News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 2, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 2, 2012


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Local candidate not allowed in holiday parade

My name is Caleb Fleschner. I am running for an elected position in this upcoming election in Vigo County.

My supporters and I planned to walk in the Wabash Valley Labor Day parade. I thought I was accepted; I paid the $25 entry fee and received a letter stating where I would be walking. But to my surprise, I received a letter on Thursday from Mr. Charles Toth saying that I had been denied the chance to walk in the parade without so much as an explanation.

In my opinion, it is because of my political affiliation. My father served in the military for 31 years and my grandfather put his life on the line overseas in order to protect my right as a citizen of the United States to choose my political affiliation. That is a right afforded to all citizens, just like the freedom of speech or the freedom of religion. This country was built on the notion of democracy.

But how is it democracy when you are discriminated against because of your political affiliation? Now I understand why the veterans in this county are so angry that they can’t smoke in their own private clubs.

Sadly, my father is no longer with us; he passed away six years ago. Growing up as a military child, I will always remember him going on about how this is the greatest country on the face of the Earth and how he was honored to have served. He and my grandfather were honored to fight and possibly make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the rights for all Americans. I can’t imagine what my father would think if he were alive today and saw what has been happening; that his son, who is trying to make a difference in this community, can’t even walk in his local Labor Day parade because of his political affiliation.

All I want to say is thank you, thank you to the powers that be that opened my eyes.

— Caleb Fleschner

Candidate for

Vigo County Commissioner

So many helped make Block Party a huge success

Well, I’m not even sure where to begin, other than to throw out a giant congratulations to all those involved in the second successful Downtown Terre Haute Block Party. There are so many individuals to thank for their participation, whether it was organizing or volunteering. We had the perfect opportunity to showcase our downtown and show off what a vibrant, happening area this has become.

And, you know what? We did it! The exposure for restaurants, shops, boutiques, museums, and several businesses to thousands of visitors is invaluable. I’m confident that numerous downtown merchants are happy with this event and share in the overall excitement of seeing so many folks appreciating the various activities that were offered.

Most importantly, I want to thank Boo Lloyd for leading the charge and maintaining such a positive attitude throughout the planning of this event. Libby Waters organized the smoothest vendor registration process and painstakingly positioned all of the vendors along Wabash (over 120) and Seventh Street. Martha Crossen and Pam Chamberlain were both key in distributing and processing the vendor applications as well. Libby also worked with Judi Evelo to secure all of the acts/bands for all five stages!. Amazing.

Terry Hogan helped arrange the stages, Katie Shane organized the Cornhole Tournament, Lynn Hughes organized very popular children’s activities at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, Bill Kauffman and Sally Whitehurst coordinated the car show at First Financial Bank, and Boo found the connection for the motorcycle show.

The Logistics Team: John Plasse, Jeff Fisher, Bill Mercier, Pat Martin, Brad Miller and Chris Pfaff worked so well together that the planning was effortless. John provided Terre Haute police vehicles for display in the Old National parking lot (thank you, Matt McFarland) and scheduled a K-9 demonstration. Jeff provided a ladder truck for display, Bill provided street/bicycle patrol, Pat helped secure picnic tables and “comfort stations” (and obviously helped mark their locations), Brad and Stephanie Miller worked together to get the banners up, and Chris Pfaff will do just about anything we need. Chris is truly an asset to our organization.

Lisa Johnson led the marketing/promotions committee and designed and produced all of the print ads you saw leading up to the event. Lisa and her husband Randall created sponsor signage in beautiful planters that were positioned at each block. Lisa also coordinated all of the media events, commercials, appearances, etc. Well done, Lisa.

Speaking of media, B.J. Riley and the Tribune-Star provided outstanding pre- and post-event coverage which is immeasurable. Thank you B.J., Max Jones and Tina St. Clair.

Tim Fears came out on Saturday and became our opening ceremony coordinator. Thanks, Tim. Colleen Chestnut was called upon to write numerous checks and was on hand for hours at the event. John Moats and Greg Ewing offered four inmates to come out and help with clean-up in the wee hours of the morning. Todd Nation, Boo and Gary Lloyd, Chris Pfaff, Ariane King, Pam Chamberlain and the ISU interns, and Brian Dyer also helped in that yucky but necessary task … clean-up.  I realized what a dedicated volunteer Brian Dyer was when he hung in there until the very end. Brian is so passionate about our downtown and will be a great leader.  

Finally, what can I say about our newest staff member, Ariane King? Ariane was essentially thrown in at peak planning, but embraced this challenge and made a firm believer out of me that we made a superb decision in hiring her. Ariane became the face of Downtown Terre Haute in one successful event and I’m extremely proud to have her on our team.

So many others helped man the Downtown Terre Haute headquarters booth and I can’t possibly name them all, but I do know that I saw many DTH board members volunteering their time. These efforts and working together are what make a board stronger. I appreciate everyone’s time in making this such a huge event for Terre Haute, one that we can be proud to call “ours”. I am so thankful to have so many resources in our community that are willing to help us make this so successful.

I haven’t even mentioned our sponsors because there are so many. I want to thank Union Hospital and Frontier Communications for stepping up and becoming the title sponsors for this event. Check out the back of the event T-shirt for the rest of our amazing sponsors. That speaks volumes. So many of you helped secure sponsorship dollars, which is truly how this event can happen in the first place. I ask each of you to pat each other on the back, and to reach out and thank anyone you know that played a part in our success.

As I mentioned, I hate it that I cannot name all of the volunteers or those who participated, but you know who you are and what you did and you should be proud that you played a role in making this spectacular. We have already received dozens of requests from bands, vendors, etc., to participate next year. What a compliment!

I certainly look forward to working with all of you again in planning the 2013 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party.

— Marla Flowers, president

Downtown Terre Haute, Inc

‘Islam’ letters misstate terrorism

The tragedy of the attack on the Sikh temple in Milwaukee and the violence against Muslims elsewhere have possible links between some political leaders and Islamophobic letter writers on this page and elsewhere.

These writers fan the fires of hatred for the likes of Page of Milwaukee or Anders Breivik of Norway who act on that hatred. At least seven mosques and one cemetery were attacked in America during Ramadan, according to groups that track such incidents.

Mr. Abhyankar’s letter of Aug. 20 claiming that he was trying to “explain” the history of violence of Muslims would have been amusing except it has serious consequences for all of us. And Western media’s focus only on Muslim terrorism has resulted in a new industry — Islamophobia. Perhaps you have heard it on Fox News and read it in newspapers: “Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.”

The following is a non-exhaustive list of non-Muslim terrorism in a historical perspective, debunking the myths propagated by Dr. Anil Sarkar in his letter of Aug. 21:

 (1) Muslims didn’t cause millions of deaths of the Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations nor were they responsible for most deaths worldwide by dropping the most lethal bombs in their arsenal. They never had such an arsenal.

(2) In 1881, anarchists killed the Russian Zsar Alexander II and 21 bystanders. In 1901, anarchists killed U.S. President McKinley as well as King Humbert of Italy.

(3) World War 1 started in 1914 when anarchists killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.

(4) The British Rule referred to Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad and other freedom fighters as terrorists. These were Hindu and Sikh, not Muslim. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have long constituted one of the most vicious and formidable terrorist groups in the world. They were the first to train children as terrorists. Tamil tigers were the first to use suicide bombings on a large scale. One such suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, and the Punjab militants, led by Bhindrawale, were Sikhs, and the killer of the late Indira Gandhi was her Sikh guard, who claimed to be retaliating against the attack on the Sikh temple in Amritsar.

(5) Guerrilla fighters from Mao Zedong to Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro killed civilians during their revolutionary campaigns. They too were called terrorists until they triumphed.

(6) In Palestine, after World War II, Jewish groups (the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang) fought for the creation of a Jewish state, bombing hotels and killing civilians.

(7) in Germany in 1968-92, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang killed dozens. In Italy, the Red Brigades kidnapped and killed Aldo Moro, former prime minister.

(8) Japan was home of Aum Shinrikyo, a Buddhist cult that tried to kill thousands in the Tokyo metro system using nerve gas in 1995.

(9) In Northern Ireland, in religious strife between Catholics and Protestants both terrorized each other for 4 centuries. Spain and France face a terrorist challenge from ETA, the Basque terrorist organization.

So, let us not forget about terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and the Army of God, Wade M. Page -- the Sikh temple terrorist -- and Norway’s Anders Breivik. Law enforcement in the Wabash Valley should not ignore Mr. Abhyankar’s or Dr. Sarkar’s tirades against Muslims over the years.

 — Khwaja A. Hasan

Formerly of Terre Haute

How can candidate Romney be trusted?

Recently, Mitt Romney’s campaign has asked for Barack Obama to release his college transcripts. It is a well-known fact that President Barack Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Furthermore, President Barack Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review, an honor that traditionally, an individual has to be in the top 10 percent of his or her class to receive.

What does Mitt Romney expect to see on Barack Obama’s transcripts?

The Romney campaign has also brought up the “birther” issue again, which is no better than a Ku Klux Klan propaganda circular.

Still, Mitt Romney will not release his income tax records to the public as his father did in 1968 when he ran and lost against Richard M. Nixon in the Republican primary for president of the United States. What does he hope to gain by withholding information about how rich that he is?

Mitt Romney must be embarrassed that the taxes that he paid were calculated from a 15 percent rate from dividends and capital gains and thanks to loopholes the taxes that he paid amounted to only 13 percent of his income, a fact that he has already released with current tax returns from last year.

The normal worker in America has taxes calculated at the top rate for wage earners at close to 38 percent. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” will keep the current capital gains and dividends rates right where they are. So the rich will still not have to pay income taxes at the same rate people who work for a living have to pay.

Mitt Romney will pass along any rumor that he believes will help him get elected and to cover up the abrogated income tax responsibilities of the rich 1 percent to the United States of America.

How can the voting American public accept Mitt Romney’s word without question or ever expect him to be truthful after such actions?

— John Garner

Terre Haute