Letter to the editor

August 21, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Funding the Hoosier State Line

 

With all the discussion about mass transit at the Statehouse last session, I want to bring some much-needed attention to the Hoosier State Line, the passenger train that provides service on a 196-mile route from Chicago to Indianapolis.

 

I recently sent a letter to Gov. Mike Pence and to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard encouraging them to support the Hoosier State Line and the $3 million each year we spend to provide this service toCentral Indianaresidents.

 

The Hoosier State Line is critical to all of the cities along its route but especially to the city ofBeechGrove. It transports equipment and supplies to the Amtrak facility here and serves as a mode of transportation to thousands of people a year, including students who attend colleges along the line.

 

It’s not common knowledge that the Amtrak facility in Beech Grove employees more than 550 skilled workers and generates more than $61 million for the economy in Central Indiana,MarionCountyand Beech Grove. The Amtrak facility has attracted a number of businesses that have created additional jobs and much needed revenue.

 

In short,Central Indianacan’t afford to lose this vital asset, and we need Gov. Pence and Mayor Ballard to publicly support its funding.

 

Over the past five years, much has been done to the Amtrak facility to streamline its operation, reduce costs and continue to provide high-quality service. These changes needed to be made, and I believe Amtrak will soon embark on a more environmentally friendly way to power its new line of locomotives, which will further reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

 

Amtrak must also become more competitive when it comes to local mass transit and have a seat at the table as those options are discussed.

 

Travel by train is only one component of mass transit as cities such asIndianapolis, Beech Grove and others focus on strategic ways to move large numbers of people withinCentral Indiana.

 

As the Governor considers allocating resources for the Hoosier State Line, I would urge him establish a sustainable budget that will fund the service for years to come. It’s unfair to our workers and those who rely on the line to wonder each year anew if funding will be available.

 

I look forward to working together with the Governor, Mayor Ballard, State Representatives and local businesses to make sure the Hoosier State Line remains viable and is part of a successful local and regional transit strategy that will help our state move forward.

 

 

 

Dennis B. Buckley

Mayor

City of Beech Grove

Letters to the editor 6/13/13

June 12, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Realistic Power System Planning

I take my hat off to IPL for their commitment to replace outdated coal fired power systems at Martinsville with an advanced combined cycle power plant of significantly greater efficiency and greatly reduced stack gas emissions (Indianapolis  Power and Light announcement,  May 1st).  However, it didn’t take long for Kerwin Olson of Citizens Action Coalition to throw cold water on the proposal–for apparent contradiction of what seems to be CAC’s continuing  campaign to replace all fossil fuel power systems with the holy grail of renewable energy.  IPL’s proposal to employ a combined gas turbine/steam turbine system fired by abundantly  available natural gas is both realistic and forward looking.  Switching from coal to natural gas alone would almost totally eliminate particulate, SO2, and heavy metal stack gas emissions.  Moreover, at present gas turbine technology levels, natural gas is essentially the only fuel that will assure reliable combined cycle plant operation with its significantly greater overall energy conversion efficiency.  For example, at demonstrated present day technology levels, a combined cycle system could realistically increase overall power plant efficiency of the existing Martinsville coal fired plant by as much as 90%, translating to an overall fuel–and stack gas emission–reduction of  almost 50% at the same power plant  output !

 

In fairness, renewable energy systems (wind, solar) clearly offer some future promise, but large scale implementation is problematical in terms spatial footprint, affordable grid connections, and overall cost effectiveness. Additionally, the intrinsic unpredictability of the most likely renewable energy sources would still require fossil fueled power plants to meet electrical energy demand on cloudy and/or windless days.  The base load capability of IPL’s proposed plant is 650 megawatts, almost equivalent to 900,000 horsepower of continuous  output,  and  well beyond the capability of any  current on again/off again renewable energy system.  IPL’s planning is clearly on solid ground and they should be commended.

David A. Nealy, PhD

Retired Power Systems Engineer

Greenwood

 

Take a moment to read Amendment X

Dear Editor,

 

The recent refusal of the Supreme Court to even consider a case involving taxpayers being forced to pay for extinguishing life is abhorrent and almost unbelievable.

 

Our Indiana General Assembly passed a law preventing our tax dollars from subsiding abortions.  Planned Parenthood objected, and a federal judge sided with them.  Now we must all pay for the killing of unborn children.

 

Why must I pay for killing, an act that ignores the sacredness of life, is against the laws of the land, and against the laws of God?  If you choose to kill, that’s your choice and you must live with the consequences, but why must I pay for it?  Freedom of choice is one thing, but would you agree to pay me to exercise my freedoms in ways you found unlawful and against your deeply held convictions?

 

Already, since the passage of Roe v. Wade, more than 56,000,000 lives have been ended by mothers through abortion, giving those lives no opportunity to exercise their own freedoms.  If you must, ignore the tragedy of this act and ignore whether it is right, but please accept that it is wrong to make others pay for your choice.  Even a CNN poll found that 61% of Americans were opposed to using public funds for abortions when the woman cannot afford it,” while an Indiana poll in 2010 “found that 79% of Hoosier voters opposed using tax dollars to pay for abortions.”

 

Where does our US Constitution say that our state cannot set guidelines for who can receive our tax dollars?  Doesn’t anyone pay any attention to Amendment X anymore?  It seems the federal court does not, nor do many of our elected officials in Washington, ALL of whom have sworn to uphold the Constitution!  Take a moment to read Amendment X.  It’s only one sentence of 28 words.

Keith A. Brown

Greenwood, IN

 

The challenge of unemployment in the digital age

To the editor,

If you have ever been laid off, you won’t easily forget it. I was 31 and had been with my company for 11 years. I loved my job and the company I worked for – and yet that was the year I found myself unemployed. My position had been outsourced.

The emotional impact of being unemployed surprised me. Not only did it feel personal, it impacted my confidence and sense of identity. I would never have guessed that it would throw me so badly. But I knew what I needed to do: I applied for unemployment and started filling out applications. Of course, this was 20 years ago, and the journey to a new job was still paved with paper. I filled out applications and hand-delivered resumes. I went to the unemployment office, filled out paperwork, and waited in the hard plastic chairs until the number on my paper ticket was called. It wasn’t a pleasant process, but I knew it was what every other unemployed adult endured. It was at least a level playing field.

I did not succeed in finding a job, and in the end this meant a short-sale on our home and a move across country to Indiana. But it also meant new opportunities, a re-evaluation of our priorities, and the opportunity to stay home for several years with my daughter – something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Looking back it is easy to see this time as a blessing in disguise. But at the time, it was incredibly stressful.

Twenty years later, I see that same stress on the faces of our library users who are working their way through job losses. The emotion and the stress may be the same, but the details have become incredibly more complicated. The digital age makes our world an amazingly searchable place, but it also adds a necessary skill and resource to that search. Being qualified for a job is no longer enough. Even if you want to work in a job that requires absolutely no computer skills, odds are you do need those computer skills to apply.

According to the latest Pew Research Survey, 65% of Americans have broadband internet at home. I am fortunate to be one of those. Maybe you are as well. But in fact it wasn’t until I became a public librarian that I was able to put faces with the other 35% – my neighbors who do not have ready access to the internet. In Greenwood, this 35% equals roughly 18,000 residents. Not surprisingly, the 35% and the 65% have a lot in common. They work hard, pay their taxes, raise their children – but when those without access to broadband internet are laid off, they find themselves navigating the world of unemployment in the digital age. It is no longer a level playing field.

Fortunately, public libraries provide access to technology and broadband and level the playing field for everyone in our community. This free, tax supported service is essential in our communities. It is unacceptable that 35% of our community who are otherwise qualified should be put at a disadvantage in their job search. In addition to computers and internet access, librarians help job searchers create their first resumes, offer free computer classes to improve job skills, and provide one-on-one consultation to meet the unique needs of each user.

As I write this, the faces of the library patrons I have helped come to mind. They are your neighbors, your family, your friends. We get to know the patrons who visit every day searching for jobs online, creating resumes, or filing for unemployment. We take their job searches almost as personally as they do – and their successes motivate us to fight to preserve the service that leveled the playing field for them when they needed it most: The Public Library.

Sometimes I wonder if we should rename the Public Library. After more than a century of history in America, the public library has radically changed – it is a dynamic and flexible institution committed to meeting the needs of every resident and yet many of the 65% consider it a luxury or think it is a relic of the past. But when I see GPL with a full parking lot, well-used computers and wifi, and hundreds of thousands of books checked out each year, I know that there’s more to the public library than the stereotype would imply.

Should we rename the public library? Something catchy, something without the dusty connotations . . . or maybe it’s just as important to remember that the Free Public Library is still just that, and that it still functions to improve life for every citizen, just as its greatest American proponent hoped it would:

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. ~Andrew Carnegie

Cheryl Dobbs

Director, Greenwood Public Library

Letter to the editor

May 8, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Additional Beech Grove improvements on the way

 

At a recent Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, the Board approved a couple of significant agreements that will move our beautiful city forward. Our city is undergoing a second round of paving and with that we will have spent approximately $700,000.00 on roads in a little over 16 months, this does not include the Main Street project. We have so many bad roads that it is going to take several years to correct this infrastructure problem and place our roads on a repaving schedule. Years of non paving have created an enormous problem, which we are working through.

 

Soon work will begin to correct an erosion control problem in lick creek. If you travel down through theSarahT.BoltonParkand look at the creek behind the ball diamond, you will notice that the banks are eroding away. It has become so bad that we are concerned about the road washing away. It’s ironic that when it was brought to my attention as to how long it has been eroding away, I found out that this been occurring for over 10 years. This is another example of your government working for you.

 

And finally the center point of our city is getting a facelift. TheMain Streetproject is well underway. You will soon begin to see new curbs and sidewalks along with the first layers of asphalt. By mid May, you will begin to see the transformation and will be able to see what the finished product is going to look like. Sacrifices have been made by the residents who live in the construction area, and it has been a burden on the local business owners who are struggling through this process. We all desire the same result, and that is a beautiful street that will drain its storm water. Through patience and good work, we will be very satisfied with the end result.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Dennis B. Buckley

Mayor

City of Beech Grove

Letter to the editor

April 17, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

 

Financial savings for the City of Beech Grove

To the editor,

I want to update you on the status of trash collection and financial savings that we have made over the last several months.

As you may know, our DPW employees work out of two new semi-automated trash trucks, and we are picking up trash the way it used to be picked up. We have eliminated running each route twice a day, resulting in a financial gain of more than $20,000 in fuel. We no longer pick up commercial trash for free, which was costing the city thousands of dollars and hours of manpower each year.

Our city is now charging for heavy trash and brush pick up, which could yield an additional $12,000 in revenue for sewage works. These services were previously delivered for free at a considerable cost to local residents.

Because these are not core services, we believe it was fairer to institute a user fee than to ask all residents to pay more. We’ve also worked hard to make sure the trash collection system is more accountable.

In 2007, the city of Beech Grove distributed trash totes to each residential property to clean up loose trash and enable automated removal. From its inception until Feb. 2012, the city spent almost $120,000 purchasing totes and other automated accessories without any contribution from residential users. The city had no record of any tote distribution or location.

We were troubled by this lack of oversight, so we recently conducted an inventory that resulted in a list of 82 percent of the totes located throughout our city. This is a huge improvement that will enable us to track totes in the future.

Last year, we passed an ordinance that requires citizens who want new trash totes to pay a fee not to exceed the cost of the tote. By doing this, the city of Beech Grove has not spent one penny on additional trash totes.

These are just a couple of examples that illustrate how we are governing more responsibly by reducing costs to all taxpayers and making sure we’re spending money efficiently and effectively without a reduction in services.

In the coming months, we’ll unveil programs designed to prepare vacant properties for redevelopment and ownership, as well as alley clean-up and enforcement of junk and abandoned vehicles throughout our city.

It’s a pleasure serving you as your Mayor and I look forward to continued progress for the city of Beech Grove.

-Dennis B. Buckley

Mayor

Beech Grove

Letter to the editor

April 8, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

 Apple Donation Helps Food Pantry

 

To the editor,

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVdP) Food Pantry, 3001 E 30th Street, would like to thank Adrian Orchards for the recent donation of apples to benefit clients of our pantry. Adrian donated some 240 bushels of several varieties of apples, which were repackaged for free distribution to clients of the Food Pantry.

The SSVdP Pantry is serving over 3,000 households each week using an all-volunteer staff. We are currently experiencing a decline in the amount and variety of fresh food for needy clients, thus the apples were an especially welcome addition to the shopping line. Hopefully, both children and adults appreciated the texture, taste and nutrition of this quality fruit.

Adrian’s donation is another example of the goodness and generosity of organizations, leaders and individuals in the Indianapolis community. The store is closed for the winter, but please consider patronizing Adrian during the summer, fall and early winter seasons. For more information, visit their Web site AdrianOrchards.com.

On behalf of the food-insecure clients that visit the SSVdP Food Pantry, thanks again to Adrian’s for the generous donation. 

Don Striegel

Pantry Volunteer Coordinator

Society of St Vincent de Paul

Indianapolis

Letters to the Editor

February 6, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

What advantage would mass transit give?

To the Editor,

I am alarmed by the suddenly large and coordinated push for local “mass transit” by any number of important sounding organizations, five at last count. What is the back story on these organizations? There must be big plans for some people to cash in big time. Yet, I have not seen one comprehensive, Marion County-specific study, recent or otherwise, to sell me on the idea that taxpayers need to sign on for this billion dollar initiative. I have plenty of questions: Who, exactly, will ride these vehicles? I would like an in-depth rider profile. I can’t name a likely rider. Where do these riders now live? What would be their likely destinations; large manufacturing plants that no longer exist? Would riders walk two blocks, or two miles to catch a bus? Would they still drive a car to a lot, then pay to park for the day? How much? How many lots would each route require and where would they be built? What part of the urban area would most benefit? Most likely, only the very near downtown would see a benefit, and that may well be accomplished with the judicious purchase of a few more buses and thorough information on the routes. A billion plus dollars?

 

I see no advantages for suburban dwellers. Most medical and shopping needs are at least as close as most bus stops would be located. The relatively few people working downtown may tend to arrive at work near the same time in the morning, but many leave at different times, and use the travel home to run errands. Would a bus wait at the dry cleaners or grocery? What manner of traffic problems would a 20 mile per hour train from Fishers to downtown create, especially running heaviest at rush hours? It is doubtful that commuter trains would attract enough passengers to ever pay the bills, especially given the number of north side residents that presumably work in the many office buildings near their homes. The days when everyone worked downtown are long gone. I must assume that most workers in the Indy metro area live fairly close to their place of employment. But then, who’s seen any data on that?

 

I have always been proud of Indianapolis and the excellent government we have enjoyed, and I agree that a city needs good, dependable downtown transit, but tax payers of central Indiana need real, solid metrics on this subject. The new pro transit TV ad gives us nothing. This “feel good” smiley ad may be fun if touting the shuttle bus from Goofy four at Disney World, but is totally devoid of useful information.

 

John M Jaffe Sr.

Indianapolis, 46217

 

Put pedal to the metal for transit

To the editor,

 

With a bill being considered in the Indiana General Assembly, we’ve reached a milestone in the effort to bring improved mass transit to Central Indiana.

The bill introduced in the legislature – HB 1011 – would let you vote in a referendum to decide if transit is funded. It also would lay the groundwork for the process and organization needed to give Central Indiana the kind of public transit system it deserves.

That’s a big step in a process, but it’s certainly not the final victory. To qualify, we’ll need a majority of legislators to support HB 1011. And we need your help in making that happen.

The legislators have heard the arguments for improved transit. Residents from across the region have told them they want to get to work, the store, the doctor, the park and more without having to get into their cars. Communities throughout the area want to be better connected to the jobs, amenities, services and each other. Employers want better access to the area’s workforce. Older residents and those who can’t drive or don’t own cars need a reliable transit system that gives them access to the entire area.

Our state elected officials also have heard the economic arguments. They’ve seen data from regions where every dollar invested in transit yielded a $4 to $6 economic return. They’ve heard about the America Public Transportation Association research suggesting that every $10 million in capital investment in public transportation yields $30 million in increased economic activity.

And they’ve heard from individuals. People who failed to get jobs because they couldn’t get to the workplace (only 22 percent of Indy-area residents can reach their jobs within 90 minutes by transit, according to the Brookings Institute).

The good news is that a plan is in place so that work can begin as soon as the public approves transit funding. Created by Indy Connect, a partnership of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) and IndyGo, the plan would put more local buses on the streets, meaning reduced wait times and extended hours of service.

For transit advocates, this is an exciting time, but we’re still a long way from the finish line. We need your help.

Contact your legislators and let them know you want the opportunity to decide how transit will be funded. Sign a petition in support of transit by going to cirta.us. Ask your friends, neighbors and coworkers to do the same. Finally, ask your employer to join some of the area’s top businesses and organizations in creating a resolution of support at cirta.us/pages/resolutions/.

In other words, put the pedal to the metal and help us get this effort across the finish line.

 

By Ron Deer

Greenwood

Johnson County Commissioners’ appointee to the board of the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA)

Letter to the editor 1/31/13

January 30, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Punishment too harsh for Klinge case

To the editor,

Thank you for publishing the story of Donald Klinge as written by his son in your paper. What happened is so wrong! There had to be another way to motivate Mr. Klinge to sell and buy guns within the law. We believe that there should always be background checks and that auto assault guns should be banned or tightly controlled, but it appears that they targeted Mr. Klinge and took him away from his family that needs him. We believe the punishment was too harsh–that maybe he could have had a month in jail and a long probation with mandatory education about legal fire arms use or some type of program of that kind. It also appears that his attorney possibly led him in the wrong direction. We are disappointed in the Greenwood Police and their tactics. He wasn’t selling guns to criminals and he had no criminal record. They have ruined his life. Were the police officers wanting a conviction in order to earn some type of promotion in the police department? No wonder people don’t want stricter gun laws if this is how the police are going to run their departments. Could Mr. Klinge file for an appeal?

Thank you again.

Mr. and Mrs. Dorsey, Southport

Letter to the editor

January 2, 2013 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Euchre tournament raises $2,000 for Servant’s Heart

To the editor,

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for supporting Servant’s Heart of Indy’s Euchre Tournament to raise funds for the 2012 Christmas Project. Through the Christmas Project, Servant’s Heart hopes to give to over 400 kids in needy families in Beech Grove and the surrounding communities this year. Because of your help in writing and publishing an article about the Euchre Tournament in The Southside Times, the Servant’s Heart raised over $2,000 from this event for the Christmas Fund.

Your help has done enormous “good” in making Christmas better for many children this year. Again, thanks so much for your generous support and willingness to give to the Beech Grove and surrounding communities.

With regards,

Patrice Wright,

Servant’s Heart of Indy,

Beech Grove

Letter to the editor 12/27

December 27, 2012 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Thanks for the Back Shop opinions

 

We have so enjoyed From the Back Shop and the expressions that are from so many of us. Sometimes we have to look long and hard to find opinions that agree with ours. It is a pleasure to see what’s next each week. We do miss you in Beech Grove. Good luck in the new location.

 

Bob and Virginia Sanders

Beech Grove

Letter to the editor

December 12, 2012 in Letters to the Editor, Opinion by Carey Germana

Fiscal cliff devastating to not-for-profits

To the editor,

It seems daily, the media counts down the time until we reach the “fiscal
cliff” much like counting down for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve in
Time Square. Most agree that if a compromise cannot be reached in the next
few weeks the tax increase, especially on the middle class, will have
devastating effects on our economy.

While I place little confidence in our elected officials in Washington to
do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, I do feel a
compromise will be reached and our economy falling off the cliff will be
avoided, at least in the short term. That would certainly be good news for
millions of middle class citizens that comprise the backbone of our economy
and our country.

However, that compromise might be too little for too late for many
not-for-profit organizations that rely heavily on year end contributions to
fund the vital programs and services they provide. Agencies as large as the
United Way, to shelters for victims of domestic violence, to The Social of
Greenwood are feeling the impact of uncertainty. The looming concern in the
minds of donors is causing many to reduce, defer or even avoid making those
much needed year end donations. A reduction of investments in their work
now will have lasting and detrimental consequences well into the future.
Staff reductions, cancelled programs and service reductions at a time when
the need for the services they provide is in high demand will further harm
those already struggling.

I abhor my fellow Hoosiers during this season which is centered in hope to
have just that-hope. Not in the hope and change promised by a politician
but the hope brought to us some 2000 years ago. Hope that the coins you
place in the red kettle will positively affect a life. Hope that the
envelope you return with a check will feed one in need this Christmas and
hope that your online donation will profoundly impact the lives of those in
your community. And when you are done hoping, beyond the fear of what the
future holds and how bleak the forecast may appear- believe.


Bob Goodrum
Executive Director
The Social of Greenwood