When to laugh it off

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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Moose Javians are familiar with frustration about the city’s road maintenance. 

Even during the short season when there isn’t snow on the ground, construction — or lack, thereof — is one of the most incendiary topics.

The Times-Herald newsroom often hears from frustrated — or just plain angry — citizens about burst water pipes, lack of repairs and, finally, snow removal. Often the comments we receive are justified.

We also speak with the city manager and members of city council, including the mayor, about these issues. We try to ask the questions citizens want answers to. We don’t always get what we — or you — want.

No one will deny that Moose Jaw has an infrastructure problem, but when there are so many tasks on the plates of publically elected officials, complaining rarely accomplishes anything. Parents will agree that whining becomes very easy to tune out.

But when citizens get creative, the landscape changes entirely.

In July, a resident from the 900 block of Henry Street notified the Times-Herald editorial staff about a pile of dirt and loose concrete, with a barricade marking the spot.

A resident told our reporter the unsightly bump had been there since a water main broke the previous winter. She said it had been there for more than a year.

That changed after an unknown resident planted a Halloween decoration tombstone on the pile, underneath the barricade. Other members of the community brought flowers to the spot.

It looked like a grave site.

Not too long after the Times-Herald ran a story about the “grave,” the spot was properly fixed.

We highlight that story now not to pat our newspaper on the back, but to signify that engaged citizens can ignite change civilly, and with non-violent actions, not words.

The comedic approach has proven to be the most successful.

On Tuesday, Matthew and Mark Dombowsky combined that sensibility of laughing instead of screaming with the sharing power of the Internet.

The Dombowsky brothers, after remarking how slippery the streets were, decided to make a 15-second video on Instagram that featured Mark skating down Main Street.

As of press time, the video had more than double the amount of likes than Matthew had Instagram followers. It was shared on Facebook and came to the Times-Herald’s attention within a day of being posted.

People liked the video a lot.

Getting angry about the state of road conditions is easy, but blaming Mother Nature is futile.

By using humour instead of anger, the Dombowsky brothers brought lots of attention to the issue of road maintenance during the winter.

There are valid reasons to get angry, but anger alone accomplishes nothing.

In the digital age, if you want to be heard, if you want to make a difference, you have to get creative.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: The Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Henry Street

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  • sn
    January 11, 2014 - 00:01

    Our streets are nothing to laugh about. Nor is it a laughing matter when another water main breaks. I'm happy the TH staff can laugh so easily...so many of us do not see that humor.