‘Pied Piper of Poetry’ visits local elementary schools

Students from Hoover and Nicholson elementary schools will be getting their creative juices flowing this week as they spend time with visiting author Barry Lansky.

Lansky, a children’s poet and author, began at Hoover on Tuesday with a whole-school assembly. The rest of the afternoon consisted of small group workshops with two classes at a time. The workshops will continue at Hoover today and then Lansky will spend Thursday at Nicholson.

Hoover’s media specialist, Jacinda Smith, said that in the age of standardized testing, it’s nice for students to spend time simply being creative.

Though he’s also known for his baby name books that have sold more than seven million copies, it’s Lansky’s humorous poems that have caused some of his followers to give him the title “King of Giggle Poetry.”

There were certainly a lot of giggles during the workshops on Tuesday.

“The students at this school are not only well-mannered and attentive,” Lansky said, “but I have managed to illicit a creative response from them that surprised me in a really good way.”

Lansky and the students worked on creating rhyming poems about various topics. Before lunch, the students created an eight-stanza poem about Oreos that kept getting stranger the longer it got.

“They were into it!” Lansky said. “I couldn’t stop them! It was like a flood that got started. Their enthusiasm and excitement was really great.”

Students would chime in when they thought of a new idea or a new rhyme that would work well for their poem.

“I loved coming up with parts for the poem,” said student Maya Eubank. “It was kind of hard and kind of easy, but ... I love poetry.”

Lansky thought students would simply give him plot ideas for the poem; he wasn’t expecting them to create lines by themselves.

“I was thinking when he was talking,” student Edgar Andrade said. “I kept raising my hand like crazy because I had new ideas.”

Lansky visits schools to promote his books. Some of the teachers buy the books for their classroom and use them throughout the year. Some books are also donated by Lansky to the schools’ libraries.

However, he also sees his tours as a way to help, encourage and teach students across the country. He sees himself as a “pied piper” who teaches students his craft in hopes some of them will follow in his footsteps one day.

Iconic Lyons Music sign removed

An iconic sign was lowered from its long-time, downtown perch. On Tuesday, the Lyons Music sign was removed from the front of 210 N. Green St., not to be discarded, but to be made to turn on again.

The plan is to have Phantom Neon Signs and Graphics restore the piece. Once in working order, the sign will be placed on display at the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County.

Bernard and Robin Thompson, who bought the building that formerly housed the music store, and most recently a sewing machine shop, understood the sign represented many memories centered around music for many local residents. Many people remember buying instruments, instrument accessories and sheet music at the store.

“When we bought the building I told my husband that this sign means a lot to the people in the Crawfordsville area,” Robin said. “It hit me that we should give it to the Carnegie Museum. Looking down at the sign from the upstairs apartment we could tell it was in good shape considering how old it is.”

Crawfordsville Main Street board member Becky Hurt watched as the sign was lowered to the ground. She is happy the sign is being saved.

“I think this is marvelous that Phantom Neon can save this sign,” Hurt said. “And then, to be able to see it light up again at the museum is wonderful. I am so thankful the Thompsons are saving it and donating it for all to enjoy again. I remember having the Strand Theater sign all lit up and the Lyons Music sign lit up right on the same street. Lyons Music Store had the best selection of sheet music that you would find anywhere.”

Robin, who also is a Crawfordsville Main Street board member, has memories of taking music lessons inside the store.

“When I was a student at Tuttle Middle School we would meet our music director, Connie Meek, at Lyons Music Store,” Robin said. “We would work on our musical pieces in preparation for the contests at DePauw University.”

Taking down the sign down drew a lot of attention. Many people stopped to take photos on their phones. One motorist in particular stopped the vehicle and jumped out to find out what was going one. The man was Crawfordsville resident Rick Lyon. He asked what was going to happen to the sign, and was relieved to learn it would have a new home at the museum.

“My dad’s cousin owned the store, and if the sign was going to be junked, I was going to take it to save it,” he said. “I am thrilled with the plan that will see the sign end up in the museum. That is just great.”

The building will soon house a bakery, Maxine’s on Green. It will specialize in sweet baked goods.

Men set to model ‘Bras for a Cause’

Every October, players and cheerleaders in the National Football League get a new, pink look to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This Saturday, members from Wabash College’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity also will get a new look for the third annual Bras for a Cause.

The men will model bras designed by local artists and will be up for auction during the event, which will take 6-11 p.m. Saturday at the Crawfordsville Country Club, 3272 Country Club Road.


“They’ve been on board every year,” said Missie Bickel who began Bras for a Cause. She said fraternity members model the bras by strutting around the room, which is most people’s favorite part of the event. The past two years, people have gotten into bidding wars, which she hopes happens again.

Throughout the rest of the event, there also will be a silent auction, raffles and games.

Bickel tries to do something new for the event each year, so this year, organizers are having a wine pull. For $10, participants will get to choose any bottle of wine from the many different kinds that were donated by local companies, some of which may cost up to $75 in stores.

Bras for a Cause, with the theme “Peace, Love, Cure” this year, is a fundraiser benefiting the FAITH Alliance Fund through the Montgomery County Free Clinic. All proceeds raised during the event will go to FAITH Alliance and stay in Montgomery County.

“I am a three-year cancer survivor,” Bickel said, “and I just wanted to find a way to give back.”

Even though she is still in treatment, Bickel said so many people have supported her and prayed for her. She wanted to start Bras for a Cause to raise money and awareness.

Men wearing bras instead of suits and ties or button-up shirts puts a much different spin on fundraisers, which was Bickel’s goal.

Admission to Bras for a Cause is free and open to the public.

Roofs repaired in Haiti

Thanks to Young’s Chapel Christian Church several families in Haiti can now safely sleep at night during rain storms. The rural northern Montgomery County church in partnership with the Crawfordsville Rotary Club replaced roofs on 15 Haitian homes and repaired 12 others.

Rotary member Ron Hess, who frequents the impoverished Caribbean country while representing St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, said the project receives ongoing support.

“Young’s Chapel is really getting involved with helping people in Haiti,” Hess said. “They are always asking what can they do next.”

The replaced roofs were made of grasses and banana tree leaves. When it rains hard, the roofs do not stop water from entering the Haitian huts. If the inhabitants cannot cover their furniture and other belongings, the rain water can end up destroying what little the family owns.

“I have been in the huts with poor grass roofs when it is raining, and they do not do the job,” Hess said. “Now we know at least a total of 27 families who have a good roof over their head thanks to Young’s Chapel.

The project is not totally free to the Haitian families. They must put some sweat equity into the projects by helping carry supplies to the construction site, remove the old roof and do other necessary preparations for the new roofing.

Materials used to replace the old roofs include sheet metal made with zinc. The estimated life of the new roof is 15 to 20 years.

Homes that had roof work done are in the western part of Haiti, close to Jereme. The Young’s Chapel roof projects are in and nearby the village of Carrefour Sanon.

Station 2 planning started

The city of Crawfordsville is moving forward in the process of building a new fire station on the east side of Crawfordsville.

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton said that city officials met Monday to begin putting together a timetable for the project.

The city has agreed to pay $175,000 for the piece of property to the west of the current station. The land currently is home to Second Baptist Church.

Barton said Monday night that a tentative closing date for the sale is Nov. 15. He said the city is waiting for results from a Phase One environmental study on the land. The results should have been back last week, Barton said.

“These things are incredibly slow,” Barton said.

The mayor said that he is hopeful the city and church will be able to close on the property before Nov. 15.

Once the city acquires the land, Barton said that the demolition work could still be done this year.

“We want to be ready to build in the spring,” he said.

Before work can begin, Barton said that the plans will have to go back to the city council for funding.

“They appropriated enough to get started,” Barton said. “But not enough to build the station.”

The council approved the purchase of the land in August. The council approved a $1,100,000 bond order to pay for the acquisition of land and to build the new station in June.