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Monday, June 17, 2019
  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 7:51 AM
    If you aren’t an Internet expert, like me, then perhaps you did not know that there are about a bazillion places online where you can listen to music.
    Specific music.
    Like spring of 1964 music.
    Like George Jones music.
    Top hits of 1971 music.
    You get the idea.
    It’s one of the reasons why I love Saturday mornings in the office. I can select something to go with whatever mood I’m in and next thing you know, viola! I’m be-bopping along with the Big Bopper and wondering exactly what Chantilly lace is when –
    A giant fist hit my door sending shock waves from the top of the ceiling to the lower valve on my aorta.
    “Just checking to see if you’re awake, Timmons,” rumbled the deep voice of the mountain of a man named John Hammer. Somehow, this giant manages to make his way into a locked office and scare the living Crayola’s out of me.
    1 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, June 5, 2019 2:04 PM
    Notes scribbled on the back of 1948 The Buck Stops Here, Harry Truman for President poster . . . 
    Reporter Joe LaRue is working on a story for us that should be out this week. He’s asking some of our community leaders about the fact that there have been five police shootings in a little over eight months. Now don’t get the wrong idea, Joe is not pointing any fingers or assessing blame – although some folks in our county seem quick to do so. The approach Joe’s taking is to ask various people in leadership positions their thoughts about an unusual situation – five police shootings in 250 days.
    After all, it does seem a reasonable question, doesn’t it?
    Joe will gather all the reactions and put them into a story. It’s taking a little longer simply because a few have been hard to reach and we want to give them the chance to respond.
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, May 29, 2019 3:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a “Let’s Get Two” postcard . . . referring to 1959’s addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the USofA and not a baseball double-play or Cubbies twinbill . . . We’re only 16 days away from one of my favorite MoCo events, the Strawberry Festival. For those keeping score at home, it’s also the 36th anniversary since the better half of the household stood on the courthouse steps and said she did to a newspaper guy who ended up wearing out Weejuns from North Carolina to California and back home again to Indiana
    * * *
    THANK YOU to the anonymous (well, I know who you are) reader who stopped me on the street last week. She gave yours truly hell – and that’s putting it politely – when your favorite Montgomery County daily made the switch from paper to protons (not sure if that is scientifically correct, but it sounds good) back in January. Back then she informed me in no uncertain terms that she would never read the Online Edition in her e-mail inbox at 4 a.m. each day. She said she didn’t care about the ginormous Sunday Edition. She might have added a few more choice words. Last week, she smiled and told me she was taking it all back. The Sunday Edition is now her favorite. She told me she curls up with a tablet and coffee on her comfy couch Sunday morning and spends an hour reading all the articles. She also said that she might have a reason to enlarge the page as she reads (no worries, I’ll never tell anyone your age) and that instead of grabbing the cheaters to read the printed-on-paper version she just uses her thumb and forefinger and makes it bigger on her screen. Thank you, Mrs. H! Your words mean a lot more to me than you know!
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled while watching Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson on the best version of the Tonight Show (although Jack Parr was awfully good) . . . 
    The Paper has some new and not-so-new folks that I’d like to introduce you to. Joe LaRue is a rising junior at Wabash College and is working as a news reporter at the worldwide HQ this summer. Codey Emerson is a graduating senior from Ball State University who interned here a couple of summers ago. He is returning as our brand new sports reporter.
    In addition, many of you already know Stacey Baschwit. Stacey has been in our news department for a couple of years. She’s the friendly face you see at various events all over the county. Stacey usually has camera in one hand, notepad in the other and a smile on her face. If I had a dollar for everyone who told me how nice she is, well, we could probably buy most papers within a 50 mile radius! Stacey will continue to be-bop around towns, but now she’ll be writing a weekly column about her travels every Monday.
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019 2:42 AM
    Most years around this time I sit by the phone, well, OK, it’s in my back pocket so I always sit beside (or on) it. This is the month where I am waiting on schools to call and invite me to wow soon-to-be graduates at their commencement ceremonies. I have wisdom accumulated from wearing out the soles of countless pairs of Weejuns at newspapers from one coast to another . . . and I am willing to share.
    Most years that phone never rings. Well, OK, it did last year. And I hope the graduates and those in attendance at Diapers to Diplomas Daycare Graduation 2018 enjoyed the talk as much as I did.
    However, the clock is ticking and it appears another year is going to go by without a call. Why do I bother? You see, about 45 years ago I proudly became part of the 100th graduating class from Noblesville High School. I gave a speech then. Some 350 or so students and a whole lot of Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpas listened to yours truly wax poetic about John F. Kennedy, hopes, dreams and yadda, yadda, yadda. My point? Not only can I share knowledge gleaned from a lifetime in newsrooms (mostly playing poker in the darkroom) but I have actual experience . . . on stage . . . at a microphone . . . talking to graduates.
    3 comment(s)
  • Sunday, May 12, 2019 4:00 AM
    Years ago, one of the greatest newspaper columnists of the 20th century wrote a book entitled, Don’t Forget to Call Your Mama . . . I Wish I Could Call Mine. Lewis Grizzard penned a lot of books with great names – Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself, They Tore My Heart Out and Stomped That Sucker Flat, If Love Were Oil I’d Be About a Quart Low and my favorite, If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground. The man had a way with words like few others.
    I’m thinking about Lewis today because today is the day we set aside to praise, honor and remember our moms. That book came out in 1991, two years after his mom passed. Like many southern boys, Lewis spoke of her with deep reverence. Like many boys everywhere, he spoke of her with unbridled love.
    Maybe the love hasn’t changed, but almost everything else has.
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019 2:40 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Henry Lane for governor poster . . . 
    Another election has come and gone – and all across the country there are winners and losers.
    Admittedly, my brain doesn’t seem to function the same as most folks. But here are some things I wonder every time an election wraps up.
    • Do candidates regret some of the things they said on the campaign trail?
    • In the vast majority of cases, these are really good folks. Do they wonder how they even got into a situation where they said things they might regret?
    • On the state and national level, this isn’t much of a question. But on the local level, do the winners and losers have a bad taste in their mouth?
    • Do you supposed Jim Bob Smith (who lost the election for Crawfordsville dogcatcher in 19-aught-two) told his wife to hit him upside the head with a 2x4 if he ever mentioned running for office again?
    3 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019 2:03 AM
    It’s been a part of the community for almost 20 years – and a huge part of my life for three. 
    Today, it is no more.
    Athena Sport & Fitness closed yesterday. For the people who were members, for the staff who worked there, it was a sad day. For the eight or nine of you who follow these scribblings, you know it was a sad day for me, too.
    If you aren’t familiar, Athena Sport & Fitness opened at the location of the old Crawfordsville High School around 2000. CHS had moved out to its fancy digs on State Road 47 and the stately and once proud location between College and Jefferson streets sat. Waiting. Along came developer Leo Stenz of Stenz Construction and classrooms soon became apartments. The south end of the building became a health and fitness business.
    Fourteen years later The Paper and Athena got together and created The Challenge, a fund-raiser that eventually brought in more than $30,000 to MUFFY, the Boys and Girls Clubs, a youth swimming program and youth literacy.
    It also changed my life.
    Not to get too far into the weeds, but my weight had ballooned north of 300 pounds. Despite a cardiologist, wife, two daughters and several friends telling me I had to do something about it, I didn’t.
    2 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019 4:00 AM
    “Timmons? You in there?”
    John Hammer was giving me a heads up? Had the world turned upside down? Normally, the man the size of Mt. Rushmore, shows up unannounced on a Saturday morning when the office is quiet (and dark). Somehow, he gets in without me hearing a thing. When I look up and there is this . . . mountain, it scares the living daylights out of me.
    But a heads up? This is new.
    “We’re fixing to come up a bad cloud, Timmons.”
    “We’re fixing to come up a bad cloud. You never heard that before?”
    “Can’t say I have.”
    “My grandpa used to say it. It meant a storm was brewing. There’s definitely a storm brewing in this country.”
    5 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019 4:00 AM
    A couple of years ago I wrote a column on what the world would look like if I was lord commander (yes, Game of Thrones is back). 
    To this day, I still hear about that once in a while and some of you have had some fun sharing what the world would look like under your watch.
    So, since we all know that the only thing that doesn’t change is . . . well, nothing. Here’s an updated version.
    In my world, police, firefighters and teachers would be among the highest paid folks in society.
    In my world, high school consolidation wouldn't be so widespread and small towns like Darlington, Ladoga, Waynetown, et al would still be thriving.
    In my world, there would be no such thing as class sports.
    In my world, the only way you would get a trophy would be to win a championship. Losing teaches valuable lessons: If you want to be better than the other guy, work harder. And when you work hard and still lose, stick out your hand and give the guy or gal who won the respect they deserve.
    In my world, my weight wouldn't look like perfect score in bowling, and I’d be closer to 40 than 70.
    1 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 4:00 AM
    Not long ago in this space, I wrote about House Bill 1212, something I called a terrible piece of legislation designed to keep Hoosiers in the dark about government business.
    Sorry to say that the House passed the bill 62-34 and it’s went to the Senate where it eventually died in committee.
    Thank you senators.
    However, the assault on newspapers by Indiana lawmakers continues and while this may or may not hurt the industry I love, it ultimately hurts all Hoosiers far more.
    To recap:
    The original bill took sheriff sales that are published in newspapers of record around the state and put them on government websites where few people will see them (how often do you surf government sites?). It’s my belief that once the lawmakers successfully torpedo newspapers shining the light of day on any public notices, the rest will fall like a house of cards.
    Look, there are three key points that tend to get lost in this fight. First, these public notices are not for newspapers – just like the freedom of speech is not about newspapers. This is for you. The government, from your local councils and boards all the way up to the legislature, is required – most of the time – to let you know what they are doing so you can weigh in, if you so choose. 
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, April 3, 2019 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Louie Dampier ABA trading card . . . 
    There are rumblings that the county is considering creating a county manager position. Expect some backlash from the folks who want Montgomery County to look the same as it did in 1956. However, give this a little thought and it might not be such a bad idea.
    First off, anyone who thought the Kernan-Shepard Report (leaner local government) was on track should like this idea. I haven’t heard a lot about how the job will be structured, but it seems to make sense that a full-time professional managing a multi-million dollar entity is wiser than three part-time commissioners who have full-time jobs to worry about.
    As for who it might be, if indeed it happens, one name consistently pops up, former Sheriff Mark Casteel – an excellent manager and good man.
    Stay tuned.
    * * *
    WELL, THE boo-birds came out in opposition to a column I wrote about Montgomery County’s comprehensive plan. The one thing most of the naysayers pointed out is that they believe this is a precursor to zoning.
    1 comment(s)
  • Hammer speaks his mind, but not to Timmons
    Wednesday, March 27, 2019 4:00 AM
    The other day, I was in town, so I stopped by to see my good friend Tim Timmons. As I reached for the door to the office, it flew open and a “mountain of a man” hurried out of the building and slipped by me as I got completely off the sidewalk to make way. He was deep in thought and mumbling something about “Timmons” and “stupid people” and a couple other things I shouldn’t repeat. Thinking that my friend Tim might be in trouble, I turned and asked this large individual if he needed any help. He looked me up and down, and rather gruffly replied “You know where that Timmons guy is?”
    It hit me right then and there that these broad shoulders that were now blocking out the sun must belong to none other than “the Hammer,” the same guy who drops in, unannounced, on Tim periodically. 
    I must have had one of those dumbfounded looks on my face, because John waved his hand and repeated…”H-e-l-l-o! You know where to find Timmons?” 
    That startled me back to life and I stammered, why no . . . uh . . . I was just headed in to see him myself. It was at that moment, pointing at the door, that I realized that I now had no reason to go forward and enter the building, and more importantly that there was a very large, somewhat agitated man between me and the parking lot. Now what?
    0 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:00 AM
    Not sure, but the world did not stop spinning last week when Montgomery County officials unveiled the final draft of the much-publicized comprehensive plan.
    Friends, I’ve lived in a lot of places in this great nation of ours and I’m not sure I’ve seen an issue that sparks as much debate as planning and zoning does right here in Sugar Creek City. So when the plan was placed on the county’s web site, I went and downloaded a copy right away and spent a few days reading it.
    Full disclosure, I copied off Pauletta Ebert in school so I’m not the smartest guy in the room. However, Pauletta wrote pretty quickly so I learned how to read fast. That’s not to say anything about comprehension though, so bear with me. There are 156 pages in this document, but thankfully a bunch are blank and a bunch more have maps. Whew!
    3 comment(s)
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 4:00 AM
    The Little Paper That Could was recently recognized in our industry’s premiere publication, Editor & Publisher. Each March the magazine does a feature called 10 Newspapers That Do It Right. As they point out, it’s not a listing of the 10 best papers in the country, nor is it intended to say any of them are perfect. It’s just a way to highlight and share good ideas from papers around the U.S.
    No, the Little Paper That Could was not one of the 10. However, we did make the honorable mention list of 12 – so out of 22 newspapers from all over the United States, your paper that is owned and operated right here in Montgomery County was up there with the big boys.
    Before anyone thinks we’re getting the big head at the worldwide HQ, let me assure you that no one, at least not anyone with any common sense, in the media world is getting cocky right now. The future is too uncertain as a slew of sources vie for your attention. Social media wants to tell you the news. There are approximately 1,183,293 web sites in Montgomery County that want to be your information source – well, OK, maybe not quite that many . . . but it seems like it. And of course there are the traditional media outlets like radio, billboards, yellow pages, direct mail and so on.
    So no, we’re not about to rest on our laurels.
    2 comment(s)
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The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media 
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