Chinese Restaurants Come 
and Go But Peach Garden Goes On and On

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY To the casual observer, Peach Garden has all the hallmarks of any Chinese restaurant, like ornate red decorations and a Golden Buddha statuette on the counter. But Peach Garden has something extra — serious longevity. Tucked in the side of the Seminary Square Park Kroger building at 536 S. College, the restaurant has been serving up Chinese specialties to Bloomington diners for more than 40 years. What’s the secret? “We don’t know — really!” laughs Ming Dai. The 29-year-old mother of two has helped her husband, Ronnie Yang, also 29, run the eatery for nine years. His parents purchased Peach Garden 10 years ago, and the restaurant changed hands a few times before that. Dai pieced […]

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and Go But Peach Garden Goes On and On"

Misguided Tours Explores 
What’s Funny, Fascinating & Weird About Bloomington

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY Sharon Porter Phillips gushes like an excited teen with a new car as she describes her limo bus. “It has everything a limousine has, only bigger. Laser lights. Built-in ice chest. A killer sound system that vibrates the entire bus. It’s really fun,” she says. The bus is the vehicle that takes clients around town on Phillips’ Misguided Tours, which offers off-beat history, mystery, and comedy trips around Bloomington. A professional actor for more than 40 years, Phillips rubbed elbows with Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Woody Allen, and Barbra Streisand, among others, when she was acting in New York City, but followed her husband to Bloomington about 16 years ago when he came to work at […]

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What’s Funny, Fascinating & Weird About Bloomington"

Joe LaMantia Creates Community Art With Volunteers, Using Found Objects

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY Collaboration and inclusivity just might be Joe LaMantia’s most important art supplies. The 70-year-old artist has worked on community art installations in Bloomington and beyond for more than 20 years. “When I approach working with a school or community organization, I listen to what people have to say about what they’re looking for or what they’d like to have,” LaMantia says. “Then I take all those ideas and synthesize them.” LaMantia has long seen value and possibility in everyday castoffs. “As a kid I used to roam the streets, picking up things that were just beautiful. Things that were crushed. Metal things. Plastic things. I just enjoyed looking at them,” he says. Decades later, he routinely […]

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House of Clocks in Morgantown Selling and Repairing All Kinds of Clocks

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY From kitschy 1930’s Kit-Cat replica clocks with swinging tails and darting eyes to the grandest of grandfathers, House of Clocks in Morgantown, Indiana, sells new clocks and repairs old ones, too. Located on the main street at 75 W. Washington, the shop has been a fixture in town since 1971. The store is awash with all of the ticking and clicking, chimes and bells, and customary cuckoo calls you would expect — and the not-so-traditional sounds of monkeys, cows, horses, and other animals that emerge from brightly colored plastic clocks on the hour. Dan and Anna Jo Condon are the House of Clocks’ fifth owners. Their son, Matthew Condon, has been repairing clocks for the shop […]

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CIP: College Internship Program Helping Students on Autism Spectrum

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY From teaching time management skills to helping students discover their passions, College Internship Program (CIP) Bloomington offers services which could benefit nearly anyone. However, the young adults assisted by the local transitional program fall on the autism spectrum or have other learning differences that make it difficult for them to navigate college or jump straight into a career after high school. “We work with students to develop goals and reach their highest potential,” explains CIP Bloomington Assistant Program Director Ellen Davidson. The program helps students develop both hard skills (such as how to navigate campus or plan meals) and soft skills (like emotional regulation and detecting social cues). “So much of what we do is automatic, […]

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