Monday, June 23, 2008

The Columbia Heart Beat -- 6/24/08

Paperless News for Columbia's Blogs and Listservs

County Countdown: 44 Days to August 5th
Miller Flags Elkin Over Vemer
BACK TO HAUNT: Profanity Incident Dogs Boone Assessor
KIDS QUESTION CANDIDATES: Karen Miller, County Commission
THE CHANGE GANG: Germond Scolds Developers over City Council Ads

SKALAWAG? Parry says councilman "lobbying" with Maguire email


URBAN ARCHAEOLOGIST: Brian Pape's Mule Barn makes national auto magazine
IF ASHLAND CAN DO IT: A Tale of Two School Districts
WEIRD TALES (FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE): Class Notes, Lynn Barnett, and
-- Saint Francis of Assisi?


NON-PROFIT PROPHETS: Tre Helps Social Entrepreneurs
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Orr Street Sneak Peak/County Candidate Meet and Greet

READERS RITE: Sex Offender at 802 Wilkes; Saying No! to Progressives

OPENING THEME SONG: "Just one more thing, ma'am."


I agree that it doesn't look very good and I'm not sure it was the best thing to do.
-- Auto dealer Gary Drewing on the tree clearing that turned CrossCreek into a moonscape Sunday Morning KFRU Roundtable
UNDER THE SCHOOL BUS: Miller Flags Elkin Over Vemer

Eliciting audible groans at last Friday's Muleskinner Meet, southern district county commissioner Karen Miller responded to a criticism from her opponent, planned growth advocate Sid Sullivan.

Reiterating a mantra that "governments must work together," Sullivan (D-Columbia) noted that Miller (D-Columbia) did not weigh in with her constituents' concerns on the ill-fated Vemer site for the new high school, a location that would have cost county taxpayers "millions of dollars for new infrastructure," had it been approved.

"Commissioner Miller did not involve herself in the discussions with the school district," Sullivan said. "She stayed silent."

As part of her closing argument, Miller responded. "I want to explain why I was silent about the Vemer site," she told a packed house at the Stamper Commons dining hall in Stephens College. "The Vemer site is part of commissioner Skip Elkin's district."

Noting that it was up to Elkin to interact with the school board, Miller said county commissioners routinely stay out of each others' jurisdictions and that it "wouldn't have been appropriate" for her to become involved. Sullivan used the response to hammer home his message of governmental cooperation.

"If Karen is saying that county commissioners don't even work among themselves on a project that would affect the entire county, then I wonder how well they could be expected to work with any city or school district in the county," Sullivan noted after the event. "We have to start sharing our resources. The days of governments not working together and then looking to taxpayers to pick up the slack have to be over."

Noon at the Muleskinners this Friday: County Assessor Candidates Tom Schauwecker and Barbara Bishop.

BACK TO HAUNT: Profanity Incident Dogs Boone Assessor

"I see your opponent has been known to use some pretty colorful language."

With that colorful lead, KSSZ radio talk show host Gary Nolan kicked off a recent discussion of property taxes and the public record of county assessor Tom Schauwecker (D-Columbia) with studio guest Barbara Bishop (D-Ashland), who's running to replace the 20-year incumbent in the August 5th Democratic primary.

Referring to a Dec. 2005 F-bomb brouhaha between Schauwecker and Hallsville constituent Dena Ray, Nolan read from a Columbia Tribune article after hunting around for a new F-word. He settled on "firetruck."

"Give me a firetrucking telephone number where I can reach you at," Nolan read. "Then on the tape, the assessor summons an employee to his office. During a dialogue with the worker, Schauwecker said, 'She’s got a firetrucking - she’s crazy. I’ve left three firetrucking messages for her.'"

The issue of constituent intimidation played out again at two events this past Friday. In response to a question about assuring that the county's Board of Equalization that hears property tax appeals contains no county employees, candidate Sid Sullivan said that given the board's judicial function, it should not contain members of the executive branch.

Currently, the county assessor and at least two county commissioners sit on the board. Previously, its makeup was virtually all county commissioners and the assessor. Sullivan cited tales of taxpayer intimidation in the assessor's office to support the idea of a citizens-only board."I've heard several stories about people being intimidated out of filing property tax appeals," Sullivan said.

Schauwecker took issue with Sullivan's assertion at Friday night's Cosmo Park Farm Bureau event, but Sullivan stood by the assertion.


Assessor apologizes after leaving profane voice mail

KIDS QUESTION CANDIDATES: Karen Miller, County Commission

Many thanks to the students of Grant Elementary 5th Grade teacher Jennifer Wingert for providing these questions to all of our 2008 candidates. Today, Karen Miller answers their questions.

How will you ALL work together to improve Columbia and Boone County?

Over the past several years the Commission has tried to reach out and collaborate with the other cities within Boone County. Our very first road improvement tax in 1993 shared the funding with the rural communities who couldn't tax themselves enough to make necessary road improvements. Since then, we have included the city of Columbia as well as the Centralia Special Road District in the funding formula.

The County Commission meets with Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins on a monthly basis and the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Chase in quarterly meetings. I also personally meet with the Mayors of communities within my district and the Ashland City Administrator and Superintendent of Southern Boone R-1 School District regularly.

During these meetings, we discuss relevant issues and concerns we need to solve together.

In addition, County staff and Columbia's city management meet periodically to discuss pertinent issues such as, roads, planning and emergency management. The planning and building inspections department contracts with smaller communities to do their building inspections. The county's animal control enforcement includes rural communities who have petitioned for that particular service. There are many collaborative efforts continually occurring, and we expect to continue that.

Why is Columbia continuing to build apartments/buildings when so many are vacant -- like empty shopping centers -- at this time?

The State of Missouri is a property rights state. If you own the property, you should have a reasonable expectation you can use your property consistent with other property in the area. Legally, we can not turn the request down just because we think the developer will not be successful due to overbuilding. In the county, many times the land is already zoned for multi-family use and we are not able to stop construction if that is what the landowner desires.

As far as empty shopping centers, the city council, along with the rest of the community should work towards an acceptable incentive plan to encourage the redevelopment of these properties. This is another opportunity to use the existing infrastructure-which has already been paid for- to create improved structures and new jobs.

How does the city and county decide what streets get salted/plowed during bad weather?

Every jurisdiction develops a snow plan with the equipment, labor and material resources available in mind. In the county, our snow plan first clears the arterial and collector routes- as they feed all of the roads coming off of connecting subdivisions and intersecting roads. We use the motor graders and dump trucks with snowplows loaded with the proper material, sand, salt or a combination.

Many of the larger subdivisions are contracted out to private operators, as the county equipment is too large to get through the subdivision especially when cars are parked on both sides of the road. The priority order is paved roads, and then gravel roads with the remaining subdivisions last.

THE CHANGE GANG: Germond Scolds Developers over City Council Ads

"Scanning across this fictitious radio dial in recent months, listeners heard from a new broadcaster we'll call Station CMDC. The initials stand for Central Missouri Development Council, which this month ran a series of newspaper ads questioning the City Council's priorities during its annual retreat at the Lake of the Ozarks.

"While the business community would probably concur on some of the issues raised by Station CMDC's ads, I believe the community has also questioned the tenor of these messages and wondered whether there's a more seductive "format" the station should adopt in order to accomplish what the group wants to do.

"A real radio station is always tweaking its format. Maybe that's what Station CMDC should consider doing. Rather than trying to bell the figurative, adversarial cat known as the Columbia City Council, Station CMDC should take a hint from an old radio programmer and sweeten its format with a touch or two of conciliatory catnip and see what happens.

"There's been much ado about the purported anti-business composition of the Columbia City Council as it is presently constituted, but that's a canard. To the surprise of some of us, this council has already begun to deal with issues that have been troubling the business and development community. Changes in procedure are already under consideration. At the same time, individual council members are ramping up contact with their constituents through something as basic as periodic neighborhood forums."
-- Al Germond this week in the Columbia Business Times


SKALAWAG? Parry says councilman "lobbying" with Maguire email

After an email last week from 3rd Ward city councilman Karl Skala inviting commentary on the controversial Maguire Blvd. extension,KFRU radio talk show host Fred Parry accused Skala of "lobbying" -- presumably against the project -- asking listeners if they thought it appropriate for Skala to send the email.

We forwarded the email to our readers and received several responses back.

"I support the Maguire extension," wrote builder Gary Larkin.

"I am for the Maguire extension," replied storage magnate Mike Burnam.

We dutifully bundled those responses and sent them to every member of the council. The idea that land developers should approach local politics in a populist fashion probably originated with an online petition from Jay Lindner, the younger half of the Forum Development Group.

But the uproar over the Central Missouri Development Council's newspaper ads and the accusation that Skala was lobbying could dampen populist spirits. Skala's email actually stimulated more supportive than opposing responses.

And reading it bears out the idea that it was not lobbying, but a call to speak up. That a few prominent developers took up the call themselves is both ironic and promising. With fewer attorneys and hired spokespeople, getting folks together to talk directly is good medicine for a divided public whose battles only enrich the hired guns.


"Two bills regarding the Lemone/Maguire Extension and Bridges project are coming before the City Council tonight, 6/16/08 @ ~7:45 p.m. in the Council Chambers (B162-08 regarding a call for bids & B163-08 regarding the final easement acquisition prior to commencing construction). This will be your last opportunity to express your opinion before the Council renders its decision as to whether to proceed. I would cordially invite you to offer your comments to the Council regarding this proposed expenditure of >$9M of your taxpayer dollars. And thank you for your continued civic interest." Best Regards, Karl Skala, Third Ward City Councilman
URBAN ARCHAEOLOGIST: Brian Pape's Mule Barn makes national auto magazine

Local architect Brian Pape, his trusty Subaru, and his Mule Barn renovation project near Columbia College are featured in this summer's edition of Drive Magazine, the national magazine of Subaru, the car maker.

From the story:


Brian Pape and the Stubborn Mule Barn

IF ASHLAND CAN DO IT: A Tale of Two School Districts

An 18% reserve fund? A 4.6% pay increase for teachers? The school district absorbing a 7.9% health insurance increase? The addition of several new positions? A new middle school science lab and several costly facilities projects? All done on time and on budget.

Some kind of unattainable school district nirvana? Not at all. Turns out it's business as usual for our southern neighbor, the Ashland Public School system. Compared to worries over a 16% reserve and a hand-wringing that threatens to dislocate a few shoulders at Columbia Public Schools, Ashland seems a comparative paradise for teachers and staffers.

"That is money spent on classrooms and teaching. It is important that we stay competitive for our area and work to attract the best teachers," Ashland superintendent Charlotte Miller told the Boone County Journal last week. "We have a great benefits package and a strong professional development."


Where they spend your tax dollars at school
WEIRD TALES (FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE): Class Notes, Lynn Barnett, and -- Saint Francis of Assisi?

Last week, assistant CPS superintendent Lynn Barnett tried to tweeze a thorn in her side -- the District's Darling of Democracy, Class Notes blogger and Tribune reporter Janese Heavin. Heavin posted a few words about the tweezing cum hazing on that blog:

"I approached Barnett after yesterday's press conference to ask her about a rumor I'd heard. I told her that I've been fielding a lot of questions lately about various school district issues.

"You're going to get that more and more because of the blog," she snapped. "People feel empowered. You did that to yourself."

"I stammered for a minute, confused as to why she seemed so angry about this, but went on to ask my question. After she told me I should already know the information, she answered my question, calling the rumor 'ludicrous' before storming off."

In an unusual rejoinder, school board president Michelle Gadbois posted the famous Prayer of Saint Francis on Class Notes.

"One set of calls and e-mails concern the board vote to reinstate two days into faculty and staff contracts and the other is about what one person referred to 'the Barnett Affair on the Blog,'" Gadbois wrote, referring to Class Notes' new bi-name fame -- like "The Donald"people in high places now refer to Class Notes as simply "The Blog."

Gadbois proceeded to leave a cryptic philosophical message that included "The Prayer," and a brief history.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love...

If it gets any weirder -- move to Ashland?

NON-PROFIT PROPHETS: Tre Helps Social Entrepreneurs

Calling his firm a "locally owned and operated social entrepreneur enterprise," Tre co-founder Bruce Duncan and his wife Mindy, who previously directed the Regional Aids Interfaith Network (RAIN), have embarked on a mission to "support the development of organizations dedicated to positive social change."

Driven by a large increase in both private and public grants, social entrepreneurship is taking off nationwide. With Tre, Duncan says it's a trend that's arrived in Columbia. A recent post on the Tre blog, for instance, focuses on the concept of how grant-funded green can be good for business.

"A green enterprise not only is politically correct, it’s economically shrewd. From an entrepreneurship perspective, green business ideas can be profitable and rewarding. Many of these ideas come through our center, or we read about them in the many trend publications we see.

"Here in Missouri, the EIERA Market Development Program offers opportunities for small businesses to expand their use of recycled materials in their production processes and provides grant funding to assist in those efforts. Grants of up to $50,000 are available to assist with the purchase of equipment to be used in processing recyclables into new products."

Tre testimonials include notes from the Foundation for Higher Good and the International Breast Milk Project (IBMP)."Tre is the only company that offered complete, individual solutions for my rapidly growing organization," wrote IBMP director Jill Youse. "Tre’s attention to detail, professionalism, efficiency, and affordability cannot be found anywhere else in the industry."

Read more about Tre

READERS RITE: Write, Right

I like your news email. We get daily industry updates from another source and I think the concept is great. No doubt it is the future and I appreciate someone doing it for Columbia. Thanks. -- Bruce Odle, Columbia

I will be glad to stick my size 14 shoe straight up their progressive liberal ass . Vote for something other than higher taxes and a free lunch for all those who are not willing to take care of their own future. The world does not need Greenpeace and a just say no attitude to progress.
-- Jack Rhoad, Columbia, on the two "progressive" Democrats running for county government

Keep up the good journalistic work. You know how to call a spade a spade. Refreshing! And thanks for publicizing things that Nanette Ward sends out. I say this as a very grateful former member and chair of the Human Rights Commission. Keep up the exposure of this excellent resource!
-- David Finke, Columbia

Mike, I mentioned the fund [for newspaper carrier Mike Cook] at work and a couple of former state social workers said that there is an injury fund out of, I think, the Attorney General's Office. It's for victims of crime. There should be some money there, they said.
-- Elaine Blodgett, Columbia

The widening of Scott Boulevard and the extension of Providence Rd. affect many residents and should be funded. To my knowledge, both of these projects have been approved, and the City needs to move forward on completing them.
-- Mike Maerz, Columbia

Here’s something interesting, Mike:
Sheriff's List of Registered Sex Offenders

There's one “Marcellus M. Smith” shown residing at 802 Wilkes. CaseNet shows 16 cases on Ms. Smith (middle name = Montell), who’s evidently not been listed in the Tribune’s arrest reports. Anyway, it just adds more fuel to this fire. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I’m writing Fenton a letter now.
-- A concerned landlord in the North Central Village, Columbia

Mike, I thought this to be of community interest, perhaps a subject for your newsletter. There is a Zap dealer in Leavenworth KS and Zaps are licensed as a motorcycle in Kansas. I have heard there has been some unexplained difficulty getting them properly licensed in Missouri.
It would be great if we could see some of these kinds of vehicles in use here. And the solar-power electric Zap is such a great idea. Wish the city would support and promote various alternate vehicles.
-- Linda Green, Columbia
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Orr Street Sneak Peak/County Candidate Meet and Greet

You Are Invited! Meet county commission candidate Sid Sullivan at the Orr Street Sneak Peak/County Candidate Meet and Greet next Thursday, June 26th, from 4 - 5:30 pm. Meet county assessor candidate Barb Bishop at the same place from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, then head on over to the downtown Columbia Twilight Festival one block away.

They'll be at Orr Street Studios One, at 106 Orr Street, across from Wabash Station. A first look at Orr Street Studios, Part Two, local engineer Mark Timberlake's fabulous update on a once run-down steel warehouse more commonly known as the old "diaper factory."will be provided from 4-5 pm.

Watching the Watchdogs

On Wednesday Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Missourian and the Columbia Human Rights Commission's Study Circle program hosts the first of three community events to gauge Columbians' views on the news media."Watching the Watchdogs" will be 6 pm to 8:30 pm Wednesday, June 25th, at the Columbia Public Library. The groups is looking to attract a wide swath of the public, so please invite someone you know. Journalism types, including Missourian reporters, will be able to observe, but the group discussions will be moderated by volunteer facilitators from the Study Circles program.Participants will be eligible to attend the Missouri School of Journalism's Centennial Celebration with a "citizens VIP pass."

Chat with county commission candidate Sid Sullivan
Saturday, June 28 and July 5, 2008
9:00am-11:00 am
3304 W. Broadway, COLUMBIA
(In Business Park west of HyVee)

Future Locations will be posted in July



WHERE? The Coffee Ground, Broadway Shops, 2703 E. Broadway (North side of Broadway just West of Hwy 63)WHEN? 8:30-10:30 a.m.
DATES? July 5 and 19
WHO? Everyone is welcome.
Drop in and share your questions, opinions, ideas, and concerns!

COFFEEHOUSE CONVERSATIONS with 4th Ward Councilman Jerry Wade

The Rendezvous Coffeehouse
This is a regular event the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.


"She always camouflaged herself as a crowd. I've never been lonely, she said, but sometimes it's hard to think above the noise."

-- Brian Andreas, featured at Blue Stem Crafts in the District

Mike Martin Blogitor-in-Chief
Member: National Press Club

The Columbia Heart Beat

Circulation: Roughly 4,000


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