Monday, October 20, 2014

Pence and Ritz must work together

Posted on Sept. 3, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 3, 2013 at 5:31 p.m.

Recent editorials from Indiana newspapers:

Pence, Ritz must work together

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s creation of a new state jobs agency left Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz complaining she wasn’t consulted, even though education is a vital aspect of the new agency’s mission.

In fact, education is even part of the agency’s name — the Center for Education and Career Innovation.

Pence has spoken often of aligning career and workforce training efforts, so his involvement in creating this new agency should not have come as a surprise, but it definitely should not have surprised Ritz.

Ritz’s spokesman, Daniel Altman, spoke volumes about the relationship between Ritz and Pence.

“Unfortunately, Superintendent Ritz learned about the creation of this new agency through news reports rather than from Gov. Pence,” Altman said.

There are political considerations that cannot be ignored. Pence is a Republican, while Ritz is a Democrat.

It could easily be said the governor outranks the superintendent of public instruction, but both were elected by the voters, and if you’re looking to see whose mandate is stronger, Ritz received more votes than Pence.

“The ultimate responsibility for improving our education and workforce training system rests with our state’s chief executive,” said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Strictly speaking, however, education is Ritz’s bailiwick. But that shouldn’t get in the way of creating good public policy.

If there’s an education component, as there clearly is with this new agency created to oversee other state jobs agencies’ efforts, Ritz should be involved from the start.

But that wasn’t the case with this new agency. Now what?

The relationship between Pence and Ritz is clearly strained, but that’s nothing a good beer summit can’t fix.

Pence now should extend an olive branch to Ritz and ask for her involvement in this new agency. ...

Here’s a chance for Pence and Ritz — a Republican and a Democrat — to show Hoosiers they can set politics aside and work together to bring real change for Indiana.

— The Times (Munster)

Plea in parents’ grief: Make the call for help

What a heartbreaking story about Rachael Fiege, an incoming freshman at Indiana University who died after a fall down a set of steps in the days leading up to the first day of school.

Her mother and father, in an interview with Indianapolis Star reporter Stephanie Wang, weren’t prepared to spread the blame for their daughter’s death. Instead, they were mourning their 19-year-old and not dissecting the actions of those who were at the late-night, off-campus party.

“I think you should know that really, really, really good kids sometimes make choices that are not the right choices,” Angi Fiege told The Star. “I’m heartbroken that anybody would judge anybody at that house. They made a mistake. They were young. They didn’t understand. ... But hopefully other people can learn vicariously through this. Know when to call for help.”

At issue was whether students at the party neglected to call for medical attention because they were concerned about getting busted for underage drinking. Why it took six hours after Fiege fell, suffering a head injury, isn’t clear, based on details released so far by police.

But in the words of her mother is a plea for minors in similar situations to make that call — regardless of whether alcohol is a factor.

Indiana’s Lifeline Law, approved in 2012, stops authorities from prosecuting minors who have been drinking alcohol if they request medical help for a person who has alcohol-related injuries or complications and they cooperate with law enforcement.

That’s a reminder for students as they navigate a new semester and the parties that are bound to happen.

As Rachael Fiege’s mother said: “Know when to call for help.”

— Journal & Courier (Lafayette)