Parking; and a missing girl

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist

We have a problem here at The Times-Gazette. We do not have enough parking space.

Actually, we do have just enough parking spaces to accommodate our employees. But we do not have enough to accommodate others who seem to daily park in new spaces on the west side of our offices at 108 Gov. Trimble Place that are clearly marked as spaces for Times-Gazette employees only.

There are two signs on that side of the building that read: Grooms & Son Towing. Private tow away zone. Unauthorized or illegally parked vehicles will be towed away. Vehicles may be recovered anytime of day or night upon proof of ownership and the tow charge payment of $90 and storage of $12 per 24 hour period. Cash only. This is for light duty vehicles. Prices will change according to the size of the vehicle.

There is more, but hopefully you get the point.

We do not mind if you park in our spaces after hours or on weekends. And we really do not want to cause you the hassle of having your vehicle towed.

But after a spring, summer and autumn of having pretty much nowhere to park — except for places graciously granted by Dale Martin — and then finally getting our own parking spaces, it is becoming increasingly frustrating to come to work and find all our parking spaces full with many of the vehicles belonging to people who work elsewhere.

We know who some of you are. We are, after all, in the business of investigating and reporting.

But we do not want to go trouble of calling the tow guy we have waiting for our request, and we do not want to ruin your day.

So please, unless it’s after 5 p.m. or the weekend, do not park in our spaces.

Thank you for honoring our request.

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On another matter:

In Friday’s paper we published a story about a local 21-year-old woman who has not been in contact with her family since Jan. 1. She was arrested and jailed in Greenfield the day before, with warrants from Hillsboro and Greenfield.

But the next day she complained of abdominal pain, was taken to the hospital, walked out of the hospital, eventually ended up at a hotel in Hillsboro, somehow managed to fall from above the ceiling into someone else’s room, then dashed out into the woods.

Her family claims local law enforcement is at fault for not doing more to find her. Local law enforcement believes otherwise.

I certainly feel for the family, and wish them the best in the search for their loved one.

But in this instance, I have to completely side with local law enforcement.

To begin with, the girl’s mother admits that, prior to to the girl’s arrest, the family searched for her for three weeks before they found her. Local law enforcement has not had that long in this most recent episode.

Then, Greenfield police arrested her. They put in her jail. They had her taken to the hospital when she said she did not feel so well. Although the Greenfield police chief has not returned our calls seeking comment on the incident, I am relatively certain his officers searched for her when they learned she was no longer at the hospital.

I know sheriff’s deputies responded after her incident at the motel. I am certain officers are still fielding calls and looking into the incident. I am pretty sure that all local officers would like nothing more than to find the woman safe and sound.

We would all like to think that law enforcement is there for us in unlimited numbers when we run into an extenuating situation like this unfortunate family is going through.

But the fact of the matter is that their resources are limited. I do not believe there is a single Highland County law enforcement agency that has as many officers as it would like to have. In fact, due to budget constraints, they do not have as many as they should. Even if they did, they cannot dedicate all their resources to a single person.

They have lots of other issues to deal with each and every day.

I feel sorry for the missing woman’s family and her 2-year-old daughter. I really do.

This confused young woman was offered plenty of chances at help by our local officers. But she’s the one who found a way out of jail — whether she was sick or not — walked out of the hospital, and then took off into the woods.

It’s a sad situation.

But the blame here should not fall on local enforcement. Because sooner or later, we all have to account for our own deeds.

Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at [email protected] or 937-402-2522.

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist Gilliland Staff columnist