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Column as I see ’em …
The school district’s recent efforts to make sure children are safe paid off early Monday morning in more ways than one.
When a man allegedly made numerous threats against a female student, the high school and an elementary school, district officials and law enforcement acted smartly and quickly by ensuring that the schools weren’t only safe, but that the public was kept informed.
First they made sure the person who allegedly made those threats was investigated, charged and put in jail.
Second they made every effort to ensure that the school buildings were safe and secure long before students started arriving for classes Monday morning.
Third, they made sure that the public was notified by contacting local media early that morning to get credible information on the street.
Local media would be us, specifically staff writer Meaghan Downs whose news beat includes education.
By doing so we were able to share information directly from Superintendent Sheila Mitchell and Lawrenceburg Police Chief Chris Atkins about exactly what happened, when it happened and that the school buildings were safe for children.
By the time students were heading into class, our website and social media platforms were already updated with facts — not rumors and half-truths — giving our readers and the community a sense of relief, some of which was reflected back to us.
“Thank you for posting. I have children at both schools involved and while the ‘One Call’ from the schools let me know something had happened, your article gave the details I was wanting,” wrote one of our facebook friends.
“Great article on-line,” wrote another. “Thanks for keeping us up to date.”
Of course the district has multiple platforms for reaching parents, including social media and its own website. It also has the persistent One Call Now model, which delivers a pre-recorded message from the district to those who have signed up for the service.
But it also has The Anderson News, which always stands ready to do whatever it can to help our public agencies deliver important information, particularly when there is a crisis.
For their help in making sure that happened Monday morning, we publically thank Superintendent Mitchell, Chief Atkins and Sheriff Troy Young for making sure we — and by proxy you — were in the loop.
Speaking of in the loop …
Business owners shouldn’t be surprised to learn in February that they no longer will have to shell out money each year for a county business license.
The fiscal court is poised to do away with that license requirement — a decision that will likely be met with equal amounts of enthusiasm and doubt by business owners.
Some will say it’s just one less obstacle for local businesses to hurdle as they try to stay afloat. Others will say it leaves local businesses vulnerable to outsiders who no longer have to pay a fee to swoop into Anderson County, complete a job and leave.
Doing away with that license requirement will reduce the fiscal court’s revenue about $60,000, but it appears magistrates would prefer a slight drop in revenue over the cacophony of complaints from businesses.
What shouldn’t surprise business owners to learn is that there’s almost no chance that city government will follow suit and drop its own business license requirement, which is already considerably more expensive than the county’s ever was.
Speaking of expensive …
Sports editor John Herndon’s piece this week on the declining number of players in parks and recreation football is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dissatisfaction with the county park.
Used by thousands for a variety of purposes, the park has never become even a portion of what other community’s have to offer and money is the biggest reason why.
Obvious omissions in the park include tennis courts and other amenities, not the least of which is a pool.
Magistrates are in a constant tug-of-war about how to spend limited tax dollars, and agreeing to spend cash on park improvements is a tough sell to county residents who live on pothole-filled roads.
Not to mention underpaid EMS workers and other county staff.
The good news is that despite limited resources, the current version of the fiscal court is making every effort to make improvements. The bad? Short of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, those efforts continue to fall short of what people actually want.