Forest Hills Luminaries Brighten the Neighborhood

One of the best Forest Hills traditions is lighting luminary candles on our curbs at dusk on Christmas Eve. This year Lisa Brown and Katie Leising have generously offered to coor-dinate the luminary assembly and distribution. This event will take place at the Brown’s and Leising’s adjacent homes at 5683 and 5681 Guilford Avenue, Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 pm. Contact Lisa at with questions.

Volunteers, especially those with trucks or SUV’s, are always needed, both to put togeth-er the kits and deliver them to your homes. Extra volunteers are always encouraged. It’s a fun event, a good way to get to know new neighbors, and with enough hands, doesn’t take long to complete. School-age kids are especially helpful in running the luminary kits from the delivery vehicles to front porches.

Your job, after they’re delivered, is to assemble the luminaries (instruction included), place them on your curbs and light them at dusk on Christmas Eve. We do have a few vacant houses in the neighborhood, and we know that some of you will be out of town for the holidays, perhaps even before the luminaries are delivered. If you will be unable to set out your own luminaries, please make arrangements with a neighbor; and if a neighboring house is vacant please consider setting out those luminaries. You’ll find their luminary kit on their front doorstep.

Christmas Eve luminaries is a decades-old tradition in Forest Hills. It is a beautiful sight on a special night for both residents and the visitors it attracts to our neighborhood, but it comes off best if all of our curbs are covered. Thank you all for helping to make this another spectacular Forest Hills event!

Halloween Party Brings Chilly Fun

The Forest Hills Halloween Party was held at the 5700 block of Wildwood on October 28th. Despite the chilly weather, we welcomed nearly 250 neighbors to the reformatted party, which included pizza from the new Broad Ripple location of Goodfella’s Pizza, hot chocolate, beer and warm cider. Again this year
we enjoyed live music from neighbor Rob de las Alas’s band, The Porchmen.

Party Chair Becky Morrison thanks Dan Neal for helping to chair this event. The neighborhood also thanks all who helped with set-up and tear down, donated cupcakes, volunteered at the cupcake walk, the hayrides, and the scream contest. Lastly, a big thank you to David Barta of Dubina Landscaping who donated his services and time to give our neighborhood hayrides once again.

We didn’t get last names for the scream contest winners, although there’s a pretty good chance that the parents of these anything-but-angelic noisemakers know them well and encour-age them to rest their voices for next year’s contest. Johnny and Henry won the 5-and-under contest. Chloe, Georgia, and Kellen were winners in the ages 5-7 group, and Daisy and Madi in the 8-and-up group. Neighbors of these winners should know that parents of these champions weren’t committing child abuse in the weeks leading up to the party; their kids were just practicing.

Notes from the Leaf Pile

As this issue of the Columns is being written, Forest Hills is deluged with falling leaves. The city-wide leaf pickup will end on Friday, December 1, but it appears that because of the relatively warm fall weather there may still be leaves left to dispose of after that date. As always, please remember to keep the gutters and storm drains in front of your home as free of leaves, debris and dirt as possible to allow rain water to drain properly – and to help prevent weeds from filling the curbs in the spring. Your neighbors will thank you!

This winter season, Dubina Landscaping will again provide snow removal on the interior streets of Forest Hills when we receive 4” or more of snowfall. Snow removal is just one of the services provided by our FHNA dues. Please assist the snow removal vehicles by parking off street if possible when snow is forecast – it’s hard for the snow plow drivers to do a decent job if there are cars parked on the street after a storm. Dubina will plow the streets only and not the entrances to our driveways, so we’re on our own to shovel those.

Many of our neighbors will be traveling this holiday season, which means many empty houses. If you are planning to be away from home, please be sure to let your neighbors know so they can pick up papers, mail and packages, and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

A big “Thank You” to Jill de las Alas, who recently assumed responsibility from Lindsay Rust for layout and editing of the Columns. We appreciate your assistance, Jill, in keeping our neighbors informed of news and activities in Forest Hills.

Annual Halloween Party Saturday, October 28th

The Forest Hills Halloween Party will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on October 28th at the Guilford, Wildwood and 57th Street point.

Halloween Committee Chair Becky Morrison announces that there will be live music and a Halloween costume parade. Contests will include a cupcake walk with scary cupcakes (prize is a cupcake), scariest cupcake baker award, voting for scariest house (if you’re new to the neighborhood you are in for a treat), and a scream contest. Volunteers are always needed; sign up online at

Your neighborhood association will provide pizza, drinks, and beer. David Barta of Dubina will graciously donate his time and services to the neighborhood with a hayride. We will also be collecting cash donations for Coburn Place, a local non-profit offering housing and services to survivors of domestic violence. The neighborhood has worked with this organization in the past and they greatly appreciate our support.

The Forest Hills Halloween Party is the oldest continuous neighborhood event in Indianapolis. Come and enjoy what makes our community unique.

Summer Picnic bigger and better than ever

Well over 175 neighbors gathered on August 12th to celebrate the end of summer. As expected after the 2016 rainout, the weather was beautiful, resulting in the best turnout for the Summer Picnic in recent memory. A majority of the neighbors not only showed up for the picnic, they stayed for the evening and enjoyed the taco bar, drinks, ice cream, and entertainment.

This year’s event reprised attractions of a large bounce house combo with slide, along with an inflatable toddler obstacle course. The huge water slide was brought back again, providing kids relief from the heat. New attractions to the Summer Picnic included a visit from Indianapolis Fire Department and rides around the neighborhood in the infamous Chicken Limo. Both were a hit! What would a Summer Picnic be without music and alcohol? Neighbor Dr. Rob de las Alas and Chad Mills kept everyone entertained with a three-hour set capped off by Dr. D’s classic rendition of La Bamba. And for the first time ever, the neighbor-hood floated two kegs of Mashcraft beer and a case of wine.

Picnic chair, Dan Neal, would like to thank Kirstie Hayward, owner of Tiny House Treats, for donating the ice cream, along with Vine & Table for donating gift bags. Thanks to the Klinzings, Hamstras, and Leenhouts for supplying electricity and to the Laughners for electricity, water, and letting us turn their yard into a shallow pool from the water slide. Thanks to the Hobbs, Neals, Morrisons, Watersons, and Coes for cooking the food and the Leenhouts and Klinzings for letting us use their ovens as warming stations. Thanks to new board member Kristy Garcia for working with IFD and Vine & Table to get the fire truck and gift baskets, securing the wine, and providing the liability waiver. Thanks to Pat Crowell for his new role as beer god.

Lastly, thanks to all the neighbors who helped set up and tear down and to all the new neighbors who showed up. It takes an army to put together the Summer Picnic, and you all served valiantly.

Community Day fun and productive

Community Day 2017 was a great success. We had roughly 20 volunteers come out to serve our neighborhood. Special thanks to Don Arbogast and Patti Guiley for cutting back numerous trees around stop signs. We cleaned out the storm drains and a few residents are working with the city to have one particular drain, which is completely clogged, cleaned out. Additionally, the dumpsters were a great success. They were available just long enough for our residents to dump their unwanted items, while preventing dumping by individuals outside of the neighborhood. Thank you to all of our volunteers who made this possible.

Notes from the Leaf Pile

• After a very wet spring and a very dry late summer, autumn is here and with it the leaves from Forest Hills’ many trees have begun to fall. Unfortunately, FHNA will not have its own curbside leaf pick-up this year, but the City of Indianapolis will sponsor its annual leaf collection (see below). Try to keep your curbs free of leaves and weeds; especially the sewer drains, which can be an ongoing task in the fall. Clogged drains mean more water flows to our lower areas, especially at 58th and Guilford. The city has improved the drainage in Forest Hills in recent years, but water backup can still be a problem.

• Construction of the Red Line is expected to start in January, 2018 and should be largely completed by the end of 2018. Detailed information about the Red Line as well as updates regarding the construction schedule are available at

• Construction on the AT&T site on College Avenue should start soon. Appeals against the development are over and the developer is now proceeding.

• MKNA is looking for tour homes for the June 2018 Meridian Kessler Home Tour. If you are interested in participating please contact Jessica Albaugh at We’d love to have Forest Hills represented in the home tour again.

City of Indianapolis Annual Leaf Collection

The Department of Public Works conducts its annual Leaf Collection Program to help citizens dispose of large numbers of leaves each fall. This year the program will run from November 6 – December 1. Please remember the following guidelines:

• Up to 40 bags of leaves per residence per week may be left at curbside for pick-up

• Place leaves in large plastic trash bags and place near your regular trash cart

• Place bags out by 7 a.m. on our regular trash day (Fridays in Forest Hills)

• Keep all bags at least three feet away from the trash cart collection area to ensure that automated trucks can service the carts

If you have additional leaves after the end of the City Leaf Collection Program, the Citizens Transfer Station, located at 2324 S. Belmont Avenue, is open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays for residents to drop off excess leaves. There is a fee of $2.00 per car load or $5.00 per truck load.

FH Luminaries to Brighten Neighborhood!

One of the best Forest Hills traditions is lighting luminary candles on our curbs at dusk on Christmas Eve. Luminary set up and distribution will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 17th at Eric Chitwood’s garage, 5845 Carrollton Ave. Please note the new location. Eric has kindly volunteered to take over for the Habigs’, who ran the assembly and distribution for decades.

Volunteers, especially those with trucks or SUV’s, are always sorely needed, both to put together the kits and deliver them to your homes. Since this is Eric’s first rodeo, extra volunteers are encouraged (we promised him this would be easy) and it’s always a fun event. We can always find work for school aged kids as some of our houses are actually on hills.

Your job, after they’re delivered, is to assemble the luminaries, place them on your curbs, and light them at dusk Christmas Eve. We do have some vacant houses, and we know some of you will be out of town for the holidays, perhaps even before the luminaries get delivered. Please, please, make arrangements with a neighbor to help you out. A glass of wine, or six glasses of wine will make your neighbors easy marks. Ditto if you know of a neighboring house that’s vacant. You’ll find their luminary bag on their doorstep.

People come from all over Indianapolis to see our luminaries, and they’re only as good as the coverage. It comes off the best if most or all of our curbs are covered, and it’s a lovely sight on a special night. Take a Christmas Eve walk through our streets, maybe organize your block in caroling and admire your handiwork. Block Captains would be kind to help out with this effort.

Halloween Party Highlights

What a difference 100 feet made as the Forest Hills Halloween Party on October 29th moved from the 5700 block of Guilford to the 5700 block of Wildwood. Perfect weather greeted nearly 250 neighbors to the reformatted party, adding fresh pizza from Byrnes Pizza on Illinois, beer from the Sun King Brewing Co. and live music from the slightly reconstituted Rob de las Alas band.

Party Chair Sarah Kilfoil thanks Becky Morrison and Kristin Garber for serving on the committee and volunteering at the party and to Andi Crowell for donating the water bottles and helping with set-up and tear-down. The neighborhood also thanks all who helped with set-up and tear down, donated cupcakes, volunteered at the the cupcake walk, the hayrides, and the scream contest.

The French’s again won the scary house contest, narrowly beating our Ken Siegman & Rodney Dowling who tied with the Martin’s for 2nd place. The Coe sisters baked up the Scary Cupcake winners.

We didn’t get last names for the Scream Contest winners, although there’s a pretty good chance that the parents who have to hang out with these anything but angelic noisemakers know them well and encourage them to rest their voices for next year’s contest. Chloe and Henry won the 5 and under contest. Pax and Eliza were winners in the Grades K-2 group, Lily & Ben in the Grades 3-5 group, and Catherine and Kamryn in the Grade 6 group. Neighbors of these winners should know that parents of these champions weren’t committing child abuse in the weeks leading up to the party; their kids were just practicing.

Notes from the Snow Pile

This will be my last time writing The Columns. We have a great and active Board of Directors, and it’s well past time to let them take over. Hope I made you laugh.

Only five Block Captains responded to a request for Directory Updates. I’m less excited about walking the neighborhood trying to accomplish the update, so there won’t be a paper Directory until someone else decides it’s important to take over the project.That makes it a bit more important for all of us who are online to sign up for the electronic directory (a bit more than half of you are). We also have a considerable amount of both duplicate, and expired (folks who don’t live here anymore) entries. If you could check your information, kindly send what ought to be deleted (you can update your information yourself) to our brilliant webmaster, Stephen Cranfill, at

As noted in the separate article, it’s dues time again. As part of our dues for most of us includes a fee for snow removal, it’s worth noting that it’s awfully hard for our contractors to do a decent job if there are cars parked on the street after a big (or small) storm. I understand that a lot of you have two car storage sheds, but if you could at least get your cars into your driveways in advance of and after a forecasted snow, driving in the neighborhood will be a whole lot easier and less resemble a slalom course. Maybe this will be a low snow season, but since the Cubs won, hell is due to freeze over.

As always, try to do one last curb clean-up once all the leaves are down, especially at the drainage outlets, What’s not cleaned up will turn into dirt over the winter, and that means curbs filled with weeds.

If you noticed a large number of IMPD units in the neighborhood the week before Thanksgiving, a group of wandering teens tried to enter a house at Winthrop & Guilford, and were all apprehended within minutes. With the holidays at hand, keep an eye out for your neighbors, some of whom will be traveling.

The Milhaus project at the ATT site on College won approval from the Metropolitan Development Commission by a 6-2 vote in November.

Congratulations to the Jose’s for becoming the last house in the neighborhood to get indoor plumbing.

-Jim Garrettson

Annual FH Dues

Attached to this final 2016 issue of the Columns, you will find a dues envelope. 2017 Forest Hills dues are payable as of January 1, 2016 and run through the calendar year, although any payments made after this issue comes out will be credited to 2017 unless you indicate otherwise.

Starting with the first Columns of 2017, we’ll be publishing a list of those who have paid (and neighbors are encouraged to shun those who haven’t). The list will also include the much desired asterisk, designating those who have made a contribution above and beyond the call of duty. You are welcome to have your asterisk framed and prominently displayed around your house.

As noted on the envelope, dues are $30, plus $15 for snow removal. Residents on College and Kessler don’t have to pay snow removal. Your dues fund the Annual Meeting in June, the Summer Picnic, the Halloween Party, the Christmas Eve Luminaries, the Columns, the Website, the Directory, and all the other great stuff your neighborhood association does for you (hopefully with your help). You can pay by check by mailing in the dues envelope, or on-line at the FHNA website (

You can also drop off payments to your block captain, any member of the Board, or at our Treasurer’s house (the address on the envelope).