Credit where credit due

I went to Tampa on Saturday for the city’s quasquicentennial — that is, 125 years — anniversary celebration. Most of the time you would think a rainy day would seriously dampen people’s spirits with a daylong outdoor celebration, but after this summer, everybody seemed happy to be out in the rain. I certainly didn’t hear any complaints. When it started pouring late in the afternoon, the children playing outdoors didn’t seek shelter or pull out umbrellas. They reveled in the rain and kicked up big splashes from rain-filled gutters.

Maybe it was because of the rain or the celebration, but people in Tampa seemed to have a really optimistic attitude on Saturday, especially about revitalizing their community. People and businesses are taking initiative to improve their community, instead of waiting for government to save them. Perhaps the centerpiece of Tampa’s redevelopment is the upcoming opening of Trail Stop, a small community-run grocery store that will allow residents to get essentials like bread and milk without having to make a long trip.

I really expect Trail Stop will be successful for Tampa, in part because fundraising shot past its goal of 100, $100-contributions; going into Saturday’s festivities, there had been 140 such contributions. That shows there are a lot of people committed to making it work.

*****

It’s good to see Marion County taking a quick lesson about paging out-of-county ambulances when they are closer. After a recent double-fatality accident on U.S. 56/77 near the Dickinson County line, County Commissioner Randy Dallke made it clear that existing policies were unsatisfactory.

And on Monday, before new policies could be put in place, the response to another head-on collision at virtually the same spot was very different. Soon after the call went out for ambulances, Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith requested aid from the Dickinson County unit in Herington. The response leaves room for improvement with policy changes — for example, giving dispatchers the discretion to request out-of-county aid instead of waiting for a request from Smith or another responder — but it is a clear step in the right direction.

County borders, city limits, and state lines are fine boundaries for most government functions, but when people’s lives and livelihood are on the line, we can’t afford hesitation in asking for help.

— ADAM STEWART

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