Letters to the Editor week of 07-03-08


Worth saving

To The Editor:

 In a telephone conversation with my brother, I learned that the county commissioners were contemplating the removal of the historic Markland bridge. This bridge, built in 1882, is the last remaining through truss iron bridge in Switzerland County. It is a Whipple truss, which probably means little to some, but very important to others. I am one of the others. I talked by phone to Commissioner Craig Bond and he was very helpful in explaining the reason for wanting to have the old bridge removed and that being for the most part, it is a liability.

Afterwards I went on-line and found an article written to the editor by Steve Bladen stating concerns of the demise of the old bridge and his concerns and mine are pretty much the same. I then talked to a source associated with the Switzerland County Historical Society and was told that they had not been informed of the intent of the commissioners. Today I talked by phone with Commissioner Brian Morton and he was quite vague in his answers to my questions. For instance, he stated he did not know if the Historical Society had been informed of this matter. I find that disturbing that something of this importance is happening and one of the commissioners is in the dark as to what is going on.

I asked Craig Bond if the bids that were let could be rescinded and he said, no they could not. I asked Brian Morton the same question and he replied that he didn’t know, that I would have to speak with their attorney. I elected not to speak with K.C. Banta about this matter. Please keep in mind that I am not some radical looking for something to be involved in. I am very active in visiting and photographing both the iron bridge and the wooden truss covered bridge. I am also formerly of Switzerland County, having grown up in the Patriot area. Later I moved back with my wife and family and spent seven years at the round barn farm near Patriot. 

Not too many months ago, the bridge crossing Indian Creek was dismantled and hauled away, and for what reason? The bridge was not in the way of the new bridge and it would have made a nice walking/bike path. These historic iron bridges are an asset to a community, as they bring in enthusiasts and those people spend money on restaurants, craft stores, overnight accommodations, etc. . . .

I appeal to the people of Switzerland County to talk with the commissioner representing your district to please reconsider and at least give the people of interest time to do their thing in trying to save this old bridge. And I also appeal to the Historical Society and folks of interest to move on this. Write a grant. In all reality, this situation should have never come to what it has. The bridge sat too many years (since 1975) and should have been moved or restored long ago.

Thank you for allowing me to voice my concerns and to the commissioners, I know you think you’re doing the right thing and I’m aware of your concerns, I just don’t like your bottom line.

 Harold Scudder

Homer, Michigan

(formerly of Switzerland County

Citizen rights

To the Editor:

Justice? What is it?

To the State Police, Switzerland County Sheriff’s office and the Vevay Police Department, let me say thank you for your time, effort and hard work in the line of duty you all do for the citizens. I have seen and witnessed the time and effort put into an investigation of a crime.

American citizens, stand up for your rights. Don’t be afraid to be involved in the community. One day you might be a victim of a crime against you. There was a petition going around in Vevay and I have heard, “I don’t want to be involved.” For the ones who signed it “thank you.” Citizens of Vevay and Switzerland County, I say stand together, and put a stop to people who want to steal and break in homes.

The police are doing their jobs, it goes to court and bail is usually lowered and criminals are set free and back on the street. It’s time to do something about criminals getting out to be able to run free. Citizens, “stand up,” tell the system we have had enough. Don’t be afraid. God Bless America, Land of the Free.

Thanks to Fox 19 News for coming into our community and covering news in this community. Also thanks to Channel 5.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Okey LeMasters


Bridge facts

To the Editor:

After reading the literary composition in last week’s paper, “Save the Bridge” by Steve Bladen, and my being involved in a few bridges, I decided to inspect the structure for my own curiosity.

After arriving at the bridge, I noticed the caretakers on the Markland Pike side were big enthusiasts of G.W. Bush. The old road was engulfed by cane-pole, and the old bridge was just as Mr. Bladen had said in his article.

After returning to the car, I told my wife, (lifetime resident of Switzerland County) it would be a shame to lose the bridge. I also told her with a little work someone could get the bridge back in shape. Her next question was what would that cost? My reply was, “the way this county throws money away it could be $10,000 to $500,000.” On Sunday evening I was told the Commissioners approved the demolition of the bridge. Big mistake.

To the Facts:

The bridge, I believe is a wrought iron, Wipple truss, simple span approximately 200 feet in length. It was probably erected in the 1860s to 1890s, which is not only a part of county history, but also the state of Indiana, and beyond that, the United States of America.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has a museum just above Westfield, Indiana and also at Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement just south of Noblesville, for historical treasures such as this. The bridge should have been registered with the American Society of Civil Engineers in Washington, D.C. or National Park Service, United States Department of Interior.

Questions to the Commissioners:

1. Was anyone notified with INDOT before the decision?

2. Were any permits obtained, i.e. Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers?

3. Were any public discussions held? If so, I apologize for not attending.

4. Did anyone call the American Society of Civil Engineers, (202) 789-2200 in Washington, D.C.?

5. Did anyone ever think about refurbishing the bridge?

Final Comment:

If “yes” is the answer to all five questions then I guess our future for our children and grandchildren is in the hands of our fine elected officials. I never got a chance to ride my bicycle across the top of the bridge, I just erect bridges and am a resident of Switzerland County.

Joe Deck


Keeping Vevay alive

To the Editor:

I may not have been around as long as some of the people in Switzerland County or Vevay, who have obviously seen it at its “best” with rich clothing store owners and other more useful businesses, but I was born and raised in Vevay and I have seen this town at what I believe is its best and worst.

I have also worked for Switzerland County Tourism for two years now and I believe the town is looking and running better than it has in years. When was the last time you saw Vevay so beautiful and full of businesses with people always on the streets?

I believe that David Attaway’s “plan” has worked wonders for our community. Without the Vision project our town would be empty. No stores, no tourists. Just the same thing we have been seeing for years – Nothing. If the Vision project has to be shut down, then that means there is no point for First Friday. People come to First Friday to visit all the shops. If we shut three of them down, who is going to come to Vevay to see the only two or three gift shops and a few restaurants? I know I wouldn’t. Believe it or not, town businesses will suffer, because there will be a lack of tourists coming into town and spending their money like they are now.

Not only has David Attaway’s Vision Plan brought more events and businesses to our community, it’s brought in more tourists as well. I started working for Tourism in 2006. The number of tourists who come into the Welcome Center in 2008 has more than doubled since 2006. So whenever anyone says that we don’t get tourists into this town and out in the county, they are wrong.

So what I’m trying to say is that the stores in the Vision Project have helped our community in more ways than one. This isn’t your everyday, average business. It needs some time and help to get on its feet, but it will, eventually. You just have to give it time, and trust that this is and will always help this town and county.

Natalie Graham