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Monday, April 24, 2017

  • Tuesday, April 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    I try to be cheerful and professional when answering the phone. After all, customer service is one of the cornerstones of our company and we want to treat our patrons wonderfully well, whether in person or on the phone.
    But sometimes the phone seems to ring at just exactly the worst possible moment. You’ve been there, right? You are in the middle of something and don’t have a spare hand . . . and at that precise moment, rrriiiinnnnggg.
    I tried to sound cheerful and professional.
    “Mr. Timmons, I am right pleased to inform you that you’ve been selected as the winner of our grand prize promotion and you and your wife have won an all-expenses paid trip via luxury cruise ship to London, England.”
    Now first off, this was about the 1,500th time that week that I got lucky. An e-mail told me a duke had died and left me millions, or some poor unfortunate chap had a terrible accident and would give me wealth beyond my dreams if I would help, or my granddaughter had been in a bit of trouble down in Tijuana and just needed a few hundred dollars.
    I don’t have a granddaughter.
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  • Monday, April 10, 2017 10:56 PM
    Notes scribbled on an Irish Rovers album cover . . . 
    A promotion the Little Newspaper That Could introduced to Crawfordsville more than a decade ago was called Readers’ Choice. It’s a very non-scientific contest where you guys vote for your favorites in a variety of categories. You vote for your favorite pizza, tenderloin, doughnut, restaurant, barber and more. And yes, the observing reader noted that most examples were food related . . . what can I say? I’m hungry.
    Anyways, over the years we have watched this contest grow and grow. Until this year, that is. This year it exploded. Between our paper in Noblesville and The Paper we recorded more than half a million votes. 
    Holy Count-On-Fingers-And-Toes-And-More Batman!
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  • Tuesday, April 04, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the inside cover of James J. Kilpatrick’s finest work . . . 
    A few weeks back, give or take a month, I asked all eight or nine of you who read these ramblings what you wanted in your daily newspaper. It wasn’t scientific and the clerks at your friendly County Market or Kroger’s can do a much better job with their “paper or plastic poll . . . ” But I did the best I could.
    There were many surprises for yours truly – including how many of you replied. I figured that one or two of the normal eight or nine might be busy so I expected only a half-dozen or so. Well, you got me on that one! Heck, some of you even stopped me in above-mentioned grocery and shared your thoughts. One woman stopped me in the cereal aisle and said she had noticed me . . . which got me to drifting off and thinking that one of the disadvantages of having your column out there in public is that it’s sometimes hard to go places without being recognized. At least I was thinking that when she coughed loudly and repeated that she noticed me “wearing a watch and wondered what time it is?”
    Sigh.
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  • Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    One minute I was singing at the top of my lungs about wild, wicked women of the west with the Wright Brothers Overland Stage Company. Next thing I knew I was hyperventilating and hoping the heavy pounding in my ears was from the bass in the speakers and not my heart.
    John Hammer, the behemoth of a man, had once more managed to find his way into our closed office on a Saturday morning without making a sound. You don’t suppose Sen. Phil Boots gave him a key, do you? That Sen. Boots has some sense of humor.
    “For the love of God, John, can you please try to give me a warning or something?”
    “Glad you mentioned God, Timmons. Do you believe in the 10 Commandments?”
    3 comment(s)
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Hubert H. Humphrey for President campaign sticker . . . 
    Like a lot of things that happen at your favorite Montgomery County daily, this was a collaboration. It appears that the new feature we added, Hot off the presses of Crawfordsville’s newspaper history, is a hit.
    It started when noted historian, author, genealogist and all-around good gal Karen Zach sent us some pretty nifty writing she came across in the old Crawfordsville Sunday Star. (For those who don’t remember that particular paper, don’t feel too bad. It began in 1872 and ran its last paper in 1904.) Anywho, Karen was telling us that she came across all sorts of interesting tidbits from back in the old days. Well, that led to one idea and that led to a couple more and the next thing you know, you guys are telling us you really enjoy this look back at newspaper writing the way it used to be! Thanks, but we’re just here to serve.
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  • Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs album . . . 
    The Challenge ’17 is coming to a close this week. Participants had their next-to-last workout last night. Wednesday is their final official session and the Grand Finale is Saturday morning at Athena Sport & Fitness at 9 a.m. (Yes, all eight or nine of you readers are welcome to attend – shucks, if this week’s column has a few more, y’all can come, too!)
    Before we get to the perfunctory thank you, I really want to add a note about this group. It is – by far – the best group we have had in our three years of this program. These guys have stuck with it, something that anyone who’s gone through an exercise program knows is a challenge in and of itself. Not only have they stayed at it though, they have really worked hard. We won’t know the official results until Saturday but I won’t be surprised if this group loses more weight than either of the first two.
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  • Tuesday, March 07, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s time to fix MUFFY.
    Not too many years ago the annual drive used to hold its wrap-up meeting in December and close the drive on Dec. 31. Not too many years ago, drives that ended with more than half a million dollars were the norm. Not too many years ago the following year’s drive team was in place before the last cork had popped on the New Year’s Eve celebration.
    Not so much anymore.
    The MUFFY 2016 campaign wrapped up last week with another disappointing outcome. The drive officially finished at $415,000 – well short of the announced goal of $435,000.
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  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of Mssrs. Strunk and White’s paperback . . .
    It’s a different time in ye olde newspaper world. The common wisdom is that we are a dying sort, going ever-so-quickly the way of the dinosaur.
    I agree.
    The newspaper industry is very much like the dinosaurs. Blame it on an asteroid or bad carry-out, something drastically impacted the big guys and away they went . . . and went . . . and went . . . 
    until now when you can look all around and see dinosaurs everywhere.
    They’re called birds.
    Just like the dinosaurs evolved, so it goes with newspapers. Truth to tell, us folks at the little newspaper that could started out with a handful of readers in print. In those early days we had less than 1,000 papers being sold. But slowly, we grew. Some of that growth came in print but the vast, vast majority of our numbers are now digital. More people are reading our paper online than used to read the Lafayette Journal & Courier a couple of centuries ago when yours truly was lugging copy around the sports department for legends like Bruce Ramey, Tom Kubat, Bob Scott and Jeff Washburn.
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  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Lincoln Day dinner program . . . 
    The Grand Ol’ Party is alive and well in Montgomery County, thanks to the professional approach and touch of party boss Suanne Milligan.
    Political observers will likely remember the disarray the GOP went through under the last couple of Chairs, John Pickerill and Scott Molin. However, there’s not much evidence of anything awry now, and that was especially true at last week’s Lincoln Day Dinner. A full house was on hand to listen to Gov. Eric Holcomb. It didn’t even matter that this was Holcomb’s very first visit as governor to take part in the Lincoln festivities. Unlike the last few years, smiles were aplenty and the talk, mood and overall demeanor was predictably optimistic.
    Milligan was quick to give credit to the party officers as well as county commissioner Jim Fulwider who was in charge of organizing Friday’s event. However, as more than one political observer noted, things have calmed down and smoothed out – thanks to Milligan’s leadership.
    It certainly didn’t hurt Friday that Holcomb came across so well either. Instead of a typical speech from the podium, Holcomb sat with Milligan and did a Q&A for about 40 minutes. Both handled the spotlight well and Indiana’s 51st governor kept everyone smiling with his easy-going and friendly approach.
    Prior to the evening getting rolling, The Paper had an opportunity to chat with the governor privately. The following are some excerpts from that conversation:
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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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  • 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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  • Tuesday, January 31, 2017 4:00 AM
    Doesn’t it seem like we’ve lost or perhaps forgotten some of those wonderful lessons taught by our parents and grandparents?
    Always saying please and thank you? Being polite to strangers? Not talking loudly in public? Showing good sportsmanship in all circumstances? Opening the door for others? Standing when someone enters the room or approaches the table (or asking permission to leave the table once the meal started)? Taking off your hat when going indoors? Giving up your seat to women and anyone older than you?
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  • Tuesday, January 24, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of a Sugarloaf album . . . 
    For the eight or nine regulars who follow these scribblings, you know I’ve got a problem with politics.
    If there was a meeting for folks like me, I’d be the one at the podium, “Hello, my name is Tim and I’m a political junkie.”
    Hello, Tim.
    Sad, but true.
    With that said, I believe we’re at a unique moment in time – politically speaking. Which way it goes is anyone’s guess. About the only thing for sure is, it’s going to be interesting.
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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017 4:00 AM
    Notes scribbled on the back of an old economics paper . . .
    * * * 
    THE CHALLENGE ’17 is under way and I’m pleased to report this is the largest group we have had in the event’s three-year history. And what a group it is! We have young to not-so-young, and some who appear to be in pretty decent shape to . . . well, let’s just say I know how they feel. As I often tell folks, been there, outgrew the T-shirt.
    Starting soon in your favorite Montgomery County daily, we’ll publish standings with how this group is doing in terms of both weight loss and money raised. If you wish to toss in some financial support I’m sure the participants would appreciate it. But if you would be kind enough to lend some emotional support, a few words of encouragement would really help a lot!
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  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 4:00 AM
    I don’t know why it’s tough to find good sales people these days, but it sure feels like it. Whether it’s here at the world-wide HQ of the media empire that houses the little newspaper that could or at some of the many fine businesses around us, hiring managers tell me it’s a lot harder than it used to be.
    Of course we are currently looking for really good sales staff (Know of someone? Call me!) and I was deeply lost in thought on where to look when the phone suddenly rang and startled me out of a mound of resumes.
    “The Paper. Timmons,” I answered. (Yes, we professional news types are men of few words.)
    “This here’s Mr. Trump’s executive administrative supervisory director of media,” the voice on the other end said.
    “This here’s”?
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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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