September 1, 2014

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Remembering a friend’s life with ALS
Written by Doris Butt   
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 1:06 PM

Editor’s Note: With the recent videos circulating on Facebook and other social media about the ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, ice water challenge, Doris Butt recalls a friend who had the disease. Butt regularly contributes a column to Register Publications’ Over 50 paper, and is a retired Central Elementary School teacher. This column was written for Over 50 in October 2008, and Butt was in Florida at the time.

It is 4:55 p.m. and we are ready to eat. There is no sign of Dick. Everyone sits down at a table and it gets quiet. We do not know what to expect. Maybe he is too tired and is not going to make it.

Dick called to say he is coming to Inverness for a week to visit with his friends. He said he planned be at our club soup supper.

He lived in our mobile home park and used his many skills to help anyone that needed assistance. He had a special passion for helping the homeless, especially those that lived in the woods outside of town. He called them “his gals and guys.” He kept supplies in his truck in case he met someone in need. I heard him say many times, “Whoever needs food, I give it to them. If I have anything they need, I give it to them. I don’t care who they are.” Dick gave unconditionally.

Then Dick told us, “Something is the matter with me.” He did not even have enough strength to drive a nail. He went to several doctors and three times he took painful tests. I remember his words. “They jab a needle in this far. (two inches). It doesn’t hurt going in, but when they wiggle it around…boy. They did that to every muscle in your body, even under my tongue. They give you those little electric shocks too; they sure make your feet fly up.” We were all saddened, to say the least, when the diagnosis came. He had Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) disease. It leads to total helplessness.

His reaction, “I said to Doc, I don’t have a problem with that. I have lived a good life. If I got it, I got it. I’ve got to go home (New York).

When I can’t help myself, I will get someone to come in and take care of me. I’ll need help.”

Dick, now 73, left last year when he could no longer drive his truck. Soon afterwards his wife died. Some commented she would not have to see him suffer. We recently learned now has full time care. Even though we know Dick is a man of great determination, we wonder how he would manage the trip.

At exactly 5 o’clock Dick opens the clubhouse door. We all are taken back. He is thin and his arms hang limply at his side. His head tilts forward. He gives a broad smile and says, “I made it.” Many blink back tears as he goes from table to tables to receive hugs and handshakes. He introduces his caretakers, Shirley and her daughter Linda. Somewhere he had seen Shirley, an old friend, and asked her to come to take care of him. She did. Now she is his nighttime and morning helper.

Dick sits the table with Ray and me. He patiently sips his tomato soup with a straw. Fortunately, someone had brought a chocolate pudding which Linda feeds to him. He tells of losing 50 pounds and I realized that is why he looks so frail. We have a most lively conversation. I notice when he clasps his hands and gives them a big sling he can tend to his nose which constantly runs. Shirley says he has a machine that could help that but he has not given in to machines yet.

Dick shares that he does not have any pain. He announces the best news is that he could still dance. (His legs are strong yet.) He has Linda, his pretty helper, stand. Then she helps him put his arms around her waist and they do a few steps. His weak arms slip down around her hips. He laughs and said, “It all ain’t bad.”

Later my husband Ray has an unforgettable moment with Dick when he comes to visit with his friends from when he volunteered on our Rails and Trails Park. Ray is there volunteering on a fence building project. It is a chilly day so Ray buttons his shirt for him. As he is filling around a fence post, Dick asks for a shovel. Ray places his in his hands drooping below his waist; Dick pushes it in the dirt, and then gives it a kick with his foot. He laughs and says, “Now I have helped you,” Tears flowed for their good friend.

I am sure he found ways to help the homeless while he was here. I do know that he is welcomed at the church which provided much of his food for his homeless. There Linda fed him communion.

Dick has a safe flight home. Soon he must have a feeding tube and a breathing tube before he gets too weak. I am sure, as the disease grips him, he will have many pleasant memories of his visit back to Inverness.

My thoughts of Dick bring tears to my eyes. At first, I think they are for him, but now I am not so sure. Maybe they are for me. Maybe I have tears of frustration What about me? Am I challenging myself? I must seek out some of Dick’s determination in me. I am wasting so much of myself.

Dick lived two more years.

Doris Butt is a retired teacher, and splits her time between Indiana and Florida.

ACLU: Police over militarization a growing problem
Written by Jane Henegar   
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 4:38 PM

Events in Ferguson, Mo. have tragically but necessarily touched off much needed debates about racial injustice, police tactics and the increasing militarization of local police departments.

The Indianapolis Star has reported that eight counties in Indiana have acquired MRAPS, large and intimidating Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

Police and sheriffs’ departments across the state now own thousands of military items obtained from surplus at very little cost, creating a “police industrial complex.” The militarization of police departments that we’re witnessing in Missouri is also happening in Indiana.

We understand that law enforcement has a challenging job, but we feel the presence of military machinery in our neighborhoods is alarming. In June, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report intended to provide details on this little-understood phenomenon.

The report, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, includes analysis of thousands of documents obtained through public records requests from police departments around the country.

The requests focused on more than 800 SWAT raids conducted by law enforcement agencies and on the acquisition of military weaponry, vehicles and equipment that may be ill-suited to basic police work.

The report also includes the ACLU’s recommendations to federal, state and local governments, including reining in incentives for police to militarize; tracking the use of SWAT and the guns, tanks, and other military equipment that end up in police hands; and developing criteria for SWAT raids that limit their deployment to the kinds of emergencies for which they were intended, such as an active shooter situation.

Law enforcement work must be done in an atmosphere that protects both our safety and our rights and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

We urge law enforcement leaders to be transparent about the acquisition and intended use of military surplus and to inform the public about the training officers will receive.

Further, we urge restraint so that the use of this intimidating equipment does not alienate communities or discourage residents from exercising their constitutionally-protected rights of free speech and assembly.

We urge the public to read the report and contact your local officials about the potential risks to your community. The report is available at

Jane Henegar
Executive Director
ACLU of Indiana

Don Bowman Scholarship Fund says thanks for help
Written by Janet, Daniel, Doug, & Danika   
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 4:38 PM

The 2nd Annual Donald Bowman Scholarship Night 5k was a huge success on Saturday Aug. 9. We cannot thank the Vineyard Golf Course enough for allowing us to host the 5k. We also want to extend our thanks to all of our volunteers and Switzerland County EMS. Special thanks goes to Robin Bruce and The Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ for supplying the snack table.

The event would not have been a success without our many sponsors, volunteers, and donations. We would like to recognize our sponsors and tell them thanks.

Gold-Sons of the American Legion Squadron #59 Rising Sun, Ind.,, Bucher Services, Bucher Burial Vaults, The Sign Store, The Vineyard Golf Course, Everything Under The Sun. and Theresa Scott Photography

Silver-Mayor Branden Roeder, Rae Baker Gipson-Clerk Treasurer, Rising Sun City Council, Bernie and Lynn Ann Huff, Feustel Family, The Gibbens Family, and The Titkemeyers
Bronze-Alyse Knapp- In Honor of Rick Robinson, Donita Valentine-Valentine Realty, Lavelle’s Tax Service, United Community Bank, David & Tammy Hogg, Russell Dunning & Family, AdvoCare-Angie Lozier (584-7413) and Amy Hochstrasser (513-515-6339), Deville’s Rising Sun Pharmacy, White’s Farms, Bear Branch Supply, Sharon & Bill Lucas, and Walmart
Medals-The Vollmer`s, Rick & Kathy Kelly, Hair Solutions-Connie Hoffman, Hair Solutions-Lainie Grogg, Mickie Furnish, Rising Sun Main Street, Lavelle’s Tax Service, Steve & Dorma Melchers, Ashley Cochran, Alice Cyrus-Country Star Crafts, Gregory`s Maintenance & Repair, Stevie & Tammy Johns, Baker Family, Evelina Coker Brown, Attorney at Law, Raine Highman-In memory of John Palmer, The Meister Family. The Dugle Family, Loretta Miller-In memory of Scott Miller, White`s Appraisal`s, White Pine Construction, Pondra & Joe Ayler, Jim & Carol Richardville, Aylor Salt Service, Bob & Grace Browning, The Wallace Family, and David & Danielle Titkemeyer
Donations-Rising Star Casino*Resort, Cappels Creations, Principled Chiropractic-Dr Troy Smith, Rising Sun Wellness Spa-Jennifer Brittain, Janet Bowman-Janet’s’ Cleaning, Neaman Floral, Perfect North Slopes, Amber Fisk-Tupperware, Personally Yours, Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Rising Sun City, Whitey`s Liquor Store, Hickory House, Caudillio`s, Rockies, Hair Solutions Lainie Grogg, Panama Pete`s Tanning Spa, Remax-Lori Eisert, Kathy Kelly, Car Country- Tom Tepe, Aylor Salt Service, Origami Owl Jeannie Siekman, Rusty Dunning, Shay Brown, Lauren Grace, Alyse Knapp, Ashley Cochran, Dena Cochran, Robin Bruce, Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ, Janet Bowman, Abby Friend, Pampered Chef Consultant, April Johnson, Charlie & Shirley Levi, United Community Bank, Debbie Luers-Simply Said Agent, Amanda Wallace, and Bev Tague.
If anyone was missed we are truly sorry but we greatly appreciate your help!

The Donald Bowman Scholarship Fund
Janet, Daniel, Doug, & Danika

Mental health and suicide
Written by Bill Stanczykiewicz   
Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:22 AM | Updated ( Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:27 AM )

The recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams sheds lights on an often silent struggle with depression that many face.  It’s a battle many Indiana teens fight, as well.  In fact, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young Hoosiers between the ages of 15 and 24.  Indiana also has the nation’s highest rate of students who have contemplated suicide and the country’s second highest rate of high school students who have attempted suicide.  Please consider running an updated version of the op-ed column on suicide prevention by the Indiana Youth Institute (below) to build awareness about this difficult and complex topic.

Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide.

Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a major league baseball pitcher. But one opponent was too strong to overcome: his son's mental illness, which remains a prevalent challenge for Indiana youth.

Taylor John, whose theater credits included appearing on Broadway as Gavroche in "Les Miserables," ended his life four years ago by overdosing on prescription drugs. He was 28 years old.

"He was a very talented, outgoing, funny young man (who would) laugh and sing," Tommy John recalled. "He had the most beautiful voice. Perfect pitch."

And Taylor also had mental illness. His dad described him as "obsessive compulsive," and "then he was diagnosed as being bipolar, manic depressive. He was diagnosed when he was in his twenties. When he was younger, we had no idea."

The lack of diagnosis and treatment earlier in Taylor's life is all too common in Indiana. Nearly 20 percent of Hoosier youth have mental health needs. However, half of those children between the ages of 0-5, and one-third of those youth between the ages of 12-17, do not receive professional care for their mental health challenges.

Not coincidentally, Indiana has the nation's highest rate of students who have contemplated suicide (19 percent) and the country's second highest rate of high school students who have attempted suicide (11 percent). Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Hoosiers between the ages of 15-24.

Young people with mental illness are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and struggle with school or work. While feelings of sadness are normal, persistent sadness – lasting two weeks or more – can be a sign of depression which, if left untreated, may lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stressful life events can increase the possibility of suicide. Examples include the death of a loved one, a relationship breakup, financial insecurity, school difficulties or a violent family environment. In addition, youth who identify as homosexual, bisexual or transgender are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.

Bob Coles, vice president of clinical services for Meridian Services, a statewide mental health care provider based in Muncie, alerts parents, educators and youth workers to watch for warning signs of mental illness and suicidal tendencies. The list includes changes in behavior or attitude such as a child who becomes moody, angry or withdrawn. Other potential indicators include changes in appetite or sleeping habits, a decline in spending time with friends and a loss of interest in hobbies or other favorite activities.

"Be aware of those kinds of changes, and then talk with your child about what is going on," Coles advised. "If you feel like these are behaviors that are significant, or if the behaviors are persistent, then it's a good idea to get (professional) help."

If the situation is urgent, call 911 or take your child to the hospital emergency room. Assistance also is available on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK.

Coles explained that doctors are improving their ability to detect and treat mental illness.  "Health care professionals are being educated to look for emotional factors that may be tied to the physical problem that is going on. They then are incorporating additional help such as (mental health) counseling into the medical care."

Coles emphasized that families should not feel ashamed or stigmatized if they suspect that their child has a mental illness

Tommy John, meanwhile, encouraged families to be informed and be proactive. "If you can get as much information as you can about what to look for and what to do, then you can get your child (proper care)," John said.

Detecting mental illness in children and youth and providing them with prompt medical care can help those kids survive one day at a time. Or as Gavroche and the cast of "Les Miserables" sing so well, "One more dawn. One more day. One day more."

Bill Stanczykiewicz is President & CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. He can be reached at and @_billstan