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 Letters Published in February 18, 2009 Issue




 February 18, 2009 - Letter submitted by Judy Haase, Knightstown Community Food Pantry Director

 Dear Editor,

A big thanks to the community for the support given to the Knightstown Community Food Pantry this past year.

The money give by the Empty Bowls, the collection of food from the postal food drive, all the donations of food and money from local churches, organizations and individuals are very much appreciated.


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 February 18, 2009 - Letter submitted by Jeff Ray, Friends of the Big Blue River

 Dear Editor,

The Friends of the Big Blue River have continued our efforts to improve the health and beauty of the Big Blue River. In 2008, we had 2 river cleanups, had the first “Canoe Big Blue” event, performed water monitoring tests, helped with the Henry County SWCD 319 grant, attended water quality training, planted 100 trees and kayaked and enjoyed the river. We continue to be concerned with the levels of E-coli from the CSO overflow discharge of raw sewage, failed and/or inadequate septic systems and animal waste runoff in the Big Blue River Watershed.

We want to thank our supporters: Big Blue River Conservancy District, volunteers, Hayes Landfill, Ameriana Bank, New Castle/Henry County Public Library, The Courier Times, landowners along the river, Three Rivers Solid Waste Management District, Henry County United Fund Day of Caring and The Banner.

In 2008, we cleaned 2 1/2 miles of the Big Blue River: SR 38 to CR125-W and cleared fallen trees from CR 125W to US 40. We have seen a big reduction in the dumping of tires, but it is still a problem. With the high water in spring 2008, we continue to find new materials that have been buried for up to 80 years. We still collect a lot of plastic bottles and cans. Below is a partial list of what we dug, pulled, and carried out of Big Blue: 40 tires, two drums, 24 bags of trash, 30 feet of garden hose, two trash cans, four fence posts, a sign post, a folding lawn chair, 20 feet of steel cable, a newspaper box, one mower gas can, a fishing pole, one play horse and five pieces of metal.

For the last seven years of cleanups, we have carried out this partial list: 746 tires, 223 bags of trash, 52 shopping carts, 55 steel posts, 63 buckets, 58 drums, 41 appliances, 18 pieces of fence, 40 pieces of metal, 10 gas tanks, 11 car seats, 17 road signs, eight paper boxes, 21 chairs, 56 car parts, six wading pools, eight box springs and 11 bikes.

As we look to 2009, our goals for the Big Blue River are: 6.5 miles of river cleanup on June 6, August 9, or September 11; water monitoring and analysis at two locations; helping with the 319 watershed planning grant; having our second “Canoe Big Blue” event on June 20, work on wildlife habitat protection and restoration by planting native grasses, trees and shrubs; increased recreational use by establishing access points; reduction in E-coli bacteria levels and non source point pollutants; and to enjoy the beauty of Big Blue.

We hope by our work, areas along Big Blue will be better managed for water quality and wildlife. We are still seeing the Big Blue turn brown when it rains. This is the result of soil erosion of Big Blue’s banks, side streams, fields and drains. By planting buffers with trees and/or native grasses or restoring wetlands, experience has shown these practices decrease silt in our streams. With erosion, the landowner ends up with less topsoil to use, less crop yield and wildlife ends up with less habitat. If you are a landowner along the Big Blue River (or any stream) and are interested in conservation programs, please contact NRCS District Conservationist Wes Slain in the Henry County SWCD office at 529-2303 ext. #3.

Our mission 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 Big Blue, paddle a canoe or slow down at one of the bridges in the southern part of the county and take a look, or drive our scenic Big Blue River valley from Luray to Knightstown. Please join us for a cleanup on June 6 as we celebrate the annual National River Cleanup Week.

Thank you for your kind words and support,


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 February 18, 2009 - Letter submitted by Billy E. Fox, Wilton, Cal.

 Dear Editor,

I graduated in 1941 at the Home and I have had a good and productive life up to now and I am 85 years old. After four years in the Marine Corps in WW II, I served my five-year apprenticeship at the Anderson Bulletin newspaper. I moved to California in 1956, and after 30 years at the Sacramento Bee I retired in 1990. I mention this because I got my printing start at the Home while putting out the Home Journal, which is still in publication.

I want to give everyone my opinion of what should be suggested for the improvement needed at the Home. I went there in 1934 along with a brother and sister when my widowed mother could no longer feed and clothe us properly. At the Home we had all the food we could eat, good clothes, new shoes, warm bed and a good education, all of which we were not getting with our loving mother.

The first change I would suggest is to admit all needy children who qualify as children of soldiers and sailors, not just “unruly or troubled” children such as it is now as I understand it. The argument that foster children cost less than institutionalized children is wrong because if there were more children admitted at the Home, the cost would go down as fast as their admittance because the Home is self-sustained. This “economic recession” is as bad as the “Great Depression” and is slated to get worse than it already is. There will be thousands more children who will desperately need a good home and education just as we did in 1934.

I very fondly remember the annual Legion Day at the Home and we looked forward to that day more than Christmas! Thanks to you and the people before you for looking after us kids. You are still doing a great job and I appreciate your efforts at the rally in Indianapolis and talking with the governor. Without your help our effort would have been very minor.

Thanks again and again for all you and your fellow Legionnaires do and are doing for the kids, including me.

(Mr. Fox granted The Banner permission to run this letter, originally sent to American Legion officials, as a letter to the editor.)


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