Whitewater Valley Guide
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Pie in the Sky

Whitewater Valley 
Cemetery Trail

Whitewater Valley Archeological Trail

Creation of the Whitewater Valley Culinary Arts College with campuses throughout the Valley.

Valley educators teaching about covered bridges engineering and history.

A group with a Valley-wide scope and mission that actually practices collaboration.

A hiking trail system along the entire length of the Whitewater Valley on the Indiana side.

Whitewater Valley Hostel Association

Pocket Park system along creeks on property now publicly owned by townships or municipalities.

Little Detroit Museum in Connersville

Whitewater Valley Covered Bridge Trail

Cedar Grove Bridge Park

A designated bike trail with lots of loops throughout the Whitewater Valley.
The back way from Laurel to Haspin Acres

    Valley Pride

    According to a hydrography map, the watersheds of the Great Miami River include Preble, Butler Hamilton counties in Ohio and Wayne, Fayette, Union, Franklin and parts of Ripley and Dearborn counties in Indiana. 

    This means our Whitewater River is seen as merely a tributary of the Miami River, but we know it is what makes the Miami Great.

(Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MiamiRivers_watershed.png if you don’t believe me.)

Wilbur Wright,
One famous Whitewater Valley man

Second call for hostels

Free Images
   We had a few esponses to our Facebook question which wasn't posed as a question but a request. The request was to read thoughtfully and perhaps for the second time Hustling for Hostels. It's in Issue 66 which you can access by scrolling down a bit in the column to the right.

    The point is, creating a Whitewater Valley Hostel Association is a good idea. It should be done through an organization with a scope large enough to encompass all counties in the Valley.

    Wonder who that could be?

Early September 
Photo Essay:

Glidewell Mound 
and beach path


    Traveling through the gate of Mounds SRA and past the turnoff to the camping area, Mounds Beach Road slithers down to the beach beside large shoulders of mown grass on either side.  

    The lawn sometimes sports picnic tables in cozy spots like under the green eaves of a small blue spruce grove. 

    An estuary formed by one of the fingers of the lake is the temporary home of a flock of migrating or formerly migrating Canada Geese. 

    They converge on the strip of sand that begins to grow into the ample beach at the Mounds SRA. We assume the beach sand has been augmented by several hundred truckloads of store-bought sand. 

    Sunbathers have the beach almost to themselves on a Friday afternoon in early September. The air still has all the force of summer though in a week’s time nightly temperatures would drop into the 40s and the air become tinged with the clarity of imminent change—the coming of winter. 

    The only active boats in the vicinity are two jet skies patrolling close to shore near the beach before taking off around Glidewell Point. The Glidewell Mound overlooks this ancient river bed now filled with surplus water. 

    A thin path between the waving grasses heads to a strip of natural beach which itself winds around a corner and heads around a lagoon still spiked by the trees that were drowned when the lake was created. 

    If you follow the gravel shore around the lagoon you could reach the Fairfield trail connecting by foot the Fairfield Causeway to Mounds Beach Road just at the point where the Glidewell Trail begins. 


    The Glidewell Trail is not part of the Adena Trace Hiking Trail system. Both Fairfield Trail and Templeton Trail are. They meet just before Fairfield Trail hits the road. Templeton then carries on another two miles before again connecting, this time with the happily named .7 mile Wildlife Wander. 

    Glidewell Trail begins as a two lane wooded path before it offers a short loop of only two miles. Its possible maybe even logical to assume, even with what we know about assumptions, the longer four mile route was created for Dr. George W. Hosmer’s wagon to carry his team to the mound.

     “This is the most renowned mound in the county,” according to Frank M. Setzler who reported in ‘The Archaeology of the Whitewater Valley’ that when Dr. George W. Hosmer partially excavated the Glidewell Mound it was 15 feet high and 60 feet in diameter. The slump of soil that is today’s mound is the merest shadow of this mound in its glory.

    While he first visited the mound in 1871, in June of 1879 Dr. Hosmer began the excavations; he published his “Remains on White Water River” beginning on page 732 of the Smithsonian Annual Report for 1882. 

Peacock in flight

Fun with motorcycles

    Sunman, Indiana is planning to expand its town park and a motorcycle ride this Saturday is your way of contributing. All you need is a motorcycle and/or a friend with one, that and twenty-five bucks.

    In what organizers hope will be an annual event, the Sunman Roar Motorcycle Ride will last four hours or so. Check in at the park is 11 am with the ride beginning at 1. Of course, you get a tee shirt with your donation as well as a chicken dinner and a chance to dance the chicken when the live music starts at 7:30.

    For a $10 donation, the public is welcome to stop by and take part in the evening festivities including a silent auction and split the pot. Motorcycle boom-booms, get your entry form at www.sunmanchamber.org.

    The park improvements, which were suggested to the Sunman Town Council in a survey, include a paved walking path, more park benches and resting areas, a water play area and more playground equipment. That’s certainly worth donating with a four-hour motorcycle to and fro.


Mary Helen’s Bed and Breakfast

    Do you mind a second hand suggestion? If four hours on the back of your safe and otherwise comfortable hog is enough for one day and you want to pamper yourself with a “beautifully appointed,” “lovely retreat,” make a reservation for Saturday night at Mary Helen’s Bed and Breakfast on Coonhunters Road southeast of Batesville.

    We got the second hand information we pass along to you first hand from Jerry Bennett, the owner operator of Hickory Road B&B. We were discussing unusual feeding spots around the central Whitewater Valley when he mentioned Mary Helen’s as a place to get a first class meal. (He didn’t say ‘first class’ but we inferred it.)

    He did say that, like Rileybrook Hall on Duck Creek Road, Mary Helen’s has no menu.  It’s pretty much catch as catch can, but, he added, if you are the first to reserve for the evening you have the option to sort of call the shots on the menu, within reason, of course.

    The traveler ratings on one website we visited gave Mary Helen’s 18 excellent and 1 very good, which when you think of it is not bad.


Fair weather fares

    The Union County 4-H Fair, overlaps the Franklin County Fair on one side and underlaps the Fayette County Free Fair. While the Franklin County 2015 fair has come and gone, fodder for this rapidly racing summer, Union County and Fayette County Fairs are running simultaneously, which they would have to in order to over and underlap.

    The Free Fair Parade is this Sunday in Connersville at 2 pm and starts on 21st Street marching, as it were, to Roberts Park Fairgrounds.


A growing trend in Metamora music?

    There’s music in Metamora this Saturday. Cincinnati-area guitarist Jim Pelz will be playing ‘acoustic grass’ at the MPR Opry Barn. This is the second week in a row for bluegrassish music at the Opry Barn which may or may not be significant.

    Actually, since the week before the Opry Barn featured Barkley Bigelow’s Hullabaloo Revue II which itself has a core of old fashioned country entertainment, it’s probably safe to say we do have a trend here, that is, bluegrass at the Opry Barn. Of course, with a name like Opry Barn you wouldn’t expect to hear a symphonic orchestra.

    In downtown Metamora on Saturday at the Cat and Fiddle it’s Girls Night In (though men are welcome). Performing is Sharon McInnis O’Connell on hammer dulcimer. Catrina will prepare a couple of meal offerings and you are welcome to BYOB so if the champagne floweth at Girls Night In it’s because someone brought it. Hint, hint.

    Not far from Metamora is Blooming Grove where on Saturday night the Wooden Spoke Band will be playing for free at the Blooming Grove Firemen’s Festival. The Wooden Spoke Band is often mentioned in our Guide calendar as playing regularly for a seniors’ street party in Aurora, and if you can satisfy the seniors of Aurora you can satisfy just about anybody. (Just kiddin’, señors.)





Why is this horse smiling?

Issue 209

July 7-13, 2015


Saturday=Music Day

    After a rousing 4th in Metamora at an all-town party hosted by the Metamora Volunteer Fire Department last Saturday, this Saturday it’s Batesville’s turn. Their 61st annual Firemen’s Festival features Leland Williams performing at 8 pm and The Renegades at 8 pm.

    Since these doin’s are in Liberty Park we’re going to assume that the music will be inside the musically inspiring pavilion. (Solo performers who want to get that high lonesome echo should solo-perform in Liberty Park’s pavilion some time. We’ll bet you draw a crowd, and if your music’s good enough, maybe they won’t have stones in their hands.)

    Other music on Saturday includes The Rusty Griswolds at Walhill Farm on Six Pine Ranch Road on the Franklin County side of Batesville. (Did you know Batesville is in both Ripley and Franklin County? Well, ya do now.)

    The Wooden Wheels are playing at the Senior Dances on Main this Saturday and Clear Fork will be stirring up some bluegrass at the Cat and the Fiddle. This means Metamora will have two music venues going simultaneously Saturday evening. (See ‘It’s a barny-kind of thing’ below.)

    Regarding Metamora’s 4th, we have a bevy of pictures presented in slide-show fashion on our website, www.whitewatervalleyguide.com.


Big Doin’s Art Fair

    Regional artists who are looking to sell their work might consider the Big Doin’s on the grounds of the Switzerland County Historical Museum in Vevay. Since the Big Doin’s art show happens on Saturday, July 18 you’ve got plenty of time to come up with your masterpiece, if that milestone has not already been accomplished.

    This Tent Chautauqua & Art Fair features an old fashioned summer time spectacular along with an all-day art fair. Chautauquas were a local custom that started in 1915 and continued into the 1930s. Politics, education and entertainment were in the mix then and are now at this year’s Big Doin’s. Former President Teddy Roosevelt called them “the most American thing in America,” and in one form or another old TR is expected at these here doin’s. (That’s pronounced ‘thee-sheer doin’s’, btw.)

    Booth spaces for the Art Show are $15 for a 10X10 space. If this peaks your interest, Martha Bladen would like to talk it over with you, so give her a call at 812 427-3560.


It’s a barny-kind of thing

    Collaboration is the name of the game when Imagine Performing Arts partners with Metamora Performing Arts and a variety show is born. The name of the cabaret-style show is Barkley Bigelow’s Hullabaloo Revue II!. (We believe the exclamation marks are  part of the name, otherwise we’d jettison them for editorial standards violations.)

    The first two performances are this weekend (7 pm, $10) at the Opry Barn in Metamora, the next two are the following week at Twin Bridges Barn outside Connersville. Twin Bridges is out E. Alquina Road near where it crosses Village Creek. More about that later.

    What we know or expect we know is the Revue is a conglomeration of several acts with performers from around the Valley. What we expect is growth as these acts get to know each other and as these players develop their characters.

    There has long been a dream hereabouts to open venues all around the Whitewater Valley so those dreamers could put on touring shows just like this one. From the Opry Barn to Twin Bridges is a step in that direction. Keep on truckin, performing arts!



    The big news on the Starr Piano Festival front is the response to the concrete replica Starr upright pianos has been ‘amazing’ to quote Bob Wotherspoon. He was planning to have 12 of them made and placed around Richmond, “but now I’m going to double that,” he wrote in a recent email.

   “Pam Bliss and I will be meeting with a carpenter/artist to look into getting them made out of wood. Then Pam will handle the painting competition.” Artists will take a shot at painting these strategically located pianos which themselves will tie in nicely with the recently completed murals.

    The overall object is to turn Richmond once again into a major music destination. “If we are successful, we can start to rebuild this great city once again and have a festival that can be repeated every year.”

    The festival is taking shape and aiming at a September 2016 date to tie in with Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration.


Friday art reception with dog

    ‘Beyond Tradition’ is an exhibit of local artists making contemporary art. ‘My Dog Jack’ is a children’s book by author/artist Laura Ceville. Both shall meet in one reception on Friday, 5:30 pm at the Visual Arts Center of Preble County.

    Actually the reception begins with Laura reading from her book then giving them away while supplies last.

    The artists going ‘Beyond Tradition’ are Amy Kollar Anderson, David Ackels, Laura Ceville, Patrick Maul and Kyle Wilson. They work in a variety of media including painting, screen-painting, collage, mixed media and drawing.

    The art exhibit continues until September 4th at the Center on Hillcrest Drive in Eaton, Ohio.



Farmers Market

    On Oxford Farmers Market’s website http://www.oxfordfarmersmarket.com/ you won't find edible herb bouquets. Who would want a digital bouquet, any-old-way? No, you'll have to actually come to the market this Saturday to get your nosegay on. The edible part is another thing entirely.




Branding for the purposes of tourism

    What lessons are there between the lines? The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report recently named Barbados the most competitive destination in the Caribbean. This got me to thinking of the Whitewater Valley as a destination and I thought, ‘Why not?’

    The Forum report judges and compares countries not geographic regions, and we are a geographic region but what lessons are there we might take from their criteria?

    What they are looking for is the most competitive tourism economy. To do this they create a framework of criteria and objectives. If it were possible to adjust their structure to our needs, we may be able to brand the Whitewater Valley as a tourist destination on a global scale.

    Believe it or not, people are already working on this at another level, that is, not branding for the purposes of tourism, but branding the Whitewater Valley as a unique cultural identity worthy of national status and international recognition.

    Think of that, the Whitewater Valley being a destination of interest for particular people around the world. Why not?

    ‘Prioritization of travel and tourism’ is one criteria of the Forum’s Competitiveness report. To do that in the Whitewater Valley agencies and individuals who are already working in the travel and tourism industry would need to cooperate and collaborate. It’s time for another Collaboration get-together. This time directed towards branding for the purposes of tourism.

    ‘Environmental sustainability’ is another criteria and one that is as hard to define in tourism terms as it is in any other industry. Success in the tourism industry means bringing in people, people who come here by some fossil-fueled locomotion. But once they get here, it would then be time to apply our brand of environmental sustainability. What would that be? Something related to our slow pace and moving people. Hikers, bikers, boats, canoes, golf carts, horses, these would all fall into that category.

    The third criteria ‘ground and port infrastructure’ opens another area Valley-wide touring in various ways, buses, surreys, golf carts, bikes, boats, canoes, airplanes and trains, cars and motorcycles. Coordination between counties and municipalities would create multiple packages, criss-crossing the Valley in unique ways and for specific purposes. A coordinated tourism program based out of our airports would make flying over our beautiful valley a bucket list item for adventurous small plane owners.

    (The Whitewater Valley Little CAFÉ, comes to mind. CAFÉ in this case refers to aircraft efficiency and is the core of the competition up at Oshkosh every year. That’s where the flyers are going whom we see on those odd Tuesdays in July at the Hagerstown Airport. Modify the rules to include flying and landing at the various participating airports in the Valley and it will be a small-scale international draw.)

    Three pillars the Forum report analyzes are Enabling Environment, Travel and Tourism Policy and Enabling Conditions, and Infrastructure and Natural and Cultural Resources. Of Enabling Environment we have only the opportunity. Of Travel and Tourism Policy the same, though it would make a good goal for the second or even third Collaboration seminar.

    Of Natural and Cultural Resources we have more than our share in the Whitewater Valley. Take away the things that every geographic area about the same size would have and we still have a lot, and sometimes, in a good way, a lot less.

    The right place for this to begin is with the only local non-government organization with a mandate and history to do it, the Whitewater Canal Byway Association. A successful effort would show itself as the growth of another such organization, an organization with a slightly different name and game, the branding of the Whitewater Valley.  

Issue 203
May 26-June 1, 2015


Summer daze socials

    Outdoor activites are in the offing this weekend. With a ‘Premium Pour Tent’, a beer garden and live music, the 2015 Oxford Wine Festival is our choice for headliner of the week.

    Here’s a quote from the hosts, the Oxford Chamber, “Be prepared to cleanse your palate a number of times as you taste a wide variety of delicious international and domestic wines and beer, while helping to support the Chamber’s scholarship fund.”

    In the north we have the notorious Old National Road Yard Sale. We know it winds from Baltimore to somewhere way out west, but we’re only concerned about the Whitewater Valley part and that would be Preble County in Ohio and Wayne County in Indiana. The National Road Yard Sale runs Thursday through Sunday all along the route.   

    Sunman Daze, a little further south in the Valley, takes place Friday and Saturday. The Sunman Chamber is hosting the event.

    “Sunman Daze celebrates local businesses and neighbors with sidewalk sales, specials, family yard sales, farmers market and Walking Warrior’s Grilling with Bill at FCN Bank,” wrote Natasha Bischoff.


Franklin County historical challenge

    The Franklin County Historical Society considers History in Your Own Backyard  “a very worthwhile program” but the Brookville-based NGO are not able financially to consider doing it on their own at this time, according to Martha Shea, president of FCHS.

    Satolli Glassmeyer of HYOB said, “Franklin County has hundreds of historic buildings and sites” and he’d like to work with the Historical Society to document some of them on video.  His company has been working throughout Dearborn and Ripley Counties. “We already have about 85 videos produced and should have another 60 by the end of summer,” he wrote.

    So in a shameless effort to support this historical video program for, by and about the Whitewater Valley, we ask you to think about becoming a sponsor. Satolli writes, “It's not unusual for businesses to sponsor a video and in return we do a small advertisement at the end of that video basically saying ‘This video was sponsored by the ABC Restaurant 123 Main Street, Brookville, Indiana 765-555-1111,  www.ABCRestaurant.com.’”

    We don’t have the details on costs, but can say you will get a double bang from your sponsorship buck. The first will come from your business contact information at the end of the video, but that’s small potatoes compared to the potential write-off of your entire investment.

    Since the check for your sponsorship is made out to the Franklin County Historical Society and since FCHS is a tax-deductible organization, you should be able to deduct it from your annual federal tax obligation. It’s like giving away Uncle Sam’s money!

    What are you waiting for? Start your sponsorship by visiting HYOB’s website. You may also email the president of FCHS at hermitage1898@frontier.com.

    While you’re in a Franklin County historical mode, visit FCHS’s website where we found this sweet little snapshot:


“A New Holiday”

    When Dave Secrist, one of Laurel’s stone quarry men, was trustee of Laurel Township, he hired a teacher, William Zacharias, who was newly arrived from Germany.  Although an excellent teacher, he was not acquainted with the holidays of the American people, so fell an easy victim to the prank that the fun-loving Trustee played upon him.

    On the second day of February, or better known to most of us as “Ground Hog Day,” the teacher was met, as he was making his way to his country school, by the Trustee, who asked him if he did not know that that day was a holiday. 

     Mr. Zacharias, taking the Trustee seriously, immediately dismissed his school as soon as he reached the schoolhouse, to the great delight of the pupils.  This “new holiday” was a great joke and became widespread in its publicity.

    Reference:  A – Mr. John Secrist, Laurel, Indiana.


Branding for the purposes of tourism

    What lessons are there between the lines? The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report recently named Barbados the most competitive destination in the Caribbean. This got me to thinking of the Whitewater Valley as a destination and I thought, ‘Why not?’

    The Forum report judges and compares countries not geographic regions, and we are a geographic region but what lessons are there we might take from their criteria?

    What they are looking for is the most competitive tourism economy. To do this they create a framework of criteria and objectives. If it were possible to adjust their structure to our needs, we may be able to brand the Whitewater Valley as a tourist destination on a global scale.

    Believe it or not, people are already working on this at another level, that is, not branding for the purposes of tourism, but branding the Whitewater Valley as a unique cultural identity worthy of national status and international recognition.

    Think of that, the Whitewater Valley being a destination of interest for particular people around the world. Why not?

    See above.


Farmers Market

    Strawberries will be in this week at Oxford Farmers Market Uptown.

    A few weeks ago Oxford Farmers Market’s Larry Slocum visited Scott Downing’s orchard with Holly Larson R.D. and took a picture of the peach tree in full blossom and Scott standing next to an apple tree ready to bloom. 

    “If you think we are working hard to provide a great market look at what these tree are doing for us,” Larry wrote.

    Farmers Market’s are now open throughout the Valley including Lawrenceburg, Richmond, Union County in Liberty, Oxford Farmers Market, of course, Brookville at their new location on south Main, Bright, Batesville and probably a few others we can’t think of.    

    Visit them and help make them a happening. Support local growers and we’ll have more local growers, and that’s the way to sustainability.

  Sponsored by Oxford Farmers Market Uptown


Historic home on Brookville's Main Street

Think regionally and prosper

    Once in awhile Indianapolis comes through with fleeting opportunities. This was the case last year when Governor Pence announced he found $35 million to help buy land for conservation. This year, well last week, he signed a bill into law that is expected to have a ‘transitional effect’ on the entire state.

    The law creates the Regional City Initiative which Governor Pence said will “encourage collaboration among Hoosier communities to develop ways to bolster investment, attract talent, and continue Indiana on a pathway to economic growth and success.”

    There is a pot of $85 million with which to kick-start this economic development initiative between like-minded communities. The key phrase here is not ‘$85 million.’ It is ‘economic development.’

    There is a phrase among positive thinking types which is applicable here: Opportunity favors the prepared mind. Communities which have an economic development team in place are the ‘prepared mind’ in this instance. Communities like Franklin County which kicked out or rather back-bit its last dynamic economic development director will have to hustle to win the favor of Dame Opportunity.

    This Regional City Initiative can be a great thing for the Whitewater Valley as a whole. Through the efforts of the Whitewater Canal Byway Association we have learned to think of ourselves as citizens of the Whitewater Valley. This Whitewater Valley Guide you are reading has carried that torch for the past five years and now this.

    I believe we in the Whitewater Valley have a leg up on the rest of the state of Indiana, whether we can work together to take fiscal advantage of our position is another question.

The trouble is we think parochially. We think me first and not so much you. We need ideas that break down geographic barriers like city and county limits. And we wouldn’t be me if we didn’t have a bunch of ideas waiting for the air to billow them out to some semblance of reality.

    There’s a list of ideas we have been compiling on our website www.whitewatervalleyguide.com: Scroll down to ‘Pie in the Sky’ and widen out your thinking. Then let’s get together and make things happen. Eighty-five million dollars is too large a figure to be left out of.


‘All for one and one for all’

    If you need you swash buckled sit yourself down at the Murray Theatre for the final offering of the Richmond Community Theatre’s season. It is Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’.

    If you’ve been watching ‘Wolf Hall’ on Masterpiece Theatre you may be in the mood for this French royal intrigue set in the 1600s. It is called “one of the great adventure novels of all times. This stage adaption is by “one of the best comedy playwrights of recent years,” Ken Ludwig.

    It runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the same again next week.


Brookville and moving people

    Brookville’s Main Street group is doing something a little different this year. Instead of holding their opening up Main Street with music and shops once a month, this season they will be having special programs each month.

    May’s program happening this Saturday is a History Tour of Brookville via horse drawn carriage. Tours will be leaving from the Eagles parking lot at one hour intervals starting at 1 pm until concluding at 4 pm.

    And if you are a quilter or just one of those people who like to stay warm in the winter, you might get the carriage driver to drop you off at the old high school/new government center on Franklin Avenue. In the high school gym you’ll find the fourth annual Franklin County Quilt show carrying on from 10 am until 5 pm. The quilt show starts on Friday from 10 am until 8 pm, so there’s plenty of time to check them out.

    And speaking of touring in a carriage, below is a picture of an eight-seater golf cart which was recently delivered by Quality Carts on SR 46 outside of Morris to a nursing home center. The old folks love to get a chance to pile in and go for a ride, said Nancy Roepke of Quality Carts.

    We add it here as food for thought. How many uses does a cart like this have in the field of tourism? Certainly one of these would be useful in any historic district for guided tours. While the payload would be seven in the cart itself, we are told the engine is strong enough to pull a car, meaning it would easily handle a four wheel trailer configured with another eight or so seats which would make this a nice little profit maker for some enterprising entrepreneur.


The bluegrass blues

    We received a sad email from Amos Collins last week saying Connersville Bluegrass Music Association is closing ‘until further notice.’ We tried to find out why but have yet to hear back from Amos.

    If the ‘further notice’ never comes, we wonder whither will bluegrass next take root in the Whitewater Valley. In our brief history here, 13 years or so, bluegrass moved from Coy Willis’ Ox Barn stage on Stipps Hill Road outside of Metamora to Connersville with the Bluegrass Music Association.

    We predict it will move back to Metamora, and wouldn’t be surprised if it lands in a place called the Opry Barn where the stage is set and the players in place.

    Thank you Amos and Pauline Collins for keeping great live bluegrass music in front of us week after week, year after year. Connersville should give you some kind of medal.



A showy RCO

    Richmond Community Orchestra is offering a ‘showy’ concert this Sunday in Goddard Auditorium at Earlham College and it’s free.

    Don Shrader says it will feature “a variety of show tunes and other music for one and all to enjoy.  If you like the more traditional orchestral numbers then you will enjoy the ever popular ‘Finlandia’ by Sebelius as well as ‘King Duncan’s March’ from MacBeth.  Show tunes include a ‘Star Wars Medley,’ a ‘James Bond Medley,’ as well as tribute pieces to Leroy Anderson, George Gershwin, and Gilbert and Sullivan.”

     The opening number, Prelude for a Celebration, was composed for the RCO by its director Jay Conrad of Eaton.


Art camps opportunity

    If you live in the northeastern part of the Valley and have kids who have latent talent, you might want to enroll them in Preble County Art Association’s summer camps in June and July.

    There are six weeks to choose from with full and half day options each week. All camps are taught by professional artists and introduce students to techniques in different mediums to teach them skills and craftsmanship. Camps are Monday through Friday.

    A half-day camp is offered June 1-5 for the littlest people, kids pre-K and kindergarten to explore the world of art through stories. Four weeks of camp are available for kids grades K-6, offering options in pottery, painting, movies and more. Teen week is July 13-17 and is for grades 5-12 to build skills in portraits and public art.

    For further details go to camps.takepartinart.net.


Of violets and goats

    Debra Bowles has identified our mystery flower from last week. They are white violets and since they were found at the woods edge, they are wild white violets, and that’s a pretty mouthful. Thank you Debra may great rewards be exchanged at your market stall this Saturday at Oxford Farmers Market Uptown.

    She will have her soaps, her baked goods, her Grainola which, she spells a little differently emphasizing the content, and maybe one of her goats like Little BooBob. Otherwise, visit Artisty Farms digitally at http://artallover.com/.

    By the way, OFMU is also the one MU in Oxford that does not refer to Miami University.









Metamora landmark receives rare national designation

    It’s no secret the Duck Creek Aqueduct on the Whitewater Canal in Metamora is something special, but just how special is growing by leaps and bounds. The first leap was in 1973 when it was listed along with the Metamora Grist Mill on the National Register of Historic Places. The second was in 1992 when it was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

    The third happened recently when Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Johnathan B. Jarvis announced it was named a National Historic Landmark along with eight other national sites. There are more than 96,251 historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but only 2,544 National Historic Landmarks, making this latest designation a rare honor.

    In making the announcement Secretary Jewell said, “By designating these new national landmarks we ensure that America's history of innovation, vision and diversity are celebrated today and for future generations. . . . These new national historic landmarks can educate and inspire Americans with their country’s rich history, as well as drive tourism and boost local economies.”

    A plaque beside the structure says, “The Duck Creek Aqueduct was originally built in 1843 to convey the canal over Duck Creek 16 feet below. Flood waters in 1847 destroyed the aqueduct, which was soon replaced by the present 70-foot, Burr arch truss structure.”

    The Burr arch of the Duck Creek Aqueduct is not a true Burr arch, according to Metamora historian Paul Baudendistel. He said a true Burr arch would link into the rock abutments. But after the 1847 flood the original arch was replaced with what is called a modified Burr arch which only goes to the floor of the structure not all the way to the abutments.

    There was some question among local authorities about how this designation came about. Jay Dishman, the Metamora site manager for Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, was not aware of any actions by his department to that end. He said the long process of paperwork may have begun when the Department of Natural Resources was in charge of the site.

    But an email from Indiana historic bridge expert Dr. James Cooper cleared up the mystery. He passed along an email from Christopher H. Marston, Architect & Project Leader of the National Park Service’s American Engineering Record. In it Mr. Marston writes, “This achievement represents a twelve-year effort by the Historic American Engineering Record as part of the Federal Highway Administration's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program.”

    Gail Ginther of Historic Metamora said, Mr. Marston “led the team that was here doing the intensive survey of the aqueduct a few years ago.”

    The National Park Service nomination declares, “Duck Creek Aqueduct is the only surviving covered wood aqueduct in the United States.” Whether there was another such structure had been an outstanding question in Metamora until this authoritative declaration.


I wonder if a wandering choir

could serve as a balm

for the souls of the sensitive Catholic worshippers

in places like St. Marys and Cedar Grove

who’ve lost the holy connection

between their church and the Catholic God.


Oh almighty Archdiocese of Indianapolese,

you sever yourself as you sever our churches

from your Holy body.

We see your wrath upon the Batesville Deanery

27 churches ordered away.

We are all smaller, weaker

in the face of the inevitability you wield,

handcrafting as you have

our severance from the Holy Papal Order,

turning those same churches,

breathing with the stones of bygone loved ones

in the cemetery beyond, cold and shuttered.


A blanket of emptiness covers

the former portal to the Catholic God.

Other Gods may remain

but they are and always have been

invisible to the parishioners.


I wonder if a chorale of voices

sung in intergenerational joy

could resonate so deep to sooth the sores

made by the proverbial sword

of that servant of the Lord,

that beaner of the Batesville Deanery,

that gleaner of no things frivolous,

that purser of the purse strings of the Catholic gods,

The Archdiocese of Indianapolese.


Gary August Schlueter

June 7, 2014

One Sparrow


Rolling Thunder awoke the morning sky

above the graying clouds rumbled

not yet vanquished by his all night vigil

Spattering raindrops tumbled as they fell

trembling between the weight of gravity

and the calling of the Thunder Being above.


Anon somewhere east of here

a Sun content to simply light overcast

arose to the calling of a single sparrow

Intrepid, indomitable, feathers soaked through

yet dreading not the rumbling above

to the rising in the east the slathered sparrow sung.


Lonely was his song for his fellows remained silent

on this morning when the voice of the west was nigh

When the all night rain dampened the zeal

of even the bravest heart

one who knew not what his betters decreed by their silence

One solo sparrow, one foolish fellow

raised his voice in a glee club of one

to the morning ritual of the rising sun.


One Sparrow’s mission –

To gather the clan,

to unite the tribe,

to re-grow the forest.




Gary Schlueter


May 14, 2009



Grandfather Smoke