No smoking in Madison?

The city council of our fair city is considering a smoking ban in public places and the debate has been lively and interesting. Here’s the latest article on the debate from the Madison Courier

I generally favor the ordinance. I’d love to never encounter smoking as I have asthma and my wife has severe smoke allergies. Nonetheless, many of those opposed argue against the ordinance over “property rights.” While bars are exempt in the proposed ordinance, a couple restaurants are arguing they should not be forced to lose their smoking patrons.

Maybe there’s a compromise.

My thoughts echo those of a former Madison teacher. Fellow Madison blogger JT Evans recently quoted a the teacher as stating: My freedom to swing my fist ends where the other person’s nose begins

The whole post is pretty good and captures our small town “politeness” on the matter, but I think the quote is the essence of the matter for me…

If I have a choice of going into an establishment, I don’t care what they do. Swing your fist all you want. I don’t have to go into a given restaurant, there are others within a block.

On the other hand, if I DON’T have a choice, the business should be smoke free. This would include places like drug stores, laundrymats, gas stations, banks, groceries—the general neccesities of life.

The gas station across the street is almost always full of smoke. I hate going in there, but it’s so darn convenient that I go anyway and wash my face when I get home. Our grocery down the street used to allowed smoking until a few of us complained a few years ago. Our downtown laundrymat allows smoking and before we had a washer we’d have to rush our clothes out as fast as we could.

The bottom line is being forced to face smoke when dealing with a necessary business is not freedom and it certainly hinders the pursuit of happiness.

I understand this is the northern limit of the tobacco belt and that smoking has long been considered patriotic, but please don’t punch my nose in the process.

Posted in Madison

Only on a Saturday night in Madison

Tonight was one of those “only in a small town” episodes…

Our bedroom is right over the intersection so we hear all kinds of traffic and people walking outside our building. As a result we always run some sort of white noise to provide a bit of tranquility to our evenings.

Tonight was odd though. At about 10:30 p.m. we started to hear stomping, clapping and laughing. Darlene and I looked at each other our eyes saying “what the…”

After a minute of the racket it hit me.

When I got home today from campus our little friend Lilli was drawing on our sidewalks with chalk. It’s her favorite pastime as her parents visit us at the studio downstairs. I wasn’t quite sure, but I would have bet that Lilli, being the cute six-year-old she is, drew a hopscotch board on our sidewalk.

Of course, I made Darlene guess and when she got it her look went from annoyance to one of mischief.

We both peeked out our front window and lo-and-behold a bunch of 20-something guys, probably walking between bars, were playing hopscotch and cheering each other on.

“Now I’m not sure what the official international rules to hopscotch are, but I’m pretty sure you have to lean over and pick up the stone,” one of the guys said. The next guy proceeded to play by the rules.

By this time Darlene had snagged our digital camera, we just had to get this episode shot for posterity.

Guys playing hopscotch on a Saturday night in Madison

Posted in Madison

Bullington promoted to the majors!

The Pittsburgh Pirates have just promoted Brian Bullington to the majors. Bullington graduated from the high school here in Madison, Indiana, where he helped win a state baseball championship for our Cubs. He was later the Pirates number one draft pick a few years back.

I interviewed Bullington a couple times while I covered sports for The Madison Courier. Oddly, I never saw him play baseball. I watched him play basketball where he had a wicked three-point shot that gave him the nickname “killer B.” He was a very polite, well spoken young man then and I wish him luck in the majors.

Posted in Madison

Other people's stories

Every once in a while, the journalistic bug hits and I can’t resist telling someone else’s great story. I can’t tell it as good as them and if they ever get blogs, I’ll link to their version of the story.

First a library story….

A library will soon be getting an email that their book will be missing for a few weeks.

An interlibrary loan librarian I know was trying to get a book cart full of ILL books on an elevator that wasn’t quite level with the floor. A couple of books flew off the cart and yes, a small paperback slid down the crack between the floor and the elevator. It will remain at the bottom of the elevator shaft until the inspector makes his monthly call.

The best ILL story I had heard prior to that was of a book left on the shores of the Ohio River after a picnic. It rained and they forgot the book in the rush to pack. They reported that it had washed away.

A tornado story…

A friend of ours has an uncle who was an insurance inspector. During the tornado spree of 1974, which hit our county pretty darn hard, his company received a call from a homeowner making a claim.

He visited the home expecting to see the devastation he had seen elsewhere in his rounds. The homes on either side were destroyed, but this home looked fine.

He met with the homeowners and told them he needed to do a walk around and then he would talk with them. He then looked around the home and everything seemed fine. The electric worked, the water worked, the dishes were in the cabinets unharmed. The walls seemed fine, the roof was intact.

He came back to the homeowners and said he looked throughout the home and that not even the dishes broke. He asked why they had called the insurance company.

The husband told our friend’s uncle that he had not visited the basement. The uncle nodded his head expecting maybe some foundation damage he had not noticed. However, he was floored when they opened the door and walked down the stairs. In the basement was an entirely intact combine. Yes, a combine.

This was in a neighborhood. The nearest farm was miles away and yes, the home seemed to be in good shape. The only thing they can figure is that when the tornado came through, it lifted the house off the foundation, inserted said combine and laid the house back on the foundation.

Our friend did not know how they managed to get the combine out of the basement.

Posted in Library

Madison in spring album

It’s a couple months late, but I finally have time to post some more photos. Once again these are some photos Darlene took. She’s pretty much commendeered the camera.

Either way, we’re dedicating this album to Nathan and Anne, a truly wonderful couple from Dallas, Texas, we met yesterday. They are considering a move to the most beautiful rivertown in America and were quizzing us. Yet we found many commonalities that led to four hours of fun conversation. We hope to someday have them as neighbors.
—Hope y’all had a safe drive home and here are some photos to hold you over.

Madison in Spring, photos by Darlene Yarnetsky

Posted in Madison

Weird April weather

Driving home from Indianapolis after classes last night was a real experience.

The sky turned green and I can’t even begin to describe what the clouds looked like. Sufice it to say that they weren’t the usual flat bottomed cumulonimbus.

A minute later all hell broke loose with wind and rain so hard I couldn’t see out my windshield. I pulled over and watched the hail bounce all over the place.

I called Darlene on my cell and she told me there were tornado warnings to my east and north. No surprise there.

It finally slowed and I drove home. I passed a ton of cars hiding under overpasses which I could have sworn I heard was the worst thing to do.

About a 40 minutes later the western sky cleared and the setting sun illuminated the treetops. It was unreal. The tree bottoms were still shadowed by the storm clouds, but a sharp line of bright (and I mean bright) green leaves contrasted against a still inky sky. I drove bugeyed through the light rain watching the scene when suddenly a bright double rainbow highlighted the road infront of me. Of course, the rainbow (and the road) ended in Madison.

This morning my father-in-law called. The same storm system is now hitting them and they’re expecting 4 inches of snow. Unfortunately, all their fruit trees are in blossom and they’re going to lose all the pre-started corn they planted just last week.

March came in like a lion and out like a lamb. April came in like a lamb and is leaving like an angry ram.

Posted in Madison

“Madison” premieres tomorrow

Jim Caviezel and Jake Lloyd will be in Madison tomorrow for the premiere of “Madison.” There will be a red carpet event at our favorite movie palace—the 1938 art deco Ohio Theatre.

Apparently there is a dress code for the premiere and Darlene told me she heard a few people won’t be going after buying tickets because they weren’t allowed to wear jeans.

They closed Main Street at noon today and are erecting a block worth of party tents for the after-movie fiesta that comes with the $40 movie tickets. There will apparently be a block party for the “rest of us” on the next block with music playing all evening.

If the party were elsewhere in town I’d skip it and just wait for the movie to open normally on the 22nd. However, it’s only a block away so I guess I should wander up the block and check it out.

Mind you, it would be cool to be on the second or third floors of one of the downtown buildings and watch it all from a birds eye view. ahhh, the old reporter’s instincts are still there.

Posted in Madison

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