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Indiana Fixes Time Zone Problem, A Little

By Matt Wood in News on Jan 19, 2006 6:06PM

On April 2, when we move our clocks forward one hour to adjust for Daylight Saving Time, two counties in Indiana, Starke and Pulaski, and six in the southwestern corner of the state won't do anything, just like they have done for years, effectively switching them from Eastern time to Central. But this time they'll stay for good.

2006_01_broken_clock.jpgThe US Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that those eight counties would officially join the Central Time Zone while the other 77 Indiana counties officially join the Eastern Time Zone. Indiana has a long, confusing history of multiple time zones, with some parts of the state observing Daylight Saving Time and some not, counties switching back and forth, and even some towns straddling two zones. Indiana is one of three states (Hawaii and Arizona are the others), that does not officially observe DST. That means no one ever changes their clocks in Indiana, so it spends half the year on Central time and half on Eastern. But a handful of counties in Da Region and near Evansville always stay on Central time, and a few others near Louisville and Cincinnati stay on Eastern. The Indiana legislature is trying to fix it this year, with the entire state adopting Eastern DST, minus the aforementioned Central exceptions.

Yes, we know it's confusing. Try living there. Chicagoist grew up in one of the southwestern Central time counties, but went to college and had all our family in the no-switchin' ones around Indy. We always had to think twice about when to call home and could never figure out what time we could expect to arrive on family visits. To make matters worse, Indianapolis television stations observe Eastern time programming hours (prime time starting at 8PM) year-round, whether the state was technically on Central time or not.

Why does this matter to you in Chicagoland? It doesn't really. Counties in Da Region always stayed with Chicago for economic reasons, so this is old news for you folks. We just thought you'd be interested in learning about your retarded Hoosier neighbors. Next week's civics lesson: Parliamentary Procedures of the Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture.