Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Among the many interesting tidbits you’ll read in this week’s Citizen is a story about the city of Seymour enforcing its ordinances on unsafe buildings under city codes regarding dangerous structures and public nuisances.

Some don’t like when the city makes property owners follow rules.

Much like some children don’t like when their parents make them follow rules.

My response?


Using my previous analogy, parents who don’t enforce rules typically end up with spoiled, unruly children who, in turn, become malcontent adults.

And cities that don’t enforce rules typically become filled with malcontent residents who, despite being a minority of the population, force their unlawful attitudes and practices upon those who follow them.

The end result is a sloppy city.

Not just visibly sloppy, in terms of eyesore properties and decreased property values, but internally sloppy, which ultimately results in widespread non-compliance to many and any rules of law, disrespect for authority and the belief that if you balk enough, you’ll eventually get your way.

The attitude transfers to all facets of life with structure.

Students at our school who cause trouble are coddled, as school administration and the board fear lawsuits. The same occurs with government; loud mouths are given free passes for poor behavior, and the majority of residents are forced to suffer as a result.

In coming weeks, the city will begin the process of simply enforcing its codes regarding unsafe buildings in Seymour, whether they be business structures or homes.

Property owners will be given timely notification and 90 days to begin the repair process. If they don’t, fines will be levied.

Because the fact is, their buildings aren’t safe.

If they can’t afford to repair them, then perhaps those buildings should be sold or torn down.

It’s sort of like owning a pet.

If you can’t feed it, then you don’t need it.

* * * * * *

Reading time, three minutes:

• Free Kenny Powers. Among the stories in this week’s newspaper is a report of Powers’ rant last Thursday to the Seymour Board of Aldermen where he, among other claims, accused the city’s fire chief of “hiding” its ladder truck and “lining his pockets with our tax dollars.”

A majority of his claims were outrageous.

Unfortunately, Powers didn’t stick around to defend them, as he bolted from the city meeting after reading his version of the “Gettysburg Address,” telling the aldermen that he would not answer any questions as he herded his family out the door once his speech concluded.

City officials were willing to speak with Powers.

He obviously didn’t want to do that.

And he obviously doesn’t want a remedy to his perceived problems, as he told the aldermen that he wouldn’t go away until Fire Chief Shawn Crump was fired.

I don’t see that happening.

• In last week’s column, I made mention of the trailer at 502 Rhodes Street, noting that city officials likely regret allowing owner Pete Matney to place the structure on his city lots after a recent drug bust.

Pete came and visited with me last week. And he made several good points.

One of them was an analogy with guns, noting that firearms don’t shoot people. People shoot people.

To that end, landlords don’t entice their renters to do or deal drugs. In fact, drug traffic in their rental properties only devalue their investment. That said, I apologize to Pete.

There is a need for affordable housing in Seymour. Quite frankly, there’s a need for any housing in Seymour, as there is a citywide shortage.

Landlords aren’t to blame for their renters’ actions. Neither are their properties.

• Regarding the turn-of-the-new-year arrests on Rhodes Street, Seymour’s Nikita Johnson also dropped by the office last week to let me know that although he was arrested in the escapade, he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Per Johnson, it was an odd coincidence he was visiting the trailer served with a search warrant that netted drugs.

“The lady who lives there had been sick, and she had me get her a two-liter bottle of soda, a Dr. Pepper,” he explained.

“Just a couple of minutes after I arrived there, the police entered with their warrant, and I just happened to be in the bedroom after delivering the soda.”

Johnson noted that he doesn’t do drugs.

“I’m not a narc either, and some people are saying that, too,” he said. “What I am is a person who was just trying to help out a friend who was sick.”

Duly noted.

• Without any fanfare last week, Seymour residents Jerry and Carol Kleier visited the Seymour YMCA last week.

While there, the Kleiers signed paperwork that forgave the local facility of a $150,000 loan debt incurred almost 20 years ago.

The paperwork officially was completed last Thursday.

Simply stated, it was a very generous gesture.

Had interest accumulated on the loan, the Kleiers’ gift was closer to $300,000 than the original $150,000.

Courtesy of local families like the Penners and Kleiers, as well as native Seymour families like the Hubbells and Pennys, our community has a wonderful, state-of-the-art YMCA facility.

Their collective support for Seymour is appreciated.

• Looking for something to do on “hump day?” May I suggest a short trip to the Seymour High School gymnasium for final-round action of The Seymour Bank Winter Classic?

For the first time ever, both Tiger boys’ teams, the varsity and junior varsity, are playing for a championship.

Both games are tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 15.

The jayvee takes on rival Mansfield at 4 p.m.

The varsity plays Springfield Lighthouse Christian in an 8:30 p.m. showdown.

The Tigers advanced to the title   defeating five-time defending champ Mountain Grove.

In the tourney’s history, Seymour’s varsity has won the tourney only once — seven years ago in 2013 when the Tigers defeated Springfield Central.

The Tiger jayvee has never won the event, not since the bank took over sponsorship.

Their collective efforts will be enhanced by a strong fan presence, so spend your evening in Seymour’s gym and cheer on our two Tiger teams.

• Finally, we learned this week that longtime Webster County Surveyor Dennis Amsinger, a truly good guy in every respect, won’t be seeking another term this year.

Health issues have plagued Dennis for several years.

Many don’t realize just how good of a public servant he’s been for several decades.

However, a friend of Amsinger’s plans to fill his shoes. His name is Gary Drennan, who owns and operates Drennan Surveying Services, LLC, in the county seat. He’s been in the surveying business for 42 years, with all of that time served in southwest Missouri. His company has a website, www.drennansurveying.com.

Check him out. He appears to be a strong candidate to replace a legend.

Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at citizen@webstercountycitizen.com.

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