Excerpts of editorials published recently in Indiana newspapers

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Evansville Courier & Press. March 9, 2015.

Clinton email issue not going away

Hillary Clinton's almost pathological penchant for secrecy was exhibited by her use of her private email account connected to a personal server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, to conduct public business as secretary of state.

In Washington, now, there is considerable debate over whether she violated the public records laws and government and departmental policy regarding the safeguard and retention of government communications. The White House says flatly that she violated the "very specific guidance" of the executive branch. And secretary of state, a job she held for four years, is just not any job, certainly not one where you route your official emails to your private home, where you have the power to pick what is to be disclosed and delete that which is inconvenient.

This is not some low-level bureaucrat sneaking office supplies out of the building. The secretary of state, the nation's chief emissary to the world, is the senior Cabinet office and fourth in line for the presidency.

But Hillary Clinton's extreme distaste for publicity surrounding her backstage activities was apparent from the moment she entered the White House as first lady. One of the Clintons' first act was to fire the long-serving and very capable staff of the White House Travel Office to replace them with a travel agency formed by Friends of Bill.

Hillary Clinton denied any connection with the firings, saying she had been only dimly aware of them, but a two-year investigation showed that she not only knew of the firings but also had ordered them and the White House staff said there would be "hell to pay" if they weren't carried out quickly.

And many people may forget — although certainly not Republican opposition researchers — the two-year hide-and-seek game played with Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records that mysteriously showed up in a White House storeroom only days after the statute of limitations expired on any evidence of wrongdoing they might contain.

And who knows what secrets are contained in that notoriously closemouthed circle of loyal advisers known as Hillaryland?

Unlike Benghazi, which even the most avid anti-Hillary pursuers have mostly given up on, the email scandal is not going away. It involves serious issues of behavior in office and the security of sensitive communications, and it plays into the charge that has dogged the Clintons since Arkansas: They act as if the rules don't apply to them.

What seemed like a straight road to the White House is not so smooth anymore.


The Elkhart Truth. March 8, 2015.

Why passing resolution on Goshen's sundown history is important

Goshen's history as a sundown town has been exposed, and the question is what to do next.

Dan Shenk and attorney Lee Roy Berry drafted the resolution for Goshen's Community Relations Commission acknowledging the city's past. The CRC is asking the Goshen City Council to pass the resolution naming the history and apologizing.

Mayor Allan Kauffman endorsed the resolution, but some residents are questioning whether it's necessary to acknowledge an informal system in which people of color were told not to be in Goshen after sundown.

Should the city formally apologize even though this transgression was decades ago?

Yes. Goshen should. The city council should discuss this, pass it and move on.

That's the whole point of the resolution. It's not to belabor history, but to acknowledge it so that the city can move forward.

Acknowledging the ugly truth means telling the stories and understanding them so they don't repeat themselves.

Goshen is a diverse community. In part because of Goshen College, people from around the world have come to live and study in the community. Russian immigrants settled on the north side of town. More recently, Slavic immigrants have come too.

Goshen has also become home to many Hispanics who live and work in the community and are part of its economy and events. When the national debate over immigration reform flared with protests and tension a decade ago, Kauffman took calls from other civic leaders asking how the city was keeping its racial tension from boiling over. Working at this issue has been a part of life in Goshen for a long time.

Some of Goshen's older residents are asking whether there's a need to apologize. Is this just political correctness? Is this just a liberal reaction to a past wrong?

Berry, an African-American Goshen resident who has experienced the pain of racism, would tell you no. Berry would tell you that naming the injustice in the past has meaning as a city tries to move forward.

Kauffman said this is a community statement acknowledging "what was, what isn't and what never will be again."

Acknowledging a past wrong isn't easy. Kauffman said that he doesn't know of another community in Indiana who has passed a resolution on this issue. He'd like the city to be a leader in that way.

The Community Relations Commission has spent months working on the resolution. The city council doesn't need to do that, but it should support it as a way of supporting Goshen's community work. All the work many in the city have done to embrace diversity could be tainted by bringing up the problems of the past but not addressing them.

Other cities and towns in Indiana, including Goshen, have stories that include Ku Klux Klan rallies and activity. Nearly every community can and should look at how it handles diversity and the tension that often results from change and differences.

We can choose where we live. We don't get to choose our neighbors, but only how we relate to them as other people trying to make a living, raise families and be a part of a community.

That work goes on in every community. Elkhart continues its work, particularly as leaders on the south side work at building opportunities for racial minorities there. Smaller cities and towns may also need to assess ongoing changes.

Goshen City Council members should pass this and move on to other aspects of how it is one community. It costs the city nothing to do so, but may cost the city in bigger ways if it doesn't. It's a way forward in a community that has now been outed as having a racist past


The Republic, Columbus. March 7, 2015.

Expanded HIV testing important offering

The Bartholomew County Health Department took an appropriate step in expanding its HIV testing hours. That was in response to a surge in human immunodeficiency virus cases in southern Indiana that's linked to injection drug abuse.

Local health officials increased from two to five the number of days per week the department will offer testing for HIV. People engaging in risky behaviors such as needle sharing and unprotected sex have risked the possibility of having contracted the virus.

State health officials announced the outbreak Feb. 25, and it's growing. The most recent count had 27 confirmed cases and 10 preliminary HIV positive cases. The Indiana Department of Health said all are linked to injection drug abuse of Opana, a prescription opioid painkiller more potent than Oxycontin. Some HIV cases also are linked to sexual transmission.

The HIV outbreak should be high on the county's radar considering it's already dealing with an opioid problem with heroin abuse — which has resulted in overdoses and deaths.

With the needle sharing of Opana linked to the rise in HIV cases, fears of heroin needle sharing causing the same problem would be justified.

All Hoosiers should know their HIV status, state health officials said. Getting tested by a health care professional is the best way to know your status.

Thanks to the county health department's expanded HIV testing, residents have a greater opportunity to know their status.


The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne. March 5, 2015.

A good upgrade for Safe Haven Law

All 50 states already have a Safe Haven Law that gives unprepared parents the option of anonymously surrendering newborns at hospitals, churches, fire and police stations, and selected nonprofits. According to the Abandoned Babies Foundation in Chicago, the laws have resulted in more than 2,800 safe surrenders since 1999. Of the more than 1,400 other children found illegally abandoned, almost two-thirds died.

Now Indiana is poised to improve upon that law. Under a measure introduced by state Rep. Casey Cox, R-85th, which has unanimously passed the House and awaits Senate action, this would become the first state to put "baby boxes" at those locations. The metal boxes are newborn incubators that could improve the safety of those surrendered newborns. They lock when the infant is put inside, thereby triggering a silent alarm that notifies the service provider who will take the infant into safe custody.

The baby boxes are not without their critics, who argue that providing them could discourage mothers from considering alternatives like adoption, and that they do nothing to address issues such as poverty that contribute to unwanted babies. And letting women surrender infants anonymously, instead of during a face-to-face visit, deprives them of the counseling that might help them make a different decision.

Those concerns merit discussion. Any time we provide a last-resort means of coping with something, there is a chance that last resort could become an easier option to consider. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the child, saying the abandonment of babies should not be encouraged, has called on banning the boxes in Europe.

But we should keep our focus on the top priority: protecting the lives of innocent newborns. As Cox says, the boxes are a logical extension of Safe Haven Laws. Monica Kelsey, a Woodburn firefighter and medic who is president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., says the boxes should be part of a broader effort that includes increasing awareness about the laws and other options available to new mothers in crisis. According to Cox, since Indiana's adoption of the law in 2000, it has been used just four times.

Safe Haven and baby boxes aren't a good alternative to adoption or helping a mother keep her baby. But they are better than abandonment.


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