Q: Speak Out calls have taken both sides of the issue whether Central High School needs a new stadium. Besides football, what other Central teams compete at Houck? How much does the university charge the school system to use its stadium for games? Who gets the revenue from concession sales? Is it true that Central can't play games at Houck on Friday nights?
A: Art Wallhausen, associate to the president at Southeast Missouri State University, put together a four-part answer to your questions with information provided by Don Kaverman, director of athletics.
"1. The university's current contract with the Cape school district is for six dates per season, not specific sports. The school district has, in the past, occasionally used a date for a soccer sectional, but the only sport using the stadium regularly has been football.
"2. For the past five years Cape schools have used the stadium rent free, as part of the contract for purchase of Washington school by the university. This year the rental charge is $2,000 per date, for a total of $12,000.
"3. The university's athletic program gets the revenue from the concession stands. This varies from year to year, depending in large part on whether the Cape-Jackson game is played at Houck, but the typical profit per season is in the range of $3,000 to $5,000.
"3. Six or seven Fridays would have been available for Central to use Houck Stadium this fall if its games could have been scheduled for the available dates. Central will be playing the Blytheville game at Houck Stadium on Friday, Sept. 16, and the university encouraged Central to schedule the Jackson game on Friday, Oct. 7, instead of Thursday, Oct. 6, but the high school chose to keep the game on Thursday.
"Other Fridays on which Houck Stadium would have been available this fall (i.e., no Southeast soccer or volleyball conflicts) include: Sept. 9, Oc. 21, Nov. 18 and 25. In addition, it might have been possible to accommodate a Central game on Nov. 11, when Houck Field House is scheduled for a Southeast volleyball match, but the stadium itself is available."
Q: Is it true that decisions made by the Southeast Missourian editorial board reflect a process similar to that of the Presidium of the Stalinist-ruled Soviet Union, euphemistically termed democratic centralism?
A: It's been several years now since I was an undergraduate who studied Russian government and minored in Russian language, but I believe the more apt -- although also inaccurate -- parallel you should make is with the Politburo. The Presidium, a leadership committee, ruled the Supreme Soviet, which was the highest legislative body of the Soviet Union. However, both the Supreme Soviet and the Presidium during Stalin's leadership were rubber stamps to legislation coming from the more powerful Politburo.
Confusion about which one is which, however, is easy, as the Politburo actually became the Presidium a few years after Stalin's death. By the way, as you probably know, under Stalin's orders, nearly all who served on the Politburo alongside him and disagreed with him were ultimately murdered -- or committed suicide.
Thus, if your question is whether the editorial board of the Southeast Missourian is a rubber stamp to the company's chairman: No, that would not be the case, even though he does argue passionately and effectively. And, last time I checked, we were all still alive.
Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. If you have a question, e-mail email@example.com or call Speak Out (334-5111) and identify your call as a question for "Fact or fiction?"