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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

  • Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    Indiana, along with the entire country, is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, with heroin and prescription painkillers damaging too many lives and communities across the state.
    Indiana Senate Republicans are attacking this problem with a three-pronged approach of prevention, treatment and recovery. Here are some of the bills moving through the General Assembly this year:
    Senate Bill 226 would prohibit doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioids to most patients if it’s their first opioid prescription with the doctor.
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  • Friday, February 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    Late winter has arrived and already signs of the end of the season are apparent. Winter aconite (Eranthus hyemalis) and snowdrop (Galanthus spp.) have begun to bloom in our area. These two species are some of the first to flower as winter draws to a close, before even crocuses and daffodils bloom. Although they are not native, these two plants’ emergence are a welcome sight after a few long months of cold temperatures and gray skies.
    Winter aconite, a member of the buttercup family, is native to the woodlands of Europe. It is cold-tolerant and doesn’t mind a bit of snow cover while it blooms. After blooming, this perennial plant dies back and spends the rest of the year as a dormant tuber in the soil. This species is known for its toxicity – all parts of this plant contain cardiac glycosides, which in very large doses can be fatal to mammals. Several other plants contain these types of compounds, including foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), which contains the cardiac glycoside known as digitoxin.
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  • Friday, February 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    "Seriously," I responded to Mary Ellen, "in the middle of the afternoon? At our age? You must be kidding."
    "Why not? If we wait till evening, you'll just fall asleep. Take your little blue pill and let's get going."
    So I took an Aleve for my arthritis and we headed out for a class in line dancing. 
    We were in Florida with our friends Joy and Steve. I figured it was Joy who dragged Steve along to the community center for these lessons, but Steve tells Joy he loves the activity. So it turns out that her husband, who is a better golfer than I am and a better bowler, is also a better liar. 
    The sign in front of the community center said WATCH YOUR STEP, which at first I thought was a warning about an unsafe change in the flooring, or possibly a whimsical instruction for beginner dancers. But it could have also been a warning to recalcitrant seniors like me not to be uncooperative and cranky.
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  •  This week features quite the traveling family
    Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    Recent Around the County guests told me about this couple, and sure am glad they did. He’s a nephew of one of my good friends and she, is just a gem! Besides that, she fed us German cookies, and they were so yum. Now, there is a very good reason why she gave us German treats. That’s because she was born and raised in Guntersblum, Germany. 
    Our male guest grew-up next door in Parke County, but has spent the majority of his life in Crawfordsville where he has worked 29 years at R.R. Donnelley’s. A 1979 Turkey Run graduate, we had the same English teacher, Ralph Williams, who spent many years teaching at TR. Our guest was also a band member, playing alto sax. I admire him greatly for beginning college at the age of 50. He will soon have a two-year degree with Ivy Tech in Industrial Maintenance, and would love to go on to get his bachelor’s.
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  • Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:00 AM
    Feb. 14 marked the 97th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt, six months before the ratification of 19th amendment granting all women in the United States the right to vote.
    The 19th Amendment was the culmination of a 72 year effort which began in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. Visionary and courageous individuals throughout the country, including Zerelda Wallace, step-mother of Lew Wallace, were key suffrage supporters.
    From its beginning in 1920, the LWV has provided service to voters and influenced public policy through education and advocacy. The LWV does not endorse or oppose any candidate or political party and is now open to men as well as women. Since its inception, the League has helped millions of women and men become informed participants in government. 
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  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:00 AM
    Over the past year, I have been exploring the world with new eyes. I feel like I am 18 again, standing on the cusp of life, and the possibilities for my future are endless.
    Following that desire to explore and learn is how I came to be standing outside the beautiful Elephant gate of Das Buddhistische Haus; the oldest and largest Buddhist center in Europe.
    It took an hour by train from Berlin, and then a 20-minute taxi ride. As the taxi pulled away into the settling dusk of late afternoon Germany, I cinched my coat, and turned my attention to the large, wooden gate.
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  • Tuesday, February 14, 2017 11:26 PM
    Stories of sexual misconduct in schools have made headlines recently, with too many dangerous individuals slipping through the cracks and being hired by school corporations.
    The Indiana General Assembly is looking to put a stop to this problem with several bills aimed at keeping predators out of our schools.
    Senate Bill 34 would require school employees to get background checks every five years, instead of only getting one at the start of their employment.
    Senate Bill 298 would require schools to do criminal background checks of most new employees before their start date. Currently, schools can wait to do background checks for up to 90 days after a new employee’s start date, potentially allowing bad actors to temporarily slip through the cracks.
    Senate Bill 249 would require a school corporation and charter schools to adopt a policy requiring the employer to contact references and, if applicable, the most recent employer before hiring a prospective employee.
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  • Tuesday, February 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    A few years ago some folks at your favorite Montgomery County daily came up with a silly idea called The Challenge. It was a roughly based on the TV show, The Biggest Loser. To boil it down, we thought we could get a group of folks together, lose some weight and raise some money for a good cause, all at the same time.
    Truth to tell, the program worked out pretty well in years one and two. But this year . . . wow! This year’s group is simply knocking it out of the park.
    First off, let me begin with explaining that this is the largest group we’ve had. There are 16 participants this year. In alphabetical order, they are: Clay Adams, Gary Behling, Abbey Bullerdick, Neil Burk, Dr. Atul Chug, Stacey Hawkins, Lee Ann Hutson, Danielle Kinkead, Barry Lewis, Brad Monts, Karen Monts, Missi Patton, Sandy Ramos, John Roche, Martha Swick and Emily Toomey. 
    What sets them apart? Well first, attendance. With very few exceptions, these guys are pretty darn close to 100 percent attendance every week. In addition to that, a bunch of them get together and hit the gym on additional days. Believe me when I tell you, that hasn’t been the case the first couple of years.
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  • Monday, February 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    As we learned in the last column, one of the more troubling drug-abuse epidemics affecting our state and nation is prescription drug abuse, which is the misuse of prescription opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants. One in five Indiana youth have admitted to abusing prescription medications, and for our youth it is the third most abused substance. In Indiana, more than 1,000 deaths were associated with overdoses in 2012 – a 54 percent increase from previous years.
    It is important to note that not everyone who is prescribed a prescription opioid, CNS, or stimulant will become an addict. These medications are needed and very effective when used as a doctor prescribes in one’s individual treatment plan. The problem starts when you or someone you know takes medication which is not prescribed, and/or does not follow doctor’s orders.
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  • What’s the difference between MRI and CT?
    Monday, February 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    Last week I had a young patient ask me what the difference is between an MRI and a CAT scan. Not long after that I noticed an error in a newspaper article that mixed up the two technologies.
    Radiologic imaging of the human body has revolutionized the diagnostic accuracy of physicians. However, it has also had the negative effect of reducing our reliance on a good medical history and physical examination.
    There is also a real concern about patients receiving too much radiation over their lifetimes as a result of having too many CT scans (more below). This is particularly concerning in children who may receive numerous scans over their lifetimes that may increase their risk of cancer.
    We are the only country in the world where a CT and/or MRI scanner is in the neighborhood of virtually every citizen. While this is convenient, it leads to over-utilization of these very expensive and sometimes unnecessary technologies.
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  • Friday, February 10, 2017 4:00 AM
    I had blood drawn the other day. I don’t envy phlebotomists. Imagine having a job where everyone hates you for what you are about to do, and the first thing you say to the person is “make a fist.” Plus, when she tells people she’s a phlebotomist, a lot of her patients think she has six husbands.
    My technician, Shirley, uses the same jokes every time. First, she looks at me with flirty eyes and says, “It’s too bad you’re married. You’re my type.” Next she says, “I didn’t much like your column last week so I’m sticking it to you twice today.” I laughed at this stuff for my first few appointments, but now I have my own joke. When she tells me what a tough day she’s had, I tell her to just go with the flow. I’m not sure how much longer we can keep this up. Probably ’til my LDL goes down.
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  • This week’s guest is impressed with Impressionism
    Thursday, February 09, 2017 4:00 AM
    The first thoughts of this young fellow and his family stems from long ago at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church when I was always in awe of what a fine outstanding group they were. Each looked like they had just stepped out of a Sears Magazine, dressed remarkably, shoes a shinin’, hair perfect. They filled up one long pew and there was no nonsense, for sure! Dad, mom and eight children. Love that his middle name is Joseph and three brothers carry that middle name, as well. He noted, “We were a very structured family; we had to be to get anything at all accomplished!” 
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  • Thursday, February 09, 2017 4:00 AM
    Circuit Court Judge Harry A. Siamas spoke to the Feb. 6 Lunch with the League meeting about Montgomery County’s judicial history from the end of the pioneer era to modern times.
    Most of Montgomery County’s judges have played prominent roles in the history of our state and in some cases our nation. For instance, Judge William Bryant served in the militia during the Black Hawk War of 1832. He worked to elect Jackson Democrats to state office and as a reward President James Polk appointed Bryant Chief Justice of the Oregon Territory in 1849. Returning to Indiana Bryant won election and served as Circuit Court Judge from 1852 to 1858.
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  • Wednesday, February 08, 2017 4:00 AM
    For the first time in over a year and a half, all of my clothes are on hangars, and my shoes are unpacked. Since moving to the new house, which was originally built in 1860, I have been living out of suitcases, boxes, and piles. Apparently, in the mid-1800s, they didn’t have a need for closets. But now, thanks to my handy dad, I have a beautiful walk-in closet all to myself! There are high racks and low racks, cubbies for handbags, and floor to ceiling shelves dedicated solely to my shoe collection.
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  • Tuesday, February 07, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a pamphlet entitled Proper Inflation Techniques for NFL Footballs . . . 
    I have long said that generally, I’m a good and kind individual. I donate to charities. I go to church. I try very hard to be courteous to my fellow man . . . well, MOST of them anyways. And when I die, if I venture south instead of north, it will likely be because of my deep-seated hatred for the New England Patriots.
    I have found over the years of rooting for the Colts – both the Baltimore and Indianapolis versions – that the Patriots have long been the target of my scorn. I don't remember the two teams playing in the ‘60s when I became a football fan. But in the ‘70s, the then-Boston Patriots always seemed like the one team the Colts could never sweep (they played twice a year). It didn’t matter how good or bad either team was. The Horseshoes would win one game and the Pats the other.
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