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Editorial for January 28, 2014

Cure for January!

“January is the longest month on the calendar.” I’ve heard that all my life. The bills from Christmas just keep coming.

With no money left to get through January, what do you do for entertainment? Go see some Bulldog Basketball games and Wrestling matches. Baseball will be starting in March and Bulldogs in every sport deserve your support. It’s great entertainment, it’s low cost and your friends are already there!

Unique News and Distinct Pleasures

News stories are whatever the news is. Our feature stories are not something you will have read anywhere else. We don’t even print those “canned” legislative stories made to look as though your legislator is writing to keep in touch with you. They are well written and informative, but they are well written in the basement of some big building in Little Rock and sent out to every legislator’s home town newspaper. You can read those things in dozens of papers across the state. Not here.

Our Outdoor News segment is unlike any other. It’s original and thanks to Harold and Patti Smith, it is unique and our readers love it.

The same goes for our Church News segment. We take it as part of our Christian responsibility to bring you news of church developments, programs and special events. I’ve said before that the spiritual wellbeing of this community is in good hands and that one of the best parts of this job is getting to know area clergy in settings other than pulpits.

Adam Hollinsaid is no exception. Valley View Church of Christ is in very good hands. Hollinsaid moved here to take a leadership position with fresh new ideas and enjoys watching his congregation respond. The congregation seems to have enjoyed it as well. There is energy there. It is always a pleasure to hear people new to our community talk about what a great place this is. Holllinsaid moved here from Wisconsin. Two years ago he’d never even heard of Greenwood and had no idea it would soon be his home town. He and his family love it here and feel they’ve found home.

The story is in our Church News in this issue and the pleasure of getting to know Adam Hollinsaid was entirely mine. Thank you.

The City Council Passed a Budget

$9.8 million is what the City of Greenwood expects to spend this year. Not bad considering all we get for our money. The problem is that the city does not expect to take in that much money in revenue this year. That’s nothing new, but it means two important things. 1. Shopping at home has never been more important, and 2. Strong leadership will be needed to keep the ship afloat and not dip too far into cash reserves that are building up for a rainy day.

That spending often presents problems and it is always interesting to see how extraordinary things come out of difficult settings.

I remember the ultimate “Catch 22” in 2007. The water was bad. Water rates not been raised for 19 years…because the water (when there was any) was bad. The water plant was falling apart and under renovation and needed money, but the water rates were too low because the water was bad. City Councils for years had known that they couldn’t fix the water without raising the rates and they couldn’t raise the rates on bad water.

The 2007 City Council made a commitment. They voted to raise the rates, finish the plant renovations and give the people good water by committing potential political suicide. The rates went up, the plant went up, the quality went up, the reputation of the community went up and no one went down in flames. Three of those city councilmen are still on the council today…Lance Terry, Tim Terry and Rod Powell. Their leadership inspired three other leading citizens to step forward and serve…Lee Johnson, A.C. Brown and Trey Burgess.

Nowadays, the water issues have been taken away from the Mayor and handed off to a Water Commission-ostensibly to shield it from the whims of politics. We’ll see. There was once an annexation committee designed to avoid politics and….! You get the point. The Water Department employees have only a committee to rely upon for leadership and support in times of difficulty. Is this good? We’ll see.

There is also a Parks Committee that was very much created to shield it from the whims of politics and to take parks away from the then mayor who suddenly left office. Do we need a Parks Commission anymore since that mayor is gone? It is fiercely argued both ways.

Now, the Water Department employees and the Parks Department employees answer-not to the mayor, but-to a committee that reports to the City Council. Time will tell if this is a good scheme. Those committee members are not elected by the people. But, the mayor now has more time to devote to other issues. What issues? We’ll see. He has an Executive Assistant to help him and a paid lobbyist to handle all those state capital issues like bringing money home for a new year in Greenwood, Arkansas, where I remain,

Yours for a kinder tomorrow,

Kenneth Lawton Edwards, Editor

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