From Left Field
By BOB SHRALUKA
It stands there tall and somewhat overpowering at one of the main downtown intersections. In its heyday, when the downtown was vibrant, full of retail shops and shoppers, the corner building was alive with hustle and bustle.
Holthouse Drug Co. was the place where one could purchase a greeting card, writing materials, "notions" (Never did figure out that word.) and just about anything imaginable. And, of course, you could get your prescriptions filled with a smile from people like Louie and Bob and Dan.
The corner building also provided a lunch counter/snack bar where many of the downtown workers came for lunch and the opportunity to swap stories with people they would see every day and/or people they had not run into for a good while.
So long ago.
As traffic grew on 13th St., many retailers moved west to take advantage of that traffic. As Fort Wayne stores, buying in much large quantities, offered lower prices, many retailers went out of business. It was a trend seen around the nation.
Today, the tall building on the southwest corner of Second and Monroe streets is anything but alive. It's deader than the proverbial doornail, summed up by one word: eyesore.
Pieces of the roof have been blown off by high winds on more than one occasion. Inside, the building is ravaged by mold and some foul smells.
Now, its days, thankfully, are numbered.
Don Spice of the Geneva area indicated months ago he was buying the building from Dwayne Skaggs of Bluffton, who operated the last business there, a sweeper shop. Ownership, though, never changed and so the City of Decatur recently paid Skaggs some $25,000 and took ownership of the building.
A couple of quotes have been received by the city on the cost of the removal of asbestos from the building. Meanwhile, specifications are being developed for the demolition of the building. Once the specs are completed, bids will be taken for the razing.
The future of the corner is uncertain at this point. "We just want to get it (the building) down," Mayor John Schultz said the other day. That seems to sum up the feelings of most city officials and residents.
So when may we see the eyesore gone? "Oh, it could be in two months," the mayor replied. And with it another reminder of the city's once-vibrant downtown.
Go after the "lefties"
Now here's one most of us would welcome.
Someone in Ohio finally looked up and realized the state was one of the few still retaining a 65 mph speed limit on its interstate highways. (Ha ha! Us Hoosiers beat ya on that one!) So Republican State Rep. Ron Maag just introduced a bill to boost the limit to 70 mph.
But here's the catch: the bill would also make it a crime to drive in the left lane unless a driver is passing another vehicle or exiting the highway.
Maag said it’s dangerous when slower drivers stay in the left lane and other motorists try to pass them on the right. In addition, it says here, it's *^%#@$+&*% maddening when you're blocked in behind the vehicle in front of you and the one to your left, both traveling under the speed limit.
A State Highway Patrol official said he wonders how troopers could enforce a law limiting the left lane to passing vehicles only. That's easy: just follow them for a few miles, pull the driver over and give him/her a warning. (It's now worth a ticket and fine.) After three or four miles it's rather evident they're not simply passing another vehicle.
Almost didn't get it!
How quickly things change? Wow!
When Joe Paterno posted his 409th college coaching victory last fall to pass Eddie Robinson's 408 wins, everyone wondered just how high Paterno might push the mark. After all, he showed no signs of leaving the Penn State job and had already survived an ouster move several years earlier.
Then came the scandal and within a flash Paterno was pushed out the Penn State door. Later came the realization that he almost didn't get the record he had been conceded for the last few years.
Then, within another flash, he was gone, dead at the age of 85.