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Joe Heller l Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Seminar will explore alternatives to violence

A Feb.7 letter from Samuel Baker was titled “Eye-for-an-eye punishments would help eliminate violence.” I couldn’t disagree more.

Though the desire for revenge is a natural impulse following a loved one’s life being taken by another, there are far better ways of responding to such violence. It was Martin Luther King who said: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

There are a growing number of people whose loved ones have been victimized who have found healing in their lives by driving out hate with love. An organization called Journey of Hope is made up of such people. They have found forgiveness to be a healing tool for all concerned and have sought creative alternatives to the death penalty. Knowing that two wrongs do not make a right, they have often found that building a relationship with the perpetrator also helps them heal.

On March 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church in downtown Fort Wayne, two members of Journey of Hope will be making presentations about their own journeys of healing after losing a loved one to a criminal act. This program is being sponsored by the Peace and Justice Commission of Allen County and cosponsored by several supportive organizations. I would urge all in the community who are interested in knowing more about this response to violence to join us there.

Remember this insightful slogan: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

ANN FRELLICK Fort Wayne

SB 373 raises suspicion against factory farms

I’m writing in response to Niki Kelly’s Feb. 13 article, “Video bill, aimed at ‘vigilantes,’ advances.”

Senate Bill 373 would criminalize important whistle-blowing activity against large agricultural operations, which already operate with less oversight than they should. Unfortunately, this very dangerous legislation has now made its way to the Senate floor.

It’s not hard to see what the real intent is behind this bill: to protect factory farms from any evidence of wrongdoing ever reaching the public. If passed, this law would surely be used by unscrupulous employers to intimidate and bully employees out of documenting a wide range of abuses – including food safety, environmental and workers’ rights violations, and animal cruelty. It could also be used to retaliate against any employee who blows the whistle on unethical or illegal activities.

This bill would essentially safeguard corrupt businesses from criminal liability for just about anything. Why does the factory farming industry deserve a free pass on accountability and, more importantly, what is it trying to hide?

LAURA BAKER Plainfield

Campground closing with little public input

I am writing in regard to Frank Gray’s Feb. 14 article, “Campsites’ closing is death of a ‘tradition’.”

I have to chuckle in regard to the Department of Natural Resources statement that “they are surprised at how little reaction there has been” regarding the closure. If it were not for the fact that a friend of mine happened to be at the Pigeon River Fish & Wildlife Area in mid-December and saw the notice of the closing, I doubt any discussion would be taking place.

Why did the DNR choose to post this in December at the check station only? It may have been on a DNR website, but none we could find.

They finally made it public on Feb. 12. With a posting at this time of year, very few people would be aware – works out pretty well for a March 1 closing. It seems all too often these days decisions are being made by tax-supported officials with little input from the taxpayer.

BILL WIDDIFIELD Fort Wayne

National GOP should emulate Shine’s model

Karl Rove’s plan to wage war on grassroots conservatives will only further divide the GOP.

Rove should instead take a lesson from our own GOP county chairman, Steve Shine. Instead of undermining or ostracizing conservative candidates, Shine has supported and worked with those candidates who have been elected by the Republican base in the primary. As a result, the Allen County GOP continues to elect good strong candidates. Under Shine’s steady hand at the helm, the Allen County Republican Party has sailed safely through some turbulent times, only to emerge even stronger and more united.

As chairman, Shine not only respectfully listens to tea partyers and libertarian thinkers, he has invited them to get involved in local politics by joining the Allen County GOP.

While that makes his job of holding differing factions of the party together a bit more difficult and at times messier, Shine recognizes that it is precisely this diversity of ideas and opinions that keeps the Allen County Republicans strong and relevant.

If Rove doesn’t begin to recognize the value of unity and building up the party, he will sink the Republican Party with bitter factionalism and see the same dismal results – unable to recapture the Senate or the White House.

GLENNA JEHL Fort Wayne

Georgetown lacking without coffee shop

In late November, the Georgetown Square Espresso Gallery closed. Initially, there was a sign saying that they were closed for remodeling. The sign was taken down and no reason was posted on the store window. I knew it was closed for good when I saw “Shop at Georgetown” banners, which are put in the windows of empty stores throughout the shopping center.

I hope Georgetown Square will get a new coffee shop, be it Starbucks or something else. I miss having a coffee shop in Georgetown.

JOSH HOY Fort Wayne

Alternative fuels cut into cars’ efficiency

Regarding a state legislator’s plan to tack a fee on alternate fuels to help pay for road repairs: My experience with E85, while driving a Chevy HHR, while perhaps not typical, would indicate that continued use of that mix actually is more expensive than regular gas with 15 percent alcohol.

Our previous vehicle was the first flex fuel-capable car we owned. I tried three tanks of E85, at a time when it was 60 cents cheaper per gallon: $2.25 versus $2.85. However, mileage suffered, dropping from 24-25 mpg in city driving to 18.5 mpg. I had to fill up more often, and by using E85, the cost of driving was five cents more per mile than on regular gas.

The road tax (fee) was built in by the difference in mileage.

I would hope people in the Statehouse would take a careful look at this situation before adding any more taxes to gasoline. Our current car is flex fuel-capable, and has Eco Boost, but I have no desire to lose 25 percent or more of my city driving miles per gallon by using any alternate fuel.

DON HICKS Fort Wayne

Teachers can take action to strengthen their ranks

Regarding “Bill on teachers’ union dues another attack” by Nate Schnellenberger (Jan. 14):

It appears to me that the Indiana State Teachers Association is there to protect the teachers and the union, not the students, taxpayers or the quality of education. Their concern with this legislation is to protect the union’s ability to keep current and new teachers paying dues.

For years we have listened to rants about class size, art, music, PE, teachers’ salaries and working conditions. Yet the actual level of education has dropped to the point of embarrassment. Teachers complain about lost funding due to the support of private schools but do nothing to meet the challenge of better education of each student to their maximum potential. They think the taxpayers are an unlimited source of money and that money will solve all education problems. Think again!

Show leadership when a school has to reduce the teaching staff and identify those who are not performing. Identify programs that are of minimal benefit to the school. Do not just rely on teacher seniority, which is there to protect the inferior. Get tough on your members to become the best educators in the world.

Real teachers do count. Support them!

JIM McLEAN Leesburg

Shooting low on list of threats to children

There has been much concern throughout America in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. This news was a nightmare for all concerned parents. We must remember that children rely on parents, teachers, school administrators and law enforcement officials to take the necessary steps ensure their safety. Although a school shooting is a concern for many of us, if we are truly concerned with student safety, we must look at the most pressing dangers our children face on a daily basis.

Prescription drug deaths of children have increased exponentially from decade to decade. Child neglect and abuse cases are reported for 12 of every 1,000 children per year.

There are many other dangers to our children that could be listed. On this list of dangers, school shootings are far down on the list of occurrences.

There are many school districts that cannot afford full-time nurses for their buildings. These health professionals are integral to child safety. The school nurse is essential in emergency situations and can aid in student education when time is allotted.

Before a school district considered designating resources to arming teachers, I would hope the parents and officials would consider the pragmatic steps that are truly needed to protect our children.

JOHN ROBINSON Fort Wayne

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