The Rest of the Story

There used to be a radio show hosted by Paul Harvey called “The Rest of the Story.” It would begin with a “story,” be interrupted by a commercial, and then conclude with a recitation of facts that made you realize that what you’d been hearing was a different take on a familiar biography or event.

I’ve thought about the rest of the story several times in the past couple of days–and especially about the obligation of journalists to share with their readers those facts that constitute the “rest of the story.” Reporting is supposed to be about digging beneath surface recitations–giving readers all of the facts relevant to a situation, whether they confirm a partisan’s preferred telling or not.

The first example was a glowing, puff piece in the Star about the successes of the Tindley Academy, a charter school operating in the Meadows neighborhood. The rigor of the school was credited with stabilizing the neighborhood–attracting and retaining the right kind of parents. The Mayor was quoted as saying he planned to use similar charters to help revitalize other neighborhoods.

A friend sent me a link to Department of Education statistics showing that, year after year, the school has enrolled 100 students and graduated 20. As he noted, charter schools can and do dismiss students for numerous reasons, including academic non-performance that might drag down their averages.

Once I knew “the rest of the story,” Tindley didn’t look quite like the panacea for revitalization that the Mayor suggested.

The second example was a column by Matt Tully, supporting the Broad Ripple development that would include Whole Foods. The arguments he made were reasonable ones; however, as my husband–and subsequently Paul Ogden–both pointed out, the way in which Tully framed the debate was less than accurate.

Tully focused upon whether the reuse of the parcel was appropriate, and whether a Whole Foods is compatible with Broad Ripple’s character.  As he framed it, such a redevelopment would be a welcome detour from the over-reliance on bars in the Village. Hard to argue with that.

Except that isn’t what the argument is about.

The question is not: would a Whole Foods be nice on that corner? The questions actually being debated are: should the city be subsidizing (to the tune of some $6,000,000) a development that will include a grocery that will compete with the existing (unsubsidized) Broad Ripple grocery? And is the design of the proposed development–which includes apartments and other elements in addition to the Whole Foods–consistent with the character of the neighborhood?

Now, reasonable people can certainly come to different conclusions about those questions, but knowing what the dispute is actually about would seem to be a pretty important “rest of the story.”

Where’s Paul Harvey when you need him?


  1. I watched Indiana Business Week in Review and they discussed IU Health cutting 800 jobs. The move was chalked up to lower admittance rate, lower reimbursements and better preventative care. There was not any mention of the fact that Medicaid was not expanded in Indiana. Or as I found out yesterday, IU Health will not be in network anywhere in Indiana for people buying insurance on the healthcare exchanges next month through Anthem at this point. That wasn’t even just the rest of the story here, it was more like the whole story.

  2. Two issues in this struck me on a personal level. I will comment on IU Health first; it is my Medicare supplemental health care provider. I recently commented on another of Sheila’s blogs regarding my 49 hour stay in IU-Methodist hospital with viral flu, severe dehydration, bladder infection and diagnosed as malnourished. The pissant ER doctor and all other medical providers with one exception, totally ignored information provided by myself, my daughter-in-law (a former CNA) and my granddaughter (an RN at Riley Hospital). This doctor decided I had heart disease and admitted me to the hospital then ordered numerous expensive cardiac tests – all of which resulted in normal findings. The hospital scheduled an appointment with the cardiologist (I paid for this) who told me my heart was fine, all problems were caused by severe dehydration. This should have been an easy diagnosis by a qualified, honest doctor. This 49 hour stay resulted in a bill of over $20,000. That article in the Star on Sunday explained local results of a 60 Minutes broadcast regarding needless ER in-patient admissions and these unnecessary tests to make money. Also; my small percentage of lab co-pays go somewhere in Pennsylvania; transfer of medical histories within IU Health are done by a company in Atlanta, Georgia. Evidently Indiana University is unable to educate medical billing or medical records transfer clerks in its vast system.

    Now about Ballard’s glowing but erroneous report on Tindley Academy stabilizing the Meadows area. I am personally unfamiliar with that area but the claim that a charter school will aid in stabilizing the area around the new Stadium Lofts renovation of original Victory Field is one I can speak to personally. I grew up 4 blocks from the ballpark, lived there after being married and having my first child; it was a decent middle-income neighborhood with many benefits to raise famiies. It was not without its faults and problems as is true in all areas. Four years ago I drove through for the first time in three or four years and was appalled and too frightened by the deterioration and conditions with vacant, boarded homes and businesses and many bulldozed, weed filled former home sites so I quickly left. A few months earlier, three friends who grew up with me in that area also decided to check out their old neighborhood. They were stopped by police and questioned as to why they were there. After explaining, police told them to leave immediately because they were not safe; they were then escorted out of the neighborhood. This is the area two blocks north of Stadium Lofts; 18th to 30th streets north to south, Riverside drive to Montcalm Street east to west. It is a high crime, sadly deteriorated area with an 8 foot chain link fence around the newer Riverside School #44. How will a charter school stabilize an area like this?

    The rest of this story is that we are being force-fed lies, misrepresentations and empty promises by local government and many businesses who are making profits. Ballard got his cricket field then asked that the Homestead Exemption be excluded from our property taxes. Is there a connection here and what will be the rest of this story?

  3. If you want the Star to actually dig into a story, you need to tell them that the key players wear helmets and jock straps. THEN they will go after it.

  4. It’s been awhile since I’ve spent time in Indianapolis, but doesn’t the Fresh Market around there already serve the same market than Whole Foods would?

  5. You hit on the problem we have in our civil discourse today. We are always given false choices from which to make policy decisions. This is how public policy is being made from the highest levels of the federal government all the way down to the lowest levels of government.

  6. How right you are, Patmcc; but have you ever noticed we don’t see the Indians or Fever standing in the GOP welfare line for tax dollar handouts to support their teams? Maybe we should have the Star dig into their budget procedures to learn what they are doing right. We are probably also paying for those helmets and jock straps you mentioned…wonder if we cover bail money as needed?

  7. JoAnn, you are sure right that “we are being force-fed lies, misrepresentations and empty promises by local government and many businesses who are making profits.” It’s extremely disgusting that the local government and businesses are being aided and abetted by the Indianapolis Star.

  8. Whole Foods, were it not for the TIF, would probably ask for, and likely receive, some form of tax abatement. While their TIF request isn’t formalized yet, it’s widely assumed that it would be something less than 100% of the taxes the structure (which includes about 85 apartments) would pay. If true, that means at least some funds would fow into the TIF District to fund other projects within the District. Where that leaves you, is to ask first whether the project would be built at all without the TIF contribution, and then, assuming it wouldn’t, whether it’s better, for the public good, to have something built there, or better to maintain what’s there now, particularly since what’s proposed will eventually provide more property taxes than what’s there now. I think that last question is pretty easily answered, while the first one is almost unknowable,

  9. Here is another question about the development proposed for the brownfield in Broad Ripple. Why do we accept at face value the developer’s assertion that there is no funding available for a smaller mixed-used structure with multiple smaller tenants?

  10. At this stage in the process – rezoning petitions under consideration by the Metropolitan Development Commission – the story truly is about the appropriateness of the proposal and whether granting the requests are warranted. So Tully shouldn’t be blamed for keeping the focus there. It’s entirely possible that the proposal could be rejected or substantially altered or approved as presented. We’ll have to wait for the outcome of the October 2 hearing. In the event that the proposal moves forward in some fashion (either as proposed or in some modified form) the story changes to reflect the next stage of the process: a request for financial support using the mechanism of the recently adopted North Midtown TIF. This new story will be about the level of scrutiny such requests receive. Substantial documentation will be required of the developer and the Bond Bank for the City-County Council and the MDC (as well as the public) to review and determine whether or not the project qualifies. Perhaps the rest of these stories will be the tale of financial burdens Broad Ripple property owners face in developing their properties since the Flood Wall project remains incomplete. Unless and until the USACE signs off on flood protection, both residential and commercial property owners in the affected areas will find it tougher (i.e. more expensive) to develop their properties, thus denying the City potential property tax revenues. Kinda makes one wonder why the Shell site has sat empty for so long.

  11. Village Person; in August 1991 Mayor Hudnut ordered Department of Metropolitan Development to study the abandoned buildings problem in Marion County. At that time there were approximately 4,100-5,000. We thought this would be a quick process and began contacting contractors, subcontractors, realtors, ets., for their views. Word spread somehow and we were contacted by schools, churches, banks, businesses of all kinds, neighborhood organizations, residents and the study grew into a number of meetings. It was decided that the best way to deal with everyone was to hold an all-day conference. This issue was obviously important to residents of this city; we turned away countless requests to attend because we quicky filled the University Place Conference Center. In January 1992 Goldsmith was inaugurated and the issue was dropped.

    Periodically, some elected official will raise the issue again and state that something needs to be done. I recently read a news article estimating there are currently 10,000 abandoned buildings in Marion County. Does this tell you why that particular Shell site sat vacant for so long – this city has no intention of resolving this problem except in small, isolated pockets of renovation. Remember all the promised improvements around Tech High School in connection with the Super Bowl. Drive through that area of the east side and decide if you need to wonder about one site in Broad Ripple.

  12. I neglected to mention the original study and ensuing meetings resulted in a book-length report; as did the conference. I still have my books because I was very actively involed in the study from beginning to end as an employee of DMD and as a concerned resident of Indianapolis. Abandoned buildings is an issue I am still concerned about because they effect everyone living or working around them.

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