News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 23, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 23, 2012


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Poor decision by state board

Of all the idiotic and imbecilic things the State Board of Education has done, this takes the cake: to change teacher/principal licensing rules (Tribune-Star, Dec. 6, 2012). If you have any children in the public schools, beware, as the quality of personnel could be drastically diminished. It appears that anyone off the street with a degree of any kind could be your child’s next teacher, as long as they can pass a test. These so-called “overseers of Indiana education” appear to be pushing for the demise of education, which is already in trouble.

The board’s job is to study the educational system and then make changes for the betterment of all children. But these shallow thinkers are damaging the very core of what real educators have built up over the course of many years.

Teachers now are specialists in their fields, have studied child behavior, have practiced teaching to see if they desire to continue with their teacher training and who have real classroom experience. But then you get a bunch of uninformed people who are unfit for the job. They think they know something about education but all they are doing is demonstrating their short-sightedness, their lack of knowledge and lack of intelligence to the public. They are an embarrassment not only to education but to the entire Indiana public as well as this nation. Everyone in this country has to cringe when they hear or read of this witless decision.

I suggest that they step into the classroom and see what real education is like, instead of demonstrating their lack of knowledge, wisdom and insight of the real world of teaching. Too bad the board doesn’t try to help education instead of placing it back in the dark ages (from where their opinions seem to originate).

Let’s get someone on the board who knows something about education. Contact the governor, Glenda Ritz or your Indiana representatives to see if there is a way to impeach this inept bunch before all education is totally destroyed. How would you like it if all your doctor had to do was walk off the street and pass a test?

— Dr. Larry Reck

Professor Emeritus

Indiana State University

Dealing with grief during a season of celebration

The holiday season is a time of collective festivity. We gather with family, friends, co-workers and colleagues in a spirit of good tidings and cheer. The seasonal expectation for celebration is widespread and deeply engrained in our culture.

For many who are grieving, however, this expectation can be stressful and painful. Whether our loss is the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, unemployment or even unfulfilled dreams, the holiday season can usher in feelings of sadness, depression and loneliness. Though we did not have a choice in what led to our grief, we do have a choice in how we respond. Regardless of our family, cultural or religious traditions, there are some helpful ways we can acknowledge our loss and navigate our way through the holiday festivities.

The first rule of thumb is to be gentle and patient with ourselves and those who love us. Well-meaning friends and family want to provide us with comfort and companionship. Despite their good intentions, we may not feel much like being social or jovial. In these instances, it is important to remember that the need for alone time is normal.

It is also helpful to remember that we have the power of choice. We can choose the activities that we feel comfortable with and decline the ones we don’t. We can set time limits that feel reasonable to us. We can be compassionate with ourselves. We can ask for what we need.

These insights can be helpful reminders to be gentle with ourselves especially when we are socially compelled to put on our “holiday best.” Feelings of grief and happiness are not mutually exclusive. We may experience a gamut of emotions from deep sadness to profound joy. We may feel simultaneously numb, angry and sad. We may not feel anything at all. These emotional fluctuations are normal and expected. The key is to be gentle with ourselves wherever we are and do our best to suspend self- judgment.

In terms of commemorating our loss, we may choose to ritualize our loss in a way that has personal significance such as making an ornament for our Christmas tree, lighting a candle or buying a special gift. We may wish to set a place at our table or prepare a favorite food our loved one enjoyed.

Regardless of our tradition or belief, we can create meaningful ways to acknowledge what we have lost and honor what remains. Whether our loss occurred last week or decades past, our grief can affect us. Grief is not limited to a specific period of time, nor is it something to be experienced in a prescribed way.

Though grief is a universal phenomenon it is as unique to us as the relationships and events that shape our lives.

There will be aspects of our grief that are not shared by anyone. Acknowledging our grief is not a failure on our part nor does it signify our inability to cope. We all struggle. We all have difficult moments. We all experience loss, and we all deserve support when we need it.

Finally, although we may not be grieving, chances are we know someone who is. If we, or someone we know, is having a difficult time there are a number of agencies and mental health professionals trained to offer competent and compassionate support such as Hospice of the Wabash Valley, Compassionate Friends, and the Hamilton Center.

If you need additional information on how to locate support services please contact the listed agencies or Indiana State University’s Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality at 812-237-2464.

— Dr. Christine Kennedy, LCPC, ACS

Director, Center for the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality

Indiana State University

Terre Haute

Valley rallies to make YMCA real

The Vigo County YMCA is celebrating our six-month anniversary and would like to take time to thank all those who have made this vision into a reality for our community.

To begin, we would like to thank all of our new members — all 3,002 of you — for entrusting us to deliver a YMCA that you are not only proud to be a part of but also excited to tell others about.

Thank you to our major donors: Troy Fears, United Way of the Wabash Valley; Rick Burger, Duke Energy Foundation; Scott Teffeteller, Union Hospital; Beth Tevlin, Wabash Valley Community Foundation; Mary Ann Conroy, Terre Haute Regional Hospital; Barley Family Trust; Jon Bennett, Children’s Bureau, Inc.

Also, to the media and “Choose Downtown” Terre Haute, who have faithfully promoted our events and programs: The Tribune-Star, WTHI, WTWO, Hi 99, WMGI, WWSY, WIBQ Danny Wayne, and Heather Penny Strohm, Wabash Valley Spotlight. We could not have done this without you.

Our Vigo County Steering Committee: Ashley Delaunois, Becky  Buse, Mary Ann Conroy, Bernice Helman, Brian Kooistra, Courtney Richey, Dave Wright, Doug Grim, Jason Starr, Jeriah Threlfall, Nancy Merritt, Matt Sinclair, Missy Schaumleffel, Morgan Wiggs and Mellissa Winn.

Those who helped us clean and renovate our facility:

Agape Church, Andy’s Collision Repair Inc., Eagle Scout candidates Nathan and Travis Pugh, EZ Clean, Federal Bureau of Prisons of Terre Haute, Salt of the Earth Church, Sherwin Williams, Sigma Chi Fraternity, Sycamore Engineering, Terre Haute Parks & Recreation, T.K. Wilson at Complete Home Renovations, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Office and Wallace Brothers.

Our Vigo County YMCA donors/partners:

Alorica Inc., Baesler’s Market, C.H. Garmong & Sons Inc., Chances for Indiana Youth, Commercial Interiors, Crossroads Door & Hardware Inc., Danny Tanoos of Vigo County School Corp., David Wulf of Templeton Coal Co., Delta Kappa Gamma Society/Beta Eta Chapter, Euronique, Inc., Hugh B. Lee, his friends and family, Lenex Steel, Local Electrical Union No. 725, Lu McCreery, Marc Evans of Frontier Communications, Mary Ann Conroy, Nancy Merritt , Norm Lowery of First Financial Bank, Old National Insurance, Paradise AG Painters, Pepsi Refreshment Services, Plant Brothers Excavating & Construction Co. LLC, Rachel Leslie, Ray Dreher, Re/Max, Republic Services and Sycamore Ridge Landfill, Riddell National Bank, Templeton Coal, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Terre Haute Savings Bank, Top Notch, Wabash Valley Road Runners, Wal-Mart Supercenter 1310, W. I. C.,

Special Events donors:

Covered Bridge Special Education, Denny’s Restaurant on Third Street, Hobbs & Co., Kathy Hollis, McDonald’s at Third and Poplar streets, Prairie Farms Dairy, Terre Haute North basketball and wrestling teams, The Bouncin’ Barn and Wabash Valley Youth for Christ.

Our thanks to our local universities, with their many different departments and volunteer student groups, including Indiana State University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. We want to thank Mayor Duke Bennett and the City of Terre Haute, Eddie Bird and the Terre Haute Park and Recreation Board. And very special thanks to our wonderful staff at Vigo County YMCA and Clay County YMCA, the YMCA of Clay County Association Board of Directors and Wade Hampton from YMCA of the USA.

Last, but not least, we bestow special thanks upon our wonderful spouses, Tim Ramseier and Kevin Ringo, and to our families, who have supported us selflessly throughout these beginning stages.

It is extraordinarily evident that this has been a community effort. We are extremely proud to partner with so many who have joined together with us to serve the Wabash Valley. If you have not already, please come in and check out our newly renovated facility and all the new programs and exercise classes we currently offer. Inquire about our new classes being offered to help tackle those New Year’s resolutions.

Once again, our sincere thanks to the Wabash Valley.

— Eleanor Ramseier

Executive Director

Vigo County YMCA

Deborah Plummer Ringo, CEO

YMCA of Clay County Association

Next election not soon enough

As Michigan follows Indiana and makes right-to-work (for less) the new standard for the labor force, Gov. Snyder of Michigan is saying “look at Indiana” and something about jobs pouring into our state. I don’t know where he got the information on jobs pouring into Indiana but I don’t think his information is completely correct.

I am still waiting to see the thousands of jobs that were promised to us when this bill became law in Indiana. Businesses that are expanding already had the plans in the works before this disgusting law was passed.

The governor kept saying it would improve our atmosphere to attract new companies because they wouldn’t be bothered by that pesky need to pay good wages or provide benefits because workers would be at the mercy of the company.

That is exactly what RTW laws do; they provide companies with a means to lower wages, reduce benefits (to none), remove safety requirements, do away with retirement plans, etc. The RTW law allows for union breaking while appearing to support the worker.

I think the people of Indiana are beginning to see just what this law is going to do for them. How with a new governor (Pence), the trend will continue to destroy the middle class. It has already begun by the passing of a state policy that removes requirements for teachers in our education system. The new superintendent of education will have her hands full because the new governor is out to make her job obsolete.

When you downgrade the education system, you dumb down the population, and thus make jobs with lower wages more attractive because the worker has neither the education nor the knowledge to expect more.

Just in the last weeks we have seen three businesses leave Terre Haute. The Fashion Bug left because of a corporation buying out its competition and then stripping it of its assets and selling off the rest.

Does this sound familiar? It is corporate raiding at its best.

The other two were restaurants that closed because of a lack of customers. It is plain and simple … people can’t afford to eat out. The economic condition of the country is slowly improving but Indiana is always the last to feel any improvement. Don’t be fooled by the rebate that is coming to taxpayers in the form of a refund on your income tax. That money isn’t because of any reduction in spending; it is due to a bookkeeping error.

I have often wondered how the voters of Indiana could elect a superintendent of education that is opposed to the educational reforms that “Our Man Mitch” shoved down our throats and then turn around and elect another Republican that will continue the current assault on the middle class and education.

Gov. Pence has chosen to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. Why? He says it would bankrupt Indiana but he forgets to mention that the federal government is going to co-fund any costs. Again the citizens of Indiana are losing out.

Are we so blind that we do not see that Gov.-elect Pence will continue to dismantle public education and there is only one lone woman to oppose him. Do you really think that Pence will pay attention to the voice of the citizens of Indiana in regard to the educational policies of the GOP? The very idea that outgoing Gov. Daniels may re-emerge on the national political scene makes me shudder.

I don’t know what has happened to the GOP but its support of corporate greed (both locally and nationally) makes me anxious for the elections of 2014 and 2016. Maybe the citizens of Indiana will have seen the writing on the wall by then.

At least I hope so.

— Shirley A. Thomas


What about kids killed by abortion?

When will the violence end? What can we do to stop it? Just yesterday defenseless children were killed, slaughtered actually. They could not stop the violence that was about to befall them. Somehow their lives were deemed worthless or useless; each sentenced to death by a person “not in their right mind.”

Approximately 3,700 unborn children were murdered yesterday throughout the United States.

There were also 20 innocent children killed by a lunatic in Connecticut.

— Douglas Elia

Terre Haute