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Saturday, October 21, 2017

  • Common sense missing from proposed bill
    Tuesday, October 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    When I read about Indiana House Rep. Jim Lucas of Seymour drafting a bill that would require journalists to register with the government and get a license and fingerprinted, I chuckled.
    Then I thought about it.
    Then I gulped.
    Forget the fact that this is dangerously close to the slippery slope that includes burning books and big brother. Forget too (please) that we on this side of the line often deserve the criticism we get from both lawmakers and you good folks out there in readerland. Heck, let’s also forget the fact that Lucas is probably just doing this as a publicity stunt and it was only a few months ago that he took down a few ill-advised Facebook posts and issued an apology.
    The bigger issue is that we continue to find ways to not have civil, or even intelligent debates. 
    Politicians, from local to state to national, seem to get thinner skin each year and come up with more lamebrain ideas. Sure, there are some like my friend Sen. Phil Boots. If you want to talk to Phil about an issue, you may or may not end up agreeing. But he will certainly hear you out and you can bet he’ll respect your point of view. He’ll also tell you straight up how he feels. 
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 4:00 AM
    Our first Sunday edition is in the books and, to paraphrase actress Sally Field, you like us! We could not be happier! But what would a column be without some drama, so let me share.
    As Neil and Stacey are putting the finishing touches on the Sunday Edition, I’m over at Ft. Benjamin Harrison for the Indianapolis Half Marathon. Lest anyone get the wrong idea, do not be impressed with the previous sentence. Anyone, and I truly mean anyone, can sign up for an event such as a half marathon. Doing it, and especially doing it reasonably well, is another story altogether. Believe me when I tell you that I did not do reasonably well. Let’s just say that a nice couple who very likely could qualify for our Notable Nineties passed me at one point and kindly asked, “are you OK?” I thought about telling them to mind their own business. Thought about a lot of things I could say. And had I been able to breathe at that moment, I probably would have.
    But I digress.
    When the 13.1 miles were completed, it still took another hour or so to get back to my phone. That’s because I was parked on the other side of the base and despite a few thousand able-bodied military personnel within a grenade throw, there was absolutely no military transport going in that direction. How do I know? Because I asked each one of them. Actually, asked might not be the best term. Pleaded or begged? Yeah, those fit.
    So, I get back to my phone and, as the kids say, it had blown up. Apparently there was a major malfunction at the printer and our Saturday paper was in worse shape than I was . . . and at that point, that was saying something.
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  • Tuesday, October 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    “So you’re a grandfather now, Timmons?”
    The rich, deep bass could only belong to one man. Yet John Hammer did not boom out his greeting as usual and scare me half to death in the process. Perhaps now that he and I are in that special fraternity together he was going to be kinder?
    “Thanks for not sneaking up on me and giving me a heart attack, John,” I said, feeling a warm connection to the giant of a man.
    “I’m not moving too fast,” he rumbled. “Think I’m coming down with something.”
    So much for brotherhood.
    “Yes, John, we have three grandsons now. A few months ago we had none. Kind of famine to feast, if you know-”
    “So what are you going to teach them, Timmons?” he said, putting a quick end to my rambling.
    “Uh, I thought my job was to spoil them. You know, give them cotton candy and soda pop and send them back home with mom and dad!”
    Hammer just stared. I’ve never understood how he and my wife can get the same point across – “hey, shut up idiot” – without ever uttering a sound. It’s a talent.
    “OK, I don’t really feed them cotton candy,” I said, muttering under my breath that the fair has been gone for months. (Although I did sneak the littlest one some molasses and brown sugar.)
    “I heard Sheriff Casteel talking,” the Hammer began. “Said he was waiting for a train and he noticed how a lot of the folks in other cars looked and acted impatient. That got me to thinking. We’ve lost tolerance for a lot of things that used to not be important.”
    When Hammer starts going down a path like this, I just keep my mouth shut. And learn.
    “People get stopped at a red light, they get ticked,” he said. “They come up on a slower car, they get ticked. They have to stand in line at the Post Office, they get ticked. Shoot, I see people jockeying back and forth between lines at the grocery, just trying to hurry up. It almost always takes ‘em longer.” 
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  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017 4:00 AM
    Let’s take a break from the wind farms, Stellar, zoning and all the rest if we could for just a moment please and take a gander at something our good neighbors down south in Greene County are doing.
    On Saturday, the 6th annual Made-in-Greene-County Showcase will take place in Bloomfield.
    What exactly is the “Made-in-Greene-County Showcase”? 
    Pretty much what you think it is. 
    According to the very attractive website, the Greene County Tourism Advisory Board is the host organization for the event that is limited to vendors who make their products in Greene County. It’s held the last Saturday of September each year at the Event Center in the 4-H Fairgrounds.
    Imagine that? A tourism board not plagued with politics . . . an Event Center . . . and promoting truly local companies and local goods and products.
    What a concept!
    Just think about what that could look like in Montgomery County if we weren’t so busy chasing windmills, arguing for and agin’ zoning, spending money like the taxpayers have it to burn and so on. Why, we could talk about lighting products created right over here on Elmore Street that go all over the world. We could point with pride to books printed on a big patch of land between Wabash Avenue and Indiana 32 that open minds around the planet. How about putting brakes on either coast that begin on Darlington Avenue?
    Ever took a tour of Pace Dairy? What an impressive place with all kinds of edible goodies hitting the interstates every day.
    How about the food our farmers grow? How far does it go?
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 4:00 AM
    For the fourth time, the Little Paper That Could and the best exercise place in town – Athena Sport & Fitness – are teaming up to sponsor The Challenge. This will be known as The Challenge IV . . . and just to be clear, those are Roman numerals not something trainers have to give me after a few laps around the gym.
    We’ve already got folks signing up, but there are still a few spots left. The seat begins pouring in October this time. We’re hoping the workouts and subsequent weight loss will help those of us who struggle at the holidays.
    Want to get involved? Well friends, all you need is a willingness to work hard at least twice a week, be smart about following the advice of trainers and nutritionists and the inclination to try to raise a few bucks for a worthy cause.
    Really. It’s that simple.
    Here’s the scoop.
    Athena Sport & Fitness (did I mention how good these folks are!), your friendly local newspaper and Franciscan Health Crawfordsville and Franciscan Physicians Network are once again sponsoring everything. Athena and The Paper have been doing this since the first class and Franciscan came along shortly after. 
    If you are familiar with our program, bear with me. If not, here’s the skinny (no pun intended). This is a local version of “The Biggest Loser” TV show. In our rendition, local men and women sign up for a 10-week program in which they:
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  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s a pretty exciting time over here at the world-wide HQ of the Little Paper That Could. On one hand we are closing in on 10,000 subscribers to our daily editions. On the other hand, while other newspapers cut back, reduce the number of days they publish, shrink the size of the printed page and decrease the number of pages per edition . . . we are adding a Sunday edition, adding pages and going seven days a week, 365 days a year!
    Not sure what we’d do if we had a third hand . . . 
    Yup, it’s a pretty hectic and busy time in the beautiful downtown offices of the Athena Center. So, in answer to the multitude of inquiring minds that wanted to know, this is the big secret. I hope that you are pleased that our community will be one of a very small number of communities around the state of Indiana with a Sunday edition. Even more though, we really hope you are pleased with the additions and new features you’ll see on Sundays.
    For example, Sgt. John Perrine of the Indiana State Police is helping us with a new feature. We haven’t come up with a name yet, but if you’ve got a suggestion let us know. The gist of the column will be for readers to ask traffic or driving questions that Sgt. John will answer. For example, if you pull in front of a car and cause an accident – BUT the other car was going the wrong way on a one-way street, are you still at fault? How about, can you be stopped for speeding in a parking lot? If so, what’s the limit?
    By the way, if John’s name is familiar you may have seen his hilarious video on turn signals. For those online, we’ve set it up here so you can see it. If you’re reading our Print Edition, go to next time you’re on the web. The video has been shared millions of times (literally, he’s a State Policeman – he wouldn’t lie about that!). 
    A lot of you have talked about how much you like working with our city editor Stacey Baschwit. Well, Stacey’s work will be featured every Sunday with something new we’re calling Stacey’s Snapshots. 
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  • Tuesday, September 05, 2017 4:00 AM
    Several folks have been asking what all the hush-hush is about. Why are we asking for so much input? What’s going on with this big push to 10,000 subscribers? What’s the secret?
    Tell you what, come back next Tuesday and we’ll share all the details! I hope and think you’ll agree that it’s a big deal. 
    In the meantime, I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a story about why this, the Little Newspaper That Could, owns a piece of my heart.
    It’s the people.
    That absolutely includes you, dear readers – all eight or nine of you who follow this newspaper vagabond’s ramblings. But it surely includes the folks on this side of the page as well.
    I don’t know if you caught it, but John Marlowe wrote a touching column last week about the passing of Sam Jackman. The North Montgomery honor student lost a battle with leukemia. His life and his death touched a community and John wrote a tribute to Sam’s valiant fight.
    Like so very many of John’s pieces it was eloquent, his words touching. I’ve known John for more than 35 years and have always been so very impressed with his insight and his ability to craft a message.
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  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017 4:00 AM
    Can you keep a secret? Really? Promise? Cross your heart and all that good stuff?
    Well, OK, then. But this is just between you and me, alright? We’re working on some really cool things here at your Little Paper That Could and we have to keep it all under our hat for right now. Spies are everywhere, you know!
    Let’s start off with some questions. As we move forward with this uber-secret project we want to 1,000 percent make sure we are doing things that you, dear reader, want. After all, what good would an ultra, top-secret, confidential gizmo be if no one wanted it?
    So, let me know what you prefer on the following, pretty please!
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2017 4:00 AM
    The mailbox (both U.S. and electronic) is getting full and it’s a good week to catch up. So as my old boss Gaildene used to say, it’s time for this, that & ’tuther . . . 
    * * *
    LET’S BEGIN with some new Notable Nineties. Here’s the updated list with several additions on it (everyone is listed alphabetically). What’s Notable Nineties you ask? It’s just our way of recognizing those wonderful people in our community who have reached the age of 90. If you want to be included in the list or know someone who does, just e-mail their information, including their current age, birthday and where they live to 
    Without further ado then, here’s the updated list: Elsie Allen, Harold Barclay, Richard Branstetter, Delmas Chadwick, Jean Friend Chadwick, Nellie Conrad, Wendell Cope, Becky Degitz, Ramona Hallett, Mildred Hamilton, Alice Harris, Archie Krout, John Lofland, Earl Luzader, Betty Myers, Don Myers, Jim McCafferty, Leonard Mitchell, Avanell Peterman, Bill Priest, Arthur Rice, Bertha Mae Cope Roberts, George Scharf, Leroy L. Shelton, Ruby Eileen Shelton, Maedrue Thurman, Richard Vannice, Chet Vice and Herschel Yater.
    God bless you all!
    * * *
    HERE’S A FOND farewell to John Pickerill. The former GOP county chair who turned Libertarian has moved away from Crawfordsville and Montgomery County. While I can’t say I always agreed with John, I never once doubted his sincerity or his intentions. He always worked at making Montgomery County the best it could be and never wavered from that.
    He was also a good example of a guy who could have a spirited debate and yet still be friendly. We need more of that in our world today.
    John, you will be missed.
    2 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    We’ve kicked around the phrase “the little paper that could” for a while now. Frankly, it just seemed to fit. The idea was to give folks here a newspaper that was owned and operated by local people rather than some guy down in Alabama. 
    Oh pshaw, you say. That’s not important. Let me tell you why it might be.
    Years ago, feels like about a hundred, I was a young sports writer. Just moved to Crawfordsville from the Lafayette Journal & Courier. I figured the stop was simply a step on my way to Sports Illustrated. The publisher back then was a guy some of you remember, Bob Lyons – a man who would be instrumental in my career and to whom I owe much. Apparently he saw something in a young wet-behind-the-ears twentysomething because he did things for me that hadn’t been done with previous sports writers. One was he took me to what Crawfordsville Country Club called the member-guest outing. I’m guessing it was a recruiting tool for the club. For me, though, it was an eye-opener. I played golf that day with Bob who was my boss’ boss. In our foursome was the former owner of the Journal-Review, one Addington Vance – who everyone called Ag. As a sports writer, I guess I was impressed that he used to own a newspaper, but what really knocked my socks off was that he was an All-State basketball player from the 1930s who won a state title at Logansport AND he played college ball at Northwestern University. 
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  • Tuesday, August 01, 2017 4:00 AM
    A wise older fellow once told me that a man is judged by the friends with who he surrounds himself. At the time, I was a lot younger and might’ve had a shady character or three among those I could tip a cold beverage with. While I wouldn’t say I disagreed, I wasn’t sure his insight thrilled me either.
    Last week, I was walking to the Post Office. (And by the way, I can’t speak for other places but the great folks who work at our local Post Office are certainly not representative of those horror stories you hear about postal workers. From Beth to Debbie to Kelly to Steve and Jerry and on and on, these are great folks to work with. But I digress . . . ) Anyways, I was walking to the Post Office when one of the eight or nine regulars who read my ramblings stopped me and said they thought I was pretty lucky. As a guy who’s gotten by far more on luck than any sort of talent, I couldn’t agree more. Even so, I asked why, and was told that I have some great friends and they are a pleasure to read – Honest Hoosier, Bubba Castiron, John Hammer, the Bubbling Caldron, John Marlowe, Bill Boone, Karen Zach, Scott Smith, Neil Burk, Lori Poteet and others.
    Like I said, I couldn’t agree more.
    That afternoon when my phone rang and I heard Bubba’s distinctive twang on the other end I started thinking maybe I had jumped to too quick of a conclusion.
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  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    There’s a lot of reasons I love our new location (stand by for a completely biased commercial – come visit your favorite Montgomery County daily at our new digs, 201 E. Jefferson St. at Athena Center – OK, back to our regular programming). The first is that I love history. After all, how cool is it to work in a building that was built in 1910 (well, part of it was the Old Central School and was put up in 1873) when Ulysses S. Grant and William Howard Taft respectively were leading the country as presidents? Even better, a year after the doors opened, CHS won the very first Indiana boys basketball state championship.
    These are the things I think about every time I walk into this building.
    Alas, once inside I tend to get busier than a barista at an all-night chess tournament. History is forgotten and like a lot of you I roll up my shirt sleeves and get to it. It’s also why I love Saturday mornings. The pace is a little slower. I get those old records off the shelf and, while I still get things done, enjoy the day a little more.
    So it was the other Saturday morning. Bob Seeger was accurately pointing out that today’s music ain’t got the same soul as the songs we grew up with. I was pouring another cup of steaming hot coffee when-
    “You in here, Timmons?” the deep bass rumble that is John Hammer boomed.
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, July 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    Southmont 2017 graduate Sydney Casteel might or might not be the best softball player to come out of Montgomery County. Whether she is or not, though, she’s definitely in the debate.
    As great as she might be on the field, just spend some time with her and those who interact with her and it’s clear that when it comes to being a good kid with a great head on her shoulders, she’s world class.
    Like many of you, I read John Marlowe’s excellent profile of Sydney a week ago when she was named The Paper’s 2017 Softball Player of the Year. At that point, I had not met Sydney. I’ve known her dad since he was skinnier than a wisp of hair on a bald man’s head. He was on the JV baseball team at Southmont and put up with a rookie coach who needed more training than he did. Of course Mark filled out over the years and wound up as our county’s top cop. Along the way he married up (spouse Kimbie) and they had a family, daughter Sydney and son Toby.
    The story on Sydney is intriguing. She’s an all-state player, has a Division I softball scholarship at Louisiana Tech and all the gaudy statistics one might expect. But what got me was the non-sports stuff. She’s South’s Salutatorian, a member of National Honor Society, a class officer, on student council, ambassadors and yearbook and . . . well, let’s just say more. Lots more.
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  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    Some time back, your friends at the Little Newspaper That Could swiped a page from one of our most popular columnists at our Noblesville newspaper and brought it to Montgomery County. It’s called the Notable Nineties. 
    In short, it honors those wonderful people who have reached the age of 90 or beyond by at least recognizing their name in the newspaper. Why do we do it, because those people, perhaps more than any other group living today, did so many positive things to shape both us and our country. And when it gets right down to it, doesn’t it feel like we’ve lost some of the lessons taught by our parents and grandparents? Remember when we always said please and thank you? Remember when everyone was polite to strangers? How about when no one talked loudly in public (let alone carried on noisy cell phone conversations!)? We were taught to show good sportsmanship at all times. People opened doors for others. People stood when someone entered the room or approached the table and those are just the tip of the iceberg.
    So we honor those of the age group that helped some of us learn those valuable lessons that made life a little more pleasant – and some of us desperately wish we could start doing them again.
    It’s really that simple. When someone reaches the age of 90, all they have to do is let us know and we’ll be sure to include them in our list that we publish periodically. How do you let us know? Simple. 
    0 comment(s)
  • Monday, July 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    The voice on the other end of the phone sounded like a bad imitation of a redneck Ernestine. You remember Ernestine, the operator Lilly Tomlin portrayed on Laugh-In? You remember Laugh-In, right?
    “This here’s the long distance operator calling person to person for Mr. Tim Timmons.”
    Long distance operator? Person to person? Who uses that anymore?
    “Hello Bubba, long time no talk to.”
    “Aw heck, Timmons, how’d you know it was me?”
    “Lucky guess. So what can I do for you, Bubba?”
    “Well, me and the boys at the Crawl-On-Inn were just talking about the 4th of July and this stupid ban on fireworks and why the gov’ment’s even involved.”
    I could just picture it. Bubba and friends Big Country, Tater, Gumball all sitting around the Crawl-On-Inn, a hole-in-the-wall bar out in the general direction of Boxley and Omega. They’re likely getting all worked up with nowhere to go . . . until someone suggested they call the newspaper guy. Lucky me.
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a division of Sagamore News Media

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P.O. Box 272
Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933
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