The Ron Doerge controversy in Newton County has shown no signs of dying. Posters on Neoshoforums. com have been talking about a letter to the editor printed earlier this week in The Neosho Daily News defending Sheriff Doerge's right to endorse someone in the race to be his successor.
One person posted a comment that Doerge had asked this person to write a letter. I read the earlier letter today and I have no doubt that was not what happened. The letter was written by Kurt and Vickie Guinn of Stella. Having gone to high school at East Newton with Vickie (I don't recall ever meeting her husband though he too, went to East Newton), I guarantee you the letter was sincere.
You see, Vickie's mother, Wilma Bragg, who lived in rural Stark City, was brutally murdered a few years back by a man named Alis Ben Johns, who led law enforcement officials on a chase across the state. Ms. Bragg, who was living alone at the time of her death was murdered at her home by Johns. Sheriff Doerge was one of those who investigated the murder and I am sure that he showed kindness to the Bragg family and kept the family updated on any developments in the investigation.
Vickie's letter however obscured the main point of the controversy. Of course, Ron Doerge has every right to support someone for Newton County sheriff (even though he had earlier indicated he would not). That is his right as a citizen. What he should not have done was support one candidate then secretly come up with a list of questions for a sheriff's candidate forum on KBTN. He also should not have been using a taxpayer-financed computer for that purpose. These and Doerge's ever-changing, incredulous accounts of what has happened (as well as his efforts to punish those Sheriff's Department employees who have disagreed with his choice in the election) are what has created the turmoil in Newton County.
Of course, Ron Doerge should be allowed to support whatever candidate he wants, but he should be aboveboard about it and should not be using taxpayer money and equipment to further that cause.
One of my favorite people, Lou Rix Scroggs of Lamar, e-mails to tell that history was indeed made in the Lamar Fair Queen Contest Saturday night at the Thiebaud Auditorium. Kelly Williams, daughter of Rick and Denise Williams, was crowned queen. She follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Joni, now a student at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and her mother, the former Denise Todd. Joni and Denise had been the only mother-daughter combination in the 47-year history of the pageant to be crowned. Now another member of the family has joined the fun. Another member of the family, older sister, Holly, was one of the top runners-up during her time in the contest. She did win a nice consolation prize, however. If memory serves me correctly, Holly later did extremely well in a couple of statewide competitions, including the Miss Missouri USA Pageant.
Now that I have read the Joplin Globe's Sunday print edition, I was not particularly impressed with the hodgepodge main story on the MAP scores. I would hope the Globe reporters continue to explore just what these tests mean.
I am anxiously awaiting the Saturday Lamar Democrat to see how that newspaper handled the situation with O'Sullivan Industries. Nothing has been put on the Democrat's website so far. Too often during the past few years, the only stories the Democrat has run about the city's largest employer have been the thoroughly cleansed press releases. It is at times like this that a newspaper can best serve its community by doing some hard, in-depth reporting.
Thanks to those of you who have been e-mailing to send me information for The Turner Report. I love receiving information for this weblog and I love receiving comments, positive or not-so-positive about the site. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or leave a comment at the space at the end of each of these postings.