by Carolyn Trower

It seems a bit of controversy has arisen over some of the columns published in the RCHE lately.

A newspaper has an obligation to present first and foremost the local news. Gene always said the churches and schools were the heart of the community and I’ve always tried to make sure we cover as much church news and school news as we can. Another vital part of who we are in Ralls County is the publication of local news. We publish the board meetings and city council minutes, the Sheriff’s Report and local city police reports, and news from the Court House. Recently we’ve begun to receive pictures and articles about readers’ weddings, births, and graduations. I personally love that we are getting more of this news again. The pictures of deer hunting, turkeys harvested, and “good neighbor” stories add so much to the community profile we publish each week.

In this age of everything digital and computer-oriented, it pays to remember that not all our readers are linked to the internet. The RCHE has many valuable customers, some who have subscribed for years, who live in other states. They may wait weeks for their papers and receive several issues at once, but the heart-felt letters we receive tell us they eagerly await “news from home.” Of course, our online subscriptions are growing, too. And that pleases me as well.

As an older adult I love the feel of real paper in my hands, whether a newspaper, magazine, or book. But being firmly entrenched in the modern publication era I value the accessibility of the online editions. The internet has made it easier to submit and receive readers’ pictures and stories.

Which brings me back to the controversy I mentioned. The people who submit columns for the RCHE are not paid. They represent points of view from the Jefferson City House of Representatives and local citizens. They’re not all the same. Balance is the key to any well-informed citizenry. While the paper, as a rule, steers clear of state and national political news, we do include our representative’s weekly updates and the occasional article from our federal representatives and senators.

Letters to the editor are always welcome and often present an interpretation not mentioned before. If a reader peruses the whole commentary page, a broader picture of our county comes into focus. The county is made up of Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Ultra-Conservatives, and a few folks who fall in the Moderate category. Mostly we are rooted in the strong agriculture culture of our ancestors. Hunting and fishing are favorite past times. We can be found at the ball field or courtside most Friday nights and in church on Sunday mornings. That’s who we are.

But we aren’t all the same. Every one of us has nuances to our beliefs that have been shaped by personal experience. Where we have traveled, what books we read, if we’ve been to college, the people we’ve met; all make ripples on our consciousness. The more we know, the more we talk to people, the more we think – helps us become a better-informed citizenry.

We don’t have to agree on everything (ask the crowd at any game about the ref’s call). But we owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to listen. Disagree, state your point, then shake hands. We each get one vote come election time.