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It all ties together

Another Hazlehurst business was the victim of a burglary, this time early Monday morning, police are saying.
This time it was Newman’s Pawn Shop on Caldwell Drive – right in the heart of town.
When I say broke in to, I mean literally.  The suspect, or suspects, probably used a sledge hammer or some other heavy tool to break a hole in the reinforced concrete south wall large enough to crawl through–like big rats.  In fact, after seeing the hole on Monday afternoon, it reminded me of the old Tom and Jerry cartoons.  Jerry, the mouse, lived in a hole in the wall.  Not a perfectly carved out hole, but on that was ragged and looked like Jerry spent quite a bit of time picking and pecking at it.
Monday’s event was the ninth burglary of the year by my count.
At the same time, the city school district is going through some strife, hiring an interim superintendent while the existing one was basically put on leave with pay after having submitted her resignation a few days ago.  The school board, despite meeting twice since, has not decided whether to accept or deny Lisa Davis’ request to resign because of some mitigating factors involving contractual obligations.
The board has drawn the ire of Mayor Shirley Sandifer.  She appeared in front of the trustees at last Thursday’s meeting and warned them not to fall back into the same situation that brought a state takeover nine years ago.  The district should be about educating children, to paraphrase her statement, and not as a job program for family and friends.  A top-quality education also brings investment, jobs and more tax dollars to the city for services, like police and fire protection.
She put them on notice, promising to replace the three appointed members with new ones if improvements aren’t made.
Unfortunately, the school board members themselves have a tough row to hoe.  They have a war on their hands that is not winnable unless society changes.  A good quality education, you see, starts at home before a child sets his or her first foot on the grounds of any school. A large part of the issue at the city school is the quality of home life of many of students.  Many kids aren’t being raised in two-parent homes.  Many of the parents who are rearing their own child or children are jobless and/or relying on government assistance of some sort, living in a cycle of dependence which is hard to break.  We need more producers, not more dependants.
On top of all of this, the Police Department has had to cut back on the number of officers available for the evening and night shift.  Budgetary concerns have forced Police Chief Byron Swilley to cut back at night, as per the city’s directive.  Dangerous is strong word to use in this situation, but reducing officers on the street at night creates an escalating situation.
All of this can be tied back to the family unit in a community.  Those school districts who have strong families most likely also have thriving business and industries, expansion, excellent fire and police protection and top-notch schools at all levels.  Quality of life in these communities is higher and crime rates are lower.  This is what all of Hazlehurst should aim for.