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Time zones evoke coal bucket full of ire among many HoosiersPosted Monday, November 28, 2011, at 12:46 PM
The subject of time, and more particularly time zones in the state of Indiana, is something that evokes a coal bucket full of ire among many Hoosiers.
The times zones around this state have been moved, tweaked and toyed with by governmental officials for a long time.
Personally, I don't have a problem with the time zone we are in now here in Greene County.
Eastern Time appears to me to make the most sense -- both from the amount of daylight and a business perspective.
Our state leaders tell us that it puts Indiana in a more competitive and more business-friendly mode and that has to be good economic news for the entire state.
Time in Indiana refers to the controversial time zone division of Indiana, and to the state's historical response to daylight saving time. The official dividing line between Eastern Time and Central Time has, over time, progressively moved west, from the Indiana-Ohio border, to a position where it divided Indiana down the middle, to the Indiana-Illinois border as it is today.
Effective March 9, 2008, a dozen counties in Indiana started to observe Central Time. These 12 counties included: Gibson, Jasper, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Porter, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Perry, and Starke.
All other counties in Indiana observe Eastern Time.
All counties in Indiana, regardless of time zone, observe daylight saving time.
I had some personal experience with the Central Times zone this past week while I was back home in Perry County for the Thanksgiving holiday.
I can tell you, if Greene County observed Central Time, I would be far from happy.
In Tell City, it actually starts getting dark about 4:15 p.m. and by 4:45 p.m. (local time) it's pitch black outside on cloudy, overcast days. That sure makes for a long night in my opinion.
My in-laws agree and say they don't like the time they are on one bit either. I reminded the staunch Democrat couple not to blame Gov. Mitch Daniels for their time situation.
Instead, their own county commissioners made the decision to opt for Central Time - a move I am glad our Greene County Commissioners didn't make.
The situation actually got worse when Daylight Savings Time ended Nov. 6 -- a time when our clocks fell back one hour.
Today (Tuesday), for example the sunrise is at 7:44 a.m. and sunset at 5:21 p.m. -- providing for 9 hours 36 minutes and 45 seconds of so-called daylight in the Eastern Time Zone, according to www.timeanddate.com .
Dusk is listed at 5:56 p.m.
There are some compelling arguments on both sides of the Eastern Time Zone vs. Central Time Zone debate.
One notable observation is that schools in the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana are likely to have more 2-hour delays in the winter, mainly due to the fact that sunlight is required for many road de-icing components to work.
The delays do cost the local schools money and valuable educational time in the classroom.
With the sun rising as late, available sunlight is inadequate to safely thaw the roads for school buses to pick up all their passengers on time.
The argument is that if the same area were in its geographically natural Central time zone, the sun would be up an hour sooner, and it would have an additional hour to thaw the roads every morning.
A grassroots group called Hoosiers for Central Time, contends that Indianapolis - which is on Eastern Time - currently has 120 sunrises before 7 a.m. If Central Time would be observed the number would increase to 315 -- comparable with Los Angeles (Pacific Zone) at 330 days, New York (Eastern Zone) at 290 and Chicago (Central Zone) at 272 days.
Looking ahead, daylight savings time starts again on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2 a.m. when we spring forward one hour and it ends Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 at 2 a.m.
Time zones will remain a touchy situation in this state until the General Assembly decides once and for all, which time zone would benefit the entire state and passes legislation to enforce it without giving local communities the chance to opt in or opt out with what the rest of the state is doing.
We shouldn't have little pockets of the state with different time zones.
And, for me, I don't prefer to have it dark at 5 p.m. during the winter months -- so leave us on Eastern Time, please.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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