> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Reader: It’s time to fix education system
We would do well as a community to note that one of the very real problems in the funding of our school district is the cost of health care for teachers and other employers. Deputy Superintendent Brad Snyder said this cost has risen 65.8 percent (equal to $4.9 million) in just the past five years.
I cannot think of anything I purchase that has experienced such an obscene inflation. We simply cannot solve the educational funding issue without simultaneously working on health care reform. We continue to be the only western democracy where health care is a privilege, not a human right, and the only democracy without a national health care program. We are also number 37 in the world for health outcomes demonstrating the folly of privatizing that which is essential to human life. The insurance companies have not just robbed us of our dollars, they are now by proxy robbing us of our educational system. Fire and police protection will probably be next on the block. While robbing us of service, big pharma continues to funnel unchecked dollars into the campaign coffers of politicians like Rep. Todd Young who are willing to do their bidding and protect their vice-like hold on the American public.
The one big problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it did not go far enough. We need national health care system, or at minimum a public option for purchasing insurance. Congressmen, like Todd Young, who are committed to repealing the health care changes demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how this path of health care inflation will begin to undermine every aspect of our public lives. I have yet to hear him offer any alternative or vision for what he would do to replace this act.
It is time for those who were so bamboozled by the “Obamacare” rhetoric to wake and see what is at stake. It is time for us to insist that the very small incremental changes that are happening in health care not be repealed.
And, it is time for us to get serious about fixing the monster that is now eroding the very foundations of our democracy. A country without an adequate and free public education system is a country in decline.
— Susan Ryan, Floyds Knobs
Lung cancer is still a threat
If asked what cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women today, the likely response from most women would be breast cancer. The likely response from most men would be prostate cancer. Yet the real answer is lung cancer, and it will continue to be the leading cause of cancer death among men and women today, tomorrow and for decades to come. Why is this extraordinary and devastating fact not known?
Because lung cancer is the most stigmatized, misunderstood and ignored cancer of all. While it may be easy for society to blame lung cancer on smoking, the reality today is that 80 percent of new lung cancer cases inflict people who either have never smoked or have quit smoking — most decades ago. It is taking more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. And lung cancer has a very low five-year survival rate of 15 percent. Nobody deserves lung cancer, whatever the cause, and we must do more to combat this pernicious disease.
Success lies in approaching lung cancer comprehensively, just as we do other major illnesses. Prevention and wellness coupled with early detection and treatment options must be adequately funded and coordinated. Isn’t that how we approach heart disease or breast cancer or HIV/AIDS? Why should lung cancer be held to a different standard?
The Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act would establish a comprehensive approach that requires federal health agencies to coordinate, provides new resources and tools to health agencies, supports early detection and treatment, and creates programs to combat lung cancer in vulnerable populations including veterans, minorities, the poor and women.
Nobody can breathe easy while the disease of lung cancer continues to strike our fathers, mothers, sisters, husbands, wives, neighbors and friends. Let us all breathe new life into the effort to fight lung cancer by asking our congressional representatives to become sponsors of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2011. For more information, visit the Lung Cancer Alliance website at lungcanceralliance.org.
— John Doughty, Advisory Board Member, Lung Cancer Alliance of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, New Albany
Resident upset with city officials
I would like to ask the city officials how you decide which streets are private and which are not. My brother lives on Rector Drive, off of Armstrong, which is off Old Ford Road in New Albany. His mother-in-law lives on Victor Drive, right behind Slate Run School. Her road is also off of Old Ford Road. They have been told that the city is not responsible for paving their roads, because the city claims Rector and Victor Drives are private roads. How is this possible?
They all pay city taxes. City garbage trucks go on these roads, mail is delivered. It sounds like, to me, if you live off Old Ford Road, watch out for potholes. My brother’s road is awful. The city told them that they would have to pave it themselves. The price from a private company was about $8,000. Now, the city paved Armstrong a couple of years ago, after doing some work on the corner of Old Ford Road and Armstrong. When this was reminded to the city, they told my sister-in-law that it was a mistake — they shouldn’t have paved Armstrong.
It sounds like another put off job by the City of New Albany. I don’t know about you, but it’s time to get rid of the officials who are not doing their job. Taxpayers are getting sick of this!
— Debbie Eason, New Albany
Reader: Stand strong, F.O.P
This letter is in response to police union negotiations. Don’t give in to the council.
Here is the reason why. I am a union member, Local UAW 2383, and I used to have great insurance coverage until we opened our contract and let the company change the wording to allow them to do whatever they want with insurance. So in recent years, our insurance coverage has changed twice.
In the beginning, I used to pay $10 co-pay per doctor visit and now I pay for the first $500 and then 80-20 after that, 20 percent being my cost. Then once I pay the first $1,000 for a family, its 100 percent paid.
Now for the prescriptions, no matter what prescription I had it was $10. Now, its $25 to $40 per prescription depending on what it is. I am a year and a half out of open heart surgery and before I would not have had to pay a dime for the surgery, but since we let the company have control of what they want to do with insurance, I have a $6,000 bill, which is my cost that I am still paying off monthly — not to mention the eight different prescriptions that I have to get every month just to stay alive.
So I tell you this, Clarksville Police Union, stick to your guns, so to speak. Don’t give them the ammunition they need to put you in a finical grave you can’t get out of. Go for a bigger raise. You guys don’t get paid enough for what you do anyway.
If there was ever to be a mayor of Clarksville, I would like to be the first and I will show you all the respect you deserve. But that would mean I would have to move back to Clarksville.
I am not afraid to shake this council up that’s been in charge — so to speak — that I think they actually forget who they are there for — the people — and who protects them — the police.
— John Price, Jeffersonville
Stemler represents what is right
At a recent town hall meeting with State Sen. Ron Grooms and Rep. Steve Stemler, Debbie Harbeson had a reaction to Stemler’s action.
My granddaughter and I spent almost a year at the Langford Learning Center, where Ms. Harbeson works as a teacher. She certainly is a wonderful teacher and my granddaughter gained much knowledge from her, but I guess when you pay almost $14,000, people should be nice to you.
Ms. Harbeson has a right to her opinion. That is what America is all about, but I certainly think Stemler deserved a phone call to find out his views and why he decided to stay on his job instead of fleeing to Illinois. Isn’t that what he is being paid to do? Stay on the job?
Steve told this to the people at the meeting (and for an article in this newspaper). Ms. Harbeson, I didn’t see you there.
He talked of how proud he was to serve the people of his district and how serious he takes the oath of office. That is what he believes. He has principles that made him choose that option.
It is a shame that someone of Steve’s commitment to the community has to be treated in this manner, but uninformed people do underwrite strange things.
I am sure the Harbeson column made some people laugh, but Steve isn’t in the business of comedy in his work as a representative. He just works at his job.
Two democrats, Steve was one of them, were chosen by the Republican Party to chair certain committees in the House. Steve was put in charge of the Small Business and Commerce Committees.
I was at the meeting when Steve made the decision to accept that position. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. There were four of us at that meeting and I supported him to accept the chairmanship. My thinking was, “who would be better suited to talk to both sides than Steve. He would also be able to keep the Democrats informed.”
Ron Grooms and Steve Stemler. Is that nonpartisan at it’s best?
Good luck, Steve.
— Margie Beyl-Jenkins, Sellersburg
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Reader: It’s time to fix education system
OUR OPINION: Spacing out high school plays would help
For all the strengths of the theater programs, why isn’t inter-program communication one of those? Opening so many shows in one week seems counter-productive for every program getting ready to debut a play.
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DODD: The heroin epidemic
On a daily basis, I meet people who use drugs. It’s almost amusing when it’s a young person who is only driving drunk from too much alcohol or simply smoking a bit of pot. It almost seems like you breathe a sigh of relief.
Heroin is the biggest problem today.
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