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Meetings should be public

After losing a legal complaint filed with the Public Access Counselor last year, you would have thought that the new county council would have taken the time to study the laws on how to advertise meetings and when closed door or executive meetings can be held. Apparently, they didn't, and, to quote President Reagan, here we go again.

At the January commissioners' meeting, Councilman Bill Breeding expressed his and the rest of the council's concerns about how the commissioners were conducting business on some issues. He then asked the commissioners to hold a joint executive session to discuss the issues. To Bill and the rest of the new council, to hold a joint executive session with the commissioners could possibly be an illegal meeting.

By law, there is a limited number of reasons to hold an executive session, and most of them do not apply to county government. The ones that are left apply to the commissioners, with the exception of litigation.

It is the commissioners' job, not the county council's, to interview, hire, discipline or fire employees, contract negotiations, purchase or lease real estate, union negotiations and litigation threatened or pending. All of these are reasons for an executive session. If the county council is included in the threatened or pending litigation, then a joint executive session is called for.

When the commissioners hold an executive session to discuss issues in their job description, not in the county council's job description, the county council becomes a member of the public at large. If the public can't attend, then the county council can't attend.

By law, the specific reason, by Indiana code, must be on the posted public notice stating the reason for the executive session. If a joint session is held, what reason will be put on the notice?

To Bill and the rest of the new county council, last year, instead of concentrating on being good council members, you expended all your efforts on the commissioners' job and second-guessing them. That eventually led to making mistakes as councilmen that cost the county $83,000, and the county still doesn't have paramedic-level ambulance service. This year, please concentrate on being councilmen before you cost the county more money or get us sued. If it is truly the council's desire to hold secret or illegal executive meetings, then move to Cuba or North Korea, where such practices are common.

To the commissioners, if you allow a camel to stick its nose under the flap of your tent, it will not be long until the entire camel is inside the tent with you.

If you would like more information on the open door public meeting laws, please go to the Public Access Counselor's website at www.in.gov/pac. Look for the link that goes to the open door laws or the handbook on Indiana public access laws.

Thank you for allowing me to exercise my right to free speech.

Gary Robinson
Marengo, Ind.
February 03, 2016

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Retired LHDC CEO thanks community

Jan. 1 marks my first day being retired from Lincoln Hills Development Corp. after a 39-year career, including 35 years as CEO.

I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to the entire Crawford County community for their support during my time at LHDC and for all the expressions of congratulations and best wishes as I enter a new phase of my life. I also want to thank Chris Adams and Taylor Ferguson and the entire staff at the Clarion News for their fair coverage and for their help in keeping the public informed of the services and activities available at LHDC.

My parents instilled in me a love of family, a hard work ethic, a thirst for education and a passion for public service. During my time at LHDC, I believe I was able to nurture all four of those traits, and I hope, along the way, the community has improved its quality of life.

As I leave LHDC and begin the rest of my life, I reflected on my past and found the lyrics from "Happy Trails" by Dale Evans Rogers seemed appropriate to my situation:

"Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.

Who cares about the clouds when we're together?

Just sing a song and bring sunny weather.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,

Others are blue.

It's the way you ride the trail that counts,

Here's a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again."

Thanks for everything and wishing all a happy, healthy and blessed New Year 2016 and "Happy Trails."

Larry K. Kleeman
Tell City, Ind.
January 13, 2016

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Cox, Smith true 'heroes'

After reading and rereading the article written by Taylor Ferguson in the Oct. 21, 2015, issue, I had to write my feelings about the Crawford County elementary principals, Alan Cox and Lisa Smith, who are truly heroes to give of their precious time and energy to two schools.

Giving up much and sometimes working from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. to make time for the school children is extremely admirable. However, heroes should not have to give up their lives for the school. The two principals they are replacing received a pay check and benefits, so Cox and Smith are saving the corporation approximately $200,000, as well. Now, these two people do double duty and do not receive an increase in their salary, but they are getting paid for 10 extra days for taking on two elementary schools. It seems to be extremely unfair to them and the children they want to care for in their classrooms, and their own family. Plus, they may become over-extended and stressed and burnt out and not be able to function in the manner they are accustomed to doing.

Superintendent DeRossett said the school board hopes to put a principal in each school as soon as possible. I hope it will be very soon as they knew since the end of the 2014-2015 school year that they needed to find replacements.

Rita Harden
English, Ind.
November 18, 2015

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Frustrated taxpayer

I arrived at the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, property tax statement and check in hand. I was stunned to find the courthouse locked and dark inside. In the short time I stood there not sure what to do with my tax payment, which was due that day, eight other people drove up, all prepared to pay taxes. I understand there were many more throughout the day.

I later spoke with a county commissioner who told me the courthouse was closed so that employees could take their Veterans Day holiday. Veterans Day fell this year on Wednesday, the day the courthouse is already closed.

It's unbelievable to me that someone — the treasurer, perhaps? — didn't have the foresight to see what an inconvenience and frustration this would pose to many county taxpayers. I strongly feel the courthouse should have been open, regardless of the typical practice of taking holidays on Tuesday when the holiday falls on Wednesday. Many, many taxpayers make their payment the day it's due. That is our privilege and the Treasurer's Office should be open to accommodate us.

County officials are elected BY the people to SERVE the people. This was a poor example of service to the county.

Editor's note: We printed a notice from the Crawford County treasurer on page A3 of the Oct. 28 issue notifying readers that the courthouse would be closed on Nov. 10 and that property taxes instead would be due on Nov. 12. Perhaps we should have printed the notice on Nov. 4 instead, but we wanted to do so far enough in advance.

Stephanie Ferriell
Marengo, Ind.
November 18, 2015

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More needs to be done to end Alzheimer’s

You've seen those inspiring T-shirts and bumper stickers that read "I Survived Breast Cancer" or "Heart Disease Survivor," but you will never see one that says "I survived Alzheimer's Disease."

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death from which there is no cure, no treatment and no way of slowing down its progression. It is a terminal disease that is called the "long goodbye."

The monetary price tag for the care of Americans with Alzheimer's will total $226 billion in 2015 alone. Today, one out of every $5 spent by Medicare and Medicaid goes to Alzheimer's treatment. Of the 10 major diseases that strike Americans, Alzheimer's will affect the largest number and yet receives the least amount of funding, with Alzheimer's disease being the most expensive to treat.

Receiving a clear Alzheimer's diagnosis is a challenge in itself.

Currently, only 45 percent of people with Alzheimer's or their caregivers say that they were provided with a diagnosis. In contrast, more than 90 percent of those with the four most common types of cancer say they were clearly informed of what they had.

There are currently more than 110,000 Hoosiers living with Alzheimer's with more than 332,000 caregivers. As an Alzheimer's Association board member and an Ambassador for Indiana's Ninth District, I am proud of our communities' efforts to help fight this disease as well as the support of Congressman Todd Young. On Aug. 22, my family, coupled with the Andres family held an annual fundraiser, the "Fading Memories Dinner & Dessert Auction" in Starlight. Through that event, we raised more than $60,000 for the Alzheimer's Association Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Chapter. I cannot thank the Starlight community and neighboring communities enough for their generosity in helping to make strides toward a cure for Alzheimer's.

Another local event, The Walk to End Alzheimer's for Louisville and Southern Indiana was held Sept. 12 at Waterfront Park in Louisville where we raised $415,000! It was great to again see our supporters come together in a wave of purple to support someday there being a world without Alzheimer's. After all, the end of Alzheimer's starts with us.

For more information on the facts of this horrible disease or information on how to get involved, call the Alzheimer's Association office at 1-502-451-4266 or go to www.alz.org.

Jack Koetter, Board member and Ambassador to Indiana Ninth District Congressman Todd Young, Alzheimer's Association - Greater Kentucky & Southern Indiana Chapter
November 11, 2015

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Response to Planned Parenthood editorial

The editorial by Taylor Ferguson titled "Shining light on Planned Parenthood videos" in the Aug. 19 Clarion News is a vivid example of why the abortion industry has been able to survive and be as profitable as it has for so long. It is naïve articles like this that cause confusion and obscure the truth of this horrid industry that is being financed by taxpayers ... There is too much evidence exposing the horror of Planned Parenthood's practices.

In writing articles like this, a journalist is only covering for the abortion industry while our children are murdered and their parts distributed for profit. It is part of the abortion industry's cover-up and obfuscation to deceive the American people and the parental victims of this heinous industry.

I would invite Taylor to stop by my office at the corner of state roads 64 and 135 in New Salisbury. I can provide proof of this abusive selling of baby parts as far back as 1999. I have a complete "Alberta Report" dated that year titled "Cannibalism-Eyewitness accounts from inside the booming trade in fetal body parts." I can even show Taylor a copy of the price list offered by a trafficker in baby parts (remember, since 1999) which lists the prices being paid for baby parts. For example, a spinal cord was worth $325. The rest of the list is too gruesome to list here. I often wonder: Where do people think the raw material comes from for fetal tissue research? I have been listening to the shrills, like Taylor, defending the abortionists for many years now. I have heard the arguments like "What about rape?" "What about incest or deformity?"

The last number I have seen, these cases make up 3 percent or less of the abortions. Most are simply for convenience. But, masterfully, the abortion industry has come up with such monikers to confuse and deceive, giving cover to the abortionists and the "choice" crowd and their spineless political supporters.

When I first joined the pro-life fight three decades ago, I had to debate with the pro-abortionists about the 'fetus' being just 'a blob.' Then came 3-D and 4-D ultra sound machines destroying that argument. One can see clearly that it is a tiny baby, not a 'blob.' Even when they were educated that the term 'fetus' is Latin for 'little one,' the pro-choicers stuck to their arguments. Then, in 1999, there was an article in the Courier-Journal that said Clinton and Gore (who were initially pro-life) had hoped to get "legal harvesting of babies" legislation passed, but failed. That was the first time I had heard "legal harvesting of babies." A United States senator (either Boxer or Feinstein) said on the Senate floor that "a baby is not a baby until it leaves the hospital." A Jewish ethics professor told my daughter's pre-med class over 20 years ago that "a baby is not viable for eight days."

Recently, there was a survey on college campuses that revealed that a large percentage of college students would support AFTER-birth abortions up to 4 or 5 years old in the cases of autism, Down syndrome, etc. Then, there was the case of Hermit Gosnell, the abortionist in Pennsylvania, now serving prison time, who his co-workers described as being "delighted" by watching newly-aborted babies trying to swim in the toilet.

Make no mistake about it, the abortion industry is after baby parts. If we do not shut down this Molech, the baby-killing spirit, abortion industry, America will have to say "Amen" to its own condemnation. And I am fearful that it is too late. The blood of over 50 million innocent babies crying out to God for justice and vengeance will not go unanswered. Our punishment is in progress. Look at the weather, fear of terrorism, unsafe borders, autism, Alzheimer's, the economy and on and on. Leviticus Chapter 26 and Deuteronomy Chapter 28 vividly detail the blessings and curses of a nation in their relation to God's laws. God will NOT be mocked.

Just 20 years ago my wife and I had a foster child 3 years old. He was different, and we did not know what his issue was. But, now looking back, I realize that he was autistic. So, 20 years ago I did not know what autism is. Today, I believe the statistics are one out of 70 new births are autistic.

If one reads Chapter 18 of Leviticus, it sums up the future for a nation that commits the obscenities that America is now participating in — "The land itself will vomit out its inhabitants." This is happening now and will soon get much worse. Our only hope is prayerful repentance and fervent preaching by the Gospel leaders of America as opposed to the "seeker-friendly" coffee and "anything goes" venues in the modern churches. People ... can continue to ... keep their heads in the sand, but there is a price to be paid by them and their families, as well as this great nation of ours. We shall soon see if God can be mocked. Most of us have heard or read the Scripture "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Please ponder this: "If God be against us, who can be for us?"

Ron Haendiges
New Salisbury, Ind.
September 09, 2015

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United Way helping keep county clean

The Crawford County Solid Waste Management District would like to express our support of gratitude to the United Way of Crawford County. With the many cuts in grants and funding that we have endured over the past few years, the United Way chapter in the county has been truly important to the people of Crawford County, as well as the agencies and organizations.

Tires, if not disposed of properly, can create a health risk for West Nile virus, as well as a physical safety risk to our county's children and a general health risk due to leaching of chemicals.

Because of the support of the United Way of Crawford County, through the Tire Recycling Day, the Crawford County Solid Waste Management District has been able to help control wasted tires sitting around homes and farms within the county, as well as keeping some of them from being dumped on roadsides. We are so thankful that the United Way is able to support the CCSWD for this important community health project, making Crawford County an even cleaner and better place.

By financially supporting the Tire Recycling Day project, the United Way has a real impact on our services. Without that support, this project would not exist. We would like to thank the board and members of the United Way of Crawford County.

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.

Tina R. Bowman, Crawford County Solid Waste Management District
September 02, 2015

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United Way funding helps child abuse investigations

The Milltown location of the Southwestern Indiana Child Advocacy Center Coalition (SWICACC) has been awarded grant funding from United Way of Crawford County for the purchase of new equipment and software that will assist in forensic interviews as part of child abuse investigations.

Children need a safe, child-friendly, secure location where a viable forensic interview can take place. SWICACC provides locations throughout a seven-county region where forensic interviews can occur without children having to travel outside their communities to receive services. Utilizing evidence-based best practices through a multi-disciplinary team approach provides Child Protective Services, law enforcement and prosecutors a greater opportunity to properly protect children and enhance their ability to obtain a successful outcome by properly investigating child abuse cases.

SWICACC is honored that United Way of Crawford County recognizes the value of the forensic interview process and importance of providing forensic interview services to the children of Crawford County.

Receiving this grant funding is just another example of the great work United Way is doing with the funds contributed by employers, employees and others to the overall United Way initiative. SWICACC appreciates the generosity of the donors who made this grant funding possible and encourages everyone to financially support the annual campaign according to one's personal means.

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.

Tamara Lampert, Southwestern Child Advocacy Center Coalition Coordinator
August 27, 2015

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Senate should support House GMO labeling legislation

I farm with my family in Howard County, growing corn, soybeans and sweet corn. As the fifth generation farming our land, we make decisions every day about the care of our crops and the health of our soil. These decisions determine our production practices and impact our yields. They also impact our income, because our farm is, after all, a family business.

One of the decisions we make each year is whether to plant genetically modified crops, also known as GMOs. This technology allows us to be better stewards of the environment. We can grow more crops on less land using fewer pesticides and less water and fuel. It also allows American farmers to safely and effectively feed a rapidly growing global population while keeping food prices relatively low. According to the U.S. State Department, our farm families will need to produce as much food in the next 50 years as was produced in all previously recorded history to meet this demand.

The Internet is full of scare tactics and misinformation about GMO crops. Regardless of what you may see or hear, the safety and benefits of biotechnology are proven. The FDA, USDA, AMA, National Academy of Sciences, World Health Organization and dozens of other scientific organizations have confirmed that GMOs are as safe for human consumption as non-GMO products. Farmers have intentionally changed the genetic makeup of all crops grown and livestock raised since domestic agriculture began 10,000 years ago. Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been altered by human hands, including organic and heirloom seeds.

As a mom and consumer, I shop for food that is healthy and safe to feed my family. I have served my children seedless grapes, tangelos, broccoli and many other modified foods from the time they were ready for solid food.

As a mom and farmer, I am pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. This law creates a national, science-based labeling law that eliminates the confusion created by a patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws for GMOs.

Labeling mandates being pushed in states across the country will cause families to pay more for food.

One recent Cornell study concluded that mandated labeling could cost families as much as $500 a year. Forcing food companies to produce their goods differently for each state will require an enormous investment and raise consumer prices in the supermarket.

Instead of passing policy that undermines our collective success, we should recognize the many benefits GM crops have provided all of us for more than 20 years. I urge Sens. Coats and Donnelly to stand up for both Hoosier consumers and farmers and support the common-sense approach to GMO labeling passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Isabella Chism, Second Vice President of Indiana Farm Bureau
Galveston, Ind.
August 27, 2015

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Thanks to Marengo Christian's Missionary Church for great week

I would like to thank Marengo Christian's Missionary Church for their Vacation Bible School held last month.

We do not belong to the church, but were invited by a friend. I'm so glad we took advantage of the opportunity. It was a wonderful, fun-filled week.

The theme was based on Disney's mega-hit movie, "Frozen," and all week the leaders reinforced the ideas that "Jesus thaws frozen hearts" and "We're all a bit of a fixer-upper, and Jesus can fix us." The kids really got it and had a great time singing songs, making crafts, hearing Bible verses and enjoying snacks with a "Frozen" theme. Friday featured a 100-foot slip 'n slide, which my kids talked about all week long!

Everyone at the church was so friendly and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet people. Having lived here just two years, we are still relatively new to the community. On the last day of the VBS, I was talking with the pastor and learned he had spent many, many hours on our farm, when it was owned by the late Gus and Lucy Slaten. It is truly a small world and we never know what connections we can make until we step out and try something new.

Much thanks once again to Marengo Christian's Missionary Church for a great week!

Stephanie Ferriell
Marengo, Ind.
August 19, 2015

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
02 - 06 - 16