Build a new YMCA for the community

I am writing this letter to challenge the people and government of Kokomo and Howard County to build a new YMCA.

This community is known for its generosity and compassion for helping the disadvantaged and less fortunate people by giving a hand up, not a handout. Together we can do it, if we set our minds to it.

Marion, Wabash and Huntington have new YMCA facilities, and they have as many or more challenges than Kokomo. Kokomo has more private health clubs than these communities, but the YMCA has a different mission, addressing mind, body and spirit.

The Kokomo YMCA facility is more than 100 years old, with excessive maintenance costs resulting in unnecessary cash burn. This money could be redirected to an investment in the citizens of the future with much greater payback defying quantification.

Supervision is very difficult, with many hallways and multiple levels. Membership has declined because of the economic downturn in industry and loss of jobs.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful staff, strong executive director and a competent board of directors. The attitude and environment are top-notch, but a 100-year-old building does not cut it when better facilities are available to a discerning public. This is important to attract new members.

We have a wonderful outreach to the community. The crime rate would be much higher if the YMCA were not available to all people because of the Strong Kids Campaign, previously known as The Partner With Youth.

To some young people and families, it is their only exposure to a loving Christian environment. No one is turned away if they cannot afford the cost of a membership.

The Huddle program is another outreach that brings all denominations together to encourage caring and compassion for each other.

We have a strong youth outreach in the Hyve Teen Center led by Alonzo Smith, which reaches young people in the community and helps them to make good choices.

There are many other outreach programs too numerous to mention that contribute to the well-being of the community.

We will have a capital campaign drive in the future, and I am confident the community and government will respond to make it successful. A basic question to consider is, do we want to react to the past with more jails and juvenile detention centers or be proactive with an investment in the future?

There is no free lunch, but I believe there is a payback of fewer taxes needed in the future.

Again I challenge you to give it some serious thought, and we can control our quality of life. Thank you for your consideration.

Daniel P. Macaluso

Kokomo

Let’s rein in freedom to endanger others

I often hear from people who say we need less regulation in America, and my most common reaction is, “What?”

The coal mine explosion that happened recently in West Virginia had been a mine cited for 600 regulatory violations in less than a year, including for not properly ventilating methane, which was the gas that was most likely the cause of the explosion. We haven’t been too hard on these individuals, we have been too soft. They have been allowed to get away with putting their workers and the surrounding communities in danger for far too long.

The owner of this mine bought and paid for a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. This sounds like something out of the robber baron era of the 19th century!

Toyota (showing that bad corporate behavior knows no international boundaries) has bragged about getting around regulation. It withheld documents in a court case despite a federal judge’s order that it release information on internal roof strength tests. It lied in a suit about a Texas woman (who was killed when her vehicle lurched backwards) when it told the plaintiffs’ lawyers that it was unaware of similar cases when just one year previously Toyota was involved in an almost identical type of case.

Do I even need to remind people how the lack of regulation of the financial markets allowed fat cats to put our economy at risk? How, after they gambled, lost, got bailed out, they still spent billions on bonuses? Companies are selling financial instruments that were created to fail to unsuspecting buyers, so the makers can bet against those very instruments!

How many people die or become very sick per year because there aren’t mandatory recalls on food products? Yes, the government must ask and urge companies that sent unsafe food products to be recalled! I could go on about the time and time again a lack of regulation is hurting us.

Now, some regulation is of course unnecessary. There are regs that can be pruned, but ask yourself this: Who are these people saying regulations are a bad thing? Do they have a financial interest in it? All too often they do, but they try to dodge disclosure of that fact by talking about “freedom,” but it is all too often freedom to put an unsafe product on the road or to put your son or daughter at risk of food poisoning.

Colleen Rogers

Kokomo

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