August 29, 2007

Encyclopeda of Life

NatureServe's Online Encyclopedia of Life

No Furry Humans

A magazine or journal called "Medical Hypothesis" has awarded a prize to Judith Rich-Harris, a psychologist who wrote a paper theorizing why there are no furry humans:
Harris' paper describes Stone Age societies in which the mother of a newborn had to decide whether she had the resources to nurture her baby. The newborn's appearance probably influenced whether the mother kept or abandoned it. An attractive baby was more likely to be kept and reared.

Harris' theory is that this kind of parental selection may have been an important force in evolution. If Stone Age people believed that hairless babies were more attractive than hairy ones, this could explain why humans are the only apes lacking a coat of fur. Harris suggests that Neanderthals must have been furry in order to survive the Ice Age. Our species would have seen them as "animals" and potential prey. Harris' hypothesis continues that Neanderthals went extinct because human ancestors ate them.

This is a good opportunity to discuss when to listen to scientists and when to ignore them. None of her theory above has anything to do with her area of training. She is not an anthropologist, she is not an archaeologist, she is not a biologist, she is not an historian. There is no reason to lend credence to her theory any more than she would consider anything I had to say about psychology.

There is no evidence that Neanderthals were furry. There is no evidence that modern man considered Neanderthals animals. There is no evidence that any human society, stone age or not, ever killed their children based on their attractiveness or hairiness, and there is certainly, without a doubt, absolutely no evidence that modern man killed and ate Neanderthals into extinction. None, nada, zip.

Now, if I were to write something about psychology, I might say that Ms. Harris' article is about her own feelings. She harbors deep-set feelings of remorse over having children during her prime career years. She thought she would have time after her children to return to her work, but instead became ill, bed-ridden with lupus and systemic sclerosis. Subconsciously she believes her pregnancies were the cause of her illness and she places these feelings in the only safe place she can: into the minds of stone-age mothers who murder their children when they are born.

Yes, of course that's a crock, I'm no psychologist, I only read her biography at one of the links up above. No one would ever listen to a computer science major spout off about psychology.

And neither should anyone listen to a psychologist spout off about prehistoric human cultures, what those cultures considered attractive and whether they killed their babies and ate their enemies.

Fort Wayne to Phoenix

Fort Wayne wins new Air Allegiant routes: Fort Wayne to Phoenix and Fort Wayne to Ft. Lauderdale. Excellent news for our Sevens members in the Phoenix and Ft. Lauderdale areas.
Flights from Fort Wayne to Phoenix-Mesa are scheduled to begin Nov. 21, and flights to Fort Lauderdale are scheduled to begin Dec. 14. The airline will fly into Phoenix-Mesa using the Williams Gateway Airport and will fly into the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

Amazingly Bad Essays

Good for a chuckle.

Sports Roundup 8-29-2007

The Banner rounds it up.

Girls Soccer, Girls Volleyball and Boys Tennis: all victorious.

August 28, 2007

World Largest Diamond

Rumor has it that a 7,000 carat diamond has been unearthed in South Africa. That would be over twice as large as any other diamond ever found. Of course it may not be true, but the article says there is, at least, a picture circulating of it.

This reminded me of a story I read awhile back about some 8 year old twins unearthing a 2.5 carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Stories like that make me want to set my own 8 year old to work with a shovel... maybe there's a 7,000 carat rock just waiting for her to find it -- like some missing lotto ticket from Richmond.

Update, the mystery deepens

Update 2, fake! Made of plastic.

Beasley Booed

My kids went to school with Demarcus Beasley at South Side in Fort Wayne, so I've followed his soccer career a little bit more than I would just any Fort Wayne athlete. Beasley is playing for a team in Scotland now, against teams in Europe, and I'm sorry to say that he's been the object of racist taunts and jeers at many stops.

Today, though, he was only booed as his Glasgow Rangers advanced over the Belgrade Red Stars.

Zap Electric Car

An Indiana driver was able to go just over 50 miles in an electric car made by Zap.
"I went to the home of my uncle in a neighboring town that is 26.1 miles from home," said XEBRA owner Jon Faux of Elkhart, Indiana. "After arriving and seeing he was not home, I decided to attempt the impossible and return home without any additional charging. While I didn't make it, I did make it to the home of a friend after 50.2 miles per charge. The first thing I did was call my dealer and tell him the good news!"
I'm afraid the first thing I would have done is sell my car if it wouldn't go 52 miles. Sell it and maybe buy back the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado I drove back when I was at Ball State. The one in the picture is Jay Leno's -- mine was Maroon. The '66 Toronado was the first front-wheel drive car since the 1930's, had 119 inch wheel base and weighed nearly 4500 pounds. It had a 425 cubic inch V8 engine with a four barrel carburator and a 25 gallon gas tank. True, it only got 12 miles to the gallon, but 12x25 gets you a lot further than 50 miles.

It's not that I'm not green -- just call me nostalgic. Shoot, for $30 a year I can buy a Terrapass to offset the CO2 emissions of driving the Toronado to work everyday -- just like Al Gore does for his mansion and his private jet flights. I'll just put a Terrapass bumper sticker on the back of my muscle car so nobody will hate me and tool the roads in style while saving the planet... just as green as that fellow from Elkhart who puttered to a stop in his high-tech golf cart before he could reach home.

Biofuel or Food

From the Guardian: The Looming Food Crisis. The article examines the cost of using food for fuel.
While this may be marginally better for carbon emissions and energy security, it is proving horrendous for food prices and anyone who stands in the way of a rampant new industry. A year or two ago, almost all the land where maize is now being grown to make ethanol in the US was being farmed for human or animal food. And because America exports most of the world's maize, its price has doubled in 10 months, and wheat has risen about 50%.

The Guardian is alarmist, especially later in the article, but there's a grain of truth in what they say (no pun on "grain" intended). Paying top dollar for grain to convert it into fuel raises the price and lowers the availability of food -- and it doesn't offset Carbon Dioxide very much, if at all.

Norwell Football Team #2

The Norwell Football Team jumped from number three ranked to number two ranked in class 3A rankings after defeating Heritage over the weekend.

Volleyball Notes

As I mentioned before, the Norwell girls volleyball team is chocked full of Sevens relatives. They rolled over Keystone to improve to 6-2 on the season.

Of special note, the Bluffton News-Banner Sports Round-Up, linked above, also mentions that Ashtyn Humerickhouse was named to the Indiana Tech all-tournament team at the University of Michigan Early Bird Tournament. Ms. Humerickhouse is a past Norwell standout and daughter of Sevens member Noreen (Huyghe) Humerickhouse.

Lady Warriors take third at Early Bird Tournament

Indiana-Tech vs. Northern Kentucky

August 27, 2007


You've probably heard all about the Army moving mercury from the New Haven Depot and taking it to Nevada. But do you wonder why America stockpiles thousands of tons of Mercury? Why does the Defense National Stockpile Center have over 600 tons of mercury in New Haven in the first place?

The answer is: Mercury is used in the refining process that creates large amounts of Lithium 6 (Li-6) which is one of the main components of thermonuclear fusion warheads. Mercury is converted to lithium and lithium is the fuel that is bombarded by an atom bomb (fission bomb, like Hiroshima) to make it achieve a hydrogen fusion reaction. Get that? Atom bombs are the triggers that set off fusion bombs.

Great Cats of Indiana

I wasn't surprised when I saw that LSU purchased a Bengal tiger for a mascot, but when I found out it came from Indiana, and not from a zoo... I read further. Have you ever heard of "Great Cats of Indiana" just west of Logansport? Me either. I might have to stop in there sometime when I go to Purdue. It sounds as if they do good works.

It wasn't that long ago when there was a bobcat loose in Fort Wayne and the police ended up killing it. And if I remember correctly, wasn't there a big, black cat videotaped over around Decatur last year... maybe a leopard, or a panther? Whatever happened with that?

Hardware and Tools

I believe you can buy anything you need on the Internet. Just last week, at the St. Al's school festival, I bought an old cafeteria table -- you know those kind that fold up vertically and move on wheels -- and it was fine except it needed new rubber things on the ends of the table legs so I wouldn't scratch up my basement floor.

What do you call those things? Anyone? Anyone?

Rubber table leg tips.

So I bought them from and they arrived today: perfect fit.

Squirrel Hunting Accident

A Markle hunting accident.

Update: thought he was a squirrel.

Parody Site

OK, I realize that is a parody site and not the real thing, but this fake entry by Al Sharpton about how police would handle Bret Favre fighting dolphins (as opposed to Michael Vick fighting pit bulls) just made me laugh... don't miss all the fake comments as well... and some may be by people who don't understand it's a joke.
If the police caught Brett Favre running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other to the death, would they bust him? Of course not. They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly-spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins.

Farm Accident

A sad farm accident down by Franklin, IN.
There is only one solution - stay out of the bin if the auger is turned on. Field emphasizes there is virtually no way to escape once the grain sucks a person in. There are very few survivors, and those that survive are often saved by some miraculous circumstance.

Culver Military Fire

A Barracks burned at Culver Military last night. The cadets are safe and handled the situation "admirably" -- as one would guess.

August 26, 2007

American Chestnut

Reintroducing the American Chestnut. Except for natural history buffs, few people remember what American chestnuts even look like. It took me months to realize I had three Chinese Chestnuts on my property -- I had never seen a chestnut before. So complete was the blight that wiped them out in the early 1900's, even my excellent, tree-identifying aunts and uncles didn't recognize the trees. What used to be a staple food, stored in attics and eaten all winter long, disappeared from America. I sent pictures and sample leaves to the American Chestnut Foundation, who verified mine were Chinese, and not blight-resistant American Chestnuts. Click on the picture above to get a close-up view.


2006 Indiana Senate Resolution
Whereas, [Sevens member] Teri Rosinski became the third woman to both play and coach in the state finals and, in 2002, the first to win a state championship.


According to the, there are still 22 open drive-in theaters in Indiana. That number, if it's accurate, has gone down by one now that the Clermont Drive-In has closed. I could be wrong, but I don't believe we ever took our kids to a drive-in. It's hard to believe that something that was such a part of summer life when we were growing up has nearly disappeared. The Bluffton Drive-In was such a wonderful place to hang out, don't you think? Sitting on the hood of your car, leaning back on the windshield . . . or backing your truck in and sitting on lawn chairs in the bed. So what if the movies were hard to see and were, for the most part forgettable. It was the company and the atmosphere of freedom that drew us in.

How many theaters were there? The East 30 out on the way to New Haven, the Hillcrest out by Southtown Mall, The Ft. Wayne Drive-In right there on Bluffton Road near Waynedale, the LincolnDale Drive-In on Goshen Road out by the Zoo. Were there more? I remember one in Decatur and one in Huntington that were open long after those in Ft. Wayne had closed.

I miss them all.

Norwell Defeats Heritage

Norwell 7 Heritage 0 in a tight, suspension laden game.

August 25, 2007

Ossian Geothermal

WaterFurnace International teamed up with Bee Creek Developments to create a 100% geothermal subdivision in Ossian.
The system contains hundreds of feet of polyethylene coils buried about five feet beneath the ground’s surface. These coils act as a huge radiator. They contain water with an antifreeze solution that is circulated under 60 pounds of pressure.

The system absorbs and exchanges heat in the ground. The fluid circulating in the pipes absorbs the ground’s heat when the weather is cold to produce warm air for the house. When the weather is hot, the system reverses. Heat is pulled from the building and deposited in the cooler ground to create cool air for the house.

These systems do not burn fossil fuel, so they don’t emit greenhouse gases or contribute to global warming. They are quiet, easy to maintain and extremely efficient. Ritchey said the WaterFurnace system achieves 500 percent efficiency.

The subdivision is called "The Bridges" and is located across from the new park on Locker Plant road.

Sevens members Bob Brown and Lynn Gehring both work at Water Furnace in Ft. Wayne.

August 24, 2007

The Internet is Forever

From the the May 11, 1981 Harvard Crimson: "Thinclads Stomp Yale:"
In the shotput, senior [and Sevens member] Allen Strehler got a second place with a distance of 47 ft. 5 1/4 in., his last Crimson throw before turning in his jersey.

Congratulations, Al! 26 years later.

Norwell vs. Heritage

The game has been rescheduled for tomorrow night at 7pm.

Sievers Robbed

Bob Sievers, 90, famous WOWO radio personality, was NOT elected to the Radio Hall of Fame.

Sports Roundup 8-24-2007

The News-Banner rounds it up.

If the weather in Ft. Wayne is any indication, Heritage may have to wait awhile yet to face Norwell.

Michael Vick Trial

Purple Heart Highway

Indiana State Road One has a new name: "Purple Heart Memorial Highway" to honor all the sacrifices of the dead and wounded who served the United States in war. This actually happened at the Beginning of August, but I don't recall reading about it until now.

August 23, 2007

The Onion

If you aren't familiar with "The Onion," it's an online site that spoofs news. Here's some examples:
Payton Manning Shows His Backup Proper Way to Hold Clipboard

Burger King Employee Places Single Onion Ring in Everyone's Fries

Sorry, they make me laugh. :)

Biodiesel Pros and Cons has a nice article on the upsides and downsides of converting crops into fuel.
The shift of American corn production to biofuels has created shortages in other nations. Taiwan experienced such a corn shortage in 2006 that China had to make up the shortfall from previous U.S. sources. Earlier in 2007, a dramatic rise in Mexican tortilla prices was blamed for the shift of American corn exports to ethanol. As forecast by Purdue University, Indiana ethanol production will shortly consume upward of 608 million bushels of corn annually. The result of this diversion, according to USDA chief economist Keith Collins, will be that "the livestock industry will face the challenge of dealing with higher feed costs" over the next several years.William J. Hudson of the ProExporter Network is much more blunt in his remarks from Aug. 2006: "Cheap feed grains like corn may not be possible in a world with crude oil priced at $70 a barrel or more. Cheap meat may not be either."

Where are the Women Coaches?

An interesting fact: when Title IX was passed in 1972, outlawing sex discrimination in school sports, 90% of girls teams had women coaches. Today, that number is down to 42%. Where are the Women Coaches? And what difference does it make?
Although it's easy to minimize the impact of the women's coaching shortage--for example, fathers often introduce young girls to sports and remain active in their athletic development, so many female college players say they prefer playing for a male coach--here's why we shouldn't: most student athletes spend more time with their coach than with any other adult at school. Many coaches wield enormous influence on campus and in their communities. So what message is being sent to young women when men fill most of these leadership roles? "Their own expectations, their own aspirations are limited and distorted as a result," says Marcia Greenberger, a co-president of the National Women's Law Center.

Google Cents

As I said in the very first Sevens post, I've never tried to use the Internet to raise money, so Sevens is a learning experience. Any money made, though, will go into the Sevens class fund. I don't presume to know what kind of formula Google uses to convert ad clicks into pennies, but it appears we're making about sixteen cents a day on average. Click on the chart above to see a bigger version. In theory, Google will send me a check in September for money made in August. Anyway, thanks for your clicks, send in your news and let me know if you want to post some yourself.

Purdue Probation

The Purdue Women's basketball team has been put on two years' NCAA probation.

Crisis of Faith

I read Time's article on Mother Teresa today.

It's unsettling that letters she wrote to her confessors and friends, which she specifically requested be destroyed at her death, are now the subject of a book. That said, I find her life all the more remarkable for the "dark years" she experienced. Not for everyone, I know, but if you have the time...


We recently celebrated our 30th year of escaping the halls of Norwell, which means Voyager I and Voyager II are celebrating their 30th year in Outer Space.

A Signal of Alarm


Norwell vs. Heritage

The Norwell football team hasn't faced off against Heritage since 1988, but they'll meet again this weekend.

Norwell and Heritage played 21 times when they were members of the Allen County Athletic Conference. The last time the Knights and Patriots played was in 1988 before Norwell left the ACAC to join the Northeast Hoosier Conference.

Norwell owns a 12-9 record in the series.

As a past member of the Norwell football team, I remember the Patriots very well. In fact, I think I still have a scar from Rex Counterman running over me into the end-zone. Or maybe it's just a dent in my pride.

Sports Roundup 8-23-2007

The Banner Rounds it up.

Take special notice that the Norwell girls volleyball team wins again, with Sevens member Mike Painter's daughter Alison Painter, Sevens member Tim Baker's niece Alex Baker and Sevens member Jan (Amburn) Stronczek's daughter Lindsay Stronczek all on the varsity squad.

Roomba 500

OK, an automatic vacuum cleaner. Gotta get me one of those.

Catching Up with Chandler

The Bluffton News-Banner brings us up-to-date on Chandler Harnish, Norwell's quarterback last year, who's attending Northern Illinois.

A pair of true freshmen in DeMarcus Grady (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) and Chandler Harnish (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell HS) continue to battle for the No. 3 quarterback spot.

“Both have shown signs of promise, and both have the raw physical tools it takes to play quarterback,” Wittke said. “They have done a good job with keeping up with the fast pace of camp.”

Head coach Joe Novak said that by the time Northern Illinois begins “game week” preparations for the Huskies’ season opener with Iowa, either Grady or Harnish will be named the number three signal-caller.

August 22, 2007

Norwell Defeats Huntington North

In a very nice article, Paul Beitler of the Bluffton Banner calls the volleyball match for Norwell.

Norwell had taken the first two games in decisive fashion, but then the Knights let the Vikings win the next two to force the fifth and deciding game.

However, the Knights finally woke up and defended their court, winning 25-19, 25-22, 14-25, 21-25, 15-12.

“I feel like this team decides when [they do] and when they don’t want to focus,” said Norwell coach Josh Lee, who made his players run sprints after the match was over.

Ah, he let them take victory laps... what a thoughtful coach. Read the whole article, it's a nice write up.

Joy Bubbles has died

Joe Engressia (a.k.a. Joy Bubbles) has died. He was the original hacker. Born blind with an IQ of 172, he hacked into the Bell Telephone system before he was 10 years old and learned how to control Bell's switching system by whistling tones into the receiver with perfect pitch. Given two phones, he was able to call from one, switch through systems all around the world, and talk to himself on the other.

Some see Engressia's relationship and understanding of the phone system as the beginning of the computer culture, and certainly many of the earliest pioneers in home computing studied his work and life with excitement. There have been pretenders and copycats, but there was only one Joy Bubbles. He was an inspiration to many, despite his troubled past and strange life.

Indiana Trails

Indiana Trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, etc.

The Lawn

Are you tired of Deer Creek and looking for another outdoor concert venue?
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2007) This summer's attendance at the National City concert series at The Lawn in White River State Park doubled last year's attendance. More than 50,000 people attended 11 concerts this summer compared to 26,000 people at the same number of concerts last year. The National City concert series season began June 15 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the music of Led Zeppelin and ended Aug. 9 with Bryan Adams with special guest George Thorogood & The Destroyers. In between, the season featured 3 sold out shows with The Fray, Bob Dylan and Incubus. Other acts that played included OAR, Snow Patrol, and Alison Krauss & Union Station.

The Lawn is on the same general campus as the Indy Zoo.

Sports Roundup 8-22-2007

The Banner rounds it up.

Notice the item at the bottom of the Sports Roundup:

Norwell baseball plans golf outing

The Norwell Baseball Club’s Turf’s Up fall golf scramble is set for Sept. 29 for a 1 p.m. shotgun start at Timber Ridge golf course in Bluffton. Entry fee is $65 and deadline is Sept. 21. For more information and registration forms call [Sevens member] Kurt Gray at (260) 758-3104 or 744-4387 or email at

Parker Assigned to Missoula Osprey

Jarrod Parker has joined his first pro team, the Missoula Osprey in Missoula, Montana.

I wrote a bit about genealogy the the other day, and then heard this news on the radio this morning.
Today, announced a new partnership with Allen County Public Library (ACPL) [in Fort Wayne, IN], the largest public genealogy library in the United States, to digitize millions of historical records, making them available online for the first time at

As I said, I've played in the Genealogy Department at the Allen County Public Library and they have book after book of every birth, marriage and death in not only Allen, but Wells and other counties... not to mention census records from all over the country.

August 21, 2007

Preventing Casualties in Iraq

Speaking of the war effort, Sevens member Sue (Fahl) King sends along a story from CNN: Jamming Systems Play Secret Role in Iraq.

If you've followed the war news, you know many of the American casualties have been caused by IED's, Improvised Explosive Devices, planted along the roads and detonated remotely by cell phones or radio signals. Sue works for JFW Industries out of Indianapolis which makes components for Warlock Duke, the CREW system developed by Syracuse Research being used in IRAQ. A CREW system jams the radio signals that detonate IEDs.

Thanks for the story, Sue, and for helping to shepherd this system that's saving our soldiers lives.


Motorcycle Ride Against Diabetes

The third annual "Dallas and Reid's Ride" will be held on September 15th. The 50 miles tour has a police escort and starts and ends at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Aeries in Plainfield, IN (just southwest of Indy). See the link for registration information. Last year, more than 600 bikes participated; raising nearly $68,000 in pledges for Juvenile Diabetes. This year, organizers are hoping for 1000 bikes and $100,000 in pledges.

Some other Indiana Motorcycle Charity Events.

Fort Wayne is Number One !!

Among cities who host minor league sports teams.

How would that compare to, say, doctors? Fort Wayne has more doctors wishing they could leave town than any other city? Or maybe, Fort Wayne has the best second and third tier doctors in America? How about, Lutheran, Parkview and St. Joe are great training grounds for doctors in Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis and Minnesota.

Decatur Rainfall

Decatur sets a record: 5.09 inches of rain in one day.

Indiana Air National Guard

300 members of the Indiana Air National Guard out of Ft. Wayne will be deploying to Iraq next month, including Sevens member Greg Keesling, who assured us at the reunion he will be fixing airplanes out of harms way.

Claypool Biofuel Plant Opens

The summer has been hard on farmers and crop stress continues, despite the recent rain. It doesn't help the weather, but perhaps having the world's largest soybean, biofuel processing plant just down the way in Claypool (near Warsaw) will help our local farmers in years to come.

Update: Record Rainfall

Update 2: Tropical Storms Could bring Soybean Rust to Indiana

Note: January, 2005: Sevens member Tim Baker vs. Soybean Rust:
The threat of Asian soybean rust should not change the way a producer farms, according to a recent article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. At a recent meeting of northeastern Indiana farmers, Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt said that soybean rust could narrow the profit margins of farmers in the area, but planting different crops to avoid the disease would likely cost more. Hurt was among the speakers at a soybean rust workshop held in Fort Wayne recently, attended by about 120 farmers. "It could be devastating, we don't know, but the fear of the unknown may be bigger than what the reality of the disease really is," Hurt said. Tim Baker, who farms 2,500 near Ossian in Wells County, said he attended the workshop to develop a plan to deal with a soybean rust outbreak. He said he learned the best ways and times to apply fungicide in order to protect crops from the disease. "It's pretty devastating if you get it," he said.

Turf's Up Sept. 29

Interested in the Annual Turf's Up Norwell Baseball Club Golf Outing/Fundraiser? Contact Sevens member Kurt Gray sooner rather than later.

Steffey Rests

Both my sons were attending Purdue in West Lafayette when freshman Wade Steffey went missing, only to be found two months later in an electrical utility room. It was after hours and he was trying to find an alternate way into a dorm where he had left his coat when he found a wrong door open. His family settled its lawsuit with Purdue today.

I don't know what to say, really. Of course that door should have been locked and of course Purdue was at fault. It's hard to step back and see anything else but a young man's life cut short, but it currently costs approximately $15,000.00 a year to attend Purdue and it isn't the Congressmen or the Professors or the Administrators who are going to pay the $600,000 settlement -- it's the students and the parents and the tax payers. I'm not sure how much, if any, of the settlement will be covered by Purdue's insurance policies, but I'm sure rates will go up to cover the loss.

And what would I have done different if it had been my son? I'd rather not think about it.

Update: Steffey Family Statement

The Flash Makes the Difference

Are you ever on the fence about using the flash or not in your photographs? Here's a guide.

Parker Introduced to Media

Norwell's own Jarrod Parker talks to the media.

August 20, 2007

Norwell Volleyball Wins

The Norwell girls volleyball teams won the Jay County Invitational Tournament.

Notice the digs by Lindsay Stronczek, daughter of Sevens member Jan.


The Internet has revolutionized many things, but it's hard to think of anything the web has simplified as much as genealogy. I'm not as obsessed with searching for past family records as many people, but I used to spend some time at the library and courthouse, looking over old census records on microfilm and old county marriage, birth and death records in gigantic books. I made my parents a nice, framed family tree chart for Christmas one year. Sadly, I was never able to find a link between Sevens member Mike McAfee and myself -- even though we have a lot of family names in common.

Now, it is so, so much easier. Software like Family Tree Maker is amazing. It gets you started, prints out wonderful charts and searches online data endlessly for your ancestors and cousins. I've emailed with McAfee's I never would have known otherwise. And there are many other free genealogy sites online.

Rootsweb, for example, has a Wells County website. Click on "The Good Stuff" to find lots of old pictures and information about Wells County. There's so much data in just that one spot, you could browse for hours. has a location called "GenForum" where you just click on your last name and see folks you can email with all over the country, sometimes all over the world, investigating your name.

If you didn't know, the Mormon church (LDS) maintains a huge collection of genealogical records... now they are searchable at

There are many, many other sites -- like Cyndi's list and the Genealogy Home Page and the National Archives genealogy site -- that can jump start about any search.

Wells County GIS Viewer

Want to look up a piece of property in Wells County? Try out the Wells County GIS Viewer -- it not only allows you to search by address or by owner, but you can pull up a picture of the house and details about the land, taxes and past ownership.

One note: Turn off your pop-up blocker or hold down your Ctrl key because it pops up the information you're looking for.

August 19, 2007


I didn't realize Bluffton had an online calendar...and it looks like someone actually keeps it up-to-date... I'll put a link to it on the right hand menu for keeps.

Sevens at the El Camino Real: 8-25

Ossian Days: 9-6 through 9-8

Bluffton Street Fair: 9-18 through 9-22

Knights Sports Roundup 08-17-2007

The Banner covers the bases in Tennis, Soccer, Volleyball, and Golf.

News-Sentinel: Norwell Still Strong in Blowout Over Leo.

Smallville Boys

Do you see what happens to a town when there's too many boys? Isn't there anything else in the picture they might use their x-ray vision to investigate? You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

Ossian Boys

Can someone tell me what was going on in Ossian 5 years ago that would have caused this spike in 5 year old boys? Poor kids, 50 boys vs. 24 girls... let's hope the Lancaster class evens that ratio out.

Six Million Dollar Man

With the Bionic Woman returning to the Fall lineup on TV this year, it's interesting that technology has nearly caught up with science fiction. Oscar Pistorius is a South African man (thank goodness, he never would have made through grade school in America with a name like "Pistorius") who was born without fibulas. As you can see in the picture, he uses amazing prosthetic legs in his races and is nearing South African record times. Depending on coming rulings, he may even be in the Beijing Oylmpics.

Pistorius, of course, has no choice in this matter. If he wants to run, he has to use prosthetics -- a tip of the hat to his courage and ability -- but really, how is he any different from those who use drugs to enhance their speeds (or home run hitting training regime). I don't suspect anyone would ever cut off their own legs to get faster, but if Pistorius was a swimmer instead of a runner and had prosthetic swim fins made, would we be discussing whether that was fair or not? I think his advantage would be obvious in the water, but exists no less on land.

Live Radio from Jamaica

24 hour Hurricane Dean coverage via Live, Streaming Audio from Jamaica. Click on the link and then click on "Listen Now" -- it doesn't matter which channel, it all goes to Jamaica. The Hurricane is starting to hit the island.

The Bronx is Burning

Has anyone been watching the ESPN mini-series, "The Bronx is Burnng?" I haven't caught every episode, but I've seen most of them and they're pretty good. It's about the New York Yankees in the summer of 1977. If you remember, George Steinbrenner hired Billy Martin to manage the Yankees and Billy Martin brought in Reggie, Mr. October, Jackson. At the same time, the Son of Sam was terrorizing the city, randomly shooting young women and young couples he found out in the evening.

The series is just coming into the playoffs and the 1977 world series, so I'm looking forward to how they portray Reggie Jackson's amazing performance back then.

Ruby Payne

Ruby Payne will be speaking at the Life Church in Bluffton on Sept. 6 at 8:30 a.m. Ms. Payne is a widely read author who writes about poverty and class in America. Sevens member Jon Bennett will also be involved in an afternoon session just for educators. Payne's theories are quite interesting and describe how the poor, middle class, and rich often talk past each other because they miss subtle communication queues they each learned as they were growing up. She discusses how the different classes in America have different skill sets that serve them well, but sometimes hamper communications.

It sounds quite interesting and makes me wonder how things have changed in the schools since we were Bears, Dodgers and Wildcats. I don't know if we were all in the same socio-economic class back then or if we just cared so much less about such things, but we mostly seemed to get along., don't you think? At least for the most part.

I do know that when I coached Little League at Foster Park for a few years, and helped at Harrison Hill, Memorial Park and South Side while my older kids were there -- it seemed much more difficult to simply talk to each other than I remember growing up.

Wells County United Way

I mentioned the efforts of Sevens member Tim George earlier, in kicking off the Marion United Way campaign. I should also add that another Sevens member, Brad Baumgartner, is on the Wells County Board of Directors of United Way.

Interested in supporting the United Way? Why not attend the $11 a plate Fall Kickoff at Lighted Gardens on August 24th. (Cutoff was 8-18, but there may yet be time).

Bob Sievers is 90

Yesterday was Bob Sievers' 90th birthday. Sevens members might remember waking up to "The Little Red Barn" on WOWO radio every day. I deal with people on the East Coast a lot in my work and it never fails to amaze me that when the topic turns to Ft. Wayne, they remember WOWO, too. I was talking to a guy out of Tewksbury, MA last week and even though he grew up 800 miles from Ft. Wayne, he remembers listening to Earl Finkle weather and hearing the Little Red Barn song every morning before school and other WOWO programming at night.

The remote purchase and loss of WOWO's Clear Channel license in 1994 was a real loss for the area.

Jarrod Parker News

An interesting article from the Arizona Republic on Jarrod Parker's negotiations and future.

August 18, 2007

The Kopper Kettle Inn

My niece got married today and the location of the wedding, and the reception, was The Kopper Kettle Inn in Morristown, IN. I had never been to Morristown before, it's a small town a little south and east of Indy. The Kopper Kettle Inn used to be a grain elevator in the 1800's, and was converted to a Tavern and then a Tea Room. It was a small, but interesting choice for a wedding location -- the patio garden (above) where we sat for the ceremony was beautiful and even my two nephews fighting over the ring-bearer pillow didn't ruin the evening. That's one of the little guys on the left, trying to retrieve a penny from the fountain right behind the bride. The other one was pinned in a choke hold by their mother at this point.

The food was excellent -- like grandma used to make. Baked steak, fried chicken, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes -- all presented in large, heaping service dishes and passed hand to hand by the guests as if it we were having Thanksgiving dinner.

I don't know how many the Inn can seat at once, but there are many rooms and our party of 80 or 100 folks only took up, probably, half the place.

As I waited outside before the Wedding, I shot the breeze with an old man whose wife provides piano music for the regular guests every Saturday night. The whole place has a homey, laid back, family atmosphere. I recommend it, and the traffic around the building made it obvious that many people already know about it.

Title IX and Norwell

Check out the quotes by Sevens member Teri Rosinski in this News-Sentinel article today on how Title IX changed the perception of female athletes.
Teri Rosinski is among those athletes who can vouch for what conditions were like before and after Title IX.

Rosinski was 13 years old when Title IX was passed. She was named Miss Basketball and graduated from Norwell High School in 1977. She also played collegiately on scholarship at Illinois State.

"I grew up in a neighborhood with boys and played pickup basketball games with them in the summer," Rosinski said. "We had ready-made teams in my neighborhood. Basically, I made my own opportunities."

When Sevens member (and former North Oaks neighbor of the Rosinski's) Tim George took credit for Teri's success recently, I thought he was kidding -- turns out he was right. There are more quotes in the article, linked above.

Update: This could very well be an old article from the News-Sentinal... the banner at the top shows the current date and time & made me think it was new. Still interesting, though. As I looked through the yearbooks for the reunion, it was glaring to see the GAA pictures in the early years as an all encompassing picture of "girls sports."

August 17, 2007

Neptune's Garden Productions

If you weren't able to attend the Sevens Reunion in August, or if you did and were distracted by how little we've all changed, you might have missed Sevens member John Wheeler's Excellent Dive Video (be patient for the video to load). There are lots of John's underwater videos and stills to be found in Neptune's Garden.


Sevens member Mike Roberts (out of Spring Harbor, Florida) sends along an interesting link to NASA TV... right now showing live images of the Earth from the Space Shuttle.

Note: Mike and Pat live in Palm Harbor, Florida, not Spring Harbor. :)

Hurricane Dean

All the models but one show Dean making landfall in the Yucatan, sparing Texas. Jamaica, however, doesn't look to be so lucky.

Update: Category 4.


Norwell vs. Leo

Norwell opens its football season tonight against Leo.

Update: Norwell wins their opener, 41-21, and they took the 2nd half off to boot.

August 16, 2007


I don't know if you're familiar with "Upward Sports" -- it's an evangelical sports ministry for kids from K through 6 that started in a church in South Carolina in 1986 and has grown like gangbusters. Today, half a million kids or so participate in Upward Football, Soccer, Basketball, and Cheerleading all over the country.

Sevens member Brad Mattax is a regional rep for Upward -- and what a region... Brad covers not only Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, but his region extends to the entire Northeast of the United States:
Brad is originally from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He started at Upward in September 2005. He has been an Upward Basketball League Director for 9 years, a Soccer League Director for 6 years, and a Flag Football Director for 2 years. He and his wife, Barb, have five children. Brad enjoys tennis and running Upward with his wife.

We all know, of course, that this blurb on Brad is wrong. He was originally from Road One, just north of Ossian.

Note: Upward Sports, Fort Wayne Area.

Sailsbery Returns

Past Northern Wells Super, Dr. Michael Sailsbery is the new, interim superintendent of Northern Wells Community Schools. He was coaxed back from Pennsylvania to fill the role until a permanent superintendent can be found.

You'll notice, in the article, that Sevens member Scott Elzey is a member of the school board.

Our question? Why doesn't Sevens member Jon Bennett, Principal and Assistant Superintendent down Bluffton way come home and take this job?

Muliple Chemical Sensitivity

If you know anyone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), you know how cleaning fluids, or perfumes or a wide variety of normal things found in homes or the workplace can trigger terrible headaches, weakness or dizziness. Thankfully, scientists, including Sevens member Dr. Barbara Sorg, are working to understand this disorder and its opposite (chemical addiction).

Pooley Enterprises

Sevens member Duane Heyne is the Construction Operations Manager for Pooly Enterprises out of Orlando. Duane has managed construction jobs for Lockheed Martin, NASA and even Disney World. How many of us have walked through the Asia Kiosk in the Animal Kingdom without knowing one of the Sevens helped put it in place?


Sevens member Gary Stefura out of Endicott, NY patents a transconductance current regulator.

Jarrod Parker Signs

Jarrod Parker, the ace pitcher from the 2007 State Champion Norwell Knights 3A baseball team, signed today with the Arizona Diamondbacks... including a $2.1 million signing bonus. Congratulations! And a tip of the hat to Sevens member and Norwell pitching coach, Kurt Gray.

August 15, 2007

Creative Arts Center of Wells County

Sevens member Mark Thomas will have some of his smithing art on display for the Creative Arts Center of Wells County October 15 through November 28, 2007. Click on Mark's picture, above, to go to his web site.


Sevens member Chuck Moughler bags a buck in 2003.

Jarrod Parker MRI

The Diamondbacks apparently want to make sure Jarrod Parker's insides match the quality of his stats.

August 14, 2007

Norwell Ranked #3

The 2007 Norwell Football team starts the season ranked #3 among 3A schools.

Class 3A

School W-L Pts
1. Bishop Chatard (11) (0-0) 256
2. Heritage Hills (1) (0-0) 212
3. Norwell (1) (0-0) 186
4. Andrean (0-0) 142
5. New Prairie (0-0) 132
6. Greensburg (0-0) 86
7. South Bend St. Joseph’s (0-0) 80
8. Batesville (0-0) 62
9. Vincennes (0-0) 44
(tie) NorthWood (0-0) 44

Water Furnace

Sevens member Bob Brown explains how advances in plastic pipes have aided geothermal heating and cooling.

Robert R. Brown, director of product development and marketing for WaterFurnace, says other technological improvements have propelled geothermal growth.

“What’s really changed, too, is plastic pipe,” he says. “It’s all thermally fused – the joints are fused plastic, so there are no glues and no clamps, and they don’t leak.” He calls the newer piping “very reliable” and maintenance-free, and says the life expectancy of the pipe “is about 200 years.”

United Way

Sevens member Tim George, working for WBAT Marion, helps jump start the United Way Campaign in Marion.

WBAT helped the United Way through an on-the-air auction Thursday morning that brought in $1,004.

"We just feel like we're contributing in a small way to jump start the (United Way) campaign with this," WBAT Operations Manager Tim George said.

August 3, 2007

Project Lead the Way

Sevens member Joy Garton Krueger joins Project "Lead the Way."

Joy Garton Krueger, Ph.D, most recently with the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Program of the Purdue University College of Engineering, has joined Project Lead The Way, Inc. (PLTW) as Director of Assessment and Evaluation. She brings a vast experience in higher education and P/K-12 leadership, teaching, program development and evaluation, and research to the PLTW initiative.

Dr. Krueger earned her doctorate at Purdue University College of Education from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Instructional Research and Development. She has served Purdue University in several roles throughout her fifteen year tenure.

There's much more information on Joy's career inside the link at the top. Congratulations, Joy!.

August 2, 2007

Masked Cooks

Sevens member Allen Strehler, gets a mention in the Chicago Sun-Times. June, 2007.

The masks have been in use since La Casa del Gordo opened in January. Restaurant owner Gerry Geffen was intrigued after having seen masks used at restaurants in Mexico. General manager Felipe Gaytan says customers ask about the masks "all the time."

Customer Allen Strehler, 48, calls the masks "more of an image thing."

'Makes you feel good'
"What really matters," Strehler says as he picks up a takeout lunch, "is how clean your utensils are in the work area and how the foods are treated before you get them."

August 1, 2007

First Entry

There's only so much a message board can do... I've wanted to play around with reporting items of interest in the area, especially items of interest to the Class of 77, while also allowing for pictures, creative thoughts and whatever else comes to mind.

Thus this site: Sevens (77).

I won't find out about everything, so send me information, if you want it added. And since many hands make easy work, just let me know if you want an invitation to add entries yourself, rather than just commenting, and I'll send an invite your way.

Lastly, by putting a little ad square and a search block on this blog, this site will hopefully generate funds for our next class event just by you reading this site. How? Well, you'll see an ad for various things on the right side of the Sevens page and every time someone views it or clicks on it, some pennies drop out of Google's pockets into the Sevens fund. Also, there is a search block at the bottom of the page, and every time someone uses it to search the Internet, there exists a possibility that Sevens will be credited. Easy and rather painless. I don't expect big things, but it will all go to our class and every little bit helps.

Note: Google gathers information. It's what they do. You should be aware of the following:
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