Joplin history ties to today

This is in response to Bill Caldwell's columns about the streets in Joplin with historic meanings.

I write specifically about Furnace Street, where my family lived, because it has a basic, concrete history about the origin of the Joplin Housing Authority — that's where it started, 900 Furnace St.

A man wanted to build a machine shop in our neighborhood. We said, "No, not in our neighborhood."

We presented all the necessary petitions from property owners, and they were accepted by the Joplin City Council — 100% denial to the man named on the papers.

The meaning of the street name had to do with a smelter in reference to mining in East Town — the original Joplin. Read the book by Evelyn Milligan Jones, "Tales about Joplin, Short and Tall."

You will find a story about a Black slave boy at John Cox's who was playing in the creek on his property and discovered lead. Then two men, Elliott Moffet and John B. Sergeant, started mining after the discovery. John Cox was not the only slave owner in Joplin.

Check about the man who owned Richard's Shoe Shop on East Fourth Street, later on Main Street. You will find his story on the mezzanine at Joplin City Hall. Brad Belk got it from me. When he saw it, I was teaching Sunday school during Black History Month at Unity Missionary Baptist Church. It was given to me by Roy Watkins' son, Lavern, a friend. Watkins worked for Richard and was given the business when Richard retired.

Today, that is why there are people in the streets marching and vocal, because people tried to speak about situations of daily life. No one would hear what was being said. Now the price is being paid. Why? Because you don't want to accept the facts that Black people have lived life in Joplin everyday. It is sad.

Let us all live, learn and work together to make life worthwhile and beautiful.

Betty Smith



Duty to each other means wear a mask

We were told the truth about the pandemic at a point early on; we just didn’t want to accept it.

You had to read between the letters, though. All will be affected; we just need to slow down the sickness and death rate to a level that can be kept up with. This isn’t going away. In today's world, we think we can fix everything, but some things are outside our power. This is one of those times that we are not up to the task. This isn’t a movie. No one comes up with a cure overnight. People will die, and that rate needs to be slowed down so we can keep up with it.

I wear a mask mandatorily at work, and we all need to start doing this at all the places where we come in contact with others as we pass by them, just to slow it down. It has been seen to work. It slows the transmission rate, and that is what we need to be doing. It feels like we will all be exposed at some point, but the important thing is that it doesn’t happen all at once. We don’t have the built-in infrastructure to handle it all at once.

People of the Four-State Area: Please start looking at all of this in the right light. We need to slow it down while we can; that is something all of us can do.

Use a face covering of some type to slow the spread when around others. The butterfly effect of this could be helping someone close to you who you can’t even imagine will be affected.

We don’t want to lose all the people we love at once. We have a duty as a community to each other. It is time to take this very seriously.

Tommy Chew

Carl Junction


No masks, no service

According to The Joplin Globe, on June 7, there were 74 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jasper and Newton counties and the city of Joplin. Two weeks later, on June 21, the number had exploded to 511. That's an increase of 437 new cases in 14 days.

On May 31 of this year, there were 52 cases. What happened in June? People stopped wearing masks despite repeated requests from health officials and community leaders.

The time has come to make the wearing of masks mandatory in retail establishments, churches and other places where people congregate. I urge the Joplin City Council and Jasper and Newton county officials to adopt a policy of "no masks, no service." Until we have this policy firmly in place (together with social distancing), the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to grow.

Harold Wall

Carl Junction


Public broadcasting remains a bargain

When I read the letter (Globe, June 21) from Don Eiken of Carthage titled "Country must learn to control spending," I had to respond. Eiken believes that cutting funding to PBS and NPR is the primary way that we should balance the U.S. budget. Public broadcasting in total costs every American about $3 a year. Yes, you read that right: $3 a year for these essential public services; $3 for endless hours of quality PBS and PBS Kids programming, great cooking shows, travel programs and documentaries; $3 per year for high-quality journalism from NPR and statewide news from the Kansas and Missouri news services.

Further, NPR broadcasts into communities where commercial news is no longer profitable, bringing news to those who might not otherwise have access. Locally, KRPS has provided countless hours of incredible classical and jazz programs for more than 31 years. Listeners in the area deserve high-quality radio journalism. Also important to note: The public radio station funding model is not dependent on federal support. At KRPS, it’s a mix of federal and state tax dollars, funds from Pittsburg State University, grants, local businesses underwriting and generous KRPS listeners becoming members.

Especially during a global pandemic and an election year, being informed is as important as ever. Don, I welcome you to join me every weekday morning starting at 5 a.m. as I host KRPS’s "Morning Edition" to hear a mix of local, national and international news, and stories that will surprise you. And maybe you’ll get your $3 worth.

Fred Fletcher-Fierro

Webb City

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