Many times, we all (and I include myself) find ourselves wanting to make a point with somebody about some aspect of a public entity that may have substance within our daily travels.

For instance, if you have children – many seem to be quick at finding fault and yes, even some positives, with the local school district that has charge of educating and taking care of our children for nearly nine months of the year.

It seems to be the same with various aspects within our community as well, the idea that so many have time to evaluate and make comments about aspects of the city or county that affect their lives, with the most vocal ones coming out with negatives, while some will burst with positives.

Recently all three entities that have command of our local community – the city, the county and the schools – have all had to work on making some difficult decisions regarding how to pay for and what to pay for regarding the upkeep of current facilities and the future of those facilities.  It was called the new year budgets.

Our city folks held four town meetings regarding the streets of our community, while the local school district has been struggling with setting the budget for the upcoming school year due to the uncertainty of funding from the state, while the county is looking at having to pay for a major upgrade of the emergency communications system so that all areas of the county can communicate more efficiently.

We all have our complaints about the streets, the police department having too many or not enough officers, the park department did or didn’t keep up a certain park, and while some complaining can be good – none of it will do any good without venting in the proper arena.

How recently have you overheard someone, or maybe you, complain about something regarding the school district their children are in?  The teachers are overpaid, the teachers are underpaid, the class sizes are too few or too many, there is too much concentration on athletics and not enough on other things like debate, choir or art, and maybe it is said that the school board does not do their job.  I even once heard someone comment once that the school board folks only meet twice a month, so what’s the big deal – excuse me, but they meet those two meetings a month and have work sessions or conferences throughout the school year, plus serve on various committees that work within the framework of the school district and they do it all without any pay.

What is your idea of a solution to any or all of this?

Better yet – when was the last time you attended a City Commissioners, County Commissioners or School Board meeting?

I am going to guess that the majority will say never have unless they had a student being honored.

All the meetings with the city commissioners, county commissioners and school board are public meetings – which means even if you have nothing to say, the public is always welcome to come and at the minimum, watch the workings of our public government in action.

I will not type away at this without acknowledging that I am just as much to blame as most others about this, for unless I had a specific reason I rarely would ever actually attend a meeting of any of the three-major local government leadership, though I will say that I always followed any news media coverage of the meetings and always made sure I took the time to devour any newsletters, bulletins or notices past down from any of the three.  How many folks even do that.

Since taking on a position as reporter with one of the local media here, I have had the privilege (and I do call it a privilege) of covering both the County Commissioners and the USD 418 School Board meetings for the past two-plus years.  I have learned a heck of a lot about the workings of those two community agencies and all the joys and pains that they deal with along the way.

The one thing which I do notice is the lack of community concern, input or wonder about what makes these agencies tick.

The county commissioners rarely have any public folks come to view, listen or even share at any meetings.  They do once or twice a year get a class group from one of the county school districts coming in to observe – but that’s about it.

With the number of comments I keep hearing about roads, I for one would encourage those biggest complainers to attend at least every meeting for a month or two and discover how much time and effort the county public works people put into the planning, paying and taking care of our county roads.

It’s the same with the school district, so many seem to have comments to share about the schools their children attend, yet so very few take the time twice a month to consider attending a school board meeting to observe the efforts really being done to keep our local district at the outstanding level of education it offers.

After covering meetings for as long as I have, I can tell you these folks on the school board, as well as the district administrators who are oversee all the district does, give their heart and soul toward educating the children in our community and educating them so they will be ready for success in life.

As I finish up here, I want to make one request – let’s show our community leaders how much we appreciate the job they do and start showing up for a few meetings now and then.  Show up not only to be there as visual support, but also to step up (all three have public input time scheduled into every meeting) and share both your appreciations and your concerns, that’s why it’s called public input.  Without people speaking up for both the positive and the negative, how can we expect the community leaders to be perfect and supportive in the work they do.

And there you have it, a yapping in response to something I may have seen and either liked or disliked, a memory remembered or forgotten, or maybe just a general insight to the travel of life I was making that day.  Either way, ‘Grumpy Gramps’ tells it as he sees it – so enjoy, enlighten or just think about what I may yap about and if you want, feel free to respond.

You can catch more Grumpy Gramps on Facebook under CrossDove Writer or on the internet at

Oh, the ‘Grumpy Gramps’ comes from those moments when I spew out thoughts and opinions because I have been around the walk of life for a while and think someone needs to hear or read them.  Those moments sometimes come out a little less than calm and collected, it is those moments when the grandkids seem to cringe and say, ‘being grumpy, gramps’!!

Until next time – prayers, blessings & happy thoughts – ‘Grumpy Gramps’.

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