News and Tribune

October 10, 2012


Historic structure deserves to be preserved

The County Home of North Annex on Grant Line Road, built in 1878, has served the best interest of Floyd County residents continuously, until just a few weeks ago when the Floyd County Youth Shelter moved into its new facility in the renovated Pine View School.

In 1838, Floyd County officials had the vision to purchase 240 acres to create a working farm so that people who could not take care of themselves could live out their lives with dignity at the county “Poor Farm.” This continued  without interruption through the construction of the present facility in 1878 and lasted until 1978 when it was turned into a youth shelter.

And now this structure, eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, is sitting vacant and threatened with demolition. For five years preservationist have worked diligently with county officials to attempted to save and repurpose this historic building. Even though this structure has been grossly neglected for decades a survey by a historic architect in 2008 found it structurally very sound.

Last year, a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Louisville and nationally acclaimed was prepared to purchase this structure and four acres to create a campus for Floyd County single women with young children to be able to go to college. This would have immediately provided an opportunity for 55 Floyd County women and their children to leave Section 8 housing to attend and graduate from college to break the cycle of poverty. After county officials initially expressed support for this possibility, even verbally indicating this was a win-win situation, something unknown to us suddenly caused it to be abruptly canceled.

Since the 1960s, Floyd County and New Albany have lost far to much of their architectural heritage. This building seems to have too few champions since most of its residents were people with few resources, even though many names listed in old ledgers are ancestors to many of our well known present residents today.

One of Floyd County’s most famous citizens and national heroine, Lucy Higgs Nichols, died there in 1915. She was the runaway slave who helped save untold numbers of Floyd County soldiers’ lives during the Civil War and is now immortalized with a historical marker in Veterans Plaza on Market Street and an elaborate permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Center.

The final disposition of this structure will be made very soon. The real question is will this building follow the majestic post office and courthouse as they were reduced to rubble 50 years ago, or will our three county commissioners, who make the final decision, realize that they would not want their names linked to the destruction of the last historic structure along Grant Line Road. We must hold them accountable that they make every effort to positively repurpose this magnificent building.

We will be discussing this issue at the commissioners meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Pine View Government Center.

— Vic Megenity, Floyd County Historical Society vice president and Stephen B. Pacciano, Heritage Preservation League President

Reader urges vote for Grabowski


I first met Sharon Grabowski almost 50 years ago at New Albany High School. Tom Weatherston had cast me to play Helen Keller’s mother in our school’s production of “The Miracle Worker” and Sharon (then Sharon Krupski) played Annie Sullivan, the teacher who worked miracles with Helen Keller.

Today, Sharon is setting out to work more miracles. She is running for Indiana State Representative from our District 72 on the Democratic Party ticket and I strongly support her. I sometimes hear people say they are sick of politics and politicians — that they are all dishonest.

In these times, I can understand how one might feel that way but for all of you out there who do, let me reassure you about Sharon. She is not a career politician and she is certainly not dishonest. She is a retired teacher who has devoted most of her adult life to education and she is very worried about what is happening to our schools in the state of Indiana.

Only the other day, a judge had to rule against a new teachers’ contract form that clearly violated state law (please see Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick McCarty rules in favor of the Indiana State Teachers Association against Dr. Tony Bennett and the Indiana Department of Education, Sept. 12, 2012). This is only one instance of the problems our state is facing in the field of education.

Please vote for Grabowski on Nov. 6 and support our schools and our children.

— Kathy Eickmann, New Albany

Writing in support of the GOP

I am writing to address a letter from the Sept. 19 opinion page, which was critical of the GOP platform for a number of reasons, saying, “the GOP wants to return to policies which we had under President Bush.”

I assume the writer was referring to George W. Bush. Let’s compare “W’s” policies to Obama’s. Regulations on banks and businesses. Are banks and businesses doing better now than under “W’s” administration? Both were doing fine until Barney Frank, Democrats from Massachusetts and Chris Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut, manhandled Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and with a Democratic Congress, coerced banks into making loans that no competent banker would have made previously, which brought on the banking crisis.

No. 2, “the hard line world.” Did the world and our enemies respect us more under “W” or now under Obama? Huh?

No. 3, “starting two wars paid with tax cuts.” First we didn’t start either war. We were attacked by terrorists based in Afghanistan. Remember Sept. 11 don’t you? And Saddam Hussein put a contract on President George Bush 41 while ignoring 17 United Nations ultimatums to allow NATO inspectors into Iraq to verify they weren’t making weapons of mass destruction. No one else stood up to enforce the ultimatums.

No. 4, “policies that took our country to the brink of collapse.” Talk about the brink of collapse. In 232 years, this country accumulated a national debt of nearly $10 trillion. About $4 trillion under “W” fighting two wars and the worldwide war on terror. After 3 1/2 years of Obama, that debt is now $16 trillion and rising. That is a 60 percent jump in less that four years. You think that is a good thing?

Something else to consider, gas prices were less than half of what they are under Obama. Another policy item, General Motors was owned by shareholders, IRAs and retirement funds, which senior citizens depend on for their income. Under Obama, GM is now primarily owned by the UAW. Is that a good thing?

No. 5, the fact that the GOP supports the right to life, a basic part of our constitution, while the Democratic platform supports a woman’s right to choose. Choose what? Choose to kill an innocent baby?

While we’re addressing policies, let’s not forget our energy dependence on Mideast Muslim countries who don’t exactly love us. Under Obama, American oil companies have been forbidden to drill for new oil supplies [off our own coasts] while China, Cuba and Venezuela are allowed to. And the Keystone Pipeline was halted by the Obama administration. It would have brought us oil from Canada and provided good paying jobs.

I watched both conventions. If I had been a Democrat I would have been embarrassed at the endless cast of losers who spoke — John Kerry, a total phony, Jimmy Carter, a total failure and Sandra Fluke, a sex-crazed college student, attending a school 90 percent of us couldn’t afford who thinks we should pay for her entertainment.

If you want to find fault with the GOP and support the national Democratic ticket, I don’t think you watched either convention nor have any idea what the two parties stand for.

— John Kettler, Greenville

Everyone pays taxes

I have been listening to the discussion about Mitt Romney’s statement that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes.

What Romney failed to mention is that federal income taxes are only one type of taxes paid by Americans. There are dozens of income and “nonincome” taxes every American pays. They cost a significant percentage of poor and middle class incomes to pay them. I have listened to pundits from both ends of the political spectrum. I have heard nothing about the other taxes you and I pay. Some of these taxes are also called “fees,” “tolls,” “permits” or “licenses.” Here is only a partial list: building permits; CDL licenses; cigarette taxes; dog licenses; Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA); fishing licenses; fuel permit taxes; gasoline taxes; hunting license; liquor taxes; local income taxes; marriage licenses; Medicare taxes; personal property taxes; real estate taxes; septic permit fees; Social Security taxes; road usage taxes (truckers); sales taxes; road, tunnel and bridge tolls; school book and lunch fees; state income taxes; State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA); numerous types of telephone federal and state excise taxes, usages charges and fees; vehicle, RV and trailer registration fees; utility taxes; vehicle excise taxes; watercraft registration taxes and worker’s compensation taxes.

Some of these taxes are not collected in every state. One thing for certain, the less money you make, the larger percentage of your income it takes to pay them. Some families living on $10 to $15 per hour, pay these taxes, put food on the table, fuel in their vehicles and provide a roof over their heads. The reason many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is because a fair tax system recognizes that when you make $10 to $15 per hour, pay the other taxes and provide for your family, you don’t have anything left to pay.

The truly sad part about Romney’s “47 percent” statement, is that he ignores the fact that all Americans pay these other taxes. These taxes help fund our schools, build our roads, protect our environment, put police officers on our streets and pay for many more governmental services.

Romney made $20 million in one year. These taxes are not on his radar screen, because it takes a fraction of 1 percent of that $20 million to pay them. When I consider Romney’s view, I cannot help but think his “47 percent” may be facing “taxation without representation.”   

— Gordon Ingle, Corydon

Reader says Romney is more qualified to lead

The first presidential debate served two important purposes.

First: When viewers were treated to an unscripted exchange of ideas about the future course for our country, it became clear that Barack Obama offers nothing new, only four more years of his failed policies of “trickle-down” government and reckless spending.     

Second: The debate exposed the mainstream media’s bias in its coverage of the campaign, and its depiction of Mitt Romney. When the news wasn’t filtered by Obama’s media supporters, viewers soon learned that Romney is far more qualified than Obama to get our country back on the right course.

We are already seeing that same media go ballistic about the outcome of the debate. They can be counted on to double down with their support of Obama during the remaining weeks of the campaign.  

— Jim James, Charlestown

Neighborhood leader thanks candidates, others

The Franklin Commons Neighborhood Association wishes to issue a widespread thank you following our recent candidate forums.

One of two congressional candidates — thank you Shelli Yoder; all four Clark County Commissioner candidates; both county coroner candidates; eight of nine Greater Clark Schools Board candidates; and five of council at-large candidates attended this year’s forums. We thank you for your time and insights.

Thanks to the News and Tribune and to the Courier-Journal for the media coverage in our efforts to help voters be informed. To the Jeffersonville Township Public Library, thank you for making such a magnificent room available to community groups. To Clark County Chatter, thank you for helping us publicize our forums.

And to concerned citizens, you came to our forums, met the candidates, heard them speak and, hopefully, left better informed. That is the whole purpose.

So again, thank you to everyone involved. Just remember to vote Nov. 6.         

— Derek Spence, president, Franklin Commons Neighborhood Association, Jeffersonville