At the Dayton Daily News and The Indianapolis Star, I managed newspaper "morgues" -- the archives where each paper had 100-plus years of clippings, photos and other artifacts of the newspaper industry as it entered the 21st Century.

Indy 500 Encyclopedia

For the 2011 centennial of the first Indianapolis 500, I put together a team and produced the book "100 years, 500 miles," which was published by The Star just before that year's race. My last deadline for book production was early in April and I spent the next two months developing an online version of the book for which I gathered much more material than could fit in a book.

Infamous Indiana

While writing the StarFiles blog for, I often wrote about notorious crimes of Indiana history. These were invariably among the most popular topics. I have re-assembled these entries here, adding additional links to old news clippings.

Crime stats
by neighborhood

Every Spring, my colleague Mark Nichols (The Star's longtime computer-assisted reporting specialist), puts in a public records request for data Indianapolis police are compiling to submit to the FBI for the annual Uniform Crime Reports, which calculates and compares crime rates in large U.S. cities. The UCR doesn't come put until October, so most years we had the Indianapolis data posted on IndyStar six months before.

For the online presentation, we geocoded the 70,000-plus crimes for calendar years 2010 and assigned each to one of 99 neighborhood boundaries in the county.

Here's a screenshot of my database design. The database is still posted at

How would the IPS levy
affect you?

Because of a change in state law the previous year, Indianapolis voters in 2008 were for the first time being asked to vote on proposed additional taxes to finance school building repairs and other capital expenses.

To help voters decide, we gathered tax data for all residential properties in the district, and I created this calculator. Site visitors could look up any residential address in the school district and see what the next year's taxes would be with or without the proposed tax.

Complicating things, the Legislature had also approved a cap to prevent any taxpayer's property tax bill from exceeding 1 percent of the property's gross assessed valuation. So we added this element to our math since the cap would be in place by the time the new local taxes were raised if the levy passed.

Although no longer officially on IndyStar, a version of this database can still be found at this link. I also included an interactive map showing which school buildings were scheduled for repair if the funds became available.