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Proud of Tama-Toledo in Iowa Juvenile Home efforts

February 1, 2014
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

To the editor:

I am proud to be a part of the Tama-Toledo communities. The evening when community members met to begin the mission of preserving the State Juvenile Home, I was amazed at and proud of the number of people who filled the high school gymnasium. I was proud of the people who addressed us and told us of all the services provided and accomplishments achieved by the Home's staff. They presented the true picture of the home, not the politically expedient one. The speakers were as articulate as they were compassionate. I was moved by the young people who had been a part of the Home at one time, and, although they were terrified to address this large crowd, stood before us and told us how the staff at the Home had changed their lives for the better.

I was also proud to see Representative Dean Fisher and Senator Steve Sodders present at the meeting. Representative Fisher has written and spoken so eloquently in favor of retaining the Home. Representative Fisher also led a group of citizens in a meeting with the Governor to encourage the Governor to keep the Home open. Senator Sodders had been speaking with legislators and had formed an oversight committee to work toward making any changes in the facility, living conditions, and education that had been indicated as necessary to keep the Home open. When the Home was closed so rapidly, Senator Sodders spear-headed a lawsuit based on questions of legality in the way the Home was closed.

It was a pleasure to see the community working together - united in such an important cause. It was absolutely phenomenal to see two legislators of two different parties who could unite in working toward a cause for the good of their constituents.

It has become all too rare that politicians work together. Instead, as we have seen in Washington DC, there is anger, vitriol, and dysfunction as too many of our politicians are unable to see beyond politics and are so politically paralyzed they are unable to fulfill the needs of the people they represent.

The closing of the Home has brought out the best in our people. And I know we will continue in our mission. When the children were taken from the Home and were put in placements, although they already had been in placements with no success, and when they were warehoused in shelters, it becomes quite clear that the good of those children was not a primary consideration in the closing of the Home.

The children have their champions in the Home's staff, the Tama and Toledo communities, and in our political representatives. None of us are quitters.

Anne Michael




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