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 Letters Published in January 2, 2008 Issue



 Jan. 2, 2008 - Letter submitted by Nancy Bland, Casper, Wyo.

First: Congratulations to the Banner once again for all the latest awards. I do hope that more and more subscribers realize what you do have with so much dedication, hard work and integrity. Be thankful the entire staff understands the power of local grassroots ownership to protect our freedom of information and preserve it.

In Casper, our largest statewide daily and our local weekly paper, both locally owned, were purchased by an out-of-state corporation, which is still gobbling up papers and TV stations around the entire country. Our current papers are like unleavened bread.

Take time to appreciate and support what you have.

On a personal note: In October I spent a week visiting in Knightstown, where I was born, raised and went to high school. This visit was special because, a bunch of us realizing we were getting long in tooth and preferred to have fun rather then attend funerals, had an impromptu reunion sponsored and organized by Doris McNabb. It was so wonderful - we declared her a five-star general! It is amazing how we all have changed and yet still appreciate each other. We listened to diverse views and personal challenges up to the present with great respect for each other and laughing all the way.

Winter in our northern hemisphere is a time of darkness by design, for nature to rejuvenate our earth, while our sun works in the south. Then the seasons change and the darkness and the sun trade places. Slowly, we have more warmth and light and nature blooms.

This has been a very threatening and troubled time in the whole world, but, as always, we must act as individuals to maintain, change and improve our lives. Tomorrow our days begin to lengthen slowly and we can see more clearly the changes and decisions we need and want to make.

Some things we choose to let go of, and others to keep. My memories of Knightstown are definitely keepers!



 Jan. 2, 2008 - Letter submitted by Rex Bell, Wayne County Libertarian, Hagerstown

It's New Years resolution time again, and good intentions will be thicker than presidential candidates in Iowa for the next few days. My resolution will be to take off a few pounds. I figure sooner or later, if I make it often enough, I'll surely drop at least a couple of pounds.

When I graduated from high school, I weighed in at about 140 pounds. Now, nearly 40 years later the bathroom scales are spinning towards 200 and screaming for mercy, and the waist and inseam measurements on my pants have traded places since my school days.

I'm not sure when I gained all the weight. I guess like so many things in my life, it crept in an ounce or two at a time, gradually, so as not to alarm me. I compensated by letting my belt out a notch and wearing it a little lower, and convincing myself that I was simply maturing as part of the natural process. Still, if someone would have asked me 40 years ago if I would like to pack around an extra 60 pounds all day, I'm pretty sure I would have told them no.

Over the last several years we've been experiencing the same creep from our government. While we were busy raising our families and buying groceries, it has continued to grow. Sometimes it grows by one half of a percent in the form of an economic development income tax, or one percent as a sales tax increase. Sometimes it grows a little faster, like with a property tax increase, and we will throw a fit for just a little while, and the government will tax somebody else for a little while to placate some of the property owners, but it will continue to grow.

When I graduated from high school the national debt stood at $389 billion. That amount won't pay the interest on the debt as it stands today. It didn't get that way overnight, but every year since I graduated the federal government has spent more than it has confiscated. Sooner or later that's bound to catch up with you.

The bureaucracy is growing in other ways as well. This summer, a friend of mine was informed that he would have to get permission from his neighbors before he could add a room onto the back of his house. Down the road a piece, a grandson was ticketed for carrying a bow and arrows on his grandfather's farm. In the next four years, the light bulbs that you are likely using to read this article will be illegal, and will need to be replaced with bulbs that can cost six times as much.

Someone asked me once if I could name three things that the government didn't tax or regulate. It was a tough question then, and it's getting tougher every year. It's going to get a lot tougher if we don't start paying attention.

It didn't take any effort for me to put on this extra weight, but it will take a lot of effort to get it off. The same is true of the government. Thomas Jefferson said that it is the natural tendency for government to grow and for liberty to yield. It won't take any effort at all on our part for government and taxes to grow. It will take a lot of effort on our part to reduce our government back to its intended size and purpose. And it will take a lot of effort to keep it that way.

That's how it works when you battle natural tendencies.



 Jan. 2, 2008 - Letter submitted by Jeff Ziegler, contributor,

From the north in South Bend to the south in Jeffersonville to the east in Richmond and to the west in Terre Haute - all roads lead to the pilgrimage to Indianapolis, the heart of boys high school basketball country.

It extends from the renowned cities of Anderson, Muncie, Gary, Franklin, Marion, Kokomo, Martinsville, and Columbus to the small towns of Loogootee, Henryville, Cradick Corner, French Lick and Milan. Fans, players, students, teachers and coaches were affectionately called the Flashes, Wolf Pack, Cougars, Raiders, Tigers, Giants and Woodmen.

These are the places where the best boys high school basketball players in the world have lived, learned the fundamentals, respected the history, honored their opponents and became masters of the basketball chess match.

At birth, the basketball heritage is their sixth sense. Thousands of children every year get their first basketball from Santa, or sooner if deemed necessary - some at the announcement of the baby's birth.

Before the consolidation of small schools, communities gathered around the kitchen tables, local diners, barber shops and beauty salons - boasting about their team, dogging the opposing team and comparing their coaches. The conversations lasted for hours, often late into the night and then dredged back up the next day. This would go on for weeks and months - especially during "the season."

Everyone hurried their work so as to get into the conversation. Everyone had something to say because EVERYONE knew the subject. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone had shot the basketball, knowing how to have proper rotation through their follow through. Everyone had been taught how to block out their opponent for a rebound. Everyone knew everything about the game.

Today, with the consolidation of schools, the conversations are still taking place - yet the conversations are different. Some high schools are now larger than small colleges and the talent is still there. Yet the community pride has fallen. Instead of a blind draw in the sectional pairing, where a small school may play a big school and be excited to do so, we are subjected to class basketball, where we crown four champions every year. When we crown four champions we still have no king!

The masses in this boys high school basketball-crazy state are being told that it is better for our players if they play with their own kind. Yet in other sports the small schools compete in a "winner take all" rough and tumble, both in individual and team sports. Basketball, in the state of Indiana, should be brought back to the historical legacy.

The Flashes, Wolf Pack, Cougars, Raiders, Tigers, Giants and Woodmen, along with the other affectionate fans, are wanting their tournament back. Will the Indiana High School Athletic Association give the tournament back to the state of Indiana?

The topic resurfaced not long ago, but instead of having a conversation about the concerns, the IHSAA made the crowd look away like a magician does on stage. The IHSAA changed the topic of who could coach the team, and Indiana now calls this the "Damon Bailey Rule." This rule seems to have not changed the minds of the athletic directors and administrators in some schools that are continuing to hire coaches with lesser resumes compared to coaches that applied to the same jobs.

I know that the level of play at the high school games is getting better all across this great country, yet the basketball IQ is still low compared to the players and fans in the state of Indiana. When the leaders of Indiana will allow their players to play in a basketball tournament that is run the Indiana way, the way champions play, then the rest of the country will understand how the best boys high school basketball players in the world are made and why everyone is in on the conversation.



 Jan. 2, 2008 - Letter submitted by Mark Brent Weiss, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Since 9/11, our federal government has significantly destroyed many of our rights under the pretense of stopping terrorism. Most Americans are unaware that because of these unconstitutional acts, we are becoming a police state. Both Congress and the president are responsible. However, the ultimate responsibility rests with us because we are not paying enough attention to what our elected officials are doing.

The 2006 Military Commissions Act grants the president power to suspend habeas corpus, the right to face criminal accusations in a court of law. If the president designates a citizen as an unlawful enemy combatant because of opposition to his policies, habeas corpus could be suspended. This means that the citizen is not entitled to a speedy trial, a lawyer, bail, the right to hear the charges against him, or visitors. The citizen can even be kept in a foreign prison. This is just one example. There are many others, such as torture, secret evidence, warrantless seizures and searches. Go to for details.

Fortunately, Congressman Ron Paul has introduced HR-3835, the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007, in the House of Representatives. If passed, it would repeal the unconstitutional destruction of our rights. Concerned citizens should contact their congressional representative to support this legislation and urge their two U.S. senators to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.



 Jan. 2, 2008 - Letter submitted by Helen Gorman, secretary, Knightstown Optimist Club

The Knightstown Optimist Club would like to thank everyone who donated to our toy drive. With your help we were able to provide toys to over 180 children this year. This is the fourth year we have conducted our toy drive to help Knightstown Cheer Guild provide Christmas to needy families in the Charles A. Beard Memorial School district.

We would like to thank the over 100 volunteers who showed up Christmas Eve to wrap toys, box food and prepare boxes to be given out. A special thanks to Myrna Reeves, who shopped for toys, and Sheila Jones, who wrapped the gifts. It was an amazing sight to see all the volunteers working together, sharing stories and Christmas cheer. Many of our volunteers told me it made them realize them the true spirit and genuine goodness of the community they live in when they saw all of the toys, food, etc., come together. Thank you all from the Knightstown Optimist Club and Knightstown Cheer Guild.


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