We The People

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By Kenny Mitchell

Publisher

A lot of fuss has been made in recent weeks over the infighting at New Boston City Hall and the turmoil inside the New Boston Police Department. Council orders have gone ignored, friends have become foes, and a sense of disarray has been unleashed on the general public by TV and newspaper coverage.

To say that there are no problems in New Boston would be a mistake. It is obvious that there are differences of opinion and that things could be getting done differently.

Yes, there should be an investigation into the police department when the kinds of accusations that have been made are brought to light, and yes, when an order by the governing body of any city is blatantly ignored, there is a problem.

Things could be and should be done differently.

All of it has taken away from what a good town New Boston really is and what a great place to live we have in Bowie County.

This past week there was a standing room only crowd at New Boston City Hall for a council meeting that everyone knew would be contentious. That is all fine and good, the public should take an interest in the business of the city. As citizens of the United States, we have the right to assemble, the right to speak freely, and the right to ask questions of our leaders.

But let me pose a couple of questions.

Where were the packed council chambers when everything was running smoothly? Why is it that the Bowie County Commissioners Court meetings are a ghost town now compared to when former Judge Sterling Lacy was stirring the pot? Why are there not huge crowds when the Chamber of Commerce has a ribbon cutting for a new business, or when the city administrators get a perfect bill of health from independent auditors?

Why does there have to be mudslinging and threats of violence before a crowd shows up?

It is my opinion that New Boston, and Bowie County, are a great place to call home. Covering the area as I have for as long as I have, it is easy to look around and not only see the changes, good and bad, but also notice the behind the scenes activities that have the area poised for growth and change.

Barring another round of BRAC, and the devastating impact it could have on our region, Northeast Texas is on the brink of growth and prosperity. New businesses have come in, and more are coming. Hubs of activity like the TexAmericas Center can only bring positive impacts. If you look at just New Boston, there has been a plethora of new commerce in recent times.

Hibbett Sports, Dollar Tree, Paradise/Burger King, Tiger Mart and more have all come to New Boston in the last year. New production facilities are on the way, as is a Road Ranger. The New Boston SIDC is courting new businesses daily with hopes for things like a Dunkin Donuts, an Aldi’s grocery store and more. The DeKalb Industrial Foundation is also working to bring new jobs to the area and make life better for the people in the area, with a major project underway to provide a new lake, hike and bike trails, and a new and improved playground. All of these things don't just happen. They come from people working together, good city and county infrastructure, and a common goal.

Even with recent contention at some local school districts, education in Bowie County is in good shape. Teachers still care about their students. Today, as I write this, students and teachers all over are having to face  STARR tests, and rising to the occasion, all the while emphasizing that a child’s value is not found in a test score. Texarkana College is making life easier by getting grant funding for dual credit courses, enabling our high school students to enter college, with as much as two years of credits. I know this to be true, because my kids did it. Education is alive and well in Bowie County, and a point to be praised for anyone looking to locate here.

My point is this. Just as Mr. Patton pointed out at last week’s meeting that there will be big changes in New Boston, all of those changes can be made in a positive fashion. There is no need for all of the backbiting, infighting and name calling. Wait for the investigation to be completed, go with the results as they come from the Rangers, and then, work together for the positive benefit of New Boston.

The crowd can be a good thing. Apathy is always a bad thing. Channel those energies into positive changes. Work for the common good.  A civil war only leaves a battleground. Accord is the fuel for the fire of a better New Boston and better Bowie County.

Yes, get involved. Yes, invoke change, and yes, strive always for what is best for all. Remember, one of our greatest works of written word ever says, “We the People.”

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