Looking Back: A year of our opinions 2015.12.30

We published a variety of opinions during 2015—something we think a good newspaper should do on its editorial page. An editorial can help focus discussion about local events or even launch a platform for the beginning of a conversation.

In the past year we welcomed the arrival of several new endeavors such as the Bean Creek Valley History Center in Fayette, Kamco Industries coming to Morenci, and Sherwood State Bank in Fayette. We were pleased with Sherwood's decision to renovate an old downtown building rather than razing the existing structure. We have confidence the bank will do the project right and create an attractive design.

We expressed criticism about elected officials trying to micromanage city matters, just like we did a few years ago when it happened with the school board. Hire an administrator/department head and allow them to do what they were hired to do, we said.

We suggested that Morenci's DDA should give the new Stair District Library its full funding and exempt it from the tax capture plan. That's what has been done in several communities—give the library the money that voters approved. The DDA disagreed and it still seems like the wrong thing to have done.

We apologized for the slow delivery of the Observer outside of the local area as the United States Postal Service continues to close sorting centers. Mail sent to Blissfield and Pittsford, for example, first makes a trip to Detroit.

We commented on a talk in Fayette by Toledo Blade columnist Keith Burris who spoke about the changes in the character of small towns. Legislators seem to find the solution to most problems is to cut taxes, resulting in less revenue for communities. It's just a sly way of making residents pay the difference while giving corporations a break.

More than anything in the past year, we wrote about the shortfall in school funding and growing state demands placed on school districts. Often it seems as though state legislators have no concept of the consequences of their votes. Perhaps it makes sense in Lansing, but down the road in school districts around the state, one more demand has been placed on schools or more dollars have been taken away.

We wish that wouldn't be the case in 2016, but it's the same politicians with the same ideas. In all likelihood, we’ll say a few more things next year about the plight of Michigan schools.