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Bloomington Herald-Times

July 8, 2011

Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity celebrates century of achievement with event at IU
10 African-Americans founded fraternity on IU campus in 1911
By Donyelle Davis
July 8, 2011, last update: 7/8 @ 12:15 am

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the first African-American fraternity founded at Indiana University, Mayor Mark Kruzan deemed Thursday Kappa Alpha Psi Day in Bloomington. And during the opening ceremony of the fraternity's Centennial Pilgrimage at Dunn Meadow, Kruzan presented the organization with a commemorative plaque and commended the fraternity on its dedication to achievement and community service.

Thousands of members of the organization from across the country, along with their families, returned to IU to celebrate the organization's 80th Grand Chapter conclave and the centennial of the founding. The fraternity, begun Jan. 5, 1911, by 10 African-American college students, now has more than 150,000 members with 721 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of the United States, as well as chapters internationally.

"It is with immense pride that I represent this city as it celebrates 100 years of the fraternity bringing positive change to the community and inspiring young men," Kruzan said. "Today is a historic day (and) we look forward to the next 100 years."

Also during the ceremony, the first African-American drafted by the NFL as well as the first to play in the Big Ten, Indiana University alumnus George Taliaferro, was awarded Kappa Alpha Psi's Creating Inspiration Award. Taliaferro is also credited with inspiring the racial desegregation of the swimming facilities at IU.

"It is the effort (of the founders of Kappa Alpha Psi) that has been transformed into what you see and observe here today," Taliaferro said. "We are all better off for having had them in our lives."

Following the opening presentation, attendees visited various locations around Bloomington and on the IU campus that are significant to the history of the fraternity, such as the last fraternity house owned by Kappa Alpha Psi through IU, which now serves as the university police station at the intersection of 17th Street and Jordan Avenue.

Dr. Aubry Jones, Korean War veteran and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. since 1952, said he joined the fraternity because the members exemplified success and achievement and he wanted to be a part of an organization that upheld those values. He said he is also proud of how well the organization is represented by young members.

"I think the younger members are doing well. They are doing things in a different way and in a bigger and better way," he said. "All of us who are older members have inspired the younger members to achieve."

Jashaun Roebuck, a spring 2011 initiate into the fraternity, said the organization pushes him to be the best and also gives him a lifelong support system that will always motivate him to achieve in every aspect of his life.

"Joining the fraternity during the centennial year is the hugest thing," he said. "Being in the place where the fraternity was founded is so special and is everything I could ever ask for."

Lauren Spierer's disappearance: Smallwood owners, manager issue statement
July 7, 2011, last update: 7/7 @ 3:58 pm

The owners and managers of Smallwood Plaza, where missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer lives, released the following open letter to the public Thursday afternoon:

"Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime and falling in at night. I (we) miss you like hell."

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

"In the seven-year-old Smallwood Building in downtown Bloomington a gaping, aching, debilitating hole has expanded since the early morning hours of June 3. It has enveloped two sweet, devoted parents and a devastated sibling, three roommates, countless friends, scores of volunteers, dedicated police officers from multiple departments, and the committed staff and management of Smallwood Plaza. This chasm holds within it a daily, agonizing reminder of a vibrant, 20-year-old bundle of enthusiasm, beauty and creativity named Lauren Spierer.

"Many careless and thoughtless statements have been made about the place Lauren calls home. Most of those who have written these words know nothing of the investment that has been made to give our residents peace of mind; they have no sense of the tremendous bonds that exist between our residents and staff, and they seem to have no perception of the effect such insensitive remarks have upon parents Robert and Charlene Spierer.

"As the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, there is a hole in our world and yes, to be somewhat crass, to quote Ms. Millay we all miss Lauren like hell. But our pain and anguish is infinitesimal compared to what Mr. and Mrs. Spierer are experiencing every moment of every day. As the investigation enters its second full month, our entire staff and ownership, Mr. and Mrs. John Jacobs of Bloomington, join the Spierers in adhering to the hope that Lauren is still with us and will someday return to her mother's and father's arms.

"We pledge our continued, unwavering support to the Spierer family. We thank them for their constant, astonishingly selfless support of our facility and staff. And we vow to them that we will deploy every resource at our disposal to finding their daughter and bringing to swift justice those responsible for her disappearance. Long after the headlines have subsided and the news satellite trucks have moved on to the next sensational case, we, and all those who love and care for the Spierers will stand by their side until this numbing chapter is resolved.

"Until then, we thank the greater Bloomington community, the Bloomington Police Department, Bloomington media, Indiana University, Old National Bank, The Hillel Center and the countless scores of volunteers and businesses who have joined hands and at times risked their own safety all in the name of restoring a very special family. May God bless all their efforts and may he compel those with information to come forward and bring a close to a family's agony.

With love and prayers,

John and Kara Jacobs, Owners of Smallwood Plaza

Denise Haggard, Senior Property Manager and the staff of Smallwood Plaza

Alex Jackiw, President and the staff of Buckingham Properties

Ernie Reno and the staff of Hetrick Communications"

Lauren Spierer's parents invite searchers to reunion Saturday on IU campus
By Abby Tonsing
July 7, 2011, last update: 7/7 @ 3:57 pm

Volunteers who have helped search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer are invited to attend a reunion on Saturday.

Laps for Lauren, a searchers reunion, is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Saturday at the Woodlawn field and track off Woodlawn Avenue, between 10th and Ninth streets on IU's campus.

The 20-year-old student was last reportedly seen about 4:30 a.m. Friday, June 3 at the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue, headed south on College. Thousands of volunteers worked through most of June with police and professional search teams, first scouring Bloomington and later expanding into Monroe County in the search for Spierer. Search parties initially met at Smallwood Plaza, the apartment complex where Spierer lives. A search headquarters at McNutt residence hall was established by mid-June and closed on June 29.

"We would love to see everyone who is helping us continue our efforts to find our dear sweet Lauren. Hope to see you Saturday," parents, Robert and Charlene Spierer and sister, Rebecca, wrote on the Find Lauren website at

The redesigned and relaunched website now features a "reflections" page, where selected notes and positive comments from Spierers' friends and search volunteers will be shared. Reflections can be submitted to

Officials continue HPER fire inquiry
By Abby Tonsing
July 7, 2011, last update: 7/7 @ 12:13 am

Fire and university officials continue to investigate the exact cause of Tuesday morning's roof fire at the Wildermuth fieldhouse, while assessing overall fire, water and smoke damage to the building.

More than 50 firefighters worked about three hours to completely extinguish the smoky blaze to the south section of roof at the Ora L. Wildermuth Intramural Center of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The fire started just after 10 a.m. Tuesday. The south section of the HPER building has been closed for roof replacement and construction since the end of the spring semester.

"No word yet on the official cause of the fire, though it's safe to say it was related to the work being done on the roof," Indiana University spokesman Mark Land stated in an email on Wednesday.

Local company Steve's Roofing is the contractor for the project, according to university spokesman Ryan Piurek.

Bloomington fire officials interviewed the construction workers who were laying new roofing and using machinery on the section of roof that caught fire, Sgt. Travis Drescher said Wednesday.

Officials from the Office of the Vice President for Capital Projects & Facilities started to assess the damage but had not yet established a dollar figure or the extent of the damage. An estimated date for when the fieldhouse might re-open is not yet available.