Normally, I would commend the Joplin Globe for continuing to write on the story of Jasper County Presiding Commissioner Chuck Surface's recent arrest. Far too often, media outlets write an initial story about an event and then never follow up.
Unfortunately, this time, the story was simply a rehash of the Globe's prior stories about the Surface arrest. If you remember, Judge David Dally, at the request of Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson, appointed a special prosecutor, Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Robert George, to avoid a conflict of interest.
George had already told the Globe it was highly doubtful he would make any decision about charges this week since he was trying an important case. He didn't make any decision, therefore there was no news.
The Globe didn't need to write anything, and if it felt it had a responsibility to at least put something in, all it had to say, could have been said in one paragraph. Instead, everything from the traffic stop to last Tuesday's election, in which Surface lost to Carthage businessman John Bartosh, was thrown into the story.
Surely, there was a more valuable use of reporter Susan Redden's time. If another couple of weeks pass and no charges are filed, that would be a good time to run that kind of story. Today was simply too soon.
If the Globe is looking for a story that is in desperate need of updating, it might consider the January 2005 hit-and-run death of Joplin High School student Jamison Alexander.
Another Joplin teen, Travis Wyrick, was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident in connection with Mr. Alexander's death. An April trial date had originally been scheduled, but the case was delayed, and I can no longer find any trace of it on Case.net. Is another charge in the works? Have charges been dropped? What about the civil lawsuit filed in connection with this case? This is the kind of story that would resonate with local readers.. Hopefully, the Globe (or the Joplin Daily) will did into this one.