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TAKING ETERNAL VIGILANCE TOO FAR

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College football at its finest

Noon Saturday was Christmas central in the little town of Bellefontaine. I was already geared up to take photos of Santa’s official arrival in town and the Orr Mansion open house, but I also had something else on my mind.

Beneath my fluffy winter coat was hidden one of my favorite T-shirts — a yellow one with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles logo on it. The DVR was set to record the game that began at the same hour.

No one in Bellefontaine even knew or much less cared about that game, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the university I used to cover as a reporter in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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Off the cuff: Be responsible when posting material online

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Ms. Sandra Ward,

As a resident of Bellefontaine, I would not presume to dispense an opinion on Quincy’s levy and council issues mentioned in your forum letter published in the Nov. 19 edition of the Examiner. However, there is an area of your letter which impacts our entire community and is a cause for real concern.

It appears your motivation to write to the forum was influenced in part by comments posted on the Web site Topix.com. If that is the case, I hope the writing of your letter has allowed you to move forward without losing another moment’s peace.

Even if every comment posted on Topix and other social media sites like it represented 100 percent complete and verifiable facts — which many certainly do not — the sites themselves have a dangerous flaw by design; they allow users to withhold their identities by hiding behind fake screen names.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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Being Reasonable - Occupy Wall Street: A view from the bottom 1 percent

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I feel like absolute garbage. My muscles ache, my back is tight and I feel so fatigued that I actually had to stop for a rest on Thursday during what has become a habitual noontime trip to the restroom in McDonald’s on Broadway in lower Manhattan.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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BEING REASONABLE: Occupy Wall Street protests amount to controlled chaos

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NEW YORK — As the sun slowly rose on the 29th day of the Occupy Wall Street protests, all was quiet in Zuccotti Park — save for a few unstable or otherwise inebriated souls bemoaning, among other things, the existence of the Federal Reserve, perceived economic injustice and the continued prohibition of marijuana.

Rain drops dotted the landscape here early Monday. Most people sought refuge inside their sleeping bags, or beneath makeshift forts made from tarps and a healthy amount of duct tape.

A few benevolent souls cleaned up trash, following through on a recent commitment to keep the park as clean as possible.

And still others sat silently, taking in the totality of a movement now more than a month old.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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Country’s response to terrorist attacks is tragic

blog_reuben

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since that chaotic Tuesday morning when the security blanket we once huddled collectively beneath was briskly jerked away.

As the anniversary approached earlier this year, I had hoped it would pass quietly. But as advance media coverage began to ramp up, that clearly wasn’t going to be the case.

For me, as with many Americans, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have always been a difficult date to try to come to terms with.

When they first occurred, I had mixed emotions.

The senseless loss of life involved, of course, is deplorable and saddening. But, at the same time, I believed, as I still do to some degree, that the United States deserved it.

It was a wake-up call that our government’s international policies were not working.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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Jordan commits cardinal sin of politics, sticks to his principles

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NATE SMITH

BEIN' REASONABLE

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, was talking about curbing government spending before it became a punch line.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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Of first and future fairs

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A recent source of joy for me is being able to witness the important first experiences in the life of my 11-month-old son, Parker.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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PHILOSOPHICAL MUSINGS: City needs to be thorough, open in police chief search

Last week’s resignation of former Bellefontaine Police Chief Brad Kunze has been a troubling experience for our community, to say the least.

Yes, there was an investigation. Yes, Mr. Kunze did resign to avoid a public display. And yes, the city still needs to produce documents relating to the investigation.

But whatever your opinion of Mr. Kunze — I have mixed feelings on the matter — he is no longer in office.

He may fade into the shadows.

Like many other public employees, you see them a couple of years later — usually in the aisles of a supermarket or some other public place — looking a lot less run down and stressed out about being alive after leaving their jobs in the public sector.

Or he could resurface.

Like other people of influence, Mr. Kunze could find a niche in some other public position or eventually run for office. He certainly has the political skills to make a politician if the events surrounding his departure from the police department have not entirely damaged his reputation.

In any case, that is a choice for Mr. Kunze.

The job of city officials and the main concern for the citizens of Bellefontaine at this time now needs to turn to the future of our city police force.

While the Civil Service Commission has set a 4 p.m. Thursday, May 26, meeting to discuss this issue, the three-member body needs to think about the whole picture when deciding how to proceed. The three members of the commission are Art Harper, Jack Ritter and Alan Hale.

There are several methods already in place to name a new chief — specifically the commission can decide to promote from within, relying exclusively on as little as the results of a written Civil Service test to select the new chief.

While it is certainly one way to measure merit, I don’t believe a test alone measures the qualities of a true leader.

Given the nature of his character — very studious and by the books — I would imagine Mr. Kunze scored very highly on the exam at the time he was promoted to chief. What the test failed to assess, however, is that Mr. Kunze is not exactly a “people person.”

It was this very aspect of his personality, along with his uncooperative attitude in dealing with other local law enforcement agencies, that led to the recent events.

On the other hand, the commission and city administration could advertise the position both locally and nationally and accept applications from both within and outside the department to select a candidate.

Probably the most glaring problem with this procedure — other than the higher cost and time involved — is the possibility that the process could be tainted by political favoritism. I can already see the troubles down the road for a chief appointed by Democratic Mayor Adam Brannon’s administration when, eventually, the Republican power base in Logan County wins another term in the Mayor’s Office.

Also, take into consideration that a tight brotherhood of local police officers may not like an outsider being brought in to lead them. That, of course, would lead to internal conflict and likely result in an overall decline in the community’s perception of public safety.

What this process does allow is for a group of human beings to assess whether the candidate has the necessary qualities to lead and inspire confidence in the department as a whole.

Possibly some method could be used that incorporates both the test, which can include a personal interview component as well as an administrative review, along with an open discussion of the top-scoring finalists.

Whatever decision the commission makes, however, should be well-thought out and thoroughly discussed.

And any course of action they choose to take should not be rushed.

For the time being, the department is in the hands of Lt. Ron Birt, a capable officer who already has built the respect of the team of officers behind him. Our city police officers are top notch professionals who already know how to do the job they were hired to do.

Now, we as a community must move on from the past and prepare for the future.

The only way to do that is with thoughtful and open discussions and decision-making processes that involve not only a small commission of appointed residents and top city administrators, but the community as a whole.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer and Bellefontaine native. He won a 2007 Associated Press continuing coverage award for his stories on a controversial police chief change at a former job in Hattiesburg, Miss. He can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012

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