City-county government officials flocked to the Indiana

War Memorial's

ornate Pershing Auditorium for a New Year's Day ceremony to

celebrate the inauguration of Mayor

Greg Ballard

for his second term of office.

Judge Dave Certo administered Ballard's oath of office as

the first lady, Winnie


, held a pocket Bible, which the U.S. government issued to the mayor

during his military service in the Persian Gulf War.

The mayor solemnly swore to "support the Constitution

of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Indiana" and to

"faithfully and impartially, discharge the duties of the Office of Mayor

of Indianapolis, according to law and to the best of my ability, so help me


Judge Sheila Carlisle administered the oath of office to

members of the soon-to-be minority Republican Caucus of the City-County

Council. These members included Virginia

"Ginny" Cain

, Jeffrey Cardwell, Benjamin


, Janice McHenry, Jeff


, Marilyn


and Christine



Notable Democrats in the audience included Councilwoman Maggie


of the 7th District, who the council is expected to nominate

and confirm as council president at its Jan. 9 meeting, as well as at-large

councilors John


, Zach


and Leroy


.The Democrats had

their own swearing-in ceremony at the Indy Fringe Theatre.

The upcoming council meeting will mark a transition of power

between the parties, as Republicans enjoyed the majority prior to the Nov. 8 municipal


The meeting's agenda and proposed business will be released

to the public by Jan. 6.

In a recent email exchange Councilman Barth highlighted

three of his council priorities for 2012:

"Three high priority items for me are 1) smoke-free air

policy/ordinance (which all four at-large councilors are co-sponsoring), 2)

addressing concerns at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, and 3) working

with the city on a better approach to working with neighborhoods —

including looking for a new, more interactive way to address abandoned housing

and crime."

Councilman Benjamin


, R-District 21, visited with NUVO for a few minutes following the

mayor's inauguration ceremony. He said he is looking forward to working on a

stronger smoking ban as well as overseeing the continued implementation of a

nationally accredited professional standards unit within the Indianapolis

Metropolitan Police Department

, an initiative that he helped spearhead as

head of the council's public safety committee.

He said the city is on-track to accomplish its accreditation

goals by 2014.

In the mayor's State of the City address, which he delivered

after taking his second term oath, he noted that the business publication Kiplinger last week described the city's

entrepreneurial scene as "on the verge of making it big" and named

Indianapolis one of the top ten cities in the nation to start a new business.

"Modern cities don't need harbors or ports to

thrive," Ballard said. "They need leaders who harbor great

partnerships with business rather than rail against it and data ports that move

ideas and money around the world at the speed of business."

Ballard said he expects an influx of new residents as people

quit migrating toward the suburbs and begin filtering back to the city's

historic neighborhoods.

"The Indianapolis of tomorrow must act now to provide

the services and amenities that attract and support people seeking a return to

city life — chief among these is education," Ballard said.

"For the good of our community and our children,

Indianapolis must raise its educational expectations — not just from our

schools but from our students as well. We must also invest in the basic

framework of modern city living — that includes transit, greenways and


In classic everyday-guy Ballard style, the mayor emphasized

his appreciation for and support of the city's greenways by hosting his first

annual Polar

Bear Pedal

on Jan. 2.

Several hundred local bicycle enthusiasts joined Ballard on

a blustery and brisk, snow-flurry-filled Monday morning for a 12.2 mile loop from

the Indy

Bike Hub YMCA

at City


along White River to Major

Taylor Velodrome

and back.

Hometown Indy boy Jacob Kokotkiewicz, who served in the Army

Infantry, is now a year and a half into his job as a deputy sheriff.

NUVO asked him: "Why come out in 25 degree weather to ride in the snow

this morning?"

"Why not?" he replied. "Life's too short to

sit inside drinking hot chocolate and wishing it was warmer outside."

Prior to the ride, Ballard said the event was "just a

crazy idea that happened two months ago ... highlighting the connectivity

in the city


"...It's just the beginning. You're gonna see a lot

more bike riding this year; more people riding to workÉThe feeling around here

is tremendous."

Ballard touched on a similar theme as he concluded his State

of the City address.

"There is every reason to believe we can become a

capital of commerce, a capital of urban progress, a capital of education

reform, and a capital of leadership and thought, " he said.

"As Mayor of this great city, I hope we recognize this

moment. This is our time."


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