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Sunday, May 24, 2015
  • Monday, May 18, 2015 10:52 PM

    A lot of people followed The Challenge. I know this because I’ve been asked about it more times than I can count – although technically, that may not be saying very much. The questions vary. Some people want to know how much weight I lost. Some wanted to know who won. Some asked how much money we raised for MUFFY.

    But there was one thing that almost everyone asked about – how do I sign up for The Challenge next time?

    Well friends, next time is here and if you want to know how to get involved, read on.

    Let’s quickly recap. Last year, the good folks at your favorite Montgomery County daily came up with the crazy idea of having a weight-loss challenge with the idea of raising money for MUFFY. Of course there were multiple good partners from around the community who jumped in to help –none bigger than Athena Sport & Fitness and the good folks at Franciscan-St. Elizabeth.

  • Monday, May 11, 2015 11:57 PM

    Forty years ago I proudly became part of the 100th graduating class from Noblesville High School. Donned a cap and gown. Sweltered in a hot gymnasium. Gave a speech. Yes, gave a speech. Some 350 or so students and all those adults connected one way or another listened to yours truly wax poetic about John F. Kennedy, hopes, dreams and yadda, yadda, yadda. My point? If this were a classified ad I can put in that I have experience.

    So why is it I sit by the phone, year in and year out, waiting for schools to call and ask me to speak at their graduation? Does the phone ring? Does a bear play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the woods?

    Once again, then, I am left to share wisdom accumulated over a lifetime of worn-out Weejuns that have traipsed from one coast to the left and back again.

  • Monday, May 04, 2015 11:09 PM

    If you’ve been in the workforce for a decent length of time, chances are you’ve sat through a seminar or 12.

    If you are at all like me, chances are you hated it.

    Nothing against the good folks who present seminars. I’m sure they’re nice people and all. But as a guy who’s sat through more of these things than I can count, most of the time the folks doing the talking at the front of the room don’t have a clue what the folks sitting in the back of the room really go through each day. So they have neat messages, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, but all too many times boring. They also charge a lot of money and then take off back to wherever they came from.

    Quick aside. Know the definition of an expert? Anyone who lives 50 or more miles away.

    So please understand that what I am about to share comes from a guy who’s been there, done that and gotten real cynical in the process.

    A couple of seminars are coming to Crawfordsville that are worth the time and money.

    No kidding.

  • Monday, April 27, 2015 6:51 PM

    One of the problems at us little guys is that we tend to be a training ground. We can go back a few decades to when the Journal Review was owned by a great newspaper company and they offered a twentysomething rookie who was still wet behind the ears an opportunity.

    The boss lady at the time was Gail Hamilton and she told that kid that she hoped he would stay, but chances are he’d move on to bigger newspapers. It’s the nature of the newspaper biz.

    Fast forward a bunch of years and that’s probably one of the very few things that hasn’t changed in this industry. Young people come. Some stay a short time, some longer, but they almost all move on.

    Enter Neil Burk.

    Neil has been with the little newspaper that could for just less than three years now. He came here in late summer of 2012 and began as a sports writer. In short order he was promoted to sports editor and then managing editor and finally editor.

    Now, he’s promoting himself to a great job in our nation’s capital. 

  • Monday, April 20, 2015 6:16 PM

    What the hell is wrong with us? We can’t seem to find it in our hearts to disagree respectfully. No sir, no ma’am. One guy is on one side of the fence so that must mean the other guy is on the other. And that must mean it’s time for Katy to bar the proverbial door.

    I guess the idea that each person is entitled to his or her own point of view went away a century or two after the ink dried on those useless and archaic documents that things like a nation and states were founded on.

    Think about that for a second, will you? We are no longer entitled to our own opinions? How else do you explain otherwise reasonable people losing their mind when someone takes a different point of view? County Councilman Tom Utley still has my favorite line in that regard when he said that when it comes to some topics, like zoning, people act like their hair is on fire.

    I digress.

  • Monday, April 20, 2015 3:31 PM

    Sunday was one of those days that remind me why I love this business. It was the 20th annual Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Our Noblesville Times Executive Sports Editor Mark Morrow was being inducted and was kind enough to allow me to tag along and watch.

    What a day.

    At just a candle or two away from 60, I was still among the youngsters in the room. That was OK with me. I felt like a kid in a candy store. The room was full of who's who in Indiana sports media. Starting with our own Mark, the guys I grew up reading, listening to and admiring were everywhere. Dick Mittman was one of Mark's former co-workers from Indianapolis News and Star days. Another former Star guy, Bob Kravitz, was there. Tom Kubat, one of the best writers from the old Lafayette Journal & Courier spoke. So did Bob Jenkins, the voice of the Indianapolis 500, basketball legend Bobby "Slick" Leonard, IU broadcaster Don Fischer, WFNI program director Greg Rakestraw, legendary Bloomington sports editor Bob Hammel, ESPN's Jason Whitlock and more.

    They spoke. I listened. It was great.

  • Monday, March 23, 2015 4:09 PM
    Sheriff Mark Casteel and his right-hand man and Chief Deputy Ryan Needham invited some folks from around the community to come by the jail and find out what it's like to be a cop. Mark told me that we'd get to shoot a gun . . . and maybe even some bad guys. Holy crime wave, Batman! Sign me up!

    Turns out it had the look and feel of a gun, but it was really part of a large simulator - complete with huge screen. There were indeed plenty of bad guys, but they were of the electronic variety. Which, as that turns out, was pretty lucky for me.

    I digress.

    When Mark and Co. invited a few of us from the worldwide headquarters to come over it really did sound like a lot of fun. I grew up just as video games came on the scene and have spent more hours playing them than I care to admit. And, come on, how hard could this be, right? We've all seen these simulation-type things on TV. Always looked cool.

    The first sign that it might be just a tad bit harder than expected was when Mark picked up the simulated Glock and asked for something to wipe the blood off it.

    Wait, what?


  • Monday, March 16, 2015 2:18 PM
    Top O' the morning and Happy St. Patty's Day! For a mutt who had great-grandparents born in Ireland and Germany, it's a nice holiday to remember that the good ol' US of A has been a melting pot for a long time - and here's one guy who hopes it remains the same for a long time to come.

    As we offer a friendly pinch to anyone not sporting the green today, it seems an appropriate time to hold out the hat and ask for a dollar or three - all in support of a good cause, nah, a great cause - the Montgomery United Fund.

    Some of you have followed our little promotion that we called The Challenge. You've followed our editor Neil Burk and CEL&P manager Phil Goode and local TCU boss lady Amy Wells and Shelter Insurance's Heather Shirk and the Carnegie Museum's Kat Burkhart and Boys' & Girls' Club Exec Craig Reeves and MUFFY's own Kara Edie and the YSB's Karen Branch and Tipmont's Natalie Decker and all the rest as we toiled away at least twice each week at 
  • Monday, March 09, 2015 7:08 PM
    I was walking through the darkened front office area here at the worldwide headquarters of your favorite Montgomery County newspaper. It was mid-afternoon on a Saturday and for some reason, John Hammer popped in my head. It'd been a few weeks since I talked to him and as I pushed the button for the elevator it dawned on me that I made it through a Saturday without him scaring the bajeebers out of me.

    Normally, the big man just shows up unannounced. No idea how he gets in. The doors are locked and we're on the third floor of a building with a bank, for crying out loud. As the doors started to slide open I was just putting some serious thought into how he-

    My nose ran straight into a massive hulk.

    "Timmons," the Hammer nodded. 
  • Monday, March 02, 2015 3:43 PM
    The world loses about a million people per week, give or take a hundred thousand or so.

    This is about two of them.

    Bob Scott, the guy who hired me at the Lafayette Journal & Courier almost four decades ago, lost the fight against cancer a week ago Sunday. Four days later, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, the former president at the University of Notre Dame passed away. Scott was 66. Hesburgh 97. Both made a difference in countless lives, including mine.

    It was around 1979 or '80, I think. Not sure. I was an ex-tennis player who had figured out he wasn't going to make a living on the court. I was looking for a job and always had a knack for writing. So I wandered into the Lafayette J&C and asked if they had any openings. God must love fools and idiots, because the lady at the desk picked up the phone and said, "Bob, there's a kid here looking for a job."


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