Under the Hat: Look Who's Talking - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Look Who's Talking

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Maybe there's something in the water, or maybe it's just everyone's renewed commitment to get some exercise and enough rest.

Whatever the reason, there is a phenomenon going on that can't be ignored.

People are talking to each other.

And it's not just idle chatter.

People are talking to each other about some of the most serious issues we face, and are doing so with an approach that just might lead to some success in the future.

There is, for instance, the Erie Policy and Planning Council at Mercyhurst University putting together a report on how best to keep kids out of the prison system.

The report is due out in April and is expected to say, among a lot of other things, that if you want to keep a gun out of the hand of a 16-year old you better start when the kid is six.

The Erie Together initiative is looking to address poverty through literacy, again with the thinking that the way to fix a problem is to address it before it is a problem.

Now comes Vital Signs, a 10-year effort by the Erie Community Foundation, the United Way and others to gather real data on key indicators in our area, everything from health to education to the economy to our cultural vitality.

Those facts are then compared with other similar communities to gauge where we are succeeding and where we are lacking.

 But a key component to the program's success is ongoing dialogue between community leaders and experts in those areas being addressed.

 The information is also being made available over the Internet so that taxpayers can stay informed as well.

I'm not saying that we haven't had good people doing good work in the past.

But all too often we fall victim to interpersonal bickering and turf wars; too many times protecting existing realities and the status quo has come before making real headway.

This is grown-up, forward thinking stuff.

It's realizing that a problem decades in the making won't be solved with a flashy headline or a report that sits on a shelf.

It's a willingness to do the slow, grinding, often anonymous work that may not see real results for years.

But it will bring results.

It's impressive to see.

In fact, all of this talk is leaving me a little speechless.

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