Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021

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Shelby Swimmers Continue State Streak

Coach Coen Weiler’s goal was to match the results of the past three Shelbyville High School swim seasons: send at least one athlete to state finals. Yesterday, five Golden Bear swimmers traveled to the big event at the Indiana University Natatorium downtown Indianapolis.

It was the culmination of a grueling season. 

“Getting to school at six in the morning, putting on a suit and jumping in the not-so-warm water in the middle of winter; having to swim after school, to sometimes six at night; and then coming home and maintaining studies,” junior Karissa Hamilton said, describing the routine.

Self-discipline, though, was no guarantee meets would even occur in the pandemic. And swimmers were sometimes quarantined from school and activities when a classmate sitting near them tested positive for Covid-19. 

“With how our sport works, our athletes are rarely, if ever, competing at 100 percent in terms of mental, emotional, or physical energy until sectionals,” Weiler said. “Add to this season the questions that covid raised, everyone felt just a bit more of that exhaustion hitting them.”

But luck and preparation converged at last week’s sectionals as Hamilton, Addi Weaver, Miriam Garringer and Marlee Rice advanced to State in the 200 free relay. Hamilton also set individual school records in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 back. Sophomore diver Maiah Helfer-Vazquez made regionals at the same event by also setting a school record.

“That brought our (school record) total to five out of 13 events on the season to date,” Weiler said.

The program has also experienced success with its tapering process, the rest and recovery period leading up to sectionals.

“I knew this year that if we could just get (to tapering), we'd see an even bigger bump because of the strain covid had created,” Weiler said. “That is exactly what happened. All week leading up, you could tell the girls were just so much more confident, composed, relaxed...they were just ready.”

Junior Marlee Rice’s goal had simply been to drop time at sectionals. “I gave it my all,” she said. “I was aware we broke the record when I was done, and then Karissa was like, ‘I think we broke it.’”

While Hamilton wasn’t certain about the relay success, she had a clue that her individual swim went well. “I knew I broke the 100 backstroke record as soon as I finished because I saw Coach Weiler jumping up and down,” she said.

Freshman swimmer Miriam Garringer said she never dreamed of advancing so far in her first season. The sectionals experience with her relay teammates and senior alternate Yui Fukuzawa was one for the books. “After Marlee had raced to the finish line and we had gotten first place, Addi, Marlee, Karissa and I knew we were going to State, and we were all thrilled. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing amongst ourselves.”

The season concluded at yesterday’s State preliminaries with Hamilton finishing fifth in Heat 1 of the 50 free and 14th in Session 1. The relay team finished sixth in Heat 3 and 14th in Session 1.

Early in the week, with the girls reflecting on the season’s success, the girls expressed a similar refrain: “I don’t think I could do this without the support of my coach and teammates,” Hamilton said.

The season, destined to be unique, was memorable for all of the right reasons.

“I keep telling everyone I talk to how proud I am of this group of girls,” Weiler said. “They have done an amazing job and made it through an extremely rough year. They deserve every ounce of credit they can get.”

With vaccine administration in progress and three of the four SHS State swimmers returning, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to next season. 

“This is our fourth year in a row reaching State, and every year is more special than the next,” Weiler said.


  • Indiana Grand reported stronger revenue compared to recent months in the Indiana Gaming Commission's monthly report. The local casino reported $20 million in taxable adjusted gross revenue for January 2021, up from the $17.7 million reported in December 2020, but down from last January's $22.5 million haul. It was the highest reported AGR since October 2020, when the casino reported $20.2 million.

  • The Shelbyville High School boys basketball team (5-11) lost in HHC action to New Palestine, 62-61, last night. Matthew Bunton led the team with 23 points. Mitch Yeend scored 14 and Hunter Hounshell added 10.

  • The Waldron Mohawks boys basketball team lost in MCH action to South Decatur last night, 63-60. Tyler Bowlby led the team with 21 points and Bryce Yarling scored 19. Jacobi Percell and Lukas Mitchell each added 8. Triton Central boys lost to Cardinal Ritter, 62-58. Morristown defeated Eastern Hancock, 51-36.

  • Editor’s note: Thank you to each of you who has re-subscribed. I don’t want to assume anything, so I’m only adding those in who indicate a desire to remain. If you wish to keep the same payment on file as before, just reply to this email and I’ll keep it going. Thank you again for your support! It’s been a great first full week back.

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  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,510 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 7 from the previous day, out of 17,881 tests, an increase of 24 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County increased by 1, to 88.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: Indiana House Republicans want to spend at least $65 million less on traditional K-12 schools in their state budget plan than Gov. Eric Holcomb proposed. The House GOP budget instead prioritizes increases for school vouchers and virtual schools. The proposal increases tuition support for K-12 schools by $378 million over the next two years – that’s $1 million more than Holcomb’s proposal. But the House Republican plan includes a significant expansion of school vouchers for private schools, taking up $66 million of that increase.

  • NATIONAL NEWS: Researchers recently measured air quality in 71 underground subway stations during morning rush hours in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York searching for particles at the PM2.5 level. Nationally, the determined safe daily level is 35 micrograms per cubic meter; D.C.’s Metro came in at 145 micrograms per cubic meter, while New York’s subway clocked in at 251 micrograms per cubic meter. Philadelphia apparently had the cleanest system, though it was still north of the limit. Incidentally, the Christopher Street station in New York that connects to the PATH train to New Jersey came in a 1,499 micrograms per cubic meter of pollution, which is “building demolition” level numbers. (The Guardian)

    A VIEW FROM MY SCHWINN: See you at the Helbing

    Don't act surprised.  You had to know this was coming.

    Dear readers,

    It’s straight to the mailbag this week. I received a letter from longtime reader and everyone’s favorite retired mailman, Rock Robertson.

    Dear Kris,

    I know you and Team Schwinn have had a difficult time trying to promote “The Helbing.”  I thought you would like to know that you aren’t alone. 

    The city of Carmel, Ind., has a new giant abstract art sculpture called “Morning Sun.”  The city paid over $200,000 for it. The sculpture is 16 feet tall and made from stainless-steel, just like “The Helbing.” Some Carmel residents have complained that it looks more like the coronavirus molecule than the sun.


    Rock Robertson

    Dear Rock,

    Yes, my call to rally around “The Helbing” has been met with a much less than enthusiastic response. It’s hard to believe but it has been almost a year since Team Schwinn has held a public event at “The Helbing.” I think the wheelie exhibition later this summer should draw a crowd. Let me know if you want to participate.      

    Super Bowl Roundup:  Some of my Team Schwinn cub reporters calling in after the big game sounded like they attended the Bud Bowl. I can’t absolutely guarantee the accuracy of their reporting, but the following sounded true enough for my column, so enjoy.

    Tom Brady isn’t the only old-timer in Florida this winter.  Long-time Shelby County residents Jim and Carmella Hammond are also wintering in the Sunshine State. They didn’t get tickets to the big game, but they are living close enough to see the flyover. 

    After a day of competitive shuffleboard, Jim and Carmella put on their official Buccaneers t-shirts and rode their Schwinns over to watch the game at Jim’s daughter’s house. Lucky for Jim and Carmella, it wasn’t a long ride.  Joining them at the party were Rob and Kris Ford, who brought a Jell-O mold. A good time was had by all.

    Meanwhile back home in Shelby County, Susan Weaver’s family enjoyed a wonderful assortment of snacks and hor d'oeuvres during the big game. Susan is a renaissance woman known for excellence in everything she does.  This year, the individual size pizzas she prepared were not only delicious but hidden in mozzarella was a message. On close inspection, written in cursive, it said, “Stop Industrial Solar Plants.”  

    On a final note: with sports betting now legal, over half of all Americans bet on this year’s super bowl.  Ted Wells not only beat the spread, over-under, and the money line, but he was even right about the coin flip and the flavor of Gatorade poured on the coach. Ted and his wife,  Renae Skinner, are well-known local sports enthusiasts, having once been owners-sponsors of a Babe Ruth baseball team.


    News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.

    20 YEARS AGO: 2001
    Funds for Shelby Manor, the county-run home for the poor, were depleted, leaving officials to borrow money to buy food for the nine residents and staff. County officials had been investigating alternatives to keeping the 154-year-old institution open. In the 1930s, John Tindall left more than 200 acres to the county with a stipulation in his will that proceeds from the farm go to Shelby Manor. Rent from the farm had been $35,406 the previous year; expenses had been $163,000. It wasn’t the first time that the county had considered closing the place. A newspaper article in May 1918, said that 100 citizens attended a public meeting on the same question.

    SHS senior wrestler Damon Gilbert advanced to the semistate tournament.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    School board members received a development proposal outlining plans to use the old junior high school building for an apartment complex. The junior high, 315 Second Street, would close at the end of the school year. It was built in several stages, with the oldest completed in 1910. The school served as the community’s senior high school as well as junior high school from about 1911 to the late 1950s.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981
    About 50 people gathered at the volunteer fire department in Waldron to discuss town incorporation. Waldron was not technically a town but rather an unincorporated area. Although residents of the area identified as citizens of Waldron, it was actually considered a reference point on a map, like a river. A town, though, had an elected clerk-treasurer, a board of trustees, and provided services to its residents. The first step would be to survey residents. A committee was set up to investigate the process. Committee members were Tom Pruitt, Eric Schonfeld, Ron Gahimer, and Ron Fuchs.

    Kevin Wilson and Lisa Bennett were crowned King and Queen of the Sweetheart Dance at Waldron High School.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    Donald Wickizer Sr. was the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen Award. In making the presentation, chamber president Allen Elder noted that Wickizer’s activities in community service had included membership on the local school board, off-street parking committee, leadership roles in the Boy Scouts, his church, and Rotary Club. Wickizer was president of Tippecanoe Press.

    The county-wide evangelistic program, organized by the Shelby County Ministerial Association, was completed with the showing of “For Pete’s Sake” at the Cinema Theater.

    Alva Sibbitt Jr., 28, was hired as Southwestern High School principal, replacing Robert Wade, who was taking over the superintendency following the retirement of Supt. Charles Wetzel.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961

    Barbara Hey, of Waldron, was announced the 1961 Rec Sweetheart at the annual dance. Runners-up were Ann Woodmansee, Pat McComas, Marty Mitchell, and Pat Graham.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951
    The new 1951 Studebaker Commander V-8 arrived at Evans Motor Sales on E. State Road 29.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    Misfortune repeated itself when the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Kling, 321 W. Mechanic St., caught fire causing minor damage. The fire occurred on the first anniversary of a blaze that destroyed their home and all contents on a county farm. Ten years prior at this time of year fire had also destroyed the Kling’s home, on Third Street.

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931
    County officials at the courthouse arrived to find that the floors had not been wept and the heater off. Mid-morning, the custodian appeared and said he had resigned. Officials set a rotation to fire up the furnace while a replacement was sought. The custodian returned late in the day and said he wanted his job back. Commissioners said they would appoint a new janitor soon.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    A young girl on Frank Street in Walkerville was injured while attempting to build a fire in order to prepare breakfast. Oil on the stove caused an explosion, giving the girl serious burns.

    County Clerk Thurston said he had refused marriage licenses to six couples recently who were not residents of the county. “He said that he did not intend that Shelby County should become a Gretna Green for eloping couples while he was the clerk of the court,” The Republican reported.


    Carolyn M. Smith, 87, of Fairland, passed away Thursday, February 11, 2021 at her residence. Born June 24, 1933, in Cookeville Tennessee, she was the daughter of Fate D. Hill and Bonza E. (Beaty) Hill. She married Chester L. Smith and he preceded her in November of 2004. Survivors include a son, Ronnie Boles (wife Susan) of Fairland; two daughters, Debra Caruthers (husband Michael) of Fairland, and Connie Humphreys of Fairland; and eight grandchildren, Crystal, Brandi, Jessie, Jake, Kyle, Amber, Kristin, Kasie; and 19 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; her spouse; daughter, Joni Shelton; three brothers, Charles Hill, Marvin Hill, and Hobart Hill; and two granddaughters, Kelly Caruthers and Cody Shelton.

    Mrs. Smith had lived in this area for 65 years, after moving from Tennessee. She was a member of Northwood Christian Church in Fairland and had been employed as a repair person at Jenn Air of Indianapolis for 20 years, retiring in 1996. Carolyn was an avid gardener.  She enjoyed growing flowers, quilting, needlepoint, and dearly loved her family and grandchildren.

    Funeral services will be 1 p.m. on Monday, February 15, 2021 at Glenn E. George & Son Funeral Home, 437 Amos Road, with burial in Orchard Hill Cemetery.  Friends may call on Monday from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. Online condolences may be shared at