Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death

Social comment n' shit

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Anyone low on kittens?

Because I may have just inadvertently given one a death sentence, and I need to find her a home.

I was heading to my dye job this afternoon when, in somewhat of a déjà-vu* moment, I heard loud mewing coming from the bushes. So I psssssspsssspssssssssed, and a pretty little brown and cream calico – one that looked suspiciously like one of my other downstairs neighbor’s kittens that she got in the fall – ran out of the bushes and gave me tummy. She wasn’t malnourished, but her lower back was all ragged and full of dander. She kept following me to my car and crisscrossing my legs as I walked, and I was just heartbroken and outraged because I thought I saw this kitten out a week or so ago, and if this was Pixie, I was going to have to hurt a bitch because I TOLD this heifer that I would look in on the kittens since she’s not home a lot, and now she’s just kicking one OUT THE HOUSE!?? Aw HELL NAW.  But I had to make my appointment, so thinking it’s no-kill, I called Animal Control to come get her, right? Well, I just found out from Girlie that my town’s animal control is NOT necessarily no-kill, so now I’m even MORE heartbroken than I already was. She’s really pretty and very friendly; if anyone’s interested, hit me up. I would take her in a HEARTBEAT iff’n I didn’t think the boys would go ape.

Now for a complete digression, does anyone else think Taylor Swift looks like a stuck-up ferret? Discuss.

Here’s another digression: Suppose you were chatting with a gentleman you fancy, smiling and generally being cute (or as cute as someone like you can be), and when you said something makes you excited, the gentleman pulls back your jacket to, ahem, GAUGE said excitement. Would you consider that getting hit on or playful banter? Whatever it was, it got ME all tingly – so tingly that I completely blocked out that AFTER we got done talking with my gentleman crush, I slid on a patch of ice and fell flat on my ass.

[UPDATE 2/18: Got a call from the animal control lady—she didn’t get the kitten, and when I called for her in the bushes a minute ago, I heard her, so she’s still here, and I can now get her someplace safe.]

Posted by Broad4:01 AM
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Nothing like waking up to DOOM

Well, I WAS in a decent frame of mind until I logged onto Facebook (where I spend another fairly big chunk of time) and found one of my pals/colleagues posted THIS bit of horseshit: Lookit.

When it comes to the paper, I don’t even know where they think they can cut us anymore, but I can tell you one of myriad ways in which they monumentally fucked it up: Outsourcing our circ to our MAIN COMPETITION. From what I understand, the TRIB is the one that not only prints us but handles our delivery. So, if the Trib’s going to handle our circ, do you REALLY think it’s going to give a Goddamn about what delivery problems the Sun-Times News Group’s having over its own issues!?? Think about that. Yeah, I’ve heard our upper brass goes to Cyrus et al all the time, and Cyrus et al talks about how they’re going to “present these issues sternly” when they re-up the contract or whatever, but again I ask you: With the newspaper industry and all its issues these days, do you really think the Trib cares? Was there a clause in the contract stipulating that as long as the Trib doesn’t ACTIVELY pursue STNG’s subscribers, instead just not doing anything and letting the subscribers get pissed off enough that they cancel, it’s cool? I mean, what!?? It’s stunning to me that these people are letting us die on the vine. And sure, more cuts sort of means more for me, but I don’t WANT more at the expense of other, much better reporters. Never have.

And now with this pissing in my oatmeal, I have to pick up MOTHER in full-on jerk mode to get a new winter coat after she had to sleep on the couch last night because her landlord didn’t fix the roof properly, and it was banging against the side of her crib all night. (whimper)

Posted by Broad5:07 PM
Monday, August 04, 2008
Anybody got some damn Pamprin!??

Allow me to state for the record here that I absolutely HATE when women use their monthly as an excuse for being pissed off, but since I’m sure some jackass out there will think it, I thought I’d save you the trouble. (And I DARE YOU to ask me about my meds. Do it. PLEASE.)

Earlier today, a company in town had its big send-off for the almost-to-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty it created for one of its biggest accounts—you know, music, free food, a zillion balloons released into the air, 30 (!) semis leaving the lot and hauling the statue, traveling with police escorts all the way to Missouri. A real feel-good, family thing I was covering, except it wasn’t JUST a big feel-good, family thing because also at this hootenanny, the company’s owner announced which municipality would be taking the statue once it comes back. What’s go great about that, right? Well, considering that the real statue’s in NYC and there’s no other replica anywhere else (never mind that not everyone may make it to NYC or even see the real one if they’re there; I know I’ve been there twice and haven’t seen it yet), this thing has the potential to draw a whole lot of people to NWI. Oh, did I mention it’s made of STYROFOAM!??

So I cover this thing; covered it all week and sent in the photo request, like, 10 days to two weeks ago like I’m supposed to for this admittedly feel-good but pretty important and highly photogenic event. But a photog from MY paper was nowhere to be found. See, they had to go to the beach today to wait to see if a dead kid washed ashore from a drowning yesterday.

Are you KIDDING me with this!??

First of all, no credible paper, even with the industry’s current horrific state, is going to risk running a shot of a dead, bloated body unbagged, so what? You’ve already shot rescuers searching for the kid, and you’ve gotten the poignant “crying relative” shot and the “concerned onlooker” shot; why the hell would you waste the photog’s time on something that MAY NOT HAPPEN when you have a huge event THAT IS!?? Un. real. And I’m sure I’m going to hear the “Bleeds/Leads” crap—NO. It was a piss-poor call. Hell, *I* could’ve taken the shots. My camera’s not that great, but it sure would’ve beat leaving a good photo op with its dick hanging out.

And while I’m at it, could someone please tell me why there’s another drowned kid!?? Park officials don’t close swimming at the beaches for their health; they do it for OURS, so why would anyone think moving to another beach = No Undertow!?? It’s not In-ground Pool Michigan, people. No, the kid didn’t deserve to die. What he deserved were guardians who wouldn’t let him and his brother go out in dangerous water.

Posted by Broad3:02 AM
Sunday, April 06, 2008
And for this, I wore my $400 Tod’s loafers

Here’s the conversation I just had with the night editor about my BIG. F’IN. STORY:

Me: So, how long you want this crap?

Night Editor: (verbally shrugs) How long you got?

Me: I got as long as you want, baby.

NE: How ‘bout writing the news? You know, put all the good stuff up top and all the crap on the bottom, and then when we run out of room, we cut the crap off. That’s how we do it, you know.

Me: But I don’t write crap. You know that.

NE: (likely rolling his eyes) Well, then I guess we don’t cut it.

Me: Exactly.

NE: Well, at least put some enthusiasm into it, then.

Me: Oooooh, I’ll GIVE you enthusiasm. I’ve got enthusiasm flying out of my ass.

So yeah, Chelsea Clinton in E.C. Sunday afternoon: Really good stuff, even if the powers that pretend chose possibly the lowest-rent place in all of NWI to host her. (I ask you, how is letting the former First daughter speak one street over from Lake County’s most dangerous neighborhood a good idea? I suppose it cleaned up all right, but still, wood paneling went out in the ‘70s and made the lighting for shit in there. Seriously, your constituents would’ve come to her, Jorge; there was no need to waste taxpayers’ dimes on the extra police protection to put her off Guthrie.) I couldn’t get over how poised and relaxed she was; I suspect she knows more about Hillary’s plans than Hillary does, to be honest.

The other thing that killed me was that here we were in the most heavily populated Hispanic city in Indiana IF not the Midwest, and the only question posed about immigration was how Hillary was planning to keep immigrant families together. How about streamlining the process to make it easier for people to become American citizens? What about that? Not a concern, apparently. A politically connected pal of mine surmised that people didn’t ask the question because we were in “Puerto Rican territory” and that immigration issues mean different things to Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, but still, right? It’s not like Chelsea couldn’t have answered the question.

Of course, when I tried to go up to her after she was done to clarify*, E.C.’s finest goons kept pushing me away from her like a commoner. Not even Secret Service, man! One of them jerks stepped right on my foot, too.

Posted by Broad9:10 PM
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
$3.45 for gas!????

Someone can stick THAT up their ass real quick. Good Christ.

Posted by Broad7:36 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Jezebel did it so I don’t have to

And I was just contemplating this, too, or something very similar: Lookit

Posted by Broad2:17 AM
Saturday, March 08, 2008
“Like he’s homping someting, mayn”

Any of you who were thinking about sitting through all those episodes of “Gone Country” you put on your DVR, Girlie and I (armed with a bottle of champers) spared you the trouble last night. Ima spoil it for you.


1) “Save a horse/ride a cowboy”—sorry, John Rich, not when you’re wearing the skins of defenseless animals and rhinestones on your pants. Urban country my ass—you look like a Liberace grape-peeler reject. And get rid of the porno mustache, because that ain’t gonna be good for NOTHIN’.

2) Bobby Brown (he of unconstipating Whitney Houston fame) has other scatological issues: He pees in random places when he sleepwalks. Isn’t there a pill for that?

3) “She’s about three steps away from being the crazy bag lady”—Girlie on Maureen “Marcia Marcia MARCIA!” McCormick, who’s turned into this bizarre amalgamation of Christian Soccer Mom and haggard barfly without the booze. Not that we didn’t dig her, because we did, but wooooooo! Girl focused on the wrong issues when she visited Dr. Phil. And these are the types of issues that are going to get her involved with freakin’ Bobby Brown even moreso than she was on “Gone Country,” so please please PLEASE, Mo, get help. And if you and Bobby are dating, Ima be pissed, because then Girlie and I are going to get roped into watching THAT trainwreck of a show, and we already saw a leeeeetle too much of Bobby Brown without pants last night.

4) Has Michael McDonald ever played Dee Snider on “MadTv?” Or better, has Dee ever played Stuart? Because THAT could be funny.

5) Carnie rocked as she always does.

But you know why the whole thing was a total waste? Because John Rich made this whole big deal about wanting to pick the song that “had the most country appeal,” and then who does he pick? Fuckin’ Julio Iglesias Jr., who could barely sing ENGLISH, never mind reach out of his Latin love-song genre. If all he wanted was to find the biggest challenge with whom to produce a song, why get the hopes up of all the other performers!?? He should’ve just devoted the whole show to turning Julio into a country star. Sheesh.

PS I’ve been ordered by Girlie to tell y’all that the champers we imbibed last night was won during Bingo. For the class factor and stuff.

Posted by Broad5:18 PM
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Apologies all around

to anyone who may have received communique(CQ?) of any kind from me last night. Why I thought it was a good idea to down a pitcher of beer BY MYSELF probably correlates with the ugly, self-indulgent mood I’ve been in the past couple weeks, but I tell you what: My mood has improved dramatically since. And I wasn’t even as hungover as I was expecting!

Also, muy thanks to Paul for going to the meeting I was supposed to go to, because I very likely would’ve hemorrhaged had I been:

HIGHLAND—A Highland Police Commission member accused by Town Council members of violating his oath of office will not continue to serve on that board.

With Councilman Mark Herak absent from the meeting, the other four members unanimously voted to oust John Koval from his position on the Police Commission.

Following the vote, public comments were permitted. Former Councilman Joseph Wszolek of Highland read a prepared statement in opposition to the action taken against Koval.

Wszolek said Koval’s behavior was consistent with the recently adopted Code of Ethics for Highland officials in that he took the responsibility to expose corrupt behavior and took action to support the public’s right to know.

Attorney Joe Hero, who represents Koval, was not allowed to speak.

Koval’s reprimand stems from a letter to the editor he wrote before the November election countering information in Highland First Coalition literature.

The brochure said the previous Town Council trimmed $311,633 from the Police Department’s budget, which in turn would reduce police patroling capabilities by 19 percent.

The Police Department’s net operating budget for 2007 was cut, said Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin. But most of that money was made up through two other funds on which the department relies.

In Koval’s letter, dated Oct. 31, 2007, he said former Republican and current Highland First Councilman Mark Herak “concocted a fairy tale.”

“I find it morally offensive for (Herak) to use scare tactics and prey upon our citizens’ fears regarding their safety for the sole purpose of trying to maintain power,” he wrote.

In January, the Police Commission’s four other members—James DeGraaf, Chairman James Turoci, Patty VanTil and Danny Stombaugh—sent a letter to the council requesting that Koval be removed from the commission because by identifying himself as a police commissioner he was allowing politics to influence the Police Department and Commission. The council turned to Town Attorney Rhett Tauber for an opinion.

In a letter dated Jan. 8, Tauber said Koval’s actions weren’t a violation.

So, SO very disappointing, though coming from Herak—a guy who put together his election strategy with Democrats when he was a Republican and who now left out the part of how most of the Police Department money was given back in his campaign literature—I’d expect nothing less. The man is pathological in his need for control of whatever power he thinks he has over his little town.

And how about Danny Vassar wanting to make Lincoln Center “residents only?” Are nonresidents peeing on the floor or holding baby-tossing contests in the fieldhouse? If they’re not, I’d say his reasons smack of racism, or least of a snobbery to which Highland really has no claim. And if Lincoln Center DOES go resident-only, how much are the resident fees going to get hiked to make up the difference? Because you DO know the money’s going to have to come from somewhere, right? Way to go, Danny!

Posted by Broad5:39 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
How quickly they forget

Because if someone at the paper would’ve told me about this little gem:

Phony ballot gets man probation

Post-Tribune staff report

Suspended Lake County police officer Ponciano Herrera admitted he submitted a phony ballot in the May 2003 East Chicago primary election.

Herrera, 42, of East Chicago, pleaded guilty to procuring or submitting a false, fictitious or fraudulent ballot, a felony charge.

Lake Superior Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., placed Herrera on probation for 90 days and entered the conviction as a misdemeanor, as called for in the plea agreement negotiated on behalf of Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter’s office and Herrera’s lawyers.

The misdemeanor conviction would allow Herrera to return to the police force.

Four counts of perjury and four counts of vote fraud were dismissed in exchange for Herrera’s admission of guilt.

Herrera, an East Chicago native who served in the U.S. Air Force and returned to his hometown and joined the Lake County police 15 years ago, became emotional when addressing the judge. “I have always tried to be a servant to the community,” Herrera said, “but I am only human.’’ After being suspended without pay, Herrera said he took a job with the Gary street department.

Stefaniak heard from Antonio Barreda, an officer in the Union Benefica Mexicana, a civic and social organization in East Chicago, who said Herrera not only has been a committed and involved member of the group but also pitched in to help in the hurricane recovery efforts in New Orleans.

Family members of Nick Idalski, a soldier killed in Iraq in 2005, said Herrera arranged for a police escort for Idalski’s body and handled many details for the family.

Herrera was one of dozens of people charged with vote fraud in the 2003 East Chicago primary election, which was set aside by the Indiana Supreme Court.

I’d have been more than happy to remind them about how great a guy Ponce is:

Charges of domestic battery during a May incident have been dropped against a Lake County Sheriff’s officer.

Officer Ponciano Herrera of East Chicago, was named in a complaint filed by the Lake County Sheriff’s Police on behalf of Darcel Espinoza of Merrillville. But according to an investigation conducted by the county police, the claims were baseless, according to Lake County Police Chief Gary Martin.

“We conducted a thorough investigation and the complaint was found to be unsubstantiated,” Martin said.

According to an incident report obtained by the Post-Tribune, Herrera, who is the father of Espinoza’s child, showed up at Espinoza’s home, let himself in and asked to see their daughter. Espinoza said she declined because Herrera smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages.

“(The) complainant stated that she then told her daughter to lock herself in the bedroom,” the report states. “Complainant advised that Mr. Herrera then threw a plastic water bottle at her which struck her in the head.”

The report said Herrera then opened the door as if to leave, at which time Espinoza tried to shut the door and lock it behind him. But Herrera pushed the door back forcefully, slamming Espinoza between it and the wall. Afterward, he dragged Espinoza by her wrists into the dining room area, causing rug burns on her knees, and dug his fingers into her neck.

Sgt. William Paterson and Officer Brian Marsh, who responded to the call, observed abrasions on Espinoza’s back and knees, swelling on her forehead above the right eye and a bruise on her left wrist and thumb. They took pictures of these injuries along with damage done to the wall where Espinoza got caught by the door and a typewriter that Herrera allegedly threw off the balcony, the report states.

The report also says that Cmdr. Dale Bock advised Paterson and Marsh to file the domestic battery charges.

But when Espinoza was interviewed by police shortly after, her stories were different, Martin said.

“She had explanations for her injuries,” he said, adding that he felt confident Espinoza didn’t recant her report out of fear of Herrera. “(Paterson and Marsh) did exactly what they were supposed to do, but once the investigators took her statement, it was found that the incident didn’t happen.”

Espinoza didn’t return several calls for comment.

Herrera, who ran for an East Chicago council seat, said he’s relieved Espinoza changed her story. “I’m a law enforcement officer and this is a delicate situation,” Herrera said. “I’m fortunate that she told the truth to the investigator.”

Law enforcement officers may file charges in a domestic battery case based on observations at the scene or outside witness testimony, regardless of whether the victim presses charges, said Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter. But Carter added that unless the police give the prosecutor charges, his office can’t investigate.

And color MY heart disillusioned, Tony Barreda, because I USED to regard you as a stand-up guy trapped on a buoy in the sea of nepotism that is East Chicago politics. What made you so thirsty that you had to take a drink?

Posted by Broad3:34 PM
Friday, February 08, 2008
It’s true what they say about politics

Earlier this week, I sent my peeps an e-mail with the historic CBS Nightly News clip that aired either Thursday or Friday night about the 29 year-old Marine who died of melanoma for which he was never given a diagnosis until it was already Stage 4. The reason I sent it was not because I wanted to discuss politics* but because it was an amazingly well-done piece and I was blown away by the condition of the guy when he died. (I mean, Dad weighed 130 when he died, but under 80 pounds on a guy that was likely average height!?? Good Christ, that’s unreal.)

Yeah, should’ve thought to embrace the bcc mechanism on my Thunderbird, because today—not Tuesday or yesterday, mind you—I had a whole e-mail war going on and all kinds of people annoyed, and I’m like, “Whoa, y’all! I wasn’t even talking about Universal Health Care!” That’ll learn ME. Jeez.

My big assignment for the week so far has been, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, talking to NWI’s most “roMANtic” restaurants to find out what makes them the place to be: Is it ambiance? Food? What? And as I’m interviewing them, it occurs to me—and this will shock no one, I’m sure—that I’m probably the least conventionally romantic woman on the planet ... well, maybe not the PLANET, but it’s gotta be the Northern hemisphere, at the very least. I mean, the various owners were talking about this and that, and I get the whole flowers/cards/candy/nice dinner out thing. I just prefer to find “romance,” if you want to call it that, in less contrived ways. Or maybe that speaks volumes as to the guys I’ve been involved with over the years, I don’t know, but if someone wanted to take me out and spend that kind of scratch on me for Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t appreciate it like he would want it appreciated. This of course is not to say that I would rather go to Outback Steakhouse over Rodizio’s or Lucrezia’s; I’m just saying it would be lost on me. (And probably something about the manner to which I’m accustomed.) But, like, rose petals in the bathtub and that kind of stuff? I could see myself thinking “Great. A cliche” if that ever happened.

What do I find romantic, then? That’s the other thing: I never know until it happens. Anyone else like that?

Posted by Broad3:50 AM
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
You don’t say

Gotta say, I’m a little surprised the GCSC released it, unless of course the paper FOIA’ed the shit out of them. And you’d think that if she was in such a gorgeous locale, her food choices would be a little less bouzhie. Oh wait, I’ll bet she was trying to save the district money, because Ms. Ledbetter is nothing if not conscientious of what she spends:

School official’s Hawaii trip expenses detailed

By Sharlonda L. Waterhouse
Post-Tribune staff writer

GARY—The Visa bill for Gary School Board member Andrea Ledbetter’s recent trip to Hawaii was mailed to the district last week, with a total due of $2,501—$1,000 more than she said her trip cost.

It could be among the last credit card statements paid by the School Board, which is reconsidering its credit card policy.

First Financial Bank records turned over by the school district show Ledbetter spent $1,264 to stay at the Waikiki Beach Resort Hotel operated by Marriott, for the Jan. 5-8 Hawaii International Conference on Education.

While there, she dined at Lulu’s Surf Club Waikiki for $36.49, Cheesecake Honolulu for $61.81, a Honolulu Red Lobster for $41.65 and Jamba Juice Makai for $4.97.

She also made a purchase at ABC Stores in Honolulu for $19.65.

Her USA Airways plane ticket cost the district $600 plus $5 for online registration. Ledbetter also spent an additional $36.49 at O’Hare airport on the day of take-off, records show.

No paperwork or documents to support the business nature of the trip have been submitted to the accounting office, notations on district records show.

A history of trips

A look back at Ledbetter’s expenses over the past year show more than $5,000 to other trips in Las Vegas; San Francisco; and Orlando, Fla.

For example, the January 2007 bill for Ledbetter’s credit card included two $236 airline tickets—one for Ledbetter and one for a J. Woodson. Her husband is James Woodson.

The two charged $843 to stay at the Rosen Hotel & Resorts in Orlando in November 2006.

The district requested reimbursement for Woodson’s ticket but did not receive it.

In April 2007, records show Ledbetter spent $1,500 on restaurants, cabs and a hotel in San Francisco.

In November 2007, Ledbetter spent $1,373 on a trip to Las Vegas, which included a room and meals at the Bellagio, as well as $45 dinners at a steakhouse and a $74 dinner at Cheesecake Las Vegas.

No receipts or paperwork was turned in for that trip either.

‘It’s embarrassing’

Gary School Board president Nellie Moore and vice president Michael Scott refused district credit cards.

Moore said it’s a vow she made when she campaigned, and she has stuck to it.

School Board member Darren Washington, head of the policy committee, said the board must take steps to ensure that’s the routine for everyone. Washington is drafting a policy that would discontinue the use of individual credit cards by board members. Washington said when news of members spending thousands in luxury locations reach legislators across the state, it’s hard to make the case to the General Assembly that the district needs more money.

“It’s embarrassing,” Washington said. “It sends the message that we’re just going out and doing anything at taxpayers’ expense no matter how much it may cost. That’s a disrespect for other people’s money.”

Drop the cards

Washington uses a personal card and seeks reimbursement.

Moore said board members are elected on the assumption that they will do what’s good for students and the district and don’t need censoring by peers.

Moore said she did not feel it was necessary to require public announcements of board trips.

“I don’t see the benefit of that. I do think as a board we should look very carefully at conferences that benefit our district and have some order in which board members attend. Some conferences are very beneficial.”

Contact Sharlonda L. Waterhouse at 648-3085 or


Hawaiian trip

Airfare $600
Conference $440
Honolulu beach hotel $1,260

Total $2,500

And Ms. Moore, no one has said that conferences aren’t beneficial nor that board members shouldn’t go anywhere. But is it really too much to ask to make sure the people elected are doing what they’re supposed to and not spending the public’s money so they can go on a vacation they can’t afford otherwise? Come on, now.

Posted by Broad3:02 PM
Friday, January 11, 2008
People of Gary:

Could you please, please PLEASE not vote for candidates who spend your money like the thieves that they are and then flaunt in your faces? How much more does this woman and her family have to rip off from the Gary Community School Corp. before people become horrified that their tax dollars are going toward expensive vacations that have nothing to do with the students? And ESL as a second language, my ass. The native tongue of Creole, or Pidgin English, doesn’t necessitate ESL.

Taxpayers on hook for trip to Hawaii

January 11, 2008

By Sharlonda L. Waterhouse and Carole Carlson
Post-Tribune staff writers

Gary School Board member Andrea Ledbetter defended her trip to the Hawaii International Conference on Education earlier this week saying Hawaii shares many of the same urban ills as Gary. She termed the state a “tropical Gary.”

While Ledbetter declined to say if the cash-strapped school district paid for the trip, she said she planned to turn in expenses for reimbursement. Sources confirmed the school district would receive the bill that Ledbetter estimated at about $1,500.

Ledbetter flew to Hawaii and stayed at the Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, operated by Marriott. She was joined by her father, Andrew Ledbetter, who she said attended the conference also but paid his own way.

In 2005, Ledbetter took a $3,144 school-paid trip to Okinawa, Japan. She said the visit was for educational and professional enlightenment. The district ordered her to repay trip expenses she placed on her school district credit card.

Ledbetter said she submitted a proposal to participate in the Hawaii conference and she plans to share insight gleaned there with board members.

She said she gained “perspective on what the school district needs.”

Ledbetter criticized the newspaper for writing about her trip. “You always try to make something negative out of it,” she said.

The Ledbetters stayed past the Jan. 5 to 8 conference dates.

On Jan. 9, Ledbetter’s father, Andrew, answered a call to the family hotel room but hung up when asked about the trip.

Upon returning to Gary on Thursday, Ledbetter discussed the trip, but declined to say how she paid for it: “Ask public information,” she said.

The public information office is awaiting the receipt of official credit card statements.

School Board President Nellie Moore, who ran for office under the pledge of ensuring greater financial accountability for the district, did not return numerous calls or respond to a request for information on how the trip was paid for.

According to the official conference site, registration was $440. The room cost was $205 to $245 per night, for a minimum of three nights. Airfare was estimated at $1,500.

Ledbetter, however, said the trip was not that expensive—only $1,500 total. She said she bought discounted first-class tickets and walked most places.

Superintendent Mary Steele-Agee was scheduled to present at the conference, according to a brochure listing her as a chairwoman for a workshop titled: “Turning Around a Failing District: Setting a Course for High Achievement.”

That was scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 6. Steele-Agee did not attend, however.

“What I saw down there is that school districts from all over the country invite the youngest teachers, bringing new perspective. Hawaii suffers from a lot of issues that we have ... . English as second language classes was the biggest topic,” Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter is up for re-election this year and is expected to be challenged by educator and businessman Marion Williams.

Contact Sharlonda L. Waterhouse at 648-3085 or

Posted by Broad7:36 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Maaaaac! They’re doing it again!


By John Byrne
Post-Tribune Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS—Pharmacists who refuse to dispense certain contraceptives would get protection from termination under a bill a Senate committee supported Wednesday.

The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee voted 6-5 to pass Senate Bill 3, which would protect pharmacists who refused to dispense drugs that “cause an abortion” or “destroy an unborn child.”
Sen. Jeff Drozda, R-Westfield, said his bill was not meant to address contraceptives such as birth control pills or so-called “Plan B” drugs.

Drozda said he was simply adopting the language used in states which have already enacted such protections.

But he acknowledged he believes contraceptives would be covered by the bill.

Under current state law, pharmacists are not required to dispense such drugs if they have a moral objection to the products. But they can then be fired from their jobs for the refusal.

Before voting against the measure, Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said Drozda should include a list of the drugs he means to protect pharmacists from having to dispense.

Contact John Byrne at (317) 631-7400 or

Posted by Broad1:14 PM
Friday, January 04, 2008
He talks too much

We’re not even a week into 2k8, and our pal Rudy is at it again:

By Jon Seidel
Post-Tribune staff writer

GARY—Getting into a fight with the wrong person was the leading cause of violent deaths for all of 2007 in Gary, but that was especially true in the latter half of the year.

Since July 1, Gary police have investigated 37 homicides. Of those, 18 were caused by a fight or altercation, according to Lake County Coroner’s statistics.

In all, 29 of the 71 homicides committed in 2007 were categorized the same way.

Mayor Rudy Clay, though, believes the increase in deaths last year was driven by a spike in domestic homicides.

Eleven people were killed after household arguments spilled over into violence last year. Six of those occurred after July 1, anchored by a brutal triple homicide in August.

That’s compared to a total of four domestic homicides in 2006.

“In Gary, Indiana, our homicides are not like, say, Chicago, thugs and drugs and gangs and young people killing each other in the schools,” Clay said. “That’s not the cause of it in Gary.”[Emphasis mine]

Chicago police officials couldn’t be reached for comment in response to Clay’s statements.

However, Chicago is on track to have its lowest homicide toll since 1965, when police reported 395 killings. The city had logged 435 slayings through Dec. 26. In the early part of the decade, police often reported more than 600 a year.

Chicago officials credit the improvement to their tough stance on gangs, guns and drugs.

“Those three ingredients, so to speak, are what we’re focused on,” police spokeswoman Monique Bond told The Associated Press. “That’s really what leads to random violence.”

Clay said he wants to enlist Indiana University Northwest early this year to conduct an in-depth analysis of homicides in 2007 to find out why the rate of violent killings jumped by nearly 40 percent.

“Tell us what’s really going on,” Clay said.

He said he is also hoping a new job resource program at City Hall will help calm some of the anger boiling over in the homes.

“We think if people in the community had more jobs, we think it will bring down the anger among people,” Clay said.

Families of the victims in 2007 tend to agree that anger is overwhelming people in the city. Much of it, they say, is frustration from not being able to find jobs.

According to the U.S. Census, 54 percent of Gary’s population is in the labor force, as opposed to the national average of 65 percent.

The percentage of families in Gary below the poverty level, according to the Census, is 27 percent, as opposed to the national average of 10 percent.

Marguerite Dyson, whose son Jermaine Dyson was shot and killed in the Aetna area last year, has decided to move away from Gary.

She said there are no employment opportunities for young people, especially those with criminal records who want to start a new life.

“If you have a record you can’t get a decent job,” Dyson said.

Renee Kellom, a relative of homicide victim Shadonna Cheatham, said too many people feel free to kill others in Gary.

Cheatham was shot in the head at her home in the 4400 block of West 24th Avenue on July 26. Dia K. Nelson has been charged with her murder, but remains at large.

“It shouldn’t be so easy to just kill somebody and walk away,” Kellom said.

I guess my first question here is, if Rudy’s so convinced that the murders are domestic in nature, why does he need to spend the money on a study? My next question: What makes him think that these murders, domestic though they may be, aren’t related to “thugs and drugs?” Because really, just how many “non-thugs” are beating and killing people? Not that they don’t, but percentage-wise, what do you think is the spread?

I just can’t get past it that to Mayor Rudy Clay, people dying from domestic violence doesn’t compare with other “serious” crimes.

On another note: Girlie, Soph and I watched “Jesus Camp” on A & E the other night (which, if you haven’t seen it, you should; such a well-done documentary), and did you know that in the Pentecostal religion, its subscribers are encouraged to essentially rape and pillage the land as they see fit (yes, I’m paraphrasing) because they’re going to heaven and won’t need earthly things after they die or some such dogma? Girlie or Soph, feel free to correct me if I’m not remembering that right, but after hearing that I just sat there like, “Well, wait, isn’t that a little short-sighted? Why would you have that attitude if there are future generations of Pentecostals to feed, etc.?” I don’t recall ever hearing another religion endorsing wanton wastefulness like that, either. Just really bizarre. Oh and there was speaking in tongues, which always makes me chortle. 

Posted by Broad2:48 AM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
And I said I wanted to do more courts why!??

Just the other day I was telling someone that if Ruth Ann ever wanted to give up her court beat, I’d love to take it over because even though court can be deadly dull, the cases are generally pretty meaty. And then I read this story today:

By Ruth Ann Krause
Post-Tribune correspondent

Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell rejected a request on behalf of Joseph C. Buchko, a former Merrillville school teacher convicted of sexual battery who wanted to avoid having to register as a sex offender.

Buchko, 38, of Griffith, who admitted he improperly touched an 11-year-old girl on school property on a Saturday between September and October 2004, said having to register would hurt his chances at landing a job with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, defense attorney Sam Cappas said. Cappas argued the law shouldn’t apply to Buchko.

Deputy prosecutor Judy Massa said Buchko already had received a favorable plea agreement and sentence. Originally charged with child molesting, which carries a maximum eight-year sentence, Buchko pleaded guilty in 2005 to sexual battery and received 18 months’ probation. His probation was extended to allow him to comply with the requirements, and his felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor.

and my head explodes.

Couple things here: a) How is it that the sex offender registry “shouldn’t apply to him”!?? He molested a child and likely screwed her up for years to come; and b) what idiot or group of idiots decided that eight years was an appropriate maximum sentence for child molestation? That’s not MANDATORY, mind you, but MAXIMUM, which means they can get out well before. I don’t get it.

Posted by Broad9:35 PM
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It is the job of a good person to be honest. To be self-aware. To deliberately explore the fault lines of your character and try desperately to not inflict suffering in this strange, ghost-ridden world of worked and fabricated objects. Sometimes the jobs of writer and good person coincide. But more often they don’t. There are way more writers in the world than there are good people.

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Pssst ... My birthday's Feb. 3, and I want this, and this, and this ...

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Broad said: Like I said, my feelings are complicated on the matter, so ... I’m interested, however, in Her Highness’ thoughts on… ...[go].

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