Category: Feature

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

Interview with Jeff Smulyan

Five Rights reporters David Shiele and Adrian Hoskins with EMMIS Communications CEO, Jeff Smulyan.

By Adrian Hoskins

5 Rights | staff writer

Earlier this week reporters from 5 Rights News had a chance to meet with Jeff Smulyan, Chief Executive Officer of EMMIS Communications. This Indianapolis native organized the company and became its largest shareholder in 1980.

Smulyan attributes the majority of his success to a few key factors.

“The first thing—persistence, never quit,” said Smulyan.  “I love what I do, you must have a passion for what you want to do in life.”  Smulyan said he   was also fortunate to attract good people who work very hard.

As a graduate of University of Southern California, Jeff Smulyan received a B.A in History and Telecommunications. While at USC, he received a Juris Degree from the USC School of Law. He also served as the comment editor of the USC Law Review. In July 1981 he opened WENS in Shelbyville, Indiana. The station later became known as Hank F.M 97.1.

Although Smulyan acts as the CEO of one of FORTUNE magazine’s 2005 “100 Best Companies to Work For”, he still describes himself as non-threatening personality.

“I’m shy in some situations, a workaholic, and on a mission to rebuild this company,” said Smulyan.

On June 24, 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported Emmis stock is selling for $1.05.  At its highest value the stock traded at a value of $62.34 on December 31, 1991, according to This plummet and other challenges over the past few years are some of the situations from which the company wants to rebuild. These challenges include losing their broadcasting license in Hungary, having to sell all of their T.V. stations, selling multiple radio stations and WIBC’s traffic helicopter.

Meeting Smulyan, one would not think he was facing such hardships considering all the rewards and positions that he holds. In 1994 Smulyan was named Head of Delegation to Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union, an ambassadorial position. He is director of the National Association of Broadcasters, chairman of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and more.  Smulyan has also owned a major league baseball team called the Seattle Mariners, which he later sold after three years. Smulyan says he really enjoys sports, evident in why he has owned sports formatted stations, such as WFNI-AM (1070 The Fan) in Indianapolis. He also enjoys politics and reading.


Spotlight on: Borshoff Public Relations

By Ridley Morgan

5 Rights | staff writer

Borshoff is a public relations and marketing company in Indianapolis founded by Myra Borshoff Cook in 1984 with a focus of keeping the clients’ best interests at heart. The company supports a team of 56 people, led by the four principals of the corporation: Myra Borshoff Cook, Erik Johnson, Jennifer Young Dzwonar, and Susan Matthews. Whitney Ping, a new hire at Borshoff, explained the company as a group of people that is capable of a lot of different things when it comes to communication. “There are many faces to Borshoff,” she said.

Ping started as an intern in January and was given various accounts to work on. Her work schedule started as three full days per week, and she was offered a full time position in March, which she accepted in May after graduating from IUPUI. Ping described Borshoff as “a unique and welcoming environment” where she was “able to really learn a lot in a short period of time.”

Inside Borshoff is a brand new office space called the “build out.” It started as a desolate office space for four employees. “The way we had set it up, it was very isolating,” said Jennifer Young Dzwonar, principal of Borshoff. So it was turned into an employee meeting spot called the Atari bar, referring to the universal video game network, and after that, it was once again determined that more office space was needed. The new build out space has five offices with “shower doors” as numerous employees like to call them due to the similarity in style to shower sliding doors. “I was a little jealous that I didn’t get one of the new offices, because they are very cool,” said Ping.

The transformation took approximately six months to complete. The company had a vision of two offices facing another two offices with an aisle between, but the decision was made to have all of the offices along one wall facing outside windows to bring in light. Dzwonar described the build out as “a nice combination of quiet and work.” “[The employees] have told us they love it!” she said about employees’ response to the new area.

Borshoff’s future plans for the build out consist of replicating the same layout on the lower floor. After having seen the effect of the atmosphere and the color scheme’s changes, Dzwonar said that “it sets the tone for the future.” Dzwonar and her three principal colleagues plan on continuing forward with the plans for the build out and also for the company as a whole.

Feather frenzy

Witty Knits by Codi founder and designer featured with her new line of feather earrings. Found online at:

By Haedyn Scgalski

5 Rights | Managing Editor

If someone were to say feathers to me when I was five years old, I would have thought of bird feathers. If someone were to say feathers to me when I was 10 years old, I would have thought of the feathers that you use with crafts. Now, at 17, almost 18 years old, if someone said feathers to me, I would immediately think of the feathers that more and more girls are putting in their hair or the feathers that are attached to the dream catchers that people have in their cars.

Are feathers just a passing trend, like Crocs, coloring a strip of your hair a random color or throwing up a peace sign and making duck lips for pictures?

I think they are. I, myself, have even fallen into this feather frenzy. I have a pink, yellow, green, orange, purple and blue one. What is it that made me want these? Personally, I like the look and could care less what the other girls I go to school with are doing, but, for the preteen kids, who maybe haven’t figured out who they are and their style, are these feathers just to be cool and to fit in?

I got my feathers about two weeks ago. I had many color options and pretty much fell in love. I was originally only going to get three of them, about an hour after, I text the girl who did mine and ask if I could come back and get more, and so I did. I got another three. My parents were a little surprised, but were totally fine with my decision. After all, they aren’t permanent.

Individual people can assemble the hair extensions, but hair salons can also do it.

“I think it is a great cost effective way to add change to any look. It’s low maintenance and easy to take care of,” stylist and co-owner of Honey Blush Salon, Danielle Jones said.

Dream catchers, I feel like, are something that have gone in and gone out. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a trend because I think it just depends on the person’s personality. I have a friend who has one in her car, it fits her personality and it seems like something she would have. But, on the other hand, I definitely have some friends that it would be strange for them to have.

“Dream catchers are definitely getting more popular. In the last decade or so, I have noticed a lot more around,” Sadie Allman, 16, Columbus, Ind. said. “In the past couple of years, the whole Native American culture has become super popular, bringing back things like moccasins, amber-colored suede and of course, feathers and dream catchers.”

On Tuesday, I met someone who had made feathers for her earrings. Honestly, it was one of the coolest things I have seen. They were super long and looked awesome. I would wear something like that for sure.

“The fad itself inspired me to create the earrings,” Codi Perry, 19. Chicago, Ill. said. “I added them to my collection of artsy trends because of my self owned business, ‘Witty Knits by: Codi’.”

In the recent story in the Indianapolis Star, it said, “Feathers’ popularity isn’t the only thing increasing. So is their price.” With that being said, they are obviously becoming more prominent. I paid $30 for three feathers, then for everyone after that it was $5. That’s a total of $45 spent on feathers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my feathers and have become quite obsessed with them, but that $45 dollars could have definitely bought me lunch for multiple weeks, bought me a couple of pairs of shoes or even just been put into savings. When I think about that though, I am still happy I got them and wouldn’t do it over.

There are some trends though that are not okay for kids to do just to fit in. Consumer Reports Health, Dr. Orly Avitzur said, “Biting and cutting and sucking blood, circle lenses/decorative contact lenses, ADHD prescription drug abuse, tobacco escalation products, Tanorexia/tanning salons, tattoos, piercings, tech use at night, texting while driving and noise exposure,” are the “10 troublesome teen trends.”

Dr. Avitzur also said in her article, “Previously rational children transform into moody, unreasonable creatures whose need to shock is only surpassed by their efforts to fit in.”

Which is extremely sad, because I used to try to fit in with the kids I thought were who I wanted to be like, until one day, I realized I had morals and they really aren’t cool.

As this year continues, will this look stay popular? I know it will for me. I actually want feathers in my hair for my senior pictures this year! Or for some, will the want for feathers die down and become something that just brushed across the United States and become a fad? Will younger kids realize that they don’t have to fit and get sucked into the horrible times of peer pressure? I guess we’ll find out.