Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Since I’ve been at the Citizen, which dates back more than a quarter century, my newspaper has been sold at the business now known as the Hot Spot, located at the corner of Business 60 and North Frances Street.

For many years, it was Country Express.

There have been lots of names after that.

I suppose that doesn’t matter.

But what does matter, at least to me and perhaps to you, is that the Citizen no longer is sold there. This revelation became known to us early last Wednesday morning when my rack-delivery driver was told she couldn’t leave the papers there.

My delivery driver was given the newspaper rack to bring back to the office.

We were told a call would be coming from Sandy, who is the manager or owner ... or both.

That call didn’t come.

So Anna, my trusty lieutenant for 25 years, drove down to the Hot Spot to see what was going on.

She spoke to an employee who is related to Sandy.

Anna initially was told the newspapers were “in the way.” She was told Sandy would be calling us. But Anna, being Anna, kept pressing for answers.

That’s when the employee told her that Sandy wouldn’t be calling.

Our paper was out. Period.

It was our welcome to the cancel culture.

By definition, the cancel culture is, “The popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.”

I suppose the Citizen qualifies.

You see, in the previous edition, our front-page headline dealt with video-gaming machines and a recent circuit-court ruling that they are illegal. Per Webster County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser, businesses in Seymour that have the machines have two choices — move them out or face criminal charges.

The Hot Spot has video-gaming machines.

Six of them, last time I counted.

Is it coincidence that my newspaper was, in essence, booted from the business after our front-page story?

Perhaps.

But I doubt it.

And that’s the cancel culture, folks.

Don’t like the news? No problem. Just remove it.

I’m disappointed in the decision. Quite frankly, the removal of my newspaper from the local business wasn’t something I expected.

Moreover, we didn’t target the business in any way.

We reported the news.

It was relevant news.

We didn’t make the news ... a circuit judge in Missouri’s Platte County, located north of Kansas City, made the ruling.

And that ruling has local consequences. Whether the Hot Spot likes it or not, current case law says those video-gaming machines near the store’s east wall are illegal.

Do I like the video-gaming machines?

No, I don’t.

However, that should have nothing to do with whether or not my newspaper is sold at a business that does have them.

I’m not protesting on the street.

Again, the Citizen was reporting the news.

For that, we’ve been canceled.

If you’re looking for my newspaper, cross the Hot Spot off your list.

Because we were “in the way.”

* * * * * *

Reading time, three minutes:

• Free the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Known to most of us as DNR, this state agency, in my opinion, is the worst of them all. This month marked the one-year anniversary of the discovery of the gas smell in the sewer line on North Frances Street. The DNR’s investigation over that time has netted the grand result of nothing. Excuses are common. But there are no answers. City officials have tried every avenue in the interim. Elected officials were contacted. When that was done, folks from the DNR sprung into action. It was just lip service. In the end, our state’s top agency on protecting the environment (and us) came up empty. It’s odd. More than 365 days have been spent on finding mystery fuel on North Frances Street. Gas is there. That’s undisputed. Yet the source is a mystery. Maybe the city should start fracking in its right of way.

• There was a missing face at last Thursday night’s regular meeting of the Seymour Board of Aldermen. Bob Chew. Chew, a retired pastor, has served as the city’s chaplain for several years. He opened every meeting with a prayer, followed by “The Pledge Of Allegiance.” His prayers were uplifting. In every one, his words were so genuine, so sincere. I’m not sure if I’ve ever known a kinder man. Chew, who was 88, will be sorely missed in Seymour. He led the community’s National Day Of Prayer. He was active in many capacities with several organizations. Best of all, he was a great guy. Comfort comes in knowing there is no doubt where Bob Chew resides today.

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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