Brenda Linnick is tired of people focusing on their differences when it comes to discussing sensitive issues.
Instead, they really should be searching for common ground.
Yes, she’s talking about the divisiveness that has permeated politics, social media and life in general.
"We’ve got so used to screaming at each other and naming calling," Linnick told me during a recent visit to Panera Bread in Wooster. "How do we learn to talk to each other again?"
She and the League of Women Voters of Wayne County want to take the lead in bringing back civility when it comes to debating issues and solving problems. The goal is to teach people to discuss issues in a non-confrontational way.
League co-President Cindy Biggs, who grew up in a bipartisan family and is now in a bipartisan marriage, noted that the inability to be civil has ruined friendships and divided families.
The League will host a nonpartisan program called "A House Divided ... What Would We Have to Give Up to Get the Political System We Want?" at 7 to 9 p.m. March 24 at the American Red Cross, 244 W. South St., Wooster. The event will feature breakout conversations about topics, with participants with different viewpoints focused on trying to find that elusive common ground.
Linnick, a League member and retired executive director at United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties, is organizing the effort for the League. The event will follow a format set up by the Kettering Foundation’s National Issues Forum and will be overseen by Louise Conn Fleming-Dufala, emeritus professor and director of the Center for Civic Life at Ashland University.
What’s learned in Wayne County will be forwarded to the national group.
The event is open to the public. No reservations are required and people who are interested can just show up.
The League hopes these discussions will become a signature program locally.
"Our interest is to have these on a regular basis," Biggs said.
You’ll notice that there’s an essay from Wooster City Schools Superintendent Michael Tefs on today’s Opinion page.
I’d like to have the Opinion page feature more local voices — as opposed to guest columnists spouting off about Washington, D.C., every day.
So here’s an open invitation to community and business leaders: If you’d like to write about an issue affecting the Wayne and Holmes County communities, please let me know. My contact information is at the bottom of this column.
A young woman at the Wayne Economic Development Council annual meeting last week posed a question to GOJO Industries leaders about how the company attracts young people to non-sexy manufacturing jobs.
"What do you mean not sexy?" GOJO supply chain officer Ron Hammond responded to laughter.
President and CEO Carey Jaros said the Akron-based company focuses on sharing its mission of helping people and sustainability, and hopes that resonates with potential employees.
Here are the top five most viewed stories and photo galleries on the newspaper’s website — as of Friday afternoon:
1. A photo gallery of the Division III sectional tournament at Northwestern schools.
2. A Northwestern school employee was charged with domestic violence and assault.
3. Wayne County authorities are looking for the mother and brother of Emma Roberts.
4. A photo gallery of the Triway vs. Buchtel basketball game.
5. An obituary for Rhiannon Jade Arnold.
As always, feel free to give me a call at 330-287-1636 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback about the paper. I welcome constructive criticism, story tips and suggestions. But a word of warning, I can’t help with issues regarding the delivery of your paper so please contact the circulation department at 330-287-1615 for those problems.