,


Pack a WasteFree Lunch—Swap out disposable items with reusable or recyclable ones.

is spearheading the town’s Climate Action Plan efforts. In addition to the curbside compost program, Johnson is currently reaching out to the community’s homeowners associations to discuss rooftop


solar options and encourage them to touch base with their homeowners and property owners to

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

get their input and level of interest in rooftop solar.

While the Town of Zionsville is working on its initiatives related to the Climate Action Plan that outlines steps to take to reduce the town’s contribution to climate change, we, as residents, can assist in these efforts in our homes and offices as well!

who recycle and have inquired about a weekly re-

Additionally, Johnson is encouraging all of us

Pick Up Litter— Don’t just walk around it.

cycling service to contact Ray’s Trash Service and request a second recycling bin for your home. “Another strategy of the Climate Action Plan is a recycling education campaign,” Johnson stated. “Mindy Murdock, director of recreation services, did an interesting and informative webinar on recycling that’s posted on the town’s YouTube site. In [Mindy’s]


Unplug One Thing—Unplug your phone chargers when they’re not in use.

video, she discusses what you can and can’t recycle,

Composting Made Easy As part of the Climate Action Plan, the Town

Johnson made the point that adding a second bin to increase one’s recycling efforts, at no cost

of Zionsville has partnered with Earth Mama

the homeowner and no additional impact on the

Compost—a local woman-owned business that

environment, is a good compromise for those who

provides fee-based curbside compost to residents.

are interested in weekly recycling.

Zionsville residents can sign up for this ser-

Styron added, “We’ve had people ask about

vice for $10/month, a discount of 50%. Sign up is

weekly recycling, but there is a cost to the environ-

available through the Earth Mama website. If 300

ment in doing that. Those automated trucks are

households participate and compost just 25%

fantastic, but they get about three miles per gallon.”

of their solid waste weekly, the community will divert 86 tons of waste from landfills annually. Those who sign up will receive a starter kit from Earth Mama Compost that includes a compost

The other issue, as Johnson pointed out, is the cost of recycling services would be raised and every single resident would have to help foot the bill. “If the town goes to weekly recycling, then ev-

bucket, an 8-gallon compostable liner, a small

erybody has to pay that price and you don’t have

countertop bin to keep in the kitchen and a roll

a choice to opt out,” Johnson said. “So, what Ray’s

of 3-gallon liners. Earth Mama will replace the

is offering is a second recycling bin at no cost. You

compostable liner and provide a complimentary

can double the amount that you recycle every two

bucket of compost in the spring. All compostable

weeks if you need it.”

kitchen scraps are picked up by Earth Mama Compost every other week (contactless pickup)

LocalDeals_Insert2021_Climate Action plan.indd 1


Use a Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Mug—we all have a favorite mug/cup in our cupboards.

To contact Ray’s Trash Service for more information on their recycling services, visit raystrash.com.


BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags)—Bring your reusable bags to the grocery store.


where you can recycle electronics, etc.”

2021-02-16 4:56 PM




he Zionsville Board of Parks


and Recreation oversees the development and maintenance

• Program cost recovery – At the January

of parks and recreation in town.

meeting, Parks Superintendent Jarod Logsdon

It is responsible for the su-

presented the Parks Board with a cost-recovery

pervision and policies concerning its approx-

plan. The Zionsville Parks Department is grow-

imately 20 parcels (about 500 acres) of parks

ing and expanding programming to breathe

in Zionsville, including setting policy for the

more life into our parks based on public input.

maintenance of and use of parks and park-re-

By collecting user fees, the Parks Department

lated equipment and working with the super-

will be able to reinvest those fees right back into

intendent in preparing/proposing park-related

programming and sustainably expand recre-

budgets, long-range plans and financing for both.

ational opportunities. This sustainable fee mod-

The Parks Board generally holds title to park

el will allow the department to support this new

lands and properties, holds limited bonding

initiative without redirecting resources from

and taxing authority to finance its operations

other facets of park operations. In addition to

and necessary acquisitions, and can apply for

sustainability, to keep programming accessible

and secure certain state and federal park-relat-

to all, the department is working on a scholar-

ed grants.

ship program, sponsorship policies, resident/

The Parks Board is comprised of seven mem-

nonresident pricing and more. Free educational


bers. Four are appointed by the Town Council,

opportunities and programming will continue

one by the School Board, one by the Library

to be offered as well. The Parks Board voted to

Board and one is appointed by the mayor. The

approve the 2021 fee schedule. Next, this plan

term of service is four years for Town Council

will go before the Town Council.

appointments and one year for mayor, School Board and Library Board appointments.

• Eagle Creek Bank Stabilization Lake and River Enhancement Program (LARE) Grant – In 2013, a study was conducted to identify project sites


and ways to mitigate and stabilize the bank erosion on Eagle Creek within Starkey Park. The Parks Department is proposing to update the study to capture any changes along the

• • • • • • •

LocalDeals_Insert2021_Board & Committees.indd 1

Tim Casady – President John Stehr – Vice President Erin Bidwell Sarah Moore Jill Pack John Salewicz John Wollenberg

existing project sites and gather data on the adjacent shoreline for additional sites now that the department owns Overley-Worman Park. The 2021 updated Eagle Creek restoration study will cost approximately $46,000. With the LARE Grant, which is an 80-20 match, there would be a $9,006.59 cash match (10% minimum). The Parks Board voted to approve this study.

2021-02-16 5:09 PM

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Historic Renovations, Fireplace Mantles & Custom Furniture








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2021-02-17 12:12 PM



Welcomes Annamarie Salyer to the Practice Indiana Regenerative Medicine (IRM), a cuttingedge and innovative clinic specializing in the latest nonsurgical interventions to treat chronic joint pain and other neuropathic pain syndromes, announced that Annamarie Salyer, NP, is joining their team. Annamarie adds her vast professional experience to the IRM’s team of Leann Emery (nurse practitioner), Charrissee (registered nurse), Dr. Preston Peachee II (chiropractic physician) and the therapy staff.



nnamarie Salyer is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner who partners closely with Dr. Preston Peachee. She received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. As a registered nurse, Annamarie worked in intensive care, progressive care and medical/surgical care. As a nurse practitioner, she has worked in internal medicine,

Annmarie Slayer

who takes the time to individually evaluate and educate her patients, discussing their concerns to deliver the best care for her patients. She is excited to be part of a team that offers regenerative medicine, a holistic approach to the body healing itself with one of the safest methods of recovery for patients with neuropathy. Fortunately, Annamarie also has great expertise in treating those who suffer chronic knee pain that is otherwise unresponsive to care. Many patients who have osteoarthritis of the knee and are “bone on bone” respond well to IRM’s treatments,

functional medicine, acute care and addiction medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Annamarie and her husband, Jason, reside in Indianapolis. She loves spending time with her two daughters, Josephine and Gabriella, traveling, and being outdoors. Annamarie is currently practicing in the Castleton location and will be seeing patients in IRM’s new office when it opens this summer. Annamarie is a caring and compassionate practitioner

including specialized therapy and rehab, laser therapy, hyaluronic acid injections (which lubricate the joint and act like a shock absorber for the bone-on-bone pain), stem cell therapy and now exosome treatments. This protocol has been used to help thousands of patients to find relief from knee pain without cortisone injections, surgery or pain meds. In most cases, the pain can be eliminated or reduced to the point where patients can walk again without pain and return to simple things, like going up and down stairs, cleaning the house and enjoying the grandkids again.


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2021-02-17 4:35 PM

WHAT IS NEUROPATHY? Neuropathy is weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands or feet, caused by damage to the peripheral nerves (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord). It can be caused by diabetes, chemotherapy, physical injury or chemical exposure. The condition can become so severe that patients are unable to walk, develop wounds that don’t heal or, even worse, may be facing amputation of toes, the foot or the leg. Diabetic and other forms of neuropathy are very difficult to treat because they usually do not respond well to care. Many who suffer from neuropathy pain find little or no relief with conventional care, such as physical therapy, pain meds or the drugs used in treatment such as Neurontin and Lyrica. These drugs can sometimes cause side effects which can be worse than the original problem and increasing doses are needed to maintain the benefits, if there are any at all. People struggle with this condition as there is usually no cure, and it will continue to progress with fewer options for relief as time goes on. Eventually, it results in there being no other treatment options.


Neuropathy patients may feel as if they have fallen through the cracks of the health care system and don’t know where to turn or who to trust. It is easy to give up or become depressed with chronic pain, but there is hope. IRM uses a combined approach to effectively treat the condition and not just mask the symptoms.

IRM PROVIDES HOLISTIC, EFFECTIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS IRM specializes in helping the peripheral nerves to heal, which removes the pain, numbness and tingling, as well as the burning and prickling sensations their patients experience. This helps to halt and even reverse the effects of neuropathy. Most patients respond well to the treatment that holistically treats all facets of the condition and addresses the nutritional component, the physical degeneration of the nerves, poor circulation and lack of blood flow. Additionally, it addresses the physical symptoms, such as poor coordination, falling and wounds not healing properly or slowly. The IRM clinical team addresses neuropathy by truly treating the source of the problem, which is nerve damage to the smaller nerves, generally accompanied by poor blood flow in the small arteries. This is why most people will lose the hair on their legs, have tight and shiny skin, have discoloration or itching, and eventually develop wounds that do not heal correctly or at all. Many will even develop edema, or swelling to the legs and feet, and will eventually have pain, difficulty walking, and may

start to trip, fall or have their legs give out on them. As IRM improves the circulation to the feet and toes, it restores oxygen to the tiny arteries. This improvement in circulation aids in getting the proper nutrition to the nerves, allowing them to heal. IRM uses a very specific, innovative therapy to reestablish communication between the toes and the brain, which promotes healing of the nerves, helps to remove the pain and allows the damaged tissues to begin to heal and repair themselves. Once the damaged nerves have adequate oxygen and the proper nutrition to heal, most patients will see relief of their symptoms with specific rehabilitation.

TREATMENT IS COVERED BY MOST INSURANCE New treatments like this are often not covered by insurance, so IRM is excited that this neuropathy treatment, as well as their knee pain protocols, are covered by most insurances, including Medicare in most cases. They can now help even more people than before.

ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Neuropathic conditions did not happen overnight, and IRM can’t fix it all in one treatment, but with the right steps, relief is possible. Most people will see a positive change after just one treatment. The longer and the more severe the damage, the more intense the treatment will be, but if you want to get better, IRM has a solution for you. Every patient is unique, and there is no one-size-fitsall solution, so the clinic staff always start with a thorough exam to determine if you are a candidate for care and how they can tailor an individual plan for you. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill that will make neuropathy go away, but if you are willing to get help, Indiana Regenerative Medicine can help you to get better and start enjoying life again! IRM is currently accepting new neuropathy pain patients as well as knee pain patients, and they look forward to helping those who suffer. Call (317) 653-4503 or visit indianaregen.com to set up your free consultation and start the road to recovery with Indiana Regenerative Medicine Institute.


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2021-02-17 4:35 PM

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2021-02-16 3:06 PM


Village Mattress Pairs With Local Artist Rob Schaefer to

Support Local Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Staff

Have you stopped into Village Mattress’ newly expanded space featuring Village Sofa and Design Center? If not, you may want to pop in and see for yourself what Village Mattress’ owner Chris Plopper has been up to these last couple of months!


e recently featured Plopper’s 4,000-square-foot showroom that brilliantly displays a couple of the industry’s most trusted, high-quality stationary and reclining furniture manufacturers: England and Southern Motion. When choosing one’s level of comfort and when deciding on what type of fabric and colors to bring a room’s decor all together, Plopper and his highly trained staff are happy to help their customers in the design center.

LOCAL SUPPORTING LOCAL In addition to furnishings for your home, Plopper is adding to his home accessories collection. He is excited to announce his partnership with Zionsville

resident and artist Rob Schaefer. Schaefer is a member of the board of directors of the SullivanMunce Cultural Center and former owner/photographer at Schaefer’s Studio in Zionsville. Plopper shared that he met Schaefer when he first opened Village Mattress, and the two have developed a friendship over the years. “I called Rob up and said, ‘Hey, I see you’ve got all this art, and I’ve got a home for it if you want to bring it in,’ and it all came together,” Plopper said. “Additionally, I’m working with a central Indiana resident who’s doing some tables with solid slabs of walnut and resin. We just commissioned him to produce some pieces for us. I’m trying to get some local people involved as much as I possibly can.”


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Adorning the walls of Plopper’s showroom are a little over 20 pieces of Schaefer’s original art. “Rob does quality work,” Plopper expressed. “Most of what he’s brought in is impressionistic work, and they’re really cool pieces that will fit any decor and any taste. Art is so individual, and people appreciate different things, so hopefully this [collection] will resonate well with my clients and they will buy lots of Rob’s pieces.” Schaefer added, “I’m not a huge fan of super-realistic art just because we have cameras for that type of thing. And you know, I did a lot of that for a long time. Even though I can appreciate that [kind of art], when I paint, I want to infuse it with some emotion, motion and psychological messages.” I asked Schaefer to explain what this particular collection of his art means to him and to share what inspires him to create with this medium of art. Anyone familiar with his photography from back in the day is already familiar with his thought and emotion-evoking creations. “For me, it’s the holistic Catholic idea of being a little grain of sand on the beach and being a tiny part of something that’s bigger than ourselves,” Schaefer expressed. “I’m really trying to use this chapter [of my life] to continue that idea and help local businesses like Chris’ and help organizations like the Boone County Humane Society, the Alzheimer’s organization and the Parkinson’s foundation by reaching out and donating myself or my art.” Schaefer concluded, “If there’s any type of group—especially a hyperlocal group— that needs fundraising help, I’d be willing to use my art and connections to help them out.” So, again, if you have not already stopped into Village Mattress to see all that’s new—take some time to peruse Plopper’s showroom and a sampling of Schaefer’s exquisite original paintings. Be sure to follow Schaefer on Facebook and Instagram at RSchaeferArt and visit his website at rschaeferart.com. For more information on Village Mattress, its remarkable collections of home furnishing and hours of operation, visit villagemattress.net.


2021-02-16 6:12 PM

O u r

L o c a l

E x p e r t s

On the State of Residential Real Estate Spring 2021 Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

For anyone following residential real estate markets, you already know it’s been a robust seller’s market since the beginning of the pandemic last year. And after talking with local real estate experts Tracy Wright and Robbin Edwards— both are agents with local Encore Sotheby’s firms—I feel that it is a safe bet to predict that the local residential market in 2021 will be much of the same.


With the opening of Holliday Farms last year, Zionsville has seen an uptick in new-

home construction, and so I asked Wright what her advice is to prospective clients interested in building their next home. “I also work with new construction [clients],” Wright shared. “Lumber prices, roofing shingles prices, etc., are going up so high. I read that lumber was up 113%, so it’s a challenge for people to build for the same price that they could even a

year ago, but the [residential] construction industry is strong, and there’s a lot of people that want to build right now.” Offering her best advice to people considering building their next home, Wright stated, “My advice would be to interview builders and ask how they are working on keeping up with the estimates in terms of the contract price. Make sure you have a good understanding of ALL your options when it comes to financing the new build and make selections that are timeless. You don’t want to have to update and replace things in the house in five to 10 years.” Working with a knowledgeable agent to represent you throughout the newbuild process has numerous advantages. “I know people often go straight to the builder and don’t think that they need a [real estate] agent,” Wright said. “I advise people to be as educated as possible, and relying on a real estate agent that’s trained in the new-build world can help you with selections that will be good for resale and can help you navigate through how the construction loan process works.”

With Gratitude.

2020 was an unusal year for all of us. We sincerely appreciate that so many of you continued to trust us to help you with your real estate needs throughout this unprecedented time. It was with great pleasure that we were able to successfully close over $20 million in real estate transactions. We are so grateful for your loyalty and confidence in our team. We look forward to 2021 bringing positive change in our community and hope to see you along the brick street soon. Tracy Wright Team • 317.281.0347 • tracy.wright@encoresir.com • tracywright.net 76 S Main Street • Zionsville, Indiana 46077


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2021-02-16 6:02 PM


Another local market expert, Robbin Edwards, shared her thoughts on the current market and what buyers should know before engaging in the bidding wars on their next home. Per MIBOR, the List to Sale price ratios in January of 2020 were 97.1% and were 98.4% in December of 2020. The average sales price will continue to go up in 2021, and the average days on the market will stay low. “The end of 2020 finished strong, and we had the best year we’ve ever had,” Edwards said. “And I think the challenge for 2021 is that it’s definitely still a seller’s market. Buyers are paying a premium right now, and not just in new construction but in existing construction as well.” According to Edwards, home values are up 38% or more from last year, and agents are dealing with multiple offers across all price points. The current inventory is also down 50%, making this current market highly competitive. “Given the challenges in the market

right now with low inventory and a surplus of buyers, both agents and buyers are utilizing tools and strategies that are not typically necessary in a traditional market,” Edwards explained. “First, buyers are waiving inspections, and in certain scenarios, a buyer can waive the appraisal. If the appraisal can’t be waived, then we are including appraisal clauses that stipulate a buyer will bridge a gap between the appraisal and agreed-upon purchase price.” Edwards shared that another tool agents are using is an escalation clause that allows a buyer to automatically and incrementally increase their offer over the next best offer to a preset maximum or cap. “These can be beneficial in multiple offer situations, which we find ourselves in more often than not in today’s market,” Edwards said. “While this is an oversimplification, I sometimes liken it to eBay for real estate. There are additional considerations and language that need to be considered when using these to protect buyers, but they can be effective.” Edwards continued, “For example, a home is listed at $100,000. A buyer is willing to pay $110,000 for the home but does not want to make that the initial offer. Rather, they include the EC that says they will increase their offer in $2,000 increments to a maximum (cap) of $110,000.”


Zionsville has—historically—been a unique real estate market with regards to how quickly newly listed homes are sold. “We’re seeing a lot of homes right now that are going on the markets and the [listing] agent already has a buyer in mind,” Wright said. “So, people have to move fast as homes go up in the market. People are already sitting on standby, and it’s a race to the finish. There are only so many homes in each price point, so it’s important to have an agent looking out for you, letting you know right when something goes on the market so that you have a chance at it.” What makes the Zionsville market even more distinctive is that the local real estate agents work with each other in a collaborative manner. “In this market, you have to have an agent because there’s no way you’re going to navigate this market as competitive as it is without one,” Edwards advised. “We’ve got a consortium of agents representing all brokerages inside of Zionsville and some from outside, and we are collectively trying to work together to manage some of the craziness of this market, but to some degree, it’s completely out of our control.”

Over-Sized Lot in Zionsville 145 N MAIN STREET Gorgeous 0.17 acre lot in the heart of Zionsville’s ‘The Village’ is officially on the market. This oversized, level lot will accomodate a 5,000 square foot floor plan and puts you just steps away from so many amenities Zionsville has to offer. Interested? Contact us today!

Edwards Realty Group Erin Wilson 317.270.2125 erin.wilson@encoresir.com edwardsrealtygroupzionsville.com


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2021-02-16 6:02 PM

H a b i t a t f o r H u m a n i t y o f B o o n e C o u n t y o n

Loving Our Neighbors Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Submitted

The executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Boone County (HFHBC) Liz Qua eloquently reminds us that “The richness of diversity cannot ever be minimized.” In the spirit of that sentiment, I spoke with Qua about this year’s build projects. The organization successfully built and dedicated two homes amid the pandemic last year and plans on dedicating three this year: a community build, a faith build and a women build.



This year’s HFHBC Community Build brings our community together to build hope and a home for a single dad with three teenage kids. Many of you may know this soon-to-be homeowner, Blake White, from Cobblestone in Zionsville where he is a dedicated employee and beloved server. Blake completed almost all the required 200 hours of “sweat equity” and built an emergency savings account, despite the pandemic. Blake currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis. He applied


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for Habitat for Humanity of Boone County in 2019 and has been working hard with his budget coach, Deb, and mentor, Margie. Blake is excited to have a home for stability for his kids but also to work in his garden, BBQ, put up Christmas lights on the porch and hand out candy at Halloween. Blake says, “I am ready for my life to be predictable and stable. I’m ready to have my forever home.” The wall build date for Blake’s home is scheduled to begin April 24. Habitat for Humanity of Boone County will be again partnering with Boone County churches and community for our 2021 Faith Build. This year’s HFHBC 2021 Faith Build tells a harrowing tale of courage, sacrifice and survival: Mohamad and Nisreen and their three children at the time, ages 6, 4 and 1. The family left their home and close-knit community in Aleppo, Syria, to escape the fierce bombing and unexpected destruction of their neighborhood. With just a few clothes in bags, Mohamad and his family navigated—at times on foot—through deadly landmines on a 2- to 3-foot-wide path. At one point in their passage to safety, Mohamed lovingly carried his mother—who suffered severe heart issues— on his back many miles to the Turkish border. Through the United Nations, Mohamad applied for refugee status to come to the U.S. There is a program through the U.N. that loans refugees money to move to other countries. Mohamad and his family arrived in Indianapolis and set up their household in an apartment. Having added two children to their family in the process of their heart-wrenching journey to freedom and security, Nisreen works as an order packer at a local warehouse, and Mohamad is navigating virtual schooling with all five of their children.


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tual component to the fundraiser. Safety protocols will be enforced at the event just as they have been adhered to during the builds. “We safely built two houses last year during the pandemic and didn’t have a single case of COVID-19 as a result of our builds,” Qua emphasized. “We’ve changed the way that we’ve done things to make it work. And for the fundraiser, we’re extremely fortunate to have the space at [HFHBC] ReStore in Zionsville. We will have two small in-person events in one day. The in-person events will be 1 ½ hours each, and we’ll have the virtual event will go on during the in-person events. There is a 50-person max for the in-person events, and we’ll have boxed appetizers and desserts.”

This year’s HFHBC theme is “Love Our Neighbors”—a fitting theme, all things considered. It is also the theme for HFHBC’s fundraiser that will take place both in person and virtually on March 13. Safety is the organization’s foremost priority. So, with that in mind, HFHBC will offer two in-person events and a vir-

For times/details and to register for this year’s fundraiser on March 13, or to donate to HFHBC, visit boonehabitat.org. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the website as well as a link to volunteer! If you are interested in donating box lunches for the build volunteers this year, please email Liz Qua at communitybuild@boonehabitat.org.

Habitat for Humanity homes. This year’s Women Build homeowner is expected to be announced next month. Qua shared that Blake and Mohamad’s lots are next door to one another in Lebanon. The three parents have met and have struck up a friendship that will likely only grow with time and through neighborly bonding. “We need to love on these people,” Qua emphasized. “We need to embrace them and bring them into our community. There are many challenges in life, and we will do our best to help them. They are going to live right next to one another, and Blake and Mohamad are genuinely excited for each other. It’s really awesome.” They applied with Habitat for Humanity of Boone County with the dream of home ownership and a forever home. The construction of their house will begin on May 15 in Lebanon, Indiana. Women Build is a national Habitat for Humanity program designed to provide a comfortable learning environment for women to discover they can build



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Zionsville MONTHLY February 2021  

Zionsville MONTHLY February 2021