JRay’s Restaurant in Platte City closed its doors for good last weekend. And that’s too bad. It’s too bad because a small business and a fine eating establishment that was recently named the Platte City Chamber’s Business of the Year is being subtracted from the Platte City community. And it’s also too bad if the owner of JRay’s is telling the truth. If you don’t know the story, here it is in a nutshell: JRay’s owner Jeremy Ray was charged in June with possession of child pornography in Clay County, where he lives. Authorities there allege he downloaded and possessed child pornography images. As this all went down in Clay County, it was not known in the Platte City community until August. And when it did become known, many people arbitrarily assumed he was guilty. On Aug. 28, we ran a story in which Ray said that he was “100 percent innocent” and that his home computer had been used or hacked into by someone else who had downloaded the files using his computer’s IP address. He said that he was looking forward to his day in court and asked the Platte City community to hold off on judging him until he had that day in court. I talked to Ray Monday as he and his partner, Emily Petermann, packed up their belongings at the shuttered business. Ray said that his business was “hurting” financial for months before the incident. After the news got around the community of what he was charged with, well... you can guess the rest. It’s another case of public perception becoming reality. And I say that without knowing one way or the other whether Ray is innocent or guilty. I have talked to many persons over the years that have been charged with crimes who say they have been falsely accused. The list includes killers, robbers, drug addicts, pedophiles and just about any other unsavory character description you want to fill in that blank with. Most times, you can tell when someone is sincere — or when they’re not. Like the old saying goes, the eyes don’t lie. And when I walked into his restaurant last month to interview him for the aforementioned story, I told Ray that I wanted him to look me in the eye and tell me he was innocent. He did. Based on what I saw and heard, both in his eyes, his voice and in his body language, he sounded convincing to me. Of course, he could be one of the best liars on the planet, but I don’t think so. That said, if he is guilty, he deserves everything that has happened or will happen to him. If he’s not, though — well, like I said before: it’s too bad. It’s too bad that all too often, what the public perceives as the truth becomes the truth, whether it is or not. What we know for certain right now is that Ray has been charged with a despicable crime. I can say from past experience that most times when a person is charged with such a crime, there is ample evidence to support the charge. However, what I also know is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Ray says he is innocent and I choose to take him at his word unless his word is proven to be false. I hope that when Jeremy Ray finally gets his day in court, he leaves that courtroom an innocent man. I will be happy to print that. Of course, if he leaves that courtroom guilty as charged, that will be printed, as well. But I won’t be too happy about it. CITIZEN RECEIVES STATE AWARDS Man, I’m bad about tooting my own horn or, in this case, the horn of the business I own. I guess that I believe that showing you what we’ve got is better than telling you what we’ve got. Anyway, I guess you valued readers aren’t going to find this out unless I tell you — The Citizen, Platte County’s most-read weekly newspaper, won four awards earlier this month in the Class 2 Weeklies division of the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Sara Lovelace won first place in the Best Feature Photo category with her pic of a youngster dressed up in Central Platte Fire Department gear. Yours truly won third place in the Best News Series category for our coverage of the terrible murder of Alissa Shippert and honorable mention for Best News Story for a piece I penned about Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd defending the leniency he and the court granted texting teen Rachel Gannon. And, finally, sports reporter Joe Loudon won honorable mention in the Best Sports Feature category for his story about West Platte High School alum Amber Guthrie coming back home to coach the Lady Jays volleyball team. So, there you go — consider our horn tooted. REVISIONISTS IN D.C., TOO Last week in this space, I wrote about some local conservatives who can’t seem to grasp the fact that County-wide sales taxes for parks and roads have been overwhelmingly approved by a majority of Platte County voters not once, but twice. Some of these folks have taken it upon themselves to deluge the Platte County Commission with inane and repetitive questioning every chance they get; a circus act which I’m happy to say made the pages of this newspaper for the final time last week. Anyway, Repubs at the national level are playing this game on an even grander scale. Because the GOP-controlled House of Representatives have failed more than three dozen times to repeal the Affordable Care Act — you know, Obamacare — by passing futile legislation that died in the Democratically-controlled Senate, they are now trying a new tact: voting to defund Obamacare. And they say if they don’t get their way, they will shut down the United States government in its capacity as a business entity. This means the US will quit paying its bills and more or less become what President Obama called a “deadbeat.” Let’s just take our ball and go home, shall we? Lucy, the mean-spirited foil for the comics’ lovable loser Charlie Brown, would be proud. My advice to these national legislators is the same I gave the local folks who want to revise history. By an overwhelming majority of votes, President Barack Obama was re-elected last November. Get over it and starting acting like adults. Waddya say? Thanks for reading.