From Left Field

    An ugly problem reared its smell again at this week's city council meeting: manure from Amish horses.
    The last time it came up, probably a year and a half or more ago, city officials received support for attempting to do something about it and also caught some heavy flak — including some letters in this newspaper — about supposedly "picking on" the Amish.
    No one in the Schultz administration is attempting to discriminate against anyone. But there have been complaints from people about manure in the streets. The pile that brought an "irate" — Mayor John Schultz's word — complaint concerned a pile that was reported to be quite lengthy.
    A pile of that nature, someone said during the council discussion, could make it difficult for a resident to park their vehicle in front of their home.
    Another aspect of the issue was raised by Councilman Matt Dyer, a businessman, who stressed that business people of the community welcome the Amish and their business. Very true ... as they should.
    In fact, our entire community should welcome the Amish people, more of whom are doing business here as more families locate their homes nearer Decatur. They're good people, good citizens who mind their own business, live their own lives and cause few problems.
    And they're always willing to help in time of need. Who can ever forget the photos in this newspaper of Amish men and boys joining sandbag filling and sandbag tossing during the Great Flood of 2003?
    One of the problems, though, is what their horses leave behind and it is understandable that some residents complain. Especially, as Councilman Charlie Cook pointed out, since it's likely that a certain number of streets will bear the brunt of the manure as the Amish travel to Walmart, Scott's and the hospital.
    So it is a problem that can't be ignored nor is likely to go away; in fact, probably will increase.
    The suggestion here is perhaps a meeting with Amish leaders to see if a solution is possible. Maybe urging the Amish to place bags on the backs of their horses when coming to town. One never knows what can be worked out until giving it a try.

Well deserved...and then some
    Nice piece Jim Hopkins did in Wednesday's edition on Dana Kazmarek, Bellmont's 2011 Phyllis Hebble Award recipient. No previous winner was ever more deserving, nor more true to the standards set by Phyllis Hebble in those early Bellmont days.
    This is a first-class young woman, an excellent athlete, but far more than just an athlete. Taking on the tough courses, Dana was in the top 10 in her class academically, no easy task when you're involved in sports nearly every day. She also was Silver Arrow queen this year, something not accomplished unless one is popular with and gains the respect of the student body, which votes on the award.
    On the field, she was every coach's dream. Effort never less than 100 percent; willing to accept any challenge, to follow any suggestion; never one to question why something is asked or to degrade a teammate.
    All that and a person aware of where she is and where she is going. "I'm very honored (to get the award)," Dana told Hopkins. "The quality of girls I was competing with made me realize that I did have a good high school career, and I'm thankful for that. And Mrs. Hebble came to our graduation and I got to talk to her."
    You know that Dana's heart is cracked if not broken over giving up sports as she goes on to Purdue to major in pharmacy. But someone better warn the women participating in intramurals there about what they may be facing.
    And let's hope that when she gets that degree, she brings it back to Decatur. Dana Kazmarek is the type of young people a community builds its future around.

Never know
    The recent death of a Muncie firefighter brought home once again what a dangerous job it can be, no matter whether in New York City, Los  Angeles, or Muncie — or Decatur — in Indiana.
    It's one of those professions in which one never knows when the dispatch comes how potentially dangerous — or deadly — the task ahead may be.
    Sure, seemingly 95 percent or so of the calls are as routine as watering the back yard, and most of the hours are spent polishing the trucks and/or watching TV. But every now and then lives go on the line and these men and women face challenges that the vast majority of us would turn and run from as they earn our everlasting gratitude and more than earn their pay.