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  • Last modified 3624 days ago (Dec. 10, 2008)

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Back to basics

As the snow flies and the wind blows this Tuesday morning and we pray the electricity stays on long enough for us to finish production of our newspapers, we’re reminded of the importance of the basics.

We know them as food, water, and shelter. However, now they include cell phones, fuel for our vehicles, modems for electronic banking and purchasing, and relying on many other people to maintain our basic needs.

Isn’t it interesting the further we excel with technology the more we lose?

Cell phones now have taken the place of permanent home phones. Debit cards have replaced checks and cash.

If terrorists really want to wipe out modern civilization, all they have to do is disable cell towers and modems. That would put the entire U.S. and world at a standstill.

Even traditional newspaper businesses are relying more on electronic files — photographs, press releases, even birth announcements and church schedules come to us via e-mail.

It is incredible the technology of which we’ve all come to depend but I hope it doesn’t become our un-doing. There have been times when a sender has “assumed” we have received information and we did not. Sometimes traditional mail or a quick telephone call is more reliable.

Some say technology has afforded more communication because people are more readily available to talk via text messaging or e-mail. That is true to a certain extent but we’re also concerned about the grammar practices our young people are acquiring from texting and chatting online. And it’s a different subject matter discussing the risks people face with texting and chatting with strangers.

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The use of public funds was brought to light again this past week at the Marion County Commission meeting.

I wasn’t at the meeting but our reporter was there and he told me about concerns expressed by area businessmen who questioned the gathering of bids for a county purchase.

In this economic time, most businesses, including newspapers, are struggling to meet the bottom line. Some individuals, businesses, and public entities are holding off purchases and aren’t making financial commitments until things stabilize. So, when a public entity is making a large purchase, like a tractor mower, it’s no wonder businesses in the area want a fair shot at bidding.

Posting bids and other information on a Web site certainly seems like the “modern” thing to do but is it the same as a public notice as an advertisement in local newspapers? What about those who don’t necessarily follow the county’s Web site or even those who do and they miss the particular time frame for important information?

Common sense and following the basics seem to go hand-in-hand in establishing policies.

We recently followed our own advise by soliciting bids for repairs to the Record office building. We obtained a list of contractors from the city office, started calling, and then decided it would be best to publicize it. So we put in a classified ad.

It worked.

So far we’ve had a half a dozen or so contractors contact us, eager to do the work. We hope to get competitive bids, stimulate the economy by hiring an area contractor, and further invest in our century-old building.

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Speaking of the economy and going back to the basics, I think Christmas gift purchases will be less this year.

We just don’t have the money to spend on luxuries. Increases in utilities, taxes, consumable goods, and other necessities have depleted much of our “slush funds” or any pay increases.

Maybe it is time to get back to basics.

Instead of numerous gifts under the tree we need to concentrate on the true reason for the season and cherish time spent with family.

Some of my best childhood and adult Christmas memories are when there weren’t an abundance of gift-giving or receiving but the feelings of contentment from spending time in prayer and with family.

I’m going to work on that.

— susan berg

Last modified Dec. 10, 2008

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