Town In Two Time Zones

From left, Fozzie Bear, Harry Smith, Cat Cora and Angelo on "The Early Show." CBS

Here's a brainteaser for you.

How is it possible for a basketball to be tossed into the air, and not come down until an hour later, with no tricks involved?

In tiny College Corner, Union Elementary School Principal Dan Shepherd has the answer.

He straddles the imaginary state line that runs smack dab down the middle of the school's quaint, 80-year-old gymnasium and shares a bit of local lore with a couple of out-of-towners.

"Back in the old days," he said, "before the whole school embraced Eastern Standard Time, it was possible to launch a long shot from the Indiana side of the basketball court at 3 p.m. and the ball wouldn't find the net on the Ohio side until an hour later."

Technically, points out the Connersville News Examiner, despite rules the school observes, that still means "during part of the year, a good shooter can launch a shot from the Indiana side of the court and it will tickle the twine on the Ohio side of the court an hour later."

For more years than most of the 4,000 or so people who call College Corner home can remember, the town has been a rather schizophrenic place when it comes to the time of day.

CBS News Correspondent Bill Geist decided to visit the town, for CBS News Sunday Morning.

Because the community, like the local school, is split in half by the Ohio-Indiana line, residents must deal with two time zones for much of the year.

While those on the Buckeye side of State Line Street are governed by Eastern Daylight Time, their Hoosier counterparts on the other side of the two-lane ribbon of concrete step to the beat of Eastern Standard Time.

Though many College Corner businesses and residents on both sides of the line already embrace Eastern Daylight Time, because it is convenient for their customers, they say the double standard still results in plenty of missed doctor's appointments and botched dinner dates.

Geist talks to many of those residents about coping with the split.

This could all change, though. A bill mandating that all of Indiana go along with the vast majority states that observes daylight-saving time is slated for a vote Monday in the Indiana General Assembly.

Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels has made statewide daylight-saving time a top priority, saying it would eliminate confusion and boost commerce.

Many College Corner residents say they want to see the change happen.

"I don't see any problem with going to daylight-saving time," said Rick Stevens, 48, a College Corner native and a member of the local volunteer fire department for 22 years. "Having two time zones really doesn't have any effect on the fire department, but having just one might make planning activities a little easier for some people."

Vickie Massey, 44, a waitress at Tina's Country Kitchen Restaurant on the Indiana side of town, agreed.

"One good thing about having one time zone would be people would quit asking, 'Is that Ohio or Indiana time?' whenever they hear about an event that's going to take place around here," she said.

Scott Cline, a bartender at Deano's College Corner Tavern - one of two Indiana watering holes that sit side-by-side a scant 20 yards from the Ohio-Indiana line - is satisfied with Eastern Standard Time.

"We like it," he said, "because it allows us to stay open an hour longer every day. But if they change things and we have to start closing down at 2:30 a.m., well, that's OK, because you gotta go with the flow."

Gary Gayhart, weekend disc jockey at Deano's, recalled the first time his oldest son played a junior high school basketball game for the Union Trojans.

"It was about 15 years ago," he said. "Gary scored some of his points in Ohio and the rest in Indiana. It was crazy."

Even if time-change legislation is eventually approved, College Corner will retain enough oddities to make it unique.

The U.S. Post Office would continue to have two ZIP codes - one for Ohio, the other for Indiana - and local motorists would continue to buy different license plates depending on which side of State Line Street they live on.

And, as always, a woman residing on the Ohio side of the street who wants to telephone her Indiana neighbor would still have to dial the area code first.

Those seeking a symbol of College Corner will find it at the boxy, red brick schoolhouse that began life as a high school and now serves as a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade facility.

Fittingly enough, the building, with its wood floors and trophy cases filled with dusty reminders of yesterday, boasts two front doors: One is marked with an Ohio flag; the other with an Indiana flag.

"The school opted for Eastern Standard Time long before I got here because of the many activities that take place here," said Shepherd, who has been the school's principal for three years. "And whenever we schedule something, we always make sure to remind people the time is Indiana time."

He paused, then added: "Except for an occasional minor problem, I think it's working out pretty well. We recently invited some dentists to come to the school to care for the dental needs of a few students. We even reserved a room for the dentists on the Ohio side of the building. That's when they reminded us they are licensed to practice only in Indiana. So we found them another room."
  • Brian Dakss

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