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Listening

February 23, 2009 - Meg Alexander
I am aware that many people in Fairmont are opposed to proceeding with projects ( e.g., the liquor store) during these tough economic times. It's also come to my attention that some of these people think I am biased in favor of the city, or to quote one person, writing "infomercials for the city."

I'll admit, I'm a human, I'm going to have my own opinions. But this is just insulting. Please allow me to defend myself, if you will.

When I decided to write an article about the liquor store (published in the Feb. 17 edition) it was based on curiosity and skepticism. I had heard numerous times that the working conditions were poor and the building is old. However people are prone to exaggeration, and city officials and politicians are certainly no exception. I decided to check it out first-hand. And when I saw the building for myself, with its crumbling basement ceiling -- and I smelled the mold -- and I heard the water dripping from the roof into the basement -- and I watched the physical risks the employees must take every week to unload freight -- I found the opposite to be true.

Truthfully, I was horrified. If anything, the building's flaws and workers' conditions were downplayed.

That said, it doesn't mean this story is over; it doesn't mean I've reached a final conclusion -- because that isn't my job. My job is to report the news. I am to be a mediator, informing readers of what is happening in their community. However I can only do that with the community's cooperation. If people want to sit and gripe about something but no one is willing to publicly air their grievances, there isn't much I can do. I can't go door to door asking people if they're upset about the liquor store. I can't organize a group in opposition to the project. What I can do is accurately report on any such campaign -- but only if I am aware of it.

Our e-mail is news@fairmontsentinel.com. Our phone number if (507) 235-3303. Ask for Megan. Get involved. Speak out.

 
 

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