first_imgSENATOR TOMES BELIEVES IT WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF OUR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENTTHE NEW-HARMONY GAZETTEby: Publisher-Dan Barton April 2020I have not been “Johnny on the Spot” with addressing the CV issue here in Posey County, primarily because I’ve been predisposed with some hospitalization and surgical issues of my own. No. Not CV; cardiac-related surgery. I’m doing fine, after a week at Deaconess Hospital. But have not gotten my writer’s legs back under me quite yet. However, important issues wait for no man. So here goes:I’m writing this on Saturday, April 4, 2020. So far there have been no reported cases of CV in New Harmony. According to my sources, there are five cases in Posey County; population approx. 25,910. That’s about 0.00020 percent of the population. Not much, you say. We have thus far been blessed. I hope you are all taking reasonable precautions, as has been outlined by both State and Federal health officials and our elected representatives. New Harmony has done everything that is currently, feasibly, possible to prevent an outbreak here. The rest is pretty much up to citizen control. Let’s take this seriously and be done with it.This morning I got a call on my cell phone from a concerned citizen. The concern was, that even though our town is doing what it can, the State of Indiana is not. It seems that Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, unlike our surrounding states Governors of Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, has decided to leave our State Park campgrounds open for business during the CV crises. The other states closed campgrounds in order to restrain the spread of CV among the campers and to not spread them into outside communities.I have to admit that I was startled to hear this news when the person on the other end of the phone related it to me. Why? I wondered, would a Governor close all of the state’s educational institutions, libraries, bars and restaurants, movie theaters and almost all of its businesses, but then leave a loophole as big as the State House, open for social co-mingling and potential disease spread?The reports of how many campers have been at our own Harmony State Park have differed, depending on where the information is coming from, and I used several sources, both official and community. Some said, as many as 80 campers from places like Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota, Montana, and Indiana. Others said, around 20 to 25 campers. State Senator Tomes said he had been given a number of around 15 or so from the Property Manager at Indiana Department of Natural Resources in Evansville, Joe Compton. So, take your pick. I tried to call Joe personally before calling State Senator Tomes but couldn’t get him, nor did he return my call. Instead, he immediately called Senator Tomes in order to head me off and do a little damage control on the side. I had very little success reaching anyone at IDNR, who had any authority.It was a heck of a lot easier reaching Senator Tomes. I called his number and got his wife Margie, who interrupted Jim, while he was splitting fireplace wood. We had a good discussion about our differences on this subject, I being very concerned that these campgrounds might be a breeding ground for this virus to spread to communities like New Harmony and elsewhere if this open camping arrangement at Hoosier State Park was allowed to continue. Jim assured me that Parks personnel were on the lookout for campers being less than several feet apart and would address that problem if seen. I was skeptical. Senator Tomes was opposed to closing these campgrounds, I was not arguing to close the Parks entirely, only camping. Senator Tomes believed that it would be just another violation of our freedom of movement in America and we should not cross that threshold. He did not agree with me that the campers could inadvertently spread a virus in which monumental steps had already been taken throughout the country to control. He said he believed that there were so many other ways that this virus could be spread that the campground issue was a non-issue. He believed that the national and local economy was already in jeopardy as it is and that further steps, like closing the campgrounds, could lead to irreparable damage to our country.Senator Tomes is not alone in this position, by the way. In fact, I spoke to many people in New Harmony about this matter and found that there were some, especially in the business sector, who believed just a Jim believes. They believe that camping is done primarily by families only and the risk of them spreading a case of CV to New Harmony was remote at best.There were others that I spoke to in New Harmony who thought otherwise. Many were dismayed that the Governor would close Indiana businesses, order citizens to stay indoors and close schools, but yet not consider the gatherings of people from Indiana and other states in a campground, just a couple of miles from our border, a threat.I tried to reach Governor Holcomb, but with no success. Even Senator Tomes said that he wouldn’t be able to reach him when I asked the Senator to pass on these concerns about the Campground and the possible spread of CV to our community. So, I must say, the Governor is not reachable, nor is the upper level of the IDNR, but Senator Jim Tomes is. He was willing to openly discuss the issue in his usual candid manner. We did have to leave it at agreeing to disagree on this issue, however.If any of you are interested in making your opinion known to our elected representatives, the following is a list of emails that I have gathered. Emailing is the best way, it’s permanent and they can’t erase them:Governor Eric Holcomb: (This is supposed to be his personal email, that’s why it says gov twice.Indiana Senator JimTomes: [email protected] Representative Wendy McNamara: [email protected] New Harmony’sCounty Council Rep: David Pearce: [email protected] Posey County Councilman atLarge, Aaron Wilson: [email protected] FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img