The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letters to Editor

Dear Editor,

As Chairman of the Committee of Ten for Convergence of the La Harpe, Dallas City, and Carthage School Districts,

I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone in the three districts to attend the upcoming public meetings in Lomax, Terre Haute, and Carthage.

These meetings are structured to explain what will be on the ballot on March 21st, give an overview of information regarding the proposed new districts, and provide time for a question and answer session.

I feel it is very important for everyone to vote on March 21, and for everyone voting to know what he or she is voting on and why.

The meetings, scheduled for Thursday, March 2nd, at 7:00 p.m. at Lomax Christian Church, Friday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at Terre Haute Methodist Church, and Thursday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the Carthage Baptist Church meeting room, will give everyone the opportunity to be properly informed before making this important decision.

I believe that what we are proposing is the right step to take to provide our children and grandchildren with the educational opportunities they deserve. However, I respect the fact that change is difficult, and that some people have concerns regarding convergence. Some may not understand exactly what convergence involves.

Therefore, I encourage everyone to attend the public meetings, where your questions and concerns can be addressed.

Also, if you have a small group or organization that would like to hear a presentation from the Committee of Ten, please contact any committee member or me. I look forward seeing everyone at the upcoming meetings.

Tracey Anders

Chairmen, Committee of Ten
Carthage, Dallas City, La Harpe

Dear Editor,

Much has been said thus far about the pros and cons of forming a new, converged high school district encompassing the present La Harpe, Dallas City, and Carthage districts. I would like to weigh in with my opinions on this matter.

There will be a vote on March 21st to determine whether such a convergence will, indeed, go forward or whether the the three individual districts will continue to struggle and try to cope with the problems created by declining enrollment, decreased funding that results from that decline, and the decrease in academic opportunities that these problems create for students in those districts. These decisions are not easy ones to contemplate, but contemplate them we must, if the best interest of the students of all three schools are to be best served.

Nobody likes the idea of seeing its own individual high school cease to be independent, but the truth is, there is no better way too maximize both the opportunities and the successes of our high school students as they prepare to move on to a college situation.

Academically, we have ceased to have the capability to give our students the best possible curriculum to prepare them for these inevitable challenges.

Course offerings have dropped to a bare minimum, and students who want to succeed at the college level, or even gain entrance on any sort of equal footing with students from other more academically diverse high schools, will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in trying to do so.

Many will not meet basic entrance requirements, through no fault of their own-the course availability just isn't there for them anymore.

It is, of course, an emotional issue for all concerned, and we have resided in what I would term a comfort zone that many are reluctant to abandon, for various reasons, some of them relating to extra-curricular issues.

That is understandable, but that unwillingness to move forward for the best interests of our students seems to me to short-sighted at best.

As parents or grandparents, many if not most of us have tried to impart to our young people that at times difficult choices are there to be made, and the results of those choices impact life from that point on.

I hope that as this vote approaches, will be able to put aside whatever sentimental matters are clouding our vision of what is truly in the best interest of the academic future of our young people, and vote resoundingly in favor of the new converged high school district.

It is time to practice what we have been trying to teach our young people about the necessity of making hard but necessary choices, for the greater good. Thank you.

Sally Rasmussen
La Harpe

Dear Editor,

This letter is in regards to the upcoming vote on convergence for the Dallas City, La Harpe, and Carthage high school districts. The agreement that Dallas City has had with Nauvoo has been a good one and served us well. However, it is obvious that they want to send their children (and ours) to school in Hamilton or Warsaw.

Rather than be pulled along with a school and school board in which we have no representation, I would prefer to make that decision for my own children.

A "Yes" vote for convergence on March 21st will ensure that opportunity for us. If other schools in the county would like to join at a later date, that would still be possible. They could come to us on "our" terms instead of the reverse. If we wait, it will be us going to them.

Catherine Smith
Dallas City

Dear Editor,

The answer to your headline question "Is Our Mayor In Focus?" is unequivocally yes. Mayor Chockley has listened to his constituents' concerns, and has brought forth that an issue maybe should be decided by the voters of our community by a ballot. That is democracy in action.

What is out of focus is the Editor's attack on Mayor Chockley and our democratic process of government. The Editor has allowed her personal view on a specific issue to try to define what Mayor Chockley should or should not be doing. Democracy means that everyone has a say in his or her governance and in the laws that we live by. We do not receive our walking orders from any self appointed dictator.

Another portion of the editorial that I feel is out of focus is the economic isolationism that the Editor is espousing in the editorial. Is the Editor against business competition? Most people say that competition is good for the consumer. I was not aware that Casey's was a bad business operation and would be bad for Stronghurst. My experience with Casey's came a few years ago in the big town of St. David. I goose hunted across the road from the Casey's store, and I must confess that I enjoyed using their clean handicap accessible restroom, eating their day old donuts, and filling my truck's gas tank with cheaper priced gasoline. The fact that the store sold packaged liquor didn't enter my mind because I had no intention of buying that item.

Concerning the issue of the sale of package liquor, I think I voted against the sale at the last election we had on the issue in Stronghurst, but I am not sure because to vote yes you had to vote no, and to vote no you had to vote yes, Hopefully, if the issue is on the ballot again, yes will mean yes, and no will mean no.

In closing I would hope that Madame Editor would regain her focus and apologize in her next editorial to Mr. Chockley and the voters of Stronghurst for her attack on our mayor and our system of democracy.

Yours truly,

William F. Bavery

Dear Editor,

I have been very concerned about the articles in the Quill the past two weeks.

First, the headline on the village board meeting on Feb. 15, Mayor pursuing liquor vote, really upset me. The village president presented, not pursued, a big difference.

The village president and the trustees all get calls, a lot of them irate, concerning issues that are important to the people calling. We do our best to address the issues and bring them to the board meeting to see if something can be done. This is what the president did.

We each have a God-given right to choose how we want to live. We are to be God's witnesses, not His judges, "Judge not lest you be judged."

We are to love, even those whose opinions are different than ours. This, thank God, is a democratic society and we have the privilege to be able to vote how we believe.

The village board should represent all the village residents, which is why I feel this issue should be put on a ballot.

If, as you said, Stronghurst is such a wonderful, caring, compassionate community in which to live (and I believe it is), why do we need police protection 24/7?

I believe Stronghurst is a wonderful place to live and and raise families, full of love and caring people in spite of the fact that a large percentage of the homes have alcohol beverages in them, purchased elsewhere, of course.

I firmly believe Jesus words in Matthew 15:11. Maybe we should ask ourselves if we are living and loving as God wants us to, loving Him with all our hearts and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Juanita Jarvis

Dear Editor,

As Village President, I feel that when people bring an issue to my notice, it is my obligation, as Village President, to bring it to the attention of the city council. My opinion on the issue shouldn't keep me from discussing it.

Contrary to the belief of many community members, Village of Stronghurst Ordinance Book #1, gives the Village President the right to issue liquor licenses. This ordinance dates back to the 1880's. In researching the issue of a liquor license, I was informed by the booster club that the last poll taken revealed that 65% of the community would like to have alcohol available in this town. I would say 65% is a significant amount of the population.

As for the issue of a police car, the vehicle expenses would only be the first of many expenses that come with having an officer in town. I personally have seen deputies inspecting the park regularly for the last month. This was when most of the community was sleeping, say 2:00 a.m. I feel that five hours every day of contracted police protection is very adequate for our community.

As for the convenience store, possibly located on the highway, it would generate a great deal of income for our city streets, parks, community projects, and our general fund. With more gas sales, the revenue would increase and help to defer the rising costs of crude oil that is necessary in repairing our streets.

In the last thirty years, Stronghurst has gone from four gas stations to one. A little competition in gas prices, I'm sure will enable more locals to buy at home.

As for you Dessa, saying that you buy within the community, I have talked to four of the major businesses in town, and was informed that they seldom see you.

As for my focus, I am currently pursuing, with the aid of the board, to obtain grants for housing repair for the elderly and low income.

In my tender, the park has been revised, our city equipment has been improved, and an efficient workforce established.

In closing, I challenge you to run against me in the next election, if you think you can do better job as mayor. I have always said that I have an open ear to all city concerns and potential problems, which I feel I do. I will keep my word.

Village President
Eric Chockley

Dear Editor,

Your editorial last week (February 22) was so very good.

Many of us wish we could get our thoughts expressed properly, but just can't seem to be able do so.

I certainly appreciate your message.

Lois Campbell