Inform Muncie

Inform Muncie is a student-led news outlet committed to collaborative and inclusive storytelling in our community. We give voice to untold stories and under-recognized people and neighborhoods.

The Ball State Daily
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Birddog Café reinvents comfort classics

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Becca Grindle and Kelsey Grindle talked of opening a food truck when they got married in May 2022. Becca had worked in restaurants for more than 20 years, and Kelsey had grown tired of his work in the pharmaceutical industry. 

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Midnight Café & Grill serves up comfort food in the Village

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Ernesto Polito grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, with dreams of starting a restaurant. On Friday, Jan. 19, he opened the doors to that dream — welcoming patrons to the Midnight Café & Grill, located on the western edge of the Village, a business district along University Avenue in Muncie. 

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‘More than just a motorcycle group’

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Nonviolent activist Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and that quote is driving a diverse group of car enthusiasts to rev up change in Muncie. The Game Changers are volunteers who support neighbors in need and host events to engage and uplift the community. 

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The man behind the murals

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It was a blustery afternoon, but the sun was shining as Eric Ward meticulously painted a race car on the exterior of Tom Cherry Muffler on Eighth Street in Muncie. Ward’s truck was a mobile studio, overflowing with paint cans, airbrush nozzles and painter’s tape. His hands — rough and weathered — donned fingerless leather gloves stuffed with hand warmers. 

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The life-changing impact of a librarian

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Akilah Nosakhere has spent her life collaborating with inspiring individuals and organizations to advance her community and educational opportunities for all. And come March, after more than 30 years of library management and community service, Nosakhere will retire as director of Muncie Public Library.

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A Systemic Song: Black artists in Muncie reflect on disparities and progress in the music industry

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Black Lives in Music found that white artists in the UK average about $300 more than Black creators, and 43% of Black female creators said they feel they need to change their appearance because of their race. Black artists reported being called “aggressive,” “too outspoken” and “ungrateful,” among other labels. A USC Annenberg study of 70 major music companies revealed that 4.2% of them were Black. 

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Neighbors share priorities in two south Muncie neighborhoods

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Since 2015, the 8twelve Coalition has worked alongside residents, businesses and nonprofits to improve the quality of life in the South Central and Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhoods. Coalition Coordinator Darbi Strahle said many of the coalition’s efforts start with meaningful conversations and relationships.In mid-November, neighbors gathered in the basement of Urban Light Community Church to discuss the following priorities: beautification, housing, business development and employment, wellness and education and family support.

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Building a legacy

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In September 2023, Sasha Donati had an “awakening” moment when she felt called to open a restaurant in a vacant space at 3124 N. Granville Ave. Her family and friends rolled up their sleeves to transform the former hibachi spot into Muncie’s only West African restaurant. 

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Equality for All

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Yvonne Thompson, executive director for the Muncie Human Rights Commission, talks about her role to promote equal opportunity and equal rights for all.

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Dealing with Disease

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Ball State senior Hailey Hess talks about navigating college with an autoimmune disease.

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One man’s mission to recovery

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Growing up, Andy Ray didn’t have everything he wanted, but he had everything he needed. The Muncie native loved sports and camping. He was an average student who spent free time with friends. In high school, he began drinking at parties, but alcohol became a way to cope after his girlfriend and parents died within a few years of each other. 

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Free flu shots and area COVID clinics

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The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every season to prevent sickness and missing work and school. If you get the flu, the vaccine can make symptoms less severe and reduce the risk of hospitalization.

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Ross Center Judo Academy: For when life knocks you down

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When students bow their heads and step onto mats for judo training at Muncie’s Ross Community Center, they learn far more than martial arts. Students gain discipline, self-confidence and strength along with social connection and problem-solving skills.

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Muncie Queer Alliance: a new hub for the LGBTQ+ community

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LGBTQ+ individuals in Muncie have found support and community at the Mark III Tap Room and through organizations like Muncie OUTreach, Muncie Pride Network and Spectrum. Each location or organization serves a distinct purpose, but advocates are working toward collaboration among them. 

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Monthly neighborhood dinners fuel community

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The aroma of brisket cooking on the grill fills the air as classic rock booms from a makeshift sound system. Children chase each other through the grass, laughing, and neighbors hug to greet one another with big smiles. This monthly dinner is the work of Urban Light Community Development, a nonprofit committed to improving the quality of life in Muncie.

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Spicing up South Central

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Paxon Vong opened Thai Kitchen 20 years ago to offer Muncie a diverse fusion of Southeast Asian cuisine. The native of Thailand makes every dish to order, with notes of sweet and sour, salty and spicy flavors paired in soups, stews, noodles and rice dishes. 

Photo Gallery: Spreading love, one brush stroke at a time

Spreading love, one brush stroke at a time

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Muncie has become a canvas for striking stylistic murals on building exteriors across town. Their vibrant colors and inspiring images uplift neighborhoods and encourage residents to slow down and admire their surroundings. Some murals invite meaningful conversations about Muncie’s heritage and history. 

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Small Sparks ignite big change

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Muncie native Casey Eichenlaub is a man of action. He sees a problem and figures out a way to fix it. If the problem involves power tools, even better. In 2020, Eichenlaub secured a Small Sparks grant from the 8twelve Coalition to build fence posts for his Thomas Park Avondale neighbors. This year, he was awarded the grant to complete home repairs, mostly to water heaters and HVAC systems.