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Thursday, April 19, 2018

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 4:00 AM
    I was just talking to someone about how much the world has changed. Between e-mails, social media and cell phones, it’s astounding that anyone gets anything done anymore. Don’t know about you, but I could spend an entire eight-hour day doing nothing but responding to e-mails and the like. So like everyone, I hurry up best I can.
    That’s what I was doing when the phone rang. With one eye still on the computer I picked up.
    “The Paper, Timmons.”
    “Well, sir, I sure got some good news for you,” the guy on the other end began in a twang that sounded like it came from somewhere south of Putnam County. “You done been selected to win a free shrimp cocktail from that well-known eatery in our capital city.”
    “St. Elmo’s?”
    “No, Bubba’s Bait and Tackle!”
    A long and loud laugh followed and I couldn’t believe that my friend Bubba got me. Actually, it’s been a while since I heard from the man who’s 45 or so cards shy of a deck. Can’t really say I missed him either.
    “Hello, Bubba. What can I do for you?”
    “I got you, Timmons!” he shrieked. “I sure did! St. Elmo’s? Ha! I really had you, didn’t I?”
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  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:00 AM
    Thanks for the feedback on last week’s ramblings. It seems a lot of us agree that the world would be a better place if we all didn’t get so danged offended every time someone zigged instead of zagged. However, there was one reply that is too good not to share.
    Seems I was making the point that the old saying “sticks and stones” wasn’t a bad barometer to live by. My new friend wrote back that if we knew each other back in the day he probably would’ve punched me in the nose . . . and then we would’ve ended up best friends. Ain’t it the truth!
    * * *
    NOT SURE the best way to get the word out, so I’ll just share right here. A while back our paper published a piece that cited recent statistics of how many police had been killed in the line of duty. Although we don’t pretend to have any answers, the Little Paper That Could wanted to do something to let police, fire and all the first responders know how much most of us appreciate them. So we’re offering all first responders in Montgomery County a free Online Edition subscription. We’ve tried to let the city and county folks know, but if you are a first responder and have not heard or taken advantage of this yet, all you have to do is send an e-mail to and let us know. 
    There’s no strings attached. We were just sitting around talking about it and wondered what a great thing it would be if every business offered a little something. Whatever we all do though, it’s not enough. It’ll never be enough.
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  • Tuesday, April 3, 2018 4:00 AM
    Maybe it was becoming a grandfather? Maybe it was when I escaped the prisoner of war camp called California and moved back home to Indiana? Maybe it was when I got hit in the head by a pitch? Don’t know when it happened, but the politically correct touch a nerve with me that goes straight from the spot where nails on a chalkboard intersect with ice-cold liquid on a bad tooth. 
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting anyone down. Not by a long stretch. The folks who lose their ever-loving minds when they see the logo for the Cleveland Indians have every right to their opinion, same as me. And even if we disagree, I’ll respect their right to be wrong.
    Just kidding! J-U-S-T K-I-D-D-I-N-G!
    However, a few new examples recently popped up that – to borrow from our pals in the NFL – need further review.
    For example, earlier this month the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, president of the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. and proud home to the Crusaders, sent a letter to students, faculty, staff and alumni to explain the school’s decision to back away from imagery that ties Holy Cross to knights and such. The Rev. Boroughs, in part, wrote: For some, knight imagery alone could convey nobility, chivalry and bravery. However, the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades.
    Hey, I get it. The good guys weren’t always the good guys during the Crusades
    But just as I was getting my head around that, an all-female college – also in Massachusetts – announced that they were not going to call their students women anymore. Yes, you read correctly. It is a college of females. Yes, they are telling their staff not to call their students women. The reason? According to a section of the school’s web site, staff are instructed to say “Mount Holyoke students rather than Mount Holyoke women” and to “avoid making statements like ‘we’re all women here . . . ’ ” Further, staff are told to “invite your students to let you know if you misgender them so that you can avoid doing so in the future.”
    Misgender? Isn’t there an old Annette and Frankie movie about guys dressed up as women trying to sneak in the female college? If there wasn’t, there should have been.
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  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 4:00 AM
    It’s been a little while since we honored what we call our Notable Nineties. So with spring just hours away, now seems a great time to so do.
    What, or more appropriate, who is a Notable Ninety? That’s anyone in or connected to our little corner of God’s country who has reached the notable age of 90. And why is that a big deal? If you’re at a certain age you know the answer. If you are a youngblood, try Googling what life was like in 1928. Slowly go forward and ponder what these people experienced and endured. Things like the war to end all wars, the great depression, the dawn of the atomic age (and the very real fear that went along with it), race riots when inequality and injustice were far more prevalent than they are today . . . that’s just for starters. They lived, worked, sweated, cried, loved, laughed and survived more. Much more.
    These folks have earned our respect. It’s truly our honor to lift them up every chance we get. Yes, there are more names today than the last time but we’re also missing some from last time as well. We remember those who have gone on in our hearts and prayers.
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  • North grad Mitch Barker strumming way to top
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:00 AM
    Mitch Barker is a young man with an old attitude.
    By today’s parlance he has an old soul. Might be. Might not. But what he definitely does have is a new album. In Transit is a collection of 10 diverse songs released late last year.
    One of the places selling it,, describes the Mitch Barker Band as “all about composing thoughtful, guitar-based rock. This diverse group of musicians create a bluesy, yet modern sound that is completely original.”
    Barker currently lives in Lafayette. His day job finds him at Faith Community Center on the west side working as a personal fitness trainer. And while he has passion for the work, it’s obvious his heart is elsewhere.
    “(Music) makes me happiest when I am working at it,” the 31-year-old said over coffee at a Lafayette book store recently. “I realized I had a strong passion (for music). I mean I liked it before, but it’s turned into a serious drive.”
    Barker has a serious voice with a wide range that comes off well in blues (Stone Cold Winter Blues), rock (Gimme Back), soft (The Price) a touch of jazz blues (Voodoo Love) and even contemporary (Free Love). His skill on a guitar is an indication of the work he’s put into his craft.
    He got that from an early start in church.
    “They had the youth group praise band,” he explained. “After that I started singing songs I know I liked and was horrible at it. I just kept trying . . . trying to be less horrible.”
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  • Annual event Saturday at Lake Waveland
    Monday, March 12, 2018 4:00 AM
    One of Indiana’s best-kept secrets has to be Lake Waveland. The more than 600 acres of beautiful land and water sit right off Indiana 47 and many of us drive by it far more often than we stop.
    Perhaps this year we ought to change that?
    A lot of good things, thanks to a lot of good people, have been happening in the southwest corner of our county. 
    Besides just being able to go out and enjoy the scenery and atmosphere of lake life, there are several events, including Catching One Youth At A Time, Touch-A-Truck and a Halloween celebration. 
    Waveland Town Board member Missi Patton came up with the idea for Catching One Youth At A Time. “It started out as a college project for a (human services) class I was taking,” Patton said. “I told Mike about it and it has grown from there.”
    Mike is fellow town board member Mike Frazier. Together the pair refined Patton’s idea and it turned into an annual event that brings young people out to the lake and teaches them the finer points of fishing. The first time was about six years ago and had 17 or 18 kids. It grew to the point where more than 60 took part.
    “The last couple of years, thanks to donations, every kid got a prize,” Frazier said. 
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  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 4:00 AM
    From our tiny beginnings almost 15 years ago, the little paper that could has been nothing if not innovative. A few folks think we’re smart. Heck, we didn’t really have a choice.
    Some of those innovations worked out nicely. Some crashed and burned. Such is life in the worldwide corporate HQ.
    The next thing we’re going to take a shot at is how news is covered and presented.
    For a while now our government coverage hasn’t been quite up to snuff. I know, I know, you’re shocked. But it’s true. Thing is, every reasonable study out there shows that newspaper readers don’t much care about reading government meeting stories.
    In addition to that, our industry has some issues, especially in the small papers, with the reporters who cover those meetings. All too often they don’t understand what they are covering. And if they don’t understand, well then, it’s kind of challenging to write an intelligent story. 
    The other issue with reporters – again, especially in small papers – sometimes is bias. A hundred or so years ago when I was one of those reporters, editors would make it abundantly clear to leave our personal feelings at the door . . . well, OK, there might have been an adjective or two before door. 
    Today, however, it’s not unheard of for a reporter to voice their own thoughts during a meeting – something that would have gotten them run out of town on a rail back in the day, or at least out of the newsroom.
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  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018 4:00 AM
    It’s rare that a specific topic is the subject of two successive columns – let alone three. However, this space last Tuesday was devoted to how Hoosier Heartland State Bank gives back. And then the management column in our Sunday Edition talked about the business aspects of what HHSB is doing.
    So today marks the third consecutive column on HHSB.
    Why? Because this fits the very definition of news. I am not aware – and typically if a newspaper reports something incorrectly a lot of people are quick to let us know – of any other local company in Montgomery County that gives back like HHSB does – publically stating that 10 percent of their profits will go back into the community.
    To refresh, here are the dollars donated by HHSB by year:
    2017: $149,986
    2016: $129,046
    2015: $119,030
    2014: $110,527
    2013: $79,506
    2012: $26,088
    2011: $12,536
    2010: $9,368
    This all came about after Linden State Bank and Farmers State Bank in New Ross merged in 2009 to form HHSB. CEO Trey Etcheson, President Brad Monts, company personnel and the board worked with New York Times best-selling author and bank consultant Roxanne Emmerich of the Emmerich Group out of Bloomington, Minn. to decide on a future path for the new company. This particular community-oriented path grew from there.
    Etcheson explains those strategic decisions have served HHSB well, not to mention the community. “I’m really proud of the community because we became No. 1 in deposit market share,” he explained. “It’s totally because of our community mission.”
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  • Spotlight shines on Wabash safety, security
    Monday, February 26, 2018 4:00 AM
    During a time when shootings on school grounds occur all too frequently, we don’t often hear stories about schools doing things right – right enough to hopefully avoid the violence.
    Wabash College is such a school.
    Earlier this week Wabash’s Dean of Students Mike Raters and Rich Woods, Director of Safety and Security, made a presentation at the National Campus Safety Summit in Las Vegas. Wabash was by far the smallest school to present.
    “This isn’t to say that we’re perfect, that we have it all figured out or that we could not have something terrible happen,” Raters explained. “I think it speaks to a national organization focusing on safety and security of college students and saw in our approach some elements that are successful and applicable.”
    Both Raters and Woods emphasized that good things in Wabash’s proactive approach to security and safety don’t ensure the future nor give anyone reason for over-confidence. But at the same time, it has to be a feather in Wabash’s camp to be held up as an example for colleges around the country.
    “A long time ago they told us ‘don’t reinvent the wheel; make the wheel better,’ ” Woods said. “That’s what we try to do. And I think (at the conference) they took parts of what we do and saw how it could make their institutions better.”
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  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 4:00 AM
    Us older folks have a secret. Young folks tend to think we might be kind of smart – sometimes. Thing is, when you’ve lived as long as some of us you just sort of accumulate knowledge. Granted, yours truly has started forgetting a whole lot, but that’s a story for another day.
    Today’s story is about one of the most amazing business models I’ve seen. Ever. Anywhere. Anytime.
    And that is no hyperbole.
    Hoosier Heartland State Bank has transformed itself into a company that transcends good business. Yes, they make a profit. Yes, they are a good place to work. Yes, they have many happy customers. 
    Truth to tell, though, a lot of banks, a lot of companies can say the same thing.
    The difference here is, how many can say they give away more than 10 percent of their profits to good people, good causes and good events in the community? How many can say their mission statement goes beyond words and is truly practiced? How many can say they put their time, treasure and talents where their mouth is?
    Hoosier Heartland can.
    Like a lot of you, I read about the bank’s Shared Values and the banquet the company held earlier this month. Like a lot of you I was floored when I read the bank handed out $50,000 in donations to local non-profits and to teachers.
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:00 AM
    Today is Feb. 13. The good Lord willing, between the time I wrote this and the time you are reading it, no more members of law enforcement have lost their lives.
    And before anyone gets excited, this is not a political statement on gun control or the (insert color) Lives Matter movement or anything else to do with politics.
    It is, pure, plain and simple, an expression of outrage.
    Beginning last Monday and ending Saturday (I hope), seven law enforcement officers lost their lives. One was involved in a car accident on his way to training. The other six were gunned down on the job.
    Gunned. Down. On. The. Job.
    This has to stop.
    I can’t remember whether it was Plato, Aristotle, Socrates or Alfred E. Neuman, but somebody a lot smarter than me said that two important jobs in society were teachers and police (guardians). But doesn’t it seem like both professions catch a lot of grief when they do their job well? Doesn’t it feel like they catch an unbelievable amount of grief when a bad apple surfaces? And it sure as hell feels like they all too often face life and death consequences for just showing up every day.
    Seven deaths.
    Six days.
    This has to stop.
    Here’s the timeline and the fallen:
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  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 4:00 AM
    A very bad story had a very good ending last week. 
    Let’s start from the beginning. Someone stuck a file containing child pornography on a post in our Facebook page. It’s my hope that hell has a special place for scum who prey on children that way. In this particular case, I don’t know about hell, but it seems fairly certain that the judiciary system will.
    Remember the much discussed super blue blood moon that took place on Jan. 31? The genius behind, Mike Berry, posted a great photo of the event on The Paper’s FB page (you should check it out, it’s a really cool picture). There were a few comments the next day, and one of them included a file that had nothing to do with the lunar eclipse.
    Mike contacted us and we contacted the police. 
    Enter Det. Travis King of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.
    King made no promises, but told us that he would look into it. That was on Thursday. Friday morning he came to our offices smiling.
    The case was solved.
    “Very unusual,” was how Det. King replied when asked if cases like this were typically solved overnight. “It was kind of amazing how fast it went,” he added.
    Without going into all the details, the file ended up on our page because it had a Montgomery County connection – Montgomery County, Alabama. However, King said the child who was involved was safe and the adult was identified and being sought by law enforcement.
    King said that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were already involved before the file got to our page and that organization worked with an arm of the Indiana State Police – ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children).
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  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 4:00 AM
    It was Jan. 28, 1986. I was a fairly new city editor still learning the job. The heavy, black rotary dial phone on my desk rang and my wife of only two and a half years was on the other end. She told me the shuttle blew up.
    * * *
    It was a different time in newspapers. It was a different time in Crawfordsville. In the world.
    Around Indiana, the spread of AIDS seemed to be on TV news each evening. The Dow Jones hadn’t reached 2,000 yet – some economists said it never would. Hijackings of airliners was on the news with some frequency. A TV miniseries, North and South, had been high in the ratings.
    Over on Green Street, Gaildene Hamilton was the editor of the Journal-Review. Pat Cline was the civic affairs editor, Alberta White entertainment editor and I was a young city editor, following a journalist named Bill Runge.
    It was a wonderful time to work in newspapers, and particularly good in Crawfordsville. We had a large staff, including a photographer, a sports editor, a lifestyle editor, an area news editor, a police and courts reporter and more. There were 10 of us in full-time journalism jobs and a few more part-timers. 
    In addition, the local radio station WCVL had three full-timers covering news and sports – Don Sherwood was the long-time news director. There was a full-time news reporter and talented Mike Haynes was the full-time sports director. 
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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018 4:00 AM
    There certainly can be a world of difference between Republicans and Democrats. However, in Montgomery County the only thing dividing them is a fence in the Pleasant Meadows housing addition.
    That’s because new GOP Chair Dan Guard and new Democratic Party Chair Virginia Servies live there and their backyards are divided by a fence. And while they may not be best friends, they appear to be friendly neighbors.
    “Dan sprays the weeds back there and we wave at each other,” Servies explained. 
    “Yes,” Guard agreed. “I see her out there and we wave and say hi.”
    Since filing for political office began on Jan. 10, the two new party bosses were kind enough recently to chat with The Paper and share a few thoughts about their new roles.
    Guard said that his job is simple. “I’m here to facilitate meetings and try to make sure that everyone elected has an R behind their name.”
    Since Montgomery County is heavily Republican, Servies looks at it a little differently.
    “We’ll let the Republicans fight it out (in the Primary) and see who comes out,” she explained. 
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  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018 4:00 AM
    Word has it that after a few years of real struggles MUFFY – Montgomery United Fund For You – is rebounding.
    Big time.
    As in BIG TIME!
    There’s no official word out of MUFFY yet – and a phone call to the offices ended with a very straight-faced answer neither confirming nor denying that the 2017 drive may indeed top last year’s total.
    So, could be I’ve got this dead wrong. But I’m hoping I don’t.
    You see, it wasn’t too long ago that even getting in the same neighborhood as last year $400K+ amount looked like a long shot. A really, really long shot. 
    Enter new executive director Terry Armstrong and associate director Kara Edie. Those two are the driving forces behind turning around what could have been described as a sinking ship.
    Sinking ship? It’s not too big a stretch.
    It’s been 10 years since MUFFY last topped the half-million dollar mark in its annual fund drive. Since then, drive results at best fluctuated between $420K to $450K, and just five years ago dropped as low as $382K.
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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P.O. Box 272
Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933


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