The home foreclosure crisis has hit Eastern Jackson County just as it has everywhere in the country, and the pain isn’t over yet.

Homes sitting empty in neighborhood after neighborhood testify to the fact that this problem is taking quite a while to work itself out.

That’s why it’s good to see local officials organizing meetings at which homeowners possibly in trouble with their mortgages can get some straight answers. The city of Independence and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver held another one this week.

Cleaver talked about action Congress is working on, and he offered some advice that evidence suggests more people need to hear: However bad things look, try to work something out.

“Mortgage companies really don’t want to foreclose. They really don’t,” Cleaver said. “They lose money. There are no winners in foreclosure.”

Thumbs up for giving people a chance to be heard and to get some advice.

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Brent Henderson is a champion, having won the Jackson County Spelling Bee earlier this spring. The seventh grader at Moreland Ridge Middle School in Blue Spring this week represented the area at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Brent nailed his one word – “spelunking,” that is, crawling around in caves for fun – when he was up on the stage, but the written part of the early-round competition bounced him out of the contest.

Still, there’s a lot to be said for the countless hours of study and preparation and for winning the local competition. Thumbs up, Brent, you’ve done well.