Holy cow, Joe Sixpack! It turns out your own two eyes were right about Summit Springs stormwater runoff.

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As to my long-term point about the theory and practice of journalism, there’s this (story link below).

Surveyor David Ruckman and project engineer Scott Moser provided updates on the project at Tuesday’s New Albany Board of Public Works & Safety meeting. They also addressed concerns about recent water runoff issues on State Street.

Ruckman, who is working on the Summit Springs project, said developers will address these runoff issues with a new detention basin that will control the water flow coming from the development site.

He said there are erosion control plans in place at Summit Springs, but the excessive rainfall events on June 20 and Sept. 8 exceeded those defenses.

It is fitting and proper for the reporter to record Ruckman’s comments just as the surveyor made them at the Board of Public Works meeting. It’s also axiomatic that Ruckman and his fellow Summit Springs project managers might not always wish to utter publicly what they know privately to be the case — for whatever reason.

Conversely, it is not inconceivable that they’re simply mistaken, but in the case of trusting one’s own eyes about stormwater runoff problems at Summit Springs, even as city officials assure us all “technical” standards are being implemented, it turns out the public’s vision has been very clear — so much so that added detention precautions will be implemented.

Unfortunately,the story likely ends here. According to the newspaper, it has done its job by faithfully replicating Ruckman’s comments. Still, wouldn’t it be good to know more, both as it pertains to past performance and future expectations?

The potential follow-up questions ask themselves:

  • What’s the definition of a “normal” rainfall, given two rainfalls in less than three months have exceeded the norm?
  • Are these excessive rainfalls happening more often?
  • What exactly is the legally mandated minimum retention effort required for approval?
  • What are the implications for Phase Two of the Summit Springs hilltop development?

And so on, and so forth, except we’ve been conditioned to expect that the newspaper’s coverage now will cease, at least until the next rainfall event occurs. Usually it does, and this isn’t the responsibility of the reporters. It’s about management, which in the News & Tribune’s case restricts the bulk of local coverage to feel-good human interest stories and gets investigative only when the target is sufficiently distant to pose no threat to the bottom line.

Not that I’m a cynic, but if so, I’d not only be asking the follow-up questions above. I’d be asking for the newspaper’s explanation of current advertising revenue from Summit Springs planners and builders, as well as potential ad proceeds from the various chain businesses set to occupy the site — all of it in the context of possible environmental hazards (among other unsavory ripple effects emanating from the development).

The genuine, over-arching point is simple. These answers are important irrespective of the tone of the questioner’s voice.

Someone needs to be asking them, and yes, perhaps there’d be less need for gutter politics, exaggerated polemics and pure satire (my specialties) if those entities charged with pursuing the answers consistently and aggressively did so. They don’t, and the News & Tribune shares this prize for underachievement with the C-J.

Has it occurred to anyone besides NA Confidential Nation that maybe — just maybe — the movers and shakers in this or any other American habitation of requisite size occasionally can’t resist the temptation to cut a corner here and gild the lily there precisely because no one’s paying attention?

Fake news and false facts needn’t trickle down to us from above. They’re just as likely to flower from below, and the need for journalism to be vigilant does not lessen closer to the grassroots. It might actually increase in importance.

And it cannot come from NA Confidential alone.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be making changes to my method of operation. My working career in beer has resumed, and available time has diminished accordingly. My career goals can be achieved only by cutting blog time even further.

In addition, for quite some time it has been obvious this blog has hit a glass ceiling, insofar as pro bono local rabble-rousing is concerned. I’m too opinionated to abandon commentary entirely, but I’m just as weary of the battle as my adversaries, who’ve effectively blockaded me from information. As a result, all this energy needs to be diverted into work.

The game’s assuredly not over. My positions haven’t changed, and you can reference them by browsing previous posts. However, I’m changing the rules of engagement on my end, making the blog’s local coverage less personal and more analytical.

What I need from you as a reader is greater participation.

I’ve always intended these pages to be an anthology, with contributors from many sides of the local spectrum. Your chance to grab apiece of my infamy is now. I know you’re there, because you comment on Facebook. You’re encouraged to add your voice here, in slightly longer and more traditional form, with my eager assistance in readying your words for prime time perusal.

I’ll have more to say about all this, probably next week. Right now, there are things to get accomplished.

To conclude, the Summit Springs horse long since bounded from the barn. The imperative now isn’t to avert the damage, because the harm’s already been done. Rather, we need to be minimizing the environmental consequences — and never, ever forgetting who’s responsible for it.

Summit Springs to address water runoff with new detention basin, by Brooke McAfee

NEW ALBANY — Saturday’s heavy rains brought attention to stormwater runoff issues on State Street in New Albany. Now, one of the next steps for Summit Springs developers is to address these flooding problems.

The Summit Springs development is under construction on the hill next to State Street, and in last Saturday’s heavy rainfall, runoff water flooded the hillside. A video posted to Facebook shows brown water rushing down the road that leads to Home Depot.

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