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 Letters Published in April 4, 2007 Issue



 April 4, 2007 - Letter submitted by Jeff Ray, Friends of the Big Blue River

The Friends of the Big Blue River have continued our efforts to improve the health and beauty of the Big Blue River. In 2006, we had 6 river cleanups, performed water monitoring tests, helped with the IDEM 319 grant application, attended water quality meetings, planted 200 trees and kayaked and enjoyed the river.

We want to thank our supporters: Big Blue River Conservancy; Henry County Commissioners; Hayes Landfill; Red-tail Conservancy; volunteers; New Castle-Henry County Public Library; The Banner; landowners along the river; Healthy Communities of Henry County; and the City of New Castle.

In 2006, we cleaned the following areas of the Big Blue River: CR 200-N to S.R. 38, CR 100-S to CR 400-S, and CR 750-S to U.S. 40. We have seen a big reduction in new dumping of tires, but it is still a problem. With the high water in early 2006, we continued to find new materials that had been buried for years.  We still collect a lot of plastic bottles and cans.

The following is a partial list of what we dug, pulled, and carried out of Big Blue in 2006: 58 tires; 5 drums; 38 bags of trash; 20' of lawn edging; 1 large pylon; 2 fence posts; 2 bikes; 2 buckets; 18' of plastic field tile; 2 vacuum cleaners; 1 fish basket; 1 tricycle; 1 car jack; 4 pieces of large styrofoam; 1 car seat; 1 snow sled; 2 milk crates; 25 pieces of rebar; a large amount of visqueen  plastic; and a homeless person's belongings.

Over the last 5 years of cleanups, we have carried out this partial list of items: 666 tires; 155 bags of trash;  52 shopping carts; 49 steel posts; 49 buckets; 50 drums; 41appliances; 17 pieces of fence; 22 pieces of metal; 10 gas tanks; 10 car seats; 17 road signs; 7 paper boxes; 19 chairs; 46 car parts; 6 wading pools; 8 box springs; and 9 bikes.

As we look to 2007, our goals for the Big Blue River are: five miles of river cleanup from S.R. 38 to CR 100-S, from  CR 400-S to CR 600-S, and from U.S. 40 to S.R. 140; water monitoring and analysis at two locations; work on habitat protection and restoration by planting trees and shrubs, and hanging wood duck boxes; increased recreational use by establishing access points; reduction of e-coli bacteria levels and non source pollutants; and to enjoy the beauty of Big Blue.

We hope by our work, areas along the river will be better managed for water quality and wildlife. By using conservation tillage practices, erosion control, planting trees and native grasses or restoring wetlands with the federal farm bill programs. Experience has shown these practices decrease the silt in the river from eroding soils when it rains. With erosion, the landowner ends up with less topsoil to use, less crop yields and the wildlife end up with less habitat. The Friends of Big Blue have always wanted the riparian area along the river to be expanded and enhanced.

Our mission statement is "Dedicated to improving the health and beauty of the Big Blue River." To inquire about a group presentation, call Lee Ann Wallen 521-0265. To appreciate our Big Blue, paddle a canoe down it or slow down at one of the bridges in the southern part of the county and take a look - you will be surprised at what you see. Or drive through the scenic Blue River Valley from Luray to Knightstown.  Better yet, join us for a cleanup on Saturday, June 9, as we celebrate the annual National River Clean Up Week.

Thank you for your kind words and support.



 April 4, 2007 - Letter submitted by Nichole Davis, Knightstown

I first would like to applaud Jeri Flowers for her wonderful letter published in the February 21 edition of The Banner.

Like Ms. Flowers I am outraged by the letters of support for these young boys. As a graduate of Knightstown High School and former student of Mr. Dan Clevenger, I can admit to being angry or upset with him on occasion as well as some of the other teachers I had in all my years at Charles A. Beard schools. Anger is a natural human reaction. Being angry and threatening another man's life or the life of his family, however, and showing a blatant disregard for a figure of authority is not. If this were a figure of authority in a governmental capacity we would not be having this conversation.

The actions of these boys are unacceptable to me as a parent and citizen of this community. How can we as a community of civilized human beings find the actions of these children acceptable and be outraged by the punishment they received? As a parent of two students attending CAB schools I approve of the punishment handed down by the school. I also must ask, "Is this all the punishment they will receive?" I certainly hope not. My hope is some form of punishment is being handed down at home.

Instead of fighting and spending everyone's money we should be focused on what as parents we could have done to prevent this event from happening and what have we learned to ensure this does not happen again. It is our responsibility as adults to help the children in our community be the very best they can be in every aspect their of lives. We must teach them responsibility and ownership of their actions. Bad decisions result in bad consequences. Be assured that by condoning the actions of these boys and paying them we are not teaching them this. We are teaching them they will not be held accountable for their actions and they can profit from it. These boys were wrong. PERIOD. No if's, and's, or but's about it. They were wrong. Let's hope other children don't think they will not be punished for following through with a threat against a teacher or another student. What will we do then? I would have's, I could have's, or I should have's will not help us then.

Dan Clevenger has given over 35 years to our community and our children. Instead of condemning him, we should be applauding him and all he has given to us as a teacher, coach, friend, and fellow parent. I would like to apologize to Mr Clevenger for the way this community and some of it's citizens have treated him and his family. I would like to also thank him for his continued dedication to our children, school corporation and community.

In closing I would like to tell Mr. Clevenger and his family that there are people in this community who support them and the school corporation's decision to punish the boys. I am one of them.



 April 4, 2007 - Letter submitted by Friends of the Library Foundation - Cindy Sturgill, president; Barbara Mofield, secretary; Patty Rivers, treasurer; Mary Miller, librarian

It is the beginning of a new and exciting time at Knightstown Public Library. The Friends of the Library Foundation has been revitalized and is asking for your support. The Foundation hopes to live up to the mission statement of its constitution: to encourage the community's use of the library for informal education, cultural growth and enjoyable use of leisure time; to make the community aware of the library's resources; to help raise funds for special library programs; and to administer these funds in the best interests of the community.

The library has many programs that need the assistance of the community. The summer reading program is a major endeavor of the foundation. This program encourages all students to read and report on books read. To provide encouragement to the children, prizes are awarded, and crafts and other enjoyable activities are planned. The summer program will begin June 4 and continue through July 14.

We not only hope that you will help support this program, but that you will also become active in library activities. Volunteers are needed for reading to young children, for helping with crafts and for other library projects.

Please support our public library by donating to the Friends of the Library Foundation. Any amount you are able to donate is welcome. Organizations may join for a modest fee of $5, individuals for $2, and students for 50 cents.


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