Rita Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2010

Rita Howell

Thanks to all who made effort to put their thoughts into writing letter to the editor

This is a thank-you note to the 68 readers of The Panolian who took the time and trouble to write letters to the editor which we published during 2010.

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As anyone who regularly visits our Web site can attest, we get plenty of lively comments in response to stories, editorials and columns published in our newspaper. Those who comment online are not required to post their name. Obviously, it’s easy to express an  opinion if you do it anonymously. There’s no need to be factual or truthful. There’s no risk. There’s no accountability.

But if you submit a letter to that sacred space opposite our editorial page, we require that you sign your name. We even phone back to be sure no one is playing a trick on you or on us.

Writing a letter to the editor requires effort, thought, work and good grammar. There’s no reward, unless you count that buoyancy of getting something off your chest.

The subjects of this year’s letters to the editor ranged from the termination of public prayers before South Panola High School football games to bad manners of some Batesville drivers. Also addressed: the critical and growing problem of stray animals; proposed county-wide code ordinances; school dress codes; crimes, solved and unsolved.

One writer publicly thanked the finder of her lost pocketbook, while another letter was from a woman pleading for the return of a wallet lost at the scene of an accident.

Thoughtful letters often beget more thoughtful letters. That’s what the op-ed page is all about: provoking discussion in our community about issues that matter to us.

So we are grateful to the following letter writers who took the time to submit letters that expanded the conversation around Panola County in 2010:

Dr. Andres Brasher, Bobby Jefcoat, Karen Ott Mayer, Thomas E. Toney, John Henry Ford, Doug Brown, Ricky Harpole, Sara Byars, Lenora Holliday, Ben B. James Jr., Mary Carothers, Kimberly Hughes, Batesville Main Street Board of Directors, Darius Smith, Barbara Martin, Bobby Bradford, Terri Pierce, Bob Bryant, Terry R. Cassereino, Vernon Barker, Frank Lovelady, James T. Bonner Jr., Sandra Reed,  Dalton Martin, Chris Corcoran, John Howell Jr., Red Hudson, Emily Grace, Christy Jones, Alice and Billy John Clolinger, Jeff Padgett, Steve and Mary Dacus, Willie Earl Otis, Marlon Coleman, Tommy Leeton, Wendell Carvan, Bobby Blair, Curt Kennedy, Danny Carter, George P. Cossar III, Eva Ellzey, Pat Mills, Vicki Aldison, Jimmy and Alicia Sanders, Bridget Shelton, Bill Stroupe, Mary Cosby Hughes, Jeremy Denley, Gaeba Magness, Eugene Burnette Jr., Barbara Martin, Casey Lipe, Russ Darby, Herman Bradley, Michael “Bird” Boucher, Sharil Brown, Rhaina Johnson, Miriam Wahl, Faith O’Conner, Angela Perkins, Kathy Shields Melton, Andrea Creel, Bob and Alice Kent, Bob Haynes, Judy Gregg, Dean Bobo, Leigh Ann Hall and Jane Selby.