Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 19, 2013

Chautauqua brings out the stars

Pat Smith
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — I have a couple of good news announcements about former residents today, and then some exciting news about an event coming in May.

This is especially for readers who are not on the internet: First, we in Decatur County have always been proud of Greg Shine and we now have another reason for that. Greg, Chief Ranger and Historian for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and Dr. Brett Oppegaard Volunteer-in-Parks and Assistant Professor at Washington State University Vancouver, received the Fort Vancouver Mobile Project Award this year.

Their project was chosen as one of two projects nationwide to receive this year’s John Wesley Powell Prize for outstanding achievement in the field of historical displays, awarded by the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Dr. Robert Sutton, the Chief Historian of the National Park Service, stated, “The Powell Prize is one of the most important and prestigious awards given to federal government historians each year. This is a huge honor for NPS volunteer Brett Oppegaard and Historian Greg Shine, for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Tracy Fortmann, the Park Superintendent, and for all historians in the National Park Service. We are extremely proud of Greg Shine, Brett Oppegaard, and the entire project team.”

Second, Ian Markham, former student at St. Mary’s School and son of Dan Markham, a former sports editor and managing editor for the Greensburg Daily News, received a full-scholarship from the National Security Language Initiative for Youth to spend the summer in Russia studying the Russian language. Ian is one of 600 students around the country who will receive the honor. I wrote about Ian when he won the National Spelling Geographic Bee for Indiana. He is the son of Dan and Kem Markham. Phil and Mary Lou Marciniak (Ian’s grandparents) live in Decatur County).

Chances are, at some time in your life you have seen the movie,“It’s a Wonderful Life.” If so, you will remember the little girl Zuzu who said, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!” Remember that? That little girl was six year old Karolyn Grimes. For decades the movie starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore has been a favorite to watch during the Christmas season. In fact, that line that Zuzu said has been listed as one of movies most memorable exit lines. Would you like to meet Zuzu?

Do you remember “The Darlings” group that sang many times on The Andy Griffith Show. Rodney Dillard was a member of that group. The Dillards are from Missouri and was a celebrated American Bluegrass band. Would you like to meet Rodney Dillard of The Darlings?

Sonny Curtis is well known as a singer and songwriter. He was a band member of Buddy Holly when Holly was still in Lubbock, Texas. He is famous for writing the theme, “Love is All Around,” for the Mary Tyler Moore Show on television, “Walk Right Back,” sung by Anne Murray and co-wrote the 1987 Country Song of the Year, “I’m No Stranger to the Rain.” His songs have been sung by John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead and Curtis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

On TV Vincent M. Ward has had parts in “The Walking Dead” (as Oscar), Bo on “The Starter Wife,” “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Knight Rider,”  “Hot in Cleveland,” “NCIS” and others. He has appeared in many movies.

Takayo Fischer has appeared in some mighty big-budget films, including “Pirates of the Caribbean.” She was in, “At World’s End,” “Mrs. Chu in The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “War of the Worlds.” She has done work in independent Asian American films including Americanese, Only the Brave, Stand Up for Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story and Strawberry Fields.

Joyce Vincent Wilson is most famous for being one-third of the group “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” The group, popular in the 1970s, had their own television program and Wilson was featured on singles like “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.” She has continued success with singing by herself and with other groups.

If you’re interested in one or more of the above, you’ll want to save May 2 for a time to meet those people and more. The Chautauqua theme this year is, “History of Film and TV.” The ones mentioned plus a half dozen more remarkable people have been lined up to come to Greensburg and share what their contribution has been to films and television. I’ve only mentioned half of the upcoming visitors here.