Carmel in brief — January 24, 2023


Chief of staff appointment – Auditor of State Tera Klutz appointed Carmel resident Courtney Schaafsma to serve as chief of staff. Schaafsma previously served under the Pence and Holcomb administrations as the commissioner for the Dept. of Local Government Finance. She has also served as the director of school efficiency with the Indiana Dept. of Education. She has also served as executive director of the Distressed Unit Appeal Board. As chief of staff, Schaafsma will plan and direct all administrative, financial and operational activities in collaboration with the auditor.

Earth Day Art Contest – Carmel Green Initiative is inviting students in kindergarten through 12th grade to enter the 2023 Earth Day Art Contest. Art entries will be displayed at several community exhibits to give youth a voice, empowering them to inspire the community to live more sustainably. Entries are due Feb. 17. Learn more at

Parent education classes – The Chris Center is presenting a series of free parent education classes designed to provide support and information to parents and caregivers raising adolescents. Remaining classes are:

  • 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at University High School – How to Start Difficult Conversations – Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and more.
  • 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Carmel Clay Public Library – Managing Childhood Anxiety – A Family Process.
  • 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Carmel Clay Public Library – The Impact of Screen Time and Social Media on Mental Health.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 1 at Carmel Clay Public Library – Neurodiversity: Increasing Awareness Around an Invisible Disability.

Register and learn more at

CCS receives state grant – Carmel Clay Schools has received $99,804 from the Indiana Dept. of Education in STEM Integration Grant funding. This grant will support Hoosier schools in integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction and learning opportunities into the classroom, improving access and support for Hoosier students.

Military, first responders appreciation – Colonial Christian School, 8140 Union Chapel Rd., will host a Military and First Responders Appreciation Night on Jan. 24 when the Cougars take on the Crusaders from Suburban Christian. Colonial is offering free admission to all first responders, active duty and veterans of the armed forces, as well as free admission to their spouses. Doors open early with a junior high boys basketball game at 4:30 p.m., varsity girls at 5:30 p.m., a Color Guard presentation at 6:45 p.m. and the varsity boys at 7 p.m. Colonial will honor all military and first responders at halftime of the varsity boys game.

Mission Possible – Assistance League of Indianapolis will present its Mission Possible fundraiser on April 22 at the Eiteljorg Museum, 500 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis. This marks the first time the annual event has been held in person since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The fundraiser will include dining, a raffle and silent auction, and opportunities to view items in the museum. Learn more at

Silver Pen writing competition – The Stratford is accepting essay submissions through Feb. 10 for the 10th annual Senior Living Communities Silver Pen writing competition. The Stratford will award three local high school seniors with cash prizes up to $2,500 to assist with their post-graduate plans. Award recipients will be announced in the spring. For the full rules and to submit an essay, visit

Ice skating tickets available – Tickets for the Ice at Carter Green are on sale. The rink will be open through Feb. 26. Skate sessions last 90 minutes, unless noted on the skate session calendar. The cost per session on all days is $10 for adults and youth 11 and older, $8 for children 10 and younger. Skates may be rented for $4 per person. Buy tickets and learn more at

State’s cutest dogs – Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Destination Development Corp. and Indiana’s First Dog, Henry, are searching for adorable dogs in great locations across the state through the Visit Indiana Cutest Dog Photo Contest. A different winner will be selected every week for one year. Each winning dog will get a note from Indiana’s first dog, an exclusive ‘More To Discover IN Indiana’ dog bandana, a feature as one of the Cutest Dogs IN Indiana on the Visit Indiana social channels. To enter, upload a photo or video of your dog to Instagram, tag @VisitIndiana and use the hashtag #DogsINIndiana. Entries must include the location where the photo was taken.

Hamilton County Democratic Women meetings— The Hamilton County Democratic Women meet every third Saturday of the month at the Delaware Township Trustee Building 9090 E. 131st, Fishers. Conversations begin at 9:30 a.m., the meeting is from 10 a.m. to 11. All Hamilton County women are welcome.

Monthly beekeepers meeting – The North Central Beekeepers Club meets the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Cool Creek Nature Center, 2000 E. 151st St. in Westfield. Meetings are free to attend by all levels of beekeepers located centrally north of Indianapolis. Those interested in becoming beekeepers are welcome. For more information, visit

Author to visit CCPL – Ross Gay, the bestselling author of “The Book of Delights,” will visit the Carmel Clay Public Library at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 to share the stories behind his most recent collection of essays, “Inciting Joy.” Register for the free event at

Marijuana in the workplace – Invest Hamilton County will offer a presentation about how to address marijuana in the workplace at a free event set for 8 to 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd. in Fishers. With bordering states legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the patchwork of laws that exist, and federal law that still criminalizes marijuana, many employers are left wondering what they can prohibit and test for in the workplace. Register at

Pacers broadcaster honored – The National Sports Media Association has selected Carmel resident Chris Denari as the Indiana Sportscaster of the Year. Denari is the play-by-play announcer for the Indiana Pacers on Bally Sports. The NSMA will honor its award winners and Hall of Fame inductees during the organization’s 63rd awards weekend and national convention, scheduled for June 24-26 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

CNO Financial Group promotions – Carmel-based CNO Financial Group has appointed Jean Linnenbringer as chief operations officer and Mike Mead as chief information officer. Linnenbringer has more than 30 years of operations management experience in the insurance and financial services industries. She joined CNO in 2015 and since August 2017 has served as the company’s senior vice president of enterprise operations. Mead has more than 25 years of experience in general management and technology leadership within the insurance industry. He joined CNO in 2018 as senior vice president and chief information officer.

Pierce Aerospace partnership – Pierce Aerospace announced a partnership with Skye Air Mobility at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The partnership brings Pierce Aerospace’s Flight Portal ID UAS Technologies as an integrated Remote ID solution with Skye Air Mobility’s drone delivery platforms and Skye UTM beginning this year. Skye Air Mobility brings drone delivery to India’s healthcare, e-commerce, quick commerce and agri-commodity sectors to build the fastest, most sustainable and most efficient network to transport everything and anything that a drone can fly.

Merchants Bank hire – Merchants Bank has hired Marquisha Bridgeman as vice president of community and business banking partnerships. She will work from the Merchants Bank headquarters in Carmel. Bridgeman has more than 13 years of experience leading community engagement and marketing initiatives to build an extensive business and non-profit network throughout central Indiana. She earned her Master of Science degree in strategic leadership and design from the University of Indianapolis and a bachelor’s degree in business and human resource management from Kelley School of Business.

Allied Solutions promotion – Allied Solutions promoted Mark Bugalski to senior vice president and chief growth officer effective Jan. 1. Bugalski most recently led the sales and marketing division for Allied’s Southern region covering 13 states. Over a 12-month period, Bugalski will partner with outgoing Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer David Underdale to ensure a smooth transition for clients and employees. Underdale plans to retire in December after a nearly 40-year tenure at both Allied Solutions and Securian Financial.   

Governor’s Fellowship – Applications will be accepted through Jan. 31 for the 2023–24 Governor’s Fellowship, which provides a unique experience in Indiana state government by placing fellows in various state agencies on a rotating basis throughout the year. The program is open to college graduates who receive a bachelor’s degree in the summer or fall of 2022 or spring of 2023. Fellows are paid, full-time employees who participate in the day-to-day activities of state government. Apply at

Diabetes Prevention Program – Franciscan Health is offering a Diabetes Prevention Program, an initiative that provides a supportive environment where participants work together in small groups to learn about healthier eating and boosting their physical activity to reduce their contracting diabetes. The program is led by a trained lifestyle coach in a classroom setting and delivered over a 12-month period. Participants must be at least 18 years old, overweight (body mass index over 25), diagnosed with prediabetic conditions or diagnosed with gestational diabetes at any time. Qualified participants can reach out to [email protected] or call 317-528-4962 to inquire about the program and to register.

Blood donation guidance updated – The American Red Cross invites those who spent time in the U.K., Ireland or France and have never tried to give blood because of concerns over variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) – related to mad cow disease – to give blood and help save lives. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its blood donor eligibility guidance on vCJD, eliminating the deferral for those who spent time in the U.K., Ireland and France between 1980 and 2001. In alignment with FDA changes, the Red Cross began accepting donations Oct. 3 from individuals who have not tried giving blood before due to the prior donation criteria. Learn more and schedule an appointment at

500 Festival launches Living Well Program – The 500 Festival has launched the Living Well Program, a no-cost, resident-based health initiative for apartment complexes to promote resident wellness and build community. It includes discounted registration for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K, training resources and built-in support to reach health goals. It also features head-to-head competition against other apartment complexes for an award for resident participation. Learn more at

Hospice volunteers needed – Brighton Hospice in Carmel is looking for volunteers to help office staff perform a variety of office duties such as organizing admission paperwork, filing, preparing and sending mail, answering phones, stocking supplies and helping with special projects and events. Hours and days for this volunteer opportunity are flexible and training will be provided. To learn more, contact Katresha Taylor, volunteer coordinator, by calling 317-798-2160 or by email at [email protected].