News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 17, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Nov. 17, 2013

What do you know about distracted driving?

Recently the Indiana College of Fellows, a group of Indiana trial lawyers, kicked off its 2013-14 High School Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign at West Vigo High School in Terre Haute. Attorney Steve Williams presented to students for the second year in a row.

Indiana Trial Lawyers will be devoting hundreds of hours of their time to give free presentations to students across the state. Since my daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver in 2009, I drive very differently. I no longer text, check emails, dial phone numbers, program my GPS or eat while driving. But it took losing my daughter for me to change the way I drive.

As I travel the country, I speak with the family members of those who have been killed by distracted driving. One mother whose daughter died while texting wondered out loud whether her daughter was texting because she had seen her mom texting while driving.

I also speak to those who have killed through their distracted driving. All of them tell me the same thing when we meet, “I never thought I was the type of person who could kill through my driving.” Who is that type of person? I have learned that it could be me, you. your friend or your children because many of us take chances when we drive, thinking that somehow we are immune to tragedy. I now know differently.

Teens across the country, including Indiana teens, report that their moms, dads and their friends’ parents, in car pools, routinely will text, apply makeup, dial cell phones, play video games or steer with their knees while driving them. Studies show that teens whose parents drive distracted are more likely to also drive distracted.

So what have you been teaching your children about distracted driving?

Be the driver you want your teen to be.

— Joel Feldman

Philadelphia, Pa.

Patriotism on display at vets museum

America is a nation of free citizens only because there have been in the past and at the present patriotic individuals who gave and are giving their lives defending our freedom.  

Sometimes it appears that many in our nation take their way of life in America for granted, and many do not remember those brave Americans who have sacrificed for our freedom. The Veterans Museum in Terre Haute honors veterans who gave their lives for our country, some who returned from serving our nation, and some who are on eternal leave as they are buried in military cemeteries in many foreign countries.

One person who served in World War II was my brother, Freeman, who gave his life on April 15, 1945, in the final weeks of World War II, when Patton’s Third Army was making a push into Germany to finally destroy the German Army and Adolf Hitler. Freeman is one of many who gave their lives for our country and are on eternal leave, because he and thousands of others never returned to the United States.

There are many cemeteries in foreign countries where these brave souls are buried. Freeman is buried in the Netherlands at the Margraten American Military Cemetery where over 8,300 American soldiers are buried. It is a well-manicured cemetery where the tower continuously plays the song “Do You Remember.” I visited this cemetery a few years ago and will never forget the experience.

I am proud to be an American and I am proud of my brother Freeman. Over the years, all of his letters, pictures and medals were carefully stored first by his mother, and then by my brother and myself. After making a visit to the Veterans Museum in 2012, I talked to my brother, Bill Newman, who resides on the West Coast, and we decided to donate everything to this museum so that my brother’s ultimate sacrifice to his country would be remembered for many years to come by everyone who visits the museum.

In this museum I saw pictures and medals of heroes who still live in our community, and who also felt they wanted to preserve their service in a museum setting. I revisited the Veterans Museum this past Veterans Day and was so impressed with the expanded facilities and reverence in which the stories of the real heroes of our country are presented.

If you haven’t visited the Veterans Museum at 1129 Wabash in Terre Haute and you want to renew your sense of patriotism and pride as an American, take the time to visit it. You will find that the owner, Brian Mundell, is an individual who truly loves America and wants  to preserve the memories of the great heroes who served our nation. The museum is open on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment.

On Veterans Day, it is open all day. This museum is Brian Mundell’s labor of love and he has financed the creation of the museum through his own means and by donations. We should all thank Brian Mundell as he is dedicating a part of his life preserving the memories of America’s heroes.

The Museum accepts donations but the admittance to the museum is free. One thing this museum proves once and for all is that freedom isn’t free.

— Jack Newman

Terre Haute

Here’s what’s governing nation

Stupidity and arrogance are a bad combination, although I am guilty of both on occasion. But I don’t lead a nation. Another stupid, arrogant person does. And like most people, he won’t admit it when he’s wrong.

Is he too stupid and arrogant to realize he’s wrong? I believe he is. Even when the evidence is right in front of his face, he sticks to his guns. (Which he’s trying to dispose of.)

George W. was bad enough; Obama made it worse. And it keeps getting worse day after day.

America used to be a democracy. I don’t see it that way anymore. We are being run by a president and a Congress who are stupid, arrogant and greedy and who think they are above the law. What applies to us, does not apply to them.

Think about that, America.

— Michael Lawson

Marshall, Ill.

Bird’s legend the greatest gift of all

I have just finished reading the recent series about Larry Bird’s career and I wanted to share some personal experiences with my fellow readers of the Tribune-Star.

I was working at Columbia Records when Chuck Miles approached me and offered me two tickets to see the Pacers play the Celtics in Indianapolis. It would be Larry’s first time to return to Indiana as an NBA player and of course I jumped at the chance.

My son was young but he wanted to see Larry play. We drove to Indianapolis that night, got parked and went into Market Square Arena. You could feel the excitement. Larry was coming home to a hero’s welcome.

When they were introducing the players and announced Larry, the whole arena burst into cheers. This went on for several minutes. Larry seemed almost overwhelmed by the response. Even the Pacers players were cheering. My son was so excited he was jumping up and down. As with all events, the game and who won has faded from my memory.

Some years later I was lucky enough to work part time in the Boston Connection in the gift shop. My son also worked in the dining room and he often remarked on the night he saw Larry play. By then Larry had become a national hero in the sport of basketball. Now as we honor him for his accomplishments, I remember how kind he always was to fans and to employees. Fans came into the gift shop just so they could get a piece of this historic player. They always wanted to know what my connection to Larry was as many of the employees were related to him in some way. The fans just wanted to know that their hero was human.

The years have marched on and Larry is once again back home in Indiana. I just wanted to say thank you to Larry for all the good times. You deserve every honor you receive, but I think your greatest gift has been the “legend” of a small-town boy who makes it in the big city, thus inspiring other young men to strive to be the next Larry Bird.

— Shirley A. Thomas


Mott misses boat on health care

I find it funny that liberals always want to compare their failed presidents to a Republican Abraham Lincoln. Why not compare Obama to one of their own like, say, Jimmy Carter? Now there is a great similarity to talk about.

Abraham Lincoln, as history reports, would have been considered a Tea Partier. It was the right-wing Republicans that pushed for emancipation and eventually went to war to free blacks from slavery, not the democratic KKK-infested party. So, I’m not sure what version of history Ron Mott was taught about Republicans, but it was not accurate.

Furthermore, like most liberals, he condemns an honorable label like “tea party” who were the original patriots and turned against the tyranny of taxation without fair representation, and began our American revolution which we now enjoy.

Regarding the honorable profession of medicine, apparently Mr. Mott holds some grudge against a doctors’ personal investment of 12 years of education and four years internship at great personal and financial hardship. It does not appear to be too much to me in allowing a medical doctor or specialist to earn the fruits from their labor. Or is the word “earn” so offensive to a liberal like Mott. Driving a late model car like a Buick or even a Cadillac is not what liberals are really concerned about. No, it’s the fact that the doctor has the discretionary income to spend at all. You see, a socialist like Mr. Mott thinks they know how to spend your earned income better than you.

Mott pays no mind to the fact that our health care costs are high because we have freeloaders and even illegal aliens receiving free benefits that should be set aside for really needy Americans who have fallen on hard times. That is the biggest reason behind out-of-control health care costs. We have way too many able-bodied people tapping a system that should really only be helping orphans, widows and the truly disabled. The propensity of litigation against health care providers and no limits to tort also increase health costs.

Regarding Obamacare, not one Republican voted for this socialized takeover of health care, thank God. Democrats are now scrambling for political cover because the predicted train wreck by one prominent Democrat has arrived.

Now, let’s not forget to mention that the original “affordable” health care act has now been modified more than the Jersey shore after the hurricane. Let me also mention the outright planned deceptions by Obama for three years about how “you can keep your policy and doctor if you like them.” Our family personally received our cancellation notice.

Let’s not belabor Mr. Mott’s contention of Obama’s great presidency yet. The president still has three more years to prove Mr. Mott wrong. We still have Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS, Benghazi and God knows what else in the three remaining years of the most “transparent” presidential administration in our history. Yeah, right.

— Beth DaCosta

Terre Haute

Celebrating JA of Wabash Valley

On Oct. 22, Junior Achievement Wabash Valley held its 30th Annual Bowl-a-thon, with more than 15 teams participating. The Terre Haute Bowling Center provided a great facility for the event. Doug Dillion, Vigo County School Corp., served as our emcee for the night.

We’d like to recognize Terre Haute Savings Bank as our title sponsor for the evening. Thanks also to First Financial Bank and the Vigo County School Corp., who were lane sponsors.

Teams included First Financial Bank, Glas-Col, Harrison College, Indiana State University, Ivy Tech Community College, Manpower, Old National Bank, Skygarden Parking, Staples Distribution Center, Terre Haute Savings Bank and the Vigo County School Corp.

Special thanks to Staples Distribution Center and Tropicana Evansville for donating items for the live auction.

Proceeds from the event will support classroom programs in an eight-county area, including Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Vermillion and Parke counties in Indiana and Edgar, Crawford and Clark counties in Illinois. JAWV reached more than 4,500 students during the last school year, utilizing the talent of 130 classroom volunteers.

We appreciate the continued community support for Junior Achievement Wabash Valley as we empower young people to own their economic success.  

— Peggy Murdock

Interim President

Junior Achievement

Wabash Valley

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    March 12, 2010