Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2004 > Late January 2004 Edition

Late January 2004 Edition

This is the final week in January, and winter finally decides to show its hand. We have lots of snow now. There is enough to make the roads slick and make some rural school districts close for the day.

The folks who gave me the boot are taking their time to send that final document (my W-2 form), which I need to fill out and mail my tax forms. This is important now more than ever.

doctor visit

Last week I went to the Fairmount Family Clinic one last time to see if I can get my metfo prescription extended. I was seen by a Dr. Snyder, who was a very nice outgoing person. It's too bad she can't replace Dr. Rood (now retired) because she has a weight-loss practice of her own. Anyway, she extended my prescription a couple more months; told me I was doing okay on the weight so far but that I should ditch the fried foods and red meat; and recommended I take a daily multivitamin pill and get a blood test within the next several months.

In light of that I tried baking some Zesties in the toaster-oven. They came out rather well, and were still tasty.

king day

King Day came and went. And I hardly noticed apart from no mail delivery and slightly different programming on NPR. As for the holiday's significance, I choose not to talk about the irony of the black folk securing civil rights when civil rights were growing meaningless beyond the purely local sphere of jury duty and voting for city and county officials.


I will, however, tell you about Elwood. It is a large town southwest of Fairmount on the road to Indianapolis. In fact, Elwood is hoping for some of those wealthy suburban Indianapolis commuters to move in. That is why it had a King Day celebration at the town hall, and plans to have one every year thereafter.

Why go to this trouble?

[A councilman] said racism in Elwood, a factory city surrounded by farm country, exists only in history. Unfortunately, he and others agree, the reputation lingers in neighboring communities where outsiders perceive racial bias as an embedded aspect of life here.

I will be more blunt: People around Elwood, including myself, think Elwood is a place where, if you are a black and your car stalls there in the middle of the night, you do the sensible thing of crawling under your car seat and waiting until morning. While I am not black myself, I try to avoid Elwood when I can, lest its moral taint cling to me.

Elwood officials and residents claim the reputation is no longer justified. But then, there are very few blacks living in Elwood.

But there is another problem that has nothing to do with race. Elwood residents got really angry when years ago activists from the Citizens Action Coalition (I think that's the group's name) went around knocking on their doors and asking questions the residents found offensive. Yet Elwood wants all those wealthy suburbanites in town. It never occurs to them that the activists and the suburbanites are the same kind of people! Activists by and large do not come from the ranks of the poor, but from the educated suburban well-to-do. And now Elwood is hoping for more of the same.

the elimination of townships

Townships are subdivisions of counties with certain duties. They assess homes and farms for taxation, manage rural fire service, and provide poor relief. They used to maintain roads before counties took that over, and manage schools before we had humongous school districts.

Townships are still an important part of rural life. This is not true in urban areas, where townships add another layer of government and another set of taxes. One urban state lawmaker wants to abolish townships altogether. One of my local lawmakers has a bill to let townships merge in the same county, which can do the same thing in urban counties. The state newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, supports total abolition of townships, as if the affairs of my area are any of its business. I decided to post a letter last Saturday to voice my opposition.

This concerns your editorial in the 24 January Star favoring the elimination of townships.

You, Indianapolis and Marion County and the other big cities of the state, may go ahead and get rid of your townships if they are too much of a fiscal burden to you. But don't drag the rural areas of the state along with you. There is no 'more effective handling' from county governments that have enough difficulty managing their own duties. And there are no real private charities in rural areas.

If you're that eager to get rid of your (Marion County's) townships, support SB 187 introduced by Sen. David Ford, R-Hartford City, to allow the merger of townships inside a county. That way, the urban counties will be free to ditch their townships, and the rural townships will be left alone to do what they are supposed to do.

Copyright © 2004 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 26 January 2004.