TERRE HAUTE — TableScapes is Arts Illiana’s sole fundraising
event that brings together area businesses and designers to
create spectacular, themed dinner settings. They are elegant,
whimsical, and sometimes funny — but always very inventive.
Designers compete for a variety of awards, including the coveted
People’s Choice award. Artisan Glass of Terre Haute is designing
the 2012 TableScapes awards.
The Ohio Building opens its doors from 6 to 9 p.m. today for a
special TableScapes preview evening sponsored by the Vigo County
Public Library’s Wabash Valley Big Read. The Big Read book for
2012 is “Fahrenheit 451,” and free copies of Ray Bradbury’s
classic science fiction work will be available to patrons.
Preview attendees will enjoy the jazz sounds of Easy Street and
great food created by the Saratoga. This evening is the first
glimpse of this year’s tables and opens one of the best silent
auctions in the Wabash Valley.
The public is encouraged to stop by for TableScape Daily
Viewings, where for a $5 admission fee people can view the
tables and vote for their favorite. Daily Viewing visitors may
also view and bid on silent auction items (silent auction
winners do not have to be present on Saturday evening to win.)
The auction includes stunning original artwork, fine collectors
wine, great gift baskets, and a host of great things to do.
Daily Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
TableScapes culminates with Dinner on the Scapes on Saturday. A
truly unique dining experience, people will have the opportunity
to feast at a designed table with cuisine prepared by Chef
Shelby and the Country Club of Terre Haute. Dinner guests will
be treated to a special duet performance from guitarist Brent
McPike and Solly Burton, the 2011 National Mandolin Champion. As
the evening draws to a close, the award-winning table designs
will be announced, including a special award for new designer
chosen by Frontier, the evening’s sponsor.
Other sponsors for the event include Old National Bank, Country
Club of Terre Haute, WTHI, the Ohio Building, and the Saratoga,
and a host of table designers who are celebrating the arts
community with this venerable, one-of-a-kind extravaganza of
With a record number of table designers participating, this
year’s TableScapes promises to be fun and unforgettable. For
more information visit tablescapesofterrehaute.com or call (812)
235-5007. Dinner reservations are limited and going fast.
TERRE HAUTE — Yes, it really was Jesse Ventura — the former
Minnesota governor — walking the halls of the Ohio Building
April 23, 2009
And not far behind was Tom Sizemore, an actor and veteran of
such major films as “Black Hawk Down” and “Saving Private Ryan.”
The two celebrities were at the Ohio Building to shoot scenes
for the movie “The Drunk,” currently being filmed in Terre Haute
by Tanoos Fleschner productions.
Ventura, who has been a U.S. Navy SEAL and a professional
wrestler, portrays an Indiana governor whose term is ending,
while Sizemore portrays Bruce Frye, a corrupt prosecutor running
for Indiana governor.
Terre Haute natives William Tanoos and Paul Fleschner co-wrote
the film and are co-directing and acting in it.
In a media interview, Ventura said, “I found the role
interesting and I accepted it, so here I am in Terre Haute … I
play a governor [in the movie] and I think I have the experience
to take that role, having been one.”
The film-makers sent his Los Angeles management a copy of the
script, and it was Ventura’s understanding “the role was more or
less written with me in mind,” he said.
The fact that the movie is being filmed in Terre Haute and was
written by Terre Haute natives — with Eugene Debs as inspiration
— gives it authenticity and a Midwestern flair, Ventura said.
Sizemore said he read the script and saw there was “real talent
behind it.” He also likes to help young filmmakers get their big
In the movie, Tanoos portrays Joe Debs, the fictional,
hard-drinking grandson of legendary labor leader and Terre Haute
native, Eugene V. Debs. (Debs had no such grandson).
In the modern-day plot, Joe Debs gets arrested for drunken
driving. When he discovers Frye is trying to put him in jail for
political reasons, he decides to run against Frye for governor.
About 5 p.m. Monday, Tanoos and Ventura did several takes of a
scene in which Ventura, as Indiana governor, tries to encourage
and offer advice to Joe Debs (Tanoos), who appears discouraged
about his candidacy.
As the scene was being shot, Don Moffitt stood in a hallway,
watching and waiting. The Terre Haute native — also the retired
president and board chairman of CNF Inc. — has a role in the
film as a political “kingmaker,” he said.
Moffitt, longtime friends with members of the Nasser and Tanoos
families, was asked to play the role of a political boss, he
“It’s another adventure for me,” said the 79-year-old Moffitt,
who normally calls Hawaii and California home.
Moffitt already had an opportunity to meet Ventura and Sizemore,
and as part of the movie, they went to a golf course. Moffitt
and Sizemore plan to meet up in Hawaii, where Sizemore has
signed up for a recurring role this fall on the new “Hawaii:
“I love Sizemore. He’s the greatest guy,” Moffitt said. He
characterized Ventura as “probably one of the most interesting
men I’ve met.”
This is the fourth week of filming, William Tanoos said. Filming
has gone “very well,” although it’s been hectic. There have been
long hours, and it’s been demanding physically and mentally,
“but it’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had,” Tanoos said.
The political movie has light-hearted moments, but a very
serious message. Many local people are appearing as extras.
Commenting on the casting of Sizemore and Ventura, Paul
Fleschner said, “It’s been a privilege to work with such
talented people in the entertainment industry.”
Over the weekend, Tanoos and Fleschner rehearsed with Sizemore,
who has worked with famous directors, including Steven
Spielberg, and famous actors, such as Robert DeNiro
As they heard Sizemore’s anecdotes, Tanoos and Fleschner at
times would just look at each other. “We feel very fortunate and
very grateful to work with a guy with such immense talent, who
also has worked with some legendary names. We can draw a lot
from his experience,” Tanoos said.
Downstairs in the Ohio Building, several people awaited their
opportunity to play an extra in the movie.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or
TERRE HAUTE — Owners of an extensively renovated downtown
Terre Haute building that was marred by graffiti are now
using video clips of surveillance cameras and a $1,000
reward in hopes of finding the vandal and having him
Al A. Ruckriegel and David J. Adams, owners of the Ohio
Building in the 600 block of Ohio Street, said the business
and residence was marked with graffiti about 1 a.m. and then
again about 2 a.m. on April 18.
On Thursday, the owners released video clips showing a white
male, with long dark sideburns, wearing a striped
long-sleeved shirt, using a spray can to mark the building’s
west door, back door, and part of the west side of the
building. A black male can be seen in one video clip
watching the other man spray paint graffiti.
The videos show the man with sideburns doing all the
graffiti spraying. The markings appear to show “dank!,” a
term that means stinky or highly potent marijuana, according
to online “Urban Dictionary.”
The video clips can be seen at
Ruckriegel said it appeared the vandal approached from
Wabash Avenue, possibly from a nearby tavern.
“This is the first time this has happened and we have been
here 41/2 years,” Ruckriegel said. “We just don’t want to
have our building graffitied or the downtown area. The
theater has had some problems and the parking garage, but
this is the first time it has happened to us, so we want to
offer a $1,000 reward for any information” leading to the
arrest of the vandal (see information box).
“We have put a lot of money into the restoration of this
property,” Ruckriegel said.
Ruckriegel is co-owner of Sidal, Inc., which operates
several Rally’s restaurants, Papa John’s Pizza and JoJo’s
Bakery Restaurants. The owners bought the Ohio Building in
December 2003 for $100,000 and have invested more than $2
million renovating the century-old structure, which now
includes a conference center in the former Goodie Shop and
Martin House area.
The building, erected in 1906, also formerly housed the
40-room Hotel Tuller, which closed in 1960.
Ruckriegel said he plans to have workers use a spray-on
graffiti remover, and if that does not work, will repaint
the two doors and side of the building.
Terre Haute Police Detective Dan Walls said more than 100
arrests have been made since 2007 involving graffiti.
“Every time a victim files a report, we investigate it and
we file charges. We’ve really been hitting these things
hard. We’ve seen it slow down,” he said. “But with each
person you arrest, you have two or three growing up to go
out and do it. It is not just in Terre Haute, it is a
Graffiti is referred to as “tag,” by police.
“The popularity of tagging is to go out and communicate that
‘I was here.’ Thirty to 40 years ago, people would write
‘Billy loves Sally’ and carve initials into trees,” Walls
said. “This is not by any means gang graffiti. What they are
doing is saying, ‘I will mark my area.’ It is a form of
communication. By putting up their tag, they can say, ‘Oh
look, so and so was here.’”
Walls said he viewed the video, but could not determine the
identity of the man.
Terre Haute City Councilman Neil Garrison, D-5th, last year
proposed a “Graffiti Park Concept” to the Terre Haute Parks
and Recreation Department’s board of directors, offering a
plan to allow structured graffiti along a segment of the
Heritage Trail near Twigg Rest Area.
Garrison said the proposal brought support from artists and
teachers, but eventually was abandoned because the idea
would not address the people tagging.
“I think the ones excited are not the people painting
graffiti. I think the downside is still too great to do
something like that,” he said. “The best thing is just to
clean it up.”
Todd Nation, president of the Terre Haute City Council and a
downtown business owner, said the front of his downtown
bookstore was vandalized by graffiti in late February.
Nation said it was the first time the front of his Wabash
Avenue business had been tagged. The rear of the building is
tagged four to five times a year. Most of the time, Nation
said, he quietly removes the markings. He will report
vandalism to police if it involves more than just his
“The conventional wisdom on graffiti is, if a building gets
hit, remove it as soon as possible. One of the attractions
of graffiti is driving by or walking by and showing friends
and enjoying the fact of getting away with it. If you deny
that, they will move on to some place where their graffiti
will stick around,” Nation said.
Nation commended the Ohio Building owners for taking action.
“Private property owner efforts like this, putting up
cameras and monitoring what the cameras catch and then
following through are the kinds of efforts that are part of
catching people and holding them accountable for these
actions,” Nation said. “Clearly the police can’t do it all
by themselves and clearly can’t be everywhere looking all
the time. Cameras I think will play an increasing role in
Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or
Casa Urbana opens after $2.8 million renovation
Yesterday marked the grand opening and ribbon cutting
ceremony of the Ohio Building, also known as Casa
Urbana, located at 672 Ohio Street in Terre Haute.
Prior to the $2.8 million renovation, this building
was a hotel and a supermarket, but was ultimately
After co-owners Al Ruckriegel and David Adams decided
to buy the building, renovations began. Over 400 tons of
material were removed from the building, not including
the 12 layers of roofing or the restaurant equipment
left over from previous businesses.
The newly renovated Ohio Building features three
levels. On the ground level is the Ohio Meeting and
Reception area. It is 13,000 square feet and can seat
anywhere from 75 to 300 people. It features the first
and currently only new Bose sound system complete with
40 speakers and wireless microphones for anything from
meetings to wedding parties. There are also sound proof
sliding walls, making it possible to have two separate
functions in the same area that do not disturb each
The second floor of the building, Casa Urbana, is the
residence of the two owners. It features a ballroom with
many of the original wood moldings and floors from the
previous hotel. There is also a billiards room, a
kitchen for caterers to work in, a living room, powder
room and a foyer. The old hotel rooms were transformed
into themed bedrooms. The owners decorated them with
many different souvenirs picked up on their travels
around the world. One room even has a bathroom with the
original claw foot tub from the hotel. Also within the
Casa Urbana is an intimate theater that can seat 17
people, complete with seats from the original Radio City
Music Hall in New York City.
The rooftop is decked-out with a working Jacuzzi and
an outdoor fireplace. It has been utilized in recent
months for wedding ceremonies.
Jackie Lowes, whose daughter just had an intimate
ceremony on the premises, said, "It was a wonderful
setting, and the weather was nice. It was really a nice
Donna Gibbons, the owner of Cucina Maria on Ninth and
Deming streets, had a small birthday party at the Ohio
Building in October.
"I invited about 25 people. We used the whole
building. We were alternating between 'Moonlight' and a
football game in the theater. Some close friends and
Cucina Maria catered it. Jack (the owners' Russell
Terrier) was my official escort throughout the night. It
was really a memorable event. I was happy to have this
facility to use," Gibbons said.
Eileen Prose and Patty Thomas were two local women in
attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Prose said,
"I think it's wonderful that they refurbished an old
building instead of tearing down a piece of history. I'm
happy to see someone taking the initiative to revitalize
downtown Terre Haute and bringing business to the area."
Julie Mason, the event coordinator for the Ohio
Building, said, "I hope people in the area will be
inspired by what Dave and Al did with this building,
and, hopefully, this will be a catalyst for change in
downtown Terre Haute. We really hope to bring some of
the local groups that started off in downtown Terre
Haute back to the downtown area."
"We also used a lot of local businesses in the
renovation of the building itself," Mason said. "The
owners were really good about using and supporting local
business during the renovation process. We hope to work
closely with the local universities for meeting,
banquets and any other events."
Ruckriegel said one of the "best things about the
facility is that you are not tied to any particular
caterer or bartender. You are free to choose any one you
want to serve your food. We just provide the room. We
have bookings for weddings and events up to 2008. And a
lot of companies have us booked for Christmas parties
and have already had some weddings and corporate
meetings and banquets already."
For more information on the Ohio Building or to plan
an event, contact (812)235-1145.
June 9, 2006
The Ohio Building, filmed last October for an episode of
Home and Garden TV’s new show “reZONED,” will have its show
air this weekend.
The program airs at 9:30 p.m. EDT Saturday and 1:30 p.m.
Sunday. The premise of reZONED is to find a space that was
not intended to be a residence, but that has been turned
into a home. The show will usually film five or six homes in
one state. Each show highlights four homes in each segment.
“This is an amazing place,” David Stephen, producer of
reZONED, said of the 13,000-square-foot luxuriously
refurbished Ohio Building. A $3 million renovation
transformed the old Goodie Shoppe and Hotel Tuller into an
exquisite residence and conference center. For more
information on the Ohio Building, or to book an event, call
Julie Manson at (812) 235-1145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Building’s Web site is www.theohiobuilding.com.