Friday, November 23, 2012


By Zack Johnson
            Fire officials are continuing their investigation into a fire that destroyed Danny’s Tap, a popular bar in Monmouth last week.  The fire was discussed extensively at the city council meeting following the blaze.
            Monmouth Fire Chief Casey Rexroat told council members how the fire department responded to the fire.  He reported that no one was injured in the blaze but the north side of the building was completely destroyed. Luckily the building’s firewall prevented the flames from harming the south side. He said that the investigation had been delayed due to instability of the structure so the cause of the fire still is unknown. .
                        Until the fire department is able to complete an investigation, the Monmouth City Council will have to wait and see what happens before they can take action.  Monmouth Mayor Davies told Council members that, “Whether it was started by accident, natural causes, or arson we will have to learn from it”.
            In other business before the council, Mayor Davies took a vote concerning a vacant lot neighboring Monmouth-Roseville Elementary. The motion passed unanimously, changing the lot from a residential estate to a public area. This location will eventually be used as an extension of the elementary campus, allowing the school district to provide a fenced in play ground for school use. This plan has been receiving a great deal of support from the community and will be put into action soon.
            Monmouth Police Department is also making some actions to improve the force. They recently received a new squad car that will take action in a couple of weeks. Officers of Monmouth will also being attending a cultural diversity class to expand and enhance their knowledge of culture on December fifth.
            The Monmouth City Council holds their meetings the second and fourth Monday of every month at seven P.M. Meetings are held at City Hall on 100 East Broadway in Downtown Monmouth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Student Poll Predicts Obama Victory

The following story summarizes a poll conducted by and for Monmouth College Students before the election.

By Alistair Ramsay
The results of the student poll show a consensus that students at Monmouth College think President Obama’s views on social issues, student loans, and women’s rights will benefit them the most in the future. The poll was taken by 352 students just prior too the election.  More than half of them voted for Barack Obama.

·         Barack Obama: 191 (54%)
·         Mitt Romney: 78 (22%)
·         Other: 14 (4%)
·         No Affiliation: 83 (23.4%)
·         No Answer 4 (1.1%)

Going to college is costing students more and more each year, even with the amount of financial assistance Monmouth College gives out. Students believe that loans are an extremely relevant issue that affects them and determines their candidate of choice. The poll results show the importance of student loans because of the answer to this question: Would you be more likely to vote and participate in the political process if elected officials planned to reduce or eliminate the amount of student loans available to college students:

·         More likely: 244(68.9%)
·         No difference: 83 (23.4%)
·         Don’t know: 26: (7.3%)
·         No answer: 1 (.3%)

The results give an insight to why there was such a giant gap between the votes for Obama and votes for Romney. Students at Monmouth College believe that Obama has the right ideas on the issue of student loans. “Seeing the loans disappear is a terrifying thought, said senior Tessa Ginn. She thinks deciding a president that will help out students is very important. She also thinks that we have power to decide the next leader of this country. “You need to get out there and vote,” shouted Ginn. This poll showed students support Obama, but both candidates have opposing plans to help students handle debt.

Obama’s plan to handle student’s loans is to reduce monthly payments on loans to 10% based of income and will completely eliminate student debt after 20 years. He also plans on doubling the funding for Pell Grants aiding students to pay for college. Romney however has a different idea on handling student loans, he intends to highly reduce Pell Grants and focus the money towards programs surrounding skill training. Romney’s plan will also dramatically decrease the eligibility of students to apply for Pell Grants. Obama was the clear choice for Monmouth College because his plan is help limit the cost of loans, an issue that is very important to students as the poll a showed. The president also proved to be quit the ladies man.

The social issues facing young women, especially in college, have become a forefront of controversial topics in the election. In the poll, a vast majority of women voted for Obama opposed to Romney:

·         105 Females- Barack Obama (68.3%)
·         18 Females- Mitt Romney (11.8%)
·         6 Females- Other (3.9%)
·         23 Females- Undecided (15%)
·         1 Female- No answer (.7%)

The social issue surrounding women and the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies has played a big role in this election, especially the decision over abortion. Obama holds a more open view while Romney does not. “Women are adults capable of making their own decision,” said Trudi Peterson, Head Professor of Women’s Studies at Monmouth College. She was surprised at the results of the poll that women would even vote for Romney. “I see more young women coming to college misinformed about their bodies,” said Peterson who believes if women knew more about themselves, they would be more likely to disagree with Romney. Though, abortion may not have played such a bog role at Monmouth. 

According to the results, students were divided over the question: Would you more likely to vote and participate in the political process if elected officials planned to prohibit or greatly restrict abortions:

·         More Likely: 159 (44.9%)
·         No Difference: 143 (40.4%)
·         Don’t Know: 48 (13.6%)
·         No Answer: 4 (1.1%)

The results could determine that abortion is not a huge factor in deciding the next president at Monmouth College. Students are focusing more on the issue of women’s inequality of pay in the work force or the funding of Planned Parent Hood. On the other hand, it could mean that there is a big difference over the opinion of men and women on the importance of abortion.

Romney does not support abortions and wants to cut all funding to Planned Parent Hood Clinics. This will reduce the access to birth control for women and other free medical treatments. It also brings up the controversial topic of rape, Romney supports Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who believes that pregnancy’s caused by rape are “something God intended to happen.” The comment has caused some issues for Romney’s campaign and potentially hurt his chances of receiving the female vote in United States as well as the support of Monmouth College women.

Obama disagrees with Romney by supporting abortions, and at the beginning of his presidency, signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The act helps women receive equal pay rights in the workforce compared to men. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate and potential Vice President, voted against the law when it was passed. Obama won 68.3% of the female vote, showing that his policies are what the women at Monmouth agree with. Whether it is the issue over abortion, fair pay, or plan parenthood clinics, Monmouth College women want Obama as their next president.

The poll showed a huge divide between  supporters of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Both candidates offer different views on the social issues that matter to Monmouth College students. The results show that more students agree with Obama on the issues such as student loans and women’s rights.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


By Matthew Dutton

The audience at this month’s Knox County Board meeting was dominated by outraged, upset and furious union employees lashing out against, what they saw as anti-union measures proposed by the county board.
The county board has proposed a number of actions against certain public servants, including  those working in the States Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Knox County Nursing Home. The contractual proposals include stripping any chance of raises for the next two years, taking away any longevity pay and wellness bonuses, and initiating a two-tier vacation system.   Most troubling of all, the new measures would increase health insurance premiums an extra hundred dollars per month, causing many to lose their insurance entirely. 

The dispute has been ongoing for an entire year, and the board has adamantly refused to negotiate. Only one board member has set foot in the nursing home since the controversy arose, and no members have been willing to discuss the measures. Instead, the county board hired a $75,000 private attorney to handle the matter. 

The judge presiding over the meeting admitted to having once been a resident of the Knox County Nursing Home, yet the board members had no reaction to this statement. “It would behoove the citizens of this county for the board to sit down for negotiations,” said Randy Lynch, Staff Representative for Council 31 of the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). “I am doing everything I can to get an agreement. Strike is always the union’s last option.” Lynch cites the cause of the issue as “the current climate of the economy. The board is taking advantage of that.”

The hour prior to the board meeting saw over 100 union employees picketing the front of the courthouse; making their resentment for the county board known to anyone crossing the line.
When the meeting began, many of the picketers crammed into the small courtroom, all coming together to voice their despair to the judge and the board. 

One speaker noted that the $75,000 the county paid to enlist the aid of a private attorney, could have actually paid for the union’s requests in the first place; resolving any dispute preemptively. This warranted a roaring reception from crowd, followed by silence from the board. “Nobody is asking for a raise,” said another nursing home employee. “The last two raises were stripped away from us. We just want things to stay the way they are.”

A single mother made note of the fact most will lose their insurance as a result of the overwhelming spike in premium rates. “We will work 40 hours per week and still not be able to go to the doctor,” she said. “This will hurt my daughter more than anything else.”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spike In Free School Lunches

By Max Seisser

     Eighty-eight percent of the students at Monmouth-Roseville Junior High are now receiving either free or reduced price lunches.  When this information was announced at the latest Board of Education Meeting by Superintendent Edward Fletcher, it was met with skepticism by many board members.

  Secretary Kevin Killy voiced his concerns, saying it didn’t seem that this number was accurate or possible for the community. However, he was assured that the number has been verified.   Out of the roughly 240 students that attend M.R. Junior High, 140 receive free lunches, and 70 are eligible for reduced price lunches.
      Fletcher explained the factors that qualify students for free/reduced lunches.   They include the number of kids in the family, the income of the parents, and if they’re on government assistance (link card, food stamps, etc.)  While the number of junior high students is steadily increasing, the same is not true for  high school students. Those numbers have remained relatively constant.  Many students who can receive the reduced/free lunch decide not to, perhaps because they are afraid of getting made fun of, being embarrassed, or don’t bring the paperwork home. 

     Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spoke on the topic recently.   Geithner said the free/reduced lunch program is a good resource to help out children who are in need of help. With support, the board of education hopes that high school students who are in need of the lunches will come forward.  Students need to know that it isn’t something to be ashamed of because they’re not the only ones who need help and they need to be encouraged because this can truly benefit them and help their academics.