To the point week of 2-17-11


THERE IS A BILL MOVING through the Indiana legislature that could have an interesting impact on Switzerland County.

On Tuesday of this week, the Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill #1005 unanimously.

What is this bill, you say? Well, it’s called the “Industrial Recovery Tax Credit” also known as the “Dinosaur Building Tax Credit”.

What this bill will do is to provide companies with big incentives to go into a community and – rather than build new buildings – use facilities that already exist in the community to start businesses.

The bill will make it more attractive to take on existing buildings that are vacant and in need of rehabilitation. It is hoped that this bill will not only revitalize communities that have been hit hard by the economy by bringing in new jobs; but it will also provide incentives to used now vacant buildings that may be becoming eyesores in towns and cities.

In order to be a part of the program, a town council or city council has to designate a facility as an “industrial recovery site”; and then submit an application to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Now good things are happening out by the Markland Dam, but how exciting would it be to see a company come to the old Randall Textron Building, clean it up and renovate it; and then put jobs in it?

The county has been fortunate that the old shoe factory building has a tenant; as does the Plastic Moldings building in East Enterprise – but how about the old facility on Turtle Creek?

Switzerland County is undergoing a revitalization in its towns and communities; but a real vibrancy to our county will come when some of our vacant industrial buildings find a new use.

If this bill passes, the towns of Vevay and Patriot, as well as the County Commissioners should immediately being identifying buildings in the county that would qualify for the incentive, and then work with Jon Bond of the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation to get those designations and then market that option to potential businesses.


Last week’s sweep by law enforcement officers through Switzerland County High School with drug-sniffing dogs can be looked at from a couple of perspectives.

Yes, a line of police cruisers lined up in front of a school isn’t a nice site as motorists drive by; but if everyone understands the basic premise behind what happened, then I believe that officers should be congratulated.

Far too often we worry about individual rights, and I’m all for that – but what about the right of a student to attend a school or a senior citizen live in a community and know that they are safe and that their rights are being protected?

We all know that there has been a rash of burglaries around the county, and it doesn’t take a lot of sense to connect the dots between the need for people to find a way to support their drug habit and these break ins.

“Switzerland County doesn’t have a drug problem,” you say?

I hate to be the one to tell you, but it does, and Vevay Police Chief James Richards and Switzerland County Sheriff Roy Leap and their officers are working hard to curb that problem.

For everyone’s safety.

I was at the high school on Thursday when the police cruisers rolled in and the dogs were brought out. I have to say, if someone looked out a window and saw that sight, it got their attention.

It was a big, bold, over-the-top display from officers who said with their actions: “We’re not going to allow drugs in our schools, or anywhere else, and we’re going to do everything we can to get this problem under control.”

If it was, at least in part, designed to get the kids’ attention – I think it did the trick.

Sweeps like these, combined with the random drug testing policy that is already in place at the schools, are nothing more than tools in this fight, but the real tool is education.

Because you can’t possibly stop everything.

Those with drug habits and drug addictions, young and old, need to understand that they are not only destroying their own lives, but also the lives of their relatives, friends, and loved ones. Your addiction is not your own business when it puts co-workers at risk. It’s not a private matter when it’s my daughter in the car driving in the opposite direction towards you.

Things like drug sweeps are uncomfortable, but unfortunately they are necessary.

I applaud Chief James Richards for his organization of last Thursday’s sweep; and also Sheriff Leap for his assistance and cooperation. Thanks also to the Indiana State Police and officers from Madison and Dearborn County for taking the time to be a part of it all.

Hopefully it scared some kids (or adults) into getting some help for their problem.


A big part of my childhood passed away this week, as Tom Carnegie, the longtime “Voice of the Indianapolis 500” as the public address announcer at the track, passed away.

As I grew up the month of May meant daily updates from the track at my house, from practice to rookie tests to four days of qualifying to “bump day” to carburetion day. If it was racing around the 2 1/2 mile oval at Indy, we knew about it.

Through all of those days the voice of Tom Carnegie was a constant. If you were at the track, you knew his voice.

If you are an Indy fan like I am, you can close your eyes and still hear Tom blare, “…And it’s a NEW track record…”.

I remember as drivers approached 200 miles per hour, we would always await impatiently as Tom would announce the qualifying lap time and speed. If you’re going 200 miles per hour, you go around the oval in 45-seconds; so everyone waited for that moment when someone would exceed 200 – and when it happened, we knew Tom would tell us.

That happened in 1977, when Tom Sneva circled the track for a qualifying effort. When Tom Carnegie turned on the mike and announced, “…And it’s a NEW track record…” we all knew what that meant, but there was still the matter of the time.

All I remember hearing was “Forty FOUR and….” and that was all it took, because under 45-seconds meant more than 200. It is a memory that sticks with me like the landing on the moon.

Although the race still exists, if you’re like me, it’s also rather sad as we lose people like Sid Gillman and Tony Hulman and now Tom Carnegie. Others, like Jim Nabors singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” are clinging to time; and drivers are more detached from their fan base than ever before.

In so many ways Tom Carnegie was a big link to all of that past, when the Novi roared down the backstretch and the final minutes of the final day of qualifying were some of the most exciting in sport and the month was filled with colorful characters like Andy Granatelli and Parnelli Jones and Howdy Holmes.

There will be an Indianapolis 500 in May, but it won’t be the same.

I’m not saying it will be worse.

Just different.

There’s something sad about that.


I need to clarify something found in last week’s Vevay paper. In the front page article concerning the identification of bed bugs, I attributed a comment to Dr. Scott Frede that there had been an incident with bed bugs at a school here.

Dr. Frede did not say that. A reference to a bed bug situation was made by a county health department official, and there was no evidence that bed bugs were at the school; but there was a concern that they might be present at the home of students.

I apologize to Dr. Frede for this inaccurate quote.