CityBus offers free rides Thursday, June 18

This week, CityBus invites the community to “Dump the Pump” and try public transportation with free rides all day on Thursday, June 18. “Dump the Pump Day is all about the positive benefits of leaving your car at home and using CityBus instead,” said Tonya Agnew, CityBus manager of development.

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the national Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation and to take them where they need to go. Started in June 2006, the day emphasizes public transportation as a convenient and money-saving travel option. “By giving free rides, we’re highlighting the economic positives of using CityBus, especially the savings riders will realize,” Agnew said. “The national average savings of using public transit instead of owning a car is $9,394 a year. That’s $782.83 per month in savings for those who choose to ride CityBus instead of driving a car.”

In addition to offering free rides to everyone on Thursday, June 18, CityBus will host a Bike Resource Fair 4:00-5:30 p.m. at CityBus Center, 316 N. 3rd St. in downtown Lafayette. Participating organizations include Bicycle Lafayette, the City of West Lafayette Department of Parks and Recreation and Virtuous Cycles. The visitors’ center, Visit Lafayette/West Lafayette, will have community and trail maps as well as recreation guides. The Lafayette Police Department will be on hand to register bikes.

“If your destination is a bit far from a bus stop, ride your bike to the stop. Our regular route buses include a bike rack that holds up to two bikes at a time,” Agnew said. “We encourage people to ride the bus to work and school and also to consider utilizing the service to get out and enjoy the community.”

In 2014, Dump the Pump Day resulted in 10,447 rides—a 28% increase over the average weekday ridership in June.

“If you’re already a daily rider, this free day is a thank-you,” Agnew said. “If you usually drive a car for your daily commute, we invite you to take ride free on Dump the Pump Day to experience the full benefits of using CityBus.”

MatchBOX Coworking Studio hires operations manager, community curator

MatchBOX Coworking Studio, 17 S. Sixth St., Suite X, has hired Amanda Findlay to be its next operations manager and Emily Carter to be its first community curator.

“With a goal of signing 200 members by the end of this year, a facility that is open 24/7, and some of the brightest ideas and technology at work here, we need a staff that can keep everything running smoothly, lend assistance when members need it and keep our programming timely and frequent,” said Mikel Berger, MatchBOX cofounder and board member. “We’ve found two who handle all that.”

Findlay’s responsibilities will be overseeing operations, soliciting new members, securing community sponsors and maintaining the facility. She comes to MatchBOX after two years as events manager at Purdue Foundry, where she also assisted startups with branding. She earlier worked for Decatur Community Hospital in Greensburg and Purdue Research Foundation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Ball State University in 2006.

“I’m joining MatchBOX with great enthusiasm for the startup and co-working culture,” Findlay said, and I’m dedicated to the vision of the cofounders, the success of this inspiring co-working studio and the success of the members who fill it with energy, enthusiasm, ideas and momentum.”

Carter will curate membership, enhance the user experience and administer programs. She earned a bachelor’s in computer graphics from Purdue University in 2003 and previously held posts at Purdue’s Discovery Learning ResearchCenter, Purdue Hall of Music and Moo TV.

“When I first stepped inside MatchBOX, I knew I needed to be involved here as much as possible,” Carter said. “I am looking forward to working closely with the members, bringing encouragement and creative spark and furthering the synergy that is already occurring here.”

This summer, they’ll be assisted by McKinzie Horoho, an intern from Indiana Wesleyan University, said Dennis Carson, cofounder and board member. Her position is sponsored through the Accelerate Indiana Internship Program, funded by Lilly Endowment, which sponsors 20 interns each semester and summer.

Student intern Patrick Ringwald will continue working two days a week.

“With these new staff members and interns, MatchBOX begins its second year with strong momentum and interest,”Carson said. “Great things are ahead.”

MatchBOX is a nonprofit venture launched in April 2014; it currently has 130 members, with 200 expected by year end. The facility can accommodate up to 500 members. MatchBOX is overseen by a seven-member board of directors and operates under the Lafayette Urban Enterprise Association (LUEA). It is funded by various partners and sponsors.

The facility provides workspace and a lab with prototype and modeling equipment, a 3D printer, laser cutter and other tools. The MatchBOX space includes 15 reserved, flexible desks, and room for about 100 others to work simultaneously in open areas. The shared space is conducive to working, as well as to interactions and exchanges with others members.

Memberships require a $99 one-time setup fee, with an annual fee of $360 for basic use. Those preferring reserved desk space pay $180 a month. Access is available 24/7. Tours are available on request.

MatchBOX is directed by a seven-member board of directors who represent the city of Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Lafayette Urban Enterprise Association and businesses. Board members include JoAnn Brouillette, Demeter LP; Mike Gibson, Mulhaupt’s Inc.; Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski; and Greater Lafayette Commerce president and CEO Scott Walker.

Others are cofounders Mikel Berger, DelMar Software; Dennis Carson, city of Lafayette; and Jason Tennenhouse, 10 IN HOUSE Design & Strategy. These three serve as the oversight team, meeting weekly to set and oversee the MatchBOX vision.

Sponsors include the city of Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Lafayettech, Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette, Purdue Foundry, Purdue University, Tippecanoe County Public Library and numerous local industries and businesses. The Tippecanoe County Public Library owns the 16,000-square-foot building and is leasing 11,000 square feet of it to MatchBOX for $1 a year.

April showers Greater Lafayette with awesome

As it is for most university towns, April is a crazed month for Lafayette-West Lafayette. The month is crammed with concerts, exhibits, talks and other awesome events. It makes you wonder why some of these couldn’t be lent to dud months like August, December and January.

Some April highlights so far: TEDxPurdueU’s main event, The Avett Brothers, Record Store Day festivities, The Elders at Lafayette Brewing Company, TippyCon, Papadasio/TAUK at Lafayette Theater. And we still have hip-hop artist Sol (April 23) and the Purdue Battle of the Bands (April 24) to look forward to. The list goes on and on.

The art event of the year, so far, occurred April 18. Chicago performance artist Nick Cavenot that Nick Cave – brought several of his Soundsuits for undergraduate members of the Purdue Contemporary Dance Company to perform in. The colorful suits are African and Native American-inspired in look and color, and the materials – synthetic hair, long strips of plastic — make rustling and whooshing noises as the dancers spin and flail limbs inside the suits.

Instead of a stage, the performers danced in the midst of Purdue’s Spring Fest. Starting in the Ringel Gallery in Purdue University’s Stewart Center, the dancers followed an avante garde jazz marching band into Spring Fest, one of Purdue’s biggest events of the year. With hundreds of onlookers snapping pictures and video, the colorful performers cut through Memorial mall while making a few stops to entertain and grab new spectators. Some of the cricket spitters may have swallowed an insect or two when seeing the bizarre, surreal costumes writhing around.

The dancers and their entourage of Greater Lafayette brass and percussion musicians curled back in front of Stewart Center. There, the performers interacted and danced with onlookers. The highlight saw a large group of children well under 10-years-old squealing with excitement as these bizarre figures lunged and spun in front of them. Twenty, 30 years from now, those boys and girls won’t remember much from April 18, 2015, except some vivid, bizarre memories of pink and yellow hairy beasts jumping around and twirling in front of them.

The Purdue Division of Dance and Purdue Galleries hosted the event.


Lions, Tigers, and Bears!: A Walking Tour

Greater Lafayette will be home to a menagerie of whimsical art this summer.

The first batch — 40 “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” painted by local artists — will be brought to the community by the Art Museum, the Bob Rohrman Auto Group and many local sponsors. They will be stationed in time for the ‘Round the Fountain Art Fair, Saturday, May 23. The second group, called The Zoo —30 award-winning life-size critters created from recycled materials —are sponsored by the City of Lafayette and Regions Bank. They will join the herd on June 5.

unnamed (4)Although the bears will be introduced formally to the community at the ‘Round the Fountain Art Fair, all of the animals will be installed in advance of the May 15 Gallery Walk in Downtown Lafayette. That evening, the Art Museum will operate a welcome center 6-9 p.m. in the Bison Financial Building, 9th and Main Streets, to provide information and family activities.

In the past, the museum-sponsored event has produced frogs, hogs and dogs.

This year, a new feature will include an interactive iPhone app (Art Museum of Greater Lafayette-Events), developed by Cellaflora, a software development company in West Lafayette. The app will provide a walking map to help users locate each of the art pieces and provide information about the artists and business sponsors.

The bears’ territory will run from the 9th Street entrance to the Art Museum through the Downtown to the top of State Street hill in West Lafayette. The walking bears stand 4 feet tall and more than 5 feet long. The seated bears are the same height and 3 feet in diameter. The fiberglass animals were produced by Cowpainters LLC, of Chicago, which has assisted with more than 500 public art projects.

The Zoo art is the work of artist Dale Teachout, of Royal Oak, Mich., a top finalist for the Grand Rapids Art Prize 2014. The sculptor made the life-size animals using reused plastic, metal, rubber and other materials rescued from landfills. His art will be on display until Sept. 8.

At the end of the summer, the bears and zoo animals will be ready for adoption by their sponsors. Those not sponsored will be auctioned at the “Zoo-bilee Celebration”, which is open to the public, Oct. 3 at the Rohrman Toyota showroom.

State Street Redevelopment Project Unveiled

In a joint presentation between Purdue University and the City of West Lafayette, city engineer Dave Buck discussed in great detail the eminent redevelopment of West Lafayette’s State Street Corridor.

Wabash Landing and State Street boulevard
Proposed street scape for West Lafayette’s new State Street Corridor (click to enlarge)

During the Purdue Road School keynote, university president Mitch Daniels gave Purdue’s seal of approval for West Lafayette to form a public-private partnership using the unique Build Operate Transfer concept of project financing.

Mayor John Dennis made some brief remarks, before introducing Buck’s technical briefing, by saying: “we need to ensure bike and ped traffic is respected.” The mayor’s ultimate goal is to “unify our two separate entities” and welcome the university into the boundaries of the City of West Lafayette.

As Dennis mentioned on WBAA’s “Ask the Mayor” last week (as well as during last year’s planning meetings), he doesn’t want to wait around to get started on this “once in a lifetime opportunity” to re-imagine the city. He has even changed Daniels’ mind after the Purdue president initially “laughed out loud” about the project.

Buck presented to a packed Fowler Hall in Stewart center. Here are some key takeaways:

Key Facts About State Street Redevelopment Project

  • Proposals due November 2015
  • Construction Begins April 2016
  • Upwards of $100 million estimated cost
  • Bicycle and walking paths on a two-way street from the River to US 231
  • State Street roundabouts at Tapawingo Dr, and River Rd
  • New Williams St south perimeter parkway to connect with Harrison St.
  • Full and/or partial reconstruction of N. River Rd, W. Stadium Ave to McCormick Rd south, to Airport Rd. to US 231 to complete the rest of the perimeter parkway.
  • Extend Cherry Lane to US 231 in order to ease congestion for football traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Major one-way to two-way conversions of sections of N. Russell, Waldron, N. University, Marstellar, Sheetz, W. Wood, Pierce, S. Chauncey, Northwestern, and N. Grant streets.
  • Project complete December 2018

Redeveloping State Street into a real city street is an ambitious and long overdue project. Here’s hoping West Lafayette will finally make its mark as a Class II Indiana city.

More information and reference documents available at

State Street redevelopment map
The State Street Corridor Redevelopment Project will make dramatic, swift changes. Plans include the creation of a perimeter parkway by extending Williams Street to Harrison Street. More dramatically, the project will transform old State Road 26 into a vibrant two-way corridor with separate biking and pedestrian paths from the Wabash River to US 231. (Click to enlarge)


Check out the State Street Master Plan Wednesday

Purdue president Mitch Daniels and West Lafayette mayor John Dennis will present the master plan for West Lafayette’s State Street corridor Wednesday, March 11 at 2 p.m. in Purdue’s Fowler Hall. This Purdue news release has all the sexy details.

This is the first big public roll out of the $80+ million State Street plan, and it’s going to get a red carpet treatment. The Purdue Road School is a huge transportation conference held annually at the PMU and Stewart Center. Politicians, civil engineers, and many professors will be in attendance. Check it out if you get the chance!

‘Black in America’ captivates, contemplates at Purdue

Host and journalist Soledad O’Brien and a panel of writers and educators — Venetria Patton, professor of English and African American Studies at Purdue and director of the African American Studies Research Center; Chuck D, leader and co-founder of the rap group Public Enemy and an author and producer; and Julianne Malveaux, a labor economist, author and commentator — discussed race relations in the Midwest and college campuses, the state of hip-hop, how to keep successful people of color in a community and what needs to be done to dampen racism in America Feb. 10 at Purdue University.

The event was part of a touring version of O’Brien’s CNN series, “Black in America.” Before the free event was held at Elliott Hall of Music, O’Brien and the panel talked to journalists and answered questions. Below are the highlights from the pre-show discussion.


Purdue, Lafayette & West Lafayette, Indiana: All things Weird, Wild, and Interesting in the Arts, Music, Food & Culture.