Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our stories help bring needed change

Two stories today are great examples of how the Herald's reporting can help effect needed change in our community.

Law enforcement reporter Robert Napper has covered the case of William White Jr.'s slaying since the teen was shot to death last month. Napper's coverage exposed a serious flaw in how felony arrests of students have been handled in Manatee County. No one at Lakewood Ranch High School had been alerted that the suspect had been arrested earlier. And little exists at the local or state level to oversee such notification, even though it's required by law.

In today's story, Napper reported that school officials and law enforcement plan to close that gap and overhaul how they will work together to disseminate that critical information. It's reassuring that all our public safety departments and school officials recognize that they need to work together on this -- and do it now.

The other example I want to mention: Honor Sanctuary, an animal rescue group, is getting a home, as reported today by Carl Mario Nudi. County Commissioner Carol Whitmore called the Herald last week, heartbroken by the plight of a growing number of animals in Manatee County that are either abused, abandoned -- or both. She wanted to help this group, but knew it would be difficult making it a priority quickly. Reporter Grace Gaglioni wrote about the need and the story ran on Page 1A. By yesterday, Whitmore had a green light to fix up a building for interim shelter as the group searches for a more permanent home.

We certainly wish the need for such solutions didn't exist. But both outcomes reflect a community working to prevent more tragedy.

To volunteer with the Honor Sanctuary animal rescue group, go to or call 941-302-0933.


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