Beatings Rise, Funding Falls

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So, let’s say you had a big surge in hurricanes.

What would you do?

Hey, let’s cut the budget for emergency services.

Now, let’s say you had a big surge in measles cases.

What would you do?

Here’s an idea: Let’s sharply reduce immunizations.

So now assume that reports of domestic violence went up 85 percent in one year.

No problem. Let’s cut the funding for the only domestic violence shelter and education program in the region.

We’re not sure whether the layers of state and federal budget cuts have reduced funding for emergency services or immunizations — come to think of it, they probably have.

But one thing’s for certain — we have started to abandon abused women and their children.

Payson police last year reported a startling 85 percent increase in domestic violence cases — this in the face of sharp drops in other major crimes.

And this week, the Department of Economic Security cut funding for Payson’s Time Out shelter by $30,000.

Smart guys.

Real smart.

No one can say for sure why the wife batterers and the child beaters have stepped up their disgraceful activities. Experts in these matters say that economic downturns often result in violence upturns.

Partly, the stress, unemployment and financial woes give the abusers an excuse to vent their ever-seething rage. Partly, it’s because women and their children can’t escape when the woman can’t get a job and the family has no money. So women stay longer than they might have and the abuse escalates.

So maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the phase of the moon. Doesn’t really matter. Point being, reports of domestic violence have jumped — funding has dropped.

What to do?

Make sure that you shop at Time Out’s thrift shop for starters. That money helps provide more than 110,000 nights of shelter for beaten women and children.

Send the shelter a donation. Volunteer your time. Then write your lawmakers and insist they protect funding for shelters and domestic violence education efforts in next year’s budget — already being assembled like some monster made of body parts in the legislative dungeon.

Make no mistake, most every major social ill puts down roots in the fetid soil of family violence, child abuse and neglect. Interview the people in prison, talk to cops on the beat, drop in on the welfare caseworkers, talk to the teachers in the schools, chat with the folks at the 12-step meetings, have a heart-to-heart with the abusers themselves at anger management meetings.

Odds are, you’ll quickly discover that society spent years ignoring the childhood abuse and neglect that played a major role in the lives of many of those caught in our patched and threadbare systems.

So, just do something. Now.

Otherwise, it’s your fault too.

We beg you — don’t let them think that no one cares.

Protect our vital streams

Ah, the burble of a trout stream.

The glint of light off the water.

The sigh of the wind through the creekside cottonwoods.

Ah, the slow seep of septic tanks.

Oops. How’d that get in there?

In truth, some of the best things about Rim Country are the creeks that run through it. Those creeks lured us here. And now we’re a danger to those same creeks.

That’s why we’re so happy to see the residents of the Christopher Creek and Tonto Creek areas band together to form a watershed committee, which will provide leadership in the vital effort to keep our creeks clean.

Christopher and Tonto creeks are just two of the Rim Country riparian areas potentially threatened by old leaky septic systems — and even by the release of water from the hatchery, rich in nitrogen on account of all that trout poop.

We believe that the host of marvelous creeks will not only soothe the souls of residents for generations to come, but ultimately form the basis of the region’s economy. So Rim Country residents face no more urgent task than their protection.

That’s why we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the 70 folks who cared enough to attend that first meeting of the watershed committee.

We thank you — and so will your kids and grandkids.

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