News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 18, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Aug. 18, 2013


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Help fight those mosquitoes; close trash receptacles

There was a recent report by the Vigo County Health Department about the presence of the West Nile Virus in our area, and it is no surprise. Mosquitoes have a perfect breeding ground in Terre Haute with the main source being the blue trash barrels that dot our city.

These barrels are left open and when we have intermittent rain it goes directly into these barrels and leaves standing water of 3 to 4 inches in the bottom. This water is usually mixed with dirt and debris in the bottom and makes a perfect environment for mosquito breeding.

As I walk my dog through the alleys, I have noticed this problem for quite some time and since the virus has been detected, now is the time to speak out. I noticed that about 60 percent of these barrels are left open, and I started closing them as I walked. But I felt I was infringing on other people’s property, so I quit.

I fight these mosquitoes and other insects and it is really bad this time of year. While outside, I try to fight these pests with a lemon spray, just pouring a bottle of lemon juice into an empty spray bottle. Mosquitoes especially hate the smell of citrus with all three being effective — lemon, grapefruit and orange.

We must all be vigilant and close our barrels. Don’t blame the sanitation department for leaving barrels open. Those crews work hard in a dirty, thankless job and have to move fast. It only takes a minute to close a barrel and shut off this major breeding area. I seldom see any old tires or any other receptacles that are as hazardous as the open barrel. These mosquitoes are after only one thing, our blood.

If this letter and warning would just save one person from getting the West Nile Virus, it would be awesome.

— Robert Kintz

Terre Haute


Urging high court to clear up issue of meeting prayers

Why would the Indiana Attorney General wade into a United States Supreme Court case over the opening prayers said at town council meetings in western New York state?

It’s a reasonable question Hoosiers might ask after my office filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could decide whether the widespread practice of prayer at the start of legislative meetings is constitutional. In analyzing the long history and tradition of opening meetings with prayer, our brief contends that prayers initiated by citizens themselves — including prayers that invoke God, Jesus, Allah and other deities — do not violate the First Amendment prohibition on government establishing religion. Our brief argues that government assemblies are not proselytizing if they allow citizen expression of such prayers at the start of meetings. The Texas attorney general co-authored our brief and a bipartisan group of AGs from 21 other states signed it, reflecting the legal importance of the question.

As Indiana’s attorney general, I serve as lawyer for state government and argue on the side of state authority and in defense of state officials’ actions.  My office routinely files friend-of-the-court briefs, also called amicus briefs, in Supreme Court cases where Indiana and other states are not plaintiffs or defendants but have a legal interest that the Court ought to hear. Since 2009, my office has authored or co-authored 23 amicus briefs that other states joined, and we joined 89 briefs other states have authored, at no additional cost to taxpayers.

When important legal issues involving state authority come before the U.S. Supreme Court, my office cannot shrink from a case or stand mute because the case is controversial. It’s important for Indiana to weigh in on the upcoming Supreme Court case of Galloway v. the Town of Greece, New York, because the Indiana House of Representatives was subjected to a similar lawsuit in recent years. Municipal and state officials face uncertainty when deciding whether to start legislative meetings with prayer, and the Supreme Court could bring an end to that confusion.

While the Supreme Court upheld legislative prayer 30 years ago, a conflicting hodgepodge of federal appeals court rulings since then has left officials facing expensive, time-consuming lawsuits over legislative prayer practices. Such litigation benefits plaintiffs’ lawyers only. My office’s government clients need some element of certainty and we cannot give them clear legal advice without a conclusive Supreme Court ruling.

In urging the Court to set a clear and unambiguous standard, I am not advocating a personal position on legislative prayer but am doing my duty as the state’s lawyer to bring finality to the issue and discourage future lawsuits against municipalities around Indiana and the state itself.

— Greg Zoeller

Attorney general of Indiana

Do we really understand threat of radical Islam?

On July 7, Dr. Abhyankar wrote:

“For hate is not conquered by hate: hate is conquered by love.

“This teaching of the Buddha stands in sharp contrast to the need to resist evil with force. … Each person must choose for himself between these two contradictory courses of action.”

Is not the message of Jesus to turn the other cheek, “to do good to those that despitefully use you”?

OK, but what if the other guy means to tear your head off? Or cut it off, as jihadists prefer?

Cannot the refusal to resist evil allow evil to prevail?

Is not hatred toward evil an assertion of love for justice?

Should not the dilemma of violence or non-violence depend on the context of a crisis?

Let us turn to the 20/20 hindsight of history.

In 1923 the head of the National Socialist Workers Party, Adolf Hitler, attempted a coup in Munich that failed. In jail he wrote, “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”), laying out his plan to revitalize a defeated Germany after WW I. A mere 10 years later, in 1933, as a result of his charismatic oratory and political treachery, he became the furher, or leader of Germany, and the Nazi party dictatorship supplanted the democratic Weimar Republic.

Central to Hitler’s reign from 1933 to Germany’s defeat in WW II in 1945 was a Pan-German expansionism, anti-Semitism, a doctrine of Aryan superiority and racism, the aggressive conquest of Europe, and plans to conquer the Soviet Union, defeat the allied forces of America and Britain, and lay the groundwork for a German empire that would outlast the greatest empires of history.

His rise to power, galvanizing a prostrate country, amid a depression and mass unemployment, into the greatest military power on earth, conquering most of Europe, North Africa and almost the Soviet Union, in a few short years, might well be seen as the work of a genius, albeit an evil one. Much of it due to his fiery and hypnotic rhetoric.

“Pride goeth before a fall,” writes John Milton in his great epic poem, “Paradise Lost.” “By that sin Satan fell.” But before Hitler’s fall, much of Europe and the Soviet Union lay in ruins and over 50 million were dead, including six million Jews in the Holocaust and  five million others Hitler saw as inferiors or enemies: Slavs, Gypsies, Christian opponents, communists, gays, “mental defectives,” political dissidents, etc.

We also see in Osama bin Laden a grandiose vision, that of a global empire, a New Caliphate that would restore the Ottoman Empire (1453-1683) that reached its apogee under Suleiman in the 16th century. But unlike Hitler’s vision built on the myth of a superior Aryan or Nordic master race, bin Laden’s charismatic power, at least among the extremists, rested on religious fanaticism he felt in accord with the will of Allah, the holy book of Islam and its Prophet.

A few, like Winston Churchill, realized what Hitler was all about after reading “Mein Kampf.” His dire warnings fell on deaf ears.

The non-violence against Britain by Gandhi in India and the non-violence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in America may have worked, but the 1939 peace treaty that U.K.’s Prime Minister Chamberlain signed with Nazi Germany reeked more of cowardice than the courage of moral force since it allowed evil to prevail for six years of a war that left an enormity of death and devastation in its wake.

One wonders if we have learned from that darkest chapter of human history when Western civilization was close to extinction. In spite of 9/11, a thousand other acts of jihad worldwide, scores of books, documentaries and countless articles in magazines, newspapers and online that sound an alarm, are we even now fully conscious of the immensity of danger posed by radical Islam? Once fully funded and armed with WMDs from rogue or enemy states, their potential for conquest and destruction could rival or even surpass that of Hitler’s empire.

Will the world once again heed too late Santayana’s caveat about the grim lessons of history we failed to learn?

If so, the Muslims of the world who despise the usurpation and menace of theocratic jihad will suffer no less than the non-Muslims of the world.

— Saul Rosenthal

Terre Haute

Coming together to help a family

On behalf of my family and I, we want to thank everyone who came out to support my daughter, Kaylynn Zehner. My husband, Curtis, and I are so thankful for all the donations and kind words from everyone who came out.

We want to personally thank Penny Davis and the employees of the Vigo County Jail for organizing the whole benefit for us. Without Penny this event wouldn't have taken place. Penny has mentioned on several occasions that her heart was pulled to us and she felt from day one of finding out about Kaylynn’s surgery that she had to help in some way.

From that point on we went from ordering bracelets, to donations of food and drinks for the benefit. T-shirts were then donated for immediate family and also the very cute tutu that Kaylynn was wearing. I could never have imagined the turnout that we had. We have been given enough money to take care of many of our medical bills and put some away for the actual surgery and travel costs.

I am so thankful to our community for coming together and supporting my family the way they did. I was able to meet with others whose lives have been affected by a congenital heart defect much like Kaylynn’s, even some with the same condition she has. It has given me a peace of mind to know that everything is going to be just fine — a feeling I haven’t felt in a while. So not only do I thank the community again for donating money and time but also sharing a piece of their hearts with my family.

It truly is wonderful to see the community come together to support one of its own the way Terre Haute came together for us.

— Kelsey Zehner

Terre Haute

Thanks, honestly

I want to thank the woman who found my change purse at the Kroger store at 25th Street and Wabash Avenue this past Saturday for her honesty.

Everything was just as I had it, including my money. Also a big thank you to the employees at Kroger for calling me and for being so honest and quick to return it to me. May God bless them all.

— Dottie McCarty

Terre Haute

Wrong on roots of terrorism

In his Aug. 8 piece, “I said it before …”, Ronn Mott suggests that the cause of terrorism among Muslims is “a lack of education.” The facts do not bear this out.

Terror icon Osama bin Laden had a degree in engineering. Mohammed Atta, who participated in the 9/11 attack on America, had a graduate degree in engineering. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, is a psychiatrist. Terror mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks,” has a degree in engineering. The current leader of al-Qaida, Ayman Al Zawahiri, is a pediatrician.

Clearly, Mr. Mott’s statement is incorrect.  

— Ramachandra B. Abhyankar

Terre Haute

A star facility

I would like to thank the administrators and staff at Meadows Manor North for the excellent care given to my mother while she was there.

I know personally why they are rated as a five-star facility.

— John Feuquay

Terre Haute


Suspicious truth

Isn’t it amazing that the present administration creditability is so low, they aren’t believable even when they do tell the truth?

— Sam Wallace

Casey, Ill.


Why join a sorority?

It’s a question I’m often asked: Why join a sorority?

As students head back to college campuses across the nation this month, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), one of the largest advocacy organizations for women, ushers in recruitment — the time when young women decide if sorority is the path to take.

One of the phrases we like best was shared by a newspaper columnist (and sorority woman). Rebecca Nappi with The Spokesman-Review wrote recently that sorority life means “instant family.” And she’s right.

In Indiana alone, there are 103 sorority chapters at college campuses across the state.

Though the “instant family” value may be immeasurable, sorority life is a measureable experience where a value can be determined for a parent, a community and a college.

Data collected by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions is just one measure. Every year, 2.5 million high school students in more than 95 percent of the nation’s public and private high schools participate in an opinion survey that measures their interests and attitudes.

In its most recent report, more than 88 percent of high school students interested in attending a state college or university said they were interested in joining a sorority or fraternity. The vast majority of those young women who expressed interest in sorority life also shared they had taken college prep courses or were in honors programs.

Additionally, NPC gathers information through a national annual survey of its 26 national and international members.

That data should be meaningful to parents.

Last year, 412 sorority women were awarded $438,757 in scholarships via 108 alumnae groups. For the 2012-2013 school year, the majority of our member groups reported that the average GPA for undergraduate members posted at 3.16.

As for communities and campuses, there’s another return on investment that is measurable.

Each year, College Panhellenics, cooperative groups comprised of all sororities on a campus, raise millions of dollars through philanthropic events that are donated to local, regional and national charities. Last year, that impressive total was more than $5.2 million.

Additionally, 33 campuses were singled out for national recognition this year for meeting the highest of standards for academics, programming and community relations — including Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Valparaiso University in Valparaiso and DePauw University in Greencastle.

Sorority membership also continues to increase every year. Our current total registers at 325,722 undergraduate members showing that sororities are just as relevant today as they were 111 years ago when the National Panhellenic Conference was founded.

For any young women headed to college, we suggest you keep your mind open to the possibilities. To parents, we say leaders are built in networks that thrive and continue to grow. To campuses, we offer the best of the next generation.

— Nicki Reas Meneley

Executive Director

National Panhellenic Conference

Alpha Chi Omega