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Associated Press photos

Furthermore …


Indiana not alone in Sunday carryout ban

A move to allow carryout sales of alcohol on Sunday appears dead in this year’s General Assembly. But despite your view on the subject and what you may hear, Indiana is not the only state to prohibit Sunday sales.

Some proponents of Sunday carryout sales have said Indiana is the last holdout. Others have inserted a caveat – that Indiana is the only state that allows alcohol by the drink at restaurants and bars but bans carryout.

Neither is true.

For example, Minnesota’s alcohol laws are similar to Indiana’s – it allows by-the-drink sales on Sunday but not carryout. Not surprisingly, a legislative battle is being waged there to legalize Sunday carryout sales.

When comparing Indiana with other states, Hoosiers need to remember that alcohol laws are a true patchwork across the nation, and virtually every state has some quirk.

For example, Tennessee and some other states allow gasoline stations and convenience stores to sell cold beer and other malt beverages – but hard liquor and wine are available only in package liquor stores.

Texas, like some other states, allows beer sales on Sundays but not hard liquor.

Some states give localities power to set stricter limits or ban outright the sale of alcohol – hence the term “dry county.”

Some Texas counties allow patrons to bring in their own bottle of wine or hard liquor to a restaurant, which can charge a corking fee to open the wine or sell setups – ice and cola, for example, to go with rum.

In general terms, Indiana seems comparatively stingy on places to buy cold beer but quite generous in allowing groceries and drugstores to sell a range of hard liquor. Just never on Sunday.

In any event, the Sunday carryout question is a little more complicated than yes or no.

Area district earns national acclaim for technology use

Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community Schools earns some well-deserved attention with Education Week’s recognition of Superintendent Dennis Stockdale as one of 16 “Leaders to Learn from.”

An article published last week in the education publication highlights Stockdale’s effort to make the rural DeKalb County school district, with an enrollment of about 1,800, a model for technology-based instruction. Every student works with a computing device – either an iPad available to elementary students or MacBook laptaps issued to older students. In just the second year of total K-12 connectivity, students are recording impressive learning gains. Stockdale, who gives much credit to his teachers, said the technology allows them to customize instruction, so that each student is allowed to work to his or her potential.

The article doesn’t mention it, but the superintendent also deserves credit for the district’s ambitious high school-building project. He took advantage of federal stimulus funds to replace the nearly century-old high school with an austere but state-of-the-art building capable of handling new technology. While 73 percent of the district’s students qualify for a subsidized lunch, Stockdale is insistent that all students deserve the newest technology and school buildings that support instruction.

Now in his sixth year as superintendent, Stockdale said he isn’t sure how Education Week learned about the district’s progress, but he’s eager to share Garrett-Keyser-Butler’s story when he attends an April event in Washington for the leaders recognized. The itinerary includes a dinner and a two-hour meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Stockdale said he wants to make three points with Duncan: Every student should have a computing device; they must be wired for connectivity outside of school; and instruction must be tailored to individual students.

Insult piled on insult on passengers’ odyssey

Call it the vacation from hell, worst-case scenario.

More than 3,000 passengers on a ship for a leisurely, four-day cruise instead spent nearly a week adrift at sea, with food shortages, lack of air conditioning in their cabins, no warm showers and – worst of all – a failed sewage system. Passengers who embarked on a ship that surely seemed spacious initially no doubt soon felt they were in uncomfortably close quarters, especially when they were told to use plastic bags to hold their bodily waste.

Then, when tow boats finally arrived, the plan to pull the ship to Mexico changed to a destination of Mobile, Ala., because the Carnival Cruise Lines ship had drifted so far.

The boat was being pulled at a maddeningly slow speed – until a tow rope broke, prompting another delay.

After reaching port came the exercise of getting 3,000 passengers off the ship – with one working elevator.

Finally, while the crew was put up in local hotels, and Mobile officials said they had more than enough hotel rooms, passengers were told they could choose between a two-hour bus ride to New Orleans, where they would stay in a hotel, or a seven-hour bus trip back to their origination point of Galveston or to Houston. And the final insult: One of the buses broke down.

Kind of makes the primitive campground along Pigeon River now slated for closure seem like a tropical paradise.