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 Letters Published in May 16, 2007 Issue



 May 16, 2007 - Letter submitted by Ronald E. Short, Knightstown

In The Banner there was an article that said the high school was anticipating doing away with the choral program because of necessary budget considerations. That disturbs me very much for a number of reasons. I was still thinking over what I wanted to say when I read Ty Swincher's column in which his interview with 11-year-old Samantha Hatton appeared. In my opinion, Samantha presented the case extremely well. She covered the issues and nailed them down in a very adult and articulate way. I certainly could not add anything but a very loud and hearty "second" to what she has expressed. Everyone, sign Samantha's petition to retain the vocal music teacher's position, call the school administration and teachers, and especially let the school board know your feelings!

I am a 1957 Knightstown High School graduate and I know how much the music program meant to me on a very personal level. I was discouraged from participating in athletics and band was my opportunity to participate in a team effort. I was extremely fortunate to have been there when I was surrounded by talented people, concerned and involved parents, concerned and supportive faculty and administration, and a widely supportive community.

Two of the highlights from my band days are the spring musical of 1956 when combined bands and chorus presented "South Pacific," and THE TRIP to New York City to march 20 blocks down Fifth Avenue. There was a tremendous amount of hard work by many people to make these events possible, but the camaraderie made them try community-wide fun events.

Today, in an allegedly more advanced society, there are those who would turn a deaf ear to Samantha and her family and friends. Please realize what opportunities you would be taking away from Samantha and her friends and this generation of students if the proposed cuts are made.



 May 16, 2007 - Letter submitted by The Davidson Family, Kennard

I would like to take this time to once again say a very heartfelt thank you to the Knightstown community for their giving from the heart. The benefit game was a huge success and we were able to pay several bills that needed to be paid for Matt.

You never know just how you are going to handle a crisis when it gets laid upon your shoulders. I can never say or show how much we as a family so appreciate, not only the monetary offerings and auctionable items, but the time that those of you have volunteered. I can only hope that if any one in this community ever needs a helping hand, that we can step up and be one of the first in line to help them.

I do not know how Matt's body will continue fighting this fight, but I know he will, and we as a family will be there to pick him up when needed, as I know this community will be as well. Thank you again.



 May 16, 2007 - Letter submitted by Alice Hartman and Bob Dayle, Knightstown

We found out a few months ago that the wage being offered by CAB for a computer technology position was $10 per hour. After reading the May 9 Banner, we feel that less should be paid to the business manager and more to the technology assistant, as the latter could undoubtedly help Ms. Schmidt and others keep track of their e-mail.

We were, for the most part, saddened by Miss Tabb's letter. She experiences KHS life each day as most of us do not. Furthermore, she echoes many of the sentiments our son expressed (both negative and positive) about KIS and KHS. Perhaps administrative salaries at all levels should be reconsidered.  Certainly, it is totally against reason to cut or curtail programs in which students are being successful and are enjoying actually learning something.



 May 16, 2007 - Letter submitted by Kit C. Dean Crane, Henry County Prosecutor

The TV helicopters have flown back to Indianapolis, CNN has moved on to the scandal of the day and calm has returned to Henry County. It gives us a little time to catch our breath and put Tuesday's events at the local correctional facility in a little perspective. I'm grateful for the opportunity to provide mine.

I write as someone who has served in law enforcement here in Henry County over the course of two decades. I've prosecuted countless criminals, and prior to becoming Prosecutor, I represented more than a few as a lawyer. While the inmates at the New Castle facility aren't the worst-of-the-worst based on their convictions, let's remember they're still criminals and they're in prison for a reason. We shouldn't be surprised when they act like criminals inside the walls.  Nor does it matter from where they came. As we've seen through the years at Pendleton, Michigan City and other purely state run facilities, Indiana prisoners can act as thuggish as inmates from anywhere else, whether their prison guards are employees of the state or a private company. (Indeed, earlier this decade, Indiana prisoners housed in Kentucky caused a ruckus down there).

The cooling of emotions also allows us to remember that opening the facility was a good thing for our community. It was sitting empty.  Now it's employing Henry County residents.  And it will for a long, long time. The oldest prison still operating in Indiana, in Michigan City, opened when Lincoln was president. We won't be turning this one into a bed and breakfast anytime soon.

Let's also recognize the outstanding job that everyone did on a very tense day. State and local law enforcement and prison officials showed great cooperation. I was there in the command center.  I saw it for myself.  Corrections Commissioner David Donahue and Superintendent Craig Hanks were firmly in charge, overseeing and deploying security forces from multiple agencies. The perimeter of the facility was secure and never in jeopardy.  When something like this happens again - and with more than a thousand criminals behind bars, it very well may - we'll be that much better prepared.

In the meantime, the investigation continues. The state Department of Correction has moved those thought to be responsible to other facilities throughout the state, isolating them from others to reduce tensions and further the criminal investigation. If sufficient evidence is gathered, you can be assured my staff and I will prosecute all involved to the fullest extent of the law.

The cooperation I saw on Tuesday was consistent with what I have observed from state and company officials. Sheriff Butch Baker and I serve on the facility's community advisory board, along with other Henry County citizens.  We visit the facility frequently and will continue to monitor its operation.  What I've seen so far gives me confidence that the company can manage the facility as well as any state-run operation. Indeed, Geoffrey Segal of the Reason Foundation has gathered study after study from multiple states and the National Institute of Justice that disprove time and again the charge that privately run facilities somehow imperil inmate and public safety. They don't. And they didn't in Henry County last week.

One final note:  In poor taste, some tried to score cheap partisan political points before smoke in the yard had even cleared.  But before they blame the Governor for the actions of criminals confined in Henry County, the Speaker of the House and his party chairman might want to check with their own mayor and sheriff in Indianapolis, who use a private company without complaint to safely run one of their downtown jails.


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