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September 20, 2016 • Headline News
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Pumpkin Show details

Read details of the 114th Annual Versailles Pumpkin Show, sponsored by the Versailles Lions Club, in the special section of The Versailles Republican dated September 15. The Pumpkin Show runs from Wednesday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 25. A special section with information about king and queen candidates will be included with the Osgood Journal dated Tuesday, Sept. 20. Buy Pumpkin Show advance ride tickets through Thursday, Sept. 22 at Ripley Publishing Company, United Community Bank and Friendship State Bank. Ask your local school official for more information or contact the Versailles Lions Club at 812-621-0735.

Torch relays through county

Mary Mattingly

“It’s in our town and it’s history, and it’s something good for our kids and family to see. It’s nice to be part of it,” said Angel Mills as she waited on her front porch on Perry Street in Versailles for Jerry Wilson to arrive with the torch and board the horse pulled wagon with National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association members. Brian Schnurpel, primitive camp coordinator, took time off from the NMLRA’s fall shoot in Friendship, to walk alongside the wagon. “I’m a Hoosier, born and bred and this is the 200th anniversary. There’s no way I’d miss it!” The relay started at noon with Katherine Taul on a motorcycle with her husband Carl She’s the county coordinator for the relay and has been working the past year organizing the day’s events, inspiring Hoosiers to unify, and encouraging towns to host various celebrations. “It was an awesome day,” Taul said later that evening after a celebratory dinner at the Milan VFW. ”There were crowds at each stop and we even finished early! I was so impressed with how everyone and everything worked together.” A state Bicentennial Experience van accompanied each stop, and two police officers on motorcycles led the caravan.

Larry Lemen and Owen Menchhofer light torchARLENE KNUDSON PHOTO
Standing in for his father the late Sherman Lemen, Larry Lemen ignites the torch to be carried by Owen Menchhofer. Lemen rode in with the Retired Teachers Association to which he, his father and his sister Martha Kessens belong.

The torchbearers were easily recognizable, not just because many people knew them from being active members of the community, but also due to the bright yellow jackets or shirts they wore which the state had given each one. Onlooker Kim Johnson was ready with her camera. “I’m just interested. This is a piece of history.”

In Versailles, some 150 people gathered at the courthouse square around noon. The Young Confederates sang earlier and as the torch procession rounded the corner, the American Legion color guard members approached the War Memorial. The crowd was quiet as the South Ripley elementary school children sang the National Anthem. And as the state flag was raised by the Legion members, spectator Mark Grossman leaned down to explain to his young granddaughter the significance of the moment. Hopefully, it’s something she and other youngsters might remember 50 years from now when another state celebration could be held.

Jerry Wilson and Patsy Holdsworth light torchSANDY DAY HOWARD PHOTO
Versailles torchbearers Jerry Wilson ignites Patsy Holdsorth’s torch as she left from the courthouse area. See more photos from Versailles, Osgood, Milan and Batesville on page 9 of the Osgood Journal.

Former teacher and local historian Jerry Wilson of Versailles was honored to be a torchbearer. “This was a once in a lifetime event that definitely ranks above being a volunteer at the 2012 NFL Super Bowl in Indianapolis and the 2015 MLB All-Star game in Cincinnati,” he said after he passed the torch onto Patsy Holdsworth, also an educator. She was escorted in a 1957 Chevy car driven by her husband Gary to Osgood to continue the leg of the relay journey.

By 12:30 the rain had stopped as the procession went from Holdsworth to torchbearer and veteran Wayne Peace. He rode in the county’s veterans van. Peace then passed the torch to Larry Lemen at Brick Street where the Osgood celebration was underway. Lemen was representing his father, Sherman, who had been posthumously nominated. He and his sister, Martha Kessens, both said their father would have been proud to carry the torch and would have “thoroughly enjoyed himself.” There were about 300 people there, including the JCD high school band who kept the crowd entertained while the torch relay was a bit late.

The torch then traveled toward Batesville, via SR 129, with Jon Kuntz on an old fire truck, who gloriously cranked the siren. His mother said her son, who has Down Syndrome, was thrilled and happy to be able to do something special with his community. Ed Krause brought in the torch on a horse drawn wagon along with the Eureka Band, the country’s oldest community band, which he’s been a member of.

Despite the rain earlier, the Batesville downtown was buzzing with people. Little ones enjoyed the Kids Discovery Factory interactive science exhibits. Batesville Intermediate school children were dressed in period garb and eager to share what they had learned. Conner Drake, a fifth grader, played a Union soldier and talked about Morgan’s Raid, the only Civil War battle on Indiana ground. Tyler Kuntz was Levi Cobb, a Quaker, businessman and influential with the underground railroad in the state. Isaac Trossman showed off coloring books he and classmates made about their school’s history. “We have a lot of school pride. I learned our school is 100 years old, half our state’s age,” he said.

The torch left Batesville, with stops in Morris, the old Sunman High School and Stumpke’s Corner where Roselyn McKittrick of Milan passed the torch to Heather Hacker. “It’s such an honor and I do love Milan and Ripley County,” McKittrick exclaimed. She’s lived here for 60 years, and is a big cheerleader of Milan’s ’54 team and museum, and was happy there were so many congregated at the Milan ’54 Museum for a group town photo earlier.

Hacker, representing the late music teacher Bill Schein, presented the torch to the Milan ’54 team, stationed near the high school on a two horse driven wagon. Bobby Plump and Glen Butte, a member of the team, were asked to carry the torch, but several members joined them at their request. Butte said upon being a participant, “Why wouldn’t you! This is celebrating Indiana’s 200th birthday,” echoing his pride, “ I’m a native, born and raised in Ripley County.” He added, “I truly enjoy southern Indiana and being part of the championship team, and I do believe it was able to raise the educational bar in Ripley County.” Only one of the team member’s parents had attended college at the time, and 9 of the 10 went on to further their education on athletic or academic scholarships, the IU graduate and former Batesville educator said. “Our own kids then graduated from high school, and it wasn’t if you were going to college, but where…It’s amazing what a round ball that goes through a hoop at the right time, and a championship win can do!”

At Carr Street, in front of a celebratory crowd, the torch was passed to another educator Donna Barton, who rode in a 1966 Chevelle driven by Doug Bessler. The torch relay ended in Ripley County with Albert King at SR 101 and US 50. Dearborn County then planned to celebrate the state’s history with the torch relay, followed by Franklin County on Sunday.

The relay goes six days a week, taking Mondays off. The torch relay began at the state’s first capitol in Corydon on Sept. 9 and will end on Oct. 15 in Indianapolis.

Local Bulletin Board

Sign up for newspaper’s candidate list

Ripley Publishing Co. will be running a continuous candidate list beginning Sept. 8. For $125 your name, along with the office you are running for, will appear in both newspapers through the Nov. 8 General Election. In addition, you will receive a free press release along with a photo in one of the newspapers. The press release must be written in third person and submitted to our office along with a photo. Arrangements can be made to have a photo taken in our office. You can sign-up to get on the list beginning Aug. 31. Please call 812-689-6364 or email us at or stop by our office at 115 S Washington Street in Versailles to get your name on the list.

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Ripley Publishing Company, Inc.
115 S. Washington Street, P.O. Box 158
Versailles, IN 47042

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