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Fri, Sep 19, 2014 05:52 AM
Issue of September 17, 2014
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Time for heart-to-heart in Spencer Twp.


My Opinion


October 23, 2013 | 09:14 AM

When the Frenchtown Community Center was built in 2005, Spencer Township Trustee Donald Satterfield beamed from ear to ear.

He had good reason to. He was the driving force behind the building which gave the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. a third firehouse, thus helping to lower insurance rates for those in the Frenchtown/Depauw area, and provided a sizable community room that has been rented for many occasions, has served as a polling place for the township and has been the site of political forums/meet-the-candidate events.

Question of the Week
Do you think Spencer Township Trustee Donald Satterfield is right to cancel LifeSpan’s contract to use the Frenchtown Community Center?
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Now, Satterfield is catching flak because he has decided that LifeSpan Resources can no longer use the community center to serve its weekday meals to seniors, a service that has taken place at the Frenchtown location since shortly after the Center opened.

The reason those who have gathered at the Center for a hot meal as well as socialization are upset is because they can't seem to get a straight answer from Satterfield. His three-member board — Ed Sieg, Bob Smith and James Goldman — appear to be just as baffled by the decision to cancel LifeSpan's contract.

Satterfield, who says he doesn't want to stop the meals from being served there, initially said that utilities for the Center exceed what has been budgeted then he said the fire department wanted the space for a training center.

Ned Wiseman, the fire department's chief, knows nothing about needing the facility; after all, there is space for indoor training at the other two firehouses (Station 1 in Ramsey and Station 2 in New Salisbury).

And who knows how much the utilities are for each side of the building in Frenchtown since there is only one electric meter.

Spencer Township can't operate in the red, so, if utilities do exceed the budget, that needs to be corrected. However, alternative suggestions have been made, and apparently rejected by Satterfield, to help make up the shortfall.

The question is why does Satterfield really want to end the relationship with LifeSpan?

For 39 years, Satterfield has been the elected trustee of the township and apparently has done an outstanding job. He rarely has been challenged for the position, and nearly everyone in the community is fond of him.

Before this relationship is severed permanently (the last day of meals by LifeSpan at the Frenchtown site is currently planned for Friday), I hope the interested parties can sit down and have an honest, heart-to-heart discussion about what is really going on and how it can be resolved in the best interest of all involved.

As an elected official, I don't think that is too much to ask of Satterfield.

  1. print email
    Heart to Heart
    October 24, 2013 | 10:26 AM

    I agree that communication is key to this problem. We were told (at first meeting) by the trustee that no decision had been made to close the center when in reality, a letter had been mailed several days before the meeting to Lifespan terminating the contract. We were told not to speak at the second meeting. Several offers were made such as the seniors will pay more for their meal, individuals offered to pay the full cost of the electric bill for Nov and Dec. We spoke to two of the advisory board members personally making this offer. One called me back and said that all three members of the board were in agreement to accept that but the trustee and his wife said, "no contract with lifespan" It is hard to have a heart to heart under these type of circumstances.

    Terri Rennirt
  2. print email
    October 24, 2013 | 10:31 AM

    Sounds like Mr. Satterfield has an issue with Mrs. Dubois that needs to be settled. Mr. Satterfield should be required to show and allocate the utilities cost between the fire department use and community center use in order to explain his decision. This should be done for purposes of full disclosure and transparency. If Mr. Satterfield is unable to do this, he should resign his office immediately as there is obviously either a conflict of interest or he doesn't feel the need to explain his decision to the voters he represents. It is clear from all the reports that there is a lack of accountability on Mr. Satterfield's part.

  3. print email
    October 24, 2013 | 04:10 PM

    How is it apparent that Donald Satterfield has done an outstanding job for 39 years? His friends and neighbors trusted he was doing his job until the mysterious closing of the senior citizens lunch program caused us to look closely at the facts.


  4. print email
    Spencer Township Government Center
    October 24, 2013 | 09:17 PM

    I am confused. Ms. Spieth-Saylor published a "news" story on October 9, 2013 giving a brief background to this situation and an overview of the October 1, 2013 meeting and today she is doing an "Opinion" piece about the same story?

    Before addressing the lack of information of the October 9 story, it seems to me to be a conflict of interest for a reporter to do a news piece, then place herself in the position of speaking for the Corydon Democrat newspaper about the same issue. Even if it is not an ethical violation, it does not give one confidence in her ability to be fair about this issue in the future. (Or the Corydon Democrat's editorial board for that matter.)

    This editorial purports to back Mr. Satterfield's career as Trustee and lauds his great accomplishments. They are impressive. But they seem to count for nothing to this newspaper nor to many people who have attacked Mr. Satterfield personally. ( Apparently someone even hired an attorney and filed a complaint of some kind against Mr. Satterfield, but that was left out of both of these stories so we don't know the basis of the action.)

    This editorial/opinion (I believe Ms. Speith-Saylor is on the editorial board at the paper so this should be considered an editorial) is a mish-mash of statements, opinions and the writer's opinion that this should be resolved - and I got the impression she feels Mr. Satterfield is the problem.

    Yet in her very own editorial she states that no one representing Spencer Township wants to stop the Seniors from having their meals there, including Mr. Satterfield. So wouldn't an intrepid reporter be able to find out what is going on and tell the public??

    Since the author was also the "reporter" for the October 1st meeting, (story published on October 9) maybe the reason the Seniors and residents of Spencer Township don't know what is going is because the story reported out did nothing to educate the public.

    The author was at the meeting, and since the story included quotes from Board members that apparently were made at the meeting so why didn't Ms. Spieth-Saylor take that opportunity to ask Mr. Satterfield questions and put his quotes on the record? Isn't that the function of the press, the Fourth Estate, to question our Government and inform the people?

    The story from that meeting includes a statement that "many people left out of frustration" but we don't know how many people were there to begin with and what number "many" represents. What does that tell anyone? In the news story the author called the October 1 meeting a "public hearing", but was it a public hearing or a budget meeting? If it was a budget meeting, and Ms. Spieth-Saylor's report said it was a public hearing wouldn't that make the public feel they were being treated badly when they didn't get their questions addressed? Wouldn't that cause animosity and distrust?

    It seems to me that the "news" story about the October 1 meeting was filled with hearsay, opinions, the author's rather prejudicial adjectives characterizing what others said and no apparent effort to get the facts on the record from the Trustee.

    Ms. Spieth-Saylor ends the "opinion' piece with a hope that everyone sits down and resolves this then says: "As an elected official, I don't think that is too much to ask of Satterfield." Well as a reporter for the County's only local paper, I would turn that around and ask that Ms. Speith-Saylor, or ANYONE who works at the Corydon Democrat go out and find out what really happened and inform the public. As paid members of the news media, I don't think that is too much to ask ...

    Marsha Flock
  5. print email
    October 25, 2013 | 09:56 AM

    Thank you and well said Ms. Flock

    Wendy Black
  6. print email
    October 25, 2013 | 10:14 AM

    If it's Donnie Satterfield's decision to kick Lifespan out, and he doesn't tell the newspaper why, then what?

    Also, writing opinions a week after a story ran is nothing new for the Corydon Democrat, and, frankly, I have no issue with it. I like to hear the opinions of those who probably know more about a subject than I do.

  7. print email
    Lifespan
    October 25, 2013 | 11:46 AM

    It seems that lifespan isn't being looked at. Are "they" the driving force behind this? Do they "rent" the facility or is it free? Are they losing money or "profit" from this?

    I don't think the center should have been built but since it's there it should be rented with a written agreement (and paid for) if used. That eliminates all of this. As a taxpayer I don't think I should have to contribute to older people drinking coffee and playing bingo. If they want a place to hang out then pay the fee.

    Opinion
  8. print email
    Senior's Meals Vs. Spencer Township
    October 25, 2013 | 12:20 PM

    I really cannot fathom why anyone would want to curtail the Senior Meals at the Frenchtown Community Center. The Center gives many Seniors social interaction, a chance to show their independence skills in that they can get there at any age, and an added valued experience in the community to nourish not only their body but their mind and their soul. Many Seniors as well need their meals delivered. Why or why do we feel we need to forget them! Some of them are not just a daily basis but just only on a as need be due to surgery or such basis. I just can't express how my heart is saddened that this has come to "utility budget" as they say. I am so sure in my heart that Life Span paid their share of utilities! Bottom line. . . . ... my Mother is now (85) at a point when she needs the help and it's not going to be available. Wheel's on Wheels, Let me know where you will be? We need you!


    Rita Bowles Cash
  9. print email
    October 26, 2013 | 03:18 AM

    ... I am so ashamed of the way this community has treated Mr. Satterfield over this issue. It is great to stand up for the Seniors to be able to take their meals at the Spencer Township Government building, but many people have said ugly things on their FB page, and even the Democrat has taken the position that there is something "wrong" with Mr. Satterfield's decision. I believe the FB group to keep the Seniors there instigated a legal action against Mr. Satterfield and so far I haven't gotten them to publicize what was filed, but I gather it was to say he was incompetent to do his job. Could the Democrat please report on the tactics of the people who are following Ms. Dubois, publish the complaint against Mr. Satterfield and explain how she has come out smelling like a rose on this issue, when it takes two sides to make an agreement work?

    Marsha Flock
  10. print email
    October 26, 2013 | 07:49 AM

    What is the purpose of an opinion poll? If the residents of Spencer Township think the Trustee was wrong they will let him know in next year's election. I believe that is why we have elections. To allow the MAJORITY to speak.

    John Smith
  11. print email
    October 26, 2013 | 11:00 AM

    To the person on the comment on opinion poll. This is so the people on the facebook page can vote. Not the residents can voice their opinion. The ones of you that are on the computer a lot look up lifespan resources inc. Lifespan gets money from 11 different organizations. Plus the money from the meals. If you look it up their income in 2011 was 3.89 million. Expected income for this year is 4.3 million. They are one of the highest earning nonprofits in Indiana. Average Lifespan employee salary is $87,000 by what is posted on different sites on the internet. So do yoiur own math. Where does the money from the meals go?

  12. print email
    Just Wrong
    October 26, 2013 | 11:06 AM

    It is amazing to me that anyone would think that what is happening here is right. I personally have the highest regard for Donnie Satterfield and his family. They are good, honest, hard working people who over the years have done great things in the community, however the failure to work with Lifespan and the Senior citizens in Spencer Twp. is just wrong. While I will continue to support the Satterfield business I can not longer politically support Mr. Satterfield. I believe it is time to move on. I am hopeful we will have a new Twp. Trustee after the next election who will do what is right and reinstate Lifespan and the ability of the Seniors to utilize the Frenchtown Community Center. I encourage all Spencer Twp. residents to do what is right and elect a new Twp. Trustee in the next election. Donnie, I want to thank you for your service over the years but after analyzing all of the information and attending the resent Twp. Board meetings I simply do not believe your decision regarding this matter is right. It is not good for the community nor our senior citizens. I wish you and your family well. Thank you.

    Spencer Twp. Resident
  13. print email
    October 27, 2013 | 01:35 PM

    If lifespan really cared why do the seniors pay for the meals? I mean heck they show profits of around 4 MILLION a year and an average salary of employees is $87,000. Everyone sees lifespan doing these meals and activities for the seniors and APPEAR to be the good guys but if you profit 4 million a year and pay your employees an average salary of $87,000 I'd wonder why they don't "rent" the center or pay the bills. They are a nonprofit agency getting money from several places. Take a look at their website you can learn a lot that makes you wonder if maybe it's lifespan that is the problem....

  14. print email
    Lifespan
    October 29, 2013 | 09:20 AM

    Not sure where you get the information above but for 2012, Lifespan had an income (federal and state funded--with donations from businesses and individuals) of $4,314,128 with expenditures on all the programs they provide of $4,260,169. It is a NON-PROFIT organization that offers these LOW COST programs to communities. It is funded by the government to provide these services. They do not have money to rent buildings!! I don't think you understand the concept!

    Terri Rennirt
  15. print email
    October 29, 2013 | 09:27 AM

    It's interesting how the seniors get kicked out of the community center and Satterfield's defenders decide that they need to attack the organization that was helping the seniors, instead of wondering why the seniors were kicked out and why the township doesn't have the money to maintain the senior meals program.

    Attacking Lifespan is a red herring by sorry people who don't want to have to explain why Spencer Township can't afford to do this while still having the highest-paid township trustee and township advisory board in the county.

  16. print email
    October 29, 2013 | 12:45 PM

    I would like to thank everyone for all the figures. Where can i buy stock in Lifespan.

  17. print email
    October 31, 2013 | 08:04 AM

    Isn't it ironic how you accuse the trustee and the board of hiding something when in fact you have now put a block on your Facebook page unless you want to join this hate group...hmmm! I ask you what are you hiding? If you are fighting for an injustice you would think you would want the world to know. Makes you wonder who is really the victim here. Or maybe you just got scared because you were accused of slander by Ms. Flock!

  18. print email
    October 31, 2013 | 12:46 PM

    Irony is also people commenting on this that don't even live in Spencer township. Have they found another place for $100 a month yet? What happened to their previous sites?

  19. print email
    November 01, 2013 | 11:32 AM

    So if we don't agree with your tactics or cause then we're sorry people defending our township. Sticks and stones my friend!

  20. print email
    November 02, 2013 | 11:06 PM

    Looks like if they like the fellowship. They would go to the Corydon site.

  21. print email
    November 04, 2013 | 01:14 PM

    Wonder why the numbers are declining on their Facebook page. This group is strictly a hatred group & if you disagree with them or have your own opinion they want to attack. Now they have stated on this website & on their Facebook page that they are passionate, yet if you are passionate & in favor for what your township has done they want to take it on a personal level.
    I agree with the previous statement; if you are fighting for justice then why would you close your group. You are hiding something! I think you are worried & why doesn't the Democrat do a news story on that?

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