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Published 9:03 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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Focusing on opioids over marijuana

We think Boyle County Sheriff Derek Robbins, Junction City Police Chief Merle Baldwin and numerous attendees at this month’s Boyle County Republican Party meeting are on-target with their assessment that opioids are a far bigger problem than marijuana.

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The use of different drugs to ease pain (and then satisfy addiction) always ebbs and flows through history. Some decades one drug will become “popular” to the point that it has a negative effect on the functioning of society; other decades it will be another entirely.

Right now, we’re in the midst of a major problem with opioid drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Opioid possession, opioid dealing and opioid-use-related crimes combine to be a massive contributor to the inmate population at the Boyle County Detention Center. Marijuana-related crimes likely don’t even register compared to this epidemic.

Like all law enforcement agencies in a responsibly managed democracy, our local sheriff and police departments operate on limited budgets. They need to spend their budgets wisely, and one of the best ways to spend right now is on limiting the damage from opioids.

Unless we want higher and higher taxes to pay for more and more police and more jail cells, we simply cannot afford to tackle insignificant issues like marijuana with the same gusto we tackle the big problems like opioids. That would amount to making a mountain out of a mole hill, to the detriment of dealing with the actual mountain.

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Preserving Second Street history

The removal of significant buildings for African-American history along Danville’s Second Street — done in the name of “urban renewal” in the 1970s — was a great cultural loss for the City of Firsts. The permanent exhibit at the visitor’s center in Constitution Square Park doesn’t begin to replace what was lost, but it’s a good step toward preserving what we still have from the heyday of the African-American community that thrived along Second Street from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Now organizers are hoping to expand the largely photographic exhibit with objects that either represent or are even directly from Second Street at that time.

More than half a century after the Second Street culture was at its peak, we are at an important moment when pieces of history about the street are going to start disappearing with the people who lived it and understood it.

As CVB Director Jennifer Kirchner noted in our story over the weekend, a lot of history surrounding the street has been carried forward as oral tradition. “We need to get it documented,” Kirchner said. “When we lose those people, we lose those stories.”

We think building an impressive, attention-grabbing exhibit with artifacts and symbolic objects that capture the Second Street atmosphere is a great way to both educate visitors and the community about what was, and a great way to increase visibility of the need to preserve what we have left before it’s gone.

We hope the community responds resoundingly to the call for donations and loans of these special objects.

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Local people getting the job done

This week, we launched our new weekly feature “One Day,” which follows normal people in the local community as they go through a day in their lives. Our first installment yesterday featured Dan Turcea and Debbie McCown at the Danville-Boyle County Animal Shelter, and our next will appear on Monday, Dec. 4.

One Day is our attempt to highlight the everyday people who might not often be in the spotlight but who make our local community what it is. These people work behind the scenes or contribute in ways you might not expect and they deserve a little more attention.

To put One Day together, our reporters are going out with their cameras and documenting a day in the life of the people chosen for the feature. Now every Monday, you can pick up an Advocate-Messenger and learn a little more about someone in your community who’s giving back, working hard or has a unique perspective.

If you know someone who deserves to be featured in a One Day photographic essay, let us know — give us a call at (859) 236-2551 or email