Monday is National Freedom Day, which celebrates freedom from slavery. It also recognizes America as a symbol for freedom. It honors the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution which later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery Feb. 1, 1865; however, it was not approved by the states until Dec. 18 that same year.
The recent bus accident at Lawrence Township’s Amy Beverland Elementary School that claimed the life of principal, Susan Jordan, causes us to pause once again and dwell on the specialized needs of grieving children. While such events can cause widespread heartbreak among an entire school community, it doesn’t take a catastrophic event such as a Columbine, or a Sandy Hook, or even an Amy Beverland for children to experience grief at a profound level.
In this 2016 election year, huge amounts of money are being raised and spent by wealthy individuals, Super PACs and other interests to influence the election of candidates in upcoming primaries starting soon in some states and then the November general elections.
To taunt his rival and sow seeds of evangelical doubt, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz informed Donald Trump that the rest of the country was concerned about his alarming New York Values, totally ignoring the greater danger of the real estate developer’s aerodynamic coif toppling over and knocking innocent supporters unconscious with its hard candy shell.
Exciting things are happening within the Montgomery County Republican Party. So many new people are filing as Republican candidates for precinct committeeman, state delegate and county elected offices. There is a wonderful renewed interest in getting directly involved in our local civics.
INDIANAPOLIS — It is disheartening that when solutions are available to combat Indiana’s methamphetamine crisis, as have been amply demonstrated in Oregon and Mississippi, Indiana lawmakers and the governor look the other way.
When the history of this year’s presidential campaign is written, one of its more remarkable features will be that candidates of both parties feel it necessary to talk about income inequality. Surely that makes this a watershed moment.
This is third in a series of columns dealing with an update of the League of Women Voters position on juvenile justice. The League has included juvenile justice in its program since 1970 when the LWV successfully advocated for establishment of a Youth Service Bureau.
The League of Women Voters has included juvenile justice in its program since 1970 when the LWV successfully advocated for establishment of a Youth Service Bureau in Montgomery County, now celebrating its 45th year. This is the second in a series of columns dealing with the updated LWV position on juvenile justice.
INDIANAPOLIS — I do an annual exercise for my publication, Howey Politics Indiana, called the Power 50. In a normal year, the Indiana governor or one of the U.S. senators is likely to top the list depending on elections, legislative sessions or state and national issues. I broke the mold this year, opting for House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President David Long over Gov. Mike Pence. This comes as Pence faces a tough reelection battle with Democrat John Gregg. This year the key question was: Who has the most clout at the Statehouse?
Whoever wins next November’s presidential election, it’s a sure bet that at some point he or she will vow to set the federal government on the straight and narrow. Maybe the new President will even resort to the time-honored pledge to create a government “as good as the people.” It’s a bracing sentiment. But you’ll want to take it with a grain of salt.
Recently, I had a conversation with a relative about taking a stand for what’s right. Her response was pretty much like what society’s leaning is. Don’t get involved, ride the fence, and just let whatever will be, be.
At the beginning of a new year, cultures all over the world traditionally perform peculiar ceremonies meant to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. The Chinese hide knives to ward off danger. In Denmark, old dishes are thrown at front doors to symbolize the collection of new friends. Spanish residents eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock to promote good fortune. And in the Durst household, we percolate sardonically cynical predictions for the upcoming 12 months.
The Crawfordsville Street Department has just recently concluded another year of leaf pick up for the city. We again coordinated our efforts with the Storm Water Department. This collaborative effort has resulted in a much more effective and efficient method to the city’s annual leaf pick up program.
NASHVILLE, Ind. — A press release crossed my desk in early December from Americans For Prosperity. This is a Koch Brothers financed outfit and sometimes political and policy wing for Gov. Mike Pence. The gist of the release was that “Hoosiers currently pay one of the highest gas taxes in the nation” according to Justin Stevens of AFP. He went on to say, “Indiana already has a significantly higher gas tax than Ohio and Kentucky, and is only slightly lower than Michigan and Illinois. A gas tax increase would make us less competitive with our neighbors and place undue burden on our residents and businesses.”
At this time of year when many of us make resolutions, the League of Women Voters encourages all to include citizen engagement in your goals for 2016. The American governmental system, conceived by our founding fathers more than 200 years ago, has provided the framework for the most responsive government in the world; but it only works if citizens are informed and involved.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re on the brink of another presidential election year. Let us pray. Every quadrennial, the American political process plays out as a big-top carnival sideshow featuring moral contortionists, ethical geeks and fat sweaty white guys teetering on slack media wires.
WINTERSET, Iowa — Beyond the silos, down the street from the Rexall Drug, a few steps from the movie theater and the bakery, and hard by the Ben Franklin five-and-dime sits the Northside Cafe, with its nine wooden booths and its 15 shiny circular stools along the counter.
The Friendship Kitchen is an outreach ministry of New Bethel Fellowship Church, and with the help of the entire Montgomery County community it has offered a warm home-cooked meal every Saturday to anyone in need throughout the area since June of 2007. Kitchen Representative, Michelle Yoder, reports it has been a successful and busy year.
The League of Women Voters has included juvenile justice in its program since the 1970’s when the LWV successfully advocated for a Youth Service Bureau to be established in Montgomery County. Karen Branch, executive director of the Montgomery County YSB, presently serves as the chair of the LWV of Indiana’s Juvenile Justice Study Committee.
INDIANAPOLIS — As 2015 commenced, Gov. Mike Pence was riding high. His approval was above 60 percent. There was rampant speculation about a 2016 presidential bid, or perhaps a place on the national ticket. He had convinced the Obama administration to accept his Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 for consumer-driven Medicaid expansion. The jobless rate was on its way below 5 percent.
This week I spent an unseasonably warm evening at church listening to kids sing Christmas songs when I suddenly found myself tearing up. During an inspired rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude that these children could distract me in their sweet, showy innocence from the meanness and insanity of adults.