More Jackson County Opinions...

 August 30, 2000

Column
By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 30, 2000

Early-season thoughts
We're all agonizingly familiar with the cliche about hindsight being 20/20. While that's true, several of our local teams have provided early clues to their possible success during the fall season.
LADY DRAGONS IMPROVING
To say Jefferson's softball team has been a surprise to this point would be a misstatement. The Lady Dragons were expected by most everyone to have one of their best years. The team has not disappointed, racking up a perfect record through its first nine starts.
The surprise is in how that feat has been accomplished. Known for their incredible potential to ride balls out of the park, the Lady Dragons have actually reduced their number of long balls while at the same time increasing their number of hits per game. If that trend holds, there may be no team out there that can stand with Jefferson.
FOOTBALL NOTES FROM THE JAMBOREE
Friday's football jamboree at Jackson County provided coaches with a good opportunity to see how their teams will react when confronted with a game situation. Given the levels of success achieved by the three participating teams in recent years, it's still hard to know just how good any of them might be. Still, a few things stood out.
Though they had some difficulty holding on to the football, Jackson County's offense looked to be improved. Sam Veal, Terriss Hale, Terry Blackwell and Travis Parks all had strong runs for big gains. The team seemed to be particularly successful when running to the outside. A great run by Yewphang Vanchiasong had to be a pleasant surprise as well.
On the defensive side, the Panthers seemed to present a tougher front than they did last year. Penetration into the backfield was good, and containment was good, though not great. Pass coverage looked pretty good as well. Rushes to the left side of the defense seemed to give the squad a bit of trouble.
Jefferson's offense looked to be extremely well balanced, and could be a force to be reckoned with if things continue to develop.
Quarterback Kyle Potts should get a chance to show off his strong arm this season, but backup Corey Hill did a good job passing the ball and running the offense as well. God forbid something should happen to Potts, but if it does, it looks as though Hill might be able to step in and fill the gap well.
Roderick Young showed his good running ability several times, and Shane Wilburn was a monster up the middle. Potts and Hill both ran the ball well also.
The Jefferson defense looked pretty fair, especially in the middle. Wilburn filled holes and made some good tackles early, and Andrew Cambers got past the offensive lines more than once. As with Jackson County, Jefferson looks to be a bit vulnerable to the rush on the left side of the defense.
One thought that the jamboree left me with is the fact that this matchup should be happening during the regular season. Both coaches indicated this week that it could happen soon. Jackson County/Jefferson would be a big draw, and the seeds of some bad blood showed themselves at times during the jamboree.
It may sound like football blasphemy, but this game (if it ever comes off) has the potential to be a bigger rivalry than Commerce-Jefferson.

Column
By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
August 30, 2000

I have an obligation to society
This newspaper, as a business, has the task of providing a news service to its readers and a vehicle to its advertisers. Indeed, it is a task taken seriously each week.
But as a social institution, The Jackson Herald has a far greater role in Jackson County.
It has a moral and ethical obligation to the citizens of this community to provide the truth, or at least all the facts so that truth may be obtained. And it is this obligation that I respect and that I esteem to be of utmost importance.
And though we, as newspaper journalists, are often criticized for what we say or what we chose to write, we are merely reporting what has happened. Whether it be good or whether it be bad is of no consequence. We must still report it.
When news happens, it is my duty to report exactly what happened. It isn't my right, however, to express an opinion in a news story. That is what my space here on the editorial page is for, and I use it quite often.
But when a board or council enters into illegal discussions in closed sessions, I take offense. Not for me personally, but for each citizen of this community.
Very few items are allowed to be discussed in closed session, so says the law. And the law should be followed meticulously.
Why?
Every citizen has a right to go to city hall or the courthouse and observe their laws and policies being set. Many times, I am the only one there. Seldom do citizens come watch their government in operation. Yet they still have that right should they choose to exercise it.
But when a council denies the public access to discussions which should be open, it is depriving the community's citizens of their rights. Not to mention, it is against the law.
I don't believe that most councils partake in illegal discussions for any malicious purposes. Usually, it is a rather innocent conversation that happens to "come up" during a closed session.
However, the law says they can't do it. Councilmen and board members are sworn to uphold the law. And when they disregard the law, they are devaluing their position and they are violating their oath of office. Whether they do it with ill intentions or not, they are still breaking the law of this state.
I challenge each council member and board member in Jackson County to enter into closed sessions cautiously. Remember, you have a sworn duty to the law and to the people whom you serve.
It is a duty I hope, nay, I pray you take seriously. If not, you should resign. You should get out of public service and leave the running of the government to those who care enough to take the time to learn and honor the law.
And when any indiscretion is made by a council or board, I will be there and I will report it. Not because I am out to get anyone, but because it is my job, my duty and my responsibility.
And if it's wrong to stand up for the law or if it's wrong to fight for every citizen's rights, then let me be wrong.
At least I'll know I am doing what I believe is right.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.

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