Author: Linda Margison

New restaurant owner hires employees with disabilities

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Randy Lapidus couldn’t have predicted that his daughter’s cardiac arrest during an argument would eventually result in a new business venture.

Although doctors believed Rachel wouldn’t walk or talk again, she was able to transition into a rehabilitation program. When Rachel started vocational rehab, her disabilities made finding a job difficult. Lapidus wanted to change that, so he and his family recently opened Special Dogs and More, a hot dog restaurant in Fair Oaks Mall with the majority of employees having some form of developmental disability.

This is his story.

Middle Way House launches annual Wrapped in Love art display

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Middle Way House held a yarn-cutting ceremony on the Monroe County Courthouse lawn Friday, October 6, to launch 2017’s Wrapped in Love art display, which raises awareness and funds for the nonprofit emergency shelter and rape crisis center.

This is the sixth year for the project started by the late Toby Strout, former executive director of Middle Way House, and Mary Ann Gingles, owner of Yarns Unlimited.

A new addition this year is the Wrapped in Love Benefit Sunday, October 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Fountain Square Mall Ballroom. The event commemorates the tree wrap project, which is held each year in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Middle Way House, which serves six counties in southern Indiana, provides shelter, advocacy, housing and legal services to survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault.

Nashville musician encourages consumers to shop local

NASHVILLE, Ind.Brown County musician and software consultant Chuck Wills encourages consumers to shop local this holiday season and throughout the year.

Wills says he shops at small businesses in his community all year round, but his family and friends have come to expect unique holiday gifts from the arts and crafts mecca of Brown County, Ind. Whether it’s for those gifts or just items he needs, he supports the local economy and encourages others to do the same by shopping local.

Wills adds, though, that supporting small, local businesses doesn’t just mean purchasing an item. He says buying tickets to an event or planning an evening out together is not only good for the musicians and performing artists people see, but also enhances one’s time with others.

Non-profit focuses on harm reduction for IV drug users

NOTE: This is Part 1 of a profile on Indiana Recovery Alliance. The second segment will be part of a larger special feature on the impact of heroin use on social and community services in Indiana. The full package will be published in upcoming months.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Social worker Chris Abert started a non-profit outreach service to help those at risk for disease and death due to intravenous drug use. With heroin use and HIV diagnoses in Indiana reaching epidemic proportion, his agency has grown from three to more than 60 volunteers.

The Indiana Recovery Alliance focuses on harm reduction in whatever manner the person deems necessary. Abert said volunteers meet people where they are and focus on facilitating any positive change as people want for themselves.

That can manifest itself in many different ways.

Abert says that positive impact can range from abstinence to clean needles to condoms. It also means that Indiana Recovery Alliance will provide people with clothes, rugs to use as sleeping mats, shoes, sanitary napkins and many other necessities that help them continue to feel human.

Once a week, IRA volunteers climb in their long, silver van and go out to meet people and provide for their needs. The Chicago Recovery Alliance sold the van to IRA for $1, which the agency still owes, because, Abert said, “We don’t have a dollar.”

With the heroin and HIV epidemic that exploded this spring, Abert said his volunteer numbers have increased, but what the agency needs more than anything are monetary donations. For those who would like to donate money, go to IRA’s Facebook page or website at

If you’d like to donate something, but don’t have money to spare, Abert said IRA could use medical or other supplies distributed or used when the van goes out in the community.

Another way to help, he said, would be for churches or other organizations to host coat drives. IRA distributes the coats to those exposed to inclement and winter weather.

Here’s an introduction to the Indiana Recovery Alliance:

Chris Abert talks about harm reduction and The Indiana Recovery Alliance.
(Video by Linda Margison)

19-year-old wants to ‘be the change’ as she faces bipolar disorder

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. — Rachael Brown, a 19-year-old student at Ivy Tech Community College, heard a shocking diagnosis when she had an adverse reaction to painkiller during wisdom teeth extraction: She suffered from bipolar disorder.

According to behavioral specialist Cheryl Ferguson, bipolar is a disorder that manifests with episodes of mania and depression, once called manic-depressive disorder.

Brown’s therapist has explained to her the symptoms of her diagnosis.

“There will be times when I’m super hyper and I can’t sleep and I’m feeling my mind is racing, or there will be times when I’m maybe not like feel depressed, but I won’t be able to move as quickly, I will feel drowsy, things like that,” she said.

“And it can change at the drop of the hat, which is still scary for me, because I’m a person of consistence. I like to have the same thing, every day, every time, and having a monkey wrench thrown into my plans, and thrown in my life, really, is something I’m just going to have to get used to.”

Despite the changes Brown has had to make in her life, like taking the semester off from school and missing two weeks of work, she is keeping a positive attitude about how to cope with her diagnosis.

“I’m definitely learning my triggers,” she said. “I’m starting to learn… what’s happening to my body and that kinda helps me breathe through it, because it’s hard to breathe something when you don’t know if it’s going to end or what’s happening to you.”

She is grateful for the support of her family and friends.

“My friends and my family, they changed everything. I was able to live with my parents for a while and they were so supportive… I remember asking them hundreds of times a day, ‘Am I ever going to get better?’ ‘Am I going to be OK?’ You know, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And they would always respond with the same calm, ‘Yes, you’re going to be OK, you’re going to be fine, we love you, people love you, you’re going to get through this.’”

Brown also has learned that the right medication and therapy can help her feel better.

“When I got on the right medication and I started to feel better, it was like night and day, and I was able realize the hope (family and friends) had given me… The support was what really got me through and changed my outlook,” she said.

Breathing is her main coping mechanism. She stops and breathes, “five seconds in, five seconds out,” and imagines her “happy place,” an Irish farm. She also says talking with someone she trusts helps her get through an episode.

“If I talk to someone I’m really close to, and just able to talk through, like just ramble and talk through anything that comes into my mind, if I can say it, it helps me get through it and deal with whatever thoughts I (have),” she said. “Having people who will just sit there and listen to me rant for a couple of minutes really, really helps me.”

She said she’s not letting her diagnosis change her future in a negative way.

“I’m just going to take it a day at a time,” Brown said. “I want to inspire people… be the change.

“I think mental health isn’t talked about as much as it should be and that’s why it’s stigmatized… I think, maybe, just if people hear a lot about it, maybe it will help them to be more understanding to those of us who have to deal with it everyday.”

About Bipolar Disorder

Cheryl Ferguson, an independent behavioral specialist and resident of Nashville, Ind., offers insight about bipolar disorder in this audio interview:

Ferguson has a master’s degree in non-teaching Special Education and a master’s in Education Psychology. She is a certified school psychologist in several states and worked in that capacity for 10 years.

“I got tired of putting labels on kids,” she said, explaining why she moved into the behavioral specialist field.

Now, she works independently as a behavior specialist and owns and operates an ice cream shop, The Sunshine Shack, in Nashville, with her husband.

[Music: “Fluidscape” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0]

Daughter shares memory of mom at Alzheimer’s walk

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Fort Wayne resident Delana Etnyre joined 19 other family members Saturday, Oct. 10, to honor her mother, Verna Bates, at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

It was the 14th anniversary of Bates’s death.

After the event, Etnyre shared a memory about Hershey’s candy bars and how they became a shared private moment between her and her mother. She said the memory “is close to my heart, because it starts when I was very young and ends when she was very old.”

Her niece, Loretta Fox, said she raises money and walks each year for the Alzheimer’s Association, “because [Granny] was my best friend, and I do it for her… so she always knows I remember her.”

Fox also shared a memory about her granny.


For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit or call (800) 272-3900.

Habitat raises funds, and then walls, to get family in home by the holidays


SEE ALSO: Volunteer works so partner families have homes


PEOGA, Ind. — After two fundraisers in the past few months, Brown County Habitat for Humanity is ready to raise the walls on this year’s partner family home.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, workers will frame the walls on this three-bedroom house for Nathaniel and Rachelle Nash and their three children, Desirea, Jordan and Nate.

The plan is to have the family moved in by the end of November, so the Nashes’ home church, Church of the Lakes in Cordry-Sweetwater, plans to step in to provide labor and food for the volunteers, according to Rachelle Nash.

Sandie Jones, a Habitat board member, said the organization’s inaugural garage sale in August raised $4,891 and the Hike for Humanity on Sept. 26 brought in $6,400.

“It was a great event with 50 hikers participating,” Jones wrote in a message.

The money raised will fund the no-interest loan that the Nashes will pay back over time, according to Rachelle Nash.

Nashville mom shares passion for flowers with young daughters


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Village Florist designer Jamie Rumple is passing down her love of flowers to her two young daughters on their goat farm in Brown County.

When she takes home unsellable flowers from work, the little girls design their own arrangements for their rooms.

“At 6 and 3, they have tons of talent,” she laughs.

Rumple remembers always having a flower garden at her own mother’s house. That’s when her interest began.

“We planted some beautiful Star Gazer lilies and every year when they come up, she [her mom] reminds me that those were planted just for me and she sends me pictures.”

Rumple’s career in flowers began at 13, when her family moved to a house near a florist in Rush County. She decided to check out the shop and walked away with a job that she held off and on for 15 years.

“Flowers [are] my passion,” she said. “I like more extravagant, nice, high-style design and weddings. Weddings are a real knack for me. I really enjoy them.”

Now in Brown County, she’s living out that passion as Village Florist’s main designer.

But it’s a process that’s difficult for her to explain.

“Usually it just kind of flows,” Rumple said. “I don’t know. It just comes naturally there’s no way to explain it. It just happens. It’s just like a vision, and it just happens… It’s not as easy as it looks.”

She has big dreams for her floral career. She’d love to become certified by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and have her designs widely published in magazines. She wants to be a floral designer to the stars.

At the root of it all, though, are flowers.

“They’re just beautiful,” she said, “and to be able to make something nice and for it to put a smile on someone else’s face, just brings great joy.”

See Rumple’s designs at Village Florist, 188 S. Jefferson St. Order an arrangement by calling (812) 988-7045 or visiting the flower shop’s website.

IU students march for climate change


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — More than 50 Indiana University students, faculty and staff joined Reinvest IU organizers for the March for Climate Action on IU’s campus Thursday, Sept. 17.

With signs, windmills and music in tow, the marchers trekked into Bryan Hall and upstairs to President Michael McRobbie’s office where they read a letter calling for the IU Foundation to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies within five years.

Divestment means to pull funds from those companies, rather than investing in them.

McRobbie wasn’t in the office, but that didn’t keep members of the core Reinvest IU group from voicing their platform.

“Indiana University cannot claim to be proactively addressing climate change while the IU Foundation investment committee continues to make substantial investments in the fossil fuel corporations responsible for climate change,” organizers read. “Investments that seriously undermine the well-being of our future are morally reprehensible and make a mockery of IU’s commitment to nurturing healthy and flourishing lives.”

The IU Graduate and Professional Student Organization started an initiative in 2013 to raise awareness and gain support for a push to get university leaders to divest funds in fossil fuels.

According to a report created by the GPSO, “Scientists and governments around the world agree: If the world warms more than 2 [degrees Celsius] above pre-industrial levels, comprehensive and drastic change to the way we live, the functioning of our economy, and our quality of life will be unavoidable.”

The report adds that to stay within that temperature level, consumers may safely burn only 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide, but fossil fuel companies own nearly five times that amount.

GPSO wants the university’s foundation to exercise both fiscal and environmental responsibility with the funds it invests, according to the report.

Reinvest IU will meet Thursday, Sept. 24, to plan other events for the semester and continue the campaign against the university’s fossil fuel investments.

For more information, connect with Reinvest IU on Facebook to learn when events are scheduled.

Brown County revs up for October tourism

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. — With October just a few short weeks away, Nashville and Brown County, Ind., are gearing up for the busiest tourism season of the year.

More than 1.3 million people a year find their way to this hilly, quaint mecca that has streets lined with tiny shops selling local art, crafts and unique finds. They venture along curvy, windy roads through the state’s largest park, Brown County State Park, where they ride horses and mountain bikes, hike, camp and picnic amid the squirrels, deer and other wildlife.

The terrain is what drew artists to the area at the turn of the 20th century. Painters like T.C. Steele, Ada and Adolph Shulz, Marie Goth and Carl Graf, and many others, all made their homes in the hills that provided endless inspiration for their work.

And now, visitors follow that same trek each October as the green foliage evolves into hues of orange, red and yellow.

“Vibrant hues can be seen throughout the county in our rolling hills. Check out our famous foliage while hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, zip lining, and more,” said Aubrey Sitzman, public relations coordinator for the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

One of the main attractions in October is the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour, which offers visitors a glimpse inside the world of local artists.

“Not only will you get to admire the area’s fall colors as you drive along, but you’ll also have the chance to visit a dozen home studios, featuring the work of more than 20 artists. Watch these artists in action, explore the spaces that inspire them, and, if you like something well enough, purchase art directly from its source,” Sitzman said.

The economy of the experience is one that the community and small business owners depend on each year. Of the 15,000 residents, 24.7 percent work in the retail, service, arts and entertainment industries fueled by the high number of visitors each year.

With the high number of visitors, though, diners and shoppers may have to wait in line.

“Most restaurants don’t take reservations so plan ahead,” Sitzman said. “Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for dining as most restaurants do not take reservations. Maybe pick out where you are wanting to go ahead of time and remember to be patient. Take in your Brown County/Nashville surroundings and just enjoy the company you are with.”

Sitzman suggests visitors download the newly released Discover Brown County app to their smartphones. The app is available for iOS and Android phones.

“From information on shops, restaurants, attractions and lodging properties to finding parking, restrooms and other attractions, the app makes navigation easy,” she said. “You can make reservations, use maps and directions, search for local events and even connect with the Visitors Center on social media. No need to wander or drive around aimlessly, just refer to that app and let it show you the way. Think of it as your very own personal tour guide, one that just so happens to conveniently fit in your pocket.”

For more information about October events, visit the CVB website.

Fourth Street Festival a hot ticket for arts enthusiasts


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The sweltering heat beat down on those who braved the sunny 90-plus-degree temperatures to partake in the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts this Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 5 and 6.

Tents lined both sides of Fourth Street from Lincoln to Indiana Avenue. Each offered a different perspective on the artist’s worldview. From jewelry, metal and woodworking to fabric arts, painting and photography, the tents welcomed browsers and shoppers alike. On stages, festival-goers got a taste of performance art, including skits and spoken word, and even experienced a variety of musical talent.

The Bloomington Fire Department also hosted a fundraising cookout as part of the festival.

The festival began in 1977 and was created to highlight the work of artists and craftspeople in southern Indiana; however, artisans from across the country journey many miles to sell their wares to the festival’s visitors each year.

Bloomington thrives in its arts and cultural offerings and has officially been designated a cultural arts district, the Bloomington and Entertainment Arts District (BEAD). The city devotes space to public art and exhibits art in City Hall. The City of Bloomington Arts Commission is a citizen-driven organization that offers support through funding and partnerships.

Mom leads fundraiser for weekend meal program


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Clara Stanley saw an advertisement in her local newspaper about the Brown County Weekend Backpacks program and knew she needed to be involved.

As a mother, she understood the importance of making sure children had food they could prepare on the weekends. Many children have parents who work and leave them to their own devices. Meals are often one of those ways kids take care of themselves.

Stanley took the lead on this year’s Watermelon Festival, Saturday, Aug. 29, which featured activities, a silent auction and watermelon carving contest to raise money for food-filled backpacks.

The backpacks go to students who qualify for the free lunch program in two of the county’s elementary schools, Helmsburg and Sprunica, as well as the Brown County Intermediate School. According to Jackson Township Trustee Sandy Higgins, the third elementary school, Van Buren, is solely supported by a church in that township.

The backpacks include four breakfast items, four lunch items, four dinner items and two snacks. Stanley said volunteers try to get items that are healthy as possible, and, as funds are raised, fresh fruit is the next goal for the backpacks.

As of now, the backpacks include healthy options that students can prepare themselves, like peanut butter and jelly and macaroni and cheese. Each backpack may be shared between family members.

While Stanley organized the fundraiser, a team of other volunteers spearhead backpack efforts. To help out, contact the appropriate person in your area of interest:

The Brown County program is part of the Feeding America BackPack Program that was started more than 15 years ago to feed children on weekends when access to food isn’t always available.

Optometrist builds relationships with patients


NASHVILLE, Ind. — At seven, optometrist Dr. Jessica Wagers watched a documentary that stuck with her into her adult years.

The show was about people who make prosthetic eyes, and that sparked her elementary-aged interest.

“I thought it was fascinating because somebody that has lost their eye could have the appearance of having an eye,” she said. “The detail work and the artwork that went into painting one of these prosthetic eyes was just intriguing.”

Wagers went to Indiana University and earned an undergraduate degree in biology, with minors in psychology and chemistry. Afterward, she attended the IU School of Optometry and earned her degree in 2009.

“Jessica Wagers and I met at optometry school and have been best friends since then,” said Amanda Ballard, who practices optometry in Kentucky. “She is a remarkable doctor! She truly cares for her patients and it shows. Jessica has always had a knack for diagnosing and treating even the most difficult cases. She has a gift!”

Wagers is licensed with the state of Indiana to practice optometry. She also has a certification through the state that allows her to prescribe legend drugs, which are those that are not injected nor narcotics.

Veteran photographer evolves from journalist to artist


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Rodney Margison once spent his days shooting sporting events and covering spot news as a photojournalist. Now he creates art with an array of models and hopes to land an art gallery show in the near future.

His 35-year journey is one of evolution; from the science of photography to the art one creates with his camera.

He developed his love of photography from his father, who taught him about the science of it, and made his own decision early on to pursue life with a camera in his hand. When his college career didn’t turn out as he had planned in 1981, he resorted to freelancing for the local newspaper and stringing for the Associated Press at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every May, a gig he held for 17 years.

He pursued other ventures to make ends meet, but got his big break in 1988, when he went to work for the daily Times-Tribune newspaper in Corbin, Ky. In that position, he photographed mine disasters, wrecks, ribbon cuttings and lots and lots of sports. In his four years there, he earned a slew of awards from the Kentucky Press Association.

“Being a full-time news photographer was a dream come true,” Margison said. “It was everything I wanted in a career since deciding that I wanted to be a photographer.”

Through the years, he worked at other newspapers, freelanced for magazines, built his own portrait and commercial photography business and won a bunch more awards. But his vision was beginning to change.

“Eventually, news photos all start to look the same. Working in a small community for a long period of time, it’s very difficult to create different images of the same events year after year,” he said. “I found myself wanting more out of my photography and wanting to fill in the gaps in my knowledge; gaps that were created by being a mostly self-taught photographer.”

Margison returned to college in 2011 to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography.

It’s a venture that has ignited his passion for artistic expression and transformed him into a conceptual photo artist.

Get a glimpse of Margison’s work on his photography website.

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Contact him at

What a hoop! Hudsucker Posse brings circus-style flow arts to town


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Paula Chambers and Poppe Tsunami found hooping at different places in their lives, but now they work together to promote flow — or movement — arts in Bloomington.

Flow arts include hooping and juggling, as well as the fire and aerial arts. These are all activities or events commonly seen at the circus.

“It’s not for everyone, but its for anyone,” said Tsunami. “So anyone who wants to do it can.”

Together, Chambers and Tsunami run The Hudsucker Posse, a performance and support group that meets twice a week — Wednesdays and Sundays — in Bryan Park to practice, perform and commune with friends. Their work to entertain the community was recognized recently when Mayor Mark Kruzan declared July 4 Hudsucker Posse Day.

Chambers and Tsunami co-founded the Kinetic Arts Academy, which hosts classes and events in flow movement arts. The focus is prop manipulation, like using hula hoops and staffs. They offer group rates so friends can come and learn together, workshops and events with national artists. They perform for festivals, charities and the community.

Their dream is to have a permanent installation where people can come and learn, which would also mean they don’t have to set up and tear down for each gathering.

For more information, visit these websites:

Flow Art Institute

Kinetic Arts Academy

The Hudsucker Posse

The Hudsucker Posse on Facebook

Pole-vaulter sets high goals for future


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Emily Brady spent her high school days working hard to beat her last best. She set record after record in pole vaulting, even beating out her older sister’s school record of 9’ 6” when she was a freshman.

While she was doing that, she was also playing on the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams and keeping her grades high enough to get a full-ride, four-year scholarship to college.

Emily started working with the junior high track team when she was in elementary school, and by the time she got to high school, she was competing as a varsity-level pole-vaulter and qualifying for state every year. Her jumps went from 10’ 3” to 11’ 6”. She wants to increase that by two and a half feet in the next four years.

Since graduating from Brown County High School in June, she’s setting high goals for success as a track recruit for Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Instead of splitting her talents between volleyball, basketball and track, Emily will focus her full attention on pole vaulting, and maybe some hurdles, if her coach wants.

She believes focusing on technique and continuing to build her body strength will eventually allow her to be the third woman to jump 14 feet at Indiana State. But, she knows she has a long way to go.

In addition to her sporting talents, Emily volunteers at the Brown County Humane Society and uses her love of singing to raise money for cancer research and help others in the community.

She attributes her success to setting high goals that push her to succeed and having the support of her parents and four older siblings.

Mom gives daughter legacy by speaking against drunk driving


SELMA, Ind. — Kim Morrow’s life changed in the wee hours of Oct. 28, 2012. That’s the day her 17-year-old daughter chose to get in the car with a drunk driver who later tried to outrun a train. She found out at about 7 a.m. that Amber, spending the night with a friend, wouldn’t be coming home.

The next few months were a blur for Kim. She stay connected to Amber’s friends and cheered on her younger daughter, Emily, but both struggled for a sense of normalcy and sought help to deal with their tragic drunk-driving loss.

And then, Kim found a way to give Amber a legacy. She created the Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund and accepts speaking engagements to warn young people about drinking and driving. If it means one person stops and thinks before making the same fatal mistake, then Kim believes her daughter didn’t die in vain.

Contribute to the Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund, in care of her uncle, Scott Miller, at:

Amber Morrow Memorial Scholarship Fund
Attn: Scott Miller
1903 South 1150 West
Parker City, IN 47368

Contact Kim for speaking engagements at

Fricktion: Office by day, hip hop by night


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — In his compact bedroom studio, Thomas Frick speaks softly about his life of hip hop, social consciousness and responsible marketing techniques. He expresses his desire to lead a positive, compassionate life and surrounds himself with creative people whose company he enjoys, deflecting as much negative influence as possible.

Frick’s journey is one that began in Greenville, a small town of about 600 in southern Indiana, near the border with Louisville, Ky.

By day, he works at the Journal of American History, a magazine published by a non-profit entity to further the profession and field. But in the evenings and on weekends, he focuses his energy and talents on furthering a different career — this one in hip hop music.

Despite his calm demeanor in everyday conversation, when he’s on stage, Frick’s infectious energy draws in his audience and instigates rhythmic pumping and jumping and singing. His fellow artists call him “one of the nicest guys around,” and he’s always ready to help others build their own musical careers.

Frick recently released his second EP, Critical, during a launch party at The Back Door in Bloomington and completed his first summer tour. Check out the EP on Fricktion’s Bandcamp Page.

His music is described as: “Influenced by a wide range of styles, from golden era hip-hop to classic punk rock to heavy electronic bass music, his music blends old-school consciousness and a DIY ethic with a synth-heavy new school aesthetic. His message aims to address some of the most pressing problems of our day, and explore the roots of issues that divide us.”

Connect with Fricktion through his Facebook page or Bandcamp page.

Grandma and pearls ignite jewelry designer’s passion for art


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Jewelry designer Evan Knox grew up on a farm in Benton County, Ind., but found her way to the artist colony of Brown County 20 years ago to raise her son and create wearable art.

The soft-spoken woman, who shares her home with a teen son and seven cats, earned a degree in art history from Indiana University and has worked in local galleries. However, she’s driven by her desire to create jewelry and would do it every second of every day if she could.

Her passion for accessories is rooted in her grandmother’s jewelry. As a child, Evan would detangle and organize the mangled mess. She draws from that nostalgia daily as she makes her own jewelry. She is also inspired by nature, the color of her son’s eyes, a snake’s rings, the ocean, terrain and hues from her travels and the people she meets.

Evan spends many of her waking hours in her window-lined studio, bent over a long workbench, cutting silver and knotting silk. When she isn’t in her studio, she wrangles with the business of art, which includes marketing, bookkeeping and connecting with retailers.

She says she only sells to the best stores now, cutting out her displays in New York, Chicago, and other cities across the country. Those special venues include a couple in Indianapolis and, on Saturdays, the Columbus Farmers’ Market.

See Evan’s jewelry at the Brown County Art Guild, or visit her website at

Graduate pursues art therapy career after suicide attempt


COLUMBUS, Ind. — Carley Fox bubbles with happiness three days before her high school graduation. She sits on a wicker loveseat in her backyard, smiling with nervous excitement. This is a different girl than she was just a couple short years ago.

Her journey began when her best friend, her cousin Derek Lodestein, drowned. The high-schooler struggled with depression until she couldn’t any longer. Suicide seemed the answer.

Two years ago, after waking up to a normal morning and school, she returned home that afternoon tired of everything. Carley shot herself.

Thanks to quick-thinking friends, Carley survived and found a way to cope: art therapy. She spends her spare time making three-dimensional art, especially enjoying mosaic projects.

Carley left those years behind and launched into her bright future when she walked across the stage at graduation from Columbus East High School, Saturday, June 6. In a few short weeks, she will move away from home and prepare to attend the Herron School of Art. Because an art therapist in the hospital taught her how to cope with her emotions through art therapy, Carley wants to teach others to do the same. Regardless of what is ahead of her, she wants to help other people.

A fading tradition: Hoosier finds passion caring for family, elderly

WINCHESTER, Ind. — As Geneva Bates Walker prepares to celebrate her 60th birthday in a few months, she admits she has had a blessed life taking care of her parents, siblings, extended family and elderly relatives.

As the middle of 11 children, seven boys and four girls, she is part of a fading generation of large mountain clans who put family first and honor their roots. She holds traditions sacred and doesn’t believe in discarding or forgetting the elderly simply because their bodies fail them.

Walker’s family migrated from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky to the flatlands of Indiana when she was just a child. After a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her brother and disabled her father, her world changed. She stepped in to care for her siblings and put her own passions for education aside. She learned to alter her own desires for the good of the family.

Ashley Day brings big-city fashion to small town


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Fashion designer Ashley Day lived in New York City after graduating from Ball State University, but missed the quaintness of home.

So she hauled her fashion talents back to Brown County, Ind., and begged her mom for a small boutique corner in Mulberry Cottage.

The boutique quickly outgrew the corner and moved owner Loretta Hayes from her office space upstairs.

To showcase the clothes, Ashley organizes fashion shows twice a year that draw 200 to 300 excited women waiting to see the newest acquisitions and purchase them on sale.

Ashley’s most recent creation is the Mulberry Mini line, which she launched at the Mulberry Cottage Spring Fashion Show on Friday, May 8.

This video is a peek at this spring’s show and hear more about Mulberry Minis from Ashley.

Visit Mulberry Cottage at 46 W. Main St. in Nashville, Ind., or call 812-988-9803. Keep informed about new items and happenings at or on Facebook at

Cari Ray talks roots, music and cowboy boots


NASHVILLE, Ind. — Cari Ray belted out her first song when she was 3. In junior high, she wrote poetry. Now she spends her weeks performing at small, intimate venues, connecting with her audience and sharing her own story in lyrics.

Originally from Parke County, Ind., the Bluesy-Americana artist calls the village of Nashville home. She plays in cafes and wineries across the state with her next show set for 5:30 p.m. May 23 at Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville.

Take a peek at this conversation with Cari as she discusses how she got started, what venues she prefers to play and how she views music and life.

Her summer schedule includes:

June 4, 7 p.m., The Jailhouse Cafe, Rockville
June 12, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
June 16, 8 p.m., Clifton’s Pizza, Louisville, Ky.
June 19, 7 p.m., Central Park Plaza, Warsaw
July 4, 4 p.m., Oliver Winery, Bloomington
July 10, 9:30 p.m., The Southgate House Revival, Newport, Ky.
July 16, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
July 18, 6:30 p.m., Danville Summer Sounds on the Square, Danville
July 24, 7 p.m., Chateau Thomas Winery, Nashville
July 26, 6:30 p.m., Bryan Park, Bloomington
Aug. 6, 7 p.m., Taxman Brewing Company, Bargersville
Aug. 8, 7 p.m., Foster Park, Kokomo
Aug. 29, 4 p.m., Creekbend Vineyard, Ellettsville

For more information, go to her website at

First Ordinary Hoosier teaches Papel Picado art


NASHVILLE, Ind. — She doesn’t necessarily consider herself a Hoosier, but Casandra Karl says she loves her home in Brown County, Ind. She doesn’t plan to leave until her husband carries her out by her feet.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in archaeology and studied Medieval Latin, history and art. Karl also got a graduate degree in museum studies. Her passion centers around sharing history with others.

That’s why this Wisconsin-native-turned-Hoosier-transplant is sharing Papel Picado, a traditional Mexican art, with her neighbors.


Welcome to Ordinary Hoosiers


If you’re from Indiana, you know that basketball and race cars run deep through the cornfields, across the flatlands and between the hilly terrain in the south-central region of the state.

You know the celebrity icons who have called Indiana home: Michael Jackson, Hoagy Carmichael, John Mellencamp, Henry Lee Summer, David Letterman, Jane Pauley and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as a plethora of others, according to the state’s official tourism website, Visit Indiana.

You understand Indiana’s place in history, even when that history lacks honor, like with the origin of the Ku Klux Klan and the rampage of gangster John Dillinger.

You may not know where the nickname Hoosier came from, but you probably have a folktale ready to go when someone asks what it means. The Indiana Historical Society states that one of the most retold legends concerns pioneers knocking on doors and asking, “Who’s yer Daddy?” or “Who’s here?” The term Hoosier gained momentum in the 1830s with the John Finley poem “The Hoosier’s Nest” and landed in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms in 1848, defined as “a nickname given at the west, to natives of Indiana.”

Regardless of the origin, Hoosier is the given term for a person born, bred, raised or residing in Indiana.

Many ordinary Hoosiers call this state home, and they have stories that set them apart from one another. They don’t have to be famous like those celebrities already mentioned. They don’t have to be blips on Indiana’s history, like Bobby Knight or Larry Bird or Jimmy Hoffa. No one may ever know their names. But they have a story to tell.

This is the place for their stories.

Join us on this journey to uncover the extraordinary stories of Ordinary Hoosiers.