A different way of looking back on 2020
My nephew's son, Tate, was diagnosed with a form of adolescent brain cancer that is inoperable. When diagnosed in December 2018, he was told he likely had six to 18 months to live. His mom, Darcy, writes a weekly update. Each week, she bares her soul on their family's gut-wrenching journey. Recently, she took an introspective look back at 2020 and provided us with an alternative view of the past year.
“... I have heard so many people say they cannot wait for it to be over. For 2020 to be a distant memory and to forget all that we have gone through. ... (A)s I was reflecting on the past year, I found myself regretting that comment. There is nothing that would make me trade 2020 for anything.
“Was it full of unknowns and scary moments? Yes. Did it allow us to live our 'normal' lives? No, it did not.
“But do you know what it did do? It gave us 365 days to celebrate the sun rising and the opportunities to make the most of each day. ...
“Think back on all those 365 days you were given. Do they make you smile or even cry? If they make you sad or rejoice with gladness, those are all moments you were blessed to have ... good or bad. We know so many families that would give anything to have this past year to spend with loved ones that they lost. They would give anything to have just one of those days that we were given.
“So I pledge to not wish away 2020, but instead think back on all of it with gratitude that we were given this year ... no matter what it looked like, and we will be stepping into 2021 with the faith we attacked 2020 with.”
Maybe we all can take a page from her writing and feel that while we're glad 2020 is behind us, it could have been much worse.
Family and faith are McArdle's legacy
On Sunday, Indiana lost one of its greatest sons, and the Pence family one of its dearest friends, with the passing of Don McArdle.
Don's life was characterized by a deep commitment to his faith, hard work and a lifelong love of sports. Throughout his 85 years, this remarkably successful man of business made it his business to give back to his community. Everywhere he went, Don made an indelible mark through the many charitable and civic organizations to which he contributed his time, talent and treasure.
But for all his achievements, his greatest achievement was his family. No matter how busy he was, he always made sure to develop a close relationship with each one of his 29 grandchildren.
His loss is incalculable and will be felt for generations to come.
Karen and I send our deepest condolences to his eight children, 29 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, and all who knew and cherished the life and example of this truly great Hoosier. God bless Don McArdle.
Vice President Mike Pence
Sisters speak out on Capitol violence
As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters stand with the other more than 1,300 leaders of Catholic sisters nationwide as we make this statement:
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious joins with the world in praying for peace after witnessing the violence and lawlessness (Jan. 6) in our nation's capital. We are deeply concerned about the state of our country and the future of our democracy. Our hearts ached as we watched these despicable actions that threaten not only to destroy the seat of our government but to rend the bonds that unite us. We commend and thank the members of Congress who courageously continued their service to the nation (that) night even amid the chaos.
In our increasingly divided nation, we renew our commitment to the common good and pledge to take up the challenge to use our energy to repair our democracy and contribute to the work of building a more perfect union. We invite all people of good will to join us and we call on our elected leaders to point the way.
Sister Mary Jo NelsonSister Lucille MartinezSister Ginger Downey
Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters leadership team
Agreement on facts helps meet challenges
Thank you to John Martin for his Jan. 3 letter pointing out I was wrong on an assertion I made in my column criticizing Sen. Mike Braun for his misguided punditry. He is correct that most states' workers' compensation laws were enacted between 1911 and 1920 – earlier than the New Deal. I apologize and will endeavor to better research my op-eds in future.
But there is an even greater lesson here: Martin and I agree that objective facts are important to acknowledge and work from when discussing the challenges we face in society. I only wish Sen. Braun would agree with us in this. He spent much time doubling down on the denial of a basic fact: that Joe Biden received more votes than Donald Trump, both overall and via the Electoral College.
Biden's win has been confirmed by all 50 states' election officials, all the courts where Donald Trump and his team challenged results and even by Trump's former attorney general and director of cybersecurity, who both agreed there was no evidence of widespread election fraud that would affect these results.
'Yet Braun and other elected officials continued the fictional and troubling assertions that there was widespread voter fraud. Propagating these fictions led to rioters storming and laying siege to the Capitol and Americans getting injured and dying in the single saddest attack on our nation since 9/11.
So thanks again to Martin for calling out my mistake and providing an accurate account of workers' compensation history. It encourages me that citizens such as he, who likely supports the Republican Party, still also care about objective facts and their importance as we try to mend our divided nation and tackle the challenging realities of COVID-19, climate change and our economy.
COVID-19 stats less alarming in context
The front-page headline of the Jan. 2 issue of The Journal Gazette practically screamed “Carroll saw 63 COVID-19 cases” in the first half of the 2020-21 school year.
The article by Ashley Sloboda included a chart showing cases for Allen County Schools: Carroll 63, Leo 37, Bishop Dwenger 33, Concordia Lutheran 29, Homestead and Northrop, 24 each, Snider 23, New Haven 20, and Canterbury 20. The article included other frightening numbers: 18,849 student cases statewide, 3,896 teacher cases.
These might be alarming numbers in and of themselves, but Sloboda failed to state the total number of students and teachers in those systems. Since I wanted to know the complete story, I Googled Indiana State Schools web page to obtain enrollment data for the schools mentioned: Carroll is 2,412 students for an infection rate of 2.61%; Leo, 1,355, 2.73%; Dwenger, 1,020, 3.24%; Concordia, 745, 3.89%. Homestead's infection rate is .99%, Northrop's is .91%, Snider comes in at 1.24%, New Haven at 2.01%, and Canterbury Schools at 2.21%.
According to Sloboda, 18,849 Indiana school students received a positive COVID-19 test since the beginning of the school year. There are 1,041,369 students registered in the state, resulting in a positivity rate of a mere 1.81%. The infection rate for teachers in the state (64,000 teachers as stated on the National Center for Education website) is 6.09%, a much higher number than for the students, but still far below the state positivity rate of 7.81%.
What the headline should have read was something like, “Indiana schools doing a great job at limiting the spread of COVID-19.” I applaud our school systems' leadership throughout this pandemic, from the superintendents to the staff and faculty, as well as our students, who have shown us the way to lessen the spread of this virus and continue with some sort of normalcy.
Enlarged puzzle a treat for solvers
In lieu of all we have gone through for almost a year, this letter seems a mite frivolous.
But I want to thank The Journal Gazette for enlarging the “Wonder Word” puzzle. It is so much easier to read and complete, and is very much appreciated.
JO ELLEN ALLEN Warren