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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Kick 'em while they're down

When our immediate reaction goes against our philosophic inclinations, we have to ask ourselves if we've encountered the exception that proves the rule or whether we're judging by different standards because the issue hits too close to home. I'm actually talking about my reaction to this:

The Indiana Veterans' Home has a new full-time superintendent, and he already has his hands full.

Antonio Stewart became superintendent of the state-owned and -operated nursing home for Indiana military veterans near West Lafayette on Dec. 1.

He took over from Interim Superintendent Rodney Dunn, who replaced former Superintendent Jerry Horn. Horn resigned in August, citing his frustration with new state administrators after oversight was switched from one state agency to another.

Stewart inherited a situation in which some residents and staff are nervous about ongoing changes. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs took over management of the home from the Indiana Department of Health in March.

The closing of the facility's laundry room, staff consolidations, and new rules and regulations for staff and residents are making things difficult, some have said.

I'm usually very supportive of government efforts to change the management of programs, even if it involves "privatization," to bring about a more efficient, less costly operation. But this one made me flinch. Maybe it's because on some days I feel a heartbeat away from needing the Old Vets Home myself, but this strikes me as unconscionable. If we care enough about veterans to keep a separate home for the ones who can't take care of themselves, we should care enough not to screw around with them. Knock it off, Mitch.