The first U.S. man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 – Meb Keflezighi. Are you kidding me? Not exactly your run-of-the-mill American name, but he is an American citizen. According to USA Today, Keflezeghi, now 39 years old, came to the U.S. when he was 12. The family, which includes 11 children, came here from the African country of Eritrea to escape a life of poverty and a violent war with Ethiopia. When the family settled in San Diego, he spoke no English and had never raced a mile. His grades and athletic skills earned him a full scholarship to UCLA, the article in Tuesday’s newspaper said. Meb became a U.S. citizen in 1998 and ran for his country in three Olympics, winning a silver medal in 2004. In 2009 he won the New York Marathon, becoming the first American to do so in 27 years. Keflezighi was cheered on by the crowd as an American in Boston on Monday. The color of his skin and the strange spelling of his name did not segregate him. He is one of us. Yakov Smirnoff would say, “What a country!” * * * A few weeks ago a Taney County resident contacted our office with a concern that Circuit Judge Craig Carter, of Ava, had released a convicted sex offender on bond. The Taney County Times reported that the Arkansas resident, who was out on $1.15 million bond, was arrested by Branson Police for failing to register as a sex offender. Taney County Judge Mark Orr denied the defendant’s request for bail on the sex offender charge, so the man’s attorney requested a new judge. Later, Judge Carter was appointed to preside over the case. Judge Carter did not agree with Judge Orr’s decision to revoke the defendant’s bond, and allowed him to go free – so to speak. Questioned about the decision, Judge Carter first pointed out the man had put up more than a million dollars in bond money. Other stipulations of his “freedom” included: no contact with anyone under age of 21; no drugs or alcohol; he has to wear an ankle GPS monitor and stay inside his parents’ home in Hot Springs; and he can’t come back into the state of Missouri unless it’s for a court hearing. Pretty strong restrictions. Judge Carter explained to me, bond is not intended to be a pre-punishment for a crime but is only levied to assure that the defendant will show up for court on the appointed trial date. From the information I read in the Taney County newspaper, this guy is a first-class pervert who needs to be dealt with in ways we can’t write in a community newspaper. But, according to law, defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and according to the stipulations of his bond, he is in custody but not in a public facility. * * * The annual MS Walk for our area will be held this Saturday, April 26, in Seymour. If you or a family member is or has been afflicted with multiple sclerosis, you understand the importance of supporting organizations like the MS Society. Pearl Raymond started the Seymour Walk in 1993 in honor of her brother who had MS, and now, 21 years later, she is still involved. Due to the increased participation, the starting point has been moved to the Seymour Nazarene Church this year. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the walk to start at 9 o’clock. Anything you can do to help will be appreciated. * * * Our Democratic governor and Republican legislators are at it again (or still). Legislators last week passed a bill to reduce income taxes, including a deduction for business income. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said, “Unfortunately, the governor would rather spend his time searching for technical issues than to constructively engage lawmakers on how to provide tax relief to thousands of Missourians. As usual, he hides his opposition to Missourians keeping more of their take-home pay behind ‘fig leaves’ of his own making.” Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones said, “The Legislature believes citizens are more equipped to spend their money rather than the government. Low taxes will spur the economy… I invite the governor to put away his veto pen and join us in this effort that will benefit hard-working Missourians.”
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By Erin Smither, senior archivist The State Historical Society of Missouri April 30 marked the ninety-second anniversary of the birth of Route 66. Photographs at the...