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Insights

In coming weeks the Daily Journal will begin a series of stories titled "Insight", which will focus on how local government, the court system, infrastructure and other topics often mentioned in news stories works.

The world around us holds a wealth of knowledge ... far too much for any one person to begin to retain. That said, sometimes there are practices or government offices or taxation processes (just to name a few) which can impact our daily life but we might not have a clear understanding of how it works. 

To that end, the Daily Journal is beginning an occasional series titled "Insight." These stories, which will appear a couple times a month, will offer an insight, or basic understanding, of whatever the topic is for that story. 

For instance, do you know what a TIF or a CID is, or how they might impact your daily spending? What is this "no-tax-increase bond issue" that doesn't raise taxes but can generate millions of dollars? How about the responsibilities of county or municipal officeholders, and how much they are compensated for their work? Do you know why some people are arrested, then released within hours, then eventually arrested and charged weeks later for that earlier crime? Or how a court case migrates through the system ... a process which can take up to years?

In coming months we'll cover and explain how a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district can generate revenue for a development in a specific location by targeting a portion of future taxes generated within that area. Many local communities have at least one TIF district.

We'll explain how a Community Improvement District means an additional tax is imposed in a specific retail development, i.e. more taxes collected when you shop there, to help the developer make improvements. And how a TIF is not a tax increase but a CID tax means you'll pay more. 

We'll highlight government offices, starting with the county courthouse, and explain what each officeholder does on a day-to-day basis, and how much you pay them annually for their services. We'll start with the County Commission, discussing the difference between the presiding commissioner and other commissioner positions and the workload of each.

We have stories in the works about the arrest process, how a case migrates through the legal system, and more insights which might be helpful when reading stories about arrests or court proceedings. 

Ever wonder what a first-alarm, second-alarm, third-alarm fire means? From simply watching television you can deduce that a third-alarm fire is more serious than a first-alarm blaze. But what does that mean in relation to local fire departments? We'll explain how those calls are made and who responds with the incident is "upgraded."

This series will be a "How it Works" explanation for processes, procedures and offices frequently discussed in news stories. 

When you live in an incorporated community and you flush your toilet do you know where it goes from there? Perhaps you'd rather not think about it. But it all runs downhill and ends up at a treatment plant somewhere. But then what? The liquid eventually makes its way into a nearby creek, while the solid material eventually fertilizes a nearby farm field (but not one used to grow the food you eat). 

The process between the flush and the fertilization is an amazing science project that takes several workers, miles of buried lines, upward to millions of dollars in equipment, and trained technicians, truck drivers and farmers to keep it from piling up. We'll explain that process, too!

Other planned stories include unique and abnormal occupations held by local people, how to be a foster parent, where to go for assistance with utilities or basic needs, how a loaf of bread or bag of potatoes starts at a manufacturing plant and ends up on the shelf of a local food pantry. 

As we build on this series of stories they will be added to a growing library of topics available in one location on our website, www.dailyjournalonline.com

And we're open to other ideas about insights you might like to learn more about. Just send us a message at editorial@dailyjournalonline.com and let us know about something you'd like to know more about that others might want to read about as well. 

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