Feature Contributors Archives for 2023-02

Column: Sgt. Jack R. Yeend, Royal Coxswain

Dear readers,

I need your help. My campaign to promote “The Helbing” has stalled. In truth, it never really got started. 

The official name of Shelbyville’s stainless-steel sculpture is “Blue River – Wind, Rain, and Water.” It is the creation of Shelbyville-native Mike Helbing. I nicknamed it “The Helbing.”  

Soon after its installation, I noticed that it wasn’t universally loved by the citizens of Shelbyville. Some negative reaction was expected. It isn’t unusual for any public sculpture to have a few critics. When the city of Chicago installed a giant modern art sculpture by famous artist Picasso, it wasn’t liked by everyone. 



Recently, a new statue commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was unveiled in Boston. The giant bronze sculpture of arms locked in a hug was met with criticism immediately.

I have tried to promote The Helbing as a meeting place. On Valentine’s Day in 2019, Team Schwinn hosted a Valentine’s Day party. Even “Happy Valentine's Day” balloons and the special appearance of “The Martha Stewart of Shelbyville” Susie Veerkamp couldn’t draw a crowd.

I have offered to officiate a wedding for any couple willing to have the ceremony at The Helbing. The offer is still good. The couple need only provide the license and I will officiate the wedding for free. Of course, they must allow me to take a few photos and use their wedding to promote The Helbing.

Running low on ideas, I’ve decided a royal promotion might jump start this popularity campaign. I checked the availability of the Duke and Duchess Harry and Meghan, but unfortunately their dance card was full.  I decided the next best royal for the job was none other than Waldron’s favorite son and Royal Coxswain, Jack Yeend.

Some of you might not have realized that Jack was royalty, but he has a certificate from the Indiana Gaming Commission to prove it. When Indiana first legalized gambling, all gambling had to take place on riverboats. Jack was the Royal Coxswain on that first riverboat when it left the dock on March 15, 1994. 

As the coxswain, he was responsible for coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers. If the engines failed, the dealers and cocktail waitresses would man the oars to get the boat back to shore before the gamblers ran out of money.    

Now here is where I need your help. Look closely at the photograph of Jack and me in front of The Helbing. It is doctored. 

I couldn’t even talk Jack into stopping by The Helbing for a photograph.  It turns out he isn’t a fan and that’s putting it mildly. Jack takes the interstate to get from the south side of Shelbyville to the north side just to avoid driving past The Helbing.  

So, the next time you see Jack Yeend, do me a favor. Tell him to lend a hand to his old pal Kris. I’m thinking maybe Jack could autograph copies of his certificate this summer at The Helbing. If that doesn’t draw a crowd, I don’t know what will. 

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Column: George Washington, first in the hearts of his countrymen

Dear readers,

Monday, we celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It is a day set aside as a federal holiday to remember the father of our country. In the words of Major General Henry Lee, George Washington was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

The millennials reading my column are already busy fact-checking me.  They, and probably many of you, mistakenly believe Monday is President’s Day. If you must fact-check me today, be sure to read some of the longer articles about how Washington’s birthday became President’s Day. From the information on the Walmart flyer to some articles online, there’s a lot of fake news floating around in the ether.

I got my facts about George Washington and this federal holiday from three trusted sources, Saturday morning cartoons, teachers in school and personal knowledge.

Every Saturday morning when I was a boy, I woke up early to watch cartoons. This was long before the pups of Paw Patrol were busy keeping Adventure Bay safe.

I watched Hector Heathcote. Hector was a drummer boy during the American Revolution. Hector was busy helping George Washington defeat the British. 



I next learned all about George Washington in school from grade school teachers Miss Ford, Miss Lyles and Mrs. McNamara. An unfinished portrait of George Washington was on display in most classrooms.  Later at Shelbyville High School, I learned more from history teacher Mr. Hinshaw. 

In grade school, I learned how Washington once took his hatchet and chopped down a cherry tree. When his dad discovered the downed tree, he became angry. 

Who chopped down the cherry tree he yelled? George famously said, “Father, I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the tree.” 

George grew up both honest and strong. I always thought that all that chopping probably helped develop his arm muscles. One of Washington’s well-known feats of strength was his ability to throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River.

George Washington was the most important figure in American history.  Many cities, counties and streets are named in his honor, including our nation’s capital. Washington was the victorious general of the American revolution and our first president. I learned the historical facts from Mr. Hinshaw in U.S. history class.

I have personal knowledge about how the confusion concerning the federal holiday came about. I was in high school at the time. Richard Nixon was president and the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved holidays to Monday.

It was popular. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like a three-day weekend?  Answer: Veterans 

In 1971there were still a lot of people left over from the 19th century walking around. The old-timers hadn’t forgotten why Nov. 11 was a sacred day. Many of them got their fountain pens out and wrote angry letters to Congress. Veterans Day was soon returned to Nov. 11 where it belonged.

Unfortunately, no 18th century people were around to sharpen their quills and write angry letters to Congress. The order was signed by President Nixon and still the law today named the holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday in February, Washington’s birthday. 

A million advertising flyers later, Washington’s birthday has morphed into President’s Day, a day to get a good deal on a new mattress. So it goes.

As Paul Harvey always said, “now you know the rest of the story.”

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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Column: Super Column LVII

Dear readers,

Dust off the Roman Numerals. Today is Super Bowl LVII. 

I am LXVII, so that means the first Super Bowl was when I was only X years old. I remember that game. In those days, the TV signal came in over the ether. The signal then entered the TV through a piece of aluminum foil wrapped around the antenna. I wanted to watch the game, but sports shows never flowed down the antenna into our TV set. 

Lucky for me, my friends Larry, Robbie and Rock Robertson invited me over to their house to watch the game. The first game wasn’t even called a Super Bowl and the stadium wasn’t sold out. Entertainment at halftime was the Arizona marching band. None of the members of the band had a wardrobe malfunction. Lucky for all of us, everything has gotten better in the last XVII years, including TV reception.



Today, I will be with the rest of Team Schwinn at Giant FM 96.5 or as we are calling it today, Giant FM XCVI.V. As a country music station, we were all happy to see that country music singer, Chris Stapleton, will be singing the national anthem. 

I was planning on reporting live from the game today, but Johnny told me it wasn’t in the budget. He said maybe next year if the Super Bowl is held somewhere closer, like Boggstown. 

If you were listening to Giant FM early this morning and noticed the signal to be a little weak, I apologize. I was helping team member Susie Veerkamp (the Martha Stewart of Shelbyville) prepare for today’s party.  When I plugged in my crock pot loaded with hors d’oeuvres, I noticed that the lights dimmed for a moment. 

Today is the first time the crew here at Giant FM will meet the entire cast of Team Schwinn. You will know if it goes well if my column is still here next week. I’ve warned everyone on the team to be careful not to drip any of the cheese fondue on the broadcasting equipment. 

Like most of you we will be biding our time with small talk and beer pong waiting on the big event to start. I’m, of course, referring to the halftime show. Rihanna is this year’s halftime entertainment. She joins a long list of famous entertainers including Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, and Prince. Super Bowl XXXVIII had everyone the next day talking about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction instead of the game.

Giant FM reporter Jeff Brown covered Super Bowl XLVI as a media representative. Madonna was the halftime entertainment that year. Jeff didn’t report seeing any wardrobe malfunction. With the outfits Madonna usually wears, it can be hard to tell.

I don’t think there will be a wardrobe malfunction this year. In fact, it is one of my sports bets. You can bet on anything these days including the coin flip or the color of Gatorade the winning players will pour on their coach. I’m taking a long shot and betting that a giant Chinese spy balloon will appear above the stadium. 

Reminder, sports fans: Don’t forget to call in sick tomorrow!

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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I've Got a Secret

Dear readers,

Where will it end? 

Recently, classified documents were found in former President Donald Trump’s rumpus room at Mar-a-Lago. It was historic. Never had anyone been so careless with government secrets. Or so we thought.

As it turns out, way back when Donald Trump was an actor playing himself on the TV show, “The Apprentice,” Senator Joe Biden was storing government secrets in his garage next to his vintage 1967 Corvette.

On a side note, I think Trump might go down in TV show history for having the best catchphrase, “You’re Fired.”

It is in my top three along with Clara Peller’s “Where’s the Beef” and J.J. Walker’s “Dyn-O-Mite.”

Now where was I?

Oh yeah, now some classified documents have been discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home. It is beginning to look like having a few classified documents laying around is something former vice presidents and presidents have in common.



I predict it won’t be long until Jimmy Carter will report finding some old classified documents in his toolbox when hammering nails for Habitat for Humanity. After that, one by one, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, and Dan Quayle will all turn over classified documents after looking under furniture and in the nooks and crannies of their houses. 

The fact that these old guys forgot to put a few classified documents away shouldn’t come as a surprise. It certainly isn’t a surprise to the women reading this column. They are used to hearing the old guys in their house asking, “Where are my glasses?” of “Where did I put my keys?” 

Old guys even misplace larger items, “Where did I park the car?”

So, should we be worried that maybe the Russians sent a spy to their house dressed in a meter reader’s costume to photograph the classified documents?

I doubt it, for two reasons.

  1. The documents probably don’t contain any important information.  Millions and millions of documents are marked classified. On a slow day, bored government employees entertain themselves by getting out the old-school rubber stamp and red ink pad. It is fun stamping documents with a rubber stamp. If you don’t believe me, give a rubber stamp and paper to your grandchildren. Just watch.
  2. These documents weren’t typed on a Remington typewriter by a confidential secretary wearing her hair in a bun and glasses shaped like a cat’s eye. The documents were typed on a computer.  Nothing prepared on a computer is safe from the Russian or Chinese hackers.

Besides, real spies all use computers these days. It is much more efficient than taking a photo of each page of a document with one of those tiny spy cameras like Jim Phelps used in the Mission Impossible TV show.

Army Private Bradley Manning, with a few clicks on his keyboard, sent 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Private Manning was caught, convicted, and sent to prison. On the way to Federal Prison, Bradley took to heart the words of Lou Reed’s hit record from 1973, “Walk on The Wild Side.” 

“Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her legs and then he was a she”

Now known as Chelsea Manning, her prison sentence was commuted by President Obama.

As Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.