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Sunday, June 25, 2017

  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 4:00 AM
    Since we moved into the historic Athena Center a few weeks ago, it’s crossed my mind once or thrice that my buddy John Hammer hasn’t been by on a Saturday morning. I swear I was just thinking this (on a Saturday morning, no less) when the phone rang.
    “Where the hell are you, Timmons?” the gravel-laced voice of a man called Hammer boomed. 
    I smiled.
    “S’matter, John? Haven’t kept up on the news? We moved almost a month ago.”
    Got to admit, I took a little satisfaction in that.
    “I know you’ve moved Timmons,” Hammer said. So much for satisfaction. “I’m at Athena. Where are you?”
    How does Hammer always manage to stay ahead of me?
    I told him to come in the main entrance off Jefferson Street. Pretty soon his massive frame filled my doorway.
    “You watch sports much, Timmons?” he asked.
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  • Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    Thirty-one years and change ago, I wrote a column in the Journal-Review about our first daughter being born. I said something about this circle of life thing. People are born. People die. Lives are impacted forever.
    Often, we don’t fully realize the impact of the event. As a new father, I certainly wasn’t wise or mature enough to appreciate the magnitude of what one new little heartbeat would mean.
    Over the past few days, I got another look at the whole process again. One was expected. One was not. Both brought tears to my eyes. And once again, I am not wise or mature enough to really understand the bigger picture.
    Let me tell you a story.
    My wife and I have been married for 34 years. We’ve been without grandchildren for the first 33 or so and might have mentioned the fact once or twice to our daughters, especially the youngest who has been wed for around five years. Then, as if God decided to once again prove He has a sense of humor, the oldest got married and we got a 3-year-old grandson in the process. A few months later, we found out the youngest was pregnant and a month later got the same news about the oldest.
    Famine to feast.
    No grandbabies to three.
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  • Tuesday, June 06, 2017 4:00 AM
    As you may know, we’ve moved the world-wide HQ from the Elston building to the historic structure that used to house Crawfordsville High School. As with most moves, some things went well and some . . . not so well. One was the phones. Normally reliable, the service has been a mess the past week.
    I was just wondering if we were ever going to get them fixed when the darn thing rang and nearly gave me a heart attack.
    “The Paper, Timmons,” I managed. Hey, us professional newspaper types know how to recover quickly.
    “This here’s the International Newspaper Federation calling to let you know you have won that Pullzer thingy?”
    The voice had a distinctive twang to it. It also said “this here’s” and obviously didn’t know it’s actually called a Pulitzer Prize. That could only mean . . . 
    “Hello, Bubba.”
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  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:00 AM
    In three weeks, your local Chamber will be under new board leadership. Not too long after that, it’ll be under new management as well. Such is life where a lot of things are optional. Change, fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view, is not.
    One of those changes at your Chamber has already begun. Deputy Director Anne Shaw is on her way to a new job and new life. Anne, or BA as she will forever be known to some of us, has only been with the Chamber a short while. But she’s been very good and leaves some big shoes to fill. Her dry but sharp wit and her talents will be missed.
    Anne is getting out of Dodge a little ahead of me. My term as board president officially ends in June when the board elects the next president. My purpose today is to share some impressions after being fortunate enough to have served our Chamber for two years.
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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.
    Maybe.
    Let’s start at the beginning.
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  • Tuesday, May 09, 2017 4:00 AM
    A lot of folks have asked what this “Newspaper2.Oh!” thing is – and one or two of you might’ve giggled that we should unveil details before someone else (wink, wink) copies it since they (wink, wink) seem to copy everything else we do.
    Well, we always try to do as the customer asks, so today’s topic is: What exactly is “Newspaper2.Oh!”?
    Darned if I know.
    Don’t you love honesty in media.
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, May 02, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s the top five at five . . . 
    Being a newspaper guy, I’ve always envied the talking heads on Tee-Vee or the radio airwaves who get to say cute little things like that. So, in regards to Wednesday night’s Crawfordsville / Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, here’re the five reasons why this year is significant.
    First, it’s the very last Crawfordsville / Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner before the group turns the ripe old age of 100! Yup, it’s the 99th year our Chamber has been helping businesses in this little corner of God’s country.
    Second, a number of companies and individuals will be honored – including some brand new awards. Watching deserving people and companies get recognized and rewarded is always a treat, especially to those in business who truly know the hard work it takes to survive and succeed in today’s world.
    Third, this will be the beginning of a fond farewell to Tom Utley. Tom stepped in to lead the Chamber a year ago and has done a wonderful job. As he prepares to ride off into the sunset, this will be the first official opportunity we have to say thank you for a job well done, as well as wish he and better half Marty all the best with the next chapter in life.
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  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    If you’re a sports fan, you probably saw the clips over the weekend from Indiana Pacers star Paul George and Oklahoma City standout Russell Westbrook. If you are not a sports fan, bear with me if you please.
    Both were asked questions (very fair questions, mind you) during post-game press conferences. The Paper’s newsgathering partner is WTHR, Channel 13. Their columnist, Bob Kravitz, asked George the question that’s been on Pacers’ fans’ minds for a while, is he staying in Indianapolis or leaving? Granted, George and the Pacers had just been swept out of the playoffs. But if Kravitz doesn’t ask that question, someone else will. If no one does, readers will wonder why the hell not. It’s fair, and yet, George responded with, “I ain’t even at that point, Bob. Next question.”
    In Oklahoma City, Westbrook was in a press conference when a teammate got asked a question about the team’s failure to play well without their star. Westbrook wouldn’t allow his teammate to answer, going on a bit of a rant. It was a fair question. Didn’t matter. Westbrook ignored the reporter and called for the next question.
    Bing. Bang. Boom. End of story.
    These guys refused to answer in front of microphones and cameras. At some point, whether it’s on www.theplayerstribune.com or a social media account, they’ll probably reverse course. There, they can say it the way they want, when they want. They won’t have the prying questions from those pesky media types. Oh, those darn pesky media types!
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  • Tuesday, April 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    I try to be cheerful and professional when answering the phone. After all, customer service is one of the cornerstones of our company and we want to treat our patrons wonderfully well, whether in person or on the phone.
    But sometimes the phone seems to ring at just exactly the worst possible moment. You’ve been there, right? You are in the middle of something and don’t have a spare hand . . . and at that precise moment, rrriiiinnnnggg.
    I tried to sound cheerful and professional.
    “Mr. Timmons, I am right pleased to inform you that you’ve been selected as the winner of our grand prize promotion and you and your wife have won an all-expenses paid trip via luxury cruise ship to London, England.”
    Now first off, this was about the 1,500th time that week that I got lucky. An e-mail told me a duke had died and left me millions, or some poor unfortunate chap had a terrible accident and would give me wealth beyond my dreams if I would help, or my granddaughter had been in a bit of trouble down in Tijuana and just needed a few hundred dollars.
    I don’t have a granddaughter.
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  • Monday, April 10, 2017 10:56 PM
    Notes scribbled on an Irish Rovers album cover . . . 
    A promotion the Little Newspaper That Could introduced to Crawfordsville more than a decade ago was called Readers’ Choice. It’s a very non-scientific contest where you guys vote for your favorites in a variety of categories. You vote for your favorite pizza, tenderloin, doughnut, restaurant, barber and more. And yes, the observing reader noted that most examples were food related . . . what can I say? I’m hungry.
    Anyways, over the years we have watched this contest grow and grow. Until this year, that is. This year it exploded. Between our paper in Noblesville and The Paper we recorded more than half a million votes. 
    Holy Count-On-Fingers-And-Toes-And-More Batman!
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  • Tuesday, April 04, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the inside cover of James J. Kilpatrick’s finest work . . . 
    A few weeks back, give or take a month, I asked all eight or nine of you who read these ramblings what you wanted in your daily newspaper. It wasn’t scientific and the clerks at your friendly County Market or Kroger’s can do a much better job with their “paper or plastic poll . . . ” But I did the best I could.
    There were many surprises for yours truly – including how many of you replied. I figured that one or two of the normal eight or nine might be busy so I expected only a half-dozen or so. Well, you got me on that one! Heck, some of you even stopped me in above-mentioned grocery and shared your thoughts. One woman stopped me in the cereal aisle and said she had noticed me . . . which got me to drifting off and thinking that one of the disadvantages of having your column out there in public is that it’s sometimes hard to go places without being recognized. At least I was thinking that when she coughed loudly and repeated that she noticed me “wearing a watch and wondered what time it is?”
    Sigh.
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  • Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    One minute I was singing at the top of my lungs about wild, wicked women of the west with the Wright Brothers Overland Stage Company. Next thing I knew I was hyperventilating and hoping the heavy pounding in my ears was from the bass in the speakers and not my heart.
    John Hammer, the behemoth of a man, had once more managed to find his way into our closed office on a Saturday morning without making a sound. You don’t suppose Sen. Phil Boots gave him a key, do you? That Sen. Boots has some sense of humor.
    “For the love of God, John, can you please try to give me a warning or something?”
    “Glad you mentioned God, Timmons. Do you believe in the 10 Commandments?”
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  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Hubert H. Humphrey for President campaign sticker . . . 
    Like a lot of things that happen at your favorite Montgomery County daily, this was a collaboration. It appears that the new feature we added, Hot off the presses of Crawfordsville’s newspaper history, is a hit.
    It started when noted historian, author, genealogist and all-around good gal Karen Zach sent us some pretty nifty writing she came across in the old Crawfordsville Sunday Star. (For those who don’t remember that particular paper, don’t feel too bad. It began in 1872 and ran its last paper in 1904.) Anywho, Karen was telling us that she came across all sorts of interesting tidbits from back in the old days. Well, that led to one idea and that led to a couple more and the next thing you know, you guys are telling us you really enjoy this look back at newspaper writing the way it used to be! Thanks, but we’re just here to serve.
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  • Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs album . . . 
    The Challenge ’17 is coming to a close this week. Participants had their next-to-last workout last night. Wednesday is their final official session and the Grand Finale is Saturday morning at Athena Sport & Fitness at 9 a.m. (Yes, all eight or nine of you readers are welcome to attend – shucks, if this week’s column has a few more, y’all can come, too!)
    Before we get to the perfunctory thank you, I really want to add a note about this group. It is – by far – the best group we have had in our three years of this program. These guys have stuck with it, something that anyone who’s gone through an exercise program knows is a challenge in and of itself. Not only have they stayed at it though, they have really worked hard. We won’t know the official results until Saturday but I won’t be surprised if this group loses more weight than either of the first two.
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  • Tuesday, March 07, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s time to fix MUFFY.
    Not too many years ago the annual drive used to hold its wrap-up meeting in December and close the drive on Dec. 31. Not too many years ago, drives that ended with more than half a million dollars were the norm. Not too many years ago the following year’s drive team was in place before the last cork had popped on the New Year’s Eve celebration.
    Not so much anymore.
    The MUFFY 2016 campaign wrapped up last week with another disappointing outcome. The drive officially finished at $415,000 – well short of the announced goal of $435,000.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media

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Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933
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