To the editor: 

West Plains Downtown Revitalization would like to thank all of the area sponsors and gardeners who helped make the Historic Downtown vibrant with living color this summer. Because of their help, a record 50 large pots housed beautiful blooms. 

Steve and Cathy Driscoll designed and installed the displays through funds provided by a West Plains City Grant, West Plains Downtown Revitalization, local businesses and individual sponsors. 

Special thanks go out to Master Gardeners Judy Rhine, Lindel and Rollin Kinder and Josephine Goodenow who, although they live outside of West Plains, took the time to come to town daily to water the plants along the civic center sidewalk and to set a good example for all of us through their dedication and expertise. 

Sponsors and other volunteers included West Plains Music, Gary Due, Chase Smith, Wiles Title, Swift House, 37th Judicial CASA, Nicholas Litigation, Studio 1900, Family Karate, Helena Spencer, Kelly Waggoner, Dan Kerley, Roper’s, Perry’s Barbershop, Aid Downtown Antiques, Country at Heart, Southern Missouri Land Services, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, West Plains Bank and Trust, Tamara Walesky, Outdoor Motor Sports, All Saints Episcopal Church, Law Office of Jacob Garrett, First Presbyterian Church, Melissa Stewart Law Office, Brill Title, Dave Thomas Shelter Insurance, Christie Silvey-Coleman, Amber Miller Massage, Three C’s Studio and Floral, Breakthrough Mental Health, Historic Post Office, OzSBI, Ozark Pizza, Ingalls Photography, West Plains Daily Quill, Gary’s Tire, Vac’s Etc., eMovie Poster, Christos House, Independent In Home Services, The Frame Shop, Mill Country Title, Community First Bank, Buro and Andrea Ingalsbe. 

We are also appreciative of the many individuals who installed and tended their own personal floral displays, which contributed to making the area visually appealing and inviting.  

Thank you all!

Kathleen Aid

West Plains

Thanks for giving hope

To the editor:

Thank you for giving me hope after reading the Letters to the Editor on Sept. 19. Makes me think there are people who love other people to wear a mask! I'm ordering the paper for three months now.

Before, I received parts of it highlighted from my brother-in-law. But I want to support the paper, so I'm paying!

I don't mind hearing opposite sides of issues, but if that's all you hear, it makes me feel there is no love and no understanding in this community.

Sign me up,

Shirley Prantl,

West Plains

Demonstrating their true colors

To the editor:

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tragic event for the entire country. Unfortunately, the Republican politicians see this occurrence as an opportunity for an enormous power grab. The vast majority of Republican senators immediately stated the seat needs to be filled without delay.

Interestingly, in 2016 when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the court, these same senators said confirming a candidate in an election year was wrong and just isn't done. At least 12 prominent Republican senators made public statements to the effect that the people should have a say in the decision through the presidential election and having a confirmation vote before that would be detrimental to the country.

Now those same senators, including Roy Blunt, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell and others, insist the only right thing to do this time is to confirm a Trump appointee as soon as possible. Apparently they were all lying back in 2016 and actually don't care about damage to the Republic. As long as power is consolidated in their favor all is good.

The sad truth is that the most important qualification for a Trump candidate is fealty to the wanna-be fascist dictator in the White House. This requirement has been obviated by the agency and administration department leaders he has selected. Unfortunately, the Republican senators have once again demonstrated their lack of courage and true colors.

Loren Robinson

Willow Springs

Why vote?

To the editor:

The founding fathers thought U.S. citizens should have some say in their government, so you have some power guiding your future. We've come a long way in sharing the vote from the time of our first election (George Washington and others). Then only white 21-year-old property owners could vote.

Now, if you are a citizen over 18 you can vote regardless of gender, color, creed or real estate holdings. Let's draw a line between citizens and non-citizens who don't have the same stake in the future of our country and its guidance.

Personally, I don't think Donald Trump is to be tossed aside because of his outspoken remarks that irritate many. His actions speak louder than words. What actions are important enough to offset his derogatory comments? Keeping campaign promises, practically unheard of in modern politics, is worth a look.

Promises: build the wall, create jobs, lower taxes, work on the economy, reduce the trade deficit, other countries paying their share for world governance, and strengthened armed forces and the equipment at their disposal.

Not promised, but worked on: creating a more peaceful world, North Korea and Middle East; veterans' assistance; new armed forces branch for the future in space; new Supreme Court judges for Constitutional adherence; leadership through the pandemic by supplying what was needed (medical ships, stepped up shipments of PPE); not afraid to stand up to opposition from many sides; and no new wars, and some withdrawal from old ones.

Best about his actions is the "git 'er done" attitude. He was already rich before getting involved in national politics. So many on the hill did it the other way around. Grab a tissue to either cry for joy or in lament for his re-election. You choose.

Rosemary Mawhorter

West Plains

Fighting for the Constitution

To the editor:

The recent missive from Congressperson Smith complains about the attack on religious clubs on public university campuses. The article cites the First Amendment free speech clause, but never mentions the first clause: the establishment clause. 

The establishment clause of the First Amendment has been interpreted as calling for separation of church and state. The founding fathers made many statements regarding the dangers of religion in government and government in religion. One of the concerns was public taxes going to support selected religious sects. (The first round of the COVID-19 relief package gave about $10 billion of public tax dollars to religious organizations.)

The free exercise clause in the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting religious beliefs and practices, although exceptions have been made in situations in which ceremonial practices threaten an individual’s safety or welfare.

There are many cases that show none of our rights are absolute. The classic example is shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Speech that advocates ideas or arguments is protected as free speech, but speech that incites violence or creates a “clear and present danger” to society is unconstitutional.

“Fighting words” are not protected by the First Amendment, because they inflict injury or incite violence. It may be difficult to balance the government's need not to promote religion against the need to not restrict the practice of religion.

Smith states, “College campuses should not be a place hostile to anyone, but especially those just trying to live a Christian life.” That statement is a clear example of a U.S. government official promoting a particular religion. That is in violation of the establishment clause. 

According to the University of Iowa, the complaints involve actions by the club that violates the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which requires student organization membership be open to anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or other protected class. So Smith seems to be defending religious freedom to discriminate, something he starts this piece complaining about.

He goes on to make unfounded accusations about the motivations of colleges and universities. It seems clear to me from reading some of the case documents the colleges and universities are trying to balance religious freedom against freedom from discrimination.

I certainly agree with the question, “What are we teaching the next generation if someone in more power can forcibly silence views they disagree with, simply because they can?” That should have been a question generated by the behavior of President Trump, not by religionists trying to force their views on others.

James Vokac

Willow Springs

No right to destroy America

To the editor:

To borrow a line from a Haggard song, "Are the best of the good times behind us now, and are the good times really over for good?"

I'm not talkin' financial markets, no, I'm talkin' law and order and the freedom to feel safe on our big cities' streets and suburbs. Dems, you own these anarchists, they're your foot soldiers. You used to attack Trump supporters going to campaign rallies in 2016. Your blue state mayors and governors have done little allowing them to grow.

People are killed, many injured, small business owners watch their hopes and dreams go up in smoke. All because of your driven hatred and resistance toward Trump.

"Black Lives Matter" and Antifa are not about civil rights, they're avowed Marxists, anarchists that represent death and destruction and would destroy everything that's good, right and just.

BLM and Antifa, like their founding fathers of the Russian Revolution, they, too, set fire to churches and burned Bibles. BLM wants a utopia, no police, no prisons and the law of the jungle would allow predators to take what others worked for. If what they left on six blocks of Seattle is a coming attraction, then it won't happen this side of the real one, when heaven comes down.

What's alarming is when corporate America donates $1.3 billion to BLM and you know well, West Plains, that's money to arm their militias with more buses and paid rioters to show up anywhere, and only a fool would think they're going away if Biden's elected. Also, when I see overpaid players of privileged capitalism disrespect the flag, that's an insult to the memories of all races dying on a field of battle serving that flag.

Their pay was little, yet their sacrifice everything a glorified game could never be.

America, this election is far beyond political parties. Before you is two choices, with our nation's survival at stake: 1) Keep America and pass the torch on, or 2) Tear down our history, put out the torch and transform America to what?

American history tells us when, where and how we started, the directions we've taken, mistakes we've made with corrections that followed, with much sacrifice that's been shared generationally. You have the right to hate America, but you don't have the right to destroy America.

Bernard M. Collins

West Plains

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