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Opinion

  • We now have a clearer picture of how many of our tax dollars this year will be going to the 16 separate taxing districts around our county. At least the property tax payments recorded by Sheriff Mike Armstrong have showed us how our hard-earned $30 million is being divvied up.

    Yet, although we have this dollar amount and a thread of an idea about the tax distribution, we truly don’t know how that ball of yarn unwinds.

    And we owe you an apology.

    We simply should have been watching more closely and offering you more information along the way.

  • Brenda Jackson has served Shelby County Public Schools long and well and, as she has sworn to do, she has put the kids ahead of herself. Her methods can be questioned, as they were last fall when she fought off a challenger to win her seventh term representing District 5 on the Shelby County School Board, but you can’t debate what is in her heart, for she lives from that heart every time she takes her seat on the platform for a board meeting.

    Ms. Jackson is all about the kids and making sure they get the best education this county can provide.

  • I have some questions for those who are reading this letter to consider now that the New Year has begun.:

  • A recent post on Facebook displays a series of photos detailing the serial deconstruction of a landmark building in Shelbyville, a building that was once considered among the finest in the state. Soon those shattered bricks will fade into memory and be forgotten,  just the same as the grand cupola that once adorned its rooftop.

  • I heard the news today, oh boy. An elementary student in Maryland is suspended from school because he cocked and fired his finger at a classmate during a playground game. He committed a crime against school policy and got the maximum sentence. He will return to his reading, writing and ‘rithmetic as reformed and remorseful, his future hopefully snapped away from the edge of awful by an act of tough love.

  • Jack Swindler is a fifth-grader at Southside Elementary but he is already a leader, working with school administrators to start a recycling program among the students and staff. He wrote a letter to the teachers that explained, “I’m part of the TAG [Talented And Gifted] program, and I qualified for leadership. As a leader, I want to help this school recycle.”

    Southside Principal Suzanne Burkhardt said the students are familiar with ways to help the environment since the school has an Energy Team, made up of students, including Jack.

  • The scene has no great artistic value, other than to galvanize one fictional man’s words with a living man’s conviction.

    Humphrey Bogart. Ed Hutcheson in the film Deadline USA. Crusading editor for The Day. He’s taking down a mobster, seeking the truth against a cunning corruptor looking to control his city. Hutcheson is winning. He is telling the truth. He is gloating.

  • The topics of greatest collision these days in our national discourse are the centrifugal – if not central – debates about the oversight of our economy and of our right to bear arms.

    Almost every person in leadership at every level of our governments – and many of us lowly taxpayers – is debating one side or the other of one topic or the other, some wanting to choke the reins of control while others want at least to maintain the freedom of movement now in place. Oddly the chokers and the relaxers are not consistent along the political spectrum.

  • We like what we are hearing from our schools about an increased focus on security. A month after the devastating horror that occurred in Newtown, Conn., we are seeing and hearing that those 26 deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary are having some bit of a positive legacy in school systems cross the country.

    We like that we hear and see that Shelby County Public Schools is working systematically with law enforcement for lockdown drills and process reviews that are intrinsic in providing confidence to parents and imperative to ensuring that first responders are practiced as well.

  • Written in the voice of a kennel dog:

    Hi, my name is Max. I was picked up a few months ago. My owner dropped me on the road. At least I wasn’t thrown from a moving car. I’ve heard of that happening.

    This big nice guy put me in a truck and took me in. He gave me a shot and some yucky yellow medicine. I was put back in a place with a bunch of barking dogs. It sure seemed loud. Gee, so many other dogs here, some sad. Some look mad. Here comes a lady with some food. And water. She talked nice to me.

  • If 100 people were drowning and you had the ability to save 99, would you? Of course you would. We didn’t do anything nearly as heroic in Congress last week, but the question of saving as many as we can from a potentially devastating consequence was relevant. The question was: Do you stand aside and let taxes increase for everyone or do you try to save as many taxpayers as possible before they do?

    I chose to try to do something.

  • The Shelbyville City Council is working on a really good concept that appears to be at a crossroads as to whether it deserves a green light.

    We speak of the newly beefed up solicitation ordinance the council introduced and passed on first reading last Thursday night. The idea is to get more teeth into the requirements for those who would solicit money, for gain or for good cause, on your doorstep, your sidewalk or your street corner.

  • When we think of public giving, we like creative concepts that benefit in a variety of ways, and we have two great examples that have come together to form a truly great addition to our community.

    First there was the generous, end-of-year contribution to Shelby County by business owner Jamie Latona, which was followed by a stroke of genius by those who received the gift.

  • A lot of you of both the red and blue heritage have been trying lately to put the University of Louisville’s stunning victory over Florida into some sort of perspective, to make sense of the sensational, to find order in a moment of chaos. I’m talking about the recent football game, not the Elite 8 encounter in basketball last spring.

  • And the Angel of Death stood there weeping

    Early in the morning of December 14,

    When the little village of Newtown, was sleeping

    He thought his trip would be for one, and not any others

    He was sent, because a disturbed son,

     Had murdered his own mother

     

    Walking around on grass and the clover

    He heard the One On High say,” You’re job is not over”

    He had arrived there early; the morning was crisp and cool

  • On Dec. 12, the Leadership Shelby Class of 2012-2013 spent the day discussing government in Shelby County.

    With the recent elections and contentious talks of a “fiscal cliff,” the word "government" tends to conjure images of division within our society. Many of us are ready to turn the page, change the channel or scroll down the news feed to avoid another heated political discussion or debate.

  • Wasn’t that a lovely gift for Mother Nature to deliver our first real snowfall on a Saturday during a holiday break? No work for many, no school for any and no planned hootenanny.

    The snow wasn’t too deep, the temp wasn’t too cold and the landscape The Artist painted was one of great elegance, Christmas card-quality and pure whiteness. We can even forgive its arriving four days too late to give Santa safe landings.

    Ultimate beauty, moderate temperatures and mild disruption equal the perfect snowfall.

  • This is the time of year for goal-setting, for establishing a blueprint and a roadmap to develop us as better individuals and, together, guide us into forming a stronger community. We commit those concepts into ink on paper, giving them weight and value and creating a contract that binds us to them.

  • With apologies to Clement Moore, we adapt our rhyme for the season and wish you a very Merry Christmas.

     

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas,

    And up and down the street,

    Joy and happiness ruled,

    Not a frown did anyone greet.

     

    The residents were nestled

    All snug in their beds,

    Only post-holiday bills

    Put dread in their heads.

     

    And me with my laptop

    And the Mrs. with her iPad

    Were checking the late news,

  • Here is our annual report card for the community, when we evaluate our performance against the goals and objectives we listed last January.

    We have undertaken this process since 2009, and we believe that it is the newspaper’s goal to establish goals and lead the focus and discussion on issues that are of primary importance to all of us.

    As we look back at 2012, at an agenda that was modest by most standards, we can grade our county with an A in several important categories, but we are more unsettled by how many Incompletes we must hand out.