Corner Column

By Phil Major
publisher@wood.cm
Posted 8/11/22

Something kind of amazing recently happened.

The Monitor won a couple first place awards from the Texas Press Association, but that’s not the amazing part.

What is truly remarkable about …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Corner Column

Posted

Something kind of amazing recently happened.

The Monitor won a couple first place awards from the Texas Press Association, but that’s not the amazing part.

What is truly remarkable about this honor is that it is the people of Mineola and Wood County who deserve most of the recognition.

In addition to awards for Sam’s photography and Sam and Lesa’s ad designs, we won an award for public notice.

Unlike the other categories where we competed against other weekly newspapers with similar circulation, there is only one public notice category, which means we were going up against all but the largest metro dailies in the state (basically every paper except Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso).

The contest is judged based on the effectiveness of public notices and subsequent coverage of their impact.

In the case of our winning entry, it concerned a notice, required by state law, posted by a company seeking an air quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to operate a concrete batch plant.

The plant itself wasn’t the issue so much as the proposed location – at the county road that leads to the Mineola Nature Preserve.

Once citizens were alerted, they followed proper procedures to request a public hearing on the proposal and formed a group in opposition.

It led to the firm’s withdrawal of the application.

We have since learned that the company opened a new location in what appears to be an industrial area near Longview. The local piece of property has sold to a developer who is dividing it into residential lots.

It’s too bad we couldn’t benefit from the economic impact the company would have brought. Local leaders did try to find an alternative location. Specifically Mineola leaders said there just was not a piece of property within the city that would be suitable (the proposed location was outside the city limits).

The point of all this is that public notices do work. Rarely do they alert folks to something so critical, but when they do, they serve the intended purpose.

Unfortunately some legislators (and others) think shuffling public notices off on some government-run website would work better.

They need not be concerned about doing that.

The press association has already done the work for them, so our tax dollars don’t need to be wasted, and those notices can remain in newspapers where they are readily accessible to the “public.”

The website is searchable, while local notices will remain in local papers where the very folks for whom they are intended can find them easily.

Otherwise so-called “public” notices would wind up someplace that’s really not too public. Out of sight, out of mind.

And for some folks in government, that would be just fine.

We contend that government operates best in the bright white light of day.

Our award, won by our readers, proves that.

If you get a chance to speak to your state representative and/or senator, a friendly reminder would be in order.

Otherwise who knows what might move in next door.