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Arthur, Crabb speak to students

Friday, October 31, 2003

Though their schedules can be hectic, Mayor Kenny Crabb and candidate Tom Arthur took some time out to talk to area students recently.

Hoping to instill in the students a sense of local government's effect on everyone's life, teacher Mark Rambis invited Arthur and Crabb to speak at Cumberland Academy on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Arthur, Crabb's Democratic opponent, took his "prep hour" of 10 to 10:45 from his job at Northview to speak to the students. The focus of his presentation was to inform the students not only of the city government's abilities, but theirs as well.

"I'd like to create a youth advisory council," Arthur said. "I know what I liked when I was your age, but I don't think you'd like the same stuff now."

The crowd, comprised of students from several age groups, agreed.

"The council will be comprised of two students from Northview, two students from Clay Middle School, and one from here," he said. "A diverse group.

"There's a whole sector isn't tapping into," he continued. "Nobody asks you guys what you want."

Arthur went on to briefly talk about his history, covering his collegiate years up to today.

"I teach at Northview now, of course," he said. "It's sad that I have to leave, but my job as mayor will take all my time. I don't feel like a politician, I feel like a teacher."

Arthur said that he felt an urge to run for mayor over a year ago, and he has followed his feelings.

"I don't know a harder worker than my father," he said. "Even when I was younger, I knew that kind of work wasn't for me. I wasn't cut out for it. I've always been interested in politics, though."

Arthur finally went over some of the plans he wants to carry out, should he make it to office. Among other items, he spoke on repaving Brazil roads and claimed that Brazil is "sitting on a goldmine" due to its proximity to Interstate 70.

Arthur then took questions from the young audience, mostly revolving around a skate park he said he would "try and build" if he was elected.

On Wednesday, Mayor Kenny Crabb came to speak to the students. His speech centered mostly around his duties as mayor and several aspects he likes about the community.

"I appreciate being able to go and talk to the schools," Crabb said, opening his speech.

He went on to compare his job to that of a state governor's.

"As mayor I don't sign any checks or bills, the court treasurer does," he explained.

He then spoke about the city's services and how many of them operate.

"There's great cooperation between our county and township fire departments," he said. "We help them out and they help us. The same thing goes with Terre Haute and Greencastle."

Crabb said that he believes that Brazil "has a good park system and a good Parks Board" and that a lot of thanks need to go to the board.

Crabb then discussed some of Brazil's limitations as a Class 3 city.

"What we can't do usually revolves around money and the way we raise it. The standard of living isn't affected by this, but we're just limited by our size."

Finally, Crabb fielded questions from the crowd. Most of the inquires involved entertainment for younger citizens.

"I hated to see the roller rink close," Crabb said when asked about the now-defunct establishment. "I don't know exactly what happened... it was a private business and I had no right to get involved in their business."

Crabb also took questions about the skate park, saying that "something had to be done" about skateboarding in the parks, though a new skate park runs in the area of $350,000 and he "doesn't have that kind of money."

Finally, a member of the audience asked about the lack of places for teens to congregate after school.

"If it's not designated against loitering," he said, referring to local parking lots, "the police have no reason to come and check everything out unless it looks suspicious."

Rambis said that the event was successful in his eyes.

"What I wanted the kids to see was the diversity of local leadership -- I wanted them to see for themselves where the city's going. Hopefully this will spark some interest in them. I really think it went as planned."

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