I see - and I want to be clear here - no reason to sit on the panic button. I don’t want to do this for two reasons: First, thanks to the sort of learning life experience gives, I’ve learned that panic just wastes time. If you’re going to deal with something deal with it, if you’re not then just take whatever the outcome’s going to be without you dealing with it. Panic never got anything further down the road.

Second, while the county facing a budget hit is a problem, it’s not a problem which can’t be dealt with. Now, granted, and as it stands now, “dealt with” means we’re looking at job losses. Some people are going to get some bad news out of all this.

I wasn’t convinced of “don’t panic” going in. Frankly I pictured a gloom and doom headline as I sat down to interview Dale James in preparation for the budget article. But, again, and based on that conversation: No reason to panic. There is every reason to pay attention, there is every reason to be concerned that some people are going to get bad news from this, there is every reason and then some to anticipate decision makers are going to have to make some very tough decisions going forward, but … no reason to panic. The county will survive this as it has survived so many things.

Still, we’re not done with this one yet. This same budget hit will have an impact on schools, although to what degree remains to be seen. (Working on the story about this now.) As I’m typing this it looks like the impact will be, on the whole, minimal, but if you’re the sort of person who reads newspaper columns then you’re the sort of person who recognizes “on the whole” as a loaded term.

Oh, and before we get too far down the road, I’m continuing to work to get the web site more useful. The podcast from the interview with Dale James will be up roughly the same time you read this, and linked from that story. Plus the Quorum Court meeting in this issue and the budget concern is such that those two stories will need to be inter-linked, if for no other reason than to help the reader untangle the issue.

Other things you might want to read between the lines about: Gurley’s statement at the recent Quorum Court about the Damascus ticket money. This has actually come up from time-to-time in recent months, it’ll be interesting, if not encouraging, to find out the county is looking at a revenue source from there. (So at least if you’ve been pulled over in Damascus you’re contributing to the county.) Other news there is the question if a new prosecutor in the 20th won’t mean a change to the Damascus situation, and they’ll be back to pulling over speeders in the near term, maybe.

Shirley water: I’m pretty sure at the end of the day everything comes back to water. I didn’t used to think that, but now I’m on a beat where interaction with city government is a constant and, sunufagun, it’s always, end of the day, water.

I was thinking of it this morning: Years (and years) ago we lived in an old farmhouse with a well pump. Sometimes when the weather would get dire a line would go down and we’d be without electricity. Well, you know, whatever, light a candle and a night without TV wasn’t so bad.

But the well pump being down? No water? No, just no, forget that.

Scare on the Square next week. If you see me (I look like the guy in the picture very close to this sentence) say “Hi,” or if the office is open stick your head in the door and say hello.

Don’t scare us, I hate it when I spill stuff on the keyboard.