Today brings to a close the week that shines light on the public's right to know what's going on in the government. This includes meetings of our elected officials, most of their documents and a litany of records - all available for inspection by the public.
According to the website sunshineweek.org, "Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger." While this is a wonderful and accurate summary, it's a framework journalists use every day and all taxpayers should keep in mind throughout the year.
At The Inter-Mountain, we bring our readers details of local governmental meetings as they occur. We also strive to gather crime and accident reports from all of the counties we cover. We'd like to say this is easy to come by, but that's not always the case.
Many times, police are still working on reports when we go to press. Other times, details can't be released pending an ongoing investigation, and of course there are other situations when officers simply don't tell us about incidents or can't be reached for comment.
Recently, though, we've renewed an effort to provide readers with more public records including marriages, arrests, property transfers and court proceedings. On most days, we will present some form of these records from at least one of the counties in our coverage area.
Keeping our readers in the know is important for more reasons than we can list here. If there's a public document you'd like to see in the newspaper or on our website, call the newsroom at 304-636-2124 or email email@example.com.