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Letters

June 12, 2014

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For June 12

Reader wants some insurance assurances

I saw in the News and Tribune recently where the Clark County Commissioners switched insurance agents of record and saved a ton of money. That’s the kind of people we need in elected office — people who look out for the taxpayer.

That got me thinking about Clarksville and our insurance agent of record. Are we paying five times too much like Clark County was? I can’t help but wonder. The old-timers on the council have had a long and cozy relationship with Pepper Cooper. Is it the same kind of relationship we saw in the county?

Even Clarksville’s “insurance committee” has some relationships that make one wonder if it’s time to take a step back and see if we can find some people who aren’t wrapped up in the good-old-boy network.

I would like to see an independent investigation made of things with a recommendation as to what we are paying our agent. Are we paying $5 a month per insured or $25 a month? I have no idea what those figures are, but I bet the taxpayers of Clarksville would like to know.

The “old guard gang of four” as some people call them, seem to have some close relationships that have been around approaching 20 to 24 years. If they can’t look out for the best interests of taxpayers, then it’s time we elected people who can.

We elected four new councilmen in the last election and only got three. I believe Bob Polston was promised the council presidency in return for his willingness to go along with Bob Popp, Paul Kraft and Don Tetley.

I for one want to change that in the next election. The issue with the agent of record is only the tip of a very dirty iceberg they have been hiding for the past 20 to 24 years.

— John Krueger, Clarksville

Council president addresses call for more officers

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore recently proposed hiring 20 additional police officers, his stated reasoning for which is to ensure adequate security downtown for the additional people who will visit our city from Louisville via the Big Four Bridge.

Members of the Jeffersonville City Council learned of this plan via the media, rather than the mayor first presenting his proposal to the council’s Finance Committee and beginning a meaningful dialogue that could lead to the best possible solution for the city’s residents, visitors and our police department.

In 2007, prior to annexation, the city budgeted for 61 police officers for a population of approximately 31,650. Due to the population increase that came with annexation, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance allowed Jeffersonville’s budget to increase, which included the hiring of an additional 12 officers — bringing the department’s number of sworn officers to 73 — for what is now an estimated population of 45,677.

The Jeffersonville Police Department’s 2014 budget stands at more than $6.64 million, which reflects an expense of a little more than $91,000 per officer and includes not only our costs in salaries, benefits and equipment for our officers but also expenses such as the civilian staff and software that support their work.

We are grateful to the men and women who serve Jeffersonville as law enforcement officers, and want to do all that we can to ensure that they are able to perform their duties safely and efficiently. However, we are at a loss to understand how an increase of 12 officers for a 14,000-person expansion of the population later equates to the hiring of 20 additional police officers for what is estimated to be about 1,000 visitors per day across the Big Four Bridge.

On the home page of the city of Jeffersonville’s Web site — cityofjeff.net — Mayor Moore states, “Fiscal discipline and efficiency has been a priority in my administration since day one. And we’re getting results.”

The mayor’s current proposal and the way in which it has been presented is contrary to his statement on the city’s Web site.

We encourage Mayor Moore to back away from leadership-by-sound-bite and to adopt a more responsible approach by governing Jeffersonville in cooperation with the City Council.

We ask the mayor to bring forward his proposal, with various options, including the suggested funding for the plan, and work with the City Council to address this issue.

— Dennis Julius, Jeffersonville Town Council president

Editor’s note: The media report Julius mentions was by a Louisville TV station, not the News and Tribune. In WHAS’ report, Moore added that the city needs 20 officers to have an adequate number based on the city’s population.

Learn more about rare disease

GBS is an autoimmune and neurological disorder. Even though rare, (2-4 people per 100,000), there are a number of patients in our community that have been diagnosed with this disorder, also known as Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The syndrome is named after the French physicians Georges Guillain and Jean Barré, who described it in 1916. Because it is French, it is pronounced “ghee-yon bah-ray.”

GBS is an inflammation of the peripheral nerves (all nerves other than the spinal cord and brain which is the central nervous system) and in most GBS cases is followed by a demyelinating attack on the nerves. The coating that protects the nerves is called the myelin sheath. About 70 percent of the people that get GBS recover with some residual effects if early treatment of either IVIG (known as intravenous immunoglobulin) or plasmapheresis (known as a plasma exchange) is given to slow or stop the attack on the myelin sheath, preventing additional damage to the nerves. Death from GBS is less than 10 percent.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is today’s No. one worldwide cause of acute flaccid paralysis. The problem is that general practitioners, emergency room doctors, and some neurologists do not recognize the symptoms of GBS. A quick diagnosis with fast treatment of either IVIG or plasmapheresis will determine the extent of damage to a patient’s myelin sheath, nerves and their recovery time in the hospital and rehab facility. It could mean the difference between months or years of therapy and recovery time, and the amount of residual damage to the patient.

This disorder can develop in any person at any age. Every case is different and can be difficult to diagnose. First symptoms are usually weakness in the legs with a pins and needles feeling in the feet or hands, and at times with back pain. This can progress to total paralysis, including the breathing muscles, requiring a tracheotomy and a respirator to breathe, and making it difficult to communicate. Life as you knew it is gone — you are “locked out” of the life you had.

Forums, support and information is available from the GBS-CIDP Foundation International: Address: GBS-CIDP International Office, The Holly Building, 104 1/2 Forrest Avenue, Narberth PA, 19072 (http://www.gbs-cidp.org/) or by Phone 610-667-0131.

— Luther “Junior” Yount, Charlestown

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