Successful tire amnesty
Summer is here and so are mosquitoes. On June 2, Tire Amnesty Day was held at the Vigo County Fairgrounds thanks to the effort of the Vigo County and Terre Haute city government along with our citizens. The energy put into the program resulted in over 8,000 old and abandoned tires collected and disposed of, thus eliminating a breeding ground for the West Nile Virus mosquito.
We would like to extend our sincere thank you to Jessie Keith and the Vigo County Fair Board for once again allowing the use of the property. Also, a big thanks to the Terre Haute Environmental Code Enforcement Division: Marty Dooley, Rance Barnaby, Tim Manley, Gary Huxel, Jamie Ennen and Laurie Tharp. Once again, Hal Orndorff from the Terre Haute Parks and Recreation Department patiently worked a Bobcat Skid Steer loader at the event. Vigo County Highway Department employee Bob James lent a helping hand, too.
Thanks to tire slingers Mayor Duke Bennett, Vigo County board members Jeff De Passe and Judge Michael Eldred, and past member Chris Dailey. Helpers from the community were David Myers, Michael Shaw, Doris “Dee” Rhoderick, Christopher Grayless, Chris Novak, Jeremy Kiger, Jessica Kiger, Jennifer Clements, Elizabeth Grayless, Jeff Coombs and Jerad Clements.
Student involvement was also appreciated. Students from elementary, middle and high schools included Carter, Gavin and Paiden Myers, Kristopher Damon, Kristin Natalie and Kyndal Edwards. ISU masters of public health student Samar Alshonowi and ISU football players Logan Buske and Conrad Nicholls volunteered their time. Lugar Center for Rural Health Executive Director Dr. Joe Biggs, Medical Director Dr. James Turner and second-year IU School of Medicine students Ryan Hancock, John Tan and Angela Kuo helped make the day a success, too.
Health Department workers included Mike Grayless, Tony Grayless, Kim Edwards, Terri Manning, Loretta Little, Rhonda Coombs, Marci DeBoy, Travella Myers, Mark McClintock, Karen McVey, Joni Wise, Connie Malooley, Sydney Elliott, Jane Keyes, Kristin Wright, Chrissy Barbour, Warren Sweitzer, David Higgins, Joey Higgins, Logan Edwards, Tyler Wilkenson and State Department of Health Entomologist Bryan Price.
The looks of gratification on faces of all involved reflected a job well done and knowledge they had done a community service. The satisfaction was captured on camera by “Slim” Hehman. Thanks for another successful Tire Amnesty Day in Vigo County.
— Joni Kay Wise
Vigo County Health Dept.
The ethical challenges
of ‘forced responsibility’
This is a response to the letter titled “How about forcing some responsibility?” published in the May 30 edition of the Tribune-Star. In the letter, Mr. Wallace argues that the state should offer financial incentives to poor people to encourage them to be surgically sterilized. According to the logic, this would prevent them from having children, thus easing the burden on taxpayers.
Mr. Wallace is attempting to address the long-standing social problems of poverty and taxation in a common-sense way. After all, how many times have we heard someone say (or how many times have we ourselves said), “That person shouldn’t be allowed to have children”? But his solution is fraught with major ethical issues and a precedent that includes the worst man-made catastrophe ever to occur on this earth.
I encourage Mr. Wallace to research the history of the eugenics movement in Indiana. IUPUI has a good exhibit online titled “Fit to Breed.” In the early 1900s, leading scientists and statesmen in Indiana attempted to address the same problems of which Mr. Wallace wrote. Their idea was to encourage more suitable types of people to have children, and discourage the unsuitable types from reproducing.
Who were the more suitable types? One could take in the annual “Better Babies” contest at the Indiana State Fair to see which babies were awarded the blue ribbon for being most genetically superior (typically the more robust, blond-haired, and Nordic-looking babies — Caucasian of course). In fact, in 1907 the Indiana legislature passed the first eugenic sterilization law in the world. The State of Indiana sent out field workers to visit the homes of people, especially rural folks, to determine if they were “fit to breed.” Those deemed “feeble-minded” or with family histories of alcoholism, legal problems, or disabilities were deemed unfit to breed and were forcibly sterilized in many cases. The law was on the books in Indiana until 1974, leading to the forced sterilization of some 2,500 Hoosiers.
In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler began to admire the American eugenicists and took their ideas a step further by euthanizing what he and his Nazi party deemed to be the “useless eaters” of interwar Germany. The Nazis blended this “science” with their sociological views and took it to its logical conclusion: The Final Solution. This resulted in the genocide of some 11 million people, including Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, Afro-Europeans, disabled people, homosexuals, political opponents, and anyone else they deemed inferior. A Terre Haute resident named Eva Kor was used as a human guinea pig at Auschwitz by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who was directly influenced by American eugenicists trying to engineer “better babies.”
Mr. Wallace does not endorse euthanasia of the young or old (he didn’t mention the poor). Neither did his like-minded antecedents in Indiana. But as history demonstrates, the “little preventive action” that he suggests can lead to monstrous tragedy. While Mr. Wallace is careful to state that the choice for sterilization ought to be made by the individual, it is the slipperiest of slopes that he would embark upon, as it raises more questions like who should this incentive be directed toward, where do we draw the line, and who decides?
We should not let the State decide who is worthy of life or reproduction and who is unworthy, nor should we present such options to people who are under the duress of poverty. Please note that Indiana’s eugenicists offered the same choice to institutionalized people with the incentive of monetary rewards or release from the institution.
The broader point is that Mr. Wallace and others who point to sensational news stories are trying to treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. I absolutely believe that each person has tremendous power and responsibility to make choices benefiting oneself and society. That’s why I chose to be involved in education.
But we cannot possibly believe poverty is caused solely by one’s mindset or individual choices. Instead of using our energy to express outrage about poor people who make poor choices, we ought to devote our resources to understanding what causes poverty in the first place. As Mr. Wallace acknowledges through his complaint about taxes, poverty is a problem for all of us — not just the poor. We are all in this together, and we need each other’s compassion, wisdom, and historical understanding.
— Kiel Majewski
Free speech makes us great
I feel compelled to respond to a letter from Shirley A. Thomas in the Readers’ Forum of June 10. In that letter, Ms. Thomas expresses outrage and disgust with a political display in the yard of a Terre Haute resident as described in an earlier edition of the Tribune-Star. The display in question apparently portrays President Obama on a cross in a coffin and is in protest of one of his executive orders.
I must say up front that while I am outraged and disgusted with the way Mr. Obama has used executive orders to get around the legislative process to implement controversial measures that even his comrades in the Democratic Party won’t support, I wouldn’t choose the type of display described above. I feel the office of the presidency should always command our respect, even when we disagree with the policies of its current occupant. Also, as a Christian, the image of the cross is way too important to me to ever use in that way.
All of the above having been said, however, I take issue with Ms. Thomas when she says this yard display “… borders on [being] too much of a good thing,” by which she means free speech, as she goes on to say in the same sentence. Later in her letter she says that “… the right to express oneself should be limited by what is socially acceptable.” Later she asks whether Terre Haute has any “zoning laws which could force the removal” of the display. Still later, in typical left-wing elitist fashion, she resorts to name-calling and denigration of the individual, calling him “a far right nut” and conjuring up her own imagined idea of him “sitting in his yard saying things like, ‘I showed them Secret Service gents a thing or two about my rights. I can say anything I like and nobody is going to stop me.’”
All of the above is offensive on so many levels. I don’t know where to start, and there is not space enough in the paper, so I will only dwell on some of it. First, the free speech thing. Ms. Thomas lets us all know right where she stands, in spite of all her past letters telling us what fine liberal values she has and lecturing all of us on our need to embrace those high-minded, purely altruistic values for ourselves: she stands firmly with the hard-left totalitarians who would control every aspect of our lives, starting with taking away our freedom of speech.
When someone says free speech is too much of a good thing and should be limited to that which is socially acceptable, and wants to force removal of things that don’t fit her political philosophy, that person to me has a totalitarian, authoritarian mindset. I don’t recall ever hearing from Ms. Thomas (or anyone else on the left, including most of the media) when it was popular to threaten President Bush’s life, and to burn him in effigy, and to draw Hitler mustaches on his likeness, etc., etc., etc., but as offensive as these things were to a lot of us, they qualify as free speech (aside from the threats, of course), just as the aforementioned display does.
Ms. Thomas doesn’t like her imagined Mr. Willis gloating that he can say anything he likes. Myself, I find that that one simple thing, almost more than anything else, makes America the greatest nation in the history of the planet. We can, at least so far, say anything legal that we want.
Finally, although I’ve only scratched the surface of my umbrage at Ms. Thomas’ letter, I will just add that isn’t it a shame that she had to resort to portraying Mr. Willis, whom she admits to not knowing, as some ignorant backwoods hick who can’t even speak proper English? Unfortunately, conservative-minded people are routinely portrayed this way by the left.
— James E. Stephens, M.D.
Will there be limits to police response?
Recently in Aurora, Colo., the police acting on a “tip” stopped 19 cars at an intersection in full SWAT team regalia. Citizens were ordered from their cars at gun point, handcuffed, and put on the curb while the police searched all the cars.
If you haven’t heard about this incident, or seen the picture of cops sighting down a shotgun at a young teen emerging from a car with hands up, you really should expand your news sources.
They finally found the guy they were looking for, but in the process they also terrorized innocent civies and young children. They also trampled the Constitution that they’ve sworn to uphold and defend.
My question to Mayor Duke Bennett and Police Chief John Plasse is what assurances can you give the citizens of Terre Haute that this will never happen in our city? Is protecting the Constitutional rights of our citizens a priority for our officers?
— Dean W. May
Delta Dental cheers state smoking ban
Indiana is following the lead of the 22 states who have already implemented a statewide smoke-free law. Beginning July 1, smoking will be prohibited in most indoor places except for bars, casinos and private clubs.
May 31 was designated as World No Tobacco Day to remind the public about the dangers of smoking. Despite public awareness efforts about smoking and its consequences, Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates in the country at 25 percent, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Anti-smoking ads that feature disturbing images of former smokers often appear all over the television, yet 28.4 percent of the United States population still uses tobacco products. Those statistics remain startling given the fact that smoking and chewing tobacco have profound, life-altering effects on one’s health.
Smoking poses numerous complications when it comes to oral health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent National Health Interview Survey, current smokers were almost one and one-half times as likely as former smokers and more than two times as likely as “never smokers” to have had three or more oral health problems. Tobacco users also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer, periodontal disease and dental decay.
There will be more than 40,000 newly diagnosed oral cancer patients and more than 7,800 will lose their battle this year and based on the latest data from the National Cancer Institute, oral cancer continues to be on the rise in Indiana. Of those newly diagnosed cases, 80 percent of those patients used a tobacco product. The risk of developing oral cancer increases with the amount smoked or chewed and the duration of the habit. In addition, according to a recent study by Delta Dental’s Research and Data Institute, oral cancers may be the most costly cancer in the nation to treat.
Currently, there are 11 communities and four counties in Indiana that are 100 percent smoke free, including Delaware, Hancock, Monroe and Vanderburgh counties. Workers and travelers at Indianapolis Airport Authority have been able to breathe a little easier since the airport went smoke free in 2008. Progress is being made, but there’s still a ways to go.
Recently, when the state’s first smoking ban law went to a public vote, 70 percent of voters showed their support. On March 19, the governor signed the statewide smoking ban into law.
Delta Dental of Indiana supported World No Tobacco Day and applauds this new law.
I encourage those who voted to continue to reach out to their senators and representatives. Making your voice heard to our legislators is an important step in becoming a 100 percent smokefree state and an even more vital step in improving the oral health of Indiana residents.
— Dr. Jed Jacobson
Chief Science Officer
and Senior Vice President
Delta Dental of Indiana
Will someone please explain to me (hopefully a reader of the Opinion page) how our president can fail to commemorate (with a live, few minutes statement) the 68th anniversary of D-Day: The landing on the shores of Normandy. Indirectly, the invasion of Western Europe is somewhat intertwined in my autobiography: I was liberated by a unit of the American Army, after being kept four years in Nazi concentration camps and a ghetto.
I still remember the scene. GIs of the 250th Combat Engineer Battalion, 7th Army, liberated Magdeburg Concentration Camp, which was a satellite camp of the notorious Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
The commanding officer (of the American Unit) was Lt. Col. Andrew Nehf, a native of Terre Haute. This great human being was instrumental in my coming to America and Terre Haute. The colonel arranged the sponsorship with Mr. Norman and Mrs. Helen Coplan.
And now continuing with my main narrative. Literary and military experts throughout history have expressed the thought that in the mission of D-Day, the manner in which the United States Armed Forces performed in the battle, could be defined as their finest hour (to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill).
As a veteran (U.S. Army; 1952-1954) rank: Cpl.; my duty, also, included one year in Osaka, Japan.
I was truly hurt that President Obama chose June 6 to attend several fundraisers in California, which culminated in Hollywood, in its famous suburb Beverly Hills.
I simply don’t understand. All it would have taken is five minutes (live) of acknowledgment of one of America’s most illustrious battles under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
— Michael Kor