To the point week of 1/25/07

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IT’S BEEN AN INTERESTING WEEK here in the county, ranging from the drying out of the county after days of rain to the first snow of the season to the bank robbery and bomb threats.

With those things in mind, I’d like to share a few observations:

– While threats against our children always alarm and enrage us; we should also be mindful that innocent adults working in the bank were also threatened last Thursday morning.

We live in a society where we all have different jobs and perform different duties, but having a masked gunman walk into your place of employment waving a shotgun around isn’t anywhere on the job description.

Those tellers in that bank last Thursday morning need to be congratulated for their heroism and calmness during the event. They gave the robber what he demanded, and in doing so they made sure that neither themselves or anyone else was harmed.

Money is like cars – they make it everyday. With federal insurance; no one’s life savings was at stake, and those tellers did exactly what they should have done: hand over the money and stay safe.

In all of this we haven’t stopped to recognize their courage and bravery; and I for one would like to tell them that I’m proud of them.

– As it happens, Switzerland County and Rising Sun faced off on Friday night against each other on the basketball floor. Both schools had been evacuated the day before as part of the bomb threats; and in this time of cell phones and emails and instant messenging; students from both schools know each other pretty well.

I couldn’t help but be a little shocked, however, as I heard our students “counseling” some of the Rising Sun students about the bomb threats.

One of our kids told me that some of the Rising Sun kids were “kinda freaked out” by the bomb threat; because they hadn’t had one before.

“We told them that it was no big deal, because we’ve already been through this a couple of times,” the Switzerland County student told me. “We just told them how we went through our day the other times.”

It’s a strange comment on society, even here in Switzerland County, when our children find themselves doing bomb-fear counseling in the bleacher of a basketball game.

As adults, we all look back at our childhood and our time in school with rose-colored glasses. We think about times spent with friends both in and out of school; and even if there were some “scary” moments, we tend to push those to the background.

But our children have lived through a lifetime of events this year, and the fear is that they are becoming callused to the situations. I’m glad that they were able to console some of their friends from Rising Sun; but here’s hoping that our school system, and others, can get through the rest of the year without anymore threats and scares.

This is a time when our kids should be storing up wonderful memories. Those who want to destroy those memories should be dealt with firmly.

– Thankfully the flood warnings that were issued didn’t turn into much here in Switzerland County; although many of our creeks and streams swelled over their banks for a time.

Did anyone else think it was strangely coincidental that this rain fell at nearly the same timeframe that the famous 1937 Flood did? It’s been 70 years, but I still look at those towers in the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park and am amazed at the awesome power of the river.

Obviously I wasn’t here in 1937; but I was around in 1997 when the last big flood hit here. What really struck me then was the elevations of different areas along the river; as some houses were nearly underwater while others just down river had no water problems at all.

I also remember visiting a flood-damaged home where the owners were looking for two chest freezers full of food that had been carried away by the waters right out of their house.

The river is a magnificent piece of nature, but we should always remember that it’s not always the peaceful and tranquil body of water that we see most of the time.

We should also remember that the Markland Dam is a dam for navigation of water craft and is not a flood control dam. When the water rises, the dam’s locks are opened wide to allow the water to pass through. We shouldn’t ever assume that because the dam is here that flooding is gone.

It would be a costly assumption.

– I brag on the Switzerland County Highway Department a lot, but they are a group of men who have a job at this time of the year that probably none of us would want.

When the snow falls and we all settle into our homes and listen to reports that we shouldn’t be out on the roadways; the Switzerland County Highway workers are out on those roads, using all of the tools necessary to get our roads cleared off so we can get to work and school as normal.

Sometimes that means going out early in the morning and working late into the night. Sometimes that means missing holidays with their families and losing quite a bit of sleep.

But they do it because it’s their job and they care about the safety of the people who are moving around this county on a daily basis.

It’s a thankless job, so I wanted to say thanks, anyway.