Sometimes people who live somewhere else are a little snooty when it comes to we who live around here - especially when it comes to the "arts". Take this weekend for example: You could go see a live performance of the Little Mermaid at Ader Auditorium, a live performance of The Velvet Cake Wars at the Old Town Players, and see the Purdue Glee Club at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. You could actually see them all because of the scheduling.
These productions may not all be populated with professionals, but the performances will be exciting, the price will be right, and the chatting before and after the events will connect us with our neighbors who we have missed over the cold winter months.
And there are a number of weekends so full through out the year.
Maybe we could be a little snooty about our arts in Vincennes, but I bet we won't be.
You just knew that Mark Valdez would file an appeal in the razing order for the former Vincennes Executive Inn building. He has. Now it all storps - again, and the only thing that happens is that the lawyers continue to rack up billable hours.
Now the City will have to defend its position in front of another court. It will prevail. The City was not picking on the Executive Inn owners no matter how they feel about the process.
There comes a time when a building is not economically viable, but that is not what this case is about. The case is about a public building and the safety of the people who may go into it. Most Vincennes residents quit going into the Executive Inn building many years ago. It was unsafe. Even an untrained person could tell. When people asked where to stay, they were pointed to other places in town. When local people thought about locations for events, they picked other spots. The "Exec" wasn't safe.
But when people driving through the area stopped and stayed they were at risk and may not have known it. The City had a responsibility to step in.
When the City of Vincennes finally made it official, just about everyone sighed "at last" and thought the deal was done. Time had passed and it was time to move ahead. But this is The United States of America and that means lots of chances to get your story heard. Court after Court. And we're not at the State Appeal level.
Hopefully the judges in Indianapolis will rule quickly on the case. Hopefully they will rule on the safety issues. Hopefully the owners will not take that ruling to another court. But they could.
Patience is short, but the City of Vincennes will get this done. At least that's what many hope.
When Franklin Elementary School parent Nicki Corey came before the Vincennes School Board last night she demonstrated one of the most positive reasons why Vincennes is a good place to raise children. She cooly talked about the safety of school children and believes that some sort of connector between the two Franklin Elementary buildings should be built.
She didn't ask for money. She asked permission to raise money from the community - mostly probably from parents and grand parents - to pay for the connector.
We sometimes sit back and grouse about "everyone wanting a hand out". Not this time. Nicki and the group of parents are those people that act on there concerns. Good for them, but it's not really their responsibility. It's the School Board's.
But there are problems with that. Franklin Elementary is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its construction and when it was built one of the big safety worries was getting kicked by the horses that pulled the school wagon. The so-called new building is older than almost every other school building in Indiana. It was built long before we worried about the things we must worry about today.
What we really need is a new, up to date, safe, and efficient elementary building for the city schools. We need to begin the process now so we are ready when the High School is paid off in a couple more years. We need it situated on the High School-Middle School campus and we need to be like Nicki and parents like her. We need to just do what it takes.
Between now and then what do we do about saftey concerns at Franklin? Fence off the area between the two buldings and make sure the kids wear coats when they run between them. Don't put a bunch of good money - no matter how it's raised - after bad.
They'll celebrate the capture of Fort Sackville today at the Clark Memeorial. 234 years and counting. I bet those rag tag soldiers would never have thought someone would still be celebrating the taking of the small fort, but we do.
It was just part of their job. It was just another day in a string of long hard days. It wasn't anything special. There were no bonuses on the next pay check. There were no vacation days after the finish of the march.
I wonder if anyone will celebrate what we've done 234 years later. Might be something we should aspire to. But how will we know? Those soldiers certainly didn't wake up on the morning of February 25th and think generations after generations after generations would be celebrating what they did that day.
Word is that the annual Clown Follies and the Red Skelton Clown School scheduled for June have both been cancelled this year. There hasn't been enough pre-registration for the two projects to move forward.
What happens to the rest of the Red Skelton weekend? Nothing according to the schedule, but the lack of lots of extra clowns roaming the streets those days will make a difference and it won't be a good one.
2013 is the 100th anniversary of Red Skelton's birth in Vincennes and to have less of a celebration than in the past seems wrong.
WWRD? "What Would Red Do?" I bet he would smile, put an extra twinkle in his eye, and move forward in a positive fashion making the most of what was left.
Too often we see government react. Sometimes we see them act. And once in a while we see government being pro-active. You know, planning ahead and following through with the plan.
It's on the streets right now. Whether its beet juice or something else, the pre-treating of roads and bridges prior to winter storms has been one of the best improvements in government services in a long long time.
Thanks folks. It's one of the few examples of getting more than our money's worth from our tax dollars.
Without the price of gas being a subject, I don't know what I would talk about to many people. Why does it go up and up and up? Why does it cost more some places and less other places? $3.77 a gallon around here seems like they are giving it away when the average prices is $3.83 in Indiana.
So who is making the money from these prices? It isn't the local people unless you buy an armful of snacks and drinks inside the store. It's the speculators that use the options market to bet that prices will rase. I think the speculators should have to actually take posession of the crude oil they buy - bet on each day from their computers in the Hamptons. They should have to get the oil out of the ground, ship it around the world - sometimes through pirate infested water, refine it, and get it to the corner convenience store and see how profitable that is.
What can we do about the prices? Not much unless we're going to skip those trips to Evansville to get a ten dollar burger and I'm not ready for that drastic action yet. Guess I'll just keep griping. It gives me something to talk about.
Meeting with contractors in an effort to pick one to build the new Vincennes city pool - excuse me - "water park" will take place today (2/19). Businesses will sell themselves to the parks departments technical committee.
Since there is not nearly enough money available from the city for the project right now and no way to pay for a new pool - excuse me - "water element", without a bond issue voted by Vincennes citizens in May could it be said the parks department is getting the cart before the horse? Maybe, but isn't that how we do most things?
We generally shop for a house and then get a loan. We look for a car and then usually figure out the financing. Why should the park people do anything different? The planning now will speed the project should it be approved in May. Without such planning, the city would be without a pool - excuse me - "family water entertainment location" - for a second year.
What will happen with the bond vote in May? Don't know. But the city will be ready with a well thought out plan and that's a good thing.
The citing of a number of high school students this weekend for under age drinking is no big news. The citing of a number of high school sports participants for under age drinking is no big news. Happens about every year at some school. Boys will be boys. (And girls will be girls).
It IS disappointing though. Even in high school, athletes become - whether they want it or not - role models. One of the big draws of the local elementary basketball "schools" on Saturday morning is to get on the floor and maybe even work with high school athletes. Running around the top of the gym stops when team is introduced and after the game the youngsters get out of the floor - just like the high schoolers.
We may want our team to win and are sorry for the other players and coaches that were let down, but the police and school officials are on the right track. For every action there is reaction. Every action has a price.
Lincoln now probably won't win the Boys Basketball Sectional, unless a bunch of unknowns pull it out. Those players should be the real heros for the youngsters running around the top of the gym.
Sometimes you've just got to say "That's how it's supposed to be!" The spending of money made from housing State Department of Corrections in the Knox County Jail is being spent on new police cruisers for the county. The County Council said the funds would be used to help run the jail and the Sheriff's Department and they are keeping their word.
Not only does the spending make sense, it's fresh to learn that an elected group is keeping their word. Now if we could move kept promises up the political line our local community would be even better.
Mayor Joe's plan to ask contractors to prioritize streets in need of paving may seem like asking a fax about how to improve the hen house, but I'm with him on this. It seems that in the past, streets got paved based on who lived on the end of them. They also got paved just before an election.
The "new" plan is to professionally prioritize which streets actually need paving the most and then start at the top of the list and move toward the bottom. A couple of points:
1.) We will never get to the bottom of the list, but you have to start at the top and try.
2.) Don't forget the curbs and drainage. Too many of our streets have been paved without curbs and those streets fall apart much quicker than streets that are properly built and have curbs and drainage.
Street paving is much more about doing it right rather than doing it fast. Now, if they would start paving at 6th and Busseron that would be just great. Oh. Fix the curbs too.
What is the deal with the Bicknell City Council and the Mayor? Bicknell government is spending way more money they they are taking in, the infrastructure of the community is getting worse, police cars are parked or running on bare tires, and the Mayor and Council Members are arguing about not how to fix the problems, but how to fix the blame.
They have agreed on one thing: Borrow money every month to keep going.
The citizens of Bicknell ought to lock the Mayor and Council Members in City Hall until they come out with a workable solution they agree upon that doesn't include spending money they don't have - and won't get.
Then when they get done with that, we should use the template on the Federal Government. Lock all Members of the House and Senate, and the President in a relatively small room, without assistants, without the perks of office, and without a way out until they fix the same basic problems that Bicknell is facing.
There were no surprises in Mayor Joe's State of the City address before the City Council. Money will be needed from numerous sources to make sure the City Levee passes inspection. Money will be needed from numerous sources to make sure there are some street repairs in the coming year. Money will be needed from numerous sources to make repairs to sidewalks and curbs. Money will be needed from numerous sources to add sidewalks out Main Street to Clark Middle School. CIty government IS about money.
With limited money we'll need to prioritize and I'm afraid the addition of sidewalks out Main Street to Clark Middle School are a luxury we'll have to forego. Remember the walk up hill both ways your Middle School (woops Junior High) days didn't hurt you. How good were the sidewalks then? George Rogers Clark walked into Vincennes in the mud - and walking to Clark Middle School along the mud besides Main Street - remember there are no curbs out there - would be a great lesson in history.
Besides - in today's society "Build it and they will walk" won't work. That's what mom and her SUV are for...
When the Gimball-bond building burned in 2011 one of the biggest losses was the mural painted on the back of the building. It was sad to see it charred after the fire was put out and even sadder when the wall was pushed over shrtly after the fire was out.
Immediately a group began the process of getting the historical picture back. Next month there will be a fund raiser at the Highland Woods Community Center to collect funds for and discuss the content and placement of a new mural.
Tickets and more information are available from the Chamber of Commerce. Not only will it be a fun night, but the funds raised will help get the mural back. It won't be exactly the same and it shouldn't be. It may not be in the same place - just off the Old National Bank parking lot downtown, though Old National Bank has done a wonderful job of supporting the re-painting of the old mural and lead the drive for making the new mural reality. The committee should probably consider locating the mural in the pocket park or near the Red Skelton Mural along Vigo Street where more people will see it.
Where ever it ends up and whatever it looks like, it will be something we need to get back some of what was lost in the fire.
The City of Vincennes is trying to get some of our local tax dollars back into town through a home improvement grant program. The program can allocate up to $15 Thousand dollars per home for needed repairs. It's designed for low income, elderly, and disabled home owners in certain sections of town and it's not a done deal.
The problem is the program approval chances may be improved by the number of applications the city can show to the funding agency. If you know of a person who's home may qualify or are such a homeowner, call city hall or stop in there and get the specifics.
It might seem like a long shot, but it's a long shot with a very positive outcome - for the homeowner and for our communtiy.
The government's not going to stop spending money, so we might as well get our share.
Let's put this right up front: The folks at the Vincennes Post Office are generally hard working and work under constraints they sometimes have no control over. A couple of them are also really funny and the man that delivers my mail at home looks a little weak but hauls tons of mail each year and I'm sure is in way better shape than me.
With that being pointed out, the announcement that the Postal Service will stop Saturday regular mail delivery in August as a cost saving measure is long over due and should be done the day after tomorrow. Why wait until August when this should have been done years ago? Why not take care of the other obvious cost savings measures that will evenually have to take place like closing little bitty post offices in little bitty communities?
Why not move the post offices to Walmart? Just about everybody ends up there anyway. Doesn't Walmart have thousands and thousands of trucks that go from store to store every day? Throw the mail on those trucks, sort it in the back of Walmart, and have the delivery people start their routes from the local Walmarts - they are open 24 hours a day, have good parking, and are centally located in most communities. Doesn't Walmart handle billions of dollars? They could sell money orders and stamps at the check out stations faster than anyone. Doesn't Walmart know how to squeeze a buck? Something any governmental - excuse me "quazi-governmental" agency doesn't seem to know how to do.
The one problem with the great idea - offered by Dave Young the (smart) morning guy on WZDM 92.1 fm and WZDM.com: The Postal Unions. Woops. Nevermind. Couldn't possibly work. Let's just keep losing Billions of dollars llike the rest of the government.
Mayor Yochum tells us on WZDM 92.1fm that he feels really good about Vincennes for 2013. This year he's not looking through those flashly colored glasses you can get at Eyeworks either. The first year as mayor was full of surprises and a real learning experience according to Yochum. This year's feel has some experience to balance it.
Yochum is truly fired up about the opportunities and progress planned and possible for this year. That's good for all of us. without a strong positive leader at the top, it's tough to make a city move forward. Keep up that positive attitude and it will trickle down to even the toughest customer. We need a positive attitude as much as we need those grants from the state and federal government.
The cold samp weather really makes it tough to keep positive during the short days of February, but around our town many of us make some off hours a little more positive with High School Basketball. Boys or Girls - it's all good. Maybe the middle schoolers run around in packs too much. Maybe there is too much salt on the pop corn to make it healthy. Maybe even a bunch of adults don't remember much about the game, but they do feel better when the game is over. Being out with others. Catching up with the neighbors. Catching up ON the neighbors. Having real interaction with friends.
Attending the games in person have a much more positive effect on people than "frineding" someone on a computer. My suggestion - just a suggestion: Take a night off and attend a high school sporting event this month and you'll feel a lot more positive.
We've just finished the Superbowl Weekend - well we got to see it from New Orleans. Coming up this weekend in Vincennes won't be the Superbowl, but it will offer an awfully lot. Saturday night is the Martes Gras celebration at the Fortnightly Club and Sunday is the Old Post Jam at Vincennes University. Both may never shine as brightly as the Watermelon Festival or the Red Skelton Festival of Clowns, but they certainly offer a fun way to interact with our friends and neighbors. There is a price for the fun and food at the Forthnightly with tickets available at the Knox County Public Library.
The Old Post Jam is free and if you are a musician bring your acoustic instrument and...jam. That's why they call it a "jam". It's bluegrass, but there are many musicians that will help you if you're not already in that musical camp.
And if you don't want to do that, next weekend will be a great weekend to clean out those closests that have needed it for years.
Last night while eating dinner the snow and whatever was mixed with it started falling eventually coating our town with a thin layer of ice and snow. My grandkids noticed it first. It was a simple report caused by a look out the window. But if I would have depended on my so-called "smart phone" there would have been nothing. No ice. No snow. Nothing.
I was reminded of three things:
1.) Many of us have become so dependant on those devices we used to call cell phones that some of us trust them more than we trust our own eyes.
2.) Maybe a "smart phone" isn't so smart after all.
3.) It's way better to watch the snow fall with a couple of little girls than to depend on technology.