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 Letters Published in March 7, 2007 Issue



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Ida Knott, Knightstown

I’ve been reading several letters lately concerning the “Teddy Bear Massacre,” the nasty ridiculous tape made by four high school students. I say shame on them and the parents who so quickly jumped to their defense. My question to them is, where were you parents when that tape was being made? Were those kids turned loose with expensive equipment to do as they pleased? Who was supervising them? Those boys are 15-years old. Don’t you know you are responsible for their actions until they become of age?

I agree with Jerri Flowers. Had it been one of my children, they would have had some soreness on the outside of their bottom body parts.

My husband and myself raised three children, two boys and one girl. If a problem arose at home or school with them, we didn’t involve the administration or school board. We hard our own little board meeting – one of held the thin little board, which was applied to the seat of the problem, mainly the outside of the bottom body parts. Problem quickly solved. The feel of a little thin stinging board never hurt any child, only their dignity. I think if this were used more today, it would eliminate a lot of the problems in our schools, such as bomb threats, dirty tapes, threats to kill teachers, and so forth. Discipline starts at home and before they are age two. Now, before anyone, including a child protection agency, yells child abuse, there’s a line between discipline and abuse.

I agree with Becky Flowers, who let her daughter take punishment for a little incident she had at school. Right on, Becky!

To the person who spoke out in defense of those boys: After having 30 years teaching experience, I don’t think I’d want you teaching my children.

I’m not a school teacher, but I have been a children’s Sunday school teacher for years past, a vacation Bible school teacher, Brownie Scout leader, Cub Scout den mother’s helper, and I taught young ones in church youth group. In all this, we adults taught morals, such as to love God and your country, and to respect your fellow citizens, especially your elders and leaders. I’ve had my experience with children. I think the “Teddy Bear Massacre” tape is a disgrace to our school. I truly believe those kids deserve punishment. I also agree with some other letters – if any money is paid, it should go to Dan Clevenger; he is the one who has suffered. Dan is a fine man, as well as teacher. Ask of my children – they had him for a teacher. Strict, yes, but isn’t that what most kids need?

As for the federal judge, after reading some of her comments in the paper, she did not approve of the tape, but she had to stay within the law in her decision.

In closing, I must say this: Sorry if I stepped on anyone’s toes, but that’s just my opinion.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Andy Ebbert, Chief, Shirley Fire Department

On behalf of the members of the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department, we would like to thank everyone for their support Saturday at our breakfast fundraiser for our new ambulance program.

There has been many hours put into making this service a reality. There have been a lot of unknown obstacles tackled and there is still a lot to do. It is great to have the support shown by everyone to help us with this community project. It is truly a case of neighbors helping neighbors.

This was the most successful breakfast that we have ever had. Your support is greatly appreciated and shows that you see the need for an ambulance for our community.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Jennifer Cooper, Carthage

In last weeks Banner, Mr. Bush made it sound like I was a selfish b***ch. He is one to talk. Selfish is defined as “caring chiefly for oneself or one’s own interests, regardless of others; characterized by concern only for oneself.” Does that sounds like anybody you know? I can think of a couple of people.

First of all, I didn’t resign because I was upset that the Girl Scouts want to plant a tree at McNabb Park. I think it’s a great idea; the park committee was hoping to do something in memory of Mr. Bever and Marie Tribbey and I informed the town board of that. Apparently, they don’t listen very well. Mr. Bush didn’t tell the whole truth about my resignation, but that doesn’t surprise me any. I resigned because I was upset that they didn’t involve the park committee” in the decision.

A committee is “a group of persons chosen to investigate or act on a matter.” When I was asked to head up the park committee, I was told by Mr. Bush that he wanted the committee to bring ideas to the board regarding McNabb Park and to go after funding.

This brings me to my second reason for resigning. Mr. Bush informed me that the only reason why he established the park committee was to go after funding. Apparently, when he asked me to be a part of this committee, he forgot to tell me to forget about ideas and just go after funding. I spent many hours talking on the phone getting prices for playground equipment, meeting with people regarding McNabb Park and taking it all to the board. So, if all we were supposed to do is go after funding, then why did I do all that other stuff? I must have been in a SELFISH mode.

I’d like Mr. Bush to tell if he was lying when he asked me to be a member of the park committee, which was during a scheduled meeting, or when I was talking to him at Pavey’s when I handed him the bag full of information for the park?

I did some research and back for the election of 2003, The Banner ran profiles of all the candidates. Mr. Bush said he thought the three important issues were: 1. water, sewer and streets; 2. public safety; and 3. activities for children (playground). He also said he would make positive contributions to the citizens of Carthage, including prioritizing the budget and sticking to it, finding ways to save money by cutting waste and unneeded trips, creating a park board, and going after grants. He also said he was open minded and not afraid to make tough decisions. I see he accomplished one of those goals, and none to soon.

I’m not trying to sound petty, but I’m sick of elected officials saying things that don’t hold up. Twisting words around to make themselves sound better and making others sound stupid. It’s been over three years and I haven’t seen any changes happen to Carthage. The only positive thing that has occurred is the tornado siren, and that has had it’s problem – but that is another story.

Everyone has their own opinions and they are entitled to them. I, for one, am not impressed with the current town board, and that includes my own husband, Robert Cooper. I feel that they haven’t been looking out for the citizens of Carthage the way they should be. Mr. Bush isn’t the only one who could use some improving; there are five other town board members.

This year, Carthage makes the change from a six-member to a five-member board. If they all run for reelection, it will be interesting to see who doesn’t get reelected. So, stand up for your right to VOTE and go to the polls this year. If you don’t VOTE, then don’t complain about the outcome. You also have the right to go to town council meetings and know what’s going on. Remember, we put these officials in these positions.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Ronald E. Short, Knightstown

For several months, I have been trying to understand why it was necessary to build the new high school. I have heard several reasons given by different people but none seems reasonable to me. I had naively assumed that a growing enrollment was the primary reason the new building was needed. I was appalled to learn that the number of graduates is in the same range as the 1950s and 1960s when the Academy housed 12 grades.

The negative impact of increased property taxes seems to have been totally ignored by those proponents of the new building. These high taxes discourage people and businesses from locating in Knightstown. How the school board, the town council and the school administration could allow the new building is a mystery to me. In my view it is a crime against the real interests of Knightstown. It is one tragic consequence for a community that has had no comprehensive or strategic plan for at least a half century.

I suggest a possible solution: Convert the new school building to apartments and reclaim the Academy for the high school. Since there were 12 grades in the Academy 50 years ago, there should be ample space for four grades now, when the graduation rate is comparable and, according to some sources, declining.

As for those responsible for the new building, even though there may have been no laws broken, the moral and ethical principles of being responsible to the community and taxpayers have been shattered. There are people who should be held accountable for those events and, if no laws were broken, maybe a bunch of you lazy taxpayers who were not paying attention while this debacle was being perpetrated on the community could now find the energy to round up some tar and feathers.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Wade F.B. Thompson, chairman, CEO and president of Thor Industries, Inc.

Despite exercise, a good diet and annual check-ups, prostate cancer can strike any man at any time. Early detection is the key. I am alive nearly 11 years after detection because my cancer was caught early and I urge every man to get tested.

In 2001, I started the Drive Against Prostate Cancer, a mobile screening program that travels the nation offering FREE prostate cancer testing to men. Under the management of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, more than 56,000 have been screened and countless lives have been saved by the program.

I plan to continue trying to find the cure for this disease that kills more than 27,000 U.S. men annually and I am asking for your help. That’s why I have issued a challenge to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition to raise $1 million to support its mission to fight prostate cancer through early detection, awareness, outreach and advocacy; especially by expanding the Drive Against Prostate Cancer to test 20,000 men FREE every year and to further research by discovering a better test for the disease.

I will match every dollar you give so each $1 donated will become $2. I hope everyone will respond generously toward finding a cure for this terrible disease.

My life was saved through early detection. Join me in giving others a fighting chance.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Dr. Suellen Reed, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction

The school accountability movement clearly has raised the bar for what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level. Indiana’s academic standards are widely recognized as among the best in the nation for setting the right expectation for students, but many skills that were once taught in first grade are now introduced in kindergarten as a result. Far from babysitting, today’s kindergarten experience provides a critical foundation for future learning – making access to quality full-day programs an essential part of a child’s development that can make the difference in whether students are prepared to meet these standards.

National experts and Indiana educators agree that students who attend full-day kindergarten (FDK) are likely to show increased academic achievement, lower grade retention rates (students held back), improved attendance and better social skills (fewer distractions/discipline problems). FDK is particularly beneficial for low-income and other at-risk student populations since these children often begin school lacking the basic skills their classmates possess. FDK has proven effective at addressing many of these shortcomings by allowing more time for instruction and individual attention that can solve learning problems early on.

U.S. Census figures show that about 70 percent of young parents work outside the home. While FDK does not eliminate the need for childcare, many parents prefer full-day because it limits the number of transitions a child must make each day. Moreover, since most Indiana school corporations only provide one-way transportation for half-day kindergarten students, a number of children in Indiana are unable to attend any kindergarten because their parent(s) do not have available time nor transportation during the work day.

Though an immediate FDK expansion to all schools would be ideal, economic and logistical realities such as classroom space, transportation and staffing suggest that a phase-in may be the most workable option. For this reason, the Indiana Department of Education supports Gov. Mitch Daniels’ plan to phase-in FDK statewide over three years. Under this proposal, FDK would be available to all students from low-income families starting with the 2007-08 school year and then expanded to all eligible students over the following two years, beginning in school districts with the most low-income children.

Some may believe FDK to be cost-prohibitive, but the available evidence suggests that the impact of not implementing FDK to be even more costly. Consider, for instance, that the lack of a solid early learning foundation leads to retentions in later grades, and each grade retention costs the same as one year of schooling (an average of $10,000 per student). Last year alone, grade retentions cost Indiana taxpayers an estimated $260 million. Long term, each grade retention stunts potential lifelong earnings by one year, resulting in the loss of both personal income and tax revenue.

Studies indicate that quality early learning programs reduce the likelihood that a student will drop out of school (estimated to cost as much as $500,000 per student) or become involved in criminal activity (nearly $22,000 per inmate each year). If FDK has even a limited impact on preventing these scenarios, the potential benefits for both individuals and Indiana taxpayers are considerable.

With that in mind, I respectfully ask Indiana lawmakers to pass a statewide full-day kindergarten plan this year that is feasible for local schools and Indiana taxpayers. Indiana families demand – and Indiana students deserve – access to full-day kindergarten… fully funded for every school, voluntary for every parent and high-quality for every student.



 March 7, 2007 - Letter submitted by Susan L. Macey - Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor

With income taxes for 2006 due within two months, I would like to remind all Hoosiers about the one-time credit for federal taxes on long distance telephone service. The Internal Revenue Service is offering the credit, but only this year.

For residential phone service, individual taxpayers can either claim a standard deduction of $30 to $60 (depending on number of exemptions) or itemize and claim the actual amount of federal telephone excise taxes paid after February 28, 2003 and before August 1, 2006. Businesses and non-profit organizations can also itemize and claim refunds for actual federal telephone taxes they have paid.

If a consumer itemizes for the tax credit, it is important to only itemize the three-percent federal telephone excise tax, and not state taxes or entire phone bills.

Line items for the federal telephone excise tax credit can be found on IRS Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR and 1040 NR-EZ. Also, the OUCC website ( offers links to additional IRS information -- including frequently asked questions for individuals and businesses.


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