Tax campaign goes multimedia

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cape Girardeau's parks and recreation advisory board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday has been shifted to the Osage Community Centre, 1625 N. Kingshighway. Newly elected board chairman Danny Essner and a committee of volunteers have been busy working on the parks and storm-water tax campaign.

Tuesday's meeting, in Room AB, will feature the public premiere of a 20-minute presentation the board is using to educate voters. The 10-minute video features people you may recognize who use parks and recreation services, with a segment promoting the storm-water abatement benefit of the tax.

"It's pretty cool. We have a lot of people that are fairly passionate," he said. The goal of the show, which has already been booked as programming for nearly 50 meetings of service clubs and other groups, is to share information and get feedback.

This multimedia effort includes a slide show, followed by a question-and-answer session and printed handouts. The board also has a Web site,

Essner said the presentation is not aimed as convincing voters already against the tax to change their minds, but at those who are undecided.

He said support for the tax ranges from senior citizens who use the walking trails and other services to parents of children involved in sports groups.

The cost of the campaign is not clear. Essner said the Parks Foundation is supporting the effort and much of the work and materials have been donated.

"It's not costing the city anything," he said.

Don't worry if you can't make it Tuesday. Essner said two town-hall-style meetings will also be scheduled for those interested in seeing the presentation.

For those of you who watch Cape Girardeau City Council meetings on Channel 5, here is a bit of behind-the-scenes news. Ron Duff, who has been recording the meetings since 1979, won the bid to continue his work.

Back when he started, Duff said, "You had to be the equivalent of an engineer at a TV station."

He employs as many as four people for his company's projects, which range from television commercials to public service announcements and meetings.

"It was my idea for the city to start broadcasting live when we went into the new chambers," he said.

While the commercial-grade cameras used for city council meetings are still pretty hefty, the result is much different. Each meeting ends up on a DVD, so it can be rebroadcast on Channel 5.

Duff, 63, was born in Elvins, Mo., (now known as Park Hills) and has lived in Cape Girardeau since 1957.

The city's contract pays Duff $1,000 per scheduled meeting. He provides three cameras, two camera operators, a technical director, the broadcast van and the DVD recording.

A public hearing on Cape County Transit Authority fees in Jackson is set for 3 p.m. Jan. 24 at the county commission office in Jackson. Transit authority interim director Tom Mogelnicki said Jackson residents currently pay either $3 or $3.50, depending on which of three zones they live in. Rates will shift to $5 and $5.50, matching those paid by Cape Girardeau riders.

Government offices are closed Jan. 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Because of the holiday, meetings for the Jackson Board of Aldermen and Cape Girardeau City Council have been shifted to Jan. 22.

Questions, suggestions or tips for Lost on Main Street? E-mail me at or call 335-6611, extension 127

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