Sunday, April 18, 2021

Divas Gather

The Crafty Divas of Shelby County were back at it yesterday at the fairgrounds. From baked goods to wreaths and door prizes, the return of the occasional event was the group’s latest success.

“Everything has to be handmade or a craft of some type,” Debbie Tilley, one of the six founding Divas, said.

The next Crafty Divas event is set for Nov. 20 and 21, also at the Brinson building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

Below: Kids enjoyed Barnyard Party Pals, set up by the fairgrounds stage, yesterday. | Anna Tungate

Cat Whisperer

Dear readers,

Last week I mentioned the time a mysterious one-armed man delivered a bottle of bonded bourbon to Team Schwinn. The gift was dropped off at our headquarters, The Bookmark/Three Sisters Books and Gifts. It was in appreciation of Earl’s cat Sassafras correctly picking the trifecta in the Kentucky Derby. I don’t know if it was the unusual detail of the man only having one arm or the fact that a cat had picked a horse race, but I received mail from old and new readers alike.

With the 147th run for the roses at historic Churchill Downs only a couple of weeks away, long-time readers wanted to know if I would be publishing Sassafras’s picks this year. New readers asked me to tell the complete story. And loyal reader Kenny Phares reported that he thinks the one-armed man was named George.

To you long-time readers, I’m sorry to report that Earl’s cat Sassafras is no longer among the living.

For you newer readers, let’s ask Mr. Peabody to have his boy Sherman set the Wayback Machine for five or six years ago.

It was a time before “The Helbing.” The fidget spinner was popular among the young. My column was in Skeeter’s weekly print publication, Saturday Shelby. Even though the weekly paper was distributed to most of the homes in Shelby County, it was also available on the internet. It was on the internet where the mayor of Shelbyville, Kentucky spotted one of my columns.

I can’t remember the specific column, probably because, as my wife, Sandy, says, they are all pretty much the same. Anyway, the column caught the eye of the mayor and he invited us to Shelbyville, Kentucky.

We all fell in love with the place. I mean what’s not to like about Kentucky with its southern hospitality, fried chicken, and bourbon. However, it was team member Tyler Brant who really adopted it as his second home.

Tyler started going by his middle name, Earl. He had noticed that many of the Kentuckians he met went by their middle names. Skeeter appointed me as ambassador and Earl as cultural attaché to Kentucky.

Earl decided that we needed an embassy. A secondhand pop-up camper was acquired and before long Earl and his cat Sassafras became a fixture on the Walmart parking lot most weekends. Our Kentucky cousins always looked forward to Earl’s visits. He became famous among the Kentuckians for the way he measured a three fingered pour of bourbon. Earl always used a water glass and measured the distance between his pinky, middle finger, and thumb.

It was about this time that Earl discovered that his cat could pick winners in sporting events. During football season, Skeeter had a weekly item in the paper called, “Are you smarter than a cat?” Local sports fans would square off against Sassafras picking the weekly games. Sassafras almost always won.

Maybe it was from spending so much time in Kentucky, but soon Sassy was second to only legendary handicapper Hammerin Hank Goldberg at picking winning horses. Skeeter published Sassafras’s Kentucky Derby picks in the edition of Saturday Shelby prior to the race. The following week, a one-armed man left a bottle of bonded bourbon for Earl at the coffee shop. In hindsight, maybe he should have left a bag of catnip.

Epilogue: Local attorney Tyler Brant remains a loyal member of Team Schwinn. He is now married to the former Cristi Downing. They have a daughter, Althea. Although he has returned to going by Tyler, he still likes to be called Earl on the first Saturday in May.


  • The Shelbyville High School softball team (10-1, 4-0 HHC) defeated No. 2-ranked 3A Yorktown yesterday, 7-2. Madison Campton hit a home run. Cheyenne Eads pitched a complete game, striking out six, walking zero, and only allowing three hits. In other county softball action, Waldron defeated Columbus Christian, 11-1.

  • The Golden Bears boys golf team finished sixth out of 13 teams at yesterday’s Jennings County Invitational. Matthew Bunton scored 85; Nolan Chaney, 86; Ethan Aspley, 88; Eli Baker, 92; and Garet Skaggs, 106.

  • Shelbyville baseball defeated Indian Creek twice, 8-7 and 6-3, yesterday.

  • The average price of gasoline per gallon in Shelbyville as of yesterday was $2.832, according to AAA – The Auto Club Group. The average price per gallon in Indiana a year ago at this time was $1.50.

  • There are currently 376 submitted student applications for next year’s Blue River Career Programs cohort. “We’re pretty pleased with the numbers so far,” BRCP director Steve Shaw said, adding that the number is a little higher than last year at this point. There is still time for applications to be submitted.

  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,784 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 1 from the previous day, out of 19,259 tests, an increase of 32 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 95. The State lists 11,700 fully vaccinated people for Shelby County as of yesterday.

  • Interested in subscribing to The Addison Times? Coverage this week included Final Curtain Call for Long-time Band Director and Local Diner Set to Re-open, in addition to our usual local government and history news. Thank you so much for supporting local journalism! (Subscribe today!)

  • HOOSIER NEWS: Thursday evening, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway emailed an advisory to all 2021 Indianapolis 500 ticketholders to reaffirm their stance on the track’s plan “to welcome our fans for all on-track days in May ... (and) prepare for a sizeable crowd on Race Day.” IMS included a survey asking whether they plan to come and how many in their ticket allotment they plan to use. The deadline to fill out the emailed survey is Monday, April 19. If fans decide they don’t feel comfortable attending the May 30 Indy 500 or are not able to due to personal circumstances, IMS has again given current ticketholders the option to roll their tickets over into a credit for “any IMS event,” including the 2022 Indy 500, without losing their seniority in the reservation process and seat location. (The Indianapolis Star)

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    “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.


    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
    Shelby County Commissioners heard from attorney Jeffrey Bate about using 89 acres of property on Progress Road that included Wellman Thermal Systems Corp. for a possible Super Wal-Mart site. Bate said a deal was imminent. There were numerous reported challenges with the site, though, including issues of pollution and legal and tax disputes.

    Congressman Mike Pence spoke to more than 300 party loyalists at the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner held at Shelbyville Middle School.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    Tom Davis, a Latin teacher and academic team coach at Shelbyville High School, was named one of five recipients of WTHR Channel 13’s Shining Star Award. Davis had taught at SHS for five years.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981
    Shelbyville Police participated in a three and one-half hour active shooter training drill at the J.G DePrez Hardware Co. An unlikely group of “criminals” - Mayor Dan Theobald, Assistant Police Chief Russ Mason, merchant Evan Tingle and police photographer Bob Brant, served as the “burglars.” The session was missing one element: KC, the police dog, who could not be used for obvious reasons, Police Chief Bob Nolley said.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    The Shelbyville Board of Works discussed widening S. Noble St. and paving it from Van Ave. to McKenzie St.

    The Triton Classroom Teachers Association awarded the first scholarship given by the organization to Joyce Harrell. The presentation was made at the Chicken & Steak Inn.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961
    Four Boys’ Club members received awards for outstanding activities in various branches of crafts and recreation. Those awarded were Steve Eberhart, crafts award; Jim Brison, shop award; Tom Cord, games room award; and Ronnie Cole, athletic award.

    Although many city postmen had stories of fighting off the family dog in order to perform their duties, Shelbyville Police Sgt. Lewis (Pete) Myers had a tale to top them all. Myers went to Ray Comstock’s home, 701 Fair Ave. after neighbors reported Comstock might be seriously ill. The officer went to the back door but before he could knock, a pet rooster pecked him on the leg. Somewhat irritated, Sgt. Myers replied with a kick. The rooster charged back using beak and spurs to inflict injuries to the officer’s leg. It was discovered, eventually, that Comstock was not ill but the police officer sustained painful lacerations.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951
    The Mt. Auburn High School senior class put on a comedy. Those taking part were Jim Snapp, Rufus Goodwin, Russell Cutsinger, Newton Jones, Richard Carew, Ed Treon, Ed Pile, Bill Wertz, Carolyn Weinantz, Margie Lindsey, Evelyne Patterson, Sue Henderson, Helen Miller and Margaret Adams.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    Members of the Shelbyville High School May Court would be Marjorie Evans, Betsy Ross Fleming, Ruth Ann Spiegel, Margaret Smith, Carmen Moody, Joanne Forsyth and Lucy Ann King. Escorts would be Kenneth Chambers, Bud Ray, Bob Hayes, Sonny Neu, Warren Loper, Jim Whisman and Dick Hill.

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931
    Seven Shelbyville High School lettermen, members of the senior class, were made charter members of the first S-Men’s Club to be organized. Those honored were Charles Campbell, Lorenzo Linville, Garrell Richey, Don Phipps, Walter Haltom, John Leap and Nelson Hodges.

    A five-passenger 1929 Buick coupe seized by county and city officers at Kemper’s Camp after it was found to be loaded with several hundred quarts of liquor was set to be sold in a sherrif’s sale.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    A Shelby County jail inmate, under a sentence of one to five years, escaped. The man had been allowed to work outside of the jail. He had gone to the home of former sheriff A.O. Baker, who lived across the alley from the jail, to borrow a carpet beater. He then beat several rugs in the jail yard and later carried up coal from the jail basement to the kitchen of the jail residence. He was last seen sitting on the jail steps reading the evening newspaper. The man was supposed to have been transported to Indiana State Prison but had been given an extra week here so that his mother, living in New Orleans, could visit. The sheriff said he suspected the man had escaped with help from friends.


    James D. “Jim” Drake, 72, of Shelbyville passed away Friday, April 16, 2021, at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He was born March 14, 1949, in Shelbyville, the son of Floyd Jr. and Cleota Ann (Coy) Drake.  On August 11, 1972, he married his wife of 48 years, Mildred Loggan, and she survives. In addition to Mildred, Jim is survived by his sons, James D. Drake Jr. and John F. Drake, both of Shelbyville; sisters, Karen Hammond of Ohio, Janie Burns of Flat Rock, Terri Runnebohm and husband, Mike, of Shelbyville, Mary Cangany and husband, Kevin, of Flat Rock, and Jennie Chrisman and husband, Jeff, of Edinburgh; brothers, Jerry Drake and wife, Rita, of Edinburgh, Tom Drake of Shelbyville and Larry Drake and wife, Cindy, of Shelbyville; grandchildren, Loggan, Drew, Jenna and Landon; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Marvin Drake.

    Jim graduated in 1967 from Southwestern High School. He was a lifelong farmer.
    Jim was a member of the Norristown Masonic Lodge No. 147 F&AM. He enjoyed going on many rides on his Harley-Davidson motorcycles, including trips all over the United States and Canada. Jim also enjoyed spending the winters in Florida.

    Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Carmony-Ewing Chapel, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at the funeral home. Interment will be at Patterson Cemetery in Shelby County.
    Memorial contributions may be made to Patterson Cemetery, 2916 W 850S, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176. Online condolences may be shared with Jim’s family at

    Marylin Joan “Joany” Walker, 80, of Shelbyville passed away Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at Franciscan Health Indianapolis. She was born August 7, 1940, in Alpena, Michigan, the daughter of John and Margaret Elizabeth “Bessie” (Imeson) Plowman.  On June 27, 1959, she married her husband of 61 years, Lewis Thomas “Tom” Walker, and he survives. In addition to Tom, Joany is survived by her daughter, Kristy Holzhausen and husband, Steve, of Shelbyville; sister, Susan Wagner of Clarkston, Michigan; brother, John Plowman and wife, Bonnie, of Alpena; grandson, Andrew Holzhausen and fiance’, Kenya Wheeler; great-grandchildren, Kenneth Holzhausen, Addison Wheeler and Parker Holzhausen; and several nieces and nephews. Joany was preceded in death by her parents; and a daughter, Lisa Sue Walker in 1983.

    She graduated in 1958 from Alpena High School. Joany was formerly a florist at B & R Flower Shop for 25 years. She served as pianist, choir director and on several women’s groups, while she served as a pastor’s wife for 50 years.  Together, she and Tom, pastored for 12 years at Fenns Community Church in Shelbyville; 13 years at Crossroad Community Church in Beech Grove; and 15 years at First Church of God in Iverness, Florida. Joany also ministered to the residents at Especially Kidz. Joany was a former member of the Rainbow Girls.  She enjoyed music and was very creative in decorating for the holidays. Joany loved people.  She also loved her family, especially her grandson and great-grandchildren.

    A Gathering of Friends will be from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Faith Trinity Church, 505 W. Pennsylvania St. in Shelbyville. A Memorial Service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church, with Pastors Perry Fouts, Gerald Holmes and Jose Rivera officiating. Family and friends are invited to view the service via livestreaming on our facebook page Inurnment will be at Miller Cemetery at a later date. Services have been entrusted to Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army, 136 E. Washington St., Shelbyville, Indiana 46176 or American Heart Association, 6100 W 96th St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, Indiana 46278. Online condolences may be shared with Joany’s family at

    Carl F. Cummings, our revered, dedicated, and adoring husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Carl left his earthly body peacefully at home on a bright, sunny, Easter morning. To know that he left us to enter Heaven’s gate on a day that families share together embodies his spirit that will live with his family forever.

    Carl was born to Herrell and Helen (McDaniel) Cummings in Shelbyville, Indiana on March 7, 1947. He was the youngest of six children. In 1952, Carl’s sister Cecelia Cummings passed away at the age of eleven years. He carried this with him through his lifetime.

    Carl graduated from Shelbyville High School in 1965. In the late summer of 1965, he met Regina (Barton) Cummings at a drive-in movie theater in Shelbyville, IN. Carl served in the US Army and was stationed in Germany from 1966 – 1968. Upon his discharge, he returned home and married Regina, the love of his life, on August 27, 1968. Regina and her family were home for Carl, and she was his only love, his beautiful wife, best friend, and shared in his love and creation of his family.

    Carl began his career in management for Marsh Supermarket when his son Stefan was born in 1970. In 1975, Carl and Regina welcomed their second child, Ann. In 1977, Carl and Regina moved to Columbus, IN, where they remained throughout his lifetime.

    There was no greater achievement or role in Carl’s lifetime than his call of fatherhood and later becoming a grandfather. From the very beginning, Carl was a hands-on father with his children, from teaching his children how to make forts, play games and sports, ride bikes, and he even played Barbie dolls because that was his daughter’s passion. Stefan and Ann’s friends will always remember Carl for his humor and genuine interest in their lives. Later in life, Carl welcomed his grandchildren Allen, Kaitlin, and Emily, and he spent many hours entertaining, playing with, and loving his next generation of children. Carl quickly became known as “Pa”, and this name remained with him by grandchildren, their friends, and his great-grandson, Jameson, at the time of his death. In 1981, after deciding to make a lifetime career change, Carl went to Indiana Barber School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Carl retired as the owner of Cummings’ Palace Barber Shop. Quick-witted and clever, Carl was a person that you never forgot once you met him. Known for his humor, Carl would share a joke with a friend or stranger. Carl loved to tease and was not for those faint of heart. Depending on your age, Carl might have shared a classic joke about his Christmas gift in 1957 from his father, a picture in his wallet, or told you a joke about the UFO’s taking him to White Castle. Carl would make up lyrics to common songs to sing to his children and grandchildren. He hid money under rocks for his nieces and nephews to find in fields. Carl would often sit at the “kids’ table” at family holidays and amuse the children. Neighborhood kids would ask Regina if Carl could come out and play. In later years, Carl would take his cat Josh for a ride on his bicycle or could be seen walking with cat treats feeding the neighborhood cats. Carl also enjoyed playing the slot machines at the casinos. There will never be another match for his personality.

    Carl is survived by his wife of 52 years, Regina (Barton) Cummings of Columbus, IN; brother, Bill (Patty) Cummings of New Whiteland, IN; son, Stefan (Pennie) Cummings of Jasonville, IN; daughter, Ann Sanchez of Columbus, IN; grandson, Allen (TyAnn) Cummings of Tacoma, WA; granddaughters, Kaitlin Cummings and Emily Cummings, both of Shelbyville, IN; great-grandson, Jameson Baynum of Shelbyville, IN; great-granddaughter, Leonora Cummings of Tacoma, WA; daughter of the heart and best friend, Kimberly Knight of Columbus, IN, and her daughter, V. Morgan E. Knight of Tempe, AZ.

    The family would like to thank special friends and neighbors Scott and Dale Ann Adams and family for their kindness and concern for Carl over the years.

    Carl was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Mrs. Eileen Macke, Mrs. Jean Walton, Miss Cecelia Cummings, and Mr. Loren Cummings. Carl was also preceded in death by his brother-in Law, Mr. Melvin Barton; niece, Amy McWhorter; nephews, Christopher McWhorter, Mark Cummings, and Matthew Halcomb.

    Please leave a special memory or condolence for the family at: Myers-Reed Chapel on 25th St. is serving the Cummings family.