TheStarPress SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2011
No matter the hour — or the temperature — it’s business as usual in Muncie. Join us inside for a peek at the daily journey.
2E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
Just another Wednesday in Muncie
eb. 9, 2011, was much like any other Wednesday in February in Muncie, Ind. Even with below-zero temperatures, people went to work; students went to school; they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner; had their newspaper delivered; rode the bus; went shopping, and much more. The Star Press sent 23 writers and three photographers out in the cold to document stories of the moment from midnight to midnight Feb. 9. This section tells the stories of how people in Muncie get over hump day. Throughout the 24 hours, you’ll see who is still up at midnight having a drink at Savage’s Alehouse
and who is hanging out at the Sunshine Cafe at 11 p.m. You’ll follow friends, relatives and co-workers and schoolmates doing what it takes to get through the day. And, along the way, you’ll find out more about: • Stephanie LeBlanc, executive assistant to Mayor Sharon McShurley. • Jeff Burke, a Muncie bailbondsmen. • The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. • Meshi, a clerk at the BP gas station. • Delmar Neal, who works out in the early morning hours at the Y. • David Williams, working a 12-hour shift driving a taxi. • Teacher Joanne Norris at Northside Middle School. • Munciana volleyball coach Poncho Alvarez. Together, their stories and many others show just a piece of the puzzle of daily life in Muncie.
A little BIT OF… … what’s INSIDE 4 1-2 a.m.: City Streets 8 3-4 a.m.: Ready for action
6 2-3 a.m.: Preparing your news
14 5-6 a.m.: Sweet treats 10 4-5 a.m.:
18 7-8 a.m.: The morning jolt
21 9-10 a.m.: At the courthouse
Check out the scenes from 24 hours in Muncie at thestarpress.com
22 10-11 a.m.: Conversation matters
26 11 a.m.-noon: Whirlwind activity 41 3-4 p.m.: Home renovation
48 6-7 p.m.: Extra practice
44 5-6 p.m.: Quiet time MU_MN_1ST_02-10_N_B_A_1_C MU_MN_1ST_XX-XX_N_B_X_X_K
New bill: You’ll pay more for a marriage license — unless you take prep classes | 5A Muncie, Indiana
56 10-11 p.m.: Last-minute shopping
THURSDAY February 10, 2011
TOLL OF THE SNOW DAY: The extended school year could affect graduation at some schools, including Southside | 3A W W W. T H E S T A R P R E S S . C O M
Sword swallower plays his role to the hilt
‘Mentally ill’ attacker gets no treatment � Travis Marlett hasn’t received counseling while in prison for cutting a classmate’s throat in 2005.
58 11 p.m.-midnight: Late-night dining
Travis A. Marlett was 17 By DOUGLAS WALKER email@example.com when he used a homemade knife to cut the throat of a 16MUNCIE — A Muncie year-old girl he found alone in man who pleaded guilty — a Central classroom on Sept. but mentally ill — in a 2005 26, 2005. attack on a fellow Central High Investigators said the attack, School student has received while unprovoked, had been no treatment or counseling of planned by Marlett. any kind during his more-than� See MARLETT, 6A four years in prison.
‘MAKE MUNCIE A BETTER PLACE’
Neighborhood council attendance on the rise
59 News of the day � Weed and Seed and Muncie Action Plan team up to expand the Council of Neighborhoods.
Want to volunteer?
The Muncie Action Plan is expanding the Council of Neighborhoods to include all areas of the city. If you are interested in volunteering as a neighborhood orgaBy SETH SLABAUGH nizer or block captain, visit www. firstname.lastname@example.org muncieactionplan.com or call Jim Wingate at 287-3123. MUNCIE — Attendance is growing at meetings of the Council of Neighborhoods, Next meeting which is expanding through The next meeting of the Counan initiative of the Muncie cil of Neighborhoods will be at Action Plan (MAP). 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Muncie Created by the city’s federBoys & Girls Club, 1710 S. Madison ally funded Weed and Seed St. Ball State University criminal project, the council attracted justice faculty and students will 40 or so people to its meetpresent the results of a survey of more than 600 residents on the-candidates night at the topics including graffiti, vandalsouthside Ross Community ism, safety, noise, crime, drug use Center before the November and their opinions of the police general election. department. A month later, two dozen attended a meeting at Friends Memorial Church (in the Old West End) on code enforce- crimes and violence. “Essentially, this council is ment. And last month, nearly three the heart of the Weed and dozen people showed up for a Seed effort, but it’s also the meeting at Ross to discuss heart of the (entire) city, as expansion of the council into neighborhood people band a citywide group. Up until together to take ownership of now, the council has repre- the city, ... and do all those we talk about to make things sented only inner-city neighborhoods, which have the � See COUNCIL, 2A highest rates of drug-related
from Feb. 9, 2011 CHRIS BERGIN / THE STAR PRESS
SWORD SWALLOWER Dan Meyer performs for The Star Press on Jan. 26. He will appear on Friday at Emens.
KIDS: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME
Proceeds from Friday’s event at Ball State will benefit the High Street United Methodist Church’s mission trip to Tanzania By JOHN CARLSON
irst you watch, then you wince. “This is called the drop,” Dan Meyer explained, before lifting the gleaming sword directly above his upturned face, inserting its tip past his teeth and lowering it half-afoot down his throat. Then, he let go. Smooth as glass, the sword’s blade disappeared all the way up to its hilt. From a few feet away it’s hard to watch, and almost harder to believe, but it’s for real, another feat that this celebrated sword swallower has performed countless times now. But that’s not to say sword swal-
ONLINE: Check out more amazing photos and an exclusive video on our website at thestarpress.com lowing came effortlessly to the native Hoosier, who recently moved to Muncie because he has family here. Meyer figures it took him fully 13,000 tries before he successfully swallowed his first sword in 2001. “I worked on it myself, in my bathroom, 10 to 12 times a day, every day, for four years,” he admitted, adding it was a couple years after that before he could do it consistently. � See SWORD, 2A
WHAT: Swords for Africa WHO: Dan Meyer, Rupert Boneham of Survivor and others. WHERE: Emens Auditorium WHEN: 7:11 p.m. Friday TICKETS: $5 students, $10 adults, available at Emens box office, Ticketmaster and Tan U Very Much. INFORMATION: www. swordsforafrica.com
WHO: Sword swallower Dan Meyer QUOTE: (On using a late performer’s sword) “I kind of feel bonded with her now, that I’ve (mixed) her DNA with mine.” FACT: A graduate of Indiana State University, he is also a musician, songwriter and diver. INFORMATION: swordswallower.net/ cuttingedge innertainment.com
Muncie Action Plan hires new part-time administrator
USA Today 8A
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become its part-time administrator. Larry Strange, who moved M U N C I E to Muncie from New Albany — The Muncie in 2008, will work 20 hours a Action Plan week for the committee, said (MAP) steering co-chairman Virginia Nilles, committee has who is director of the Muncie hired a local Public Library. professional � See STRANGE, 2A planner to
By SETH SLABAUGH
Page designer Taylor Etchison, 213-5848 Customer Service 1-800-783-2472
Volume 111, No. 356, ©2011 The Star Press, A Gannett newspaper The Star Press is printed on partially recycled newsprint
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_3_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 • 3E
t’s a bitterly cold night in February but Savage’s Alehouse is warmly lit and filled with conversation. There is a good crowd of 20-somethings divided into groups of two or three sipping on beer. The glasses are all filled with a variety of beers ranging from dark to light. The music is loud but tolerable with the low rumble of conversation underneath. The tattooed, dark-haired bartender, Midnight-1 a.m.: An Rachel eclectic collection Monroe, dutifully serves patrons. She stops to chat with familiar faces. “It’s kind of a toss-up” Monroe says regarding the typical Savage’s customer. “There is nothing steady about this place. You kind of never know what you’re walking into.” On one wall, a white board lists 17 specials for the night. Pabst Blue Ribbon decorations cover the wall next to the board. The wall adjacent has shelves filled with battered board game boxes. In a separate room, a pool table sits unnoticed. A man sits alone near it, working on his laptop with his headphones on. Outside there is little traffic at this late hour, and a bike is propped up against the snow and ice on the sidewalk. As the night creeps past midnight, no one is in a hurry; then three women walk in the door. They hug one another and settle in with their beers. A muted movie begins on the television hanging above the cook’s window. The occasional dinging of the cook’s bell reminds the patrons the kitchen is open and stays open late. A man takes advantage of the large menu and orders a sandwich and fries. This evening, the patrons seem to have the food and beer menus memorized because they barely glance at them before they order. — Tasha Caldwell
Laura Smith works on her French assignment onBracken Library’s second floor. She was using the library because her Internet connection at home went out. PHOTO BY JEFF WARD / THE STAR PRESS
discussing, but not loudly, professors, assignments and what defines a leader and a follower. hrow out all those stereotypical images Many students are transfixed on the computers you might have of a library. You know: the library provides. Some look like they’ve been the musty smell of the stacks, an oldthere for most of the day. maid librarian with her hair pulled back On the second shushing people, few patrons to level, Laura Smith is be seen. working on a French Ball State University’s project “because Bracken Library dispels those Bracken facts the Internet at my notions. It’s a busy place at ❙ Bracken Library serves about 1.2 million house went out.” midnight on one of the coldest visitors a year. She describes nights of the year. Although ❙ The busiest time in the evening is between herself as a “super there’s plenty of space to spread 6 and 8 p.m. senior” (it’s compliout, students poring over books ❙ The fourth floor is the “quiet” level, and cated, she says). Her and laptops, often with the tellthere are plenty of signs to remind visitors of plan for the evening, tale earbuds of an iPod in their this. as she works with ❙ Members of sororities and fraternities sign a ears, can be found busily worka pile of books and “study book” at the front counter to show how ing on research projects and her laptop, is to long they were at the library. homework on every level and stay at the library ❙ Students and staff can reserve group study in every nook and corner of the rooms. until she’s done or it building. closes at 3 a.m. Bradley Johnston, Bracken’s Also on the secevening supervisor, explains ond level, a portrait that Sunday nights are the of BSU President Jo library’s busiest times. He’s Ann Gora “greets” been night supervisor for two years and is working people who head down a narrow hallway, lined on his master of library science degree. He overwith portraits of past Ball State presidents. One sees a five-member staff that works from 6 p.m. gets the creepy feeling they’re all watching the to 3 a.m., when the library closes. (It reopens at 7 visitor as he traverses the hallway. a.m.) Not everybody, though, is studying. Johnston says the library today is a different On the lower level, one girl is curled up in a place than it was six years ago. Besides the techchair, her male companion sprawled out in the nology upgrades, students can bring in food and eat in designated areas. Of course, a greasy pizza is chair next to her, apparently deep asleep. She’s focused on a big screen television playing an epistill discouraged for obvious reasons. sode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. On this night, the “white noise” of the air Now that’s something you don’t find in your handlers, punctuated by the electronic bells of typical library. the elevator doors opening and closing, are the — Jeff Ward dominant sounds. A knot of students is vigorously
Midnight-1 a.m.: Study time
4E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
he sidewalks of Muncie are barren. But then, when it’s 1 a.m. and the nadir of winter at 10 degrees, there isn’t much reason to be out. A student at Ball State, Emily, is willing to chat for a moment as she scurries to her dorm after logging yet another 15-hour day in the architecture building, but she gives stock answers, and the only remarkable part of the exchange is how easily a 21-year-old woman will engage in conversation with a large, 1-2 a.m.: Muncie strange man who claims he works at the local newscity streets paper. The assignment is to search for someone — anyone — to ask just why on earth they are out on this bleak Wednesday morning. A person is occasionally spotted darting from a car to get inside, but no one is walking around. A group of five — four women and a guy — spill out of The Silo downtown about 1:30. When asked whether they can talk for a minute, one women whips around, seemingly eager to discuss anything despite her entourage’s advance down the street. But when she gets the context of the questions, and that this is all going in the paper, she quickly declines, as does the rest of the group, and they pile into a car and drive off. It’s now 1:50, and this reporter is getting desperate. How can a story be made from nothing? Or is that the story? Driving east on McGalliard Road, one last shot at grabbing something before calling it a night, a shadowy figure is spotted walking east in the westbound lane. It’s dark, and he appears slightly menacing — exactly from what a good, or tragic, story is made. Terry Shroyer isn’t menacing at all. Sure, he has the rough look of a man who’s been through a lot, which he has. His voice sounds like his throat is filled with gravel and his clothes are worn, but it’s instantly obvious he is a good guy, and he’s more than willing to share his walk and answer a few questions. Shroyer, 44, makes this walk every night, has for eight months now. His walk starts at Wheeling Avenue and ends at Broadway. Well, that’s as far east as he goes, anyway. But he makes that trek twice — every night. Shroyer’s on his second lap tonight. “This is what I do every night,” Shroyer says. “When you weigh 300 pounds and you’re a big guy, it’s time to lose a little bit of weight.” Shroyer actually started this routine at 297 pounds. In eight months of exercise and an improved diet, he has lost 71 pounds. But he isn’t finished — his target weight is 195. “There’s less traffic, and you don’t have to worry about people trying to run you over,” Shroyer says of his late-night walks. — TERRY SHROYER Born and raised in Ohio, Shroyer moved to Muncie eight years ago to be with his ailing mother, who has since passed away. Shroyer later fell on hard times and spent a year homeless. Join Shroyer on Sept. “I stayed at the Muncie Mission for a while,” Shroyer says. 10, 2011, at the second As with his body, his life has improved. annual Walk Indiana “The owner of Captain D’s and the big (general manager) there marathon. Go to gave me a chance to get back on my feet,” Shroyer says proudly. www.walkindiana.org “Right now, I’m the closing manager there five nights a week, so for more information. I’d say that’s a heck of a transition.” — Sam Gibbs
“This is what I do every night.When you weigh 300 pounds and you’re a big guy, it’s time to lose a little bit of weight.”
1-2 a.m.: Putting ‘down time’ to work
ou get used to not being used to it.” That’s how Marsh Hometown Market cashier Roger Alexander describes the inconsistencies in his sleep schedule after working third-shift at the store for 17 years. But at the hour of 1 a.m., Alexander has plenty to do to keep himself busy when his checkout line isn’t filled with customers. Those other tasks include stocking candy and cigarettes and keeping the front of the store in tip-top shape. Alexander believes he can keep better tabs on store security at night. “I’ve been the night cashier since this store opened,” he says. “It’s just a different atmosphere because, Meet Roger Alexander being in the job ❙ Who: Roger Alexander, 56. that I am, about ❙ Job: Third-shift cashier at Marsh Hometown everybody that Market at 1500 W. McGalliard Road. comes through ❙ How long has he worked there? 17-plus years. the doors has to get past me to ❙ Family: Wife, Debbie, 56, is a former 28-year get out.” Marsh employee. Together, they have four Alexander, children and eight grandchildren. who attended ❙ Quote: “I’m dependable. I don’t miss work, Southside High and they really appreciate the fact that they School, says can count on me here. They don’t really despite an have to watch me. They know that I know irregular sleep what needs to be done, and I do it — and if schedule, he something doesn’t get done, then they know enjoys his job. there’s a good reason for it.” “I’m dependable,” Alexander says. “I don’t miss work, and they really appreciate the fact that they can count on me here.” Alexander isn’t the only Marsh veteran working third shift that night. Assistant grocery manager Danny Sneed, who has logged more than 15 years at the store, says he has a variety of jobs to perform from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. From 1 to 2 a.m. on this night, for example, Sneed is stocking shelves. “We’re just trying to get caught up on things and make the store look good,” Sneed says. “It’s just this and that.” As for his own sleep schedule, Sneed says he oftentimes struggles to drift off when he gets home from work. “I average about two to four hours of sleep a day,” he said. “Matter of fact, on my nights off, I act like I’m at work. I stay up until four, five, six o’clock in the morning, then I lay down.” — Andrew Walker
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_5_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 â€˘ 5E
6E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
2-3 a.m.: Preparing your news
Delivering the news
❙ About 45 carriers, 30 motor route drivers and 12 truck runs pick up at The Star Press Distribution Center. ❙ The DC distribution area includes Delaware County; most of Blackford, Jay and Randolph counties and southeast Grant County. ❙ The DC was recently updated to a cart system that has improved the speed and efficiency of the operation. ❙ The DC operates 365 mornings a year.
ABOVE LEFT: Motor route drivers begin loading papers at The Star Press Distribution Center. PHOTO BY JEFF WARD / THE STAR PRESS
t 2 a.m. a few cars and trucks are already parked at The Star Press Distribution Center on South Walnut Street, at the south end of the downtown. Engines are idling to keep the motor route drivers inside warm in the near-zero temperatures as they await a truck’s arrival from Indianapolis’ north side carrying that morning’s Star Press and other publications. Inside, DC supervisor Terry Morvilius, a kind-looking man with a two-days growth of white beard, is busy laying out carrier manifests and moving pallets out of the way in preparation for the activity that’s about to take place. Hearing is difficult as utility fans hanging from the ceiling work overtime to beat back the night’s cold. It’s not warm in the warehouse-like building, especially with one overhead door open. More drivers begin to drift inside as the parking lot fills up, many chatting with each other. Most grab an aluminum cart that allows bundled newspapers to be stacked and moved. They form a cluster at one end of the building. Morvilius is joined by Stu Cowgill, area distribution manager, and another man in preparing the warehouse.
2-3 a.m.: Patrolling the streets
aperwork. Other than protecting and serving the public, that’s what is on the mind of Muncie police officer Ron Miller at 2 a.m. on this cold morning. That’s because for every domestic situation, neighborhood complaint, reported theft, warrant arrest or report of criminal recklessness — and everything in-between that can pop up in a given shift — police are required to fill out page upon page of various reports, oftentimes before their shift is over. “It’s just so lengthy,” says Miller. “If they could streamline a lot of this paperwork, that would make things a lot easier.” With no calls coming in from police dispatchers on this particular morning, Miller spends his time from 2 to 3 a.m. patrolling the city’s northwest side. Miller, a 12-year Muncie Police Department veteran, is driving the city’s black police Hummer. He turns right onto McGalliard Road — Muncie’s busiest road by day, but completely empty at this early morning hour. His shift began at 11 p.m. Miller said he’s used to the Police ride-along midnight shift by The hour of 2-3 a.m. on Feb. 9 proves to be rather uneventful in the midst of a somewhat busy night shift with the Muncie Police: now. Midnights, he ❙ 11:23 p.m.: Police are dispatched to Carriage House Apartments says, can be laid back after a neighbor calls to complain about the smell of marijuana compared to an avercoming from a nearby apartment. By 11:25, two backup officers age afternoon shift. arrive, and by 11:30 p.m., one man is in police custody, arrested for “Afternoon shift having outstanding warrants. is busy. It’s call after call after call,” Miller ❙ 11:54 p.m.: Police are dispatched to a reported domestic problem said. “A busy night in the 1400 block of South Walnut Street. When police arrive, a woman is sitting on the hood of a car with her baby and baby’s for us is five to 10 father seated inside. The woman, who tells police she has had calls. On the week“about five or six drinks,” and her baby are eventually sent home ends, we’ll answer with the woman’s father. anywhere up to 10 to 20 calls on Friday ❙ 12:19 p.m.: Police are dispatched to the 2400 block of North and Saturday nights.” Reserve Street on another reported domestic problem, with a man and a woman — both possibly intoxicated — involved in an altercation. Dispatchers tell officers that the male possibly has a 10-32 (or firearm) in his car, which is reportedly taking a beating from the female, who is allegedly smashing its windows. Neither subject wants to pursue charges against the other, and the female is transported by police to another residence for the night.
Miller turns right onto Reserve Street from McGalliard. It’s 2:30 a.m., and the officer is wide awake. His conversa-
tion turns from paperwork to the dangers of the job. Miller swears he’s no super hero, but he said about once or twice a month, he’ll get dispatched to particular calls that get “your Spidey Sense tingling.” “There’s certain addresses that get sent out that you never get a call to, and they’ve got someone breaking into a window. You know that’s going to be a good call,” Miller said while driving. “I guess that’s one part of the job that I do like — you just never know what’s going to happen until you’re there.” Miller, who is also a security guard at Southside, said he enjoys the danger that comes with the job. But in all the madness that can come with being an police officer, Miller has a certain routine with his girlfriend before leaving for each shift. “You never try to leave the house ticked off at each other,” he said. “You always try to tell each other ‘I love you’ before you leave.” As he turns left onto Minnetrista Boulevard from Wheeling Avenue around 2:45 a.m., Miller’s tone gets serious. He says some citizens just believe city officers are out to get them, which he contends couldn’t be further from the truth. “We’re human,” Miller said. “We’ve got emotions, too, and we’re just supposed to shrug everything off and forget everything we see?” One call, in particular, still haunts Miller to this day. Perhaps he can’t help these thoughts creeping into his head as he drives alone in his squad car in the early morning. “I had a call one night where I had to do CPR to a four-month-old, and it didn’t make it,” said Miller, a father of three. “The first thing you do when you’re done with that call is you call and check on your kids to make sure they’re OK. Any officer would tell you the same story.” — Andrew Walker
Finally, at 2:45 a.m., the truck arrives. Morvilius and Cowgill use pallet trucks to unload newspapers, inserts and supplies. They move The Star Press, USA Today, Palladium-Item, Indianapolis Star and Wall Street Journal papers to their appropriate locations in the DC. It takes about five minutes to unload the truck. Then, with a wave of his hand, Morvilius signals the drivers they can get their papers. What happens next can best be described as looking like the opening of a big box store on the day after Thanksgiving. (Only with newspaper bundles instead of flatscreen TVs and sweaters.) There’s no pushing or shoving, but drivers move their carts quickly to pick up their papers. They pick up bundles of papers, stack them in their carts and move on. District managers standing behind long wooden tables assist the drivers. Time is critical to get in, get out and get on the road to deliver the publications to customers or to other waiting carriers. In less than 10 minutes, the first drivers are loaded and gone, disappearing into a cold night to begin delivering thousands of newspapers before most of East Central Indiana is awake. — Jeff Ward
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_7_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 â€˘ 7E
8E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
“What is a bail bondsmen? We work for an insurance company. We ensure the court that the defendant will be there ... that they show up for court. Not everybody is going to show up ... the benefit is that we take the burden off taxpayers.” — JEFF BURKE
3-4 a.m.: Ready for action
eff Burke is one of the nicest guys you hope you’ll never have to meet. Burke, who has worked for 25 years at his family’s business, Reliable Bail Bonds, is a modern-day bounty hunter. But his job isn’t like the TV reality show Dog the Bounty Hunter. “I’ve pulled skips [those who jump bail] from work, bars and even mom’s house,” he said. “I try not to make a scene when I pick them up,” he added. It is a slow night as we visit the downtown office on Walnut street. His phone isn’t ringing, probably because it’s too cold to get into any trouble. Burke says it will pick up once the weather is warmer. Like tonight, Burke says his job isn’t as glamorous the television show. “Most of the time, we’re just sitting here.” He talks about how the business Did you know? ❙ Family has owned the has changed. “We used to have pagbusiness for about 60 years. ers,” he said. “Then you had to find a pay phone and call the answer❙ Jeff Burke’s sons, Brennon ing service,” he says. Technology and Michael, also work there. has changed all of that — the cell ❙ Central grads Gary and phone has made his business a lot Sheila Williams are the more mobile. “I used to spend many owners. nights here,” he said. Burke loves talking about his job. “What is a bail bondsmen,” he asks? “We work for an insurance company. We ensure the court that the defendant will be there ... that they show up for court,” he said. “Not everybody is going to show up ... the benefit is that we take the burden off taxpayers,” he added. Burke, who does carry a gun, said bail bondsmen do have the power to arrest. “They don’t have to have a warrant; just the proper paperwork,” he said. And, if you think this is a full-time business, think again. Burke said that most bail bondsmen also have other jobs. — Debra Sorrell
ednesday isn’t typically one of the busiest mornings at the Delaware County jail, but if it’s going to get busy overnight it would likely be during the 3-to-4 a.m. stretch, after the bars close at 3 a.m., according to Sgt. Richard Bilbrey. That hour on the morning of Feb. 9, however, turns out not to be particularly busy in the intake area, with no new inmates coming in and just a few people shifting between holding and staging cells. Bilbrey speculates that the cold temperatures that particular night — an arctic 5 degrees — might contribute to the lower numbers. That doesn’t mean jail staffers aren’t still keeping busy, however. While someone collects cleaning supplies elsewhere, two to three guards, including Bilbrey, work at the intake desk, filling in paperwork for several men in the holding cells. Bilbrey notes that jail staffers rotate stations routinely, so everyone knows how to work every area. While providing paper3-4 a.m.: Slow night work — and his coat and other belongings — to one is a good night man just after 3:30 a.m., two different staffers take great care to point out the lateFebruary court date listed on his papers, warning that if he misses that, the next time he’s picked up he will be held in jail until he appears before a judge. “Don’t miss that date, man ... you’ll be in a lot worse shape,” Wheston Hughes reminds the man as he leaves. (While signing papers, the man mutters that he wishes it were “as easy to get out of jail as it was to get in.”) Another man is shifted By the numbers from one of the holding 255 — Number of inmates in the cells to a staging cell, the jail the morning of Feb. 9, lower latter located right by the than usual for winter, according intake desk and outfitted with metal mesh on the to Sgt. Richard Bilbrey doors so staffers sitting at computers at the desk 202 — Number jail was built to can talk with them easily. hold Shortly after that, Hughes provides the man with an 9 — Minimum number of jail orange jumpsuit to change staffers on any shift into behind a curtain. Before and after returning to the staging cell, the man asks guards about whether cash from his pants pockets is listed with his personal effects; upon being told no, he asks several times, “They took my money?” Eventually, Bilbrey notes that the man was brought in on a dealing charge, so the cash had probably been confiscated before he got to the jail. Shortly before 4 a.m., someone goes to collect a wheeled cart, then pushes it past piled with white boxes that look — and smell — like they contain doughnuts. Morning routines of passing out razors, providing insulin to diabetic inmates and eventually breakfast will get started after 4 a.m., Bilbrey says. — Robin Gibson
Jeff Burke has worked at his family’s business, Reliable Bail Bonds, for 25 years. DEBRA SORRELL / THE STAR PRESS
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_9_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 â€˘ 9E
10E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
4-5 a.m.: Keeping watch
RIGHT: Bentlee rests in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital on Feb. 9. BELOW: Vicki Stanley tends to a baby in the NICU. PHOTOS BY CHRIS BERGIN / THE STAR PRESS
ou know you’re in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit the moment you walk through the double doors. That universally recognized scent that only babies can produce saturates the air. Baby lotion and shampoo and goodness all in one. This particular morning it’s quiet. The nine babies in this special unit have chosen the 4 a.m. hour to sleep soundly, having been fed, changed and assessed head to toe the hour before. This is unusual. Imagine nine healthy babies, much less those needing special care, having a moment of quiet all at once. Sure enough, from the corner of the room comes first a whimper, than a wail, before one of the five registered nurses in the unit arrives to soothe the waking baby. The nurse gently pulls her from the Isolette (an incubator of sorts), wraps her in a warm blanket and slowly begins to rock her in the rocking chair that sits nearby. Next to that Isolette is Baby Dayonia. She peeks open just one eyelid at the sound, looks around and then rests her eyes again. It’s too early to wake up. RN Vicki Stanley gently brushes her finger across Dayonia’s cheek, repositioning her head just so. It’s easy to see that Stanley already loves this baby, like all the others, even though Dayonia has been there less than a month. Unlike the other babies, Dayonia is in an open crib. She’ll be going home to join her twin any day now, and the nurses will miss her. That’s the hard part, but it’s also the best part. “I love my job,” Stanley says. “It’s fun to have a really critical baby and be able to send them home to their parents. That’s the best part of the job.” Naturally, turnover on the part of nurses in the department is minimal. Stanley has been at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital’s NICU 13 years. One might think the babies would begin to blend together in her memory after a while, but they don’t. Stanley remembers them all; it becomes personal. “I’m with them start to finish,” Stanley says. “And to see those smiles on the families’ faces is awesome, to know that they’re are going home to a good family and are doing well.” Jill Moores tends to a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital on Feb. 9.
Closest to the door is Baby Bentlee, just five days old this morning. He’s so tiny, yet full of energy. For several minutes he pumps his little legs in the air. He’s not crying or unhappy. He’s simply looking for attention. That’s good, too. RN Jill Moores is happy to comply. She reaches into the Isolette and lets Bentlee know she’s there. That’s enough for him to rest. Across the room in one of the NICU’s newest incubators, a Giraffe Isolette, is the unit’s most critical baby, Baby Emma. She’s sound asleep despite the new noise around her. Her incubator is flexible enough that staff can weigh her — and even perform critical procedures, if necessary — without disturbing her. Keeping the babies as comfortable as they would be in the womb is crucial in this department. Thus the soft lights, quiet whispers of the staff and warm temperatures. This morning, it’s paying off. As the clock creeps toward 5 a.m., all the babies are once again asleep, at least for a moment. In just an hour, it will be the busiest time of the day. — Lisa Nellessen-Lara
“I’m with them start to finish. And to see those smiles on the families’ faces is awesome, to know that they’re are going home to a good family and are doing well.” VICKI STANLEY, RN
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_11_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 â€˘ 11E
12E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
4-5 a.m.: Working solo
Q&A with Roberta
❙ What is Roberta Flowers’
least-favorite part of her job? “Mopping the (main) lobby. “It’s hard to mop rock,” she said. ❙ What is her favorite part of
the job? “Basically, I’m on my own. I like that nobody is around.” ❙ How has her job changed in
last few years? “It just gets busier,” she said.
hile much of Muncie is sound asleep, Roberta Flowers is hard at work. On this frigid February morning, Flowers is mopping, sweeping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms and whatever else is needed during her third-shift job — cleaning the Fisher Building. Other duties include emptying the trash and washing windows. “Winter is awful,” she said. Flowers, 47, began her “day” around 10:30 p.m. last night. She cleans the basement and first through third floors of the downtown building. Working overnight suits this night owl just fine. “There isn’t anybody around,” she says. She said she has a routine she follows: She starts on the second floor, then goes to the basement, then the first floor, and saves the third floor for last — that’s where she’s at right now. How has her job changed in the last 25
years? “It just gets busier,” she said. When she started 25 years ago, she was cleaning the offices of Ball Corp. Now, the building is home to Ivy Tech, The Star Press and several other small business offices. And how does she feel about cleaning up after others? “People do what they want to do,” she said. During her shift she drinks pop to keep her going. And, after she’s put in her hours cleaning the offices, she heads home to begin her chores at home. “Then, I konk out in my chair,” she said. When she’s not cleaning offices or her home, she likes to sleep, watch TV and read. — Debra Sorrell
PHOTOS BY DEBRA SORRELL / THE STAR PRESS
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_13_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 â€˘ 13E
14E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
TOP: Eric Paul moves a load of banana bread to a waiting oven at Concannons Pastry Shop on Wednesday, Feb. 9. MIDDLE RIGHT: Brittany Sailers fills doughnuts in preparation for morning sales. LEFT and ABOVE: Cupcakes are iced and cookies sprinkled in the early morning hours of Feb. 9. PHOTOS BY CHRIS BERGIN / THE STAR PRESS
5-6 a.m.: Sweet treats await
❙ Some 30 to 35 employees work at Concannon’s North Walnut Street shop, and 50 to 60 at the new shop on West Baker Lane. Both facilities are staffed around the clock. ❙ In an average week, Concannon’s produces 30,000-50,000 of its popular tea cookies alone. ❙ During busy times, a couple of semi loads of ingredients are delivered each week.
he view from behind the glass counters at Concannon’s Pastry Shop at 5 a.m. is nothing less then shocking. With an hour to go until the doors open at 6 a.m., there isn’t a doughnut in sight. Thankfully, they begin coming into view in all their baked, filled and iced glory as you wind your way toward the back of the bakery. Wheeled rack after wheeled rack is filled with the treats that have been baked through the night. Nearby, a bakery employee impales doughnuts on the creme-filling extruder, which whirrs as it squirts them full of that sweet stuff. A few feet away, another employee methodically dips iced rolls into finely chopped nuts. Employee Jackie Stewart, meanwhile, removes maple icing from a tub with a gloved hand and thickly spreads it over a walnut coffee cake. Minutes later she moves on to a decorating tube, filling it with rich chocolate icing, then expertly topping rows of cupcakes with a squeeze and practiced twist of her hand. In his office around a corner, owner Mike Concannon is talking with the overnight crew, preparing them, before they leave for home, for an anticipated rush of orders soon to come. “It kind of grows by leaps and bounds,” he says of business. Indeed it does. Fresh as this day is, 1,600 doughnuts have already been sent from the bakery to the 29 convenience stores and other outlets, one all the way up in Marion at Indiana Wesleyan University, that daily stock Concannon’s baked goods. In another nearby room, this one housing a long wall’s worth of industrial ovens, two employees man a clacking machine that turns a hopper of dough into multiple rows of heartshaped cookies. Racked on trays, hundreds at a time are then wheeled into an oven for baking. Others? Bent over more of the heart-shaped cookies, Eric Ball, Concannon’s right-hand
man here, suddenly seems a throwback to lessautomated times, topping them with carefully aimed handfuls of dry pink or red sugar-coating mix before they, too, go to the ovens. Soon after, in a far corner of the room, 80quart bowls of creamy-looking batter — one of rich, dark chocolate, the other the yellow color of bananas — are automatically mixing before being wheeled to a table. There, one employee uses an ice-cream scooper to drop the chocolate batter into dozens of muffin cups. Across the table, Ball uses a gloved hand to scoop the banana nut bread batter into twopound disposable loaf pans. As each tray fills with eight loaves, Concannon uses a straight edge to score the top of the batter, the aim being a more attractive loaf, then sprinkles chopped walnuts on top. Soon enough, the men have loaded the future loaves and muffins into the gaping maws of two other huge ovens, set their timers and moved on to other tasks. Back out front, Cindy Davis is making coffee, brewing it for dine-in customers as the shop’s opening nears. The pace of the work is busy but not rushed, the employees wordlessly going about jobs with which they are intimately familiar. And why not? Turnover is low, Concannon notes, and many employees are full-timers, making their livings in this business that has attained legendary status here over the years. Concannon’s works like the proverbial welloiled machine. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, when a quick glance from the kitchen into the front room reveals a truly delectable sight. Those recently-empty display cases are now crammed with the neatly arranged doughnuts that the bakery’s fans crave, and just in time, too. It’s 6 o’clock. The door flies open. “Order for Brown?” says the day’s first customer. — John Carlson
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_15_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 • 15E
5-6 a.m.: Calm before the storm
“That’s what happens in an emergency room. You never know what you’re going to get. That’s why many of us work here, the consistent change.” — LISA DENT, RN AND NIGHT SHIFT COORDINATOR
utside the emergency room doors of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital waits a Muncie police car, its engine running, the exhaust a vivid white against the frigid morning air. It’s 5 a.m. and the parking lot is nearly empty. No ambulance sirens disturb the silence, which is broken only by the squawking birds in the water fountain near the entry doors. Inside it’s even quieter — and warmer. The lights are down low and not a single patient waits to be seen. A reporter asks whether the nurses, techs and certified nursing assistants behind the desk are enjoying their unexpected downtime and is immediately met with “Shh.” This staff doesn’t want to jinx their morning. The beginning of the night shift was rough, more so than is usual on a Tuesday. Typically, the busiest days in the ER are Sunday and Monday, with the lowest volume coming in on Thursday and Friday. “This has been my quietest night in some time,” says registered nurse Lisa Dent, the night shift coordinator. “Tonight has kind of dragged by, but this is the time it will get busier.” Soon, Muncie residents will begin to wake. And if there is pain — usually chest pain — it tends to come now. This is also the time of day when people fall and injure themselves. Sure enough, a car pulls up outside and a new patient heads to the triage desk. From there, staff will determine which of the three areas he belongs in: an exam room, trauma room or monitor room. For now, only four patients are in the unit, which has 38 beds. Of those, three are psych patients and one patient’s condition is still being determined. A massive screen charts the patients’ needs in a code that only staff can understand. Medication ordered, test results available, and lab work are each marked with unique symbols. This communication system has only been in place about a month, but already staffers notice a difference in how quickly it helps them respond to patients and move people through the ER. Today, just a few colors are on the board, purple and green the most noticeable. A hospital employee quips that it’s “the most white” he’s ever seen the board. White is good; it means empty rooms. “That’s what happens in an emergency room,” Dent says. “You never know what you’re going to get. That’s why many of us work here, the consistent change.” — Lisa Nellessen-Lara
16E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com
t’s 5 degrees outside, but the gusts of wind made it feel more like 10 to 15 degrees below zero. The sun has yet to show signs of life on this Wednesday morning, making the snow and ice sidewalk coverings twinkle in the moonlight. Most of Muncie is deep asleep in their homes under warm covers, but not Delmar Neal. Four days a week, he welcomes visitors to the downtown branch of the Muncie YMCA, his warm hello waking the 20 to 30 people who enter the facility to boost their energy at 6 a.m.. “I want to make people feel comfortable when they come in here, and you do that by knowing everyone’s first name,” Neal says. He’s not the only one who knows everyone’s name. The “regulars,” the men and women who choose to work out at 6 a.m. as opposed to 6 p.m., know each other by face and nickname. They know when someone has started to place more weight on the dumbbells or if they’ve chosen to increase their cardio intensity after taking a weeklong break due to a vacation or an ice storm. They know who enjoys the middle treadmill because it offers a direct view of the sports scores and who likes to have a cup of coffee before getting his or her workout started. These regulars know each other well, and that’s part of why they continue to keep the 6 a.m. workout schedule. “For 15 years I’ve been coming in here at 5:30 in the morning, so I know pretty much everybody in here,” Muncie resident Jay Wright says. “I like coming down to this Y because I know everybody here. The hardest part is actually getting out of bed, but once Y hours I get here, it’s all right. I can start my ❙ The downtown branch of the Muncie YMCA day off right.” is open every morning, Monday through The sound of tennis shoes squeakFriday, at 5:30 a.m. ing along treadmills and elliptical ❙ Monday through Thursday the downtown machines is a sign of life at the downsite closes at 8 p.m. On Friday and Saturday town Y. The regulars chat with each during the fall, winter and spring, the facility other the morning of Feb. 9 about is open until 7 p.m. LeBron James’ prowess against the ❙ On Saturday mornings, the branch opens Pacers the evening before and whethat 7 a.m. and Sundays it is open from noon er it will be warm enough to run outuntil 5 p.m. side the next weekend. ❙ For more information about the downtown Neal sets the tone for the day, handbranch or the other branches in the Muncie ing towels to the regulars and getting YMCA network, visit www.muncieymca.org. the coffee ready for them when they need a little boost to keep going. And as he does when they enter the building, he says goodbye to every member heading outside into the bitter cold and on to their workdays. “It’s all about making people comfortable,” he says again. “And knowing people’s names.” — Ivy Farguheson
6-7 a.m.: Starting the day off right
PHOTO BY SETH SLABAUGH / THE STAR PRESS
Meshi, a clerk at the BP gas station at Wheeling and Centennial avenues in Muncie, vacuums the store.
6-7 a.m.: No time for rest
eshi, the polite clerk at the BP gas station at the Wheeling and Centennial avenues, doesn’t just sit around when there are no customers. He vacuums the rugs, makes coffee and keeps the cigarette rack full. He patrols the store, straightening a box of Blow Pops on a bottom shelf. He takes pride in keeping the store clean and orderly. “The cleanest convenience store in Muncie,” he said. At 6 a.m. on Feb. 9, customers came in for energy drinks, fountain drinks, candy, coffee and cigarettes. A native of India who speaks English, Hindi and French, Meshi lit a stick of Goloka Nag Champa incense. “It’s all natural,” he says. Made from herbs, flowers, resins, oils and forest products, the incense gently wafts into your life, filling it with peace and devotion, according to labeling on the incense box. Proceeds from the sale of the incense are used to buy clothing for underprivileged school children in India. “I would like your job,” Meshi told a reporter. “I like the media.” “Go back to school. Go to Ball State. It’s not too late.” But he said school doesn’t appeal to him. “So I am here,” he added, as he straightened a display of two-liter bottles of soft drinks. — Seth Slabaugh
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_17_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 • 17E
“I like coming here because it’s close to my home and I can relax here in the mornings. They also have really good home-cooked food at a decent price.” — HAROLD STONEBRAKER
PHOTOS BY LACY FULLER / FOR THE STAR PRESS
onna Slaven, owner of A Taste of the South café, gets up at 4 a.m. to get to her restaurant at 5, ready to open at 6. At that time of the morning, Slaven has the kitchen all to herself. The first few hours of Slaven’s shift she is busy at the grill and the stove. Once her day cook, Troy Haskins comes in at 9 a.m., she leaves the kitchen and goes into the dining room to mingle with customers arriving for breakfast. Slaven heaps a mound of “taters” on her grill and then adds a handful of just about everything. This specialty is her loaded tater skillet, which includes potatoes, cheese, breakfast meats and a variety of vegetables. “Whatever you want goes in the skillets. Fried taters and cheese. You can get your eggs scrambled on top,” Slaven said. “We sell a lot of skillets.” 7-8 a.m.: Home-cooked Cast-iron skillets are scattered breakfast away from home all around the large kitchen. Slaven searched on eBay for skillets because she wanted them to be used so they would have the right seasoning. “The old cast-iron skillets have a seasoning to it. A lot of cooking has been done in those skillets,” Slaven said. At 7 a.m. this morning, hungry men fill the dining room, which Slaven describes as a “man’s land” on weekday mornings. “I have my regular customers on weekday mornings. City and county police usually come in. Also a lot of farmers come in the mornings,” she says. Harold Stonebraker sips his coffee and reads the daily newspaper while waiting for his breakfast. “I like coming here because it’s close to my home and I can relax here in the mornings,” Stonebraker says. “They also have really good home-cooked food at a decent price.” Delaware County police officers Joe Winkle and Steve Stewart come to A Taste of the South, 4019 S. Walnut St., most mornings before their shift starts. “They have really great food here, and we’ve been coming here since they were located over on Hoyt Avenue,” Winkle says. Slaven wants people to leave her café happy and satisfied. “When people eat our food, I want them to be glad that they decided to eat here,” Slaven said. — Lacy Fuller
18E • Sunday, March 20, 2011 • www.thestarpress.com
Matt Schafer makes a drink at Coffee Junkiez on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
7-8 a.m.: The morning jolt
PHOTOS BY CHRIS BERGIN / THE STAR PRESS
“I know Dad is going to pull up at 6:45 every morning. He’s so regular that we usually have his coffee ready for him when he gets here.” — DUSTIN FINN
Did you know?
❙ Coffee Junkiez sells 100-150 drinks a day. ❙ Most days, about 25 percent of daily sales happen in a two-hour morning period. ❙ Operations manager Dustin Finn estimates that 85 percent of their sales comes from regular customers. ❙ The most popular item is the Jump Start, a six-shot white mocha drink.
ustin Finn grew up watching his dad’s morning routine, which always included coffee. Now Finn serves coffee to more than 100 people a day, and his dad is one of the first. Finn is operations manager at Coffee Junkiez, the South Tillotson Avenue stand-alone coffee shop. “I know Dad is going to pull up at 6:45 every morning,” Finn says, talking about some of the shop’s regular customers. “He’s so regular that we usually have his coffee ready for him when he gets here.” On this day, one of the coldest mornings of the year, Coffee Junkiez is missing some of its regulars in this 7-8 a.m. hour. January and February are the slowest months of the year for the business. “People just want to get straight to work and inside, and not deal with an extra stop,” says Matt Schafer, an employee who typically works the morning shift. Even so, a car is pulling up to the drive-up window every few minutes, and many of them are customers with whom the workers are familiar with. In about 70 minutes on this day, Coffee Junkiez prepares 14 drinks. “Diet Coke, right?” Finn asks one customer. Later, Finn talks more about the regulars, naming “Deb” as one of their early customers and describing her standing order. “I know if Deb isn’t here just a couple minutes behind my dad that schools are closed or on a delay,” Finn notes. “Because she teaches in Yorktown.” Finn and Schafer both take their turns working the window and the cash register, with the other making the drinks. The small, narrow building is set up for all of the necessary drink-making machines and supplies to be nearby, with the espresso machine on the left counter and a cooler to the right. — Phil Beebe
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_19_C www.thestarpress.com Sunday, March 20, 2011 • 19E
tephanie LeBlanc, executive assistant to Mayor Sharon McShurley, is at her desk by 8 a.m., beginning to deal with more than 85 waiting e-mails. The office is fairly quiet, in part because McShurley is 1,000-orso miles away today, attending — at her own expense, LeBlanc is quick to point out — an annual gathering of current and former Muncie residents in Bradenton, Fla. At this early hour, the phone rarely rings — the office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, closing for a onehour lunch at 11:30 — but those calls will come as the day continues. 8-9 a.m.: On busy days, the mayor’s office Minding the office can receive 80 calls or more, usually from people needing some sort of assistance, at times not the kind of help a mayor — or her paid support staff, consisting entirely of LeBlanc — would routinely provide. “A lot of what I do is referral, to get them the help they need,” says LeBlanc, who worked for the Hoosier Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross before moving to city hall when McShurley took office in January 2008. “We try really hard to get them to the right place. ... Sometimes they’re angry, but most of the time they’re just looking for help.” Three years ago, the office had two more employees: a deputy Muncie mayor’s office mayor and a secretary. ❙ Hours: 8-11:30 a.m., 12:30-4 p.m. weekdays City budget cuts have long ❙ Paid employees: Two — Mayor Sharon since eliminated those McShurley, executive assistant Stephanie positions, moving LeBlanc LeBlanc. from the mayor’s personal ❙ Volunteers: Eight, including four who office out to the front maintain regular office hours. desk. A staff of eight vol❙ History: Muncie’s first mayor, John Brady, took unteers, including four office when the city was incorporated in 1865. who keep regular hours, The first ordinance in city history, adopted by provide significant assisthe city council that spring, gave Brady the tance in keeping the office authority to issue fines ranging for $3 to $25 against local prostitutes. Including Brady, 27 running, especially on men and one woman have served as the city’s Mondays, when the mayor mayor. and her executive assistant are occupied with staff meetings. “They just love to serve and know they’re making a difference,” LeBlanc says. Right now, LeBlanc is making a difference by plowing through those e-mails. Photos from McShurley’s recent economic development trip to Turkey. Messages requesting mayoral proclamations and support letters for grants. Written minutes of Muncie Sanitary District board meetings. Endof-year reports from city department heads. Correspondence regarding efforts to resurrect the former Roberts Hotel. “It’s everything,” LeBlanc says. — Douglas Walker
IVY FARGUHESON / THE STAR PRESS
Parishioners take part in Mass at St. Lawrence Church.
8-9 a.m.: Beginning witih prayers
Stained-glass windows welcome the nearly 25 visitors to St. Lawrence Church on Muncie’s eastside the morning of Feb. 9. Daily Mass at 8 a.m. has become a staple for most of the this small congregation on Wednesday morning, as they opt to start their day with prayer and meditation rather than with talk radio and television commercials. As some sit in silence, looking at the colors erupting from the church’s windows, others have their eyes closed, praying for family members, Church work friends, political leaders and even themselves. ❙ St. Lawrence Church offers an 8 a.m. “Coming to Mass this early helps me start my Mass every day, including Sundays, day off right,” says Susan Meleason, a Ball State with the exception of Holy Days. University student. “My first class is at 10 a.m., so ❙ The church’s school is located at I can sit and pray and be with God before things 2801 E. 16th St. in Muncie. get moving.” Rev. Andrew Dudzinski presides over this Mass, ❙ The church community also provides coming to St. Lawrence this morning from St. an emergency food pantry. Nonperishable food items can be taken to Mary Church, where he is the pastor. the St. Lawrence rectory next to the He walks toward the congregation while beginchurch building. ning his homily, saying a bright and cheery “good morning” to the group, who respond in an equally cheerful manner. While speaking about the importance of knowing God, loving God and serving God, Dudzinski smiles at each person sitting in the pews, speaking with the cadence of a longtime friend, one who has nothing but the best of intentions for his loved ones. As the congregation recites the Our Father, some bow their heads, feeling the presence of God in this traditional church building. The sun continues its rise to begin the day, and the colors from the window illuminate the building’s interior, warming the hearts of those praying aloud and in silence. The closing song, Alleluia! Praise to the Lord gives Meleason and her fiancé, Kevin Schmidt, all the strength they needed to make it through the rigors of college life on a frigid February day. But their love, along with their love of God, has been strengthening their souls for some time now. “I don’t think there’s a better way to spend time with my fiancée,” Schmidt says. — Ivy Farguheson
MU_MN_3RD_03-20_N_B_E_20_C 20E â€˘ Sunday, March 20, 2011 www.thestarpress.com