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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:24 am

Reader: Steep slopes make Summit Springs risky

This letter is being written in response to the article “Summit Springs postponed,” which appeared in the Nov. 3-4 edition of the Tribune.

It is important to note that Summit Springs was to include a 240-unit housing complex, per a letter from the City Plan Commission, not 104 units as reported in the article. This is 2.3 times larger than reported.

Michael Haas, LDG’s Development Manager, was quoted as saying, “We’ve clearly depicted on our plan the steep slopes, and they’re depicted as a no-build area.” The plan, also obtained from the City Plan Commission, depicts the proposed Daisy Lane extension that would wind up Fawcett Hill to Summit Springs as encroaching on the no-build area. This proposed extension is of a similar slope as the twice-closed Spring Street Hill Road (Via Google Earth and validated by contour lines on the plan map).

Unlike the Silver Hills area, if the Daisy Lane extension collapses, there would be no alternative way off the hill. The plan also shows five large power line structures less than 100 feet from the development. These issues could make the development unattractive to potential residents and businesses

The article stated the development had meet opposition due in part due to the steep slopes.  Two geotechnical surveys have been conducted in the proposed development area by two different engineering firms, GEM (2006) and Hagerty (2003). The Hagerty report found evidence of ongoing erosion and slope instability, significant runoff concerns and increased maintenance costs for any roads build on the hill. The GEM report noted 16 geotechnical concerns including slope instability, control of surface and subsurface ground water, unstable soil conditions, erosion control and existing ponds. These two geotechnical reports were prepared for the property owners Pam and Pat Kelley.

These reports suggest more than just steep slope conditions. They suggest the potential damage to surrounding homes and businesses that are already experiencing difficulty with retaining walls (see the Aiken Medical Plaza) and foundations (multiple residents on Fawcett Hill and Captain Frank Road).  

Michael Haas was quoted as saying, “They [city council] didn’t show a whole lot of interest in learning about our proposed development.”

My neighbors and I found the city council to be responsive, open-minded, and balanced in our contacts with them. Economic development is important for New Albany, but at what cost to the existing businesses, residents and ultimately the taxpayers?

— Aaron Hellems, New Albany


Reader sad to see Harbeson go

I was really sad when I read Debbie Harbeson’s column today. I really hate to see her weekly opinions on everything no longer in here.

She made me laugh out loud, rethink an issue, crack up at some of her conclusions and not always agree with some of them. But I always looked forward to them.

However, I totally understand her reasons and I wish her well. Thank you Debbie for giving us your views each week. Hopefully you will return sometime in the future. You will be missed by many of us I'm sure — except for those you might have upset with the truth.   

God bless,

— Debby Wininger, Clarksville


Donnelly thanks Hoosiers for support

In this season of giving thanks, I am writing to thank the people of Indiana for giving me the chance to serve as the next U.S. Senator from Indiana. Our country faces major challenges, and I look forward to bringing the bipartisan Hoosier common sense to the U.S. Senate that Indiana families use every day.

My approach is to put the people of our great state first and foremost. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with members of both parties as we move Indiana forward.

This time should be focused on family and friends and helping those in need; however, I also wanted to take the time to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve you as your next senator.

Again, thank you for this honor and privilege. I look forward to bringing your voice to the U.S. Senate.

— Joe Donnelly, U.S. Senator-elect, Indianapolis


Election reform battle doesn’t end with vote

Glenda Ritz won by a large margin for her position as Superintendent of Public Instruction, receiving about 100,000 more votes than Governor-elect Mike Pence. Yet, despite this overwhelming support from the Indiana voters, Pence and Gov. Mitch Daniels have claimed that the message from the election results was a “strong affirmation on the progress of education reform in the state.”

On the contrary, unlike the election of the state legislature and governorship, the votes for state superintendent clearly reflect the path in education that the majority of Hoosiers support. It is time for us to follow through on that message.

On Dec.  5, the state board of education will be voting on new rules for teacher licensure called REPA2. These new rules would allow anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any subject, take a test and become a teacher: no coursework, no classroom experience necessary. REPA2 removes professional development from license renewal as well. This denigration of the teaching profession is unacceptable. It sees teachers as replaceable, unskilled labor, a dime a dozen. In addition, it allows the DOE to approve nearly any organization to be a teacher training institution.

This business model imposed on our children’s education is abominable.

As a mother of four, I entrust my children to the care of these professionals every day. I want my teachers to be well educated, not only in the subject matter, but in how children learn! Teachers need to know what is developmentally appropriate, what works, how to spot learning difficulties, keep kids’ attention and instill curiosity. Learning is complex and so is teaching; it cannot possibly be summed up on one test.

Please write or call the IDOE board members and tell them to reject these new rules for teacher licensing in Indiana ( December 5 is around the corner.

They must hear from us. In addition, there is a petition one can sign to send another message that, indeed, when we voted for Glenda Ritz, we voted for a change: to educate, not over-test our kids and to respect and trust their teachers with their care (  

— Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, Bloomington



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