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 Letters Published in April 18, 2007 Issue

 

 

 April 18, 2007 - Letter submitted by Bobby, Brenda, Breanna and Bryce Eoff, of Knightstown

“Thank you!” is simply not words enough to express our sincere appreciation and love to our family, church family, and so very many friends.

The love and support shown to us during this very hard time has been incredible. We are truly grateful for everything that has been given, done or said to us. Bobby is improving daily and we appreciate so much your continued thoughts and prayers.

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 April 18, 2007 - Letter submitted by Katie Meltzer, drum major, KHS Marching Panther Band

“Music programs give kids the idea that they can make something of themselves. It takes a great deal of work to learn the art of musicianship. Music is complex in its own nature; it is diverse, and that is what this country stands for.”

This quote from a 13-year-old student from Thornton, Tex., is very true. The music program at Knightstown High School gave me the idea that I could make something of myself. I’ll be honest, I’m not the greatest math student. But, when it comes to band, I am confident. I have traveled to seven different countries to play music. I would never have had those opportunities had it not been for the music program.

Now, it is my understanding that other musicians from Knightstown High School, will receive the opportunity to travel halfway around the world to make music. That is a huge honor – not only for the students, but for the community. Knightstown is being recognized around the world, and the school board thinks that the best thank you they could give is a huge blow to the music program. The choir program at Knightstown High School will no longer exist.

It was announced to the band and choir students that next year, there will not be a choir program. Outrage and disbelief is the best way to describe the reaction. There was talk of forming an angry mob, but after much deliberation, it was concluded that would not be the best solution. Then there was talk of a petition. It is a good idea, only if we can get the community involved and if we are positive that we can make a difference.

My way to protest this decision was to write this letter. The community needs to be aware of the decision of the school board. I encourage you to research music in schools. I assure that the school board is making a terrible mistake. Please come support the music program at our Spring Concert on Sunday, May  20. It may be the last time you will see the Knightstown High School choir perform, and, quite possibly, one of the last performances of the Knightstown High School Band.

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 April 18, 2007 - Letter submitted by Perry Gorman, Wilkinson

Not long ago, I felt that I had run around every circle and hit every brick wall in our state’s justice system while engaged in a custody battle for my son. Boy! What a lesson in how one-sided those laws are! I spent a boatload of money only to find out that those laws were written for the mothers, and that nothing could be done as the law was written.

Today, Monday, April 16, I found more circles and more walls while trying to get my handgun permit renewed.

I have been waiting for seven months for this simple process to take place. It is a very simple process.

If you live in city limits and your city has a police department, that department must do the permit paperwork. If you live outside city limits or there is no police department and you live in city limits, the county sheriff must do the permit paperwork. Either way, someone is going to collect a small fee and the paperwork will be forwarded to the state police in Indianapolis.

The problem comes when your local police department refuses to do the paperwork for numerous reasons. At this point, the county sheriff cannot (do the paperwork) as the law is written.

One would think that the state could help now. Wrong! Even though they are the ones that award the permit.

After several hours on the computer and many phone calls, I received very good advice from the Indiana State Police, Firearms Division, in Indianapolis.

I would like to know if anyone living inside the city limits of Wilkinson, Indiana, is waiting on Town Marshal Hoppes to get your paperwork for a handgun permit. If so, please call me at (765) 785-2337 and leave your information.

Tuesday, April 17, I will be contacting other state officials, as well as the U.S. Attorney General’s Office.

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 April 18, 2007 - Letter submitted by Jack W. Humphrey, Middle Grades Reading Network, University of Evansville

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, young teens are actually reading for pleasure! In fact, “Kids are buying books in quantities we’ve never seen before,” says Michael Cart, a leading authority on young adult literature. Post-Intelligencer reporter, Cecilia Goodnow, declares a “golden age of young adult literature” is here.

In spite of this encouraging news, we are still bombarded with news about plummeting test scores and young people who do not read unless they have to and then do so only reluctantly. Many have pointed the finger at television for the decline in reading, but perhaps the real culprit is the inaccessibility to current and relevant books, magazines, and newspapers. Although students may have access to a school library media center, many of the centers do not have sufficient funds to provide reading material of high quality and current interest. In 1995, prior to the funding of the School Library Printed Materials Grant, the average school library book was printed in the 1960s. We simply cannot expect to promote reading with out of date materials.

Recently, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Suellen Reed, swung into action, shining a spotlight on the need to provide current, appealing, high-interest, and useful books and other reading materials to Indiana’s young adolescents. She provided each member of the Indiana General Assembly with a copy of Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books.  Growing up in Indiana, Lincoln had limited access to books, but he did indeed love them and went on to become a reading role model for students in Indiana and the rest of the nation. Perhaps Dr. Reed’s gift to the General Assembly members will encourage them to take a page from Abe Lincoln’s book and join her in becoming reading role models themselves.

Under current law, school corporations must spend $8 per student per year on their library programs (511 IAC 6.1-5-6). This can include not only materials, but also salaries of library-related staff. By providing adequate staffing, school districts can quickly reach the spending per student without providing funding for any new materials. To keep a library collection current, at least two new books per student should be purchased each year.

State funding for school libraries from the School Library Printed Materials Grant resulted in substantial increases in the number of books purchased and, more importantly, in the number of books checked out of those libraries by students. With the demise of the grant program, both book purchases and book circulation numbers declined dramatically.

Current books and newspapers are needed for schools to succeed in meeting Indiana academic standards for English/language arts. Newer titles encourage reading for both students interested in current events and those who are reluctant readers. Access to updated, reliable, and relevant materials will improve proficiency in the following English/language arts categories: writing, literary response and analysis, reading comprehension, word recognition, fluency, and vocabulary development.

School libraries also need the funding to provide Indiana students access to resources on a variety of topics impacting instruction in social studies, science, art, music, mathematics and other curricular areas, and materials of interest to students.

While funding for new books, magazines and newspapers has declined, more than 25 percent of Indiana schools list reading as one of their goals in their Public Law 221 plans to improve educational quality.

If we hope to meet the goals of empowering young people through reading, then we absolutely must provide them with essential materials. If we are to believe the statistics that tell us young people across the country are reading willingly when they have current, interesting, and relevant materials, then, as contemporary slang so strongly points out, “This is a no-brainer.”

If you want to contact your legislators on this or any other issue, you can call them toll-free in Indianapolis. Call your House representative at (800) 382-9842 or your senator at (800) 382-9467. You can find their e-mail addresses at www.in.gov/legislature/contact/index.html online.

 

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