Death in the newsroom

According to former Indianapolis Star columnist Ruth Holladay, the tragic death of Star photographer Mpozi Tolbert on July 3, 2006, raises serious questions about emergency protocol at the Gannett corporation.

Holladay, who retired the Friday before Tolbert’s death, has posted a scathing account of the chain of events on her new blog ( According to Holladay, “Mpozi — a vibrant young black male, a bicyclist-about-town, a guy who never met a stranger, the sweet soul of tolerance and curiosity — was a victim of an inept, profit-driven, cheap, small-minded company.”

Mann Properties to develop Crown Hill site

Mann Properties is proposing a residential, retail development on the 70 acres of land next to Crown Hill Cemetery and across the street from the Indianapolis Museum of Art. According to a company spokesperson, Mann plans to preserve at least 20 acres of woodlands, and it also is working to design the site so that much of the existing wetlands will be preserved. The development will include walking paths and a public green space that will tie into the history of the area.

“We’re excited about Mann’s plans for this development and its commitment to reserving the natural setting while also enhancing this property,” said Keith Norwalk, president of Crown Hill. “Not only will this development protect the valuable wetlands on the property and enhance the surrounding residential neighborhood, but it also will provide for the growth of Crown Hill’s endowment fund that will ensure maintenance for the future.”

The initial plan calls for four distinct areas: Tarkington Estates, approximately 40 custom homes on wooded lots; Tarkington Village, approximately 95 urban-style homes; The Townhomes at Tarkington, clusters of townhomes built throughout the wooded areas; and Tarkington Corner, approximately a 7-acre retail site, which may include a small grocery, coffee shop and bakery.

Raw sewage solution proposed

The city of Indianapolis has reached a tentative agreement with state and federal agencies on a 20-year plan to greatly reduce raw sewage overflows into Marion County waterways, ensuring continued progress in improving the quality of life in many Indianapolis neighborhoods, Mayor Bart Peterson announced last week.

The $1.8 billion plan represents the largest investment in clean water infrastructure in the city’s history. All construction will be completed by Dec. 31, 2025. Under the tentative agreement, the city has agreed to invest $1.73 billion by December 2025 to significantly reduce raw sewage overflows from the combined sewer system; $50.4 million by December 2015 to eliminate chronic overflows from seven locations in the separate, sanitary sewer system; and $3.5 million by December 2010 on supplemental environmental projects to eliminate septic systems in the Epler-Meridian and Banta-Southport neighborhoods.

A rate increase approved last year by the City-County Council will fund projects planned in 2006-2008. During that time, the city will undertake $400 million in sewage overflow, sanitary sewer and water treatment projects and $40 million in flood control and drainage improvements. Additional rate increases will be needed every year or two beginning in 2009 to finance the 20-year plan and meet other Clean Water Act goals.

The plan is available online at Electronic copies of the plan on CD-Rom can be obtained by calling 317-327-8720.