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Tuesday, October 16, 2018
  • 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.
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  • 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?
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:00 AM
    There is a twinkle in her eye.
    As a guy who dabbles in the written word, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a bunch of authors – all the way from ones who would give almost anything to sell a book to those who’ve sold millions.
    One thing many of them share is that twinkle. They are always thinking, always looking at things differently from the rest of us. You and I might see a book on baby names and not give it a second thought. They see that book as a resource for naming characters in stories they haven’t even imagined yet.
    The world, through their eyes, is one possibility after another.
    Talk to Stephanie Cain very long and you’ll see that twinkle.
    The local author and Visitor Services Coordinator at the Gen. Lew Wallace Study & Museum has more than a dozen titles to her credit, including her signature Storms in Amethir series. She recently released the second book in her series set in Indianapolis, Circle City Magic.
    Full disclosure. I’m a fan. A lot of what Stephanie writes isn’t my cup of tea. No, no, it has nothing to do with the writing. She’s got a way with words that makes it hard to understand why she isn’t on a best-seller list somewhere. It’s simply the genre she typically writes – epic fantasy – isn’t my favorite. However, her first Circle City book, as evinced by the name, takes place in my favorite city in the world. And growing up in the 1960s, I was a big fan of the supernatural TV show, Dark Shadows. So when I heard about Stephanie’s Shades of Circle City I bought it. A few hours later, I was hooked. 
    Her characters are believable, the storyline mixes ghosts and werewolves in a way that keeps you interested and her depictions of scenes around Indianapolis are dead on – no pun intended.
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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a 1992 Bill Clinton whistle-stop tour ticket from Burlington, N.C. . . . 
    * * * 
    AS ANOTHER school year dawns, here’s hoping from this little corner of God’s country that teachers, students, administrators and all school employees have a safe and successful year. It’s been written in this space multiple times on how we have to find an answer to the shootings and killings in our schools and overall society but whatever that answer is, it’s been elusive. 
    Wouldn’t it be great to read about scholarships and honor rolls and exploits from the fields, courts and classroom and not have to read about another senseless act of violence? 
    Here’s hoping!
    * * * 
    ALONG THOSE lines, the Little Paper That Could is once again offering teachers (as well as first responders and active military) a free one-year subscription to our Online Edition. Like we’ve said, we understand this isn’t anything like winning the lottery, but it is a $42 value and it’s what we can do to say thanks to all of those fine, fine folks.
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  • Tuesday, July 31, 2018 4:00 AM
    Where’s Harlow Hickenlooper when you need him?
    Happy birthday to The Paper
    Happy birthday to The Paper
    Happy birthday dear Paper!
    Happy birthday to you!
    Yup, today is indeed the day because on July 31 some 14 years ago the Little Paper That Could was born when documents were filed and the state took the first of many payments!
    So, if you sang along, thanks ever so much! And for the younger members of our party, Harlow, otherwise known as Hal Fryar, passed away just a little more than a year ago at the age of 90. He used to entertain boys and girls (including this one) on Saturday morning television in the 1960s. Among many things, he was known for his wonderful rendition of the birthday song and I know he would’ve been thrilled to sing it this year for us – and all of you.
    I digress (as usual). Today kicks off a month-long celebration that we call Founders Month. The purpose is not to stomp our feet and draw all the attention to us that we can (although if you want to keep your focus solely on us I won’t gripe). The real purpose is to celebrate the whole concept of the entrepreneurial spirit and local business.
    Let me digress again (hey, if you are one of the eight or nine regular readers of this drivel you’re used to it). I was recently given Bill Helling’s wonderful Images of America book on Crawfordsville. (If you haven’t seen it or Karen Zach’s Crawfordsville: Athens of Indiana – both from Arcadia Publishing – get them. They are well worth it!)
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  • Tuesday, July 24, 2018 4:00 AM
    Almost two decades ago I had a few long conversations with some business owners I knew and trusted. The idea of starting a company was bouncing around in my head so I sought advice from those wiser – yeah, yeah, I know, that means I could’ve talked to most of the population on the planet.
    It’ll be the hardest thing you’ve ever done . . . You can’t even imagine . . . It’s tremendously rewarding from both a community pride and satisfaction viewpoint . . . Have you lost your mind . . . 
    Those were some of the responses we can print in a family newspaper.
    The idea went on a shelf for a while, but a few years later it resurfaced. One thing led to another and thanks to a lot of folks, the Little Paper That Could is celebrating its 14th anniversary later this month.
    There are people all over town who won’t admit it now, but have been on record for most of those 14 years saying we weren’t going to last another six months. Actually, they’ve been saying a lot more but, you know, it’s that family newspaper thing again.
    Thing is, all those wise business owners from above turned out to be right. As so many of you know so much better than us rookies, owning and / or running a small business is anything but easy. Don’t get me wrong, no one’s claiming to be a victim here – and no one is griping. The long hours, the heartaches, the valleys, the peaks, the valleys (oh, did I already say that one?), they are what they are. 
    1 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, July 17, 2018 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In poster . . . 
    * * *
    IF ANYONE has a workable answer on how our country can get off the divisive, destructive and intolerant path we’re on, please share. Since we just celebrated the 4th of July it seems a good time for someone to raise their hand and say, hey, why don’t we just do this . . . 
    * * *
    JUST GOT a mailing about a newspaper industry conference coming up and wanted to share a piece of it:
    “Truth is the antidote for fake news . . . The truth is newspapers have never been under greater threat of attack. Never has your nation needed your leadership more. Never has there been a greater need for a rational voice to pull your community together. Never has your work been more important to the cause of freedom, democracy and independence.”
    You bet I’m biased, but if not for newspapers, who keeps an honest eye on our elected officials?
    * * *
    MY PAL John Hammer paid a visit last week and his message shared in this space generated several phone calls. Seems that a lot of you agree that Congress needs to stop voting party lines and start voting for answers that make sense, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from. Of course, you, Mr. Hammer and I can all see that pretty clearly. Not sure what it takes to convince the hired hands. After all, if the American people electing Donald Trump didn’t tell them a change is clamored for, not sure what will.
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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018 4:00 AM
    “Hey, Timmons?”
    Two words. Neither one spoken loudly or in anger. The decibel level wasn’t out of the ordinary. Just two words . . . that shattered the peace and quiet of a solitary Saturday morning in the office. Two words that meant I wasn’t alone when I thought I was. Two words that nearly gave me a heart attack.
    Two words that could only mean one thing – John Hammer.
    How this giant of a man manages to sneak into a locked office during off hours has always been a mystery to me. Still, the man with the red neck and blue collar stops by when he has something on his mind. I’ve found his message over the years to be worthwhile.
    So rather than fixate on the heart palpitations, I greeted the man known as Hammer with a smile.
    “Where’s this all going, Timmons?”
    “Sorry, John? Maybe it’s the light-headedness from almost having a heart attack, but you’re going to have to be a little more specific.”
    “All I hear anymore is that we’ve got a giant line right down the middle of this country,” he explained. “You’re either a conservative or a liberal, you either like Trump or hate him, you’re either a Republican or Democrat . . . and while I suppose it’s always been that way to some degree, now if you ain’t on the same side I’m on then the hell with you.”
    “Come on, John. Don’t you think you might be exaggerating a little?”
    “EXAGGERATING?” he exploded. “Have you been paying attention? How many D.C. lawmakers vote straight party all the time? Are you telling me that good ideas are limited to one party or another? If a Democrat has a good idea, why can’t Republicans support it? Tell me that, Timmons.”
    I had nothing.
    “I’ll tell you why, because it’s all about power. It’s all about who has power and who wants to keep power. If the Democrats acknowledge anything good about Trump then they think it weakens their position for the next election. If the Republicans think the Democrats are doing something right, they won’t say it because that might give the Democrats an edge.”
    His gravelly voice was getting louder.
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  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018 4:00 AM
    If anyone has a workable answer on how our country can get off this divisive, destructive and intolerant path we’re on, please share. It seems like the 4th of July would be a good time for someone to raise their hand and say, hey, why don’t we just do this . . . 
    Doesn’t it?
    But if no one does, then tomorrow we can still honor our great nation’s 242nd birthday with cookouts, fireworks and – hopefully – love and respect for our fellow citizens.
    And in that light, I can’t think of a better way to honor America than to honor the greatest generation who did so very much to build this country.
    But before we do, please let me say a very personal thank you to our Notable Nineties! We, all of us, owe you so much and even though we aren’t always great at showing it, here’s hoping you truly do feel that gratitude!
    And if you or someone you know should be included in our Notable Nineties list (it’s open to anyone in or from Montgomery County who has reached the age of 90 or beyond), simply send us the name, age and birthdate if you have it. You can get it to us at 201 E. Jefferson St., Crawfordsville, Ind. 47933 or e-mail it to:
    Now, without further ado, it’s my distinct honor to present our current list of Notable Nineties!
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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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