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This might be my coolest love story ever
Although this week's guests have lived in the Crawfordsville area for quite some time, a great deal of their years was spent in my hometown of Waveland where he was active on the town board, fire department and about everything else. Both are WHS graduates, him, 1947 and her in 1948. His most memorable time was his junior year playing basketball with Lowell Harbison, Charlie Arvin, Kenny Mitchell and the Starnes boys. "It was simply so much fun, and we only lost three games!" Two of those he had to admit were to Alamo because of their great player, George Gillis, "Who, had he played all of us, he could have won!" That's hard to believe when Charlie and Bob Gooding went on to ISU, where they played for the famed John Wooden.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Machan's Archives: Zoning versus Private Property Rights
Among the elements of a free society looms very large the institution of private property rights. It is this element that gives concrete, practical expression to a citizen's right to liberty. The reason is that living free means doing what one chooses to do someplace, connected to the world around oneself. John Locke, the major theorists of individual rights in the history of political thought, believed that private property rights punctuate our jurisdiction over our lives since what our lives amount to is to a large extent interacting, mixing our labor, with the rest of nature. If we lack the right to private property, we lack the freedom to live on our own terms. Although he wrote that God owns everything, he also believe that God gave it all to humankind and the principle of private property rights served as the best rationing device henceforth.

No one who defends freedom suffers from the illusion that free men and women always do what is right. And this is true about how they make use of their property. But in a genuinely free society that is one of the troubling yet unavoidable conditions of living with others people. Just as one is, so are others free to use what belongs to them as they judge proper. If this is undermined, so is human freedom.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015
League discusses health and wellness in community
The Montgomery County League of Women Voters held a public Health and Wellness Forum on March 19 in Wabash College Baxter Hall. Four panelists Mayor Todd Barton, Bill Doemel from the Mary Ludwig Montgomery County Free Clinic, Joe Haklin, Athletic Director and Wabash College Wellness Coordinator, and Terry Klein, Vice President and Chief Operating Office from Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health Crawfordsville, presented health and wellness initiatives in Montgomery County.

Carolyn Snyder, moderator, began the evening with the 2014 Montgomery County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2012, Montgomery County ranked 52nd in the Indiana in health outcomes. In 2014, Montgomery County ranked 41st , demonstrating an improvement of 9 percent in two years. The percentages were impacted by a decrease in premature death, better health behaviors and a positive physical environment. Negative county factors were 17 percent uninsured, 52 percent of children in poverty, and 22 percent of families with inadequate social support.

Each panelist was asked to present the following: innovative approaches to health and wellness; gaps found to be the basis for the new approaches; barriers to the success of these innovative approaches, and further resources and/or commitment needed to make these approaches more successful.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Ukraine: Another U.S. foreign policy failure
A little over a year ago, the Ukraine crisis started to unfold, which eventually led to a bloody civil war. This likely wouldn't have happened had Washington DC minded its own business. A recent European-brokered ceasefire has reduced the violence over the last few weeks. But now, Congress is preparing to reignite the violence by demanding Obama send military assistance to Ukraine. What is going on there and why are American politicians taking these actions? In February, Chris Martenson of Casey Research and retired Congressman Ron Paul each wrote articles reminding us that most of what led up to this crisis has been largely ignored by main stream media outlets.

Ukraine's troubles started in late 2013. That country was going through an economic crisis and it was looking for a bailout. It's legally-elected leader, President Yanukovych, first considered the West, but eventually accepted an offer from Russia. Eastern Ukrainians, who typically speak Russian and trade heavily with Russia, were pleased. But western Ukrainians, who have closer ties with Poland and Europe, protested. The fact that Yanukovych came from the east didn't

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Working out with terminator
One month ago today, I finally did something I've always wanted to do. I hired a personal trainer. I have worked out sporadically over the years, but have a really hard time staying motivated. Out of the 16 years I have carried a membership, I have probably only spent a total of 36 hours at the gym. This includes dropping kids off in the childcare center, socializing with other moms, and spending extra time in the locker room so I could have a few minutes of peace before picking the kids up again.

But now, I am ready to kick butt. At the age of 45, I have developed a now or never attitude, and nothing is going to stop me. I told the trainer I want to sweat, and cry, and beg for mercy. I don't want him to go easy on me. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it right.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Surviving storms and learning
This is the 50th anniversary of the dreadful Palm Sunday tornadoes. Ten tornadoes ripped through Indiana in the worst natural disaster I had seen in my short life in 1965.

We often complain about what the government does poorly or wrong, but weather forecasting has improved dramatically in the last 50 years thanks to satellites and cooperation between the National Weather Service and private industry, such as The Weather Channel and Accuweather. I would imagine a much larger database of weather patterns collected over the years has contributed to the improvement. Also, events such as the Palm Sunday tornadoes have made us more aware of the danger preceded by dark, swirling clouds.

People are still injured and tornadoes cost millions of dollars in damage every year but we do a much better job of warning people than in 1965 when the Palm Sunday storms devastated too much of the Hoosier state.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015
If this was a job tryout, I failed.
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?


Monday, March 23, 2015
Boots discusses right-to-try legislation
A bill that would ease access to potentially life-saving medications for terminally ill patients passed the Senate this week and is now on its way to the governor's desk for his consideration.

House Bill 1065 would allow terminally ill patients to bypass the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) compassionate use application for experimental medicine when there are no other treatment options available and they have a recommendation from their doctor.

This would allow patients diagnosed with a terminal illness to receive pharmaceuticals which have passed the first phase of the FDA's approval process. Currently, patients must wait a minimum of two to four months to receive approval on an FDA application for expanded access.

This legislation gives hope to Hoosiers suffering from a terminal diagnosis and may add invaluable time to a patient's life. These policies, commonly referred to as "right to try," have already been adopted in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri.


Sunday, March 22, 2015
The season of sneezin' is coming soon
It's once again time to run my annual column on allergies. Many of our readers will soon be cursing the annual return of allergy symptoms. The pollen levels in Indiana will be ramping up as spring (hopefully) approaches.

Allergies are a major problem for many people. When allergy sufferers are asked about their quality of life, they generally rate allergies as more bothersome than heart disease and sometimes even cancer. There are many causes of allergies, but I want to focus on the seasonal type.

Seasonal allergies are caused by pollen. Pollen actually contains the plant's male genetic material; it is somewhat analogous to sperm in animals. The goal of any organism is to spread its DNA as far and wide as possible. Pollen is the perfect vehicle to accomplish this task.


Sunday, March 22, 2015
Love is the key to helping the poor
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. - First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 13:4-8

For private charity on average, 70 percent of what people donate actually reaches the poor. For the average welfare program, only 30 percent of the money the program is given reaches the poor. I think the biggest reason is that most people working for private charities and church ministries are volunteers. They do it out of love for their fellow human being. They do it on a very personal, individual level. For Christians, this is the fundamental meaning of life, to love God above all else and to love your neighbor. It's the greatest commandment.


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Sunday, March 22, 2015
Mentoring works in Montgomery County
For the last five weeks, the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau has featured five children who are on the waiting list for a mentor with the Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP). In that time span, JUMP has recruited seven new mentors to meet their growing waiting list of children who need a mentor. As the youth who are waiting for a mentor are matched, their lives are possible going to change in extraordinary ways.

"We are so glad to have a new class of volunteer mentors," JUMP Program Manager Jill Hampton said, adding that there is still a need for more mentors.

"Although we've shared a variety of scenarios with you and the details of each child's unique story, the reason JUMP needs mentors stays the same - to be a positive and caring role model," JUMP Program Manager Jill Hampton said.

Kids like Jordan.

Jordan is a 10 year old boy who lives in a single-parent home with a much older brother. Jordan is very mature and is easy to talk to. He is smart, likes learning, does well in school and is very creative.


Friday, March 20, 2015
Three decades later, still high school sweethearts
This week's duo were high school sweeties and are still very much in love with a 34th anniversary coming-up soon. As our fella' says, "she was a flag flipper and I a trumpet geek." Pat Sowers was also in FHA, a class officer and worked during her high school years. Duane Moser was in FFA and although active in several sports through grade school, he only stuck with tennis and never felt deprived from it. He kept active with band, and working on the family farm. Their high school highlight was that they were in the top 16 bands at the Indiana State Fair.

After graduating high school, Duane studied music at Ozark Christian College and was a member of their Impact Brass group. "Some sang, some sang and played, I just played!" The group toured all over the nation. Missing Pat, Duane joined her the next year at Purdue. When Pat received her bachelor's degree, she spent the next dozen years as a social worker and Mom to their beautiful daughter, Megan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Governing by crisis isn't governing at all
After Congress came a hair's breadth from shutting down the Department of Homeland Security a few weeks ago, members of the leadership tried to reassure the American people. "We're certainly not going to shut down the government or default on the national debt," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared on CBS's "Face the Nation." Congress, he said, would not lurch from crisis to crisis.

I wish I could be so confident. Because if you look at the year ahead, the congressional calendar is littered with opportunities to do just that.

Next month, unless Congress acts, doctors will see a steep cut in Medicare reimbursements. In May, the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money, meaning that infrastructure projects all across the country could grind to a halt. The following month, the federal Export-Import Bank's charter runs out. By the end of summer, Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling. Then it will have to find a way of funding the government for next year, deal with across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to take hold, and make it possible for the Treasury to continue to borrow money.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Sunshine Week highlights importance of open government
Sunshine Week, March 15-21, marks an annual nationwide discussion about access to public information and the important role that we - the public - have in keeping our communities healthy, vibrant and strong. The League of Women Voters joins other organizations in observing Sunshine Week and encouraging open government.

The United States system of government is based on the premise that government is a creature of the people and is accountable to them. An open and accountable government is the cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant democracy. Since its founding, League members have been on the frontlines to promote governmental transparency at the local, state and national levels.

Since 1947, members of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County have served as observers at many of the government boards, councils and commissions in Crawfordsville and the county.

The LWV Observers listen and learn how these governmental boards functions and what issues they handle. The League seeks to assist its members and the public to become better educated about local issues. The Observers are the eyes and the ears of the League-a pipeline to what is being thought, said, and done in local government.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Partying in Boston - with tea
Last week, I took the little ones on a short trip to visit hubby during a training seminar he was attending. The decision was made on the spur of the moment. When I woke the kids at 7 a.m. and told them I had just bought tickets to Boston, and we had to pack and be at the airport in three hours, I was surprised at their enthusiasm.

"Can we go on the ships where they threw tea overboard?" asked my seven-year-old son.

"I bet there is a museum about the Boston Tea Party!" exclaimed eight-year-old daughter.

"And a gift shop!" they declared in unison.

Due to hubby's work, the kids are well-traveled. They have learned that no matter what the attraction, or how ancient, historical, or impressive a sight is, there will be a gift shop at the end. From the grand cathedrals and castles of Europe, to Noah's Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, to the crab shack on the beach in Florida, there is always going to be an opportunity to buy post cards, magnets, and personalized keychains.

Boston did not disappoint.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Even with technology, it's about people communicating
I wrote about social media (a.k.a. Facebook and Twitter) recently and how great it is. This week I have been thinking about the underlying foundation of social media -- the social part.

I am re-reading Stephen King's novel about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

King has said in interviews he carefully researched the history of the assassination and then he wove a fictional story about time travel into the true story for his novel, "11/22/63."

The premise is, "What would you do if you could travel back in time and stop the assassination?"

I don't want to give too much away, but his main character actually stops Lee Harvey Oswald and saves Kennedy's life. How is that possible? You will have to read the book.

This weekend, I was reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis in King's novel. I was 9 or 10 at the time and didn't remember too much about it; only that I walked home a different route after school on the day after Kennedy spoke to the nation on national

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Time running out on Challenge
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

Monday, March 16, 2015
Why not make education independent from Governor's office?
Due to the conflict between our Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, and the State Board of Education (appointed by Governor Pence), many people have stressed the importance of keeping school administration independent from the Governor's office. There's also been a lot of concern about the General Assembly attempting to change the chairperson of the SBOE to being elected by the members of the SBOE, instead of the SPI automatically being the chairperson.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Wolfsie bets marriage isn't as simple as you think
Everybody throws the word "bet" around. "Mary Ellen, I bet we're going to be late again." Or, "Dick, I bet that burger has 50 grams of fat."

Marriage itself is a gamble. And I like a good wager every once in a while, but I'm also very cheap, so that's a problem. When Mary Ellen and I are on vacation, I spend a lot of time in the casino...eating the free eggrolls and watching people pull the lever on the nickel slot machine. I like the action.

Sunday, March 15, 2015
Boots: Spotlight on education
Throughout this session, I plan to provide periodic updates on education in Indiana. Listed below are some education-related topics making news at the Statehouse:
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Boots: Spotlight on education
Throughout this session, I plan to provide periodic updates on education in Indiana. Listed below are some education-related topics making news at the Statehouse:

Improved Graduation Rates

The Indiana Department of Education recently released high school graduation rates for the 2013-2014 school year. I am pleased to see the graduation rate improved to 89.8 percent, continuing the upward trend we've seen over the past five years. In addition, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education recently reported that fewer high school graduates need remediation once they get to college.

Our schools have made great progress in recent years, thanks to the collaborative effort of Hoosier students, educators and families. Because of this hard work, more students are graduating from high school prepared for college and the workforce.

This news is an example of the great work happening every day in schools throughout our state.


Friday, March 13, 2015
Mentors come from all walks of life
The Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau's Juvenile Mentoring Program has a diverse selection of mentors. Some mentors are retired, some are young professionals, some are married with young children, and some are empty-nesters. The main requirement for someone wishing to mentor is willingness to be a difference in a child's life.

The process to becoming a mentor includes a written application, three character references, a sit-down interview with program staff, an FBI and local criminal history background check, a driving records check, and a volunteer training which teaches you how to be an effective mentor. After the mentor finishes with the process, he or she is matched with a youth who has similar interests. The program asks that the mentor meets with the child at least 9 hours a month for a year. Several matches choose to meet past that year mark.

To date there are exactly 24 Montgomery County youth who are on the waiting list for a JUMP Mentor. Being a mentor is simple, and it can help change the course of a youth's life significantly, Hampton said.


Friday, March 13, 2015
Lunch with the League addresses conspiracies
"Cognitive Psychology of Conspiracy Theories" was the topic presented by Preston Bost, Wabash College Professor of Psychology, at the March "Lunch with the League."

Bost identified four essential elements of a conspiracy theory: coordination among multiple agents, power hierarchy, secrecy, and subversion of others' interests in favor of one's own. He stated that there is only thin literature specific to the origin of conspiratorial beliefs.

But conspiracy beliefs are pervasive. Oliver & Wood (2014) stated that about 50 percent of the American public endorses at least one of these seven conspiracy theories:

- 9/11 was planned by the U.S. government.

- President Obama is not an American citizen.

- Oil companies coordinated the invasion of Iraq.

- Wall Street Bankers orchestrated the 2008 financial crisis.

- Airplane vapor trails are chemical agents.

- Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a form of mind control.

- Billionaire George Soros is attempting to destabilize the American government and take over the media.

Conspiracy beliefs are not uniquely American, or even uniquely western. If conspiracy beliefs are a special case of cheater detection, what makes the radar hyper-sensitive? Perhaps being a certain type of person?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015
83 years young and going strong
This week's 83-year-old gal is a bombshell! You'd have to stretch your imagination to remotely believe she's that age because she looks, acts and thinks like she's 30 years younger. Full of energy, she works like she's 50, even still canning a lot of her own food, although she admits the canner seems to be getting heavier and heavier each year. Her home is immaculate; she's the same and as cute as can be!

I've known Rosemary Hatke for decades from St. Bernard's Catholic Church. We've both been members about 60 years although she's a devout goer while I've sadly fallen by the wayside. In fact, it was through churches where we both met our husbands. She and Stan got together through a CYO class as did Jim and I. Their marriage lasted six decades, Stan passing away in July 2001 after they had celebrated their 60th that January. Jim and I passed 47 years this January. Church seems to be a great place to meet a spouse!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Phillips discusses skits, freedoms
We knew it was coming. Those "kids" of a couple decades ago are now officially in charge.

I suppose we can see it many places but today I want to talk about the people in charge at our national media outlets. Do the producers really get up in the morning and think, "It's all about me?" Or does it just seem that way.

Take for example . . .

A recent "Saturday Night Live" skit that made fun of a young woman being recruited by ISIS.

"Take care of her," the girl's dad said.

"Death to America" was the response.

Now, "Saturday Night Live" has always been edgy and quite often made people uncomfortable. Remember, "Let's kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas?" It was a skit about the upcoming execution of a murderer that was scheduled to take place around the holidays. That bothered me for obvious reasons.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015


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