Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Let’s cut to the chase to open this week’s prose.

Free the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Ah, yes ... the good ol’ DNR.

The agency is, without a doubt, the definition of “bureaucracy” and should have its state symbol in all dictionaries as the visual representation of the word.

There will be a day when someone has to pay for all of the collective damage on North Frances Street caused by gasoline leaking into the city’s sewer system.

There will be a day when someone has to pay to repair the city’s streets caused by drilling tests that seemingly discovered no answers.

There will be a day when someone needs to reimburse the city of Seymour for the thousands of kilowatts used to run fans used to mitigate the gasoline fumes that made life nearly impossible for city residents in the area.

The city also needs to be reimbursed for hundreds of man hours spent at the site, fueling generators at all hours and often in extreme climates so the aforementioned fumes could be fanned.

I can’t even begin to calculate the cost to residents Ralph and Frances Davis for the utter nonsense they’ve had to survive in a process that’s lingered nearly two years.

If you need an update to what exactly I’m talking about, I’ll direct you to the front-page story in this week’s Citizen, titled “DNR: Hot Spot admits fuel leak.”

Funny how the DNR can march into town and demand the city spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on its water and sewer systems, then when an issue falls into the agency’s lap that only the DNR can solve, the state moves at the speed of a sloth.

Many have told me to quit banging the drum against the DNR. They’re worried that the powerful state agency will continue to force environmental edicts upon the city while still dragging its feet on issues that really matter, such as the longtime troubles on North Frances Street.

Well, I’m still banging the drum.

Loudly.

If possible, I’ll beat a hole in it.

Whenever the day comes that we fear our own state agencies, such as the DNR, then that day signifies the arrival of socialism or even communism in our great state. Considering that Missouri voters are among the most conservative in the nation, that trend wouldn’t bode well for our elected representatives who earn their seats in government by acquiring votes from voters who despise big government and all that it represents.

A big thank you goes to State Sen. Karla Eslinger, who filled the big shoes of longtime State Sen. Mike Cunningham this past January. Without her help, I’m convinced this process would be where it was a year ago, which is nowhere.

Elected officials who truly work for the people are hard to find. Frankly, they’re rare.

Eslinger is one who works for us.

Remember that in the future.

* * * * * *

Reading time, four minutes:

• Collective prayers to lifelong Seymour residents Dale Galbraith and Todd Kleier after each sustained serious injuries Sunday in a biking accident near Cedar Gap.

Both men were taken to a Springfield hospital after a severe crash.

Galbraith was treated and returned home, where it will take some significant time for him to recover.

Kleier suffered a broken scapula bone in his shoulder, a collapsed lung and four broken ribs. As of Monday afternoon, he remained in the hospital, waiting on a surgery that occurred yesterday (Tuesday) where a plate and screws were placed in his scapula bone.

Fortunately, they were riding Sunday with Seymour Fire Chief Shawn Crump, who played a vital role in getting his friends and riding partners immediate aid.

There are few fellows who are better people than the aforementioned trio.

All three are great guys known for decades as quickly willing to help others in need.

In this instance, send your prayers to Galbraith and Kleier while thanking the good Lord that Crump was on scene.

• For those who did visit the Owen Theatre last Saturday evening for its 2021 grand opening, they were witnesses to the return of movies to the big screen in Seymour.

Shown was “Pot O’ Gold,” the same movie that was screened in June 1941 when the Owen first opened its doors on the south side of the city square.

In the future, more movies will be shown, as the Owen now has a digital projector and state-of-the-art, surround-type sound. Discussed themes include ones that focus on children, perhaps bringing back Harold Owen’s old Saturday- and Sunday-afternoon matinees.

• My final reminder to everyone on the big event headed to Seymour’s square this Saturday.

The inaugural “Jeep Show & Shine” runs from 4 to 7 p.m. in our downtown and will draw a crowd.

A large crowd, I’m certain.

Organized by Terry Penner, the city’s community-development director, the Jeep Show & Shine creates a new partnership between the city, its residents and the Southern Missouri Off-Road Ranch, which is one of Seymour’s hidden assets just five miles south of town.

Present on the square Saturday will be all kinds of food, a wide variety of Jeeps and three hours of fun.

Make it a point to visit.

• Monday afternoon, we received a county COVID-19 update from Scott Allen, administrator of the Webster County Health Unit.

Allen noted:

• In the past 10 days, 199 Webster County residents were diagnosed with COVID-19 and one more Webster County resident has died as a result of COVID-19

• The health unit has an active caseload of 245 county residents.

• There are currently 15 Webster County residents hospitalized in Springfield-area hospitals with COVID-19.

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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