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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

SR 14 W reopend

State Road 14 W at CR 500 W has re-opened to traffic, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department reports.

The highway was closed Saturday afternoon for a period of time due to damage done to the road by a tractor exiting a field.

 
YNCA golf outing April 25

The Pulaski Family YMCA will hold a golf outing Saturday, April 25 at Mystic Hills Golf Club. 

Cost is $50 a person with four-person teams. Cost includes green fees (18 holes), cart, refreshments, and contests of longest drive, longest putt, and closest to the pin.

 
PMH Health Fair May 16

The annual Pulaski Memorial Hospital Health Fair will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at the PMH campus, Winamac.

The event will begin with a free pancake-and-sausage breakfast, served from 7:300 to 9:30 a.m.
 
April programs at PCPL celebrate National Library Week

The Pulaski County Public Library has listed its special programs and activities for April.

All events will take place at the Winamac branch unless otherwise noted. For more information on any 

program, call the library at 574-946-3432.

 
Property taxes due May 11

Pulaski County's 2015 property tax statements will be mailed approximately April 6. 

Payment of the first installment will be due Monday, May 11, according to Pulaski County Treasurer Lynette Wilder.

 
'Moonlight Over the Tippy' bike ride June 5

WINAMAC - The Friends of the Panhandle Pathway will sponsor a "Moonlight Over the Tippy" bike ride from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 5.

The ride will begin and end at the Winamac Train Depot where participants can ride up to 20 miles (roundtrip). A sag stop (turnaround point) will be located near Thornhope.

 
Ivy Tech Kokomo sets Certified Production Technician course

Training program prepares students for advanced manufacturing jobs

KOKOMO - Registration is open for a 10-week training program offered by Ivy Tech Community College that prepares students for certification in the advanced manufacturing skills needed to succeed in the high-growth, technical jobs of the 21st Century. The program will run four days a week from April 27 to June 30. 

 
Pulaski County unemployment rate falls to 5.7 percent in February

Pulaski County's unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 percent in February, down from 6.2 percent (revised rate) in January, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Monday (March 30). The rate was 6.8 percent a year ago. The county has 6,047 employed persons in a labor force of 6,410. Last month those numbers were 5,967 of 6,367.

The state's February unemployment rate dipped to 5.9 percent (seasonally adjusted), down slightly from 6.0 percent in January. The February 2014 rate was 6.1 percent. The U.S. rate dropped to 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in January. A year ago, the national rate was 6.7 percent.

 
Nonprofit Human Resources Series offered

A free webinar opportunity for staff, trustees, and board members of small nonprofits is available through the Pulaski County Community Foundation and the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.  

The Nonprofit HR Series will help nonprofits understand the legal requirements and potential pitfalls of hiring and managing nonprofit employees.

 
Ivy Tech’s non-credit culinary classes combine food, fun

Spring semester series starts Feb. 3 

PERU – The holidays are behind us and the winter doldrums threaten. Perk up your schedule with some culinary adventures that combine food and fun in the culinary arts lab at Ivy Tech Community College’s Peru Instructional Site, 425 W. Main St.

The first session – which will help you “add flare and flavor with wine and spirits” – is set for 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3.

 
 

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Indiana News

Move to oust Ritz as ed board chair gets closer to becoming law

INDIANAPOLIS – The House passed a bill on Tuesday (April 14) that gives the State Board of Education the power to elect its chair.

Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, would end an arrangement unique to Indiana and Oklahoma, which are the only states in which the elected superintendent of public instruction automatically serves as chair of the state board of education.

 
Pence communications director Christy Denault resigns to spend time with family

INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Pence’s communications director will leave the administration next month, just as the Republican governor is trying to recover from backlash over a divisive religious freedom law. 

Christy Denault, who started with Pence during his campaign for governor in 2012, said in a resignation letter that the “time has come for me to devote my energy and time to my family.”

 
Common Construction repeal passes Senate

INDIANAPOLIS – A controversial bill that will eliminate the 80-year-old common construction wage in Indiana passed the Senate by a narrow margin Wednesday.

HB 1019 eliminates a system that let local governments and schools set wage floors that contractors must meet on public projects. Often those wages are set at union levels, which critics say elevates the cost of projects and supporters say keeps qualified workers on the job.

 
Indiana State Fair announces 2015 concert headliners at Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Meghan Trainor, Garrison Keillor, Gabriel Iglesias, and Jake Owen

INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana State Fair has announced four headline acts for this year’s Shane Co. Concert Series at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum during the 2015 Indiana State Fair – Year of the Farmer presented by Dow AgroScience.

Tickets for all four shows will go on sale Friday, April 17 at 10 a.m. to the general public.

 
Video & story: Senate budget boosts funding for schools, highways; Kenley warns cuts may be coming

INDIANAPOLIS – Senate Republicans revealed a two-year, $31.5 billion budget Thursday (April 9) that boosts funding for schools, universities and highways and leaves the state with nearly $1.9 billion in the bank.

But the plan’s architect warned immediately that lower-than-expected tax receipts mean the budget may need cuts before it ever becomes law.

 
Senate committee passes common construction repeal

INDIANAPOLIS – A Senate committee revamped and then passed a common construction wage bill Tuesday that critics say will drive down worker pay and supporters argue will create more competition within the industry.

If House Bill 1019, authored by Rep. Gerald Torr, R-Carmel, becomes law, it would eliminate a system that lets local boards set wages for contractors who work on projects worth more than $350,000.

 
 

Post News

JA observes April's 'Personal Financial Literacy Month'

Imagine hundreds of community men and women volunteering with Junior Achievement in classrooms across Pulaski County. As they share their time and experience, they are helping elementary through high school youth understand economics, build workplace skills, and experience personal financial realities. 

In response to educator requests, JA expects to reach more than 1,004 in Pulaski County youth this 2014-15 school year.

 
Local farmer directs funds to Van Buren Township VFD

America’s Farmers Grow Communities donation supports local organization

STAR CITY – Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department has received a $2,500 donation from Pulaski County farmer Jean Ann Fox and America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

The donation will help the organization purchase new equipment such as gloves, flashlights and batteries.

 
Farm Bureau survey shows increase in grocery store prices

INDIANAPOLIS - Higher retail prices for several foods, notably orange juice and three varieties of meat, resulted in an increase in Indiana Farm Bureau’s spring market basket survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items was $52.40, up $1.22 or 2 percent compared to the survey last fall – and up more than $4 and more than 8 percent compared to the survey conducted this same time last year.

 
Sheriff's office can accept unused prescription medicines

Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine has announced that his office has upgraded its ability to accept unused prescription medications.

A grant for this service, offered by CVS, was applied for earlier in the year and was awarded by CVS this week. 

 
Robbery suspect dead, hostage safe following police chase

MONON - A robbery suspect was shot dead by police, and his woman hostage is safe with only slight injuries following a harrowing police chaselate Thursday afternoon (April 9) that began in Watseka, Ill., continued through Lafayette and ended just north of Monon.

The suspect has been identified by Indiana State Police as Don Oneal Smith, 29, of the South Bend/Elkhart area.

 
Tax receipts fall below projections – again

INDIANAPOLIS – State tax revenue in March failed to reach projections for the seventh time in the last nine months, raising questions about how much spending the state can afford during the next two years.

State Budget Director Brian Bailey revealed the revenue report Wednesday (April 8), the day before Senate Republicans planned to release their budget. Already, Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, has said he’d draft a two-year plan that spent less than the version approved by the House earlier this year.

 
HCI Team seeks community input

With Pulaski County’s selection as one of the six Indiana communities to be part of the new Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI), local residents are urged to share their thoughts on the county’s key strengths and challenges.    

Residents are encouraged to weigh in on three major topics: (1) the quality of life in our community; (2) the local economy; and (3) local leadership.

 
West Central reviews survey results of first 'E-Learning' Day

FRANCESVILLE - Superintendent Don Street updated the West Central School Board on the corporation's first "E-Learning" day in March, presenting the results of several surveys that were completed following the event.

The E-Learning program is being used by West Central to compensate for missed school days resulting from bad weather, in lieu of adding days to the school calendar.

 
USA Today names Indiana Dunes one of nation’s top 10 state parks

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Today has named Indiana Dunes State Park one of the nation’s “10 Best State Parks.”

A panel of experts nominated 20 state parks to be considered for the 10 Best list. USA Today then encouraged the public to vote during March. Indiana Dunes State Park finished seventh. It was promoted in USA Today and online at 10best.com/awards/travel/best-state-park.

 
Traffic stop leads to drug arrest

A Winamac woman, wanted on two drug-related warrants, was apprehended by Pulaski County police Saturday (April 4), during a traffic stop in rural Jefferson Township.

Patrinia Diana Hall 33, was taken into custody and transported to Pulaski County Jail. She will face additional charges.