Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 30, 2013

Dec. 30, 2013: Weekly wrap

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Riley made healthy decision on food

Let’s add together a few facts to understand why administrators at IU Health’s Riley Hospital for Children decided this week to sever their longtime relationship with McDonald’s.

Fact No. 1: Indiana has some of the worst rates in the nation for adult and child obesity. Fact No. 2: Hospitals have an obligation to promote healthy lifestyles, including good nutrition. Fact No. 3: Much of McDonald’s food, although admittedly popular, is loaded with calories, fat, cholesterol and salt.

Given that reality, it’s perfectly understandable why IU Health decided to close the fast-food giant’s outlet.

Still, some parents have objected to the decision, arguing that the McDonald’s at Riley has provided a welcome respite for exhausted adults and their frightened children.

The parents and patients certainly deserve to be heard. But healthy food, planned for the menu of a new cafe that will open at Riley early next year, need not be bland and boring.

What about providing a desperately sick child with the occasional treat? Families still can bring food into the hospital to comfort a patient with a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets. But Riley will provide healthier alternatives for patients and visitors without sending a mixed message about good nutrition.

Of all the places in our community where healthy lifestyles should be promoted, one of the nation’s great hospitals for children ought to be a leader. Riley’s administrators took the lead this week and made the right call.

— The Indianapolis Star

Backing away from discrimination

As the debate simmers over whether Indiana should place a same-sex marriage ban into its constitution, the focus has often been on the adverse effects such a ban might have on business and industry.

Indeed, business advocacy groups such as the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and corporations such as Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins Engine have taken a strong stance against the amendment, known as HJR-6 (House Joint Resolution 6). They say it could make it difficult to recruit and hire top talent into a state that has such a provision in its constitution.

But a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and the added stipulation in the proposed amendment that even civil unions would be prohibited, is so much more than a business issue. It is a civil rights issue that goes to the very core of what role a state should play in a free society, where the pursuit of happiness is a valued tenet of law.

That’s why it is so refreshing to see institutions of higher learning rising in unison to declare their opposition on the grounds that not only is HJR-6 economically unwise, it is unfair, unjust and inhumane.

Indiana State University joined the higher ed chorus this week with an official declaration of opposition to HJR-6 from faculty, staff and student governance groups. We commend their decision to take a stand.

The groundswell of diverse voices opposed to the amendment should not be ignored by the Legislature when it takes up the issue in January. If the General Assembly passes the amendment, it will be placed on the November 2014 election ballot for a statewide referendum. That, of course, would unleash an ugly, expensive and divisive campaign that could taint the state’s image no matter how it turns out.

— Tribune-Star, Terre Haute