The top six stories online yesterday included three stories off the police beat. It was almost a relief to us that our online audience cares about more than crime, corruption and sordid tales. The stories weren"t exactly upbeat, but they offered a glimpse into our community's concerns.
The three headlines:
Foreclosed homes provide business to local firms
Business reporter Grace Gagliano's story focused on a father-son business, N.A.R. Property Management, that has sprung up because of foreclosures. Their focus? Cleaning up foreclosed homes.
Deadline passes as hundreds jam Manatee tax offices
Correspondent Lee Logan's story captured how hundreds of people crammed Manatee County’s four tax collector offices Monday, the last day to renew driver licenses and vehicle registrations before much higher increased fees took effect Tuesday.
Parents: School denied LWR students due process with reassignment
East Manatee Editor Jim Jones wrote about four teens from Lakewood Ranch High School who tossed small explosive devices into several River Club yards early this summer and found themselves banned from LRHS when school started.
Online, the commenters started immediately on the school story -– 12:48 a.m. Tuesday marked first one, minutes after the story appeared online. Comments ranged from "This is a prank that should be forgiven. I would have been kicked out of school many times over if todays rules existed 40 years ago." to "The School Board has the authority to protect the other kids and when the police comes to them with names, they must take action. Case closed."
And everything in-between. The debate sometimes went off-mark, with a rude comment typical on too many stories. But you did a decent job policing those, marking them as “abuse” and notifying us to delete them.
The story that bumped one of those headlines late last night was one with what we hope is a happy ending: Missing Sarasota boy found OK. Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight thanked local media for quick response when they announced a 3-year-old boy was missing, prompting an Amber Alert.
Alexander Lakhno, the boyfriend of the boy's mother, became aware of the missing status due to extensive news coverage and called the sheriff’s office.
Let's pray the story has a healthy ending.