We had two issues last week that had our readers voicing their opinions. The first was whether or not the Mayor Darrell Trahan should require citizens to wear a mask. We posted the poll on our website and our Facebook page and we’re pleased to have so many people weigh in with their thoughts. 

Just as we promoted our poll question on Facebook, Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a directive allowing cities to implement measures requiring their citizens to wear masks. As we told you last week, we reached out to our mayor to get his input on the issue but he responded with a simple, “Sorry, no comment.” 

We reached out again this week with some additional questions including whether or not he would respond to the governor’s allowance of allowing cities to require citizens to wear masks. We also asked him again what measures he planned to implement to keep citizens safe in light of the high spike in cases in Madison County, including those at the Butterball plant. Just this week, the county saw more than 200 reported cases of the virus.

We have yet to hear from Mayor Trahan. 

Before the city of Conway passed an ordnance requiring its citizens to wear a mask, the mayor of Conway produced a video encouraging citizens to do so and also appointed a person to be in charge of the city’s response to Covid-19 and keeping its citizens safe. 

Mayor Trahan has been MIA on most issues pertaining to Covid. Perhaps at this month’s city council meeting, he will let the city that he was elected to lead know what his plans are in response to the pandemic. From the response to our poll question, a lot of people would like to hear from him. 

Our governor has been vocal about the issue of wearing masks. Unlike President Donald Trump, he is in favor of and encourages Arkansans to wear masks. In fact, he stated this week that should President Trump hold a rally in the state, those attending the rally would be required to wear a mask and implement social distancing.

That’s a great idea. Ask Republican Herman Cain, who is a friend of Trump’s and who, while attending the president’s rally in Tulsa, didn’t wear a mask or practice socially distancing and is now hospitalized due to Covid-19. 

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Another issue we heard from citizens about concerned our reporting that St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Huntsville had 1-2 cases of Covid-19. One person from the church called to say that they had not been informed by the state and was glad to know about the potential case. Another member of the church was not happy that we published the information and angrily chastised our editor for doing so. We find the difference in responses interesting. 

We were happy to get a letter to the editor this week from Fr. Jason Tyler, pastor at the church. He explained how a couple of the church’s members contracted the virus and what they are doing to keep their church safe. We encourage you to read the letter and we thank Father Tyler for responding to our article with additional information. 

The state released the information about the churches to us and the information is public record. Would we have been derelict not to print that a church in the county was flagged by the state as having cases? We’ve let readers know about the cases at Meadowview Health and Rehab and at the Butterball plant and at Walmart. Our job is to report the news that we receive and gather. We are always happy to expand on stories and follow up on stories. The majority of our readers want to know that information for their own safety.

As the old saying goes, don’t shoot the messenger. We were forwarded the information in an email from the state and it’s our duty to print the news, good or bad. We understand people might not agree with our decisions, but we’d ask that in doing so, please be polite. Perhaps the angry reader’s response should be directed at the state (the entity disclosing the information) and not the messenger (the person whose job it is to print good and bad news). 

And remember, we welcome a difference of opinion. Write us a letter to the editor. We’d welcome your comments and Mayor Trahan’s comments too.