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FEBRUARY 2014

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP'S NEW TOP TEACHER

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PUBLISHERS

Neal & Kathi Moore

neal@atLawrence.com / 317-609-0101 kathi@atLawrence.com / 317-674-FORT

TOWNEPOST PUBLISHER Tom Britt

tom@atLawrence.com / 317-496-3599

BUSINESS MANAGER Jeanne Britt

jeanne@atLawrence.com / 317-823-5060

DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Toni Folzenlogel

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alyssa Sander

COVER STORY

8

ADVERTISING DESIGNER Austin Vance

Cover Photo / Brenda Staples

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP’S NEW TOP TEACHER Writer / Neal G. Moore

The public schools in Lawrence Township have a new leader. Shawn Smith, Ph.D. has taken the helm as superintendent. Lawrence Community Newsletter sat down with Dr. Smith for a candid discussion about the state of Lawrence schools, and what to expect from the new top teacher.

DEPARTMENTS 4 11 Thoughts on This Place We Call Home

5 Valentine’s Day 6 The Council Report 6 Privatization Rumors 7 Lights, Camera, Lawrence /lawrenceindiana

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Carly Lyon

FEB. WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Anne E. O’Connor / Debra Legg / Jessica Tower / Kathi Moore / Neal G. Moore

SHOP LOCAL!

Help our local economy by shopping local. Advertising supporters of the Lawrence Community Newsletter offset the costs of publication and mailing, keeping this publication FREE. Show your appreciation by thanking them with your business.

Team Film Launches

12 Lawrence Schools Score with

“Light Their Future” Celebration

13 Event Calendar 14 Good People, Good Causes 15 Chamber Chat atLawrence.com

STORY SUBMISSIONS

Post your stories to TownePost.com or email to info@atLawrence.com.

MAILING ADDRESS

P.O. Box 36097 / Indianapolis, IN 46236 Phone: 317-823-5060 / Fax: 317-536-3030 The Lawrence Community Newsletter is published by the TownePost Media Network and is written for and by local Lawrence area residents. Newsletters are distributed via direct mail to more than 8,900 Lawrence area homeowners and businesses each month.

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THOUGHTS ON THIS PLACE WE CALL HOME Writer / Neal G. Moore

Lawrence is a community of military soldiers and veterans, baby boomers and retirees, blue-collar beer drinkers and wine-sipping soccer moms. It’s one of four “excluded cities” in Marion County where button-down oxford shirts, work coveralls, desert camo and neon-colored soccer jerseys are seen with equal frequency. The city’s 47,000 residents are Midwestern in temperament and tend to elect Republicans — except when they don’t. Residents are 63 percent white, 26 percent African-American and 11 percent Latino — a diverse, salt-of-the-earth, sometimes spicy, occasionally frustrating and altogether entertaining community that defies stereotyping — an American mash-up we call home. So, how did we get to where we are today? In October 1823, Elisha Reddick became the first white settler in what is now Lawrence Township. In 1849, the village of Lanesville was platted near a Native American trail that today is the convergence of Pendleton Pike, Franklin Road and East 42nd Street. A year after the Civil War’s end, county commissioners chose Lawrence as the name for the village and township — an homage to Capt. James Lawrence, naval hero and famous for his dying command, ”Don’t give up the ship!”

Through the ‘60s, ’70s and ’80s, soldiers and Army brass streamed into Fort Ben, and many chose to remain in Lawrence following active duty. The 1990 census tallied more than 26,000 residents. In 1991, Fort Ben was tabbed for closure — victim of post-Cold War cost-cutting. Still, Lawrence’s population continued to increase even as the fort was shuttering most of its buildings. That’s because Lawrence rolled up its sleeves and decided to repurpose the abandoned property. The city is nothing if not resilient. Lawrence — having survived a painful, difficult divorce — is intent on establishing a new identity. Many assets are in place: quality schools, Fort Harrison State Park, Ivy Tech. Village at the Fort is providing the “downtown” identity that Lawrence has never really had. Signs point to a revived Lawrence capable of competing with Carmel, Fishers and the like. Success will require purposeful commitment, creative leadership and a shared vision that is bold, affordable and attainable. It’s what must happen to sustain this place we call home.

In 1903, land was acquired to establish a military base in Lawrence. The U.S. Army named the fort after Benjamin Harrison, the nation’s 23rd president and a Hoosier. Through the years Fort Ben served as a military induction site, a military prison, a POW camp, a mental hospital, and the Army’s finance and communications training center. Military paychecks are still processed here.

Top: Capt. James Lawrence, U.S. naval hero, for whom the city of Lawrence is named (source: Wikipedia). Bottom: One of several impressive markers denoting entrance to Village at the Fort, the mixed-use green space located at 56th St. & Lee Rd.

In 1929, Lawrence graduated from a village to a town and, despite the stock market crash, grew in population and commercial trade. In 1940, there were about 1,000 Lawrence residents. After World War II, GIs returned to Lawrence, and by 1956 the population had swelled to 8,000.

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VALENTINE’S DAY Writer / Kathi Moore

Valentine’s Day is the most restauranted night of the year. Sure, its nice to celebrate your love for each other over candles and a tablecloth, but why can’t we be more creative? Why not celebrate each other with a memorable experience together? Here are some suggestions, but I encourage you to think up some of your own, based on the things you enjoy together. You’ll have so much more fun than you would over just a meal.

 Buy a package of kids valentines and pass them out to the neighbors. Bonus points if you insert a dollar into each one.

BREAK THE DINNER DATE RULE Make it a memorable day where you spend time sharing your love with each other and just relaxing and having a good time.

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THE COUNCIL REPORT (Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series of updates on governmental news as provided by the Lawrence Common Council. It has been edited for space considerations.)

. Teckniks, which manufactures specialty tools, announced an expansion to their business, which resulted in planned new hiring The city upgraded its web site, cityoflawrence.org that provides readers useful information such as permitting processes, leadership, services offered and a FAQ tab that covers most questions our residents may have.

Lawrence saw an uptick in economic development with the announcement of recent expansions of new business to existing businesses moving to Lawrence. . Bloomerang announced an expansion. The Indianapolis software company says it wants to buy a new facility in Lawrence, a move that would add up to 70 jobs over the next 10 years. The company, which helps nonprofits improve fundraising and add donors, plans to buy and renovate a building at Lawrence Village at the Fort, a mixed-use complex near East 56th Street and North Post Road . Little Raymond’s print shop opened their business in Lawrence with plans to initially hire up to 50 employees over the next five years, add approximately 50 additional employees

Additionally, the city was recently awarded two significant grants for economic development: . A grant that helps defray the cost of demolition of several buildings that are not habitable . The re-paving of sections on Franklin Road . A grant to cover most of the cost to begin construction of a trailway that begins at the intersection of Fox Road and runs south on Oaklandon.

PRIVATIZATION RUMORS PROMPTS CLARIFICATION BY FOUR GOP COUNSELORS (Editor’s note: Last month, Lawrence Community Newsletter published a story about the move to privatize city sanitation services. This open letter was prepared and distributed by four of the five Republicans serving on the Lawrence Common Council. It appears in its original, unedited form.)

Much has been said in the local rumor mill, social media and reporting from other media outlets regarding the recent privatization of the Lawrence Sanitation Department. We would like to set the record straight with some indisputable facts.

(Lawrence city government) with shrinking revenue, increasing costs, and underfunded health benefits and joining a Fortune 500 company with 30,000 employees and 13 million customers. Fact 5: Numerous municipalities in Indiana and around the country have contracted out for sanitation services. This has saved local governments millions of dollars. Carmel and Fishers are just two examples. This is a proven concept.

Those of us on the council that supported Ordinance 20 did so to recapture $300,000 into our city budget which can be used to bolster public safety. This will also reduce the size and scope of Lawrence government by nearly 10 percent. Our conditions Fact 2: Each of the city employees who applied with the new company were that services offered stay the same, Lawrence citizens would was offered a job. Half of these employees will double their salary with not see a fee increase, and that our sanitation employees be offered employment. The council is in the process of ensuring their new employer. these employees will get what was promised to them by the Fact 3: The City was able to provide sanitation services for $1.9 million administration as part of the transition. We hope this clears up any per year, Republic will provide the same service for $1.6 million. That’s of the misinformation proliferating on this issue. $300,000 our city budget desperately needs. This difference in cost Jeff Coats, Lawrence City Council, At-Large; Steve Collier, Lawrence is in no way an indictment of the work of our city employees, merely a City Council, District 5; Dave Freeman, Lawrence City Council, result of the economies of scale that a large company can provide. District 6; Tom Shevlot, Lawrence City Council, At-Large Fact 4: The eight sanitation employees are leaving an organization Fact 1: No city council in Indiana, including Lawrence, can approve a contract. That power is vested in the Mayor. Reference state statue IC 36-4-5-3

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Left to Right: Actor Jessica Froelich appears in a scene that was shot in a Lawrence service garage / Actor David Ross on location at the bridge near Lawton Loop, one of several Lawrence landmarks used in the film / Cinematographer Jim Timperman and actor Jessica Froelich discuss blocking and lighting during a scene shot at the Lawrence Government Center

LIGHTS, CAMERA, LAWRENCE

Writer / Neal G. Moore Photos / DC2 Media Group

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Last October, Hollywood came to town – sort of. A 20-minute film entitled Atone was shot entirely on location in Lawrence. “We wanted to showcase Lawrence and the diversity that it offers,” said Dan Cavallini, co-writer, producer and a former Lawrence resident. “It was my way of giving back to community.” The 35-person cast and crew – many who live or work in the Lawrence area – spent two days filming a 16-page script that probes the human condition. “Basically, it’s a story of a woman going through post trauma stress disorder,” explained Jim Dougherty, the film’s director and editor, and an actor in a principal role. The plot includes several twists as mental health, homelessness and addiction are explored. “It’s a character study that’s not all roses, but an uphill climb,” said Cavallini. “There is some hope and redemption at the end.” Several familiar faces are in the film including Tammy Cunningham, owner of Café Audrey, where several scenes were shot, and Mayor Dean Jessup and his wife. “[They] were extras in the restaurant, and took direction well,” smiled Cavellini. Other shooting locations included Lawton Loop, the government center and the city’s vehicle maintenance garage.

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On the heels of the Atone project, an Indianapolis actors’ academy has relocated to Lawrence, and Dougherty believes the city could become a small film hub, of sorts. “What I saw was open arms and a welcoming attitude, and facilities that lend to variety of genres. It’s just a matter of people knowing it’s there.” “It seems like the next natural step for the city,” offered audio director Bruce Northern. Dougherty said that Indiana needs a tax break for filmmakers “to make us comparable with surrounding states” for production costs, noting that several thousand dollars were spent in Lawrence for hotels, food, and supplies. The producers DC2 Media Group, in association with Versa Studios Media, and 3 O’clock Productions, plan to enter Atone into several film festivals this spring.

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J

anuary 1, Shawn Smith, Ph.D., began duties as superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township. Dr. Smith, 46, succeeds Dr. Concetta Raimondi who retired December 31. In announcing the appointment, School Board President Carol Helmus described Dr. Smith as an experienced, visionary leader who is passionate about education. Recently, Lawrence Community Newsletter met with Dr. Smith for a conversation about his priorities as superintendent. LCN: What attracted you to the superintendent’s position? SS: Lawrence Township has always been committed to education; has always done good things in all areas. There is a commitment to ensure that students in Lawrence are educated at a high level. I want to harness that because there are a lot of good ideas here. I felt I could make a difference. Lawrence is going through a transition. What is it going to look like in ten years? That’s my job – to work with stakeholders to prepare Lawrence for the next five to ten years. LCN: What are your top priorities? SS: To get to know the people. I want to know what we do well, what we’re weak in, and then try to solve it. I want to ensure that our schools have a very positive image. Our graduation rate is critical. The current graduation rate for our two high schools is 85 percent. I’m not satisfied with that. We should be at least 90 percent. With the best resources and best teachers, we can bring all students forward, no matter where they’re from. LCN: What are your thoughts about diversity in the Lawrence Township school district? SS: Kids need to see role models within the school. Society is diverse; corporate America is diverse. My philosophy is simple: my staff needs to reflect that [diversity]; my teachers need to embrace it. It is the way of the world. I think it matters for all children. LCN: Lawrence is the state’s tenth-largest public school district with about 15,000 students. What are its strengths and challenges? SS: First, the diversity is very rich, and that was attractive to me. I think the greatest challenge facing all of our metropolitan schools is poverty. It is a silent killer. I think politicians and the public need to understand that the game is different; all is not equal. You can’t look at poverty and say, “Well, it doesn’t matter.” It does matter. Allow the schools the flexibility to do what’s right on behalf of the kids. LCN: How would you characterize your relationship with teachers and their union? SS: The most important people to me are classroom teachers. The relationship between unions and administrations has been strained because we operate in two arenas. What I’m saying is that we are [in this] together. I have to work with you to improve the quality of education. We have to pay our teachers and provide an environment in which they feel comfortable. If I don’t pay them well, they have options to go elsewhere. 8 / LAWRENCE / FEBRUARY 2014 / atLawrence.com

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LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP'S NEW TOP TEACHER Writer / Neal G. Moore . Photos / Brenda Staples

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LCN: How will you address the problem of bullying? SS: When we know our kids and create a culture of teamwork and caring, then that takes care of it. I believe in discipline in schools. We need a culture where kids know it’s safe. When students are afraid to come to school, we have a problem. I’m going to have a laser-like focus on students, and we will address it. LCN: What do you expect from parents and students? SS: I expect parents to be engaged at home. Schools can only do so much. Re-enforce the importance of school and ensure that your kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Ask questions. Make sure they’re fed, get plenty of sleep, and that they’re loved. I expect students to work hard, to be open-minded, to think what’s possible. You are the future leaders. What can you do in your school, in society to make it better? Too often we let kids off the hook. Start cultivating leadership at an early age.

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LCN: How will you measure success? SS: I understand the importance of showing the public that kids are achieving. If we’re going to put letter grades on schools, then that’s the way it is. Currently our grade is a “B”. I challenged my board: let’s go for an A. I know it’s difficult. It’s challenging for a large district with lots of diversity to get to that level. LCN: How do you spend your free time? SS: I’m a soccer dad and an avid sports fan. My son and I play fantasy sports. I enjoy reading and travel. I read bits and pieces of books simultaneously. I’m not a fiction guy – I like to read about people and presidents.

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Dr. Smith is a graduate of Broad Ripple High School. He earned his Ph.D. from Indiana State University in Educational Leadership. Dr. Smith and his wife, Tabetha, are the parents of two daughters and a son. Neal G. Moore has more than 40 years of media and communications experience, including TV news anchoring and reporting in Indianapolis. Find him online at NealMoore.com.

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TEAM FILM LAUNCHES

LAWRENCE WOMEN CO-FOUND TEAM AND FOCUS ON ACTIVE RELATIONSHIP BUILDING Writer / Debra Legg Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Casey Kenley had an epiphany as she waddled through a trail run, eight months pregnant with her second child. She spotted a group of women laughing and chatting as they ran. “I thought it would be awesome to have a group like that. They were having so much fun.” A few months later, after giving birth, Kenley connected with the women and began running with them regularly. The nucleus of the 12-woman group that was to become Team Film had formed. Three of the founders were Lawrence residents: Tess Woods Joven, Hillary Church and Maria Joven. “We wanted to get people active and motivated,” said Lawrence resident Woods Joven. Team Film is about running, biking, swimming — just about any active pursuit. “We often have meet-ups at Fort Harrison State Park for bike riding or off-road running,” explained Woods Joven. “We commiserate. We laugh. Sometimes women don’t take the time to do that with other women,” said Kenley. “We need permission to do that, because nurturing relationships with other women is important.” The name Team Film stems from the group’s entry — production, really — a few years ago in the Dances With Dirt 100K relay in Gnaw Bone, Ind. Members selected a cinematic theme complete with a red carpet, director, starlets and blaring music. The runners shed their ball gowns in the woods and then took off on the trails. “We’re not the fastest, but we have the most fun,” Kenley said. The group tried other names but kept coming back to Team Film, in part because of the deeper question the women keep in mind: If you were to take a movie clip of your life, right now, today, would you be proud of the life you’re living? Team Film is committed to helping women in other communities form their own connections. The organization has launched a website that will help similar Tess Joven, Hillary Church and Maria Harper. groups get going

throughout Indiana and the nation. Startup kits are available, as well as athletic apparel, training plans and fundraising advice. Most of all, Team Film wants to encourage other women to “enjoy and embrace the moment through physical activity,” said member Kristy Busack. The participants of physical activity the team undertakes vary widely, and include marathoners, bikers, hikers and walkers. “We don’t exclude anybody,” said member Maria Harper. Busack agreed. “It’s not about just feeling great, about getting a good run in. It’s about being with women who are going through the same life stages I am.” The group wants others to understand that you can seriously challenge yourself and have serious fun at the same time. “We’re not just a brand. We’re a lifestyle,” Kenley noted. More information is available atgoteamfilm.com, and Team Film’s Facebook page, /goteamfilm, organizes events and raises money to help community organizations.

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Front row seated left to right: Bev Fudge, Heather Anderson, JoEllen DiMartino, Angela Kneebone, Margaret Knass. (Back row) Nancy Liss, Teri Searles, Amanda Erschen, Stacy Reid, Tom DiMartino, Barb Austin, Angie McIntyre and Cori Korn.

LAWRENCE SCHOOLS SCORE WITH “LIGHT THEIR FUTURE” CELEBRATION Writer / Anne E. O’Connor

Over the last 29 years, the Lawrence Township School Foundation has raised more than $4 million for Lawrence public schools. More than 300,000 students in the tenth-largest school district in the state are benefitting from the additional programming that resulted.

community is always very generous in supporting this event,” says Austin. Tickets are $90 per person for the general public, and $65 per person for school employees. Purchasing information is available on the foundation’s website, msdltf.org. Registration closes Feb. 14.

Big plans are now in store for 2014. The organizers of the 14th annual “Light Their Future” Celebration hope to have 600 guests and raise $100,000 at the largest fundraiser on the foundation’s calendar. “It’s a springboard not only for fundraising but also for building community and encouraging camaraderie and cooperation,” said volunteer “Light Their Future” Celebration director Barb Austin. “All the things you would want in your school community.”

MOVING? MOVING? MOVING? MOVING? MOVING? “Light Their Future” will be held Feb. 28 at The Fountains in Carmel, 502 E. Carmel Dr. Cocktails and a silent auction begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 8. Organizers expect to see many of the principals, other school administrators and members of the parent/faculty organizations. Each of the district’s 20 schools will have someone attending and participating at the annual fundraiser.

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FEBRUARY EVENTS 6 18 CHAMBER BREAKFAST

How to protect your identity with social media” John Chapman with Level 365 7:30-8:30 a.m. Crossroads of America Boy Scout Council Headquarters, 7125 Fall Creek Road North $10 Chamber Members; $15 Non-Members lawrencechamberofcommerce.org

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PRESIDENT’S DAY

MSDLT MAGNET FAIR

Learn about each magnet focus available in the district, visit with principals and teachers, who can answer questions and assist with the online application. 4 p.m. Lawrence Education & Community Center, 6501 Sunnyside. magnet.ltschools.org/events/magnet-fair-2014

CATHEDRAL HS 37TH ANNUAL SHAMRAUCTION

Cathedral celebrates the Great Gatsby - their largest fundraiser for student scholarships, equipment, etc. Hundreds of items to bid on. 5:30 p.m.-12:45 a.m. Cathedral H.S, 5445 E. 56th Street, Indianapolis cathedralshamrauction.com

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Enjoy visiting a local business, networking with potential clients and building relationships with existing contacts. Westminster Village North 11050 Presbyterian Dr (63rd & Sunnyside) lawrencechamberofcommerce.org

Celebrating 30 years of giving back to schools in the district. The Honorary Chairs are LN Principal, Brett Crousore, and publisher, Tom Britt The Fountains in Carmel $90 per person, other sponsorships available msdltf.org/index.php/news_and_events/events

CHAMBER BUSINESS AFTER HOURS

MSDLT schools closed www.ltschools.org

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LT “LIGHT THEIR FUTURE” 30TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

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GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD CAUSES YOUNG LIFE: MAKING AN IMPACT Writer / Kathi Moore

It is a Christian organization, though not affiliated with the church. It is a school organization, though not affiliated with the schools. Young Life is a 70-year old global ministry that operates in specific areas such as Lawrence Township, though it receives no national funding. Local area leader Chris Kern, 29, explained that Young Life seeks out those kids who might be in need: unreached kids and lost teenagers. Churches don’t connect with this group well; their youth groups typically attract those teens who are already Christian or attending church with their family. Young Life doesn’t start with a program. It starts with adults concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. These relationships don’t happen overnight — they take time, patience, trust and consistency. In Lawrence, there is a Lawrence Central club that meets on Monday nights at Lawrence Park and another at Belzer called Wyldlife that also meets on Monday nights. Fall Creek Valley will likely be added this year. Each club has between 20 and 50 teenagers who are active in the organization, doing activities, singing songs and hearing a 10-minute Gospel-based message.

Jasmine and Chloe from Lawrence Central enjoy Young Life’s 2013 summer camp

In the summer, Young Life has weeklong outreach camps throughout the country. Local teenagers will head to Georgia this year to SharpTop Cove. They spend 100% of their days at the camp enjoying the outdoors, mountain biking, field games, cabin time, etc. and also some Young Life programming with Gospel messages. Local YL leaders who already know the kids and work with them, attend camp with them rather than strangers, for a better camper experience. “I came to the Lord through Young Life… so it has a special place in my life,” commented Kern. “It was originally an opportunity for me to volunteer, but I am passionate about the methods and philosophy for reaching out to kids who might be in need.” The ultimate goal of Young Life is to introduce teens to the Gospel and help them find a church home. Feeding their souls is just a part of the package. Parent volunteers and donations to fund projects and the camp are always needed. It is Kern’s dream to have more parents and Christian adults involved. There is The Committee that adults can join, which supports the local programs, assists with fundraising, etc. For more information, visit lawrence.younglife.org.

JIM MERRITT

MERRITT STATE SENATE

citizens4merritt.com Paid for by Citizens for Merritt

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CHAMBER CHAT

INNOVATE & ELEVATE YOUR BUSINESS IN 2014 Writer / Jessica Tower

Since 1984, the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has grown both in size and mission. Membership includes small organizations, big corporations and self-employed individuals. Our goal is to promote commerce among Chamber members and within the community at large. There are numerous benefits associated with Chamber membership including opportunities to get connected and to elevate your business. Interactions with other business leaders can make a difference, and the Chamber assists business owners in developing valuable relationships with other businesses, potential clients and your community.

Business promotion and education also are key benefits. One of the best ways to promote businesses is with sponsorship and hosting opportunities. These allow you to get your message in front of Chamber members at events, on the website, with the community and in the e-newsletter. Personal and professional growth comes in the form of dynamic speakers who bring you the latest in business news, workplace motivation, community building opportunities and e-commerce trends. Remember, with the Lawrence Chamber you have an advocate and information source on issues that impact your business, economic growth and the community. We’re a one-stop shop for resources for

your business, for community information, and for other business consulting resources to help elevate your business. To learn more and for membership information, please contact the chamber at 317-541-9876 or visit us at lawrencechamberofcommerce.org. The Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Tower Executive Director, serves as the voice of local businesses and organizations. Their mission is to cultivate the intersection of community and commerce. To learn more and for membership information, please contact the Chamber at 317-541-9876 or lawrencechamberofcommerce.org.

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Lawrence Newsletter February 2014  

Featuring the new superintendent of Lawrence Township Schools Dr. Smith