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The Versailles Republican

April 9, 2015 • Headlines

Amy Streator, executive director of the Ripley County Community Foundation and Jane Deiwert, program office with RCCF, are pictured with this year’s Ripley County Lilly Endowment Scholarship recipient, Shelby Armstrong.
Lady Eagle Katie Gehl takes charge from the pitchers mound in the Lady Eagle JV opener against Batesville Lady Bulldogs.
Bill Downey of Osgood is flanked by his assigned guardians. Downey was one of six Ripley County veterans who took the trip to Washington D.C., sponsored by Indy Honor Flight, to see all the war memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.
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Indy Honor Flight: Six local veterans treated to D.C. trip

Cathy May

“It was one of the most wonderful days of my whole life.” That’s what Robert Day, 92, said of his trip to Washington, D.C. on the Indy Honor Flight.
Honor Flight


Besides Floyd Hunter (far left), the others from this area were, upper photo from left: Robert K. Day, Bill Downey, Sherman Lemen; back row, left, Kenny Shaw and Gene Snively. The men heard about the honor flight when Lila Neal sponsored a film about it at the Damm Theatre. She took several Osgood vets Friday to Plainfield.

Six Ripley County veterans had the experience of a lifetime on Saturday, April 4. World War II veterans Sherman Lemen, Robert Day and Gene Snively of Osgood and Floyd Hunter of Sunman and Korean veterans Bill Downey and Kenny Shaw of Osgood were taken on a trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Indy Honor Flight to see all the war memorials and Arlington National Cemetery. Their journey started on April 3 when they were taken to Plainfield, Indiana, for a dinner. They stayed overnight and were bused to the airport the morning of April 4 to board two planes, each carrying 100 veterans. They were in Washington, D.C. for the day and then were flown back to Plainfield later that night.

“We were VIP’s,” said Day. “Everywhere we went people thanked us for our service, especially the children. We had police escorts everywhere we went.” Robert Day’s nephew, also named Robert Day, lives in Washington, D.C. and they met at the World War II Memorial. “It was so much bigger than I ever imagined,” the elder Day said. Day noted, “When we got back to Plainfield High School, they wheeled us into the gym and what a surprise! There must have been 6,000 people all cheering and waving flags. I’ll never forget it.” Kenny Shaw said, “It was the best trip I have ever had. Since I am a Korean War veteran, I liked that Memorial best. I also liked the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery. It was a wonderful day.” World War II Vet Gene Snively responded, “It was great. I thought the World War II Memorial was the biggest and most impressive. I was also impressed with Arlington National Cemetery. I didn’t realize how big it was. They have 27 burials a day there.” Snively continued, “Even though it was a long day I didn’t get that tired. Someone pushed me in a wheelchair.” It truly was a long day for the vets. They got up at 4 a.m. and didn’t get back home until well after midnight.

According to Snively, “People lined up at the airport waving flags, cheering and clapping. It’s something I’ll never forget. We were each given an envelope with about 40 letters of support.” Some of those letters were from Mrs. Budd’s sixth grade class at Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. This was a good experience for the children who participated too. Mrs. Budd shared, “The kids learned so much! We talked a lot about the war and did activities in all subject areas! It was a great experience for us all!”

Sherman Lemen will be 99 on May 3. Of the 200 veterans who went on the trip he was the second oldest veteran. Another veteran was quick to point out he was 102 and six months. Sherman’s son Larry went on the trip with him and acted as his “guardian.” Larry said he had a two-hour training class just to participate. Each veteran was paired with a guardian for the day. All were volunteers.

Larry said of the trip, “It was wonderful. They treated the vets so well. People lined up at the airport thanking the veterans for their service.” “When they got back there were people dressed up in 1940’s style clothing and swing dancing. There was an honor guard, bagpipers and Boy and Girl Scouts all to honor the veterans,” commented Larry Lemen. “My dad had a great day. The main thing he enjoyed was the World War II Memorial. While we were there, complete strangers walked up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his service.” Korean War vet Bill Downey also loved the experience. “It was a wonderful trip. I liked all the Memorials but the Korean War one was special to me. My guardian was a lady from Washington, D.C. We were treated like royalty!” Floyd Hunter of Sunman said “They treated us so well. It took a lot of volunteers. Everything was first class. It was overwhelming.”

Osgood resident Lila Neal owner of Neal’s Funeral Home deserves a lot of credit for helping these veterans to learn about the Indy Honor Flight. She sponsored a film about the Flight shown at the Damm Theatre in Osgood. That’s where most of the men signed up to go. Neal took four of the vets to Plainfield the day before the flight for a dinner. She said, “It was one of the most profound moments in my life to see all these veterans who gave their service so we can live in this wonderful country with the great freedom we have today. They are the true stars of our country. I was glad to be a little tiny part in this great day for our veterans.”

Neal said that if other veterans would be interested in going on an Indy Honor Flight, they can call her to find out how to sign up. Call Lila Neal at 812-689-4262. There is no cost to the veterans for the trip.

Wet weather impacts crop fields

Mary Mattingly

April showers have kept local farmers from field work. “The planting season is behind,” says Dave Osborne, Ripley County’s Purdue education officer. “It’s just so wet.” Several fields are still too wet to drive equipment on, leaving some concerned about delays in the planting schedule. Osborne figures farmers are about 10 days to two weeks behind in the season in field operations. “There are very few opportunities for field work.”

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, temperatures were slightly above normal in the state, but additional precipitation did little to bring planting season closer particularly for the planting of the 2015 corn and soybean crop. Osborne says the season is basically on hold while they wait out the rain and fields dry. He noted his son who works for a fertilizer spray company has only been out three times, which isn’t much considering it’s April.

It’s not an issue yet though because it is early in the season to plant, according to Steve Thurnall with Farm Service Agency in Ripley County. It would be more of a concern at the end of the month or first of May, both he and Osborne said. Pastures are greening up with the increased temperatures, and redbud and dogwoods trees lagging behind in blossoming. Head south to Louisville and the trees are budding, but that’s because it’s the Ohio River Valley and the slightly warmer temperatures make a difference, Osborne commented. It’s the nighttime temperatures that keep the soil too cool to plant. Osborne said it might be 60 or 65 in the day, but drop to the high 30s at night. “Soil temperatures are not up,” Thurnall added.

As for gardens, there are probably a few farmers market gardeners that have planted tomatoes, but most hold off for another month. Several fruit varieties may be impacted by the winter weather. “Peaches and blackberries will be scarce in the county due to the cold winter. We had several days of 12 below,” Osborne said. It’s not unusual to mow the first of April, he added, but again, few are doing that due to the soggy fields. Meanwhile, as farmers wait for fields to dry out, they can prepare field equipment, or accept corn and bean seed in anticipation of spring planting. No one has reported planting corn or beans yet, according to Osborne’s records.

Ripley County’s two main crops are corn and soybeans, with about 45,000 acres each. Wheat is a distant third at 4,500 acres. Final planting for corn is June 5 and soybeans June 20, Thurnall said. Indiana farmers are intending to plant 5.8 million acres of corn and 5.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, according to Greg Matli, state statistician of the USDA, NASS Indiana Field Office. If these are realized, acreage planted to corn would be down 2 percent from last year, and soybean would be up 2 percent. For winter wheat, last fall was at 340,000 acres, 13 percent below the previous year. Hay is unchanged from 2014 at 600,000 acres.

Last week’s USDA crop report was released and noted that U.S. farmers are expected to plant a record number of soybean acres this year, but fewer acres of corn. Soybeans cost less to grow and prices haven’t fallen as quickly as corn. Farmers planted one million more acres of corn than soybeans in 2012, but difference narrowed to about 400,000 acres last year, according to Purdue University’s Michael Langemeier, associate director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture.

Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Crisis help: Volunteers needed for critical incidents (front page)
• Deadline near for JCD scholarships (page 2)
• South Ripley elementary and high school honor rolls (front page, section B)
• Ripley County names Lilly scholarship winner (front page, section B)
• Music directors are crucial to church service (page 2, section B)
• On The Record: From the Ripley County Courthouse (page 3, section B)
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