Parting shots from a part-timer

Eleven weeks of avoiding rain by sitting inside, watching my cat snuggle up to my mother’s empty shoes, then suddenly toss them in the air, kill them, and stuff their toes with liberated rubber bands and twist ties is about all the fun this part-time publisher, full-time professor can take.

Having waded through my editorial ramblings like so much more floodwater this summer, you’re probably thinking I finally have run out of things to say. But like anyone who loves his hometown enough to work there for free (no salary, no dividends) every summer is never at a loss for ideas:

If we’re going to have a great new entrance to Marion, with signs and new and refurbished housing along Eisenhower Drive, isn’t it about time the city pass an ordinance making it illegal to park vehicles, abandoned or otherwise, on grass for more than 24 hours? All the shiny new housing in the world won’t erase the negative image of what at times resembles a junk yard at Main and Eisenhower streets. And throughout town, far too many neighbors are parking vehicles and trailers on lawns not designed as parking lots.

Likewise, if the city is going to take down as many trees as it does, can’t it somehow encourage homeowners to replant the trees that are lost? Perhaps it could be as simple as allowing city crews to use one of their backhoes to dig holes and take care of planting in their spare time if homeowners would agree to purchase and care for a tree.

We love the fact that the patriarch of one of two families that has owned this newspaper for 140 years is mentioned prominently on signs leading into the city. Now if we could just get the county’s most famous former resident, Chaplain Emil Kapaun, recognized on highway signs leading to Pilsen. That, of course, pre-supposes that there actually are highways leading to Pilsen. Why must this be a county responsibility? Given Kapaun’s likelihood to be designated a saint, perhaps the state would be willing to extend K-256 or K-150 to Pilsen to handle pilgrimages to what likely will be a Kapaun shrine. Wouldn’t we feel better if our state legislators pushed for this solution instead of worrying about whether city and county governments can’t ban concealed weapons in their corridors?

Finally, can’t we do something — anything — to encourage Marion County residents to patronize Marion County businesses? We’ll be working on some ideas in that regard in the next few weeks and hope local development officials will join the process.

Meanwhile, you won’t have Eric Meyer to kick around for the next few months. A lot of new faces have joined our staff this summer. We ask you to bear with some expected growing pains but think, in the end, you’ll find them welcome additions to our community.

— ERIC MEYER

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