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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Extend National Guard’s food bank role

On Aug. 21, I had the honor of working side by side with members of the Indiana National Guard to distribute food at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

The day was hot, but the Guard members diligently, continuously and cheerfully loaded boxes of food, fresh corn and watermelons into the back of people’s vehicles, distributing food in this manner to maintain social distancing during the COVID pandemic. That day, we distributed food to 1,032 households, another record for Hoosier Hills.

The Guard’s service at food banks has been critical as the number of regular volunteers has dwindled to almost nothing during this pandemic. So why am I writing to tell people something many of them already know?

It’s because the Indiana National Guard is only scheduled to remain serving in this capacity through the end of September. I’m writing to publicly ask Gov. Eric Holcomb to let the Guard continue helping at food banks through the end of October.

As one woman gratefully said to me, “You are saving lives.”

Penny Githens

Bloomington

Forests protect air, animals and clean water; logging disrupts that

Logging Indiana state forests, as environmentalists noted in your Aug. 31 story about the creation of two new such forests, is a bad idea.

Forests protect not only our clean air and endangered animals but also the clean drinking water of our towns and cities.

The water absorbed by Indiana state forests prevents the flooding of the rivers and streams that feed our reservoirs, like Lake Monroe, with sediments created by logging. Improving our water quality is part of the mission of Indiana state forests.

Not only does the logging disturb the soil and increase runoff of sediment, it also destroys nearby trees by compressing the soil with the heavy trucks and logging equipment.

Removing sediment from drinking water is very expensive. While planting new trees is admirable, an old hardwood tree such as those cut down requires as much as 80 years to reproduce. Growing trees is not like growing corn.

Holliday T. Day

Indianapolis

Couple not wearing masks at football game, please wear them

This is an open letter to the couple sitting in close proximity to others at my grandson’s high school football game – with no masks on the entire game.

This after the game announcer made at least eight announcements during the game to ask everyone to please wear their masks and social distance.

My question to these people who refuse to wear masks when asked by those in charge of an event: When science tells us that masks do make a difference, and when almost all of the people around them are wearing masks, what is your problem?

(Yes, a small minority of people may have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing the mask. However, given that the people I refer to were loudly shouting the entire game, I doubt that to be the case.) Maybe you don’t care if kids ever get back into school on a regular basis. Maybe you don’t care if employers can bring employees back into the workplace. Maybe you don’t care if people are, quite literally, dying from the pandemic virus.

Maybe you don’t care that those who do recover are frequently experiencing devastating side effects. Maybe you feel privileged, that you are special, and you do not have to follow the rules or maybe even use good judgment. I don’t know. It is beyond me.

I do not like wearing the masks. However, as one physician commented, “Would you rather wear a mask or a ventilator?”

Please give some thought to the nurses, teachers, retail workers and others who must wear their masks eight hours per shift. Do you think they enjoy it? The state of Indiana’s COVID-19 numbers are rising. Aren’t you ready for that to change?

Just wear it.

Sharon McMahon

Noblesville

Financial duress shows vocational, college degrees are important

The Aug. 28 IndyStar article on the dip in students for Ivy Tech shows the need for vocational training or college degrees during this recession and the one that just ended.

From experience, and that of 11 siblings, we escaped poverty through education, starting with self-funding parochial high school, vocational training for three, and junior college, four-year degrees and continuing self-funded education for the rest.

My associate’s degree in engineering, then a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and continuing-night-school engineering master’s, and MBA degrees took from 1953 to 1972, and 19,000 total hours of class, 50,000 miles of commuting to class and home study.

Following an associate’s degree, my Indy employer lost a military contract and terminated most engineering technicians, two weeks prior to the birth of our first child. My college-degree wife and I decided to live frugally, with limited savings, to complete one summer and three semesters at Purdue West Lafayette for my BSME degree.

The summary is, it is very easy today to complete an Indianapolis Ivy Tech and then IUPUI degree, as a full-time employee.

A few years of frugality to obtain a career and retirement with sufficient income from savings and investments is the outcome of education sacrifices.

Joseph J. Neff

Indianapolis

During pandemic, Indiana’s libraries are still serving public

Children need access to books and to libraries.

As schools reopen, we want to remind parents and residents how the school and public libraries are community resources with more than physical books and digital resources. Friendly librarians are ready to assist you.

Reading literacy is fundamental to success in school, work and life. Be assured that physical books and learning materials are safely circulated through time quarantines and/or disinfecting processes at school and public libraries. Many school and public libraries offer hold-and-pickup or curbside service, and many resumed full library services.

Digital resources are available to all Hoosiers for free through the INSPIRE virtual library, at inspire.in.gov.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Be sure to sign up and discover all the resources available to you. Check with your school. Or visit this map, to find the library branch nearest you: www.ilfonline.org/page/wi-fi-map.

Leslie Sutherlin

Aurora, Indiana

COVID-19 is hurting the developing world, too

As the COVID-19 cases in Indiana see a spike, they’re also increasing around the world – and as the coronavirus rages on, I think about how we’re all fortunate enough to live in the United States, a developed country with numerous resources that can be equipped to fight this virus.

We’re lucky – certainly luckier than millions around the world; the ones who are living in developing nations and suffering from poverty are being hit even harder by COVID-19 than we are.

Some may ask, “Why should we go out of our way to help foreign nations through COVID-19 when we can barely handle it ourselves?” Consider this: I am a supporter of the Borgen Project, a nonprofit that promotes antipoverty advocacy. Anyone educated on the issue can tell you that nations living in poverty are much more vulnerable to a number of threats, including the threats of radical terrorist groups.

It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s most threatening nations are also among the poorest. Impoverished people struggle to rise up against these powerful groups when they’re already fighting hunger – and the outbreak of COVID-19 will weaken them even further.

When Congress next moves to pass emergency supplemental legislation for the International Affairs Budget (the program through which the United States funds foreign aid), they must include support for fighting COVID-19 around the world.

To protect our country and those in poverty, it’s time for us all to call Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young and let them know what they must do.

Paige Hankins

Avon, Indiana

It takes a village to raise a child

Responding to the article headlined “Preschool can cost parents $9,000. Most Indiana 4-year-olds are left behind,” I think the saying of conservative lawmakers, “families should take responsibility for their children’s early education” is outmoded.

Today, more parents, especially women, are joining the workforce. Thus, we need bold and novel solutions to help families and ensure that kids can have access to quality care.

For instance, expanding preschool programs to rural areas and offering public or subsidy preschools to families of all incomes will be really helpful to many working parents. Another option is to have more flexible working hours for parents so that they can spend more time with their kids and be more involved in kids’ early education, aligning with conservative ideology about family setting.

Of course, family is responsible for children’s early education; however, state needs to play a role as well. The best investment is to invest in younger generations to guarantee the growth of the society.

QuynhAnh Nguyen

Indianapolis

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