News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 31, 2014

Readers’ forum: June 1, 2014

Great support for voter stickers

In 2008 the League of Women Voters of Vigo County began providing the “I Voted Today” stickers with the LWV (League of Women Voters) logo on them.  The League was able, at that time, to purchase over 150,000 to be handed out to voters after they cast their vote. The stickers were quite popular and many voters wore them with pride.

After the 2012 elections, the Vigo County League did not have enough left to use for the 2014 elections. Through the generosity of the following donors the League of Women Voters of Vigo County was able to purchase, then supply the voters with these patriotic stickers once again.

The League of Women Voters of Vigo County would like to thank the following donors for their help in purchasing the “I Voted Today” stickers: The Family of Rose Marie Baer, attorney Lakshmi Reddy, Judge Michael Rader, Judge Phil Adler, attorney John Kesler II, Kimberly Worland, Fred and Nancy Nation, Nancy Dowell, attorney Nellie Simbol, Marsha Miller, Stacy Bussing and Old National Bank, state Sen. Tim Skinner, B.J. Strange and The Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157, and those donors who wished to remain anonymous.

The League would also like to thank County Clerk Dave Crockett  and all the poll workers for handing out the stickers to those citizens who used their right to vote on election day. Your hard work was deeply appreciated.

A big thank you goes to Jack Kirchner of Patriot Labels who made these lovely red, white and blue stickers. Due to your professionalism everything went smoothly.

Most of all, thank you to the voters. Your vote does make a difference and every election is important. Please vote in every election.

— Carolyn S. Callecod, President of the League of Women Voters of Vigo County

In search of some answers

Why are we allowing our government to take God out of the public places? I’m not just talking about the current administration, it has been happening for the last 40 or 50 years. I was under the assumption that Congress was not to make laws regarding religion. Then why is Congress (past and present) making laws outlawing our right to say or do anything pertaining to God in public? Why are we not allowed to say the name of Jesus in any prayer which is not said inside our home? Why is it such an outlandish thing for pro football players to express a sign of prayer when something good happens to them?

I thought that Americans who were born here for the last couple of hundred years were the ones who were the majority and consequently would have things be as they have been. Evidently we natives are supposed to kowtow to the new immigrants (especially the illegal ones) because we don’t want to offend them? I always assumed that immigrants, either legal or illegal, wanted to come here in order to share our freedoms since their native countries weren’t being governed the same way we Americans were. Then why don’t they want to conform to American culture to enjoy all the freedoms they came here to have?

Why do immigrants not want to be able to enjoy our freedoms after they get here? I’m not talking about all immigrants. I’m talking about the minority ones. I guess I’m talking about Middle East immigrants because they are basically the ones who are determined to change our country to be just like the countries they left. If they want to change Americans, why did they come here?

If me saying “God” offends them, then why don’t they go back to where they don’t say “God”? Why should Americans change all our former ways to coincide with Islam? Maybe if me wearing a necklace with a cross on it offends them, then what do they think them wearing the clothing that identifies them as Muslims do to Americans. I have no problem with other people keeping some of their culture when they come to the USA. I do have a problem with them trying to change me into one of them. If they don't like my necklace with a cross on it, then go back to their natural country.

My supposition is that Muslims (not all of them) are intending to destroy our American culture from the inside by immigrating here and having three times the amount of children than we Americans have been having. Therefore, in another 20 to 30 years, the Muslims will outnumber us and elect their own government to run the USA. Then we can become just like the nation they left.

Why do we Americans let our government continue to disregard our U.S. Constitution? It is clearly apparent that is what is being done and is anybody doing anything about it? Why do we let our government continue to little by little take away our right to bear arms? Registering guns is not the same as taking them away but when they decide to do it, they sure will know who has the guns and where they are. It is my understanding that there is already a militia of some sort being organized to be controlled by a few government officials. Maybe they are intending to use the National Guard for that purpose.

Why did Congress exempt themselves from the Obamacare? Is it because they think it is just not good enough for them but the common people will love being commandeered by their government?

These are just a few questions I have for our government. Oh, I forgot, they are probably “exempt” from having to be bothered by questions like these.

— Karen Johnson, Terre Haute

Turner affair does not pass smell test

A pervasive, pungent stench abounds throughout the air over Indiana. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is about to extend state money in the amount of $345K to Eric Turner’s Mainstreet Property Group to complete the construction of a $15.3 million nursing home project here in Terre Haute.  

Upon completion of this project’s construction, Turner will then sell the nursing home to his son’s Canadian company for $20.1 million. After transaction and legal costs, Turner will net (that’s take-home money) close to $2 million on this venture. Talk about a sweetheart deal.

Prior to this, as principal investor in Mainstreet Capital and Property Group, Turner had lobbied his fellow Republican House members in private closed-door meetings and party caucuses to oppose a proposed moratorium on nursing home construction projects throughout the state. He would have lost millions of dollars had this moratorium been set in place. Miraculously, a House ethics committee found no wrongdoing in his actions. His projects are going forward.

The IDEC uses the same ethics committee legalistic excuse to allocate this $345K to the Terre Haute project in that Turner’s connection with Mainstreet Property Group constitutes no “conflict of interest, nor technical violations” of state legislature rules or Indiana law. Furthermore, a Mainstreet spokeswoman defends Turner’s dealings by asserting he has nothing to do with operational management of Mainstreet, or that this money is not being provided to Mainstreet, but to the city of Terre Haute. However, it is Turner, through Mainstreet, who will reap the benefit of this nice and tidy $1.8 million bonanza profit once the sale of this Terre Haute property to his son’s company is finalized.

Moreover, it is Turner who saved his state projects by lobbying his legislative confederates to defeat the legislation which would have brought to an end his future nursing home construction projects. He is the one who benefits personally from these Herculean profits — past, present and future. If this isn’t a conflict of interest, then what is?

In view of this IDEC commitment, and the House ethics committee’s conclusions, the whole Eric Turner affair doesn’t even pass the basic smell test.

— Earl Beal, Terre Haute

We’ve fallen so far so fast

In a perfect world, theoretical communism is probably the ideal system. After all, what is more pure and functional than “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need?” No government really would be needed at all. It isn’t a perfect world though and thus the need for various governments, socio-economic systems, etc.

In modern America there are two main schools of political thought and please pardon me a moment to belabor the obvious and speak very generally. Conservatives want to maximize individual freedom, reduce the size of government and eliminate debt. Liberals want to maximize social justice, think government is the only fair arbiter and feel the future economic growth will render the debt moot.

What is often lost is the fact that both of these positions have advocates that honestly believe they are doing what is best for the country. Republicans are not just the tools of the present day robber barons. Democrats are not the tools of autocrats seeking cradle-to-grave control of every thought and move in America.

This country needs a good president. That is something we haven’t had in nearly a generation. Papa Bush, even though he failed his “no new taxes” pledge, did a respectable job. Clinton, though a womanizer, balanced the budget and also did a respectable job. Baby Bush, with Iraq and the Great Recession, was a debacle. No one thought his incompetence could be surpassed for at least a generation. But then came Obama. With domestic and foreign policy failures galore, who would have thought the country could fall so far so fast.

Society is becoming stratified today because of over-regulation as well. The innovators have a much more difficult time in succeeding because of the regulatory barriers to introduce the new best widget. So many government initiatives are designed to protect us from ourselves instead of letting common sense do its job. Far too many regulations use an inflated social benefit to be weighed against the economic cost of implementation. These days, one in six of the people who do have a job work for some level of government. Is that any way to run a country?

— Dwayne Owens, Terre Haute

Teacher standards should not change

On May 14, the State Board of Education voted to lower the standards for teachers in getting a teaching license in Indiana. This is a terrible decision for the children and youth of our state.

There is currently no need to increase the supply of teachers, especially those who are not prepared. We have a good supply of well-trained and highly qualified teachers currently seeking positions. Untrained candidates missing pedagogical preparation and guided field experiences begin teaching by “trial and error” in their first several years. Research has also documented that untrained teachers have higher attrition rates. Our children become  “guinea pigs” for their experimentation.

With today’s accountability pressure, can students afford to lose even a half-year with unprepared teachers?

This proposal clearly conflicts with the current movement to increase teacher effectiveness. Additionally, this shortsighted proposal poses a threat to licensure reciprocity with other states if they believe Indiana certifies untrained candidates to teach. The REPA 3 proposal is irresponsible from many perspectives. Please share your voice with our State Board of Education members to stop this backward movement in teacher licensing.

— Wendy Marencik, Bloomington

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