News and Tribune

November 2, 2012


> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I am writing to correct misinformation that appeared in an Oct. 30 letter to the editor [“Reader calls for Clere’s ouster”]. The letter stated that I “said no to the children of disabled veterans of Indiana.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We owe everything to our veterans, including the author of the letter, Mr. Chuck Simons.

The letter did not specify the legislation in question. It was Senate Enrolled Act 577 from 2011. It passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan 68-25 vote [roll call vote No. 629, April 11, 2011]. The legislation was supported by all of the major veterans organizations, and I am proud to have voted for it. SEA 577-2011 did not take away anything from the children of disabled veterans. To the contrary, it made changes intended to increase accountability and ensure the future availability of college financial aid.

With one exception, the changes apply only to children of veterans who enlist after June 30, 2011. Those future recipients will have to enroll in school by the age of 32 and will be required to maintain a minimum grade-point average [for freshmen, “satisfactory academic progress” as defined by the college or university the student attends; for sophomores, a 2.25 GPA on a 4.0 scale; and for juniors and seniors, a 2.5 GPA]. In addition, the student must complete a degree within eight years of starting it. This provision is the exception. It applies to everyone, including the children of veterans who enlisted prior to July 1, 2011, although the eight-year clock will start over for them if they previously attempted studies under the old law and later return to school under the new law.

Under the new law, the benefit level will be based on the veteran’s disability level. A child of a veteran with a disability rating of 80 percent or more will receive full tuition and fees at an eligible Indiana college or university. If the parent’s disability rating is less than 80 percent, the student will receive 20 percent plus the disability rating. For example, a student whose parent is 40 percent disabled will receive 60 percent of tuition and fees. Again, these changes apply only to children of veterans who enlist after June 30, 2011. As of today, according to the Division of Student Financial Aid, no one has lost any benefits.

State Rep. Ed Clere

 R-New Albany

Editor’s Note: This is in response to Chuck Simons’ letter published in the Oct. 30 edition of the News And Tribune.

GOP chair address previous letter

 I would like to address the fallacies contained in the Oct. 25 letter to the editor.

I know that Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett believes education is the key for unlocking Indiana’s full economic potential. That’s why he’s made it easier and more transparent for taxpayers, parents and educators to understand school performance.

The new grading system reflects the notion that all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or zip code, have the ability to learn when provided quality instruction.

Let’s also understand that evaluating school performance is nothing new. Doing so in a transparent manner is. Indiana’s A-F grading system, which now includes the Indiana Growth Model, allows for a fair and balanced approach to examining schools.

Before Dr. Bennett implemented the new school letter grades, educators and community members were confused every year with two separate announcements as well as complex jargon to describe them. Now, it’s as simple as A, B, C, D and F. Parents and communities can now make informed decisions for the very first time about the performance of their schools.

To this point, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed Tony Bennett. This is only the second time in history that the Chamber endorsed a candidate for statewide office. They cited Bennett’s understanding that education is the key to future economic success. I agree with the Chamber of Commerce and Tony Bennett, and that’s why I plan on voting for him on Election Day.

Jamey Noel


Who is protecting the public?

News reports today indicate that California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has just now issued subpoenas seeking documents regarding the outrageous plot of the Health and Human Services Secretary to waste $8.35 Billion on a meaningless “demonstration project.” The sole purpose of this ploy is to delay the first of some $200 Billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage from taking effect on Oct. 15, now past, to a date AFTER THE ELECTION.  

The Democrats, in other words, want to keep Medicare Advantage participants from learning of the damage they will suffer from ObamaCare until it is too late. This self-serving waste of taxpayer dollars is all too typical of this “most transparent” administration.

My question is, Why did the Republicans wait until too late to reveal this outrage? How many seniors will never learn of this until they are denied coverage next year? How many have already voted?

Who, if anybody, is trying to protect the public from these liberal fanatics whose schemes are invariably hatched out of public view and would drastically change this country for the worse?

This scheme surfaced several months ago. My letter to the editor published on these pages on Aug. 1 read as follows:

“If you are on or approaching Medicare, you probably know that Medicare Advantage provides additional benefits that are quite attractive to many people.  


“Too good. Obamacare provisions will gut this program, to provide the bulk of the $500 Billion that was counted twice in the false and oft-repeated assertions intended to mask the horrendous cost of this new entitlement.

“The first of those cuts originally were scheduled to take effect on October 15 of this year.

“The Obama Administration does not want this chicken to come home to roost before the election. So a “Demonstration Project” provision in the law is being utilized by the Health and Human Services secretary, at a cost to taxpayers of $8.35 Billion, to delay these cuts until 2013 – AFTER the election.

“This $8.35 Billion is real money. Taxpayer dollars that do not benefit the taxpayers at all. This expense exceeds the COMBINED annual profits of America’s two largest and most profitable health insurance companies (entities that Obama repeatedly attacks as greedy parasites extracting obscene profits from the nation’s ill and incapacitated). It exceeds the COMBINED costs of all of the other eighty-five such Demonstration Projects since the provision came into effect seventeen years ago.  

“The Government Accountability Office has recommended that this project be canceled, because it does not at all benefit the seniors intended to be served, it does not identify successful projects intended to be highlighted and it costs far more than the total of all similar projects conducted to date.  In short, it is a sham, and its legality is questionable.

“However, it will keep millions of seniors from learning of the impending cuts to their Medicare Advantage benefits until AFTER the election, so the Administration will ignore the GAO. The sole reason the Administration is pursuing this outrageously expensive fraud is to keep voters, particularly seniors, in the dark regarding the impending cuts to Medicare Advantage resulting from Obamacare until the election is over and it is too late.

“The Congressional Budget Office projects that $204 Billion will be cut from the Medicare Advantage program by Obamacare during the next eight years, and far more in the years to come. The TWELVE MILLION seniors presently enrolled in Medicare Advantage will lose that coverage and be forced to accept other lesser benefits.

“Speaker Pelosi famously asserted that it would be necessary to pass Obamacare so “you could find out what’s in it.”  Clearly the Administration wants to take that opportunity from you until it’s too late.”

Now it may well be too late. Unless this letter is published here and forwarded by seniors to others in the same boat.

Thomas W. Sinex

of Sellersburg

Writer asks for support for YMCA’s Kids Square

I am writing with a heavy heart. On Friday, Oct. 26, I was informed that my children's daycare (YMCA Kids Square) would be closing as of Dec. 31, 2012. This is sad for many reasons. Several people will be out of jobs. Charlestown is a small city and we don't have many choices for daycares. When the YMCA does close we will be left with one option. Now I am not saying anything bad about the remaining option it is just that I prefer the lessons and structure my children have received at the Y. My youngest son is a bit hyper and all the other daycares he has went to have not provided activties based around his abilities. The YMCA was the first to do that. He has advanced like never before. He is 4 years old and knows how to write his name, all his colors in English and Spanish, all his shapes, etc. They provide a loving and caring environment.

There are some parents that will even be forced to move if the YMCA closes b/c the only other option they have is not one that is suitable for them and their children will need a way to school. I am just asking that the YMCA Board of Directors just consider how much this facility means to our community. Even if you have to find another building please do so. We need the Y in our small community.

Nikki Berkley

of Charlestown

Vendor thanks neighbors for help on time of need

The New Albany Lions Club has been selling food as one of our major fundraisers at Harvest Homecoming for years — we are well known for good prices and amazing ribeye sandwiches. Unfortunately, about halfway through Saturday this year our fryer shut off. Since this was a major setback for us, we reached out to Danny Strader next door selling funnel cakes who took time away from his booth to try and get it working. A few hours later, in the middle of the lunch rush, Troy Lancaster, owner of Lancaster’s Cafeteria, came down to assist as well. When it looked as though there was no hope, Troy offered to cook for us at his booth and bring the food down so we could sell it. Thankfully, he was able to get our fryer working and we were able to finish Harvest with a flourish, but we wouldn’t have been successful without the help of these two fine people. If you have ever been touched by the Lions Club - received a scholarship, received eyeglasses when you couldn’t afford them, or just been helped with you were down on your luck, please help us thank Troy by visiting Lancaster’s Cafeteria. Thank you to Troy and Danny from the New Albany Lions Club!

— Blayr Barnard

 of Floyds Knobs