Posts Tagged ‘South Bend Tribune’

SBT Interview with Donnelly’s District Director

June 5, 2008

(from the South Bend Tribune)

Hodge Patel, district director for U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly’s office in South Bend, got his start in politics as an intern and believes in what the politicians he works for are doing for others. He seems proud of the fact that he can help people on a small scale with their individual problems, though large projects also are rewarding for him. He recently talked with Tribune correspondent Jennifer Ochstein, via e-mail, about his life in politics.

How long have you worked for district director for U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly?

I have been working for Congressman Donnelly as his district director since Jan. 4, 2007. However, I have known Donnelly professionally through his work in the community for a number of years.

How did you become interested in working in his South Bend office?

I have worked on the congressional level in the South Bend area for 12 years now, including with former Congressman Tim Roemer and Sen. Evan Bayh. My first experience in a congressional office dates back to when I interned for a congressman while attending Notre Dame. Working in a congressional office in South Bend has afforded me the opportunity to work directly with individuals, businesses, community organizations and public officials in a meaningful way. As an aide to the congressman, I am able to be directly involved in working through problems that constituents may be experiencing, often through no fault of their own. This is often done through accessing information through federal agencies with the goal of resolving a matter favorably in certain situations. It is the small victories of helping others that makes the job rewarding. This is not to say that the large successes don’t mean as much, because they, too, are just as gratifying.What exactly does a district director for a congressman do?

The district director manages the staff and offices within the 12 counties that Congressman Donnelly represents. In addition, I attend meetings that Congressman Donnelly is unable to attend because he is scheduled for votes in Washington. When he is home in the district, which is every weekend, I may travel with him to meetings or work on special projects that are of particular interest within the district to Congressman Donnelly.

What kind of education is necessary to do what you do?

I have a degree in economics and political science from Notre Dame. I think that education has been a foundation in terms of me being able to contribute in various ways to this organization. The position is a constant challenge and it involves being educated on a large cross section of subjects from energy, Medicare, education, the economy, as well as past and current events.

What is a typical day like for you?

I don’t think I can say that any day is a typical day. My work schedule is irregular and really depends on what meetings and events are scheduled and in which cities and towns the meetings are taking place. The morning often can start out with working breakfast meetings, meetings in the congressional office with organizations that want to make the congressman aware of issues that are of particular interest to them, following up with individuals who may have met with the congressman and are seeking assistance from him, attending meetings with elected officials, sharing with groups the congressman’s stance on particular issues that they are interested in, attending evening events where awards are being presented, people are being honored, or small business owners are gathering to discuss the challenges that they are facing in terms of hiring a qualified work force. So as you can see, there are many topics discussed and worked on through the course of the day. Many of these meetings also take place when the congressman is back in the district.

What kinds of skills are helpful to do your job?

The essential skills are listening, communicating and writing. In addition, it is just as important to follow up on requests that are made of the congressman. It also helps to be surrounded by talented individuals, Congressman Donnelly’s staff, who work well together in terms of serving constituents.

What is most challenging about what you do?

I think the pace of the work is probably the most challenging part of the job because things are so fluid. You have to be able to adapt and have a team that adapts well to changes. I also find it to be a challenge when you have to share bad news with people when you were hoping to give a favorable reply to them, or when you are dealing with a tragedy, such as the loss of a military service member.

Are there any misconceptions people have about your job?

I think with any job there are always misconceptions, and it is more about educating others on what you can and cannot legally do. In addition, constituents often think that they do not have a voice in government, or that government cannot help them with their specific needs or problems. Many people find this to not be the case once they contact Congressman Donnelly’s office. One final area that comes to mind is that people think that the job is 9 to 5 from Monday through Friday. It is not unusual to work early mornings and late nights, weekends and holidays, as well. The position requires a degree of flexibility.

Are there job opportunities available for people in politics in this area — how does one prepare for a job in politics or public service?

I would encourage people to be involved in the community from an early age, and I believe that it is never too late to get started. My volunteer work in the community and internships made positions like the one that I currently hold possible. I think voting and being involved are key aspects that have prepared me in terms of getting my foot in the door. Networking is an essential part of public service, and it is a good way to seek out a job in public service.


2nd District GOP challenger addresses Nazi gathering

April 21, 2008

From the South Bend Tribune:

SOUTH BEND – Tony Zirkle, Republican candidate for 2nd District congressman, said he is willing to talk to any group that invites him, and that’s why he addressed a weekend gathering in Chicago of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

The occasion was a celebration of the 119th anniversary of the birth of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Zirkle scheduled a news conference for this afternoon to discuss his appearance at the event. He said this morning he agreed to address the group because of its concern about the prostitution of young white women.

According to, an ANSWP Web site, “Zirkle spoke on his history as a state’s attorney in Indiana, prosecuting Jewish and Zionist criminal gangs involved in trafficking prostitutes and pornography from Russia and the Zionist entity.”

“I cannot believe that in 2008 anyone could think so backwards,” Luke Puckett, another GOP candidate for 2nd District congressman, said in reaction to Zirkle’s comment.

His latest comments are not the first time Zirkle has generated controversy on issues of race. In an interview in early March with the Kokomo Perspective, Zirkle suggested segregating African-Americans in separate states is an issue that deserves to be debated.

ND Study: Undocumented workers an asset to local economy

April 10, 2008

(The following article appeared April 8, 2008 in the South Bend Tribune)

by Pablo Ros

Deporting a single undocumented worker from South Bend would on average cost the local economy a net loss of about $3,000 a month, according to a new study from the University of Notre Dame’s Economics and Econometrics Department.

The report, which can be read online, may be the first cost-benefit analysis of undocumented immigration to South Bend.

Based largely on surveys of Hispanic immigrants who live in South Bend, it provides a breakdown in dollar amounts of their assets and liabilities.

The researchers conclude that contrary to the belief that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the local economy, they are “an essential part of the economy and important for maintaining stability. Immigrants pay taxes, do not use as many government benefits as citizens and often take lower wages for unskilled labor.”

Kasey Buckles, one of two Notre Dame professors who directed the study, said its ultimate purpose is to assist policymakers in making informed decisions.She said its scope is limited to the economic impact of undocumented immigration, which has generated a debate that is political and ethical, among other things.

Abigail Wozniak, who co-directed the research, said the results of the study would be meaningful to cities similar to South Bend that have not traditionally been immigrant destinations.

The overall impact of the 12 million undocumented immigrants on the country’s economy has been the subject of much debate in recent years.

While immigrant advocates have underscored the attributes of the labor, taxes and purchasing power of undocumented workers, others have pointed to a drain in social services and loss of jobs as detriments.Based on an estimate of South Bend’s undocumented population that puts it at or near 3,400, the report concluded that this often neglected and shunned segment of our community on average contributes as much as $10 million per month to the local economy.

Researchers subtracted the total cost of liabilities — the greatest of which was public education — from the added value of assets — which included income from labor, taxes and expenditures.There are a few disclaimers to that figure, however. Researchers found data on investments made by undocumented immigrants in the stock market and other options unreliable, possibly the result of respondents misinterpreting a survey question.

Also, researchers were unable to calculate the costs of medical services used by undocumented immigrants.

But even in a worst-case scenario, the report points out, the overall impact of undocumented immigration on South Bend remains positive, meaning that the dollar value of immigrants’ contributions outweighs the total costs they generate.

Although the study doesn’t express such gains in terms of the total size of the local economy, Buckles said the loss of millions of dollars in monthly capital would inevitably cause it to shrink.

Researchers were not able to quantify other liabilities, such as crime and the loss of jobs. While undocumented immigrants generally take jobs others don’t want, the study points out, “there are still individuals who will suffer a loss of their job from less expensive competition.”The results of the study are based on two anonymous surveys administered in 2007 to about 120 congregants of St. Adalbert Parish in South Bend who were undocumented.

The survey sample is likely representative of the local Hispanic undocumented community, the study says.

Buckles told me she was surprised by a finding that the amounts of money immigrants send to families back home are not as high as she expected, averaging about $54 per month.

That seems to support the finding that only 46 percent of those surveyed said they would seriously consider someday returning to their country of origin permanently, she said.

Wozniak told me she was surprised by the study’s finding that a majority of undocumented workers pay taxes. The average total taxes paid by those surveyed is nearly $300 per month.The study was funded through the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

Buckles said it was published in the undergraduate journal “Beyond Politics: An Undergraduate Review of Politics of the University of Notre Dame.”

Puckett says no to debate suggestion

March 8, 2008

(Article published Mar 8, 2008 in the South Bend Tribune)

Luke Puckett has told Tony Zirkle he has no interest in debating.
Both men are Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Granger.Puckett, of Goshen, has the support of the local Republican Party, while party officials have tried to distance themselves from Zirkle, who has suggested segregation of the races needs to be discussed.

“What’s your campaign’s position on debates?” Zirkle, a South Bend attorney, asked in an e-mail to the Puckett campaign. “I can probably be available any night except Friday night for a debate in any of the 12” of the 2nd Congressional District.

Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for Puckett, responded, “Due to your outrageous and hurtful comments toward African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Americans of all cultures, we decline any debates.”

The Puckett campaign would prefer to concentrate on a positive vision for the future, Bailey said

Citizens voice opinions to Donnelly on surveillance bill, family planning services

March 7, 2008

[The following are two citizen-produced opinion pieces that appeared recently in the South Bend Tribune. – DW]

Donnelly Wrong on Surveillance Bill

As reported in The Tribune, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, voted to allow a vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act. Although the measure failed, the House will likely revisit this issue in the future.

We, the board of the League of Women Voters of South Bend, urge Donnelly to take a stand against the administration’s pressure to pass S. 2248, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2007. We also urge Congress to support legislation that will ensure that government agencies obtain individual court warrants before wiretapping the communications of Americans and make sure telecommunications providers do not receive blanket retroactive immunity for violating the rights of innocent citizens.

For 88 years the League of Women Voters has been a strong advocate of the democratic principles that serve as a bedrock of our republic. Certain fundamental principles guard our freedoms and these must be preserved. These include independent judicial review of law enforcement actions and prohibition on indiscriminate searches.

While we recognize that our nation must guard against terrorism and other threats to national security, it cannot violate basic Constitutional principles while claiming to protect itself. As such, wholesale warrantless wiretapping of Americans is unacceptable.

Lisa A. Plencner
President, League of Women Voters,
South Bend area


Title X funds low-cost family planning services

I am writing in response to the Feb. 28 article in The Tribune by staff writer Margaret Fosmoe titled, “IUSB petitioners demand cost drop on birth control.” I applaud the students and employees who gathered signatures and delivered the petitions to U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger.

The article highlighted the need for individuals (including Donnelly) to be educated about the Federal Title X program and the Olive Street Health Center. The Olive Street Health Center is located on the west side of South Bend.

The Federal Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and preventive health services to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons. The U.S. government’s Title X program funds low-cost, confidential family planning services that would otherwise be out of reach for many women.

The Olive Street Health Center is funded by the federal Title X program through the Indiana Family Health Council Inc. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income; people at or below the federal poverty level receive services at no cost. Most importantly, no one is refused family planning services because of inability to pay. Title X funds cannot be used to provide abortions. In fact, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, publicly funded family planning services help women avoid an estimated 1.3 million unintended pregnancies each year, half of which otherwise would be terminated by abortion. Each year, approximately 4.5 million people receive health-care services at Title X-funded clinics.Being a publicly funded health center allows the center to qualify for discounted public health pricing on medications and contraceptive supplies. We also experienced a price increase as a result of the 2005 deficit reduction bill, however, not to the extent that the IUSB Health Center and other non-publicly supported clinics have experienced. The clinic continues to be able to assure that affordable birth control is available to those who want and need it. For example, the clinic charges $4 a month for birth control pills, $17 a month for the NuvaRing, and $8 for each dose of emergency contraception (Plan B/morning-after pill). This is significantly less than what the IUSB Health Center must charge to cover their cost for these same contraceptive supplies. The Olive Street Health Center also distributes free condoms.

In addition to contraceptive services and related counseling, the Olive Street Health Center also provides a number of preventative health services such as: client education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; cervical cancer, STD and HIV screenings; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. For many clients, Olive Street Health Center is their only source of health care and health education.

Title X regulations require that all clients, including adolescents, receive confidential care. Therefore, the Olive Street Health Center encourages but does not mandate parental involvement in an adolescent’s decision to seek services at the clinic.

I applaud The Tribune for covering important women’s health issues such as the need for continued access to affordable birth control. I ask for The Tribune’s assistance in educating individuals about the services offered at the Olive Street Health Center in their effort to focus on important women’s health issues. The Olive Street Health Center is located at 244 S. Olive Street, South Bend. The phone number is (574) 282-3230.

Melinda Konrath is director of the Olive Street Health Center. She lives in Mishawaka.

More ridiculousness from Puckett and Zirkle

March 6, 2008

[Wow, what else is there to say but wow. – DW]

Article published Mar 6, 2008
Congressional contender critical of energy policy
Puckett chides Donnelly, supports drilling for oil in Arctic preserve.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Congressional candidate Luke Puckett says the United States needs to tap into domestic oil reserves, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, in order to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Puckett, a Republican from Goshen, had a news conference Wednesday at a South Bend filling station to respond to a radio address given Saturday by incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, of Granger.

During his five-minute address, Donnelly talked about the rising cost of fuel and energy and what can be done about it.

Donnelly mentioned that the House on Feb. 26 passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, which he said would repeal a number of tax subsidies for the big oil companies and “reinvest that $18 billion into providing incentives for the use and production of renewable energy.”

The problem, according to Puckett, is that the bill would not produce any energy, would not reduce the cost of a barrel of oil, and would not lower the cost of gasoline at the pump.Instead, Puckett said, it would provide tax credits for energy sources that do not exist, such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and production of cellulosic alcohol fuel.

Donnelly also talked about investing billions of dollars in clean renewable energy to produce electricity, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. Other financial incentives would be offered to help electric cooperatives use renewable fuels, and to help promote “green” industries.

Puckett agreed, but said the Democratic plan is flawed.

He called on Donnelly instead to support the bipartisan American Made Energy Act, which has provisions for nuclear and solar power, renewable energy and biofuels.

The act would “unlock billions of barrels of oil in Alaska,” Puckett said.He chided Donnelly and others in Congress for opposing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“We have not built a new oil refinery in the United States since the ’70s,” Puckett said. “We have oil just waiting to be refined in ANWR, but the Democrats and environmental alarmists will not let us touch it.”

Donnelly voted last June to prohibit energy exploration at various sites, but Puckett said he disagrees.

“I say, ‘Let’s go get it,'” he said.


Article published Mar 6, 2008
GOP head distances from Zirkle
Suggestion that U.S. should debate segregation by race termed ‘asinine.’

Tribune Staff Writer

The Republican Party chairman for St. Joseph County sharply denounced Tony Zirkle’s suggestion that the United States should debate segregating by race.

Zirkle is one of four people seeking the Republican nomination as the 2nd District U.S. representative. In a story in Tuesday’s edition of The Tribune, Zirkle said he wasn’t saying which side of the debate he’d take but that segregation might be a way to deal with the high rate of black men in prison and out-of-wedlock births among blacks.

“These comments are antiquated and asinine and are the childish machinations of a publicity hound,” said Chris Riley, St. Joseph County Republican chairman. “In no way does this notion of segregation reflect the views of the Republican Party. This is just taking publicity hunting to a whole new low.”

“I’m very upset that someone who carries the Republican shield has made these remarks,” Riley added.

Thus far, the Republican Party is embracing only one candidate for the congressional seat, Luke Puckett — the only guy, Riley said, who’s talked with him about running a campaign. Puckett also is dismayed with Zirkle’s comments. Joseph Roush of Culver, who also wants the party’s nomination, said of Zirkle: “I couldn’t believe anyone in this day and age would take this archaic approach.”

On the other hand, Roush said, “It makes me look about as normal as possible,” explaining that his own views don’t jibe with the national mainstream Republican Party.

Roush says he lines up more with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul than with John McCain. For example, Roush feels the United States should pull out of the Iraq war immediately.

Will Zirkle’s comments hurt the Republican Party or help the Democratic Party? St. Joseph County Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan said it’s too soon to tell. Riley is certain: It won’t hurt Republicans, he said.

But what of the 30 percent of votes that Zirkle garnered in the 2006 Republican primary race for the congressional seat against incumbent Chris Chocola? Back then, Zirkle also made controversial proposals like using the guillotine to punish child pornography “pimps.”

Back then, at least, Zirkle touched on issues that people care about, like pornography and prostitution, Morgan said. Not now, he added.

“That was a different time,” Riley said, explaining that there was a backlash against Republicans in general and Zirkle seemed to voters an alternative.

The backlash is over, Riley said. Now voters hunger for debates on serious issues like the “war on terror,” the economy and jobs, he said.

Colwell illustrates ineptitude of 2nd district challengers

March 3, 2008

(Jack Colwell, columnist for the South Bend Tribune and former host of WNIT’s “Politically Speaking” weighed in on Rep. Donnelly’s Republican challengers in a column published March 2.)

When Tony Zirkle said my column inspired him to add an f-word in the acronym he wants for his middle name, I was a bit concerned. No worry. Zirkle reveals that the word is “fluke” and that he uses it in a description of himself as a “homeless vet fluke.”

However, the former U.S. Naval Academy student uses the naval definition of “fluke” as the pointed part of an anchor or a harpoon.

Zirkle initially filed as a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 2nd District with “Hvfvgpd” as his middle name. He deleted it in a changed filing to avoid a challenge to his candidacy. But he plans to go ahead with court proceedings to add the acronym officially as a middle name describing his campaign effort.

The middle “v” stands for “versus.” Kokomo Tribune columnist Scott Smith figured out from a clue about a Bill O’Reilly TV tirade that “h” is for “homeless” and the first “v” is for “vet.”

Zirkle gave me a clue revealing that “f” is for “fluke,” a word I used in a December column saying Republicans should seek a credible nominee to challenge Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly rather than risk nomination of some “fluke.”

In a certain way, Zirkle said, he could be described as a “homeless vet fluke,” with naval definition of the f-word, versus whatever the rest of the acronym stands for.


Luke Puckett, the candidate found by 2nd District Republican leaders as their credible challenger for Congress, joined in efforts to put Donnelly on the spot in the controversy over extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Efforts included TV ads by an organization called Defense of Democracies. Its listed directors and advisers include a preponderance of well-known Republicans and conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol and Jack Kemp.

The group urged district residents to ask Donnelly to vote for the extension that President Bush seeks and the Senate has passed.

An ironic aspect is that Donnelly and some other members of the moderate House Democratic group known as the Blue Dogs have called for an extension with the immunity the president wants for telecommunications firms facing possible suits for illegal intercepts.

Donnelly was one of only seven Democrats to vote last week to consider the Senate version. The effort failed. Now a compromise is sought between those who claim the immunity goal is a cover-up of Bush administration wrongdoing and those who contend the objective instead is profits for trial lawyers.

The Defense of Democracies president, Clifford May, issued a statement praising Donnelly “for his principled stand — for resisting political pressures and supporting the much-needed terrorist surveillance bill.”

Puckett certainly wasn’t ready to join in praise of the man he hopes to defeat. He said Donnelly “must make it clear to the public that it is his Democratic Party that is making us less safe.”

Donnelly joins with GOP on surveillance vote

March 2, 2008

(The following piece ran on Feb. 28 in the South Bend Tribune. Emphasis in the text below by DW.)

by Nancy Sulok

Congressman Joe Donnelly, D-Granger, was one of seven Democrats and 191 Republicans who voted Tuesday to allow a vote on a Senate bill concerning surveillance of suspected terrorists.

The effort failed, however, with 212 Democratic votes against it.

The vote would have allowed the House to vote on a resolution to extend the Protect America Act, which is part of the larger Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Congress is negotiating for a new FISA, which became law in 1978, but Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to an agreement on it.

Donnelly voted on Feb. 13 to extend the Protect America Act for 21 days to allow more time to resolve the conflicts. The Protect America provision, passed last August, expired Feb. 16.The controversial measure provides for warrantless searches and surveillance, including wiretaps, of suspected terrorists. Since it expired, surveillance can continue, but only with a warrant from a FISA judge.

After Tuesday’s vote, Defense of Democracies issued a press release praising Donnelly for his vote. Defense of Democracies has been running a television ad in the South Bend market that urges constituents to contact Donnelly and ask him to push for passage of the bill.

Women demand Donnelly help cut cost of birth control

February 28, 2008

(from the South Bend Tribune. Emphasis in the text below by Donnelly Watch)

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Some Indiana University South Bend students and employees are demanding that Congress take action to reverse a steep hike in the cost of birth-control pills sold at the campus health center.

Prices for oral contraceptives last year began doubling and tripling at college health centers, the result of a complex change in the Medicaid rebate law that essentially ended an incentive for drug companies to provide deep discounts to colleges.

IUSB students and employees recently delivered a petition with 600 signatures gathered on campus to the local office of U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Granger. Spearheaded by IUSB’s Feminist Student Union, the petition demands that Congress restore affordable birth control to colleges. It urges Donnelly to push his congressional colleagues and take action to reverse the price hikes.

IUSB has been dispensing prescription birth control for about five years, since the campus Health and Wellness Center was established. The center also sells emergency contraceptives (the “morning-after” pill) and provides free condoms. The center is not open to the general public.

IUSB senior Erin Tracey, 26, of Niles, started taking birth-control pills several years ago after a physician prescribed them to treat dysmenorrhea (cramps and painful menstruation) and adult acne. Tracey’s health insurance does not cover the cost.The name-brand version recommended by her doctor is not available at IUSB because of the high price, $50 to $60 a month, so she buys a generic version at the health center for $15 a month. “A couple years ago it would have been much less expensive,” she said.

Tracey said the name-brand version is more expensive than she can afford.

She signed the petition and helped collect signatures. “It’s important to me because I strongly believe that sex education and access to affordable birth control would prevent abortion and unwanted pregnancies,” she said.

The price hike at colleges is the result of a chain reaction started by a 2005 federal deficit-reduction bill that focused on Medicaid. Before the change, pharmaceutical companies typically sold drugs at deep discounts to a range of health care providers, including colleges. For drug companies, one motivation was attracting loyal customers.

The discounts didn’t count against the drug companies in a formula calculating rebates they owed states to participate in Medicaid.But in the 2005 bill — which went into effect in early 2007 — Congress changed that. Discounts to colleges mean drug companies have to pay more to participate in Medicaid. So fewer companies offer discounts.

Before the price hike, IUSB students and employees paid about $10 for a month’s worth of name-brand birth-control pills.

The fee now is about $15 a month, and that’s for generics. The center stocks three brands of generic birth-control pills, because the name-brand prices have increased so much, said Laura Hieronymus, director of IUSB’s health center. “We can’t afford to purchase the more expensive brands,” she said.

The price compares to about $32 a month for generics at a commercial pharmacy, she said.

Women sometimes are prescribed birth-control pills for various health conditions, not just to prevent pregnancy, she noted. “The (varieties) we have work well for some students but not for all,” she said. The issue isn’t about providing inexpensive birth control to young single college students, Hieronymus said. “The majority of women we take care of are married and have kids and families,” she said. About 40 percent of IUSB’s students are over 26 years old.

Providing economical, reliable birth control is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions, she said.

IUSB no longer stocks the NuvaRing, a once-a-month form of contraception, because its price rose to more than $40 per month, she said. “The NuvaRing was our No. 1 seller,” Hieronymus said.

IUSB has dispensed about 150 monthly packs of birth-control pills since August, serving at least 50 students and employees. The center has dispensed about 30 morning-after doses since August, at $20 per dose. About 1,000 free condoms have been distributed on campus this academic year.

At the campus health center, students and employees can receive a physical exam, be treated for minor illnesses, and get prescriptions filled. About 30 percent of the center’s business is related to women’s health issues. As a nurse practitioner, Hieronymus can legally write and dispense prescriptions. IUSB is among four IU campuses that sell prescription contraceptives at on-campus health centers. The others are IU Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“The rising price is indicative of the general upward trend in health-care costs and drug prices,” Donnelly said in a written statement issued Wednesday. “More than that, it’s indicative of a federal government that is constrained in what it can do to help people with those rising costs by a budget that is deep in deficit.”

(Why is the federal government so constrained, Joe? Could it be that the incredibly expensive and disastrous War in Iraq has something to do with it? – DW)

The congressman said he’s tackling both problems at the same time: working to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, and working to reduce the deficit. Sound fiscal policies will make it easier for the federal government to invest in health programs for everyone, especially those in the working and middle classes, Donnelly said.

About 39 percent of undergraduate women use oral contraceptives, according to an estimate by the American College Health Association based on survey data.

IUSB student Alyssa Malott, 20, of South Bend, doesn’t buy contraceptives at the campus health center, but she is concerned about how rising prices will affect students, employees and their families.The price hike “affects many people in many ways,” Malott said. Some people on campus might not be able to afford the higher prices, she said. “If even one student had to drop out of school (as a result), it’s an outrage,” she said.

Deadline draws near for candidates to file for primary

February 18, 2008

No candidates filed yet for some races; others are uncontested so far.

South Bend Tribune Staff Report

February 17, 2008

SOUTH BEND — The filing period for the May 6 primary election will end at noon Friday, and so far the enthusiasm for the contests seems to be lacking.

Several races in St. Joseph County have nobody running yet, and others have only one candidate.

One race already shaping up as a contest is on the Republican ballot for 2nd District congressman.

Two men — Joseph Roush and Tony Hvfvgpd Zirkle — have filed already with the Indiana secretary of state, and a third has said he intends to.

Luke Puckett, a Goshen businessman, is the candidate favored by Republican leaders. At least, that’s the way county GOP Chairman Chris Riley introduced Puckett last week at a South Bend press conference to announce his candidacy.

Roush is a Culver resident. He could not be reached by phone for comment Friday to talk about why he is running.

Zirkle is an attorney with an office in South Bend. His legal name is actually Frederick Anthony Zirkle, but he is listed under the name Tony Hvfvgpd Zirkle.

Zirkle said he has a petition pending in Circuit Court to change his name to include the unpronounceable string of consonants. He said he will reveal during his campaign what the letters stand for. The only one he would reveal so far is that the second “v” stands for the word “versus.”

According to the secretary of state’s office, incumbent U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, has filed for re-election in District 2.

Among the Friday filings was Brenda Seach, who filed for the Democratic nomination for county recorder. Seach, who has worked in the recorder’s office for 20 years, now is the chief deputy recorder.

The current recorder, Terri J. Rethlake, has served for 10 years and is prohibited from seeking another term. Rethlake was picked to replace a recorder who resigned, then was elected to two four-year terms.

On the county level, here are the offices that will be on the ballot, and who has filed so far (D indicates Democrat and R denotes Republican):

St. Joseph County Circuit Judge: Nobody.

County Recorder: Larry Kent Moody (D), Brenda Seach (D) and Phillip “Phil” Dotson (R).

County Treasurer: Incumbent Sean J. Coleman (D).

County Surveyor: Nobody.

County Coroner: Michael O’Connell (D).

County Commissioner District 2: Incumbent Steve Ross (D).

County Commissioner District 3: Incumbent Robert Kovach (D), and William “Bill” Davis (R).

County Council District D: Nobody.

County Council District F: Nobody.

County Council District G: Incumbent Mark Catanzarite (D), and Wayne Curry (R).

County Council District I: Incumbent Mark Root (R).

All of our area state representatives are up for re-election this year, and two of our state senators. They are required to file with the Indiana secretary of state.

The districts on the ballot in St. Joseph County, and who has filed so far, are:

State Senate District 5: Larry W. Balmer (D), and Ed Charbonneau (R).

State Senate District 8: Jim Arnold (D), and Allen L. Stevens Jr. (R).

State Senate District 9: Incumbent Ryan D. Mishler (R).

State Senate District 10. Incumbent John E. Broden (D).

State House District 5: Incumbent Craig R. Fry (D).

State House District 6: Incumbent B. Patrick Bauer (D).

State House District 7: Incumbent David L. Niezgodski (D).

State House District 8: Incumbent Ryan M. Dvorak (D).

State House District 21: Incumbent Jackie Walorski (R).

State House District 48: Incumbent Timothy Neese (R).

Only one candidate for president, Republican Mitt Romney, has entered the Indiana primary so far. Although his name remains on the Indiana candidate listing, he has already withdrawn from the race nationally.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is seeking a second term, is the only candidate to enter that race so far, although others have indicated they plan to.

Other statewide races on the ballot will be for attorney general and superintendent of public instruction. Nobody has yet filed for those races.