Why Castleton is fun

Why Castleton is fun

by Kate Dolan

Looking for things to do?

A tourist in town?

Check out Castleton Square Mall- it can be quite the enjoyable experience. If you do not like malls, the atmosphere is fun, so go anyway.  There are a lot of things to do in small strip malls that are outside: go out to eat or just window shop in the mall. Four minutes west of Castleton Square is Keystone at the Crossing.  The surrounding shops are enjoyable, but do not offer as much as the Fashion Mall does.  Those of you who enjoy washing their face every morning will love Lush.  It is wonderful stuff for your skin made from plants and not tested on animals.


If you are looking for something different then malls, then you can find indoor rock climbing at Climb Time. It is hard to fall with harnesses attached all over your lower torso and legs, so if you have a worry that you are going to fall, then do not be afraid.  For this activity, you might want more than one person to go with you.


My personal favorite in the city is bowling, like at Woodland Bowl off 96th & Keystone.  It is a great activity to do with a big group or a large family.  You could play on teams: boys vs. girls, for example.  If you have a big family or going there with family friends, you could do last name vs. last name- just a thought.

Another good activity for a big group is Laser Tag. There is a place that does laser tag called X-Site Laser Tag & Games.  I have never been laser tagging, but my friends have and they say it is really fun.

I enjoy going out to eat and I do like a lot of places in town but my new favorite is O’Charley’s in Glendale.   Glendale is south of Castleton and is about three or four miles on the left. O’Charley’s is a very family-friendly place.  If you want a dish that is prepared differently than on the menu, then ask the server and they will get it for you.  Now they have free pie Wednesday.  I suggest trying their apple pie, as it is quite delicious.

Indy has much to offer, but I personally think you might be missing out if you do not try one of the above options.



Make a day out of it- Three things you can do today in Indianapolis

Three things you can do today in Indianapolis

By Keshia Smith

Many people feel the need to travel to another city to “vacation” and enjoy the day. Why is it that if you are in your hometown, then you always feel as if there is nothing to do?  It is possible to plan a unique and enjoyable one-day vacation unlike any other right in Indianapolis. Here are some suggestions of places you can go to seize the day today.

Spending time in nature is sure to put you in a good mood. There is a beautiful state park on the east side of Indy that’s bound to make for a good start to your morning, so start your day off by getting some exercise in the form of taking a walk on one of the many hiking trails at Fort Harrison State Park. Enjoy the fall leaves and the last days of warm weather. This park has a beautiful lake for fishing, a playground for kids, hiking and biking trails, restaurants and horseback riding. Spending some time in nature is always good for the soul.

After all that walking, you are bound to get a little hungry. Enjoying a nice lunch in Indy doesn’t have to be expensive. Try walking around Broad Ripple, taking a look at some of the shops that showcase lots of art, clothing and random, interesting things. Grab a bite to eat along the way at one of the many restaurants. Treat yourself after lunch. Insomnia Cookies has delicious treats and stays open until 2am. You can even pick up a treat for your pet at the doggie bakery.

You can end the day with shopping. Take a trip up to Hamilton Town Center (located off exit 210 at I-69) and shop outside. With a mix of low cost and high-end stores, this pretty mall is just the place to brighten up your day. There are also plenty of dining and entertainment options nearby, including an IMAX theater.

You don’t need to go far to have an amazing, relaxing day. Get out there and mix up your daily routine.

A little activity, a little shopping and a little dining, Indy style

A little activity, a little shopping and a little dining, Indy style

by Kenny Norman

When it comes to Indianapolis, quite a few options exist for leisure time, in shopping, dining and activities. However, were I to pick just one of each, then I would pick Greenwood Park Mall, Sapporo and Greatimes, respectively.

What I love about Greenwood Park Mall is that not all of its stores are women’s clothing. While Castleton Square has more square footage, it has fewer stores with an emphasis on women’s clothing stores (and its own directory supports me in this). Greenwood Park Mall has more stores, albeit smaller, with a wider variety of stores. I also find younger people of both sexes frequenting this mall more, as opposed to the older women at Castleton Square.

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Therefore, the environment is more appealing. Also, the employees are wonderfully friendly, outgoing, cheerful, helpful and thoughtful. I’d  like to think they’re naturally this way, but maybe they’re just really good at their jobs. Either way, I approve of the employees and staff at all the stores. As far as what to do in Greenwood Park Mall, I visit Old Navy, Aeropostale, Blondie’s Cookies, and Maggie Moo’s. Greenwood Park Mall is the last mall in the Indy area to have an Old Navy, and it is my favorite store. I can find a lot of things for under $20, especially on the clearance rack. The same goes for Aeropostale, although its sales are less frequent and less generous.

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Maggie Moo’s has a moderate selection of ice cream with approximately 16 flavors, but its flavors are rich and creamy. A small ice cream in a waffle cone costs $3.20. And Blondie’s has the “rich and creamy” cookie equivalent. They charge by weight, but non-iced cookies cost $1.40-1.60 each and iced cookies cost about $2.20 each. Best of all, they have frequent user cards, so after eight visits, the ninth will be free. There are several more restaurants and shops inside the mall, but those four are the ones I frequent.

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Sapporo is across Indianapolis on the north side, off east 82nd street and Knue Road in Castleton. This former Old Country Buffet was convincingly converted into a Japanese steakhouse. Servers put on quite the show thoroughly cooking your food and making it delicious. It’s quite apparent they take great pleasure in their job and approach it with genuine enthusiasm. The food itself is remarkably delicious, covered in soy sauce, lemon juice, and teriyaki sauce. Best of all, two sauces, ginger and mustard, are provided, and the ginger sauce will give both chicken and shrimp a kick in flavor while keeping it sweet. A wide variety of entrees is offered, including chicken, steak, shrimp and scallops, and each entree comes with white or fried rice, though the fried rice costs an extra $2.50.

Blondie's Cookies- Greenwood Park Mall

I get it every time though, because I have yet to find rice with the same hibachi flavor as Sapporo’s fried rice. There is also a bowl of soup that is flavored with mushrooms and onions that tastes somewhat like chicken. I find it zesty and savorable. The only caution I can give is that dinner can be between $18 and $30 for one person, so Sapporo is best used for special occasions and not weekly dinners. It’s worth the price to go there once in a while though.

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Greatimes markets itself as a “family fun park”, so it’s suitable for all ages. Though at 24 years old, I still visit once in a while for the thrill of go-karts, bumper boats and miniature golf. Tickets are required for said rides, though there is a discount if you buy multiple tickets. On the inside are a whole bunch of arcade games, including skee ball, air hockey, motorcycling, zombie hunting, Pac-Man, basketball and more.

Maggie Moo's- Greenwood Park Mall

There’s also a pizza place with sodas, a redemption counter in the center to get prizes from tickets, and a few party rooms for birthday parties. For smaller children, a bounce house and indoor playground is located on the first floor behind a wall of arcade games. Children can have fun with the arcade games and playground, but even older kids and teenagers can enjoy the outdoor activities.

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Word to the wise: there is a height requirement for the outdoor activities and they are seasonal, so they close at some point in the fall and reopen the following spring, so don’t come here in the dead of winter expecting go-karts and miniature golf. However, when all attractions are in season, my friends and I can easily amuse ourselves here for a few hours.

All in all, while there are several options for activities, dining, and shopping in Indianapolis, I’ve chosen to focus on these three favorite places of mine. Don’t let my article discourage you, however- there’s a whole city to explore.

Indystory- inspiring young storytellers

Welcome to INDYSTORY.com, part of The Indystory project.
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Maya Angelou once said “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

And since everyone has a story, it’s our goal to help local Indianapolis youth tell their story… through writing, photography, videography and art.

We are a Christian summer and after school writing and art program that gives students the opportunity to share stories with the world.

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We guide students through journalistic and creative writing, photography, and videography to help students create there own product to share with the world. We help kids grow creatively, socially and spiritually while also teaching the basics of entrepreneurship.

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The Indystory project is founded by two recent college graduates who want to use the skills they have learned to give back to the community.

Keshia Smith graduated from Ball State University with a BS in journalism and creative writing. You can contact her at ksmithstory@gmail.com.

Kenny Norman graduated from University of Indianapolis with a BS in journalism. You can contact him at knormx17@yahoo.com.

Five things to pack, mentally and emotionally, before going to college

By Keshia Smith

Think about it for a second. Above all the fixtures, food, and furniture…  what do you really need upon arrival for college?

1. A strong sense of who you are
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Know who you are, because people will try to convince you otherwise. What are your goals and what is important to you? These are the things you should ask yourself before stepping foot on campus. This doesn’t mean that your values can’t change over time; this is just to prevent you from being bullied into changing your mind. For example, I know people who changed their major multiple times because a professor said they were not good at something. Sometimes you have to disregard what others say and stay true to yourself. There will be plenty of people who will try to get you to think one way or do this or that or join this club or that club… having a strong sense of who you are will allow you to sort through everything and figure out what is important to you.

2. An open mind
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Having an open mind is key. You will be living in a place you have never lived in, with people you have never met, and you may (no, actually, you will) meet people unlike anyone you have ever met. You may even seem odd to some people or they may seem odd to you. You may feel the need to flock to people who are just like you. Don’t. Get out of your contort zone. Most people you meet are generally nice and not out to get you, if you give them a chance. Getting to know people with differences may give you a great understanding and love for others. I had a roommate who, on paper, seemed like the exact opposite of me. I think we were apprehensive of being roommates at first but after a while we realized we got along great. Always keep an open mind.

3. A good dose of discernment
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You will get a lot of information about everything. You will have to have you own discernment to shift through it all to find what is true. I’ll just leave it at that.

4. Balance
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You will be busy! More busy than ever before! Even when you are not busy, you will feel busy because you are most likely avoiding something you need to be doing. They say, “sleep, grades, social life… pick two,” but let’s be real. You need all three. You CANNOT get good grades or have a social life without sleep. So you will need to learn to balance.

5. The ability to let things go
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Your life is going to change, and in the process of this you will need to learn to let things go. This could involve people, places, and things. Let things go and look for new things.

Post-graduation life: Why won’t someone hire me?

By Kate Dolan

All of us know how bad the job market currently is. It is even worse for people with disabilities, like me.  I graduated from the University of Indianapolis more than a year ago and I am still looking for a job. I am in a new part of my life now and I have noticed that there is a whole job market of people with disabilities who can work, and human resources personnel who usually do not see that.

Everybody with disabilities would like to see a change in the job market, but companies are not giving people with disabilities a chance.

The jobs find something that is not going to work, and if you are a problem, then they will fire you. For me, after getting hired, I needed to ask co-workers for rides to work because I can’t drive. What if that person cannot help to where they cannot drive or cannot do something?

It is not right to not hire or to let someone go even though they did good work for you.  It is also twice as hard for people with disabilities, because when you go into interviews, some people do not like to tell people about their disabilities so it is like a big secret that they are hiding. I have to hide my disability, but sometimes they would still notice it.
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There are some companies that are really nice to people with disabilities. If they think that you have potential they will give you a chance with a paid or unpaid internship.

Here are my tips for people with disabilities who are looking for jobs.

I would suggest people with disabilities might want to get a job coach, paid by the state, if they do not have one. People or students that have disabilities might want to go though vocational rehabilitation.
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Vocational rehabilitation can help with the cost of the job coach. Some of the job coach companies will provide internships and some will not it just depends on the company you decide to go with. The majority of them are not paid but will give you and the employer a chance to see if one if you like and two if you work well together.

High School: New Beginnings and Fresh Starts

By Kenny Norman

Going to private school was a different experience than most people tell me going to a public school is. With public schools, students go to a different school or building for elementary school than they do for middle schools. But with private schools, it’s the same building, same teachers, same rooms, same classes, same everything. You can probably imagine that by the time my eighth grade graduation rolled around, I was ready to escape; it didn’t help that by that time, there were only nine of us in my graduating class.

And then came high school.

High school was a new experience; intimidating, yet intriguing and very interesting. It was different from any kind of school I had experienced before, though I should note that my high school was also private.
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First, the uniforms were different. Instead of a white polo with navy blue pants, students wore blue polos with khakis. These uniforms looked a lot cleaner and classier, and they dried quicker and were flame retardant. (Yes, both of the latter claims have been proven.) The only downside is that the uniforms were only available at a single store on the northeast side of town, and each outfit consisting of a polo and khakis cost approximately $50.

Lockers were another big change. Instead of storing books and school supplies in an unsecured cubby in the wall, students had their own metal box with a door and a lock. Lockers also lent themselves to being personalized on the inside with photos, keychains, wallpaper, mirrors, shelves and other decorations. Students had a five-minute passing period between each class to get what each student needed from his or her locker.
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Another significant change was how every student had an individualized schedule. In my grade school, students traveled in the same pack all day. In high school, each student would have a different set of classes to take and at several different times, and there were eight class periods in one day.

A change from middle school is that students no longer had recess; they had a “study hall.” The class period when students had lunch was split in two for lunch and study hall. Most students used this time to goof off, talk, play on computers, or read books, but it was also an opportunity to decrease the amount of homework each class assigned.

Honors classes were a new option as well. Those classes presented a more rigorous academic challenge, with a faster pace through the curriculum, higher expectations, more involvement, more projects and more homework. They also gave students an opportunity to boost each individual grade point average (GPA) to a 5.0 on a 4.0 scale.
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High school also enrolled more students. Granted, my elementary & middle school only enrolled about 100 students, which was smaller than most private schools, but my high school had 850 students enrolled.

But the most important thing about high school? The sense of community. I felt extraordinarily blessed to attend a school with a bunch of real, quality people. Most people were interesting, exciting, helpful and accepting, and best of all, no one put on a facade. High school was an environment where anyone, from any background, could open up, meet people, and make friends.
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I personally thrived in that environment and because of the social and academic opportunities offered to me, I considered high school some of the best years of my life. High school was intimidating, intriguing, interesting and altogether different, but given time, it was also home; welcoming, accepting, challenging, social and, on occasion, fun.