• Farmland taxes are a hot topic in the General Assembly

    Larry DeBoer

    Once again, farmland assessments and property taxes are going up. The Department of Local Government Finance, which oversees the property tax in Indiana, has set the base rate per acre of farmland for 2015 taxes at $2,050 per acre. That’s a 16 percent increase from the base rate for 2014 taxes. In December the DLGF announced the base rate for 2016 at $2,420, another 18 percent increase.

    The base rate has been rising for years. But, this year, it’s a hot topic in the General Assembly.

  • In annual winter rite, skunks are scouting for love


    Weekend Gardener


    We just returned from Taylorsville, Ky., and on the drive home, Andy remarked, “Wow, we have passed four dead skunks!” We don’t see them on the farm as much as we used to because of the dogs, although I have been getting whiffs of them for about a week now. The lightbulb moment: it is mating season for skunks and they are on the move.

  • DCS staff working every day to keep Hoosier children safe

    Mary Beth Bonaventura
    Guest Columnist

  • The Case of the Missing Finch

    By Jim Adkins
    Guest Columnist

    There was a mystery at the Adkins house a few years back. It was a full-scale whodunit that would have kept Sherlock Holmes and Perry Mason up all night scratching their heads. I call it “The Case of the Missing Finch.”

    It all began a year earlier when my wife’s sister gave us her two pet birds. My sister-in-law had just given birth to three children in rapid-fire succession and didn’t have time to care for the kids, a house, the birds and a career all at once.

  • Sharing a meal with loved ones

    By Vince Luecke

    I dropped by a small roadside restaurant while traveling in France several years ago. While the liverwurst and blood sausage were worth writing about, memories of a chubby grandma and her bubble-blowing granddaughter will never be forgotten.

  • On the trail of Joe Biden

    By Don Steen

    Tuesday, Jan. 27, had been surprisingly merciful for what is usually a pretty hectic day for the news staff. The week’s edition of the Journal-Democrat was almost ready for the printers, the winter sun was already in retreat and I was looking forward to a long drive home down Indiana 66.

  • Coats: Repeal medical device tax

    Sen. Dan Coats
    Guest Columnist

    Winston Church-ill famously said that a nation trying to tax itself into prosperity “is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

    Unfortunately, one of Indiana’s most vibrant, growing industries is currently stuck in this position because of a small provision tucked away in the 2,000-page Obamacare law. The 2.3 percent excise tax on total sales of medical devices imposed by this law is hindering Hoosier innovation and job creation.

  • Love is in the air ... I guess

    Vince Luecke


    I spied a dead skunk on Main Street in Tell City Friday morning and have seen and smelled other skunks – dead and alive – during recent travels.

    Yes, skunks are on the move as their mating season nears. Skunks burrow into their dens during winter but emerge from time to time to feed and, in late winter, to mate. I don’t know if the skunks I’ve seen are in the mood to mate or simply hungry. Perhaps their presence is a sign of an early spring. Who needs Groundhog Day (observed today)?

  • Strengthening Indiana’s education policy

    State Sen. Erin Houchin


    After meeting with dozens of teachers across southern Indiana in the last year, the first bill I decided to author as a state senator works to move Indiana’s I-READ reading assessment from third grade to second grade.

    My legislation, Senate Bill 169, requires students who do not pass the I-READ reading assessment in second grade to retake the test during the third grade, which allows for more time and opportunity to strengthen reading abilities.

  • Brussels sprouts making comeback

    Jeneen Wiche

    Brussels sprouts have made a comeback. It used to be that no one like them and they were hard to come by fresh.

    Old varieties have been greatly improved from those forced on you as a child. Equally, updated cooking methods probably can stand some credit for elevating the previously mushy, bitter Barbie-doll-head-sized cabbage to a crispy, nutty treat.