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Letters to the editor

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:01 am

Little Turtle deserves prominent display

There was a column by The News-Sentinel’s Kevin Leininger on the paper’s front page Dec. 22, detailing Mayor Tom Henry’s plan to move the iconic Gen. Anthony Wayne statue from Freimann Square to the nearby Courthouse Green. The reasoning is to make the statue of the city’s namesake more visible to the thousands of motorists that drive Clinton Street every day.

I agree that the Courthouse Green would be an excellent location to raise the statue’s profile, but it made me think of the hidden statue of another of the city’s great men of the past — Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Indians. Chief Little Turtle’s statue is currently hidden away along a path near the back of Headwaters Park East. Its location was originally very prominent before the park existed when the area was the main parking lot for the Old Fort. Now it’s a little-used section of the park.

The Miami lived in what was then known as Kekionga at the confluence of the Three Rivers, long before white traders and settlers arrived in the area. Chief Little Turtle was just as prominent as Gen. Wayne during their lifetimes. He was war chief of the Miami and met with presidents Washington, Adams and Jefferson.

Both men represent the rich, often violent history of cross-cultural struggle and cooperation of that period of time of what was then the western frontier.

I think we should honor both leaders equally. My suggestion would be to move the Little Turtle statue to the spot in Freimann Square being vacated by General Wayne or to place both men prominently on the Courthouse Green.

Johnny Warren

Too many maybes in jobs announcement

A recent article stating Fort Wayne and Bluffton are adding jobs is full of maybes, possibility and uncertainty. Up to 280 jobs means anything between 1 and 280. State economic development officials are predicting businesses are supposed to add more than 2,500 jobs in the coming years. “Supposed to” is no prediction of what will actually happen and “coming years” could be 10 years down the road.

A Brunswick company official stated, “I think we’re sticking within the Fort Wayne area” and are working closely with Fort Wayne and Allen County. Perhaps the uncertainty is based on whether Fort Wayne residents are forced to provide taxabatements to these businesses in exchange for possibly, maybe, supposed to be adding jobs with no guarantee of how many and in no set time frame. There is nothing in the article that states the average rate of pay or if the jobs would be full-time or part-time.

Since the issue of modifying the tax abatement policy has recently been raised by the City Council, I sincerely hope this supposed to, maybe, possible jobs sometime in the future announcement is not a ploy for businesses to try to take advantage of current policy before it is changed. This policy has been misused in the past by businesses to get nothing more than tax breaks while adding little value to our workforce. We should be attracting business that is financially sound and well-managed to be prosperous without tax subsidies draining residents.

Laura J. Smyser

Be charitable this year

Acts of charity are common during the holiday season. As a leading nonprofit provider of job services and training in Northeast Indiana, Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana, Inc. certainly encourages everyone to do their part. But it also pays to be wise about the ways you donate.

Remember it doesn’t cost money to be charitable. For many organizations, time is a valued commodity during this hectic season. Plan to volunteer. Be an advocate and lend your voice. Or clean out those closets and donate unwanted items from around your home to those who can benefit from them. But regardless of how you choose to give, understand that your time and your used household items have value. Be sure you are donating to a reputable charity.

Not all organizations that accept used goods donations have charitable missions. In fact, some are for-profit businesses. Furthermore, not all organizations that accept used goods donations support the Fort Wayne and surrounding communities. By donating to Goodwill, you can be sure that you’re helping a good cause here in your local community. Last year, more than .90 cents out of every dollar we received from your tax-deductible donations supported our programs, which in turn help build strong families and vibrant communities. That’s true now and throughout the year.

Ruth Koontz, MBA Community Relations and Marketing Specialist, Goodwill Industries of Northeast Indiana, Inc.