I THINK everyone in public life receives nasty anonymous letters from word snipers who hide in the bushes and shoot people in the back! Considering the huge number of subscribers we have of all political persuasions, I receive very few anonymous letters.
However, over the past year, maybe more, I’ve received regular hate mail from one person — and, strangely, it is not because of anything I’ve written in this newspaper.
WHAT SEEMS to tick off this person is my Thursday morning appearances on WSOY’s Byers & Co.
Months ago, he/she started writing hate mail to me over my comments on the program. When that didn’t get a reaction, he/she started adding “Liar”, and similar words to my name on the outside of the envelope so, I guess, my office manager would read it, and wonder about me.
That didn’t work. She has worked for me for 36 years and knows me, and my character, a lot better than some anonymous letter writer.
THIS PAST week, the anonymous poison pen (or computer) writer sent his/her writings to my wife at our home. The language in the letter addressed to my wife is actually much better than some of the filth involved when it was addressed to me.
This week, in my “Viewpoint” column on page 3 of the print and online editions, I did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done in my long career as a newspaper editor — I printed the chronic, hateful anonymous letter writer’s latest gem, or germ, for a definite reason — and that’s what I write about in the column.
Check out the column in this week’s edition of the Decatur Tribune.
• MACON COUNTY Recorder Mary A. (Tangney) Eaton has announced her candidacy for a 7th term.
Mary states: “It has been an honor serving the last 24 years as Macon County Recorder. I can truly say that the Record-er’s Office is one of the most efficient and helpful public offices in the county.
“The best part of my job is working with citizens of Macon County. I am truly grateful for being elected Recorder and serving the public over the years and I hope that I can continue to be your Macon County Recorder.”
This newspaper has a lot of contact with various Macon County offices during a typical week and Mary’s office has always been very helpful in working with us.
I don’t know who might be thinking about running against Mary in the next election, but she will be extremely tough to defeat.
I’ve known her, and the Tangney officeholders in county government before her, and they have always done a great job for the residents of Macon County.
During the half century-plus I’ve been editor of this newspaper, and for years before I arrived, there has always been a Tangney serving in a county position.
• WHILE MARY is running for another term, another longtime county officeholder, Coroner Mike Day, has announced that his present term will be his last which will complete 30 years in the office.
I’ve known Mike since before he was elected coroner and, even during the years before he was elected, he was always active in the community.
I’ve never heard one negative word about the job he has done, and is doing, as coroner.
It is a position that deals with a lot of stressful and sorrowful times and Mike is known as a very compassionate and caring individual — qualities that are so necessary in the coroner’s position.
This community owes Mike a debt of gratitude for the professionalism he has displayed, and continues to display, in serving in a tough but needed position.
Mike has written some of this thoughts on the subject on page 27.
• REJECTED — I received two “letters to the editor” last week which arrived in my email fairly close together — only minutes apart.
Both were about holding former President Trump “responsible”. Both letters had a person’s name at the bottom, but instead of additional information, such as the community where the person lives (which we usually put at the end of a letter, below the name of the person who wrote it) both letters had a zip code.
The zip codes were for Bement and Findlay, Illinois.
When I wrote back, asking for the letter writers to confirm the community where they lived, neither ever responded, confirming my suspicions that the anti-Trump letters were generated by people, or a group, using alias names and zip codes in order to get their letters published.
I print the opinions of all people who write letters to the editor, regardless whether I agree with the opinion expressed, or not, but proper identification must be submitted with the letter, such as town of residence and phone number so we can double-check the author of the letter. As we move into the age of “artifical intelligence”, or AI, it may become difficult for newspaper editors to determine what “letters to the editor” are authentic and which are “artifical”.
• SMOOOOOTH — The construction barrels on Route 51 south from Cleveland Avenue out of Decatur have disappeared except for a few spots. The resurfacing appears to be completed and it a smooth road!
It has been a long time coming, but it is so nice to drive to and from the downtown area on a really smooth road for those of us who live south of the lake.
Now, when we can get North Water Street and Main Street between Eldorado and Pershing resurfaced, driving from South Shores to the northside of Decatur will be like a smooth ride on a clear lake.
• NEAR CRASH! — The traffic signals at the intersection of North Water and Garfield were not working for a time one day last week so “Stop” signs were placed to notify traffic coming through the intersection from both streets.
Usually, when that happens, drivers show courtesy and cars at each point of the intersection alternate driving through.
What I witnessed was a classic example of the rudeness of many drivers these days.
After a few alternating moves with drivers allowing other cars to go before them, one from each lane at a time, the drivers in the lane heading east on Garfield suddenly starting driving through and not stopping to let anyone from the Water Street drive through the intersection.
After seven drivers didn’t hesitate to drive straight through the intersection, the eighth driver nearly slammed into the side of a car on North Water, who felt “the surge” was over! Had not both slammed on their brakes, a big wreck would have happened!
Another day of life in the fast lane with some drivers showing no respect for others!
• OPEN HOUSE — Duane Noland let me know that there will be an Open House for the new Meridian High School Ag Building Saturday morning, Aug. 19 from 9:00 until 11:00. The address is 728 South Wall Street, in Macon. It’s always good to hear from Duane.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00. to discuss the issues impacting our community.