As this is written, it is in the middle of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is just a week away, and soon the new year will be upon us. The year has gone by more quickly than any of us would like, but time marches on and we must march with it.
This past weekend the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. reminded all of us all that life is precious, fleeting, and to be enjoyed to it’s fullest every day. We never know what tomorrow brings.
With that in mind, this column will be a little different. These columns are written for two major purposes: (1) is to inform Darke County as to what is happening around Darke County, and (2) is to try and highlight all the good that is happening in the County.
Every newspaper in the country makes its living by reporting the bad news. Bad news sells. I for one am sick of all the negativity that goes on in our lives. As a matter of choice, I try to accentuate the positive believing that being positive is contagious, and bears better fruit in the long run. Let the papers and T.V do doom and gloom, I want this column to be a breath of fresh air, untainted by negativity.
Darke County has many things to be thankful for this past year. The State of Ohio has gone from 48th in job creation to fourth in the nation, and we are the only Midwestern state on the list. Our representatives and senators are in powerful positions in the Statehouse, and communicate with us routinely, not only as public officials, but as friends also.
Darke County has been recognized in National publications as one of the best at creating jobs. The Dayton Development coalition recognizes that Darke County has led the region in job production. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state. Greenville was recognized as one of the best small towns in the state to live in. Greenville was also recognized by Site Selectors Magazine as one of the best Micropolitans (towns under 25,000 people) in the country!
The Daily Advocate has won a national award, (a photo showing the Great Darke County Fair, one of the best in the country), competing against the leading newspapers in the country. Our schools continue to improve educationally, and the economy in Darke County, led by agriculture again, is one of the best in the state.
Housing continues to improve, foreclosures are slowing, and our county sales tax is up slightly lending to the notion that we continue on the rise. After the Commissioners Winter Meeting in Columbus, it was evident to all of the commissioners that we are in a very good position compared to other counties. Our elected officials and staffs do more with less than most all the others, and do their jobs, always, to the best of their ability. That doesn’t happen everywhere.
During this holiday shopping season, it seemed that more people were smiling and shopping with a new enthusiasm. People seem happier. Even the online chat boxes in the county are toning it down some, as only a small few continue to complain. With all the good around us, we surely should give thanks to God for all of our blessings.
I have been a Darke County resident my whole life. I don’t want to live anywhere else. This is home to me, and it is a great place to grow up, and to live in. Sometimes when we are bombarded daily with negative news pieces, it is easy to forget how lucky we are.
It has been a great year in Darke County. My fellow commissioners are a real joy to work with and their dedication to their jobs is exemplary. I have learned a lot from them. Thanks to both of you. I, along with my fellow Commissioners Mike Rhoades and Diane Delaplane, look forward to serving all of you again. We will continue down the path we have chosen for the county. We will spend your money wisely, take care of your buildings, promote the general welfare and safety of our people, and represent you in a positive light, always. We do this knowing that everyone will not be happy with us. That’s okay, it comes with the territory, and we accept it.
We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you at our meetings next year. We meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays in the commissioner’s office located at 520 South Broadway in Greenville, just south of the courthouse. Have a great new year everyone!!
Mike Stegall is a Darke County Commissioner. He can be reached at (937) 547-7300 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.