Wearing a mask is not a partisan issue

To the editor:

I would like to thank  Frank Martin for his letter in Saturday’s Quill in regard to the Howell County Health Department’s stance on wearing masks.

President Robert D. Shaw, of Willow Springs, believes that everyone has the right to refuse to wear a mask during this pandemic. According to Shaw, masks would not have an effect on this deadly pandemic we are going through. It would be hard on local businesses and the economy, he says.

“Sometimes people have to die for others to do the right thing,” Shaw stated in the meeting. Well, I ask you, Bob Shaw, “Are you one of the ones willing to die so others will wear a mask?”

I have known Bob Shaw almost all his life. I was totally shocked and appalled by his decision. In fact, I wondered if he had finally gone over the edge after all these years dealing with sick people. I remember the time when he would take a person's cigarettes out of their pocket and rip them to shreds. I remember when the only way he would go into partnership with Dr. C.F. Smith was if he quit smoking (told to me by Bob Shaw, himself).

So smoking will kill you, but dying from COVID-19 is okay because we can't infringe on someone's rights? Give me a break, Bob Shaw. You have highly disappointed me.

The numbers of those testing positive and dying is growing every single day in Howell County and in the state of Missouri. That doesn’t seem to be encouraging people to wear masks. More than 50 cases a day are being reported in Howell County and as of Oct. 9, there had been 13 deaths. Did those 13 people die so my neighbors will figure out wearing a mask is the right thing to do? Perhaps these 13 deaths will encourage the employees of all the local businesses and their customers to wear masks? I think not. I’ve heard people make fun of those wearing masks.

This should not be a partisan issue, but it seems to be whenever I those not wearing masks screaming about how “they have their rights.” Those rights should not include passing this virus on to me, my family and my friends. Please rethink your stance on this and mandate wearing masks in Howell County.

Diane F. Jeffery

Willow Springs

Landowners were right about Eleven Point State Park

To the editor:

I have followed the McGibney, et al., vs Missouri Department of Natural Resources, wild and scenic river easement lawsuit throughout the judicial proceedings in the Circuit Court of Oregon County. As well as DNR’s shenanigans prior to the lawsuit.

In the eight-page final judgement found at CaseNet 17AM-CC00021, Circuit Judge Steven Privette ruled that “DNR has acquired as a state park lands which cannot under any reasonable interpretation be used by the public as a park. And having found the action of DNR unlawful, arbitrary and capricious, Defendant Department of Natural Resources is hereby directed to divest itself of ownership of those lands within the bounds of the Wild and Scenic River.”

In other words, The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and their 2016 “state park engineers” consisting of former Governor JAY Nixon, DNR Director Pauley Parker and Parks Director Bryan failed all law-abiding Missourians by not following federal law that has been respected by landowners along the Eleven Point for over 40 years. Why? Because in 2016 the “state park engineers” had a once-in-a-lifetime pocketful of lead mine money and they were going to spend it regardless of the lawful requirements of the wild and scenic easement. Federal law be damned, load the state park wagon with land, no one will ever notice.

Well, the landowners noticed, and they are right. The state should have to abide by the same laws they do, and the state should not be exploiting the only wild and scenic river easement in Missouri for public use.

In addition, DNR thought they pulled a fast one, when they figuratively covered over the public use restriction of the 1979 wild and scenic easement land deed by filing a warranty deed with new language, “The property is hereby dedicated to public use and conveyed to the MODNR only for the following purposes and none other: for public use as a state park and for natural resource restoration and preservation.”

Sadly, Missouri Attorney General Schmitt now agrees with the federal law breakers by filing an appeal to the appellate court. Where I am confident, they will see through the DNR charade and uphold the rule of law.


Mike Dethrow

Retired State Representative


A snapshot of how Howell County is faring in pandemic

To the editor:

This is a snapshot of COVID-19 from Oct.9, 2020, late afternoon:

Worldwide 1 in 208 got it, 1 in 7,187 died.

USA 1 in 42 got it, 1 in 1515 died.

New York State 1 in 41 got it, 1 in 594 died

Missouri 1 in 42 got it, 1 in 2,491 died.

Howell County 1 in 36.6 got it, 1 in 2,666 died.

These numbers change daily. Gotten by dividing population by cases, and by deaths. This gives a pretty good snapshot of how we are doing.

Linda Schroller

West Plains

Healing the social divide

To the editor:

This idealogical divide we find ourselves stuck in can only be resolved when we start to listen to each other, and learn to value the other's position as worthwhile and necessary for the growth, stability and balance of our country and of our world.

The label "liberal or progressive" has been used as a term of derision and scorn by "conservatives.” But progressives have been at the leading edge of positive social change throughout history. The Magna Carta, which the King of England was forced to sign in 1215, gave basic rights to all citizens. This in effect removed the King as the absolute ruler of his people. This law was established by progressives.

Our own Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were inspired by and created by progressives. The freeing of slaves was pressed into law by progressives. Other examples include the right of women to vote, the civil rights movement, the right to marry who we love regardless of gender.

All of these changes were inspired by and pressed into being by progressives.

The traditional conservative philosophy values family, home and property, conservative economics, a slow and thoughtful approach to change and the rights of the individual.

These two philosophies are complementary when taken together but can't evolve without the other. A wonderful book dedicated to bridging this divide is "Sacred America, Sacred World" by Stephen Dinan.

I'll quote a paragraph from this very important book: "Once we hold rigidly to one identity, our growth can be slowed or even arrested altogether. We stop valuing other perspectives and privilege our values over others. To navigate this critical crossroads in history, it is essential to expand our sense of identity, deeply listen to those with different opinions, and work toward collaboration and synergy. And that depends on each of us opening to the real values of political positions we may not like very much at all. Seeing political identities from a higher level enhances our appreciation of the value each holds."

It's time to work together for the good of our country!

Thank you, 

Larry Sweet

West Plains

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