Light Cafe

The Light Cafe is a public cafe, run by the students of the J. Everett Light (JEL) Center!

When you eat at the Light Cafe, you are directly supporting the Culinary Arts program at North Central High School – J.Everett Light Center. Here students learn Advanced Culinary Techniques, Protein Fabrication, Artisanal Breads, Regional Desserts, Global Cuisine, Restaurant/Hotel Management, and Entrepreneurship.

The JEL Light Cafe is located at 1901 E. 86th Street, on the east side of JEL (adjoining North Central High School). As you pull into the JEL campus, go around the parking lot and follow signs towards the back of JEL. You will see designated parking signs for the Light Cafe.

The Light Cafe is open to the public during the school year on Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week.  The hours are 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM with breakfast and lunch menus available for dining in or carry out. Menus change regularly – see the Light Cafe website for the latest menu.


Photo credit: Light Cafe website

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park

Daubenspeck Community Nature Park is a rare, green-space haven of approximately 22 acres at 8900 Ditch Road in Nora. The park is approximately 22 acres and consists of a 14-acre tall -grass prairie, 1 acre of emergent wetlands, 7 acres of forested riparian habitat.

You’ll be welcomed by mowed grass trails, benches to rest, peaceful woods, open prairie, bridges and boardwalks to traverse the creek and wetlands. There is a parking area to leave your car, an observation deck, and more.  The features here are designed to help you get closer to nature and enjoy your visit, without disturbing the habitat.

The park is named after a local a farmer named Peter Daubenspeck who owned a lot of land near West 86th Street and Ditch Road in Indianapolis.  While he sold parts of his farm which became neighborhoods like North Willow Farms, Mr. Daubenspeck decided to set aside the plot at 8900 Ditch for the benefit of the public, and gave it to the schools.

Since the student enrollment in the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township had been relatively stable since the mid 1990’s, and the 15 acre field was too small to build a new school, the MSDWT considered selling the land for development.  But the taxpayers of Washington Township cried out to save the land as one of the very rare remaining green spaces left in that township.

In 2005, the MSDWT School Board decided not to sell the land, and the neighborhoods and community formed an IRS 501-c-3 charitable non-profit
organization to manage it as a nature park. The organization maintains a rich website with tons of great information about the park and natural features, as well as transparency in its organizational documents.

It’s free and open to the public year round, dawn to dusk.

DCNP Inc. is a charitable, non-profit
(IRS 501-C-3) funded by individual donations,
corporate support, and grants.  Donations are

Photo credit: Daubpark website

Al Wood Place

This humble micro park in the heart of Nora is a perfect spot to take a quick break. Al Wood Place is located on 86th Street just across from the fire department. It is the namesake of Mr. Al Wood, Nora Northside Community Council (NCC) director emeritus, and the everyday superhero who fought to have the unsightly and hazardous “Nora Branch open ditch” piped and covered. Since the park’s creation, NCC Board members have planted flower beds and trees and now, as a covenant of membership, patrol it monthly to keep it litter-free. Next door neighbor CVS Drugs acts as a partner with NCC by providing grass maintenance and sprinkling.

Learn more about what Al Wood Place once was – and wasn’t – in this nicely researched article from Historic Indianapolis, The Curious Case of Al Wood Place.

Oliver’s Woods, One of Indy’s Last Pockets of Nature

Marion County was pretty much paved over decades ago, but nestled here and there are still some pockets of the natural life.

The most striking of these is a patch of ground at 8825 River Road that’s owned by the Central Indiana Land Trust.

It’s hemmed in by the six loud, fast lanes of I-465 and the cement jungle that is the Fashion Mall at Keystone. But it’s spectacular and wild. It feels like you’re in the sticks. It’s 53 acres. Trees cover it, wildflowers cover it. The White River meanders through it. Bald eagles pass over it.

The Land Trust calls it Oliver’s Woods for Oliver Daugherty, the man who could have sold it to developers for millions but didn’t because he wanted to preserve the pocket of nature where his family had lived for generations. Again and again, developers knocked on the door of the grand, old (but extremely dilapidated) family manse, and again and again, Daugherty ordered them off the premises. Oliver Daugherty died in 2009 (without heirs) at age 73. He left his property to the Land Trust.

Portions of Oliver’s Woods can be accessed through the southern tip of Town Run Trail Park.

Photo credit: Central Indiana Land Trust

Oliver’s Woods to Become Central Indiana Land Trust Headquarters

Oliver’s Woods is a 53-acre nature preserve located in Nora near the Keystone at the Crossing shopping area. It was left to the Central Indiana Land Trust by Mr. Oliver Daugherty, who passed away in 2009.

The 53-acre property includes 16 acres of woods, 37 acres of prairie-savanna restoration, and a mile of frontage along the White River. The southern half of the popular Town Run Trail Park is encompassed within this property. The mountain bike trails will remain in place, as was agreed upon by Mr. Daugherty and Indy Parks. The remaining portion of the property will eventually serve as the Central Indiana Land Trust’s headquarters, and hiking trails will be added for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

“This nature preserve is not yet officially open to the public, but we look forward to sharing it with the community soon,” states the Central Indiana Land Trust website.

Photo credit: IndyStar

Nora’s PUPstop

The People for Urban Progress have brought IndyGo’s PUPstops to Nora. If you don’t know the significance of these bright yellow seats in Nora, here’s the scoop: they are salvaged Bush Baseball Stadium seats repurposed at bus stops throughout Indianapolis.

“After salvaging roughly 9,000 Bush Stadium seats in 2012, through a collaboration with Ecolaborative, RecycleForce, and Indianapolis Fabrications, PUP began working with IndyGo to begin installing refurbished seats at bus stops throughout Indianapolis. Before we started, of the nearly 4000 bus stops in Indianapolis, only 42 had a bench. Since then, we’ve added 31 PUPSTOPS, and are on track to reach our goal of 42 by the end of 2014. In two years, we will have doubled the number of benches at bus stops using a resource the city already had,” reads the PUP website.

Check out the People for Urban Progress website’s great information and to support the project.

Thanks PUP! We think its pretty awesome to have these historic PUPstop seats in Nora!

Image credit: PUPstop website.

Marott Park & Nature Preserve

Wooded 102-acre park including a nature preserve with trails, birdwatching & spring wildflowers.

The 84-acre preserve, encompassing most of Marott Park, is composed of an old second-growth mixed mesophytic upland forest in the north, and floodplain forest and successional fields along Williams Creek and the White River to the south. The park land was given to the City of Indianapolis by the Marott family to be used as a natural area. Ongoing restoration of the area includes removal of Amur bush honeysuckle and garlic mustard, which are problematic non-natives; erosion control, and hardwood restoration.

During the spring there is a nice show of wildflowers including rue anemone, wild ginger, bloodroot, mayapple, Solomon’s seal, wood poppy, trillium, and others. Some interesting trees here are Ohio buckeye, pawpaw, bur and chinquapin oaks, and rough-leaved dogwood.

Marott Park is an Indy Park and does not require an admission or entrance fee. The park is open from dawn until dusk year round.

Gear Up for the VEX Robotic Championship

The City of Indianapolis hosts the annual VEX Robotic Championship for elementary, middle school, and high school students. Students from the North Central High School and Northview Middle School Robotics Teams participated.

Indy organized the VEX Robotics Championship (IndyVRC) in an effort to help promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives within the city. As the global economy continues to move toward STEM-focused enterprises, Indy must continue to develop a future workforce to meet that need. The IndyVRC engages teams of students to design, build, and program a robot to compete against robots from other teams in a sports-like game.

The 3rd annual City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship was a success with over 130 school teams competing Nov. 15 – 16, 2014. The STEM Fair was host to over 35 booths featuring hands-on STEM learning activities such as robot chess and mathematics pentathlon.


photo credit: IndyStar
video credit: City of Indianapolis

Polling Locations Changed

ATTENTION: Northview Middle School, Greenbriar Elementary, Allisonville Elementary, John Strange Elementary, and Crooked Creek Elementary will not serve as a polling location on November 4, 2014. Voters should confirm their polling location by visiting or by calling (317) 327-VOTE (8683).

Information posted via MSDWT.

Admiring the ‘Arrows of Direction’ Sculpture

Maybe you’ve driven by it a thousand times…

Marting A. Nehrling (b. 1970, American)
Arrows of Direction, 1989
stainless steel
3 sections, approx. 84x60x39 in. each

This sculpture was the result of a design contest hosted by the Art Department at North Central High School. The artist was inspired by origami, and the folding shapes and skewed lines of the piece create directional movement, suggesting the various paths that graduating students will take in life.

The sculpture was funded by matching grants from the Washington Township School Board and the NCHS Class and Student Councils of 1989.

Nehrling, a native of Indianapolis, lives in Chicago and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.