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Hello Hillsboro: Use our city or lose it
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There is currently a number of very subtle SOS messages being sent to the residents of Hillsboro, and it’s beginning to look like we’re not getting it.

How many times have you driven through a neighboring town and noticed how many empty business buildings, and for that matter houses, are practically jumping out at you? They seem to be delivering a stern warning, much like Charles Dickens did through Ebenezer Scrooge’s ghosts.

If Jacob Marley could speak to all of us now, he would no doubt say, “Use it or lose it,” in regard to our area businesses.

I don’t have to name the towns that have failed to heed that message. You obviously know all of them.

Perhaps, it’s a case of believing that it could never happen to us. We’re too nice of a town!

The next time you return to Hillsboro from a driving trip in the area, take a close look at the current situation and consider where we could be heading.

Count the closed, closing, or empty buildings and, if you have the courage, take a preview peek at the future when three of them will be torn down.

When Jane and I were pursuing a dream back in 1989, looking for a newspaper business that would allow us to live in a great small town, we were given an on-target piece of advice from a cousin who was a journalism professor at Northwestern University. He said don’t think about buying a particular paper, no matter how good it is. Think about the town it’s located in, because that’s always the bottom line in any business purchase.

Knowing that he was a publishing sales consultant during his summer break from teaching, we valued his right-on advice.

That was then...this is now, and I’m concerned with what I see.

The news about the closing of the Ben Franklin is something we all should be concerned about. It follows four or five others.

I know that it’s easy to say shop locally, but in this economy it is indeed easier to say than to always do!

It’s certainly  not from lack of effort by the business owners. Just about all of the ones I know personally have broken their backs in a never-ending effort to keep their doors open. They have worked many of their own hours at a salary most of us would turn down in a minute.

But, it’s a growing problem that threatens to effect every one of us. and I doubt if we have seen the end of it.

Use it or lose it!          


While doing some research recently, I came across an item that delivered an amusing jolt.

I discovered that the Sentry-Enterprise once had an employee who had been a 1919 graduate of Hillsboro High School.

Later, he went to Chicago and worked in a good position with the Chicago Tribune.

I almost fell off my chair. Without any knowledge of this fellow, I have done the exact opposite. Think of how many small towns and large newspapers there are in this country.

I would give a lot to enjoy an hour over a cup of coffee with him!