MOUNT VERNON — The first Up for Discussion of 2010 offered a friendly exchange of new questions and ideas regarding local issues ranging from school uniforms, the legalization of marijuana and crime.
Continue the discussions
Parents took the opportunity to voice their opinion about local school districts implementing mandatory uniforms in the school dress code. Those against a change expressed a desire for individual expression and the reality parents should be ultimately responsible for teaching children what is truly important in life is not the label on their clothes.
A middle school student said he wouldn’t mind the idea of uniforms because it would make getting dressed every morning much easier without having options.
His mother agreed and went on to say clothing exchange programs would help families save money in the long run.
One participant even compared uniforms to Hitler requiring his subjects to dress alike to take away their identity.
“Public schools shouldn’t take identity away,” he said.
Another gentlemen questioned why a change was necessary. Was it based on controlling the students or was it to keep them all on the same level, he asked.
“A safe atmosphere starts at the top and comes down the line. It’s not [accomplished] with the dress code,” he said.
The next question asked if the former railway line between Howard and Millwood would revert back to the adjacent property owners once the new sewer line was complete.
Knox County Commissioner Bob Wise said the property is currently owned by the railroad but plans are moving forward to acquire the land through eminent domain.
“The railroad has offered to sell it for $98,000 but that includes a lot of restrictions,” Wise said. “If we take it by eminent domain, pay the $98,000, we can take it without the restrictions.”
Wise said the county is looking to possibly run water lines to the hamlet in the future. Those lines would run next to the wastewater lines that will be installed.
The increase in local crime generated the most conversation during the public forum. The general consensus of the participants is that while they understand the need for law enforcement to keep certain investigation findings from the public, it is important to have an open line of communication.
“Part of any law enforcement is public relations,” said a participant.
“There are questions that could be answered that aren’t going to hinder the investigation. There are too many rumors going around,” said another.
One member of the group stated she was concerned that U.S. 62 offered easy access to criminals from bigger areas to come into Knox County, take what they wanted and head back home without being noticed.
“U.S. 62 works as a corridor for those coming from Columbus and Licking County. It goes all through the county and is an easy way in and easy way out. All law enforcement agencies need to work together,” she said.
Discussion of crime easily moved to the legalization of marijuana and the effect it would have on local crime and addiction to drugs.
“The war on drugs is a failed policy,” one man said. “We need to legalize it and tax it. We can use the tax money to pay for rehab and get people off drugs like heroin.”
With other states in the country legalizing marijuana, many participants said they believe it is just a matter of time before the measure is countrywide.
“Americans have to be accountable for their own behavior. At this point, you have to make your own choices and accept what follows. We can’t be watching out for everyone else.”
The next Up for Discussion will take place Monday, Feb. 15, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Sips, 101 S. Main St.