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Letters Published in November 12, 2008 Issue
November 12, 2008 - Letter submitted by Deidre and Gary Powers, Knightstown
On Monday, November 3, a Charles A. Beard bus carrying special needs children to school in New Castle was struck from behind in Spiceland. My daughter was on that bus. What I was sure was a horrific experience for her turned out, to our surprise, to be quite the opposite. This was due to the wonderful personnel who are on that bus every day, looking after our children. Deanna Sparks and Jane Bonewits waited until all our children were treated in the emergency room before they would be assessed themselves. Jane never left our daughter Emily’s side and that was the sole reason Emily stayed so calm. I understand not one child on that bus even whimpered in spite of numerous medical, police and fire vehicles converging on the scene, as well as a news helicopter hovering overhead.
Thank you, Deanna and Jane, for the love and care that you give every day and for remaining so calm in front of the kids. Thank you to all the medical personnel on the scene and at the hospital who reassured them. Thank you to school administrators for going to the scene and insisting that all the children be sent to the hospital for observation. Thanks for coming to the hospital and staying with us until all were discharged. We don’t want to go through this again, but we are very grateful for how it was handled. Well done. Jane and Deanna, we love you!
November 12, 2008 - Letter submitted by Jean Ann Hill, New Castle
How enlightening to attend the recent public Veterans Day Program on the Public Square. I came with my mother and my son. All of us resided in Knightstown for many years. The weather was testy but the participation was encouraging. A special thanks to all who assisted with the program. There were many veterans braving the elements.
Also, the band members were great to sit outside and provide the music. School administrators spoke and extended a special invitation for the veterans to attend school Veteran's Day programs and answer questions. The Knightstown American Legion, SAL and the Auxiliary provided a sincere program. It was also great to hear my former high school principal, Bob Myers, speak.
He spoke to the citizens of Knightstown, the veterans and also gave special thanks to the American Legion Post 152 for the contributions they provide to Knightstown. It was great to return to my home for my first 50 years, bring my young grandson along and see the lasting community cohesion. Special thanks to Elmer Huse, truly a veteran to be honored.
November 12, 2008 - Letter submitted by Jim Hope, Knightstown
You taxpayers paid a great deal of money to build a new high school. You were led to believe that the Knightstown school district was going to grow and that it was the right thing to do.
I also understand you were told they would float a bond to pay for it and then decided later to let it be paid for by taxpayer money. Now we as taxpayers have a chance to do something that will relieve some of the cost to taxpayers. The school is built and there is $1.2 million laying in the bank – left over money. The school wants to keep this money. I feel as a taxpayer that this money should be paid back on the loan which will save taxpayers, not only this amount, but tens of thousands of dollars in interest. I believe that we as taxpayers should go to the next school board meeting and tell them how we feel about this. I hope to see you all at the next school board meeting. If you care about your tax dollars and what you had to pay, then you will be there. I will be looking for you there.
November 12, 2008 - Letter submitted by Rex Bell, Hagerstown, 2008 Libertarian Candidate for District 54 Representative
I would like to thank everybody that took the time to get out and vote in the recent historic election. Libertarians saw increased vote totals in Henry County and across Indiana. The District 54 race I was in saw vote percentages increase from 22 percent in 2006 to 37 percent this year in Wayne County, while seeing an increase from nine percent to 32 percent in Henry County.
In a system where third parties typically struggle for recognition, local Libertarians managed to win 10 precincts in Henry and Wayne counties.
Over the next two years, as local officials enact new taxes, and as state officials remove property tax exemptions and make provisions for higher property assessments, the Libertarian Party will, with your continued growing support, remain the only party committed to working toward a limited, less expensive and less obtrusive government.
November 12, 2008 - Letter submitted by Joey Cooper, Middletown
Open government is a term that is tossed around quite a bit, but what does it really mean on the local level? As a candidate for the upcoming District 3 County Council seat opening, I take open government seriously. When taxpayers and voters have all the information, not just the part big government wants them to know, better informed decisions are made. Sadly, even many elected officials do not get the whole picture of the struggles and decisions facing them.
This state has laws that govern what documents and meetings the public is allowed access to. An independent “sunshine” review of Henry County lists four areas this county is doing well in providing open government. The review also lists four areas that need improvement. Providing residents all the information that is supposed to be available is an on-going process, but with the advances in technology available to local government, these should not be hard to remedy. The Internet is a powerful tool for database and information disbursement, and traditional journalists in this county, as you know, have been working for years to keep information about meetings, budgets, and litigation on the table for everyone to see.
Let’s look at how Henry County is doing to provide open government:
• Property taxes can be paid online, tax rates are also available online and in print.
• County council members are listed online with contact information.
• Budget is published in local publications, but hard to find online.
• Commissioner meeting minutes are available online and coverage is available through the local newspapers. The independent review lists four areas that need improvement:
• Individual contact information for county commissioners is not provided online.
• Information is not readily available online about building permits and zoning, county audits, and county contracts.
• The county does not disclose on their website if belongs to taxpayer-funded lobbying associations.
• Information on how to make a public records request is not provided online.
Open government needs to be a cornerstone of the democratic process, and if the on-going improvements in information disbursement continue to improve in this county, we are certainly on the right track. I believe that one component of the job of the county council member is to provide leadership for the entire county in the area of open government. Residents deserve nothing less.
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