News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 10, 2008

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

By Max Jones

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.

I don’t yet know if I’ll vote for or against Gov. Daniels in his re-election bid Nov. 4. But the move to DST will play no part in my decision.

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Early voting for the general election started this week in Vigo County. Already, hundreds of people have cast ballots.

It was, in part, because of the move toward early voting that election previews are being published in the Tribune-Star’s news columns much sooner than in previous years. We launched our in-depth election coverage last Sunday with a series of news stories and candidate profiles. That first wave of information continued through Tuesday. It resumes on Sunday with a second wave of coverage.

For those not yet ready to become engaged in reading about local races and candidates, you won’t have to save your printed editions to do so when the time is right for you. We have created an Election 2008 section of our Web site that will contain all of our previous coverage that is easily accessible for reading and future reference. As we produce new political stories, we simply add them to that section of our online edition.

We also have posted a copy of Vigo County’s sample ballot online in our Election 2008 section. It can be viewed or downloaded to your computer at your convenience.

As a note to our Vigo County readers, we have received a number of requests for more information and discussion about Public Question No. 1, which asks Harrison Township voters if they want to keep their township assessor or transfer those duties to the county assessor.

We are, indeed, working on a news package about the issue that will be published later this month. It will also be posted to the election section of our online edition.

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The League of Women Voters of Vigo County and the Tribune-Star are sponsoring two local candidate forums this month.

The first will take place Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7-9 p.m., and will feature legislative candidates from the Wabash Valley.

The second will occur Wednesday, Oct. 22, 7-9 p.m., and will feature candidates for Vigo County Council and commissioner.

Both forums will take place at Sarah Scott Middle School.

If you have a question for the candidates in either forum, send it to opinion@tribstar.com.



Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by e-mail at max.jones@tribstar.com.