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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
    Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:00 AM
    For two generations, the Nissan Versa held its own in the sub-compact car segment not with flashy styling nor lavish interiors, but with an affordable price, roomy cabin, and competent handling. Priorities led to cars with tall/narrow profiles and interiors awash in hard plastic. For 2020, the Versa arrives for its third generation keeping all owners appreciated while slapping on some fancy new clothes.
    Styling cribs the larger Altima and Maxima, which means it is sleek and handsome. Proportions are longer (1.6 inches), wider (1.8 inches), and lower (2.3 inches) for a more athletic appearance, but it also adopts Nissan’s V-motion grille, boomerang headlamps/taillamps, kicked up C-pillars, and floating roof. Choose the SR sport trim for 17” wheels, dark chrome grille, body color spoiler, and LED headlamps. There are eight colors available, including Electric Blue Metallic, Monarch Orange Metallic, and Scarlet Ember Tintcoat.
    Moving across the doorsill, there’s still plenty of hard plastic, but the composition feels much more upscale – especially with the available contrasting color seats and dash insert. A D-shaped steering wheel, floating touchscreen, remote keyless entry, and push button staring make good first impressions. Heated front seats and automatic climate control are available – as are Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free with hands-free text messaging, and a rear view monitor. Load in bicycles and gear with 60/40 split/fold rear seats.
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  • Ask Rusty: How is my benefit figured?
    Friday, August 16, 2019 4:00 AM
    Dear Rusty: I am 60 years old. I have worked full time since age 22. I am thinking about working part-time ages 62-65. When I start collecting my social security benefit sometime after age 65, will my monthly amount be based on only the last few years of my working? Can you please explain how my monthly amount will be determined? Signed: Planning My Future

    Dear Planning: I admire that you’re thinking ahead to your retirement years and I’m happy to clarify this for you. Your Social Security benefit, when you claim it, will be based upon the highest earning 35 years of your lifetime working career (not only the last few years). To determine your benefit, Social Security will take your entire record of lifetime earnings, adjust each year for inflation, and select the 35 years in which you had the highest earnings. After totaling those years they’ll divide by 420 (the number of months in 35 years) to determine your “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME). They then break your AIME into several parts (using what’s known as “bend points”) and then take a percentage of each part and add it up to arrive at what’s called your “primary insurance amount” or “PIA.” The “bend point” values change each year, but for 2019 they are $926 and $5583. To compute your benefit, the formula will take 90% of the first $926 of your AIME; 32% of your AIME between $926 and $5583; and 15% of any amount of your AIME over $5583. The product of those three computations are added together to arrive at your PIA. 
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  • Monday, August 5, 2019 4:00 AM
    For those of you who have been following our public outreach efforts the last couple of years, you’re aware that the Commissioners’ focus has been on effective planning for our County’s future. We’ve created an Economic Development Plan that identified areas of potential growth; a Comprehensive Plan which our community spent months constructing and memorializing a vision for our future; and an overall Strategic Plan that has helped identify impediments to growth, such as deficiencies in public infrastructure. All three have led us to the next phase, and this week’s topic: The Thoroughfare Plan, which is a master “vision” for our roads and bridges. Montgomery County does not currently have a thoroughfare plan. We recognize the need to look forward and identify ways in which we can assess the county’s infrastructure, to respond to future challenges and opportunities. When complete, this plan is a continuation of the ideas presented in earlier plans and will support investment from residential developers and/or new businesses.
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  • Friday, August 2, 2019 4:00 AM
    Many schools have started the new academic calendar, making this the first school year under the new state budget passed by the Indiana General Assembly. In the budget, we increased K-12 support by $763 million, including a $20 million increase for school safety grants.
    During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers created measures that would increase school bus safety, expand workforce development opportunities, enhance security procedures in schools and strengthen students’ civics knowledge.
    Here are some positive changes you can expect to see as students return to school.
    Schools are now required to minimize bus stops that make children cross highways in high-speed areas.
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  • Friday, July 19, 2019 4:00 AM
    Earlier, we touched on the need to “tell our story.” This week, I’d like to expand on what that process entails.
    So what makes us believe that telling our story, or “marketing” ourselves will work?
    Geographically, we are situated next door to central Indiana’s current leader in growth and expansion: Boone County. The historic facades of our downtown are already what many communities like Carmel, Fishers, Whitestown and Brownsburg are trying to recapture by replicating old world charm in new construction. We are already a collaborative, hardworking, flexible, ambitious and welcoming community, and today . . . we have the visionary leadership and political will to embrace these attributes and expand on this solid foundation. Modifications and implementation of policy and priority are now required to adequately prepare for and support the kind of growth our community has identified as desirable.
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  • Ask Rusty – Will my Canadian pension affect my U.S. Social Security?
    Thursday, July 11, 2019 7:20 PM
    Dear Rusty: I worked for 15 years in Canada and for 20 years in the USA and I live in the USA. I will get Social Security from the US soon and I suspect that I can get a smaller (20% of US) pension from Canada as well. Does the US claw back (all or part) of a Canadian pension from the US pension amount? Is it possible it's a net loss to apply for Canadian pension? Signed: Dually Entitled
    Dear Dually Entitled: The United States and Canada have a bilateral agreement which regulates benefits for people who have worked part of their career in both countries and are eligible for benefits from both. Under this agreement, your Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) benefit, earned independently in Canada, will affect your U.S. Social Security (SS) benefit amount based upon a rule in U.S. Social Security regulations known as the Windfall Elimination Provision (or "WEP").
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  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019 1:30 AM
    As you know, Dan Guard took Phil Bane’s spot as commissioner in April of this year. He’s had some time to get his feet wet and I thought I’d sit down with him this week for a little Q&A one on one!
    FREY: What is your professional background?
    Guard: I have owned and operated Lawn Guard (formerly known as Vita Green Lawn) for the past 15 years. Prior to that, I was a supervisor for Fed Ex Ground in Indianapolis.
    FREY: Where do you live and tell me about your family?
    Guard: My wife, Stacey, and I have been married 25 years and live in Crawfordsville. She has been a teacher at Crawfordsville Middle School for 26 years. We have a daughter, Darby, who recently graduated from Anderson University and is a labor/delivery nurse at Anderson Community Hospital and is getting married in August. Our son, Devin, will be a junior at Wabash College.
    FREY: Any current or past board work?
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  • Guest column: Support your hometown newspaper
    Friday, June 28, 2019 12:32 AM
    “For the times they are a-changin'” sang Bob Dylan. And the digital age has changed the way information is eaten, swallowed, and digested. We can’t stop progress, but we must maintain the salience of our hometown newspapers (in print or digital). Why? Local newspapers serve significant roles in local societies.
    “When local newspapers shut their doors, communities lose out. People and their stories can’t find coverage. Politicos take liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them accountable. What the public doesn’t know winds up hurting them. The city feels poorer, politically and culturally,” penned Kriston Capps in a 2018 article at
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  • Buick, Chevrolet introduce bigger little crossovers
    Wednesday, June 12, 2019 7:58 AM
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  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 7:50 AM
    Every day, I find myself talking about how uniquely terrific our community is. This week, I want to share nine of my favorite things!
    1. Sugar Creek. I can’t stress enough how fortunate we are to have Sugar Creek in our back yard. I know many who make canoeing on Sugar Creek an annual tradition. Whether you’re canoeing, tubing, walking along the bank looking for crinoids, camping, or kayaking, it’s just a great place to take in and enjoy, especially during the summertime months! Plan an adventure today. Visit!
    2. Shades State Park & Pine Hills Nature Reserve. Located 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, people love to visit this nature lover’s paradise. Shades offers many special events throughout the year including car shows, living history, volunteer days, fishing derbies and more! If you haven’t even been to Shades, you need to go! Pine Hills is especially beautiful if you are up for a long hike! Plan your day at Shades now. Call 435.2810 or visit
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  • 2019 Nissan Armada rides like velour
    Wednesday, June 5, 2019 2:01 PM
    Those of us who grew up in the ‘80s remember a time when velour cloth seats were every bit as luxurious as leather. I still remember riding in my uncle’s 1987 Cadillac Fleetwood with soft velour. Lincoln, Mercury, Buick, and Oldsmobile all were dressed in velour. So, when I stepped inside the Nissan Armada SV with gray velour, I felt a warm hug. The rest of the Armada is pretty smooth too.
    If the Armada looks a little too familiar, that’s because it is essentially the same big wagon as the Infiniti QX80 domestically and Nissan Patrol, that you usually see with white paint and UN logos, globally. If it seems large, it’s actually smaller than the previous Titan-based edition. Still, it’s a pretty solid platform and it looks especially tough with a big chrome grille, LED headlamps, and 18” wheels. Chrome window trim with upturned line at the rear adds class – as do a sculpted step bars that help move you inside. 
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  • 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport is so extra
    Wednesday, May 29, 2019 2:55 AM
    When my five-year-old daughter gets especially sassy and demanding of life’s luxuries, my husband and I tell her she’s “so extra”! It’s both a compliment and a nod to her attitudinal ridiculousness. Cadillac is showing similar behavior with the XT4, a compact crossover that’s taking the brand into a broader array of vehicles. From grille to fins, it’s very clearly the Cadillac of sassy little crossovers.
    Stylists had to adapt Cadillac’s traditional design cues to an urban-friendly crossover more likely to attract Millennials than their parents – all without offending their empty nester parents. Our Sport model leads with a black mesh grille, LED headlamps, and 20” alloy wheels. Cadillac has historically been known for sharp creases that finish with at least hints of fins. I could do without the cutesy horizontal elements being added to headlamps and taillights, but the power dome hood and vertical lighting connect the XT4 to all generations. 
    My favorite part of the XT4 is probably the interior with layered stitched materials on the dash and real carbon fiber trim on the dash and doors. Heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a thick heated steering wheel add comfort. Automatic climate control, Bose audio, dual-pane sunroof, and front seat massagers go several better. Connect devices effortlessly with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi. Cadillac finessed its infotainment system with a combination of touchscreen and console-mounted joywheel.
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  • Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:50 AM
    Montgomery County citizens have voiced their opinions that they want our community to prosper. So, you ask, “Since receiving this feedback, what have we done that will allow our community to thrive? What’s new this time?” Answer: We’ve finally made the commitment to change. 
    We will no longer accept status quo. We no longer just complain that “Nothing ever changes here.” We are finally moving past the fear of change. Obviously, there are still challenges, but as difficult as it was at times, we now have a unified vision of what our residents find important to attain for the future. We will continue to keep our citizens informed, seek understanding, define parameters, and further educate ourselves and others of the legalities involved so even more people can jump onboard with implementation of a unique comprehensive plan for our county. 
    An abundance of effort has been exhibited the last few years to prepare the groundwork and lay the foundation on which our community will expand. Broadening our opportunities is reliant on several facets, including increasing our resident base, improving our quality of place and adding retail options. It also includes job creation through expanding business and industry.
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  • Monday, May 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    National Foster Care Month, observed each May, recognizes the important role foster parents, child welfare professionals and other community members play in the lives of foster children.
    It is estimated that 442,000 kids and teens across the nation are unable to stay in their own homes because of abuse or neglect, and as of March 2019, over 14,500 of these children live in Indiana.
    To raise awareness of the number of children in Indiana's foster care system, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) will host events this month throughout the state promoting opportunities to help our state's most vulnerable children.
    This year, the General Assembly passed legislation during the 2019 session to support DCS and Indiana’s foster children.
    For example, our state’s next two-year budget allocates $502 million in additional funding to DCS.
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  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019 2:44 AM
    Non-profit – a status an organization can have with the IRS. There are several levels or types of non-profit status an organization can operate under, but the most common type we see is the 501(c)3 status.
    Throughout my short career with the Chamber of Commerce, this is a term that gets used quite often when discussing who we are as an organization and why we exist. It’s curious how you can simply throw in this hyphenated word and the whole conversation can take on a whole new demeanor. The Chamber of Commerce happens to be a 501(c)6, which basically states that people or organizations receive goods or services in exchange for any monetary transactions that occur. Unlike a 501(c)3 status where goods or services aren’t exchanged with a monetary transaction.
    I am privileged to have the opportunity to volunteer and serve on boards, committees, and working groups for several non-profit groups in Montgomery County. I see first-hand the tremendous efforts and goals our non-profits create for our local community.
    If you can believe it or not, non-profits need your help and not just the kind of help your wallet can bring. Our local Montgomery County non-profits need our community members to give their expertise, knowledge, and time too for them to be successful. Please trust me when I say “Our local non-profits are doing a tremendous amount of good for Montgomery County.”
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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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