Why openness is important in meetings and officials

Reuben-2012

REUBEN MEES

Trust.

If a public body and its officials want citizens to trust them with their hard-earned tax dollars, the safety of their families and general health and well-being of the community, they have to be open.

People want to know how their money is being spent and why.

And they want — no, they deserve — to know who is spending that money and making the decisions that impact their families, homes and daily lives.

The State of Ohio has a set of laws in place called the Ohio Sunshine Laws that are intended to protect Ohioans’ right to know what is happening in their government.

Just this week, a small village in Logan County flaunted those laws.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Understanding the difference between self-defense and reckless homicide

Reuben-2012

REUBEN MEES

Read the news on any given day and it’s evident that violent acts are becoming ever more commonplace in American society in recent years.

The news of a mass shooting at the Columbine High School that left 12 students, a teacher and the two teenage shooters dead just days before I started at the Examiner in 1999 once shocked the nation. School shootings now seem to happen a couple times a year somewhere in the United States.

It seems as if people are becoming numb to the idea of death by shooting — especially the notion of teenagers using weapons to kill one another.

It’s unfortunate to say, but we, as the residents of Logan County, are now facing one such case that raises interesting questions and has the ability to set a precedent about our treatment and attitudes toward acts of violence in this community.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Why real marijuana advocates urge ‘no’ vote on Issue 3

Reuben-2012

REUBEN MEES

If there’s one thing hard-core hippies like more than hitting a hookah full of homegrown hashish, it’s hating on the money-mongering materialism of western society.

That may be a bit stereotypical, but it illustrates to a tee what is really wrong with the current ballot proposal regarding the legalization of marijuana in Ohio.

It is also the reason the real hippies — an amalgam of individuals who continue to exist within the fabric of American culture — find the proposed Issue 3 amendment as skunky as those who just don’t want weed legalized in the state.

Issue 3, as it will appear on the Tuesday ballot, would legalize marijuana for recreational use and make some half-hearted provisions for medical uses.

While the issue of whether or not to legalize cannabis and its active chemical ingredient THC is a valid question to ask voters to weigh in on, the proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution would not only legalize marijuana use, but would make permanent a whole set of laws on who can and cannot produce it.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Wind-swept memories of Hurricane Katrina

Reuben-2012

REUBEN MEES

Ten years ago today, I woke up at 6 a.m. and I knew it was going to be a bad day.    In fact, everyone in a 200-mile radius of me was also preparing for a really bad day. But just how bad it was going to get, few could imagine.

The weathercaster on the television was already announcing that Hurricane Katrina had made landfall in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. It must have weakened slightly overnight as the last I had heard before leaving my work at the Hattiesburg, Miss., American the night before was that it was still a massive Category 4 storm.

Regardless, it was one of the most destructive natural disasters this country had ever endured.

Fortunately, the electric was still working at my house north of Hattiesburg, but that wouldn’t last through my morning shower.

By the time Examiner subscribers read this piece over their morning coffee today, the winds would already have been starting to howl 100 miles inland in the village where I lived with my significant other at the time, Jennifer. 

It was certainly a difficult day as we lost one service after another — electricity and television followed by water service and eventually, both land and cellular telephone communication came to a halt.

The massive winds of the storm tore a hole in the roof of our house that allowed rain to pour into the eastern half of the home and we spent most of the day moving our furniture toward the center of the house as the waterfalls in the bedrooms grew in size.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES

Early symptoms of election fever setting in

Reuben-2012

REUBEN MEES

From a local special election that has been questioned for its cost to taxpayers, the introduction of a full slate of candidates for local offices to the first debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle, this week has been a flurry of election-related activity that has reawakened the political junkie in me from a three-year slumber.

Special election

At the local level, probably the most whispered about issue this week was the approximately $35,000 spent to put on Tuesday’s special election to pass a 0.25-mill levy for the Logan County Historical Society.

With only 1,053 voters, or a measly 3.6 percent of Logan County’s total registered voters, the election cost more than $33 per voter to put on. 

The August election was called because paperwork filed by the historical society to place the levy on the May ballot was submitted to the Logan County Commissioners’ Office in a timely fashion, but did not make it from that office to the Logan County Board of Elections in time to meet the February deadline.

  • Written by REUBEN MEES