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Dependency: the nation killer

More and more, progressive government controls us through dependence on the state. In the process, they are destroying the country by robbing people of their ambition, independence, pride and self esteem, while all the while undermining the economy.

"The primary cause of their poverty and dependency on government are the policies implemented by liberal politicians which have destroyed the family unit, promoted deviant behavior, encouraged the production of bastard children, eliminated the need for personal responsibility, provided no consequences for bad life choices and bankrupted the nation, " said an article from The Burning Platform. "The rise of the welfare state has coincided with the decline of the American state. The proliferation of welfare programs has broken down the behaviors, social norms and cultural standards that lead to self-reliance, generating a pattern of growing inter-generational reliance upon government handouts. By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater succor in the future."

To further elaborate upon the damage liberal social policies have inflicted upon America, I give you the words of a wise man.

Dr Ben Carson recently said, "(S)tarting in the '60s with the Great Society programs we figured if we just threw money at the problem, when we had all these welfare programs we could solve the problem. What has happen since then? In 1969, 1.4 percent of our population was on food stamps. Today, more that 14 percent are on food stamps, a 10-fold increase. We have more broken families, out-of-wedlock births, incarceration, crime. Everything that these programs were suppose to fix has gotten worse."

His proscription for fixing the problem: "What real compassion is, is using our intellect to find ways to allow those people to climb out of dependency and realize the American Dream."

Dr. Carson further elaborated, "We need to find a way to strengthen the fabric of this country, and it is our responsibility to take care of the indigent, it is not the government responsibility."

As I said before, if we're going to heal our land, we need to return to the Constitution and the Judeo-Christian values that once made us prosperous and great.

Michael Lewinski
Dubois, Ind.
May 13, 2015

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Planting trees, rebuilding communities, restoring hope

As the nation celebrates Arbor Day on Friday, let's reflect on the value of trees, and highlight the important ability of trees to restore hope, bring healing and lift spirits following natural disasters. Trees are vital to successful, long-term recovery efforts — from a critical conservation recovery perspective, and also when considering the emotional healing and recovery of people and the fabric of a community.

Trees bring hope and healing, raising the spirits of residents who suffered the loss of their cherished trees. Many shared a similar sentiment as that of the good people of Mississippi. When asked why he came for the trees, one resident responded, "So, I can bring life back."

Trees serve many purposes. They are very much a part of the fabric of life and of the community. Trees provide both physical and emotional landmarks — marking childhood adventures, romantic walks and lazy Saturday afternoon picnics, among others. Trees evoke memories and help to establish a sense of place, meaning and belonging. Putting trees into people's hands following loss serves to lift spirits, restore hope and help to begin the healing process. On this Arbor Day, it is important that we recognize that trees are vital infrastructure just like our roads and our bridges.

Disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, windstorms and floods wreak havoc upon both our physical and emotional landscapes. The comfort and security — the sense of place provided by our trees — is dramatically altered, and sometimes even erased. New trees bring hope and are part of the holistic recovery of a community following a natural disaster.

After Superstorm Sandy, residents of New Jersey experienced first-hand the hope and healing brought forth by new trees. One said, "More and more communities are engaged. We are on the road to recovering our precious tree canopy, one tree at a time."

The need for an orchestrated disaster response that includes providing new trees to communities in need is today more important than ever due to increased threats of severe storms and wildfires. When natural disasters strike, our partners on the ground, including state foresters across the nation, are poised to respond and ready to provide new trees through the generous support of our caring members and partners. 2015 Community Tree Recovery campaigns are visible across the country in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Trees are part of the recovery process. Together, we can continue to bring life back through trees.

In Texas, a local official helped plant new trees to replace trees lost in the devastating 2011 wildfires. He said, "As we plant these trees we're helping people to know that life goes on and things can be restored."

Arbor Day reminds us all to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

Let's continue to plant trees whose benefits will be enjoyed not only by us, but also by our nation's children and grandchildren.

On this Arbor Day, let's appreciate the trees for their important role in helping to establish a sense of place, meaning and belonging; for serving as both physical and emotional landmarks that define important milestones along life's journey; and for being so seamlessly, intricately woven deeply into the rich fabric of our life and our community.

Please join me and thousands of others as we continue to work directly with our state forestry leaders on the ground to put trees into people's hands following the loss caused by natural disasters, so that we may lift spirits, restore hope and help to begin the healing process.

Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation
April 22, 2015

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Assault on Christianity

Christians in Indiana are under assault from secular progressives hell-bent upon destroying any individual expression of their faith beyond the walls of churches. And maybe not even there, given the fact that the federal government is still trying to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to assent to the provision of abortion-inducing drugs through their health care plans.

On April 2, the Indiana Legislature and Gov. Mike Pence stripped away from the Indiana Constitution the individuals' right of conscience. "This proposal," wrote Tony Perkins, "would force religious businesses to participate in wedding ceremonies contrary to their owners' beliefs." The Indiana fix is now going to allow the government to financially ruin people whose owners follow their consciences by refusing to participate in same sex weddings.

It is a sad state of affairs that the leadership in the Christian community has been missing in action in defense of religious liberty. Following the secular progressive's campaign to mischaracterize the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a vehicle for enabling discrimination, where were the pastors, priests, rabbis, elders and bishops standing up for the right of religious opinions or the right not to interfere with matters of conscience? They were nowhere to found when the politicians nullified Article 1, Section 3 of the Indiana Constitution.

Like most of the politicians in Indianapolis who were bullied and threatened by the harsh tactics of the radical left, our Christian leaders are intimidated and browbeaten by the progressive, hard left. Rather than publicly defending their theology and their flocks' right of conscience, they fear the "politically correct" police labeling them as homophobes or anti-woman.

With secular progressives more aggressively engaging in anti-religious effort to shut town Christianity, this is but nothing more than another element of their effort to transform America. If you like ripping right of conscience from our constitution, you're going to love future "hate speech" laws where speaking "politically incorrect" biblical truths lands you in jail. Christians must fight back and insist our representatives repeal the fix to defend the faith even if our leaders won't.

Michael Lewinski
Dubois, Ind.
April 08, 2015

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Bills would concentrate power in Indianapolis

Feb. 4, 2015

I was under the impression that the Republican party was all about smaller government, yet bills have been introduced in this legislative assembly that will concentrate all power and authority in Indianapolis.

Senate Bill 249 states that no county or township shall enact any type of ordinance prohibiting a CAFO or CFO. At present, those large buildings, housing thousands of animals and their tons of manure, can be as close as 500 feet from a residence. You can go to www.in.gov/idem/4994.htm to read what they do and don't regulate and to see if the IDEM has issued any permits for your area.

House Bill 1321 does the same for fracking. Fracking is a type of oil or gas well, where water and chemicals are pumped into the ground, fracturing the subterranean rock so that the oil or gas can be extracted. This type of drilling has been known to contaminate neighboring wells and has been linked to minor earthquakes in several states. You can read all about it on www.dangeroffracking.com.

House Bill 1290 nullifies all EPA regulations and puts our protection from industrial pollution of CAFOs and fracking into the hands of a politically appointed board (www.in.gov/idem/6815.htm).

House Bill 1351 nullifies all local ordinances restricting CAFOs and/or fracking.

You can read these bills by going to www.iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills.

It seems that this legislative body is putting business and economic development above the welfare of those Hoosiers affected. By giving the state government all control, we lose our right to have any say. Once a right is lost, it is very hard to get it back. One by one, rights can be removed and, when people realize what has happened, it's too late. So, contact your state legislatures at www.iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators and make your thoughts known. If you don't come to the aid of your neighbor, who will come to your aid when you need it?

Harold Wilson
Corydon, Ind.
February 18, 2015

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Talk with your kids about relationships

Feb. 3, 2015

Did you know that two out of three teens will experience teen dating abuse? Unfortunately, 75 percent of parents don't talk with their kids about relationships. While numbers as large as those are scary, talking to your kids shouldn't be. Although your kids may not tell you this, they actually want to have these conversations. Ultimately, by initiating these conversations with your teens, you have the power to set them up to have safer and healthier relationships throughout their lives.

The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence Youth Council is a group of high school students from all over the state. They have talked with other teens and adults across Indiana about why these conversations aren't happening and why they're important. Because many adults have told them they are afraid to have these conversations, here are a few fear-busting tips on how to have these conversations early and often:

It's OK if you think this is hard.

It's OK if you don't always know what to say or have the perfect advice in that moment.

It's OK if you don't know the answers to all of your child's questions.

You can work together to figure it out!

There's a difference between not knowing exactly the right thing to say and choosing to say nothing at all. Use your past experiences — and new information — to help lead teens in the right direction.

Keep in mind that conversations (talking AND listening) are better than interrogations (shooting questions at them and expecting immediate answers).

Remember to be open-minded and non-judgmental when talking and listening to your kids.

Kids will answer your questions if they feel like they can give honest/real answers.

Both adults and teens have valid information to share.

Don't jump to conclusions.

If the timing isn't right, don't make your teens feel pressured to talk; let them know that the door is always open.

We urge you to visit stand4respect.org to find information on how to start conversations about topics like:

Consent ("From sharing a snack to sharing an apartment").

Healthy uses of social media ("Love in a technological age").

Giving and receiving respect ("Flirting with respect").

Supporting us through breakups/fights ("Being a backboard").

After visiting stand4respect.org, the next step is to talk with your teens. Together you have the power to prevent this problem.

Jon Kuss
Director of Hoosier Hills PACT
February 18, 2015

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National Guard service important

In response to the Viet Nam veteran who posted a comment in the (call-in) section (recently): Thank you for your service. That being said, much of your information is not factual.

Both George Bush and Dan Quayle served in the National Guards. The service the guards provided in protecting our country was and is as important as the service you provided.

More than 50 percent of our guardsmen have combat experience. While here on our land, they serve in search and rescue and emergency relief during disasters. Perhaps you would be thankful to them if you were the one in need.

You speak with hate in your heart, unforgiving animosity. For nearly 50 years, you have carried around a heavy load of hate in a little basket with you. It is time to get a better understanding of the guards and empty your basket.

Your comments made me wonder if you could have looked into the eyes of the mothers and fathers of the five young guardsmen from Bardstown, Ky., that lost their lives in the Viet Nam Conflict. Those young men were not HIDING, they were not COWARDS.

The guards fought in WW I, WW II, Desert Storm and other conflicts. They are there for us, and they were there with you. Need I say more?

I am the wife of a soldier that stood proud and served his country in the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam Conflict. Your job was no more or no less important than that of any other soldier, or guardsman.

I find your unsigned, no-name post heartless and offensive. I pray that you will find comfort from your bitterness.

P.L. Frost
Corydon, Ind.
February 04, 2015

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Here are reasons why farmers to what they do

We echo recent comments made in the Jan 7, 2015, newspaper regarding the unnecessariness of additional ordinances for livestock farming at the county level. To fully comprehend and appreciate the complexities of farming, it might be beneficial to revisit why farmers do what they do.

Sometimes farmers plant or harvest after dark. Many times this is dictated by weather as was the case this past fall when farmers waited to harvest soybeans and corn until conditions became dry enough. This wait required working in the field into the late-night hours long after the sun had gone down.

Like humans, animals sometimes get sick and need antibiotics. When this happens, farmers call the veterinarian. Just as in human health, the use of antibiotics for animal health is highly regulated. Labels and guidelines regarding administration and withdrawal are followed.

Today's modern no-till or minimum-till farming methods prevent soil erosion and runoff which ultimately avoids contamination of creeks and streams.

Some farmers use artificial insemination to get improved production and growth in a livestock operation. In the case of a cattle operation, this process can provide a more consistent and uniform calf crop.

Use of genetically enhanced crop makes it easier to control weeds and insects. Drought-resistant crops is one example of this type of science.

Raising animals in buildings began in the 1970s. This housing system protects animals from predators and extreme weather conditions. For example, placing a sow in a stall while she farrows (delivers a litter of pigs) protects the baby pigs from being mashed or eaten by their mother. This automation results in better management, reduced costs and healthy production environment.

All of the above — and more — enables the American farmers and ranchers to produce an abundance of quality food under high standards at an affordable price for consumers.

Unfortunately, many take our food supply for granted. Much of America's food supply is shipped overseas and throughout the world. Of the 7.2 billion people on this planet, nearly one billion go to bed hungry, starving or extremely malnourished. Population estimates indicate there will be nine billion people by 2050.

Farming and ranching is a 24/7 job. Farmers oftentimes are called "champions of animal care" and it's important for consumers to know "why farmers do what they do." Besides working hard and making an honest living, we are feeding the world with an abundance of quality and safe food. This safe food supply could be threatened with additional and unnecessary ordinances.

It is imperative that we are proactive in telling the story of "why farmers do what they do."

Peter J. and Joan T. Schickel, Concerned citizens and semi-retired farmers
Lanesville, Ind.
January 28, 2015

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Think again about Sunday alcohol sales

For many years, advocates for communities around the state have fought to protect both residential interests and those of our local merchants. But, too often, our efforts have been overrun by national and international big money and their lobbyists, who have been far more interested in maximizing their bottom line than in the welfare of the people of the state of Indiana.

Keep your eye on that lobbyist behind the curtain. He's a whiz at telling you what he wants you to believe (and at not telling you what you need to know). He'll tell you that Indiana's alcoholic beverage law is archaic, obsolete, behind the times, out of touch with modern reality. (He doesn't tell you he is a paid lobbyist — for out-of-state corporations.)

Grant Monahan's article in the Opinion section of the Jan. 7 edition of the Clarion News in support of Sunday sales, beginning with his very first sentence, contains many erroneous "facts" and flawed conclusions.

Mr. Monahan says that prohibition was repealed because "the American people realized that it simply didn't make sense." Not so. Prohibition was repealed to remove the stimulus for the fearful lawlessness perpetrated on the American people by mobsters flaunting the law in order to maintain and control the alcoholic beverage industry.

Mr. Monahan says that carryout sales in Indiana have not changed since 1933 but are "exactly the same." Now, Mr. Monahan knows full well that, for his clients, carryout sales have changed considerably, and to their benefit.

When prohibition was repealed, the Indiana General Assembly, recognizing that alcohol is a dangerous drug with potentially harmful, even fatal consequences, enacted the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Title 7.1 (the law that Mr. Monahan finds archaic).

Purpose No. 1 of the law is to protect the economic welfare, health and peace of the people of the state of Indiana. Is it archaic to protect the people of Indiana?

Purpose No. 2 is to regulate and limit the manufacture, sale, possession and use of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Is it archaic to control a beverage with dangerous potential?

In order to accomplish these purposes, the General Assembly created the package liquor stores to be the retailers to sell alcoholic beverages responsibly. The package stores were severely limited in those sales: no one under the age of 21 could enter a package store, clerks had to be at least 21 years of age, and only a few items related to alcohol could be sold. Those limitations have not changed since 1933 — for the package stores.

Over the years, the intent of the Legislature has been seriously eroded so that many other entities have been permitted to sell alcoholic beverages. However, the restrictions imposed upon the package stores were not required of those other retailers.

A child of any age unaccompanied by an adult may enter a drug store, grocery store or gas station convenience store and wander through the aisles of alcohol for carryout sales. Those retail establishments may sell anything from milk to motor oil, from toys to toiletries, from shoes to sleeping bags, in addition to selling alcoholic beverages. Quite a lot of changes from 1933.

While it is contrary to law for grocery stores to sell hard liquor, big box stores holding a pharmacy permit flaunt the law and sell hard liquor in their grocery section, which is usually the section farthest from the pharmacy. Maybe not so much change from 1932.

Mr. Monahan would have us believe that alcohol is a product just like milk or ketchup or cereal or cookies or french fries. Those items are food. Alcohol is not a food. It is a drug. A drug that can harm and even kill.

The General Assembly has always recognized this danger to the people of Indiana and has intended alcohol to be a controlled substance, not a free-market commodity, as Mr. Monahan would have us consider it to be.

Mr. Monahan says that retailers in Indiana border counties are losing business to neighboring states by not having Sunday sales. Not his clients. They have stores on both sides of the border, indeed across the borders of states all over the United States (and some all over the world). And they take profits from Indiana back home to Arizona or Rhode Island or Tennessee or England or the Netherlands.

Mr. Monahan says Sunday sales is an matter of "convenience." Convenience for whom? The responsible drinker plans ahead. The irresponsible drinker wants access to his alcohol whenever he wants it — now. We know from experience (and lots of statistics) that more access to alcohol leads to more bad behavior. Do we want to enable the irresponsible drinker to have more access to alcohol or do we want to support his family and neighbors who would appreciate a day of respite?

Mr. Monahan is right about one thing that he said in his article: this issue is about retail growth — for his clients. Because of all their limitations, package stores cannot afford to stay open seven days a week. Were Sunday sales permitted, they would go out of business.

How very "convenient" for Mr. Monahan's clients and the growth of their bottom line. With their only competitor out of the way, they would have the entire alcohol market to themselves. Since those out-of-state retailers already benefit from having almost none of the restrictions that were intended to protect the people of the state of Indiana, were they to be in control of alcohol sales in Indiana, would we be back to 1932?

When Mr. Monahan says that Sunday sales (more access to alcohol) has no financial cost to Indiana taxpayers, good grief. You already know the answer to that, but ask any police officer, E.R. physician, family counselor, auto repairman, insurance salesman.

Beware those paid lobbyists behind the (green) curtain. Sunday sales? Good for irresponsible drinkers and out-of-state corporate greed. Not so good for responsible Indiana residents and home-grown retailers.

M.L. Walker
Eckerty, Ind.
January 21, 2015

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Issues with 'farming proponents'

I am writing about the article that was in your Jan. 7, issue, titled "Farming proponents caution against 'piggyback' ordinances."

I am concerned about our elected officials being swayed by these paranoid people who think advocacy groups are out to get them. They seem to think that any type of regulation to protect the citizens from pollution or improve the living conditions of animals in those large buildings is against them personally.

The focus of the Commissioners' meeting was about enacting ordinances that seemingly affect only pets but could affect their farmed animals. I would like to point out that Indiana Code 35-46-3 covers offenses relating to animals; however, section 5 of that code says these offenses do not apply to "acceptable farm management practices." So, unless that is changed, they have no worries.

The article mentioned the new law in California that will free egg laying hens from being crammed in small drawer-size cages where they are left until they are considered used-up. Please go to www.eggindustry.com to see this "acceptable farm management practice." I think it's pitiful that those people think humane treatment of commercial hens is a bad idea.

It was also mentioned that we are blessed to have cheap food, but with extra restrictions, our food prices will go up. I would like to say that our "cheap prices" come at the expense of all the pain and suffering of all those animals raised in those large buildings. Which seems to be something those people don't want to consider. At one time, people enjoyed cheap cotton raised by slaves, but we eventually saw the moral degradation of that practice. And maybe someday we will see the moral degradation of these "acceptable farm management practices." It's not about them; it's about the animals they raise, and I don't think people would mind paying a little more knowing the animals were raised humanely.

Ray Wilson
New Middletown, Ind.
January 21, 2015

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United Way helps Cedar Street Food Pantry

We just want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the United Way for their financial aid to our food pantry. For several years now, they have given us monies to help purchase foods for the pantry.

United Way has blessed our food pantry, and we are very grateful for their help. The need remains very strong for food in our area, and we would not be able to do what we do without the aid of the United Way. Our clients very much appreciate the additional food items that we purchase through the help of United Way.

Thanks, United Way!

Editor's note: This letter is the next in a series of letters from Crawford County organizations sharing how the United Way of Crawford County is making an impact on the lives of the county's residents.

Ed Conway, Cedar Street Baptist Church Food Pantry
Marengo, Ind.
December 03, 2014

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