Tipton Co. auditor doesn't speak for all on wind

Recently it came to my attention that Gregg Townsend, Tipton County Auditor, has taken it upon himself to speak for all the residents of Tipton County regarding the issue of Industrial Wind Turbines in our county. Let me say as emphatically as I can the majority of citizens are not in favor of wind.

This can easily be shown by the fact that in the last two election cycles certain pro-wind elected officials were relieved of their positions. As for Townsend, one should ask exactly why he would take it upon himself to open this particular can of worms and how is he benefitting? He lives within the Tipton city limits, and as far as I can tell owns no land that he could lease. He was also questioned on his out-of-county activities by members of our council at their most recent meeting. Our county will probably never heal from this divisive issue.

Between the statement he chose to make and a billboard with his picture along with a quote, he has reopened a lot of old wounds. In my opinion he was reckless in his capacity as an elected official and his time would be better spent working on issues to move our fractured community forward, rather than back.

— Terri Vaughn, Tipton

Improving the lives of children

While the Indiana General Assembly is a part-time legislature, certain groups meet diligently throughout the year to discuss issues facing the state of Indiana.

One in particular is our Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Children, which reports to the Commission on Improving the Status of Children and is made up of practitioners in mental health, social work, law enforcement, government and substance abuse rehabilitation fields around Indiana.

Our kids are our future, and it is important they grow up in a safe, healthy environment. To ensure this is the case, our Task Force meets to uncover issues facing Indiana children and find solutions to those problems.

Below are the issues we wanted to address this year, along with the bills on those topics that passed this session.

Mental health

Right now, there is incomplete data on the gaps in services for medical, substance use and mental health in Indiana, which makes it difficult to know how to make improvements. To address this issue, Senate Enrolled Act 223 helps provide our state with more health workforce information by requiring some licensed health practitioners to provide information related to their work when renewing their licenses online.

Available counselors

When mental health counselors move to our state, they are required to complete hours of training prior to receiving an Indiana license, even if they have worked in their field for years in another state. This often deters them from settling in Indiana, reducing the number of counselors that could be available. To make it easier for these important counselors to obtain a license, Senate Enrolled Act 224 requires them to complete only 700 hours, rather than 1,000, in a counseling setting through a clinical practicum, internship or field experience. Plus, up to 50 percent of the supervised hours may be virtual supervision.

Opioid training

Opioid abuse continues to rise in Indiana. To ensure health care practitioners are armed with the most current information, Senate Enrolled Act 225 requires licensed health care practitioners to have completed two hours of continued opioid prescribing and opioid abuse education during the previous two years when they apply for registration or re-registration.

Suicide Awareness

Too many Hoosiers, including children, lose their lives to suicide each year. To help reduce these terrible deaths, Senate Enrolled Act 230 adds language to improve a bill passed during the 2017 session, which essentially designated the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council to be the entity to work with the Indiana Department of Education and Division of Mental Health and Addiction to determine programs that are offered to schools and communities related to prevention and intervention.

The passage of these bills would not have been possible if not for the hard work and dedication of all of the Task Force members. We are thankful to our Task Force for their effort and support, and are hoping to see these bills positively impact our children and state.

— State Sen. Randy Head, R.-Logansport, and Mindi Kensinger Goodpaster, public policy director for the Marion County Commission on Youth

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