News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 14, 2013

Readers’ Forum: April 14, 2013


TERRE HAUTE — Yes, libraries

still relevant

I heard someone ask the other day, “Are libraries still relevant with the advent of the Internet and e-books?” For those who haven’t stopped by their libraries in a while, take some time during National Library Week (April 14-20) to visit the library and experience the vast array of services, programs and resources there.

With 42 million annual visits to our libraries, Hoosiers of all ages are able to enjoy traditional books, e-books, computer classes, DVDs and CDs. Visitors research, read, share, learn, attend quality programs and use information for lifelong learning and leisure pursuits.

A large number of visitors ask library staff to help them learn how to use their e-reading devices, learn how to operate computers, learn how to better develop resumes and to apply for jobs online. Untold thousands flock to the library to ask staff about all types of software or to receive assistance in completing e-government forms.

While the recession drove more people to visit their libraries, we need to recognize that libraries were already very busy places, attracting record numbers of visits. The library is a place that is open and welcoming to all regardless of one’s socioeconomic position. It is the place where teens have discovered that the library is a cool place to go while at the same time scores of young parents engage in important childhood literacy programs.

Yes, the library is very relevant today, and it also serves as a “living room” for democracy. Libraries further the convictions of our forefathers that a society flourishes when people have access to information. With resources that serve business owners and entrepreneurs as well as the homeschooled and people with special needs, libraries are uniquely positioned to serve as vital community centers where people connect with others, get help from information professionals, and discover new worlds.

Library directors and boards are innovative and resourceful — and they are committed to offering a combination of traditional services and new technologies. We’ll see you at the library.

— Susan Akers

Executive Director

Indiana Library Federation

Making sense of

marijuana debate

I have been listening to the debate about marijuana laws. The argument being made to keep pot illegal which I have no problem with is that it keeps pot away from our kids. But applying that argument to alcohol makes me ask why alcohol is not illegal?

The CDC and the AMA state that there are 75,000 alcohol-related deaths a year, and 50 percent of adult auto fatalities and 39 percent of teen auto fatalities are alcohol-related. They state that alcohol, not pot, is the most abused drug in the USA.

Another one of the surveys stated that there are 11 million drinkers under the age of 21. They did not say what the criteria for the survey were. I don’t believe the gateway drug theory but if I did then I would say it’s alcohol.

Five inmates filed a lawsuit against major alcohol companies blaming them instead of pot for the decisions they made that led to their crimes. One lawyer said, “alcohol’s addictive nature is no secret and is well known.”

So we defend alcohol if it’s called a gateway drug, but if you substitute pot where the inmates say alcohol then you get every speech an officer has made about how inmates got started on a life of crime.

A USA Today opinion article on pot laws asked, “Do we want to add another available drug to roads where alcohol already causes mayhem?” So they use the effects of the legal drug as a reason to keep the illegal drug against the law.

The health effects of alcohol are just as damaging as pot. The only difference is pot has bronchial damage and alcohol causes liver disease which puts it at No. 4 on the leading causes of death. Alcohol does the same damage to a developing adolescent brain and causes just as many life issues for a teenager.

They say kids of smokers are more likely to light up. They say the same thing about kids of drinkers. The AMA also stated that 2/3 of teen sexual assaults are alcohol-related. Why do we accept the damage alcohol does to society?

One last point, look at the proposals for lessening incarceration times on pot laws in the state of Indiana. They want to lessen the time for those caught selling around schools. This is a mistake and should be reversed. I would think around the schools would be maxed out and home use be lightened.

— Mike Travelstead

Terre Haute

Three reasons

to be proud

There are many, many good people in Terre Haute who serve the needs of the public and private sectors. Two that come to mind are Mayor Duke Bennett and Bob Baesler.

I would like to tell you about a few other people whom you may not know but who go far above and beyond what they need to do. In no particular order, here they are:

Nurse Practioner, Susan Hester, and staff at UAP Clinic. Never once in the many appointments I’ve had through the years has Susan or her staff rushed me through. When I’m talking with Susan she responds to me like I’m the only patient she has. Susan understands that I know my body better than anyone else and, because of this, in 2011 she ordered an MRI. Because of the MRI, two possibly life-threatening conditions were found and addressed. With all my heart, thank you Susan and staff.

There’s a very good reason why we have dealt with the Meadows Branch of First Financial Bank at Meadows for decades: Branch Manager, Jeff Redman, and the other branch employees. Several times, through no fault of our own, we have found ourselves in very tight situations. Jeff to the rescue. Once, he even took a call while he was with another customer. He made one phone call and the problem was solved within minutes.

I hate “big banking”, which is why I like Jeff so much. We are not, by far, the biggest clients FFB has, but Jeff treats us like we are. It means so much to us that Jeff knows us by name. We aren’t just account numbers to him, we’re people.

Last, but by absolutely no means least, is our mechanic, Ken, of Ken’s Garage on South 9 1/2 Street. We’ve been doing business with Ken for so long that I no longer recall how we came across him. But I bless that day.  Ken is the very definition of a skilled and honest mechanic.

When Ken and his employees fix something, believe me, it stays fixed. Most of the time Ken charges us less than what we estimated the cost to be. He’s so very honest that once he inadvertently charged our son $30 twice and called our son to come back in with his debit card so he could refund one of the $30 charges. If you need a very reliable mechanic call Ken. He’s in the phone book.

I know there are so many other good people out there that I don’t know but these people are three very good reasons why I’m proud to call Terre Haute my hometown.

— Pam Curts

Terre Haute

Simple concepts


Perhaps I should use small, easy-to-understand words in this letter since there seems to be an egregiously consistent and persistent misunderstanding about the concepts propounded in my recent letters.

Why on earth should I feel humble about the excellent education I received from ISU and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? I am proud of the knowledge I have obtained from the learned men and women at these institutions.

Mr. Sarkar, if you do not know what universities teach as cultural anthropology, then you have less than no authority to write about it. Rather than try to educate you, look up the definitions of “anthropology” and “culture” and tie them together.  

Really? You actually believe there would be peace in the world if not for the poor education provided by universities? Naivety at its worst. Really? You actually believe that scientists at universities do not know the progression of the human race? Basic science. Really? You find no culture in human history? I don’t know what “culture” means to you, but to me it is the totality of actions, behaviors, beliefs, values, traditions, etc., in a society.

The actions of the civilizations you mention in your letter were part of each society’s culture and are relevant whether you like what they did or not.

Really? You actually believe there should be only one religion for all of humanity and one culture based on the teachings of Jesus? Bigotry at its worst. I am absolutely sure there are some peace-loving Buddhists out there who would calmly disagree.

My letters were never meant to be a debate about religion (since I do not believe in any of them) or the consequences of religious (or even political) fanaticism, so please stop trying to make them so.

Mr. Sarkar, I am being polite. This newspaper would never publish my letters if I were being rude. And I am exceedingly delighted that I am not your daughter.

— Ann Sackrider Carlisle

Terre Haute

Elite should stop

spending our $$

I saw on the Internet the costs of the first family’s vacations on the taxpayer’s dollars. Hawaii — over $20 million spent for them and staffers and Secret Service personnel; trip to Africa to visit his “homeland” and a safari while there; the daughters were listed as senior staffers on the manifest for payment purposes. Priceless. First lady and daughters’ clothes and trip to the Kid’s Choice Awards, one night event, reported at $1,596,899.49.

This week, according to the AOL web site, Obama wants to get $100 million approved to find a small asteroid in space and bring it closer to Earth for studies. Rope it and drag it into an orbit to study. He also wants $100 million to study or map the human brain. We all know that is just the start of a hole that will drain more money in the coming years.

Also this week it was leaked that his new spending cuts plan would include Social Security and Medicare. Why are we letting Congress and the president make choices on needed programs we were forced to pay into for us to survive in our later years, while exempting themselves? Entitlements is not a descriptive word for these two programs. I believe them to be a contract that we were forced to enter and pay for returns at a later date and cannot be changed without both sides agreeing. I have not been asked to look at or agree to any changes at this time in my life.

When will all this spending, waste, fraud and self-serving by the elite end?

— David Marter

Terre Haute

Community can

help save a life

Giving hope and making miracles … the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) has been doing this since 1986. Right here in Terre Haute, a group of caring and committed people is working hard to give hope, and possibly make a miracle, for the Newell family.

But what is COTA? COTA has helped organize communities across the country to raise funds that help pay transplant-related expenses and help families avoid financial crisis. Here in Terre Haute, Katelyn Newell, an 8-year-old, waits for a heart transplant, and Katelyn Newell’s family has turned to COTA for help.  

COTA helps with transplant-related expenses such as food and lodging while the family is at the transplant center; transportation to and from the transplant center; co-pays, deductibles and medication expenses, and assistance with household expenses while a parent is out of work during the time of the transplant.

All of these expenses add up quickly (often tens of thousands of dollars) and can stand in the way of a child receiving a life-saving transplant. But you can help.

More than 2,000 families from every corner of this country have worked with COTA. Thousands of concerned people have donated their time to help COTA patients, and more than 200,000 generous people have made contributions to help transplant-needy children receive a second chance at life.

April is National Donate Life Month. More than 100,000 U.S. patients are waiting for a solid organ transplant, with another 30,000 searching for a cord blood, marrow or stem cell match. Every day, 19 people die waiting for an organ transplant.

Katelyn Newell needs you to support COTA and to register today as an organ donor. Go to to learn how you can help give hope and make a miracle.

— Monica Trotter

Public Relations Coordinator

COTA for Katelyn Newell

Enforce those

speed limits

If we would enforce the speed limit in Indiana it would be nice.

Go south of Terre Haute on U.S. 41. It goes from 50 to 60, then in Farmersburg  to 55 and 50. People don’t even slow down for Farmersburg’s speed limits. It’s usually 65-70 from south of Terre Haute to Sullivan.

If you go the speed limit, people pass you like you’re sitting still. Lots of the people passing you have cell phones stuck to their ears.

Most people must think gas is free.

— Marshall Lowe


Liberal resorts to name-calling

I am responding to the asinine letter published in your April 9 edition of the Tribune-Star from William Adams.

Why is it that when a liberal can’t win an argument on its merit, reason or intellect they always resort to name-calling — Calling law-abiding citizens gun-toting goons and gun fanatics morons? I also question the editors of your paper for publishing such vitriolic remarks. Whatever happened to civility that all of the liberals were calling for? I guess it only applies to conservatives.

On the contrary, it’s law-abiding gun owners who are protecting American mothers, fathers and children, not intimidating them.

Our founding fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they included the Second Amendment to our U.S. Constitution. Over the past several years we have seen our Constitution under constant attack from the left and especially President Obama and his administration.

Free speech applies to every U.S citizen, not just liberals. I say to you, Mr. Adams, if you want privileges and rights under our Constitution then you better support the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

One last thing, I have made the challenge before and I will repeat it again. Please tell me what current law or proposed legislation would have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook or any other mass shootings?

— Richard Hoffman


Link between meat, heart disease

The new link between meat consumption and heart disease, discovered by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, is just the latest evidence linking meat consumption to killer diseases that cripple, then kill, 1.3 million Americans annually. Hazen’s study showed that carnitine, an amino acid contained in all meat products, is a major factor in heart failure.

Similarly, an Oxford University study of nearly 45,000 adults in last January’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease than people who ate meat and fish. A Harvard University study of 37,698 men and 83,644 women, in last April’s Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart and cancer mortality.

We have sacrificed the lives of 10,000 American personnel and trillions of dollars in waging two wars to avenge the deaths of 2,600 Americans in the 9/11 attacks. When will we wage a bloodless, low-cost war on the killer meat-based diet, potentially responsible for as many as 1.3 million American deaths annually?

In the meantime, we have the power to raise our own life expectancy by adopting a meat-free diet. An Internet search provides ample resources.

— Theo Mattson

Terre Haute

Find out if bullying going on

Parents, have a good talk with your children and try to find out if bullying is going on in your children’s school. Someone has to take time to help out your children and other children in your area.

Have your children tell you if someone is being bullied in their school. You would be helping your children and other children. And you should feel good about yourself.

I would be proud of you and people around you would thank you.

— Marshall Lowe