LOCAL NEWS

Music group honors singer/songwriter

During his 50-year musical career, Terry Smith has performed with some big country singers, appeared on television and written numerous songs.

However, winning the Lifetime Achievement Award from a local musicians’ group based in Danville, Ill., means more to him than his other accolades.

“Being on the Opry was a great thing,” he said, “but this is the highlight of everything because it’s voted on by your peers.

“It’s the greatest thing in the world.”

Smith, 65, of Crawfordsville, received the award Sunday during the Country Reunion sponsored by the Music in the Heartland Society.

Dennis Palmer, one of the organizers of the reunion, said the members wholeheartedly voted for Smith this year.

“We look up to him because he’s accomplished more than us,” he said. “It’s hard to find someone with more extensive music experience in our group than him.”

There are about 120 members in Music in the Heartland Society, Palmer said, and almost half are musicians. About one-third of those members were involved in Sunday’s event, either as entertainers or organizers.

Smith has made five CDs, including his first one with all-original songs, “It’s About Time,” three gospel CDs, and his latest, “A Tribute to Conway.”

His music is on sale at the Highway 341 Café in Wallace.

Smith has been singing gospel songs since he was 5 or 6 years old. “I just love it,” he said. “I cut my teeth on gospel.”

His father, George Smith of Crawfordsville, is a Pentecostal minister and also a musician. The two made a CD called “Like Father, Like Son.”

After high school, Smith joined the Navy, where he met Ronnie McDowell and Leon Everette, who both went on to pursue careers in country music.

In 1970, he returned to Crawfordsville. In 1980, Smith got a call from Everette who had just signed with RCA Records. He wanted Smith for his band as a leader and front man.

The band opened shows for some big stars, including Hank Williams Jr., Conway Twitty, George Jones and others.

Smith performed with Everette on 11 songs that made the top 10 on the country charts in the 1980s.

Smith also appeared on a Showtime special, “Jamboree in the Hills,” in the early ‘80s, along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Loretta Lynn and others. He made two appearances on the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville.

In 1987, Smith signed with Dynasty Records, and the company changed his name to Rhett Brady. He toured all over the United States and Canada.

During his time with Dynasty, he had two releases, “My Body Can’t Be Trusted” and “Tonight’s Like One of Those Days,” which did well on independent charts.

In the mid-‘80s, he wrote commercials for Mello Yello soft drink.

He also appeared with Conway Twitty, and has been told that he sounds like the singer. Smith’s most recent CD, “A Tribute to Conway,” covers Twitty’s most popular songs.

After 11 years on the road, he decided to come home. He had lived in Nashville for three years and South Carolina for seven years.

In 1991, he formed the five-piece band, Honky Tonk Attitude. Smith often performs at the Highway 341 Café; country nights are Thursdays and Saturdays, and gospel night is Monday.

Smith is retired from the Montgomery County Highway Department.

Looking back on his music career, he said, “I paid my dues. I’m one of those artists who almost made it (to the big time).”

Now, his children and grandchildren are showing musical abilities, as well.

“It’s been a good ride,” Smith said.

About Music in the Heartland

As for the country reunion show, Palmer said he expects a good turnout on Sunday. The show started as a one-time event to celebrate 50 years of country music in the area. However, it attracted such a crowd that organizers decided to present a country reunion twice a year — in April and October.

The Highway 341 Band and the Reunion Band will provide backup music for the performers, all members of the society.

People may learn more about joining Music in the Heartland Society on its Facebook page. A person does not need to be an entertainer in order to join. Cost is $15 a year.

Other honorees

Past Lifetime Achievement winners were: June and Harold Kinney, Tex Wynn, the late Harlan Ice, Marvin Lee, Ron Colson, the late Kenny Eades ,Dewey Holycross, the late Fred Halls, Terry Cottrell, the late Johnny King, Johnny Covault, the late Gordon Powell and Bob Carter.

City still funding economic development

One city councilman took a stand Monday night. In the end he was standing alone.

Crawfordsville City Councilman David Christensen offered amendments on two ordinances, but neither item was voted on by the council after the other six council members declined to offer a second on the amendments.

One of Christensen’s amendments would have defunded Indiana West Advantage, an economic development organization in Montgomery County. Christensen asked that the city remove the $75,000 annual support of the group.

“In all of the years we have been giving taxpayer money to that organization and its predecessor organization, MCED, in all those years nobody can produce one example of a job created by MCED,” Christensen said. “The only jobs that have been created are for MCED people who are paid.

“At some point we need to realize we have had enough of this situation. Let’s pull the money out of this stuff. It is not working.”

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton was not surprised by the attempt.

“We have consistently seen the Tea Party group speak out against funding economic development with tax funds,” he said. “We are headed in that direction. Indiana West Advantage has set goals of increasing private funding every year. We are not there yet. We cannot shut the door and not perform economic development.”

The other amendment Christensen proposed would have prohibited the city from using eminent domain in downtown Crawfordsville. He wanted to add:

“Nothing in the Crawfordsville Downtown Revitalization Study should be construed to endorse, or even allow, the use of eminent-domain proceedings to accomplish its goals.

“To the contrary, the City of Crawfordsville is prohibited from using eminent domain proceedings to accomplish the goals set forth in this Study.”

Christensen wanted to include the proposed language at the bottom of the resolution approving the city’s new downtown revitalization plan. He has problems with the plan identifying specific buildings and saying they can be repurposed for things other than what they are currently used for. He wanted to protect property owners from future city administrations and city councils.

“Any discussion like that is healthy,” Barton said. “I think you have to understand the context of what the downtown plan is. To say that we would be able to come in is really an overreach.”

Barton said the purpose of the downtown plan is to serve as a blueprint as the city moves forward with future projects.

“This city is not in the business of taking someone’s property,” Barton said.

Christensen would go on to vote against both items after his amendments failed. The budget ordinance passed 6-1 on second and third readings. The downtown revitalization plan resolution passed 6-1 on a one-time vote.

Christensen’s term on the council expires at the end of the year.

In other business, the city council:

• Voted 7-0 on the first reading of an additional appropriation for the communication center that would purchase a treadmill.

• Voted 7-0 on a resolution approving a $7,000 historic preservation grant to Mike Grant for a building project at 116 S. Green St. Grant said last week that he is renovating the building for office space for Arni’s.

• Voted 7-0 on second and third readings on ordinances setting 2016 salaries for city employees and appointed officers; and for the mayor clerk-treasurer and city council.

The council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Nov. 9. The council will meet for committee night at 6 p.m. Nov. 2.

Mentors ignite change

The majority of children waiting for a mentor are boys; however the need isn’t only for male mentors. Female mentors also are needed. The JUMP program has several couples who mentor a child together.

There are many opportunities to invest your time in helping the community. Mentoring is one of the most rewarding. Not only do you get to befriend a young person from the community, you can help guide them to make intelligent and wise decisions as they navigate through childhood and teen years — helping them make decisions they would not have made if it wasn’t for a mentor.

Statistics show that mentoring a child one to two hours a week for an entire year have significant impacts on the life of the child. The child is more likely to stay in school, go on to secondary education and to stay out of trouble. Children who are mentored for a year or longer are also less likely to do drugs or drink alcohol.

Jill Hampton, JUMP program manager, says mentors are needed who can be an active and positive person in the lives of children all across the community. Mentees come from all areas of the county, not just in Crawfordsville.

One such youth who needs a mentor is Sally. Sally is an 11-yea-old girl who lives in the south district of Montgomery County. She lives in a home with a single relative and has a much younger sibling.

Sally’s guardian wants a mentor for her because she just moved to the area and she doesn’t have a lot of friends.

“Sally needs someone who can spend one-on-one time with her, someone who could meet her after school or weekday evenings,” Hampton said. Sally cannot do weekend activities as she visits her mother on the weekends, Hampton said.

Sally does well in basketball, likes to play softball, music, dancing and art. Her guardian describes her as having good values and ethics. She says she is kind and family-oriented.

In addition to sports, Sally likes swimming, horses, going to Dairy Queen and she really likes hiking. She said if she could learn something new it would be to climb a mountain. She said she would really like a mentor just to have someone to hang out with and to get out of the house and do new things. She would like to hang out with someone who’s funny, likes going places and is smart.

“I found Sally to be outgoing, easy to talk to and mature for her age,” Hampton said.

If you are interested in mentoring Sally, or other girls in the program, contact Hampton at 765-362-0694, ext. 12; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau is a MUFFY agency partner.

New Ross Players present 1933 comedy

NEW ROSS — A play originally presented by the New Ross High School class of 1933 returns Saturday and Sunday. “Aunt Jerushy on the War Path” will be presented by the New Ross Players as its annual show.

The comedy revolves around a mysterious, pink love letter that is found in the front yard of Aunt Jerushy played by Beth Binch. As the cast tries to identify the letter’s author and who the owner is, the play becomes intertwined with hilarious scenes and accusations.

 

Of course, problems start when a carnival arrives in the rural community which Aunt Jerushy deems as sinful and not a place where “good people” should attend.

The New Ross players formed to bring entertainment to the community. Each year the group peforms a play that was previously produced by a class at New Ross High School.

Although play books may no longer be in print, surprisingly many long-time residents still have them.

“You would not believe all the former play books that are in the community,” Binch said. “The people kept the books and we could do plays for a lot of years.”

The actors practice in a barn owned by 1942 New Ross High School graduate Homer Williams. When he built the barn 68 years ago he never imagined tit would be used for play rehearsals.

“I was in my class play in 1942, but I cannot remember what it was,” Williams chuckled. “These actors do a great job and the whole community supports them. Class plays were a big deal back in the day.”

Mary Jarvis Ebaugh, a 101-year-old New Ross resident, supplied this year’s play book. She was a cast member in the 1933 production. Today, her great-granddaughter, Bailey Ebaugh, is a cast member.

Cast members include: Clay Teague, Adam Teague, Sherry Whetstone, Mike Zimmerman, Kathy Orr, Marissa Wood, Mya Mosbaugh and Lili Musche. Lexa McCampbell is the director and her assistant is Rich Norris. The backstage crew is comprised of Melody and Steve Birt and Jeremy Gearheart.

The play will be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the New Ross Fire Station. Admission is free, however, a free-will donation will be accepted. Seating is limited to 300 per show. Tickets can be picked up now at the New Ross Heartland State Bank Branch and New Ross Steakhouse. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Proceeds from the play will be donated to the community. Past donations have supported the town park, a Christmas Angel Tree, New Ross Library, Blue Star Mothers as well as the purchase of flags for the downtown.

Local dad asks community to help his daughter

Adrian Zentz of Crawfordsville believes that it takes a community to raise a child, and now he is looking to his own for help.

Adrian’s 16-year-old daughter, Michaela, is a student at Martinsville High School. She has a condition known as bladder exstrophy, which causes the bodily fluids to build up inside her body. Now both of her kidneys are failing.

On Wednesday, Michaela will have surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Michaela has already had more than 50 surgeries since she was born, and her father calls her “the strongest woman on the planet.” She also is set to have a follow-up surgery later in October.

Michaela’s family is trying to raise enough money to cover the medical expenses of the surgeries as well as money for their six-week stay in Maryland.

Both Adrian and Michaela’s mother, Kelly Owens, say they have watched their daughter struggle since she was born. Adrian said Michaela grew up not only dealing with her illness but also dealing with the cruelty she faced from others because she was different.

Because she couldn’t participate in physical activities as a child, Michaela grew up modeling and gained a love for fashion. Now she dreams of starring in movies someday.

Michaela’s father describes her as “Barbie doll meets Dora the Explorer.” She can be sweet and fashionable or she can be rugged. But to Adrian, Michaela’s best quality is her selflessness.

“She’ll go without to give to somebody else,” he said.

Adrian hopes Michaela will now receive some of that selfless support she has given to others for so many years.

If anyone is interested in financially supporting Michaela and her family, there is a Go Fund Me account that gives more information and updates about Michaela’s condition. Michaela’s Go Fund Me page, which is run by her mother, can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/ytq378r.

A courtesy fund also has been set up at People’s State Bank in Paragon, Indiana. To donate this way, checks can be made payable to:

Peoples State Bank, c/o Michaela Zentz, 2310 IN-67, Paragon, IN 46166.