Archive for February 2009


February 23, 2009

Mildred Wallhausen, publisher of The Enterprise-Courier since 1969 and a member of the newspaperʼs staff for 73 years, died Thursday, February 19, 2009 at her home in East Prairie at the age of 94.

Mrs. Wallhausen served The Enterprise-Courier at various times as publisher, proofreader, advertising salesperson, bookkeeper, business manager, file clerk, stuffer, mailer, office supply store manager, circulation manager, reporter, photographer, editorial writer, society editor, and since 1970 the author of a weekly column, “Millieʼs Soapbox.” For a brief period, she also managed The East Prairie Eagle after she and her husband purchased that newspaper in the 1940s.

In recognition of her more than 60 years of exemplary contributions to the newspaper industry, the Missouri Press Association (MPA) named her to the prestigious MPA Hall of Fame. That award was presented at the annual MPA Convention in St. Louis in September 2000.

A fixture at meetings of the Southeast Missouri Press Association for many years, she served that organization as a Board Member, officer, and as President in 1981. Upon stepping down as President, she became the organizationʼs semi-permanent Historian, a position she held until her death.

She worked unselfishly for the betterment of her community and to improve the lot of individuals with whom she has come in contact. She served on numerous unpaid and unglamorous committees. For six decades, first with her husband and later on her own, she worked tirelessly and personally to enhance the quality of life and to encourage participation in community affairs, with special emphasis on the large minority population of this area. She was also a member of the NAACP and the Mississippi County Community Churches organization, from which she received an award in 1997. She has also intervened in a very personal way, “adopting”, after the death of her husband in 1969, a succession of young women who were wards of the juvenile court, and providing a stable home environment for them.

This brief summary merely touches on the dozens of activities which kept this remarkable woman busy operating a business, working for her community, and engaging in personal and private works of charity and kindness for seven decades. She never lost her belief, which she acted upon regularly, that newspapers can and must play an important role in leading their communities, and that citizens owe society a certain level of unpaid service. She exemplified all that is best about home-town journalism. In her spare time, (among many other civic activities) she served on the Missouri Governorʼs Comprehensive Health Planning Council from 1969-1973 and on the state Mental Health Task Force; on the Regional Planning Council; on the Charleston Park and Recreation Board; on the Charleston Senior Citizens Housing Project Board; served as president of the Mississippi County Tuberculosis Association from 1945 to 1953; was president of the Eugene Field School and Charleston High School Parent Teachers Associations; was president of two womenʼs federated clubs (the Athena Club in Charleston and the Womanʼs Improvement Club in East Prairie; and from 1993 until her death was a Commissioner of the East Prairie Housing Authority. From 1995 until 1998, she was a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Southeast Missouri State University public radio station, KRCU. For many years she also served on the Board of the Community Sheltered Workshop, on Charlestonʼs Missouri Community Betterment Committee, and as a Sunday School teacher, first at the Baptist Church in Charleston, later at Concordia Lutheran Church in Sikeston, and most recently at St. Paulʼs Episcopal Church in Sikeston, where she was a member at the time of her death. She was named Charlestonʼs “Woman of the Year” in 1973.

Mrs. Wallhausen was born in Brooklyn, NY, April 3, 1914, daughter of Gustav and Julia Herrle Knoop. After the death of her mother in 1918, she and a brother were placed in an orphanage. She was soon taken from the orphanage and raised by Harry and Florence Elizabeth Bronson Van de Water of Queens, NY. She never again saw her brother. After the death of Mrs. Van de Water in the early 1920s, Mildred was adopted by Mrs. Van de Waterʼs sister, Frances Bronson Savell and her husband James Meroe Savell of Queens. While in high school, she lived in Wauchula, Florida, with the Rev. and Mrs. Joel F. Savell, parents of James Savell, and graduated from Wauchula High School. After graduation, she returned to New York to work as a secretary and attend college, but her college career was cut short by the Depression.

In the 1930s, while visiting an aunt in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where the Rev. Mr. Savell had served as pastor of the First Baptist Church, she took a temporary job with the Daily American Republic newspaper. It was there that she met her husband, Art L. Wallhausen Sr., a University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate and a reporter for the Poplar Bluff newspaper.

In 1935, he purchased The Enterprise-Courier, and after a long-distance courtship between Charleston and Poplar Bluff, they were married at the church of his childhood, Immanuel Lutheran Church in Sweet Springs, Missouri. He died in 1969 after a long illness.

Mrs. Wallhausen is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Art L. Wallhausen Jr. and Helen Anne Wallhausen of Cape Girardeau; a son-in-law and daughter, James and Elizabeth Gail Anderson of East Prairie, with whom she lived for many years; three grandchildren, Arthur L. (Tre) Wallhausen III of Cape Girardeau, Matthew E. (Laura) Wallhausen of Jackson, and Kellie (Damon) Bone of East Prairie; and six great-grandchildren, Joshua Shane Golightly, Dalton James Golightly, Mary Elizabeth Irene Bone, Damon Lee Bone III, Nicholas Wallhausen, and Katherine Wallhausen; two step-great-granddaughters, Michelle Magee and Kayla Bone. Also surviving are a foster daughter, Sheila Mays and her husband Bill Mays of Sikeston, and two foster grandchildren. In addition to her husband, parents, and foster parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Eric Christian Anderson. and a foster brother, Joel Savell.

Friends may call from 12:30 p.m. until the funeral hour 1:30 p.m., Sunday, February 22, 2009 at McMikle Funeral Home in Charleston. Father Arnold Hoffman, Pastor of the St. Paul Episcopal Church in Sikeston will officate. Swayne Byrd of Charleston will serve as eulogist. Interment will follow in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery near Charleston under the direction of McMikle Funeral Home. Pallbearers will be: Arthur L. (Tre) Wallhausen, Matthew E. Wallhausen, Joshua Shane Golightly, Dalton James Golightly, Damon Lee Bone, Jr., Nicholas Wallhausen and Shane Golightly.

Memorials may be made to: Charleston Kiwanis Club Scholarship Fund PO Box 392 Charleston MO 63834 Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center 200 S. Washington East Prairie, MO 63845


Missouri Sunshine Coalition to hold inaugural meeting

February 11, 2009

Feb. 11, 2009

By Jim Robertson
Columbia Daily Tribune

A new organization for people who want to promote government openness at all levels in Missouri will hold a public reception and program on Thursday, March 12, in Columbia. The event is free.

The Missouri Sunshine Coalition is seeking individual and organization members from all areas of the public. It will hold a 2 p.m. reception and 3 p.m. program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the School of Journalism at MU.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has been invited to speak at the 3 p.m. program. Other speakers will be Charles Davis, director of the National Freedom of Information Center, which is based at the School of Journalism; and Mike Wood, director of governmental relations for the Missouri State Teachers Association.

The group’s founders have met three times to elect a board of directors, to approve bylaws and a mission statement, and to plan the March 12 program. On Jan. 15 the group elected Jim Robertson, managing editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune, president.

Until now, Missouri was one of the few states in the country that did not have an organization whose mission is to promote government transparency. This group hopes to bring together all individuals and organizations in Missouri who want to minimize secrecy in the operations of local and state government agencies.

Following is the Mission Statement of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition, Inc.
1. Members of the Missouri Sunshine Coalition believe the best form of government is that which operates in a free and open environment, giving its citizens unfettered access to information as to its activities and the use of its public funds.
2. We believe government exists to serve its citizens and access to such information should be simple and at minimal cost.
3. The Missouri Sunshine Coalition exists to support citizens of this State in their efforts to exercise their rights under the Missouri Sunshine Law, which is premised on the foundation that “It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law.”

Serving the Coalition with Robertson are Vice President Jo Sapp, Columbia, League of Women Voters; Secretary Jean Maneke, Kansas City, an attorney who is an expert on the Missouri Sunshine Law; and Treasurer Mike Sherry, Kansas City, Kansas City Business Journal.

Members of the Board of Directors are Jean Buchanan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jack Whitaker, Hannibal Courier-Post; Don Hicks, Jefferson City, Missouri Broadcasters Association; Brenda Jones, St Louis, American Civil Liberties Union of eastern Missouri; and Randy Picht, Kansas City, The Associated Press.

The officers and directors were chosen from among those who attended the organizational meetings of the Coalition.

Membership in the coalition costs $25 for an organization or individual.

For more information on membership or to RSVP for the March 12 event, please contact Kristie Williams,, 573-449-4167.

Bill would levy fine on all Sunshine violators

February 11, 2009

Current standard is too vague, Jones says.


Jefferson City — A Missouri lawmaker is proposing a $500 fine for officials who violate Missouri’s open-government laws — even if they do so unwittingly.
Newly revised legislation by Rep. Tim Jones would make it easier to assess penalties for breaking the Missouri Sunshine Law.

Currently, anyone found by a judge to have “knowingly” violated Missouri’s open meetings or records law can be fined up to $1,000, while those who “purposely” violate the law can face fines up to $5,000.

Jones said the “knowingly” standard is too vague and too hard to prove.

His revised bill, presented Tuesday to the House General Laws Committee, which he chairs, would allow fines up to $500 for Sunshine Law violations regardless of whether they are made “knowingly.” Fines for purposeful violations would increase to $8,000.

“There’s not going to be Sunshine Law police that now run around the state and fine people,” Jones said. But “we now have some real teeth in the bill.”

Jones described his legislation as “strict liability for technical violations” of the Sunshine Law.

That’s something Missouri lawmakers historically have been reluctant to adopt.

Legislators last broached the subject in 2004, when they considered lowering the legal threshold for penalties from purposeful to negligent violations. They backed off the negligent standard under resistance from several senators and the Missouri Municipal League, which argued the lower standard could have deterred people from serving on volunteer boards.

The legislature in 2004 instead adopted the current two-tiered level of knowing and purposeful violations for determining fines.

Missouri Municipal League executive director Gary Markenson said Tuesday that he remains opposed to striking the “knowing” requirement to levy fines for Sunshine Law violations.

But some local government officials testified in support of the legislation.

Among those was Jay Purcell, a Cape Girardeau County commissioner who has sued his own commission for allegedly holding improper closed meetings.

“Without strong language that puts teeth and repercussions for public governmental bodies, they will not follow the law,” Purcell testified to the House committee. The legislation “sends a clear, clear message that ignorance of the Sunshine Law is not acceptable.”

Other sections of the bill would make public more records of the Missouri Ethics Commission; narrow the lawsuit-discussion justification for closing meetings; apply the Sunshine Law to newly elected public officials who have not yet taken the oath of office; and require meeting minutes to contain accurate descriptions of all discussions.

Markenson and Todd Smith, a lobbyist for the Missouri Association of Counties, both criticized the expanded requirement for meeting minutes. Smith said it could force two county commissioners carpooling to take minutes of their discussion if they happen to hit a pothole and remark that they should make sure it gets fixed.

Under current law, public entities must give 24 hours’ notice before meetings. The legislation would expand that to five days’ notice for city or county meetings where the agenda includes discussion of tax or fee increases, eminent domain, zoning or the creation of special districts that can either impose taxes or receive tax breaks.

That provision drew support from representatives of a labor union and retailers, who said cities sometimes consider development incentives with just 24 hours notice for the public while providing much greater notice to the developers pitching proposals.

Citizens across Missouri call for stronger Sunshine Law

February 11, 2009

By Virginia Young

JEFFERSON CITY — From Brentwood to Cape Girardeau to Rolla, citizens who have battled for more openness at City Hall urged legislators Tuesday to strengthen the state’s Sunshine Law.

The witnesses told a House committee that current law provides inadequate notice of public meetings, especially when private land is being taken for commercial development. They also argued for tougher penalties, clearer record-keeping provisions and a right to electronic copies of public records.

“Elected officials should be trying to find ways to conduct business in the open, not to find ways to close things,” said Jay C. Purcell, a county commissioner in Cape Girardeau County.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said problems at the local level had spurred the proposed changes in the Open Meetings and Records Law.

For example, some municipalities have called meetings on 24 hours’ notice — the minimum time required by law — to approve developers’ plans in St. Louis County. Jones’ bill would require five days’ notice if the agenda included subjects such as tax increases, eminent domain or tax-increment financing.

Another change would require newly elected officials to abide by the Sunshine Law even before they were sworn in. If they met with other officials and the group constituted a quorum, the meeting would be open under Jones’ bill.

Officials who violated the law could be fined up to $500, even if the violation was unintentional. Those who purposely violated the law could be fined up to $8,000.

Under current law, those who “knowingly” violate the law can be fined up to $1,000. Those who “purposely” violate it can face fines ranging up to $5,000.

The bill also would open up the complaints filed with Missouri Ethics Commission. However, investigative reports would remain closed during an inquiry and would be permanently closed if the complaint was dismissed.

Former Ethics Commissioner John Maupin, of Creve Coeur, supported the bill. He said current restrictions made it impossible for commissioners to confirm the status of complaints and “allowed people to abuse the system.”

Groups representing local officials say the bill goes too far.

Gary Markenson, a lobbyist for the Missouri Municipal League, objected to requiring five days’ notice for meetings and lowering the threshold for fines when violations are unintentional.

Opponents also said small towns lacked the staff to compile detailed accounts of their meetings. If minutes must be written up every time two of the three county commissioners ride together in a car, “you’re going to require them to drive individually or have someone taking notes,” said Todd Smith, a lobbyist for the Missouri Association of Counties.

Jones said the House General Laws Committee, which he heads, would fine-tune the bill before sending it to the House floor for debate.

The bill is HB316.

Green Starts Up Entrepreneurial Blend

February 9, 2009

Dr. Nancy L. Green, President STL Distribution Services and Vice President of Circulation for Lee St. Louis, will head Nancy Green & Associates as Chief Executive Officer starting February 9, 2009.

“Today business and education leaders must work together nationally and regionally to leverage our technology, ground our resources, and lead our communities to healthy financial growth,” Green says. “In true entrepreneurial spirit, our company objective is to harness blended market energies for fiscal success. Developing customized smart economic drivers for public, business, and private entities is the primary mission of Nancy Green & Associates.

“As CEO, this is an opportunity to blend my strategic expertise, track record, and senior educational standing to lead multi-tiered platform initiatives. Partnership is the key to prosperity. I’ll look forward to continuously networking with my friends and colleagues across the country in strategic discovery and implementation projects as we master new economies.”

Green joined Lee in 2000 as Director of Circulation and served as Lee’s vice president-circulation. She was an architect of the company’s industry-leading success in driving circulation and retention from 2002 to 2008, and as publisher for the Courier in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa from 2004 to 2008 prior to moving to St. Louis.

Before joining Lee in 2000, she was a vice president in the University System of Georgia: vice president for advancement at Clayton State University and vice president for communications at Georgia G.L.O.B.E., the online learning initiative at the 34 institutions in the system.

Previously, she was assistant to the president of the newspaper division of the Gannett Co., Inc. and President and publisher of two Gannett newspapers, the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader and the Palladium-Item in Richmond, Ind.

James Steele of Fayette Elected President of CMU Alumni Association Board

February 9, 2009

FAYETTE, Mo. – Newspaper publisher James H. (Jim) Steele of Fayette, Mo., has been elected president of the Central Methodist University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Judith (Judy) Engel Rethwisch of Fenton, Mo., a retired high school drama teacher, has been elected vice-president.

Steele succeeds Ginger King Luetkemeyer of Jefferson City, a 1993 CMU graduate, who had served as president since 2007. The election was held in Fayette during the late January meeting of the association’s Board of Directors and officially ratified Feb. 4, announced Tracy Crowe Jones, CMU director of alumni relations. Steele and Rethwisch will serve two-year terms.

The CMU Alumni Association (originally called the Alumni Society) was organized in June of 1875 (Central was founded in 1854). It currently has more than 14,000 members. Twenty-one members serve on the board of directors.

Steele has been active with the association, serving on the board for more than six years, most recently as vice president. Currently the owner, publisher and editor of the Fayette Advertiser and Democrat-Leader, he has had a long career in the field of communications, including experience in public relations, broadcast and print journalism. A native of St. Louis, Steele earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Central Methodist College (now CMU) in 1964 and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1966, and undertook additional graduate work at MU. He was honored by CMU in 1991 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. In late 2000 Steele purchased the Fayette newspapers from the late H. Denny Davis and has operated them since that time. He also writes and voices a five-minute Howard County news report which airs four times each weekday morning on Boonville Radio KWRT, 1370AM.

Rethwisch retired in 2000 after 35 years of teaching speech, drama, acting, technical design, creative film and television in public schools, primarily in Affton, Mo. (St. Louis County). She continues to be the fine arts coordinator at Affton High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech from Central Methodist College (CMU) in 1965. After graduation she taught at Glasgow High School for one year then took a job teaching speech and drama at Affton. She was honored by CMU in 2006 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1983 she received her master’s degree in theater from Lindenwood University and has continued her education with numerous in-services and workshop courses.

Founded in 1854, Central Methodist is the only United Methodist Church-related university in Missouri, and welcomes qualified men and women of all faiths and from diverse backgrounds. Its wooded, historic campus hosts a faculty of teachers, mentors, and scholars dedicated to providing extraordinary attention to the individual learner. With offerings ranging from high-school dual credit to graduate studies and a total enrollment of more than 4,000, its liberal arts and pre-professional programs are centered on a character core that has twice brought Central Methodist national recognition for its leadership in character education. In recent years the University has attracted significant challenge grants from the national Kresge and Mabee Foundations to help build a $15 million Student and Community Center on the academic quadrangle and to fund $5 million in major upgrades to its athletic facilities. — 30 —

Mayor requests Sunshine reading

February 6, 2009

The St. Joseph City Council met behind closed doors in December with the city manager and a representative of the state auditor’s office to discuss the state of St. Joseph’s finances.
The mayor asked a St. Joseph News-Press reporter to read out loud the Missouri Sunshine Law provision that allowed the meeting to be closed. He said he asked for the reading so council members could explain the reasoning to citizens who were concerned that the meeting was not open.
Todd Schuler, an audit manager for the state auditor’s office, said he would not discuss the audit unless the council voted to close the meeting.
All but two of the council members and the mayor voted to close the meeting, at which point the reporter and another visitor left the room. One council member abstained from voting, another was absent.
—St. Joseph News-Press