Dear Editor,

Having lived here now for 14 years, I guess it is beyond time for this letter. Now, I have lived in many states over my 60 + years and Heber Springs/Cleburne County has got to be the MOST secretive group of people, from PD's to our "elected" officials I have ever seen. We have had murders, we have had break ins, we have had home fires with and without loss of life, we have a rapist who drugs women, WHOM THE PD KNOW, yet do nothing! NONE of this gets reported on! Why? Why even have a newspaper? Only SPORTS is important, not murders or rapes. Do the Citizens have no right to know anything here? I had a "firefighter" tell me that the Police Departments - both city and county - along with the Fire Department have mandated NO REPORTERS/NO PICTURES. Why? Secrets? Are we citizens supposed to feel safer NOT knowing there are murderers and rapists running around free? I asked an "Officers" wife why the extreme secrecy. She said "if people know, it will cause more problems"…..Gee, a murderer or a rapist running free, we have no clue who he murdered or raped, we have no clue as to who he/she is and this is supposed to make us feel safer? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Without reporting, it goes straight to innuendo and gossip. Like when one young mother was brutally MURDERED. The stories going around surely scared the bejeezuz out of many. Who did it? Cut her heart out? In front of her CHILDREN? Slit her throat? What IS true?? Why are we not allowed to know? The gossip makes it far worse than being able to know the truth. Yes, apparently 45 is making the USA become a dictatorship. Yes, Heber Springs and Cleburne County have already made that transition. "We, The People" mean nothing here anymore. Crooked cops, cops on the "take", drugs disappearing from evidence….How does it feel?? Gossip? Innuendo? Good grief, there is absolutely NOTHING in this newspaper under "Court News"….Have you seen the parking areas around the courthouse? Then, all the "elected officials". How do we know what THEY are up to? How are they "spending" our monies? Any "New Businesses"? Another "New" courthouse? Another "new" vehicle for an "official" that was vehemently denied? Another "SWAT" vehicle in a town of 8k? Thefts of property…..if we don't know, how can "We, The People" help and be on the lookout? Or just a waste of taxpayer dollars?? Why have cops, or elected officials, or newspapers. Just let gossip and innuendo take over !! An old hometown ONCE A WEEK newspaper has 4 sections and not just sports. Marriage licenses, birth announcements, highlighting new businesses, break ins, accidents, fires, community news (also has 4 or more local small towns that get reported on), who got tickets of parking, DUI, disorderly conduct….if we only knew who to stay away from. Just not in Heber….

Deborah Johnson