SpeakOut 6/17

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Call 471-6636

I'm calling about the person who called about the casino between East Prairie and Charleston. From their wording, they don't live in either city but are apparently unaware that when Sikeston got the new Wal-Mart Supercenter, Wal-Mart shut down its Charleston store, which drew a large group of shoppers from Illinois and Kentucky. This person is also not aware that when the new prison opened in Charleston, that the majority of employees came from outside Charleston and East Prairie and some even from outside the state. Some of the employees were already in the Missouri Correctional System and came from other cities with pay raises and promotions as incentives to move to this area, and that didn't mean that they had to live in Charleston, East Prairie or the closest smaller town. Charleston and East Prairie do need to improve and do more to draw commerce to their towns. However, I personally don't see how a casino is going to make the crime rate much higher, considering an estimate of 70 percent of the residents of Charleston are on state welfare roles and extra incomes for those way below poverty level households already come from drugs. How much more damage can come from a casino? No one will stop buying or selling drugs, but at least some of that drug money would go to the casino which would provide jobs for people in the surrounding small towns who actually do want to work, and it would also bring in some of the casino money currently going from this area to Metropolis, Ill., and other places close by. Who knows? From that one casino could possibly come a decent motel, real restaurants instead of fast-food places and maybe a Wal-Mart or something better would reopen. That's my 2-cents' worth.

I pray to God, please, that this letter gets in the newspaper. This is for everyone in the Bootheel - Morehouse, Canalou, Matthews - that is getting in such bad shape that Sikeston and Miner need to get together and buy all of the above and get all of them a decent place for people to live. They are so small that they don't have much of a town to call it a town at all. If all the little towns combine into one and get the right people to get hold of them and get some things in them such as a store, hotel, game room, truck stop, restaurant or other things, such as a good cop or two, someone to fix it up so people will have something they can call home. All of those little towns need a lot of work done to them. You just can't live in something as bad as they are. These towns are going to the dogs. We deserve something better. How can we take care of a town if we don't have the help to do it with? I have seen smaller towns in better shape and friendlier than just Morehouse alone. All of these towns need some people to take all of them and do something to them for the good of all the people who live in them. By buying all of those towns and combining them into one would be the best thing anyone could do for them and the people. There are too many little towns that are just going to waste away. This town needs good board members to run a good town for the people. A town should not have to get in that shape.

If I understood the article right in the paper about The First National Bank, it said it was 100 years old. I moved here in 1949 and Planters Bank was formed after that and merged into First National. I think somebody needs to redo the math.

According to a bank history recently published in the Standard Democrat, the First National Bank's charter originated in 1903 in Doniphan and was initially known as the T.L. Wright Private Bank which was later renamed the Bank of Doniphan. In 1955 the bank's charter was purchased by a group of Sikeston businessmen who renamed the bank Planters Bank and moved the facility to Sikeston. The Montgomery family has owned and operated the bank in Sikeston since 1957 and in 1964 renamed it The First National Bank. So from 1903 to 2003 makes 100 years.