I quote from an article in the Jan. 29, 2020, edition of The News and Tribune that states that over the next 10 years Floyd County can expect to add about 1,500 more students to our schools, particularly with the dramatic growth already approved in the Georgetown Elementary and Highland Hills Middle School areas. I've also heard it said that both these schools are already at capacity.
I see this same growth happening with the U.S. 150 corridor out to Greenville, particularly with Greenville requesting approval to extend sewer lines east to Billy Joe's.
If you are a taxpayer living in Floyd County, as I am, this should raise a host of red flags. Will we soon be asked for more taxes to either expand these two schools or to build new ones? The answer is "most likely" or, more accurately, "of course." Which brings me to the current School Safety Referendum request of $25 million over the next eight years.
First, I think our schools have to be made as safe as possible. Both Superintendent Snyder and Associate Superintendent Jensen say they are safe now. The $25 million referendum, if passed, would be split 70% for mental health professionals and 30% for building safety and School Resource Officers (SROs). Personally, I would prefer more be spent on SROs than is being planned.
While I agree there are children who would benefit from mental health assessment and counseling, I also agree with a friend who has allowed me to quote her thoughts as follows: "No matter how much money we pour into the school system ... we cannot 'bandage' a child's mental health that is perhaps a symptom of his/her environment or the apathy of a disconnect with parents. Not to say all issues children have are because of the way they are raised. There are exceptions. But, so many times parents ignore warning signs and just say, 'Oh, he is in a mood.' They make excuses ... until it is too late. So, I don't think this referendum will do anything, because if a child doesn't believe he has a problem and his/her parents aren't considering his/her issues as an emergent problem, well, then, the resources the school system is proposing will be of no significance."
I say "no" to this School Safety Referendum because most of it is focused in the wrong direction and also in view of what will most certainly be asked of us taxpayers in the not-too-distant future.
Floyds Knobs, Ind.
March 26, 2020
Seems we're back where we were four years ago. New Albany-Floyd County Schools says they need more of our taxpayer money for school safety allowed under SEA 127 passed in 2019. Seems over 60% of taxpayer dollars is not enough. Now, they want another $3.1 million per year for eight years, or $25 million. Over the eight years, that amounts to $333 for every man, woman and child living in Floyd County ($25 million divided by 75,000 citizens).
How many Floyd County homeowners even know how much their annual property tax bill is, specifically those whose property taxes are paid by their mortgage company? Why not ask your mortgage company how much of your monthly mortgage payment is applied to your annual property tax bill? If it is, say, between $150 and $200 per month, would you be surprised? Do you want to see your annual property tax bill increased?
In 2016, only four years ago, Floyd County passed a school referendum of $87 million, actually $133 million including interest. Voters were led to believe this $87 million was replacing a bond that would be paid off before this new one would begin. That may have been true, but what we weren't told was that there was still an outstanding debt of over $80 million still to be paid on past bonds. ... That meant that instead of a debt of $87 million, the school corporation actually had a debt then of over $160 million plus interest.
And, with this $87 million, Slate Run and Green Valley Elementary schools were torn down and rebuilt. Many other schools also received upgrades. Prosser received a much-needed makeover.
We can only hope that all of our schools have the best physical building safety measures in place that are available and would not need further enhancement. We were assured by Superintendent Snyder and Associate Superintendent Jensen that our schools are safe now. So, where is the need for 30% of $3.1 million in each of the next eight years?
Why the rush? Why isn't this on the ballot in November 2020 when, historically, many more people will be voting, particularly since this will be a presidential election?
In 2017, NAFCS received a Lilly Grant that expires in 2022. That's two years from now. Why not wait and see if this Lilly Grant can be renewed or replaced by some other form of grant or funding mechanism? Has the NAFCS administration even looked at this? ...
Ending with the biggest question: Why can't our school system and its administration learn to live within its approved budget ... ?
March 26, 2020
"Aladdin and His Wonderful, Magical Lamp" is the 10th anniversary production of Peacock Children's Theatre and a colossal tour de force. It has everything: music and dance, magic and romance.
The fadeout of most every scene change was acclaimed by audience applause as they were transported by a Magical Carpet Ride from a far-off land to the city of Shammar, the Cave of the Lamp and even through an earthquake.
Each of the principals, Aladdin (Clayton Sieg) and Princess Jasmine (Jaila Kenney) displayed bravado, despair, and joy in evading the evil Jamal (Nehemiah McSpadden). Alakazam (Zayden McSpadden) provided comic relief with his manic acrobatics.
The dazzling colorful costumes and the giant cast of 30 were displayed in rhythmic delight in dance intervals which filled the stage in true fairy story style all ends well. A joyful, satisfying evening.
Producer/Director Rita Harden leaves a great legacy that rewards the children of the community as audience and participants deserves perpetuation. Lisa Lanning the music director and choreographer brought out the best in the cast.
March 26, 2020
There is no higher priority than protecting the health and safety of the people in our communities. While we truly appreciate our doctors, nurses, EMTs, police and firefighters, let us not forget those behind the scenes that work hard daily to keep us healthy.
It takes highly skilled water and wastewater personnel to ensure the public supply of safe drinking water and to protect our lakes, streams and groundwater. Advancements in water treatment and supply technology have increased the skills and training required of this workforce.
Currently, existing safe management techniques in both drinking water and sanitation apply to COVID-19. Extra measures are not needed. Disinfection treatment processes will facilitate more rapid die-off of the COVID-19 virus. Provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions play an essential role in protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 outbreak.
While social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing is crucial for us to get through this crisis, please let us recognize and thank the water and wastewater professionals behind the scenes that are protecting us.
Execuive Director, Alliance of Indiana Rural Water
March 26, 2020
I often hear that we should leave the management of our public forests to the experts. But where the experts value timber production, I want natural habitat for birds, bats, salamanders and other critters.
When these experts talk of "forest health," they mean maximizing timber output, whereas I think it should mean allowing natural processes such as windfalls to create openings for new forest growth.
Experts want miles of chunky gravel roads to enable timber trucks; I want footpaths that create a pleasant recreational outing.
Experts tout fast-growing young trees as capturing carbon faster than old trees, but the carbon emissions resulting from timbering means it will be several decades before the carbon storage budget breaks even.
Experts see income for their agency from cutting down trees; I see soil loss from the forest and increased herbicide and sedimentation load to Lake Monroe (our source of drinking water).
Perhaps it requires a non-expert to point out these other important values, provided by an unmolested natural forest, and to suggest that nature should be the norm on our public lands, not the exception.
It seems the so-called experts cannot see the forest ecosystem for the trees.
January 08, 2020
Judge Bell is seeking forgiveness for the poor choices she made leading to a month's suspension from the bench. While I applaud all the corrective steps she is taking, her detailed plea for understanding carries a strong odor of desperation that she might not get re-elected.
In my view, she never should have been elected in the first place. She is far too young to have the maturity, wisdom and life experience that such a position requires. Her "choices" that night clearly demonstrate it. She acted like a college student out on a night of partying.
Of course, I can forgive Judge Bell, but, if she is truly remorseful, she will resign. If she had the wisdom necessary for her role, she would clearly see that someone with such poor judgment is in no way qualified to adjudicate others, at least at this time in her life.
She stated that circumstances (i.e. suspension from the bench) do not always accurately reflect who people are, but rather the choices they have made. That may be true, Judge Bell; but, your choices are the fruit of your character, and the best thing to do is to step down so that you can concentrate on growing into the person you were meant to be.
And while voters may be disappointed, they are equally complicit in the judge's night of poor choices. Why elect someone so young to a role that requires maturity and experience? I suspect it had to do with voting the straight Republican ticket. Although I belong to the same political party as Judge Bell, she did not get my vote for the above reasons. Her opponent was a man of character with outstanding qualifications and a long history of service to the community. Unfortunately, for the citizens of Crawford County, he happened to be a Democrat.
We need to be much more thoughtful about our votes going forward.
May God give us the wisdom and discernment we need for the next election and give Judge Bell the same.
November 26, 2019
The concerns I expressed in the Oct. 29 commissioners' meeting were based on the only information I had: from a man standing at the north end of the 32-foot span last summer. "The new bridge will extend eight feet this way." It seemed to me that taking the bridge north while the creek channel was moving south was unwise.
I was happy with Daniel Crecelius' information that the contract was signed and start imminent.
I had no luck in contacting Earnie Keck, but on Friday, Nov. 1, I talked with two men examining the area closely. Happily, they represented C&R Construction and, true to their word, the work crew arrived Monday, Nov. 4, before 7:30. Rick Crosier, C&R vice president, had shown me the plans wherein the new bridge will extend four feet in each direction, north and south.
All my worries vanished as I watched trees come down and the old bridge disappear. I'm eternally grateful to all who helped this happen.
Sue T. Chapman
November 13, 2019
The Marengo-Liberty Volunteer Fire Department is actively seeking donations for a LUCAS Device. Let me explain a little bit about the LUCAS Device.
The LUCAS (Lund University Cardiopulmonary Assist System) is a mechanical CPR machine. It is used in the pre-hospital setting by first responders to deliver effective chest compressions that deliver vital oxygen to the brain and can prime the heart for successful shock. Performing manual CPR is difficult and tiring to first responders. Giving first responders the proper tools needed to assist them in a life-saving situation should always be a priority; however, in a time of budget cuts and constantly asking volunteers to do more with less, this is not always the case.
Crawford County does not have a hospital, which can make transport times long. Performing effective CPR for 45 minutes during a long transport is not nearly as effective as it would be with a mechanical CPR device. That is the reason behind Marengo-Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department's decision to seek fundraising for a LUCAS Device. Our goal is to raise $16,000 to purchase the first LUCAS Device for Crawford County.
On Dec. 1, we are hosting a chili supper and raffles to kick off the fundraiser. Any donation you could give — be it monetary or in the form of an item for our raffle — would be greatly appreciated to help us meet our goal as quickly as possible. The sooner we can reach our goal, the sooner we can get this LUCAS Device in the hands of the volunteer first responders who work tirelessly to keep our community safe.
Thank you for your consideration of a donation. Please contact me personally at 812-972-3837.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Billie Gilmore, Treasurer, Marengo-Liberty Volunteer Fire Department
October 30, 2019
I would like to respond to Mr. David Boone and the unidentified caller, who, as usual, project inaccuracies onto me. They barely read the true content of my articles and chose to pick a comment about being pro-life and completely misinterpret it.
If you read my article completely and digested it, I am saying that you can't be pro-life and force legal immigrants with deadly diseases who are being treated in this country to be banished from the U.S., which would surely cause their death. You can't be pro-life and have children ripped from their parents' arms, some of whom will never see their parents again.
It is hypocritical, and it has nothing to do with what party you belong to. It just so happens our president is a Republican. If he were a Democrat, I'd say the same thing. You must be consistent across the board. You pick and choose what constitutes pro-life, and it is disingenuous.
To Mr. Boone, I would say that not all Republicans disagree with my positions. And, I would welcome a debate on any issue. I find it humorous that you feel you would win a debate with me. I was valedictorian of my high school, am a cum laude Harvard graduate, an Honor Society graduate of the IU School of Social Work with straight A's and straight A's in my Ph.D. program. Furthermore, I was the debate champion three years in a row at my high school. Delusions of grandeur run high, Mr. Boone.
I would also watch your grammar. To say, "there has been two vice presidents ... " is grammatically incorrect. It should be, "there have been two vice presidents ... "
To use ice-skating rinks to underscore our national debt is absurd. How about the billions of dollars being diverted from critical military needs for national security to build a border wall? Fix our visa system first.
How about all the money we have to spend carting our president to all his golf resorts, where he personally makes money (breaking the emoluments clause) and sending Guiliani and AG Barr all over the world at taxpayer expense to engage in impeachable offenses?
Your comments are rambling and do not address the underlying issues of my article. You want to debate? Bring it on.
October 09, 2019
To all the liberals that just love Mrs. Young and hate President Trump, all I can say is, this (is) America and you have that right. I will openly debate Mark Woods and Mrs. Young anytime and beat them in the debate. They are both dead wrong. Yes, President Trump does tweet too much, but what this man has done is just very great. If Congress would just do its job, it would be even better.
I hate to inform those people that at present the Democratic Party does not even have a chance. There has only been two former vice presidents to ever been outright elected to the presidency, and a U.S. senator from either party has never beaten an incumbent. And I hate to tell you that President Trump is an incumbent.
You both mention the national debt. I have a question for both of you: What happened to all that money? The ice skating rink in Central Park in New York City had several million dollars spent and it could not make ice. Why was that? At one of Trump's rallies that question came up about the rink, and Trump answered it. The cooling coils were made of PVC pipe. Who approved that? Several million dollars for something that will not work.
We hear about climate change. Well, I ask both of you where did the Great Lakes come from? I went to Purdue and that was discussed. Guess what? We had an ice age about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago that dug out the Great Lakes. I hate to tell you that it takes climate change to first cause the glacier to expand and then another climate change to melt it.
I am all for cleaning up the lakes and rivers. The national debt? Well, if we would quit giving welfare without causing people to at least go to work, if nothing else sweep the streets, it might help.
How much taxes are we supposed to pay? I don't care how much somebody makes, there has to be a limit on how much you pay in taxes. Or, the state of Florida trying to reintroduce crocodiles into the Everglades. How stupid is that? Don't they have enough alligators?
Yes, I know they have a Republican governor and, yes, I do like him, but I would have to ask him about that one.
Folks, all I can tell is the Dems should be glad they are not going against me as I would give them an acid stomach. At times, President Trump is a pussycat, but at least he is trying. I would have the National Guard down at the border and you either go through the door or be shot. Unless we annex Central America, they are going to come. So, build the wall and go through the process; otherwise, MS13 is going to come through.
On gun control, I do think we should look at Switzerland and what they do. Incidentally, you would have to serve in the armed forces, at least in the reserves.
October 02, 2019