Back in May there was a meeting held between the Crawford County government officials and Purdue University Extension. At that time I was one of the educators in the county's office. As of July 19, 2014, I have left my position and the county; however, I would like to comment on a few things brought up during that meeting. These things are all my personal opinions and in no way reflect thoughts or feeling of the Extension Office or Purdue Extension.
Firstly, it was brought up about how horrible the district director (Natalie Fowler) had been and that she was the reason the county has gone through so many educators. I know some of why others left, and I think that there is very little that was directly caused by her actions. I would like to assure you that she has nothing to do with my leaving Extension. I am tired of not knowing if I am still going to have a position at the end of each year because of fighting between county council and county commissioners and their political problems. I realize that there are budget issues, but I am sure we can all agree that this is not the main reason for stringing decisions out so long when it came to educators' positions. If this happened before I took my position, I am surprised educators stayed as long as they did, before me.
Secondly, it was brought up that the reports we had previously turned in were false because "one of the educators" reported working 360 days and she had gotten married and that there was no way someone worked that many days in one year. That is correct. There is no way I (as I am the one who was married) worked 360 days in one year. However, if they would have actually looked at the initial report, it was for 17 months, not one year. And, yes, I did work that amount of days over 17 months. Actually, if I had recorded every single hour I worked instead of just the actual activities, it would have been much more. I, as an educator, was being paid $44,000 a year. With the hours that we put in as educators, that averages out to a little less than $4/hour. With all the nonsense I have had to endure while employed there, I determined it is not even close to enough!
Next, it was also brought up that the county or the Extension Board has no say in choosing the educators they receive. It was also said that they wanted (another applicant) and instead received Carol Judd. Firstly, Carol did not interview against (this person); I did. Carol was the only person who interviewed for the HHS (Health Human Sciences) position. (The other applicant) and I interviewed for the ANR (Agriculture Natural Resources) position. It is true that the Extension Board favored (the other applicant), but they also said they would be fine with either, but had concerns about someone as young as I am coming into the position. I can guarantee you that anyone who has not been given an interview in the past either did not give proper education/experience, or did not actually apply through the Purdue system in the first place.
Finally, I think some of you are still very confused on how the contractual services are used. Many times in meetings or as quoted in the paper the services are referred to as educators' "salaries." While the county is paying for us being here, they are not contributing to anything directly for our salaries. With the amount they pay, they are not even covering one educator's "salary" amount. The money paid through the service agreement goes for "services" as stated in the title. Granted, they then pay for mileage, supplies, etc., but all of those things are then used for the community that you serve. Even if they pay this agreed upon amount, they are not then in charge of the Extension Office or the educators. When they have issues, I would encourage them to attend Extension Board meetings, just as they "tell" us to attend theirs.
If they would go to other counties and ask them how Extension works in their communities, they will find all I am telling you is accurate.
The majority of other counties also do not have to give their monthly/weekly/daily schedules to county government either. I understand them wanting to know what we are doing in your communities, but educators already have supervisors, and VERY busy schedules, so the extra time to write a special report and get a calendar ready in advance is a bit much, in my opinion.
I would also like to note that there are only three people currently employed in the Extension Office; Jackie Young (FNP) Carol Judd (HHS/CED) and Randi Howe (office manager). When you have questions about agricultural-related subjects, health, questions, 4-H questions or other topics you think Extension can help with, please call them directly. We have had some volunteers who are now being confused as employees of the office or even as educators themselves. This is not the case. If it is not one of these three ladies, they are not an Extension employee. Hopefully, this will clear up some confusion about who actually has authority in the office and in Extension.
I have done my best to be very calm and polite during my two years in Crawford County, but at times it has truly felt as though they were bullying, and I did not find it right to leave without speaking my mind. Extension brings so many great things into your county, especially since you do not have many other organizations here. Why would they want to push so hard and drive folks out, when you have such a good thing? I hope that you will continue to work with Purdue to build a stronger relationship and to get as much out of the services offered as possible. There are so many amazing people in this community, and Extension is here to help them.
July 23, 2014
When I was young, our family went on an annual pilgrimage every autumn to Brown County State Forest to enjoy the colors. The hills rolled with color, fog and pure beauty. Then, when I was older, my husband and I "discovered" Crawford County. We've been here 30 years, and while we'll never be "from here," it is home and we love it and Brown County has nothing on it. Well, maybe had nothing on it.
Less than a mile from our home, 1,500 acres are being logged. National Forest land is apparently not safe either. Sold or traded, this precious hunk of our county is being destroyed. Legal or not, and I have no idea which, it still digs a hole in my idea of what is ethical.
All over the world, great forests are being brought to their knees for short-term benefit to a few at the expense of future generations. The oceans are becoming more acidic so they can't provide the oxygen they once did, so that leaves the forests, and we are leveling them at a frightening rate worldwide.
On our small acreage here, we have recycled, planted thousands of trees, helped bring about 15 acres of worn cropland back to forest, gone organic; in other words, tried to be good neighbors and good citizens. Someone who exploits a land mass such as 1,500 acres for profit is not in my view, a good neighbor and what is ethical should go beyond government mandate. Destruction is still destruction.
Most places aren't like this. People come here to see the trees because of that. The greatest resource Crawford County could ever have is the people strong enough to stand for the trees, to keep this precious heritage for their/our kids and show the world how it's done. The world is running low on opportunities for this. Surely there is something that can be done if we care.
Has this place been checked for Indian burial sites yet? They are all around here. Was this land put up for public sale at any point? How did this happen?
This is an awful lot of land in a time when forests are becoming endangered. At best it is a tragedy and a terrible loss for our beautiful community.
July 16, 2014
Chris Adams writes that there is intolerance in political correctness and, in some cases, I'm sure that's true. But when it comes to being firm in dealing with bigotry, I disagree.
Extreme fundamentalism isn't a rare thing in this country and, if the majority of people were not pushing against gays enjoying the same rights as married hetero couples, then it wouldn't be such a struggle in so many states for them to get those rights. I agree that Jason and David Benham shouldn't have been kicked off HGTV for their bigotry, but that people should at least be aware of where they stand so as not to promote what they may disagree with. Bigotry disguised as values or faith is still bigotry. I would also want to know if someone who's show I may watch uses the 'N' word, as well.
Political correctness is annoying, while bigotry usually leads to worse actions further down the line. People have been and still are being harassed and killed. I don't believe in eating cows or pigs or chickens, but I don't try to pass legislation saying everyone should eat that way. The whole world doesn't want to be Christian and hetero any more than the whole world would want to wear burkas. No one spoke up against a Christian who called for the ostracism, then the loss of rights, then the death of people his faith thought were deviant and not in line with Christian values. His name was Hitler.
May 28, 2014
Feb. 26, 2014, has been declared "Parkinson's Day of Action" by the Parkinson's Action Network. Because this issue is very personal to me, I felt compelled to share my story to raise awareness about this disease.
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease. The primary symptoms are tremors and loss of movement, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes. Currently, there is no cure, therapy or drug to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease. While medication masks some symptoms for a limited period, dose-limiting side effects do occur. Eventually, the medications lose their effectiveness, leaving the person unable to move, speak or swallow.
My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the age of 55. He was a beloved dentist in Scottsburg. My dad was a well-liked and well-respected member of the community. He had a dry wit, a caring heart, and would not hesitate to work evenings or holidays to help a patient in need. He practiced for 30 years before he was forced to retire due to Parkinson's disease. People still stop to tell me how much they miss him. I miss him, too.
For almost 15 years, we have not only had to watch my dad decline physically and mentally, but we have also had to endure mood, personality and behavioral changes that have been devastating. My mother, his main caregiver, bears the burden of his illness with grace and poise.
What are rarely discussed are the terrible side effects of Parkinson's medication, which add to the family stress of gradually losing a loved one right before your eyes.
One side effect of his medication is compulsive behavior. This has caused issues with gambling and other behavioral complications that were uncharacteristic of my dad prior to his illness. Last summer, my father, who had been a model citizen his entire life, now at the age of 69, declining in health and mental capacity, was arrested for indecent exposure. These behaviors are, in some patients, an unfortunate side effect of the medication.
Losing a parent is always difficult. In losing a parent to Parkinson's disease, they slowly slip away from you right before your eyes, often becoming people you don't recognize.
On this day of awareness, we offer our gratitude to the doctors and scientists who are working to find a cure for Parkinson's disease or a treatment of medication to slow its destructive nature.
To the families who are losing a loved one to this terrible disease, I want you to know that you aren't alone.
I ask that you please join me in prayer for Parkinson's patients and their families, who grapple with the side effects of this illness with a brave face, as my mother does each and every day.
We love my dad for who he was and who he is, and we always will.
April 23, 2014
I asked Randy Gilmore, president of the Crawford County Board of Commissioners, to attend the Association of Indiana Counties' 2014 County Legislative Conference on Feb. 19 and 20. I think he liked going because he said we will do this again.
We had lunch with District 74 State Rep. Lloyd Arnold. Randy and I brought expressed concern about the state owning about half of Crawford County in forestry ground and returning very little money on timber sales to the county. We learned that the federal government will be sending us some money for the land it owns in Crawford County. We also were advised that we can get back 40 percent of money spent on court-appointed attorneys and 40 counties are not applying for this money. Crawford is one of them.
On the second day of the conference, they offered two workshops: one on economic development and one on federal legislation and the National Association of Counties' new grants program.
Randy and I both are very interested in economic development for Crawford County. I thought one of us should attend the other meeting, so I attended Federal Legislation by Paul V. Beddoe, Ph.D. I learned that there is a grants clearinghouse with 1,000 grants available to counties like Crawford. Mr. Beddoe talked about funds drying up quicker than expected on entitlements. My question to him was: Why is the government borrowing money from China, when we should borrow from our own people?
I think we are hurting all of our funds. CDs pay 0.2 percent or less. Retirement funds set aside not growing in some cases becoming worthless. The boat money the county gets, we did at one time get a lot of interest on our accounts, now nothing.
When the meeting was over, he asked me if I would be interested in serving on a committee in Washington. I thanked him and told him I had trouble getting my friends to listen.
Crawford County Council Member
March 26, 2014
March 6, 2014
We moved with our three small children to this beautiful county June 1. My husband, Darin, and I purchased the old Gus and Lucy Slaten farm off S.R. 64. We have met several people who remember the Slatens and have enjoyed learning more about them. We feel privileged to own the property Mr. Slaten so painstakingly cared for.
Everyone we have encountered here has been so very friendly and welcoming. We love the public library, especially the new children's area, and enjoy shopping at CVS and JayC where the cashiers always greet our children and make it a point to talk with them. We have met old friends and made new ones at St. Joseph Catholic Church. We are extremely impressed with the clean and beautiful recycling centers; very impressive for such a small county. And, again, the employees are so friendly.
We are also impressed with local law enforcement and emergency responders. On Friday, Feb. 28, we could not find our 3-year-old son. After searching a short while, I called 911. The dispatcher was professional and did much to calm my nerves. She assured me help was on the way. Minutes before responders arrived, my husband found Warner — asleep in a closet. Sheriff Wilkerson continued on to our home and told us five deputies, the fire department and a bloodhound had been called out. We are so grateful for that response and thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts.
The people of Crawford County have much to be proud of. We love living here and look forward to meeting more friends and neighbors in the future!
March 26, 2014
I live in Georgetown. About a month ago, I looked out of my back window and saw a sizeable fire. I called 911, then my husband and I jumped in the car to go alert the neighbors that their outbuilding was burning. Before we turned to leave the empty house, the firefighters were there. The burning structure actually belonged to the next house down. It was dangerously close to vehicles, two houses and a gas tank. But the firefighters had it under control in no time.
Yesterday, my husband and I left our house for an errand. A neighbor called to report that part of our property was burning. He had already called 911. By the time we got back, numerous fire vehicles were already working and had the situation again under control.
In both cases, our local firefighters were extremely fast and thorough. They were clearly well organized, knowledgeable, skillful people. You won't read about these fires because they did not take houses or human lives. But that's the point, isn't it? In both of these cases, the fires could easily have spread to become disasters. But they didn't. I, for one, would like to recognize and thank the courageous professionals and volunteers who routinely are NOT big stories because they do their job so well.
"Thank you" doesn't seem to be enough.
March 06, 2014
It is with much sadness and a heavy heart that I must tell you that Friday, Feb. 21, will be my last day as your mail lady.
With much thought and prayer, I have decided to accept a larger route that became available at English. This allows me to have every Saturday off to be with my family.
I am very blessed to have served as your friend and mail carrier six days a week for almost 16 years. I just wanted to tell each and every one of you that I am blessed to share and be a part of your lives for all these years. I have laughed with you in your joys and cried with you in your sorrows. I have watched older generations pass on and new generations come in. I have watched your children grow into adults and have children of their own. It has been my pleasure and honor to be blessed with all of you as my family. You have all been a huge part of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I wish I could thank each and every one of you in person, but all of this was on short notice … but I know where you live (ha ha). You each have my heart and a lifetime of memories for me to carry and share. Again, thank you so very much.
Also, I would like to thank the county boys who have made my roads safe and have taken good care of me in bad weather. I will miss you all terribly. Also, the ones who have come to my rescue with flat tires and mechanical help. God bless each and every one of you.
Please welcome, with that Eckerty hospitality and friendship, your new mail lady, Leslie Novack. She is an awesome lady, and I know that you all will make her feel just as special as you have made me feel.
God bless you all, my friends, and we will still be in contact. I work right beside Leslie and will continue to support all of you.
Eckerty Mail Lady
February 26, 2014
Crawford County CASA is in need of well-qualified persons to be volunteers. We need people that are interested in helping children and willing to give their time and talent to help these children through a difficult time in their lives. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
If we are ever going to break the cycle of abuse and neglect, it needs to start now. I cannot promise you it will always be easy, but I can promise you that it will always be rewarding. Seeing these children get a chance for a decent home and a good future is what makes this the best volunteering position you'll ever have.
Please consider this carefully and thoughtfully. I know our lives are busy and very few of us are running around looking for something else to do, but this is an opportunity to do something needed in our community that will make a difference and will be remembered long after we are gone.
Call me at the office (338-2695), at home (338-3381) or on my cell phone (1-812-613-9090). Let me give you the training and turn you on to the most rewarding job you'll ever have.
Betty Parke, Crawford County CASA Director
February 19, 2014
Keller Manufacturing Co. had a great impact in Harrison County during its 100-plus years in business. During those years, a lot of people either worked there or had friends and relatives working at Keller. It was sad to see both the Corydon and New Salisbury plants close.
Although the building in Corydon may be gone and former employees have gone their separate ways, the memories are still with us. Memories of the sounds of the saws, lathes, drills, air guns, etc., plus the smell of fresh-cut wood and finishes come to mind.
As former employees of Keller Manufacturing, we often have times when we think of those who worked alongside us. Keller was a very good employer, and we miss the good people who we came to consider family.
We have set a date to try to join up once again with our friends and co-workers. Anyone who worked for Keller at either Corydon or New Salisbury is invited to attend.
The gathering will be at the Oasis Center, across from Alstott's hardware store in Corydon. We plan to meet from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 15. Please try to attend and bring along a two-liter and a snack to share. A group picture will be taken at 2:30 p.m.
Spread the word to everyone so no one is left out.
We hope to see you there!
Linda RIch, Lois Fessel, Carolyn McAdams, Eileen Hoehn and Mary Lasley
February 19, 2014