This week in comments

Readers took to social media and our website to discuss the 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes, the proposed sidewalk along Cassopolis Street and three other stories.

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 8:45 p.m.

1. Photographer of 1965 Palm Sunday twin tornadoes recalls deadly day

A series of tornadoes ripped through Elkhart County on April 11, 1965, leaving homes and lives destroyed in its wake. It was one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in Indiana history, killing 271 people and injuring around 1,500 around the state. A total of 47 tornadoes touched down across the Midwest from central Iowa to central Ohio.

When The Elkhart Truth journalist Paul Huffman and his wife Betty Huffman saw the tornadoes forming while they were driving down U.S. 33, he pulled the car over to the side of the road to take photographs. The decision would lead to Huffman capturing one of the most iconic photos of the twin tornadoes that day.

"I was only 3 years old and living in Osceola at the time but remember being shoved under a bed with my sister and brother but also remember my mom and dad watching out the back door and saw how black it was out. My grandpa lived in Jimtown at the time and the wind moved his garage off it's foundation. My step uncle was the one who found the last of the bodies. Even though I was only 3, I still remember it." - Darann Meredith Pontius (Comment taken from Facebook)

"An enlarged version of this photo greets you when visit the NOAA substation south of Warsaw on SR 13. It took my breath away. I was little but I still remember." - Beth Sholly (Comment taken from Facebook)

"My Dad had built a house on county road 28 and I as a 10 year old was playing on the front porch. I saw a tornado across the road approaching the farm that had chickens and Shetland ponies. Dad had us all get in his truck and we took off to Goshen where my grandparents resided. My next door neighbor said that the tornado went between his and our house; neither of the houses were damaged. Concord Southside where I went was closed for a week or two." - Debra Gossard (Comment taken from Facebook)

2. Proposed sidewalk along Cassopolis Street would extend almost 2 miles

The city of Elkhart is planning to build a sidewalk along the entire northern portion of Cassopolis Street from C.R. 4 to Bristol Street. Some segments of the road include five lanes, and it is among the busiest in the city. The cost of the construction would be around $970,000, not including land acquisition.

The city has applied for a federal grant that goes through the state and the Michiana Area Council of Governments. However, city right-of-way engineer Leslie Biek said it may take several grant applications before the project receives enough money to go forward.

"It may be a bad idea given that it is 5 lanes. I think some people would be jay walking at random points along the street because the only crosswalks would be at cr 6 and Bristol st. Lots of people would just cross vs following the law" - Lauren Whalen (Comment taken from Facebook)

"@Dan, I can see both sides here, and yes, I do know of 'more than one' different pedestrian/vehicle incidents on this stretch of Cass. On one hand people would still cross negligently, however, this would provide a safer transit for the many other people who use this road quite a bit more frequently. The claim of $1 or $2 Mil is exorbitant as hell, I'd say $500K sounds around the right #. Either way, it's a practical idea." - Jeremy Wegner (Comment taken from Facebook)

"yes, as this is very needed for the citizens of Elkhart as that is a major business route....and it's not just walked by random pedestrians but I see workers walking back and forth to work every day forced to walk in the street....please Elkhart do this....it's vital for the safety of everyone" - Midnite Rondevu (Comment taken from Facebook)

3. Yard signs that encourage people to vote against Concord schools' referendum are being stolen

About 100 'Vote No' yard signs opposing Concord school's referendum disappeared from various locations throughout Elkhart County since Sunday, April 6, according to 'Vote No in Concord' group leader K.C. Clements. The group opposes the referendum which would give Concord schools more funding through a property tax hike. The signs were worth around $500.

Clements filed a report about the missing signs with the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department on Monday, though only 20 to 30 signs were reported missing then. A county zoning ordinance prevents signs from being posted in public right-of-way areas, but Clements said the highway department told him that they had not removed any 'Vote No' signs.

"Well whoever did take them down...good job! To vote against helping the school is just selfish. Aren't our kids more important?" – Lesley Valles Diaz (Comment taken from Facebook)

""Well whoever did take them down...good job!"


Seriously, no. I disagree with the people arguing 'Vote No'. I think they are wrong on their interpretations, and in error on their facts. But at *no time* should people resort to removing signs like this unless they have been placed illegally.

We live in a democracy - and that's one of the things we can teach our children here. A properly working democracy allows all views to be expressed… *especially* the ones we disagree with.

Don't take signs down… Communicate

Don't try to hid opposition… Advocate

Don't try to silence ignorance…

Educate." – Brian Davis (Comment taken from Facebook)

"I did notice an unusual number of the signs in right-of-way areas and along the bike path on Wilden Ave.

How unfortunate, however, to see someone respond with "good job." So, part of support for education of our children is "ignore the rules? I certainly hope it is not prevailing opinion among supporters of the referendum.

That being said ... I still hope "yes" prevails." - PeePaw01 (Comment taken from our story's comments section)

4. Elkhart County foes of Ontwa Township, Mich., sewer plant plans contacting local leaders for support

Elkhart County opponents of the planned Ontwa Township, Mich., sewer plant are calling upon local leaders for support. They have contacted U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder, Elkhart Community Schools' leaders and many others. They are also visiting neighborhoods in and around Cobus Creek to bring the issues to the atttention of residents.

The Ontwa Township plans call for the construction of a sewage plant southeast of Edwardsburg, Mich., to treat sewage it collects and discharge it into the Garver Lake outlet. Garver Lake ultimately flows into Cobus Creek and Elkhart County. While an Ontwa Township rep maintains that the discharged sewage would be cleaner than the water in Cobus Creek, critics are worried about the amount of water in the creek, erosion of banks, the impact on trout and other species and whether Ontwa Township will be capable of running the plant.

"The effects that this would do to the environment are astonishing. The mammals that drink from and make their home around the creek, the reptiles that call it home and the fish. Heck, they stock this creek with brown trout trying to bring their numbers back up from near banishment in our area. Not to mention how it would effect children and families who use this creek daily in the summer months...

This is sad!" - Evans Shaun (Comment taken from Facebook)

"Sounds like Michigan needs to dump their crap in Indiana..." - Samuel M. Gordon (Comment taken from Facebook)

"Would Cobus Creek Conservation Club have anything to say about this? I grew up along this creek and had many fond memories fishing and swimming in it. Sewage? That's disgusting!!!" - Chris Gordon Brown (Comment taken from Facebook)

5. Elkhart police officers involved in Martin's shooting will return to work

The two Elkhart police officers who shot and killed gunman Shawn Bair at a Martin's Super Market in January will return to work on Wednesday, April 9. Following protocol, Cpl. Jason Tripp and Cpl. Cody Skipper were placed on paid administrative leave during the criminal investigation. The office of internal affairs then reviewed the investigation to make sure that no policy was violated. Lt. Mike Sigsbee, the head of the police department's internal affairs office, said in a statement that no policy or training was violated.

"I personally am extra thankful to these 2 men. My mother in law was 2 aisles away from the 2nd victim. Had these officers not responded an acted so quickly we could have lost her. They are brave and they deserved to have a bit away time to cope. Not one of us knows the reprecussions our own mind puts us through after shooting and killing someone. People in this community are heartless and rude, think about the loved ones people lost before you open your disrespectful mouths! Keep your negativity to yourselves." - Jenni Collins (Comment taken from Facebook)

"I personally had the pleasure of working with these 2 officers.... they take their job and safety of the citizens of Elkhart very seriously. They are both very caring guys and would never take pride in this action. The time off is to also make sure they are OK to serve and protect again after such a traumatic event. I TRULY BELIEVE that they would have rather had it go in another direction, but they were trained properly and acted accordingly in this EMERGENCY situation. (which possibly spared many more innocent lives). Much respect due!!!" - Kimberly Shephard (Comment taken from Facebook)

"Any normal human being, which these 2 officers are, that can shoot an armed suspect and be affected by it deserves to take the time off. If they were able to go through this and then be able to sleep at night they would be considered psycopaths, which they were not. We need more officers like these two." - Geri Bouwman (Comment taken from Facebook)

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