News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News


March 15, 2014

50 years after Civil Rights Act, work still to be done

TERRE HAUTE — This July will mark the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The priorities of civil rights activism today may have changed since that time five decades ago, but challenges to civil rights still exist in American society.

Speakers at the 13th annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day on Tuesday will examine issues affecting life in the Wabash Valley and the world at large during the all-day event at Indiana State University.

Recently in Indianapolis, Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general, talked to Hoosier advocates and government employees about current trends and “hot button” issues during a civil rights symposium presented by the office of U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett.

“Much remains to be done,” Samuels said of enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

Some concerns still exist in the areas of voter registration, especially as Voter ID laws are instituted around the country. Making accommodations for language minorities is an ongoing issue, as are housing and lending protections, and discrimination against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

“The unfinished struggle for equal opportunity and justice is something which everyone can appreciate,” Samuels said.

Discrimination in the Valley

In Terre Haute, the Human Relations Commission regularly hears from citizens who feel they have been the subject of discriminatory practices.

Executive Director Jeff Lorick said the concerns he hears run the gamut from employment to housing to disabilities to LGBT issues.

Discovering and proving financial discrimination is difficult, he said, because it is not always clear to the borrower how their credit rating is assessed by the lender.

“A large segment of the minority community got caught up in the housing crisis,” Lorick told the Tribune-Star during a recent interview. “A lot of people in the minority community lost their homes in all of that.”

The predatory lending practices that occurred were often not evident until after a family had lost a home, he said.

Employment discrimination still occurs, he said, but people often will not raise a complaint for fear of losing their job, even though a complainant is supposed to be protected by the law.

Lorick said he spoke to one man who felt he had a complaint about his treatment on the job, but the man’s wife encouraged him to “let it go” because the family needed the income and feared reprisals if a complaint were filed.

As for discrimination against people with disabilities, Lorick said more protections are being built into the Americans with Disabilities Act to expand it. But people have to know their rights when it comes to receiving accommodations for their situations.

Lorick said he talked to one person who is wheelchair-bound and was thrilled to be hired to a new job. When the person arrived on the job, she found that her employer had tried to improve her workspace by raising the level of her desk and adding an adaptive device to her phone. However, those changes were not needed, he said, so the employee thanked her new boss, but asked for the changes to be removed.

“Sometimes employers make assumptions about a person with disabilities without talking to them to find out their needs,” Lorick said.

He noted that there are several businesses in the area that hire workers who are disabled. And many employers are becoming more aware of the needs of disabled people, as war-wounded veterans return to the job market.

 Discrimination in housing is also a concern for convicted felons trying to return to society after serving their sentences, Lorick said.

Laws have been enacted to protect the public from people such as sex offenders and predators, but those people still need to find decent, affordable housing. Lorick said he was also asked to advocate for a person whose child got a felony conviction while attending college, but because the person was on the lease of his parent’s house, the landlord used the conviction to evict the other members of the family from their home.

Financial discrimination also occurs when a person cannot afford to make a positive move.

Lorick recalled how he assisted an elderly man on a fixed income who wanted to move from his subsidized housing into a senior housing center. The man couldn’t afford, however, to pay a deposit and first month’s rent on the new apartment while he was still paying rent on his current home. If he failed to pay his current rent in order to pay the new rent, he would face future financial and legal issues that could get him evicted from his new home.

“People face real tough situations and choices when it comes to housing,” Lorick said. “Sometimes those situations fail, and they end up homeless. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.”

Discrimination can be very covert and hidden, he said. On the front-burner now is the treatment of LGBT persons.

“That is the issue we’re hearing most about now, and there’s a lot of room for activism,” Lorick said of protecting people’s rights and educating the public.

Justice Department intervention

On the federal level, one school discipline case that Samuels used as an example occurred in Meridian, Miss. School officials there were found to give far harsher consequences to minorities and students with learning disabilities than they were to white students who commit comparable offenses.

“A minor school offense should not land a student in a police station,” Samuels said. Now, the school system must provide support and intervention before a student can be excluded from school.

In Palm Beach County, Fla., the school system agreed to provide adequate language translation throughout the student disciplinary process as part of a settlement of a federal case. The district had 20,000 English language learners among its more than 100,000 students.

“Students can’t comply with rules when they can’t understand what they are supposed to be doing,” she said.

On the university level, addressing problems with sexual harassment, assault and gender bias were issues in Missoula, Mont. That case led to an agreement among local police forces and the university to respond appropriately on investigations and without gender bias.

Samuels also outlines more attention to protecting students who are gender non-conforming. One Minnesota school district had to reform its policies and practices on harassment. A school district in California came under federal scrutiny after a transgender student was denied restroom privileges on an overnight trip.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also issued a policy memo that gives lawful same sex marriages the legal rights they deserve, Samuels said, with the goal of assuring same-sex marriages get the same protections, rights and privileges as opposite-sex marriages.

Housing discrimination also receives a lot of Justice Department attention.

“A family’s access to housing is almost always linked to credit,” Samuels said. In mortgage and auto lending, investigators have found that some lenders required minority borrowers to pay more interest or have stricter terms than white borrowers.

That strategy became evident in the wake of the nation’s housing crisis, Samuels said, when investigators found that minorities were also steered to more risky lenders, resulting in more mortgage foreclosures when people could not pay the penalties or balloon payments.

Changes in voting laws are also a concern, she said, with challenges being raised in Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina to state laws that undermine the intent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Samuels encouraged the advocates, attorneys and individuals at the symposium to contact the Justice Department whenever they experience a perceived discriminatory practice. A specific instance should be reported, she said, but the person reporting the incident will not have to prove their case in order to receive help.

“We have investigators to look into it,” she said. “Don’t feel like you have to have all your ducks in a row to approach us.”

The hotline for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is 202-514-4609.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • MET 073114 FAIR 02HEALTH.jpg Tracking a herd

    When a pig named Bruce stumbled as it was unloaded off a trailer and into the swine barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Thursday morning, Clint Shireman took notice.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • Mobs, toting cash, seek to enliven area shops

    The mob dropped like a tornado on the small northern Indiana town of North Manchester. They rushed into a small specialty shop, changing its future.

    August 1, 2014

  • SPT080114CASY hlleck.jpg CASY set to take over Bikes for Tykes

    Chances and Services for Youth, a not-for-profit group dedicated to helping kids, is taking over the Bikes for Tykes program from the Exchange Club of Terre Haute.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • MET080114barrett mckee.jpg Barrett named assistant ISU police chief

    Chief lauds Barrett’s experience in juvenile, violent, white-color crime investigations
    Tribune-Star staff report

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT080114CASY decker.jpg City’s Exchange Club calls it quits

    After more than nine decades, the Exchange Club of Terre Haute has called it quits.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • MET073114griffin markers.jpg Trail blazers

    Blake Griffin remembers when he and his brother, Dale, would ride their bikes along wooded trails in the wilderness area of Fowler Park.

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Officials say city ‘overspent’

    Two Terre Haute councilmen told the Taxpayers Association of Vigo County Thursday they think the city is overspending, but they gave no solutions to reduce expenses.

    July 31, 2014

  • MET073114sinkhole korenski.jpg Block downtown to close for repairs

    A sinkhole is forcing the temporary closure of a major downtown street beginning Monday.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 012312 MICK NEWPORT.jpg Wave of retirees at Vigo schools

    Valarie Bailey has worked for the Vigo County School Corp. for 26 years in roles that included at-risk counselor, school social worker, assistant student services director and curriculum coordinator.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire house to fire dept.

    A legal battle has been resolved to restore ownership of the community fire station in Fayette Township.

    July 31, 2014

  • Road Closings

    14th Street, from Oak to Poplar streets, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 9 for Friends and Family Weekend.

    July 31, 2014

  • August Fire Safety Tip

    Monthly safety hint — Barbeque/grilling safety

    July 31, 2014

  • Difference makers, a nickel at a time

    Joining a youth sports team, getting a new pair of shoes or taking music lessons are among the things that will be happening for more Vigo County children in the CASA Kids program thanks to a new financial supporter.

    July 31, 2014

  • MET 073014 WESTMINISTER DIG.jpg Expanding independence

    Westminster Village, a Terre Haute retirement community, is investing $1.8 million to construct 12 new villa homes, officials announced Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014 5 Photos

  • Decades later, dry cleaners leave blemish

    Fifty years ago, about 30 dry cleaners did business in the city of Terre Haute. City officials are now cleaning up the mess some left behind.

    July 30, 2014 1 Story

  • MARK BENNETT: Year of River sets example for state

    Terre Haute pays more attention to the Wabash River these days.

    July 30, 2014

  • Climate of less regulation, more chemical spills leaves ‘historical pollution,’ NCA director says

    Former dry cleaning sites are an environmental problem all over the state, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

    July 30, 2014 1 Story

  • MET073014parks bbushee.jpg Camping turnout low for first half of summer

    Camping revenue for the past two months has dropped in Vigo County parks, a downturn park officials say is difficult to attribute to a new park policy limiting campers’ stays to 14 days in the three county parks.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 073014 DESTROYED.jpg Devastating fire takes out mobile home

    A Seelyville mobile home sustained heavy damage in a fire early Wednesday morning.
    Lost Creek Township firefighters were called to the scene in the 2200 block of Tabortown Road south of U.S. 40 at about 2 a.m.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Man posts bond after fatal wreck

    An Oct. 7 trial date has been set for a Terre Haute man accused of driving while intoxicated causing death.

    July 30, 2014 3 Stories

  • Driver injured, airlifted, cited for failure to yield

    An elderly woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon in Sullivan County, according to Indiana State Police.

    July 30, 2014

  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Today in History for August 1st
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"

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

Real Estate News