Community more than a parking lot

The corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue is known as “The Crossroads of America.” Seventh Street is known as the “Arts Corridor.” The new convention center will bring new visitors to our community every year as Hulman Center and Indiana State University already does. The beautiful former post office was converted to a beautiful, functional university building in that block. New buildings and museums are within a couple of blocks. We have a Blues Festival there and other downtown festivals. We have a thriving arts community. 

Our city is changing. We should be proud of the accomplishments.

If the Vigo County school system decides to dispose of their building at that corner, what would be a great use for the property? A parking lot? Really? 

Let’s, instead, consider making that historic corner a Terre Haute showplace for our visitors and our residents. We already have the Max Ehrmann bronze statue at that location and others along Seventh Street. Could we not add more art works, especially by local artists? Add seasonal gardens and a curved strolling path with benches and nice lighting where the art would be displayed.

Perhaps it could be funded by donations, grants, government and Chamber of Commerce assistance.

Terre Haute is more than a parking lot. Let us continue to grow in special ways. Wouldn’t it be nice for the visitors in that area to say “What a nice place Terre Haute is?”

— James Wood, Terre Haute 

Words of praise for choral students

It was my pleasure on Feb. 1, 2020, to provide piano accompaniment for students from the Terre Haute South Vigo High School choral department at the District Solo and Ensemble contest hosted at North Vigo High School. 

Our schools, the choral instructors, administrators and parents should be very proud. Students and parents from the host school were welcoming and helpful. The South Vigo choir students behaved professionally, both in the competition rooms and out. Every one of them thanked me for playing, interacted with the judges in a positive and professional way, and represented their school with pride and dignity. They excelled, not only in making music, but in showing the community that this community is full of wonderful young people. 

In fact, I did not witness anything but the best coming from all of the students participating yesterday. I have only words of praise for them, and am filled with hope as they grow into their futures. Well done.

— Rev. Kathryn Elliott, Greencastle

Keep up fight for economic stability

Indiana legislators must act now to secure Hoosier women’s economic stability. On average, women in Indiana make 74 cents for their male peers’ dollar.

For black women in Indiana, the number is 58 cents on the dollar. For Latina women, it’s 53 cents: the threat of financial instability is especially pressing for women of color.

As a recent Indiana University graduate and a soon-to-be law student, this topic is especially important to me. I currently serve as a Legislative Intern for Women4Change, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for Hoosier women. We are tracking legislation, meeting with lawmakers and educating community members on issues related to women’s economic stability. These efforts are reassuring — I want to work in a state that values equality in the workplace.

Recently, state legislators from both major political parties spoke at the Women’s Economic Stability Press Conference, hosted by Women4Change and its Equality Pay$ coalition partners at the Indiana Statehouse.

“Women will lose out on over 200,000 dollars over the course of their lifetime as a result of the gender pay gap,” Sen. Breaux said at the conference. “200,000 dollars has consequences, today or tomorrow.”

The gender pay gap is a complex problem, touching on a variety of issues such as paid family leave, pregnancy accommodations, and childcare accessibility. Women4Change stands with Hoosier women by advocating for progress in all of these areas.

We are currently tracking legislation about wage history and wage range inquiries. House Bill 1162 would prohibit most employers from reviewing or relying on an applicant’s previous wages. This could help previously underpaid women to break free from the financial inequalities they faced at other jobs.

The Family and Children Services Committee held a hearing last week on Senate Bill 342. This legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating against pregnant employees. Employers would also have to provide reasonable pregnancy accommodations. [The legislation did not pass, but was referred to a summer study committee.]

In the words of Sen. Breaux: “Let’s keep up the fight. It’s a fight worth having.”

Indiana’s gender pay gap is one of the widest in the country. It’s time we change that so can we ensure a future of economic stability for Hoosier women.

— Naomi Farahan, Women4Change, Legislative Intern, Indianapolis 

Emergency funds kept center warm

What a difference the community spirit in Terre Haute makes.

On Jan. 1, the pump to our older heating system at the Wabash Activity Center went out, leaving us with a chilly start to the new year, and unable to serve our members.

Getting a replacement pump was a bit tricky, and juggling the finances to pay for it, a bit trickier.

Quickly, on Jan. 6, we received an emergency grant from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation to pay for the replacement pump, and our members soon resumed their activities here at the center.

Without the Wabash Valley Community Foundation’s help, this would not have been possible.

And there is more — in October 2018, with the help of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, we were able to replace years’ old window curtains with brand new blinds for all of our windows. These blinds help regulate our temperature, keeping the center warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

We are grateful for all the help we have received from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. Your community spirit truly makes a difference for all of us.

— Michelle “Bree” Inman, Executive Director, Wabash Activity Center

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