The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

December 30, 2013

A Christmas blessing upon all of central Illinois

At Thursday’s townhall meeting in Washington, Mayor Gary Manier asked for a show of hands: “How many of you still live in the city?” Up went a fair number.

“How many don’t?” Up went most in the packed, standing-room-only church.

Naturally, those who have been the most consistent attendees at these informational meetings following the Nov. 17 tornado have tended to be the disproportionately affected, some of whom walked away from what remained of their homes with little but the clothes on their backs. But it was an indication of just what a punch was landed that day. As City Administrator Tim Gleason noted, “We’re the big dog in this disaster,” which was not intended as a boast.

Indeed, what Manier ultimately was trying to get at was that when any community suffers a sudden and dramatic population loss, as Washington has — with 1,000 families, give or take, uprooted and transplanted at least for a time elsewhere — it also impacts those who are left behind. And specifically in this case, it has walloped Washington’s small businesses.

In what is normally their busiest month, the local Chamber of Commerce is reporting a decline in sales of 18 to 25 percent, said Manier. The coffee shop that relies on the regulars coming in every day isn’t seeing as many of them. The bike shop that has always been something of a regional draw isn’t getting the traffic, either. Some who might otherwise have made it a Christmas shopping destination may not want to be perceived as coming to town to gawk at all the destruction. And what Washington is saying, obviously, is don’t worry about that, we don’t mind, life goes on.

To be sure, there is too much commercialism in Christmas. It is not the reason for the season. But that does not make all the other trappings surrounding the holiday unimportant, because it is just a fact that the dollars raised from local retail purchases keep the lights on at schools, the roads paved, the water running, the snow cleared not just in December but throughout the year. “We’re not going to bankrupt the community because of a tornado. We’re going to fight,” vowed Manier. “I would not want to see one business leave because of this devastation, just like I don’t want to lose one resident.”

Text Only
Opinion
  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Akin's back again to talk of rape So, Todd Akin is back and he’s talking rape again.You remember what happened last time. The would-be Missouri senator torpedoed his campaign two years ago after suggesting in a TV interview that if a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” she is unl

    July 22, 2014

  • Sadness remains as two-year mark passes in cousins' case As most citizens of the Cedar Valley are well aware, July 13 marked two years since the disappearance of cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey of Evansdale.The passage of time provides some semblance of healing, but the sadness, particul

    July 22, 2014

  • UI needs to keep its admission standards high There’s been a lot of talk lately — most of it coming from the leadership of the Iowa state Board of Regents — about the University of Iowa not being passionate enough about its recruitment of in-state undergraduates. Regent president Bruce Rastetter

    July 21, 2014

  • Vote fraud myths meet voting rights reality Before she was allowed to register and vote for the first time in Franklin County, North Carolina, Rosanell Eaton had to read the entire preamble to the U.S. Constitution out loud in front of three men in the county courthouse.Eaton is black. The thr

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • 7-21-14 David Helscher mug Prepare for possible effects of Fed's decisions It has been more than 5 years since the Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy through purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed debt securities. This has generally been called quantitative easing and has not been withou

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook