“Carroll County is a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”
The majority of us, it appears, truly believe this to be true. It's the kind of old news that we like to return to again and again and to celebrate.
Especially when we hear of some of the horrific happenings elsewhere (and we all know what they were), we delightfully and thankfully call these hills and valleys, the eight towns and village byways home.
Whether we are born here or we are “newcomers,” we look forward to remaining here, participating fervently with our different viewpoints and encouraging our children and grandchildren to at least consider remaining here, and, if they are so inclined, hoping that they would not wait to take interest in county and town leadership positions until they are in their retirement.
Yet, this settled outlook is not bedrock. Change happens even in ageless Carroll County streams.
While some change cannot be stopped, other changes, such as increased cases of opioid addiction, can be dealt with. We can thank the Health Department, the State’s Attorney, the Sheriff, the court and activist Carroll countians for achieving a measure of positive results.
We, however, still ignore the hours spent in gridlock and the tons of carbon gases that play havoc in our atmosphere.
Climate change, which scientists claim is “coming at us like a speeding locomotive,” must be dealt with now and firmly. Ask your kids five, 10, 15, 20 years from now. Ask a farmer today.
Local farmers work through the night to take advantage of November-hardened soil to bring in the last of their harvests after a climate change induced rainy, muddy, weak growing season. The rate of farm bankruptcies has risen sharply the last few years, according to a recent federal report.
We probably will continue to nurture our Amazon and box store buying habits while landlords can't seem to fill the empty commercial and retail spaces in our towns.
The county seat’s TownMall is nearly as empty as the massive nearly unused building that used to be filled with high school students who live nearby in North Carroll.
And aside from being stuck with poor decisions of past Boards of County Commissioners, school boards and delegations (and we shall forever remember who they are), the chamber can make Carroll County tourism go only so far to bring in revenue. And the state? Well ...
And, yes, it's no secret that New Windsor and Union Bridge taxpayers have been geographically short-changed when the library trustees and its directors continue to give short rift to residents' need for library resources as those taxpayers in other parts of the county have long enjoyed.
Yet, the Carroll County Department of Economic Development always seems to remain far behind in attracting clean industry to settle here, and our industrial tax base remains stagnant. Their laissez-faire approach leaves Carroll County Public Schools and the Board of County Commissioners between a rock and a hard place when it comes to choosing between a lack of funding for needed improvements and raising property taxes.
In the near and long range, we would all live richer lives, in my view, if there would be more diversity in leadership roles in the county and towns and among the editorial columnists.
Carroll countians are Americans after all, female, male, ethnic and religious minorities, young, elderly, etc.
While in our democratic form of government the U.S. Constitution guarantees that no seat at the top is guaranteed to any one person, family, party or clique, or, for that matter, to any particular class, all Americans, on the other hand, have the right to try to occupy a seat that is supposed to represent the needs of all constituents fairly.
Short of running for office, Carroll countians can still do more. They can be activists and keep a watchful eye on those with the power to cause harm. We also must never forget to vote. Duh.
After the grueling midterms, which resulted in expected and unexpected losses and wins and holds, and some jail sentences among those who prey on all of us by selling short on their official responsibilities, our moving on with a sprinkle of humor together one day at a time in our county, state, nation, and, yes, across our planet, may be the happiest and most productive approach yet to keeping up with the change and at the same time retaining the best of Carroll County and America in 2019.