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Monday, May 29, 2017

  • Friday, May 26, 2017 4:00 AM
    Despite being on TV in Indianapolis for almost 40 years, people constantly confuse me with other people with a similar name. Here are letters I have actually received in the mail or by email along with a few I just made up for fun. Can you guess which are which?
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  •  This week’s fellow says he has eight lives down . . . at least
    Thursday, May 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    Bits of this week’s interview reflected one not so long ago as I had the privilege to interview another sharp WWII vet, this one having his adorable wife along! I think they even enjoyed their pizza (and his salad) at what has jokingly become, “my office,” the Pizza Hut (fondly referred to as PH). Needing no prompting whatsoever, he launched right into his WWII days, as an Army tankman. At one point, a German bazooka hit his tank and while rescuing the tank commander, he received severe burns, bad ears, a medal and 45 days in the hospital, not particularly in that order.
    Back in his tank again, they followed the Germans across the Rhine River with Armor and Infantry parading with them. Forging through behind the river, they wiped-out 51 German tanks (vs 39 US). Their unit went to stay and rest in large German homes, the majority of the villagers gladly giving their home up for a brief while to their liberators. Most often, the family would go to the basement, relatives or friends. 
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  • Thursday, May 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County presented the “2017 Making Democracy Work Award” to a remarkable couple—William & the late Nancy Doemel at the recent Annual Meeting. This is first time the award has gone to a couple but each Doemel has contributed in so many ways.
    This award recognizes and honors members of our community who have been leaders and actively engaged in the hands-on work to keep Montgomery County a strong, fair, and vibrant place to live and have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to making democracy work.
    Nancy Doemel contributed to making democracy work through a variety of organizations. She worked at Wabash College for more than three decades as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations raising more than $30 million for the College facilities and programs.
    In 1991, Nancy spearheaded efforts to establish the Montgomery County Community Foundation setting up initial meeting with community leaders and Eli Lilly, as Lilly began to offer startup funds for county foundations, resulting in more than $17 million invested by Lilly Endowment in Montgomery County through grants and scholarships. Nancy served 12 years on the MCCF Board of Directors and was instrumental in the establishment and development of the Women’s Legacy Fund of MCCF that benefits women and children of our community.
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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    I’m going to be critical on my generation. I want to tell you that I hate doing this – and I do – but Farmer Jones might also tell you how much he dislikes bacon while he sells you a hog. 
    There are two very, VERY large issues affecting my generation in Montgomery County. The consequences spread far, but suicide and heroin abuse don’t hit a demo much harder than the one I represent. I won’t claim to have the answers today, but I’ll speak on both. A conversation is at worst a starting point. 
    Are there enough conversations? Do conversations do anything? I haven’t been affected by suicide – at least that I can recall. I had a friend in high school die under odd circumstances that I don’t think fit the broad definition of the act we’re talking about. 
    But I have had experience with addiction. I don’t think that’s a stretch to think many of us have. I’ve seen cousins, friends, extended family and the guy in the mirror deal with addiction. I only struggle with tobacco, but I’ve watched loved ones struggle with much worse. 
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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    I’d like to have a chat with all of the young people out there who are eager to get married and settle down. I know it’s an exciting prospect. I started dreaming about my wedding when I was six-years-old. I used to tell my mom that I would marry the first man who could write my name in the sky. I am not sure why I romanticized skywriting, but as a child it seemed like the ultimate profession of love. 
    I didn’t find my dashing pilot, nevertheless, I was engaged at 19, married at 21, and had my first baby at 22.
    Twice, I attempted college. The first time, I dropped out after a semester so I could work two jobs and pay for my “dream” wedding. Total cost of the grand affair was under $3,000, and didn’t include a honeymoon. I wasn’t aware of my own worth at that time, and I settled for much less than I actually wanted (something for all of you June brides to think about). 
    The second time, I started class when my newborn was less than a month old. Money was tight, so, ignoring doctor’s orders, I also went back to work full-time much earlier than recommended. There were a number of other factors that made this one of the most exhausting periods of my young mothering years, but I wanted to be the woman who could do it all. 
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  • Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:00 AM
    The board from our local Montgomery United Fund For You – MUFFY – announced last week that long-time director David Johnson was stepping aside and that the search was under way for a replacement. A couple of months before that, the Chamber also created a search committee to look for Tom Utley’s replacement. Utley had been the combined director for the Chamber and the economic development group Indiana West Advantage. The beginning of the end of IWA came about when Mayor Todd Barton withdrew the city’s support in order to form another economic development engine.
    Two very different situations, to be sure. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been on the Chamber board and have served as an officer there for a few years now. I have a lot of confidence that the Chamber, heading into its 100th year of operations, will thrive under what is sure to be the next dynamic and impactful leader.
    MUFFY is a different story.
    Let’s start at the beginning.
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  • Monday, May 22, 2017 4:00 AM
    Despite not getting to Memorial Day yet (thanks to all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice), it’s time to start thinking about the dog days of summer. Although I don’t see a significant number of heat-related emergencies in my office, many patients do end up in emergency departments suffering from exposure.
    Deaths from heat-related illness range from 300 to several thousand per year in the U.S. The number is increasing with our warming climate and is markedly increased during heat waves. There are tens of thousands of visits each year to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms.
    Risk factors that make one more prone to heat-related illness include being elderly, very young or obese. Some prescription or even non-prescription drugs, particularly alcohol, cocaine, antihistamines, beta blockers, diuretics, ADD/ADHD medications, and some psychiatric medications can increase the likelihood of heat illness. Workers like firefighters, who have to wear heavy clothing, are also at very high risk.
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  • Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:20 PM
    Chances are you’ve noticed some new sights and sounds in the landscape with the warming temperatures. Bullfrogs are croaking, robins are singing, and tree frogs are chirruping. You’ve also probably seen hummingbirds flitting from tree to tree in backyards around the area. Hummingbirds are easily recognizable by their unique way of hovering (and humming), their distinctive ruby-red throats (on males), and their chaotic, frantic peeps and chirps. These tiny masters of flight overwinter in Central America and return to eastern North America for the summer breeding season around mid-April. 
    The distinctive ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only species of hummingbird that breeds and nests in Indiana. Nests are very tiny, no bigger than a thimble, and are composed of thistle, dandelion, spider silk, and pine resin. Oftentimes you can see bits of moss or lichens lining the outside of the nest, allowing it to blend in well with the bark of its preferred nesting trees: birch, hackberry, hornbeam, oak, or poplar. Nests may be difficult to find as they are often placed anywhere from 10 to 40 feet above ground. The birds will lay from 1-3 eggs in each brood and incubate them for about 2 weeks. After hatching, the tiny hummingbird chicks remain in the nest for up to 22 days before venturing out.
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  • Friday, May 19, 2017 12:17 AM
    There should be a law against having phone numbers that denote words instead of, well, numbers. Hello! It’s a phone number, not a phone word. I hosted a TV segment last week for a national organization that is dedicated to educating people about a common, but potentially serious, illness. Their phone number spells the name of the disease. 
    That makes the number easy to remember, but impossible to dial on your cell phone if you are in the car and have to watch the road, balance your coffee, and try to figure out where the PQRS button is.
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  •  This fella' loves to create in many ways
    Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    This fellow graduated from WHS in 1960, but Wallace, not Waveland as you would guess coming from me. As with all the Wallace boys, he was involved in sports, but we laughed that there weren’t many basketball games, because no one wanted to be in their tiny gym.
    During a high school play, a fairly new student from neighboring Richland Township school, had invited one of her old friends to see the production. He met that friend, and well, let’s say it was pretty much love at first site and one that is still going strong!
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  • Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    Advocates for Livability Summit was held recently at the Fort Harrison Conference Center in Indianapolis. Organized by Jennie Todd, Research Associate of Indiana University Center on Aging and Community, the Summit attracted representatives from six Indiana Communities which have received training by Todd and Dr. Sharon Baggett from University of Indianapolis. The other cities participating in the Summit were: Shelbyville, Kokomo, Richmond, Bedford, and Wabash.
    Representing Crawfordsville were Alice Phillips, President of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, Nick Hedrick, Diana McCormick-Director of Athens Art, Katy Myers, Gail Pebworth, and Dale Petrie-Operations Director of the City of Crawfordsville.
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  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017 11:57 PM
    I’m afraid you’re going to have to listen to me do the “bragging mom” thing this week. I know it’s kind of annoying when other people talk about how great their kids are, but if you could, please, indulge me for a moment. 
    I had the privilege of spending Mother’s Day celebrating Alexander, my twenty-two year old son. At 9:30 Sunday morning, he graduated (with Distinction) from Purdue University with a degree in Biology and a minor in Spanish.
    He’s going to be a doctor. I’m trying to say it casually, like it’s no big deal, but if you could see the dopey grin on my face as I typed those words, you’d be extra annoyed.
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  • Monday, May 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Readers have asked me to address more summer safety issues. It’s great to see kids and adults out on their bicycles now that the weather has warmed up (especially kids who aren’t sitting on the couch). This will undoubtedly result in more bike accidents. Some of the saddest experiences I had during my Family Medicine residency were to have to take care of kids who were brain injured as a result of a bike accident.
    In 2014, there were 726 deaths from bicycle accidents in the United States. Most of these deaths were the result of head injuries from people being hit by or running into automobiles. Bike accidents account for about half a million visits to emergency departments each year and account for over $10 billion in health care costs.
    While most kids own bike helmets, often they tell me they don’t wear them. Parents often bring up the fact that they never wore a helmet when they were kids. Most of the time, the reason is because helmets did not exist when they were kids.
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  • Sunday, May 14, 2017 11:19 PM
    This legislative session, lawmakers worked to replace Indiana’s ISTEP test with a better standardized exam to measure student growth.
    The ISTEP exam has been plagued with problems in recent years, including excessive time requirements and delays in getting results.
    To address these issues, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1003, which replaces ISTEP with ILEARN (Indiana's Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network).
    ILEARN will be administered once at the end of the school year, the total testing time will be shorter, and students will receive results from multiple choice questions more quickly.
    Visit to watch State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, discuss the new exam.
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  • Friday, May 12, 2017 4:00 AM
    Mary Ellen went to a conference last week in Chicago and left me at home. Alone. When she abandoned me last year, I realized I did not know how to run the dishwasher or operate the convection oven. I felt guilty about all the dirty dishes she came home to, but I am really good with the clothes washer, so to make up for the mess in the kitchen, I went through Mary Ellen’s laundry basket and washed everything. I don’t know what she ate in Chicago, but when she got home two days later and took everything out of the dryer, nothing fit.
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