News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 1, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 1, 2013


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---- — Poor choice on ISU ticket prices

After having been an ISU women’s basketball season ticket holder for a number of years, it saddens me that I will not be participating in that wonderful program this year. Not because I can’t, but because I refuse to pay a required Varsity Club “donation” tacked on to the season ticket cost.

After inquiring, I was told the additional donation (it really is a fee) was decided by the ISU Foundation. I feel the Foundation has made a poor choice.

Going to the games and supporting the teams, in many cases, is something that families and friends enjoy doing together. I will miss watching the young women grow in their athletic abilities as I have in the past and will miss the fellowship of fellow attendees. I will send the money I had set aside for my season ticket to a local charity and I think I will add an additional $25 donation just for the heck of it.

— Kenna Hittle

Terre Haute

Syria crisis raises serious questions

Let’s put this in perspective. Syria has chemical weapons and the U.N. forbids the use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons kill and maim silently. Syria appears to have used them on civilians. The U.S. is going to punish (with cruise missiles) Syria. The U.S. is big, Syria is small. If this was Russia or China, would we attack?

Now, let’s consider the U.S. The U.N. forbids the use of hollow point bullets in war. Hollow point bullets spread out when hitting the body and do devastating damage.

Homeland Security recently purchased 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point bullets (roughly five for every citizen). If, during a crisis like martial law, Homeland Security used hollow point bullets against citizens, who would punish them?

If hollow point bullets are forbidden by the U.N., why did Homeland Security purchase them? A question that has never been answered, draw your own conclusion.

— Fred Roberts

Terre Haute

Remembering Mary Tuberosa

After being retired from teaching for 20 years, it was so amazing to see that Mary was remembered with such caring and admiration.

To all the students, parents and teachers who attended Mary’s visitation in July to show their affection and respect, we want to express our deepest gratitude.

We knew she was admired and respected, but didn’t know how much.

As was written on a gift given to her: “True happiness is knowing you have made a difference in the life of a child.”

This is what her life was all about.

She made a difference in the lives of so many children and did so out of devotion and dedication.

As was written on a sympathy card with a note from Patty Decker, “All teachers would love to be remembered the way Mary was.” On the front of the card was written: “What a beautiful difference one single life can make!”

At Mary’s retirement dinner years ago, one first-grade teacher wrote and read this “Ode to Mary T”:

I I I

Ode to Mary T.

Today I asked my first graders what retirement meant to them. One said, “It’s when you just get tired of doing something and want to do something else” Another said, “It’s when you’re too old to work and someone new has to take your place.

I don’t think this is true of any of the our retirees here today.

I first met Mary 15 years ago when she came to West Vigo Elementary School from Greenwood School. For the first two years she had a split assignment and traveled between the two schools teaching Kdg. Prior to West Vigo Elementary, Mary had taught 1st grade at Greenwood for 18 years, and before that she was at Maryland Elementary.

Mary has taught a total of 33 years. Mary attended schools in Vigo County which included Maple Avenue, Rankin and Garfield High School.

Mary and I have many things in common — three of which are the desire to teach young children, 18 years in first grade, and most of the schools that I attended are no longer in existence either!

I am one of the world’s greatest list makers. So today I made my list of things I will miss about Mary.

I will miss:

Seeing Mary weigh herself every Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the nurse’s room. Mary is the eternal optimist. She never takes her shoes off!

Mary’s parade of children up and down the hall each week and their chance to show off and be proud.

Mary’s show of Easter hats and bonnets her children make each spring.

The fact that Mary could always get her children to talk. One parent told me that “kids never lie to Miss T.”!

Our staff meetings — while we all were thinking it — Mary would say it!

The children who came to my first grade from Mary’s class, knowing readiness skills and being ready for first grade.

Mary knowing all the families — uncles, aunts, cousins, steps and halves.

The children Mary taught who came to me feeling safe, loved and knowing school was a wonderful place because Miss T. had been their first teacher.

Mary’s sense of humor, her funny cards, and her wonderful compliments. She always refers to the first hall teacher as “you-girls” — except for Mr. Tennis!

Finally — I looked in my dictionary for words that defined to “teach” or “teacher” and found: to instruct, to direct, to guide, to discipline, to teach a subject.

All of these words described Mary, but something was missing, so I looked up the word “love” and found: affection, devotion, attachment, fondness, allegiance, loyalty and emotion.

Together, these words — Teach, Teacher, and Love — define my friend and colleague, Mary Tuberosa.

I I I

The writer of the “Ode” is unknown. I ask anyone having knowledge about who wrote the piece to contact the West Vigo Elementary School secretary.

It is so true that whatsoever you sow, so shall you reap.

Any student in Mary Tuberosa’s kindergarten-first grade class at either Maryland, Greenwood or West Vigo Elementary schools between 1960 and 1993 will have the opportunity to see or make copies of their classroom photos. These will be located in the West Vigo Elementary library.

— Katherine Tuberosa

Sister of Mary T.

Terre Haute

We can fix our labor problems

Labor Day is a celebration of the incredible contributions of America’s working people. Through sweat, sacrifice and innovation, workers built this great state and nation. And we continue to make it work every day.

Our hard work and the pride we take in it shows. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the productivity of the U.S. economy grew 80 percent from 1979 to 2009.

Unfortunately, though, the hourly wage for the typical worker grew by only 10.1 percent. In the past several decades the gap between economic productivity and compensation for the typical worker has grown — a sharp contrast to the postwar period. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent has grabbed nearly 60 percent of all income gains in the last 30 years. Today, most of America’s workers are working longer hours, taking on multiple jobs, and producing more goods and services. Yet their wages have not kept pace, despite record setting corporate profits.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our economy when hard work is no longer fairly rewarded. To make matters worse, stagnant wages have impacted middle-class families’ buying power further impeding our nation’s economic growth.

This isn’t happening due to uncontrollable changes. It’s being driven by policy. Our minimum wage has been permitted to languish to ever lower levels of buying power. Our nation has pursued trade and tax policies that incentivize sending good jobs overseas. The jobs our economy has been creating are all too often those that come with low wages, and lower benefits. And as we know all too well, the union movement — a primary mover of making work pay for the workers — has been under assault.

Millions of middle-class and low-wage working families struggle to get by on flat wages and disappearing benefits. Many express frustration that low-wage jobs make up the fastest-growing sectors. Others remain out of the workforce or underemployed, victims of a financial crisis they did not cause.

For decades, the fabric of the American Dream has frayed under a generation of stagnation, growing income inequality and failed public policy.

On this Labor Day, we must demand a respect for the humanity of all who labor. Hoosiers and all Americans can and should stand united in our belief that everyone deserves a voice on the job, a living wage and a workplace safe from harassment and abuse.

We must demand that our elected representatives enact minimum wage standards that reflect the values of this country and do not leave people who get up and go to work every day still unable to support themselves and their families. We must embrace the new worker activism we see popping up at places like fast-food chains and retail establishments whose workers merely hope to raise their families on a livable wage.

We must demand that our elected representatives protect and expand the buying power of middle-class and low-income workers by refusing to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits — including the sham chained-CPI benefit cut. We must demand that Indiana expand health care to 400,000 low-income workers as permitted and paid for by the Affordable Care Act. We must demand that our elected leaders enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans who came here to contribute to our communities and make a better life for their families. We must call for an end to budget austerity and the “sequestration” cuts to essential government services that are strangling our economy and hurting working class families across Indiana and the nation.

It is time to invest in economic growth from the middle class out and to respect freedom to come together in unions to organize and build a better bargain for everyone. That is the formula that built our nation into the strongest the world has ever known and it is the pathway to sustaining our prosperity.  

We must demand that our country invest in a virtuous cycle of good jobs, decent wages and a quality, affordable education system.  

These are not luxuries that can be postponed until the economy gets better. These are the key to making the economy do better.

— Nancy Guyott, president

Indiana State AFL-CIO

Ideology need not reign supreme

As I speak to people about the Congress, one question arises more than any other: Why is Congress gridlocked? People are perplexed and disappointed with its performance, and are searching hard for an answer.

The roots of Congress’s dysfunction are complex. But the fundamental reason is that real differences in beliefs about government exist among the voters.

Conservatives place a heavy emphasis on liberty, individual freedom and self-reliance. They have little confidence in government’s ability to play a role in improving society or the economy, and many of them look upon government as destructive, a force that undermines our basic freedoms.

Moreover, a belief has taken hold among conservatives in recent years that compromise and accommodation are betrayals of their cause. This has put great pressure on GOP leaders not to budge in their negotiations with the White House and Senate Democrats.

Meanwhile, on the “progressive” side there is much greater emphasis on using government to narrow economic disparities and help those at the bottom of the income scale. They emphasize equality of opportunity for all and individuals’ responsibility to the community around them. While they do not favor a radical centralization of power in the federal government, as some conservatives charge, they are more willing to accept government action — and the legislative compromises that make it possible.

The gap between these views appears unbridgeable. It is not.

That is because most Americans find themselves somewhere between the extremes, able to see merit in both conservative and progressive ideas. When I was in office, I often found myself thinking that many of my constituents were conservative, moderate and liberal all at the same time. That hasn’t changed. They may be wary of excessive government, but again and again they turn to government at some level to help solve the problems they complain about, and they want it to work effectively and efficiently. More than anything else, Americans want to see moderation and cooperation from their political leaders.

In the end, Congress usually ends up about where most Americans want it to be. So I’m not surprised how, when dire problems confront them, both conservatives and progressives in Washington find their inner pragmatist.

— Lee Hamilton, director

Center on Congress at

Indiana University