Category: News

Student Field Trips

Editors' meeting at the Indianapolis Star.

Touring the Indianapolis City- County building.

Man on the street: Immigration Bills

“I feel that people should come here legally. You know, I was an immigrant myself and I did it legally. I took the time to get the paperwork and everything. And I have no problem with people here illegally, but I believe that’s how it should be done.”

-Betty Caputo, McCordsville Resident

Indianapolis resident Terrell Parker

“From what I’ve read so far I believe that they are unconstitutional.”

-Lee Buckley, Indianapolis Resident


“I don’t support [the bills] because they’re discriminatory. Its basically like racial profiling and I don’t support racial profiling.”

-Terrell Parker, Indianapolis Resident


“Latino Youth Collective is very involved in educating about YSB 590. They had the five students that were arrested for a sit-in in Mitch Daniel’s office. I believe their court hearing was a couple of days ago, so yeah hey, I don’t know what they were charged with. Indiana is one of the states that doesn’t do undocumented students, doesn’t give them the same tuition. It’s pretty intense.”

-Dana Black, AmeriCorps Volunteer

AmeriCorps volunteer Dana Black

Curbing violent crime

By Charles Barron

5 Rights | staff writer

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard unveiled a new initiative this week  to curb violent crime among Indianapolis’ youth.

Announced at Broad Ripple Park, at the center of the program, is the Youth Violence Reduction Team: a collaborative effort between the city’s Department of Public Safety, Wishard’s Prescription for Hope, Ten Point Coalition, Peace Learning Center and Juvenile Courts and Probation.

“The team will utilize established violence and crime prevention programs and real-time crime data to build neighborhood-level partnerships that will create safer environments for our youth,” Ballard said.

Public Safety Director Frank Straub called the neighborhoods where the program will be focused – on the Westside near Speedway, the Northeastside, and the Eastside – “hot spots.”

Juvenile Court and Probation will help identify at-risk youth  while the Ten Point Coalition will provide pre- and post- incident street outreach to those teens.

Finally, the Prescription for Hope will offer consultation in violent crime situations as well as workshops on preventing violent crime. The Wishard group also will offer anti- violence education.

“Since its inception, Prescription for Hope has focused on reducing repeat violent personal injury and criminal activity by helping patients and their families make life-changing and life-saving choices,” said City-County Councillor Benjamin Hunter, chairman of the city’s public safety committee.

The plan is that that the program’s influence on youth will reduce violent retaliation crimes and subsequent hospital visits. According to Dr. Gerardo Gomez ofWishard Health Services, 31% of youth involved in violent crimes and treated at the hospital are readmitted.

Some people are skeptical whether the program will work but others welcome the initiative.

“(Crime) has spun out of control,” said Althea Ross, who lives on the city’s Northeastside. “People are afraid because nobody wants to die.”


Planned Parenthood regains funding

Planned parenthood protest photo by ABC News

By Justin Crain

5 Rights | staff writer

Planned Parenthood offices will stay open as U.S District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in the organizations favor over a new law, which strips Medicaid funding from the agency.

The decision means 9,300 Medicaid patients can again receive necessary services such as Pap tests, breasts exams, STD testings and other exams the health care agency provides.

Planned Parenthood CEO Betty Cockrum said the ruling will have an immediate impact.

“This decision will have immediate, positive consequences for our patients and our organization, the state’s largest reproductive health care provider,” said Cockrum in a press release issued Friday after the ruling.

Sen. Scott Schneider, the Republican who authored the bill during the most recent Indiana General Assembly, told the Associated Press: “The whole ruling is disappointing in my opinion. In my opinion, it’s judicial activism.” The governor who signed HEA 2011 into law refused to issue a statement on the ruling.

Even though the judge’s decision favors Planned Parenthood, the agency still seeks a permanent injunction to the law that defunds Medicaid payments. Kate Shepherd, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said that agency officials hope that a hearing is set by the end of the year.

Immigration law affects Indiana students

Photo from IUPUI Multicultural Success Center homepage

By Leah Johnson and Katie Kutsko

5 Rights | Editor-in-Chief and staff writer

College students should be ready for a change next month.

On July 1, House Bill 1402, a bill passed in the Indiana legislature this year, becomes effective. On the date, all undocumented students become ineligible for in-state tuition rates, scholarships, grants or other aid funded through the university.

The change could mean less diversity on campus, an interruption in student relationships and a denial of an education that many have worked toward their entire lives. Some Hoosiers, however, support the law, saying that illegal immigrants should become legal.

One local university already has started their preparing their students for the new immigration law. IUPUI notified students that they will be required to verify citizenship for fall 2011 enrollment. If citizenship can not be confirmed, state aid will be denied.

“It is unfortunate that students won’t be getting financial aid,” said Danielle Wilson, IUPUI Tourism, Convention and Event Management major. “[Without my financial aid], I would not be in school,” Wilson, herself a citizen, sympathizes with undocumented students. “If you really want to be in school, then getting loans or seeking out loans is a sacrifice you’ll have to make. I know I’m getting financial aid, and I know it’s really important to me.”

At IUPUI, minority students account for 14.66 percent of the student population, making them the most underrepresented minority. White students account for 62 percent.

“I do think that over the long run this bill will affect levels of diversity, since many young Latinos who were brought here by their parents and are not documented are making their way through local school systems and will soon be looking for a local college to attend,” said Michael Snodgrass, associate professor of Latin American History at IUPUI. “The cost difference created by this bill will be a huge detriment to their capacity to continue their education. IUPUI already has a student population that very much over-represents the region’s white suburban population versus the city’s people of color.”

Others say that legal immigration is possible.

“I feel that people should come here legally,” said Betty Caputo, a McCordsville resident. “I was an immigrant myself, and I did it legally. I took the time to do the paper work and everything. I have no problem with anyone who’s here illegally, but I think that’s the way it should be done.”

Voices from both sides of the debate are in agreement on one fact. Indiana’s immigration legislation needs to change, and so do the means by which it is accomplished.

“I think Indiana shouldn’t be taking on legislation like this when its obviously not working. And its not right for them to be denying people education, people who are trying to contribute to our communities.” said Emma Hernandez, member of the Latino Youth Collective of Indiana. “I mean, no one in this debate about immigration reform denies that reform needs to come, but there’s a way to nurture our communities and not destroy them.”

No permit? No problem.

No permit? No problem.By Princess Kimbrough

5 Rights | staff writer

Senate bill 506 Indiana

No permit? No problem! There’s a new gun law effective July 1 that will in some cases legally allow gun owners to carry their weapons in their vehicles- and they don’t need the states written permission.

The Indiana General Assembly passed Senate bill 506 in May.  Authored by Republican senators Dennis Kruse and Jim Tomes The law allows a person, in some cases, to carry a gun without a permit if they are on their own property. The law also allows going to a shooting range for practice or for legal hunting.  But the law requires the gun be unloaded and securely wrapped.  A person convicted of domestic battery can not have or carry a handgun unless the court has restored their right to carry a firearm.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Dave Bursten does not think the new gun law will mean trouble for local police.

“If it’s in a secure wrapper and it’s unloaded and in the trunk and not in the passenger compartment it’s not an issue, there’s no threat to the officer,” Bursten,  an ISP spokesperson, said.

With a 5.5 percent decrease in violent crimes, according to, some Hoosiers question the need for such a law.

“I think it’s a big mistake. I don’t think everybody should be running around with a gun,” said George Putt, a gun owner practicing at POPGUNS, an indoors shooting range.

Gun owner Jennifer Scott, also at POPGUNS, said the new gun law is “probably not a good idea.” She said a gun should not be carried without a permit no matter where or if the gun is loaded or unloaded.

But some gun owners have no strong opinion about the change. Scott’s husband Phillip Scott, another gun owner, said he’s not opposed to the law if it allows a person to carry a gun on their own property and with permission on someone else’s.

Bursten said the new law does have gray areas. He explained that the gun could be in a secure wrapper and unloaded but if it was in the passenger seat that could be a problem. He went on to say if the person was arrested because an unloaded gun was in the passenger seat, it would then be up to the judge to decide what to do.


Check out this follow up video!

Princess: No permit? No problem.


Mooresville soldier dies in line of duty

By Denica Newson

5 Rights | staff writer

A husband, best friend and soon to be father. Willing to help anyone in need, amiable and friendly. According to friends and family, Josh Jetton was all these things and more. He also was a U.S. Army Private First Class. Jetton, 21, was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“He was a great guy, he always had your back,” said Colton Long, one of Jetton’s best friends. The two grew up together in Mooresville. Jetton was known for his kind and free-spirited nature.

Alex Pemham, also Jetton’s best friend, said: “My dad put it best when he said Josh is a big goober, he’s the first person to make you laugh.”

According to his Facebook page, Jetton graduated from Mooresville High School in 2008. He had been in Afghanistan since August of 2010. He married his wife, Alicia Jetton, in March of this year. Pemham said that he would’ve come back home for a couple of weeks for the birth of his children; she is expecting twins

“He was a really brave man,” said Long. “Nothing ever scared him.”

Newby Memorial Elementary School plans to add him to their veteran’s memorial. It’s not clear whether he attended the school. According to the Indianapolis Star’s “Faces of the Fallen,” Jetton is the first soldier from Mooresville to die in Afghanistan and the 136th soldier from Indiana to die in combat.