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Opinion: City meetings offer a chance to speak up

Monday, August 4, 2008

For those who have any spare time this evening, it's a good chance to visit city hall. Cape Girardeau's city council meets for a study session at 5 p.m.; Jackson's board of aldermen meets at 7:30 p.m.; the Scott City council meets at 7 p.m.

Scott City councilman Norman Brant said he'll be talking about a proposal to reopen a quarry near Rock Levee Road.

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Perry County has launched a new Web site. Perry County's Sheriff Gary Schaaf sent an e-mail out Friday letting people know and giving props to County Collector Rodney Richardet working with contractor CivicPlus to pull it all together.

The site, www.perrycountymo.us, includes commission agendas, minutes, an online function for paying taxes and links to all county departments.

Meanwhile, Cape Girardeau County's information technology director, Eric McGowen, tells me this county's new Web site is nearing its debut.

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Marshall Hardison, manager of Neely's Landing Quarry, faxed a sheaf of documents showing that the citations issued by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in May have been resolved. He said it's important for people, especially the families of quarry workers, to know he values safety.

Hardison, in a meeting with the quarry's unhappy neighbors on Thursday, promised to take action to reduce runoff and other issues by planting, at the very least, some wheat and stabilizing banks with riprap — a fancy word for stone. He told the quarry's neighbors he will get the work done as soon as the weather allows. Larry and Patty Miller, who asked for Missouri's Department of Natural Resources to host Thursday's hearing, have filled a binder with photos and notes documenting changes in the quarry land that abuts their property and are sure to be watching for improvements.

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From the When in Doubt, Keep it Open Department: After the DNR's hearing with the quarry, I asked for a copy of the sign-in sheet so I could follow up with people who attended the meeting — and was told to submit a written Sunshine request.

I understand at least eight Sunshine Law complaints from Scott and Cape Girardeau counties have been filed with the Missouri Attorney General's office. The log is public record, but I was told Friday that it cannot be released. This after having been told it would be sent in the next week.

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Stan Murray, currently a project manager for Cape Girardeau County, sent an e-mail after the story ran about the county's request for a full accounting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Hubble Creek project. The Corps had sent a bill for $27,000 about three years after the fact. Murray informed me that at the time of the project, he worked for Cape Girardeau Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), not the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), though the two agencies work closely together.

"I regard rather if I was listed as a NRCS or SWCD employee as irrelevant information and I see no need in a correction," he wrote.

I believe what chemist Orlando A. Battista is credited with saying, that "an error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."

My apologies, Stan.

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A www.semisourian.com reader going by the name of "Tito_Santana" posted on my blog, wondering "how much did that cost the SEMissourian to respond to my comment?"

The answer: Not one penny of your tax dollar.

Questions, suggestions or tips for Lost on Main Street? E-mail pmcnichol@semissourian.com or call 335-6611, extension 127.


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