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home : columnists December 17, 2014


Find out who your 'friends' are
When one of our readers learned I had fallen for a Facebook scam they replied, "I can't believe anyone falls for these things." But I did! I know, after writing about all kinds of scams, robberies and other crimes for the past 30-plus years, you would think I would know better. In my defense, the scammers are very cunning and readers as well as the police ask us to warn people from time to time, so here goes.

According to one law enforcement official, people tend to be more gullible during the holidays as we are filled with love of our fellow man . . . and an urgent sense of needing more money for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
4-H Member Involvement in Educational Opportunities
There truly is something for everyone in 4-H! 4-H members, youth in grades K-12, are very active within the county, attending club meetings, project workshops, community service events and the annual 4-H Fair. Many 4-H members are also gaining additional knowledge and experience by attending area, state and national educational events. In 2014, there were 85 Montgomery County members who participated in events throughout Indiana and the nation.

Events attended by county youth in 2014 include: National 4-H Horse Round-Up; State Fair Achievement Trip to Washington, DC; State Engineering Science Workshop; State 4-H Round-Up; State Jr. Leader Conference; State Fair Youth Leadership Conference; State Fair 4-H Exhibit Hall Employees; State 4-H Horse Round-Up; Purdue Pork Day; Area Rabbit Workshop; Area 4-H Camp Counselors; Area 4-H Camp; and, Area Livestock Round-Robin. Locally, 155 youth participated in 9 project skill related workshops, including scrapbooking, photography, genealogy and electricity.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Truitt is mumpsimus - so she says
I tried to hold onto what I knew to be absolute truth, but the hardcore facts were staring me in the face. I pride myself on my vast knowledge of Barry Manilow lyrics. I became a fan more than 30 years ago, at an age when my hearing was intact, and my thirst for pop culture knowledge was at its strongest. So, I was a bit surprised when someone stated that "dictuend" is not a word.

"Oh, yes it is," I argued. "It means to dictate or orchestrate."

"Use it in a sentence," they challenged.

"The lyrics to my all-time favorite Barry Manilow song are, 'You're my song, music to my dictuend, I'll play you over and over again.'"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Franciscan, Athena, Paper team up
Shhhhh. This is a secret. Just between us. Don't tell anybody yet. OK?

With time running out on this year's MUFFY campaign, a few good-hearted, community-spirited companies and individuals - 15 to be exact - have teamed up to raise some money for MUFFY as well as make a positive statement about overall health in general.

Monday, December 15, 2014
Christmas trees are all around
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, pine, fir and spruce trees are being seen everywhere - a true symbol of that the Christmas season is here. Every year that you put up a tree, you are faced with the crucial decision: real or artificial. While artificial trees have many benefits and seem very convenient, real Christmas trees can have many benefits as well.
Monday, December 15, 2014
GOP Chairman: We used to believe in freedom
Back in the 1980s our local newspaper used to publish the following quote every day in the Opinion page:

"Journal Review, your watchful freedom newspaper.

"Ever striving for West-Central-Indiana to be an even better place to live.

"The Journal Review is dedicated to furnishing information to readers so they may better promote and preserve their freedom and encourage others to see its blessing. Only when man is free to control himself and all he produces, can he develop to his utmost capabilities.

"We believe that freedom is a gift from God and not a political grant from government. Freedom is neither license nor anarchy. It is control and sovereignty of oneself, no more, no less. It is thus consistent with the Coveting Commandment."

Yes, there was a time in this community when this concept of freedom was mainstream. We didn't look to government coercion to make our community a better place to live, we looked to individual citizens to freely cooperate with each other to make our community a better place to live.

Monday, December 15, 2014
Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome?
Someone told me the other day that they thought "restless leg syndrome" was a condition made up by pharmaceutical companies to sell more medications. I'm sure many of you have seen the commercials for Requip® and Mirapex®, both drugs used to treat this malady.

People have described symptoms suggestive of restless legs since the 17th Century. The Swedish neurologist Erik Ekborn, initially coined the term "restless legs syndrome" in the 1940s. It is estimated that between ten to fifteen percent of Americans suffer from RLS to some degree. The incidence in women is about twice that of men. About 40 percent of people develop symptoms prior to age 20. Since symptoms tend to be mild initially and worsen with age, most sufferers are not diagnosed for 10 to 20 years.

Monday, December 15, 2014
Ken Dieruf is new to me, not C'ville
I've thoroughly enjoyed teaching next door to this man since I began my educational renewal at CHS at the beginning of this school year. I hadn't even heard of Ken Dieruf until then, but I appreciate his help with anything I've needed, even my overall school request for a much-needed diet Mountain Dew.

Both Ken and his wife, Barb are at CHS, Barb as Tech Director and Ken as the JAG instructor. JAG (Jobs for America's Graduates) is a state-funded program, and I always enjoy going in to Ken's room with the college banners, bright posters, class projects, business charts and nifty round tables that prompt discussions.

Ken grew-up in Minnetonka, MN and moved with his parents, three brothers and two sisters to Louisville, Kentucky when Ken was in his late teens. Ken's father was in sales with Pillsbury. Waggenor High School wasn't a super satisfying experience for Ken since he arrived there when his school was almost over; thus Ken decided to work and it was Mario's Pizza that helped win him over to the business world.

The clincher was when he became a sales associate for J.C. Penny's. It was at Penny's that he met Barb. They were good friends before dating. Along with being buddies, her beauty, charm and personality helped lead Ken to the altar in her hometown of Louisville.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Look up, Americans, it's not as bad as you think
We are one glum country.

Trust in the federal government is at historic lows, according to Gallup. More than half of the respondents to an October Rasmussen poll think our best days are behind us. And just a few weeks ago, an NBC/Wall St. Journal poll found that the one thing Americans agree upon whatever their race or circumstances is that the system is stacked against people like them.

Scratch an American, it seems, and you'll get a litany of complaints about our representative democracy.

I see this defeatism all around me. When I speak to classes of university students, I almost always ask for a show of hands on whether these young people believe the U.S. is in decline or on the rise. Every time, the room is evenly split. That's a lot of people who are losing faith in our system.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Remember the Bill of Rights now, always
Next Monday will mark the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the "Bill of Rights." Ratified on Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights guarantees fundamental civil and human rights of all citizens, residents and visitors on United States territory.

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution include the freedoms of speech, press, and religion, the people's right to keep and bear arms, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to petition, the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and compelled self-incrimination. Further, the Bill of Rights guarantees due process, trial by jury, prohibition of excessive bail as well as cruel and unusual punishment. Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Succumbing to fancy in a way she hadn't before
Last weekend, my daughters and I were invited to a fancy tea party at a fancy house in a fancy neighborhood. I kinda always wanted to be fancy, but it doesn't come naturally to me. Truthfully, it doesn't come at all.

Example: I recently had an extremely important business meeting. So, I forced myself out of my blue jeans and into my fancy business clothes, complete with silk stockings and black pumps.

As I opened the door to enter the building, a gust of air blew my hair into my face. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. A freezing blast of arctic wind wrapped my hair completely around my head, covering my entire face, and causing several large strands to adhere to my lip-glossed mouth. This was my first meeting with the gentleman, who kindly took my arm, so that I could catch my balance and restore my hair to order. Unfortunately, he let go too quickly. I tripped on the stairs and lost my shoes.

"There's no reason to be nervous," he gently encouraged as he watched me slip back into my shoes, and then step out of them again so I could put them on the right feet.

"Oh, I'm not nervous," I said through the hair in my mouth, "This is just the way I am."

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon's tea party. As my daughters and I made our way to the front door of the fancy house, I gave last minute instructions to my eight-year-old:

"When someone speaks to you, look them in the eye and give a clear response. And be very careful not to spill the tea. And, please, try not to say anything embarrassing, or that makes me look like a bad mom."

When we are in the presence of total strangers, this particular daughter's passive aggressive nature surfaces, and she likes to share stories to remind me of my lowest points in motherhood.

"I never got to hear the end of my favorite story because mommy lost the book, and had to pay a bunch of money to the library. Remember that, Mommy?"

Or, "One time, mommy didn't realize the shower water got hot, and she scalded my head. Remember that, Mommy?"

Or, "One time, mommy was still asleep when Sponge Bob came on, and we were really hungry, but she wouldn't wake up, so I called the police. Remember that, Mommy?"

We were greeted by our hostess, and then I stepped into an empty room so that I could quickly adjust my pantyhose. Just as I got my fancy black-velvet dress hiked up around my backside, I realized there were two other women in the room, checking out the grand piano. And presumably, checking out my backside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Congress takes action 70 years too late
Did you hear about the Nazis who were drawing Social Security? Don't wait for the punch line. It's not a joke and sadly it wasn't one of the lead stories reported last week.

On Tuesday and Thursday of the same week as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. House and Senate passed nearly identical bills that would close a loophole allowing the Social Security Administration to cut off benefits from those who admitted being World War II Nazis or who were convicted of war crimes as Nazis, if it is signed by the President.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Barton talks past, present and future
Last week, Todd Barton announced his plans to run for re-election as Crawfordsville's mayor. The former fire chief is finishing up year three of a four-year term and is hoping voters will allow him to continue the job he's started.

To that end, he took some time out to sit down and talk with The Paper. To his credit, he didn't ask for anything to be off the record or off limits. And for more than an hour patiently answered all questions.

The campaign has begun.

What happens next is pretty simple. If any other Republican decides to challenge Barton (something that appears unlikely), they'll have the opportunity in the May primary. Assuming no one does, or that Barton wins, then he'll be on the ballot in the fall general election.

Whether he ends up with opponents or not, Barton seemed happy to talk about his first three years leading Indiana's 55th largest city. Here, in its entirety, is the interview with Crawfordsville's 34th mayor.

Monday, December 8, 2014
Wolfsie: Dialing up problems on a new car stereo
The radio in my car has been broken for quite a while. The tuner is busted, and the tape in the cassette player is jammed with this one educational travel tape that I have been listening to over and over again since our trip to Egypt six years ago. I am getting a little bored with it, but I know all the major pharaohs of the past 3,000 years and I bet I know more about the Great Sphinx than most people.

I decided to treat myself to a new stereo. The prices seemed reasonable, and I really wasn't looking for many bells and whistles. If there were bells and whistles, I wouldn't be able to figure out where to ring them or blow them, anyway.

Monday, December 8, 2014
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among folks who do repetitive motion
I see a number of people each month who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is a very common condition, often related to repetitive injury at home or in the workplace. It is one of a number of repetitive strain injuries or "RSI's."

Carpal tunnel symptoms usually include numbness and/or pain in the hand and wrist that may extend up into the arm, shoulder or even the neck. The numbness, tingling or pain frequently wakes people during sleep.

Monday, December 8, 2014
Easy to be thankful when home for holidays
I hope everyone one had a great Thanksgiving and were able to share it with family and friends. The start of our Thanksgiving was met with our 2-year-old grandson locking himself in his mom and dad's bedroom with a slide lock. Yes the door did have to come down but all was well.

I am reminded back about 45 years ago somewhere in Vietnam we had Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimming but not everyone had that. Some were so far into the bush they did not get anything but c-rations and thankful for that. I do know that we loaded hot meals onto Huey's and some on Chinooks to take out to the firebases and smaller compounds so that those guys would have something special. At least for a minute or two you maybe forgot where you were but only for a minute. So today I am just a little bit more thankful for what we have. That is not true I am a LOT more thankful for what we have.

Friday, December 5, 2014
Amy Epperson is settled back home
I do love alliteration. Using this literary technique to begin this week's column, I'll say that our subject is awesome, adorable Amy.

We met when Amy worked at the A&W. A very active Southmont student, she was never late to work, toiled with great vigor and was one of our sweetest waitresses ever. 4-H has always been a part of Amy's life, having been a 10-year member, taking various projects, sewing, foods, crafts, geology, fashion review and a Jr. Leader. She attended the National Congress in Washington DC and won a trip to Chicago for her Achievement Book on Breads and Cereals. I giggled as she told about staying in the Conrad-Hilton Hotel where she had fancy meals and the winners received their awards. She'd never been to a fancy restaurant or hotel, so she reveled in the trip which started a life time desire to travel.

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Citizens have the right to know, see in print
The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon informed and active participation at all levels of government. The League further believes that governmental bodies must protect the citizen's right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.

The League was distressed to learn that the 2014 Indiana General Assembly eliminated the requirement that local government's proposed budgets be published in newspapers prior to public hearings. Because this does not take effect until 2016, there has been little attention or awareness of this major departure of information available to public.

The Department of Local Government Finance successfully pursued elimination of the publication requirement in 2014 HEA 1266. The DLGF argued that posting of budget information on the DLGF website was more effective than publication in newspapers. How many citizens are even aware there is a DLGF website much less look at it regularly?

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Obama butts in once again
I am puzzled that there is hardly any mention in the press - columns, editorials, etc. - about Mr. Obama's executive intrusion in the employment relation. He wants to have overtime pay be higher than it is. He seems to think it is the task of the president to dictate terms of trade between employers and employees. But it isn't, not in a free country. But I suppose "free country" is no longer applicable to the American economy. It has become a fascist system, where the political executive dictates the terms of economic relations. And very few of us appear to mind this.

I am organizing a panel at my university the topic of which is "Entrepreneurship in a Mixed Economy." The idea is, of course, that when politicians and bureaucrats command the terms of trade among the millions of citizens who take part in market transactions, the normal signals that guide the decisions of entrepreneurs get distorted. What is supposed to be a place wherein the agents carry out their work is not free but managed by a special group of citizens. Why?

Presumably these citizens have superior knowledge and great measures of virtue than their fellows, over whom they have gained legally backed power. They are the regulators and just what qualifies them as superiors to the rest of us is a mystery.

This is one of the features of a mixed economy. The arrogance of it is staggering, although historically it is common - kings, pharaohs, caesars, politburos and such have been butting in the economic affairs of men and women from time immemorial. It is this set-up that was supposed to be abolished by the classical liberal - remember "liberal" means "free" - political-social movement.

Ultimately the only way to combat this reactionary trend led by Mr. Obama & Co., is with the convictions of the citizenry.

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Time for post-production phase
Each December brings with it the end of the year. Soon we will be reading accounts of what happened of note in the departing year. So, in a very simplified manner, let's follow suite and reflect for a moment on what 300+ people in Montgomery County have managed to accomplish.

We began about two years ago "thinking" about making a movie. Then came "how" to make a movie. That was followed by "deciding" what, where and who we needed for the task. All that is called "Pre-Production" and took about six months.

Then we moved on to the "production" phase (the actually filming).

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Divided government does not have to be dysfunctional
Given all the words and images devoted to the midterm elections over the past few weeks, you'd think the results had told us something vital about the future of the country. In reality, they were just a curtain-raiser. It's the next few weeks and months that really matter.

The big question, as the old Congress reconvenes and prepares to make way for next year's version, is whether the two parties will work more closely together to move the country forward or instead lapse back into confrontation and deadlock. I suspect the answer will be a mix: modest progress on a few issues, but no major reforms.

Overall, the deep frustration Americans feel toward Washington will likely continue. Especially since, despite the urgent problems confronting us, the House leadership has announced an astoundingly relaxed 2015 agenda that includes not a single five-day work week, 18 weeks with no votes scheduled, and just one full month in session: January.

Still, there is hope for at least a modicum of progress. The President wants to enhance his legacy. More politicians these days seem to prefer governing to posturing. The Republican Party may have won big in the elections, but it still cannot govern alone: it will need Democratic votes in the Senate and the cooperation of the President. And both parties want to demonstrate that they recognize they're responsible for governing.

Congress faces plenty of issues that need addressing, which means that skillful legislators who want to show progress have an extensive menu from which to choose. Trade, health care, terrorism, responsible budgeting, rules on greenhouse gas emissions... All of these are amenable to incremental progress.

Which is not to say that progress is inevitable. President Obama acted to halt deportations of millions of illegal immigrants, though he did so without Congress. His action could unleash unpredictable consequences. Meanwhile, the new Republican Senate is almost certain to give the President's nominees a hard time; while GOP senators are unlikely to want to appear too tough on Loretta Lynch, the nominee for attorney general, the gloves will almost certainly come off for nominees who must negotiate hearings after her.

Yet indications of what next year may be like have already begun to emerge. Bills with a relatively narrow focus that enjoy bipartisan support - boosting agricultural development aid overseas, funding research into traumatic brain injuries, giving parents with disabled children a tax break on savings for long-term expenses - either have passed the "lame-duck" Congress or stand a good chance of doing so.

In the end, 2015 will see a mix of small steps forward and backward. There's little chance of a minimum wage increase and it's unlikely the budget will be passed in an orderly and traditional manner. Similarly, significant and difficult issues like major entitlement and tax reform will prove hard to budge, and comprehensive immigration reform is a near impossibility. There will be no knockdown punch on Obamacare, but we'll see plenty of efforts to chip away at it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Ginger explores anger mis-management
When my cousin celebrated her 10-year anniversary, I was reminded of an incident in my own marriage.

Her wedding happened to be on the same evening as a much anticipated bluegrass music jam. I repeatedly asked hubby if he would prefer that I go to the wedding alone, but he assured me that he really wanted to attend.

I made it clear that I did not want to be pressured into leaving early. He raised his hand and repeated after me, "I solemnly promise that you can enjoy the evening with your family. I will not drop hints, whine or moan in an effort to make you leave. I will put the bluegrass jam completely out of my mind so that you, my dearest most deserving wife, can have a nice time completely unfettered by my pleading puppy-dog eyes."

He kept his promise for about 60 yards out of the driveway. "So, how late do you think you'll want to stay?"

At 7:45, as we were seated for dinner, he began asking the time in five minute intervals.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Accept and enjoy Christmas, don't explain
Over the weekend I remembered a feature that ran in a newspaper years ago. For some reason I began thinking about children's letters to Santa Claus and how cute they were. We used to print them in the kids' original handwriting, misspellings, bad grammar and all.

With all the trust their little hearts could muster, they would write their letters to Santa, not intending to share them with anyone who read them in our newspaper but probably not caring because they just knew Santa was going to see them and answer their requests.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Hammer finds roads less traveled?
Usually, John Hammer drops in to see me on Saturdays. The big man somehow bypasses security at the worldwide HQ of the media empire and always seems to catch me unawares. I think it gives him some sort of perverse pleasure to know he manages to scare the bajeebers out of me. So I was more than a little surprised when he came in on a Thursday, rang the bell at our front desk and waited.

For those who don't know, the Hammer stops by infrequently. He's a mountain-sized man who's not big on small talk. His hands are the size of hams and the rough callouses indicate he's done honest work for a living. He may be a man of few words, but what he says generally makes good sense. Aside from hoping I never make him mad at me, it's almost always a pleasure to hear what's on his mind.

"Timmons," he nodded in a voice that's rougher than a five-alarm hangover on a Monday morning.

"John," I nodded back. "Want to come back to the office and take a load off?"

Monday, December 1, 2014
'My finger is stuck,' a common complaint of trigger finger condition
I've had a run of patients recently, all presenting with problems getting their fingers to move. They all described "catching" or "popping" when trying to flex or extend a finger. They were all suffering from trigger finger, a condition also known as trigger digit or by the medical term stenosing tenovaginitis.

The condition is very common. It is seen up to six times more frequently in women than men and typically starts showing up around 55-60 years of age. It is also seen more often in a person's dominant hand. It can affect any of the fingers, most often in the thumb, followed by the ring, middle , little and index fingers.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


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