Monday, September 1, 2014

$SUBT_ON$Admission is cost-prohibitive to many impoverished people$SUBT_OFF$

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 17, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.

Some time ago I signed up to be a volunteer at Wellfield Botanic Gardens. I was told that I had to pay for a police background check on myself before I could volunteer. However, I would receive a “Wellfield Volunteer T-shirt.” I should have known something was wrong when I had to pay out of my pocket to give them free labor. I also bought a charter membership at Wellfield, wanting to support the gardens. It bothered me that they started charging admission to people who did not buy in to the “membership program.” I let my membership drop.

I recently went on a Tuesday to take a picture of Sophie Starzenski’s paver (she lived with me the last 10 years of her life) to send to her nieces in California. I gave Wellfield $500 to have the paver made. I had my 17-year-old miniature dachshund with me and was told I would have to pay $20 to take my dog in with me to snap a quick picture. Needless to say, while the gardens are indeed beautiful, I can no longer volunteer for Wellfield as they have made admission to their gardens cost-prohibitive to many impoverished people of Elkhart.

Sure, you can get in free on Tuesday, but maybe you work or it is raining.

I put these questions to staff at the Gardens and they either did not know or refused to answer: Do the Gardens pay property taxes to the city of Elkhart? When the Rotary donated the land for the Gardens, was it aware that there was going to be an admission charge? How do you decide who is a professional photographer and who is not?

I do not object to paying a fee for entry for a special event like the Envirofest.

Terry Wiley


 This undated image posted on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a fighter from the Islamic State group, armed with a knife and an automatic weapon, next to captured Syrian army soldiers and officers, following the battle for the Tabqa air base, in Raqqa, Syria. A U.N. commission accused the extremist Islamic State organization of committing crimes against humanity as pictures emerged of the extremists' bloody takeover of the air base.

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 A man closes off an entrance to the Last Stop outdoor shooting range Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in White Hills, Ariz. Gun range instructor Charles Vacca was accidentally killed Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 at the range by a 9-year-old with an Uzi submachine gun.

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