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  • Last modified 3536 days ago (March 12, 2009)

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Keep notices 'public'

An interesting thing happened this week that proves the power of legal notices and the importance of them being in community newspapers.

Kansas Animal Health Department keeps an eye on newspapers’ legal notices regarding animals.

That department saw a legal notice in the Marion County Record regarding the intent to sell unclaimed personal property after a mortgage foreclosure. Among the “items” were 11 horses, four miniature horses, five bulls, a cow, two calves, and approximately 30 dogs.

A state license is required for owners with 20 or more dogs.

There is a lot of discussion in the legislature again this year to allow legal notices to be “published” on websites.

There is one primary purpose for public notices — to inform the public. If these notices are removed from community newspapers like this one, the public will not have an opportunity to be informed.

Why do you think the notices were printed in local newspapers in the first place? The public has a right to know what county and city governments are doing — the laws being passed, ordinances being implemented, and zoning issues being discussed.

Without this outlet for information, the public will not be informed and government can conduct business without public scrutiny.

Putting legal notices on websites sounds like a good idea except for one issue — no one will know to look there.

We all know how it is when we are looking through a newspaper and just happen to glance at a page with information on it that we find to be important. Community newspapers are being read, particularly those that are subscription based.

It is our right to know what’s going on at the courthouse and city hall. It is our right to know what our neighbors want to do with their property that could affect us. It is our right to know when meetings and elections are being held.

If this right of information ever is taken away from us, we may never get it back.

Now that would be a sad day for all of us.

— susan berg

Last modified March 12, 2009

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