Archive for Thursday, June 30, 2005

Baldwin’s news isn’t always ‘fun’

June 30, 2005

It's been quite a news year around Baldwin City. While there has been plenty of good news, we've had way more than our share of bad news.

I can't think of any worse news or harder story to do than on last year's unexpected death of 13-year-old Krystal Bateson, which is outlined in this week's issue of the Signal. I've had to write a lot of tough stories over the decades, but I can't recall one tougher than that.

It still saddens me, even a year later, to think about it. I can't imagine what a rough year it's been for the Batesons. I certainly still feel for them, too. The thought of losing a child is too much for me.

But, it did happen, to a Baldwin City teen. It can happen here.

And, I'm afraid, that's been the theme for Baldwin City this year. It can happen here. It has too many times.

Starting with Krystal's untimely death while attending a softball tournament, the Signal has had to report too many stories that weren't good news this year. While her's was the toughest, none of the other ones were "fun," either.

First was the plot found on the Internet where a Baldwin youth detailed his plans to disrupt the annual Maple Leaf Festival using fire and pipe bombs. Luckily, that was discovered before the festival and nothing came from it.

Next was the shotgun incident in the Baldwin High School parking lot where a weapon was allegedly pulled out of car by a student. Luckily, again, nothing came from it. However, I sure thought of that about the time the latest school tragedy happened on an Indian reservation in Minnesota where several people ended up dead.

Unfortunately, there are more examples. Baker University had its share of bad news with various alleged fights, assaults, vandalism and car wrecks. There were other incidents at Baldwin High, including alcohol being consumed during the school day in the building.

The rest of the city wasn't immune, either. There was the news about five sexual offenders registered in Baldwin City. There have been too many reports of domestic violence and crime this year, too.

Yes, it can happen here.

In fact, in just the last two weeks we've had two other stories. Last week it was the city council's violation of the Open Meetings Law from a special meeting June 2 when the Signal wasn't notified. This week there's word about more than $200,000 missing from the Willow Springs Township, presumably taken over the last several years.

I had never called the Attorney General's office until last week. I would have never believed I'd use "FBI probe" in a headline for a story about the Baldwin area. Never is a very long time. I learned that, once again, in back-to-back weeks.

And, I'm afraid, there's more such "bad" news on the horizon. Let's just say the next few weeks could prove to be very interesting.

No, there's no doubt. It can happen here, whatever your definition of it is. We can only hope that not too much of it happens and that we all strive to do what we can so it doesn't.

Regardless, we do have to acknowledge it and know that it's here. Heads in the sand do no one any good. We'll certainly be keeping our head up, no matter what comes our way in the next year.

We owe it to you, even if it isn't "fun."

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