News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 17, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: March 17, 2013


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Excellent care available here

Residents of the Wabash Valley are gifted with healthcare resources and we need to appreciate what we have. I recently completed my hip replacement surgery with Dr. Stephen Fern  from the UAP Clinic and Bone Center and benefited by the professional care of the Union Hospital staff in a beautiful new building. Thank you, Dr. Fern and Union Hospital staff.

I was able to follow up with an excellent short-term rehabilitation program at Providence Health Care Inc. at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. The Sisters of Providence have opened their arms to their neighbors with the provision of a facility dedicated to professional nursing care with occupational and physical therapy including a state of the art aquatic therapy pool.

I was aware of the team spirit of the staff who obviously loved working in this setting and went out of their way to meet the needs of each patient. They showed respect for each other and behaved professionally while showing care and concern for the patients. My room was close to the nurses’ station yet I could rest between shifts as well as during busy hours.

My rehab really began with the ride onto the grounds setting the tone for a beautiful, calm environment. As I entered the building, I continued to experience a quiet, calm atmosphere with gentle artwork and warm colors. When I entered my private room, I was pleased to see a tree outside the window. I could hear and enjoy the visits from the birds. My walks to the physical therapy room introduced me to some more trees and some birdfeeders. As I worked on occupational therapy, I was able to view some of the pastures with alpacas and the entrance to White Violet Center.

All of this beauty and the high professional care I received have given me hope that my healing will continue.

Thank you, Sisters of Providence, for gathering the local community into your home. You continue to break boundaries and create hope as you share your home with all of us.

— Margaret Pabst

Terre Haute

Exposing matters of public safety

The colossal arrogance and utter disregard for public health and safety of the agribusiness community in Indiana, as described in the letter by the nurse from Roachdale in Friday’s Tribune-Star, are truly shocking.

I applaud this nurse for so clearly pointing out the dangers we face because of this.

— Robert L. Carter

Terre Haute

Energy bill will help our state

The Indiana General Assembly is considering legislation that will help bring low-cost natural gas to rural areas, provide electricity discounts for certain large businesses that expand in Indiana and update utility regulation. SB 560 would also establish an orderly process for review and recovery of costs associated with utility infrastructure.

Energy consumers are understandably concerned about rising utility rates. So is the utility industry. Indiana depends heavily on coal-fired electric generation because it produces inexpensive and reliable power for our citizens. Unfortunately, the federal government has launched an attack on coal with an increasing number of new strict environmental regulations. Complying with these regulations is a key reason Indiana electric rates are increasing.

At the same time, utilities must replace and update our aging energy infrastructure, the wires and pipes that bring electricity and natural gas to our homes and businesses. Much of this infrastructure is at, or nearing, the end of its normal life cycle. Replacement isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.   

Our challenge is to manage these issues while doing as little harm as possible to Hoosiers’ pocketbooks. SB 560 is designed to help do that by establishing an orderly process for reviewing future utility infrastructure investments.

Here is how it would work. A utility could propose a seven-year infrastructure plan to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). The commission would hold a public hearing where interested parties, including consumer groups, could voice their opinion of the plan and suggest changes. If, after hearing from affected parties, the IURC finds the plan reasonable, it could approve it.

At various points during the seven-year plan, the utility could petition the IURC for recovery of the costs incurred so far. At that time, the utility must provide specific detailed information about the infrastructure investments, and the IURC, the Office of the Utility Consumer Counsel and consumer groups would have “one more bite at the apple” to make sure that the utility’s costs align with the approved plan.

Importantly, the bill contains provisions that were added to address customer concerns. One very significant change is the requirement that a utility file for a general rate case sometime during the seven-year plan period. This was a strong recommendation by both industry and citizen customer groups who believe that all utilities rates and charges should be reviewed on a regular basis.

SB 560 will help assure that we have power 24/7, 365 days a year. It will put Hoosiers to work to build critical energy infrastructure. And it maintains the IURC’s very important oversight role to make sure this is done in a cost effective manner.

— Ed Simcox, president

Indiana Energy Association


Nurturing dreams of a better world

“What’s it all about, Alfie?” opens Burt Bacharach’s famous song, “Alfie.” A good question.

For the believer, the solution may be how to live in harmony with our concept of our Maker.

For the nonbelievers, there is a scene in Chaplin’s “Limelight” that is less auspicious. The film is about Calvero, a gifted clown but fading vaudeville star, trying to hang on. Claire Bloom is the ingénue, a down-on-her-luck ballerina that Calvero tries to lift out of her suicidal despair. “Life has no meaning,” he exclaims. “Life is desire!”

We find in the dramas of Eugene O’Neill a theme not unlike Chaplin’s pep talk to Claire Bloom. We are driven by our dreams, however illusory. Without some kind of hope, no matter how foolish, trivial, transitory or absurd in the Great Scheme of Things, there is no point to existence.

And so it was that a poor boy born in a log cabin and a poor, black, fatherless kid, or even a Georgia peanut farmer, dreamed their way to the top. Do not we all survive by our proud or pompous dreams, no matter how petty or puerile next to those who would

be president?

And so it was for Dr. Viktor Frankl, the famous psychiatrist, who survived four death camps in three years while imprisoned during World War II. But hope he clung to with a tenacity that saved him for a long and productive life until his death in 1997 at the age of 92.

Despite his three years in the worst of hells on earth, he resumed his career as a psychiatrist, neurologist and author with amazing resilience. And from the crucible of the death camps he formed an existential credo he termed a “logotherapy” for the sick and suffering, whether in mind or body. A way back from the edge of doom. It was not based on the meaning of life in general but on an immediate reason for being, no matter how tenuous, how frayed and fragile the thread on which our lives and hopes depended.

In the death camps, Dr. Frankl awakened to Nietzsche’s “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

Later he offered his own thought: “It does not really matter what we expect from life but rather what life expects from us.”

Tragically, it did not save Anne Frank, though fiercely she must have held onto life despite the cold, hunger, thirst, the itching pain of scabies and lice, and the deadly typhus that finally stilled a noble heart. It was only weeks before the Russians freed Bergen-Belsen. Hitler’s dream to exterminate Jewry worldwide and build a Third Reich that would endure for a thousand years claimed its most renowned victim. But that precociously gifted and beautiful child of 13, with great potential as a writer, in two short but very long years from 1942 to 1944, achieved an immortality that will last as long as there are books or humans to read them.

Some righteous and patriotic neighbor (still unknown) apparently ratted out the two families, hidden those long years from the Holocaust.

Only Otto Frank, Anne and Margot’s father, survived, plus a discarded diary luckily discovered among the remains of Anne’s benighted family. It became the tragic yet ennobling legacy of a young teenage diarist that after 50 years (by 1995) reached out to 25 million readers in 55 countries. Far more books have been sold since that 50th anniversary. In addition, the documentaries and the stage and film versions have reached countless more millions. The narrative is a deeply personal revelation of lives devastated by a genocidal war, far more poignant than a head-count of victims, huge numbers that soon cease to reach into our hearts.

But hope does not die with the diarist, nor with all those victims, nor does all the suffering, injustice and evil in the world extinguish the dream of a better world.

We see reborn the hope and faith in that dream in the tireless efforts of many Holocaust survivors, not the least of which is Eva Kor, who built a museum for remembrance, for bearing witness, and to educate and inspire the younger generations.

— Saul Rosenthal

Terre Haute

Perceptions on gun control

My feelings concerning the Second Amendment and people owning firearms are well known throughout the town. This letter concerns the Tribune-Star’s perception of this issue.

A few days after the Sandy Hook massacre, namely on Dec. 15, 2012, on page A10 there was an advertisement for Top Guns. I assure you that Top Guns and other local firearms dealers are not selling bean shooters or cap pistols. In fact, the Top Gun ad of that date shows an assault rifle in the advertisement. I consider it in very poor taste to have run such an ad a few days after what happened at Sandy Hook. I also notice that you do not refuse to print ads for Gander Mountain. They also don’t sell bean shooters or cap pistols.

Now, for the second half of this letter. This concerns the political cartoons on the editorial page that go from bad to worse on the following dates of 12-19-12,12-30-12, 12-31-12, and 1-21-13. The cartoon on 12-30-12 reminds me of cartoons from a 1970s Playboy magazine, but worst of all was the one on 1-21-13 depicting God handing an assault rifle to Adam.

I am no Bible thumper, but I am a Christian and very offended by this cartoon. Especially what the cartoon infers. Michelangelo’s version on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shows a different version than what is depicted in your cartoon. Of course you and your staff may print what you please and it is your right to do so.

In closing I will state that you and all the other members of the Fourth Estate should ponder my question. Say that all the left-leaning liberals get their way, and the whole United States is made into a country where private ownership of firearms is forbidden except for the military and law enforcement. Who is going to help you with your freedom of the press? Not I nor my fellow patriots. How could we with no firearms? Then the government will tell you what to print and what not to. And you will do it. For if you don’t the government will send you off to be re-educated. And instead of the Tribune-Star it will be called the Workers-Paradise-Daily. And you won’t be Editor Max Jones; you will be comrade Jones instead.

So a word to the wise. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

— Thomas Silcott

Terre Haute

Editor’s Note: The Tribune-Star does not advocate against the private ownership of guns or for the confiscation of guns from private individuals. Also, editorial cartoons have been published on our Opinion pages from all sides of the gun control issue.

Manufacturing gun paranoia

I read the letters in the newspaper Sunday and I cannot help but comment on Mark Burns’ comment about not forgetting about Randy Weaver’s wife. I would like to assure Mr. Burns that he has nothing to worry about unless he makes a “deal” with undercover ATF agents to convert semiautomatic assault weapons to full automatic.

Certain folks have paranoid delusions regarding President Obama, gun ownership/control and the government being out to get them. Gun dealers are making a lot of money now with rumors and inflated ammunition prices resulting from contrived ammunition shortages. I feel that certain folks’ money would be better spent on medication prescribed for paranoia.

— John Garner

Terre Haute

Simple question, simple answer

“What does gun control mean?” That was the title of a recent letter to the editor.

All of the answers given were true of course, but the supreme explanation was missing.

Gun control means hitting your target on the first shot.

— Mark Burns

Terre Haute

A new outlook on an ages old debate

With regards to the ongoing religious “debate” taking place in the Trib-Star, I thought I’d weigh in with a slightly different perspective.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A guy walks into a joint where a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu are having a heated argument about which religion is the one true faith, which contains the more absurd doctrines, and most specifically, which is the more violent, having killed the most people and created the most havoc within societies, both past and present.

After hearing the repeated charges and counter charges, the guy speaks up:

“Pardon me for interrupting, but I’ve been listening for some time, and having done considerable research on these and hundreds of other supernatural belief systems myself, I’d like to offer a point of concurrence and interject a thought or two.

“Each of you appears to be making the same assertion with regards to the other person’s religion, and in fact all religions but your own … that they are obviously false, man-made belief structures born of human invention, and perpetuated through threats of violence and/or promises of reward, both real and imagined. On this point, I happen to be in complete agreement with each of you individually.

“As a result, I have come to the conclusion that unless and until a supernatural entity reveals itself — in a rather conspicuous manner, to me personally — the most prudent and reasonable position to adopt is to choose ‘none of the above,’ and allow reality — as it empirically is, not as ancient mythological constructs say it is — dictate my thoughts and actions in the wondrous, albeit finite, world we live in.”

The three men stare in amazement for a moment or two, and then …

“That has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! You can’t just refuse to pick one! That’s absurd!”

“And what a vicious and unwarranted attack on our faith! How dare you be so disrespectful?!”

“Anyone who does not believe in the existence of supernatural beings, of any sort, cannot be trusted, period!”

“Absolutely right. Your kind has no place in our society, and the day will come — once again and soon — when you, and your fellow naturalistic zealots, will be purged forthwith!”

“And when that day comes, blasphemers such as you, who refuse to accept what the Prophet hath revealed, shall be dragged through boiling water, then into the fire on your faces, and the skin that is burned off will be replaced with new skin over and over so that your torment goes on forever and ever!”

“For rejecting His gift of love, The Lord will throw you into the flames of Hell, where you will be ceaselessly tortured, wailing and gnashing your teeth for all eternity, and as the smoke from your torment rises, I’ll be watching from my place of bliss in Heaven!”

“While I bask in Paradise with my 72 virgins, scalding water shall be poured upon your head until it melts your innards and comes out your feet!”

“You will be dipped in boiling oil …”

Sensing — from the look in their increasingly “glassy” eyes — a further escalation of vitriol, the man turns to leave.

“Yes, be gone, blasphemer, before we are forced to smite thee!”

“And take your fanatical ‘reality-based ideas’ with you!”

Outside, in the fresh air, the man pauses for a moment’s reflection. Above the sound of the birds and the breeze he could hear the discussion inside as it resumed.

“Wow! What a nut! How can such an irrational, closed mind even function? ‘None of the above’ … who does he think he is?!”

“You must pick one! Everyone knows that!”

“Now, about those 72 virgins … where do you get such nonsense?”

“Oh, so you want to talk virgin nonsense, do you? Well …”

— Kerry Tomasi


Great show by local children

As a young boy I read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, as did many my age and still do today, but now as a grandpa I had never seen the book performed as a musical. That is, until March 8. It was an unforgettable evening, put on by more than 40 of our own local young people, in the packed Harmony Hall on Lafayette Avenue. Tom, Huck, Becky, Aunt Polly, and Injun Joe came alive on the stage. What a joy.

This musical was performed by the Children’s Theatre of Terre Haute in support of the Year of the River (a wonderful educational program).

The director was Dixie Brown, supported by a host of music directors, choreographers, assistant directors, and a dozen different kinds of crews to handle the costumes, set construction, sound, etc. They deserve huge applause and grateful recognition for their time and effort.  

Perhaps more than anything else about this special evening, it was all of the young actors and background-support students for the musical who made me so proud of our upcoming generation — these are wonderful students who will serve us well in the future, in whatever they choose to do in life.

Thanks to all of you for an evening my grandson and I will never forget. Will you please offer another musical next year?

— Ron Martin

Terre Haute

Respect for the animals

I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.

On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town’s sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in winter-time.

I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend may be a good start.

— Tommy Caton

Terre Haute