Editor’s Column: Designed for community

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Niki Turner

First, I would like to personally thank Meeker’s town staff and board for doing the right thing in the interest of transparency and accountability, as I knew they would. After being asked about publishing the town’s disbursements in public notices, they reviewed the state statutes defining the requirements for publication, and by Thursday morning we’d received the list. After almost five and a half years, the town is back in compliance with our state statutes. All’s well that ends well.

And I’m extending an apology to former Town Administrator Sharon Day. I got the dates wrong, as per the correction notice in this week’s paper. The check registers were published consistently every month during Day’s tenure.

If you recall the old disbursement lists, you may notice a difference in the current report: payroll is not included. The town attorney and town administrator believe the state statute does not require payroll to be published because of privacy reasons. That information is still a matter of public record, however, so if you’re just itching to know how much a town staff position pays, you’ll have to go ask.

 

The stereotypical newspaper editor tends to be perpetually cranky, smokes like a chimney and drinks like an Irishman. I understand all of those characteristics on a painfully compassionate level now, but I really don’t want to go there.

Thirteen years ago this month, I decided it was time to lose weight and get in shape. By my late 30s and early 40s I was the healthiest and the strongest I’d ever been.

Cue home foreclosure, dramatic life changes, moving, major surgery, chronic pain, extreme stress and a lot of other convenient excuses, and I turned into a slacker. I kept up with yoga for the sake of my sanity, but my commitment to cardio and strength training dissipated like air escaping a balloon.

A genetic predisposition to high blood pressure bit me this month (there’s nothing like weekly deadlines to spike one’s blood pressure, especially deadlines other people fail to meet), and prompted me to make some changes. In addition to yoga, I’m taking additional exercise classes and making time in my schedule to visit the fitness room at the rec center. Thanks to the video tours on the recumbent bike I now feel like I’ve visited most of France… Can you say “cheap vacation”?

Despite years of successfully exercising in the privacy and comfort of my own home, I’m appalled to admit that I push myself harder in the presence of others and get a better workout in a class.

The takeaway lesson? We’re better together than we are apart, whether we’re talking exercise or economics. To our corporate horror, human beings weren’t really designed to be “islands unto themselves.” We are designed for community, for interdependence, and the more we participate in community—however we define it—the better off we will all be.

President’s Day is Monday. In the current political climate, I believe it would do us all well to heed this quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”