This and that: So Long, O’Charley’s, Edition
O’Charley’s pulls the plug on its Tippecanoe Mall location as chain closes 18 sites. Key ruling from Supreme Court in abortion law. Waiting on a Teising decision. And more.
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This and that heading into Tuesday …
SO LONG, O’CHARLEY’S: Signs went up in the windows at the O’Charley’s location along Sagamore Parkway South, next to Lafayette’s Tippecanoe Mall, saying the spot was closing permanently.
Monday afternoon, with the dining room tape loop still playing hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s on the speakers outside, staff members were clearing out remaining stock from the 6,600-square-foot fast-casual restaurant that opened on the mall property in 1998. A manager referred questions to corporate offices in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Lafayette location was one of 18 O’Charley’s sites closed at the end of business Sunday, according to Thomas Mulgrew, a company spokesman.
In a prepared statement, W. Craig Barber, O’Charley’s CEO, said it was “always a difficult decision to close a store.”
“But based on a variety of industry challenges and the macro-economic environment over the last few years, we closed this O’Charley’s location as of Aug. 21,” Barber said. “We sincerely appreciate our loyal guests who have visited us at this location while also being deeply grateful for the outstanding work of our operating team.”
The sign posted at the locked door Monday said gift cards would be honored at any other O’Charley’s location. Mulgrew said the company had more than 90 locations in the Southeast and Midwest, after Monday’s closings. As recently as 2020, O’Charley’s had more than 200 locations. The company’s site lists eight others in Indiana, including near Indianapolis, Bloomington and Fort Wayne.
(For interesting look at some of the reasons the chain has been struggling, check this March 2023 piece in Mashed, where reporter Joel Stice considers O’Charley’s place in the constellation of Applebee’s, Chili’s, TGI Fridays and Bennigan’s that rose to prominence in the ‘70s and ‘80s – and then O’Charley’s place even within that bunch in an era where dining tastes have shifted: “The Real Reason O'Charley's Is Closing Restaurants.”)
Mulgrew said there were no plans to reopen the location, which O’Charley’s leased. Simon Property Group, which owns the Tippecanoe Mall property, owns that site, according to county property records.
INMATE DIES AT TIPPECANOE COUNTY JAIL: Indiana State Police say a man being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail – identified by the coroner as Cordarro Curtis, 29, of East Chicago – died of what they called a self-inflicted injury Sunday afternoon. An Indiana State Police investigation continued into the death of Curtis, who was being held for attempted murder after a May incident tied to multiple shots fired at a car at a Lafayette apartment complex.
INDIANA SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO REHEAR ABORTION LAW DECISION: In a 4-1 decision, the Indiana Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a challenge of the state’s new, near-total abortion ban, setting things in motion to put the law passed in August 2022 into effect. Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in a separate, concurring opinion that Indiana’s Constitution gives women the right to terminate a pregnancy “to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health risk … under circumstances that extend beyond the current law.” She wrote that she was “deeply concerned about Senate Bill 1’s impact on Hoosier women’s constitutional right to seek medical care that is necessary to protect their life or to protect them from a serious health risk. And I am likewise concerned about the law’s impact on healthcare providers who must determine whether to provide that care and potentially expose themselves to criminal penalties and professional sanctions.” In her opinion, Rush wrote that the lawsuit pressing to stop the ban didn’t address that issue narrowly, instead looking to invalidate the law completely. Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director, called it “a dark day in Indiana’s history.” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita called it “great news for Hoosier life and liberty.” And clinics that largely had stopped performing abortions out of uncertainty under the new law were prohibited, with few exceptions. Indiana Capital Chronicle reporter Casey Smith had a good look at the ruling and what it meant: “Indiana Supreme Court won’t rehear near-total abortion ban ruling, putting law back in effect. The high court’s decision was certified Monday, making the new restrictions enforceable again.”
IN RELATED SB1 NEWS …: Indiana Capital Chronicle reporter Casey Smith also had this piece out of a Marion County courtroom: “Trial judge says she lacks jurisdiction to clarify who is covered by Indiana abortion ban injunction.”
SPEAKING OF THE SUPREME COURT … TEISING DECISION STILL WAITING: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, because it’s virtually the same as the lines recited a month ago … Each Monday brings word about which cases, if any, from the previous week the Indiana Supreme Court intends to transfer for full consideration. This Monday was another Monday that didn’t include word about the overturned conviction of Jennifer Teising, former Wabash Township trustee.
The court heard arguments June 23 over what it means to qualify as a resident when someone is a township trustee. That was the central point in Teising’s initial felony theft charges, conviction in Tippecanoe Superior Court 5 in 2022 and then the reversal from the Indiana Court of Appeals. At issue: Did she abandon her township post when she sold her West Lafayette home and started staying for extended periods outside the township? And if she did, was it theft when she continued to accept a paycheck intended for the township trustee?
At stake for Teising is a sentence, delayed during the appeals process, that would put her in jail for 124 days, community corrections for another 124, followed by more than two more years on probation, in addition to more than $27,000 in restitution.
Here’s how arguments went during that June 23 hearing at the Indiana Statehouse: “Justices ask: Were criminal charges necessary to oust Teising?”
FAITH AND FOOTBALL: J&C reporter Sam King was at Lafayette Jeff’s Scheumann Stadium Saturday, with Faith Christian High School fielded it inaugural eight-man football team. Waldron beat Faith that evening, 44-22. But the moment wasn’t lost on a school starting a program from scratch. Here’s King’s report: “'This is a historic game.' Faith Christian plays school's first high school football game.”
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