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Friday, November 17, 2017
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  • This week's guest dodged death three times and is now 99
    Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    My gal this week is 99 and sharp as can be, attributing a good night’s sleep, keeping busy and pure dumb luck for that amazing tally. Speaking of amazing, her life has been just that, including dodging death three times over: whooping cough as a baby, diphtheria at age 11 and a ruptured appendix at age 52. We’re lucky she’s here to tell us her intriguing story.
    A world traveler, she was all smiles when I queried which of the 118 countries she’d visited was her favorite? “It depends on the topic!” For culture, it was all-hands down France. Friendliness was certainly enjoyed in both Australia and New Zealand. Scenery was extremely special in South America, Maderia Island and Switzerland. African animals, of course, cannot be duplicated while she loved England for history. She’s seen most of the U.S. as well, she and her husband taking their four sons to 44 of the states before the boys graduated from high school even. Purpose? To photo biomes around the globe, as well as just plain fun!
    What an unusual childhood! Her parents were divorced when she was quite young and her mother raised my little lady, her sister and brother. Mother taught school, sold eggs and gave piano lessons, while the children pitched-in by selling cookies door to door, as well as mowing yards. All three were valedictorians and received scholarships. In fact, she tallied seven. 
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  • Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    For 29 years, Heritage Products Inc. has contributed to the economic vitality of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County. This auto parts manufacturing facility is owned by the Japanese firm Hiruta Kogyo Co., LTD, headquartered in Okayama, Japan. Over those years, executives from the corporate office have visited their facility here several times. Until recently, we have never returned the favor. This all changed when Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton paid them a visit during a trip to Japan last September. 
    In a recent presentation given at the “Lunch With the League”, the Mayor showed how important building relationships is in maintaining our economic vitality. The trip was organized under the auspices of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb led a group of Indiana business and government leaders in order to advance Indiana's economic and cultural partnership with the state's largest foreign investor. Among all U.S. states, Indiana is home to the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita with 280 Japan-based companies that employ more than 58,000 Hoosiers. Japan also supports many locations of Indiana-based firms, including Eli Lilly, Cook Medical, Urschel Laboratories and Zimmer Biomet.
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Lately I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time looking in the mirror, concerned that the years have taken a toll on me and that I have aged quite a bit. My wife says I'm crazy, and to be that obsessed with my own looks makes me appear very elfish. (I hope she meant selfish. My ears were the only part of my face that I thought hadn’t aged.)
    Now when I shave, I tilt my head down to look at my receding hairline. For a long time, people asked me if I was losing my hair, but I knew exactly where it was. It wasn’t lost; it was in the sink drain. About 25 years ago, I had a hair transplant, which is sort of like what happens when someone dies. "He's gone to a better place," friends will say. That's the same with my hair. I don't have more hair, but what I had, the doctor put in a better place. 
    While examining my new signs of aging, I noticed a chin I had not been aware of before. Even though I’ve lost weight, those extra chins are very stubborn. I was pretty happy with the two I already had. 
    This reminded me of a story I wrote many years ago about an item I saw advertised, called “The Miracle Neck Slimmer.” Was it a scam? The manufacturer guarantees a 68 percent reduction in neck wrinkles. I have achieved similar results by simply slinging my head back and looking straight up at the ceiling. Unfortunately, the results are only temporary, and I have slammed into several doors while practicing the technique, but it does work. Well, I think it works. It’s hard to look in the mirror in that position.
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  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    For many, November is the time of year to reflect on those people, things, opportunities, etc. that they are most thankful for. As a 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator, I am no different. I am thankful for the 4-H Youth Development program and all of the many opportunities that it offers our young people to learn, develop, and enhance the life skills that they will need for years to come. 
    The mission of the Indiana 4-H Youth Development program is to provide real-life educational opportunities that develop young people who will have a positive impact in their communities and the world. Each year the Montgomery County 4-H program strives to provide youth with the opportunities to fulfill this mission statement. With the new initiative of 4-H SPARK Clubs, the 4-H program is reaching new audiences in unique ways to continue to provide all youth the opportunity to learn and enhance life skills. 
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  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a David Henry Thomsett album . . . 
    Last week, we sent out an e-mail notice that many of you got and that prompted a lot of good questions – and surprisingly – a lot of understanding and agreement. So, to share all the answers . . . 
    • Yes, we are raising our subscription rates Jan. 1. 
    • Yes, this includes a small charge for our daily Online Edition.
    • Yes, the price will include our new and immensely popular Sunday Edition.
    In addition, let me add a little more.
    • Yes, this is our first across-the-board circulation rate increase since we started in 2004.
    • Yes, we have grown dramatically and are nearing 10,000 customers for the first time in our company’s history.
    • Yes, we hope that after more than 13 years you will forgive us this one small price increase.
    • And yes, if you sign up now for a year you can get 15 months for the price of 12 AT THE OLD RATE!
    Just for the record, annual home delivery rates are going from $88 to $99 – still far cheaper than any other newspaper in these parts. Our six-month rate is going from $48 to $59 and we are going to charge $3.99 per month (or $42 a year) for the Online Edition, which comes out seven days a week, 365 days a year – including every Sunday and holiday!
    Yeah, yeah, I know I sound like a pitchman, but think about this. It’s still the cheapest price around and The Paper is the fastest growing newspaper for miles and miles! Oh, and did I mention our Sunday Edition? It averages 33 pages a week (isn’t that great how online can be an odd number – try doing that in print!) and includes all kinds of cool reading on travel, books, Montgomery County’s most popular columns from the sports and news worlds, a respectful and complete collection of the week’s obituaries, a calendar of local events, a super-colorful and useful page for the younger members of our audience and more and more and more! One reader told us that he sat there with a cup of coffee and his tablet and finished the whole pot before he got done reading!
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  • Along the Path of Heroes Towering Alps and the Fall of Hitler and Nazi Germany (Final Article in 11-part Series)
    Monday, November 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    In July of 2016 I joined a tour group and took an 11-day trip to Europe to tour World War 2 battle sites in France, Belgium and Germany – places that some of our Indiana veterans once walked on or flew over. This series of articles is a summary of what I saw and learned there as I followed the path of American heroes who answered the call of duty to preserve freedom over 75 years ago.
    Adolph Hitler loved Obersalzberg, a mountain retreat nestled in the Alps just above the village of Berchtesgaden, about 75 miles southeast of Munich in Bavaria, Germany.
    After coming to power in the Nazi Party, Hitler purchased a chalet in the mountains and turned Obersalzberg into his own private residence - a secured Fuhrer’s ‘off-limits’ area that included buying out or pushing out previous inhabitants to make way for his new domain. 
    He later renovated and expanded the chalet, making it his beloved Berghof, a vacation residence that he would use extensively for 10 years. 
    Today there is almost no visible remnant of Hitler’s prized home.
    Its absence symbolizes the end of the once mighty Nazi Party and the final demise of its powerful and maniacal dictator, Adolph Hitler. 
    Our tour group traveled to the sight of Hitler’s former residence at Obersalzberg. We gazed upon its faint ruins and tried to imagine its former splendor.
    Hitler especially loved the mountain area around the bucolic village of Berchtesgaden. He felt the Bavarian mountain region produced the ideal Germans – rural, industrious, with ties to the earth through farming and outdoor living. 
    Beginning in 1923, as he was flexing his political aspirations, Hitler began coming to the area of Berchtesgaden regularly for rest, relaxation and contemplation. 
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  • My head is spinning – what’s wrong, Doc?
    Monday, November 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    This week I want to address a specific variant of a condition that I’ve been seeing a fair amount of lately – dizziness. Primary Care doctors in the U.S. see about six million patients a year with dizziness.
    Dizziness means different things to different people and can be a symptom of many different medical conditions. People usually describe being dizzy when they either feel faint or lightheaded or when they feel like their environment is spinning. This latter sensation is called vertigo, from the Latin vertere meaning, “to turn.” 
    I want to touch on the most common cause of vertigo, known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV. Benign means the condition is not dangerous, paroxysmal indicates it occurs in a recurring pattern for short periods of time, and positional refers to the vertigo being brought on by changes in position.
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  • Her mom told her, “You’re out of your mind!” about babysitting
    Thursday, November 9, 2017 4:00 AM
    My guest this week attended her 50th high school reunion a couple of years ago and amazingly had 35 out of their graduating 42 there. Larry Steele, a professional ball player and Jeff Blue of the Boston Celtics who now professionally sings are among her classmates, along with a lady lawyer in Las Vegas and one in Chicago, a doctor in Indy, farmers, an auctioneer and a lot of everyday Joes and Janes, my kind of folks. She sees some of them occasionally but says she’d love to get together once a month.
    Speaking of high school, a good friend, Gary Rossick, was a buddy of a big-city (Greencastle) basketball and record-setting cross-country star. Gary fixed my gal up on a blind date with the 17-year-old young stud. She was a mere sweet 16, in high school choir, in Job’s Daughters and served as their soloist (although she said she really couldn’t sing). Since her maiden name was O’Hair, it was quite appropriate for she and Mr. Greencastle to go to the St. Patrick’s Day Dance and Patty Boy worked some awesome magic as they were married 46 years. Their wedding was in January 1966 in a major blizzard. They were married in the Brick Chapel Methodist Church where her father was treasurer and mother a Sunday School teacher. Both were church active in several other ways. Living just three miles from there, she enjoyed Methodist Youth Fellowship, 4-H (sewing and dress review) and loved having fun, especially with her dad on is 90-mile paper route. Her two brothers and sister wouldn’t go, but her Dad could count on her, saying, “She’ll go anywhere!” Truthfully, she still loves going . . . anywhere, anytime. 
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  • Thursday, November 9, 2017 4:00 AM
    Redistricting Reform is one of the key issues facing the upcoming 2018 General Assembly. Why is this important? The Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project listed redistricting as one of Indiana’s top policy priorities to increase possibility for competitive elections in our state.
    Unfair redistricting creates “safe districts” which result in uncontested or uncompetitive elections, leading to reduced voter interest and turnout. In 2014, 44 of 100 seats in the Indiana House of Representatives were uncontested in the general election. That year Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country!
    The League of Women Voters of Indiana partnered with Common Cause Indiana to create a state wide coalition calling for real redistricting reform in Indiana. Coalition partners include: Hoosier Environmental Council, Citizens Action Coalition, Indiana Farmers Union, Center for Aging and Community, Jobs for Justice, NAACP, Moral Mondays, ACLU, Moms Demand Action, Sierra Club, Lafayette Urban Ministry, Indiana Coalition for Human Services, AAUW, and others.
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  • Wednesday, November 8, 2017 4:00 AM
    Mary Ellen was kind enough to pass along a comment she had heard about me at her book club. “Kathy says your newspaper column makes her laugh.”
    “Gee, thanks for sharing that, Mary Ellen.”
    “Yes, and, Cara, the organizer of the group, told me she thinks you’re quite amusing on TV.”
    “Wow, I sure appreciate the compliments.”
    “But Dick, I have to ask you this: How come you’re not so funny at home?”
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  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017 4:00 AM
    Shootings in America seem to bring out all sorts of debates except the important one – what can we do to stop this?
    No offense all you on the far right and far left, but don’t send me the worn-out debates about gun control, personal rights and the rest. I won’t get baited into the argument that defines guns as the problem . . . or the solution. Some of you folks can cuss and discuss that to your heart’s content.
    Isn’t it time we focused on what’s wrong with our society today? Isn’t it time we focused on us?
    I read a James Dobson Focus on Family column a few years back where he talked about music lyrics. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist was pretty simple. In the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, lyrics tended to focus on golly-gee-willikers-everything-is-swell scenarios. Little by little over the decades, things changed. We went from I love my dad to I want to kill my parents to I want to kill myself to . . . well, you get the idea.
    And no, no, no, I am not laying the blame of mass shootings on rock’n’roll. Bear with me.
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  • Along the Path of Heroes Part 10 Dachau Concentration Camp: Dark Days of Imprisonment, Mistreatment and Death
    Monday, November 6, 2017 4:00 AM
    In July of 2016 I joined a tour group and took an 11-day trip to Europe to tour World War 2 battle sites in France, Belgium and Germany – places that some of our Indiana veterans once walked on or flew over. This series of articles is a summary of what I saw and learned there as I followed the path of American heroes who answered the call of duty to preserve freedom over 75 years ago.
    Munich, Germany gave birth to the Nazi party in January of 1933.
    Two months later, the first Nazi concentration camp was born in the nearby medieval town of Dachau, Germany.
    One of more than 40,000 concentration camps in German-controlled Europe, Dachau was the first to be used as a work camp and the last to be shut down before the war’s end.
    It opened in 1933, taking over the grounds and buildings of a former munitions factory.
    Dachau became a model for the establishment of other work camps. 
    Initially the Dachau concentration camp was created to hold political prisoners. Early on, some prisoners were Germans who opposed or were viewed as a threat to the Nazi party. 
    Anyone who opposed Nazi rule could end up confined to such a camp, including clergy. Over 2,700 priests and pastors were imprisoned for speaking out against or not speaking strongly enough in support of the Nazi party. 
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  • Monday, November 6, 2017 4:00 AM
    Last month, Gov. Eric Holcomb launched Indiana’s Next Level Recovery website, which serves as an online resource for Hoosiers that addresses the opioid crisis in our state.
    Next Level Recovery offers ever-evolving information on Indiana’s opioid battle to emergency personnel, community leaders, law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals, as well as those struggling with substance abuse disorders and their families. The website includes data on opioid abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement; information on state initiatives; and ways for Hoosiers and employers to get involved.
    Indiana lawmakers are working hard to combat the drug epidemic in our state, and I hope to see this resource have a positive impact on our efforts.
    Sen. Phil Boots represents Indiana District 23 which includes Montgomery, Boone, Fountain, Parke, Warren and Vermillion counties. In addition, Sen. Boots is one of the owners of Sagamore News Media and The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach him at senator.boots@iga.in.gov
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  • Monday, November 6, 2017 4:00 AM
    This week I’d like to write about a problem that costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year – Medicare fraud and abuse. Medicare paid out $591 billion in payments for services and medications in 2016, accounting for 14.8 percent of the federal budget. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports that 11 percent of those payments were “improper,” meaning the services were not necessary, did not meet Medicare guidelines, or were downright fraudulent (a decrease from 2015).
    Medicare fraud refers to individuals or companies who obtain payments from Medicare under false or illegal pretenses. The OMB has been making a concerted effort to limit Medicare fraud, but Medicare is an easy target since it is such a complex program. It’s like playing the lottery for those who are intent on defrauding the government, but with a much higher chance of a payoff.
    There are three major categories of Medicare fraud: phantom billing, false patient billing, and upcoding, also known as upbilling.
    Phantom billing involves a provider billing Medicare for services or procedures that were not necessary or were never provided. Billing for medical equipment falls under this category. I see this type of fraud frequently when companies bill Medicare for equipment or services for my patients that they never requested or that I did not prescribe.
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  • Saturday, November 4, 2017 4:00 AM
    Following my knee operation, my doctor informed me that I’d developed borderline anemia. I don’t even know how that’s possible. Since the new administration took over, I’m afraid to cross any borders.
    My physician suggested I focus on a healthy, high-protein diet, heavy on foods like kale, spinach, hearty cuts of beef, and a bowl of Raisin Bran every day. Fortunately these are already some of my food faves—including the spinach—which I even liked when I was a kid. I remember being skeptical of the television marketing for that vegetable, though. They tried to convince me that eating spinach would help me attract the opposite sex. I was not in the market for anyone who looked like Olive Oyl.
    Most vegetables represented a special challenge during my childhood. The grown-ups needed a way to make me consume them, and I needed a fun way to play with them . . . and to avoid having to eat them.
    Carrots: In my house, we always ate carrots raw. I have no memory of my mother ever cooking them, except that a few always crept into her beef stew. Just for color, she’d say. My grandmother always stressed they were good for our eyes and her proof was that we never saw dead rabbits on the road. Possum corpses, on the other hand, were strewn everywhere. “Possums hate carrots,” my grandmother informed me. I know now what a bunch of hooey that was, but darn, that was a pretty good piece of propaganda, don’tcha think? I still like carrots and have never been hit by a car. Thanks, Grandma.
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