Quick takes – July 17th

A major gift

Generosity can’t be measured, but 18 tons of donated food certainly can be.

On Wednesday, Columbus’ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gifted more than 36,000 pounds of food to Love Chapel; enough to feed local families for two weeks.

Leaders from Bartholomew County’s largest food pantry said the donation was the largest it has ever received from a single source.

The donation, transported from Salt Lake City, Utah, was so big that resident Larry West donated storage space down the street from the pantry. Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. also brought a forklift and helped unload the food from the truck.

Those that made the donation possible should be commended. Their actions will make a major difference for the lives of many locals.

Leaving a legacy

The music community lost one of its finest last week.

Columbus’ James Kevin Butler, a highly respected choral conductor and performer, died July 5 at 64 years old; just one day after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Butler, who was the music director at First United Methodist Church, was involved in dozens of local musical productions and regularly reviewed performances in The Republic.

The 1975 Columbus North High School graduate had a career that stretched from Columbus to across the nation as a choral contest judge. In 2016, after years of high school choral conducting, including three years at Columbus East High School, he earned the Fame Show Choir National Championship Series’ Aspire Lifetime Achievement Award.

Butler also devoted much of his time to giving back to the community. In recent years, he helped organize musical fundraisers (and perform himself, along with others) for Love Chapel.

Butler’s impact on Columbus will be missed, but not forgotten.

The talk of the town

If you didn’t know his resume, you’d swear that Frank Owens was born and bred in Hope, Indiana.

Owens, an Anderson native, recently surpassed six weeks in his new role as Hope’s town manager.

In a recent interview, Owens, 53, gushed over the town of 2,200 residents.

“This is my fourth governmental role, and out of those four roles, being town manager of Hope is No. 1 — mainly because of the pride of community among the residents,” Owens said. "It’s amazing the number of folks I’ve run into that have lived in Hope their entire lives that are genuinely happy.”

While Owens’ job is to prioritize economic development, which includes seeking grant funds, he said he wants to keep Hope’s "small town feel" while maximizing its opportunities for growth.

Owens appears to be a great fit for the job. We wish him well in the future, and look forward to seeing how he can help make Hope an even greater place to live moving forward.