Letters: KC readers discuss Missouri COVID, Topeka Frito-Lay strike, Kevin Strickland

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Take the wheel

Gov. Mike Parson should not feel proud that Missouri has among the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country and that number is getting worse every day. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported an average of 1,244 new cases per day as of Monday, compared with only 400 per day a month ago.

Will Missouri have to close schools again this fall? Children were severely psychologically damaged last year because of the virus and the closing of schools. They can’t withstand another year of it.

What are you going to do, Gov. Parson? It is time you do your job and take charge.

- Barbara Sturgeon, Overland Park

Honest work

Growing up in Topeka, you could expect field trips to the Kansas State Capitol, the museum and the Frito-Lay factory. The educational value of the first two is obvious. But what’s so valuable about fueling the Wonka-esque dreams of every fourth-grader in town?

The Frito-Lay factory visit was a promise. If you worked hard and got your high school diploma, you had a good job waiting for you.

Unfortunately, Frito-Lay isn’t so good at keeping promises. With stagnant wages and deplorable working conditions, the company created a tinderbox brimming with dissatisfaction. And now the first match has been lit.

Whether you’re on the picket line or not, we all have an obligation to support the Local 218 strike at Frito-Lay. (July 8, KansasCity.com, “Some Wichitans begin PepsiCo boycott as Frito-Lay workers strike”)

These workers make a personal sacrifice for a public good: livable jobs in their home town. They want Topeka to continue to have respectful work so that Topeka remains a great place to “be” instead of a great place to “be from.”

These workers deserve broad support. Call attention to the strike. Donate if you can. Remember: When workers win, communities thrive.

- Emily Hane, Kansas City

Made my escape

Oh say can you see? Yes, I’m afraid I can, and it ain’t a pretty sight to behold. To African Americans and educated white Americans, that Confederate flag on U.S. 54 on the way to the Lake of the Ozarks is just as vile and frightful as any public display of a Nazi flag.

Look away, look away, look away Dixieland, I’m glad I’m not in Dixie (anymore). People all over the Ozarks region love to display the flag of this nation’s enemy. You’d think it was 1866, not 2021.

Who, me? I made the most horrific mistake of my misguided life when I decided to buy a beautiful, brand-new, all-brick home with an attached garage right there in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest way back in the autumn of 2009. Things were really creepy, and some neighbors took to invading my house when I had to drive 30 miles to a neighboring town for weekly grocery shopping.

The natural beauty of the Ozarks cannot offset the “Heart of Darkness” nature of its communities. Watch the movie “Winter’s Bone” starring Jennifer Lawrence. Local folks were featured in the film to add to its grim authenticity.

- Robert McKinney, Newburgh, Indiana

The right thing

Gov. Mike Parson,

“CBS Sunday Morning” ran a story on Kevin Strickland and Lamar Johnson. These two innocent men have spent decades in prison, as you well know. The entire nation now knows.

Please do the right thing and grant these men pardons. You may want to appear tough on crime, but being tough on the innocent is a bad look, for you and for Missouri.

Thank you.

- F. Michael Martucci, Hamden, Connecticut

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