News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

November 18, 2010

Stephanie Salter: Inside today’s grab bag …: Stamps, bands and GOP $$$

TERRE HAUTE — It’s time for another roundup of items, little ideas that can’t grow big enough for a whole column, but just won’t go away from my field of focus.

• Let’s start with the post office. Since the sad demise of Cecil Tilford’s USPS postal unit in 12 Points earlier this year, Terre Haute has only three options for a post office that is staffed by human beings: the main unit on Margaret Avenue, the Rose Station on Schaal Avenue behind Kroger Plaza, and the North Station on Lafayette and Thomas avenues.

Downtown — that area in which public and private entities have invested millions for revitalization — must make do with a touch-screen machine in a deserted (and, often, creepy) corner of what’s becoming Indiana State University’s Scott College of Business. The irony, of course, is that handsome old 1934 building once housed the main U.S. Post Office for the city.

As I discovered the other day, you can’t even buy stamps in the so-called postal kiosk. You can mail envelopes and packages and purchase metered postage. But if you want a colorful stamp for a special card or a book of Forever, fixed-price, first-class stamps, you need wheels so you can head north, east or south.

The saving grace is, the people in those three staffed units are almost always nice, cheerful and efficient, despite cutbacks in their operations. They know their regular customers and — in my experience — go the extra distance more often than not to help make life a little easier. Naturally, I live in fear of hearing that USPS will close down one or more of them and advise customers to “go online for all your postal needs.”

A related thought: I wish the U.S. Postal Service would issue a specific stamp to put on bills, something that would lift the spirits of the sender but distinguish that kind of mail from the pleasurable kind that includes birthday cards and personal letters. I nominate Aldred E. Newman’s smiling, gap-toothed, what-me-worry visage.

• In a similar vein of officialdom, I recently ran across a disincentive for turning to a life of crime, going on the lam or joining a terrorist organization: BMV photos.

I figured no photograph of me could be any worse than my U.S. passport picture. (I was having a bad hair day and, apparently, a bad karma year when that one was taken.) But my new Indiana driver’s license photo makes the passport shot look as though it was taken by Vogue magazine’s Mario Testino.

Warned against smiling, now, for security reasons, everybody looks like a felon in her or his BMV photo. Mine makes me look like a member of the Bader-Meinhof gang that terrorized Germany in the 1960s. Just the thought of that photograph showing up in newspapers and on TV is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow until 2016, when my license expires.

• Totally unrelated thought: Sometimes, when I drive by the Terre Haute Regional Hospital waiting time billboard on North Third Street, and the illuminated ER wait time is 10 or 12 minutes, I feel like turning around and going down to the hospital just because I know I’ll get right in.

• Before the memory grows too distant, I need to publicly rhapsodize on the remarkable performance I witnessed late last month by the Artie Shaw Orchestra at the Indiana Theatre. Several hundred other Hauteans who were there know why.

People who don’t know or care about Big Band music can’t possibly understand the power of the drug-like rush that a live, hot collection of musicians can deliver. The 17-member Artie Shaw band, which tours the country paying homage to its namesake artist founder, came through with just that level of rush.

Taking its cues from conductor-clarinetist Rich Chiaraluce, the Shaw band did so much more than re-create signature hits such as “Moonglow” and “Begin the Beguine.” Any decent high school ensemble can do that. In two mostly upbeat sets, the Shaw group proved that great Big Band music is timeless, relevant and bursting with a kind of vitality that we associate with youth, but which throbs inside every human being until we breathe our last.

My litmus test for a top-notch Big Band performance has always been, “Did they knock my head off?” On Oct. 31 in Terre Haute, the Artie Shaw Orchestra knocked it off, through the ceiling to somewhere east of 13th Street. Many thanks to the Indiana Theatre and Chris and Rich Productions for making it  happen. 

• Somewhere in outer space, aliens are observing us and scratching their antennae as they try to make sense of a people who shatter the autumn silence  with cherry bombs and dummy gunshots at 6 a.m., sundown and near-midnight in a community effort to chase crows into someone else’s back yard.

• The 2010 election may be over, but the dissonant melody lingers. Two e-mails I received this week from the wildly victorious Republican Party struck a particularly clanging chord.

The first, a big “Thank You” from National Republican Senate Committee Chairman John Cornyn, reiterated the role of a key election element for all candidates — money.

Looking at the contrast between Nov. 2 and the 2008 election, Cornyn noted, “Over the last two years, we were successful in adding nearly 400,000 new, first-time donors to the NRSC, we strengthened relationships with our longtime supporters and ultimately raised over $100 million. In fact, just last month, the NRSC raised $14.2 million, which represented the highest monthly total since the passage of McCain-Feingold in 2002.”

Ah, yes, McCain-Feingold, that short-lived dream known as “campaign finance reform.”

GOP message No. 2 was from Guy Harrison, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. His pitch also was about money; the Republicans need more of it. Referring to the handful of still-undecided congressional races, Harrison warned, “Make no mistake, Democrats will do whatever it takes to blunt their historic losses.”

Whatever it takes? Yikes.

Harrison urges NRCC supporters to visit the committee’s website and make “an immediate donation” to “make sure Democrats cannot steal these elections …”

I think that’s a wonderful idea. Republicans really should spend some more money on Election 2010. Here’s the address: nrcc.org/stillcounting. Be generous.

Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or stephanie.salter@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Ronn Mott: Gaza 2014 — hatred lives on

    The rockets’ red glares have turned Gaza, part of the Palestinian authority, into a battleground with Hamas, a legislative terrorist organization that has been stockpiling armaments to use against Israel for years.

    July 25, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 25, 2014

    July 24, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: The Czar of Russia

    If you are expecting Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Republic, to react to the crisis in the Ukraine as an ordinary elected official, think again. Even though Putin is the President of the Russian Republic, this is not the job he wants. Putin also doesn’t want to be the chairman of a newly resurrected Communist Party in Russia. No, what he wants is to be the czar of a greater Russia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 24, 2014

    • Clinic will expand basic health access
    • Misunderstanding truth about Islam

    July 23, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Work program needs industry buy-in

    Good help is hard to find. That’s essentially what Indiana companies have insisted for several years. The state struggles with a “skills gap,” the firms explain. They need employees, but can’t find enough — or in some cases, any — qualified Hoosiers. Businesses say too few applicants possess the “soft skills,” such as showing up for work on time or being able to effectively communicate with co-workers.

    July 22, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 23, 2014

    July 22, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Dragonfly

    The other morning I was moving the canister that holds our recycling material out to the curb when I saw a strange sight. What I saw was a dragonfly fighting with a bee.

    July 22, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: News about reality, not affirmation

    The public’s trust in the news media keeps dwindling. At the same time, Americans’ political polarization keeps increasing.

    July 21, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Chickens as pets always turned out same way

    I suppose many of us who grew up on farms or in small towns adopted unusual pets. I had a fondness for chickens. My folks always kept a few chickens, not only to fry or roast, but also for the eggs.

    July 21, 2014

  • Readers’ forum: July 22, 2014

    • Supt. Ritz has right to govern
    • A tribute to a teacher
    • Rep. Pelosi shows ‘bungling idiocy’

    July 21, 2014

  • Readers’ forum: July 21, 2014

    • Theater brings the joy of music
    • Drawing closer to the spirit
    • Give some space to heterosexuals

    July 20, 2014

  • LovellEdwards.JPG MARK BENNETT: Former Terre Hautean Jim Lovell stood ready as Neil Armstrong’s backup on Apollo 11

    The words “Apollo 11” stir optimism in me.
    I was an elementary school kid growing up in Vigo County when Neil Armstrong put the first footprint on the moon on July 20, 1969. So much seemed possible

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • EDITORIAL: Vigo Jail study essential to determine strategy

    It comes as encouraging news that the Vigo County Council might include in its 2015 budget significant funding for an expert and neutral study of what can be done to replace or enhance the existing county jail.

    July 20, 2014

  • Readers’ forum: July 20, 2014

    • ‘Hotel Indiana’ has a sour tune

    • Kind words about the newspaper

    • Some questions about RTL video

    • No mercy for cop killers

    • Crack down on gun violence

    • Anti-Dem tirades mask GOP failures

    • Important day for participants

    • Appreciation for support

    July 20, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: Solve our border crisis

    More than 60,000 unaccompanied alien children — mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — have been apprehended on America’s southern border during this fiscal year.

    July 20, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: World Cup over, but it was fun

    After many weeks and many games, the World Cup is over. While the world calls it “futbol,” only we in North America play another brand of football. It is very simple to understand why this is the world’s favorite game … all it takes is an empty lot, a round soccer ball, and you can get a futbol game together.

    July 18, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: Living in peaceful communities requires collaboration

    Hoosiers have the right to live in peace. Yet, too many of our friends and neighbors are currently living in fear.

    July 18, 2014

  • Flashpoint: Will Gov. Pence be true to his word?

    This is written in response to recent remarks made by State Board of Education members.

    July 17, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 18, 2014

    July 17, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Presidential Ambush

    No wild-west ambush, either real or fiction, has been as successful as the ambush on President Barack Obama.

    July 17, 2014

  • READERS’ FORUM: July 17, 2014

    • Civil rights and burning cities

    • Quality service from Baesler’s

    July 16, 2014

  • FLAHSPOINT: Supt. Glenda Ritz ‘creating conflict’

    It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve as the newest member of the Indiana State Board of Education. I bring a fresh perspective to the board as an attorney and business executive who served as Director of Economic Development under former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and President of the Indy Partnership, a regional economic development organization charged with recruiting new companies to our state.

    July 16, 2014

  • tstribunestar Editorial: Continuing the standard

    U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett has raised the profile of his federally appointed position more than any individual to hold the job in decades. From the start, he was a man on a mission, and often that mission was focused on rooting out corruption, maintaining integrity in government and pursuing those who violated the public trust.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 16, 2014

    • The truth about property taxes

    July 15, 2014

  • Letter from BOE member: Superintendent Ritz ‘creating conflict’

    It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve as the newest member of the Indiana State Board of Education. I bring a fresh perspective to the board as an attorney and business executive who served as Director of Economic Development under former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and President of the Indy Partnership, a regional economic development organization charged with recruiting new companies to our state.

    July 15, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Collett Park

    Saturday at the Park, Collett Park, another beautiful wedding was held. They looked so nice in the warm weather with the Gazebo acting as church sanctuary, I would almost be tempted myself to do it again, and do it outdoors at the Park. No, no, no, not again, even as pretty as it is in the Park on a nice July Saturday.

    July 15, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 15, 2014

    • Are Fed policies hurting America?

    • Staying true to code of respect

    July 14, 2014

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Lots we did not have in those good ol’ days

    In my thankful moments, I’m glad I was not my grandmother’s daughter. I would miss the modern conveniences.

    July 14, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Legal marriages should be honored

    An eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.

    July 13, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 14, 2014

    • Where did the 61 cents go?

    July 13, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
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