Letters to the Editor

Readers weigh in on probation, the Ozarks and President Obama

Criticism of series

I believe The Star’s criticisms in its Aug. 3-4 series, “Getting off easy,” of our judiciary and prosecutors are unfair.

I have had many dealings with the fine attorneys in the Jackson County prosecutor’s office dating back to the 1980s. These attorneys are truly gifted public servants who are committed to making our community a safer place. They are overworked, underpaid and committed to helping the victims of crime seek justice.

Our judiciary consists of many bright and committed individuals who preside over criminal cases and civil cases in a fair and impartial fashion. With the thousands of cases that are handled in our system, it is easy to find several individuals who are unhappy with particular results.

However, it has been my experience that, in Jackson County, violent criminals are punished appropriately and first-time, non-violent offenders are given the chance they deserve to succeed in life.

Sadly, there was no coverage of the many individuals given probation who have gone on and had successful lives and families. Their success is good for our community.

From the vantage point of many who practice within the criminal justice system in this community, our system is not broken. It functions well for the betterment of our community.

Kevin E.J. Regan

Kansas City

Overused Ozarks

Concerning the July 27 article “Planned restrictions don’t float with fans of Ozark rivers,” consider the majority view of citizens and visitors from outside of river towns. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created to forever conserve a unique geology, including the many caves and great springs feeding pristine rivers.

There are no longer red wolves and pileated woodpeckers. The Ozark hellbender is endangered because of 1.5 million annual human visitors.

Fifty years ago, I could string a snail-shell necklace from a gravel beach while I was sitting listening to nature. Now I can only visit in the offseason on a weekday and imagine.

The effect of human activity is obvious.

Having family in Shannon County, I visit and notice changes, such as fewer fish being caught. The increasing evidence of missing wildlife, disturbances of the peace, E. coli contamination from horses and erosion from many illegal access roads show that stronger management is needed.

Many think more protection is needed, but the National Park Service recommended the middle road. The park service has done well with limited funding and local opposition. State control wouldn’t be affordable or helpful.

After 50 years, it’s time for some trust.

Finally accepting national park status and its management can benefit the regional economy and all citizens forever.

Patty Brown


Obama disrespected

President Barack Obama visited our city on July 30 (7-31, A1, “President urges cooperation in Congress to improve the nation”). During his speech at the Uptown Theater, he spoke of the hatred directed toward him by the House Republicans and how they refuse to work with him to get important issues resolved.

At the very beginning of Obama’s first term, the Republican leaders stated that their only goal would be to make sure the president failed, and they continue to strive toward that end.

At this point, Congress has been publicly identified by many as the most do-nothing Congress in the history of American government.

Unfortunately, the haters here in Missouri validated President Obama’s concerns with their offensive, racist hatred and disrespectful comments made on social media after his visit.

As an African-American great-grandmother, I find this brazen racial division increasingly shameful.

President Obama has been treated unfairly and disrespected by the Republicans since his first day in office.

We have many reasons to be proud of our great country. But race relations is not one of them.

LaVerne Hill

Kansas City

Roberts’ re-election

Once again, ignorant Kansans have voted, in the primary, for a non-Kansas resident to be their senator. Amazing.

Charles Burright


KC readiness?

What has the city of Kansas City done to prepare for an Ebola outbreak, or a similar outbreak in Kansas City?

Horace Radmerling

Kansas City

Health care in U.S.

I recently received a letter from United Health Care telling me that one of my doctors has been dropped from the Medicare Complete plan.

When I signed up, I was told that if a doctor accepted Medicare he would accept Medicare Complete. Now Medicare Complete is dropping my doctor from the plan Sept. 1.

This should make people who’ve supported the Affordable Care Act very pleased.

I guess the country had to have the plan passed to find out what is in it. It sounds a whole lot like the death panel has been activated.

Isn’t this what the supporters of the Affordable Care Act were saying about what those of us who do not support it were doing?

Just as a side note, Medicare Complete is supported by AARP. That goes a long way in the way AARP supports the elderly.

I was told this was a federal action by United Health Care. Looks like our president is getting his way by hook or crook.

Allen Broadbent


Brownback’s signs

At first I thought it was odd. Then I got a closer look at one of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign yard signs for re-election in the Aug. 5 primary.

It has the stars and stripes, but the overall theme looks like Halloween to me.

What message is he trying to send?

What country is he campaigning in?

Did he cut his campaign art department’s budget too deeply?

Fran Windler

Kansas City

Beauty of trees

My wife and I recently completed a motorcycle trip to visit friends outside Mobile, Ala.

Even though I’ve noticed it before on rides over the years, what struck me on this trip was the noticeable temperature difference between riding on tree-lined highways (cooler) and those with few if any trees (hotter).

I’ve often wondered why trees are not planted in divided-highway medians instead of installing wire cables and planting grass, which requires mowing but provides no environmental benefits. The cost and maintenance of trees would be offset by the elimination of purchases and maintenance of the large mowers, tractors and cables used now.

Here is a short list of reasons trees are necessary for improving our environment:

Trees produce oxygen, clean the soil, help control noise pollution and slow stormwater runoff.

Trees are carbon sinks, clean the air, shade and cool the environment, act as windbreaks and fight soil erosion.

Scott Tubbesing


Respect for funerals

I have driven in too many funeral processions in the last 50 years and have seen enough of them on the streets to notice that there is an overwhelming lack of respect for this sad but necessary tradition.

The most recent cortege for a dear friend caused me to wonder whether it’s because people are too busy, in too big of a hurry or just plain do not care anymore.

As long as I have been driving, I know that when a funeral procession passes on the street, it is customary to pull over and stop if possible until the final car goes by. This includes not passing or cutting in line.

In Kansas City, Kan., members of a street crew actually stopped working and removed their hard hats as we passed. A Wyandotte County resident stopped mowing and placed his hand over his heart. I doubt they even knew our friend.

But when we crossed that County Line Road, the level of respect dropped off significantly. And you know who you are.

Next time you encounter a police-escorted hearse with a slow-moving convoy with headlights and flashers on, slow down, pull over and show a little respect.

Nobody can be in that big of a hurry.

Bob Tucker