News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 20, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Jan. 20, 2013


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Great support for tournament

Recently, Terre Haute South Vigo High School served as the host for the 13th annual Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic basketball tournament.

Hosting 28 games over a four-day period is a monumental task. Several groups made hosting this tournament possible. Special thanks go out to the Terre Haute South Booster Club and its officers Leah Allman, Tim Hayes, Gretchen Etling, and Sam Shanks. The Booster Club, along with Chris Nicosin, did a marvelous job of running concession operations during the tournament. Also, to the more than 130 people who volunteered their time, thank you for your help. Seeing our coaches, players, alumni, faculty, staff, custodians and fans pulling together for the betterment of Terre Haute South is a sight to see.

This tournament also requires a great deal of support from the Terre Haute community. Special thanks should go out to Pepsi and Mike’s Market for their support throughout the tournament keeping our workers well nourished. Mark Achenbach, Gary Fears and Brian Miller are top-notch individuals to be involved with.

Special acknowledgement should go out to the Terre Haute South Principal Chris Mauk, Assistant Principals Steve Joseph and Trina McDonald and their staff for all of the time and sacrifices made to put on this event. Assistant Athletic Directors Shane Abrell and Dave Heath, as well as Administrative Assistant Sandy LeMaster, worked many hours both before and during the tournament, which helped to ensure its success.

Additional support and guidance was provided by Superintendent Dan Tanoos, Director of Secondary Education Stacy Mason, Human Resources Director Mick Newport, and Director of Facilities Franklin Fennell. Also, thank you to Leroy Stewart and the rest of the EMS personnel and to all security officers for their support during the tournament. Dealing with mother nature over these four days added to the challenge of hosting this tournament, but all of these groups stepped up for the good of the tournament.

Finally, a special thank you goes out to all the players, coaches, media, fans, and  Pizza Hut for their generous support of the tournament. Congratulations to Rockville for winning the 2012 championship. Terre Haute South looks forward to 2014 when the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic once again returns.

— Brian Mancuso

Athletic Director

Terre Haute South Vigo High School

How healthy is Indiana?

When it comes to overall health, Indiana has some opportunities for improvement.

That’s according to the 23nd annual America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation. The report, the longest running of its kind in the country, placed Indiana 41st among all 50 states for overall heath, down four spots from last year.

Here’s a snapshot of how Indiana fared in this year’s report.

Indiana’s Strengths:

• Low prevalence of binge drinking.

• Low geographic disparity within the state.

• Low rate of uninsured population.

Indiana’s Weaknesses:

• High prevalence of smoking.

• Low per capita public health funding.

• High levels of air pollution.

Indiana residents are getting some things right. While we should take a moment to congratulate ourselves for these successes, we can’t take continued progress for granted. Significant challenges remain.

When United Health Foundation first began ranking Americans’ health in 1990, smoking represented one such challenge. Nearly one in three Hoosiers, or 32.8 percent, smoked regularly. Education brought greater understanding of the risks associated with lighting up, but more work needs to be done given that 25.6 percent of Hoosiers self-report as smokers. We must turn more attitudes against smoking, and in the process, help many people improve their health and well-being while saving millions of dollars in health care costs.

Furthermore, too many Indiana residents are overweight or obese — and the trend is getting worse. Approximately 30.8 percent of Indiana residents are above what is considered by health experts to be a normal weight, compared with 14.5 percent when the rankings began.

Looking at our neighbors in the region, we see a similar picture: progress tempered by further challenge. Ohio ranked No. 35 this year. Michigan came in at 37, and Kentucky landed at 44.

As UnitedHealthcare’s medical director for Indiana, I have witnessed efforts statewide on behalf of the public and private sectors to improve certain health trends, such as the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and to improve our overall health outcomes, such as reducing infant mortality and cancer deaths. In Indiana, for instance, we sponsor the UnitedHealthcare HEROES grants, which offer schools and youth-focused community organizations up to $1,000 to create programs that fight childhood obesity. This program is a step in the right direction, but as a community we must continue to do more.

This program and others are helping Indiana improve the overall health of our residents. Together, we can break down barriers to high-quality care. We can take on obesity. And we can win. It will take work, certainly, and time, but our health is worth that effort.

For more information about America’s Health Rankings, please go to www.americashealth

— Jeffrey Beardmore, M.D.

Medical Director

UnitedHealthcare of Indiana

Protect your right to defend yourself

The horrible massacre in a school recently is beyond the imagination of any parent. The agony and loss those people suffered cannot be described. But, folks, please pay attention: That gun was used by a man with mental problems. The fault in that instance did not lie with the gun, but with the owner of the gun, who obviously did not have the gun secured so that her mentally ill son could not get to it.

She paid for that error in judgment with her life as well. Every responsible gun owner has a duty to keep their weapon out of the hands of those who are not capable of making rational decisions. However, all law-abiding citizens have the right to own and carry arms. Our Constitution was not written to give us that right; it was written to protect that right, along with many others.

Our government wants to control our right of law-abiding citizens. That means that the criminals and mentally ill will have free reign and can attack us whenever they choose; and, ultimately, our government could do the same. People who have illegal weapons will not turn them in. What person with a rational mind would think so? A person who wants to obtain a gun illegally will always be able to get one. Also, when they speak of semiautomatic weapons, what do you think that means? You should check that out.

Wake up, America. I am just an average, everyday housewife, and I can see the writing on the wall, can’t you? The more we allow government to take from us, the more they will want to take. They will take away as many freedoms as we allow them to, and it will not stop until we have no freedoms left. There are those who think it is too late to save America from the evil downslide it is on. I believe it can be saved if we all stand up for our rights. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue; it is an issue of individuals’ rights. Think about it.

Guns do not kill people; evil or sick people do. Where is the legislation to keep tighter control on gun sales — not to refuse them to law-abiding citizens, but to refuse them to those with criminal records, especially when a gun was used. Where is the legislation for tighter sentencing for those who use a gun in the commission of a crime? Where is legislation to check for mental health issues of a person buying a gun? Where is legislation for stronger punishment for those who sell guns without checking backgrounds, etc.?

I never owned a gun and never wanted to, but I am changing my mind, and I will defend my right to own one if I choose. If I had a gun and someone tried to harm my family or my home, or take from us basic necessities, I would shoot them. They would likely kill me if I didn’t. I believe it is a God-given right to protect yourself and your property. Don’t you?

— Lois M. Little

Terre Haute

Stand up for our gun rights

Where to start on the controversy of firearms. How about starting with the Second Amendment. I feel compelled to write this because I don’t think many of today’s American people know what the Second Amendment really says.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms.

“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government,” said Thomas Jefferson.

“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that is good,” said George Washington.

Someone also said this: “Ironically the people who voice their opinions against this right, have their free speech protected by guns.” Think about that.

Another quote: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

A reading of history shows the American settlers viewed the right to arms and or the right to bear arms and or state militias as important for these reasons: Facilitating a natural right of self-defense; repelling invasion; participating in law enforcement; suppressing insurrection; enabling the people to organize a militia system; and deterring a tyrannical government.

I agree with all of the above reasons. I am an American. I love to shoot. Although I don’t hunt much anymore, I may want or need to later on. I am aware that there are many bad, unsavory thugs that would cut your throat, rape and steal if they thought or knew that you had no way to protect yourself or your family. I won’t live like that. This is still America and I have constitutional rights. I also have family and friends who have fought and been maimed for life defending these rights. Many died.

I read and watch people in government, like radical Sen. Feinstein, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, “we want them registered” (so we know where to collect them), Sen. Charles Schumer, Mayor M. Bloomberg (professional would be gun-grabbers), E. Holder (Fast and Furious debauchery) and the gun-grabbing Hollywood liberals ranting about those mean-looking assault rifles that this civilized country does not need. I laugh, all of these rich elitists have 24/7 security and most “carry.”

I could go on here with millions of words, but just remember Adolf Hitler of Germany. “We’ll disarm them a little at a time.”

Wake up, Americans, and “God bless America.”

— William P. Thiel

Terre Haute

Nothing fair about T-S letters decisions

Editor Max Jones’ column of Jan. 7 points out a prime reason newspaper readership has declined the last 20 years.

Considering objectivity or balance, the general public holds the media in low esteem. We have, for too long, heard from “journalists” the phrase, “I want to make a difference,” not “I want to report the news.” A purposeful imbalance on the editorial page only exacerbates this perception.

Mr. Jones’ column purports to show simple ways to get letters published. I must, however, take issue with your editorial integrity.

Mr. Jones states that T-S policy declines publication of material deemed uncivil, or containing personal attacks. However, the letters section on Jan. 8 printed a letter from Ms. Rogers in Clinton that was not only short on facts, but long on incivility, apparently even missing the pointed sarcasm of Mr. Arnold’s letter. On Jan. 9 the T-S printed a letter from Paul Jones regarding the Electoral College. Folks can have a difference of opinions concerning the Electoral College (they did during the Constitutional Convention), but to portray as facts things not in evidence is absurd. Calling the method of electing a president despicable is to call the Constitution despicable. The Electoral College did what the Constitution required.

On Jan. 10, the T-S printed a sarcastic letter from Shirley Thomas regarding gun control, etc. While she is certainly within her rights to opine on the subject, her positions are for the most part based upon misinformation for which the TribStar can partially be blamed. Since her positions align with those of the T-S, her incivility and ignorance concerning firearm regulations were apparently overlooked by your staff. On Jan. 11, the T-S printed a letter from another writer, Ron Hastings, who, as always, is either loose with the facts or plainly prevaricates. Always quick to blame either the GOP or the Koch brothers or Karl Rove or other allegedly nefarious characters, he personifies a writer whose personal attacks would not see print if the T-S followed Mr. Jones’ guidelines.

On Jan. 13, the T-S printed a letter from Mr. Hasan regarding rape in Indian Hindu communities. Mr. Hasan, another regular contributor to the letters page, conveniently omits the gang rapes of Christian women and girls in Muslim countries happening continuously as a matter of course. His purpose is to demean Hindus as a part of a personal vendetta on his part which the T-S would do well to investigate.

Editorial content from the T-S leans in an awkwardly left tilt. Most readers will overlook, considering the source. However, if Mr Jones’ column was an attempt to purvey an attitude of evenhandedness in editorial decision-making, he failed miserably.

— Edward Kesler

West Terre Haute