The News and Tribune has spent the past few days revisiting top stories from 2017, those most read online as well as staff selections. We also reprinted 10 photos from the year that we thought passed the “Wow!” test.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to 2018. You don’t need a crystal ball to predict what some of the news narratives will be in 2018…
• Hold on to your hats, there’s an election wind blowing!
We wish we could predict a gentle breeze, but there’s more likely to be gale-force winds.
Twitter is already afire with jabs from and to the left and right. For example, here's a Dec. 21 post by Rob Burgess, who stepped down Dec. 8 as communications director for 9th District Rep. Trey Hollingsworth:
Long story short: #TaxReform is ALREADY providing real benefits, the “tolerant Left” still has no understanding of what Americans want, and just because the “tolerant Left” might scream louder than the rest of us does not mean that their position is right, validated, or just.— Rob Burgess (@rkburgess) December 21, 2017
This isn’t helpful. To Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians and Independents and others who are purveyors of divisive rhetoric, we say STOP ALREADY. Let’s look for ways to work together.
• Schools are out, for more than just summer
Greater Clark County Schools is poised to decide where downtown Jeffersonville students will be schooled in the near future — and it won’t be in the Maple Elementary and Spring Hill Elementary buildings. A committee whose makeup was filled with inclusive stakeholders has recommended building a new school at the corner of Court and Meigs avenues, near the Clark County building and Nachand Fieldhouse. A rejection of the building project doesn’t mean students would stay put; they’ll be bused to other schools.
We understand it’s difficult to let go of the familiar. Within the walls of Spring Hill and Maple, children have learned to read, staged performances, created works of art and made new friends. The good news is, they can take their friends and their memories with them to a new school better-suited to meet diverse educational needs.
Not everyone agrees with the decision to build a new school, but we ask those who are disappointed, be they parents or teachers or staff or someone else, to not transfer those feelings onto the kids. They deserve the chance to be happy in their new surroundings. It will soon be their school, where they can meet new friends, too.
• 10th Street makeover a marvel
By this time next year, longtimers won’t recognize Jeffersonville’s 10th Street from Vissing Park Road to Interstate 265. Lots of dirt was moved and skeletal work started in 2017, but the coming year will see the new hub take shape. It’s a transformative project, much like planned housing developments with inclusive greenspace and river views. This is intentional growth worth appreciating.
• Public housing problems pile up
New Albany. Charlestown. Jeffersonville. Housing issues are pervasive in Southern Indiana, and we fear they won’t improve anytime soon.
Many public housing units in Jeffersonville sit empty, as no one bothers to fix them to enable occupancy, while people pile into Haven House, our homeless shelter. Doesn’t seem right.
New Albany has a plan, but can’t convince public housing residents — or even the public at large — that it’s acting in the best interests of all concerned by repairing what can be fixed and razing what can’t. Promises of housing vouchers for those who must move, and reassurances that no one will be left homeless, are being questioned due to limited residential housing. New Albany may have a good plan — at least this city is doing something — but until people’s concerns are assuaged, the powers that be will get little support.
Then there’s Charlestown. The News and Tribune has been fair in our coverage of Pleasant Ridge Housing issues, but we would be remiss if we didn’t say, in this look-ahead opinion piece, that we see more and more people — and the court bench — siding with residents over the perceived “land grab.” The writing is on the wall — and we don’t mean graffiti. Residents will see more victories and city leaders, including Mayor Bob Hall, more defeats as this plays out. “Norton of the North” may sprout elsewhere in Charlestown or nearby lands, but it’s hard to envision this poorly executed plan taking shape in Pleasant Ridge.
• A sleepy hamlet awakens
Look for 2018 to be a noteworthy year for the Floyd County community of Georgetown, where progress is blossoming. We expect other foodie ventures to follow 812 Pizza Co., whose owners vow to make it the best pizza restaurant in the Louisville area; together the pair, one of whom calls Georgetown home, has enough restaurant acumen to make believers out of us, the historically skeptical media. Another indicator of change afoot is a revitalization plan adopted by the town council earlier this year. It gives a blueprint for downtown improvement, including implementing building guidelines, creating a historic preservation commission, forming a town square and improving sidewalks, lighting and parking. Destination Georgetown, the community's Main Street organization, is determined to make its moniker a reality; we believe it will succeed.
— The News and Tribune editorial board is comprised of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editor Chris Morris, Assistant Editor Jason Thomas and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.