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Recent editorials published in Indiana newspapers

August 6, 2019

The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. July 31, 2019

Trooper In A Truck misses the mark

There are certain police operations that call for officers to go undercover, such as infiltrating the Mafia or busting drug dealers, but we would not expect highway patrol to be an undercover sting operation.

The Indiana State Police recently partnered with Anderson-based Carter Express to place a trooper in a truck in order to spot drivers who may be distracted by their cellphones.

Within three hours, the trooper helped issue 43 tickets and 40 warnings to distracted drivers.

We commend our police for their efforts to keep our roadways safe, but we prefer a visible police force.

We are concerned that this practice of police hiding in trucks feeds into a negative perception of police acting in an adversarial role to the general public.

Ideally, citizens should be able to see police as “the good guys,” trusted public servants who are there to keep order and step in when necessary. It is a mistake for police to take on the role of prying eyes intent on assessing fines.

We believe that placing more (highly visible) patrol cars on the road would encourage more drivers to drive safely and obey the law. But, we see no reason to believe that issuing more tickets leads to safer roads.

The Trooper in a Truck program no doubt had honorable intentions, but we question the merit of police officers writing tickets from hidden vantage points.

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South Bend Tribune. August 2,, 2019

Summer stock

South Bend must not forget neighborhoods in moving city forward

Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s administration has made downtown development in South Bend a priority during his two terms as mayor.

But as the city center shows signs of re-emergence, some have argued other parts of the city have not received the same kind of attention, especially neighborhoods.

In a report in Tuesday’s Tribune, the Rev. David Rial Biggs Sr., pastor at Cultivating Life Ministries on Western Avenue, summed it up: “Our neighborhoods and areas in the 2nd District, over along Lincoln Way and Western Avenue, totally disenfranchised from the economic growth of the city of South Bend.”

Biggs made his comments during a meeting at which Common Council members were seeking input on some of the toughest problems facing the city.

The city’s website shows that more than 17 percent of South Bend’s 2018 expenditure budget goes to neighborhoods.

But while the level of revitalization in downtown is clear, it’s less so in neighborhoods.

“I think what we have to do now is based on our priorities, what are the priorities and where should the monies go?” council member Karen White said at the same meeting, during which residents spoke about neighborhood needs. “I’m saying it needs to go to neighborhoods. We’ve got to make it happen.”

As the city prepares for next year’s budget, officials are hosting a series of meetings at locations throughout the city to listen to residents’ concerns. And that communication is key in helping the city to determine the priorities of neighborhood investment.

The foundation and stability of a neighborhood rests in its single-family home stock. Homeowners who have a vested interest in maintaining their properties are more likely to keep them up if they feel part of the community.

The city has been successful in its efforts to increase downtown development. That same success can be achieved by listening to residents and committing to improving city neighborhoods.

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The (Munster) Times. August 1, 2019

East Chicago rightly attacks truancy head on

Struggling communities can’t get back on track without righting their public education ships.

And students already struggling with socioeconomic challenges often find themselves in a deeper hole by failing to attend school.

It’s why we applaud a coalition of public, charter and private schools in East Chicago for joining forces with city officials to aggressively attack chronic truancy before the school year even starts.

Times education reporter Carley Lanich showed our readers Sunday how dozens of East Chicago students each school year are identified as habitually truant.

For the last seven months, the East Chicago coalition has met regularly to shape a program to address the causes of chronic student absenteeism.

The resulting Project Second Start now has East Chicago educators partnering with community organizations including the North Township Trustee’s Office, the East Chicago Housing Authority, Geminus and the Indiana Parenting Institute.

It means a unified way of providing services to help get truant students back to school, attacking a host of causes, from behavioral to transportation issues.

For those families not responding to the services, the East Chicago City Council has put some teeth behind the need for compliance.

A new ordinance passed this month allows school officials to refer repeat truancy cases to the city attorney, who may chose to refer those families to the city’s truancy program.

If parents fail to participate in the truancy program and get their children back in school, they could be summoned to city court, assessed $100 fines and be compelled to serve up to 50 hours of mandated community service.

East Chicago’s truancy court is similar to programs already in use in Lowell and Gary.

This is an important layer of accountability in a problem that threatens student growth and success.

In the end, parents of all Region school districts must take responsibility for their children’s regular school attendance.

But as the new school year approaches, East Chicago is right to attempt getting ahead of a longstanding problem.

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