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From Left Field

February 22, 2011

By BOB SHRALUKA

      A topic which hadn't surfaced in some time popped up at a recent Decatur City Council meeting: the elevation of a section of US 224 near the Jackson St. intersection.
     Mayor John Schutz said at the meeting that he had received an e-mail from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) concerning the possibility that it will elevate US 224 in the area that has been plagued by flooding in the past. INDOT said FEMA requirements had been satisfied, which Schultz noted was “a major hurdle.”
    So it looks like what once seemed to be a forgotten issue was back on the front burner. "They (INDOT) are saying 2014, so it's moving," the mayor said this week.
    The area in question — facing north — runs from the large home on the west side of the highway that Democrat publisher Dick Heller owned for many years to just beyond the intersection with Jackson St. The highway would be lifted two to three feet, according to the mayor.
    Past talk about  the highway elevation has drawn opposition from all around that area, some  people thinking that attempts to solve one problem may lead to other problems. "I know people out there are concerned," Schultz said. "I know there is a concern that it will just create a dam effect (and create flooding elsewhere)."
    The next step for INDOT will be to hold two meetings, including one in which the public will be able to ask questions..No dates have been established.
    It remains to be seen how much opposition is out there. But Schultz says INDOT officials claim they will forget the idea is opposition to it is strong. The mayor believes them. "Their attitude has always been, if you don't want it, we'll spend it (the money) somewhere else."

Order is restored
    All is right with the world. Order has been restored. "Normal" has returned. The natural process is once again in order. All is once more as it should be: Bellmont High School's wrestling team will be in the State Meet this weekend.
    The implausible streak of 12 consecutive trips to the State Meet came to an end last year. Now, 12 months later, Coach Brent Faurote and his crew have shaken that off like a duck sheds water and returned to their rightful place.
    So this remarkable program marches on, despite the continual improvement of wrestling programs all around them. The Braves are not as dominant as they once were for the simple fact that many programs have used them as a model and built themselves to Bellmont's level.
    When all the Semistate dust had cleared, though, the Bellmont bus was once again pointed toward the final round.
    One key factor which makes the program so outstanding — from here, anyway — is the way certain guys step up when it's time to do so. You expect Daniel Meyer — assuredly one of the finest Bellmont athletes ever — and Travis Thatcher, Ryley Hankinson, and John Mahlan, guys like that, to do their thing.
    Then along comes an Anthony Stebing, who played such a huge role in the Semistate clinching. "I don't know ... I just let everything flow tonight. I got in a scramble and just kept working," the senior told the Daily Democrat's Jim Hopkins.
    "There's a kid who lost out in the Sectional, and I told him that wouldn't even matter if he wins at Regional, and now he's a Regional champ and played a big role in getting his team to state," the coach said.
    Then there's Bobby Kueneke, who clinched the win over Yorktown simply by staying off his back. He so surprised everyone that the ref raised Kueneke's hand after the match — even though he lost! He came back later that night to defeat a Carroll opponent and wrap up the title.
    Some bouquets go, too, to Brooks Faurote, getting better each week as his broken left hand mends. Defeating the Yorktown recruit was an absolute must and he got it. "I was determined. I wanted this so bad, for us to go back to team state. I wanted to step up for my team," Brooks said.
    It's that type of attitude which makes this program so special.

95 and counting
    Happy birthday No. 95 to Fred Scheiderer of Decatur, the onetime grocer who sold candy and good feelings to the neighborhood kids. Thursday was the big day and he's probably still recovering from all the celebrating!

 

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