In bad company
We hear that our reports on drug testing in county schools blew the lid on a potential buyer for the old Sykes building. We also hear that some employees at the Super 8 might have also been the reason why we lost the chance at 300 more jobs in the county.
What we're hearing is confusing.
The problem in attracting business at this point has little to do with ink or loose lips. It might seem that way, but the reality is that we do have a drug problem, and if potential buyers didn't learn it on the tour, then they would have learned it through an even harder lesson once they signed the lease.
We understand the urge to keep our skeletons in the closet and try to improve the community, but at what cost.
The healthcare company that was looking to Hazard for a location would have very quickly learned that we had an issue here with drugs. They would have also learned that it was not exclusive to Perry County alone. Neighboring counties are dealing with these same issues.
Again, we understand that the loss of this kind of potential is frustrating. We share in that frustration. But to blame one another is counterproductive and useless.
It's the job of any good news agency to report anything that might be of interest to the public in a timely and organized manner. And it's the job of the city and county to try to improve the area by courting potential businesses and jobs. Sometimes those things cross one another, but it makes neither the local government or the local media any more responsible than the other.
What we must face is that this area does have an albatross dangling in plain view about its neck. We can only work to improve that situation. Drug testing in the schools is one step in that direction, and it was a move that was significant to everyone involved, and thus important to learn about.
The idea of 300 jobs leaving this area before they ever got started is startling, regardless the reason. But to know the reason was apparently because of our struggle with drugs should prompt us not to turn our backs on one another, but to work together even harder to find a way to improve that situation.
And on this end, if that means putting out the good word that steps are being taken to do just that, we'll always be there, pen in hand. It's regrettable if our doing that caused red flags to go up for a visiting company, but everyone has to do their part in this. We'd love to see the day there's nothing drug-related to report on, but that day is not today. Until then, let's just try to stick together and realize that no one is trying to do anything other than improve the quality of life for everyone touched by this problem.