Sunday, April 10, 2022
Awards Gala Recognizes Top Community Leaders, Organizations
Court and Child Advocacy Group Inc. (CASA) executive director Kelly Smith Ford, left, and assistant Lisa Sanchez celebrate the organization’s Non-Profit Champion award at Friday’s Shelby County Chamber Awards Gala at Horseshoe Indianapolis Racing & Casino. | submitted
The annual Shelby County Chamber’s Awards Gala on Friday recognized “simply the best” - the event’s theme - in the community, hosted at Horseshoe Indianapolis Racing & Casino in Shelbyville.
The following recipients were recognized: Amy Larrison, Dick Kitchin Volunteer of the Year; Peter DePrez, Shelby County Community Lifetime Achievement; Angie Stieneker, John A. Hartnett Sr. Businessperson; Deborah Potter, Golden Pineapple Customer Service; Annette Creed, Golden Apple Outstanding Educator; Noah Henderson, Outstanding Citizen; Court and Child Advocacy Group Inc. (CASA), Non-Profit Champion (Indiana Federation of Business & Professional Woman - Shelbyville and Rotary Club of Shelbyville were also nominated); Cossairt Florist & Greenhouse, Small Business Champion (McNeelyLaw LLP and Sharp Trophies by Mack were also nominated); and Major Health Partners, Large Business Champion (Brazeway, Inc. and Penske Logistics were also nominated).
Everything on Blanchard Street Has Changed. Except the Griffiths.
Editor’s note: Long-time local painter Melvin Griffith passed away at his residence, April 1, 2022. The following article appeared in the old Saturday Shelby weekly newspaper, April 1, 2016, along with the above picture of Griffith and his wife, Lois Ann. Mr. Griffith’s funeral yesterday at Apostolic Tabernacle included countless stories highlighting his boisterous, compassionate personality.
by KRISTIAAN RAWLINGS
When Melvin and Lois Ann Griffith moved onto Blanchard St. in May 1966, many of their neighbors had been born in the late 1800s.
“All of them were old,” Lois Ann said, noting that their daughter, Becky, was the only child on the block.
But after 50 years in the same house, their perspective has changed.
“Now we’re the old ones,” Lois Ann said.
The 700 block of Blanchard featured an uncannily stable community.
Grace Andis, born in 1885, lived next door. The Griffiths used the entire length of her yard for a garden, giving Mrs. Andis part of the produce.
Russell Poe, born in 1899, built a special chair for him and his wife, Alta Mae, to enjoy the neighborhood scenery.
“He called it his love bench,” Melvin said. “Him and his wife would sit out there during the summertime.”
Other residents of the block included Rex Lawless, the Ortie Moore family, and Bill Rayborn, Melvin’s rabbit-hunting buddy.
Wilmer and Hazel McNeely, grandparents of local attorneys J. Lee and Mark McNeely, raised five sons and a daughter near the corner of the block and Howard St.
Lee McNeely remembers Blanchard well, not only because of his grandparents, but it was also part of his Indianapolis Star delivery route for three and a half years. His fellow Eagle Scout and eventual college fraternity brother Jim McMichael also lived on the block, as did several other classmates.
“Every Mother’s Day and, more importantly for us little ones, on Christmas Eve, the assorted aunts and uncles and cousins would gather together at ‘Grandma’s house’ for the best days and nights of our lives,” McNeely said. “As I recall, Santa didn’t bring a lot, but he always came.”
Simplicity marked the era. The Griffith’s home at 727 is only Melvin’s third residence in his life. He grew up at the corner of Second and State, then he and Lois Ann moved onto S. Tompkins St. for four years before finally relocating to Blanchard, where they hastily redecorated.
“The house had old wallpaper,” Melvin said. “We worked almost day and night for three solid days.”
The kitchen and bathroom were also painted in black circles. Lois Ann remembers the updating efforts well.
“It had the old-fashioned lights that hung down,” she said.
“Just one big ol’ light with a switch on it,” Melvin added.
They bought three items off of Phil Pumphrey, the previous owner: a couch, a fridge and a Chambers range, each for $25. Pumphrey had been a foreman at the Chambers factory in town. Born in 1892, he passed away three months after the home sale.
Much has changed since the mid-1960s, back when Sunrise Park was merely a cornfield and the giant tree on the east side of the street only rose to the bottom of the house window.
“Neighbors back then, if you had a death in the family, would bring a cake or do something like that,” Lois Ann said.
McNeely also has fond memories of the neighborhood.
“I remember the laughter, the good-natured kidding, the seemingly endless euchre games and Grandma’s cooking,” he said. “The neighborhood was stable, the neighbors were friends, and the times were good, at least in our young minds.”
Despite the passage of time, the Griffiths remain the one constant on the 700 block of Blanchard.
“Melvin and Lois Ann have been friends for decades, and I hope they have enjoyed Blanchard Street as much as my brother, Mark, and I and the rest of our family did,” Lee McNeely said. “It was a great place to live and grow up.”
The Griffiths agree.
“We’ll probably die from here,” Lois Ann said, laughing.
Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun lauded the completion of the downtown redevelopment project at Friday’s Chamber Awards Gala and provided an update on related matters. He said design work has been completed for the Methodist Building and construction will start in 45 to 60 days. The building will feature a service business, such as a restaurant, on the ground floor, a level of office space, and corporate apartments on three levels. DeBaun also highlighted the top three local priorities for the region’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant. The priorities include an approximate $8 million Early Learning Center project that will help ensure local children are ready for kindergarten; an indoor sports complex at Blue River Memorial Park providing space for court sports, such as basketball and volleyball, and the potential for a half field for turf sports; and the incoming apartments adjacent to the Porter Center. DeBaun noted there are 1,500 residential dwellings in various stages of development in Shelbyville right now.
The Shelbyville Aviation Board discussed next steps for the owners of six aircraft housed at the local airport that aren’t flying or being inspected. The airport staff will send notices to the owners asking for updates. “We're just trying to push that forward so that these folks are persuaded to get something done and either fix the airplane or sell it or do something, just so (the planes) don't indefinitely sit there,” board president Warren Good said at Friday’s aviation board meeting. “But we don't want to get too heavy-handed with it unless it’s justified.” There are approximately 22 plane owners on a waiting list for hangar space at the airport, although approximately half of those are current tenants looking for additional space.
HOOSIER NEWS: Two years from now, a massive chunk of Indiana will experience a total solar eclipse. Already, cities within the path of totality are planning for the flood of visitors expected to pour in as people come to witness this once in a lifetime event.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Food prices soared 12.6% between February and March to their highest levels on record, with the war in Ukraine disrupting shipments of critical supplies like wheat and vegetable oils. Higher food prices can lead to social unrest in low-income countries, where food accounts for a much larger share of spending. In sub-Saharan Africa, food makes up 40% of consumer spending, compared to 17% in higher-income economies. (Morning Brew)
Good News, Bad News
As promised, I will answer readers’ questions today. Enjoy!
Several readers have asked me what happened to Sassafras and Cletus, the animal members of “Team Schwinn.”
I have some good news and some bad news. I will start with the bad news. Sassafras is no longer with the living. A bit of explanation for you newer readers.
Sassafras was local attorney Tyler Earl Brant’s cat. Sassy was the most popular member of the team for several years.
It all began about the time that Skeeter started a print edition called Saturday Shelby. I had been let go from The Shelbyville News for writing too many columns about my reoccurring Tallulah Bankhead dream. Skeeter, a fan of my column since he was a boy with a full head of hair, began publishing Saturday Shelby just to give my column a home.
One day, Earl and I were having lunch at our headquarters, The Bookmark Coffee Shop. Earl mentioned that his cat could predict the winners of sporting events. In lieu of updating readers weekly on the details of my Tallulah Bankhead dream, I started printing Sassy’s predictions. The cat was right more times than she was wrong.
One year Sassy correctly picked the trifecta in the Kentucky Derby. Soon thereafter, a reader who just signed the note “McD” dropped off a bottle of Kentucky Bonded Bourbon for Earl in appreciation for Sassy’s tip. To this day, we do not know the identity of “McD.” Our only clue is that the ladies at the Bookmark noticed that he only had one arm. Now Sassy is gone, and you are all on your own this first Saturday in May.
Cletus (photo above) is a donkey who lives with Cousin Tom and his wife, the Baroness von Krueger. Cletus is still with the living. In fact, Cletus is making a public appearance later today. He has a starring role in the Palm Sunday service being held at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 6 p.m. If you hadn’t guessed, Cletus will be playing the part of the donkey.
According to Cousin Tom, Cletus has been looking forward to his public appearance later this evening for several weeks. The last time Cletus made the news was the year he was kicked out of the Indiana Derby. A story worth retelling.
We were all having lunch at the Bookmark when someone mentioned reading an article about men who identify as women being allowed to participate on the women’s team. The idea seemed a bit farfetched to most at the lunch counter that day.
One customer put down her sandwich and said, “Nostradamus predicted it.” Another pointed out that 20th century philosopher Bob Dylan warned us, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
Cousin Tom said, “Cletus lives with a horse, so could he enter the Indiana Derby?”
Just when the words left Tom’s mouth, I looked at Earl. Earl smiled. Earl is a criminal defense lawyer known for his ability in finding loopholes in the law. Earl said, “Living with a horse isn’t enough. Does Cletus identify as a horse?”
Yada, Yada, Yada: the next thing I knew we were out at Indiana Grand unloading Cletus from his “horse trailer.” The officials looked a bit skeptical, but Earl opened an old law book, read something in Latin, and it looked for a minute like Cletus would be in the race.
It was then that we learned about all thoroughbred horses being required by the racing commission to have a tattoo inside their upper lip to prove their identity. As it turned out, Cletus did have a tattoo. Unfortunately, it was a tattoo of the hula girl from the label on a bottle of Sailor Jerry Rum.
As Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”
Editor’s Note: I was present at Indiana Grand the day Team Schwinn brought Cletus to the track. Barb, at The Bookmark Coffee Shop, has verified the story of the one-armed man. It just goes to show that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Below, the 2016 newspaper photo and caption proving Cletus’ presence at the track.
This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.
THIS DAY IN SHELBY COUNTY HISTORY
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: 2002
Ashley Allen of Shelbyville received a first-place trophy in the 9-to-11 tap-solo category at a competition in Chicago. Allen’s older sister, Jennifer, was her instructor at the Rat-A-Tat Tat Dance Studio.
The first Shelbyville High School website was launched. It was started by business teachers Terry Markland, Paul Heidenreich, Amy Fox, Janet Godby and students in Godby’s Business Application III class. The website included information about teachers and administration, a link to the school’s handbook, information on the guidance department and more.
30 YEARS AGO: 1992
Dr. Dar S. Muceno accepted a position in Marion, Ind. to lessen his workload. The doctor had undergone heart bypass surgery in 1988. Muceno had served as a physician in Shelbyville since 1976. He was a native of the Philippines.
Approximately 6,000 attended the Shelby County business and industry trade fair, held at Shelbyville High School. Over 75 exhibitors had booths in William S. Garrett Gymnasium. The organizing committee was composed of Ken Ashpole, Scott Harper, Margaret Newkirk, Jeff Owens and Greg Parks.
40 YEARS AGO: 1982
Shelbyville Central Schools Supt. John Hayes delivered a report to the school board on the 266 local children attending private schools. St. Joseph Elementary was the only local private school accredited by the state. Unaccredited schools included three other church schools, the Baptist Academy, Holiness Christian Academy and Apostolic Christian Academy; and three “living-room schools,” operated by families for their own children, Hayes said.
Shelbyville Police Chief Bob Nolley lobbied for the installation of a computerized, print-out alarm system that would consolidate the ancient maze of business and bank alarm wires running into the police department. Nolley pointed out the police department monitored business alarms as a service. He said he had contemplated giving businesses with alarm systems so many “free” police responses on false alarms before charging a fee. Nearly 20 false alarms had been received in one day at one city business, he noted.
50 YEARS AGO: 1972
Milk shakes were on sale for 33 cents at the Big T Burger, 1303 S. Harrison St. The ad read: “Call ahead and we’ll deliver by cab (You pay the cab for food and delivery).”
60 YEARS AGO: 1962
County Clerk Herrin Brown estimated that 20,000 Shelby County residents would be eligible to cast a ballot in the May primary. A four-hour evening period on the last day of registration netted 200 new voters.
70 YEARS AGO: 1952
A group of Shelbyville High School metal working students created an equipment trailer to be donated to the Boy Scouts at Camp Flat Rock. Three Shelbyville firms, the National Farm Co-op, Sandman Bros. and Tingle Manufacturing, had supplied parts for the trailer. Industrial arts instructor M.L. Davies led the efforts. Students Jim Roberts, Bob Thurston, David Ramsey, John Schoentrup, Nile Coers, George Phares and Charles Sosbe had built the trailer. (Sosbe had to leave partway through its completion to be inducted into military service.)
The school board received architectural drawings from D.A. Bohlen & Son to add two-room wings adjoining the front part of Addison Township Elementary School. The four additional classrooms, two in each new wing, would relieve over-crowded conditions that had led to the transfer of seventh and eighth grade pupils to the local junior high school over the two previous years.
80 YEARS AGO: 1942
A fire on Samuel Porterfield’s Union Township farm caused the loss of 300 chickens. The county fire truck was driven from Shelbyville by Frank Barlow.
The War Production Board announced that, starting in the fall, women’s skirts could not be longer than the knees, which was an effort to save clothing yardage. “As to how short they may be, a woman’s conscience and the law must be her guide,” The Shelbyville Republican said.
90 YEARS AGO: 1932
In observance of Arbor Day, members of the Mary Mott Green chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a tree-planting exercise at the grave of Job Pope, located on a knoll in the center of the Porter camp golf links, near Flat Rock. Pope had been a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War. William Porter, owner of the camp, cooperated with the chapter in planning the event and took part in the program, which was held before a log fire in the office of the camp. Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” was read by Mrs. Alonzo Blair. Donald Cauzzort, 5-year-old drummer from Shelbyville, led a march to the grave, where Mr. Porter placed the tree and spaded the first shovel of dirt. DAR leaders and Pope’s descendants finished the task of planting the elm tree. Job Pope was born in 1768 in Massachusetts and died May 22, 1832. He had been a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War, engaged in the battle at Guilford Court House, North Carolina, one of the last battles of the war. The Warners and Porters had revered and protected his grave for many years.
William H. DePrez turned 73. Before retirement, he had been a long-time leader of the Morrison-DePrez Drug Co. firm.
Laura (Ray) Morrison, called “a distinguished woman” in The Republican’s headline, died. “A prominent figure in community activities and welfare work, Mrs. Morrison’s passing will be regretted by young and old alike,” the newspaper said.
100 YEARS AGO: 1922
The American Legion Auxiliary’s annual poppy sale began. The Auxiliary announced it had 1,000 poppies. Proceeds went toward veteran relief work.
Randall L. Reed, 68, of Arlington, passed away Saturday, April 9, 2022, at his home.
Services will be announced by Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 124 E. North St. in Morristown. Memorial contributions may be made to the Little Blue River Friends Church. Online condolences may be shared with Randy’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
Carrie Nicole Michaels, 43, of Shelbyville, passed away Friday, April 8, 2022, at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. She was born January 26, 1979, in Elwood, the daughter of Patricia (Michaels) Spillman. In addition to her mother of Shelbyville, Carrie is survived by her sisters, Gloria Brown and husband, Mike, and Tina Spillman, both of Shelbyville; brothers, Jerry Spillman and wife, Julie, of Fort Wayne, and David Michaels of Indianapolis; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Carrie attended Shelbyville High School. She enjoyed the time she spent on Facebook. By being an organ donor, Carrie helped save the lives of two people.
Private family services will be observed. Services have been entrusted to Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. Online condolences may be shared with Carrie’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.