Let’s just pack everything into one hectic week


By Gary Abernathy - gabernathy@timesgazette.com



My office incudes a wall abutting the former Armintrout building (sorry Bill, won’t be much longer until we stop calling it that since it’s gone now), and several times over the last few days it sounded like the demo crew ripping down the structure was pounding their way right into my space.

But they didn’t, and it was a little surprising to me when our wall stayed up as they tore the neighboring building down. So tightly were those walls pressed together that it was difficult to believe there was not one shared wall rather than two side by side.

On Thursday, when they actually took down most of the structure, Brenda Earley — our circulation manager whose workspace is also along the wall in question — and I stayed on the far side of our building, or out in the street watching them work. We ducked in and out of our stations only when necessary over the course of the morning, amidst the shake, rattle and roll.

Dave McLaughlin, the supervisor of the Evans crew that demolished the building, has a surgeon’s skill operating the big crane and bucket that dissected the Armintrout building piece by piece. It was impressive watching him carefully maneuver the teeth of the bucket, or just a tooth or two as needed, on top of, below or behind a beam, landing it gingerly just in the right spot to tear off certain pieces at a time.

I was also impressed with how quickly the cleanup got underway and how much progress they made in short order. The final task was to dismantle the last layer of brick that still stood against our building, which workers did mostly by hand on Monday.

After the demo is complete, work will start again on the “green space” park on Gov. Trimble Place that was briefly begun before demolition began. Then, someday, all the construction, disruption and inconvenience will finally come to an end.

The closed street and hot, humid temperatures into the 90s did us no favors at our open house on June 18 to celebrate 200 years, but about 150 people came through early in the day, from around 10:30 a.m. to about 1 p.m., based on how many people signed up for door prizes. Several former employees came then, and it was great seeing them and catching up. I hadn’t seen some of them since my first go-round here from 1983-91.

Later in the day, around 6 p.m., several former employees and carriers of both this newspaper and the Greenfield Daily Times came in for a reunion and a nice group photo. The drone picture that appeared on the front page of Tuesday’s paper was taken by Marco Renk of RSR Photography, and we had Emmy Jenkins on hand for backup in case of a drone malfunction. We loved the pic.

Thanks also to Shane Wilkin for delivering proclamations from both the Highland County Commissioners and State Sen. Bob Peterson. A couple of days later, Shane resigned his commission seat and was sworn-in a few short hours later to the Ohio House of Representatives. Good luck in Columbus, Shane, you’ll represent us well, I have no doubt.

On Wednesday we hosted a group meeting in our building of several of our sister newspaper managers from across southern Ohio, led by group publisher Bud Hunt. Thankfully, the city and the Evans crew agreed to hold off the next-door building demolition until Thursday.

Just to make sure we didn’t have a dull moment last week, we also held The Times-Gazette’s annual Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame and Scholar-Athlete awards (trying to think of a shorter name for that event) on Thursday at the Ponderosa Banquet Center.

Everyone pitches in for that one, but it’s really a Jeff Gilliland production. Jeff sends letters to all the schools asking for student athlete nominations, coordinates with the inductees, writes the stories about them, takes care of making sure the trophies and medallions are ready, and then plays host for most of the banquet. It’s a special annual event, and every year many attendees go out of their way to express their appreciation.

Thanks also to Andrea Holt and her staff at Ponderosa. The banquet is dear to her heart, and she and her crew go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure it’s a great event. Andrea, the roast beef was especially good this year. Make that for Rotary soon, OK? The crowd this year was so large that extra tables were being set up as the start time drew near, and the banquet center was about as full as it can be.

After last week’s adventures, this week has to be normal by comparison.

Finally, a word of condolence to the family of firefighter/EMT Joe Patterson, who was killed in an accident Sunday at Paint Creek’s Rainsboro station. Prayers not only for his family and friends, but also for his family of fellow firefighters, who I know were severely shaken. God bless.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456, or follow on Twitter @AbernathyGary.

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By Gary Abernathy

gabernathy@timesgazette.com