Happy about enFocus funding
I am delighted that enFocus has received an additional $400,000 in funding to improve the quality of life in Elkhart County, as reported on the front page of The Elkhart Truth (Sunday, Nov. 18).
As a member of the Elkhart County Leaf Task Force, I can personally attest to the professionalism, inclusiveness, accountability and follow-through of enFocus.
I urge the community to earmark part of the new funding for continuing efforts to reduce outdoor burning. Also, to subsidize endeavors that will reduce noise and help implement a progressive county-wide smoking ordinance.
Here’s to a healthier, safer and happier community.
America dangerously deep in debt
We have all time high debt levels for credit cards, auto loans, student loan debt, business borrowings, real estate debt and, of course government, debt which is really the American taxpayer’s debt. The national debt comes to about $293,000 per household that pays any federal income tax: 75 million households into $22 trillion.
With interest rates at essentially zero for seven years and a booming economy as purported by Wall Street you would have thought we could have improved our balance sheet. Instead we more than doubled the national debt from $10 trillion to today’s $22 trillion. When Reagan became president, the national debt was less than $1 trillion. If that’s not bad enough, deficits are expected to be $1 trillion-plus for as far as the eye can see.
Not a dime of this debt can ever be repaid. We as a nation are bankrupt. In less than 50 years we went from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation in the world. This can never be changed except by default. Take your pick. Actual or monetary default.
The national debt is greater than the gross domestic product of $19 trillion. It is also greater than the total value of the New York Stock Exchange at about $19 trillion. The national debt is greater than the total sovereign debt of all other countries combined. Our military budget of $720 billion is greater than the total military spending of all other countries combined. “Houston we have a problem.”
Troubled by video of police beating
Along with others, I’ve watched the recently released video of Elkhart policemen punching Mario Guerrero Ledesma in the face after he spit at them; he’s handcuffed to a chair. I find their behavior appalling and frightening. Moreover their language and demeanor — that beating someone is “fun” and a “party” — reveals an attitude approaching sadism.
What is especially disconcerting to me is to be shown that there are policemen of this nature on the Elkhart police force. How many? Which ones? I’m sure not all Elkhart police are like this, but in any given circumstance of need, which kind of policeman will show up? No matter what the crisis, I’m less likely now to call the police for help, knowing the lack of discipline and self-restraint of some of Elkhart’s police force. This is sad.
Allegations not an attack on all officers
Everyone in Elkhart County should read the excellent series of articles by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica detailing the culture of excessive force and misconduct that has persisted in the Elkhart Police Department for decades – a culture that was frequently ignored, covered up, and/or exploited by prosecutors and pro-prosecution judges.
Those who doubt this need only look at recent events: According to the Indianapolis Star, former prosecutor (now Attorney General) Curtis Hill recently lamented, after being accused of “inappropriately touching” four women, that “Apparently in this climate, the standard is guilty, but who cares if you’re innocent.” Yet Hill’s alleged concern for “innocence” apparently did not extend to Keith Cooper, since Hill argued against a pardon for Cooper, despite evidence of his innocence.
And let’s not forget that the recent battery charges brought against two Elkhart police officers did not occur for 11 months, and only after reporters requested video of the incident.
It’s time to realize that condemning and prosecuting excessive force and police misconduct is not an attack on all police officers. In reality, it can protect officers who do not engage in such activities from being stereotyped as abusers, and it can also protect the innocent from being wrongfully charged and convicted.
David R. Hoffman,
Give back by volunteering in your community
As the holiday season is upon us, it is time to be thankful for all that we have. We invite the community to volunteer their most precious gift, the gift of time to our many hardworking nonprofits in Michiana.
We often hear people want to volunteer but don’t know how to start. We make it easy. Acts of Service matches volunteers with the local nonprofits that need them most, in real time. With an up-to-date community calendar, ActsofService.com makes it easy for individuals or employers to find local nonprofit volunteer opportunities. In addition, we make it easy for employers and service groups to give back.
The service, which launched in 2017, was created for employers to help their teams find service opportunities and track the impact their employees were having on the community. Now the platform has expanded to invite individual community volunteers to utilize the site as well. In addition to finding opportunities and RSVP’ing for opportunities online, the site helps volunteers set goals and track progress.
Whether you’re passionate about animals, the environment, children or senior care, there’s a nonprofit match for you. Nonprofits are continually updating their needs so you’re sure to find a match that fits your passions and works with your schedule during this busy holiday season.
If you’re looking for a way to give back this holiday season, giving your time as a volunteer through Acts of Service is better than any gift money could buy. Learn more on how to make an impact in your community by visiting www.ActsofService.com.
Michilah Grimes, Director
Acts of Service