A few words on words

Spelling is more than one of those old-fashioned subjects schools try to teach in between sports events and concerts. Sometimes it makes a difference, as when County Commissioner Randy Dallke, stepping down as chairman, refers to himself as becoming a “no-nothing commissioner,” still asserting he’s in the know.

If you could have read all of our unedited news stories this week, you would have learned how spelling bee contestants impressed their “piers” (yes, we were all wet on that one), how a fancy dead end has been transformed into a “cult sack” (something we’ve suspected goes on in suburban areas) and how one governmental group wants to convene a “bond council” (presumably to debate the merits of its thin “mil” levy).

Yes, we make mistakes, and we suspect there are quite a few more among the 22,000 or so words in this week’s papers. Not all are as grievous as an out-of-town funeral director’s misspelling of a decedent’s family name, which we were lucky enough to catch. But if several dozen other errors didn’t wing their way past our eagle editorial eyes, we would be more than “suprized.”

A key benefit of reading all our stories, rather than just the ones going in any one of our papers, is unlocking the intense pleasure of knowing exactly what each of our five school boards are simultaneously up to the second Monday night of each month. We are clueless why schools boards flock to the same meeting time like so many swallows to Capistrano, but we do know that having five of them meet at the same time of the month always fills our pages with — well, you can provide your own noun to end that sentence.

This week we learned that Centre wants sixth graders to participate in junior high sports — apparently because there are too few students per sport. One wonders whether the district overlooked its own lessons on numerators and denominators. Perhaps rather than too few students there are too many sports.

We’re proud how Marion-Florence students used the speaking, organizational, and engagement skills the district has been fostering to get it to change its mind about a spring play — though we have to wonder whether the skills the students say the play helps develop already are sufficiently developed, as proved by their engaging and organized speeches.

While two of the most educationally acclaimed districts talked activities — Hillsboro was debating playgrounds and Goessel was looking at buses — at least Peabody-Burns, which has been challenged in the classroom, managed to look at what it’s doing there, proposing an intriguing lengthening of the school year with a shortening of each week’s educational offerings. An idea that seemed dead on arrival, it also seems dead-on smart — making more efficient use of facilities and spreading out the learning to give the seeds of knowledge better space to grow.

As for other governmental units, they seemed busy this week hiring new employees — often with wages and especially benefits that their competitors in private enterprise would be hard-pressed to match, especially since they can’t simply rejigger their cocktail of bond issues to shove the burden further and further into the future as the state is doing with KPERS.

So there. As a contributor to one of our editorial pages writes this week, at least we’re not being apathetic — pathetic in our humor attempts, maybe, but apathetic, never.

Such is life on the banks of Luta Creek, where government is our ever-present friend even if he’s maxed out our joint credit card.

— ERIC MEYER

 

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