Guest Column: Take an interest in what’s going on around you

We all corner ourselves into our little boxes, whether it’s political, social or whatever.

I was at Swilligan’s “The Pub” Saturday, and Frank Schier, editor & publisher of The Rock River Times, was there and had lunch. By the way, I always appreciate The Rock River Times’ staff patronage.

It was one of those lazy, relaxing Saturday afternoons, and I sat down with Frank and had my first real conversation with him. The jewels in life aren’t actually made out of gold and silver; they are people, and the conversations/lessons you get from them. The more we can collect those stories and the knowledge received from them, the better person we can become.

Sure, I have heard the so-called war stories before about the “evil” Rock River Times before I invested downtown. That’s where boxes come into play. We hurt ourselves by not having open minds.

Frank has a lot of history behind him being in the business he is in, and for the most part, we are probably politically opposite. With that said, he is an interesting person with a fabulous story that really should be told. The Register Star won’t do it, but I urge Rockford Life or Northwest Quarterly to take that project on. It would sell magazines.

We bantered about a few topics, starting off with local ownership of a hockey team, and touched on various subjects after that. Of course, we have different viewpoints on a few, and like viewpoints on others. The thing that impressed me about our conversation was that we could have a civil conversation, and I think between the two of us could solve some issues. Not that anybody wants us to. Bear in mind—we’re two ends of the political spectrum.

A few quick thoughts…

Why can’t the mayor, the county board chairman, the president/chairman of the MetroCentre Board and the owners of the IceHogs go into a room and solve their problem? I could mediate that, and it wouldn’t even take up much of a day. Despite Chuck Sweeny’s column Sunday in the daily, I don’t believe the MetroCentre has any business running a hockey team. All the examples that were flopped out as proving his point lead right into a great conversation that is never had.

When are we going to stop the growth of government?

When will the people of Winnebago County demand an analysis of how the county will spend the jail tax the rest of our lives—$35-$40 million a year? For what? We’ve been had.

Let’s sell off the Coronado and Davis Park and let the private sector take care of them.

NAT will rise again, and it will be the private sector that figures it out.

Brett Favre will be around another two years!

Because of the largesse of the national media, Americans are being drawn into stories around the world and around the country, whether political or not. We get sucked in because they tell us what’s important, and we buy into it. Take an interest in what’s going on around you, and there is where the work needs to begin.

Happy New Year, to all a prosperous 2007, and stop having the wrong conversations!

Reggie Roberson is owner of Swilligan’s “The Pub,” 200 N. Church St.

From the Jan. 10-16, 2007, issue

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