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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 05, 2017 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Gerrymandered seek fair representation

I am gerrymandered. I live in a neighborhood two miles from downtown Fort Wayne, yet my state representative lives in Huntington and runs a business there. He represents District 50, which comprises all of Huntington County, the western part of Wells County and some of southwest Fort Wayne. It is not surprising I have never seen him in my neighborhood since it is a miniscule slice of his district, only about three blocks wide and as many long. My neighbors two blocks to the north and three blocks to the south are part of District 80 and represented by a legislator who actually lives in Fort Wayne.

When I moved into my neighborhood in the '80s, my street was part of District 80, and then, suddenly, it was not. It is difficult to see how someone from a midsize city in a predominantly rural county can adequately and fairly advocate for a very small percentage of his constituency that is most decidedly urban. Further, it is ludicrous to believe that when district boundaries were redrawn that the only way equity in population numbers could be achieved was to dig out chunks of neighborhoods in Fort Wayne and align them with those in Huntington County.

Regardless of party affiliation, residents of this part of my neighborhood are denied the opportunity to have our interests fairly represented in the Statehouse. This needs to be changed.

Sally Swihart

Fort Wayne

Ball State campaign shares a great story

Monday morning, we will launch a new brand and an aggressive marketing campaign for our university. And we have a great story to tell.

In August, in my first speech to our faculty and staff, I told my colleagues that, over the past few years, we had perhaps been too modest. I promised that soon we would become more vocal and more visible. I told them we are going to tell the transformational stories of Ball State students and graduates with the energy and passion those stories deserve.

Monday, we will begin to fulfill that commitment. Indeed, we are going to demonstrate that Ball State must be a student's first choice for an excellent education at an affordable price. And we are going to inspire our faculty, staff and alumni to engage more fully in providing a personal educational experience that prepares our students to have successful careers and to lead meaningful lives.

We will unveil an updated, refreshed logo and a new tagline. On campus and across the state, you will see those new visible elements.

Our campaign is timely because our university is stronger – and it's getting stronger every day. This year, we have record-breaking total enrollment and a freshman class that is the most academically qualified and diverse in our history. Our innovative approach to education, including our immersive learning projects, coupled with our technology-advanced campus, empower students to take risks and inspire them to embrace intellectual curiosity in their lives.

But a brand is much more than words and a logo. A credible, compelling brand is about how the university honors its history and fulfills its promises.

For us, Beneficence, the iconic statute that has graced our campus for 80 years, reminds us that we must do more than simply impart knowledge and teach skills. At Ball State, we also have an obligation to instill enduring values: excellence, integrity, social responsibility, respect and gratitude.

Our commitment to these enduring values is a distinctive feature of our university. And Beneficence will be our guide and the inspiration for our new marketing campaign. And we have a great story to tell.

Geoffrey S. Mearns

President, Ball State University

Donnelly champions colorectal cancer fight

I'd like to thank Sen. Joe Donnelly for meeting with me recently in Washington, D.C. We spoke about legislation aimed at helping cancer patients get the treatment and care they need, including the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.

This legislation is close to my heart. I lost my husband to colon cancer when he was only 43 years old. Colonoscopies are proven to prevent this disease and save lives, and we should make sure everyone has access to these screenings.

Currently, Medicare fully pays for routine colonoscopies. But if a polyp is found and removed during the procedure, the patient must pay a share of the cost. This loophole, which applies only to seniors on Medicare, costs seniors on average more than $300 in out-of-pocket costs. Any added costs can discourage some people from getting screened. Skipping recommended screening could mean a patient receives a later-stage colorectalcancer diagnosis that can be more expensive to treat and more difficult to survive.

It's time for Congress to pass this bill and make it easier for patients to get screened. I want to thank Sen. Donnelly for listening to me and for recently co-sponsoring this bill. This will ensure seniors have the same access to colorectal cancer screening as others. More seniors getting screened will result in fewer cases of cancer, reduced cost of treating the disease and, most importantly, fewer needless deaths from a disease that is easily detected and prevented.

Dana Georges

Fort Wayne

CHEERS to everyone who made it possible for us to send 340 veterans on four Honor Flights to Washington, D.C., in 2017. Special thanks to Col. Patrick Renwick and the 122nd Fighter Wing for the use of their facility for assembly and sendoff in the morning. Thanks also to Ryan Bauer at Fort Wayne International Airport for the use of their facility for the welcome home, and to Pat Miller from WOWO-AM for encouraging his listeners to come to the airport for the welcome home. That crowd gets bigger all the time. We are also grateful to all the contributors to our program, many of whom hold special fundraisers to benefit Honor Flight – and special thanks to Steel Dynamics for fully funding Flight 25. The biggest CHEER of all goes to our veterans, who sacrificed so much so that all of us can enjoy our freedom.

Max Robison

Fort Wayne

Trump distracting us from the real issues

It's been almost a year since Donald Trump's election. We all know now that he did not change, that he is every bit the inept, self-centered president even some of his voters feared he would be. So let's stop obsessing about how callously he spoke to a military widow or that he throws paper towels. Let's get to obsessing about how Trump, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan are damaging the country they profess to love.

If Americans click on internet sites that “analyze” Trump's insulting tweets, then much of the news media will follow suit – giving the public celebrity news.

I'm asking every reader who shares my concerns to stop clicking on these distractions and click on news stories about decisions that really matter.

My personal No. 1 issue is stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from turning into the Environmental Destruction Agency. Maybe yours is racial justice or the budget threats to Medicare and Medicaid or the attacks on public education. The list goes on and on.

Educate yourself and then join others trying to keep our country from dissolving into pockets of wealth and poverty divided by racial, religious and gender prejudices. Communicate with people in power. Around here, that starts with Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Jim Banks.

They seem to be decent men. Maybe they are embarrassed being tied to Trump. Maybe they are open to evidence and arguments on certain issues. Introduce them to people who will be hurt badly by the worst policies. Give them a chance to represent all of us.

Perhaps you can make a difference, perhaps not, but don't be distracted by the bragging bully behind the curtain. He is beyond hope.

Evan Davis

Fort Wayne