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February 20, 2014

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Feb. 20

Reader upset after school board meeting

I attended the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. board meeting Feb. 10 on behalf of Citizens of Accountability for the taxpayers of Floyd County.

I was appalled, shocked and disgusted with the attitude and the unprofessional behavior of board members Mark Boone, D.J. Hines, Roger Whaley and Jan Anderson. We supported these four candidates in the last election. What a mistake that was.

I observed Boone bullying, specifically board member Rebecca Gardenour, who was asking pertinent questions I would ask as a taxpayer. I heard Anderson make snide remarks without realizing her microphone was on for all to hear. Hines also participated in the bullying of Gardenour.

Unfortunately, I did not see board Vice-President Roger Whaley speak up, yet his silence condoned the behavior. Shame on him, especially since he has been a long-time board member.

What I do expect of elected officials is for them to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully in an open meeting. Board members should be able to discuss important issues when it comes to spending our tax dollars. They can respectfully agree to disagree instead of attacking and making issues personal.

As a taxpayer I want to know why projects were not bid out before they were brought for a vote. A “good faith” estimate does not cut it with taxpayers. One of the many issues that got my attention was the recommendation to build a baseball field to “help out” the New Albany Little League. If my memory is correct, Gardenour asked the question if the city of New Albany had been approached to possibly partner in this project. The answer was “No.”

We totally agree with Gardenour’s quote that there are ways to find money for these projects. As for the artificial turf, we are not a member of the NFL. What’s wrong with getting dirty? I was taught at a young age the difference between a need and a want. Mt. Tabor Elementary looks like it does need improvement; however, the football fields don’t need artificial turf.

In closing, more taxpayers need to attend school board meetings, especially since it comes to our tax dollars. There will be a $60-plus million referendum up for vote in May 2015.

Some hard questions need to be asked, such as “What for? And “How are we holding our school board accountable for the money they are spending/wasting now?”

I applaud Gardenour since she does her homework and looks out for the best interest of Floyd County taxpayers.

— Vicki Denhart, New Albany

What’s right for cancer patients

This year in Indiana, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. For them, the cuts to cancer research that took place as a result of the sequester last year hit close to home.

Because of these cuts, 1,000 fewer people were able to enroll in potentially lifesaving clinical trials last past year and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research center, lost more than $1.5 billion, a reality felt by cancer research labs across the country.

I’m asking Congress to do what’s right for cancer patients and their families by supporting an increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute at NIH.

There are nearly 14 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today because of past cancer research breakthroughs. But resting on past progress is a dangerous proposition. Leaving these cuts to federal research in place could cost us the progress made in the fight against cancer.

I urge members of Congress to consider what’s at stake for families impacted by cancer that might be counting on the next big breakthrough in treatment or relying on federally funded local programs for cancer screenings. Let’s give a little hope to the millions of patients and their families impacted by this disease and not continue to jeopardize progress in the fight against cancer.

— Mary Kost, volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, New Albany

Local teamsters endorses Perkins

Each year, Teamsters Local Union No. 89 endorses candidates for election. The decision to support a candidate is not an easy task or taken lightly. Each Teamster endorsed candidate must possess a great deal of integrity and character, while establishing a proven record for supporting labor and working families.

John Perkins, candidate for Clark County Commissioner, has demonstrated that he is deserving of the Teamster endorsement. He has proven over the years to be a hard-working individual with great integrity, character and intuition. Furthermore, I know he will devote himself to protecting the livelihoods and communities for our Teamster families and all working families in the state of Kentucky.

The Executive Board of Teamsters Local 89 has unanimously voted to endorse the candidacy of Perkins.

— Fred Zuckerman, president, Teamsters Local Union No. 89

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