A few notes from the newsroom

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By Vince Luecke

Today's column is a potluck of sorts, bits of news and small items sent to me by readers over the past week that I've been moving from one stack of papers on my desk to the other.

Mars Disappointments

I received an e-mail Wednesday from Pam Hilgenhold, mother of Perry Central student Levi Hilgenhold. I wrote a story in March about Levi's selection by NASA as one of nine finalists to name a new Mars rover.

Levi learned last week his proposed name, Journey, wasn't chosen. Instead, NASA will name the spacecraft Curiosity. I'm sure Levi was disappointed, but it's still quite an accomplishment to be one of only nine people chosen from 9,000! Levi thanks all those who supported him in the adventure.

Even though his name wasn't chosen, he and other finalists are submitting personal messages that will be placed on a microchip to be carried by the car-sized Mars explorer.

That's something he can tell his grandchildren some day.

Thanks for the Help

Lew Snyder, who divides his time between Champaign, Ill., and New Boston, noticed a nice thank you letter in Champaign's News-Gazette by Ronnie and Lista Kleeman of Tell City. The letter thanked management and staff at a local Red Lobster for coming to Lista's aid when she briefly had problem swallowing her food.

Two nurses eating nearby also offered their help.

"In times when all we see on the news is hardship and bad times, it's heartwarming to know that as Americans we do care for each other," the couple wrote.

Farmers Have it Rough

It's been a challenging planting season for local farmers: too much rain and not nearly enough dry days between showers. But farmers know how to work quickly in the windows of time Mother Nature gives them.

It seems farmers have always had a rough time eking out a living. Evelyn Lasley from the Tell City-Perry County Public Library sent me this clipping from an 1894 copy of the Tell City News.

"From a bushel of corn a dealer gets four gallons of whisky, which retails for $16. Of this, the government gets $3.60, the retailer $7, the distiller gets $4, the railroad gets $1, the farmer who raised the corn gets 40 cents, the consumer gets 10 days or more in the cooler and the policeman and judge get good salaries for sending him there."

The local paper picked up the quote from the New York Tribune. I'm not sure what $16 in 1894 would be in today's dollars, but I'm sure it would be several times that amount. That made getting drunk a fairly expensive proposition back then.

Salute to Scouts

I'd like to tip my hat to local Scouts and their leaders for the deeds large and small they undertake.  

As you may have noticed in the paper, Scouts placed U.S. flags to the graves of veterans before Memorial Day. But they are also active in other ways. Several Scouts attend local meetings as part of their merit badges. Jacob Miller and Trent Harding were among the most recent visitors.

I was never a Boy Scout though two summers as a chaplain certainly left me with a respect for the Scouting organization.

Local Scouts also earn my respect.

Some Caves Still Open

We've received a couple of calls about a story we did on caves on federal and state land that have been closed to slow the spread of white-nosed syndrome in bats.

Three caves that are popular destinations for visitors, Marengo Cave, Squire Boone Caverns and Bluespring Caverns, remain open to the public.

Twin Caves at Spring Mill State Park is also open.

Wyandotte Cave is undergoing renovation this year and is not currently open to the public.