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The advice of a smart man

We are closing in on that period of time when I get all righteous about what goes on in Peabody and feel I have to share my thoughts with all of you so that you will think as I do. At some point in the past decade and a half working for this newspaper, I asked Bill Meyer to explain to me the purpose of an opinion column. His answer was, in part, as follows: “When we write about a topic, we are attempting to make the reader think. When we write about the same topic time after time, often, our purpose is to make the reader think the way we think. Opinions are those of the writer, for the reader to consider.”

That is exactly what I am going to do. I want you to think as I think, so here is my overall opinion for the next two or three months. “Do what needs to be done.” That is for all of you. You are a part of our readership and we all know there are issues of concern for our children, schools, churches, communities, businesses, organizations, and governments. I usually try to stay away from comments about our state officials, but I am fearful that those in power in Topeka have blindsided the state and left us in a quagmire of unfunded programs for education, our most vulnerable citizens, and those quality of life issues such as parks and preservation, just to name a few.

Here is what I hope will happen in Peabody, Burns, Florence, and the rest of Marion County. I hope we can step up and take care of business. Before you pound your fist on the table and tell me that you should not have to be put into such a position, let me say, “I agree.” We pay taxes on property, purchases, and vehicles. Those dollars fund city, county, and state government and we should not just have to keep forking out more.

However, what we send to Topeka is not doing the job for us at home. So maybe if we are going to maintain our schools, parks, and community services, we might have to rearrange our attitudes about making donations. I have said many times that I am committed to community giving. It is a personal issue with me; it is the way I was raised. Many of you wish for better streets, more extras for our district students or our senior citizens, preservation of our museums and library, or funding for a better swimming pool or more Christmas lights downtown.

Just about every community service or organization could use additional funds and additional volunteers. Your support can begin with just a few of your dollars or a few hours of your time. If we all make the effort, we will be a better community for it.

Many local organizations maintain tax-exempt status and your contributions are fully deductible. As you look at your plans for year-end giving, consider making local donations. You will help support your neighbors, our children and seniors, and many of the amenities for which we are known. Step up and do what needs to be done.

—SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified Oct. 7, 2015

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