Hoosier says BMV gave him an offensive plate

Brenda Shelton

Reporter, 5 Rights News


There’s a problem inside John Hoover’s garage and on roads throughout Indiana.

About 900 license plates have been issued to Hoosiers with the letters S-O-T –  letters Hoover  considers offensive. He wants the license plate replaced without the S-O-T prefix which according to Webster’s Dictionary refers to a habitual drunkard and dates back to the late 1500s.

“I really wasn’t too satisfied with having to drive around town with that implication on my driver’s plates,”  said Hoover who has two cars with the plates. But the Bureau of Motor Vehicles  has refused to issue him a plate without cost because the word isn’t commonly known in today. Instead, the BMV will charge Hoover $10 to swap out the plate.

“It’s really a kind of an old English word, an old usage, archaic usage, that is not common parlance today. For that reason, we don’t see the need to eliminate that word.” says Dennis Rosebrough, a BMV spokesperson.

When issuing license plates, a combination of letters and numbers are randomly selected and afterward, a committee reviews the plates to make sure no phrases are  inappropriate.   SEX, SIN, YUK, SOS, WTF, and WWF are among the phrases that are automatically rejected.

“We really take this seriously,” said Rosebrough. “We don’t want to put something on the back of a car that is offensive to the general public.”

Downtown business at risk

Dan McMichaels stands outside his restaurant in the Biergarten that is another part of his business. The Biergarten is at risk of being lost forever

Roth Lovins

Staff Writer, 5 Rights News

On a typical evening at the Rathskeller Biergarten, there is a cornucopia of people singing and dancing along to the live performer of the night, enjoying the present company and, of course, the beer. The overall atmosphere is one of relaxation and friendliness because of the staffers who work there. Amidst the crowd, trying to enjoy the music while not drawing attention to himself sits Dan McMichaels, the owner of Rathskeller and its corresponding Biergarten.

McMichaels has been the owner of the restaurant and Biergarten since 1995. Since the start of his business, he has had to rent out the space for his companies from the Athenaeum Turners. For the most part, the deal was beneficial to both of the parties involved. That is, until the Athenaeum Turners sent some unsettling news to McMichaels.

“Two days after the 2012 Super Bowl, I received a letter from the landowners of the building,” McMichaels said. “In the letter, they asked to audit the records as a part of our leasing agreement.”

McMichaels cooperated and made sure that all demands were met in accordance with their agreement. Not long after that, McMichaels received yet another letter.

“The next letter told us that we weren’t able to use the Rathskeller name on our advertising and merchandising products throughout the restaurant,” McMichaels said.

McMichaels was upset and took actions with his attorney. After some time in court and mediation, the situation seemed to be appeased, but that was only the beginning of it all.

“The next cease and detest that we got was one that told us that we had to shut down the live entertainment,” McMichaels said.     “They basically told us that starting July 1, we had to close the Biergarten for good.”

For McMichaels, the Biergarten was the backbone for his company and was upset over losing the world-renowned creation.

“The landowners felt that they weren’t getting enough money from me, so they decided to cut off the source of all my money in efforts to get me to ‘roll over’ for them, but I’m not going to,” McMichaels said.

On top of that, McMichaels said that the foundation itself was struggling and wouldn’t be able to help out the rest of the community if they lost their main source of income.

“We have offered our space to non-for profit organizations and helped raise money for local organizations in efforts to give back to the community and without the Biergarten, it will be harder for us to support them,” McMichaels said.

One of the projects that the Rathskeller Biergarten took on was the ‘America Remembers 9/11’ in efforts to raise money for the local Fire Department Bereavement Fund.

“We were able to donate $160,000 to the organization thanks to all the support and funds that came from the Biergarten and its patrons,” McMichaels said.

Along with his contributions through organizations, McMichaels is able to help specific people in the community through a variety of ways.

“In the past, I bought an apartment building and made repairs to it so that the neighborhood wouldn’t suffer because of it,” McMichaels said. “ I have also donated free food services to volunteers who work on some of the construction projects downtown.”

McMichaels hope is that all the people who he has met through his business will be willing to band together and help join his campaign.

“People can join the ‘Save the Biergarten’ campaign and try and campaign against the Athenaeum Foundation so we can keep all the fun going,” McMichaels said. “I know the support will be there because of the traditions that are present in the community.”

For more information on how you can join the ‘Save the Biergarten’ campaign and other ways you can get involved, check out the Rathskeller website and their Facebook page at www.rathskeller.com.

Students Graduate Without Passing Standardized Tests

Brelyn Jefferson

Staff Writer, 5 Rights News


Marion County schools say they are graduating seniors at a high rate of between 64 and 91 percent.
This percentage has been increasing, especially within the last year.

But some of those graduates didn’t meet a big state requirement of passing a graduation test.
Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White thinks special waivers that allow students to graduate without passing the test benefit them.

“If the state doesn’t want us to use it, eliminate it. I have no problem with it. As long as we have it as a mechanism, don’t knock us for using it,” said White.

On the other hand, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett “respectfully disagrees” with White.

“We have to remember that passing English/Language Arts at 10th grade and Algebra 1 is a minimum standard,” Bennett said.  “We know the vast majority of those who graduate using waivers will need remediation in college. On top of that, it negatively impacts a students’ chance of graduating from college.”

End-of-course assessments are required for all Indiana schools. They are taken by all students, and everyone must pass them in order to be eligible for graduation; according to state law.

ECA tests are administered to ensure that students have the minimum 10th grade education criteria necessary to graduate and the potential to make it and be properly prepared for life after high school.

According to calculations of state records, about 8 percent of Indiana graduates receive a diploma even though they never pass all of their courses. They use an exception in state law known commonly as a “waiver.”

In order to qualify for a waiver, students must:

-Take all of the opportunities offered to students to try the test again.
-Have at least a C average in the subject areas of English and Math.
-Have 95 percent average attendance rate for all four years.
-Have recommendation letters; one from the teacher in the subject not passed and one from the principal.     Who approves?

By using waivers to award diplomas to students who otherwise would not qualify, school districts are able to improve their graduation rates, sometimes dramatically. For Indianapolis Public Schools, last year’s graduation rate of 64.6 percent would have dropped by 17 points to 47.3 percent if not for waivers. In Pike Township, waivers helped raise the graduation rate 11.3 points to 91.8 percent from 80.5 percent.

The percent of students who used the waiver has been slowly increasing  throughout Indiana.

The amount of waivers used in Marion County is higher in more suburban areas such as Hamilton County.

But in Marion County, some school officials think waivers make sense for certain types of students. Pike High School principal Troy Inman thinks the waiver only should  be used in “special circumstances,” such as students who have language barriers that hurt their test taking abilities.

Principal Troy Inman said it’s up to teachers to get kids to pass so they will not be at a disadvantage in life. Waivers, he said, “should be used sparingly.”

“Teachers should be doing whatever they can to help them pass,” he said. “There should be a correlation between what they learn and passing the exam.”

Students who are in danger of not graduating because of the ECA think the tests are not fair.   Brent Williams, a recent Arlington High School graduate is one of these people.

“It’s just shoving them through,” he said about the way students are being sent out into the world, ready or not. He got help in passing his Algebra ECA from a very encouraging teacher.

An Arlington High School recent graduate who passed the ECA, Ciara Mercedes Blaine, is worried about classmates who did not pass the ECA. “I know it’s going to be hard for them,” she said of their futures. They risk not being very successful in college and are at a disadvantage, she said, they are a step behind.

“That test was just ridiculous. What’s it prove? I have my classes and my credits done.” Lorenzo Lay, who also graduated from Arlington High School, said.  He did not pass the Algebra ECA and received a waiver.

He does not want to let that test define what other accomplishments he has made in high school or his future ones.

Lay will attend Ivy Tech Community College this fall to be a graphic designer and does not think failing the Algebra ECA will affect him.  “I feel I’m ready.”

Must-see summer blockbusters

Michael Shepard II

Reporter, 5 Rights News


Here are 5 summer movies that every movie-goer should see:

1.Ted: A movie about man and his childhood friend – a teddy bear. The comedy stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane. Opens: Friday, June 29

2. Madea’s Witness Protection: Tyler Perry’s is back with his classic portrayl of Madea but this time she will have to deal with  a investment banker who needs witness protection. The movie stars  Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, and Romeo. Opens: Friday, June 29.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man:  The robot series opens with a teenage Peter Parker trying to figure out what happened to his parents and he crosses paths with Curt Conners. The movie stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans.

4. Dark Knight Rises: The last chapter of the Christopher Nolan trilogy  has a new villain who terrorizes Gotham. The movie stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Tom Hardy.

5. The Campaign: Don’t  you love Will Ferrell? This likely blockbuster centers around two rival politicians who square off for presidential campaign. The  stars Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, and Jason Sudeiksis.

Angela Buchman to move to rival station WTHR

by Katie Kutsko

Staff writer, Five Rights News


Chris Wright, chief meteorologist for WTHR-TV Channel 13, stands at his weather station.

Emmy Award-winning meteorologist Angela Buchman, WISH-TV Channel 8, plans to jump  to rival station WTHR-TV Channel 13, Indiana Business Journal (IBJ) reported Wednesday.

It is unclear whether  current WTHR chief meteorologist Chris Wright, will remain at the station. Wright also is  unsure of his future.

“Hope so [to stay at WTHR]. You just never know,” Wright said. “But, I’ll always be a weather person. I would at another station. You’d have to [move], but I would prefer not to.”

New York-based Nielsen Media research ratings released Wednesday for the May sweeps period point to trouble for the four major local stations. WTHR’s ratings fell 34.3 percent at 5 p.m., 16.3 percent at 6 p.m. and 17.8 percent at 11 p.m. However, WTHR remains the most-watched station in the market, and in order to maintain that position, the station is moving to hire Buchman, IBJ reported.

Wright also made the move from WISH to WTHR in 1999 and understands that the station made a business move.

“They [WTHR] want to help their station and hurt their competitor by taking something of theirs,” Wright said.

Changes in the industry mean that weather forecasters have to remain flexible and ready to accept whatever comes their way according to Wright.

“When I first started in the business, there were maps with metal magnets,” he said. “And then we started with older computers. That’s how I got my first job. The older meteorologist refused to use a computer.”

Wright directed comments about the IBJ report to  news director Keith Connors or general manager John Cardenas. But he did say that because of contract rules, Buchman would have to wait a year before going on-air for WTHR.

Wright said  that change is inevitable.

“In TV, the only thing to count on is change,” he said. “People who last adapt to change: technology, ways of doing things, management, ownership. It always requires change.”

Attorney claims smoking ban violates civil rights

Beatriz Costa-Lima

Managing Editor, 5 Rights News


Instead of the usual flow of regular customers to Casino, an Eastside bar, nowadays, patrons buy one drink, step outside to smoke and then leave, according to bar owner Rhoda Walker.

Walker claims the Indianapolis smoking ban is the cause for this shift in business and finds the ban encroaches upon her civil rights.

Indianapolis-based attorney Mark Small, with Ogden Law Firm, filed a motion in Federal District Court on behalf of Walker and 42 other plaintiffs. Walker stated the Ninth Amendment protects the right to smoke on private property.

The ban, which took effect June 1, strengthened the current legislation to restrict smoking in bars with the exception of private clubs, hooka bars and cigar bars.

“The right of an owner of a private business on private property to allow patrons or customers to engage in otherwise legal conduct is among those rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights,” Small said. “[Smoking] would have been a right the framers would have believed unnecessary to specifically protect as they convened over mugs of ale and pipes of tobacco during that summer of 1787 in Philadelphia.”

Before he adresses the media, Indianapolis-based attorney Mark Small, of Ogden Law Firm, speaks with one of his 43 plaintiffs on the steps of the federal district courthouse.

While courts across the nation usually uphold smoking bans, this is the first time an opponent has used the Ninth Amendment in support of smokers’ rights. However, this approach appears more as an act of desperation rather than an argument that will hold up in court, according to Gerard Magliocca, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis professor.

“There are very few cases that would use the ninth Amendment to do anything,”

Magliocca said. “There’s just no grounds for that kind of argument. Smoking is a heavily regulated thing. There are all sorts of cities around the world that have smoking bans and few have ever challenged them.”

Legislators regulate businesses in various ways in order to create safe work environments, according to David Orentlicher, Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis professor.

“The court recognizes that it’s important for the government to regulate this area,” Orentlicher said, “The freedom to decide how exactly to run your business the way you want is not a fundamental right. The government can tell you what minimum wage to pay employees; they can regulate overtime hours…there are all kinds of regulations to create a safe working environment.”

Despite some controversy to the ban, Mark Lotter, spokesperson for Mayor Greg Ballard, believes that with time, people will adjust to the regulations.

“When you saw the 2005 ban go into effect, there were some initial concerns, but over the course of time people adjusted,” Lotter said. “From a public health and business stand point it makes the city more attractive to employers, conventions and visitors. We are seeing generally positive response from the community.”

Small believes that the ban serves as simply one step to further restrictions on citizen’s daily choices.

“Double cheeseburgers with fries [will] probably [be] next,” Small said. “You already see 17 ounce slurpees in New York City are illegal. How can you have a decent slurpee if it’s 16 ounces or less? It makes no sense…how can a mayor, simply acting on his own, say we’re not going to do that?”

In addition, Small doubted the harmful effects of secondhand smoke Wednesday at a news conference outside the federal courthouse. Cigarette smoke, he said, produces the “equivalent of a million cigarettes.” However, a study led by the Tobacco Control Unit of Italy’s National Cancer Institute in Milan suggests that air pollution emitted by cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust. Due to the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has regulates motor vehicle pollution

With the ban in place, Walker worries if Casino will stay in business much longer with the decrease in customers.

“This is my livelihood,” Walker said. “What can I do?”

Indianapolis Colts: A new beginning

Michael Shepard

Reporter, 5 Rights News


The Indianapolis Colts hosted their second day of mini camp at Lucas Oil Stadium Wednesday and introduced fans to the revamped team including new quarterback Andrew Luck.

While seeing Luck for the first time was the big draw, the midday event also gave fans a chance to experience what it’s like to throw, kick and tackle like their favorite player.

About 7,500 optimistic fans, young and old, filled the stadium hopeful that this new Colts team would be better than last year’s 2-14 team. Still lingering, though, were the memories of former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, now a Denver Bronco.

” (Andrew Luck) is really good but I really will miss Peyton Manning,” said Jessica Holton, who attended the public workout with her husband Tommy. But both said they were confident that Luck could be the quarterback the Colts need.

Following the two hours that fans had to buy tickets and explore the field, the real fun started with the  Colts taking the field.

The fans got a chance to see Luck up close and the defensive line entertained the crowd when they ran onto  the field yelling and hyping up the practice.

Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri aimed kicks from the 40-yard line with pinpoint accuracy and 12-year veteran receiver Reggie Wayne ran routes and snagged passes from Luck, each to the delight of the crowd.

The concern was evident on the faces of some fans  when Luck threw several incomplete passes and missed some routes. However, he finished the day with 26-of-37 pass completions and a touchdown. The crowd went crazy.

The showcase practice ended with an autograph session. Among the most popular – Luck and Wayne.

Second year offensive lineman Ben Ijalana offered his perspective on Luck.  “He learned the playbooks really fast and has a grasp for the offense already.” He said that he is optimistic about his team’s future. “You can only get better after last season.”

Inside Extra

By Ridley Morgan

Reporter, 5 Rights News

Has Gaga gone too Gaga? Lady Gaga has always held prominence for her wild antics, but she reached another level of crazy when she recently was  hit in the head with a pole during a performance by a backup dancer. The “Born This Way” crooner was cursed with said fate on a Sunday earlier this month during a concert in New Zealand. According to Yahoo! News, Gaga’s makeup artist tweeted: “Gaga has a concussion but she is going to be okay…can’t believe she finished the show.” Be careful Gaga, before the edge of glory becomes of the edge of brain damage.

Drake’s new meaning to “YOLO”? Rihanna asks, “Where have you been?” and Drake and Chris Brown answer, “Right here!” The two hunky heartbreakers reportedly engaged in a brawl in the W.i.P. Club in New York City over sultry singer Rihanna, who is known to be both Chris and Drake’s boo of the past. According to ABC News, Drake was not involved in any  disorderly conduct and the fight was actually initiated by the entourages of the celebs. Boys, you have officially proven to us the lengths to which you’ll go to be Rihanna’s rude boy.

Crazy guidettes reek new havoc on the Shore. Will we ever tire of the Snooks? Although viewers are unfortunately being forced to take a little break from the Shore, never fear, because Snooki and JWoww are here! MTV is airing a Jersey Shore spinoff show featuring the two bronzed bombshells sharing living space and getting on with their guidette lives, except this time around, Snooks has a little tan bun in the oven! “I am moving in with a pregnant, engaged Snooki!” exclaims JWoww according to Fox News, obviously disturbed. Will these orange party animals keep us fist pumping, or will MTV’s “Snooki and JWoww” be a flop?

This is Inside Extra.

Joshwa Carlisle Verdict

Brooklyn Miller

Reporter, 5 Rights News

A Lawrence man facing murder charges for the death of his girlfriend and their 9-month-old baby was found not guilty this week.

Joshwa Carlisle, 33,  was arrested in September 2010 accused of killing  Tracie Shannon, 25,  and their  daughter, Juliana. Autopsy results confirmed Shannon was smothered to death and the baby was burned alive. Prosecutors had argued that Carlisle killed the mother and daughter to avoid paying $200 a month in child support.

Carlisle denied committing the murders.  The case ended with Marion County Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner  finding Carlisle not guilty.

Shannon’s stepmother, Ramona Shannon, was so overcome with emotion at word of the verdict that she fainted and later needed help to walk out of the court room. Despite the judge’s decision, she later asked  “How can you live with yourself knowing that you burned our baby alive?”

Carlisle’s attorneys said that Carlisle was proven not guilty simply because there was not enough evidence to against him.  David Shircliff said  that there were many inferences that his client committed the crime but there was no physical evidence, such as fingerprints to show that his client was guilty.

Shircliff added that Carlisle wants to put the ordeal in the past, get a job and continue his work in the National Guard.

Judge Stoner said “whoever committed this crime has a special place in hell.”


Community Affairs at WTHR Sparks Revolution

By Ridley Morgan

Reporter, 5 Rights News

The world of broadcast journalism includes numerous fields and departments of business, incorporating every area of expertise in the industry. I was privileged to experience this first hand at the studios of WTHR Channel 13 in the community affairs department. For six hours I shadowed Angela Cain and her two producers, Jennifer Donovan and Young-Hee Yedinak, as they showed me the ropes.

Community affairs is WTHR’s hidden gem, a portion of the newscast to which more people should pay attention. Cain’s main purpose  is to bring different  topics to the community’s attention, such as fundraisers and awareness events.  Cain  and her producers are actively participants in Coats for Kids, Shattering the Silence, and the Drumstick Dash.

I decided that it would be beneficial to interview all three of the department’s dedicated workers and ask them some questions about what they do, why they do it, and what initially got them to where they are now in their careers. Jennifer Donovan has been working with WTHR for 11.5 years and has been in her current position for 6.5 years, originally starting off as a news producer.

“It’s rewarding to me that I can help these organizations that don’t get a lot of publicity and don’t have a lot of marketing dollars get their message out there by being on our segments,” she says. “I think it is very beneficial for our community.”

Jennifer does most of the writing for what is called WTHR Cares, the portion of the newscast that the ladies in community affairs produce.

Young-Hee Yedinak proudly told me that she was inspired by her father to join the world of  broadcast journalism. Her passion was clear.

“Production is fun. You’re in the thick of everything, you edit, you shoot…and all of those things are fun, but what makes my job here in community affairs rewarding in a way is the fact that what we’re doing here touches people.”

Yedinak does most of the producing and effects for the news segments.

I asked Cain what advice she would give to students at the IABJ workshop. She advises us to “have passion for what you do” and stresses that “writing is so important to being a good journalist.” She finds it beneficial to know what is your passion and to always be curious about everything around you.

I found my experience in the community affairs department to be informative  and rewarding, and I was fortunate to be introduced to an area of journalism that I never knew existed.