STANDING ROOM ONLY
Shelbyville High School’s annual show choir competition, Singing Sensational, returned last night after a two-year hiatus. Eighteen competing choirs from Indiana and Ohio performed and SHS Synergy, pictured, hosted. | photos by JACK BOYCE
County BZA Deadlocks on One Petition, Denies Another
Two petitions stalled at last week’s Shelby County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, one due to a tie, the other on an 0-4 vote.
Richard Smith’s request to build a 1,600 square foot pole barn at 4310 S. Sugar Creek Road, Franklin, hit a snag when the four attending members tied, 2-2, on the vote. Smith hopes to build the 40’ x 40’ structure with a cement floor in his front yard in a flood area.
While the pole barn would not lie within a FEMA-designated Flood Hazard Area, it would encroach upon a Special Flood Hazard Approximate Fringe Area designed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
County planning director Desiree Calderella was okay with the front yard placement because the floodplain restricts building in the backyard. However, she recommended the board deny allowing construction in the floodplain. Part of the property’s front yard sits outside the floodplain and could be used. While Smith can still build in his preferred spot, he’ll need to elevate the structure approximately three feet above grade.
“I don’t see the need for the shop being elevated,” Smith said, citing what he deemed an necessary expense. “It’s a shop, not a house.”
Smith, who lives on the property, hopes to store machinery trucks in the new structure that his son works on for business. He said the property, which was not deemed in a flood zone when he purchased it 17 years ago, does not have issues with flooding.
But BZA member Jordan Caldwell expressed concerns about an approved variance affecting county insurance rates.
Calderella agreed. “If the county grants several variances that don’t strictly adhere to the guidance provided by FEMA for granting variances, then the nationally-backed flood insurance could get pulled from the county, so people who have flood insurance on their homes could potentially not be eligible for that insurance anymore because we granted too many variances.”
The petition can he heard again when all five members are present. Caldwell and Dave Klene voted no on last week’s petition, with Kevin Carson and Terry Knudson voting in favor.
The BZA then turned down a special exception request to allow an automotive repair business at 4842 N. Brandywine Road, Shelbyville, northwest of the casino.
County planning staff had received a complaint last fall about a residential property. The home and property are owned by Frank Woods Jr., who also owns a car lot, but uses his personal barn for some vehicle repairs.
At the time of the violation inspection, planning staff observed vehicles in disrepair stored outdoors, flatbed trailers, trucks with business decals, semi-trailers and miscellaneous business equipment. Woods has since removed many of those items.
Attorney Christopher Isom, representing Woods, said the petition wasn’t as complicated as it sounded. “When we say he’s going to operate a business in the barn, all we mean is that he's going to drive a car home and work on it at his house,” Isom said. “He's not doing automobile repair for anyone.”
But when the planning office issued permits for the 3,150 square foot barn in 2017, it was to be used as residential storage, parking and a workshop. The staff recommended denial of last week’s petition due to the “inconsistency of the use with surrounding residential development, visibility of the property from the I-74 corridor, and impacts to groundwater and surface water posed by an automobile repair use in the floodplain.”
Although Woods was amenable to a number of stipulations, including limiting the hours of operation, barring customers from visiting the sign and any signage and no more than one vehicle awaiting repair brought to the site per week, all members presented opposed the petition.
In other BZA action, as reported on Thursday, a variance was approved allowing Dollar General to have signs at a proposed location in Flat Rock and a variance was approved to allow for a 4,160 square-foot accessory structure exceeding 50% of the square footage of the footprint of the residence at 2467 S 125 E, Shelbyville, a property that adjoins the Longwood Country Estates and Hazelwood neighborhoods.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - A time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.
This week a youngster with a writing assignment for school asked me how I come up with a topic to write about every week. I told her, if an idea doesn’t just spontaneously pop in my head, I always stand beneath The Helbing and wait for inspiration to strike me. She said, “I guess that explains all the columns about The Helbing.”
Lucky for her and the rest of you readers, that’s not the case this week. This week my inspiration came from a news item I read from the State of Tennessee. The headline was, “Escaped camel from petting zoo kills janitor.” I thought, wow, that’s biblical. I guess it was his time to go.
According to the news story, a camel had escaped from the Shirley Farms petting Zoo in Obion, Tenn. Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State. So, when the camel escaped, school janitor Bobby Matheny and Tommy Gunn, both being good citizens, volunteered to help catch the camel. Sadly, the events of the day proved fatal for Bobby, Tommy and the camel.
Instantly, I knew how Truman Capote must have felt on that day in 1959 when he read the news item about those murders in Kansas that inspired him to write his famous novel, “In Cold Blood.” Capote, with his childhood friend Harper Lee along to take notes, headed to Kansas to interview witnesses. Capote wrote his novel, became rich, and spent the rest of his life as a guest on TV talk shows.
Capote’s time to go ended up being August 25, 1984. He didn’t die while on a TV talk show, but close. Capote died at the home of talk show host Johnny Carson’s ex-wife, Joanne.
Hoping to follow Capote’s example of writing a bestselling novel (not of dying at the home of a famous talk show host’s ex-wife), I called The Addison Times editor and my boss, Skeeter.
I can’t remember exactly what Skeeter said, but it had to do with the Russians and the price of gas, yada, yada, yada. Bottom line, no gas money for my trip to Tennessee. Besides, Skeeter claimed to have already recently written a janitor story.
Skeeter’s story was about local school administrators alleviating the custodial workload by hiring students. Sophomore Ryanne O’Neill was one of the students featured in the article. Ryanne said that she enjoyed the part-time job and was saving for a trip to Belgium to visit a friend.
Since Skeeter put the kibosh on my idea of turning the camel story into a bestselling novel, I guess I’ll just segue into one of my favorite janitor stories.
It was 1961. I was in first grade at St. Joe. Carol Fischer was my teacher. One of my classmates and friends was Bob Higdon. After a hard day spent learning the alphabet, Bob and I would both stay after school and help clean the classroom.
I don’t remember how Bob and I ended up being part-time janitors at such a young age. I can tell you that helping clean the classroom with Bob is one of my fondest memories from first grade. I can still remember taking turns using the push broom and holding the dustpan. My favorite job was taking the erasers outside and banging them together making giant clouds of chalk dust.
It just goes to show that Socrates was right: there is nothing new under the sun. Bob and I were student janitors long before the current program in Skeeter’s article. However, Bob and I didn’t have paid positions. We were just volunteers, like the guys trying to catch the camel.
Editor’s Note: I don’t have time to fact check columnist Meltzer on everything, but yes, the camel story is true, and the one unfortunate volunteer really was named Tommy Gunn. I do hope the lack of travel funds for Meltzer hasn’t deprived future generations of what would have been a great American novel. I guess we will never know.
Recycling tonnage remains up, with 69.9 tons collected throughout the county in February, the highest February total since 2016, and more than double last year’s 33.8 ton collection, Shelby County Recycling District officials reported last week.
Triton Central boys lost in regional action yesterday, 56-49, against University High School.
HOOSIER NEWS: Indiana’s biggest utility can’t make its customers pay more than $200 million in costs related to cleaning up its toxic coal ash, according to a ruling Thursday from the Indiana Supreme Court. That’s because Duke Energy did not follow the correct process to do so, according to the Supreme Court order. Much of Duke’s electricity comes from burning coal, which produces coal ash. This ash contains a dangerous mix of heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as arsenic, boron, lead and mercury. Sampling shows those toxins have been leaching into groundwater near sites around Indiana where the ash was dumped. In 2019, Duke asked the state’s utility regulators to increase its rates. Part of that hike was to recover roughly $212 million the utility had spent since 2010 to close and remediate some of its coal ash ponds across the state. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said yes, and that decision was later backed up by the Indiana Court of Appeals . But a split panel of the state’s highest court reversed that decision with it’s Thursday order. (IndyStar)
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
The Shelby County Council approved hiring a lobbyist to watch out for the county’s interests in the face of gambling legislation in the General Assembly. Although a member of the public criticized the council for spending money, Council President Bob Carmony responded that the Indiana Senate had recently passed a bill with no provision for Shelby County. The legislation would allow pull tabs, which were like slot machines, at pari-mutuel horse racing tracks in Indiana, like Indianapolis Downs which was being built near the Fairland exit off I-74. The lobbyist was not hired to advocate for gambling, but rather to ensure Shelby County benefitted from state tax revenues, along with counties with riverboats, if the pull tab legislation passed, Carmony said.
30 YEARS AGO: 1992
More than $5,000 was raised at the third annual charity ball and silent auction to benefit Riley Hospital at a National Guard Armory event. Carol Showers and Polly Lay were co-chairwomen for the event. Others serving on the committee were Sharon Orem, Angie Poe, Molly Robbins, Carla Mann, Regina Kerns and Mary Ann Vance. A newspaper photo showed David and Linda Duba dancing to the Sentimental Moods Swing Band at the event.
40 YEARS AGO: 1982
A tanker truck derailed on a section of Conrail track parallel to E. State Road 44 near K-Mart. Workers said it would take a few days to clean up and repair the tracks.
50 YEARS AGO: 1972
Glenn George purchased the Carmony Funeral Home branch in St. Paul. The St. Paul funeral home had been owned since 1939 by the late D.E. Carmony and later his son, Warren. George had been associated with the Carmony firm since 1968. He was a 1950 graduate of Waldron High School. George and his wife, Moneida (Loveless), had three children, Tony, Cindy and Nancy.
A flouride dental program was offered to Shelbyville Central Schools children in grades 1-8. Parents were asked to contribute 25 cents for the service.
60 YEARS AGO: 1962
The giant SCUFFY sign on Public Square was toppled by high winds, fracturing the character’s “heart” in the middle of the sign. “Complete recovery is assured, however, with expected achievement soon of the 1962 SCUFFY financial campaign goal,” The Shelbyville News said.
70 YEARS AGO: 1952
Lora Pearson, worker in the First Baptist Church Sunday School for more than 50 years, was honored at a church dinner. Carl Worden, Sunday School superintendent, presented her a gift on behalf of the church congregation. Pearson had become a member of the church in 1884. During the reception, film strips were shown on the use of church rooms and equipment and a discussion was held concerning suggested equipment needs.
Police apprehended two Indianapolis gunmen believed responsible for a filling station robbery after the suspects had escaped by swimming in the Big Blue River. State Trooper Charles Longstreet arrested the shivering men in wet clothes at a farmhouse after the officer answered their call for a taxi. Officers Gene Junken and Ezra Dagley had chased the men on Pennsylvania St. into Sunset Addition, where the men left their Ford vehicle and attempted escape on foot. The men used a house phone to call a taxi, but police had already told the taxi service to alert them regarding any unusual calls. Other police officers involved in the search were Chief Lloyd Mellis, Garrel Richey, James Sleeth, Roy Anderson, Russell Rice, Norman Mellis, Carroll Mohr, Edwin Schwendemann and Marion Tague.
80 YEARS AGO: 1942
C.W. Shew, “cowboy evangelist” from Texas, returned to Shelbyville to conduct revival services at the Pentecostal Church at 905 S. Pike Street. Rev. J.A. Rayl was pastor.
Tom Winterrowd, described in The Republican as “a tall, smiling junior from Flat Rock High School,” won first place in the county oratorical contest held at the administration building. It was his second time winning the award. His speech was on the need for people at home to do their part to win the war. Others placing were Nellie Robertson, Mt. Auburn, and Betty Lou Mohr, Moral. Melba Kerr, Shirley Compton and Charles Eberhart won the junior high school division.
90 YEARS AGO: 1932
Herman Hamblen drove his vehicle into a traffic sign at the intersection of West Broadway and Tompkins Streets. Hamblen stopped at the fire station and settled up on the damages. Only a few days before, the traffic sign at the intersection of East Broadway and Pike Streets had also been demolished by a vehicle.
100 YEARS AGO: 1922
Two local young men were arrested for stealing a banjo, snare drum and trombone from the Salvation Army Hall on E. Washington Street. The men also confessed to stealing from St. Joseph Catholic Church during the Christmas Mass service. While in custody, the men ratted out a “woman boot-legger” in town. The woman was arrested for violation of liquor laws. The young men said their next robbery was going to be the Major Jewelry Store on Public Square. They were placed in jail with court dates pending.