News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Max Jones

October 10, 2008

MAX JONES: Daniels off the hook on time-zone issue

TERRE HAUTE — There was a time in the not-too-distant past when I figured I’d be mad at Mitch Daniels the rest of my life. As one of many, many Hoosiers angered by the change in Indiana’s way of dealing with its time-zone problem, I blamed Gov. Daniels for not leaving well enough alone.

By virtue of geography, Indiana has struggled with the time-zone issue and whether it should adopt daylight-saving time statewide. It seemed as though the state had found a happy medium by not adopting DST and simply never changing its clocks. Those counties in northwest and southwest Indiana that wanted to stick with Central time year-round were allowed to do so.

The old method was a reasonable way of dealing with the issue. I didn’t much care if the jokes made about Indiana and its time challenges never went away. And I was skeptical of any claims that the lack of DST was a detriment to business or economic development.

Despite my disgust at the state’s adoption of DST three years ago, I’m beginning to come around. While I’m still not convinced the change was necessary or has had any great, positive impact for the state, it‘s not been such a bad thing either.

In fact, there is one particular feature of DST — those long and late summer days — that dwarfs any of its adverse effects.

With DST, summer can be enjoyed in ways previously impossible. While watching the sun set with the clock reading around 9 p.m. or later was odd at first, I quickly grew accustomed it. It’s nice to have daylight lingering for several hours after the work day ends. There is more time to enjoy warm and pleasant evenings getting exercise, walking the dog or relaxing in the backyard. After three years of DST, I would not trade it. And using the Eastern time zone in our part of the Midwest allows us to take the best advantage of the seasons.

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