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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, May 07, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Riverboat names offer poor tribute to Miami

I'm glad to know riverboats will be used to offer trips on our rivers this summer. It will be a wonderful enhancement to our community and an opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the region and local history.

But I am troubled by the names being suggested for the boats and hope it is not too late to reconsider.

When I see a canal boat, and hear that the intended names are coming from nostalgia for the 1840s and the Native American history of that time, I have to wonder whether we are glossing over one of the most traumatic events in the history of our community. On Oct. 6, 1846, canal boats left Peru, Indiana, and came to Fort Wayne where, on Oct. 7, members of the Myaamia (Miami) tribe were forced onto the boats and removed from their beloved homeland at gunpoint. During the next few weeks, they were taken on a long and arduous journey (seven people died) away from everything they knew, and away from the resting place of their ancestors, to a land they did not know (first to Kansas, later to Oklahoma).

Before we can honor our Myaamia neighbors and their ancestors, we need to acknowledge the brutality of this time, apologize for it and see whether we can find a way to make amends. Without such an acknowledgment and apology, naming a canal boat “Kekionga,” “Sweet Breeze,” or “Big Chief” would be rubbing salt in a still-open wound. I know that no one intends any hurt by this, but unintentional hurt is still hurtful.

Let's invite Myaamia citizens of our community to take the lead in any action intended to honor them and their ancestors. If they do not feel honored, we need to find other names for the boats and another means of expressing respect and honor for Native Americans.

Helen Frost Thompson

Fort Wayne 

Lawmakers act wisely in Indiana's interest

The 2017 legislative session moved the state forward in a big way.

Everyone wins with the $1.2 billion long-term road funding plan. The Indiana Chamber made this issue its No. 1 priority because transportation infrastructure is so vital to attracting jobs and growing our economy. The payoff is improved travel, with delays and vehicle repairs related to our crumbling roads soon in the rearview mirror.

In this tight budget year, the state's pre-K pilot program still received more than double its original funding and outreach to students. Now, $22 million annually will help the most at-risk youngsters in up to 20 counties get off to a good start with their education.

The Indiana Chamber has long pushed for making the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position, as are all other agency heads. What we don't agree with is waiting eight years to make it happen and making a teacher's license mandatory. It should be the best person for the job. Nevertheless, this is a very positive move for making sustained education progress is the state.

The multi-year ISTEP debate is in the books. The new ILEARN will be a shorter test for grades 3 through 8 and appropriately based on Indiana standards. Getting results back faster is a key emphasis. Preserving accountability was a battle, but teacher evaluation and school A-F grades remain tied to test scores – as it should be.

More money – $250 million – is available for promising, innovative Hoosier companies via the Next Level Trust Fund. Another big boost is the $5 million to encourage more direct flights from Indiana airports to international and domestic destinations.

Meanwhile, the open data bill assures the state's Management Performance Hub has maximum utility for policymakers and economic development.

All are such important steps for Indiana.

Kevin Brinegar

President and CEO Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Indianapolis

City taps taxpayers for unneeded projects

Infrastructure upkeep for the riverfront and sidewalks equals more taxes.

To my white-collar friend, John Crawford (April 23), this blue-collar worker is tired of more taxes. Crawford wants 0.15 percent; we're already at 1.35 percent. That equals 1.5 percent in local income tax. At $49,000, the average household income (ha, ha), will pay $73 more. That comes to $735 a year.

If the city doesn't have the money, don't build it.

Remember 3 or 4 years ago, we had lots of snow and ice. The city had to ask the Legacy Fund for $1 million to cover the snow removal.

So the next hiccup the city has, who will pay for that?

DANIEL J. ESPINOSA

Fort Wayne

Trump deserves better shot than media give

I hadn't read Margaret Ankenbruck's original letter but read of her receipt of your award for an effective letter (April 30). Ankenbruck deplores President Donald Trump's unfounded bluster about fake news and his criticism of the media.

I think any fair-minded person would admit the media are biased to the left. Media members don't deny it; they just wring their hands and talk about serving the public. The problem seems to be that many of them think those of us in the public are a bit thick and not able to figure things out on our own. Everything will go much better if we are just nudged in the right direction.

Trump was not my first choice; however, I have been pleasantly surprised and am cautiously optimistic.

Admittedly, he is quite different and at times makes comments off the cuff that later need revision. Does anyone remember President Barack Obama saying that the police “behaved stupidly” in their kerfuffle with professor William Henry Gates?

I recently read that Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella, analysts for Newsbusters, studied evening news coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC from Jan. 20 through April 9. Out of 1,900 minutes of total coverage of Trump, 186 minutes were positive. Obama did not face the same criticism.

Recently, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff cited the discredited dossier of Russian involvement with the Trump administration as if it were fact. The focus recently has certainly not been on improvements in border security and regulatory reform.

I hope that Ankenbruck and other critics can try to be fair to Trump.

After all, he is president of all of us and his success will be of great benefit to the nation.

We won't get there by blindly accepting the interpretation of people who seem to be primarily interested in furthering their own agendas.

Patricia Hudson

Fort Wayne

City will get benefit of Indiana Tech vision

Let's give credit where credit is due: The renewal of Indiana Tech's East Central neighborhood campus has sparked a rebirth in a once-crumbling and unsafe area. The transformation is as rare as it is remarkable: Crime is down, property values are up, and neighborhood safety is vastly improved.

To that end, Indiana Tech's proposed partnership with the  Parks and Recreation Department to improve the moribund Memorial Park with new athletic facilities for public and university use is to be applauded.

The benefits are many: More park activity will generate increased awareness of our veterans' sacrifices; neighborhood security will be enhanced; Fort Wayne's standard of community health will be raised; millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements will be bequeathed to the city; and new life will – at last! – be breathed into a place known more for its drug deals than its memorials (none of which will be removed).

Traffic counts show that tens of thousands of cars pass by Memorial Park every day, but only a scant few will stop.

Memorial Park doesn't memorialize anybody if no one knows the memorials are there.

The proposed partnership between Indiana Tech and the city is refreshingly visionary. With all apologies to the Tin Caps and the Fort Wayne Daisies, this win-win is a home run.

Greg Perigo

Fort Wayne