Stories in the Indianapolis Star and the Evansville Courier Press covering the Jasper story. (And, might I add, kudos to Mary Beth Schneider for covering all of these – I’m about as interested as a person gets about this issue, but even I wouldn’t care to sit through all of these hearings. The basic arguments remain the same, regardless of which part of the state you’re in.)
Burger said county residents had backed Central time by a 4-1 margin in a September local hearing, and that 81 percent of commuters into or out of Dubois County travel either from or into the Central time zone county. Illustrating the county’s orientation toward Evansville rather than Indianapolis and other Eastern time zone locations, Burger cited newspaper circulation statistics: The Evansville Courier & Press sells 2,376 daily papers and 4,944 Sunday papers in the county, compared with 265 dailies and 345 Sundays for the Indianapolis Star. “Evansville is by far where we get our information from,” he said.
Judy Colletta, moderator for the Department of Transportation, pushed speakers from counties outside of Dubois – they were numerous – to declare whether they would support Central time if Dubois remained on Eastern time. “That’s a loaded question,” exclaimed a man in the back of Jasper Arts Center. “That’s not the point. She doesn’t know the local issues.”
Those words still hung in the air when Spencer County Commissioners President Dan Rininger got a rise from fellow Central-time supporters, saying: “We’re dropping like flies over what happens to Dubois County. Being on the same time is the right thing to do.” Arguing the area geographically belonged in the Central zone, he added: “Someone years and years ago named us Midwesterners, not Mideasterners.”
Indiana Chamber of Commerce representative Brian Bergsma was on hand.
Brian E. Bergsma, said 65 of the 82 counties that could have petitioned for a change to Central did not do so. “We have not heard here any mention of anything to the North,” Bergsma added, including Indiana University. “It’s almost as if the state of Indiana ends where this petition process ends (in Southwestern Indiana) – and that is not true.”
Frankly, I’m having difficulty parsing that quote, so it could be that some important context is missing from what he actually said. But, in any event, I suppose that is ignoring counties like Orange and Greene where the issue was considered, but narrowly rejected. Or counties like Tippecanoe where the commissioners wanted to take a “wait and see” approach, noting that the petition process for changing time zones is always available. Even more than that, it’s to be expected. Why would counties like Bartholomew and Jennings even bother considering the matter when they know 6 to 12 counties to the west of them would have to change before they even get a shot at it? If Representative Crooks gets his referendum (I’m not holding my breath), then we would see what the true sentiment of these non-petitioning counties is like.