Feature Contributors Archives for 2024-03

Column: Easter at the Helbing, a Shelbyville tradition

Dear readers,

Happy Easter from Team Schwinn and all of us here at GIANT fm and the Shelby County Post. Team Schwinn will be having our usual easter egg hunt at “The Helbing.” If you see us when driving past, give us a honk. 

It’s been a while since I opened the mail, so let’s see what’s in the mailbag this week.

Several readers are very confused about the eclipse occurring a week from tomorrow. I won’t mention any names because I’ve noticed that some comments on Facebook can be quite cruel. I don’t want readers who write to me for help to be subject to public ridicule.

My wife thinks all the letters I received about the eclipse are just part of an elaborate prank. She says some of the college boys at the Delta Tau Chi house are once again up to their usual brand of hijinks. She might be correct, but I can’t take the chance of ignoring these loyal readers of mine. The letters are full of angst.



All those who wrote letters are having nightmares about the upcoming eclipse. Most are having nightmares about the end of the world. One said that for years they have had a recurring dream about being on the highway and having to go to the bathroom. Just when they think they can’t hold it any longer a Buc-ee’s is spotted on the horizon. Making it into Buc-ee’s famous bathroom, they discover row after row of pay toilets. Just like the toilets in bus stations during the Eisenhower administration.

Anyway, I digress. The readers angst seems to be that they are all confusing “eclipse” with “apocalypse.”

A week from Monday, thousands of people will come to Shelbyville for the “eclipse.” The moon will pass between the earth and the sun. When it does, it will block out the view of the sun. With the sun blocked by the moon, it will be dark just like night. However, for only a little over four minutes, so not long enough for a nap. You might as well get some of those special eclipse glasses and watch it happen.

The “apocalypse” on the other hand is the destruction of the world as described in the biblical book of Revelation. Psychics and astrologers have been predicting the day of the apocalypse for centuries and have never been right. So, I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about it.

If you keep having the nightmare about pay toilets, just put a couple of nickels in the pocket of your pajamas.

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

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Entrance ceremonies in Japan

Every year, at the beginning of April, a time-honored ritual takes place all over Japan at schools from kindergartens, to elementary schools, to junior high and senior high schools, to universities called “nygakushiki” (entrance ceremony). This momentous event is largely to welcome the new students to the school, as well as their parents who mostly always attend the ceremony.

April is a time of new beginnings in Japan. Graduation occurs at the end of March, so students prepare for their next educational adventure in early April. The month of April also marks the beginning of the fiscal year for government offices and companies, so new recruits and workers also are feted with a welcome or entrance ceremony as they begin their new lives as professional workers.

Department stores and shops display clothing appropriate for the ceremony in huge displays. Little dresses and suits for the new kindergarteners or first grade students are prominently displayed, along with the crisply pressed and sleek junior high school uniforms, and coal-black or deep-navy suits for the university students or company recruits. Even parents get their own displays to make selecting the right clothing for the entrance ceremony easy and convenient (see clothing photos).



In the U.S., it is not customary to have such a formal ceremony in schools or at companies for new students or recruits. An orientation of some kind may be arranged but these are more perfunctory in scope and content, whereas a nyugakushiki is filled with a somberness that is formal and impressive. In the U.S., often is the case where a person shows up to the company and they are merely shown to their work station, maybe given a tour, but no fanfare or celebration except perhaps a welcome party after work hours with the people the person works with directly. But these tend to be more “spur of the moment” get-togethers without the structured formality that is typical of a Japanese-styled welcome party.

For school entrance ceremonies, there tends to be a standard protocol for the actual ceremony:  The new students enter the gymnasium or hall, normally those in attendance sing the national anthem, then each student’s name is called out and each student gives an enthusiastic equivalent of “here” (hai) to acknowledge his/her presence. Then there is usually a speech of encouragement and support by the school principal.

One student is selected to represent the entire new class of students and this student takes a verbal oath on behalf of all the new students entering the school. Often the school’s song is then sung by those in attendance. No doubt, not many people probably know the words so a copy of it is usually included in the program passed out to those entering the gymnasium or hall.



After the ceremony, the students divide up and go to their respective homerooms to meet their new teachers while the parents have a PTA orientation and meeting because the PTA is a very important and even powerful entity, and an obligatory aspect of the Japanese educational system.  Schools often host “open class” days for the parents of students at least once during a term.  The schools normally inform the parents of the classes (when and what they are) beforehand and the parents can then meet with their child’s teachers on these days.

Since I teach at a national education-based university, we are quite enmeshed in school life and we, as faculty members, regularly visit the attached schools in order to observe lessons, critique student teaching practice lessons, meet with teachers, and assist in teacher training activities. 

Thankfully, In Japan, being a teacher is still a very highly-respected profession and teachers are held to very high standards in Japan. I think it is accurate to say that being an educator or teacher is one of the most respected professions in Japan. The title “sensei” carries much clout and respect amongst the community and in society, in general. Even when I run into former students who sat in my classroom over 30 years ago, I am always addressed as “sensei.” So once that student-teacher bond is established in Japan, it lasts forever.

Nearly every student has a photo of himself or herself dressed in their finest clothes, often alongside their parents, standing in front of the school sign or gate for a photo. First-year elementary students often are wearing their “randoseru” (a firm-sided backpack made of stitched leather). This backpack is used until the sixth grade and is often gifted to the child from a grandparent as they embark upon their elementary school life. Grandparents often gift the child’s first study desk and chair at this time, also.



The vintage photo of the school child, Shingo Ono (photo), included in this article shows him at his first-grade entrance ceremony and the straps of his randoseru are visible on his back. Often times boys wear short pants for this ceremony and in 1978 when this photo was taken, apparently leggings were the fashion of the day to help keep the legs warm.

These backpacks are not cheap! Depending upon the quality and luxury of the item, they can run anywhere between $100 to $800, hence why grandparents often like to gift this to the child because it is quite durable and made to last, and is sort of a keepsake gift that is truly a rite of passage. They are used hard for the child’s six years of elementary school life.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Invasion of the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle

The Asian Lady Beetle was introduced into the United States by the U.S. department of Agriculture in the latter part of the 20th Century in hopes that they would be a natural predator for many agricultural pests like aphids and scale insects.  Some were also unintentionally introduced to the United States on ships from Japan.   Intentions were good but it did not work out exactly like planned.  While birds and other natural predators do keep beetle populations under some control the beetles are much more prolific in numbers for the birds to keep up.  Identification of the Asian Lady Beetle is quite easy.  It can be orange to reddish in color and sometimes brown with black spots.  Spots are comparable to the lady bug which is very beneficial in gardens and flower areas except the Asian Lady Beetle has an “M” on the covering on the back of its head.  One reason the Asian Lady Beetle is considered a nuisance or invasive species is because of their congregation in the late summer and Fall of the year on the outside of structures when nights are cool and days are warm.  These insects are drawn to lighter shades of paint or siding.  The beetles then find cracks or crevices like around windows, the bottom of vinyl siding, soffits and roof lines under roofing to creep in and overwinter in your home.  When this happens, the insects are protected and may emerge inside the structure all during the winter season until the outside temperature is to their liking.  There are two forms of self-defense unutilized by these nuisance pests.  One is biting which they can do and the other is emitting a foul odor when handled or disturbed.  If crushed they can leave an odor and yellow stain which is a bid hard to get out.  

Here is the tip.  Outside perimeter treatments during late summer and early fall really does help not only for the beetles but other invasive species making your winter a little less challenging inside the home.  To remove the beetles inside if you are not interested in using chemicals inside your living area a good hand-held vacuum will do the trick but remember to change the bag after using otherwise the beetles can crawl out.  Give us a call to make a plan to protect your home from this nuisance pest.

Column: Vic and Max continue rich legacy of Bonded Oil

Dear readers,

I always enjoy the car show at Kennedy Park every summer. Today’s story began last summer as I was admiring Pete McCorkle’s entry in the show, a 1966 Fleetside pickup truck.

I commented on what a shame it was that vehicles would all be electric in a few years. A fellow standing next to me said, “I sure hope not, I just opened my gas station.”

The fellow was Vic Mirza. He along with his business partner, Max Akram, are the new owners of Bonded Oil. 

I almost forgot about that conversation until last week when I stopped at Bonded Oil for gas. Having forgotten to stop by the store for milk, I went inside and discovered that Bonded sells local milk produced at the Flatrock Creamery. I also discovered that Bonded Oil is in good hands.

Locals have been receiving excellent service from Bonded Oil for generations. Old-timers remember when the station was owned by Jerry Martin. Jerry’s famous motto was painted on the sign, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”



Old-old-timers will remember that Jerry took over from the original owner Bruce Wright. After Jerry it was Jerry’s son, Bruce Martin, namesake of the original owner, who carried on the tradition of great service.

Bruce Martin, a contemporary of mine, is the owner I knew best. Bruce and his late wife, Mary, had three daughters, Cisma, Kylie, and Kari. 

Perhaps none of their daughters had the calling to take over Bonded. It was a sad day when Bonded Oil closed on Sept. 30, 2014. Coincidentally, that date was the 59th anniversary of the death of James Dean. Bonded Oil had been in business for 76 years. If James Dean ever drove though Shelbyville, he could have filled his tank at Bonded. 

It looked like Bonded Oil had come to an end like many other Shelbyville gas stations from the past. Totten’s Pure is now Speedway.  Ogden’s Sunoco is now Valero. Vaught’s is Conoco. Mean’s Texico is long gone. Finally, George Arthur’s Pure Station that set the world record for the number of soft drink machines is only a memory.

Vic and Max knew that they were buying more than a piece of real estate when they bought the closed business. Vic treasures a photo of his handshake with the late Jerry Martin memorializing the moment they closed the deal. Transferred along with that piece of real estate was the Tao of Bonded Oil summed up in that famous motto, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

It took Vic and Max a long time and a lot of hard work to build the new building before reopening Bonded Oil this past June. They try to always have the lowest gas prices in town.

They also provide the services that made Bonded Oil popular for generations. Vic and Max will cash your payroll or government check.  If for any reason you want help pumping gas, call 317-699-6189 and someone will come out and pump your gas. 

Local employees include Lexi Farley, Mindy Rivera and Gloria Michaels-Brown, who manages the store. Gloria is the daughter of one of my grade school classmates. She speaks highly of Vic and Max and is proud to be carrying on the tradition of providing excellent service for a new generation of Bonded customers.

Gloria pointed out that in addition to milk from Flatrock Creamery they also carry a selection of cheesecakes from “The Cheesecake Lady.” Other favorites include amazing salads prepared fresh daily along with wraps, cold subs, and Hunt Brothers Pizza.

Free delivery also is available.

Bonded Oil is back thanks to Vic and Max. If only electric cars are made in the next few years, I think Pete McCorkle will still be able to gas up his 1966 Fleetside Chevy pickup truck at there.

Both are a part of Shelbyville’s Americana that hopefully will be around for future generations.

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

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Brown Recluse Spider

Most spiders that live in structures are harmless and, in most cases, very beneficial in controlling other insect pests. However, in Indiana there are two potentially dangerous spiders. The Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.

Today we will discuss the Brown Recluse spider. Often spiders are misidentified as brown recluse when seen in a structure. Many spiders are confused with the brown recluse including wolf spiders, grass spiders and a variety of others. To have a plan of action in controlling brown recluse spiders, it is necessary to start with a correct identification.

All spiders have 8 legs and two body regions the cephalothorax and abdomen. The following are the key identifiers.

  1. Brown Recluse spider body size is about 3/8 of an inch and with legs extended no larger than a quarter.
  2. Brown Recluse has 6 eyes in (dyads) or pairs.
  3. Brown Recluse has a violin or fiddle shape on the cephalothorax or (head region) of the body.
  4. Brown Recluse has uniformly colored legs with no spines.

Brown Recluse spider bites are rare because they are reclusive and live in secluded or cluttered areas and normally search at night for food and mating. About 10% of recluse spider bites can cause moderate or greater tissue damage and scarring. Most just cause inflammation but may make bacterial infection a concern. If bitten, don’t wait too long for medical attention. If your bite is a brown recluse spider bite, it is initially painless but can develop a necrotic lesion or ulcer much like a staph infection along with other symptoms.

The female can lay hundreds of eggs and protects them in a web crib. Brown Recluse Spiders take about 1 year to mature and can live for up to 2-4 years.  Brown Recluse spiders are not aggressive but if disturbed, sat on or laid on, the spider will pack a punch with a bite.

Here is the tip. Don’t mess with them and make your home and property not welcoming.

  • Keep debris away form and in the house.
  • Declutter because clutter creates an inviting habitat.  
  • Trim back weeds and bushes away from the structure.
  • Clothing in piles or unused in a while should be shaken out to be safe.

As always, feel free to call to talk about your situation and create a plan to be safe.

Column: Was everything better when you were a child, including milk?

Dear readers,

Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo!

What happened to milk? When I was a kid growing up in Shelbyville, Compton’s Dairy delivered milk to our house. Compton’s provided us with a small, insulated metal box that lived on our front porch. The dairyman put the milk in the milk box just like the mailman puts mail in the mailbox. The milk was delicious.

When I started school, milk was served in glass half pint bottles. A little round disk could be removed from the waxed paper lid revealing a small hole for a drinking straw. If you preferred to drink straight from the bottle, the entire lid could be removed. The milk was delicious.

Thanks to farmer Paul Beyer, I learned all about milk before starting school. We had no cows on the Meltzer farm but luckily for me Paul and his wife, Lucy Beyer, lived across the road. Paul was missing his index finger. I always called that finger “the pointer” from the hit song, “Where is Thumbkin.”

Paul told me how he lost his finger. My memory of that story has faded but I think it involved an Allis-Chalmers tractor. 



Anyway, now back to my milk story. Paul had a milk cow and he not only told me all about milk but gave me some “hands on” experience.  Cows have four milk spigots located conveniently on their undercarriage. There is a considerable amount of skill required to operate one of the spigots. It involves grasping the upper part of the spigot by forming a circle with your thumb and index finger. Or in Paul’s case using the thumb and middle finger.

For you readers who have “Where is Thumbkin” playing in your head, that would be “tall man.” Continuing to hold the upper part of the spigot with a firm but gentle grip between those two fingers, the other fingers squeeze. If done correctly, a stream of milk will squirt out of the cow’s milk reservoir. The entire motion must be repeated to get each squirt of milk. 

This memory of great tasting milk from my youth all came about this week because I forgot to stop for milk at the store. I was putting gas in my car at Bonded Oil, when I remembered that I was supposed to stop at the store for milk. When I went inside to pay for my gas, I noticed that Bonded had gallons of milk for sale in the refrigerated display case along with the usual assortment of soft drinks.

The milk was a little more expensive than the Great Value vintage I usually purchase.  However, the extra cost was worth it to me for the convenience of not having to make a separate trip to the store.

Taking a close look at the jug of milk after arriving at home, I discovered it came from a local family-owned farm. Ted and Gina Loggan along with children, Briley and Blaine, sell milk from their cows under the name “Flatrock Creamery.”

The Loggans’ milk is minimally processed. Their milk is pasteurized at a lower temperature to kill any bacteria but retain the vitamins and nutrients. It is not homogenized so the cream rises to the top. A gentle shaking mixes the cream back with the milk.

One taste of the Loggans’ milk and fond memories from my youth came flooding back. Well, mostly fond memories if you don’t count Paul Beyer’s missing finger.

Flatrock Creamery milk has a rich flavor with a creamy taste. It had a top note of grain with a smooth alfalfa finish. I would pair it with Oreo cookies. It tastes like a million bucks but isn’t too pretentious for dunking.

I might have to visit Flatrock Creamery and see if Ted will let me try my hand at milking one of his cows. 

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

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Physical therapy in a Japanese hospital

The human body truly is a remarkable machine that has the ability to heal itself. After being hospitalized for nearly three months from injuries I suffered while on a trip to Amsterdam, I am amazed at how quickly the body repairs itself.

No doubt, I have been aided immensely from all the distant healing and prayers people have showered me with since the accident, and for this I am eternally grateful. Thank you all!

When I first wrote my column about my accident in Amsterdam, many readers reached out to ask about the type of physical therapy I am receiving. I guess the photo I included of the funky looking walker piqued people’s interest as to what type of rehabilitation I am doing.

On Feb. 13, I was transferred from the hospital where I had my knee surgery to repair the torn triceps tendon, to a hospital that has a specialized physical therapy department.  Granted, at 62 years of age, I feel downright young when I enter the therapy room as most of the patients are much older than I am.

To illustrate how rumors get started, on my first day, another American man saw me enter and before he left, he asked his therapist to wheel him over to introduce himself.  As he approached, he sheepishly asked if I spoke English. I replied yes, and asked where he was from and he said he was from Chicago originally and I immediately told him I am from Indiana.



He looked confused, and asked, “You’re not Dutch? I heard you were Dutch.” I explained that I was injured while traveling in Holland, but I am a Hoosier by birth. So, the therapists must have heard Amsterdam at some point and assumed I am Dutch. I am glad we got that all cleared up!

It turns out he is a retired Catholic priest who came to Japan in 1962. I was born in 1961! And here I thought I was one of the “old-timers” in Japan, but he has me beat by decades!  Anyway, it was nice to have a chat with him. He suffered a broken hip and is undergoing physical therapy in order to return to his home here in Fukuoka. Our paths occasionally cross going to or coming from physical therapy.

We are anomalies, for sure, in the rehabilitation room.  When I enter, all the older Japanese patients’ eyes get as big as saucers when they see me … I guess they’re not expecting to see a foreigner undergoing physical therapy. In addition, I don’t wear the traditional hospital pajamas but opted to wear my own “nightshirt” which is quite different from what they are used to seeing. However, they are all quite pleasant and greet me cordially, but they do generally have a look of surprise on their faces when they first see me.

It is amazing to me how the simplest of movements during a session can make the world of difference in the range of motion and flexibility on my injured knee. A first, I had my doubts that the little prods and pokes, and simple squeezing of a rubber ball between my knees would make any identifiable difference, but I am a true believer now.



The therapists are well-trained and work ever so gently, but diligently, in getting tight muscles relaxed and in working the injured area ever so slightly and expertly to offer better mobility and functioning. It is a slow process but the positive results from my twice daily, hour sessions are revealing themselves more and more each day.

I am so impressed also with the kindness and patience the therapists exhibit when working with the patients. As I mentioned earlier, the majority of the patients are in their 80s and 90s, and some with rather severe issues they are trying to remedy, but the therapists are so gentle and considerate in their treatments and in their demeanors which is admirable. It takes a special kind of person who has an abundance of compassion and empathy to do this type of work.

The majority of the therapists are quite young, but very dedicated and knowledgeable in their profession. This is also a teaching hospital, so physical therapy schools send students here for internships as part of their studies. I have had two such students shadowing my primary therapists since coming here.



While some of the PT equipment seems rather rudimentary and antiquated in their design (photo of my foot pushing a wooden board on wheels), they still prove to be amazingly effective. Some of the exercise equipment and tasks they have us do look very homemade, but again, they get the job done, which is what the ultimate goal is.

One complaint I do have, however, is that it seems like hospitals here in Japan do not take into account various body types and sizes. I am five feet, 10 inches, which is not terribly tall because I have students who tower over me anymore. Back in 1979, I did feel quite tall riding trains as few people were as tall as I was, but in the past 40 years that is no longer true. 

I find all the chairs and equipment to be too low to the ground, which is perfectly designed ergonomically for the really elderly here who need that “one size fits all” design for the average Japanese person born in the 1930s and 1940s. But even Japanese body types have changed in the past several decades and I am finding hospitals are too slow to accommodate for this change in the general population regarding body types when updating and acquiring new equipment.  

I suggested that they have at least one chair that sits higher for patients who are taller than 5-2. Right now, they use cushions to add height to my chair and for the other man from Chicago who is much taller than I am even though he is 85 years old. Even wheelchairs are all very narrow in the seat, so we cannot use them comfortably. Again, a hospital this size should have at least one larger sized wheelchair for people who are bigger or taller.



On the positive side, they have recreated an actual Japanese home (with tatami mats and all) in the rehabilitation room to assist people in relearning how to maneuver around furniture, the bath, kitchen, etc. for when they are released and allowed to return home (photo)

Overall, I am quite pleased with the treatment I am receiving and feel that my daily and steady improvement is proof that the physical therapy regimen I am on is working.

Editor's Note: Professor Leonard was officially released from the hospital Thursday after nearly 10 weeks of treatment.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Column: Would you get married at The Helbing if it was free?

Dear readers,

I’ve been writing my column for over 30 years. Some of you have been taking a weekly ride on my Schwinn since the beginning. Along the way I picked up some millennial readers a few years ago.

Lately my readership has exploded. I can’t go shopping at Walmart without readers stopping me to chat. Most have ideas for future columns. 

I might not be the greatest columnist in the world, but I have succeeded in spanning the generation gap. My column has brought the generations together. It doesn’t matter if my reader is a member of the Greatest Generation, a Boomer, Millennial, Gen X, Z or Alpha.

They all agree on one thing. I need to move on and quit writing about “The Helbing.”

Message received. Next week, I promise to sharpen one of my No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils and get out into the community and do some old-fashioned reporting. In this final week of The Helbing, I hope to dazzle new readers with some little-known facts. I will also reward a lucky couple with a free wedding. 

The Helbing is made from stainless steel, so it is here to stay. The official name of the sculpture is “Blue River – Wind, Rain and Water.”



I call it The Helbing. I personally like a great many things about the art piece.

What I like most is that the artist, Mike Helbing is one of us. He is from Shelbyville.

Mike has fond memories growing up here. He continued his education at Ball State and Purdue just like many Shelby County students. His parents, Butch and Patricia, lived in Shelbyville most of their lives and always contributed to the good of our community.

His younger brother, Chris, tragically died in an automobile accident while still a student at Shelbyville High School. The location of the accident was just a few miles north of Mike’s sculpture on State Road 9. 

Mike is a Vietnam veteran. He is now a very successful artist. We have a shared history with Mike and can all be proud of him and his accomplishments.

Now look closely at today’s photo. The bride is a local socialite and former debutante Cristi Downing. The groom is local attorney Tyler Earl Brant, who for many years was considered the most eligible bachelor in town. 

Attorney Brant, in his spare time, is a member of Team Schwinn. Earl, as he is known in Kentucky, assisted me in establishing diplomatic relations with Shelbyville, Kentucky. Yes, they also have Shelbyville in Kentucky. Thus, our nickname, Shelby Tucky.

Both cities were named after the first governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. 

I couldn’t talk Earl and Cristi into getting married at The Helbing, but they did agree to having their photo taken there after their reception.  I’m not sure if it was my begging them to do it or the effect of the little bubbles in the champagne. 

I overheard several of the wedding guests guessing what The Helbing was supposed to be. One Kentuckian said it’s obviously a modern art sculpture of a still after the revenuers got through with it. Just look at that bent up condenser coil on the top.

E.A. Bucchianeri famously said, “Art is in the eye of the beholder.” So, you might see a still, a pile of spaghetti or Blue River – Wind, Rain and Water.

You are probably wondering about the free wedding offer. Here is how it works. I will officiate a free wedding for the first couple who make the request. All the couple needs to bring is a valid marriage license. I will officiate the wedding for free.

The only catch is that it must be at The Helbing.

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

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Becoming Familiar with Raccoons

Raccoons are certainly cute and funny members of the wildlife family, but it is a good idea to take a refresher course on raccoons and the dangers of having them take residence in your home.

After breeding season, normally December through February, females look for places that will offer protection for their young to be born. Birthing can take place 66 days after breeding and can yield an average of 3-4 young during March, April or June. Females will find any small opening and wiggle in to provide a defendable area to raise her young.

In a nutshell it is wise to seal openings so mother coon cannot take up residence. These openings may include soffits, holes in gables or siding or openings in crawlspaces that wildlife can enter. Not only are raccoons destructive to the structure of your home, but they can also cause damage to wiring along with contamination to insulation and other areas of the home from feces left behind. Building out unwanted guests is certainly cheaper than dealing with a nuisance animal pest that decides to live with you.

A raccoon eats a variety of foods which includes fish, frogs, small animals, and even fruits and vegetables. In the city and urban areas, they are very attracted to pet food left out overnight and trash and garbage that is not secured in a container with a secure lid. Be aware that raccoons can enter your home through doggie doors and help themselves to food and make a real mess in the meantime.

Raccoons are not clean animals. There is a misconception that they wash their food before eating but that just is not true. The paws of a raccoon are very sensitive making their sense of touch one of the most important senses. Wetting the paws enhances the raccoons touch making it possible to “feel “what is good and what is not good to eat. Along creeks and rivers, the raccoon uses its unique sense of touch to feel out crayfish or mussels to eat.

Need some advice on how to protect your home and property from nuisance wildlife pests? Feel free to call our office to talk about possibilities on how to be proactive in your approach to unwanted wildlife.

Column: Will a new Dollar General store replace Porter Pool?

Dear readers,

 Wow, last week’s column created quite a hubbub.

I reported on the new apartments being built behind “The Helbing.” I opined that the units with a view of the sculpture would be in such demand that timeshares might be sold. The mere mention of vacation timeshares hit a nerve with the public. 

The overreaction of readers was similar to the panic that swept the nation when Orson Wells broadcast “War of the Worlds.” For some unknown reason, mere mention of The Helbing brings out the worst in some of our fellow citizens. The thought of vacation timeshares frightened folks into imagining the horrors of gentrification destroying their way of life. 

Before long a crowd began to assemble at The Helbing. It was obvious to me that many in the angry mob hadn’t actually read my entire column. If pitchforks were readily available, I think most would have been carrying one. 

I donned a disguise and surreptitiously infiltrated the gathering. It was time for some old-fashioned news reporting. I was afraid of being recognized if I asked any questions, so I just listened.



There were as many opinions and comments concerning the construction project as there were people present. Some of the conversations segued into other complaints/problems concerning our town Shelbyville. I had the entire event transcribed.  Enjoy!

One thing for sure is that Shelbyville didn’t need that pile of stainless steel. What Shelbyville needs is more places to shop. Maybe Target or Kohl’s.

Nope, Kohl’s will never come to Shelbyville because folks here aren’t paid enough. So we are forced to go to Greenwood to spend our Kohl’s cash. 

If that’s true, I wonder if the mayor could cut a deal with Dollar General and get them to accept Kohl’s cash. EBT is now accepted almost everywhere, I don’t know why Kohl’s cash isn’t.  I don’t know why I can’t spend my Kohl’s cash at gas stations in Shelbyville.

Well, I do, like duh!

Kohl’s cash isn’t cash. It’s just really a coupon for Kohl’s. Asking why it can’t be spent at other stores is like asking Cagney’s to accept a Waffle House coupon.

Did someone mention Waffle House? The problem with this town is we need more public transportation. Folks need a way to get safely out to the Waffle House late at night.

Maybe we just need a Waffle House here in town. It seems like the city can build a Dollar General or Cork Liquor within walking distance.  Why not a Waffle House?

No, No, No, we don’t need a second Waffle House. We need somewhere to eat that we don’t already have. Why should we have to drive to Indianapolis? Why can’t we have Chi-Chi’s here in Shelbyville?

Dude, Chi-Chi’s went belly up years ago. There’s no Chi-Chi’s in Indianapolis or anywhere. 

Wrong, I just Googled it. I got you some good news and some bad news.  First, the good news. There is one Chi-Chi’s that’s still open. The bad news is that it’s in Vienna, Austria.

Wow, that would be a long way to go just to eat at a Chi-Chi’s. It might be worth the trip if there were other places to eat in Vienna. Check and see if they still have a Nickel Nook over there. 

Yea, I loved the Nickel Nook. When Porter Pool closed, we lost the Nickel Nook. Without all the kids at the pool buying hamburgers it just couldn’t stay in business.

No. I think you’re mixed up. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  I think Nickel Nook closed before Porter Pool closed. That’s why the new pool was built across town. I mean, why bother keeping Porter Pool when there was no Nickel Nook? 

It’s kind of sad seeing the old bathhouse still sitting here with the pool long gone. Yea, who needs a bathhouse without a pool?

The city should replace it with a new Dollar General so the folks living in the new apartments have somewhere to shop. 

Yes, a Dollar General would make this neighborhood perfect. I would move in even if I had to look at The Helbing. 

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

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: Hospital food and portion sizes

Again, I want to thank those of you who took the time to send me your well-wishes. I appreciate your concern and kindness immensely.

Interestingly, the majority of people who responded to my last column were most interested in the photo of the hospital food I included. As expected, with most readers from the landlocked Midwest who read this column, they were surprised by the prevalence of seafood on the tray and the small-sized portions.

Many people commented that I must be losing weight, which I actually am. This is a side-perk of the accident, I guess, because no doubt I really did need to slim down, especially now with an injured knee, so that has been a nice benefit or bonus of being cooped up in the hospital for seven weeks now.

However, I do not recommend getting injured and spending weeks in the hospital to do it!

So, as of the writing of this column I have lost 10 kilos (22 pounds) which comes out to about 3.5 pounds a week, which is probably more than a weight-nutritionist would recommend and includes muscle, but it isn’t only because I don’t like eating seafood!

On Feb. 13, I was transferred to a different hospital which specializes in physical therapy and rehabilitation, so I am up and moving around more, which is good. At the first hospital I stayed in, fish and seafood were primarily what they served, sometimes three times a day. I did supplement my diet with an occasional sandwich from the hospital convenience store, so I wasn’t starving or being malnourished by any means.

I am attributing the bulk of my weight loss to “portion control” which is something that most Americans have difficulty in adhering to due to how we were raised and how huge portions have become today in restaurants. 



I grew up in a household where the “clean plate club” was not only expected but enforced. After all, there were kids starving in other parts of the world and you shouldn’t waste food. In addition, my parents both grew up during the Depression and they were especially aware and cognizant of food waste and avoided it at all costs.

Believe it or not, I was a scrawny, skinny kid with knock-knees on spindly legs. I can remember being praised for eating everything on my plate when I was little after dinner because I was such a picky eater. Then, when I got to junior high school, I had to wear the dreaded “huskies” brand of clothing for more Rubenesque boys.

However, in high school, I slimmed down again and was a normal size, but then as a freshman in college, I got the “freshman 15” which has stayed with me and expanded over the years. I did slim down again in Japan, at one point, but I have always had a battle with my weight and as I aged, it became less of a vanity issue and one that I just accepted as being the “way it is.”  

Now, of course at 62 years of age, I can’t blame my eating habits as an adult on my parents, but there is a certain mindset or conditioning that occurred from childhood that has carried through to my adulthood. Thankfully, in Japan, generally food portions are much more reasonable and rarely does one need a takeout box after a meal to carry home because the portions are so huge. In fact, when I visit the U.S., that is one culture shock that I regularly experience — the huge portions of food one is given in restaurants.

Often an appetizer or salad would be sufficient, but most people order a main course dish which is a lot of food, and it is then carried home and put in the refrigerator.

I distinctly remember being at an airport on my way home in the U.S. after living in Japan for a number of years and ordering a drink. The worker at the counter asked what size, and I just naturally said “large, please.” I watched the worker pull out a cup so big that it took two hands to hold it, and I screamed out, “small, please.” At this particular fast-food restaurant, the small-sized drink was literally the size of a Japanese “large-sized” drink.

Another memory I have to illustrate how American food portions have changed was when I was shopping at an antique mall, and I found some interesting antique plates. I asked the owner if he had the same plates in “dinner-sized” ones instead of just the salad plates, and he responded, “those are the dinner plates … they were that much smaller a hundred years ago.”



So, again, we Americans have slowly been conditioned to view plate settings differently over the past decades as the sizes have slowly increased in width.

Enough about my relationship over the years with food and back to the topic at hand!

The first hospital I was admitted to must have had the meals brought in off-site and not prepared in the actual hospital, because there was no way to request or change what was served. There were no options. One Shelby County Post reader asked me if I received a daily menu sheet to select what food I wanted to eat. If only!

I know that in the U.S., some nursing homes and hospitals will sometimes have daily options that a patient can select from each day, but in Japan, you get what you get or “you’ll get nothing and like it!”

Thankfully, I do love Japanese rice, but three times a day for seven-plus weeks, it gets a bit monotonous, so I did switch to bread for breakfast, which was the one option they had.  That helped, but two slices of white bread with no jam or spread got pretty old, too.



My current hospital is very different. While I can’t pick and choose items from a menu, I did meet with a nutritionist who plans the meals which are cooked in-house and they did take into consideration the fact that I do not eat fish or seafood, so they have been very good at trying to accommodate my tastes with non-pescatarian options.

I am happy with beans and tofu as a source of protein, so it has been more enjoyable eating at this hospital because I generally will eat what is served. Occasionally, something comes that looks so unappetizing I just can’t eat it, but they are trying very hard to make sure I am liking what I am served.

They were serving me 280 grams of rice at each meal, and I asked them to cut that in half and now I get 140 grams which is perfect. I sometimes still can’t eat it three times a day, though, as that is still a bit much.

Needless to say, I have adjusted to the hospital portions and I have every intention of trying my best to continue this trend after I am released. I will have to teach myself that it is OK to leave food on my plate rather than trying to eat every bite due to my long-held beliefs and conditioning.

While I don’t really have a sweet tooth, thankfully, I do like a good afternoon tea with all the fixings, which I will have to cut back on, but that is a small price to pay for being healthier and more committed to keeping the eliminated weight off.

I had several questions regarding the physical therapy I am receiving so that topic will have to wait until next time.

Again, thank you all for reaching out.If you have any additional questions, feel free to drop me a line at toddjayleonard@yahoo.com.

Photos: Breakfast serving (main photo), lunch serving and dinner serving

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.