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'So-called experts' tend to overlook forest ecosystem

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.

Tom Zeller
January 08, 2020

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Bell lacks wisdom, maturity to serve as Crawford judge

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.

Katheryne Rogers
November 26, 2019

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Early work on bridge project alleviates worries

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
Milltown, Ind.
November 13, 2019

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Chili supper, auction to kick off fundraising for LUCAS device

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

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Reader missed 'true content' of column

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.

Ashira Young
Milltown, Ind.
October 09, 2019

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Woods, Young ‘dead wrong’ about Trump

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.

David Boone
Marengo, Ind.
October 02, 2019

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Reader finds ridiculing handicapped people ‘disgusting’

I don't know who these people are. They go to rallies and the speaker gets up and makes fun of and ridicules a handicapped person, or makes fun of and mocks a woman who has been sexually molested. When he does this, these people applaud and cheer and clap and laugh. How disgusting.

My father was handicapped. He walked with a limp most of his life. He was shot in the ankle in World War II. It could have been him they were laughing at.

I don't know who these people are. Sadly, I'm not sure I want to know.

Spence Wade
Leavenworth, Ind.
October 02, 2019

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Tax needed to maintain paramedic service

They say there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. I, personally, am not a fan of either one, and I'm sure all my fellow council members would agree. The council is currently considering a public safety tax. I am sure there are a lot of questions, concerns and, as with any tax, opposition.

We as council members work for you, the residents of Crawford County. That is why I want to make sure you have the correct information about this tax and why we are considering it.

The primary reason is our paramedic service. We have made huge strides in the last year. We have seen many people get treatment that was unavailable before. This has resulted in several people getting another chance at life. I witnessed this with a friend recently. I don't think he would be here today without the treatment our paramedic service provided. Every life that is saved is another reason why the council has to keep paramedic service alive.

Through several steps by our director, we have increased revenue. This has resulted in around $200,000 in additional funds. Unfortunately, that still doesn't solve the funding issue. Several things have gone without being addressed for too long. That full $200,000 went to a new ambulance this year. A second ambulance needs replaced soon.

On top of that, a lot of our equipment is becoming obsolete and needs updated. Region 15 has applied for a grant for a new ambulance.

Paramedic service is a struggle to support in most counties, especially with a smaller tax base. That is why 77 of 92 counties in Indiana already have this tax in place. The 15 that don't are counties that have large populations and major industries. We have looked for every option to avoid a tax but have now figured out what the other 77 counties have: this tax has to be considered.

Funding for the ambulance service has been a problem for many years, 11 years for me. Eighty-five percent of our runs are Medicare, and they pay a set fee, which sometimes doesn't cover all the costs. I want folks to understand, and I also want folks to have the best care.

Before paramedic service, we would take our patients to a paramedic service and transfer them so they got proper care. This was important time wasted, and the other service would get most of the run money. We now have a lot better option.

Lastly, when you put so much into financing something as vital as your ambulance service, other things suffer. We, as a council, have tried to be creative with our options and addressed some of these problems such as pay increases for the sheriff's department, courthouse employees and EMTs. That still leaves highway workers who are underpaid while being more efficient than ever. Our dispatchers need pay increases, too. We don't want to keep losing our quality workers because we don't have decent pay.

If this tax is passed (Social Security checks would be exempt from this tax), it will absorb the cost of paramedic service along with parts of the sheriff's department, like dispatch. This will allow the county to tackle many other important issues, like roads and bridges.

I don't want all this information to come across as we are desperate or that the county is in a terrible situation. I do want to get across the issues and let you know that we feel we have done a good job of working with the budget to improve several issues, but, in the end, we need to try something different.

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We have been doing the same things for many years and getting the same results. It might be time to try something new.

In my 48 years living in Crawford County, we now have the best public safety ever. Let's keep it.

William E. Breeding, Crawford County Council President
September 18, 2019

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Crawford needs tax relief, not another tax added

If a new tax is needed when the economy is booming, what will happen when it tanks?

A public hearing at 5 p.m. will deny working people their right to voice their opinion in a democratic government; they will be at work. At last year's hearing, ideas, presented by the public which the school board used, allowed the schools to frugally have school resource officers without raising taxes.

Our elected officials avoid mundane work. If work has glory and gets headlines, they do it. Otherwise, it's not done or contracted out. Morton Dale said he is so busy with economic development he doesn't have time for anything else. That is odd; he was elected to do the work a commissioner is supposed to do, not seek fame and headlines on tasks that are not in the commissioners' job description.

Who profits from no-bid work? Contractors, not the taxpayers. Save the taxpayers' money by getting bids on jobs that cost more than $2,000.

In the budget crisis of 2008, a committee was established to study the budget. They discovered about $500,000 in savings, and the crisis was avoided. Why is this not being done now?

Economic Development is a local income tax whose revenues go to the Tax Increment Financing district, which is controlled by a 501(c)(3) committee. Committee members are appointed, not elected, yet they control millions of our tax dollars. ...

A Clarion News story stated over $500,000 was awarded to economic development this year. A new income tax would not be needed if those funds had some to the general fund.

The commissioners allowed the 501(c)(3) charter to annex existing Carefree businesses into the TIF district. This means their taxes that used to go to the general fund for roads, etc., will now go to the TIF district. ED is a luxury Crawford County can no longer afford. The taxpayers of Crawford County need tax relief more than we need ED.

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

Gary Robinson
Marengo, Ind.
September 18, 2019

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Leadership team asks Trump to end use of polarizing language

Members of our Congregation's Leadership Team just returned from the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, where they joined more than 650 leaders of orders of Catholic sisters who sent a letter to President Trump imploring him to end all divisive language.

Our entire leadership team also felt compelled to expand on this letter.

Our congregation is a community of Catholic women who collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy.

We are not perfect. But, our mission as a congregation is to live the gospel's message of love, mercy and justice in today's world. We strive to achieve this every day.

And in today's world, marked with so much violence and hatred, we call on those leading our nation to stand up and lead. No one is in a greater position to stand up and lead than President Trump.

Through the eyes of the world, the president is the face of our nation. Every president's words and actions have consequences. We are dismayed by President Trump's continued hostile language, which brings about disunity and discord, not only here, but across the globe.

We write to ask President Trump to put an end to this polarizing language. It continues to create division in our country and throughout the world.

Great leaders inspire others around them to act toward achieving a common goal. Great leaders are admired. Great leaders are remembered for their positive contributions to humanity.

We will continue to pray, Mr. President, that you have the fortitude to put an end to these hateful words and hope that you will steer our country in a moral and just direction.

The Sisters of Providence Leadership Team

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, General Superior,

Sister Lisa Stallings, Vicar and General Councilor, and

Sisters Mary Beth Klingel, Jeanne Hagelskamp and Jenny Howard, General Councilors

September 11, 2019

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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