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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced a plan last week to

encourage more sustainable building around the city. Specifically, the program

offers builders as much as a 50% rebate on all building permit fees for

projects seeking any level of certification based on the U.S. Green Building

Council's standards of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).

Unfortunately, that criterion offers pretty wide berth: projects do not have to

be LEED-certified or LEED-registered. But it's a step in the right direction,

said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

"It remains to be seen how much cutting permit fees will drive green building

investment," he said. "We'd like to see the city commit to all future

government-owned buildings being LEED-certified."


As if we needed a reminder after the Black Expo shootings,

news this week of a drive-by shooting at a birthday party on the city's

northwest side, in which two were killed and six wounded, was a stark reminder

of the nasty cauldron of violence this city sometimes becomes when temperatures

soar. It's enough to make you need to take a nice, relaxing walk... Too bad

that's gotten dangerous as well. On Sunday at 1 a.m. (Saturday night, really),

a young man and woman were mugged on the trail in Broad Ripple, just south of

61st Street. The young man was struck with a set of brass knuckles

and the young woman's purse was stolen. The attack was the fifth on the trail

this year. Something's rotten.


Today's kids aren't old enough to remember the halcyon days

when school started just after Labor Day. But they're old enough to know that

going back to school on Aug. 2 is insane. Citing dozens of staff cuts, Warren

Township started school early, in an attempt to help students pick up where

they left off a little faster. State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) has gone as far

as to introduce legislation officially extending summer vacation until Labor

Day – a resolution that's been twice approved by the Senate, but failed

to get a hearing in the House. That students will be in school during the State

Fair is more than a bummer. It means lost revenue. That pools will be a little

emptier for a full month is mostly just a bummer. But, worst of all, Warren

Township is only making the best of a bad situation, in which schools suffer

while the Simons get taxpayers' millions to honor a contract that's supposed to

be good until 2019.


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