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Monday, May 04, 2015
  • We’re just starting to enter barbecue season and it’s a good time to review food safety. Food-borne illness is something that almost all of us have experienced at some point in our lives.

    Food-borne illness is defined as more than two people having a similar illness with evidence of food as the source. The overall rate of these illnesses has gone down drastically in the last century with improvements in food handling and sanitation. However, we still hear about illness outbreaks.

    There are approximately 76 million cases of food-related illness in the United States each year. There are also about 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Underdeveloped countries, as a group, experience about one billion cases annually and four to six million deaths.

    The Center for Disease Control estimates that 97 percent of all cases of food-borne illness comes from improper food handling. Most of these (79 percent) are from commercial establishments, while the other 21 percent originate in the home.

     
  • I purchased a new car last week, the first in almost 10 years. It comes with a 250-page instruction book, plus three additional manuals to guide you through the high-tech accessories, but there is no key. I always liked the idea of having a key. “Hey, Dad, can I have the fob to the car tonight?” Sorry, that doesn’t have the same charm.

    The car also comes with Bruce, the sales guy at Hyundai, who said he will “always be by my side.” He didn’t literally mean that, but he did give me his cell number in case I had any problems. Unless, of course, the problem includes using the Bluetooth cell phone technology, in which case I could drive back to the dealership. That is, if I remember how to start the car.

    Bruce was very patient with me. He told me that “before you bring this baby home, you need to know how to take care of her and understand exactly how she operates.” This is pretty much what Mary Ellen’s father said to me the night before our wedding. 

     
  • The National Garden Bureau has declared 2015 to be the Year of the Sweet Pepper! Sweet bell peppers are cultivars of Capsicum annuum. Sweet peppers are called sweet because they lack the gene that produces capsaicin - the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat.

    While the 3-4 lobed, blocky, bell-shaped peppers are most common, sweet peppers come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Other shapes of sweet peppers include elongated banana, round cherry, tapered horn and flattened "cheese" types. Most all peppers are green in color when they are immature but ripen to red, yellow, orange, white or purple as they mature. Some cultivars may show all of these colors at various stages of ripening. And many cultivars are both ornamental and edible.

    Pepper plants are easy to grow and are quite compact, making them a good fit for limited-space gardens and containers. Peppers are warm-season crops and should be planted after danger of frost has past. Many local garden centers will have transplants available, or you can start your own transplants. Start seeds about seven weeks prior to the average date of last frost for your area.  

     
  • We passed another Movie Milestone last weekend. After Philip had narrowed about 100 total hours of every previous “take” in our files down to about 4 hours, we each made our individual list of what to consider before we make the next cut toward approaching the ultimate goal of a movie at or under 2 hours.

    We spent 6 hours on Saturday and 4 hours Sunday going over a long list of considerations. I had 273 items on my list. Philip added a few more all of which fell into these categories:

    Picture Quality. Many shots need work. Some were too bright, some too dark, some too fuzzy, some too “shaky”.

    Sound Quality. Some shots had volume too low, others were too loud. Several times an actor “mumbled” their lines or said them wrong. To correct this we must either raise the volume and see if “ambient sounds” don’t become too distracting or we must call the actor back to “dub-in” that audio.

     
  • Tomorrow is Law Day.  The League of Women Voters marks the annual celebration of Law Day by recognizing the importance of fair and impartial laws and why every vote matters to the people of Montgomery County.

    Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law.  Law Day was created in 1958 by the American Bar Association and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The League of Women Voters is a longtime cooperating partner.  Every year, through educational programs nationwide, Leagues and other organizations help underscore how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.

    The American Bar Association is celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 this year. “The fundamental concepts of liberty that had their beginnings in Magna Carta were transplanted to the American colonies where they were accepted, refined, and embedded in the instruments of government as well as the thinking of the American People.”

    The LWV believes that the rule of law depends on public trust in the courts, and the right of every citizen to vote has been a basic League principle since its origin in 1920.  It should be noted that granting all the right to vote has been a long process.

     
  • Lawyer son of a dentist’s son

    This week’s guest grew-up a doctor’s son, but never desired to follow his father’s occupation.  However, the portion of dad’s life that did interest him was the love of politics.  During his growing-up years, Dad was gone a lot.  With Dad having his own practice, he made many house calls, often times taking some of the family along.  However, when Dad was home, he made the best of it and was a confident, loving father.  That father was one of my fav people, Dr. Sam Kirtley and our subject this week is his equally awesome son, Ray.

    Ray’s gpa’ Kirtley was in the medical field, as well, being a dentist who passed away during the 1918 flu epidemic when Sam was just eight years old. Ray’s “Nanna” was also a political influence on him as she was Montgomery County’s first female office holder.  Besides that, she won as a Democrat in a Republican community.  Nanna was also around her son’s home quite a bit to help raise the boys, clean house, cook or whatever was needed, as Ray’s mother had contacted t.b. when she was attending nurse’s school and remained weak throughout the rest of her life.  When Dr. Sam Kirtley was in the  
  • I’ve seen a lot over my decades in politics, and not much alarms me. But I have to be blunt: Money is poisoning our political system.

    The people who matter most to a representative democracy — the ordinary voters in whose interests elected politicians are supposed to act — feel as though they’ve become an afterthought in the political process. The tidal wave of money washing over our elections, with no end in sight, is causing Americans to lose faith in the system. In that way, the course we’re on threatens the core values and principles that define us as a nation.

    Oddly, many politicians see no problem — except perhaps the inconvenient need to spend a significant portion of every day dialing for dollars. They don’t, however, believe this is corrupting. They don’t believe they’re selling their votes, or even that money influences their behavior.

    Most Americans believe differently. Poll after poll finds that about half the voters think members of Congress are corrupt. A Democracy Corps poll last summer found clear majorities across the spectrum worried about the impact of Super PAC spending as “wrong” and leading “to our elected officials representing the views of wealthy donors.”

     
  • Sam the Australian is coming to visit this week.  She will be staying with us for three months, and hopes to fully experience the American culture and lifestyle. When our daughter was on a year-long exchange program to Australia, she and Sam became fast friends. After months of Skyping and messaging, we are eager to meet her face-to-face.

    In her mind, American life is very stereotypical. She anticipates going to high school football games, wearing camouflage clothing and walking around with a gun under each arm.  Unfortunately, she won’t be here during football season, but she should see plenty of camo and a few firearms.  I saw a customer with one at Walmart the other day.  I am still not entirely sure how I feel about open carry, but Australians really frown upon it, so I am certain Sam and I will have some interesting discussions.  Maybe by the end of her trip, I will have formed a solid opinion on the subject.

    We are putting our best foot forward with her initial exposure to American high school culture.  She will be attending prom on Saturday evening, complete with a fancy dinner beforehand, and a photo shoot  
  • The young man sat down across from my desk. He was obviously perturbed about something so while my mind raced through every possible scenario for him coming to my desk, he struggled to speak.

    “I want to know whose money is it,” he said.

    I waited. He went on.

    “THEY are building that monstrosity and I attend the meetings and they keep talking like it’s their money or it comes from federal grants. They act as if they don’t understand where tax money comes from.”

    Then he waited while I formed a response.

    I knew what he was speaking about.

    The local government was gung-ho about spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars on a project and, because very few people showed up at this particular board’s meetings, the elected officials assumed their plans were OK with the taxpayers. Or, it never occurred to them to ask.

    The young man seated in my office became fascinated with government through a class in college.

    He wasn’t married and didn’t have a girlfriend (as far as I knew) so he attended as many government meetings as he could. For all I knew, C-SPAN was his favorite TV channel. 

     
  • Throughout the recent campaign I have frequently been asked about the state of the City of Crawfordsville’s finances.  The question has come up so often that I felt it was best to repeat the information I provided in an earlier article. 

    We have accomplished much to move the community forward over the last three years and it is only natural for people to wonder if such progress has come at a cost.  Unfortunately, many people draw a conclusion that progress can only come with a steep price tag and we surely must be worse off financially than we were three years ago.  This is a concern worth exploring. 

    First of all, I am of the firm belief that we must move this community forward.  We must get our house in order and create a vibrant community in which people want to live.  This has always been a great community but we must work hard to make certain we don’t fall by the wayside in this ever-changing world.  If we are to retain our young people and survive we must protect,  

The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media

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