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Monday, August 31, 2015
  • Sunday, August 16, 2015 10:02 PM

    Back to School

    As the summer break draws to a close, students across the state are returning to the classroom. During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers supported a number of initiatives aimed at helping students and schools have a successful 2015-2016 school year.

    Here is a brief look at a few policies adopted this year:

    The new state budget allocates over half of Indiana’s General Fund dollars to K-12 education.

    Indiana’s most effective teachers will be eligible to receive $30 million in bonuses from the Teacher Performance Grant program. For the first time, school boards are able to make these bonuses part of the teachers’ permanent salaries.

     
  • Sunday, August 16, 2015 9:57 PM

    As new drugs and medical devices are developed, it’s understandable that the public, always in love with new technologies, want to use them. They also want them to be safe, and most people think they are. It comes down to a balancing act that will soon be tested in Washington.

    In the fall the U.S. Senate is likely to approve legislation that shifts the scales more in the direction of getting “cures” to market faster, and that could be a big step backward in regulating medical devices – things like breast implants, coronary stents and artificial knees. 

     
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2015 11:35 PM

    Just five years ago, Congress passed a big, widely hailed law that promised to make America’s food supply safer. But because of inadequate funding for new regulations and inspectors, the promise has yet to be kept.

    Sometimes cutting government spending has serious consequences, and there’s no better example of that than what’s happened to the Food Safety Modernization Act.

    In 2010 Congress enacted legislation whose goal was to set tough anti-contamination standards for foods ranging from peaches to imported pesto sauces and to increase the number of inspectors for the increasingly complex food system. 

     
  • Scott Smith – From the Cheap Seats
    Thursday, July 09, 2015 10:02 PM

    The term “that’s why you play the game – to see who will win,” was coined by legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp in 1965.

    Now that many Indiana basketball fans have quit reading this article, I’d like to explore a few upsets in sports history.

     
  • Tuesday, July 07, 2015 11:04 PM

    At the end of its 2014-15 term the Supreme Court decided that the key component of the Affordable Care Act – the tax subsidies available to help people buy health insurance – would continue in all states. Justices addressed a challenge that the subsidies were legal only in the 17 states that ran their own shopping exchanges and not in the rest that chose to use the marketplaces operated by the federal government.

    That’s good news for the more than six million Americans whose subsidies were in doubt. The government’s own statistics make clear that most of these people would not be able to buy coverage without the extra help.

     
  • Tuesday, June 23, 2015 7:35 PM

    Not long ago my husband showed up with a sandwich for lunch that he bought at a local supermarket. I thought it was going to be our usual: turkey and provolone with lettuce on a hard roll, always plenty for both of us. At $6.50, how could you go wrong?

    This time the sandwich was different. It now cost $9.50 and was piled high with turkey and cheese on a roll that was much bigger than what we were used to. In short, it was awful—enough meat and cheese for four people on squishy bread that tasted more like a morning sweet roll. But the bigger serving probably looked like a good deal to a lot of people who thought only about size relative to cost and nothing about size or cost relative to calories.

     
  • Tuesday, June 23, 2015 7:27 PM

    His name was Morris, and his passing has left a hole in my heart. He was my friend and companion for over a decade, and though he was four-legged and fur covered, he had been a part of my life longer than many people. I joked with the last two women in my life that Morris had been sharing space with me longer than anyone else had.

     
  • Thursday, June 04, 2015 7:59 PM

    A few weeks ago I got an email from Judy, a reader who wanted to tell me about trouble she’s had paying her medical bills, particularly those for prescription drugs. Severe daily headaches had just qualified her for Social Security disability benefits. After she satisfies a two-year waiting period, which the law requires, she will qualify for Medicare as all people on Social Security disability will do whether or not they are age 65.  Judy couldn’t wait so she looked for other insurance options.

    Her monthly income of about $1,300 is too high for Medicaid benefits. “I’m $20 over the income guidelines,” she told me. So she turned to an Affordable Care Act policy with a low premium but a $6,500 deductible.

     
  • Wednesday, May 20, 2015 8:55 PM

    There’s no getting around it. Americans are using more medications and spending more for them. The latest evidence just came from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager, which acts as a middleman between drug makers and employers. The number of Americans—almost 600,000---with yearly medication costs of more than $50,000 rose 63 percent from 2013 to 2014. The group of patients with costs over $100,000 nearly tripled.

    By any measure these are huge increases that don’t signal much hope that the U.S. can bring down its medical spending, which is now over 17 percent of the country’s national income. Express Scripts was frank about the long-term impact on employers and others who actually pay most of those bills. It’s an “unsustainable $52 billion a year.”

     
  • Monday, May 18, 2015 2:01 AM

    Crisis negotiation has been described as being one of law enforcement’s most effective tools. But is there a difference between the words “crisis” and “hostage?” After researching articles provided by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Law Enforcement Bulletin, the difference would depend on the situation.

    According to the Hostage Barricade Database System (HOBAS) – a database containing information about barricade incidents maintained by the FBI’s CNU (Crisis Negotiation Unit), 96 percent of incidents requiring the response of law enforcement do not include a hostage being taken. That means 4 percent of the situations involved a person taking another person or persons hostage.

    A hostage is a person taken involuntarily and held by the perpetrator with plans to trade them for something else in return. This can include a mode of transportation with plans to escape, money, release of a prisoner or items such as food and drinks. 

     

The Paper of Montgomery County,
a division of Sagamore News Media

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