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The Newcomer

Getting to know you

by Frankie Potts

When I'm trying to get acquainted with a new city, I turn to the local paper. If it's a credible one, it can be a reflection of the community it serves.

But spare me the paper whose pages never report a fatal accident, a vicious assault or other assorted mayhem. When I see a paper full of only good news, I wonder what's been swept under the rug.

So-it was good news to me when I moved here in mid-September to read in the Daily Sun News about arrests for a variety of crimes. That kind of reporting told me law enforcement here must have its head up and eyes open.

In an ideal society, citizens would police themselves, and you truly might have a town without crime. But, people, that "ain't a gonna" happen, so I'm relieved when I read that police officers are doing more than shaking down the kids to confiscate their smokes, which seemed to be the main focus of law enforcement in the beach town from which I moved. Meths labs blossomed there, unreported and untouched, but a teen on a sand dune was fair game. Easy pickings, I called them.

I'm glad to be living in a city where "easy" isn't part of law enforcement's job description.

The Sun did give me one little jolt when it reported the fire chief's departure from the ranks. I knew he had been responsible for setting the standards for superior emergency response, and found that comforting since my apartment is equipped with an emergency cord. I'm told that, if pulled, that cord will have my house swarming with all kinds of emergency personnel trained to meet the chief's standards. I don't expect to need that cord, but I'm wondering if the fire chief's absence is going to make my cord obsolete in the future.

Something to think about since the city is now considering privatizing the public works department. Now, I know very little about public works or how to judge the quality of the work it does. I will admit my palate thinks Sunnyside's water leaves a little to be desired, but I don't think underground water comes within public works' control. The streets seem clean. My toilet flushes. Handicapped accessibility could be improved. But do we really need to foist local services onto someone else who might not believe in Sunnyside the way people who live here do?

I don't know.

These are just wayward thoughts and concerns that pop to mind when I read the local paper. Call it brain exercise.

I do know that when I look around Sunnyside, I like what I see.

I walk the neighborhoods to get a feel for this place I'm calling home. You never know what the next turn will bring-a riot of roses still blooming in defiance of frost-filled nights, a home beauty shop that just might be the place for my next cut and...a fantastic library, my home away from home.

Moving to a new place can be an adventure, an opportunity for exploration. But it also creates new challenges. In addition to signing up for expensive, new services (like a telephone), it's necessary to establish local medical and financial bases.

I don't know how others make these choices, but I go for the smiles every time. When I walk into a bank or a doctor's office, I feel a lot better if I'm greeted with a smile. That first meeting helps me decide if this is really where I want to be.

I'm glad to say I've been met with a lot of smiles here in Sunnyside. They make me feel welcome. In fact, folks, I'm having a love affair with your town.

. Frankie Potts is a retired journalist who spent her career working for several Washington state newspapers.

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