Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Columbia Heart Beat -- 1/16/08

I try never to read it.
-- Don Stamper about
The Columbia Heart Beat

THE SPANKING OF STEVE TATLOW: Boone Board Member Gets "Staff Slapped"
VILLAGE VOICEOVER: Homeowner Bites Helping Hand
DON'T TAX ME BRO! Cat Fight Kicks Off Tax Hike
GRAHAM SLAM: Parry Glossy Clobbers Sobered Senator
LOCAL REALTOR: May Have Solved Famous Literary Mystery

URBAN ARCHAEOLOGIST: This Year's Most Notable Historic Properties

City Gouges Neighbors Over FOIA Request
FILING DAY: We Run For School Board
ART BEAT: Apply for these Art Grants

ELKIN WINS! 85% to 15% vote in favor of Skip Elkin's lone vote against a county commission property tax increase at our online poll.

Boone Board Member Gets "Staff Slapped"

Call him the poster child of staffer power! Boone County Family
Resources (BCFR) volunteer board member and long-time non-profiteer Steve Tatlow got a spanking at the hands of paid staff that culminated in his resignation from that organization's board.

Amidst support and dissent, the board saw fit to remove a fellow member who was...are you ready for this...asking questions. So much for the rubber stamp that ran out of ink. Here's Tatlow's resignation letter, uncut and unedited:

January 9, 2008

Dear Fellow Board Members,

It is with great regret that I present this letter to you which serves as my immediate resignation from our county governmental body known as Boone County Family Resources and Life and Work Connections Inc., a non profit organization.

It is the duty of any responsible board member to ask questions and address issues critical to the governance of their organization. During my two years with Boone County Family Resources, I have sought to address issues critical to its continued success.

Some of these issues include: identifying the unmet needs for our neighbors with disabilities; the methods used to determine quality of services provided; the need for a comprehensive strategic plan for the local investment of over $40 million in tax payer dollars in the next 5 years; the closed session award of $35,000 without bidding for a planned construction project; violations of the Sunshine Law; and failure to uphold the bylaws of Boone County Family Resources in order to maintain its Board Chair for six years past his term limit.

However, instead of addressing issues such as these and preserving openness and transparency of our local government, individual board members and its executive director have fought hard to preserve the Boone County Family Resources Dynasty. Their efforts included concealing requested information from its own board members and making unfounded and slanderous allegations against myself and others in effort to divert attention away from its leadership issues.

In light of these recent allegations and the impact they have had on this partnership to achieve its goals, it is no longer possible for me to effectively continue in my role as board member. Of course, I vehemently deny all of the allegations made against me. However, to continue to dispute these allegations and expect fairness from individuals intent on retaliation for having questioned their conduct is an exercise in futility.

Throughout my term, I have discovered that among former employees, board members, clients and their families that my experience is not unique. I now add myself to the growing list of former board members who have left service to our community frustrated and with many unanswered questions. The time is now for these two organizations to remove the smoke & mirrors and truly be held accountable to its clients and citizens without fear of retaliation.

Respectfully Submitted,

Steven A. Tatlow




2) VILLAGE VOICEOVER: Homeowner Bites Helping Hand

Back in 2004 when Cynthia Lynn Burton bought a brand new house from non-profit Columbia Community Development Corporation, it looked like a win-win-win. Burton's Wilkes Blvd. neighborhood had been beset by crime and drugs for years, and the home at 707 Wilkes had hopes and dreams written all over its brick facade and cute front yard.

But a history of domestic assaults and court order violations followed Burton from her old life just around the corner. Now, a new arrest threatens a troubling irony. Under the city's chronic nuisance law, Burton could lose her house, which should have been her ticket out.

In early December, Columbia Police arrested Burton, 41, for resisting arrest; drug paraphernalia; drug possession; and child endangerment.

Cynthia seemed to be past her old life, said neighborhood association president Linda Rootes.

But now, "neighbors have been bothered by many cars and people coming and going at all hours of the night. Visitors have been loud and have mistakenly knocked on other doors after midnight," Rootes wrote crime prevention officer Tim Thomason.

"The December 3rd arrest was the 1st strike [of three]," Thomason replied. But Burton remains sadly defiant. "She called me after the drug letter [I sent her] and questioned my ability to enforce that upon her. I gather the letter will not deter her from continuing to have drugs on her property."

3) GRAHAM SLAM: Parry Glossy Clobbers Sobered Senator

It starts out typically Inside Columbia: "8 to Watch in '08." Bob Roper, Bill Watkins, Gary Pinkel. Next page comes a handsome picture, not unlike something you'd see during a campaign.

Then you start reading.

"No one was happier to ring out the old year than state Sen. Chuck Graham, but his actions in 2007 will echo far into the new year."

Uh oh.

"The Columbia Democrat was already on shaky ground..."

"In the end, GOP leaders punished Columbia and its senator by leaving the cancer center out of the MOHELA bonanza."

"....refusal to take a Breathalyzer created the kind of water-cooler buzz no politician wants."

"When he raised his glass to toast the New Year, was it filled with champagne or ginger ale?"

"A drunk-driving arrest doesn't have to sink Graham's political career — just ask Ted Kennedy."

But what about Bush?

Or Cheney?


4) DON'T TAX ME BRO! Cat Fight Kicks Off Tax Hike

With this year's whopping 54 cent school district tax hike -- three times the 19 cents levied five years ago -- voters expecting teacher salary increases and more money in the classroom may be in for a surprise. On David Lile's show today, board member Jan Mees said the district had no plans to raise wages, which she admitted lag other districts.

But it gets worse. The Columbia school board is planning cuts that would first include "new teachers, literacy coaches, and assistant principals," board member Michelle Gadbois said in an email to fellow boarders and superintendents. "If our literacy coaches, assistant principals, and new teachers are indeed crucial (as we have so emphatically indicated to this point), then CPS needs to retain them."

Among Gadbois' recommendations: dump the district's new $85,000.00 "construction manager."

That set off a "they said she said" e-war between Gadbois and Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Chase.

"No decisions have been made concerning reduction priorities, nor was I aware of anyone making such statements," Chase told Trib ed reporter Janese Heavin, who reprinted the exchange on her Class Notes blog.

Gadbois followed up, visiting Rock Bridge High School faculty to confirm. "All reassured me that it was you, Dr. Chase, who provided them with the list of possible cuts to the budget. The group was puzzled that you did not remember making the statement to them."

Chase then made a threat, Gadbois claimed.

"I visited two other schools Friday afternoon. Teachers in both buildings...did confirm you spoke of reductions in teacher positions and subsequent larger class sizes if voters do not vote for more funds for our district in April," Gadbois wrote. "They also reported that you told them they would each have to convince four voters to go to the polls to support our schools."

"Let me assure you there is no 'list' [of possible budget cuts] that has been provided to anyone," Chase replied.

Read the entire exchange:

5) LOCAL REALTOR: Solves Famous Literary Mystery
from the
Columbia Business Times

We all know folks who have both a passion and a day job. The police officer who’s a gourmet chef and the lawyer who’s a playwright. The insurance agent (Tom Clancy) who became a best-selling author.And in Ashland, Mo., the Realtor who’s a literary scholar.

A Hannibal native, University of Missouri-Columbia honors graduate, and Boone County Planning & Zoning commissioner, House of Brokers agent Carl Freiling probably knows southern Boone real estate better than anyone else.

He also knows Mark Twain—so well, in fact, that he inspired me to devour two biographies and read many of Twain’s lesser-known books.Nearly every corner of this vast land can claim America’s most celebrated author.
Investor, traveler, inventor, bankrupt millionaire and the world’s first true celebrity, Mark Twain was an almost perfect embodiment of our country’s love-hate relationship with success, failure and fame.

Twain was nothing if not hard to figure, and for the St. Louis Journalism Review, I wrote about a theory Freiling published as a young English major that answered some longstanding questions about Twain’s work. It’s elegant and simple but also raises “many other big questions,” Duke University literature professor and Mark Twain scholar Louis Budd told me.

Read the rest of the story here:

6) URBAN ARCHAEOLOGIST: This Year's Most Notable Historic Properties

The Frederick, the Belvedere, the Dumas, and the Beverly. This quartet of ca 1920's Spanish and Art Deco-influenced apartment buildings is familiar to anyone who's lived around MU and enjoyed the urban-academic milieu of ivy-covered bricks and ivory towers faded with time.

At 211 and 206 Hitt Street respectively, the Beverly and Belvedere will join this year's most notable historic properties for honors at a gala reception on Tuesday, February 5th at the Tiger Hotel (7 pm).

Columbia's Historic Preservation Commission will also be honoring its 100th notable property, the oldest house in Columbia. Built in 1825, 1601 Stoney Brook Place is now owned by Gregory and Linda Bartels.

Here's who else made the list for 2008:

214 St. Joseph Street -- Owner Elizabeth Westergaard, ca 1900
511 Westwood Avenue -- Home of Kathryn Bear and Hank Ottinger, ca 1930
211 Westwood Avenue -- Home of Sam Goodfellow and Judith Goodman, ca 1904
1115 Locust Street – Sacred Heart Catholic Church
2011 North Country Club Drive -- Owner Martha John, ca 1882
2007 South Country Club Drive -- Home of Robert and Gladys Allen, ca 1927
509 Thilly Avenue -- The Lincoln and Edna Hyde Home, now owned by Scott Robinson and Cindi King, ca 1905

7) THE HIGH COST OF FREE INFORMATION: City Gouges Neighbors Over FOIA Request

I can just hear my mother now. "Why those dirty birds!"

Asking citizens representing poor people to pay up -- big time -- for information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), City Halls wants $280.51 for a list of "in-kind" city donations to First Night organizers.

With First Ward residents and the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association, former GRO director Mary Hussmann has requested a Free First Night for everyone, following an Austin, Texas model. "They spend so much public money on the event that it should be free," Hussmann said.

Free Night public funding includes a $9,000.00 grant; use of the Armory and staff; promotion; bus service; street barricades; extra police; and use of the parks department's downtown office.

Parks Director "Mike Hood does not know the value of the in-kind support, but said he could arrange for it to be calculated, at a cost for research time and production," Messina -- the city information officer -- told Hussmann in an October 7 letter.

The City Hall FOIA estimate includes $19.02/hour for a parks department staffer to "research advertising costs" and $25.36/hour for a public works staffer to research street department costs. The bill leaves copying costs "to be determined."

"I think it's outrageous," Hussmann told the Heart Beat.

8) FILING DAY: We Run For School Board

Bless his multimillionaire newspaper scion heart! Hank Waters recently made a Trib plea for more school board candidates and we had to step up. After telling Class Notes readers, the donations have POURED in. Here's what happened on filing day:

First, I got online and checked out:

Board Filing Procedures


"Interested persons must file in person at the office of the Board of Education Secretary, 1818 West Worley Street, Columbia, Missouri."

I asked myself: am I an "interested person?" Must be, right?

"Candidates will be listed on the ballot in the order of filing, except that for candidates who file a declaration of candidacy prior to 5:00 p.m. on December 18, the order will be determined by random drawing. The names of those filing on December 18 will be listed in ascending order of the numbers drawn and ahead of the names of candidates filing on later dates."

Huh? And what if it's not December 18th anymore? No matter. I drove down to the Worley Street Ranch and filed, but after she read the instructions, the filing lady got all confused and didn't know if I was going random or ascending.

"I hate all this integrated math stuff," she said.

I told her not to worry -- it's not December 18 anymore. It's like, January 8th.

"We still better check, just to be safe," the lady said.

So she called Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Chase and I heard Phyllis say over the phone, "well, Jacque used to handle all that. Do we have a number for him?....By the way, who's filing?"

"Tell her it's David Ballenger," I whispered.

I'm not sure what happened next. I think our taxes went up.

If you'd like to donate, please visit our new FaceBook profile:




9) ART BEAT: Apply for these Art Grants

Access to Artistic Excellence Grant -- $5,000 to $150,000. Provide opportunities for artists to create, refine, perform, and exhibit their work. Enhance the effectiveness of arts organizations and artists. Employ the arts in strengthening communities. Extend the arts to underserved populations.

More information at:

Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth -- $5,000 to $100,000. Engage students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art. All projects submitted to the Learning in the Arts category must include: Experience exemplary works of art -- in live form where possible. Study works of art. Performance: create artwork. Assessment: Students will be assessed according to national or state arts education standards.

More information at:

10) READERS WRITE, RITE, RIGHT: Reader email

Great work! Thanks! -- Kathleen Weinschenk, Columbia

I presume you know by now that Mike Kehoe is not the proposed [Stadium 63] auto dealer and you have corrected your comments. It is essential that we keep Mike from getting an unfair conflict of interest allegation as we seek MoDOT assistance on other projects such as Scott, Clark, 763 and PP. -- Bill Watkins, City Manager, Columbia
[Ed. Note: True, but our comments actually didn't address this issue].

Thanks for your hard work. This is one of the best sources for local interest news available, including the Missourian. -- David Rosman, Columnist, The Columbia Missourian

Tied together by stuff too difficult to explain to someone new.
-- Brian Andreas, available at Blue Stem Crafts in the District

Mike Martin

Member: National Press Club (
National Association of Science Writers (

The Columbia Heart Beat

Circulation: Roughly 3,300

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