Pharos-Tribune

January 1, 2013

OUR VIEW: Teen birth rate, economy top 2013 agenda


— Representatives of local school corporations and other organizations began a community conversation last year concerning Cass County’s teen birth rate. The rate has dropped in recent years, but it’s still way too high.

The issue is among those being tackled by a coalition called Better Health for Cass County, and it’s one the community simply must address.

Teen moms are more likely to experience complications during childbirth, and their babies are more likely to have health challenges such as low birth weight. Boys born to teenage mothers are more likely to wind up in jail.

Addressing this issue will be our No. 1 priority of 2013.

The coming year will also see much discussion about a plan to develop a $500 million trash-to-energy system for Logansport Municipal Utilities. LMU expects to have proposals by early this month, and it plans to make a decision in February. After that will come perhaps two years of regulatory action followed by another two years of construction.

Our goal through all of this will be to keep our readers informed on the project and its implications and to ensure that officials honor their pledge to keep the process open and aboveboard.

This year will also bring the long-awaited opening of the Hoosier Heartland. Efforts to dress up the city’s entryways have begun, and officials are already planning for the development boom near Ivy Tech. The new highway could well change the face of Logansport.

Our goal will be to make sure that the new highway becomes an economic benefit rather than a way to bypass Logansport entirely.

Another key objective for the new year will be to promote the creation of new jobs in Logansport and Cass County through a coordinated economic development effort. Our goal will be to encourage a shared economic vision for the region and to make sure the key players find common ground.

We also will support Mayor Ted Franklin in his efforts to rid neighborhoods of blighted properties and explore the development of new housing.

We will encourage local government officials to save taxpayer dollars through collaboration and consolidation of services, and we’ll carry out our watchdog role by holding public officials accountable.

We will support local schools in their efforts to improve student performance, and we’ll encourage state officials to make certain that the measures it is using are both accurate and fair.

We’ll continue efforts to identify this community’s assets and promote them. Logansport and Cass County have much to brag about, and we’ll take seriously our role as the community’s cheerleader.

We enter 2013 with a great deal of optimism. Logansport and Cass County stand poised for an exciting year, and we pledge to keep our readers informed of developments.

Those are our goals for the coming year. If you have other goals, we’d encourage you to share them.

2013 agenda

• Champion efforts to lower Cass County’s teen pregnancy rate.

• Keep an eye on efforts to develop a trash-to-energy system for Logansport Municipal Utilities and ensure that officials honor their pledge to keep the process open and above board.

• Make sure the new Hoosier Heartland becomes an economic benefit.

• Promote the creation of new jobs in Logansport and Cass County through a coordinated economic development effort.

• Encourage improved housing in the community by ridding neighborhoods of blighted properties and exploring the development of new housing.

• Continue to encourage local government to save taxpayer dollars through collaboration and consolidation of services.

• Carry out our watchdog role by holding public officials accountable.

• Support local schools in their efforts to improve student performance.

• Continue efforts to identify the community’s assets and promote them both here and elsewhere.