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In March of 2003, during the Shock and Awe" military campaign, three American members of a Christian Peacemaker Team were injured in a car accident in the Iraqi desert. (One of those peacemakers, Cliff Kindy, is from North Manchester, Ind.. He came and added his memories to the presentation.) They were taken to Rutba, a Sunni-majority town whose lone hospital had been partially destroyed just three days earlier by U.S. bombs.

The peacemakers feared that they would be targeted for retribution. Instead, they were met with kindness and compassion. Dr. Farouq Al-Dulaimi, who treated their wounds, said, “We take care of everyone - Christian, Muslim, Iraqi, American. It doesn’t matter. We are all human beings. We are all sisters and brothers.” When it came time for the peacemakers to leave, Dr. Al-Dulaimi had one request: “Just go and tell the world about Rutba.”

In his book and his presentations, Barrett has been helping the peacemakers do just that. He emphasized that the barriers people erect between ourselves - along religious, national, political, racial, or economic lines - obscure the fact that, as humans, “we’ve got far more in common with each other than differences.”

Barrett, who spent 20 years traveling the globe as a wire correspondent, has found that to be true wherever he goes. The peacemakers in Iraq, he said, “discovered that ‘the enemy’ wasn’t the enemy.” Instead of being split by doctrinal and national differences, the American Christians and the Iraqi Muslims were united by the experiences and values they shared.

Barrett hopes that people take more from the The Gospel of Rutba than just a heartwarming story. Acknowledging our shared humanity requires us to reevaluate our own beliefs and actions, both individually and collectively, he observed.

Barrett expressed specific concern about U.S. military policy in the Middle East. On a return trip to Iraq in 2010, he spoke with one of the nurses who treated the peacemakers in 2003. Echoing what Barrett had heard around the region, the nurse said, “We love Americans, but we hate your violence.” With bombs and drones, the U.S. government fights terror by using weapons of terror

In doing so, Barrett believes the U.S. is only perpetuating violence and hardening the hearts of people outside the country. He looks to the Christian peacemakers as better examples of how to effect positive change in the Middle East. By going to damaged, destitute areas and acting with empathy to find common ground, Barrett calls these peacemakers “some of the best diplomats America has.”

This event was co-sponsored by the Pulaski County Public Library and the Winamac First United Methodist Church. The library has copies of The Gospel of Rutba available for checkout.

Article submitted by the Pulaski County Public Library

 
 
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Local News Briefs

Newly renovated coliseum open for public looks Thursday

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers can come see the $63 million renovation of the Fairgrounds Coliseum during an open house from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday (April 24).

The Indiana State Fair Commission will sponsor the event, which is free and will offer insights on the construction process and features of the building.

 
Pulaski County's unemployment rate falls to 5.6%

One county at 9.0 percent or higher

Pulaski County's unemployment fell to 5.6 percent in March, down from 6.1 percent (revised figure) in February, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Monday (April 21). The rate was 7.0 percent a year ago. The county has 6,133 employed persons in a labor force of 6,535. Last month those numbers were 6,211  of 6,605.

The state's March rate dropped to 5.9 percent (seasonally adjusted), down from 6.1 percent in February. The February 2013 rate was 7.9 percent. The U.S. rate remained steady at 6.7 percent (seasonally adjusted), the same as February. A year ago, the national rate was 7.5 percent.

 
Property taxes to be mailed April 23

Pulaski County tax statements will be mailed Wednesday (April 23), reports county treasurer Lynette Wilder. 

First installment property taxes are due Monday, May 12; and second installment on Nov. 10.

 
Mobile Food Pantry at Monterey May 2

The next visit of the Food Finders Mobile Pantry will be at 11 a.m., Friday, May 2, at the United Methodist Church, Main Street, Monterey.

This food give away day is sponsored by the Food Finders Food Bank of Lafayette.

 
Extension Chords spring show May 3

The Pulaski County Extension Chords will present their spring show, "Windows 2014" at 7 p.m., Saturday (May 3), at the Winamac Community High School socialtorium.

The concept of the show is based on the 1960s-70s television show Laugh-In; but the chorus has chosen music and comedy from the 1960s to 2014.

 
Absentee voting for May 6 Primary now underway

Absentee voting for the May 6 Indiana Primary Election has begun at the courthouse in Winamac.

In addition to weekdays, absentee voting will also be offered on Saturdays, April 26 and May 3. The last opportunity to vote absentee will be Monday morning, May 5.

 
Historic iron bridge restoration nears completion at Delphi's Canal Park

DELPHI - Restoration of a historic 1913 Pratt through-truss iron bridge is nearing completion at Canal Park in Delphi after the bridge was placed across the canal last fall.

With spring weather finally arrived, Canal Association representatives and volunteers will begin replacing the decking on the bridge. Planks for the deck will be cut on-site with a portable sawmill from logs donated by Pike Lumber.

 
May 16 luncheon program to outline services available to veterans

All Pulaski County miilitary veterans are welcome to attend a free lunch and information session on programs and services available to veterans of all ages.

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 16, at the VFW Post No. 1728, Winamac, and is sponsored by Northwest Indiana Community Action, North Central Community Action and Pulaski County Human Services, Inc.

 
Pop Warner football, cheerleading call-out April 25

Rensselaer Pop Warner football and cheerleading will hold an open call out night at West Central Schools from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday (April 25).

Football registration is $80, Cheer registration is $50.

 
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The public is encouraged to join the Pulaski County CASA Program to bring awareness of child abuse and neglect to Pulaski County.

This month Pulaski County CASA encourages everyone to wear a blue ribbon to show support, participate in the Pinwheels for Prevention Ceremony (held April 8 on the courthouse lawn), or join the millions committed to participating in the National Blue Sunday initiative by taking time during church services on April 27 to pray for the children of the world, and especially Pulaski County.

 
Panhandle group works to preserve Nature along trail

There is more to the trail than asphalt

The Panhandle Pathway Nature Committee will hold ‘"Maintain Nature" working/meetings two days per month during the spring, summer and fall months.  

The objective is to assure that nature along the trail and at the trail heads is preserved and displayed. These working/meetings will be planned to do some work and to discuss and plan what is needed to achieve this objective.

 
ExPrEsS Choir to celebrate 25th anniversary

Eastern Pulaski ExPrEsS, the elementary choir of Eastern Pulaski Elementary School, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a public concert at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the Winamac Socialtorium. 

In addition to the performance of the current choir, there will be a final song by members of the middle and high school choirs, who will join the elementary group on stage.  Alumni are invited to be members of the audience or to sing on the closing song.

 
 

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Pence says Germans, Hoosiers share common goals, values

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence told an audience of business and government leaders gathered Wednesday in Berlin that the mutual values and goals of Germany and Indiana will allow an already stable relationship to keep flourishing and help everyone reach prosperity.

“In America we speak of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Pence said during a trade mission stop. “In Germany it is expressed as unity, justice, and freedom.”

 
More than 300 Indiana schools rated Four Stars

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 300 schools were named Indiana Four Star Schools for 2012-13 by the Indiana Department of Education Tuesday (April 15).

No schools in Pulaski County or the neighboring area were named to the list, except for North White Primary School.

 
Gutwein applauds legislation signed into law

STATEHOUSE-  State Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Franscesville), chairman of the House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee, applauded the signing of House Enrolled Acts (HEAs) 1074 and 1075 into law.

Gutwein attended the governor’s ceremonial signing along with House colleague and author of the legislation, State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland).

 
Walorski joins Boehner, Miller, Rubio to address VA accountability legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) joined House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders at a press conference Thursday (April 3) to discuss legislation bringing greater accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

Her press office named U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee as among the GOP leaders at the press conference.

 
Video & story: Pence signs business tax cut legislation into law

GREENWOOD – Corporations will pay less in state taxes and counties will be able to cut or even eliminate property taxes on new business equipment under legislation Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Tuesday (March 25).

SB 421: Cuts red tape and some licensing requirements for Indiana employers.

 
Pence signs education bills, eliminates Common Core

INDIANAPOLIS– Gov. Mike Pence held a press conference Monday (March 24) where he signed four education-related bills into law – just hours after he also signed legislation that ends the Common Core standards in Indiana.

“These bills help Hoosiers of all ages with tools that they need to succeed in college, the workplace, and life,” Pence said.

 

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Indiana recognizes 64 'Tree Cities'

INDIANAPOLIS - Sixty-four Hoosier cities and towns have been given Tree City USA recognition by the DNR Division of Forestry for outstanding management of their urban forests. 

Among them, Winamac continues with its Tree City USA designation, as well as the neighboring cities of Culver, Rensselaer and Rochester.

 
Haschel, Bailey complete Boston Marathon

Two Winamac men completed the Boston Marathon Monday (April 21).

Mike Haschel, 30, finished the race with a time of 3:13:54, while Glenn Bailey, 49, clocked in at 4:10:55. Both also ran the race last year.

 
Who's on my election ballot?

Absentee voting for the May 6 Indiana Primary Election is underway.

As voters begin to study candidate information to make their choices, here's a look at the (unofficial) Pulaski County ballot - a look at who is running for selection to the November General Election ballot.

 
'Celebrating the Arts' showcases local talent

Also: award winners listed

Iota Xi, Winamac’s chapter of Psi Iota Xi sorority, hosted “Celebrating the Arts” Saturday (April 12), in Winamac.

Featured artist Stacy Bogan of Lafayette graced the event with her unique portrait drawings and “drew” quite a crowd throughout the day. In addition, a demonstration in oil painting was provided by local artist and teacher, John Williams. A display of drawing, photography and unique paintings using a spray-paint technique were displayed by local artist John Zahrt.

 
4-H Junior Leaders organize egg hunt for over 100 children

The Pulaski County 4-H Junior Leaders held their annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Star City Park on April 12  and more than 100 children attended.

Families from Star City, Winamac, Kewanna , Pulaski, Francesville, and Culver were able to hunt for eggs filled with candy and prizes. 

 
West Central School Board discusses wind turbine insurance

FRANCESVILLE - The West Central School Board held a discussion concerning the renewal of the wind turbine insurance at its regular meeting Thursday (April 3).

At its conclusion, the board issued a directive for Superintendent Charles Mellon and board member Dennis Gutwein to secure the best quote and sign the paperwork by April 17.

 
Alliance Bank participates in 'Community Banking Month'

Community banks build economically sustainable communities by lending locally

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and Alliance Bank have kicked-off ICBA Community Banking Month - a month full of community pride for local residents, small businesses and the community banks that proudly serve them.

 
WCHS Drama stages 'Happy Days'

Plus: Dress rehearsal photos

WINAMAC - The Winamac Community High School drama department staged its 2014 spring musical, Happy Days - A New Musical, Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13.

Exactly 40 years ago, the pop culture classic television series, Happy Days premiered on ABC. The show ran for 10 consecutive seasons and inspired spin-offs such as Laverne and Shirley and Joanie Loves Chachi. The show’s characters became part of the American culture of the 1970’s, reflecting on a “more innocent” time of the 1950’s, while maintaining story lines that hinted at the threshold to a new era beginning with the 1960’s.

 
Grocery prices decrease in statewide Farm Bureau survey

Grocery prices are down slightly from a year ago and remain almost unchanged from last fall, according to Indiana Farm Bureau’s semi-annual “market basket” survey.

The average price on the 16 food items included in the informal survey decreased from spring 2013 by 51 cents for an overall total of $48.22. The same items were down 7 cents from the fall 2013 survey.

 
Donnelly: There are still too many Hoosiers out of work

Senate passes bipartisan bill to extend long-term unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Joe Donnelly released the following statement Monday (April 7) after he voted to extend federal long-term emergency unemployment benefits, and the Senate passed the legislation 59 to 38. 

This bipartisan legislation would extend long-term emergency unemployment compensation for five months, including three months retroactivelyThe bill will now be sent to the House.

 
Tax revenue stabilizes in March but still behind for fiscal year

INDIANAPOLIS – State tax receipts beat projections in March but a key lawmaker said it’s not enough to clear concerns about the state’s finances.

Revenue topped $1.02 billion last month – about 1.4 percent more than estimates released last December. That’s also 11.6 percent more than in March 2013.

 
I-65 widening will be first project funded with new roads money

INDIANAPOLIS – Widening Interstate 65 south of Indianapolis and at Lafayette will be the first projects constructed using additional road funding the General Assembly approved last month.

Gov. Mike Pence announced the projects Thursday in what he called the launch of the Major Moves 2020 highway construction program.