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"My Town and Yours"

  "My Town and Yours"  Thoughts and  Observations of Mark Lange

Posts from October 2013


It Didn't Sound Like Fun
Went to my first Health Care Center Halloween Trick or Treating last night out of a lot duty and limited desire.  The duty?  My Mother In Law is now living in a local assisted care center in Vincennes and this is the first holiday celebration at her new place.  We had to go.  Maybe her little TV will get the World Series...  This was also the destination of five of my six grand children and while I had seen four of the six costumes for the year, well, you can't get enough of grand kids (never thought I'd say that when I was younger....).

It was fun.  A hassle, but fun.  It was busy.  Extremely crowded.  But enjoyable for the kids who trooped through the halls and for the residents who sat at their doors and jhanded out the candy and the compliments.  My "kids" were dressed so cutely.  And the other kids?  They were too.  And the World Series?  It DID come in on her little TV and the grand kids were so nice to share their treats.  It became NO duty and I'm already looking forward to next year just like my Mother In Law.
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What Did We Do Before This
It started out as a few unique little Christmas decorations.  You know those cute little blow up Santas and Reindeer.  Then it spread to other holidays and grew - actually GREW.  Now street after street has Halloween blow ups, some standing ten feet tall scaring the Almond Joys out of us when we turn a corner.  And the Christmas blowups.  There are not enough words to describe them.  

This is not a commercial, but to see a huge selection of everything blowup visit the Vincennes Lowes store.  You may think it's a lumber yard, but actually at this time of year it's a Blowup Decorations Mesuem.  Bring the kids.  Bring Grandma.  Take your Temporary Life Partner for a date night to see the display.  The Wabash Trails Park folks have nothing on these big displays.  Nothing.

And you can even buy them if your wife will let you.
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Have We Forgotten
Thursday is Halloween - A top five "Party Holiday" for kids and adults.  We will (I especially) will over dose on stuff we don't really need - candy and worse and hope we can get back to normal the next day.  Then it's Thanksgiving - or is it?  The one major holiday with the least commercial potential is at the end of November, but for most folks its just a day for a big meal, football, and shopping for the next holiday.

Local stores are jammed with final Halloween items right now, but the Christmas items are already out.  Thanksgiving items?  Nowhere to be found.  This weekend, Vincennes and area communities will have dozens of retail "Holiday Open Houses".  While they are very nice, I am a little sad that we continue to make Thanksgiving less and less important.  Too bad.  We have so much to be thankful for including all those  Reeces Bat and Pumpkin shaped Pieces, the Super Heor costumes, the retro Chirstmas Trees and all of the gifts we are able to put on our credit cards.
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What's this about Trick or Treating?
The Police Chief and Mayor of Vincennes seem to be obsessed with telling us that the "One Day" trick or treating announcement was just a suggestion.  Did anyone think it was a law?  Probably not.  Unless you are selling something without a city permit you can go up to any door in town any day of the year and knock on the door and give them your pitch.  Whether it's something from your elementary school, something for your God, or "Trick or Treat" as Nike would say "Just Do it!"

Nobody has to buy your elementary school fund raising cookie dough.  Nobody has to accept your God.  Nobody has to give you a trick OR a treat - even on Halloween.  In fact, I bet there are a whole lot of folks that have bought Halloween candy yet don't answer the door.  How do I know? Err.  I uh err. Well ya know....
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Locations: Vincennes


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Phil's the Bill
Took a variance requerst to the Vincennes City Inspector's Office yesterday and got the "Phil Treatment".  Phil is Phil Cooper, the former fireman and now City Inspector.  Phil and I are not even Face Book Friends, but his ttreatment of a tax payer was as good as if we graduated from Lincoln the same year.  I didn't go to LHS and have no idea if Phil did either.  In fact, virtually every person I've dealt with in the current city administration is friendly and professional.  That hasn't always been the case.

Around town many people refer to city employees by their first names.  There's the above listed Phil.  Dusty, Gordon, Liz, Dan, Dave, and of course Joe - to name a few.  Not too many Misters or Misses down at City Hall right now and that, at least to me, is a good thing.
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Locations: LincolnVincennes City
People: Phil Cooper


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A Warm Feeling
On Tuesday Dave Young, Aaron Lange, Datoka Spires, and I spent many of our work days on the porch of the Brevoort House in downtown Vincennes collecting coats, money, and food items for distribution to those who need help in our community.  It was really the first cold day of this Fall and we were all pretty cold, but the results warmed our hearts and will warm hundreds of boys and girls and adults this winter.

Thanks to all who took a few moments to check their closets.  Thanks to all who gave money.  Thanks to all who gave food items.  Our Town may not be as rich on our 1040's as other places, but we are rich in our concern for others and you showed it again at 6th and Busseron.  Thanks.  And thanks to the Salvation Army for getting the collected items to the public who needs them.
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People: Aaron LangeDave Young


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Must Have Missed It...
It seems that some folks on the Knox County Council were surprised that River Bluff Road was paved recently.  At least that's what the 4,822 paid subscribers were told.  Just a couple of points:  The paid number comes from the Statement of Ownership and Management dated 10/01/13.  The surpised County Council members were quoated in the 10/20/13 edition of the Vincennes Sun Commercial.  Maybe they need to listen to the radio and read our website a bit more.  That deal was reported quite a while ago...

Now the deal.  100% of the people who own property on River Bluff Road north of Vincennes asked the County Commissioners to accept their private road into the county's road inventory.  That is a process that can be requested of the Commissioners at any time and if acceppted the road then becomes the county's to maintain.  The River Bluff folks sweetened the pot by paying something like $17,000 of their money to pay for the materials to repave the road as part of the deal and one property owner donated an acre and a half of his property next to the county Highway Department to the county for its use.  The County Commissioners directed the highway department to do the paving and accepted the property.  Sounds like good management of limited resources to me.  when is the last time a neighborhood gave $17 Thousand dollars to the county?  When is the last time a property owner gave land so a county department can expand if necessary?  Not often for sure.

If the printed report is accurate that some County Council members are upset, the reaction of the community ought to be "get over it."  If the River Bluff people would have come to the County Council with the proposal, it would have been hearlded positively.  They didn't.  The River Bluff folks went to the Commissioners which is where they should have gone and made the proposal.

The Commissioners are mandated to manage the county with whatever the money the County Council appropriates.  The Commissioners managed the county effectlvely when they accepted the proposal.
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Let's Figure This Thing Out
The Kaiser Foundation reports that 182,000 Indiana Residents won't qualify for subsidised health insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act because they make too much money for Indiana Medicaid and too little money for a Federal Subsidy under the Federal Insurance Exchange that Indiana chose to use.  Wow.  Someone didn't have something figured out when the system was developed to leave that many people out in just Indiana.

I guess it doesn't really matter right now since you have a tough time even getting into the Federal Health Insurance web site much less figure out how to get an application completed and then get it accepted.  Who at the Federal Government didn't think millions of people would come to the web site to check out prices and apply if applicable?

Maybe the government should have contracted the web site to Facebook.  That web site always works and everyone seems to be on it all the time - work or free time - already.  Now THAT would have been thinking out of the box.
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They're Baaacckk
OK, we got what we wanted.  Congress voted on something and the government is official open again.  We also got the debt limit raised so Congress can appropriate and the federal government spend way more money than we really have.  In somecircles they call that "Unintended Consequences".  I call it "(Poor) Business as Usual".  
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Topics: Business_FinanceHuman InterestPolitics
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He Doesn't Owe Us...
Some folks are asking Mayor Joe Yochum to explain why he replaced the full time employees at the Animal Shelter with new ones.  The mayor has respectfully declined to make a full explanation - you know give us any dirty details if there are any that some think we deserve.  It is a public entity.  He is a public official.  The Animal Control employees are paid with our tax dollars.  And the success of the shelter is a reflection on our entire community.  But a full explanation?  Not required - nor should it be required.

The Mayor was elected to manage the city and that's what he was doing when those folks were replaced.  He was doing what he was elected to do.  The only recourse is vote Joe out of office if he runs again.  I'm not suggesting that, just listing that as the only option for just regular folks to take.

Every job at every level has its difficult parts and local governmental management jobs may be more difficult in some respects.  Just about everything the mayor does is local news.  We'll cover it and so will some others.  Some activities require full public disclosure, but an explanation about personnel issues isn't one of them.
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People: Joe Yochum


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It's a Friendly Place
My wife moved her mother to Vincennes on Sunday and so far so good for Maggie.  And the reaction of her new neighbors at the assisted living center?  Really positive.  There is a reason locals talk about how friendly folks are around here - because they are as friendly as they report.

Now they will just have to re-introduce themselves a few more times and then Maggie and her new buddies will be old friends.  
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Topics: Human Interest
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Is It Over Yet?
Of course it's not over yet, but I'm trying as hard as I can to not listen to the words coming out of our Washington "Spokespersons".  My mother would have said:  "Stop that stupidity and let your actions do your talking."  My mother was right - as usual.
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Locations: Washington


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WWPHD?
Patrick Henry Square is an open block of grass at Second and Main in downtown Vincennes.  Owned by the National Park Service, this ground is used for numerous events through out the year.  The National Park folks are very helpful in allowing its use.  Just don't drive on or tear up the grass.  You know where this rant is going...  The Catholic Folks from the Feast of the Booth celebration had received permission to use the square.  They even got assurance that they could hold the event during the government shutdown until just a couple of days before the event.  No the open grass covered block is off limits.  Closed.  Unable to be used. 

The Feast Folks have scrambled and moved the event to the Old Cathedral Grounds and the Rivet Parking Lot, the City of Vincennes has allowed the closing of a portion of Second Street in that area, and the celebration will go on.

The Feast celebrates the French Missionaries who fought through every possible threat to bring the story of Jesus to the wild west of the Wabash.  What would they have done?  Probably set up their mission right there in the free space we now call Patrick Henry Square.  What would Patrick Henry done when someone told him that piece of ground was off limits because the government couldn't - no - wouldn't work together?  Probably used the spot anyway.  Wouldn't it be cool if the Feasters really celebrated their ferver just like the missionaries they are celebration Where they wanted to when they wanted to?
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Locations: Vincennes
People: Patrick Henry


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Might Be Missing Something Here
I spent a few days out of town this week and one of the things I noticed was that there are many small to medium sized towns between Vincennes and Mansfield, Ohio, that seem to be more vibrant than Vincennes.  There seems to be a lot of growth, at least along the highways.  Any community around Indianapolis looks full of growth, ditto Dayton, the same for Columbus, Ohio, and even Mansfield where my trip ended.  but all that growth looked exactly the same.  The same big box stores.  The same national brands.  The same paint and sign colors.  If you fell asleep around Indy and woke up outside Richmond, nodded off and woke up again a Dayton, selpt a bit more and woke up outside of Columbus, you would never think you travelled a mile.  They all look the same.  Maybe that's how growth is nurtured.  Maybe there isn't any creativity anymore when it comes to building.  Maybe I'm jealous of the growth - no matter what it looks like.
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Locations: ColumbusIndianapolisMansfieldOhio


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The Great Speed Bump
Wow.  What a weekend for Vincennes.  All day Friday the town was buzzing.  Traffic was heavy.  People were smiling.  And it rained some.  All evening Friday the town was rocking.  The Alice's game had a positive outcome, the queen was beautiful, and the pavillion was full.  Then the rains came - and came hard slowing down the celebrations a bit.  Saturday came with more rain and most outdoor activities were relegated to something less indoors.  And Saturday night?  More rain - even some minor flooding.  And the celebrations?  Just took a bit longer to get to, mussed some new hair styles, wrinkled some clothes selected especially to impress both that hot quiet girl in the back row some hoped would show up for the reunion, AND that jock who poked fun (it's now called bullying) at you in study hall.  The rain?  While heaving was just a speed bump designed to make us slow down bit and give somene an operning line to that girl who did show up to the reunion.
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OK So I Celebrate a Little Bit
Yesterday I reported I don't do much celebration of the LHS Homecoming.  Not a Vincennes grad, not very social, if you want to read the report just look below.

But I did forget about the one thing I do generally take care of during LHS Homecoming.  I order the most loaded local pizza I can think of, no matter what kind of diet I am on at that time each year, and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner from that large circle of goodness.

There are few places in the country that can claim so many good non-chain pizza houses as Vincennes, but as a smart Vincennes resident, I order mine on Thursday because if I don't the wait on Friday and Saturday will be too long - way too long.
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Sorry Alices
Not being a Lincoln High School graduate it's kind of hard to get into the next couple of days in Vincennes.  Where I went to high school, at least for me, it was all about getting out of high school and never going back.  I got out - just barely and never went back.  I have missed my reunions - the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, and you get the pattern and get that I'm pretty old.

But around here homecoming is really important.  Not just for LHS, but for Bicknell, for Freelandville, for Wheatland, for just about every school and even schools long closed.

I guess the schools around here must have been a more positive experience for attending students.  Students must have bonded well and kep that bond.  At least for Vincennes Lincoln graduates, that bond was probably based on the fact they had to band together to live through four years of being an "Alice".  Pretty tough going to compete with Evansville Reitz when you were an "Alice" I bet.
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Topics: Education
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Locations: FreelandvilleLincoln


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Sometimes It's Just Time
There's really nothing to do with the old Clark, Old High School building in downtown Vincennes and the Vincennes Historic Review Board knew that when they approved its demolition.  They did make one last attempt to save something of the structure.  Board members asked developer Andy Myszak to try to save some of the limestone work on the entrances of the building along Buntin Street, but admitted that will be a streatch.  Because of the construction, saving a bunch of the limestone as an entry way for example probably won't happen.  And putting up some sort of large monument within the green space left after the demolition is not likely either.  There may be a small sign, but don't hold your breath for anything more.  By December at the latest demolition will be underway.  There will still be the pictures and memories, but it's time for the building to go.

There will be a final time for interested persons to go theough the building this Friday afternoon after the LHS Homecoming parade.  Listen to WZDM 92.1 Fm and WZDM.com for more information.
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People: Andy Myszak


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A Vincennes Seminar for Congress
Work One on Chestnut Street in Vincennes will host a free business seminar next Wednesday October 10th at 7pm.  The seminar is designed to help build teams at work and to build systems designed for working together.  Nobody from Vincennes should attend.  No one from Indiana or Illinois should attend, unless they are in Congress.

The "Why Can't We Get Along at Woprk" seminar is perfect for Congress AND it's free!  I bet Congress would pay Millions - woops BILLIONS of our money on such a program - for womeone else.  They should come to the seminar and they'd can get it free in Vincennes.

One other convenient touch -  Congressman Buchon's office is in the same building as the seminar.  He could host the event for his Washington buddies.
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Topics: Politics
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Locations: IllinoisIndianaWashington
People: Buchon


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