In the footsteps of Bayh and Lugar

It is only fitting that the Indiana Chamber of Commerce's annual Government Leader of the Year has been renamed this year to honor fomrer U.S. Sens. Birch Bayh, a Democrat, and Richard Lugar, a Republican. Both were extraordinary politicians and public servants, serving Indiana and the nation in ways that were truly historic.

Bayh and Lugar both died earlier this year, and we commend the state chamber for quickly placing their names on this prestigious honor.

Gov. Eric Holcomb was selected as the recipient of the award and it will be presented to him in November.

We are certain Holcomb himself will be humbled by this award. What's more, he will be quick to point out that he is early in his tenure as a political leader and only time will tell if he truly measures up to the legacies Bayh and Lugar produced. But his efforts as governor have been notable and, as the chamber asserts, his focus on the opioid epidemic and its impact on the communities, families and the workforce have particularly noteworthy.

Holcomb said in a statement that as he’s traveled throughout Indiana, “I’ve met many individuals directly touched by the drug crisis. They want their life back, their family back and they want to recover and realize their true potential. We’re working every day to give more people that chance.”

Holcomb will seek reelection next year and it will be up to voters to ultimately judge his first-term performance. But he is most deserving of the chamber's award this year and we congratulate him on receiving the honor.

Cheers, jeers and tears

• Cheers to Ivy Tech Community College for its commitment to seek a state grant of $200,000 for construction a new trail head and restroom facility at Ruble Park, which is projected to open in June of 2020. The Vigo County Parks Department will also assist in the effort to obtain the grant. The parks department is developing Ruble Park on about 800 acres of former Pfizer Co. property near the county's industrial park. Ruble Park is named after retired longtime parks department superintendent Keith Ruble.

• Cheers for the new splash pad opened this week at Booker T. Washington Community Center on South 13th Street, a culmination of a community fundraising campaign. The recreational feature will be operated by Chances and Services for Youth (CASY).

• Cheers to Trent Miles for his willingness to step forward and take over leadership duties as CEO of the Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club. Miles spent 33 years coaching college and professional football, including several successful years coaching football at ISU.

• Jeers to those who continue to deny the extent of the world's climate emergency and turn a blind eye to the serious crisis facing mankind. While clear majorities of people recognize the problem and are willing to take action to mitigate it, too many leaders, including those in America, dismiss their calls and ignore the rapid deterioration of the planet.

• Tears for Texas city of Houston, which for the second time in two years is suffering severe flooding damage in the aftermath of a major weather event. Tropical Storm Imelda drenched the Houston area mid-week. Two years ago, it was Hurricane Harvey that devastated the East Texas coast.

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