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Monday, December 10, 2018
  • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 4:00 AM
    Ever wonder when you left the sane, normal world we grew up in and landed in some other dimension? A dimension where:
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas is called racist because Franklin, an African-American character in Charles M. Schulz’ famous Peanuts strip, is shown seated on one side of the table by himself (I thought it might be so he could stay away from the dirt off Pigpen).
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is flagged as promoting bullying because “all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.”
    It doesn’t stop there.
    • The movie is also sexist because Rudolph’s dad tells his mom that she can’t look for the missing reindeer because it’s “man’s work.”
    Wait, we’re not done.
    • There’s advice that we should not have Christmas cookies shaped like Christmas trees with red and green sprinkles because they are not inclusive.
    But want to know the one that gets me the most?
    • It’s not OK to have a holiday party. Seriously! A holiday party! It wasn’t that long ago I learned we can’t have Christmas parties or say Merry Christmas because that was politically incorrect. Now we can’t even have holiday parties because (are you ready for this) not everyone has holidays in December. So the advice is, any parties near the end of this month should be “end of year” parties.
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2018 4:00 AM
    OK, we made it through Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Sick Saturday and Cyber Monday . . . OK, I made up that Sick Saturday thing. But after everything I ate Thursday, that’s pretty much how I felt.
    Today is Giving Tuesday.
    According to the website, this is the seventh year focused on charitable contributions. The event “has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”
    Enter the Montgomery United Fund.
    There are only 34 days left in this year, which means 34 days left to donate to an organization that serves 16 worthy organizations. 
    Look, without sounding too heavy handed here, there’s simply no other organization in Montgomery County that does as much good. That’s not a knock on churches or other fine non-profits and charities. It’s just that the United Fund in Montgomery County reaches thousands of individuals.
    Like who?
    0 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:00 AM
    We live in crazy times, friends. 
    If I may, I’d like your permission to set aside politics, labels of R’s and D’s, conservatives and liberals and all the rest for just a minute. Why? Because it seems that in today’s world the “facts” depend on whose eyes we look through. So if we could simply consider:
    • Our president – yes, if you are an American he’s yours, too – routinely acts like an arrogant ass in a way no president before has.
    • We The People treat our “friends” and neighbors so badly that hateful name-calling and spiteful back-stabbing are commonplace on social media.
    • The idea that we are “entitled” to things we didn’t work for or legitimately earn is now the norm, not the exception.
    • Along those lines, We The People depend on government to provide for us more than at any time since the Great Depression.
    • Perhaps because of that, trust in our government has reached epic lows.
    • And that may be caused by the fact that too many decisions are made in government as a result of what party is in power and not what’s best for We The People.
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018 4:00 AM
    It’d been a while since I’d seen my pal John Hammer. Perhaps that’s why he was on my mind Saturday morning. Or maybe it was just a coincidence. Don’t know. All I do know is that I came out of the bathroom and saw him a few feet ahead of me walking toward my office.
    “G’morning, John.”
    He stumbled a bit.
    There are moments in life that provide a pleasant surprise. This was one of them. After all the times he has nearly given me a heart attack, showing up when I least expected it . . . I mean this is John Hammer, for crying out loud. He’s a man bigger than a mountain with hands the size of catcher’s mitts and a voice deeper than the rumble from a ’67 Chevy missing a muffler.
    “’S’matter John,” I smirked. “Scare you?”
    “Nah, just tripped.”
    Whenever the man called the Hammer stops by he usually has something on his mind. This was no exception.
    “Let me ask you a question, Timmons,” he began. “Did you pay attention to this past election?”
    I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or serious.
    0 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, November 6, 2018 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of an Ursula Andress blacklight poster . . . 
    We’ve been asked why we did not endorse any candidate this election. One wise-acre asked if we wised up and stopped endorsing. Several of you say you missed it. Still another asked if we were endorsing Trump.
    Ah, so many questions so little time.
    First, to the Trump question. Our clocks fell back an hour Sunday, not two years. As for endorsements, yes, we will continue to offer our thoughts when we feel it’s warranted. I’ve been lucky enough to work for some awfully good newspapers over the decades and most of the good ones do indeed give their opinion on candidates they believe deserving. Why? Well, first off, we are one of the few mediums that people pay to come to their homes so they must at least value some of our opinions . . . and of course that’s all it is, our opinion. Take it or leave it and, like this column says, the value is probably a bit south of the proverbial two cents.
    As to this particular election, we simply don’t feel an endorsement should be made between the candidates. This election – especially at the county level – isn’t about one candidate vs. another. It’s about a direction. Zoning? Wind farms? The candidates have made their positions clear and your vote is more about those issues than anything else.
    We figure that’s about as clear as it gets.
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  • Tuesday, October 30, 2018 4:00 AM
    It was a dark and stormy night . . . 
    Always wanted to start a story like that, and today being the eve of all hallows eve seemed like as good a time as any. Plus, we’re more or less on the eve of another election – but with early voting who knows, is there really an Election Day anymore? 
    Beg pardon; I digress.
    As sick as most Hoosiers are of Messrs. Braun and Donnelley, here’s hoping those two clowns don’t keep Montgomery County voters away from the polls. Sure, after watching countless hours of tasteless and classless TV ads, the temptation is to write the entire thing off as hopeless and start a caravan heading somewhere else. The problem is, who wants to go north where it’s colder? We could go east or west but I’m not that great a swimmer. And we can’t go south because Mexico’s immigration policies are pretty tough.
    So if we’re stuck here, we may as well participate in the process and try to make things as good as they can be. Besides, while mid-term elections are often passé, this one has some teeth in it locally. In fact, in honor of Halloween, you might say this election (cue dramatic horror film music) is for the soul of the county!
    Too melodramatic? Yeah, ok.
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, October 23, 2018 4:00 AM
    Babies are born. Men and women die. Happens every day. Once in a while, it happens to those we care about and the whole process we know as life gets a little more personal.
    Claude Johnson, a man many people know in this community and a topic of this column once or thrice, passed away recently. He’ll be celebrated with a service this week and many great things will be said about him.
    Deservedly so.
    Look, there’s no secret here. Claude was a friend. I’ve said so in this space. He even shared his story with you when he found out his time with this mortal coil was limited.
    So today won’t be a maudlin reflection on the life of a man lost too soon. Instead, let’s focus on what it is we’re losing as the Claude Johnsons of the world pass on.
    Bigger than life personalities.
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:00 AM
    Good people trying to do good things . . . 
    Let me tell you a story.
    A couple of weeks ago, Montgomery County Councilman Mark Smith sat on a stage at Crawfordsville High School. He was one of three up there for a political debate. One of the comments Smith made was that we don’t need “Washington-style politics” in Montgomery County.
    Last week, he said it again, adding “but that’s exactly what we got.”
    He’s talking about a large no wind farm sign that was taken off his property last week. According to Smith, Rich Watkins and Linda Schoen, members of the anti-wind farm group, came on Smith’s land, dug the sign up and took it.
    “It was broad daylight,” he said. “That’s pretty blatant. It’s trespassing.”
    Neither Watkins nor Schoen dispute that they were there or that they took the sign. Whether or not it was trespassing is a different story.
    “We repossessed that sign for the owner.” Watkins explained. “I know a little bit about repossessions. I don’t have any qualms on the trespassing claim. It was a repossession.”
    Schoen said that the location mattered.
    “If it was at Mark’s house or quite a ways (inside the property line), no, we wouldn’t. But it was right there by the road.”
    Watkins and Schoen both said the sign is owned by a third party and that they had every right to take it back.
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled while listening to Sen. Susan Collins’ speech . . .
    We are 28 days away from what is usually known as a minor election. The so-called mid-terms – called such because it’s the election that comes in the middle of the chief executive’s term – typically don’t produce huge turnouts. With the sickening mess we’ve watched unfold over the Supreme Court nomination this one might be different. Regardless of which side of the aisle you prefer to sit, most agree that this is an important election.
    Hard to disagree.
    It’s also an important election right here in River City – with a capital E and that rhymes with C and that stands for county.
    The local Republicans have been split for a while now between those on the far right and others who are more moderate. The far right have found unusual bedfellows in both independents and Democrats as they band together on property rights and their opposition to wind turbines. 
    There’s nothing new there. That division has been going on for a while. However, there is a growing division between city and county and this election will have a definitive impact on that in both the county council and county commissioners.
    How’s that?
    4 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, October 2, 2018 4:00 AM
    At the recent candidate forum in Crawfordsville, the opioid crisis was mentioned by county council candidate Greg Wilcox who correctly identified the problem as a disorder. Everyone seems to agree that the crisis connects to a multitude of issues, from victims dying to jail overcrowding to rising medical costs and more. If you are a particular age, you probably remember back in 1971 when then President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs.
    That was almost half a century ago and it’s a war that, if we’re not losing, we’re certainly still fighting.
    I heard an interesting presentation from Dr. Nicholas Piotrowski, an addiction psychiatry specialist in Lafayette who is the Medical Director of Addictions for Wabash Valley Alliance. He gave a talk comparing how the medical community typically treats patients with diseases like diabetes as opposed to substance abuse disorder patients. 
    Let’s start with diabetes. Teams of specialists get involved so the patient has an expert at every turn. A long-term plan is set up for what is likely life-long treatment. The idea is to start the treatment as soon as the disease is detected. And medicine is prescribed to give the patient the best chance of success.
    Now let’s take a look at how substance abuse disorder is typically treated.
    0 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018 4:00 AM
    Somehow, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that fall elections come just days after Halloween. The bewitching season seems a rather appropriate time considering all the monkey business we see, don’t you think?
    For example, is Mike Braun a good business owner or a cruel, heartless SOB who puts truck drivers on the road without sleep and fires employees with health issues? I talked to a pal who owns a business in Jasper, where Braun’s Meyer Distributing firm is headquartered. According to at least someone who lives and works in Jasper, Braun and his company have good reputations. Does that mean you should vote for him? Not saying that. Just saying that maybe the truth gets lost in the strangeness of the season.
    Let’s take political debates.
    Thursday is the League of Women Voters candidate forum. It’s at Crawfordsville High School and all the candidates are invited. Dr. Tim Brown, the Indiana House District 41 State Representative, will surely miss as he recovers from injuries sustained in a serious motorcycle accident Sept. 12 – and here’s sending good wishes for a full recover his way. However, everyone assumed that incumbent county commissioner Jim Fulwider and incumbent county council member Mark Smith would be there, as would their opponents, Ed Stephens and Greg Wilcox respectively.
    You know what happens when you assume.
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, September 11, 2018 4:00 AM
    Perhaps there’s not a lot millennials and baby boomers have in common, but one thread we share is the horrific attack America suffered on Sept. 11, 2001 – 17 years ago today.
    For weeks at least and probably months afterward we stood as one. One nation, united. Ages didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. Truth to tell, hardly anything did. We were like the proverbial family . . . fight like hell in our house, but brother, don’t let some outsider step in because, Katy bar the door, it’s on.
    God forbid, but I wonder if we would be galvanized as one if something similar happened today?
    Sure, I think the immediate reaction would be comparable. But I suspect it wouldn’t last as long as it did last time. And when you think about it, the aftermath of 9-11 didn’t last as long as, oh, let’s say from Dec. 7, 1941 through the last half of August, 1945. As a nation, we endured years of rationing meat, sugar, gas and other “necessities” that we learned weren’t as necessary as we thought. 
    Does anyone think We The People could handle rationing today? For years? Even months?
    Didn’t think so.
    Friends, there’s a lot of bad things going on. Sure, political parties – dating back to the Whigs and Tories before they crossed the pond – have always fought. The Federalist Party had a few differences of opinions with the opposition. You can say that Republicans and Democrats came about it honestly.
    0 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, September 4, 2018 4:00 AM
    In just about two and a half weeks we’ll wave a fond farewell to summer and hello to . . . the full-blown election season.
    Right here in Montgomery County, that means candidates in contested races will shift into high gear and start the final push for the Nov. 6 election – a date that isn’t as important as it used to be. Early voting begins Oct. 10 and more and more of us are taking advantage of that, so candidates must get their message out because they simply don’t know when someone will cast their ballot.
    While we’re calendar watching, another date that’ll likely be important this year is Oct. 19. That’s when the first campaign finance reports get filed and there’s more attention than usual on where campaign dollars are coming from.
    Two races that are attracting a lot of attention are county council and county commissioner. Conservative Greg Wilcox is taking on incumbent Mark Smith for the District 3 council seat. And former county commissioner Ed Stephens is running against incumbent Jim Fulwider for the District 2 commissioner seat. (Indiana Rep. Tim Brown also has an opponent, but is expected to win easily.)
    The county races are going to be, in the immortal words of Laugh-In’s Artie Johnson (Google it, millennials), verrrrry interesting. These give voters the opportunity to choose between different visions of Montgomery County’s future. On one hand, Stephens and Wilcox are anti-zoning and appear to want Montgomery County to remain a mostly quiet, rural county. Smith and Fulwider, at a glance, seem to fit much more on the platform of growth and what some call improvement.
    0 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, August 28, 2018 4:00 AM
    For the month of August, we at the Little Paper That Could have celebrated what we’ve called Founders Month. The idea was to observe the creation of a locally owned newspaper that exists for no other reason than to chronicle the events and people who make up our little corner of God’s country.
    No, don’t take that wrong. We are a business – we intend to make a profit (because it’s the only way a business can continue to stay in business). So, no, I’m not saying this is an altruistic, noble endeavor. However, unlike a lot of other newspapers who are owned by out-of-state companies, we aren’t pulling down profit margins that would be labeled obscene and money-grabbing by any reasonable measure.
    It’s always been our goal to operate in such a way that we return a fair profit to our shareholders and complete the trifecta, or as we say over and over and over around here – win-win-win. What’s that? What we do has to make sense for our customers, our employees and our company. If any one of those three don’t feel like they got a square deal, it’s not a model that holds up well against the test of time.
    That’s sort of been the problem for this industry for quite a while now. A lot of people think the Internet came along and next thing you know newspapers started going the way of T-Rex before the Jurassic movies came along – decaying in the ground. That’s just not the case. Daily newspaper circulation started declining in the 1950s and continued to slide down each decade since. 
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  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 4:00 AM
    Have I mentioned how much I like our not-so-new digs? Working every day in the old Crawfordsville High School is a blast. It brings back memories from high school sporting events. It has character. At night and early mornings it’s quiet and lends itself to getting some work done.
    If you are familiar with the atrium-area where our office is, there’s a hallway that runs from my office to a restroom. As a basically cheap guy, I leave lights off to save some electricity (sorry, Phil Goode!). Even though it’s almost pitch-black back by the restroom, I’m certainly at the age where I travel that way often enough. Who needs lights?
    No need to go into more (ahem) detail, but some of my best ideas for these Tuesday dabblings come from some uninterrupted time spent . . . sitting. This Saturday morning I had a really great idea for a column (at least I thought it was), so I hurriedly wrapped up, started toweling off my hands and hurried back to my desk-
    In a dark hallway where I expected no one to be was the massive John Hammer. It’s not that it hasn’t happened before. In fact, it happens often enough you’d think I’d be more alert.
    “Sorry, Timmons,” the giant of a man mumbled. “Was looking for the restroom before I came to see you.”
    “Well for heaven’s sake, don’t let me slow you down,” I snapped, maybe a little too sarcastically.
    0 comment(s)
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Copyright 2018
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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