Roses&Thorns

Roses of the belated kind for local police. Wednesday was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Our bad for not remembering that until afterwards. Roses for those acknowledging that. One reader called the Salem Police Dept. to express thanks for all the officers do. Actually there should be 365 such appreciation days a year, don’t you think? And an extra one every leap year.

Roses for those making an income plowing, salting and shoveling. Winter finally arrived. It has been a dry year for those depending on snow and ice to make at least part of a living. There are many of us who love the changes of the season. Including the snow and cold. Roses for those checking in on their senior citizen neighbor and maybe even shoveling or sweeping their porch or walkway for them. Roses for those remembering how to drive in wintry weather.

Roses for the Cleveland Browns and their new head coach. They came thisclose to a winning season. He earned it. A Baker Mayfield-led innovative offense that threw everything but Freddie Kitchens’ sink (sorry) at opposing defenses salvaged a season and resuscitated a fan base. The Browns will be at least a co-favorite to win their division next season. When is the last time you remember hearing that? Some of you out there probably weren’t even born yet. Let’s hope this is not a mirage.

Roses for those who pick up the tab at local eateries for veterans who they see wearing a ball cap designating a particular military branch and time period served. Especially the World War II guys of which there are a dwindling few. It’s about not getting a free meal for these folks — although it certainly helps those on fixed incomes — as much as it is getting plain recognized for their service. Simple words of gratitude mean the world to them as does the moments of fellowship and chit-chat.

Thorns for the financial situation with the West Branch Schools. Voters rejected resoundingly a levy in November. A similar one will likely be placed on the May ballot. Fair or not, board of education’s proclamations of staff and program cuts are often perceived — and not particularly well embraced — as threats by district residents. They then show their anger at the ballot box. Which is why many school levies go down in a heap. Regardless of school district, many residents that we have dealt with over the years feel — fair or not — that schools have enough money to get by. Reductions in finances have already been made at West Branch. Example: recently, the BOE has instituted state minimum busing — eliminating transportation for all high school students, students living within two miles of their assigned school and all open enrollment students. That has to be a hardship on so many parents who have had to make adjustments to their schedules in order to get kids to school. Especially for those who work and maybe have to now pay someone to watch their children and perhaps even get them to school. It is a hardship for those bus drivers impacted wages-wise. Athletic participation fees will be coming for the spring sports season. Good old pay-to-play. Yep, good luck getting that levy passed in May.

Roses for Crestview senior wrestler Derek Houser surpassing 100 career victories. We’ve always said that wrestling is the most demanding individual sport there is when it comes to self-discipline and physical commitment.

Roses for West Branch senior soccer standout Gillian Koneval. She signed a letter to intent to attend Hardin-Simmons University way down in Abilene, Texas. Best of luck to her.

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