Attorney thwarts courtroom suicide

Gilbert Franklin Black, Kendallville, almost succeeded in a courtroom gun suicide attempt Tuesday afternoon in Noble County Circuit Court. He was at a sentencing hearing.

Black, 53, had been convicted at an earlier hearing for sexual battery on an 11-year-old girl. He appeared in court for sentencing before Judge Robert C. Probst.

The child and her family were present at the hearing.

According

(Albion (Indiana) New Era – Page 1 – March 1, 1995) 

By David Speakman

Gilbert Franklin Black, Kendallville, almost succeeded in a courtroom gun suicide attempt Tuesday afternoon in Noble County Circuit Court. He was at a sentencing hearing.

Black, 53, had been convicted at an earlier hearing for sexual battery on an 11-year-old girl. He appeared in court for sentencing before Judge Robert C. Probst.

The child and her family were present at the hearing.

According to an aunt of the girl, Probst announced Black would serve three years in prison – the maximum sentence for his conviction.

According to witnesses, Black stood up after the sentence was announced and was asked to await transport by police to the jail.

The aunt said she saw Black’s attorney, Richard Thonert lung as Black pushing him.

Then onlookers could see that Black had removed a small caliber handgun from beneath his jacket and placed it under his chin.

He pulled the trigger while his attorney tried to stop the action, witnesses said.

A single shot was heard throughout the building.

“After the gunshot, the girl’s mother ran from the courtroom,” said the aunt.

A witness at the scene saw the mother and various family members run from the courthouse and exit the east side of the building.

Employees at the county clerk’s office heard a female voice shout, “Call an ambulance, he’s shot himself,” then heard another voice say, “No, don’t. He deserves to die.”

Black was released fro McCray Hospital after treatment of superficial injuries around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday into county police custody to be transported to the Indiana State Penitentiary.

“I’m glad he didn’t die,” the aunt said, expressing further that he deserved to be behind bars.

“He can rape a little girls,” she said, “but can’t face three years in jail.”

 Black was transported by EMS to McCray Memorial after an original Trip to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne via Samaritan helicopter was aborted as unnecessary.

Town, county and state law enforcement officers responded tot he call of gunfire in the courthouse.

Ii is not against the law in Indiana to carry a firearm into a courtroom, providing the carrier has a permit, according to Bruce Bryant, administrative assistant for the Indiana State Police Firearms Section in Indianapolis.

lack could be charged, however, with contempt of court, violations of discharging a weapon within town or county property, criminal recklessness and other crimes related to the firearm discharge.

As recently as their Monday regular meeting, Noble County Commissioners have been discussing courthouse security measures.

Noble County Prosecutor David Lauer said the three county judges expressed continuing concern for the prevention of firearms in the courthouse.

“It doesn’t matter how many deputies are in the building or how quickly officers respond,” Lauer said. “By the time shots are fired, it’s too late.”

WIPB cancels homosexual movie

WIPB-TV the campus-based Muncie PBS Affiliate, has decided not to air the controversial dramatization, The Lost Language of Cranes.

Based upon David Levitt’s 1986 best-selling novel of the same name, the tale unfolds as a father and son reveal their homosexuality to each other.

The British movie, directed by Nigel Finch, features gay characters in lead roles. Actors such as Angus

(Ball State Daily News – Thursday, June 25, 1992)

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
Staff Reporter

WIPB-TV the campus-based Muncie PBS Affiliate, has decided not to air the controversial dramatization, The Lost Language of Cranes.

Based upon David Levitt’s 1986 best-selling novel of the same name, the tale unfolds as a father and son reveal their homosexuality to each other.

The British movie, directed by Nigel Finch, features gay characters in lead roles. Actors such as Angus MacFayden, Eileen Atkins, Corey Parker (thirtysomething) and Brian Cox (the original Hannibal Lector in the film Manhunter) round out the cast.

Some scenes that may have led to this decision to stop the telefilm include the portrayal of shirtless men talking in bed and same-gender kissing.

At press time, station officials were unavailable for comment on the last-minute cancellation of an airing scheduled in local listings.

“I’m surprised that it is not showing,” said Kerry Poynter, Lesbian and Gay Student Association internal vice president.

“At first I was surprised that it was listed as showing in Muncie because it had to do with gay issues,” he said.

LGSA members said WIPB has chosen not to air other programs that deal with homosexuality, including the documentary, Tongues Untied

“Gay and lesbian people also donate money to the station and ought to see what they want to see,” Poynter said.

The only Indiana-based station airing the program is the Indiana University-owned PBS affiliate.

“In a college town people tend to be a little more open minded and a large portion of people would be interested in seeing a story like Lost Language of Cranes,” Poynter said. “I’m upset and I’m going to call them. Other people should call Channel 49, too.”

Poynter and other callers to the station last night reached an answering machine.

Other students were not surprised by the decision not to air the critically-acclaimed film.

“I think that this re-validates the point that Muncie is 40 years behind the times and is unwilling to support diversity,” said Robin Schreiber, Student Association director of Communication.

“I don’t understand why Channel 49 is trying to act like a mother for the Muncie community,” said Mike Branham, SA Judicial Court justice. 

Pizza Hut joins food court

Pizza Hut Express will join four other food vendors in the new food court being built this summer to replace Wendy’s restaurant in the Student Center, university officials said.

Although Wendy’s is scheduled to close June 5 with demolition and construction to start soon after, there is no guarantee the food court will be open for

(Ball State Daily News – Front Page (lead story) – May 27, 1992)

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
Staff Reporter

Pizza Hut Express will join four other food vendors in the new food court being built this summer to replace Wendy’s restaurant in the Student Center, university officials said.

Although Wendy’s is scheduled to close June 5 with demolition and construction to start soon after, there is no guarantee the food court will be open for business on the first day of classes, Student Center director Bruce Morgan said.

“We have to rely on independent contractors,” Morgan said. “To speed up the construction process, we’ve broken the demolition and construction into different contracts.”

Burger King will replace Wendy’s as the large food vendor in the court and will feature the full national menu, associate vice president of student affairs Barb Jones said.

Jones said Pizza Hut Express will serve personal pan pizzas and bread sticks, and Taco Bell will provide the students’ top food of choice according to surveys.

“This has been a student-driven effort,” Morgan said.

The idea of a food court in the Student Center dates back seven years to the Wendy’s arrival, Morgan said.

Construction of the food court will separate the outlets into two sections, Burger King and Taco Bell will be on the south side (currently occupied by Wendy’s) with removal of an east wall to accommodate the installation of a Pizza Hut Express. the second area, located on the north side entrance will house Baskin Robbins and Gretel’s Bakery Shop.

Morgan said Gretel’s Bakery will serve pastries, cookies, cinnamon rolls and possible fresh fruit.

“Gretel’s is an in-house bakery. Everything will be fresh,” Jones said. “The bakery will test our market and provide what Ball State wants,” Morgan said.

To give the food court a more open feeling, remodeling of the brown tiled area of the lower level of the first floor will coincide with construction. “We wanted to get rid of the “cave feeling” Jones said.

The remodeling will concentrate on removing non-structural walls and lightening the area, said Jones.

A portion of the first floor corridor will be closed during construction. Jones said there will be a problem getting to On The Ball and special arrangements will be made for disabled students.

Jones and Morgan said disabled individuals should go to the hotel desk and make arrangements to be escorted through the construction area to access On The Ball. Access to Career Services and Student Legal Services may also be affected by construction.

The food court will increase on-campus employment. “ARA(the company managing the restaurants) will be employing students and will be going though Career Services,” said Jones. The company may also work with out food management program to create a program for internships.

“This is jobs for students,” said Morgan. “A lot of ARA managers were former student employees.”

ARA Services is also interested in pursuing an environmentally sound establishment. “They have a very active environmental program,” said Jones. ARA has expressed a desire to tailor its environmental program to suit the campus needs.

OUTLET DISHING OUT FOOD ITEMS

While the food court construction is underway, Dining Services will be providing a food outlet based in the southeast corner of the Tally.

“We move in Monday, June 8,” assistant director of dining services Betty Hays said. She said hours will be 7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

From 7-1 a.m. the outlet will be selling breakfast foods. These items include juices, donuts, croissants, muffins, fresh fruit, cereal, coffee, tea, milk, sodas and mineral waters, according to a memo from Liz VanMatre, dining service assistant director of operations.

Also available at this time will be carry-out entrees. “This is so people can buy their lunch in the morning to eat later,” Hays said.

Summer lunch hours start at 11 a.m. and will feature a hot entree that will vary from fried chicken, casseroles and vegetarian lasagna. 

Music for Vampires

For quite some time, WBST has been brewing a special Halloween treat for its Friends and listeners. Local performances are to be featured this Wednesday afternoon.

Music From the 1989-90 Ball State University Faculty Series will begin at 2 p.m. Rolf Legbrandt plays clarinet and Mitchell Andrews the piano for Castelnuovo-Tedwsco’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 128. Later in the half-hour

Written for the Muncie Star (Page T-5, October 28, 1990)

For quite some time, WBST has been brewing a special Halloween treat for its Friends and listeners. Local performances are to be featured this Wednesday afternoon.

Music From the 1989-90 Ball State University Faculty Series will begin at 2 p.m. Rolf Legbrandt plays clarinet and Mitchell Andrews the piano for Castelnuovo-Tedwsco’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 128. Later in the half-hour program, George Wolf and Pia Sebastiani play saxophone and piano respectively on Fantasia by Villa-Lobos.

Our focus then turns to the eerie, yet musical. Ever since Bela Lugosi’s first performance of Count Dracula, vampires have been a mainstay of modern culture.

at 3:10 p.m. our Halloween Special presentation of Moonlight Sonata by Memerie Innerarity will be performed.

This is a recording of March’s premiere of Ball State University’s performance of the operetta featuring vampires. The recording was taken in WBST’s Studio B before the show’s first public performance in Muncie.

The story tells how one vampire gets revenge over an old enemy. Featured performers are Michael Jorgensen, Patricia Robertson, Andrea Thomas, Fritz Robertson and pianist Eri Nakagawa.

WOMEN OF ISRAEL

At 5 p.m. today, Horizons presents Daughters of Zion: Women in Israel. For his story, producer Adam Phillips travels to Israel, the land of Golda Meir, to see if “the perception of women’s equality in that country is truth or myth.”

The documentary illustrates how 3,000 years of Jewish tradition has created a confusing atmosphere for Israeli women by encouraging them to maintain child-bearing roles while remaining passive in public life and politics.

Phillips reports that in Israel, attitudes toward women and women’s attitudes about themselves are controversial. “Most everyone in the country has a firm opinion about the woman’s proper role at home, in the workplace, and Jewish ritual life. The conflicts come to a head when women want to read from the Torah Scroll at the holy Wailing Wall in Jerusalem,” he said.

Horizons host Vertamae Grosvenor and Gwendolyn Glenn are co-producers of next Sunday’s Horizons documentary, Myrtle Beach: Parity in Paradise.

Their story focuses on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s highly profitable tourism business, the second largest industry in the state, and on the struggles of the area’s African American residents who are trying to gain economic parity within their seaside community.

Despite the millions of tourist dollars that pass through the area each year, Grosvenor and Glenn report that black residents along the 60-mile coastline of this lavish resort area have not received significant financial rewards or career opportunities.

RARE BELLINI

Saturday is Vincenzo Bellini’s birthday. The Best Seat in the House hosts John Meadows and Dick Ver Wiebe celebrate the 189th birthday of the composer.

Seldom recorded Bellini will air at 12:30 p.m. The program will feature unusual operatic recordings from Bellini’s repertoire.

Alumnus nominated for national award

(Ball State Daily News – Page 2 – July 5, 1989) 

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
Staff Writer

An alumnus was recently announced to be a finalist for the Indiana Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.

If Gary Emmert, a Teacher’s College graduate, wins the competition, he could receive a $7,000 grant to be used for classroom needs and a trip to Washington, D.C. to be recognized by President Bush, the Indiana Department

(Ball State Daily News – Page 2 – July 5, 1989) 

By DAVID SPEAKMAN
Staff Writer

An alumnus was recently announced to be a finalist for the Indiana Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.

If Gary Emmert, a Teacher’s College graduate, wins the competition, he could receive a $7,000 grant to be used for classroom needs and a trip to Washington, D.C. to be recognized by President Bush, the Indiana Department of Education announced.

Emmert was nominated by David Shull, principal of Ben Davis Junior High School in Indianapolis. Shull had previously nominated Emmert for the award in 1988.

“Gary is an outstanding educator. He’s very dedicated and effective at teaching all ability levels. He believes that all kids can learn,” said Shull.

This year Emmert is one of three Indiana finalists for the award in mathematics teaching. State Superintendent of Public Instructions H. Dean Evens said that the winner would be announced during the first week of September.

A national panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators will judge the finalists on the basis of experience, education and professional memberships, recommendations, essays, and proposed use of the awards for classroom activities.

Emmert, nominated for the National Science Foundation award for the second time, works well with others, Shull said. Emmert is also well regarded by fellow teachers. This year he was nominated by his peers for the Wayne Township teacher of the year award.

“Gary is a good team player. He’s no prima donna. He is still humble and admits freely that he learns from those around him,” said Shull.

Emmert also incorporates principles of physics onto his math classes, Shull said. This past year Emmert had his classes do such projects as create a capsule that would protect a raw egg when dropped from the top of the school and design and build boats for a race after the students estimated the amount of water displacement would be caused by the weight of the team.

Emmert also acts as the faculty advisor and founder of the Ben Davis Junior High chapter of Odyssey of the Mind, a national student problem-solving organization.

This year, the team was challenged to come up with a machine that would perform twelve tasks on its own. The team’s gadget won the state championship and placed in the top 15 in the national competition in Boulder, Colo.

The three years of Emmert advising Odyssey of the Mind teams has produced three state championships and placement in the national top 15 twice.

“In the four years that Gary has been at Ben Davis Junior High, he has stood for academic excellence,” Shull said. “I wish we had a school full of teachers like Gary Emmert.”

Emmert is on academic leave for the summer, according to Ben Davis Junior High, and could not be reached by the Daily News for comment.

Prof says group gets more credit than it deserves

(Ball State Daily News; Page 1 – June 28, 1989)

BY DAVID SPEAKMAN

The Moral Majority received more credit for political impact than it deserved, said Steve Johnson, professor of sociology.

Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority disbanded the organization June 11 after taking credit for successfully helping elect President Bush, according to the Associated Press.

“Falwell called it ‘mission accomplished;’ my position is that it was mission aborted,’ Johnson said.

Reagan’s margin of victory

(Ball State Daily News; Page 1 – June 28, 1989)

BY DAVID SPEAKMAN

The Moral Majority received more credit for political impact than it deserved, said Steve Johnson, professor of sociology.

Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority disbanded the organization June 11 after taking credit for successfully helping elect President Bush, according to the Associated Press.

“Falwell called it ‘mission accomplished;’ my position is that it was mission aborted,’ Johnson said.

Reagan’s margin of victory would have been larger in 1984 if the moral majority didn’t exist, Johnson said. Reagan won because of economic issue instead of religious moral issues.

Johnson appeared on national radio last Wednesday to discuss his surveys of voters in 1980, 1984 and 1998 as a part of the continuing Middletown Studies.

The studies are based on the assumption that Muncie is representative of the average American town and have been widely accepted for decades.

The surveys are published in The Political Role of Religion of the United Stateswhich was co-edited by Joseph Tamney, professor of sociology.

The results of the survey showed that religion had very little effect at the voting booth, Johnson said.

Supporters of the Christian right tend not to vote. The supporters also were less educated, more likely to be elderly and more politically conservative than the majority of the populace, he said.

“A typical Christian rightist thinks homosexuals have way too many rights, thinks a woman;s most important role is that of a mother and housekeeper and watches a lot of religious television.” Johnson said.

The popularity of he Christian right is not high, Johnson said. His data shows the public agreement with the Moral Majority peaked around 20 percent. At that time 40 percent of voters were against Jerry Falwell’s organization. Johnson noted that the endorsement Reagan received from the Moral Majority in 1984 actually caused more people to vote for Walter Mondale.

“Falwell and Robertson appealed to people who really don;t give a rip about actually voting,” Johnson said. “People were scared of Pat Robertson and his ultra-conservative supporters.”

Susan Klingel, instructor of speech communication, theorized that the Christian right movement failed to get his message across effectively.

“They could have done things to be more successful. They were hitting so many areas they could have had a large impact, but didn’t have the power to hold the attention of the public,” Klingel said.

The Moral Majority was too negative and their comments and concepts were too narrow to appeal to the public at large, Klingel said. Falwell’s organization was a rule-oriented type of structure and operated under a “thou shalt not” doctrine, she added.

The Christian right could have been more successful if it communicated to the public more like the Christian left, Klingel said.

Johnson said the Christian left, headed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, focuses on the broad issues of helping the disadvantaged, working for broadened civil rights and eliminating the arms race. He added, the Christian left would like to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss arms reductions on a moral high ground.

Although Jackson has a larger base of supporters, his association with religion is a liability, Johnson said.

“Americans don’t want religious principles in the political arena. Americans believe in the separation of church and state. The church rules in Iran. Look at the mess there.” he said and then asked, “If religion gets into American politics, whose are we to use> Jerry Falwell’s? Pat Robertson’s? What about the Jews?”

The reason for Jackson’s success compared to Pat Robertson in 1998 was because Jackson didn’t wear his religion on his sleeve, Johnson said. Robertson, unlike Jackson, gave political speeches with every other reference to the Bible.

“You can’t have a political debate when the Bible is constantly brought up,” Johnson said.

Jackson has never held an elected office and needs to get practical experience like the mayorship of Washington, D.C., Johnson said. Jackson would have been more successful if he had spent a few years in congress.

Bill Gray, the House of Representatives’ Democratic Whip. who is also a minister has a bright future, Unlike Jackson, Gray focused his political career on holding elected office, Johnson said.

Religion has had little impact on politics in the 1980s, but it has had impact in the past, he said. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished his civil rights victories by mobilizing black churches.

Still, people don’t want to be preached at from the White House, Johnson said. “Americans view religion as a private part of their lives, not something to vote on.”