This week marks the observance of free speech, accountability and higher standards.

Known as Sunshine Week, the week is designed to showcase the importance of transparency in government, be it local, county, state or national.

It's a week set aside to remind people of the importance of the media and obtaining information about the government through Freedom of Information Act requests and the state's open records and meeting laws.

We at the Grove Sun, and our sister paper, the Delaware County Journal, take our job, as gatekeepers of transparency seriously.

We attend countless meetings - many of which we are the only person in attendance not directly involved in the discussion.

We strive to shine a light on the inner workings of the various school boards, city councils and other agencies who receive public funds, in order to ensure that readers are provided information to make informed decisions.

Shining the light is hard. Often, leaders like it when the public ignores them. They don't like to be questioned about decisions. They like to do their jobs, without having to account for the reasonings behind them. 

Fortunately, for the most part, our boards and councils do a good job at remaining transparent. Some could use some tweaking, but that's all part of the educational process. We all learn and grow as we progress in our roles.

Public service does not happen behind closed doors. By the sheer name, being a public servant means actions take place in front of the public.

Government officials - regardless of the level - are required to be transparent and honest. It keeps them accountable. 

It's why we will sit through a three and a half hour school board meeting, or a public hearing regarding changes to city ordinances. It's why we dig into stories involving the potential loss of state parks around our lake.

Community newspapers, like the Grove Sun and Delaware County Journal, are even more important for people living in rural areas. We not only showcase the good, but we hold people accountable for the bad. 

We shine the light on the different corners of the county, because well, we live here. We know first hand how decisions made can impact the lives of countless individuals.

Darkness often breeds deceit as actions hidden from view multiple and grow.

Actions done in the light of day, with transparency, will always serve as the best measure of the truth.

So happy Sunshine Week. May the light continue to shine in the darkest corners of Delaware County and may the truth be the ultimate goal. 

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at khutson@grovesun.com or 918-786-2228.