March 15 show
Wicked winter history with Paul Poteet
When you endure one of the most brutal winters in Hoosier history, whom do you call to put it in context?
None other than the multimedia meteorologist often dubbed "Indiana's Weatherman." Indianapolis-based forecaster, weather historian and veteran broadcast personality Paul Poteet will join Nelson in studio to share details about the wicked winter of 2013-14 and how it stacks up to previous eras when temps also hit rock bottoms and snowfalls seemed endless, including the notorious Blizzard of 1978.
As the operator of the weather site paulpoteet.com, Paul delivers forecasts on the Internet and is a go-to guy for media clients ranging from newspapers such as The Indianapolis Star and The Lafayette Courier-Journal to radio stations WZPL-FM (99.5) and WQME-FM (98.7). For nearly 15 years until 2009, he was the morning news meteorologist for WRTV-Channel 6 in Indianapolis.
Known for his wit and boundless energy, Paul has been a busy man this winter, which included a dozen days in Indianapolis during January and February when the temps plunged below zero. According to Paul, the 11.4 inches of snow that fell on Jan. 5 in the Indy area was "the second highest calendar-day snowfall since records began."
An independent forecaster, Paul owns Weather History Research, a business hired by insurance companies and law firms seeking historic weather data.
The snowiest winter on record in Indy was 1981-82, with a total of 58.2 inches.
And then there's the Blizzard of '78, which was the focus of our second show after Hoosier History Live! made its debut in January 2008. That blizzard, generally considered the worst in city history, involved a massive snowfall of 15.5 inches on top of more than 5 inches already on the ground.
According to Paul Poteet, the maximum snow depth ever recorded on the ground in the Indy area happened during the notorious Blizzard of '78. For three consecutive days (Jan. 26-28 of 1978), the snow depth measured 20 inches.
With wind chills reported at 51 degrees below zero, the Blizzard of '78 paralyzed the city, stranded hundreds of people at the American Red Cross shelter and at Indianapolis International Airport and led to the activation of the Indiana National Guard - even to the use of tanks - to rescue stranded motorists and stalled semis.
Our show, which was broadcast on the 30th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78, featured guests who included a pregnant woman who went into labor at a farmhouse in Franklin Township and the director of the Red Cross shelter.
- Listen here for Hoosier History Live! audio from our Jan. 16, 2008 show, during which former COO of the Indianapolis Red Cross Craig Widener talks about how the city opened its Red Cross Shelter to stranded Greyhound passengers.
- Listen here to for a caller talking about being stranded at O'Malia's grocery store in Carmel.
When Paul Poteet joins Nelson, he will draw comparisons and contrasts among other wicked winter seasons. Some winter history facts for the Indy area, courtesy of Paul:
- Average date of first measurable snowfall: Nov. 19
- Average date of the last measurable snowfall: March 30.
- Average first freeze date: Oct. 16.
- Average last freeze date: April 17.
Two weeks ago, Paul traveled to Alaska to cover the Iditarod in connection with one of his other gigs. With TV personality Patty Spitler (also a former Hoosier History Live! guest), Paul co-hosts Pet Pals TV, a syndicated magazine show that focuses on dogs, cats and an array of other pets.
Consider this: When Paul and Patty left for the Iditarod last week, it was colder across central Indiana (at 6 degrees) than in Alaska, where temps were in the low 20s.
And if history is any guide, Hoosiers may not be out of the woods for quite awhile in terms of the need for overcoats, or at least jackets. According to Paul, the last date of measurable snowfall in central Indiana was May 8. That late-season snowfall happened in 1923.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Indianapolis area occurred within the last 25 years.
On a day during January of the mystery year that became historically cold, the air temperature in Indy plunged to a record low of minus-27 degrees, not counting wind chill.
Question: What was the year?
The call-in number is (317) 788-3314. Please do not call into the show until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air, and please do not try to win the prize if you have won any other prize on WICR during the last two months.
The prize is a gift certificate to Lorenzo's Ristorante in downtown Indianapolis, courtesy of Visit Indy, and four passes to GlowGolf, the miniature golf course in downtown Indy's Circle Centre Mall.
Roadtripper: Yount's Woolen Mill, Shades and Allen's Country Diner
Guest Roadtripper Gary BraVard encourages us to discover some treasure in Montgomery County; county seat is Crawfordsville. A picturesque hidden paradise stands four miles west of Crawfordsville along Sugar Creek, which winds its way through all those wonderful sandstone cliffs in Shades State Park.
Yount's Woolen Mill is off Highway 32 west of Crawfordsville; it's south on Old Mill Road just west of Sugar Creek. It's rather tucked away.
Built in 1851, Yount's Woolen Mill provided much of the Grade A wool for Civil War uniforms. During its heyday about 300 women worked there, and sleeping quarters for the women were provided in the boarding house in front of the mill. The former boarding house now operates year-round as a bed and breakfast, Yountsville Mill Inn & Garden.
If you've absorbed enough natural beauty after hiking around Montgomery County, you can top off the day with some home cooking at Allen's Country Kitchen in downtown Crawfordsville. Tell them that the Roadtripper from Hoosier History Live sent you!
Your Hoosier History Live! team,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Joan Hostetler, Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, Dana Waddell, advisors
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Acknowledgments to Monomedia, Visit Indy, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo & Research Services, Derrick Lowhorn and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships and individual contributions. We do not receive any government funding. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially. Also, see our Twitter feed and our Facebook page for regular updates.
A few pics from our annual soiree
Over the next handful of newsletters, we will share a few photos from our lovely and well-attended 6th-anniversary soiree. The Feb. 27 event at Indiana Landmarks was attended by about 200 history lovers, including dozens of guests on the Hoosier History Live program.
March 22 show
Native plants and early Indiana botanical explorations
With, at long last, the arrival of spring - at least in terms of the calendar, if not the current weather - Hoosier History Live! will focus on our state's botanical heritage. And a special co-host will guide us during our look at native plants and early botanical explorations.
Did you know, for example, that 43 varieties of orchids are native to Indiana - more than in Hawaii?
Author and gardening expert Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, who writes the popular "Hoosier Gardener" column for The Indianapolis Star, will join Nelson in studio for the show. Their guest will be a fellow author, botanist and plant ecologist Michael Homoya of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. His books include Orchids of Indiana (Indiana University Press), which describes all 43 native Indiana orchids.
Jo Ellen, the co-author of The Indiana Gardener's Guide and the author of The Visitor's Guide to American Gardens (both published by Cool Springs Press), is the secretary of Garden Writers Association. She has been writing and speaking about natural gardening for more than 20 years.
So Jo Ellen and Michael will be ideal for this show, during which we will dig deep into botanical explorations across Indiana.
Our first state forester, Charlie Deam (1865-1953), grew up on a family farm in Wells County and went on to chronicle native plants across the state, including specific locations in counties and townships.
In addition to his book about orchids, our guest Michael Homoya has been the author or co-author of other books about Indiana wildflowers. They include Wildflowers and Ferns of Indiana's Forests (IU Press).
And Jo Ellen, in addition to being an author and columnist, is a garden coach and landscape consultant. A frequent guest about gardening topics on TV and radio stations across Indiana, she is a member of Great Garden Speakers.
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