Sunday, September 5, 2021


Local photographer Jack Boyce shot some up-close photos of the children depicted atop Joseph Fountain, which was re-installed downtown Shelbyville this week.

A VIEW FROM MY SCHWINN: One of the Thousand Points of Light

ABOVE: Retired Circuit Court Judge Charles D. O'Connor takes a break from working at yesterday's fundraiser to pose for a photo under the street sign that bears his name.


Dear readers,  

President George H.W. Bush, in his inaugural address on January 20, 1989, spoke of a thousand points of light. President Bush was referring to all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the United States, doing good. President Bush echoed what President John F. Kennedy had said at his inaugural address a generation before. Kennedy inspired children and adults alike to see the importance of civic action and public service with his historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” 

Locally, the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program is one of those thousand points of light. It is a charitable organization providing free and voluntary assistance to the youth of Shelby County. The assistance provided includes counseling, tutoring and mentoring.   

It isn’t unusual for a child in our community to hit a rough spot in life. Many times, government programs only kick in when it is almost too late. This program’s goal, as Barney Fife famously said in season 2 episode 13 of The Andy Griffith Show, is to “nip it in the bud.” Early intervention can prevent a little problem from becoming a big problem. 

Yesterday, a bike ride was held to raise money to benefit the program. It began at the courthouse and ended at Girls Inc. with a feast prepared by Mel’s Catering. All bikes were welcome to participate. Harley Davidson motorcycles were present in the greatest number. The most unusual entrant was Gary Tucker, who arrived on his Russian-made Ural motorcycle complete with sidecar. His dog Jaxon, goggles on, was his co-pilot. 

Melissa O’Connor understands the importance of civic action and public service. As the director of the Youth Assistance Program, she is one of the thousand points of light in our community. Due to Melissa’s hard work, a great number of Shelby County children have been helped before their situation became dire.   

Melissa’s husband, police officer Jeremy O’Connor, and her father-in-law, retired Circuit Court Judge Charles O’Connor, were on hand to assist with yesterday’s fundraiser. 

I have always enjoyed attending fundraisers in person when possible. It is an opportunity to get reacquainted with old friends and make new friends. I hadn’t seen Judge O’Connor in quite a while, and we had a good time reminiscing. Being a good sport, he agreed to pose for a photo beneath the street sign that bears his name.   

If you were not able to attend the event yesterday but would like to give to this very good cause, take a few minutes this holiday weekend to write a check. Make your check payable to Shelby County Youth Assistance Program and mail your donation to 10 W. Polk St., Shelbyville, IN 46176.

BELOW: Gary Tucker's co-pilot, Jaxon, sitting in the sidecar of Gary's Russian-made Ural motorcycle.


  • Ten of 12 Shelbyville High School cross country runners earned season-best times at the Columbus North invite yesterday. Beau Kenkel led the boys with a time of 18:05, followed by Michael Fox, Tristin Maloney, Isaac Zermeno, Gavin Harker, Ayden Holmes, Isaiah Havens and Gaige Harker. Stefanie Howard led the Golden Bear girls at 20:13, finishing just 30 seconds behind the SHS school record. Kaila Brattain (pictured below, photo by team manager Ava Ruschhaupt) also achieved a personal record (22:05), followed by strong performances by Angel Kreider and Daisy Barrett.

  • Shelbyville High School boys soccer defeated Delta, 3-1, yesterday.  

  • HOOSIER NEWS: The Clark County Health Department has issued a public alert after being notified of 12 overdoses in a roughly 24-hour period. And though other county metrics, like reports from first responders and use of opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan aren’t up as dramatically as the ER visits, there’s “definitely some trending up activity,” said Clark County Health Director Dr. Eric Yazel. So are the deaths. As of now, the overdoses deaths reported in the county so far are making 2021 look to be the second highest year for overdose deaths in Clark County since they’ve been recorded. The 51 so far this year are on pace to be 76 by the end of the year, behind 89 in 2016. (Jefferson & New Albany News & Tribune)

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.


The above unidentified “mystery photo” is in the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department files. If you recognize anyone, please email Donna Dennison,, head of genealogy and history at the Shelby County Public Library. Thank you for your help!


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
City of Shelbyville and Shelby County officials agreed to split the cost for a railroad crossing on Mausoleum Road to get new warning lights and signs. The improvements were made in advance of a new industrial park in the area.

Pliant Corp., 701 Hodell St., marked one year without any reported accidents. Plant manager Ron Henderson had Fiddlers Three restaurant cater a meal to each shift to celebrate.

30 YEARS AGO: 1991
Shelbyville native and news executive Dan K. Thomasson was named moderator for the upcoming mayoral debate between Republican Dan Theobald and Democrat Bob Williams. Thomasson, editor of Scripps Howard News Service and Washington D.C. resident, said he had been disconnected from the community for some time. “The last mayors I remember were Phil Banawitz and Ralph VanNatta,” he said. His mother, Margaret Thomasson, still lived here. His father, the late H.L. Thomasson, had been part-owner of a haberdashery shop in Shelbyville and had worked for the state health department. His sister, Peggy Lee Brown, also lived here.

40 YEARS AGO: 1981
The Blue River Vocational-Technical Center’s sixth home, constructed by students, was purchased by Steve Horton, new manager of the TRW Cinch plant. The Center purchased a lot in Berwick for the next home to be built.

Shelby Senior Services observed the first anniversary of the opening of the Senior Center, 120 W. Washington St., with tours of the center, a slide show, games and displays.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971
The new Amtrak TurboTrain, en route to Cincinnati, passed through Shelbyville. Several people gathered near the Amos Road viaduct to watch the locomotive pass on its 12,000-mile tour of the U.S. The high-speed three-car train that could reach 170 mph had to slow down through Shelbyville due to the poor condition of the roadbed.

60 YEARS AGO: 1961
Local police stapled 200 posters to utility poles warning drivers to use caution with the upcoming school opening. Five hundred bumper stickers were also issued, Police Lt. Robert Phares said.

A section of Crestmoor Drive and all of Drake Drive, which led from Crestmoor Addition to the new Loper School, opened to traffic a day ahead of school opening. Ray Potter, an inspector for the street and sanitation department, and Kay Pike of Shelby Construction Co. cut a chain that had been stretched across the street after it was approved on final inspection.

70 YEARS AGO: 1951
Mary Lou Douglas, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Douglas of Noble Township, chalked up the highest individual score in Indiana in the 4-H judging contest at the state fair. She would advance to the National 4-H Club Congress, to be held in Chicago. Other high scorers from Shelby County were Marilyn Beyer, clothing; Jayne Fording, baking; and Mildred Ray, food preservation.

Indiana Bell Telephone Co. crews set telephone poles in the new Sunset Addition. Twenty-seven miles of telephone wire would be strung along them.

80 YEARS AGO: 1941
Plans for construction of a new addition to the Gordon Children’s Home were discarded by the county council after review of the budget. Mrs. J.H. Mohr, matron at the home, had appealed to the council to approve the project, which would have included a new basement, an enlarged dining room and additional bedrooms. Half of the needed money was to come from the estate of Andrew McDuffie, who had left $4,500 for use at the orphanage.

90 YEARS AGO: 1931
An “insane” man from Rush County entered a S. Harrison St. lunch room and started yelling loudly. The man then struck Patrolman Earl Debaun, who had intervened. The man was placed in jail. Rush County officials said the man had “become insane through worry over financial matters.” The Republican also said he had “knocked out doors and windows in a Shelby County home where he had been staying.”

100 YEARS AGO: 1921
Many locals crowded the traction cars and the Big Four trains to go to the state fair.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Breathing Easy in Shelby County 

I would love to see Indiana Grand Casino move into the future and provide a totally smoke-free environment for their patrons and employees. I work as a respiratory therapist and see patients who work at the casino and have poor numbers on their breathing tests. The smoke in the environment at the casino does nothing but harm. It would be fantastic to see local bars go smoke-free for the same reason. 

More than 1 in 5 Indiana adults smoke cigarettes (21.5%), one of the highest rates in the nation, while the number of youths using vaping products remains a concern for anti-smoking advocates. Secondhand smoke is estimated to cause over 1,300 deaths among Hoosiers each year. About 1 in 4 nonsmokers nationwide are exposed to secondhand smoke. Strong smoke-free air laws protect more than workers, they protect all residents from secondhand smoke in public places.   

Thousands of communities across the nation have made the smart choice to go smoke-free; our coalition is working hard to make Shelby County the next on that list.  

With COVID-19 being a respiratory virus and having shown long-term effects of the virus, it has highlighted the public need for smoke-free air. The pandemic has also made point of the ever-present dangers of secondhand smoke. Masks do not protect people from secondhand smoke, smoke-free air laws do. 

If you have questions or want to get involved in our coalition’s efforts, visit us at Let’s do our part to make our community smoke-free! 

Thank you, 

Lisa Strange, RRT


Steven A. ‘Steve’ Biddle, age 73, passed away on Tuesday evening, August 31, 2021 at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis. He was a resident of Franklin and former resident of Brown County. Steve was born August 20, 1948 in Indianapolis, to his parents, the late Jerald and Lucille (Lester) Biddle. He was a 1968 graduate of Brown County High School. He went on to serve as a Specialist 4 with the B Troop 4th Squadron, 12th US Cavalry, 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division of the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

Steve retired in 2018 from Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin, where he worked as a Courier for over 19 years and currently returned back working part-time. Prior to that, he drove a truck for over 30 years working for Gailes Gas, Ferrell Gas and Hoosier Propane. Steve was a devoted member of the Faith Trinity Pentecostal Church in Shelbyville, where he served as a Deacon and was known as “Otis” of the Silly Saints Clowns Ministry. Steve enjoyed reading his Bible and loved to share God’s message as a minister since he was very young. Steve also enjoyed tending to his flower and vegetable gardens, playing cornhole, camping, fishing and hunting. He will be remembered for his love of family, especially his grandchildren, who he could be found at all their sporting events with his bullhorn and his encouraging words. Steve was honored to be chosen and to participate in the Honor Flight Veterans Program in 2019.

He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Sandra K. ‘Sandy’ (Parks) Biddle, whom he married on July 4, 1973 at the Locust Grove Pentecostal Church in Brown County. Steve is also survived by his children, Leah (Kevin) Webb of Greenwood and Eric (Amber) Biddle of Sweetwater; siblings, Larry (Faith) Biddle of Greenwood, Kenny (Trish) Biddle of California, Ron Biddle of Kentucky and Delores Kinsey of Georgia; grandchildren, Chloe (Tyler) Knotts of Trafalgar, Heather Webb of Greenwood, Shaelyn Biddle of Sweetwater and Caleb Webb of Greenwood; great-grandchildren, Ryker and Oaklynn; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Rebecca Biddle.

The Rev. Perry Fouts will conduct a funeral service on Friday, September 10th at 11 a.m. at the Faith Trinity Pentecostal Church, 505 W. Pennsylvania Street in Shelbyville. Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 9 at the church. Arrangements have been entrusted to Meredith-Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown. Burial will be at East Hill Cemetery in Morgantown. Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Steve to the Faith Trinity Pentecostal Church, 505 W. Pennsylvania St. Shelbyville, IN 46176. Condolences may be sent to the Biddle family at