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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

Rambling thoughts and observations

Posted Friday, December 14, 2007, at 4:56 PM

This week a quick look around the county and my thoughts:

Welcome back Gene

If you've been to the Greene County Courthouse lately -- since last Monday morning -- you've probably noticed a familiar smiling face greeting you at the southeast entrance, just before you undergo a search to enter the facility.

Yes, it's former Greene County Sheriff Gene Gastineau.

Gastineau has joined the courthouse security staff -- coming out of retirement.

Gene most recently worked as an investigator for the Monroe County Prosecutor's office, following his two-terms as sheriff. He's also a former Bloomfield Town Marshal and worked for years as an Indiana State Police trooper with his new boss, William H. "Butch" Brown.

Someone commented the other day that they were surprised that Gene would give up his leisure time golf game to take on this new job. But it was pointed out since there is a new indoor putt-putt golf facility located about a block away from the courthouse in downtown Bloomfield, that he could probably still keep his skills around the green tuned up over his lunch hour.

Seriously, the selection of Gene -- a real professional and a super nice guy -- for the security job was an excellent choice.

Recommendations worth a look

Have any of you read the recommendations that were handed down by the Kernan-Shepherd committee this week that would drastically change the way this state operates state and local government?

Among the long list of recommendations to help reduce our property tax bills were:

* Replace the three county commissioners in each county with one county executive.

* Eliminate elected County Auditors, Treasurers, Recorders, Assessors, Surveyors, Sheriffs, Coroners, and Clerks.

* Establish an appointed county assessor based on qualifications.

* Provide all local public safety services through a countywide body.

* Transfer the funding of state trial courts to the state.

* Transfer funding of child welfare to the state.

* Transfer all township government responsibilities, including assessment, poor relief, fire, EMS, and cemeteries, to the county.

* Merge school districts with a minimum student enrollment of 2,000.

* Require school corporation bonds be approved by municipal or county governments.

* Prompt joint purchasing for all school districts.

* Conduct all non-partisan school board elections during November of even-numbered years.

* Allow Councils to appoint city clerks in second-class cities.

* Move all municipal elections to even-year cycles.

Now, that's a lot for one state to digest in the "department of change" and I think we would all be dreaming if we believed that all of these recommendations included in the report would take effect any time soon.

I do think some of the recommendations make great sense and we probably need to look at them with an open mind and with the understanding that these local government transformations will save the taxpayers money.

Towns look nice

Well, the ho ho ho holiday season is quickly approaching us and it's probably time for this old elf to begin his shopping, don't you think?

Downtown Linton sure looks very nice again this year with its light-wrapped lamp posts and other Yuletide decorations.

As I was driving through Newberry the other night, I noticed the tiny community has also taken on a festive look with lighted snowflakes and garland wrapped around the light poles. And, there are some nice holiday banners also put up.

I understand the ladies who are members of the Newberry Progressive Club -- and a few other helpers -- are responsible for giving the small town a definite Christmas look.

Nice job and Merry Christmas to all.

Keep Guardsmen in your prayers

Don't forget to keep our local National Guard unit -- Alpha Company -- in your thoughts and prayers. These brave young men are getting ready to head out into harm's way to defend the many freedoms we enjoy every day.

Please don't take for granted what they are doing for you and I.

Pray for the Guardsmen and their families. They deserve our support.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at nschneider@gcdailyworld.com

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I can't imagine the courthouse being a safer place with two experienced crime fighters like Gene and Butch providing the security. Butch Brown knows more about isobars than anyone I have ever met.

Butch told me one time about when he pulled this farmer over and said: "Sir, do you realize your wife fell out of the car several miles back?"

The old farmer replied to Butch: "Thank God, I thought I had gone deaf!"

-- Posted by simmons on Sun, Dec 16, 2007, at 12:10 PM

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