To The Point 2-7-13

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I NEED TO TAKE A MOMENT and clear up some issues that I inadvertently created in last week’s newspaper.

– In our story that outlined the different pay rates of public employees, it needs to be stated that although county and town officials receive a set amount of money per year to hold those offices, obviously there is more involved in holding an office than simply attending a meeting.

As it was noted in the article, many of these officials are “on duty” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When negotiations were going to bring a riverboat to the county; and after that license was secured, I’m sure county officials worked many, many hours outside of a meeting room to make that happen.

When snowstorms strike the county, our commissioners must decide when to call out highway workers to treat and plow roads. That normally doesn’t happen during a meeting, and usually they are decisions that need to be made in the middle of the night.

The story in last week’s newspaper was merely written so that the taxpayers in this county know what their elected officials are making.

Those statistics used to be required by the state to be printed, but the State Legislature a few years ago decided to eliminate the requirement that elected officials salaries be printed in community newspapers. Again, that was a state mandate, not a local one.

I greatly respect the work that our county officials take on for our benefit, and I believe that many earn what they are paid; but we as a community also have the right to know what those salaries are.

– In the article concerning the pending closing of the East Enterprise branch of MainSource Bank, it was noted that MainSource purchased First Financial Bank in 2007. In essence, MainSource purchased the Vevay and East Enterprises branches of First Financial Bank, it did not purchase the entire First Financial banking system. A point of clarification.

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Since we’re discussing the pending closure of the bank, it seems curious to me that a determination would be made, a “business decision”, that it was not feasible to keep the branch open. When the Census information for the first decade of the 2000s were released, Cotton Township, East Enterprise, had experienced the highest amount of growth over the last 10 years in the entire county. The community has seen new businesses; new housing communities; and a growing elementary school. All of those entities, along with all of the people who have been living there for years, have a need for a community bank on a daily basis. It doesn’t seem feasible that those businesses who have nightly deposits will find it convenient to close their stores and then drive to Vevay or Rising Sun to make those deposits.

I know that there are petitions in the community asking MainSource to reconsider its decision to close the branch; and I would hope that if those banking officials don’t see a business future in East Enterprise, that they would show consideration for the community and offer the building for sale if another financial institution would want to offer services there. I know that doesn’t make sense to see a property to a competitor, but if the decision has been reached that it doesn’t make “business sense” to keep a branch there, then I would assume it wouldn’t be a financial blow to let someone else try.

The one thing I do know is that there’s a community filled with people and businesses that have shown that they need a financial institution on a daily basis. Hopefully this situation will have a happy ending for the people of the East Enterprise community.

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The debate over gun control continues, and although I am not a member of the NRA or other pro-gun organizations, I do think everyone needs to stop and slow down and begin some real, meaningful dialogue that involves compromise before final laws and bills are drafted.

The common thread in all of the tragedies – whether you’re talking about Columbine; a movie theater in Colorado; a political rally in Arizona; an elementary school in Connecticut; or a bunker in Alabama – is that the people involved in committing those crimes and those tragedies suffered from emotional issues. If we really want to find solutions to the problems of violence, it is my thought that what needs to happen is to invest in psychological and emotional programs that can be accessed easily by people and family members who fear that problems may escalate.

It’s time to help people before they find themselves at the edge of their mental cliffs, and we need to find ways to put programs in place to make sure that those people don’t have access to weapons while at the same time protecting the rights of the vast majority of citizens who own guns respectfully and properly.