October 23, 2014

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Send message to politicos by ‘not’ voting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet Wolgamot   
Monday, October 20, 2014 3:26 PM

It is no revelation to anyone that the opportunity to realize the American Dream becomes more elusive with each passing election season. It should be apparent that neither political party has the interests of the vast majority at heart.

Democratic and Republican politicians are essentially identical in their priorities; 1) self preservation and election, 2) following party ideology and 3) satisfying financial supporters (see 1). What are missing in this list are you and I.

Republican ideology is to direct our national wealth to an ever more ethically and morally challenged 1% who aren’t inclined to play well with others. “Trickle” down economics is a disconcertingly apt name.

The Democratic mantra is to direct our national wealth to a gluttonous government bureaucracy, which ineptly ingests the bulk and dispenses the residue to you and I based on ideological litmus tests and the surrender of liberties.

As it ingests and dispenses more than we produce, it borrows more, signing over our grandchildren’s futures as collateral.

How has your choice of these philosophies worked out for you?

We are not so much a self-governed people as we are a Democratic and Republican Party monopoly governed people. They are not the same thing!

We’re forced to choose between candidates who’ve chosen ideological enslavement to advance.

Their only interest in us is in the fictional political story line engineered for them to garner our vote.

We’re told that if we don’t vote, we’re unpatriotic.

Well, being forced to choose between and encourage one of two detrimental options doesn’t seem a very patriotic action? Is this really what our patriots bloodied themselves to protect?

Instead, how about voting NO! Go to the polls, register, take your ballot and turn it in unmarked except for issues or the rare candidate you completely believe has your best interests at heart. You can leave the polling place with pride and potentially have a positive impact on future elections.

What message would be sent if they tallied the votes and the winning candidate had 1 percent or 2 percent of the vote?

Who might eventually see and fill this opportunity vacuum that might really improve our condition?

First, we must participate and reject what doesn’t work to create the opportunity for positive change.

Chet Wolgamot lives in Manchester Township.

$2M to 0 for schools is not belt tightening PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erika Schmidt Russell   
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 4:11 PM

The City of Lawrenceburg in its infinite wisdom decided to reduce the amount it divvied up between Dearborn County’s three school corporations.

Perhaps that should be rephrased. Lawrenceburg slashed the amount all the way to ZERO from $2 million.
Mayor Dennis Carr said everyone needs to tighten their belts. That is not belt tightening that is a tourniquet.
It also is not a good public relations move when the General Assembly, an equally wise body, is eyeing not only Lawrenceburg’s riverboat casino revenues but everyone else’s and has an eye toward land-based gaming beyond the racinos.

So already cash-strapped South Dearborn and Sunman-Dearborn school corporations are going to be less about $600,000 to work with next year. Lawrenceburg schools aren’t getting the money either.

A couple examples of how the  Lawrenceburg money was used include the start of a 1:1 technology initiative and funding of teachers for Project Lead the Way at South Dearborn schools. Past uses for the three corporations include using it to pay Southeastern Career Center fees, the alternative school, and special education.

There also are a lot of students moving back and forth among the three school corporations. While Lawrenceburg Community School Corporation has gained the most students, predominantly from Sunman-Dearborn, South Dearborn High School had a net gain of 10 students due to transfers last year. This school year it had a net loss of two students.

Lawrenceburg schools has gained so many students recently it was on the verge of holding a lottery for transfer students. The lottery was averted this year, but in the future it could be a very real possibility.

For the 2012-13 school year Lawrenceburg schools picked up 90 students from Sunman-Dearborn, and in the 2013-14 school year gained 118 from S-D. All of those transfer students, by the way, are eligible for the free textbook rentals provided through the Lawrenceburg Schools Endowment.

The transfer students are NOT eligible for the Paul E. “Truck” Tremain Scholarship, which is only for residents of Lawrenceburg, Greendale and Lawrenceburg Township and attending Lawrenceburg High School.

South Dearborn and Sunman-Dearborn school endowments use their money, shared as part of the original formula and not tied to the $2 million, to reduce book rental fees.

And for 2014 Lawrenceburg took money off the top of the $2 million being divvied up to give the Lawrenceburg endowment so it could cover the book fees. In the 2015 city budget draft there is a line item for D.C. School Books, I’m sure that’s a typo and is actually just the extra Lawrenceburg schools’ money.

The school corporations already have dealt with decreases in state funding, around $500 per student, and as mentioned above S-D and South Dearborn have declining enrollments.

Sunman-Dearborn is going to close down North Dearborn Elementary School. The board just needs to decide which option for grade configurations to use, and plans more meetings on it.

I understand Lawrenceburg should look after Lawrenceburg, however, Lawrenceburg is not an island. There are cities on either side of it. People working at Hollywood Casino don’t just live in Lawrenceburg. People visiting the casino can’t get there without going through another city or part of the county.

For that matter there are longtime Lawrenceburg city employees who do not live in Lawrenceburg.

While the City of Lawrenceburg has been extremely generous through the years, and with extra scrutiny on the city of late, I repeat that now is not the time to cut what is given to help those outside Lawrenceburg.

One possible remedy to the drastic chopping would be to cut the amount in half, giving each corporation a bit over $300,000.

Dearborn County Council handled the gambling revenue decline in a more diplomatic fashion. During budget talks at the end of August, it warned nonprofits receiving county funds they would be funded for 2015, but no new groups would be added to the mix.

County Council also told the groups that depending on revenues the amount they receive in 2016 could  be reduced or eliminated.

County council gave the groups warning and time to make adjustments to their budgets.

If only Lawrenceburg had given the three school corporations the same warning.

Erika Schmidt Russell is editor of The Journal-Press and The Dearborn County Register.

CALLING ALL CANDIDATES- in opposed races PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Friday, October 10, 2014 12:30 PM

Please fill out the following candidate profile. Note: You can download a form by clicking here, or print out or copy the form below. All information should be filled out and re-turned to us no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17.
Photos also are encouraged, and a high resolution jpeg file attached to the email below is preferred. Do NOT put photos in word documents. A hard copy of photo can be dropped off at Register Publications’ Lawrenceburg office, 126 W. High St.
Profiles can be emailed to  erussell@registerpublications.com, and if not e-mailed as a Word attachment, must be typed. Handwritten profiles will not be accepted.

Political Party:
Office Sought:
Incumbent: Yes or No
Family Status:
Public Office Experience:
Public Service Experience:

1. Why are you running for office?

2. Why are you the best person for the office?

3. What are the most important issues facing the office you are seeking?

Last Updated on Monday, October 13, 2014 4:16 PM
TIFs help county grow PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kevin J. Lynch   
Monday, October 06, 2014 4:00 PM

I view the proper and aggressive use of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts as a way to make the entire county stronger.
"For too long, we have not had a defined, focused economic development strategy in this county," "Let's not be unnecessarily cautious about the use of these. we created them."
TIF, Let's give us all something to talk about!
As property values within the county rise, so do the hopes of those pushing to spur economic development.
That's because, any increase in property values in these districts makes new funds available for development through a mechanism known as tax increment financing, or TIF, districts.
This tool shows much potential.
The districts allow the county to capture tax money that would otherwise go to other tax-spending entities. The county then must spend that money on improvements designed to make the districts more attractive for private development.
Backers of the TIF districts view them as one of the county's best hopes for attracting new investment. No one is more hopeful than I am, having spent the last  12 years working on economic development.
Against the backdrop of all our other problems, I believe that most of those problems can be solved if we have renewed economic investment in the county. Over the next 30 years, it will probably be worth several hundred million dollars easily.
The county has created 4TIF districts throughout the county.
I view the TIF funding as a way to finish out developments and then beef up surrounding infrastructure and keep it well-maintained over the long term.
I can't think of a better way to encourage people to come and take advantage of something than to invest in the infrastructure.
The county is taking the lead on something for once and we will keep a very close eye on the districts, which some resisted initially.
People get used to doing things the way they've always done them.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a growing recognition that the way business is being done in this county had to change. TIF is that great tool.
Instead of throwing money and subsidies at projects without a coherent plan, the TIF districts generate money that must be used within those districts, giving the county greater incentive to come up with road maps for developing its communities.
These TIF districts provide developers with assurances that their infrastructure needs can be met long term. Businesses sometimes find that infrastructure can't keep pace with their needs.
Do I want there to be a whole lot of growth? I sure do,  but the right type of growth in the right areas. While others say the more there is, the more that is lost for us.
While new development could ultimately generate greater sales tax dollars for the county, that is a far less stable source of revenue than real estate.
I view the proper and aggressive use of the TIF districts as a way to make the entire community stronger.
For too long, we have not had a defined, focused economic development strategy in this community.
Let's not be unnecessarily cautious about the use of TIF's, Heck, we created them.
"Together we make Dearborn County Better"

Kevin J. Lynch
Dearborn County

Domestic Violence Awareness: It’s a Man’s Issue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen Beneker   
Wednesday, October 01, 2014 4:15 PM

NFL Running Back Ray Rice isn’t alone. According to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 1 in 5 men admit to pushing, slapping, hitting, choking or committing some other form of physical violence against an intimate partner.

Domestic violence has long been thought of as a “women’s issue.” As a result, a large portion of domestic violence resources, research, and public awareness efforts have been focused on the victims of domestic violence and how to intervene after violence has occurred.

In the wake of recent events surrounding the off-field behavior of certain NFL players, the focus of domestic violence is turning to men and how they can prevent domestic violence from ever happening.

It’s safe to say that most men are opposed to violence against women. However, most men do not possess the information or tools necessary to demonstrate or express their disapproval of violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a result, Safe Passage, Inc. is highlighting a few programs the domestic violence prevention and intervention agency is working hard to implement throughout Safe Passage’s five county service area in Southeastern Indiana.

These programs are aimed at equipping men and boys with the tools necessary to not only hold themselves accountable, but also the actions of other men and boys.

The first program is an initiative called the “100 Men Campaign”. The “100 Men Campaign” was founded on the belief that men have a crucial role to play in ending destructive behaviors that too often lead to violence against women and girls.

The Mission of the Campaign is to increase awareness of this issue among men and women of all ages, and to proactively advocate for violence prevention.

Men who have joined the Campaign are committed to achieving the objective of promoting healthy, respectful relationships and ultimately ending violence against women and girls across the five Southeastern Indiana counties supported by Safe Passage.

All men are invited to join the “100 Men Campaign” to take a stand against violence. Men who join the campaign receive a t-shirt, a quarterly newsletter which highlights ways to be accountable as a man, volunteer opportunities and invitations to various events throughout the community.

Men interested in joining the 100 Men Campaign can contact Allen Beneker at abeneker@safepassageinc.org. for more information.

The second program Safe Passage is implementing is aimed at equipping boys in our communities with a strong foundation of building healthy relationships.

The program is called “Coaching Boys Into Men,” and was developed by Futures Without Violence, a national anti-violence organization.

Many youth coaches become lifelong mentors of young athletes and will have tremendous influence on the character of these athletes. “Coaching Boys Into Men” provides athletic coaches with a comprehensive curriculum along with the resources they need to promote respectful behavior among their players and help prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault.

The main component of the curriculum is a card series that instructs coaches on how to incorporate teamwork, integrity, fair play, and respect into daily practice and routine.

Safe Passage, along with Futures Without Violence are providing all the materials and resources to area coaches free of charge.

Safe Passage will be conducting “Coaching Boys Into Men” coaches clinics and offering support for coaches throughout the athletic seasons.

For more information about this program check out http://www.coachescorner.org/ or contact Allen, abeneker@safepassageinc.org, at Safe Passage to set up a coaches clinic.

Safe Passage is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization, dedicated to helping individuals and families live strong, safe lives that are free of violence.

Since 1997 Safe Passage, Inc. has provided domestic violence victim services throughout Southeastern Indiana.

Support is available through the 24 toll-free Help Line (1-877-733-1990), residential shelter and outreach services.

Safe Passage services Indiana residents of Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland Counties; however assistance is offered to anyone who contacts the Helpline. All services are free and confidential.

The Mission of Safe Passage is to provide:
*Intervention services to victims of domestic violence that facilitate healing, independence, and empowerment.
*Domestic Violence prevention and education programs that promote a safe, nurturing environment.

Allen Beneker is Community Outreach Director Safe Passage, Inc.