Relief for seniors
Two years ago, I sent a request to the office of Missouri state Rep. Jerome Barnes, my legislator, asking that he look into the possibility of allowing seniors 75 and older to opt out of jury duty because of medical hardship. Missouri was among only a handful of states that did not allow this option.
I had been denied my petition for dismissal and had to go to my doctor to get an excuse, hoping this would be sufficient. I know I am not the only one who is impaired in this way.
I heard back from Barnes’ office quickly, and he set into motion the drafting of new legislation. He has stayed in touch over the years and kept me updated. On May 18, his bill passed both chambers, and it was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson on July 10. This change will go into effect Aug. 28.
Certainly, anyone wanting to serve on a jury at any age can still do so, but those of us who can no longer perform this duty won’t have to jump through hoops.
My heartfelt thanks go out to Rep. Barnes and Gov. Parson.
The power of labels
My dog has recently revealed to me that he likes a different political party than I do. This is the dog I rescued and share my bed with — but my feelings for him changed instantly.
Of course, I am kidding. But the moment I imagined labeling him, I went to the dark side.
How are we ever going to bridge this great divide?
Why don’t we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival this weekend by having three days of peace and music? That’s what I’m going to do.
Blunt can help
We need Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt as our ally. Since the 1970s, the National Rifle Association has received almost everything it has asked for, but our communities have not gotten any safer.
Although I support hunting as a sport, the people themselves have become the prey. Attending a community arts festival or shopping for toiletries should not put our lives at risk.
I think it would be beneficial for Blunt to reinvest the $4.55 million he has received from the NRA into two funds: one for the surviving children of our state’s victims of gun violence, and one for the Rose Brooks Center, which serves the Kansas City community.
Erin Langhofer was at the beginning of her career at Rose Brooks when she was fatally shot in the Crossroads district Aug. 2. Since she is no longer able to contribute, this investment would help her work continue.
By investing in the surviving children of the victims of gun violence, his contribution could serve as a commitment to ensure that the children whose parents have been taken from them will have a chance to live lives that are not devastated.
Real idle threats
Missouri and Kansas both have laws restricting the idling of car and truck engines. I have yet to witness significant public enforcement of them and routinely find private, commercial and local government vehicles sitting for a half an hour or more idling their engines.
This increases the amount of ground-level ozone, adding to particulates in the air and creating smog, which we know impairs normal breathing. It also increases the amount of heat going from engines into the surrounding areas and wastes gas. In the case of government-owned vehicles, taxpayers are paying for that gas and for the dirty air.
Kansas City could set an example for other municipalities by enforcing the no-idling law. Some parts of Johnson County already have no-idle zones.
Except when waiting for traffic lights to change, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors to turn off the engine or keep moving.
Susan F. Herold
No FAIR play
A letter to the editor Thursday (10A) cited a study by FAIR, the Federation for Immigration Reform, purporting that undocumented immigrants cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars per year. Many other studies on this controversial proposition find the exact opposite: that undocumented immigrants are a net positive benefit to the nation’s economy.
More importantly, FAIR has been identified by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center and others as having ties to white supremacist groups. FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, had a record of correspondence with Holocaust deniers and white supremacist thinkers. Its advertisements have been declined by media organizations because of racist content.
The Star does its readers a disservice in not identifying the source of potentially biased and deceptive studies. President Donald Trump recently stated that he left the vetting of his administration nominees to the media. Are we to assume that The Star is similarly ceding the responsibility of identifying published sources to its readership?