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Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Northwest Shelby County Roundabout Plans Moving Forward
Plans for a roundabout near McGregor Road, Walnut Street and Frontage Road in northwest Shelby County are on track, Chris King, executive vice president at Runnebohm Construction, reported to Shelby County Commissioners yesterday. “Things are progressing for a construction start in March or April (2023),” King said. The roundabout is funded by an INDOT grant and the county through new business property taxes generated within the Northwest Shelby County TIF District, King previously said. Construction plans also include a review of drainage, to improve getting water in the area to drain to Sugar Creek. | conceptual drawing previously provided by Runnebohm Construction
Shelby County Commissioners yesterday approved signing a letter of engagement with Katz, Sapper & Miller (KSM) as a first step to moving broadband forward in the county. The county’s Broadband Ready Task Force has worked over the past year to organize the initiative and reach out to the community. “Now we’re at the point in time we need the experts to come in and guide us,” County Councilwoman Linda Sanders, a member of the task force, said. The task force had recommended KSM, a company with 500 employees, for the job. KSM is working with several other counties on similar projects. The $40,000 agreement with KSM and Rudd Consulting includes $30,000 for up to six months of services and $10,000 for management of the Request for Proposals. The money will come from county EDIT funds, county council president Tony Titus confirmed following the meeting. County Commissioner Jason Abel said the investment in this first step is necessary. “This is something that, for lack of a better term, is going to take money to solve the problem,” Abel said, citing broadband as a prerequisite for agricultural and commercial investment. “I'd like Shelby County to be a model for how to implement the size of broadband initiatives that can really set us as a model example,” he said. Officials reminded county residents to complete the Broadband Speed Test, which could help qualify the county for state and federal funds.
County Commissioners also approved an ordinance lowering the speed limit on Frontage Road in Moral Township, from CR 700 W to 8253 N. Frontage Road, to 35 miles per hour. Commissioner Jason Abel cited a recent fatal accident in the area while explaining the need for the decision.
David Finkel, Shelbyville Central Schools board member, was appointed president of the Blue River Career Programs board yesterday. Other officers include Travis Beck, vice-president; Andrew Hawk, secretary; Sandy Hensley, treasurer; and Kristen Kile, assistant treasurer. Jody Butts was appointed board attorney.
HOOSIER NEWS: A property caretaker was shot Friday while confronting four people who were hunting on a private Union County property, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The caretaker spotted four people hunting on the property without permission early Friday morning. Their confrontation escalated and the property caretaker was shot. Indiana DNR said the caretaker, whose identity has not been shared, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators have not shared how many of the four hunters fired at the caretaker. (WTHR)
My Favorite High School Teacher
ABOVE: Spanish teacher Yolanda Piñeiro has fun at Shelbyville High School in the 1960s. | submitted
by GEORGE YOUNG
We all have favorite teachers; I was lucky to have several terrific educators that tried their best to impart wisdom to me. My most unforgettable teacher was a sweet little lady from Havana, Cuba. In the mid-1960s, Yolanda Piñeiro fled her Cuban homeland to escape the Fidel Castro regime with little more than a suitcase. She had a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Havana and arrived in Miami with her adult daughter and elderly mother. She told us how it was a big treat to have enough money (five cents) for a single White Castle sandwich for her meal of the day. Somehow, she landed in the middle of the United States farm country teaching Spanish in Shelbyville, Ind. I am grateful she did.
Due to the crazy U.S.-Cuban politics of the time, our government would not recognize her education credentials from Havana: Piñeiro attended Cornell University, earning a B.S., and then an M.A. from Ball State to get her U.S.-approved teaching credentials.
I had to take a foreign language to be on the college prep track, so in the ninth grade, I signed up for Spanish. During my freshman year, I had a nice American lady teaching Spanish I. I can’t remember her name or much about the classes she taught. I do remember vividly the first day of Spanish II when this tiny lady with an incredible Cuban accent introduced herself to our class. She was maybe 4 feet 8 inches tall and maybe half that wide with tiny legs, always wearing chunky high heel shoes. She looked like a sparrow. I can’t remember what she said, but I was captivated and ended up taking Spanish for four years in high school. I was probably her worst student for pronunciation. I can still hear her chuckling as I struggled with speaking. “Oh Jorge, wat hoppens to ewe.” I eventually became pretty good at translating both written and spoken Spanish, but I could not get rid of my Hoosier Spanglish accent.
One vivid memory of her class was me trying to impress Piñeiro before the Christmas holiday break my junior year. I wrote her a note in Spanish and ended it with a holiday greeting, or so I thought. Most of you know my English grammar and punctuation are not the best. Well, you guessed it, in Spanish, it was the same. I can’t remember what I wrote in the note that I translated into Spanish. I ended my note to her with “Feliz y Próspero Ano Nuevo.” One Spanish accent mark is called a “tilde.” In English, a “tilde” refers to the “mustache” that goes over the “n” (ñ).
When Mrs. P read my note, she burst into uncontrollable laughter. I didn’t think I had written anything funny, but she was crying with laughter, and she said, “Jorge, you must work on your Spanish punctuation.” She explained while wiping tears from her eyes that año with the tilde meant “year” and ano without the tilde meant “anus.” She said no one had ever wished her a happy and prosperous new butt hole before. Boy, was I mortified.
Mrs. P sponsored our extracurricular Spanish Club, which met once a month during activity period. By the time I was a senior, the Spanish Club had grown to 65 members. Annual Christmas fiestas were held, and guest speakers frequently attended. The most unusual aspect of the club was fundraising for college scholarships. Other groups like the “band geeks” got to sell delicious candy bars to buy uniforms. Being one of the newer clubs left us with the unique opportunity of going door-to-door selling combs and toothbrushes. Yes, that was a tough sell, but I happily accepted a $25 scholarship at the end of my senior year.
Like kids often do, we liked to find ways to sidetrack/derail our teacher’s lesson plans. Piñeiro was easy to distract, or so we thought at the time. We would find ways to ask her about Fidel Castro; she was very passionately against him and his regime. You could see her face flush red, and she would abandon her lesson plan on verb conjugation of irregular future tense. What we didn’t realize was that she was telling these stories in English and partly Spanish. We were learning Spanish via conversation plus firsthand Cuban history. Priceless!
One story really that has stuck with me for decades was when Yolanda was a student at the University of Havana at the same time as Fidel. She told us he was a brilliant law student yet an arrogant show-off with a photographic memory. One day in the student commons, he was sitting at a table smoking his large signature cigar while reading law books. He would read a page, rip it out of the book, light it from his cigar and then repeat it out loud verbatim. Fidel was famous for giving hours-long speeches from memory. He didn’t use notes to read from, and they didn’t have teleprompters back then.
Mrs. P left Cuba when Fidel banned religion. She always said Fidel wasn’t a communist at heart but was power-hungry. Piñeiro’s husband was the Havana District Attorney; he chose to remain in Cuba under Fidel’s rule. It’s a very small world. In the 1990s I was hiking in the PNW with a friend whose parents also had fled from Cuba. I was telling him about Mrs. P., and he mentioned his father was a defense attorney in Havana. When he got back from our hike, he called his dad in Miami and asked if he, by chance, knew the Piñeiros. Not only did he know them, but they also used to party together. It really is a small world.
Mrs. P didn’t just teach us the language but made sure we got the cultural aspects of Cuban life. During my senior year, our fourth-year Spanish class gathered at one of our classmates’ homes one weekend for a Cuban meal cooked by Mrs. P. She fixed a huge feast of arroz con pollo Cubano (chicken and rice). It was very different from the normal Hoosier Sunday fried chicken meal our grandma made. Many new flavors were introduced to us. We also got to use our Spanish around the dinner table.
If we had been good productive students, Mrs. P would give us several games to play in Spanish as a break from conjugating verbs. One of those games was called Loteria, like Bingo but with Spanish words instead of numbers. Mrs. P would call out words, and we would cover them up on our cards and shout out “LOTERIA” when we got the line covered.
One unusual thing she did as a punishment was to threaten disruptive students with her infamous “red dot” in her grade book. Because red was a symbol of communism and Fidel, she felt that was the worst thing she could do to you. She always had good control of her classroom, plus this threat was so different from other teachers; it was a very effective technique to get the student’s attention. I don’t think I ever got a red dot, but maybe I should have. I will let you decide.
I ended up taking a fourth year of Spanish because she made her classes so enjoyable. I had no aspirations for using the language since I was living in a very small town in Indiana. It was an elective not needed to fulfill any high school graduation requirements or prerequisites for college. The class was small, with only six or seven students, so we got very personalized intensive instruction. Our language skills became quite good, if I say so myself.
Mrs. P. obtained enough copies in Spanish of a short 17th-century novel written by Miguel de Cervantes. He was the author of the classic “Don Quixote de la Mancha,” the adventure novel about a crazy Spanish knight. Cervantes also wrote many other novels, short stories, poems and even plays. I can’t remember the title of the novel we read, but the main character was named Ignacio. Mrs. P would assign the class pages each day to have us translate and read out loud in Spanish the next day. We had to be prepared because she would randomly call on us to do a page. It wasn’t five days a week since she had other activities and lessons to do. The book was written in Spanish Castilian style from the 17th century, so it would be comparable to Shakespearian English of the same era compared to American English. It was different from the Spanish spoken in Latin America, adding an additional challenge.
We started this novel in the second half of our senior year. We all adored Mrs. P., but she was pushing us pretty hard. We all had the normal case of senioritis. The self-opinion of our scholastic abilities was high, and yes, our egos were getting too big for our britches. Nothing added to our permanent records cards at this point would affect graduation or college admissions. I hate to admit it, but I initiated a scheme to cut down our volume of homework. I didn’t think of it as cheating but more of a homework evasion system.
Mrs. P. would typically assign about five pages of the novel, which might take an hour or so to translate each night. Since there were just a few of us in the class, my plan was for each of us to do one page. I grabbed a box of carbon paper from my dad’s office. For you youngsters out there, this was thin paper coated with a mixture of wax and pigment, that was used between two sheets of ordinary paper to make one or more copies of an original document. Normally this was for a typewriter, but it will work the same for handwriting if you press hard on your pen. My plan was for us to write our one page and make copies for the others in the class. Each day in the hallway after class, I would assign each co-conspirator pages they were responsible to complete. Everyone was ecstatic to cut down on the homework; we had important senior things like prom and graduation to think about.
Each day before class was to start, we would exchange our translations, giving us each a complete set for the daily homework assignment. Yes, the handwriting was different on each page, but we didn’t turn them in but merely recited our translations. We all had good translation skills, even if my pronunciation was sketchy. The plan was working to perfection until one day, one of the cogs in our conspiracy called in sick. Four of us students had four pages of five pages, and we were all missing the third page.
Mrs. P called on me to read that 3rd page, and I said I was sorry but unable to translate it. She said, “No, problema, Jorge” and called on another classmate to read page three, who also said they were unable to translate. Mrs. P started walking around the room and said nothing at first, and then she asked a third student who likewise was unable to give her a translation. Mrs. P was silent and didn’t say a word. She just moved on to pages four and five and completed the daily assignment. Whoop, that was close. We had not counted on anyone being absent.
Before class ended, Mrs. P gave us the next assignment, seven pages. I divvied up the pages and called the sick student that night, who said they would be back the next day. No problem. The next day we were able to recite our translations for all seven pages. Mrs. P smiled and looked pleased with our progress.
That day she increased the next assignment to ten pages telling us we were doing such a good job that she wanted to pick up the pace a bit so we could finish the book sooner. “No problema,” that is only two pages each versus the five we were doing. We were still working on the plan. Before we knew it, she had increased the number of pages for each day to 25. The logistics were getting crazy trying to get the pages assembled and read before we had to recite the translations.
Mrs. P had figured out our ploy and had not said a word. Her revenge was not turning us in for cheating but to make us work even harder. It took us longer to figure out her retaliation than it took her to discover our deceit. We finally confessed and apologized. She returned to the normal original pace. The smart— - full-of-ourselves-seniors thought we were so much shrewder than our willy veteran educator. We learned a big lesson in this scheme, and it wasn’t Spanish. Thanks, Mrs. P.
It wasn’t too many years after I graduated from high school that Mrs. P retired from teaching. She moved to New York to live with her daughter. She kept in contact with her fellow teachers who remained in town so we would get occasional updates from her through them. They all traveled together and remained friends for a long time.
I continued my Spanish education at Indiana University; it was a requirement to take two semesters of a foreign language for the degree I was pursuing. I tested into Level 3 but decided to take Level 2 classes so I could ease into college with a couple of “bunny” classes. Ha.
My first instructor was an older gentleman who spoke no English, his first name was Zdenek, and his second name was at least fifteen consonants and no vowels. He told us in Spanish not to try to pronounce his last name, and that he was a refugee from the Czechoslovakian Soviet invasion of 1968. That was the extent of our first class, learning his name and that he was very new to the United States. He spoke a Castilian Spanish dialect very different from the Cuban dialect Mrs. P taught me in high school. He was supposed to teach us a predetermined departmental course that would be tested and graded by the department at the end of the semester. Zdenek was a nice man in a foreign country trying to recover from being uprooted from his homeland. One day myself and another student took him to a grocery store so he could learn how things worked here in the US. The class went well, and it was time for our departmental final. Nothing he taught us was on the exam; Gracias a Dios for Mrs. P’s lessons from high school saved me. The class I hoped to get an “Easy 4.0” turned into a 3.0.
The second semester I got a young Austrian woman who spoke seven languages and wasn’t shy about correcting my Hoosier into English. This class was not a grammar class but a prose and poetry literature class, much to my chagrin. This was my weakest subject in English, and now I have an Austrian instructing me about Spanish literature. Oh my, what happened to my easy bunny classes? To top it off, this was a 7:30 a.m. class. As I said, poetry, in general, escaped me. One poem she assigned confounded me; I spent a long time translating it into English before I tried to understand the deeper meaning of the author’s words. It was just random words to me; I had no clue and was frustrated. That evening, some dormitory buddies and I somehow stumbled onto a case of beer. The next day with a strong hangover, I somehow made it to class. The smug instructor asked us what we had learned about this poem. We all said it was beyond our comprehension. The instructor said she was friends with the poet, who was experimenting with a new art form which no hidden meaning. This didn’t sit well with my hangover, and I stormed out of class muttering. Hello, 2.0 grade that I had originally planned on getting a 4.0.
This ended my Spanish academic career, but the great memories of Mrs. P have stayed with me for a long time. Gracias, Senora Piñeiro!
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: 2003
A 20-year-old Geneva man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the 2001 robbery of the Bigfoot convenience store. The man had entered Bigfoot on East State Road 44 with a rifle and shotgun, pointed a gun at the cashier’s stomach and demanded all the money. The cashier grabbed the barrel of the gun and a struggle ensued. The gunman and a 17-year-old accomplice then fled the scene.
30 YEARS AGO: 1993
A 12-year-old Shelbyville boy took his mother’s car and drove as far as Manilla before being caught. The boy had argued earlier in the day with his mother, then decided to drive to his father’s home in another state, Shelbyville police said. The boy headed east on State Road 44 and stopped in Manilla to call his father from a pay phone. A passerby noticed he was too young to be driving, took the car keys and called the Rush County Sheriff’s Department. The boy was charged in Shelby County with auto theft and released to his mother’s custody.
40 YEARS AGO: 1983
A former Shelbyville man, Bill Wheeler, was named Frankfort (Indiana’s) Citizen of the year for 1982. Wheeler, formerly a Shelbyville Boys’ Club staff member, had left for Frankfort in 1980 to serve as the director of the Frankfort Boys Club. Wheeler had allowed girls to become part of the club and had increased membership from 400 to 1,200 during his short tenure. Wheeler was a 1971 graduate of Shelbyville High School.
Waldron second-grader Matthew Fralich told his parents he had seen a television advertisement indicating a certain number of bottle caps would be the winner in a soft drink contest. He knew his family had that number, but he had a tough time making his parents listen to him. After a while, he convinced his parents to call the soft drink company’s Indianapolis office to confirm. The chance of winning the contest was 500,000: 1. The Fralichs got their $500 check in the mail.
50 YEARS AGO: 1973
The General Assembly had passed legislation designed to remove pollutant phosphates from Indiana’s streams and lakes. Locals were upset because the law had also removed many laundry soaps from the market. “We’re catching a lot of hell, too,” Mike Thomas, manager of Thomas 421 Supermarket told The Shelbyville News. “This caught a lot of people by surprise.” Substitutes were available, but were untested, people complained.
60 YEARS AGO: 1963
J.H. Albershardt, one of the owners of the Gregori furniture plant, 837 Webster St., said the factory would be sold. The firm had gone into bankruptcy.
Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Kremer constructed a plastic platform on the lawn in front of their home on Marion Road so kids could ice skate. The platform had been built a few years prior, but it had been moved to the front yard for the first time.
70 YEARS AGO: 1953
Shelbyville-manufactured products were among the standouts on display at the big January furniture show in Chicago. Displays from Albert Furniture Co., Spiegel Furniture, J.L. Chase Corp. and Admiral Corp. were all at the show. The Albert Co., represented at the show by president Henry Joseph and Sales Manager Robert Williams, had eight new, modern bedroom suites and four new finishes on display. Twenty-one-inch combination TV and radio and record player sets, with the cabinets made by the Shelbyville Cabinet Division, were included in Admiral Corporation’s display along with huge TV sets with 27-inch screens. The combos were made here in oak, walnut and mahogany finishes.
80 YEARS AGO: 1943
Charles Goebel, who was leaving the Shelbyville Police force, was given a farewell dinner at Hotel Shelby. The dinner was attended by Mayor Pierce and various city officials and police officers.
Johnny Deiwert, of Flat Rock, introduced a song written by Mrs. Ruth McKnight Weinantz, also of Shelby County, called “Caroline,” on WIBC. The song had been written 30 years prior, but Deiwert hoped to publish the song officially.
90 YEARS AGO: 1933
A school essay contest was announced, sponsored by the Indiana Farm Bureau. The essay subject was to be, “Why Dad Should Belong to the Farm Bureau.”
100 YEARS AGO: 1923
Junior high school students put on an opera at the city opera house.
An eastbound vehicle on Montgomery Street traveling at an excessive speed left the roadway near the alley south of Taylor Street and struck a utility pole, snapping it. The driver said she had been drinking, but only needed to travel less than a mile, so she thought she could make it. Duke Energy restored power to the affected area.
A vehicle struck a deer on Lee Blvd., Shelbyville.
Burglary was reported in the 9200 block of Frontage Road, Fairland.
JAIL BOOK-INS: James L. Coyt, 41, domestic battery, strangulation, possession of meth; Alan S. Wickliff, 51, probation violation; Michael A. McDaniel Jr., 37, resisting law enforcement, possession of meth, marijuana; Juan C. Heredia-Ochoa, 33, dangerous OVWI; Aaron S. Jenkins, 55, dangerous OVWI; Henry Nguyen, 61, criminal trespass.
Marilyn (Lynn) Harley, age 74, of Noblesville, passed peacefully Friday, January 6, 2023 around 1 p.m. at home under Hospice care in Noblesville, IN. Her friends and family came to express their love in her last hours and we are certain that she could hear the words of love and memories shared, even though she was unable to respond. The emotions of tears and laughter, as stories are shared, are both good and healing and her son, Eric, calls this the “Laugh Cry.” She had suffered from multiple health issues over several years.
Marilyn was born January 2, 1949 in Batesville, IN to James (Jim) and Rita Litmer. Marilyn is survived by her husband of 54 years, Michael, and her sons Eric, Trevor and Jordan. Her daughter Brooke had passed in January of 2020. Additionally, she found so much joy in her five grandchildren: Alyxandria (Alyx), Vincent, Taylor, Isaiah and Jonas who called her Grandmother. Marilyn was preceded in death by her first born son, Aaron, who passed in 1969 at the age of 9 months in Oregon.
Her greatest gift was to give the unselfish gift of love and service to her family and friends. She loved to prepare and serve a beautiful meal on a lavishly decorated table. In addition to caring for her children and grandchildren, she served as nanny for a family of four children in Carmel, IN for 16 years.
We celebrate that she is now out of her suffering! We celebrate her life of service! We celebrate that she is now with God in Heaven enjoying the ecstasy of His love, Life and Presence! We celebrate that she is now laughing, dancing and singing and full of awe in amazement of what God had prepared for her in Heaven. We celebrate that she is now eternally young and beautiful with long blonde flowing curls and “Looking so good!” We celebrate that she is with countless others who have gone before including Brooke, Aaron, Parents, etc.! Even though we miss her, we trust and know that it’s only for a short time. We picture it like she’s “taken an early flight to the Bahamas” and we’ll join her later.
A burial service will be held at 2 p.m. this Wednesday, January 11 at St. Catherine of Siena (formerly known as St. John’s) Catholic Cemetery, Enochsburg, IN; all are invited, encouraged and welcome to attend. Following the service, the family welcomes you all to the Church Hall, where we will share memories of Marilyn. In honor of her gift of loving service, a meal will be provided, including Fireside Inn chicken. Funeral Directors Greg Parks, Sheila Parks, and Stuart Parks are honored to serve Brooke’s family. Online notes of love and encouragement can be shared at www.murphyparks.com.
Gloria (Moss) McIver-Smith, formerly of Shelbyville, passed away at Citrus County Medical Center, Inverness, FL. Arrangements are pending at Glenn E. George and Son Funeral Home, Shelbyville.