Monday, November 2, 2009

MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Calls MU a "terrorist" organization

1)  MAYORAL CANDIDATE:  Calls MU a "terrorist" organization
2)  FORMER AP CHIEF ASKS:  Why the Jeong Im pseudonyms? 
3)  FINAL THOUGHTS:  Police have solved the murder of Jeong Im
4)  AL GERMOND:  Tackles the vacant building problem
5)  LOCAL AD GIANT:  To occupy historic Mule Barn
6)  ADOPT-ME:  Aruba, from Columbia Second Chance
7)  DINERS REVIEW:  Hemingways; Flatbranch pumpkin ale
8)  READERS WRITE:  CPS marching bands; CMHS

MAYORAL CANDIDATE:  Calls MU a "terrorist" organization

COLUMBIA, 11/2/09 (Beat Bytes) -- Calling the University of Missouri a "terrorist organization" seems an unusual move for a potential mayoral candidate. 

But just one month before Paul Love declared his candidacy for the highest job in the city, he did just that.   Addressing the Columbia City Council at its 9/29/2009 meeting about "police intimidation," Love said "7-8 University and Columbia police officers" visited his home to deliver a "no-trespass warning" related to a decade-old dispute with University officials. 

A recurring theme in missives Love has posted on the Columbia Tribune website, the dispute involves a bomb threat allegation Love claims University lawyers filed in court during an employment-related lawsuit.  The allegation was a felony act of terrorism, Love told council members.  Because Columbia police officers helped MU police deliver the no-trespass warning, "Love asked the Council to stop assisting terrorist organizations," the minutes read.

That wasn't the first time Love said MU was perpetrating terrorism at a city council meeting.  During the council's June 1, 2009 meeting, Love spoke against a proposed city contract with the University of Missouri "regarding the Fourth of July celebration," minutes from that meeting read.  He again alleged that the "Curators of the University of Missouri" had committed "a criminal act and a terrorist act, under both State and Federal law" by "falsely reporting a bomb threat and transmitting this information through the mail or electronically over phone lines." 

University officials claimed in court filings that "they could willfully and maliciously falsely report a bomb threat and not be held responsible," Love told the City Council.  "He felt an organization that would commit terrorist acts and indicate they could willfully and maliciously harm citizens of the United States was a terrorist organization.  He was requesting that the Council not enter into contractual agreements with terrorist organizations."

A former employee at MU's Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet), Love sued the University in Federal court six years ago, alleging University lawyers violated terms of a "forced resignation" agreement, the Columbia Tribune reported.  Love was allegedly forced to resign after fellow employees said he threatened to  "blow up the workplace and shoot them," an accusation he strongly denies. 

"What was falsely reported was that when I worked at MOREnet, I made threats to blow up the building and kill my co-workers and that I had detailed plans regarding the types of devices to be used," Love wrote on the Trib's website beneath the story on his mayoral candidacy.

RELATED:   (pg. 1)  (pg. 27)

FORMER AP CHIEF ASKS:  Why the Jeong Im pseudonyms?

COLUMBIA, 11/2/09 (Beat Bytes) --  A former Jefferson City Associated Press bureau chief and MU spokesperson has questioned the use of pseudonyms in a recent Heart Beat series on the 2005 murder of Dr. Jeong Im.

"I always enjoy the Heartbeat blog, and I appreciate your efforts," Scott Charton (left), who now runs Charton Communications and Consulting in Columbia, emailed.  "As a retired journalist, I'm a bit puzzled about the technique of using pseudonyms in your Dr. Im followups.  What's the reasoning?"

Instead of real names, I used pseudonyms for two alleged suspects; an MU police officer who named one of the suspects; and two women who won stalking and harassment restraining orders against the other suspect on unrelated matters.    
Though I will release those names on background to reporters with bona-fide credentials and law enforcement officials, I used pseudonyms to achieve a balance.  MU police have filed no charges; and neither suspect has, to my knowledge, retained legal counsel, leaving them at an extraordinary disadvantage to the legal system.   At the same time, the public has a right to know what public officials are doing, in a manner that does not compromise an investigation. 

Though no one insisted that I omit their name, and though I was under no obligation to do so, I felt it best to tread lightly, and report what I found the best way I could. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Police have solved the murder of Jeong Im

COLUMBIA, 11/2/09 (Commentary) -- To prepare for what became a seven-part series on the
murder of MU biochemist Jeong Im, I read several dozen stories across half-dozen newspapers, including the Columbia Missourian, the MU Maneater, the Columbia Daily Tribune, and the Kansas City Star

One thing stood out: a striking change in the MU police department's behavior.  Coupled with information from our own series -- the revelation of not one, but two suspects, and the idea that an MU police officer would reveal intimate details about the case while firmly insisting to a credible source that his department had solved it -- a logical, albeit arguable, 
conclusion is suggested: 

The University of Missouri police department has indeed solved the murder of Dr. Jeong Im.  They simply can't prove it -- yet -- in a court of law. 

A flurry of police-public interaction highlighted the aftermath of Im's stabbing in the University of Missouri's Maryland Avenue parking garage.  For over a year, MU police officers actively solicited public input, working with big-name investigators from out of the area, and routinely releasing information -- about the murder weapon, footprints, the crime scene, even a suspect description.

Then, nothing, coupled with standoffishness toward reporters whose help the police had earlier courted. 
"MU Police Chief Jack Watring was even less forthcoming about the case," wrote Columbia Tribune reporter Janese Heavin in a July 2008 update.  "He instructed a reporter to use information from archived news stories and at one point asked why the Tribune was interested in writing another article about Im’s murder."

In an age when John Walsh and America's Most Wanted have solved some of the nation's thorniest homicides with help from press and public, Watring's comment is unbelievable -- unless he doesn't need any more help.  Carefully read news accounts of the case and you can almost pinpoint, to the month, that police attitudes changed.  The logician in me suggests they have all the information they need.

They know who did it, and why, and how, and when.  They have the Big Three of any homicide investigation: motive, means, and opportunity. 

But as the OJ Simpson case starkly reminds, that can be a far cry from proving murder to a jury.

The Unsolved Murder of Dr. Jeong H. Im

LOCAL AD GIANT:  To occupy historic Mule Barn

COLUMBIA, 11/2/09 (Beat Bytes) -- Local advertising and PR giant Woodruff Sweitzer, best known in Columbia for backing the Roots and Blues and Barbecue fest with Blue Note owner Richard King, is on the move -- not only in Columbia, but in Kansas City, too.  

From their former downtown headquarters, the 20-employee firm is moving to a historic, environmentally-friendly labor-of-love called the Wright Brothers Mule Barn, an 18,000-square foot behemoth restored by architect Brian Pape that sports Columbia's first and only "green roof."  After 10 years at 515 Cherry St., the 17-year-old company will take up 5,000 square feet in the Mule Barn building, located across from Columbia College in the North Central Village, the Columbia Business Times reports.    

Woodruff Sweitzer also started construction on a new office in Kansas City's Crossroads District.

"Our Kansas City client base has grown exponentially in the last few years," says president Terry Woodruff.  "We recognized an increased need and desire to expand our Kansas City office into a building that reflects how we do business. We enjoy the Crossroads District and were happy we found a space to fit our needs in the area."

AL GERMOND:  Tackles the vacant building problem
from the Columbia Business Times

Doesn’t there seem to be an abundance of vacant commercial buildings for sale or rent around Columbia these days?
Based on my own “drive-by” survey (to borrow a term appraisers employ as they cruise around and spot check properties) the number of “available” properties seems inordinately high and apparently growing. The abundance includes factory and warehouse opportunities, along with a surfeit of retail leaseholds.

A new listing is the former MiTek Inc. premises at 1391 Boone Industrial Drive, a 85,000-square-foot building that can now be yours for a cool $2.7 million. The stealth-like departure of this employer of 35 people to the tax-friendly climes of St. Charles County was arranged this summer but only recently reported.
The move comes from the desire to consolidate operations under one roof, legitimately aided and abetted by a $634,000 property tax abatement from St. Charles County.


ADOPT-ME:  Aruba, from Columbia Second Chance

We're starting a new series featuring adoptable animals from Columbia Second Chance.  

Aruba is a Female Siamese/Domestic Shorthair, 3 years 1 month old.  She's best in a home with no small children or
other pets.   She's very affectionate and for you fitness junkies out there, Aruba knows how to walk on a treadmill!


DINERS REVIEW:  Hemingways; Flatbranch pumpkin ale

CoMo Whine and Dine has new reviews of Hemingway's and pumpkin ale from Flatbranch restaurant and brewery. 

"Wow. Why did I wait so long to give Hemingway's a try?" the editors write.  "I knew that Hemingway's specialized in crepes so I felt that this was a must.  I went with the crepe champignon with grilled chicken, asparagus, mushrooms and spinach finished with a creamy swiss cheese sauce.
"The crepes were really large. My husband and I split one and were still plenty full. I don't normally eat mushrooms but there were delicious - possibly because they were doused in cheese sauce. There was an abundance of cheese sauce and all the ingredients were perfectly tender, not at all crunchy. I ate every last bite and had I been at home would have licked my plate.
"It was that good."

Pumpkin Ale is also back at Flatbranch:

READERS WRITE:  CPS marching bands; CMHS

On MU's "nuclear battery"
Hey Mike,  Just to let you know, I sent an email to Buzz Out Loud (one of my fave podcasts) and quoted your article about the nuclear battery.  They talked about it and it's on their website:;podcastMain
Keep up the good work. 
-- Tony Thorpe, Columbia

On the CPS marching band controversy
Mike, Thank you for the article regarding the attempt to eliminate the very heart and base of a wonderful, inspiring and successful marching band program. 

We recently moved away from Columbia (but still have a home there), and two of my children enjoyed Jeff Junior and Hickman High School's Marching Band programs.  My daughter is participating in a "marching band" program where we live now, and my heart breaks for these kids.  They have no idea how wonderful they could have it, and my daughter is sad because she knows.  My point in all this is, participation at the younger levels is an important developmental and inspirational step. 

Marching in middle school might be considered a minimal exposure, and therefore expendable, but is serves as an essential platform from which they launch into the incredibly complicated and award winning programs at HHS and Rock Bridge.
Throwing kids into an exciting and very complex marching band program in high school, without first exposing them to the basics in middle school, would be detrimental for our high school programs and our children. 

Eliminating the marching band component will undoubtedly undermine this rich and classic experience.  Please do everything in your power to keep marching band in the middle schools, or risk losing it in the high schools as well!
-- Tracey, formerly of Columbia

Mike,  Please be advised that the CPS Band issue, I feel, is being handled differently and more judiciously by the School Board itself than maybe as things may have appeared in the past. 

Any suggested changes purely came from the committee and NOT the Board.   Note the Board did move cautiously and removed the Junior High band piece far before approval of the rest of the curriculum.   In my opinion once again, it will be a matter of weighing the arguments and comments of the parents vs. the need to concentrate on instrumental instructional time at that level as suggested by expert faculty. 

I sure wish we could get an honest opinion from the students at that level as well (which may, not surprisingly, not be the same as their parents).  Again, these are my OWN opinions and not necessarily the viewpoint of the Board.  I appreciate your dedication to getting all sides of the story.
-- Tom Rose, member, Columbia, Mo Board of Education
On use of the term "snafu"
Mike:  One of my pet peeves is the use of the term "snafu."  The meaning has changed over the years and the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary has the following definition: 

Pronunciation: \sna-ˈfü, ˈsna-ˌfü\
Function: noun
Etymology: situation normal all f---ed up (formerly fouled up)
Date: circa 1941
Definition:  A situation marked by errors or confusion; muddle; also:  an error causing such a situation, e.g. a scheduling snafu. 

I would be terribly offended to read “f---ed up” in BEAT-BYTES.   So can we find something else to use for situations of this nature?   I have had this same issue with the COLUMBIA TRIBUNE for years and have had no luck in getting them to change their ways.  Here is hoping that you have more moral courage than [Tribune managing editor] Jim Robertson.  Thanks!   
-- Dick Otto, Columbia

Mike Martin
Blogitor in Chief
The Columbia Heart Beat


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