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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Dec. 20

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Helping kids affected by drugs

When we talk about drug addiction, we often talk about the criminal side — who got busted for what drug, what the criminal penalties are, what is being done to help addicts. But there’s another impact of drugs that goes unmentioned all too often — kids.

Sunday’s Advocate-Messenger shone a light on this less-talked-about aspect of drug addiction with the story, “The kids are not alright,” by Kendra Peek.

There are many often unsung heroes — social workers, CASA volunteers, foster parents — who step in to provide in various ways for kids when drugs take their parents out of the picture.

The work done by these people is difficult, painful and often frustrating, but many of them do it because they know it is so badly needed.

Children need happy and safe childhoods in order to mature properly into happy and safe adults. Drugs take that happiness and safety away from hundreds of our children, leaving them scared, alone and unmoored.

The heroes mentioned above find these children safe homes, or guide their parents toward rehabilitation, or even just sit down and listen to a kid who hasn’t ever been listened to before.

They provide hope for stability — and then actual stability — when a child’s life would otherwise spiral into chaos.

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Danville Board of Ed approves school reorganization plan

Danville’s Board of Education has approved its district facilities plan, which includes the reorganization of Hogsett, Jennie Rogers and Toliver elementary schools into centers for specific grades.

The plan, which includes many other projects besides the reorganization, must go before the Kentucky Department of Education for final approval, but is otherwise ready to go.

We’re glad to see progress on this after things had gotten bogged down for a few months while some debated whether the elementary schools should be divided in a more traditional manner.

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Public MIA at public hearing

Despite the facilities plan involving $34 million in spending for the school district, no one bothered to show up for Thursday’s public hearing.

That’s right — zero members of the public attended the meeting.

We understand there was very little new information and no drama to be had, but the fact that the board would be signing off — or not — on potentially $34 million in expenditures should have attracted at least a few interested parties.

Maybe many planned to read about whatever happened in the paper the next day — and that was indeed an option. But that’s not an excuse for zero.

Danville is known for its community involvement. We have no shortage of people willing to attend meetings and speak their mind, and that’s an extremely good thing for the health of local government.

Thursday night’s goose egg is an unfortunate tarnish on a largely impressive record of public attendance locally. Hopefully it was a one-off and not a sign of declining participation.