Brown County Democrat – Published Guest Columns and Letters

June 8, 2021. GUEST OPINION: Change vs. improvement — who decides and how? By Tim Clark

May 25, 2021. Guest Opinion: New Septic Ordinance — Challenges and Opportunities by Tim Clark

  • The decision-making process of commissioners Biddle and Braden resulted in a disservice to the citizens opposing this ordinance, as well as to the individuals and groups that worked on its approval. Refusal to justify and defend a position can contribute to questions about motives, competence, and the overall quality of the ordinance.

 GUEST OPINION: Justification lacking for proposed septic ordinance

Nov. 24, 2020 By TIM CLARK, guest columnist The public hearing to be held by the commissioners to obtain citizen input on the proposed new septic ordinance has…

GUEST OPINION: Bean Blossom sewer plant: Delay warranted

Apr. 3, 2020 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist On March 10, 2020, Ethel Morgan of HomeTown Engineering LLC presented the findings from a regionalization study of wastewater treatment…

GUEST OPINION: Septics and sewers — major changes proposed

Aug. 30, 2019 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist In his Aug. 13, 2019 guest opinion column in the Brown County Democrat, “What you can learn at the county’s Septic Summit.

Letter: County needs ‘collaboration, not scapegoating’

Aug. 20, 2019 (Subscriber)To the editor: The article by Sara Clifford published in the Aug. 13, 2019 edition of The Democrat, “No resolution yet to Helmsburg sewer board…

Note: On the use of the term scapegoating, my intent was to reinforce that establishing regional sewer district boards without an overall county strategy is problematic.

GUEST OPINION: Time will tell what music center’s impact will be

May 23, 2019 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist I have found the series of guest columns by Bruce Gould promoting the Brown County Music Center (BCMC) to be…

GUEST OPINION: Sewers and septic systems: What’s the problem?

Jan. 23, 2019 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, for The Democrat The Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Board is taking action that could affect the quality of life for…

GUEST OPINION: Political transformation, one county at a time

Dec. 11, 2018 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist Straight-ticket voting in the 2018 elections was reported by the Brown County Democrat to be the highest in the past…

Letter: A ‘referendum’ on the Maple Leaf project?

Nov. 20, 2018 (Subscriber)To the editor: In the Nov. 14 story in the Brown County Democrat, “Incumbent to serve another term,” commissioner Biddle expressed a belief that her…

GUEST OPINION: Maple Leaf: A failing strategy?

Aug. 23, 2018 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist “Will more money be a recurring theme?” was the subject of my last guest opinion published in The Democrat on…

GUEST OPINION: Will more money be a recurring theme?

July 25, 2018 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist The July 18 article in the Democrat, “New ‘Leaf’ turned: Work begins on performing arts center,” provided the highlights from…

Letter: Consider other ways for projects to proceed

June 12, 2018 (Subscriber)To the editor: The public presentation by DLZ on June 4, attended by the commissioners and members of the county council, identified DLZ’s final recommendations…

Letter: ‘Stop digging’ on Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center

May 1, 2018 (Subscriber)To the editor: There is wisdom in the metaphor that states that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. The Democrat’s article published…

Letter: Limit proposed septic ordinance’s scope

Mar. 27, 2018 (Subscriber)To the editor: I participated in the public meetings last year on the proposed septic ordinance. Despite the concerns and recommendations identified at the meetings…

GUEST OPINION: Working toward ‘a more perfect union’

Jan. 24, 2018 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist As individuals, we may not have too much direct influence over what happens politically at the national level of government. At..

GUEST OPINION: ‘Coming together is a beginning’

Jan. 11, 2018 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist In the first part of my series, “The role of process in county’s future,” I suggested that the process applied…

GUEST OPINION: The role of process in the future of Brown County

Dec. 28, 2017 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) project and the process used to fast-track approval may represent a turning point…

GUEST OPINION: Success is a choice

Nov. 26, 2017 (Subscriber)By TIM CLARK, guest columnist The recent community conversation on the status of the Salt Creek Trail reinforces that using ad-hoc teams to identify and…

Letter: ‘Zoning for Maple Leaf: Not in the plan’

Aug. 22, 2017 (Free)To the editor: The Brown County Comprehensive Plan states that the purpose of the plan “is to provide guidance on decision making regarding Brown County…

Letters: Maple Leaf proposal: Let’s not fail to plan

Aug. 8, 2017 (Subscriber)To the editor: At the June 20, 2017, presentation to a crowd of approximately 100 people on the proposed Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC)…

Income surveys needed for economic development grant

Sara Clifford – June 6, 2017 (Free)Within the next week or so, about 3,000 randomly chosen Brown County residents will receive a survey in the mail asking about their income. Don’t…

Hometown Collaboration Initiative pitch made to state

Sara Clifford – Apr. 19, 2017 (Subscriber)Brown County has “excellent schools”; abundant art, nature and adventure opportunities; well-educated and civically engaged older residents; and a number of “success stories” such…

More discussion, data needed about referendum

Sara Clifford – Mar. 7, 2016  To the editor: Superintendent Shaffer’s column titled “School financing 101” published in the Feb. 24 issue of The Democrat provided an excellent introduction to government..

Nashville and Development – For the Record

Who Benefits and How?

Stakeholders – Needs and Expectations?  County and Nashville residents and tqaxpayers, business owners, private developers,  tourists, potential new residents, non-profits, other?

  • The Brown County Leader Network (BCLN) has developed several tools to support decision-making and stakeholder analysis. A stakeholder analysis precedes the development of plans.

Mar 19, 2021Brown County Matters – FB Post – Purchase of the Little Opry Property

  • Interesting regarding development potential. Nashville has identified its intent to be a “driver” of regional tourism. Nashville’s Town Council approved a Wastewater Master Plan to improve existing infrastructure and expand sewer service to the State Park and to residences.
  • The concept for sewer expansion includes Bean Blossom which will make it difficult to justify federal funding for a new plant in Bean Blossom. Further, no land for a new plant has been acquired nor is there evidence of support from a majority of the potential customers.
  • The wastewater plan alleges support for sewer expansion by potential customers but not need. This impacts the costs associated with loans, hook-up fees, and monthly rates.
  • The Nashville Redevelopment Commission has also developed a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District that may help fund (via bonds) infrastructure upgrades that they hope can be paid for by taxes from new developments.
  • The Council also identified that they will be developing a new comprehensive plan to guide their vision.
  • The missing (optional) piece for Nashville is making an economic case for the kind of development that will not result in more costs than benefits to all county taxpayers and not just serve the interests of the few.
  • Nashville has had the lowest increase in assessed values (basis for property taxes) in the county.

Mar 16, 2021. Little Nashville Opry property has new owner By Suzannah Couch

  • William Jacob Capital LLC is the new owner of the empty 6.5-acre lot. Andrew Tilton of Brown County is the registered agent for that LLC, according to Indiana Company Directory.
    • Tilton and his brother Jimmy own the Foxfire parking lot in Nashville and the kettle corn food truck there.   … The Tilton brothers bought the Hidden Valley Inn property last year with plans to update and renovate the hotel.
    • The brothers also own several pieces of land in the county, some with the potential to be turned into housing or retail.  Andrew Tilton purchased two Nashville parking lots at the Andy Rogers estate auction in the fall of 2019.
  • The Opry property does not have a sewer hookup, though a wastewater treatment plant sits about a mile from it. Having to figure out wastewater treatment could raise the cost of development depending on what the new owner wants to put there.

Mar 2, 2021. Town starting process of creating a comprehensive plan by Sara Clifford –

  • The Nashville Town Council has talked about several matters at recent meetings that intersect on a common question: What we want Nashville to be in the future, and what we need to do now to get it there?
  • “Based on the assumption that the Redevelopment Commission could receive $4,000,000 in increment over the life of the Tax Increment Financing area, the Commission could spend approximately $4,000,000 on infrastructure in or serving the area.” (pg 30)

Oct 15, 2020 – Final. Nashville Sanitary Sewer Master Plan.  Intent includes an expansion to expand service within a 2.5 miles area of Nashville.  The plan does not include documentation of need in the areas targeted for expansion. Includes my comments on the July 2021 draft. 

Town of Nashville, Utility Services Board (NEW). Town Council hereby establishes a Utility Service Board for the town pursuant to I. C. 8- 1. 5- 3;  and hereby establishes the organization and administrative arrangements under which the town will exercise its authority and discharge its responsibility for utility service (water and wastewater services).

  • President Roger Kelso (term ends 12-31-2024)

  • Vice-President Bob Willsey (term ends 12-31-2022)

  • Secretary Alyn Brown (term ends 12-31-2023)

  • Ted Seastrom (term ends 12-31-2023) Resigned, March 2021.

  • Pam Gould (term ends 12-31-2022). Owner Cornerstone Inn and several properties that would benefit from an expansion of sewer service.


Share the good news with 120 Million Homes in the U.S. BY 2027

Saturate USA With Good News (The Gospel)


Sharing the Announcement – Facebook – Brown County Matters

The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which meant “the story concerning God.” In the New Testament the Greek word euaggelion, means “good news.” It proclaims tidings of deliverance.

  • Saturate USA is a God-sized vision to take the love of the Gospel to 120 million households by the end of 2027. The hope is to spark true repentance and revival in our beloved country. Please share this vision with your friends and colleagues so that they can join this exciting movement.

Our country needs to rediscover the message of the Gospel and we need to cry out in prayer for revival to sweep the land. United in love, and with God on our side, we can win America back to Christ.

(Watch Online) The Jesus Film (Translated into 1700 languages)

The Jesus Film Project app is completely free and available on iOS and Android devices. Get the app now and start watching and sharing a huge library of Jesus-centered films.

Example of  Outreach and sharing the Jesus Film in another Country:

  • Answering the call: Interview with James Akol | In The Thick of It.  After fleeing war in Southern Sudan and becoming a Christian, he returned to his community in Akuak Rak (village in the North of what is now the country of South Sudan) and felt the Lord calling him to bring the Gospel to the Rizeigat people – more commonly known during the war as the Janjaweed – the group that led the genocide of his people.

The Great Commission
“… the Mandate to “make disciples of all nations” given by Christ to his disciples following his death and resurrection ( Matt 28:16-20 ; Mark 16:15-18 ; Luke 24:46-49 ; John 20:21-23 ; Acts 1:8 ).”

Brown County Connections – Directory and Resource Guide –  Churches (Worship) (p47)

The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel.

The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense by Mark Mittelberg.  $6.99 at Amazon. Based on the 50-Million copy bestseller.  “This short book gives clear, concise reasons why belief in God makes sense.”

Becoming a Contagious Church: Increasing Your Church’s Evangelistic Temperature. Includes a Six-Stage Process and Assessment Tool.

    • Without intentional planning, prioritization, decision making, and leadership – and a whole lot of course corrections along the way – a church will never experience sustained evangelistic fruitfulness.”
Additional and Supporting Information for Skeptics

Rising From The Dead – Proof of the Resurrection by Gary Varvel
(Email Newsletter, Views from the Right)

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25.

As a Christian, I believe the Bible teaches that this is not only the most important event on the Christian calendar, it’s the most important event in history. It’s what separates Christianity from all other religions. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Then he proved it by not only raising the dead but by rising from the dead himself. Sound far fetched?

Dr. Simon Greenleaf was a Professor of Law at Harvard University, and author of the famous legal volume entitled, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence. He believed the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax and he determined to expose the “myth.” After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection — Dr. Greenleaf came to the exact opposite conclusion! He wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated: “It was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD…”

Atheists Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel also tried to prove the Bible was fake. Both became outspoken followers of Jesus. McDowell wrote a book called, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Strobel wrote A Case For Christ. The evidence for the resurrection was what convinced both of them. I encourage you to study their research. My faith in Jesus is not blind faith. It is reasonable faith based on evidence. Check it out for yourself.

Atheist Cold-Case Investigator Tried Disprove Christ’s Resurrection, Gets Converted Instead

LA Times Oped:  The Gospel is bogus argument by Bart Ehrman:  How Christians came to believe in heaven, hell and the immortal soul

  • A Case Study: Bart Ehrman, a “Christian” Who Lost His Faith  BY RANDY ALCORN  APRIL 15, 2020
    • The challenge to the “bogus” argument:  “Ehrman states unproven premises reflecting his bias, then draws logical conclusions based on his faulty premises.
    • We all trust something. When we abandon trust in God’s revelation, we replace it with trust in our own feelings, opinions, and preferences, or those of our friends and teachers—all of which can drift with popular culture, including academic culture.

A Quick, Compelling Bible Study Vol. 56 – Jesus’s Greatest Hits Myra Kahn Adams


Nashville – Tax Increment Financing (TIF) For the Record

The statute over Redevelopment Commissions and the use of Tax Increment Financing is found in IC 36 -7-14.


Nashville, Indiana – TIF-Economic-Development-Plans

  • “Based on the assumption that the Redevelopment Commission could receive $4,000,000 in increment over the life of the Tax Increment Financing area, the Commission could spend approximately $4,000,000 on infrastructure in or serving the area.” (pg 30)

Apr 7, 2021. Facebook – Brown County Matters – Nashville RDC Meeting.

  • Nashville Redevelopment Commission RDC) Meeting. April 6, 2021 5:30 pm.  Nashville’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plans were briefly reviewed.  Note:  “Indiana law now makes clear that TIF is intended to fund infrastructure to promote development that would not occur but for the added infrastructure financed by the TIF revenues. Evidence that the development would not happen
    but for the establishment of the TIF district must be presented before the TIF district is approved.”
  • Ed Curtin (Nashville consultant) confirmed that they have not received any formal requests for subsidies from any developers. In the past, Hard Truth Hills has not asked for a subsidy.
  • The “So What?”  A TIF directs the increases in property tax revenue from development to the Nashville RDC and not the county. The RDC borrows money to fund infrastructure with the assumption that the investment in infrastructure will generate sufficient funds to make payments on the loan (s).
  • The residential TIF was also discussed. By law, the Schools are required to be involved in the plans. In the larger counties such as Hamilton, plans for residential developments can lead to a need for additional schools – thus  the need to keep schools involved. Brown County Schools have the capacity to accommodate the projected growth in housing.

Apr 6, 2021. BCD. Making it happen: New Nashville neighborhood under construction as TIF talk progresses.

Mar 2, 2021. BCD. Town proposes changes to TIF areas  By

  • The Nashville Redevelopment Commission has put together an economic plan and declaratory resolution which will go to the Brown County Area Plan Commission this week for approval, then to the Nashville Town Council as early as March.
  • If the documents pass those two steps, they would go back to the redevelopment commission for a confirmatory resolution.

The Use of Tax Increment Finance by Indiana Local Governments, Larry DeBoer
Department of Agricultural Economics Purdue University

  • Indiana law now makes clear that TIF is intended to fund infrastructure to promote development that would not occur but for the added infrastructure financed by the TIF revenues. Evidence that the development would not happen
    but for the establishment of the TIF district must be presented before
    the TIF district is approved.

Jul 6, 2018. BCD. Town won’t capture taxes from newest big business by Sara Clifford –   The Nashville Redevelopment Commission isn’t planning to get incremental tax revenue from the building of the Nashville’s newest big development, Hard Truth Hills, because…

  • The Nashville Redevelopment Commission isn’t planning to get incremental tax revenue from the building of the Nashville’s newest big development, Hard Truth Hills, because it was never placed into a redevelopment or economic development area.  Resident Pam Gould asked why at the commission’s last meeting.“They didn’t ask for it,” said commission and town council member Jane Gore.

Jun 1, 2018  BCD. Town considering tax abatement for small business  By Sara Clifford – A long-vacant shop in downtown Nashville could get torn down and rebuilt if a local couple’s plan comes together. Part of that plan is to…

The Citizenship Question by Leo Morris

The Citizenship Question

by Leo Morris

Is U.S. citizenship still worth something?

That is such a grimly disheartening question because of where it came from.

I did not hear it from the usual “America is awful” crowd, the people who either think the republic always was and always will be an oppressive blight on the face of the Earth or believe the only way it can atone for its sins is for those who have been unfairly treated to unfairly treat everybody else.

It came to me from an enthusiastic follower of the Indiana Policy Review, for which I write these columns.

That is an organization dedicated to freedom and the constitutional principles that undergird it. If those who follow that vision are losing faith in the value of their franchise, is there any future left for the country?

There had better be. This country is still the best hope for the world, and to give up on its promise is to give up on all humankind.

America was founded on the single greatest political idea in history: Rights inhere in the individual.

Somewhere between anarchy and tyranny, people have forever tried to find the perfect government, the one that will provide the proper balance of autonomy and dependence. How can we best obtain security and still preserve our liberty?

Until America, the group was always paramount. There were no rights as such, merely privileges that could be granted or withheld to favored or shunned groups at the whim of an absolute ruler.

Then came our Declaration of Independence and Constitution to lay the foundation for a better way. Each individual person has rights – call them natural or God-given – just by virtue of being human that are beyond the purview of government. In fact, the chief justification for government is to protect those rights.

That is the basis of American Exceptionalism, a point President Obama missed – deliberately, I suspect – when he blithely said something to the effect that, well, all people think their country is exceptional.

America is exceptional because it found the exception to submission to tyranny.

And, yes, its behavior is often not exceptional. It does not always live up to its promise. You can find plenty of complaints from all across the political spectrum. The oligarchy is taking over. Cancel culture is rampant. There is anarchy in the streets. Equality of results has replaced equality of opportunity. Income inequality is out of control. And on and on.

I have my own concerns, especially about the leviathan state. I worry that the federal debt will crush us. It bothers me that the Supreme Court declared my property available for an economic developer with deep pockets, and that the state of Indiana declares the right to take people’s possessions by accusing them of crimes they have not even been tried for. It is astonishing that two presidents – Obama and George W. Bush – gave themselves the authority to have any American anywhere killed on their order alone and that there was no national outrage.

But consider: Those are holes in the only ship of state we have. If we abandon it, to which shore do we swim?

I am proud of some of the things I have done, ashamed of others. I try to take responsibility for my own actions, as all moral people should.

I try to avoid grand pronouncements about things outside my control. I cringe when people say they are ashamed to be an American, and I would never say I am proud to be an American. That is but an accident of birth.

But I am glad to be one. It is gratifying to be a citizen of a country that not only stands for the right thing but acknowledges its failures to live up to its own standards and always tries to do better.

If this nation, founded on the concept of natural rights, gets so many things wrong about freedom, imagine what the world would be like without America’s striving as an example. The more mistakes we make, the more we demonstrate how much we are needed.

“For if they do these things in a green tree,” it says in Luke 23:31, “what shall be done in the dry?”

I will leave it to the biblical scholars to offer the religious interpretation of that passage. But we can divine a secular meaning.

The world with America is a green tree, still capable of giving and nurturing life. The world without America would be so very, very dry.

Leo Morris, columnist for The Indiana Policy Review, is winner of the Hoosier Press Association’s award for Best Editorial Writer. Morris, as opinion editor of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, was named a finalist in editorial writing by the Pulitzer Prize committee. Contact him at

A biblical and non-biblical-based approach to improvement

A strategy that leverages the interrelationship between Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management.

Presentation (14 slides): 2021_02_ 06 C2QM Apologetic

Terms: Non-secular – based on a biblical worldview: Secular – non-religious based.

Common Ground?

  • Shared vision: Reducing variation from the ideal results in outcomes where everyone benefits or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term.
  • Common language: Anyone that has made a successful change has applied the variation principle. using different terms. Knowledge of common and special causes of variation, stable (predictable) and unstable systems can lead to more success. Common references to “systems” are routines and habits.
  • Common Method: Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Improvement Cycle.

W. Edwards Deming was a world leader in quality improvement, supported a secular approach, and was a devout Christian. Book:  Deming: “The Way We Knew Him by Frank Voehl:

Why has the west been so successful?  Ben Shapiro, PragerU.   (Video Length 5:43)

  • The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches that God created an ordered universe, and that we have an obligation to try to make the world better.
  • The Western world has produced some of the most prosperous and most free civilizations on earth. What makes the West exceptional? Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and author of “The Right Side of History,” explains that the twin pillars of religious revelation and reason — emanating from ancient Jerusalem and Athens — form the bedrock for Western civilization’s unprecedented success.
  • Transcript:  Shapiro-Why_Has_the_West_Been_So_Successful-Transcript

Brown County (IN) Leader Network – Application of the strategy at the county level of government – We are in the proof of concept phase.

Health Department Lawsuit and Settlement

March 3, 2021. $50,000 Settlement.  The settlement that the county insurer paid was reported to be $50,000.   I have requested a copy of the settlement from the Commissioners to confirm. Commissioner Biddle told me she would provide.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.  JOHN SIMPSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BROWN COUNTY, et al., Defendants-Appellees. No. 16-2234 Decided: June 26, 2017

This appeal presents a classic test of procedural due process. As the case comes to us, we must assume that a county board revoked a man’s professional license without giving him prior notice or an opportunity to be heard.”

Stipulation Dismissal and unsigned order

DE 108 Order of dismissal – signed – dated 8/2/18.


CVC and CVB Financial Reports


CVC Budget 2021 – Requested from Auditor

GuideStar – Nashville Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc (CVB)

IRS Forms 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax – Open to Public Inspection.

The IRS requires all U.S. tax-exempt nonprofits to make public their three most recent Form 990 or 990-PF annual returns (commonly called “990s”) and all related supporting documents. They must also make public their Form 1023, which organizations file when they apply for tax-exempt status.

IRS Tax Exempt Organization – Search

EIN: 35-1613552