"Why hasn't there been anything in the paper about ..." I get that question once in a while. Sometimes my response is "Because you didn't call to tell me about it." Often, interesting things are happening in the community and people assume "someone else" has told the newspaper about it. Well, sometimes "someone else" is asleep at the switch. So, if you've heard of something special going on, or an event coming up, or an idea that you think others in the community should know, give us call.
On the other hand, often the question comes in an accusatory tone.
That usually indicates the questioner thinks "something's up" and the truth is being hidden by the newspaper or somebody trying to slide something by the voting public -- as in, "Why hasn't there been anything in about this levy?" (You mean the one written about when the board voted to put it on the ballot, and when it was certified to the ballot, and again when groups -- pro and con -- met to talk about it?)
Maybe I just take the longer view because that's how news happens. Some stories unfold over months or even years. I forget that people don't recall the stories that were done on an issue over a long span of time, whereas I see them all together in a clip file, like chapters in a book.
The difficulty is capturing that time context without taking up too much space to the detriment of the current story.
The Kent courthouse is one example of a story that has evolved over time. Phases that were of major concern two years ago aren't even a footnote now. The new story of whether a new inmate pod should be built at the county jail probably follow the same arc of time.
My Furry Valentine
Got plans for Valentine's Day? Animal rescue groups in the county are hoping people will decide to bring a companion animal into their lives as a valentine.
The Portage Animal Protective League has announced an adoption event called My Furry Valentine, set for Feb. 15-16. Adopters will receive $14 off of cat and dog adoption fees (regular fees are $150 for dogs and $50 for cats). Also, each animal adopted will go home with a brand new pet bed.
And Happy Trails Animal Rescue in Ravenna Township has a number of animals available for adoption. Annette Fisher said they include two indoor pot belly pigs, draft horses, turkeys, sheep, roosters and "pasture pal" horses.
Other animal rescue groups, such as Rose's Rescue, also have animals that would make lovable and loving additions to a family.
Pulling the plug on danger
A Swedish study, published in the journal "Traffic Injury Prevention" has concluded that digital billboards can be a dangerous distraction for drivers.
Imagine that, putting the equivalent of a giant television screen along a busy highway can attract and hold the attention of drivers for dangerous amounts of time. Sort of like twirling a shiny object in front of a child.
Okay, no surprise there. Here's the interesting part. As a result of the study the Swedish government ordered the removal of all digital billboards.
Let's repeat that: The government actually ordered the dangerous objects to be removed. No waiting for the body count to pile up. No waiting for objections from the outside advertising industry. No waiting for lobbyists to dump millions of dollars and millions of words into a debate on whether it was the billboards or the idiot drivers that were to blame.
Now, contrast that with the continuing debate in the U.S. over high-capacity, high-caliber rifles.