August 25, 2013

FRIEND: Looking back on a great summer


---- — It has been a rapid-fire summer with all of the fairs, festivals, meetings and family obligations. The end of August is in sight, school has started and the activities just keep coming. In June, five members of our family and a friend traveled to Brazil, South America, for our son Daniel’s wedding.

When we returned, it was time for the Miami County 4-H Fair. That was followed closely by July 4 parades and festivals, the Cass County 4-H Fair, then the Fulton County 4-H Fair. Mix in a devastating storm in the city of Peru, followed by the annual Peru Amateur Circus, and this area has been extremely busy this summer.

I want to compliment the citizens of Peru for their attitude and forbearance following the storm that took so many trees and damaged so many homes and businesses. The response of residents was to “git-r-done!” It was very refreshing to see people so willing to help and assist others less fortunate. Kudos also to the county, state and utility workers who worked diligently to clean up and restore power. I know the work is not over, but congratulations to Peru and its citizens. You are a positive example to others around this great country.

I try to participate in all the 4-H auctions in the counties of District 23. My usual plan is to purchase a hog or two and sometimes donate it to Helping Hands in Peru, an organization that provides groceries for in-need residents. Several purposes are served: I can support the 4-H members and the fair; I can help many businesses that bid by being a participant; the donation to Helping Hands can feed many hungry families here locally; and it is a good way to advertise in a largely rural area. Besides those reasons, it is just the right thing to do.

The state fair began in early August, and I attended the opening ceremony. Gov. Pence and Lt. Gov. Ellspermann both spoke about the importance of agriculture in Indiana. Recognition was given to one of our local banks, First Farmers Bank & Trust, for their contribution to fighting hunger through a program started by the Indiana Pork Producers Association. It is nice to observe a local bank receive such an honor at a state sponsored affair.

A few days later at the fair, two neighboring farm families received Hoosier Homestead awards for keeping their farms in the family for over 100 years. The Mills farm on 1000 North is operated by brothers Curt and Kent Mills, with participation of their two sisters, Jan and Linda, in Indianapolis.

The Raber farm on 1050 North was also honored, and Gary Raber had the entire clan there to receive the award and have a picture taken with Ellspermann. It was great to see my neighbors (also distant relatives) and their families gather together for such a happy occasion. They truly celebrated their heritage and the longevity of the farm ownership. Hard work, good times and bad times all went in to achieving this award.

The growing season has been just the opposite of 2012. Abundant rain and cooler temperatures have the experts predicting big yields. We have a way to go, but the prospects are looking good. The crops still need some heat, and we don’t need an early frost.

Finally, remember that pesky oil furnace I kept complaining about last winter? My well-travelled furnace man, Burkie, installed a new LP gas furnace and air conditioner system in May. It has worked perfectly thus far and no doubt will work well into the future. I ran into a fellow in the Kroger parking lot who said, “You know, you made that Burkie a celebrity by writing about him.”

Well, everyone needs their 15 minutes of fame!

Bill Friend, is a Republican representing District 23 in the Indiana House of Representatives. You can reach him at 317-232-9831.