News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 15, 2013

READERS' FORUM: July 15, 2013

The Tribune-Star

---- — Swim programs worth having

My name is Eli Stuhlmacher. I am currently an active duty Navy Seal. I have spent time in both war zones, Iraq and Afghanistan, as a team leader. I tell you this only because it is relevant for me to show you the vast value of the Terre Haute swimming programs.

I started swimming in Terre Haute at the age of 5. On the surface it was a great way for my parents to have me spend my energy learning a life skill, swimming. However, the coaches instilled a “never give up, anything is possible” attitude in me, a life skill worth learning as well.

I believe that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success that I have if it were not for my time spent as a swimmer. I know for a fact that I would never have had a chance to swim at the collegiate level and have had my college courses paid for if it were not for the great swimming program in Terre Haute. I would have never had the skills and mental fortitude to make it through BUD/s training or to handle combat situations with swift, accurate decisions, if it were not for my time spent with the Terre Haute swimming programs.

Many people who do not swim or who have not enjoyed the benefits of swimming will challenge why their tax dollars should be spent on building a new swimming facility. I challenge them to consider the fact that it is programs such as these that are producing young people such as myself that are providing them the freedom that they enjoy today as a citizen of this great country. I can vividly remember sitting in Mr. Mann’s high school economics class and him saying a phrase TANSTAAFL, which stands for “There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.” The swimming pools are an investment in our youth that play out on a local level, national and worldwide level.

To this day when I instruct tactics I try and reflect back on how my high school and club coach, Jeff Thompson, was so effective with relaying his message and standing behind his message. When he asked us to work hard, you could be assured that he was going to be working even harder than he was asking us to work. This was a great lesson in leadership. It would be a travesty to the young people of the Vigo County School Corp., and to the United States for that matter, to potentially lose this type of coaching/mentoring/leadership if swimming were to be eliminated or lost because we no longer have adequate facilities to support such programming.

In closing, I would like to encourage Superintendent Tanoos and the VCSC School Board to continue moving forward with your vision of replacing our outdated swimming facilities within our schools with one, centrally located, facility. Please continue providing life-long learning skills and productive citizens to our society.

— Eli Stuhlmacher

Trafalgar, Ind.

Why can’t we just leave others alone?

Mr. Woods’ letter of Sunday, July 7, 2013, is filled with many two-dollar words and high-sounding, scientific and sociological theories but is filled with the worse hypocrisy that I have read in the Tribune-Star for a long time. The thinly veiled attempts to scare heterosexual couples into believing that because of a section of our society which has been finally granted equal rights and protections as citizens is going to cause heterosexual couples to stop sexual intercourse and thus stop producing or continuing the human race is so laughable that even after reading his letter three times I couldn’t believe an educated man could come to such a conclusion.  

Mr. Woods indicates that since an alternate lifestyle has been sanctioned as equal under the law, heterosexuals will abandon their lifestyle and become gay. The human race will die out due to limits on the number of children, abortion and being gay. Apparently he doesn’t take into account that our earth can only sustain a certain number of people (all races) before starvation begins. Many heterosexual couples are foregoing having children at all and those who do choose to limit that choice to one child.

I have been heterosexual all my life and have no intention of choosing a gay lifestyle. Apparently Mr. Woods has not heard of zero population growth or why it will be necessary in the coming years. You can only deplete the Earth’s resources for so long before what was a thriving, living planet becomes extinct. You are born with your sexual preference already ingrained into your makeup. You are either gay or straight, period. You do not make a conscious choice in this, you are what you are.

So rather than worry about how the equal rights to all sections of our population will cause all kinds of calamities in the marriage relationship, perhaps we should be worried about how to sustain things such as air, water, food, etc., for future generations. I have personally always wondered why some people feel threatened by what goes on in the privacy of another’s home or bedroom. Why are we so concerned with things that are none of our business anyway? Will Gay marriage effect your personal relationships? Will you marry less if you are heterosexual because someone who is gay has the same rights and privileges you have?

Perhaps the best answer to my questions is the simple one: mind your own business. If you have time to worry about the private lives of others, you need to volunteer at a soup kitchen or some hospital where true suffering can be observed. Perhaps then you will learn that love knows no boundaries such as race, creed or sexual orientation. Being of service to all mankind will leave you little time to ponder the lifestyle of others.

— Shirley A. Thomas


Law’s delay all about politics

As I was browsing through your July 4 edition of the Tribune-Star I found a couple of interesting articles that I would like to comment on.

First of all, in your front page article Sen. Donnelly says the health care law delay is “about jobs.” To this, I say “bull.” It’s all about politics. President Obama, as usual, is skirting the will of Congress by delaying implementation. I don’t believe it’s within his powers under the Constitution to bypass Congress and change a portion of the law without their approval.

But then again, ignoring the Constitution seems to be a regular occurrence under this administration. Obamacare was passed by the Senate and House by a straight, party-line vote. Not one Republican voted for this bill and for good reasons. They knew the bill was a job killer and a threat to the greatest health-care system in the world.

The delay is not about jobs, it’s all about the 2014 mid-term elections. The Democrats are trying to limit the number of seats that they will lose. If it was about jobs they would never have passed this monstrosity to begin with.

A good example is the article right below it where the Vigo County School Corp. is going to delay the cutting of hours and layoffs now until 2015 when the law goes into effect. Now the school children will be able to enjoy educational field trips for another year. Thank you, Mr. Obama. Don’t worry, people of America, you will be able to keep your doctor and your current health-care plans and best of all your premiums are going down.

The other article I would like to comment on is the story on former Gov. George Ryan. On behalf of the citizens of Terre Haute, I would like to apologize for the lousy dental plan at the federal prison. When you break the law you don’t get to keep your private health and dental plans while incarcerated.

Lastly, kudos to Dr. Robert Taube’s letter to the editor. How soon people forget that it was the Republican Party that was responsible for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

— Richard Hoffman


Howey column right on target

I once heard a panel of men whose specialty was linguistics, or the art of language. They all agreed that people don’t really pay attention to facts.

After thinking about that, I realized that even though it shouldn’t be that way, those men were right.

How many people will really think about Brian Howey’s excellent column last week on the “cost of controversy to taxpayers,” which detailed the court costs our state has paid in fighting various causes that were controversial in nature?

It seems the powers that be in our state would cut off the state’s nose to spite its face, and they can’t see the forest for the trees.

— Patty A. Wright