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 Letters Published in April 22, 2009 Issue




 April 22, 2009 - Letter submitted by David and Angela Halicki, owners of The Righteous Oaks

 Dear Editor,

As a local business owner in the last few years here in and near Knightstown, one of our primary goals has been to serve the needs of our community here close to home with quality, professional services and resources - as well as to stimulate the local economy by creating jobs for other local professionals and residents. We have also strived to provide solid and creative artistic and cultural opportunities for personal growth and talents. In beginning "The Righteous Oaks" Historic Ballroom and Acorn Arts Academy in Wilkinson, our goal was not to have a wildly successful financial business as much as to meet simple needs of the community in a manner of integrity, friendliness and professional service.

I believe we have accomplished that in the last three years as we have met the needs of countless families who have celebrated precious and meaningful moments with us - corporations and organizations who have appreciated our convenient and elegant offerings - and the many children who have grown and benefited from our art, dance and music program.

It has been an unfortunate turn of events that has shaken my understanding of how perceptions can shake the very foundations of a business, even when those perceptions are false. Rumors began in the community a couple months ago that circulated the information that our establishment was in trouble and failing - information that was untrue and based on pieces of unfounded exaggerations in regard to actual circumstances. I began to receive calls from my clients, concerned that their events were not secure - and while I reassured them that these rumors were false, several would not accept the information and withdrew their business - easily totaling over ten thousand dollars worth of loss in the space of a few weeks. New business stopped coming in. Suddenly, our business was in trouble, but not due to our lack of fine service or professional integrity, but because uninformed and thoughtless rumors had sabotaged our reputation within the community.

The Righteous Oaks has been known for elegant and beautiful events, professionally accomplished with friendly and warm service. We have never failed a client - and seek to accommodate however we can to meet people's special budget or event needs. However, now even some of my contractors or employees seem to doubt my ability and commitment to pay them - even though that has never failed in the past. I am just thoroughly disheartened at how quickly a business can be destroyed by tongues who do not think to check their information from the source before spreading such damaging lies.

The Righteous Oaks will honor all the events scheduled in whatever means necessary to our clients and community - however we are seeking a buyer for the building as it seems that this blow has caused irreparable harm. We do ask that the community would consider however, supporting us in these last months that we are in operation (May, June and July) and please bring us your special and family events, showers, parties and room rental requests. We are committed to our brides and our families and our community and we need your support in our last months of operation - we don't want to completely give up hope, but want to be realistic as well. We are asking for your thoughts, prayers and support. Thank you especially to all those who have been kind and supportive patrons of the Oaks...


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 April 22, 2009 - Letter submitted by Olene Veach

 Dear Editor,

After reading articles in recent issues of The Banner, I felt that perhaps a step toward protecting the health of our children that would be more beneficial than those suggested in your “April’s Fool’s Day” article would be information. I personally don’t feel even a ‘joke’ should use children as its subject. Regardless of the purpose of the original article and the follow-up article, which didn’t impress me, I do believe that it is important that people do not smoke around young children. Therefore, I have included the following information, which I believe explains why exposing children to secondhand smoke is not a good idea.

Children and Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. Secondhand smoke is also called involuntary smoking, passive smoking, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). It contains toxic substances. Some of these are in stronger concentrations in secondhand smoke than they are in the smoke that goes directly into a smoker’s lungs. Secondhand smoke contains virtually all of the same chemicals that are in the smoke that smokers inhale from a cigarette. This mixture contains more than 4,000 substances, at least 40 of which are known to cause cancer. Many more are strong irritants.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat specialists) warns that secondhand smoke is a serious health risk to the normal development of children’s lungs. Children are more at risk than adults because they breathe two to three times more pollutants for every pound of body weight than adults do. Secondhand smoke increases the risk for both acute and chronic respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis. EPA estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children less than 18 months of age annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. Secondhand smoke exposure reduces lung function and increases symptoms of respiratory irritation like cough, excess phlegm, and wheezing.

It can lead to the build-up of fluid in the middle ear, the most common cause of hospitalization of children for an operation. Secondhand smoke irritates the lining of the airways, and is a powerful trigger for many people with asthma. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in many asthmatic children. EPA estimates that up to a million asthmatic children have their condition made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smoking in the home where a child lives and/or in a vehicle where a child will be riding, puts the child at risk. Smoke penetrates leather and fabrics and lingers there putting off inhalants which can be harmful to a child even if that are not in the room or car at the same time the smoking occurs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from:

*Bronchitis and pneumonia

*Wheezing and coughing spells

*More ear infections

*More frequent and severe asthma attacks.

*Upper respiratory tract infections

*Reduced oxygen flow to tissues

The National Cancer Institute indicates that there are links between secondhand smoke and:

*Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

*New cases of childhood asthma

*Behavioral and cognitive problems in children

A study at the Medical Center connected to the children’s hospital in Cincinnati a few years ago revealed correlations between secondhand smoke exposure and lower test scores in reading, math, logic, and reasoning. Almost 4,400 people were tested. Blood samples were screened for continine, a substance that is produced when nicotine is broken down by the body. Cotinine is considered the most accurate indicator for exposure to secondhand smoke.

The study slowed the greater the level of exposure, the greater the decline in reading and reasoning abilities. “Reading ability was especially sensitive to secondhand smoke exposure.” according to Kimberly Yolton, researcher and the study’s main author. Participants with the most cotinine in their blood scored significantly lower on all four tests – reading, math, logic, and reasoning – compared with those with lower cotinine levels.

What can you do to help protect children from the risks of secondhand smoke?

Ask family and friends to not smoke in your home. Don’t allow smoking in the family vehicles. If a family member smokes, work together to find outdoor places and times for smoking; then encourage them to quit. The state has a hotline number which is free for individuals desiring help in quitting tobacco. It is 1-800-QUIT NOW. Help keep your children healthy. Keep smoke away!


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 April 22, 2009 - Letter submitted by Nate LaMar, Henry County Council President

 Dear Editor,

Even before a April 18 newspaper article announced Henry County’s March unemployment rate was 12.6%, I have made economic development the focus of my tenure as County Council President. Specifically:

1. We invite to each Co. Council meeting the following: Jerry Gassen (Board Chairman of the New Castle / Henry Co. Economic Development Corp. (EDC)); Penny York (EDC Special Projects Officer); and Nancy Kinder (Executive Director of Eastern Indiana Development District (EIDD), whose headquarters Henry County hosts). They report on the latest efforts to bring jobs to Henry Co.


3. Since 2007, I have served as one of County Council’s two ex oficio board members of EDC (Mike Thalls is the other), as well as Henry County Council’s appointee to the Eastern Indiana Development District (EIDD), which I have served as Vice President since 2008. The EIDD is the regional “umbrella” and federal and state liaison group for community planning, infrastructure development, and economic development for Fayette, Henry, Randolph, Rush, Union, and Wayne Counties.


5. In Feb. 2008, I represented Henry Co. and the EIDD on a day trip, at my expense, to Washington, DC to lobby Senators Lugar and Bayh and Rep. Pence for projects, to include a grant request for a study to widen St. Rd. 3 from two-lanes to four-lanes between I-70 and I-74. I’m willing to do so again.


7. In September, I attended the Economic Development 101 seminar for elected officials at Ball State University. I encourage other elected officials to do the same, the next time it is offered.


9. In October, as an Indiana District Export Council board member, I organized and moderated a regional exporting “how to” seminar. Rep. Pence was the keynote speaker, but more relevant was a speech by Kirk Robbins of Magna Machine & Tool, a Henry Co. company fairly new to exporting. Another Henry Co. company fairly new to exporting, D.L. Couch Wall Coverings, had an attendee.


11. On Jan. 28, County Councilman Jerry Manis and I attended a seminar hosted by the Economic Development Administration, to which economic development and elected officials from “Rust Belt” counties, such as ours, were invited. We learned much about the grants process. In order for Henry Co. to receive a fairer share of the federal stimulus package, I contacted every EIDD grant applicant in Henry Co. As a result, we had the most representation at the March 2 regional stimulus meeting!


Let me make it clear that not all economic development initiatives are good for our area. For example, Indiana, in general, and eastern Indiana, in particular, has a “brain drain” problem. This occurs when our children go to college, never to return home, due to a lack of professional, white-collar jobs. Among the reasons for this are that Indiana, in general, and eastern Indiana, in particular, has lost many corporate headquarters and become a “branch plant state.” When a headquarters departs, it takes professional jobs with it, often leaving behind just branch plants. After Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob spoke at the EDC Annual Meeting, I

challenged him on the fact, he admitted, that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) no longer encourages Indiana manufacturers to export products (which creates both blue-collar and white-collar jobs), as did its predecessor organization (according to the US Department of Commerce, jobs with companies that export pay, on average, 6% more than do jobs with companies that do not export). Rather, Secretary Roob said the IEDC’s emphasis is on attracting foreign investment into Indiana in order to build more branch plants with as many blue-collar jobs as possible. This is disappointing because economic development should be more than just a “numbers game.” The quality of jobs attracted should also be taken into account, as too many of our youth leave for college, never to return to our area.

We hope an emphasis on economic development in county government will help to restore the public’s confidence in Henry County government.



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