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


Local News Briefs

Francesville Fall Festival Sept. 19-21

FRANCESVILLE - If the third weekend of September is approaching, it must be time for the Francesville Fall Festival which runs Friday through Sunday (Sept. 19-21) this year.

This year's 49th annual Fall Festival will feature arts, crafts and flea market booths, dancing and musical entertainment (including the Jhonnie & Sally Show), a variety of dinners and food booths, a petting zoo, auto show, carnival rides and games, Lions Club bingo and fireworks.

Library works 'Outside the Lines' to connect with Pulaski County

Pulaski County Public Library is planning a variety of special activities for area residents of all ages and interests during the month of September.

The programs are designed toward getting local folks thinking and talking about the library in a whole new way.

Voter registration closes Oct. 6

Voter registration closes Monday, Oct. 6 for the fall General Election.

Early (absentee) voting will run from Tuesday, Oct. 7 through 12 noon, Monday, Nov. 3. Hours will be 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., weekdays. Saturday voting will be offered from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1. Early voting will be conducted at the courthouse in Winamac.

Sept. 25 meeting to gauge interest for Autism Center in Plymouth

MISHAWAKA - A meeting to gauge the level of interest for an ABA Autism center in the Plymouth area (which would also serve Pulaski County) will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday (Sept 25), at LifePlex in the Pearl conference room, 2855 Miller Dr., Plymouth (enter through middle entrance, Main entrance).

Parents and professionals are encouraged to attend. The meeting is being organized by the Lighthouse Autism Center in Mishawaka.

Civic Players to stage 'Frankenstein'

LOGANSPORT - Civic Players of Logansport will present “Frankenstein,” directed by Peter Noakes with three performances the weekend of Sept. 19-21.

All tickets are $10; for ticket information, call the box office at 574-753-4116. All shows are at the McHale Performing Arts Center, on the Logansport High School campus.

Pulaski County Public Libraryl lists September events

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

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.

JA to hold 'pulled pork' dinner Oct. 30

Pulaski County Junior Achievement will sponsor a pulled pork dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday (Oct. 30), in the west gravel lot by the football field at Winamac Community High School.

The cost of each meal is $5 and will include a pulled pork sandwich, potato chips, apple, cookie and drink.

'Glow in the Park' Sept. 27

A "Glow in the Park" benefit 5K Run/Walk will begin at dusk (about 7 p.m.), Saturday (Sept. 27), at the Winamac Town Park, sponsored by Get Fit NonStop of Winamac.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Riley Children's Hospital, Indianapolis.

Pulaski County unemployment rate drops to 4.4 percent in July

Pulaski County has fourth-best rate in state

Pulaski County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent in July, down from 5.0 percent in June, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported Monday (Aug. 18). The rate was 6.1 percent a year ago. The county has 6,597 employed persons in a labor force of 6,899. Last month those numbers were 6,580 of 6,925.

The state's July rate remained steady at 5.9 percent (seasonally adjusted), the same as June. The July 2013 rate was 7.6 percent. The U.S. rate inched up to 6.2 percent, from 6.1 percent (seasonally adjusted), in July. A year ago, the national rate was 7.3 percent.


Purdue Extension of Pulaski County to hold Poverty Training Sept. 30

In Pulaski County, around 13 percent of the population lives at poverty level. In the state of Indiana, 1 in 5 children go hungry every day. In order to learn how to help meet this great need, one must first understand poverty.

Purdue Extension of Pulaski County will hold a Poverty Simulation at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 30, at the Knights of Columbus in Winamac. This is a free educational event and dinner will be provided. 

Civic Players season tickets now on sale

LOGANSPORT - Season tickets for the Civic Players of Logansport 2014-15 season are now on sale.

The season includes “Frankenstein” in September, just in time to kick off the Halloween season; the very funny “Lottie & Bernice Show” in March 2015; and the musical “Chicago” in June 2015. Season tickets can be purchased for $30, with discounts for seniors and students.


Indy Star Top Stories

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Indiana News

Video: Donnelly speaks on Senate floor on military suicide prevention

Says issue of military suicide will continue to demand Congress’ attention

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate Wednesday (Sept. 17) recognizing Suicide Prevention Month.

Donnelly talked about the need to address military suicide and called on the Senate to consider and pass the bipartisan Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. 

$1.6 million grant awarded for State Fairgrounds’ new Pedestrian Plaza

Project underway, expected completion in spring 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – Work has begun on a new capital improvement project at the Indiana State Fairgrounds that will create a new gateway for visitors walking into the recently renovated Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Pedestrian Plaza project will slow vehicular traffic immediately in front of the Coliseum; enhance the area’s appearance; and provide new space for special activities before and after Coliseum events.

State tax receipts don’t meet projections in August

INDIANAPOLIS – State tax receipts fell 1.4 percent below projections in August, but revenues remain ahead of last year’s totals.

The Indiana State Budget Agency released its monthly report on revenue collection for the state’s main checking account Sept. 10. It showed tax receipts for the month were $974.9 million, which is 2.8 percent less than projections.

Walorski, Donnelly, Coats react to Obama's address on ISIL

In a 13-minute address to the nation Wednesday night (Sept. 10), President Barack Obama outlined a "counter-terrorism campaign" against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), also known as ISIL.

The president, speaking from the White House, lifted restrictions on U.S. strikes in Iraq against the terrorist group, and authorized direct attacks against ISIL in Syria for the first time.

State spends millions to launch high-tech data hub, analyze information

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence unveiled a new technology center Tuesday (Sept. 9) that cost the state nearly $340,000 to create and will be used to monitor real-time data as part of an effort to identify and solve state problems.

But the cost of the Management & Performance Hub headquartered in the space is actually much higher.

Commentary: ‘Off-year’ elections and lawmakers as kings

INDIANAPOLIS – Politicians and pundits have a name for the races going on this year.

They call them “off-year” elections.


Post News

Walorski votes in favor of amendment to combat ISIL

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Jackie Walorski released the following statement after voting in favor an amendment to H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2015 that gives Congressional authorization to assist and train carefully vetted members of the Syrian opposition.

The amendment passed the House of Representatives Wednesday (Sept. 17) by a vote of 273-156.

PCCF holds annual celebration of local philanthropy

Under the backdrop of a new wall mural, Pulaski County Community Foundation donors, grantees, and board members came together to recognize local philanthropy Sept. 8, at Eastern Pulaski Elementary School.

The evening also celebrated the 100th  year birthday of community foundations across the country.

Wet Weather Slows Progress

LANSING, MICH. - Cool temperatures in conjunction with the increased rainfall have slowed overall crop progress on Indiana farms during the past week, according to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), Great Lakes Region.

Average temperatures for the week ending Sept. 14 ranged from 57 to 67 degrees, and from 1 degree to 9 degrees below normal.

EPCS Board considers $14 million building project

WINAMAC - The Eastern Pulaski Community School Board is considering an estimated $14 million "building" project, which might begin as early as spring 2015, and will encompass improvements to learning environments, infrastructure, and safety at the three school facilities.

No construction of new buildings or additions are included in the proposed project. The school board has met in several work sessions this summer to discuss the needs and solutions for the school corporation's facilities.

Who's on my election ballot?

Early September traditionally kicks-off the election campaign season. Voters have less than two months to familiarize themselves with the offices up for the fall election and the candidates hoping to fill them.

Election contests include U.S. Congress (Dist. 2), three state offices (secretary of state, auditor and treasurer), State Representative (Dist. 16), several county offices, Winamac Town Council; Culver, Eastern Pulaski and West Central school boards, and township offices.

The U.S. "mid-term" General election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Digital Disaster Prep: Are you ready?

CHICAGO - Smartphones offer a world of knowledge and information at your fingertips. Keeping your phone at hand is second nature, so why not take the time to turn it into a life-saving device in times of emergencies? 

Disaster preparedness begins with knowing your risks, making a communications plan and having an emergency supply kit with essentials such as water, food, flashlights and medications.

Secretary of state, county officials clean up voter rolls

INDIANAPOLIS – State officials have identified more than 700,000 voter records in Indiana that either need to be updated or made inactive because they are no longer valid.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson said the voter list refresh project – which has included mailing more than 5 million postcards to Hoosiers – is meant to make voting more secure and to provide a more accurate look at voter participation.

Lilly Endowment Offers $500,000 to Pulaski County

Lilly Endowment Inc. has announced a sixth phase of its Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) initiative for Indiana community foundations. The new phase includes a total of $66 million dollars across the state, covering every county and 94 community foundations.

The Pulaski County Community Foundation (PCCF) is eligible to receive up to $500,000 under GIFT Phase VI, based on the county’s population.

JA raises over $5,000 at golf classic

Junior Achievement serving Pulaski County raised over $5,000 for financial education programs for area youth during its annual golf classic at Mystic Hills Golf Club earlier this summer.

Members of the JA board of directors worked hard soliciting friends, family, colleagues, and businesses to recruit teams to play in the event, securing sponsorships, and collecting prizes to support this annual fundraiser. Area coordinator, Julie Dyson, was thrilled to have 17 teams sign up to play for JA.

West Central School Board hears report on new state academic standards

FRANCESVILLE - The West Central School board heard reports on the new Indiana Academic Standards, and the new ISTEP+ test at its regular meeting Thursday (Sept. 4).

Superintendent Don Street reported that the Indiana Department of Education received word from the U.S. Department of Education that Indiana has received a waiver pertaining to certain aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind law.