News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 4, 2014

READERS' FORUM: Jan. 5, 2014


---- — How to avoid an obstacle course

This is an open letter to INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation; state highway department):

You have created a very successful obstacle course just west of West Terre Haute on U.S. 40. However, I want you to know that although we have had to drive it very slowly to get through all of your traps without having to take our vehicles to the garages and spend money that we don’t have, we are working on figuring out how to accomplish our mission through this treacherous terrain without losing hubcaps, getting flat tires, bending tie rods and breaking axles or just plain leaving the course.

I want everyone to know that I have found the solution, at least until they add more obstacles. To all of my friends and residents who play this game to make more tax money to spend “who knows where, but not here,” to those who daily trek this same obstacle course, here it is. If you drive with your right tire in the right lane beginning at the top of the hill in the eastbound lane, and carefully, and occasionally, move just to the right of that white line in the right lane until you get to the bridge which is located just west of West T, you will successfully whip this course every time.

You must move back to the right lane before you reach the bridge. If not, this could end the obstacle course for you and you will not be able to do it again. The only problem I foresee you having is if your vehicle is bigger than mine, then this will obviously not work for you. I am sorry. You are on your own.

I must warn all participants, though, if you get too far to the right of the white line, you will go over the embankment and depending on your skills to take that course, the damage will be determined on a different dimension evaluation. This will depend on too many variables, so the estimates cannot be made beforehand. I suggest you do not risk it.

If you try it on the left lane, it will not work. You definitely have to move left of the white line and therefore you will always end up in the median and if you do not navigate safely back to the left lane of this obstacle course and risk the damage you will eventually make a new course down the middle of the median.

Caution, if everyone does this, we will eventually have head-on collisions with on-coming traffic that is beginning to see the same developments in the westbound lane. This is not good for anyone.

Please understand that I am not responsible for anyone attempting to use these directions, as I am only trying to give information that would help this community to conquer this conquest so we can keep doing our part to provide for those who cannot give us back what our promised tax dollars were meant to produce for us.

Good luck, and may your journey be victorious.

— Dennis Leek, West Terre Haute

Religious leaders make statement opposing HJR-6

As leaders of Christian faith communities in Indiana we share a common concern surrounding the proposed amendment to the state constitution of Indiana, HJR-6. The members and ministers of our congregations and our particular denominations have differing interpretations of marriage and yet we affirm the right and responsibility of each faith tradition to maintain its teaching and to bless and sanctify the union of persons in ways that are consistent with their belief.

The proposed amendment to our state constitution does not strengthen that practice which will endure irrespective of and without the reinforcement of a state-defined concept of marriage.

The proposed amendment can be read, most particularly in its second clause, as a statement that expresses an unwelcoming attitude toward a particular population within our society. Our common tradition expressly advocates that we must show hospitality and welcome to all, and most specifically to those who are unlike us.

As pastoral leaders we fear that this proposed amendment and the process of its consideration by our state legislators and, potentially, by the population as a whole, will be both costly and divisive. With a statute already clearly in place that governs who is eligible to be licensed to marry within Indiana we believe an amendment to the constitution is unnecessary, and so we urge our legislature to set aside this measure in order that other matters that strengthen the lives and opportunity for all Hoosier citizens might be addressed.

— Richard L. Spleth

Regional Minister Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

— Michael J. Coyner, Bishop

Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church

— John Vertigan

Conference Minister Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ

— William O. Gafkjen, Bishop

Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

— Catherine M. Waynick

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

— Taylor Alan Thames,

Executive Presbyter Presbytery of Whitewater Valley of the

Presbyterian Church (USA)

— Carol M. McDonald,

Executive, Synod of Lincoln Trails of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Examples of inconsistency

I am confident that a majority of Indiana citizens share my appreciation for the bold leadership and compassion displayed by our business community, universities and colleges, clergy, chambers of commerce, mayors (Republicans and Democrats) and many others who have publicly joined forces to defeat Indiana HJR-6 (amendment to define marriage strictly between males and females).

These individuals and entities have joined forces to protect our family members, neighbors, employees, community volunteers and taxpayers from being discriminated against due to their sexual preferences. Given Indiana’s spotty history of past discrimination, this is quite refreshing.

There is no need for me to repeat the laundry list of solid arguments against the passage of HJR-6. Reputable community leaders have communicated the consequences of this amendment’s passage based upon their many years of business and civic experiences. It is ironic that we find a situation where the business community is having to teach morals to normally “good people.”

My letter concerns recent comments from our Statehouse leadership. House Speaker Brian Bosma explains, “I don’t think that one person, one university president, or one person in the board room of a corporation, should make this decision. It needs to be made by the elected representatives that are gathered together for the people.”

Adds Gov. Mike Pence, “I think it’s important that we let Hoosiers decide. I have every confidence that the people of Indiana can take up this issue, hear all sides, respect all viewpoints. At the end of the day I think we should let Hoosiers decide and I’ll continue to support efforts of the General Assembly to send this question to the people of Indiana.”

Assuming we are in agreement with these arguments, why do we not allow Hoosiers to decide on other bills that are of importance?  

During my entire lifetime, there has been an ongoing and never-ending debate concerning Sunday sales of alcohol. Speaker Bosma, it is going nowhere because a select group of people in a boardroom and their lobbyists have stifled the debate.

Gov. Pence, why do we not let Hoosiers decide?

All of us are concerned about the safety and well-being of our young children, especially when they are in a day care environment. There is a well-needed Statehouse push to raise the standards of day care oversight; however, there is a move to exempt day care centers run by religious organizations. If our children’s safety is that important, why are we exempting anyone? Speaker Bosma, the exemption request comes from a select group of people in a boardroom and their lobbyists.

Gov. Pence, why do we not let Hoosiers decide?

The economic and social consequence of teenage pregnancies continue to plague many states, including Indiana. Despite impartial evidence to the contrary, Indiana continues to legislate “the world is flat” thinking with abstinence-only education. Many Indiana citizens feel that this “bad practice” needs to end. Speaker Bosma, abstinence- only education is the wish of a select group of people in a boardroom and their lobbyists.

Gov. Pence, why do we not let Hoosiers decide?

Let’s make the rules the same for all issues, not just the ones pushed by a small, vocal minority.

— Jay Goad


Kmart underwear ad was tasteless

I was upset with the Kmart commercials that aired for Christmas shopping time. They showed a chorus line of well-dressed men from the waist up — then from the waist down — wearing a new line of boxer type shorts and supposedly ringing bells from the underwear.

This commercial goes beyond any sense of good taste. It’s sickening to watch grown men jingle their booties inside these boxer briefs to the sound of bells. It’s vulgar that this commercial aired to thousands nightly on national TV for all to watch.

Where is Kmart’s moral values? I’m a Christian, and I will not watch vulgar commercials like this.

I believe in freedom of speech, but this goes beyond any sense of moral values and good taste.

Please join me in asking Kmart to apologize for airing such immoral, tasteless commercials.

— Bill Bruce

Paris, Ill.

Not every health care story is rosy

I was pleased to read recently about the man who wrote about the good things he found out when applying and getting his insurance. Not wanting to embarrass him, but as I recall, he did not provide the cost of the plan nor what “tax credits” go along with it. He also did not provide his deductible limit, higher or lower than before. CBS had a feature on ACA and showed a young man who was an independent film producer. His cost was $61 a month with the government paying (tax credits) $152 per month. Yes, he was a “happy camper.” Check it out at

The ads on TV promote preventive care at the doctor’s office (audio) and show the door to a nurse’s office. Not putting down the role of nurse practitioners who do a lot to ease the doctor’s role, they cannot help in all cases.

A friend on Facebook wrote that her rates with the same company went up $210 for the same coverage she had for the last 11 years. Many of the stories I have read on the Internet are not positive. The deductibles are very high. I saw one report of a man who had one costing over $13,000. Most others are in the $4,000-$6,000 range. How is this going to help people with a $7.50 per hour wage? Maybe this is why many opt out. They can’t afford the insurance, but can afford the tax fine.

There are many readers of this paper who are smarter than me, I’m sure. I wish someone would write an article of how the taxpayers can afford the ACA, with all the other things pushing up the debt even more and Congress kicking the can on down the road until after the elections.

In my household, we spend less than we take in each month. I don’t borrow on the house to just have more to spend, unlike our government does. I see bankruptcy and hard times for all of us in the near future if things are not reversed. This may well be the heavy straw that breaks the camel’s back.

— David Marter

Terre Haute

A great season for Riley school

Winter weather and holiday times seem to bring us together for a variety of occasions at Riley Elementary School. This is the season when we are reminded of those people who help make Riley such a special place. In the spirit of the past season, I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who are integral to our success.  

I would like to thank Karen Seeley and the staff at Maryland Community Church who donate not only their building, but also their time and talents to help us produce a magnificent holiday pageant. Without this giving, hard-working group of people, our program would not be possible. The students performed beautifully to a full house in our extravaganza, and it was a glorious way to start the season.

Sincere kudos are in order for our program committee, led by Diana Aselage, and her encore team of Bill Blankenbaker, Elizabeth Hettinger, Jana Weeks and Michelle Layton. Our PTO members helped decorate and stage the production, and for those friends we are truly grateful.

We want to include our invaluable teachers and staff members who donate their time to supervise their students and help with the presentation. Certainly thanks are in order for all of the families and friends who attended our program, because without them, our stars wouldn’t shine nearly as brightly.

Our friends at Union Christian Church deserve our gratitude as well for the important and enduring relationships developed during our Kids’ Hope mentorship program throughout the year. The guidance and support these mentors provide for our children is immeasurable. It is exciting this year to be able to offer another program sponsored by UCC — All Pro Dads Breakfast, which takes place the third Tuesday of each month. Children and their fathers enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by our cafeteria manager, Colleen Lane, and then participate in an inspiring program. Pastor Mark Grayless and several “dads” of Union Christian Church provide their guidance for our students and their fathers and guardians. All Pro Dads has been very well received.

Finally, I want to say thank you to our School Protection Officers for making Riley a safe and secure place in which to learn and grow. Sheriff’s Deputy Clay White has formed a team of dedicated officers that go above and beyond the call of duty every day to maintain our safety. These officers may not fully appreciate what their presence has meant to all of us at Riley, but we are very thankful to have these brave men as our first line of defense, as well as our dear friends.

— Claire A. Marchese, Principal, Riley Elementary School