Why I Feel Sad, But Somewhat Hopeful

There is a certain sadness that has settled over me this Sunday night.  It has been building for a long time and has hit what I hope will be its peak.  Allow me to explain.

It is not about the NFL and its players, although there is a lot to consider there.  It is not about Donald Trump and his Tweets, and there is a whole lot to say about that as well.

My comments tonight are aimed at all of us.  I want everyone reading this to stop and think about what I’ve asked you to consider.

Whether it is Charlottesville, ESPN journalist Jemel Hill, NFL player protests or the president and his comments, we have had more than our share of friction points to discuss lately.  And we Americans are commenting on all this.

I posted some news items on Facebook about the NFL player protests today.  The comment threads, some going very long, illustrate to me the deep divide we have.  It’s not just a national issue, it’s a divide I can see among many of my Facebook friends.

Then I watched the Frank Luntz focus group in Western Michigan on 60 Minutes, moderated by Oprah Winfrey.  The group was formulated to spark discussion among Trump supporters and those not supportive of the president.  The scariest part of that story was when one participant said we, as a nation, are headed for civil war.  Almost all the people in the group nodded their heads in agreement.

As an old guy of age 66, I lived through the 1960s.  If there has been any possibility of a second civil war in America, that’s when it would have happened.  I do not believe we are headed to another American civil war, but if things continue to get worse, it’s not out of the question.

So, what do we do now?  I have an idea.  It’s not terribly innovative, but if enough of us try, maybe we can start something.

It comes down to one key word – listen.  That’s right, one simple word.

We need to understand what listening genuinely means.  It means you seriously consider arguments made, where you very much disagree, and think about those arguments.  I propose that you listen not just to formulate a counter argument with which you agree, but try to understand the argument where you disagree.

Listening in this context includes reading, especially on social media.  Try to be honest with yourself.  When was the last time you listened to, or read, an argument you oppose and didn’t look at it through your own political prism?

Considering another’s views without an instant, knee-jerk reaction isn’t easy.  I can be as guilty of that as anyone.  But today I made an effort not to comment on all the Facebook replies and just consider each one and think about each one.

We all are products of our upbringing and experience in life, and that is what mostly forms our social and political view.  What I am asking you to do is to consider the arguments of someone with a much different upbringing and life experience than yours.  In other words, learn from others.  It may not change your outlook, but it can help you understand those different from yourself.

This trend of personally demonizing people which whom you disagree politically is very, very dangerous.  Always respect others, even when you strongly oppose their views.

There was a hopeful sign in that 60 Minutes focus group story.  Oprah Winfrey added that the group went out to dinner and continued the discussion.  Many in the group followed up with personal meetups and social media exchanges, trying to get to know each other better and learn from each other.

I may be sad tonight, but I am hopeful.  That hope comes from the chance, even a small chance, that a few of you reading this blog post will make an effort to listen and learn from others – especially those holding views counter to yours.  If we can stop demonizing the other side, we may all have more in common than we thought before beginning our listening exercise.

All I ask is that you think about what I have written here.  I will work to do my part.  The next step is up to you.


Some Hamilton County News Items


Fred Swift

Hamilton County Reporter

John D. Proffitt, longtime Hamilton County attorney, was awarded the prestigious title of Legendary Lawyer by the Indiana State Bar Foundation at the organization’s banquet Thursday. Proffitt also received a Sagamore of the Wabash for his nearly 60 years of service in the legal profession. Formerly a partner in the Noblesville law firm of Campbell, Kyle and Proffitt, he is now associated with the firm of Altman, Poindexter and Wyatt. Proffitt and his wife, former Circuit Court Judge Judy Proffitt, reside in Carmel.

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The four announced candidates for county sheriff in next May’s Republican primary election vowed Thursday to make new and effective efforts to fight Hamilton County’s dangerous opioid drug crisis if elected. Bill Clifford, Eddie Moore, Mitch Russell and Jason Sloderbeck each spoke briefly to a crowd of more than 200 at the Carmel Clay GOP Club’s annual Pork Roast. Also attending were Congresswoman Susan Brooks and newly elected State Sen. Victoria Spartz.

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Enrollment in Hamilton County’s public schools has reached 60,000 this school year, up from 58,600 last year. Hamilton Southeastern is the largest with well over 20,000 students. Sheridan is the smallest with around 1,100. (Figures do not include private schools Guerin Catholic or University High School.) In 1970, when the county’s total population was 55,000, school enrollment was about 14,000. Many school officials say enrollment will soon “level off,” but obviously not yet.

* * *

County Commissioners have changed their next two meeting dates. There will be no meeting Sept. 25. Commissioners will meet Oct. 2. An Oct. 9 meeting has been called off. They will convene again on Oct. 23.

Fishers Comeback Seals Homecoming Win Over Avon

Fishers quarterback Jon Vore (center) makes a pass to Will Syrus during the Tigers’ game with Avon Friday at Reynolds Tigers Stadium. Fishers scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to upset the No. 7 Orioles 35-28. (Picture by Kirk Green)

It was a fourth quarter played to perfection for Fishers in its Homecoming game against Avon Friday.

The Tigers trailed 28-20 against the Class 6A No. 7 Orioles, but scored two touchdowns in the final five-and-a-half minutes to stun Avon 35-28 at Reynolds Tigers Stadium. While it was a great win because it was Homecoming, it also upset the Hoosier Crossroads Conference standings.

With its victory, Fishers is now on top of the HCC with a 3-1 record. The Tigers now have two league games remaining: The first is on Oct. 6 at Westfield, followed by the regular-season finale against Zionsville on Oct. 13 at home.

But first, the Avon game. The Orioles were driving with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter, but then fumbled the ball. Seth Sontich recovered it at the Avon 36, giving the Tigers excellent field position.
Fishers took advantage of the opportunity, with Jon Vore tossing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Dunnuck. Avon leads 28-26. Then, the Tigers went for two, and Dunnuck grabbed a conversion pass from Vore.

Tie game, 28-all.

Minutes later, Fishers had the ball back. Daniel Amadi forced an Avon fumble, and Sontich recovered it, again giving the Tigers the ball. Vore quickly got the ball down to the 30 with medium-range passes, and then tossed a 30-yarder to Collin Statz for the go-ahead touchdown.

Ben Norton’s kick made the score 35-28. The Orioles had one last chance, but Fishers held on for the win.

Avon led 22-20 at halftime after a wild last minute of the first half. HL Lewis got the Tigers ahead 20-15 by punching the ball in from the one-yard line with 47 seconds left.

But the Orioles answered right away, as their superstar Isaac Guerendo zoomed in to the end zone from 80 yards just 14 seconds later. Avon kicked two field goals in the second half, one in each quarter, and that kept Fishers close enough to make its comeback.

Lewis scored Fishers’ first touchdown of the game on a two-yard run late in the first period. Matt Wolff then teamed with Will Syrus for a 75-yard pass play score early in the second quarter. Wolff and Vore were collectively 16-of-23 passing the ball, totaling 255 yards. Vore completed nine of 13 passes and Wolff was 7-of-10.

Wolff also was Fishers’ leading rusher with 68 yards, while Lewis rang up 64 yards on the ground. Syrus had seven catches, totaling 127 yards. Emmanuel Davis led the Tigers’ defense with nine catches.

Fishers will take a break from HCC play next week, but it will still be a big game. The Tigers will host Roncalli, last year’s Class 4A state champions. The Rebels are playing in 5A this year and are ranked No. 1 with a 6-0 record.

Royals Fall to Eagles

Hamilton Southeastern lost a 30-10 Hoosier Crossroads Conference game at Zionsville Friday night.

The Class 5A No. 9 Eagles scored in every period, while only permitting the Royals 10 points in the third quarter. Tyler Melser got HSE on the board with a 25-yard field goal midway through the period, then Kody Sparks made a nice run, going 15 yards for a touchdown with four seconds left in the third. Melser booted the extra point kick.

Sparks had a great passing night, completing 21 of 44 attempts for 211 yards. Jackson Lantz and Zach Boyle were his favorite targets, with each making five receptions. Jackson Sweeney led the ground game, with 85 yards on 14 rushes.

The Royals dropped to 1-3 in the conference and are 2-4 overall. Southeastern will return to Reynolds Royals Stadium next Friday to host Noblesville in another Hoosier Crossroads Conference game.

Suspect Sought in Overnight Convenience Store Robbery

Security camera picture of suspect. from Fishers Police Dept.

Fishers Police are searching for a suspect in an overnight robbery at the Circle K convenience store on Allisonville Road, just north of 96th Street.

The store clerk tells police the man entered the store, showed a knife and demanded cartons of cigarettes.  He then exited the premises.  No one was hurt.

The suspect remains at large, but the store security camera system supplied pictures of the suspect.  The person being sought is described as a black male, 30-40 years old, wearing a white shirt, blue jeans, white shoes, and a gray/black hat.

If you have any information on this incident, call Detective/Sergeant David Flynn at 317-595-3334.



Fishers Shooting “Does Not Appear To Be Random”

Fishers Police say the shooting Thursday evening near 131st Street and State Road 37 does not appear to be random, based on information detectives have found so far.  A police department news release says the victim of the shooting was 18 years of age and is from Fishers.  The name of the victim has not been released.

A 911 call was received just after 7pm Thursday about a man shot.  Officer found the shooting victim behind a business.  The victim was rushed to an area hospital where he remains Friday evening.

A witness told detectives a suspect may have escaped the area of the shooting in a blue passenger car.

Fishers Police say this is an active investigation and ask for the public’s help for information.  Contact Detective/Sergeant David Flynn at 317-595-3334.

Housing and Hamilton County

Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright of RealAmerica speaks at the lectern at the HAND conference, as Jeff Ryan, also of RealAmerica, looks on.

If you do not believe housing is at a crisis level in southern Hamilton County, consider the following facts:

–In order to afford a market rate apartment in Fishers, you will need to make $20-$30 an hour (that translates to $41,600 to $62,400 income per year).

–The unemployment rate in Hamilton County is 2.8%.

–The retail and hospitality industries account for nearly 14% of the private sector work force in this area.

–Over 1,000 new jobs are coming to the area of Fishers around 116th Street and Interstate 69.

–Fishers job growth is projected to be 11.6% by 2021.

–There are no mass transit systems operating between Hamilton County and Indianapolis.

Put all these facts together and you find that a large number of the people needed to fill jobs coming to Fishers cannot afford to live in Fishers.

That was a major theme of the Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development (HAND) organization during its annual conference, held Friday at Conner Prairie.   Low income housing is not always for those in poverty without work…low income housing is needed for those with steady work, but have incomes too low to live in market rate housing available in places like Fishers and a large part of Hamilton County.

RealAmerica LLC is a Fishers-based firm aimed at developing and constructing apartment housing through the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.  Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright, President and Owner of RealAmerica, told the crowd on hand for the conference about the many successful low-income housing projects her company has constructed in places like Daleville, suburban Fort Wayne and Nashville (Indiana).

Building low-income housing in suburban areas was the center of the discussion for much of the event.  There was talk about how to convince neighbors that facts show low-income housing does not normally reduce property values in the area and does not draw crime to the vicinity of the complex.

Other speakers at the HAND conference included Peter Nelson from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and Lisa Sturtevant with the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing.


Lane Restrictions Coming on Part of 116th Street Starting Monday

For those of you using 116th street during the middle of the work day, starting Monday, there will be lane closures on parts of the roadway off-and-on from the City Hall area east to Brooks School Road.  Also beware of some work along some stretches of 126th Street.

Below is the full list of road work for the work week beginning Monday, September 25th.





Beginning on Monday, September 25 (weather permitting), one lane of westbound 116th Street will be closed between Municipal Drive and Fishers Pointe Boulevard for utility work.

Lane restrictions will be in place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in each direction of 116th Street west of Brooks School Road as crews complete median work in front of Simply Dental. Work is expected to be complete by the end of the week. Signage and flaggers will be present during the restrictions.
Periodic lane restrictions will occur on 116th Street east of Allisonville Road as the contractor repairs concrete curbs and ramps and begins resurfacing work on the roadway. Restrictions will be in place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please note that overnight work will occur while traffic volumes are reduced. The City greatly appreciates residents’ patience with construction noise.


Possible lane restrictions may occur on 126th Street near Parkside Drive while utility work is completed.

Periodic lane restrictions will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on 126th Street between Allisonville Road and Lantern Road as crews complete a passing blister. Flaggers will be present during the restrictions.


Improvements are currently underway to rehabilitate existing bridges, pavement and drainage structures along the 15-mile stretch of interstate. Two lanes of traffic in each direction of I-69 are currently shifted to accommodate construction of the additional travel lanes. Signs direct large trucks to use the left lane while traffic is shifted toward the right shoulder through the work zone. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph and further reduced to 50 mph when workers are present.

I-69 is expected to open to three lanes in each direction between State Road 37 and State Road 38 before the end of this year. Questions about this project should be directed to INDOT at eastcentralin@indot.in.gov or 1-855-463-6848.


Geotechnical drilling began along the State Road 37 corridor in May as part of the final design phase of State Road 37 Improvement Project. Lane and shoulder restrictions will be active through September 30. The geotechnical drilling will cause lane restrictions on SR 37 at the 126th Street intersection on or after August 7 and are anticipated to last until September 30. Southbound restrictions begin after 9 a.m. daily and northbound restrictions will be completed daily before 4 p.m. to allow for maximum traffic flow during peak rush hours. Crews will maintain a minimum of one through-lane at all times.

The SR37 improvement project is a $124 million joint project between Fishers, Hamilton County, Noblesville and INDOT. Questions or concerns may be directed todrivefishers@fishers.in.us.


On or after Monday, August 21, Hamilton County Highway Department will close Cyntheanne Road between 146th Street and 156th Street until December 1, 2017 to replace the bridge over Keiser Drain. Please contact Hamilton County Highway Department at 317-773-7770 with any questions.