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Monday, July 24, 2017

  • Tuesday, July 18, 2017 4:00 AM
    Southmont 2017 graduate Sydney Casteel might or might not be the best softball player to come out of Montgomery County. Whether she is or not, though, she’s definitely in the debate.
    As great as she might be on the field, just spend some time with her and those who interact with her and it’s clear that when it comes to being a good kid with a great head on her shoulders, she’s world class.
    Like many of you, I read John Marlowe’s excellent profile of Sydney a week ago when she was named The Paper’s 2017 Softball Player of the Year. At that point, I had not met Sydney. I’ve known her dad since he was skinnier than a wisp of hair on a bald man’s head. He was on the JV baseball team at Southmont and put up with a rookie coach who needed more training than he did. Of course Mark filled out over the years and wound up as our county’s top cop. Along the way he married up (spouse Kimbie) and they had a family, daughter Sydney and son Toby.
    The story on Sydney is intriguing. She’s an all-state player, has a Division I softball scholarship at Louisiana Tech and all the gaudy statistics one might expect. But what got me was the non-sports stuff. She’s South’s Salutatorian, a member of National Honor Society, a class officer, on student council, ambassadors and yearbook and . . . well, let’s just say more. Lots more.
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  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    Some time back, your friends at the Little Newspaper That Could swiped a page from one of our most popular columnists at our Noblesville newspaper and brought it to Montgomery County. It’s called the Notable Nineties. 
    In short, it honors those wonderful people who have reached the age of 90 or beyond by at least recognizing their name in the newspaper. Why do we do it, because those people, perhaps more than any other group living today, did so many positive things to shape both us and our country. And when it gets right down to it, doesn’t it feel like we’ve lost some of the lessons taught by our parents and grandparents? Remember when we always said please and thank you? Remember when everyone was polite to strangers? How about when no one talked loudly in public (let alone carried on noisy cell phone conversations!)? We were taught to show good sportsmanship at all times. People opened doors for others. People stood when someone entered the room or approached the table and those are just the tip of the iceberg.
    So we honor those of the age group that helped some of us learn those valuable lessons that made life a little more pleasant – and some of us desperately wish we could start doing them again.
    It’s really that simple. When someone reaches the age of 90, all they have to do is let us know and we’ll be sure to include them in our list that we publish periodically. How do you let us know? Simple. 
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  • Monday, July 03, 2017 4:00 AM
    The voice on the other end of the phone sounded like a bad imitation of a redneck Ernestine. You remember Ernestine, the operator Lilly Tomlin portrayed on Laugh-In? You remember Laugh-In, right?
    “This here’s the long distance operator calling person to person for Mr. Tim Timmons.”
    Long distance operator? Person to person? Who uses that anymore?
    “Hello Bubba, long time no talk to.”
    “Aw heck, Timmons, how’d you know it was me?”
    “Lucky guess. So what can I do for you, Bubba?”
    “Well, me and the boys at the Crawl-On-Inn were just talking about the 4th of July and this stupid ban on fireworks and why the gov’ment’s even involved.”
    I could just picture it. Bubba and friends Big Country, Tater, Gumball all sitting around the Crawl-On-Inn, a hole-in-the-wall bar out in the general direction of Boxley and Omega. They’re likely getting all worked up with nowhere to go . . . until someone suggested they call the newspaper guy. Lucky me.
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  • Tuesday, June 27, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s the event that has local politicians shaking their heads.
    Curses are being muttered in the 100 block of North Green Street.
    If this were a black-and-white movie trailer, cue the screaming woman . . . 
    The Paper is turning 13!
    “Golly, Mr. Kent,” says Jimmy Olson. “How can this be? I thought everyone said they weren’t going to make it.”
    Close up shot, showing the square jaw and fetching profile of mile-mannered newspaper reporter Clark Kent as he turns with just a hint of a smile on his face . . . “Well, Jimmy. It just goes to show you can’t always believe what they say.”
    Yes indeed, July marks our 13th birthday. If we had a dollar for all the folks who said we wouldn’t be here, well, uh . . . hmmm . . . this is awkward. There’s been so many of them that they’d turn out to be right. I mean if we had a dollar for each one, then our tushes would be sitting on a beach sipping one of those umbrella drinks. Know what I mean?
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  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 4:00 AM
    Since we moved into the historic Athena Center a few weeks ago, it’s crossed my mind once or thrice that my buddy John Hammer hasn’t been by on a Saturday morning. I swear I was just thinking this (on a Saturday morning, no less) when the phone rang.
    “Where the hell are you, Timmons?” the gravel-laced voice of a man called Hammer boomed. 
    I smiled.
    “S’matter, John? Haven’t kept up on the news? We moved almost a month ago.”
    Got to admit, I took a little satisfaction in that.
    “I know you’ve moved Timmons,” Hammer said. So much for satisfaction. “I’m at Athena. Where are you?”
    How does Hammer always manage to stay ahead of me?
    I told him to come in the main entrance off Jefferson Street. Pretty soon his massive frame filled my doorway.
    “You watch sports much, Timmons?” he asked.
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  • Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:00 AM
    Thirty-one years and change ago, I wrote a column in the Journal-Review about our first daughter being born. I said something about this circle of life thing. People are born. People die. Lives are impacted forever.
    Often, we don’t fully realize the impact of the event. As a new father, I certainly wasn’t wise or mature enough to appreciate the magnitude of what one new little heartbeat would mean.
    Over the past few days, I got another look at the whole process again. One was expected. One was not. Both brought tears to my eyes. And once again, I am not wise or mature enough to really understand the bigger picture.
    Let me tell you a story.
    My wife and I have been married for 34 years. We’ve been without grandchildren for the first 33 or so and might have mentioned the fact once or twice to our daughters, especially the youngest who has been wed for around five years. Then, as if God decided to once again prove He has a sense of humor, the oldest got married and we got a 3-year-old grandson in the process. A few months later, we found out the youngest was pregnant and a month later got the same news about the oldest.
    Famine to feast.
    No grandbabies to three.
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  • Tuesday, June 06, 2017 4:00 AM
    As you may know, we’ve moved the world-wide HQ from the Elston building to the historic structure that used to house Crawfordsville High School. As with most moves, some things went well and some . . . not so well. One was the phones. Normally reliable, the service has been a mess the past week.
    I was just wondering if we were ever going to get them fixed when the darn thing rang and nearly gave me a heart attack.
    “The Paper, Timmons,” I managed. Hey, us professional newspaper types know how to recover quickly.
    “This here’s the International Newspaper Federation calling to let you know you have won that Pullzer thingy?”
    The voice had a distinctive twang to it. It also said “this here’s” and obviously didn’t know it’s actually called a Pulitzer Prize. That could only mean . . . 
    “Hello, Bubba.”
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  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:00 AM
    In three weeks, your local Chamber will be under new board leadership. Not too long after that, it’ll be under new management as well. Such is life where a lot of things are optional. Change, fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view, is not.
    One of those changes at your Chamber has already begun. Deputy Director Anne Shaw is on her way to a new job and new life. Anne, or BA as she will forever be known to some of us, has only been with the Chamber a short while. But she’s been very good and leaves some big shoes to fill. Her dry but sharp wit and her talents will be missed.
    Anne is getting out of Dodge a little ahead of me. My term as board president officially ends in June when the board elects the next president. My purpose today is to share some impressions after being fortunate enough to have served our Chamber for two years.
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  • Tuesday, May 23, 2017 4:00 AM
    The board from our local Montgomery United Fund For You – MUFFY – announced last week that long-time director David Johnson was stepping aside and that the search was under way for a replacement. A couple of months before that, the Chamber also created a search committee to look for Tom Utley’s replacement. Utley had been the combined director for the Chamber and the economic development group Indiana West Advantage. The beginning of the end of IWA came about when Mayor Todd Barton withdrew the city’s support in order to form another economic development engine.
    Two very different situations, to be sure. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been on the Chamber board and have served as an officer there for a few years now. I have a lot of confidence that the Chamber, heading into its 100th year of operations, will thrive under what is sure to be the next dynamic and impactful leader.
    MUFFY is a different story.
    Maybe.
    Let’s start at the beginning.
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  • Tuesday, May 09, 2017 4:00 AM
    A lot of folks have asked what this “Newspaper2.Oh!” thing is – and one or two of you might’ve giggled that we should unveil details before someone else (wink, wink) copies it since they (wink, wink) seem to copy everything else we do.
    Well, we always try to do as the customer asks, so today’s topic is: What exactly is “Newspaper2.Oh!”?
    Darned if I know.
    Don’t you love honesty in media.
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  • Tuesday, May 02, 2017 4:00 AM
    It’s the top five at five . . . 
    Being a newspaper guy, I’ve always envied the talking heads on Tee-Vee or the radio airwaves who get to say cute little things like that. So, in regards to Wednesday night’s Crawfordsville / Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, here’re the five reasons why this year is significant.
    First, it’s the very last Crawfordsville / Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner before the group turns the ripe old age of 100! Yup, it’s the 99th year our Chamber has been helping businesses in this little corner of God’s country.
    Second, a number of companies and individuals will be honored – including some brand new awards. Watching deserving people and companies get recognized and rewarded is always a treat, especially to those in business who truly know the hard work it takes to survive and succeed in today’s world.
    Third, this will be the beginning of a fond farewell to Tom Utley. Tom stepped in to lead the Chamber a year ago and has done a wonderful job. As he prepares to ride off into the sunset, this will be the first official opportunity we have to say thank you for a job well done, as well as wish he and better half Marty all the best with the next chapter in life.
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  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:00 AM
    If you’re a sports fan, you probably saw the clips over the weekend from Indiana Pacers star Paul George and Oklahoma City standout Russell Westbrook. If you are not a sports fan, bear with me if you please.
    Both were asked questions (very fair questions, mind you) during post-game press conferences. The Paper’s newsgathering partner is WTHR, Channel 13. Their columnist, Bob Kravitz, asked George the question that’s been on Pacers’ fans’ minds for a while, is he staying in Indianapolis or leaving? Granted, George and the Pacers had just been swept out of the playoffs. But if Kravitz doesn’t ask that question, someone else will. If no one does, readers will wonder why the hell not. It’s fair, and yet, George responded with, “I ain’t even at that point, Bob. Next question.”
    In Oklahoma City, Westbrook was in a press conference when a teammate got asked a question about the team’s failure to play well without their star. Westbrook wouldn’t allow his teammate to answer, going on a bit of a rant. It was a fair question. Didn’t matter. Westbrook ignored the reporter and called for the next question.
    Bing. Bang. Boom. End of story.
    These guys refused to answer in front of microphones and cameras. At some point, whether it’s on www.theplayerstribune.com or a social media account, they’ll probably reverse course. There, they can say it the way they want, when they want. They won’t have the prying questions from those pesky media types. Oh, those darn pesky media types!
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  • 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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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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