Kyle Troutman: Off the spike

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Most weeks, coming up with a topic for this column is fairly simple and straightforward, but sometimes, there are too many things to talk about but not enough about one thing to make it the star.

In this situation, I am resorting to a tactic used by the former owner of the Cassville Democrat, Bob Mitchell, and employing the “off the spike” technique of addressing multiple notes in one sitting.

COVID and schools

Recent stories on local school districts, specifically Monett’s decision to require masks for the first two weeks, garnered quite a bit of community response, and a mix of reactions.

While many abhorred the “tyranny” of the school system for following CDC guidelines, many others supported the elected officials in their stated effort to keep kids safe.

So much about this pandemic — especially masking — has been politicized, and I hope in the end people see the district is trying to do what it needs to avoid mass quarantines.

Monett in its first week of school has five positive cases and 19 quarantines. Most notably, at the high school, there are three positives and only two quarantines. I’m curious how many quarantines were avoided due to the mask mandate.

Cassville, which is mask-optional, also has five positives, but has 37 total quarantines.

Cases countywide this week also jumped 75 percent to 146 total, and in the past month, there have been 7 deaths, accounting for 10 percent of the total since the pandemic started.

A group of parents met recently to plan how to keep masking optional at the district. Their efforts seem better-intended than those who disrupted the last school board meeting, and there is always a place for conversation and debate as long as the final decision is accepted and respected.

A side note, if you don’t like the actions taken by the school board, make your voice heard at the polls next April. School board races are often decided by a small number of votes. Yours could be one of them.

Tragedy in Afghanistan

The news coming out of the middle east keeps getting sadder and sadder.

Two decades ago, we entered a country that no other world power had managed to control, thinking we could drive out extremists and foster in democracy.

About 2,300 military service members have made the ultimate sacrifice since 2001, most recently the 13 who died in the suicide bombing near Kabul’s international airport less than a week before the military pullout was completed.

The Taliban regaining control of the country happened quickly and was is a failure of Afghan leadership. President Joe Biden’s military withdrawal, then sending troops back in to help with Afghani evacuations, was disorganized and costly.

Credit should be given to Biden for actually pulling out all troops, having opposed Obama’s deployments in 2009 and having inherited a Trump agreement with the Taliban to remove troops by May.

However, there will always be, and rightfully so, a stain on the action by Biden because of how Kabul fell, the humanitarian crisis, the American lives lost and the uncertainty of the future.

In the 20 years of our involvement, it’s tough to find many bright spots, and the events of the last two weeks have been tragic.

Local crime

It was a busy week for law enforcement locally.

Early in the week, a shooting in Seligman left a man injured but alive, and a warrant was issued for a man who allegedly threatened to shoot people at the Barry County judicial Center.

A frequent jail flier, Dale Silva, was arrested recently for the third time in three months for methamphetamine. And, in recent weeks, multiple child sex charges have been filed.

Reviewing the articles we did continued to feed the flame of the cycle of crime in our area.

Most of it is drug-related, whether it is possession, altercations involving drugs or fueled by them, or burglaries or thefts perpetrated to fund a habit.

I cannot say with exact certainty, but having reported on felonies locally for seven years now, I feel confident saying between 50-75 percent of felony crime in our area can be attributed to this cause.

The child sex crimes are also seemingly frequent, though that may only seem so since the headlines are so jarring.

I was looking back through old papers this week to find content for our 9/11 stories next week, and from the issues I looked at, not much has changed in the last 20 years.

I hope 20 years from now we can look back and say we are glad we don’t have the same amount of issues any longer.

Dad life

Many have asked me how the baby and wife are doing, and both are well.

Olivia will be four weeks old on Wednesday. She is a grunty infant who can’t stand to not be held or not have someone patting her butt.

She toots when she sneezes and has one of the softest cries we have ever heard.

She’s a beauty and a blessing, as is my wife. She says we do well splitting duties, but I must admit she does more than me.

Coming back into the office this week was difficult (so much so that I spent Thursday working from home) and I am soaking in every minute I can while the infancy stage lasts.

Through all the COVID, international crises and local crime, I am blessed to have a loving family to welcome me home every day.

Kyle Troutman has served as the editor of The Monett Times since 2014. In 2017, he was named William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist for daily newspapers. He may be reached at 417-235-3135 or editor@monett-times.com.

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