Cleaning Out A Cluttered Mind

Sitting on the set, I have so many random thoughts that I want to blog about that often thoughts enter the back of mind and get stuck there. Well, it’s Friday and I can clean out the back reaches of my mind.

Deadly Fire in Jefferson County

When I first heard about the deadly fire in Jefferson township that killed ten, including many small children, I could not help but remember a similar incident that I covered more than a year earlier.

I got the call before 6am on a winter Saturday morning and headed south to Waynesburg, Greene County. When I arrived, I discovered a mother and several of her children as well as a neighbor’s kids were killed in a house fire. A fire that was sparked by a space heater because the home did not have gas because they had not paid their bills in some time.

While the utility company will no doubt get some heat for turning off the power, it’s well within their legal right to do so when it’s customers do not pay for extended periods of time. The real tragedy here is that the economy is so bad that families cannot afford to heat their homes and often turn to space heaters .. which in my opinion are fire trap waiting to happen. I fear as more people must decide between heat and food for their families, space heaters will become the source of heat of choice … and more fires will occur.

County and City Becomes One

On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer. Mergers the services offered by the city and county into one unit servicing everyone — and making h a top ten city again when it comes to population. It seems like the opportunity of a lifetime – if it is done right.

But seldom are things that makes so much sense so simple. Consider what this proposal faces: county residents who are not going to want to assume millions in city debt, city residents who are not going to want to lose their power when it comes to governance and I have not even mentioned the hundreds of individual departments city and county wide that would be eliminated in such a consolidation – and all those jobs as well.

Change is not something that comes easily in tradition-rich western Pennsylvania. Don’t expect this largest of changes to sail through smoothly either.

Third graders plot to kill teacher

This might have been the most disturbing story I heard all week. Several third graders at a elementary school in Georgia put together a plot to kill their teacher who punished them for acting up in class.

What makes this tale all the more terrible is the calculated way these children planned to murder their teacher. One was to be the lookout, another was assigned to distract her and still another was supposed to hit her over the head with a paperweight. One child even played the role of clean-up person.

I’m amazed by this story on so many levels. From a group of children working together to actually plot a murder to the decision now from the school board in that community to let these kids return to school following their suspension. While this is an isolated incident, the fact that we have children capable of hatching a plot like this speaks to the greater problem in our world with the messages being sent to our children about how to handle problems and reach resolutions.

Well, that pretty much cleans out what’s been in the back of my mind. Have a great weekend. I heading down to my alma mater – Ohio University – to speak to the next generation of journalists and maybe sneak in a round of golf.

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