To The Point 12-25-14

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YOU’RE READING THIS ON or around Christmas Day, and as we all pause for a moment to celebrate the holiday; I think it’s important that we also take some time to appreciate and celebrate this community and the people in it.

Switzerland County is a wonderful place to live, whether you’ve been here all your life, or if you chose to move here, as I did over 30 years ago. What makes it most special, along with the natural beauty of living along the banks of the majestic Ohio River; is the people who live here and comprise the community of Switzerland County.

Many of those people volunteer their time and efforts to help this community move forward; both in terms of how we anticipate our future while appreciating our past.

- Martha Bladen and the Switzerland County Historical Society; along with Donna Weaver and the folks at Musee de Venoge; work year around to not only learn the history of this area, but also to celebrate it and share it with all of us. So many times we get so busy thinking about tomorrow or a month from now or next year that we forget to take the time to step back and appreciate the sacrifices of our forefathers to make this area what it is today.

Want to truly appreciate where you live? Want your children and grandchildren to appreciate it, too? Take the time to visit the County Museum, you’ll be amazed at the things you will find there. It covers our beginnings not only along the river, but also those who cared for our land and our towns.

Vevay and Patriot were once thriving river cities, and the towns and communities that dot the riverbank between the two hold amazing stories.

There’s also a great history inland in our county. The history of industry and agriculture and great men and women doing great things. We are a community of authors and musicians and statesmen; and you can learn all about that and much more simply by visiting our county museum; or the Thiebaud Farmstead Museum; or Musee de Venoge – or all three.

I promise you, if you go once, you’ll wonder why you’ve never taken the time to go before, and you’ll look forward to your next visit.

– The Swiss Wine Festival is the crown jewel of festivals and events in this entire part of the state; but it doesn’t happen without the year around work of Festival President Kirk Works and others who serve on the festival committee.

Something that big and that spectacular doesn’t line up and happen overnight; and for those who sometimes choose to be critical of what’s not there rather than what is, please remember that while you’re sitting at home watching television, others are sitting in meetings trying to make sure that you have a great four-day experience.

Probably the most-missed opportunity each year at the festival is to stop one of the committee members and simply say “Thank You”.

While we’re at it: don’t forget the ongoing opportunities that both Switzerland County Tourism and Vevay Main Street provide. ‘First Friday’ events are a hit not only with visitors, but also with locals; and many other events, from ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to fishing tournaments to plenty of other things allow visitors to see what we already know: this is a really great place to live.

There are so many others: from Mike Bear and Lewis Fritter coordinating the car show to county fire departments and churches organizing events to Adam Cole’s annual 30-mile ‘Taterbug’ run, it all forms pieces of a great and wonderful puzzle. Add to those the hard work of the Switzerland County 4-H Fairboard, who pull off a wonderful county fair each year for our county youth; and the countless school-related events and activities that go on, and there’s always something fun and interesting to do here in our community.

– As we wrap up 2014, I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge and thank some people who will be moving on to new challenges next year. Our county election in November will allow many new faces to help form and direct our county’s path in the coming years; but in doing so, others are stepping aside.

A lot has been made about the county and county finances, but I can tell you that this county has not had three more dedicated public servants that Mike Jones, Tom Conroy and Jeff Darling. It’s not easy to sit on the other side of the table and make decisions the affect us all, but they’ve done that for years, not only working hard here, but also making sure that the powers in Indianapolis know that we exist down here in the Southeastern corner of the state.

The same goes for County Clerk Kim Hambrick, who has stayed on the job while struggling with both individual and family health issues. She is a native of this county and loves it and the people who live here, and she did her very best to serve each of us.

Our school board will also see some new faces, as longtime board member Andy Truitt and also first-term board member Laura Schroer will also leave those positions. There is not one single entity that filters through our community and impacts more people on more levels in our community than our schools. These two have been vigilant in putting our kids first, and they will be missed.

As excitement rises for new office holders, this community needs to take the time, no matter which party, and thank these people for their service.

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Since is this issue falls on Christmas Day, I also want to share something with you that has become somewhat of a tradition with me.

For the past few weeks we’ve all been running around and keeping a frantic pace in our efforts to find just the right present for each and every person on our list. We go into stores and our met with “Happy Holidays”, so we don’t offend other shoppers; and, the truth be told – there’s not much ‘happy’ to them at that point.

But on a personal level I always try and take time each day to stop, pause, and remember why we celebrate December 25th. As I always say, for those who may not consider themselves to be “religious” people, it is not my intention to “preach” at you; but rather to simply share the true account of the Christmas holiday.

It comes from a man named Luke, who was a physician, so he was rather meticulous with writing down each specific and important detail.

In the second chapter of his Gospel, Luke shares with each of us the true “Reason for the Season”:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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Merry Christmas to each and every one of you, and may the true joy of this season remain with you throughout the year.