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Letters Published in May 20, 2009 Issue
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Carol Stuthridge, Straughn
Goodbye to the Children...
This is going to be a hard weekend for me. I am saying goodbye to all of the kids I have known for over two years - all my little brothers and sisters at the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children's Home.
I am worried for so many of them. I have had parents contact me to say that they are not finding Choices, Inc helpful at all. The students with more complex behavioral problems will end up in the system … what a waste of a young life that could have been turned around. Mitch Daniels, Joe Fox, Lance Rhodes and Judith Monroe will all be personally responsible for ruined lives.
I am heartbroken. I moved back to Indiana because I remembered Indiana when people cared about us home kids. I remember when Indiana people not only had solid morals but were also prepared to fight for what is right.
People seem to have forgotten that the government is ours and that elected officials are elected to serve us!
Instead, citizens believe that there is nothing they can do. They resign their power over to uncaring politicians - enabling them to do whatever they wish. This is a sickness in our country.
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Brittney Horth, Lindsey Kennedy, Drew Martin, Karsyn Mohler, Class of 2010
The Junior Class Officers as well as the entire Class of 2010 would like to express a sincere "thank you" to everyone who worked so hard throughout the year to make our 2009 prom a success.
A special Thank You to the community members who attended our "Red Carpet Entrance" and for helping to make this a night we will always remember.
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Kevin and Dawn Kinnaman, Knightstown
Tuesday May 12: Well I have kept my mouth shut long enough, but I can't stay quiet any longer, especially after what happened this past weekend. I wonder why we continue to let CAB administrators give out different punishments to our kids when the same rules have been broken. Then they can break the rules outlined in the student/parent manual with no fear of punishment to themselves.
Let me explain. Six boys broke the exact same rules, but three different punishments were given out. Two boys got five-day suspensions; four boys got 10-day suspensions, and out of those four boys, three got expelled. No, wait. One of the three boys got to come back to school after being expelled for two days.
The boys that were allowed to come back to school after serving their suspensions had to sign a behavioral contract with the school. The contract basically stated that they could not get in any more trouble or they would be suspended/expelled for the remainder of the school year. Unfortunately, one of the young men broke his contract and was suspended/expelled for the remainder of the year.
We found out last week that Mr. Ritchie, the high school principal, was allowing this young man to attend the high school prom. This decision goes against rules clearly outlined in the student/parent manual. It is the exact manual that he used to hand down my son’s punishment. I am wondering why he is allowed to break the rules that are clearly outlined.
When we learned of this decision, I called Mr. Ritchie to find out if my son was going to get the same opportunity that this other young man was receiving. Well, you probably already guessed it - the answer was no. I told Mr. Ritchie that I believed his decision was unfair to my son as well as the others who are suspended or expelled. I also told him it went against the rules in the student/parent manual. I then called the superintendent, Mr. Storie, and voiced my opinion. I told him if they are allowed to break the rules outlined in the manual they might as well throw it out because the rules inside mean nothing. I was told by Mr. Storie that Mr. Ritchie is himself an administrator and it wasn't his place to tell him if he has made a right or wrong decision.
Now I am even more confused.
I thought that Mr. Storie was Mr. Ritchie’s boss, or at least his supervisor. I don't know about the rest of you but my boss and supervisor have no problem telling me that I have made a right or wrong decision. Needless to say, nothing was done to make the situation right or fair, even after attempted help from two school hoard members.
We1l, with all this in mind, I would like to say shame on your Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Storie. Being administrators, you both are held to higher standards. You both should lead the way in doing what is right, especially since you are in charge of educating our youth. You should not be breaking the same rules that you are supposed to be enforcing. With all this said, I believe you both need to serve a five-day suspension, Friday school or at least a detention.
As for my son, my wife and I in no way condone our son’s actions. We both firmly believe he deserved to be punished, both at school and at home, for what he did. We do believe, however, that there should be equal punishment and consequences for all.
One more thought: in our society we have a Supreme Court made up of a group of judges that listen to and make rulings on lower court decisions. I am wondering why we allow one or two people to be able to make a decision of expulsion for a student without the opportunity of a higher court of seven school board members having the final judgment.
The rule/rules I am referring to are in the Knightstown Community Senior High School Student/Parent Handbook.
Page 24 …
A student who has been suspended from school must be in attendance one full school day before being eligible to attend any school sponsored event.
Page 36 …
Rule #6 - During a suspension, the student shall not be permitted to attend any school activities or be on any school grounds.
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Cheryl Hammer & Cindy Biehl
The officers of the Class of 2009 and the parent sponsors would like to thank the community and the senior parents who made donations of money or time towards Breakfast Club ’09 (post prom). The event was a success and we appreciate the kids that participated.
Marlin Rental, Goodwin Brothers, Strike Force Lanes, Dairy Queen, Chicago’s Pizza, McCleary’s, Culver’s, Henry County Neighborhood Pharmacies, Tri Kappa, Knightstown Fire Department, State Farm Insurance, Knightstown Banner, Top Ten Video, Lowe’s, Greenfield Banking, Total Tan, Ivy Wreath, Psi Iota Xi sorority, Leakey Insurance Agency, H&R Block, Post & Post, Ruthie Bohnert Realty, National Road BP, Everything Engraving, Steve and Michelle Ferguson, Becky Hammons, Sandra Jackson, Leanna Addison, Gary and Terry Driesbach, Jason and Lisa Smith, Mike and Leah Sturgill, Tina Coyle, Terry and Jill Null, John and Kim Heim, Martyne Bailey, Joe and Penny Patton, Jeff and Linda Lane, Melodie Smith, Linda VanOsdol, Beth Rigdon, Steve and Debby Hatfield, Paul and Debbie Butler, Deana Rutledge, Duane and Carol Carroll, Jeff and Laura Lindsey, Todd and Lisa Roberts, Sandy Crawford, Jane Bonewits, Theresa Hibbert and Kami Doubman. If we have forgotten anyone, please know we greatly appreciate your help this year!
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Kalen and Carly Edwards, The Butler & Williams Families
It is a good thing I am writing a letter for others to read and not recording a speech for others to hear. Because for the first time in my life, I would run out of things to say. Words cannot express the gratitude and admiration my family and I have for those people that came together on Saturday, May 16, to remember the lives of two people whom were very dear to our hearts. Men, women and children crowded into the tiny shelter house of McNabb Park and literally flooded onto the streets of Carthage for the inaugural Crysten Butler-Williams & Jett Williams Memorial Walk.
A day that started as a cold and rainy mess, turned into one of the most beautiful days I have ever seen. Our friends and even some strangers ignored the weather to show their love and support for our cause. Wearing their lime green, hot pink, sapphire blue and electric orange T-shirts, our newly extended family walked with us nearly five kilometers starting at McNabb Park and through the streets of Carthage.
When my wife and I first decided to host this walk, we had no idea what kind of response we would have. After the first week had passed, we had only a few registration forms turned in and we were beginning to wonder if the walk was going to work out. But after leaving the park that afternoon, all we could do was look at each other in a blank stare, looking for words to describe this experience.
All that came to mind, was a more than common phrase of gratitude; “Thank You”. Thank you to those who ignored the rain and wet conditions; thank you to those who donated money in this economic crisis; and thank you to those who sacrificed a night to the movies or a dinner out with family to give whatever they could for such a tremendous cause.
One thing that I personally wanted to add to this letter is something that was brought to my attention after the walk was over. If you were there, then you experienced what I am about to explain. Since I was the co-host and acting emcee, I grabbed the microphone to get the walk under way. It looked as if the rain would hold out, but as I lined the participants up at the start finish line and said “Go”, the clouds opened up and the rain came pouring down.
This didn’t hold much significance until my wife got a phone call and relayed a message to me. She told me that a local woman had just called and told her that her daughter said she knew why it rained when I said go. ”Mommy,” she said. “I know why it started raining when he said go. It’s because they were crying in heaven because they were so happy to see what we were doing down here.” Wow! I could go on forever with an eight-page story, but I figure I should just get to the thank you’s because there are so many to say. Neither the Butler nor the Williams family could be thankful enough of the support we have gained from our local communities. Although it will never get any easier, our families wanted to give our whole-hearted thank you.
We would like to start by thanking our sponsors who helped make this walk possible: Main Street Threads, The Banner, Tom True Auto, Orme Farms, The Ivy Wreath, Robert C. Winters CPA, Knightstown Deep Muscle Therapy Clinic, Burton Brothers Amusement, Pool Cover Specialists East, The Mane Gathering, BP, Bob White Farm, Knightstown Pizza, Riley House Restaurant, Zeilinga Excavating, Jeff’s Pizza, True Communications, Vogels Florists, Bittersweet Memories, Larry Saw and Mower Shop, Top Ten, Sowder Welding, Riff’s Pizza and Post & Post Hardware.
We would also like to thank the following individuals for volunteering their time to help during the walk: Stephanie Luck, Kathy Zeilinga, Mark & Diana White, Debbie McCoy, Lisa Hall, Trista Cox, Mariah Kwisz, Gail Alfont, Carol Gibson, the Town of Carthage employees, the Carthage Police and Volunteer Fire Departments, Eric Cox, The Cornfield Cloggers and to all of those who lended a helping hand to make this benefit run smoothly.
Our family wishes we could name all 200-plus individuals that took part in the walk, but there just isn’t enough room in this paper for that. We would personally like to thank all of you, and you know who you are. Again, to all of those who donated in so many different ways, you were the driving force behind such a magical day and we thank you.
Because of such generosity, McNabb Park will one day be a new and improved place for you and your children to visit. So once again, thank you and we cannot wait to see you next year!
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Nate LaMar, New Castle
Leaders vs. Managers (transcript of speech by CPT Nate LaMar at New Castle’s2009 Memorial Day ceremony) Today we pause to honor all veterans, but particularly veterans of Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Our armed forces have come a long way from the days of Vietnam, when we found the war “managed” by GM executives, who were supposedly the “best and brightest.” From this experience, we learned the hard way that not all managers can lead. However, all leaders can manage. I want to give you three examples from my generation:
Captain Eric Creviston of rural Cowan in Delaware County is my best friend from elementary school. He graduated from Blue River Valley H.S. in 1985 and enlisted in the Army in 1987. He and I were stationed near each other in Germany. He served in the First Gulf War, providing Infantry security to Patriot units defending Israel from Iraqi scud missiles. Discharged in 1991, he continued his service in the Indiana National Guard while attending Ball State University. In 1995, he became a high school social studies teacher for Anderson Community Schools, a National Guard officer, and eventually a company commander as a First Lieutenant! From 2004-2005, he was recalled to active duty in Afghanistan, where he helped establish its National Military Academy.
Lieutenant Colonel John Stark of Mt. Summit graduated from Blue River Valley HS in 1987, then entered West Point. I looked out for him during his plebe year and got him on the Speech & Debate Team, so that he could occasionally get away from plebe life! He graduated in the top 5% of his class in 1991, and became an Armor officer. After earning a PhD from Ohio State University, he taught history at West Point, then served in Iraq. LTC Stark now molds young minds and bodies into Army officers as Commander of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Staff Sergeant Andy Snell graduated from New Castle Chrysler High School in 1996, served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1997-2001, and Indiana National Guard’s Transportation Corps from 2001-2007, from which he was called to active duty in Afghanistan from 2004-2005 with A Co. of the 113th Battalion of the 76th Brigade. He was recently promoted to manager of a production department at the employer we share.
On September 11, 2001, a fifth grader of Armenian descent decided then he wanted to some day fight terrorists. In a few days, that fifth grader will graduate from Knightstown High School. Congressman Mike Pence appointed Jared Kayajan to West Point, where he will become a US Army officer, and may some day get to fight terrorists. We can sleep better at night knowing that leaders of character like Jarad Kayajan are protecting us.
During this time of war and economic turmoil, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is most appreciated. Employers, please remember our veterans, especially as they make the often difficult transition back into civilian life. As communities like Cowan, Anderson, Mt. Summit, New Castle, and Knightstown deal with brain-drain, rest assured that, especially from the examples I mentioned today, all leaders can manage. May the words of Psalm 91:5 continue to protect our warriors: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.”
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Janet R. Miller , Connersville
(An open letter to state officials)
Dear Governor Daniels, Indiana Department of Health, General Assembly, and Indiana residents, Before you turn your back on the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children’s Home in Knightstown and spend the $10.2 million for whatever purpose you have in mind, please try to remember that our future generation, (i.e. the people who could ultimately be governing the state of Indiana in the future) are residents at ISSCH.
These children are watching every move made by THEIR lawmakers. These children, our state’s future, are learning firsthand what it takes to make a bill become a law. They watched Representative Reske introduce a bill, have it passed by the House, go to the Senate and instantly become buried in Senator Long’s Rules committee-never to be heard from again.
These children have watched both the House and the Senate insert language in four other documents to insure the future, for at least one more year, of ISSCH. They have watched The American Legion, their ‘Guardian Angels’ and sponsors from all across Indiana rally around and try to help. The American Legion has offered to the State of Indiana to PAY for the one year study which would determine the viability of keeping ISSCH open!! No strings attached, they will pay the bill because they KNOW how well ISSCH has ‘raised’ children in the past, and see, what a need there is for ISSCH to remain open and continue what has been done for over 100 years. Residential Education is alive and well in the USA and ISSCH is proof that children can thrive and become well adjusted, working, professional members of society.
Below is a reprint of a speech given by a Morton Memorial graduate at the second Indiana Statehouse Rally for the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children’s Home. Does this actually sound like a facility that is outdated and past it’s time? No, instead ISSCH is offering children a future in today’s world!
Did You Know…..
….that in 2006 Congress enacted Child Protection legislation PL-109 that urges states to offer innovative programs for its children that are in need of protection—which includes residential education?
….that Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children’s Home operates 24 hours, 7 days, 50 weeks of the year?
….that it costs $249 a day for a young adult in the Department of Correction?
….that is costs $232 a day to house, educate, feed, and provide health care and recreational activities at ISSCH?
….that the budget for the Home is 0.8% of the total budget for colleges and universities?
….that the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children’s Home has been operating on the same budget for 7 years?
….that although ISSCH has been ignored and not promoted by Indiana’s childcare agencies, they still have a 100% graduation rate over the past 4 years?
….that of those graduating; 13 went to a 4-year college or university, 17 went to a 2- year college, 13 went into the U.S. military, and 3 went to vocational schools? The remaining graduates have joined the workforce.
….that the Indianapolis Public Schools graduation rate for 2007-08 was 47.2%?
….that the Indiana state graduation rate for 2007-08 was 77.8%.
….that the current average tenure for a teacher at ISSCH is 14.67 years?
….that 36.8% of the current residents at ISSCH has been in 5 or more foster homes?
….that Indiana’s juvenile justice system routinely sends children to facilities out of state? Where are our tax dollars now?
….that ISSCH provides 8 vocational programs? Broadcasting, Building trades, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Graphic Arts, Natural Resources, and Veterinary Science.
that ISSCH has produced: a U.S. Navy pilot, an Honorary Command Sgt. Major, a professional football player, a ‘Sagamore of the Wabash’ Award recipient, a neurosurgeon, a movie star, an FBI agent, a ‘Distinguised Hoosier Award’ recipient, a recipient of the ‘Keys of Gold Concierge Award’ (the only Hoosier to ever receive it), an Air Force senior master sergeant, several small business owners, law enforcement personnel, countless tax paying citizens.
Now, if anyone still believes that ISSCH is an outdated model that cannot and will not produce law abiding, tax paying, and productive citizens, they have never been to the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Children’s Home to see the works in progress.
The young woman who researched and presented these facts is a Morton Memorial graduate. She lived here and succeeded here, just like hundreds of others. ISSCH is a successful residential educational facility for at risk children. Why is the state of Indiana willing to throw away these children? Their future is in its hands... Please write, e-mail or call Governor Daniels, your Representatives and Senators, and Dr. Judith Monroe, Indiana Department of Health to keep ISSCH open. IT’S NOT TOO LATE!!!
These web sites/phone address info will give you all the information needed to contact any of the above individuals.
Governor Daniels: Phone: 317-232-4567, Mail: Office of the Governor, Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2797
General Assembly - www.in.gov/legislative/legislators
Indiana Department of Health - Dr. Judith Monroe: 2 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204, (317) 233-1325
May 20, 2009 - Letter submitted by Richard Mourdock, Indiana State Treasurer
The most frequent question I receive as State Treasurer of Indiana is, “When will the economy turn around?” No one really knows, and given the complexity of the economy it is impossible to predict. Hoosiers need to be fully aware of the economic problems we face not just because of the impact on our 401(k) savings plans but because of the long-term impact on our state and nation.
As Indiana’s chief investment officer, I have a two-fold responsibility: to anticipate the economy in an effort to invest the state’s funds wisely and prepare Indiana for the future. Never have those tasks been more challenging because we are in uncharted financial territory.
If you think this recession is “normal” and the United States will quickly bounce back to lead the world onto recovery, I ask you to think again. We are in a different economic setting compared to any other point in the last 150 years.
At the time of every major economic recession of the past, the United States was the world’s largest creditor nation, that is, other nations owed us more than we owed them. Today, we are the world’s largest debtor nation utterly dependent on Asia to buy the bonds that must fund the workings of the U.S. government. Last year’s trade deficit was almost $800 billion as we continue to ship our wealth abroad.
At the time of every major economic recession of the past, the United States had the greatest manufacturing capacity in the world. Today, much of our manufacturing industry has moved to Mexico, China, and India and has taken along with it the “value-added” process, which is improving raw materials and therefore adding value and creating wealth. The value-added process explains why Asian nations are now capable of buying our Treasury bills and government securities.
At the time of major economic recessions of the past, the United States was known as the business friendliest nation on earth. We openly welcomed and allowed entrepreneurs, investors, and creators to realize the value of their genius and industriousness. Today, we have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, the most anti-business, litigious judicial system of any nation, and one of the most intrusive government regulatory environments on the planet. Want proof? Ask those American entrepreneurs who have moved their businesses and former-American jobs to Mexico, China and India. Ask them why they did so and you’ll hear there is less cost and therefore less risk in opening a business overseas than here at home.
Despite these facts, optimism might still be possible if evidence showed that we had learned from the recent past and were dealing with the issues that brought us to this crisis. In fact, we are in a hole and we’re still digging. Our staggering national debt is deepening and consequently our need to borrow is growing at an alarming rate. Manufacturers in the United Sates are accelerating their efforts to leave our shores because of fear that the federal government is going to place additional regulatory hurdles on industry as a whole. Proposals that would lead America to be dependent upon so-called “green energy” may sound appealing but will lead to even higher costs of production therefore making our products even less competitive in the global market place.
The problems, highlighted above, must be resolved before any genuine and permanent American recovery can take place. Anyone who suggests that our present trouble is nothing more than brief glitch in the business cycle is clearly uninformed.
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