I wanted to commend Justin Kendall on his sensitive and touching portrayal of "Shorty" during the Jesse Herd trial. It's refreshing to know that justice is being served, regardless of the fact that Herd deserves so many more years in prison. I have to wonder if (and hope that) those nightly prayer groups in his cell are maybe him praying for forgiveness while he receives the same tortures he put his beautiful stepdaughter through.
I also wanted, through this writing, to convey a message to Shorty: You are a bright, beautiful spirit. You are worthy of love and everything that life has to offer, and despite all that you've been through and all that you have lost, you are capable of infinite possibilities because you are loved and because you are a survivor. I know your pain — many of us do, and those of us out here who know your story are all giving you one big emotional and spiritual hug.
I want Shorty and anyone reading who carries such deep, scabrous wounds to keep in mind that we are only victims of our past and what we allow to occur in our present. We can rise above these things and take the world by storm as bold, beautiful, strong women. OK, so we have a slightly jaded appearance and outlook ... but it helps us weed out those who lack integrity.
Shay Slaughter, Shawnee
My teammates and I were described as "surprised" to hear that our former coach, Jesse Herd, had prostituted his stepdaughter while coaching our softball team. This is a gross understatement. When I heard the news from the interviewer, I remember being completely appalled and disgusted, and I am therefore disturbed by the way that I was represented in the article. As the only player who was quoted, I feel it is my responsibility to disclose the players' thoughts. Words cannot describe the disgust I feel, and I am confident in saying that all of the girls on my team are extremely shocked and dismayed that our former role model turned out to be such a vile and sick man.
Sydney Vessels, Overland Park
Thanks so much to The Pitch and Justin Kendall for doing such a great job of covering and presenting the story of Jesse Herd. Your story is a great service to our community, great food for thought on many levels. I am so sorry for the abused girl of this tragedy, though.
Doug Littrell, Kansas City, Kansas
I wanted to begin by telling you what an excellent job you did in bringing to light the story of Erotic City. In addition to letting people know the full story on that situation, your series commands the reader's interest; it is a sordid and sad tale.
However, I am offended by a glaring mistake. In Part II of the series, you had a map illustrating the locations involved in the story. You incorrectly showed No. 4, Erotic City, as being in Sugar Creek, Missouri. That gives a horrible reputation to a beloved town that is already struggling to regain the image it deserves. Erotic City is located at Truman Road and Interstate 435, not at Sterling and Kentucky, a significant distance, even as illustrated on your small map.
I am a law student at UMKC, and most of my classmates have no idea where Sugar Creek is. I am always explaining what a wonderful small town it is and how much I love living there.
It was with great shock when many of my fellow law students approached me asking about Erotic City in Sugar Creek. Many of them are avid readers of your publication, so I soon realized where they were getting this blatantly incorrect information. Sugar Creek would never allow such an establishment to mar its landscape.
Although Sugar Creek has its issues and challenges, as every city does, it does not need a flagrant oversight on your part to contribute to its already struggling reputation. We work very hard to keep Sugar Creek proud of its heritage and standing within the metro. Therefore, it would be highly appropriate, both professionally and ethically, for you to print a correction stating the error of your work.
Cyril J. Wrabec, Sugar Creek
Editor's note: We regret the error.
Crystal K. Wiebe's story on Rob Dalzell was a great article highlighting the opening of yet another restaurant downtown. However, additional investigation was in order, since the story refers to his hometown of Fayette, Missouri, as one with "little in it but a traffic signal and a Dairy Queen."
Fayette is home to Central Methodist University, which serves more than 3,000 students in nearly 100 communities around Missouri. The university is home to Swinney Conservatory of Music, the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art and Stephens Museum. Among the businesses that grace Fayette's historic Court House Square sits Emmet's Kitchen and Tap; customers drive from all over north-central Missouri to enjoy its Cajun cuisine.
Well-established businesses include Addison Biological Laboratory Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of exclusive veterinary technologies; Inovatia Laboratories L.L.C., an organization providing research, analysis, consultation and technology development services to public and private entities throughout North America; and Allied Monitor Inc., a USDA-, NVSL-approved Johne's Testing Laboratory, just to name a few.
In addition to local chapters of Rotary, Optimist and Lions, there are professional organizations for cattle growers and farmers, a garden club, bridge clubs, 4-H, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, a women's education group, a men's roundtable, a writer's group, a historical society and dozens of other organizations.
Next time, please take a moment to investigate — you might be surprised at the array of jewels hidden in the rolling hills of Missouri!
Rosemarie Rogers, Fayette