Looking back on our agenda for 2012, we had a pretty good year.
In terms of establishing a coordinated economic development effort, the community took a few steps forward and a few steps back, but the outlook seems bright.
The controversy that emerged over the makeup of the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation board wasn’t exactly a step forward, but the two sides did end up with a compromise that seems to be working. And the board appears to have made a great hire with its new president. Connie Neininger brings not only a countywide focus but a regional focus, and the newly renamed Cass Logan Economic Development Organization appears poised to lead exactly the sort of coordinated effort our agenda envisioned.
As to our goal of developing improved housing in the community, Mayor Ted Franklin deserves credit for his focus on ridding the city of eyesores. He’s made a good bit of progress and has shown no signs of letting up. The city still has some work to do, but it’s headed in the right direction.
Another goal for 2012 was to encourage Republicans to take advantage of their control of city and county government to improve cooperation among agencies and explore the possibility of saving taxpayer dollars through consolidation.
Things looked promising early in the year as the city and county were talking about collaboration on such things as a shared building commissioner. That effort went nowhere, though, and there was little talk of collaboration by the end of the year.
For several years, we’ve been encouraging state lawmakers to take another look at the local government reforms proposed by the Kernan-Shepard Commission. We had some hope that progress would be made in the final year of the Mitch Daniels administration, but it looks like Indiana lawmakers have taken all the action they’re prepared to take.
It’s now up to local officials to decide what efforts, if any, to pursue.
Neighboring Howard County took a shot at consolidating townships along school corporation boundaries this year, but the plan was rejected by voters.
We hope the vote won’t spell the end of such efforts. Cass County could certainly benefit from a similar consolidation plan.
We also sought to support local schools in their efforts to improve student performance. The schools had mixed results this year, but part of the problem might be with the standards. No one disputes that schools should be held accountable, but there is some question about whether the current standards are fair.
As to encouraging parity in athletic competition, the Indiana High School Athletic Association took a step forward this year with its new rules requiring schools to move up a class if they begin to dominate the competition. The first test of the new rules will come in 2013.
We’ll keep an eye on progress, but we’re optimistic the changes will produce positive results.
Yet another goal for 2012 was to continue our efforts to identify the community’s assets and promote them both here and elsewhere. We take seriously our role as a community cheerleader, and Logansport and Cass County have much to brag about.
We also have an important role to play as a watchdog on local government. Insisting that elected officials be accountable to the public is the basic job of a newspaper, and it’s one we will continue to take seriously.
Coming Wednesday: Our agenda for 2013
Looking back on our agenda for 2012, we had a pretty good year.
- STOTSKY: The next step redux in education standards Writing at National Review Online, Rick Hess and Mike McShane of the American Enterprise Institute make the complaint that critics of Common Core have not come up with the next steps to "repeal and replace" for states that want to restore academic in
- WILLIAMS: Get out on the highway My son's truck is in the shop and my friend, Jan, was in the hospital so I had her truck in order to be able to go feed her cats while John used my car to go to work. Jan and I both purchased vehicles before we retired that we hoped would be the last
- THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar
- KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w
- MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t
- THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub
- VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o
- LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t
- HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation
- THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any
- More Opinion Headlines