Editorial Roundup: Indiana

 
 
Updated 4/5/2022 12:25 PM

Anderson Herald Bulletin. April 1, 2022.

Editorial: Public health system needs to be improved

 

As they worked to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, Indiana public health officials came to a realization.

The state's public health system needs an upgrade.

To that end, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order in August 2021 establishing the Governor's Public Health Commission.

That order pointed out that while the state's public health system had evolved through the years, the statutes governing that structure had not been updated significantly in more than 30 years.

In pursuit of its mission, the commission launched a series of listening sessions around the state to gather input about Indiana's public health system, and it has been meeting monthly to learn more about the challenges confronting public health professionals in Indiana.

The 15-member commission is co-chaired by former State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe, now president and CEO of the foundation supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Luke Kenley, a former state senator.

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Current State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box is the commission's secretary, and former U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks is a nonvoting citizen adviser.

The need for this commission is obvious. Indiana, with its lower life expectancies and higher health care costs, ranks 41st in the nation in the most recent assessment of public health measures.

In addition to analyzing the performance of the public health system in the current pandemic, the commission is charged with finding ways to improve the response to future such emergencies.

At its most recent meeting, the commission heard about the challenges facing the state's ambulance services.

In 2020, Indiana ambulances had roughly 1.25 million emergency calls compared with 750,000 in 2018. Over the same period, the number of ambulances operating statewide actually dropped from 2,000 to just under 1,800.

The number of licensed paramedics, meanwhile, declined from 4,900 to 4,600, and the number of licensed emergency medical technicians fell from 14,000 to 13,000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For rural counties, the declining numbers can make responding to emergency calls a challenge. A county with two ambulances and no hospital loses half of its fleet for one hospital trip.

The commission will meet at least three more times to finalize recommendations on the various challenges confronting the state's public health system. Addressing these issues should be the top priority in next year's session of the General Assembly.

There can be no greater priority for our elected representatives than the public health.

___

Terre Haute Tribune-Star. April 1, 2022.

Editorial: Walker, Wooden made basketball history in 1948

Every NCAA basketball tournament makes some sort of history. America and much of the world stays glued to their TV - and digital screens, these days - to watch it happen.

This year's tournament has attracted an average of 9 million viewers per game, according to CBS. The annual win-or-go-home competition is aptly known as 'ťMarch Madness.'Ł

Yet, another college basketball postseason tournament made history before the NCAA or the National Invitation Tournament.

College hoops' most groundbreaking moment belonged to Clarence Walker, a sophomore reserve guard from Indiana State Teachers College (which became Indiana State University), playing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball tournament for small colleges. John Wooden, Indiana State's legend-in-the-making coach, sent Walker into the Sycamores' first-round game of the 32-team tournament against Saint Francis University.

That move was more than just a routine substitution. Walker became the first Black player to compete in a postseason college basketball tournament that day in March 1948. He and his Sycamore teammates went on to finish runners-up in the NAIB tourney, losing only the title game to Louisville University.

Seventy-four years later, Walker was posthumously inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Walker's family and a teammate, Terre Haute legend Duane Klueh, were among those attending the ceremony on March 23 in Indianapolis. Walker, who died at age 60 in 1989, was joined in the Hall of Fame's Class of 2022 by 1980s ISU great John Sherman Williams.

Walker's landmark achievement did not come easily.

He came to Indiana State from East Chicago, the same town in which Wooden previously coached on the high school level. Integrated college basketball teams were rare in 1946, when Walker arrived on the Terre Haute campus. He had joined a talented team, guided by a coach who would later win a record 10 NCAA Division I championships at UCLA. Walker landed at Indiana State at a historic time - his first two seasons as a Sycamore were the only two Wooden spent there. Wooden left for UCLA in the spring of 1948. Walker and his teammates won 44 games in those two seasons.

It was not all glory for Walker, though. He experienced Jim Crow-era racism throughout his college years.

A restaurant owner refused to serve Walker when the Sycamores walked into eatery during a road trip. Wooden walked out with his players. When the team traveled to Missouri, a hotel allowed Walker to stay, but forced him to sleep on a cot in the building's smelly basement.

In March 1947, the NAIB invited Indiana State to compete in its postseason event, but the tournament had a whites-only rule. Wooden rejected the invitation. A year later, the NAIB abandoned its racist barrier, and the Sycamores made the trip to Kansas City, setting up Walker's breakthrough performance.

'ťFrom there, the floodgates opened,'Ł said author Barb Morrow, who wrote the book, 'ťHardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden.'Ł

The larger NCAA and NIT tournaments did not integrate until two years after Walker played in the NAIB. Decades later, Black athletes make up 55.9% of men's Division I college basketball players, according to a 2018 University of Southern California study.

Walker's achievements did not end with that single postseason basketball tournament. He played throughout his college years at Indiana State and was a starting guard for the Sycamores' 1950 NAIB national championship squad. He earned a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War, and served as a teacher, counselor and administrator for the Gary schools for 35 years.

Indeed, Clarence Walker opened doors for many others in his life.

___

Indianapolis Business Journal. April 1, 2022.

Editorial: State's interest in Boone County is sign it wants to be competitive

Intrigue has hit Boone County, where rumors about a mysterious company trying to buy large swaths of property became so persistent over the last few months, the county commissioners hosted a meeting to take questions from the community about it.

The problem was, they just didn't have any real answers.

In the void, residents started speculating that maybe a private airport-or even one dedicated to FedEx-would be locating there. Or that China was trying to buy up the land. Or that Amazon planned to open a drone-delivery center.

Turns out, it's the Indiana Economic Development Corp. on the hunt for land. And the agency, part of Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration, said it's not for any of the above purposes.

Instead, the IEDC is exploring a development that could take advantage of Boone County's position between Purdue University and the universities, researchers and corporate headquarters that are in Indianapolis.

Local officials say the state's goal is to amass some 4,000 to 7,000 acres that could be used to attract a manufacturer of batteries, microchips or other high-tech components. In fact, IEDC officials said specifically that Boone County is 'ťattractive to high-tech companies in future-focused industries.'Ł

It's hard to tell how far along these land deals might be. Sources have told IBJ there are binding agreements to buy. The IEDC said it's putting itself in a position to buy land 'ťonce we and local leaders identify specific opportunities for development.'Ł

Regardless, we think the Holcomb administration is moving in the right direction.

Recent deals for high-tech manufacturers in other states have come together quickly. The next opportunity for Indiana to land a megadeal might not allow time to cobble together land from scratch. So, acquiring land in advance or securing the option to buy it will likely be key to being competitive with other states.

We also think Boone County is incredibly well situated for the kind of investment that could bring thousands of high-paying jobs to the region. Just a glimpse up the road at the Purdue Research Park-where Rolls-Royce North America and Saab are investing millions, and researchers are launching dozens of startups-gives a hint as to why a high-tech manufacturer might choose the area.

We know there are residents and landowners in the county who disagree. A group called People for Boone County Farmland has posted a petition to oppose any development. 'ťWe do not want our rich, productive land to be turned into a concrete technology/industrial park, nor do we want our way of life to be upended by urban sprawl,'Ł it reads.

We empathize-but we think that's shortsighted. To oppose development overall is foolhardy. To grow, Indiana and Boone County must be prepared for future opportunities.

We would encourage state and local officials to be as open as possible with residents about what they have in mind. It might ease some fear and generate some excitement. And that would be a great step forward.

END

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