TERRE HAUTE —
A Republican candidate for Vigo County office claims he was booted from Terre Haute’s Labor Day Parade because of his party affiliation.
Caleb Fleschner, a Republican candidate running for Vigo County commissioner, said Friday afternoon politics are to blame for his removal from the parade line-up.
But Charles Toth, head of the Wabash Valley Central Labor Council AFL-CIO’s parade committee, said political affiliation had nothing to do with the rejection. Toth did say, however, that the organization does reserve the right to determine who participates in its event.
According to Veda Long, vice chair of the Vigo County Republican Party, no GOP candidates are slated to participate in Monday’s event.
“Not that I know of at this time,” she said Friday afternoon, adding party members had planned to march on behalf of Fleschner. “We decided we were going to help our candidates walk in the parade.”
According to Fleschner, he submitted his application and $25 fee on Aug. 12. Still in his possession is the letter issued by the Wabash Valley Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, which acknowledged Fleschner’s participation and assigned him “position number 36.”
The mailing — a copy of which was provided to the Tribune-Star by Fleschner — appeared to be a form letter, which Fleschner’s name and parade position filled in.
According to the letter, this year’s parade theme is “We are One and We Vote.”
The letter also includes the statement, “After the parade, feel free to join in the festivities at Fairbanks Park. There will be speakers, beverages and free ham and beans provided by the Vigo County Democratic Party.”
A second letter received by Fleschner was dated Aug. 29 and contained two sentences. It stated: “This letter is to inform you that the Labor Day Parade Committee has met and declined your invitation to participate in the Labor Day Parade. Therefore, enclosed please find your check #1001 in the amount of Twenty-Five ($25.00) Dollars as a refund.”
Fleschner also provided a copy of that letter to the Tribune-Star. It appears to be typed on Laborers International Union of North America Local No. 204 letterhead and carries the signature of Charles A. Toth.
No other explanation was given, Fleschner said.
“I’ve put in a couple calls and they’ve not been returned,” he said, adding he had 40 people scheduled to march with him.
According to Toth, the decision had nothing to do with political affiliation, rather procedure and preference. The decision to allow Fleschner’s entry was made by one person, he said, not the entire 13-member committee. This was also the case with other proposed entrants, many of whom have also been uninvited, he added. Participation in the parade, he said, is by “invitation.”
Toth on Friday said he couldn’t recall the specific names of organizations or examples of others dismissed from the lineup, he said.
Bill Treash, president of the Wabash Valley Central Labor Council, deferred comment to Toth, who he said is in charge of the parade.
According to Toth, other local parade organizers get to choose their participants as well, and he cited Indiana State University as an example.
“ISU doesn’t open their parade up to the public. They just go along and invite who they want. So that’s what we do,” he said, stating the labor unions are not invited to participate in the university’s event.
A search of the ISU website section about the annual “Blue and White Parade” reveals downloadable information about parade participation. A parade invitation letter, entry form for businesses and not-for-profit organizations is available at www.indstate.edu/homecoming/parade.htm.
The Wabash Valley Central Labor Council pays for the permit, security and other supplies for the parade, Toth said, and that entitles it to choose who gets to march.
The council is composed of several area unions. Toth serves as secretary-treasurer and business manager for Laborers Local 204. He ran as a Democrat in the May primary for the Indiana House District 46 seat, losing to fellow Democrat Jim Mann.
Toth said Friday afternoon he wasn’t sure of the specific number of parade participants, nor how many were denied, but he emphasized that party affiliation had nothing to do with the decision. Fleschner’s party affiliation, background or status as a 2012 graduate of ISU were unknown to him at the time of the decision, Toth said.
Bill Treadway, chairman of the Vigo County Republican Party and a candidate for the Vigo County Council, deferred comment to Long, whom he said handles the party’s parade participation.
Long said Friday she’d been in contact with Fleschner and felt the timing of the decision was quite poor, given he’d just learned of the removal a few days before the event.
“It sounds political to me,” she said. “I think it was just pretty sad.”
Fleschner, who is employed at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos and Newlin law firm, said his supporters are disappointed, but not surprised. The 2012 graduate works at the firm as a fee specialist. He said prior plans to attend law school were postponed after he made the decision to run for commissioner.
“They (supporters) just said it’s typical Terre Haute politics,” he said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, says labor chief; yes, says ousted marcher
TERRE HAUTE —
- Local & Bistate
Illinois Senate approves sex education bill
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A proposal that revamps sex education in Illinois public schools to include information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases has cleared the state Senate.
Gregg pondering 2nd run for Indiana governor
INDIANAPOLIS — Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is pondering another run at the state's top job, but has yet to make a decision.
Illinois senator apologizes for Nazi remark
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Sen. Donne Trotter has apologized for remarks that compared a member of Gov. Pat Quinn’s cabinet to a Nazi.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 22, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.
Rose-Hulman professor researching ways to make homes storm safe
Tornadoes produce greater uplift forces than hurricanes, which can flatten homes such as in Moore Okla., south of Oklahoma City.
Group wants to connect downtown Terre Haute with the Wabash River
Fairbanks Park is underutilized.
The Wabash River is peaceful and inviting, but there is some concern about its cleanliness as well as pollution levels. Also, people can’t get on the river unless they have a boat.
New conservancy district appoints first directors
Members of the first board of directors of a new lake conservancy district were appointed Tuesday by the Vigo County Board of Commissioners.
Vigo law enforcement signs Triad charter to protect seniors
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Vigo County law enforcement and community activists Tuesday to sign the county’s first Triad charter, becoming the 22nd Triad in Indiana.
Wabash Valley Red Cross wraps up Save the Day Campaign
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter’s 2013 annual meeting concluded the 17th annual Save the Day Campaign, and the results lifted the spirits of all who were involved.
Some Vigo roads washed out
Spring storms resulted in $250,000 in damages to roads in southern Vigo County, with costs including sand and labor to save homes near river bottoms, said county highway Assistant Superintendent Dan Bennett.
County Council votes $78K toward rail spur
County officials voted Tuesday night to make good on a 2011 promise to help improve a railroad spur just north of Terre Haute for Menard Inc.
Spring flooding damages future CSO holding lagoon
Flood waters from the Wabash River have done costly damage to one of the city-owned “lagoons” on former International Paper property.
Vigo tops state average for IREAD-3 scores
The Vigo County School Corp. exceeded the state average in the percentage of students passing the state’s mandatory Grade 3 reading test, IREAD-3.
Storms cause minor damage in Valley
Tuesday morning storms in the Wabash Valley caused thousands of Duke Energy customers to lose power.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 21, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.
UPDATE: Damage surveys show 2 weak tornadoes hit near Indy
INDIANAPOLIS — The National Weather Service says storm surveys show two weak tornadoes struck central Indiana.
Storm causes scattered Indiana power outages
INDIANAPOLIS — A line of thunderstorms that moved across Indiana caused scattered building damage and power outages for several thousand homes and businesses.
Kindergartner diagnosed with MD treated to a day with the fire department
“He’ll just never forget this day,” Stacey Manley said, a little bit tearfully, as she watched her smiling 6-year-old son Carter sitting happily in the captain’s seat of Fire Engine 2.
Casey, Illinois aims for another world record
The town of Casey, Ill., may soon weave its way into the record books as the small town with the most world records. After setting records for the world’s largest wind chimes and the world’s largest golf tee, Casey is now looking to become home to the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.
Rose-Hulman projects will promote growth, learning for people with physical challenges
Life changed dramatically for college engineering student Drew Christy on Feb. 22, 2008 when he was involved in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
‘500’ gas stations being sold to Speedway LLC
After several decades in business, the area’s familiar “500” gasoline stations and convenience stores will soon be missing from the roadsides of Vigo and Sullivan counties.
Terre Haute woman faces 14 charges
A Terre Haute woman faces 14 criminal counts after her arrest Friday on drug-related charges.
Two adults injured in ATV accident
Two adults were injured Sunday evening while riding an all-terrain vehicle near Lexington Farms Subdivision off Moyer Drive in southern Vigo County.
Vigo schools’ medical claims down 4 percent
The Vigo County School Corp.’s medical claims were about $13 million over the last 12 months, down 4 percent from the prior year, said Diane Titchenell, an Anthem account manager that works with the school district.
2013 Government Directory now available
The 2013 Government Directory is now available.
UPDATE: 5 killed, 6 injured in I-70 van crash in Illinois
ST. LOUIS — A van carrying church members returning from a California gathering careened off of a southern Illinois freeway and overturned several times today, killing five people and sending six others to hospitals, authorities said.
2 children reported dead from Indianapolis fire
INDIANAPOLIS — Authorities say some autistic children lived in the Indianapolis condominium unit where a fire has killed two children.
Tighter Indiana drunken driving law seems unlikely
INDIANAPOLIS — Some key Indiana legislators say it’s unlikely that the state will any time soon go along with a federal safety board’s recommendation that the threshold for drunken driving be cut nearly in half.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 20, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, based on jail records.
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Illinois Senate approves sex education bill