You might be surprised to learn how wide an influence has Brazil, Clay County and The Brazil Times.
It happened again this past week. I received emails and a call from a man identifying himself as from the Boston, Massachusetts, area. He read/heard about the City Council meeting and the decision to look further into the Safe Haven “baby box” issue.
If you missed it, a local woman approached the City Council last week and asked them to consider allowing her to install a baby box at the fire station. The box is temperature-controlled and has sensors to notify emergency dispatchers when an infant is placed in the box. The purpose is to provide safety and to see to it than unwanted babies are well cared for and, hopefully, placed in a loving home.
The man who sent the emails and called me, saying he was from Boston, opposes the baby box idea that has been part of Indiana and other states for decades.
I bring this up because from time to time we report on “hot button” subjects that attract the attention of people who surf the Internet, looking for an opportunity to push their ideas on to others. The Internet is powerful, make no mistake about it.
I received a Facebook message from a lady I have known for decades, who lives in another part of Indiana.
She is very much in support of the Safe Haven law and the baby boxes. She promotes the concept and provided me with some very helpful information that no doubt will be incorporated in future articles on the subject, should the City Council continue to discuss it.
I am all in favor of hearing all sides of an issue. I think healthy debate is a very good thing.
What irritates me is when people who live in other parts of the country, outside Indiana, decide they should influence what we think.
I told the gentleman from Boston that if someone from our area wants to comment on the Safe Haven law, they should write a letter to the editor but it has been a long-standing policy of this paper not to accept letters from outside our area.
On the other hand, occasionally we receive emails from people in other parts of the world who read our website and have story ideas that develop into something very interesting.
Not long ago, a Brazil native wrote us from Japan, I believe, to tell us about his international company and we were happy to do a story about it. He was a local gentleman and he wasn’t trying to use our paper to promote his opinion.
Years ago, a Crawfordsville newspaper I worked at decided to go into the Internet in a big way. So many people responded, they actually crashed the hosting company’s server and our site had to be switched to a different server.
A person wrote me an email at the Crawfordsville paper from another country. This person had ties to Crawfordsville and was trying to get in touch with an old friend they had not seen in years.
It was a delicate situation (not everyone wants to be found) but we were able to reunite the two friends and write a story about their search all because of the Internet.
At that time, there were fewer than a dozen websites based in Montgomery County. We interviewed all of those people and did a series of stories on them and their attempts to reach others through the World Wide Web.
I’m not sure how many websites are operated in Brazil today but Google reports 184 million references to our fine city on the Internet. And that doesn’t include Clay County.
Instead of “Being Frank” maybe we should call this column, “Welcome to my world!”