Sunday, July 18, 2021

Record Crowd

Local vinyl record fans wait for Vibe, off State Road 44 in the Belaire Shopping Center, to open yesterday morning. The summer’s second “Record Store Day” featured the latest “drops,” or releases. Vinyl sales have surged in the pandemic, and the industry has experienced production and shipping challenges. Holding two events allowed “some flexibility for the struggling vinyl pressing plants and distribution companies,” a press release said. Vinyl record sales grew 29% last year, surpassing compact disc (CD) sales. | Kristiaan Rawlings


Local Contractors, Customers Adapt in Lumber Saga

by KELLEY WALKER PERRY

Lower lumber prices may mean that a woodchuck can chuck more wood in other parts of the country, but that probably won't affect the ones doing business in Shelby County.

It's down to $642 per thousand board feet, according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – and falling fast toward more reasonable rates. But earlier this year, the price of lumber peaked at an unprecedented $1,733.50 per thousand board feet – cost-prohibitive for construction jobs and remodeling projects.

Inventory in lumber, as in other necessary goods, became scarce during 2020; this paucity translated into higher costs for consumers. Do-it-yourselfers wanting wood for home renovations got deterred by the exorbitant prices and delayed their projects, various media outlets reported.

This wasn't entirely true locally.

Pat Turner, owner of P.E.T. Construction, 505 S. 800E, said the high lumber prices had little effect on his residential and commercial construction business; neither do the recent decreasing costs.

His colleagues have experienced continued steady work, as well. Most of them are working six or seven days a week; one is already booked through the end of the year. The high lumber prices didn’t even stop customers seeking new home construction.

“If you're a contractor and you're not busy, you're not doing something right,” Turner said.

Kehrt Etherton, owner of KC Does It, 1010 Crestmoor Drive, said shifting lumber prices don’t affect his business, either. Obtaining materials, on the other hand, has been unbelievably slow.

“It took forever to get treated lumber to do a deck repair job,” he said.

Brian Baker, owner of Builders Lumber & Hardware, 1309 Miller Ave., explained that problem.

When the lockdown hit and the government proclaimed home improvement businesses essential, “transactions exploded. Store traffic was unbelievably high,” he said.

Inventory, however, was a factor. With the shutdown, production dropped. Mills were operating at 50 percent capacity once they sent their workers home; many never returned.

By midsummer, Builders Lumber & Hardware experienced some inventory shortages. It normally took a week or so to obtain all the materials for a large job. Lead times began stretching out to between five to eight weeks.

“Supply had become an issue and we had to work harder. But the vast majority of everything is back up to normal,” he said.

Walk-in retail customers, contractors and commercial customers alike visit Baker's store. Each customer’s expectations and needs are completely different.

“Walk-ins may hold off on a project when costs increase – that trade might have slowed down due to lumber costs. But commercial (customers) and contractors still push through, because it’s their livelihood,” he said. “Our sales haven’t decreased.”

Baker has noticed only a slight increase in sales since lumber prices plummeted.

Builders Lumber & Hardware is a family owned and operated business in its 33rd year. Baker, a second-generation owner, has taken over operations within the past five years.

“There are always changes and fluctuations in any business, but nothing can compare to the past year,” he said.

“They’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.


NOTEBOOK

  • Editor’s note: Addison Times regular Sunday columnist Kris Meltzer did not turn in a column for today's publication. He sent a message that he was on assignment and working on a "super-duper" column for the future. As usual, I have no idea what he is up to. I didn't send him on assignment, so I guess he sent himself.  Stay tuned for developments.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: The seller’s market in residential real estate grew even stronger in central Indiana in June, with existing homes selling at a faster pace and buyers spending extra to land properties. Completed sales of single-family homes in the 16-county area jumped from 3,628 in June 2020 to 3,897 last month—an increase of 7.4%, according to the latest data from the MIBOR Realtor Association. The sales increase was the 11th in the past 12 months. On a year-to-date basis, closed sales are up 10.4% so far this year, to 17,609, compared with 15,948 in the first six months of 2020. Homeowners in June, on average, got 101.9% of their asking prices, up from 101.5% in May and 100.6% in April. The average number of days that homes spent on the market fell from 35 days in June 2020 to just 14 days last month, a decline of 60%. The active inventory in June dropped 37.7% on a year-over-year basis, to 2,018 houses. In one positive sign for buyers, new listings were up 11.1% in June on a year-over-year basis, from 3,921 to 4,357. (Indianapolis Business Journal)


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.


MYSTERY PHOTO

Thanks to our Addison Times readers, last week’s photo was identified within hours. Thank you! This week’s mystery photo also has no writing on the back. If you recognize anyone, please email Donna Dennison, ddennison@sscpl.lib.in.us, head of genealogy and history at the Shelby County Public Library.


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: 2001
Police investigated a burglary at Willie Farkle’s, 629 S. Noble St. The business had been entered through a 16-inch square on the roof, and the inside was entered through a ceiling tile. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

30 YEARS AGO: 1991
The cornerstone of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at the corner of S. Tompkins and West Jackson streets, was removed. The church had closed June 30 due to dwindling membership. The cornerstone had been laid 73 years prior. The large cornerstone, which jutted into the foundation of the church back into the basement, required three men to remove it. It was carried across the street to the Shelby County Historical Society. The contents were removed, which included Moroccan-bound documents including a Bible; a biography of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Scientist church; Eddy’s writing to that time; and a copy of a Shelbyville newspaper. The hole that remained after the cornerstone was removed was refilled with bricks.

40 YEARS AGO: 1981
Wilcox Sales and Service, a gunshop and small engine repair business at 702 N. Harrison St., was set on fire by an unknown arsonist. The blaze heavily damaged the building and showered city firemen with exploding ammunition as they worked to extinguish the blaze. The shells didn’t have enough velocity to cause injuries, but several firemen dumped bullets out of their boots when they returned to their fire stations, Chief Meredith Mann said.

An armed robber stole $2,500 from Jay’s Pool Hall, 240 E. Washington St.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971
A boy was bitten by a squirrel at the intersection of W. Franklin and Elliott streets.

Russell Rose, 334 E. Pennsylvania St., caught a 30-pound hard shell turtle by hand in Conns Creek. Rose said he planned to make turtle soup.

60 YEARS AGO: 1961
A trampoline center was opened at 527 E. Hendricks St. by Jim McCarthy of Long Acres Addition.

The Chicken & Steak Inn on East U.S. 421 gave away a free “Hi-Fi 45 R.P.M.” record to each car customer who spent at least $1.50.

70 YEARS AGO: 1951
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Smith announced they would open a nursing home in Waldron. The 11-room house recently purchased by the Smiths from Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Schantz would house 20 patients.

“A meeting aimed at deciding once and for all which plan - rotary or intersection - Shelbyville wants to improve its Public Square traffic problem will be held…at city hall,” The Shelbyville News reported. Mayor Harold Pickett had announced the meeting.

80 YEARS AGO: 1941
A bridge was being constructed on State Road 44 across Sugar Creek to offer motorists a straight shot to Franklin. The new road would be open within a couple of weeks, officials said.

90 YEARS AGO: 1931
Dr. W.D. Inlow, of the Inlow Clinic, gave a speech to the Shelbyville Kiwanis Club, explaining the social, religious and economic aspects of birth control. “There was some criticism from the speaker because of the fact that many people continue to remain in ignorance on matters pertaining to sex. He declared there is too much misinformation mixed up with solid facts,” The Republican said. “Dr. Inlow showed that although the sex relation is considered by many an animal-like trait, it is the least of the animal instincts. He stated that chastity is primarily the quality of purity and that it is unfortunate that practically all matters pertaining to sex should be associated with the immoral and suggestive element.”

100 YEARS AGO: 1921
A fire at the Shelby County Fairgrounds destroyed 30 stalls and killed two horses. The home of local insurance agent Leo Morgan was also damaged by the flames.

Workers started installing a new chime clock at the First National Bank, on the south side of the Public Square. The clock was made up of three clocks: the master clock, which would replace the then-current piece; a secondary clock with a 30-inch dial would be set over the vault; and the chime clock, with three dials, would be installed on the front of the bank. A dial would face the north, the second the east and the other dial the west. The chime, which would ring every 15 minutes, would be in the same tone as the clock at Westminster Abbey and would ring the same sentiment: “Lord through this hour be Thou our guide. So by thy power no foot shall slide.” It would be the first clock of its type in Shelbyville.


OBITUARIES

Robert Austin Rice, 93, of Greenfield died Friday, July 16th, 2021 at Prairie Lakes Health Campus, Noblesville. Born May 2, 1928, he was the son of Verl and Bernice Rice. He married Donna L. Thoms on June 10, 1950, who is deceased.

Survivors include his son, Steven C. (wife Linda) Rice of Fortville; daughter, Patricia L. Rice of Greenfield; granddaughter, Afton E. (husband Jason) Cheek of Dallas, Texas; stepgrandchildren, Jacqueline Webster of Chicago; Daniel (wife Madison) Webster of Indianapolis; Joshua (wife Becky) Myles of Knightstown; great-grandchildren Jackson and Austin Cheek and step greatgrandchild Dalton Myles. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Donna; infant daughter, Ann Rice; and brothers, Gayle and Gerald Rice.

Mr. Rice graduated from Morristown High School in 1946, where he was the Class Valedictorian, which he was always very proud of. While he never played any sports, he was the basketball team manager. He attended almost all of the alumni banquets up until just a few years ago.

Mr. Rice was a member of the Morristown United Methodist Church and a former member of the Morristown Lions Club. He was also an avid patron of the Morristown Bluebird Restaurant where he would visit at least three times a day to eat, drink coffee and enjoy conversation with his round table friends unless he was busy planting or harvesting. Some would jokingly call him the “Mayor of Morristown!”

Bob, which is what everyone called him, originally wanted to be a veterinarian but the only school at that time was Ohio State, which was much too far away and costly. As a result, he started farming with his Dad but soon married a “city girl,” Donna, and they both started farming on their own with help from family and friends. Farming was his life, all that he ever knew. During his career, he raised dairy cattle (Jerseys), hogs, beef cattle, sheep, corn, soybeans and wheat. Even in his last weeks he still was interested in the price of beans and corn. His wife took care of the chickens! He also loved German shepherd dogs, of which he had several during the course of his life. Bob also enjoyed college basketball, especially watching Purdue and the Pacers. He always enjoyed spending the holidays with family, and he always looked forward to the “Rice Reunions.”

Bob will be missed by family and friends for his witty humor and his intellect. His ability to build his farm from scratch, alongside his supportive wife, Donna, is a measure of his fortitude that is sometimes tested as a small-town farmer, and he will forever be respected by his family and friends.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2021, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Frazier Chapel, 124 E. North St. in Morristown. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 24, 2021, at the funeral home, with Bill Farmer officiating. Interment will be at Asbury Cemetery in Morristown. Memorial contributions may be made to the Morristown United Methodist Church, 221 S. Washington St., Morristown, Indiana 46161. Online condolences may be shared with Bob’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.