The Winkler Post - An Independent Voice From West Texas
Tuesday, 02 September, 2014 09:05:29 pm Current Issue August 28, 2014
Last Updated: Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 2:11:19 PM
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First Impressions
John Reed, The Winkler Post ♦ August 31 2014 14:02:47
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Trash strewn on the entire length of Midland St -from North Pine to East Ave.
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Remnants of a curb-side pick-up disaster? Doubtful. There was an entire case of empty beer cans directly across the street from this photo --A can-collector's jackpot. Nevertheless, it looked terrible on this day.

In the beginning an effort was put into motion to ensure that first impressions of Kermit were Good Impressions.  That effort, Re-Klaim Kermit, became the darling project of mayors and city managers past and present; and has all but consumed itself to the point of being nothing more than a banner on the side of a building and an adornment in the chambers of the Kermit City Council.  The city's noble effort to make a better place for all of us to call home and create a first impression that would instill a high degree of pride in accomplishment –has run into an invisible, near impenetrable wall created by –the "Human Element"; consisting of the very citizens the project was intended to help.

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Trash strewn on the entire length of Midland St -from North Pine to East Ave.  NO street or neighborhood is immune to this abuse.
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Downtown -impossible to miss.

There is a limit to the functions of a municipal government, especially when those functions intimately involve the citizens' private use of private property –and Kermit, as a municipal government, has reached those limits in plying legal pressures and the power of the Caterpillar.  Perhaps the Re-Klaim Kermit effort should have included a multi-phased plan of attack instead of a broad-based wish list that included only the high-points, the material accomplishments.  It seems there were some assumptions made concerning the acceptance of "ReKlamation" by the "Human Element."  And we all know the addage concerning assuming, anything.

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Downtown -impossible to miss.

High points, such as the establishment of a much needed recycling center and a community solid waste collection facility were most welcome additions to the citizen's personal arsenal of tools to use in Re-Klaiming Kermit.  And let's not forget the curb-side pick-up perk.  But there were, and still are, some details that need to be addressed more than a once or twice a year.  Details such as a clean-up effort that is met with mediocre participation at best and the every-day personal effort of every citizen to keep their own created waste products in their proper place.  Although the "Human Element" is the major culprit here, the City has its own set of details that need to be addressed.

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The forgotten phase of Re-Klaim Kermit?  Instilling community, civic pride that is second nature to every citizen and doesn't have to be rekindled repeatedly or purchased with a perk from the city (or county).  A fancy banner just isn't enough.  Frankly, we don't have a clue in that process of changing a mass mindset –and with the influx of humanity in Kermit and Wink it would seem that civic pride in our community would have to be instilled in every person that entered via one of the arteries that feed our cities before those travelers passed the city limits sign.  A billboard campaign akin to "Don't Mess With Texas?"  An expensive effort that would, more than likely, have only a marginal effect.

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Downtown Goliad -Cleanliness on 4th of July Weekend –impossible to miss and one hell of a first impression.
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Downtown Goliad -Clean that was impossible to miss.

We know there is a way, as we've seen the results of that degree of community pride in a recent road trip to South Texas where one would be hard pressed to find so much as a gum wrapper on the streets of cities similar in size to Kermit AND Wink and with thru-traffic in volumes ten-fold that of our cities.  In fact, as we visited these cities, one of the very first things one notices was indeed the cleanliness of the towns.  One could also immediately tell the efforts to keep the city clean was a community effort and that effort was carried on even by visitors.  Businesses kept their properties uncluttered and clean; neighborhood streets appeared to be groomed and; city parks were pristine in every way.  The problem we seem to have locally is not being able to make OUR civic pride a contagious affliction.

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