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Friday, April 17, 2015
  • Sheriff Mark Casteel and his right-hand man and Chief Deputy Ryan Needham invited some folks from around the community to come by the jail and find out what it's like to be a cop. Mark told me that we'd get to shoot a gun . . . and maybe even some bad guys. Holy crime wave, Batman! Sign me up!

    Turns out it had the look and feel of a gun, but it was really part of a large simulator - complete with huge screen. There were indeed plenty of bad guys, but they were of the electronic variety. Which, as that turns out, was pretty lucky for me.

    I digress.

    When Mark and Co. invited a few of us from the worldwide headquarters to come over it really did sound like a lot of fun. I grew up just as video games came on the scene and have spent more hours playing them than I care to admit. And, come on, how hard could this be, right? We've all seen these simulation-type things on TV. Always looked cool.

    The first sign that it might be just a tad bit harder than expected was when Mark picked up the simulated Glock and asked for something to wipe the blood off it.

    Wait, what?

    Blood?

     
  • Top O' the morning and Happy St. Patty's Day! For a mutt who had great-grandparents born in Ireland and Germany, it's a nice holiday to remember that the good ol' US of A has been a melting pot for a long time - and here's one guy who hopes it remains the same for a long time to come.

    As we offer a friendly pinch to anyone not sporting the green today, it seems an appropriate time to hold out the hat and ask for a dollar or three - all in support of a good cause, nah, a great cause - the Montgomery United Fund.

    Some of you have followed our little promotion that we called The Challenge. You've followed our editor Neil Burk and CEL&P manager Phil Goode and local TCU boss lady Amy Wells and Shelter Insurance's Heather Shirk and the Carnegie Museum's Kat Burkhart and Boys' & Girls' Club Exec Craig Reeves and MUFFY's own Kara Edie and the YSB's Karen Branch and Tipmont's Natalie Decker and all the rest as we toiled away at least twice each week at 
  • I was walking through the darkened front office area here at the worldwide headquarters of your favorite Montgomery County newspaper. It was mid-afternoon on a Saturday and for some reason, John Hammer popped in my head. It'd been a few weeks since I talked to him and as I pushed the button for the elevator it dawned on me that I made it through a Saturday without him scaring the bajeebers out of me.

    Normally, the big man just shows up unannounced. No idea how he gets in. The doors are locked and we're on the third floor of a building with a bank, for crying out loud. As the doors started to slide open I was just putting some serious thought into how he-

    My nose ran straight into a massive hulk.

    "Timmons," the Hammer nodded. 
  • The world loses about a million people per week, give or take a hundred thousand or so.

    This is about two of them.

    Bob Scott, the guy who hired me at the Lafayette Journal & Courier almost four decades ago, lost the fight against cancer a week ago Sunday. Four days later, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, the former president at the University of Notre Dame passed away. Scott was 66. Hesburgh 97. Both made a difference in countless lives, including mine.

    It was around 1979 or '80, I think. Not sure. I was an ex-tennis player who had figured out he wasn't going to make a living on the court. I was looking for a job and always had a knack for writing. So I wandered into the Lafayette J&C and asked if they had any openings. God must love fools and idiots, because the lady at the desk picked up the phone and said, "Bob, there's a kid here looking for a job."

     
  • I might've mentioned once or thrice that Saturdays are my favorite days in the office. Things are quiet. I flip on what amounts to my eclectic taste in music and I usually get a lot done.

    The musical variety goes from Bobby Darin to Uriah Heep. It usually gets loud - the definition of "loud" varies quite a bit from my twentysomething daughters to me. So there I was, singing right along . . . Jenny Diver, oh, Sukey Tawdry. Hello Miss Lot of Lender, and ol' Lucy Brown . . . I was in particularly good voice and even better spirits. Maybe Mr. Darin never intended Mack the Knife to be a duet, but we were doing pretty good, if I do say so myself. 
  • She called it "Insanity."

    No, it wasn't about the courthouse parking lot, ramps or elevators. It also wasn't in reference to that geeky management definition of doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

    This, this particular usage was a form of torture that our trainer laughingly calls exercise. She has an evil laugh. What "Insanity" really turns out to be is 60 minutes of non-stop anguish and torment that Dante could've easily used had he opted for 10 levels instead of nine. Then again, when Mr. Alighieri wrote about his trip through hell, he had a Roman poet guiding him. Thursday night at Athena Sport & Fitness, we had an evil demon disguised as a sweet, young trainer named Jenny.

    Let me explain.

    A few months ago, some idiot (that would be me) came up with the bright idea of creating a fund-raiser for MUFFY based off the TV show The Biggest Loser. So we created The Challenge and Athena, Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health and a few other community-minded businesses teamed up. A few months ago it seemed like a good idea. Let me repeat. I'm an idiot.

     
  • Back in the mid-1800s, Wilbur F. Storey said, "It is the newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell." Wilbur, predictably, was a newspaper man. He started a paper in northern Indiana (see why I like this guy) and was pretty involved in giving his opinion on politics. He ended up buying the Detroit Free Press and the Chicago Times. Only big mistake he made was opposing Abraham Lincoln and backing Stephen Douglas.

    OK, so us newspaper types don't always get things right.

    Back to Ol' Wilbur though. He was quick to take issue with lawmakers. It's a proud tradition newspapers have long carried. Even right here in Montgomery County, Indiana, US of A, we tend to offer an opinion or three, much to the chagrin of some of the local elected types - and the reported enjoyment of the eight or nine of you who routinely read these ramblings.

     
  • Over in Indianapolis, the House of Representatives and the Senate are busy working on a lot of bills - several of which are aimed at keeping you in the dark.

    Before they send the Indiana State Police after me, let me publicly proclaim that I have a vested interest in this issue. Some of those bills are proposing to take public notice advertising out of newspapers all over Indiana and put them on government websites. Yes, that has a financial impact on my business. So before any lawmakers huff and puff and blow my position down, let me be upfront and transparent about that.

    Because it's in transparency that there seems to be a problem. The simple fact of the matter is, as the lawmakers will tell you, these public notice advertisements cost you, dear taxpayer, money - perhaps as much as $3 million to $4 million each year. I wouldn't begin to argue the validity of the argument. For the vast, vast majority of us, $3 million is a lot of money. I suppose if you were the richest person around it might not be, but that doesn't apply to 99.99 percent of us. 
  • Newspaper naysayers, listen up.

    I know you all like to wax poetic about the demise of newspapers - while conveniently ignoring the fact that two dailies have existed right here in l'il ol' Crawfordsville for more than a decade. I get it. Everyone wants to be an expert.

    Last weekend a box revealed to me exactly why you're wrong.

    Allow me to explain.

    For the eight or nine of you who follow my weekly meanderings, you know that my dad passed away a few years ago. You also probably know me well enough to not be surprised that it's taken me a while to get his house ready to go on the market. I have good intentions. I drive over with determination and a plan. Three or four hours later I find myself sitting in a chair fascinated by whatever object is in my hand. Could be a box of letters my mom kept, a 
  • For those keeping score at home, the tourism business in Montgomery County has turned into a real political football over the last few years.

    There's been much pointing of fingers, whispered (and not so whispered) accusations of people not doing their jobs and a fair amount of questioning where, why and how money gets spent. The long-proposed and much-debated 4-H Fairgrounds has been part of the debate.

    Taxpayers have been putting money into the Montgomery County Visitors & Convention Bureau and then some folks decided to put more money into a new group, DDMC - Destination Development Montgomery County.

    In short, we don't have enough space to adequately document some of the mudslinging and name calling that's gone on for a while.

    Nor is that the point.

    The point is a swim meet. Yes, a swim meet. 

The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media

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P.O. Box 272
Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933
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