Sunday, March 28, 2021

Easter Bunnies

ABOVE: Shelbyville Parks and Recreation staff (L to R) Jill Camp, TrishaTackett, Karen Martin, Amy Wisker and Wendy Wise prepare to distribute 600 Easter bags with 15,000 plastic eggs at yesterday’s Community Easter Drive-Through event at Kennedy Park. | photos by Jack Boyce 

A View From My Schwinn: Show Me the Money

ABOVE: Dustin Koester back in his Shelbyville High School band days.


Dear Readers,

I got some great news this week. I might get to officiate a wedding at “The Helbing.” Dustin Koester, Shelbyville native and drummer for Eric Burdon and the Animals, finally proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kate Methorst. I say “finally” because the proposal was nine years from the day they met.

If you know Dustin, when you congratulate him on his upcoming nuptials, be sure to mention “The Helbing.” I know it’s the perfect venue for their wedding, but I think Dustin and Kate might need a little more convincing.

In other music news this week, Shelbyville recording artist Mitch Brown, a.k.a. Kid Quill, is busy working on his fourth album. Mitch famously used the Shelbyville High School Band on his album “Sunset Diner.”

Speaking of the band, in the mailbag this week was a letter from SHS band director Russ Smith. The band needs new uniforms. If you are an old-timer, you are probably thinking the same thing I did when I read the letter. Didn’t the band just get new uniforms?

Proving once again, time flies when you get old. I did a little research and discovered the uniforms and Mr. Smith are both holdovers from the 20th century. They made their debut in Shelbyville back when the Bears of Blue River Festival was the city’s main event. The festival was to honor 19th-century lawyer and author Charles Major.

The highlight of the festival was a humongous parade. It consisted of thousands of motorized Shriner units. The tassels on their Fezzes would dance in the breeze as the Shriners skillfully maneuvered their various miniature vehicles.

Team Schwinn was always in the parade. Our parade unit featured a youthful Skeeter on a Schwinn Sting Ray. Following Skeeter on their tandem were famous dada performance artists from St. Paul, twins Hope and Heather Norris.

Of course, the parade always featured the Shelbyville High School marching band. I remember those uniforms when they were new. Maybe it was a special tribute to Charles Major. Maybe it was just a coincidence. But the uniforms bore a striking resemblance to Charles Major’s favorite pajamas he wore in the 19th-century. Perhaps it was the name Major that caused little Charlie to sport jammies that looked like a band uniform.

Donating money for new band uniforms is a great way for the community to thank Russ Smith for his 34 years of dedication to the students. Just think, without Mr. Smith, Eric Burdon and The Animals might be without a drummer.

When Dustin learned Mr. Smith was retiring, he said, “Growing up in Shelbyville, I was fortunate to have Russ Smith as one of my music educators. He helped me harness my natural ability and grow it formally into a set of skills I use to this day.”

I wonder what will happen to the old band uniforms. Maybe I could repurpose one into a pair of pajamas. Better yet, maybe Russ could send Dustin his old band uniform. Angus Young, the guitarist for AC/DC is famous for wearing his school uniform when he performs on stage.

Editor’s note: If you would like to donate to the uniform cause, make your check to “Band Uniform Fund” and mail to Shelbyville High School, Attn: Russell Smith, 2003 S. Miller Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176.


  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,703 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 0 from the previous day, out of 18,888 tests, an increase of 56 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County increased by 1, to 95. The State lists 7,477 fully vaccinated people in Shelby County as of yesterday.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: An Indiana Public Broadcasting map shows that 19.2 percent of Shelbyville residents are fully vaccinated and 32.2 percent are at least partially vaccinated. The Shelby County community with the highest partial vaccination rate is Waldron, at 39 percent. The community with the lowest is Boggstown, at 25.7 percent.

  • MORE HOOSIER NEWS: The Indiana University women’s basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight yesterday with a 73-70 win over No. 1 seed N.C. State. IU advances to face 3-seed Arizona on Monday with a trip to the Final Four on the line. (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 businesses were invited to submit items for a time capsule to be filled at the Trade Fair in April. The event theme was “Trade Fair 2001: Treasured Past – Endless Future.” Rachael Ackley was organizing festivities for the capsule, which would be buried in Morrison Park.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    Parks director Linda Sanders said she was looking to secure funding and physical help to repair 50 damaged headstones at City Cemetery. Eight security lights had recently been installed around the cemetery to detour vandalism.

    Matt Bouza, a former wide receiver for the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts and sports commentator for WIBC radio in Indianapolis, was announced as the featured speaker for the upcoming Morristown Chamber of Commerce banquet, to be held at the Blue Bird Restaurant. New Chamber officers would be sworn in at the meeting. Don Runyon had been chosen as Chamber president, succeeding Dana Caldwell, who stepped down after three years of service. Other Chamber officers elected were Bruce Carlton, Devon Harris, Melanie Thomas, Joe Padgett, Susan Bowser and Lowell Spencer.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981
    Dave Marks and Steve Schoentrup made a backboard for the SHS swimming pool. The board could be used for water rescue in case of emergency.

    Major Hospital announced an upcoming auction to get rid of used furnishings from the old hospital building. The auctioneer would be county commissioner Kenny Nigh. Hospital officials said historical items from the old Major Mansion would be given to the Shelby County Historical Society. Some limestone pillars and pieces from arches from the mansion would be used to decorate a garden; the curved banister would be removed and stored; and memorial plaques, an old clock and similar items would be displayed in the new building. The old building was slated for demolition.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    A new Extension Community Center was established at 38 W. Hendricks St., just west of the Second Baptist Church. Acting county extension agent Leslie Carmichael hung the sign while Lisa Pettis, Wanda Spaw, Linda Palmer, Dawn Pettis and Linda Johnson looked on. The center was a joint project of the Booker T. Washington Center and the Purdue Extension Service. Classes would be given in clothing and home furnishings. Mrs. Ron Lauster taught clothing and home furnishings and Mrs. Victor Gallagher was instructor in foods.

    A Shelbyville News photo showed the SHS percussion section practicing Burt Bacharach songs. The musicians were Roy West, Terry Fitz, Kim Thurston and Jim Smith.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961
    Sandman Bros. offered free Easter bonnets with the purchase of a Frigidaire appliance.

    A steel frame was placed for the new Loper Elementary school, but several days of rain caused a quagmire of mud on the site, causing trucks to become stuck.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951
    Easter shopping sprees caused traffic troubles downtown Shelbyville. “The jam of shoppers brought a new outcry against the downtown traffic situation as lines of cars were stalled interminably off and on during the day around the Public Square and at the Broadway-Harrison intersection,” The Shelbyville News reported. “Mayor Harold Pickett said today the administration hoped to solve much of the traffic problem in the months ahead with the complete revamping of the Public Square.”

    Harold Ash Nash Sales, 112 E. Washington Street, started selling the 1951 Nash Rambler, which averaged 31.05 miles per gallon.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    Shelby County Commissioners discussed whether to remodel or build a new jail residence, which had been destroyed by fire. The Sheriff’s office was temporarily transferred to the Shelby Hotel. The fire had been discovered when “Sheriff and Mrs. Worland and Deputy Sheriff Fred Courtney and Mrs. Courtney were awakened by the falling of a skylight in a second-floor bathroom,” The Republican said. “The crash also awakened children of the two families – Clifford and Gail Worland and James and Maverne Courtney.” At the same time, four pumps caught fire at Bob Billman’s service station, northeast corner of Harrison and Mechanic streets. Firefighters struggled to find equipment to respond to both incidents.

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931
    Lorenzo Linville received the Paul Cross Award. He had been a second-team All-State selection of The Indianapolis Times.

    Two Shelbyville brothers were sentenced for holding up the Rushville Kroger store.

    Sexton’s Recreation Alleys, located in the old Penney building, announced prizes for the highest scores of the week. A Sindlinger Meat Market ham would be given to the woman with the highest bowling score and a pocket knife from J.G. DePrez Hardware Store would go to the highest-scoring man.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    The Shelbyville Trust Co. and the Shelby County Poland China Breeders’ Association gave away a sow, each with a litter, to four young boys. The recipients were Kenneth Huffman, Rufus Nigh, William Bassett and Howard Gordon. The presentations were made on Public Square.

    A Washington D.C. report showed that divorce rates in Indiana were the highest in the nation. Fifty-four Hoosier counties had a higher divorce rate than Japan, reportedly the nation with the highest divorce rate in the world. Shelby County, though, was not one of the 54.


    None today