News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 10, 2013

MARK BENNETT: Living on the banks

TERRE HAUTE — We are the Wabash.

Really.

Such a statement isn’t a nostalgic twist on Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie crooning “We Are The World” a generation ago.

This is science.

With rare January sunshine gleaming on the Wabash outside, organizers of the 2013 Year of the River initiative unveiled a yearlong celebration of the famed waterway that gives local residents myriad opportunities to recreate, learn and simply enjoy themselves along its banks. Plans include something for everyone. Plays. Prayers. Hikes. Excursions. Concerts. Art exhibits. Storytelling. Picnics. Motorists on highways bisecting Terre Haute will see billboards promoting the river activities.

“Lots of people will learn about Terre Haute and the Wabash River,” said Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces, co-organizer of the project with Jon Robeson, executive director of Arts Illiana, and Steve Letsinger, art curator and professor at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The trio, and Mayor Duke Bennett, described the breadth and potential of the Year of the River effort at a Wednesday morning kickoff news conference in the Girl Scouts Building adjacent to Fairbanks Park.

There is one primary lesson all local residents should receive — even if they choose not to experience any of the dozens of events scheduled this year by more than 75 participating outdoors, arts, education and environmental organizations.

We all contribute to the Wabash. Literally.

Approximately 75 percent of river pollution comes from “non-point-source” pollutants. A point source pollutant, explained Angie Tilton of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Healthy Rivers Initiative, would include those large pipes spilling wastewater from cities or industries into the river. Someone kayaking on the river would “point” to those outlets. As visually obvious as they are, point-source pollutants aren’t the dominant culprit.

It’s us. Yes, we are the Wabash.

Folks who wash their cars in paved driveways near a street-side storm sewer contribute. So do those who park a car with a chronic oil leak in a similar driveway. Or someone who tosses trash or cigarette butts on a street near a storm sewer. Or a homeowner who uses salt to melt ice on a driveway or sidewalk. Or somebody who dumps household chemicals near the curb or in the yard. Or a dog owner who leaves the critter’s poop near the roadway. Or a landowner who mows the lawn and empties the grass clippings, tainted by fertilizers, insecticides and weed-killers, by the storm sewer.

“All of that drains into the Wabash River,” Tilton said.

“As far as pollution goes, with the Wabash River,” she added, “everybody contributes.”

With the spotlight shining on it, thanks to the Year of the River, 2013 would be the ideal moment for local people to think twice about their contributions to the community’s most significant natural resource. For years, college students and outdoors groups have routinely rolled up their sleeves to haul away mattresses, meth-lab components, tires and garbage dumped by humans on the conveniently secluded banks of the river and its tributaries. In the year ahead, we could give those students and activists a hand by the less-strenuous task of simply cleaning up our own acts.

Tilton offered a few ideas.

Wash your car in your yard, instead of the driveway. The grass and soil filters the detergents and cleaning agents. Clean up after your dog and put its waste in a trash bag, so the waste can be disposed in the landfill, she said. Get the oil leak in your car fixed. Shovel the snow from your sidewalk or driveway, or get a neighbor to do it. Properly dispose of household chemicals and old motor oil.

Meanwhile, check the 2013 Year of the River events calendar (distributed through the Tribune-Star in December and available at the newspaper offices) or the project’s website www.2013yearof

theriver.com, and participate in one or several of the activities. Find an outdoors group of kayakers or canoeists, or contact Joe Hoopingarner’s Airboats, and actually get “on” the river. (Stick with skilled, safety-minded folks if you do so.)

Then, when you encounter the Wabash — up close, or through the scenic backdrop of Fairbanks Park or Merom Bluffs — you’ll know you played a role in making the river better, not worse. You will have taken action.

That’s what local Girl Scouts are doing. At Wednesday’s news conference, Girl Scouts leaders displayed an “enviroscape” — a contoured panoramic miniature community, depicting a farm, a factory, a subdivision, bridges, roads, storm sewers and, finally, the river. The device gives the kids a visual idea of how their daily behaviors affect the Wabash. Using colorings (or, sometimes, Kool-Aid) for the pollution sources, the girls then spray clean water (like rain) on the model, watching it all flow toward the river.

Diana Keely, director of programs for the Girls Scouts, and Alicia Martin, the program development manager, explained how the replica neighborhood educates the Scouts — and their parents — about pollution.

“When a kid visualizes throwing trash out the car window, they don’t realize how that’s going to get all the way down in [the water],” Keely said.

“It opens their eyes,” she said of the Scouts, as young as age 6. They’re urged to “take action,” Martin said.

In this Year of the River, we grownups should do the same thing. Enjoy, view, visit, clean up, and, yes, be the river.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or mark.bennett@

tribstar.com.


 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Purdue Shooting2.jpg Purdue shooting leaves one person dead

    A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vigo County Jail Log: April 21, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, based on jail records.

    April 21, 2014

  • Purdue Shooting_Will.jpg THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs

    Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bosma Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee

    Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014 snowtracks.jpg We enter the deep freeze again

    If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET012014busses weir.jpg Levy redirects school funds

    If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.

    January 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana

    School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
    More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.

    January 21, 2014

  • MET 012114 DONNELLY BOARD.jpg VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board

    Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase

    After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.

    January 21, 2014

  • Ohio boy rescued from bottom of Indiana hotel pool

    The quick action of bystanders is being credited with saving the life of a northwestern Ohio teenager who was pulled over the weekend from the hotel pool at a southern Indiana state park.

    April 21, 2014

  • MET 042014 DOUBLE-DEATH.jpg 2 bodies found in Pimento home

    Police were at the scene of a death investigation on Sunday in southern Vigo County.
    “It’s a double death investigation,” Vigo County Chief Deputy Clark E. Cottom told the Tribune-Star at the scene.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT041614 morrismorris.jpg BOSTON MARATHON: Not intimidated

    One reason Mike Morris — and many runners can relate — has been a distance runner for 30 years is it’s restorative powers. Not to the body but to the mind.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 041814 HUXFORD PAT.jpg Overcoming symptoms

    Even when he was in grade school, it was obvious Justin Huxford was a special kid.
    He was the first at Rio Grande Elementary School to walk 100 miles around the school grounds over the school year, one of just a handful of kids to meet the goal.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 042014 POWELL EASTER.jpg Answering the call

    Static was the only thing on TV or radio. People were on their knees as they prayed. It was, as if for three whole days, the world stood still.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • TH wins 8th Tree City USA ‘Growth’ award

    Terre Haute was named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

    April 20, 2014

  • ISU hosts Ukraine panel today

    In Ruth Fairbanks’ morning commute to work recently, she heard two news stories on the radio about Ukraine. Considering her drive-time is just five minutes, it demonstrates how unstable — and newsworthy — Eastern Europe is these days.

    April 20, 2014

  • MET041714 harvest hands.jpg Their dream rises: Mother-daughter duo team up to expand eastside bakery

    As she gently formed a round sourdough, Marta Shelton seemed to hold her dreams in the palm of her hands.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET041814church medina cut.jpg Church resurrected: Prairie Creek church that burned in the midst of a winter storm ready for rebirth

    From the ashes of a devastating winter fire comes out a church reborn.

    April 19, 2014 4 Photos

  • Vigo School Board to approve central pool bond resolution

    On Monday, the Vigo County School Board will receive an update on a planned, $9.8 million aquatics center that will be built in Voorhees Park.

    April 19, 2014

  • Kokomo Tornado 02.JPG Inconsistent help: FEMA’s disaster decisions frustrate state, local leaders

    Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister blew out windows and tore the roof off her house. Hers was one of scores of homes and businesses in Howard County that were damaged or demolished by the storm.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 041814 ROBOT BRUBAKER.jpg Gearing up

    A team of Vigo County high school students — and its robot — are gearing up to compete against 127 teams from throughout the world in an upcoming international robotics competition.

    April 18, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET041714 little library.jpg VCPL to install free ‘little libraries’

    Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: A Little Free Library.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flaws in new ed standards ‘too substantial’

    A State Board of Education member formally requested Friday that an education panel abandon a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s education standards and instead recommend that the state’s previous benchmarks be reinstated in classrooms this fall.

    April 18, 2014

  • Spike in mumps cases reported across Illinois

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Public health officials are investigating a sharp increase in the number of mumps cases recorded in central Illinois.

    April 18, 2014

  • Police: Fatal fire began with dropped cigarette

    SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) — State police say a fatal house fire in a southern Indiana town began when a disabled woman dropped a cigarette.

    April 18, 2014

  • Board member asks for old Indiana school standards

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A State Board of Education member is calling for a proposed overhaul of Indiana’s education standards to be ditched and that the state’s old benchmarks be reinstated in classrooms this fall.

    April 18, 2014

  • MET 041714 BOOKS OUABACHE.jpg A real page turner

    Victory was sweet for the Franklin Elementary teammates, who won their first ever Battle of the Books competition Thursday at Meadows Elementary.

    April 17, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET041714 bucshon.jpg Rep. Bucshon leads discussion on minority care in Vigo County

    The list of problems seems endless: Lack of health insurance, mental illness, cultural barriers and stigmas about routine medical check ups, to name only a few.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vigo County students, educators recently made a 2-week trip to Terre Haute’s sister city of Tajimi

    Six Vigo County high school students and two educators, including superintendent Dan Tanoos, recently returned from a two-week cultural exchange trip to Tajimi, Japan.

    April 17, 2014

  • tsBennett Tribune-Star columnist named company’s best

    The Tribune-Star’s Mark Bennett has been named CNHI’s Columnist of the Year for 2013 in its large newspaper division.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Crowds Rally at '420' Celebration in Denver Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash
NDN Video
Lindsay Lohan Reveals She Had Miscarriage in Reality Show Finale Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl Marathoners Celebrate Easter With Tradition Celebs Share Their Easter Fun Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter ET Presents The Summer Movie Preview Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Dr. Phil Put In The Hot Seat By His Own Wife Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity