The Anniston Star

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October 23, 2014

SPEAKOUT: Publishing public records

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Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014 5:19 pm

Re: Making newspapers ‘ non-public’ in The Star (Speak Out, July 24) and “Public records in The Star” (Speak Out, July 22):

Mr. Reach, you missed the entire point of my letter to Speak Out. Records published in the Sunday Life Section of The Star are records the employees of the paper get from various agencies. The public records you mention are submitted by a funeral home, with the permission of the deceased’s family, for which they pay extra. Weddings, engagements, graduations, scholarships, Community news and so on are submitted to the paper by the parties involved.

As for articles about crimes committed, it was not addressed in the letter. I wrote that individual arrests, burglaries, thefts, etc., along with restaurant inspections, should continue to be published, as that is a public service to readers. As a reminder, crime reports need publishing as it could be occurring down the street. As for restaurant inspections, even though the inspections are supposed to be displayed prominently, many restaurants do not. I’d like to know if a restaurant received citations and what it was for, in case I was considering eating at that establishment anytime soon.

If you are a regular reader of the paper, you would know this subject has been brought up many times. Divorce, foreclosure or bankruptcy are the main culprits that cause embarrassment, heartache and bullying of the children of these families, and it isn’t your business. They may have lost their jobs or have large medical bills from an illness, resulting in the need to file for bankruptcy or face foreclosure. As for divorces, the reasons also vary, and that isn’t your business. They didn’t submit this information to the paper for publication; the paper made the effort and submitted it.

As I wrote, if it did have to be published, it needed to be in the legal section of the classified section of the paper, where it is found in most papers. You might not know, but a home being foreclosed on has to be published in the legal section of the paper three times. There are other notices in the legal section from the different courts, sheriff’s sales, amendments by different cities, etc., published daily.

You evidently didn’t understand my letter to Speak Out. I believe even Mr. Chumbler would agree he was addressing notices in the Sunday Life Section of The Star, not the items you were writing about. It was suggested to Mr. Chumbler, if he was so interested, to look it up online at The Star or at the courthouse.

Anne Sutton

Oxford

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