Looking forward to building community

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, June 9, 2013

It’s been a contentious few weeks here in Bookhaven. With passions on the issues running as long and as deep as they are, I tempted to call her Old’ Brook, but I can’t say that I’m well acquainted enough in my short time here to be afforded the luxury of calling her by her nickname.

Our city school superintendent came under considerable fire in recent weeks. Dr. Lisa Karmacharya is leaving her post under pressure.

I certainly don’t know all the particulars in the case. Like Will Rogers, “All I know is what I read in the newspaper.” I would hope and trust Dr. K led the school district in a manner she felt was best.

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Obviously, many in the community, including the school board, felt differently. Passions flared and hurtful things were said and done. Neither side won in this conflict, least of which were the children.

I encourage our city school board to define a clear mission for whoever follows Dr. K. If our children truly are our future, then we – both board and community – owe it to them to support a new school administration in a manner exemplary of how each of us would want to be treated.

Remember Jesus’ second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Our school board owes our incoming school superintendent, and the community, a clear mission with well-defined expectations and measurable benchmarks at specific checkpoints. All this needs to be fully and completely communicated with all stakeholders.

Then this board, along with each of us, needs to be willing to do all we can to lead, guide and support this new administration in the best interests of our children and our future.

Of course, the other divide was over the liquor referendum. I had the opportunity to hear the impassioned pleas of both sides in this debate. Your Daily Leader tried its best to share both sides as fairly and completely as we could and allow the community to decide what was best for our future.

In the end, Brookhaven chose to side with the sale of alcohol. Now it’s up to our new city leadership to decide how that sale will be administered. It’s up to each of us to do what we can to ensure the sale and use of alcohol in Brookhaven is done responsibly. With freedom comes responsibility.

Times like these certainly make for exciting times in the newspaper business. And make no mistake, we LOVE selling newspapers.

But while selling newspapers is our job, building a strong, rich, vibrant community is our mission. It’s wonderful to see citizens as passionate about their community as those have been here in recent weeks.

Perhaps now, with these conflicting issues behind us, we can turn our attention and our passions to building a better community – where unity drives us toward a better quality of life and better future for our children.

Many of the differences seemed quite grand last week. In time they will fade and give way to other differences. I expect there has never been a time of conflict in our nation’s history than that of the civil war.

While our current disagreements pale in comparison to this greatest conflict, the words of Abraham Lincoln, I think, can always be aptly applied when he said: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Rick Reynolds is president/publisher of The Daily Leader. Contact him at rick.reynolds@dailyleader.com.