When it comes to the discussions of what is happening with the White River, there are lots of plans being created that stretch from the top of Hamilton County all the way to the bottom of Marion County. With Fishers being in the middle, you’d expect it to be included in the plans.
Fishers is included in the plan, with a lot of changes proposed that include a boat launch, two pedestrian bridges that cross the river, walking trails, and a lot of planned activity ideas. The issue, however, is that this would all be a part of Conner Prairie, and not likely public access. Conner Prairie has a map of their future plans that includes many features that tap into using the river. Once they have made their official public announcement, then I’ll be able to share a diagram showing many of their updates and the expected locations.
As a member of Conner Prairie, I find the bridge, trail, and other ideas to be great improvements; however, it would have been nice to see ideas for White River improvements applied throughout the other areas of Fishers. The Public level of access to the White River from Fishers is minimal, with primary access at 116th Street and South. Ironically, most of the Conner Prairie plans are in Carmel – the West side of the river.
The Fishers City Council is focused on the rail trail and the new park on Geist, but it would be nice to see additional focus put on the White River and the opportunities it offers. Right now, the primary access from Fishers is a boat launch at 116th Street, Heritage Park, and behind the Riverside schools. Adding access to the river at 146th Street would allow a person to canoe, float, or kayak down to 116th or even 96th Street. Additionally, adding easier access to the river at Heritage Park would make it easier to get in and out of the river. It would also open up tubing from 116th Street to Heritage Park.
Outside of Fishers, there are a lot of popular destinations on the river. I mentioned many of the parks in a previous post. The following image from the White River planning committee list many of the popular destinations. It would be great to see more added that are located in Fishers!
The White River flows along the entire West side of Fishers. This is a fantastic asset that has a lot more to offer than a strip of old railroad tracks.
A group has been working to build a plan for the improved usage of the White River through Hamilton and Marion counties. I’ve posted a little bit about what they’ve been doing and will be posting more in the future. Of immediately importance, however, are a number of planning engagements over the next few days that will allow anyone to come and provide input to their plans. At these events you will gain insights into what has been happening on and around the river as well as the plans that are forming. The following image includes the dates happening this week:
UPDATE: Due to the weather, the meetings for 1/30 at MIBOR and Sun King Brewery have been postponed to 2/13 at a location to be determined.
When I’ve attended one of these events in the past, there was not a formal meeting, but rather a chance to see some of the plan and provide direct input to the group. This has included home owners asking that the plans leave their land alone to adventurers asking for more activities to be created. There are also those simply looking to understand more about what is available in the area.
These meetings are this week (the week I’m writing this), but the planning will be ongoing. You can always get more information or find the latest gathers on the MyWhiteRiver.com site. As mentioned, the planning covers the area shown in the following image:
Hamilton Southeastern Schools has two high schools, Fishers High School (FHS) and HSE High School (HSE). While recent redistricting impacted many kids in kindergarten through eight grade, the district left the high schools alone – for the most part.
The reality is, the high schools are not balanced. To offset this, Fishers has allowed parents to choose to send their kid to the high school outside of their area within the district. The result of this is that about 8 kids have chosen to go to HSE instead of FHS, and almost 200 have chosen to go to FHS instead of HSE. This doesn’t include the additional kids going to FHS for the IB program.
The net results of this for 2019-20 can be seen in the following chart pulled from the HSE School Board BoardDocs page:
You an see that in the end, HSE is currently expecting 3342 students next year with FHS having almost 7% more at 3572. While Fishers High School is higher, the district expects growth to be on the HSE side of town, thus the lower number could change.
Where the Noise is
The issue with high school choice, however, centers on transportation. The HSE district has offered transportation for many of the high school students even if they were not in the current district lines. This was not something guaranteed, so going forward transportation will not be offered. This has caused a number of people to complain. One of the biggest issues is that many people going to HSE have to drive by FHS to get there. Another issue centers on the neighborhoods near the dividing line. In those neighborhoods, there are a number of kids that have chosen to flip schools. This puts pressure on the remaining kids that are friends to do the same so they can stick together. For those families that can’t afford or have the means to drive their child to school, this adds undo pressure. Additionally, because neighborhoods are on the line, in some cases, busses from both high schools enter the neighborhood, yet kids can only use the one for the school they are allocated.
The issue has been contentious. At the last school board meeting, there was a great deal of discussion on the topic by the new school board. Additionally, one parent spoke on the topic to the board. The following is the rough video of that meeting:
Redistricting the High Schools
Based on the comments made in the last HSE School Board meeting, redistricting at the high school level is not currently planned. The choice program, while not at the percentage the superintendent would like, is close enough to let things continue as they currently stand. The plan is to continue the experiment of choice for the next year or two.
The school district is currently working on student numbers for next year now. These numbers need to be nailed down because it determines the number of classrooms and teachers needed. If there is a need to shift teachers or hire new teachers, that needs to be done sooner rather than later. As such, any changes to district school lines need to be finalized now.
Some of the Q&A:
Question: Could buses be offered for those neighborhoods that have a busload of kids that are choosing to go to a different school?
Answer: This would cause issues. There could be others that then want to switch schools who hadn’t done choice due to the lack of transportation. Additionally, other kids could say it is unfair to bus some kids but not all.
Question: Could we extend the bussing done this year for another year?
Answer: The reasoning for adding bussing this year no longer exists next year. Additionally, bussing was never guaranteed. Kids were allowed on busses if there was space.
Question: If IB kids are being transferred between schools on the shuttles, why couldn’t we expand this to allow any kids to use the transfer buses? This might take 2 or 3 more buses
Answer: If a kid can afford to drive, they are likely to drive rather than bus to one school and then take another bus to school.
Question: Why is Fishers High School more desired?
Answer: Because kids at Riverside Junior High want to stick together as do those at some of the other High Schools. Additionally, Fishers High School is closer to where a lot of kids live.
Indiana is known for being flat. While this isn’t totally true, in most locations it is true enough. When it comes to sledding, flat isn’t a good feature. While you can jaunt up to Noblesville and pay to sled on hills, if you live in Fishers, there is no reason to leave town. In fact, there are at least two great places to sled – one on the far West side and one on the far East side.
Of course, my kids and I use the location on the East side, so while there is a desire to keep it a secret, I’ll open up and share! On the East side of Fishers is Heritage Park at White River. To get there, simply take 106th Street West until you can go no further. Once you cross Eller Road, you drive into the park. This is a relatively small park in Fishers but offers unique opportunities. In the summer it is one of the few places in Fishers where you can get to the White River. In a future article, I’ll talk in more details about this park, however, for this article, my focus is on the most notable winter feature of this park, which is a large hill. Better yet, it’s next to a parking lot, so it is easy to get to!
Heritage Park has one of the better sledding hills in town since it has a little bit of distance, but not so much that it is brutal to walk back to the top. The main part of the hill offers a longer run on a sled. Going off the right part of the hill offer a small slope that flattens out then a secondary smaller slope. This is great for the littler kids learning to sled as well as for those that try using snow boards instead of sled.
The other sledding part in Fishers is Flat Fork Creek Park, which is on the far East side of Fishers. This park claims the tallest hill in Hamilton County. It is located at 101st Street and Cyntheanne Road.
While I’ve not used the sledding hill at Flat Fork Creek, many have. The City of Fishers highlighted it this past week-end with the advent of the first good snow of the winter. One nice thing about this 60-foot sledding hill is that it is ADA compliant.
Of course, as more people learn about these two great locations, they will get more crowded. As such, care should be used, and the city rules should be followed. These rules include no metal sleds or kayaks. Also included in the rules are that you should not sled on designated walking paths. Granted, at Heritage Park you will be going over one of the snow-covered paths! The most important rule is that you should look uphill and yield to others coming down. “Bowling for People” is not an allowed activity!
Of course, the most important rule is to have fun. It is critical to note, however, that this rule applies to grown-ups as much as kids. While I might look silly, I find sledding to be as much fun as my kids. While parents are free to stand around at the top of the hills and chat, they really can have a lot of fun hopping on a sled as well! With more snow coming this week-end, I expect I might see a few of you at the hills!
Christmas is almost here, so you’ve likely completed your shopping. If you haven’t and aren’t in an a hurry to get the gifts, then this article contains a couple of items I recommend considering for yourself or those you know. My reasoning for selecting the items in this list is simple. These are products or services that are by small businesses I know.
Product One: Create a Castle
The first item is for kids of every age. While this product was originally developed for building sand castles, it quickly became obvious that the real value of the product for most people is in using it with snow to build snow castles. This product was developed by a person I worked with for a few years. His “out of the box” thinking resulted in a mold for building castles that doesn’t leave you with sand stuck in the bottom of your bucket. Rather, the mold clamps and opens to make it easier to create masterpieces.
Over the past year, Kevin’s product has gone from idea to reality. More so, it has gotten national attention on shows like Kelly and Ryan:
Recently Kevin mentioned that they will be on QVC as well. You can find them in a number of stores around the country as well as online. You can order the castle kids online from their site at www.createacastle.com or from retailers such as Barnes and Nobles online. I personally recommend the Deluxe or Pro Tower Kits! If you are heading to the beach or expecting a couple of inches of snow, then this is the product to take your castle building to the next level!
Product Two: Funky Munchkin Candles
Yankee Candles are so last year. Today’s candle lovers want something a little more funky, which leads to the second product I’m recommending – Funky Munchkin Candles!
Funky Munchkin candles are being created and sold by my friends, John and Terra. They started the candle business as a way to earn extra money to help fund their adoption process. The business has continued as they’ve expanded their candle line to a number of scents.
Being a stickler for details, they have focused on building candles using high-quality materials. Specifically, their candles are made from palm wax, which burns more cleanly than traditional candles. It isn’t, however, this high-quality approach that causes me to recommend their candles. Rather, it is the fun, unique scents that they’ve brought to the mx! There are some expected scents such as apple cinnamon, blueberry muffin, Hot cocoa, lilac, and Jasmine. There are also unique scents such as Goji (a super-fruit blended with a classic flower), fireball (intense cinnamon), granny’s pumpkin roll, pirate (as in those bad guys that sail the seven seas), shire (like where hobbits live), vanapplemon (I have no idea…), and many others. For the holidays they have we three kings, Christmas spirit, candy cane, and humbug. I’ve named a lot of scents, but also left out a number f them too. You can find all of their current smells at https://funkymunchkincandles.com/#!/Products/AllCandles
So as to keep up with the times, in addition to the candles, they’ve also started selling melts. You can find more information on their site at https://funkymunchkincandles.com. At the time I wrote this, they were offering free two-day USPS priority shipping on orders.
Product Three: Apex Taekwondo
Most people think of gifts as items that can be wrapped and placed under a tree or given at a party. Sometimes, a great gift is one that not only provides enjoyment, but also improves the physical well-being of the recipient. Based on that, my next product to recommend is a membership to Apex Taekwondo in Fishers, Indiana.
Apex is a newer business in Fishers, Indiana, so unlike many of the more established Taekwondo centers, you aren’t just the next subscription. Rather, the owner and his team are going to be able to give anyone that attends the attention they need to learn the art and skill of Taekwondo. Whether this is a gift for a child or for yourself, the end results are sure to be rewarding as you work to learn new skills.
The owner of Apex is Master Stephen McEwan, who is a fifth degree black belt. Not only is Stephen experienced in training (he has trained over 500 students), he is simply a great guy! Like John and Terra at Funky Munckin, Stephen is someone I’ve had the chance to get to know. In addition to knowing Stephen, several of my friends have been taking his classes. As such, it is easy to recommend Apex and Stephen to anyone consider a unique type of gift!
Product Four: Child Safety Playing Cards
Sometimes a simple gift is needed. Not only is the Child Safety deck of playing cards a fun bit of entertainment, it is also a learning and teaching tool! This is a unique set of cards that can be used in the same manner as any other deck of playing cards. It can also be used as a dice alternative. Each playing card includes the picture of a six-sided dice with a number of dots showing form one to six. This is great for those times when you want to play a dice game, but don’t have a surface for rolling!
The most important aspect, however, of this deck of cards are the safety messages that are included. Each card includes a safety message that is good for kids to know and understand. For example, the Queen of Hearts includes the message that lets you kwno that water temperatures less than 120 degrees won’t scald. The card also includes a kid-drawn picture to illustrate the safety tip.
The Child Safety Playing Cards are available for order at http://kin2kid.com/product/child-safety-deck/. At the time of this writing the price had been lowered from $8.95 a deck to just $5.95!
Products Five and Six: Discipleship Training Guides
The final products I’ll recommend are books that I’ve mentioned before that are available on Amazon. These books were written by my parents, so clearly I know the authors. These books are Discipleship Training for Followers of Christ and Discipleship Training for Christian Outreach. Both paperback books present a study guide approach to learning about discipleship. Each chapter of these books presents a relevant topic along with questions and Bible versus to guide in learning. The answers to all of the questions (along with versus) are included in the books.
At only $9.99 each, these are a great stocking stuffer or a gift for yourself!
So Much More….
These are just four products that are easy for me to talk about. All are worth checking out! If you are still looking for that extra gift, then all of these work. While it might be too late for getting these in time for Christmas, all make great things to have any time of year! If you choose to purchase any of these, feel free to tell them Brad sent you!