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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Civic improvement is everyone's duty

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

"To regain the lofty position that Sikeston once maintained will take time and effort."

The Sikeston City Council is making rapid progress on dividing Sikeston into the four wards approved by voters in April. We assumed their task would be relatively easy because there was momentum to disrupt the current voting precincts as little as possible. And from early indications that's exactly what they're doing.

I have cautioned before and will repeat it here again. Simply by dividing the pie and assuring that each geographic section of Sikeston has a representative will not solve all of our community's problems. It will - in some cases - give voice to those who have felt under-represented in the past. But giving voice and taking action are two different issues. Action is much more important.

Despite some substantial efforts in the past, many of our same problems remain. There are some significant signs of change however. The improvements within the Public Safety Department clearly lead the way.

I'm impressed with two issues here. First, Public Safety conducted what appears to be a thorough drug sweep last week that indeed removed a number of drug sellers from the streets. But then, with little notice, Public Safety reported Monday night to the city council on those drug cases that involved residents of public housing. That was a major and important improvement.

I do not point a finger of blame at public housing. But it is important that all segments of our community do their part in improving Sikeston and the coordination and cooperation between public housing and Public Safety is welcome news indeed. I believe this level of communication will continue because it's clearly in the community's best interest to see that it continues.

Eyesores still remain in abundant amounts here. But eyesores are temporary obstructions that can be removed in short order. The eyesores are the symptom of the problem not the problem itself. A lack of pride and a lack of effort have hampered our progress in the past. Those obstacles are being reduced however.

To regain the lofty position that Sikeston once maintained will take time and effort. It starts with city government and ends with private citizens. There's nothing magical about it. So let's continue to roll up our sleeves and put the effort into these improvements.

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