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College party ordinance in works for Cape

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Millie Strom stands next to her Dunklin Street house Tuesday in Cape Girardeau. An unknown person used an ax to put a large hole in the house when she was out of town last summer. Strom has to stuff a towel in the hole to keep birds from building nests there.
(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
Some nights Millie Strom prays for rain. When it doesn't, she braces for the worst.

On those weekend nights, especially when Southeast Missouri State University is in session, countless college students gather on a patio about 30 feet from Strom's bedroom window. They crank the music up and the booze begins to flow.

For them, it's a party that lasts until the wee hours of the morning. But for Strom, 83, it's another exasperating night of tossing and turning while she fruitlessly tries to drown out the roar.

In the morning, when the partiers are sleeping it off, Strom spends her morning clearing her driveway of crumpled beer cans and busted whiskey bottles.

Such parties have taken place near Strom's Cape Girardeau home on Dunklin Street for the better part of a decade. For years, she never complained. When she finally did, someone took an ax to the side of her house in what she is certain was retribution.

"I just want the parties to stop," Strom said.

She's not alone. A group of residents who live near Southeast's campus have been fighting for nearly two years to get laws on the city's books to reign in the parties and hold those responsible for making their lives a nighttime hell. "During the school year, starting in September, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, I wonder if I'm going to get a good night's sleep or if I'm going to get bumped out of bed at 3 o'clock in the morning," said Linda Hutson, one of the group's organizer.

The parties have gone beyond nuisances, she said, pointing to recent assaults and stabbings that have taken place at such parties.

While the group has felt largely ignored by its city leaders during the last two years, a response appears to be in the works. At its most recent meeting, the Cape Girardeau City Council reacted to the group's complaints by asking for staff to prepare an ordinance that it hopes will go a long way toward curbing the problem.

Cape Girardeau police chief Carl Kinnison and city attorney Eric Cunningham are working to modify an ordinance that is similar to a Columbia, Mo., law that is expected to be presented to the council June 6. The neighborhood group has been researching that ordinance and suggesting it since shortly after its inception.

The Columbia City Council passed the law against "nuisance parties" in 2006. The law defines a "nuisance party" as a social gathering of 10 or more people on a residential property where any of a list of 11 things occurs, including fighting, littering, illegal sales or possession of alcohol, public urination, trespassing, noise violations and indecent exposure, among others.

While the offenses listed in the ordinance are already illegal in Cape Girardeau, this ordinance would allow police to also cite the party's hosts, Kinnison said. The law would also make it a citable offense for those at the party not to disburse when ordered to do so by police, a power police currently don't have. Fines could be levied for up to $500 and a maximum jail time of 90 days.

Kinnison acknowledged these parties are a problem. In the last 12 months, police have responded to 158 incidents that were based on complaints about loud music, many of them stemming from college parties. In that same time period, 22 summonses were issued for failing to maintain an orderly house, and Kinnison said that those were specifically due to parties. An estimated 80 percent to 85 percent of responses to loud parties are hosted and attended by university students, Kinnison said.

"I think it would give us another tool to help take care of some of this," Kinnison said.

One Columbia official said last week the ordinance there has made a world of difference since it was enacted. Columbia's assistant city attorney Cavenaugh Noce also sat on the citizens committee that worked for a year drafting the proposal that the council eventually enacted. Noce served as the time as the president of the East Campus Neighborhood Association.

Noce empathized with the Cape Girardeau residents. He remembers enduring drunken toga parties with more than 150 people who had spilled out onto the street. That doesn't happen anymore.

"Things quieted down after people became aware of the ordinance," Noce said. "I know everybody felt like it did some good."

The leaders of the group, Linda Heitman, Dub Suedekum and Hutson, believe the ordinance will work here, too. But they wonder why it has taken nearly two years for the city to respond.

Since 2009, the group has held meetings that have drawn as many as 30 people. They have sent out emails and a certified letter to every member of the Cape Girardeau City Council. Members John Voss, Deb Tracy and Loretta Schneider have each attended at least one of those meetings. The group pointed out that Rediger did not attend any of the meetings, which disappointed them.

Rediger said Friday that was not intentional and did not show any lack of concern on his part. Rediger said he was out of town for two of their meetings. Also, the council and staff thought the best way to address the neighbors' concerns would be by implementing an ordinance that would require landlords to pay for annual licenses, which would subject their properties to routine inspections.

"But we're not quite ready to do that, so the plan now is to move forward with something on that party ordinance and then have it eventually fold into the rental inspections," Rediger said. "We need to move ahead with something. We decided we better go ahead and do something with the party ordinance earlier."

There's no doubt parties are causing problems, Rediger said. He also acknowledged that the council, himself included, should have moved on addressing the neighborhood concerns sooner.

"I will take the brunt of it," Rediger said. "We are concerned about it and we are certainly not ignoring it. The things we have been working on should not have pre-empted us from taking care of this issue. But we are ready to move forward."

At the council's recent study secession, Suedekum stood up and asked in a loud voice: "Who's running this city?" He also points out that the city has dealt with other issues before theirs, including bicycle lanes, Frisbee golf and a downtown noise ordinance.

"When is it our turn?" Suedekum asked.

At the study session, Voss directed staff to prepare the nuisance party ordinance for the next meeting.

"They have a right to peacefully occupy their homes," Voss said. "It was also good to bring a solution to the table as opposed to just saying here's the problem. They were great about researching the Columbia ordinance and offering it as a solution."

Voss agreed with the mayor that the delay was partially attributed to the fact that they wanted to tie the rental inspection program to the nuisance party ordinance.

"The neighbors were looking for us to act more quickly," Voss said. "My sense is the neighbors were becoming less patient and they have been very patient. By looking at this ordinance by itself, we're really not giving anything up and we can add the rental inspection program six or nine months down the road if it takes that long."

At first glance, Voss said, the Columbia ordinance would work well in Cape Girardeau and that the rental inspection program will bolster those efforts if it is passed. The party ordinance, Voss said, has "real teeth" and it will hopefully be part of the overall solution.

But Voss did caution that he did not believe it would totally eliminate loud college parties from the city.

"I don't think it's going to be foolproof," he said. "It's going to be a step in the right direction. These are college children, and in some cases they're going to do what they want anyway. But I think it at least provides an opportunity to say 'The community has spoken and this is how we expect you to act.'"

The university also has a role to play, Voss said. Dennis Holt, vice president of enrollment management and student success at Southeast, attended the council's study session, and said it's difficult for the university to monitor student behavior away from campus. Holt said the university could become involved, however, if students were cited with criminal infractions.

But Voss suggested the university can do more.

"In my mind, the university could ratchet it up a little bit," he said. "Students come here and look to the university for guidance and leadership. I think they could be a little more aggressive in promoting responsible citizenship."

Holt said if such a party ordinance were passed, students could be made aware of it at freshman orientation.

The residents, after two years of waiting, want something to happen to cut down on the parties. The group realizes many who don't attend meetings, like the 83-year-old Millie Strom on Dunklin, also deserve a voice.

"She basically has a front-row seat to Mardi Gras two or three nights a week," Hutson said. "That has to stop."



Pertinent Address:

Dunklin Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

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Really? Aren't these kids supposed to be getting a "Higher" education? Why would anyone do this to a lady, much-less anybody?!

Listen up, Redhawks, when you destroy the peace of a neighborhood and then start destroying homes and property that isn't yours, you are representing SEMO. SEMO is already the "K-mart of Higher Education" please don't make it the "Ghetto of Higher Education."

-- Posted by bluejay2003 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 2:08 AM

you have got to be kidding me. This house which i have been to many times is literally 200 yards from the college campus. What do these people expect. if you don't want to hear college parties then move away please. Such a law would be a disgrace to SEMO as a school. School is of course about a higher education but also a college experience. if you think for one second that kids will not party and have fun in college then you are wrongly mistaken. and really a neighborhood? i think not. there are numerous college houses on this street. maybe it is time for people to move away from the " partying" and into an actual neighborhood.

Thank you and in regards to " Ghetto of Higher education" maybe you should have your police force of cape girardeau to focus on catching the gang members who stabbed some innocent college students instead of worrying about some kids having some fun...

but thank you for your concern bluejay2003 :)

-- Posted by rowdytheredhawk on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 4:24 AM

Excuse me, Rowdy. wjhy should this woman leave her neighborhood so that some punks can party and bully her!! The police better do something or someone will help her!!!

-- Posted by agape on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 6:06 AM

Also, the council and staff thought the best way to address the neighbors' concerns would be by implementing an ordinance that would require landlords to pay for annual licenses, which would subject their properties to routine inspections.

Yeah yeah yeah! The city staff just can't wait to get their little cure all ordinance that will do nothing but collect another tax from property owners. They actually believe that putting another tax on landlords is going to stop college students from having parties. This city government is so out of touch that the only thing that will help it is the election of a new council that will fire the pointy headed management that we currently have.

-- Posted by thewonder on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 6:06 AM

I think it's about time this problem was taken care of by the city.

As for the comment "What do these people expect. if you don't want to hear college parties then move away please." I don't know any of these people but I'm sure most of them have lived there longer than the students!

The students and the property owners should both hold the blame and should both share what ever the fines and/or damages should be.

-- Posted by Retired93 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:09 AM

A minor nit:

"The law would also make it a citable offense for those at the party not to disburse when ordered to do so by police,"

The word should be "disperse" not "disburse."

Disburse means to pay out. Disperse means to break up or scatter.

As written, it sounds like it would be against the law not to pay out a bribe when the cops show up.

It's one of those higher education things.

-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:22 AM

At 83, my guess is she was there first. It was probably a nice quiet neighborhood when she moved in. It makes no sense for good people to have to abandon their homes of years because someone else moves in and changes the atmosphere of the neighborhood. It's a shame that rowdy has no respect for others. It's also a shame that "Rowdy" was chosen as the mascot's name. Nothing like encouraging bad behavior.

-- Posted by Professor_Bubba on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:24 AM

Invite grandma to the party

-- Posted by jcjayof61 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:35 AM

I lived on south Louisiana , about as far from the university as you can get and there were "university houses"where several students rented one house their behavior was poor to say the least.

It got to be a common sight to see people urinating in the street , loud music 2-4 am ,even saw a car one time backing at high speed with youngsters riding on the trunk with no lights on at midnight.

Police were very reluctant to actually go to this residence , after enough complaints they would finally show up, guess thats just part of that " college experience " thing to show what an inconsiderate selfish self entitled punk you can be ?

-- Posted by rockman54 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:58 AM

I was told by a president of a large company once concerning employee pay and I believe the same goes here. He said if you wanted to get an employees attention, mess with his paycheck, If you want the attention of these partiers, mess with there money(ie) fines, etc.

-- Posted by mohacker on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:03 AM

R - E - S - P - E - C - T

In general, every successive generation since WWII has been taught less and less what it is and how to show it. For the most part, it no longer flourishes in the USA.

rowdytheredhawk, is a perfect example. Blame the other residents for complaining and trying to spoil the collage fun. How dare they? Yes, kids will party. But, I'd be willing to bet, the other residents wouldn't be as apt to complain if the parties were once a month instead of multiple times a week.

Oh, and Rowdy, ALL sentences should begin with a capital letter. And, if a person is "wrongly mistaken" that means they are right. Higher education should have taught you those things.

-- Posted by malan on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:13 AM

Hopefully higher education teaches them how to spell "college".

-- Posted by Red Devil on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:16 AM

No not WW11 the 70s was when kids started the disrespect, you can thank the dr spocks of the world.

-- Posted by ssinteriors on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:45 AM

It has nothing to do with what city you are from it is about the lack of respect for a lot of things and it isn't all college students. You can not group everyone. SEMO offers a great education. BUT I happen to know someone who also lived in the area you are talking about. Their experience was also a bad one. When they asked after midnight for the kids to turn it down or if they would take the party inside they had a display of bad language and trash being thrown all over their lawn. The next party the kids would set off their car alarms after 1 or 2 in the morning and the worse thing was when the kids made a small fire in the backyard right next to the guys fence and home. All these things were done after the guy nicely asked. You can party, you can have fun, and you can experience college life without disrespecting others. Tells you a lot about how these few kids that are doing this will handle other things in life.

-- Posted by stlthoughts on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:16 AM

!ytrap meht teL

-- Posted by Guano on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:51 AM

My junior year at SEMO I lived about 2 blocks south of the campus. Plenty of college kids around us, but lots of non-students too. There were a couple of times my roommate and I were tempted to call the police and it wouldn't have been on college kids.

My last semester I moved over near the River Campus and there were no other college kids in my building. There's a reason people don't want to live near campus-- many of the students are immature and party like it's going out of style. Much of it is because of alcohol I'm sure. Heck, half of it is probably college kids who aren't 21 who are drunk!

-- Posted by redhawkstudent on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:57 AM

Rowdy, apparently you do not own a home nor do you pay taxes or insurance for the house you live in. We live here because it is our hometown, you are a visitors and disrepectful visitors at that. I hope someone in this community will fix Mrs Strom's house free of charge. I'm sure she lives on a fixed income and cannot afford to have it repaired or she wouldn't be stuffing towels in the hole a year later, better yet what fraternity will step up and offer to help this lady? SEMO has their own police department that has even more authority over the college kids than Cape PD, start calling them. When they show up and find out who is involved then mommy and daddy get notified by the university, call Cape PD too then they'll get fined. No one objects to anyone having a good time, with in limits, but when you throw trash around, urinate in someones yard, wake the whole neighborhood and basically terroize people then your right to a good time needs to end in jail. Show some respect, I'm sure your parents wouldn't tolerate these things being done to them.

-- Posted by Sunflower Girl on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:59 AM

"I don't think it's going to be foolproof," he said. "It's going to be a step in the right direction. These are college children, and in some cases they're going to do what they want anyway. But I think it at least provides an opportunity to say 'The community has spoken and this is how we expect you to act.'"

I hope Cape's elected officials do listen to the people better than our State's elected official's listened to the voters on "Prop B".

Good luck with getting the number of parties cut back and shut down at a decent hour.

-- Posted by jan523 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 10:29 AM

Pretty simple solution here, make loud music after 10 during the week and 11 on weekends a citable offense and make it a painful(monetarilly) offense for the people who rent the house and the landlord who rent its to them, couple hundred dollars per fine or per person at the house when the offense occured. a $500-1000 fine will make anyone start to act respectable. And that is what this is all about is respecting others. There are plenty of other houses around town with college students having parties but being respectful of their neighbors. I even had a lot of parties when I was in college and we always picked up all the trash and if loud music was a problem we turned it down and we always had a good relationship with our neighbors. We actually had an 80 year old widower next door and we always helped rake her leaves and shovel her driveway etc, but that was the way I was raised maybe these people are just an example of the young selfish people that are being raised now..

-- Posted by johnboy25 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 10:55 AM

I live in Cape Girardeau and have kids that attend college elsewhere. You can bet if campus police or local PD where they attend school ever called and told me my kids were out of line and disrespectful to others in this manner I would be there licketysplit making sure it did not happen again. I am sure a lot of the SEMO partier's parents mostly feel the same way. They just don't know what is going on. Some of these kids are "high" on the experience of getting away from home and would never act this way in their own hometown.

If the residents call both the campus police and local PD, then perhaps the parents will start getting phone calls.

Of course there are those parents who will not care but most college kids I know will have to ask Mom and Dad for the money to pay these fines which should have an impact. Mom and Dad usually pay attention when they have to pay court costs, fines and attorney fees.

I've lived in Cape my entire life and college parties have always been a problem. It's a shame that a few disrespectful "visitors" can cause so many problems for those who consider this home and would never consider living anywhere else.

-- Posted by tigerfanforever on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:15 AM

I may be a SEMO student who likes to party, but I still manage to pay enough attention in my journalism classes to know that newspapers are supposed to tell BOTH sides of the story. This one seems blatantly one-sided to me.

-- Posted by relentlessly_red on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:29 AM

Sadly i'm pretty sure the house this woman is living next to is a Pike House. The mention of stabbings in the area is probably in reference to the incident between some Pikes and SEMO football players last year. In short you'd get better sleep next to an all night concert than you would next to their house.

That said as someone who just graduated from SEMO that the college house parties I attended were of a much higher standard. We informed the neighbors and any other houses that could be affected the day of the party, especially if it was the first of the year. If they felt the music would be a problem early on in the night just come over and tell us and we'd take care of it. Sadly not all college students, especially knuckledraggers like the Pikes, are as responsible or care about those around them. Having surround sound speakers cranked up and a DJ at your little house party certainly won't help the cause for those around you either.

-- Posted by Showstopper on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:43 AM

Also does anyone have a report (or a Missourian article) about the incident where three SEMO students were stabbed in their own house about a month back?

-- Posted by Showstopper on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:44 AM

relentlessly_red: I agree with you it seams a little one sided. Lets talk to the person who chopped a hole in her house; I sure this person has a logical expiation for the vandalisms.

Du, ha, that house started it. I had to teach it a lesion. It looked crossed eyed at me!!!

-- Posted by popper on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:57 AM

Actually the reference to the stabbings would not be between Pikes and football players and Pikes. It would in fact be referring to the GANG members who stabbed 4 sig taus and also jumped 1 pike outside of slingers and broke his jaw about 2 weeks ago.

-- Posted by rowdytheredhawk on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 12:07 PM

Woops. I know the difference between disperse and disburse. Mental lapse. - Scott Moyers.

-- Posted by scottmoyers1972 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 12:26 PM

They are all idiots.

-- Posted by retired1 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 12:52 PM

relentlessly_red I discovered your problem. MIZZOU is the number 1 school in the nation for Journalism. I know because my daughter graduated and has gone on to wonderful, high paid positions because of her GPA and the school. I also know of other SEMO Journalism graduates who have not had so much luck. Learn some respect for yourself and others, study longer, and go to parties with less noise. Maybe you will not experience quite so much hearing loss in later years.

As for rowdytheredhawk - You need to also learn some manners and respect. There is no other side to breaking the law - oh maybe jail.

-- Posted by Kac on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 1:09 PM

WELP! Mines edjumacation at SEMO, altho "KMART", has served me well. I believe it has served many successful individuals well, too include a Commandant of the Marine Corps. and many other successful individuals. Clown!

-- Posted by Capealumni on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 1:13 PM

We sure pass a lot of regulation for a conservative town. When is the owner of Port Cape going to protest this ordinance?

-- Posted by SteveM on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 1:23 PM

Please allow me to explain my reference of "Kmart of Education" SEMO is one of the less expensive universities around, which makes it slightly more affordable for anyone wanting a higher education. I was not and am not stating that SEMO offers generic, low-quality education. Some fine teachers have been produced from those halls of SEMO, other great people have walked there as well. I apologize if anybody felt "insulted" by my "Kmart" reference, and I apologize to SEARS/KMART corporation. Thank You.

-- Posted by bluejay2003 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 1:28 PM

I don't understand why we need a new law. Isn't there such a law as "Disturbing the Peace"?

-- Posted by djinx on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 1:35 PM

"You can party, you can have fun, and you can experience college life without disrespecting others."

Well said.

Chances are these kids are underage, or they'd be going to the bars for kicks. At least, that was always the case for me during my college years. Once I was legal, who cared about a stupid house party? Ordinance or not, just a quick look by the police at the minors-in-possesion would be enough to stop the "par-tay".

-- Posted by Rizzo on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 2:04 PM

LOL at a kid from Charleston demeaning a Semo education. That's ironic comedy gold right there.

I've called the police twice in my life for loud parties by my neighbors, neither time it was college students - both times it was older adults. I live nowhere near campus and sometimes adults have parties that get loud and go on too late (particularly around the 4th of July holiday).

-- Posted by bam-bam on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 2:30 PM

Hey bluejay, you may want to check tuition prices. I believe there was an article a month or so ago that stated SEMO's tuition was only about $30-40 per credit hour less than MIZZOU's..

-- Posted by redhawkstudent on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 2:54 PM

Dunklin street is a very short street. When I attended SEMO the closest SEMO building was Cheney Hall. I stayed on Dunklin Street with a relative. I suspect that most of these home owners have been there a long time. The outsiders (low class students) are probably barely making it in college and are there for just a good time on mom and dad's nickel or the government's....my taxes.

The suggestion to call the Campus Police is a good one.

In the end, it is more about the almighty dollar. If the student funks out of college....that is ok ....college still gets the money as well as Cape.

I had two nieces....both having full four year scholarships.....both losing the scholarships....because of drugs and parties. Sad story. I am ashamed of these two girls.

SEMO should not be monitoring these situations. Shame on SEMO.....

-- Posted by plainjane75 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 5:41 PM

why the need for more laws for this? isn't there already a noise ordinance and disturbing the peace law of sorts? I rented years ago and had issues with my neighbors parties and loud music -- none of which were ever college students. the cape cops would show up and give them a warning I guess. music would stop for the night.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 6:23 PM

You think they would respect their neighbors who work and have jobs and don't party and when we need sleep we can't get it cause all you hear is music and fights and sometimes nudity I think it's getting out of hand I have lived here 12 years and have lived next to parties and never can get sleep and people who have parties besides college kids are mostley Frats and Sorities and I think when cops go the tell them to turn it down don't give them a warning take the party host to jail and see how they feel! We as citizens need to stand up and stop semo and the students from taking over our lives!

-- Posted by capeguy30 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 6:54 PM

OK tommystix....I agree. We have ordinances on the books...but Voss must not be able to read them ...just wants to make a name for re-election by playing 'Big Dog " to a few ,who in their right, want action....but Again, READ WHAT ORDINANCES WE HAVE and USE THEM. And by the way, whats with this "back door" future ordinances attack on the landlords again....If it was the SEMO Parties....then deal with it !!! NOT CONDEMN THE WHOLE DANG TOWN....sounds like a control burn out of control by the city council again.

-- Posted by CB1 on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 7:07 PM

I have this problem periodically with my neighbors and I don't leave near a university. Its called "disturbing the peace"and it doesn't matter if its one person or 50 people, I believe they can be ticketed for this and all should be. I too call the police and on a regular basis to get the noice levels down.

-- Posted by pattiaa on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:27 PM

It's taken two years because city management don't care.

-- Posted by daniel on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 8:51 PM

Putting an ax through a lady's house? You are a pathetic person. Do us a favor and stop breathing

-- Posted by lanternprime on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:30 PM

This is such a terrible thing. I hope the ordinance works!

-- Posted by Spinning on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 9:53 PM

There's no need for new laws; just enforce the disturbing the peace ordinance. City police should also provide extra monitoring of this party house in the early morning hours.

-- Posted by tom on Sun, May 29, 2011, at 11:13 PM

Hey, bam-bam...I graduated from Charleston and have both an undergraduate and graduate degree from SEMO; and, I teach at SEMO. Your degrading comment about Charleston is without merit as the school has produced numerous professionals including doctors, attorneys, SEMO presidents, rear admirals, and even a governor of Missouri, just to mention a few. Does the school have problems? Absolutely; just like Cape Central, Jackson, Scott City and every other school in the area, state and nation.

-- Posted by birdfan on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 10:31 AM

This is a problem that can and should be handled by the college.

Arrested and found guilty ONE TIME and you are booted out of college.

-- Posted by mo_ky_fellow on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 11:05 AM

mo_ky_fellow, good luck with that one. Somehow I don't think that'd hold up in a lawsuit..

-- Posted by redhawkstudent on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 11:47 AM

This is ridiculus to put the burden of enforcement on landlords. It already takes an act of God to get an eviction done.

-- Posted by LocalFan12 on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 5:08 PM

My daughter says they give free drugs to all the pretty girls who attend the parties at that house.

-- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 5:50 PM

Who gave this writer a right to publish yellow journalism? The fact is that her house was not in fact hit by an ax and to say so is an outstanding lie and somewhat of a joke. I would feel embarassed to put my name under this story after reading what fiction was put inbetween the puncuation. The truth of the matter is that the campus is a stones through away to too live that close for over a decade and act suprised by the parties is not only ignorant but just an act of insanity. I am sorry for all the eyes who had to read the un-educated drunk who attempted to write a story but whatever is said in this article actually brings a smile to my face knowing how much of this is an outright lie. To those who think we need to "crack-down" just don't pick a street that is notorious for parties and you won't be "tossing and turning." Maybe if you went to SEMO you wouold have the common sense to know this.

-- Posted by jdlifritz1s on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 7:27 PM

kids today are rude and so disrespectful! College kids are pigs...they don't care about nothing but drinking, doing drugs and parties! We put 4 through college and they were punks too...but they finally grew up and are good adults now!

Those kids need to try to party in Jackson...they would be in jail! haaa

-- Posted by coffeplease35 on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 7:35 PM

jdlifritz1s Must be one of the tenants.

-- Posted by We Regret To Inform U on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 7:41 PM

Why do we need a new law on this when we already have them on the books such as Peace Disturbance, Disorderly Conduct, Illegal Possession of Intoxicants etc etc. The Police must confront these people and start arresting them and haul them down town.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 9:33 PM

'We Regret to Inform U' must have not graduated from college considering you have to keep up with your daughter's latest fabricated rumors during her school days. She had probably been here more times that you can count, under her own free will haha. An axe through this lady's house huh? Must have brought some wood fibers to the SEMO Crime Lab to run some tests on it...oh wait that is completely fabricated too. Good research Scott, bet you couldn't find a job writing for the church bulletin with crap like this.

-- Posted by sweetbuddah on Mon, May 30, 2011, at 10:00 PM

The question has come up as to why existing laws aren't sufficient to address the problem. It seems to me they were sufficient back in my days at SEMO, when parties were regularly broken up by police (and, looking back, for good reason). What has changed? Perhaps our litigious society has made it more difficult to prosecute these ordinances, and the police need something with more teeth. That makes much more sense than vague allusions to "power grabs" and the like. Part of the college education is learning that you have to consider the rights of others, that there are consequences to actions, and that breaking laws carries penalties, even if you disagree with those laws. I'm glad I learned those things at SEMO and not out in the real world.

-- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 8:19 AM

Part of the college education is learning that you have to consider the rights of others, that there are consequences to actions, and that breaking laws carries penalties, even if you disagree with those laws

- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 8:19 AM

I would hope kids would know this before the age of 18.

I don't see how fining the landlord would do anything to stop these kind of parties

-- Posted by Producer1 on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 8:56 AM

I would not want to hang out with Scott Moyers

-- Posted by JGalt84 on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 9:48 AM

OK...my observation so far. 1)Parties ( + loud noise downtown ) are coming from businesses and Private Home owners ...not just rentals . 2) Older lady on front page for "image' shock...not really the problem that needs to be addressed. Vandalism all over Cape...why not these pictures too. 3) Existing laws on book not being enforced. Just my 2 cents worth.

-- Posted by CB1 on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 9:48 AM

How about the University leasing the propereties from the owner and subletting them to students? In that way the University can police the stdudents as they do on campus. This would be a better approach than more ordinaces that are not encforced.

-- Posted by logger on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 10:05 AM

Those pushing the new ordinance had their poster girl in Mrs. Strom and a willing hack in Scott Moyers(seems he neglected to research existing ordinances and enforcement levels).

What the proponents had not counted on was the arrogance of the SEMO students exhibited in these comments that have made passage of the proposed law all but certain.

Missing are comments from the presidents of the student body, the interfraternity council, the various off-campus groups, and all other students whose rents will be raised to off-set the new mandated fees.

It will be interesting to see if this is enough to galvanize the students into a voting block that could easily dominate local elections. See Cal-Berkley for an example of student power run rampant.

The question is, will the new dollars ensure better police response to Cape's Mrs. Stroms.

-- Posted by semowasp on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 11:57 AM

Newsflash: I has nothing to do with the laws. Police do not enforce these laws because they choose not to. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen Cape police called to the scene of a violent crime involving the Pike fraternity in a seven on one jumping of an innocent passer by for no reason at all, other than their own entertainment, and the police showing up, and actually apologizing to them for having to arrest just one of the pikes after they lied and said it was a fair one on one fight. The officers disregarded the victims claims that he was jumped even though the poor kid had to go to the ER afterwards. You can get away with anything if you pay your way.

-- Posted by Travesty on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 12:02 PM

jdlifritz1s you sound dangerous. You weren't born then, and came from elsewhere, so we'll forgive your ignorance. You buy a house when you are in your thirties and see you like it when 50 years later, when you have no financial flexibility and just want to live out your few remaining years in peace, and you can't sleep for months at a time. 50 years ago most places that are now considered "on campus" weren't even part of the university. Students lived in dorms. Those few living off campus would not have dreamed of getting the police called on them, because their names would have reached the DEAN and they would have been expelled from college. Of course, that was in the days before the college ran the town!

35 years ago, when I was in college, we had our parties out in the country. If we were at an apartment in town (not a slum-lord's broken down house rented out), if we turned the stereo loud, and the neighbors complained, we stopped at midnight - and we might have yelled "party poop!" but didn't threaten bodily harm. If we wanted to drink illegally, we went over the river.

Contrary to what you may have heard while you were hatching, it is not your God-given right to shake the rafters for a two block radius with giant speakers outside on your porch, throw your trash including broken microwaves and dozens of beer bottles in the alley, take a whiz on the neighbor's vehicle in the street, and threaten the elderly for calling the police at 2am.

If you don't like it, go back to St. Louis where you can live with Mommy & Daddy.

-- Posted by teachergloria on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 1:49 PM

*reads through all the ignorant gunk and clears her throat*

Listen up, college kids. I can understand that some of you are now "butthurt" because you're finally getting what's coming to you, but the plain and simple fact of the matter is this:

Grow up.

This isn't about the "supposed" as you say, ax through her house. This IS about the loud music, public urination, and absolute stupidity that you are wreaking, and then blaming it on the innocent people in the neighborhood. What a fascinating LOGIC you have! It sounds oddly familiar! Oh wait, it's the same thing TEENAGERS do when they get in trouble! "It's not MY fault! It's THEIR fault!" Typical childish finger-pointing in some absolutely ridiculous method to make yourselves think that you are right, and then try to convince others whose I.Q.s are much higher than yours.

You're right, it's a college street now, a college neighborhood now, but guess what? It wasn't always a college street or neighborhood. Chances are, she was there first, so guess what? She's got more weight than you do, and just because you insolent and ignorant pricks want to have your parties at 3am doesn't mean that she has to move. If YOU don't like it, then perhaps YOU should change neighborhoods, hm? You don't own that house, you don't pay the mortgage, and you likely don't pay jack in any utilities. You go there to party, get your kicks, and then waste taxpayer [and your parents'] money by arriving in class hungover without having done any schoolwork. Way to waste the taxpayer money!

Nobody is saying that YOU CAN'T PARTY. People are saying that you need to HAVE SOME RESPECT, tone down your loud music, stop ******* in other people's yards, and act like ADULTS instead of a bunch of ignorant and spoiled savages.

However, I can't say that I expect that to happen. You're "college kids", you're there to "have a good time", but you know what? You guys are a dime a dozen. You'll graduate [maybe] and then you'll be working at your nearest Wal-Mart because you were too busy partying and wasting everyone's money. Sorry to burst your bubble, college is NOT about the experience, not when your parents, or taxpayers are FUNDING that education. Sorry, college is there to set you up with a career. It's there to give you a more specialized and higher education to put forth for the rest of your life, not to teach you to drink until you pass out naked in the street like a moron.

Seriously, we have enough stupid in the world without you idiots contributing. Wise up, or drop out and save us the money. I would LOVE to pick and choose where my tax money goes when it comes to education and student aid, because I'd be picking which idiots wouldn't be getting my money for their "education".

Have your parties, have some respect, and please, do us all a favor, and grow up.

Please note, I don't intend this for all college students that have been posting. One or two have made their points with some kind of intelligence and understanding, while the rest of these bozos give the smart ones a bad name.

-- Posted by xXAngelicEvilXx on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 1:51 AM

In response to this story, as owner of this property, I must say there are a few problems with this story. This damage was done several months ago by previous tenents. Mrs. Strom called me several times about parties. The problem being she would call on Sunday morning well after the party had broken up. I would go and talk with the tenents and have them clean up the mess. I asked her many times to call during these events or to call th CGPD and I could meet them at the house and calm things down. To my knowledge she never called during the parties. As a property owner I am obligated to try and get along with the other property owners in any area that I own property. That area has many rental properties close to this address and I'm sure it can be a problem, but if CGPD or the owner is not called when the infractions are being committed there is little we can do.

-- Posted by Bussy on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 8:56 AM

Bussy, think about it, if Mrs Strom called you and you showed up during the party, what kind of retaliation would she face after you left? My mother is 84 and there are numerous rental properties near her home that cater to college kids. Why because some slum lord bought the houses for next to nothing, put in multiple bedrooms and charge outrageous rent because it is within walking distance to the college. I am NOT saying you are a slum lord but there are too many that give decent landlords a bad name, it only takes a few to discredit most. The elderly are preyed upon by idiots, whether they are college kids or thugs, they live in fear inside their own homes. The biggest problem seems to be no one in the neighborhood knows who the landlords are and couldn't contact them if they needed to, and many don't even live in Cape. As I said in my previous post, SEMO has their own Campus police who have more authority over the students, they need to be called as well as Cape PD, that way one of them has juristiction over the college students or local residents attending the party. SEMO has an agreement that they will contact the students parents when incidents like this happen, residents of Cape need to utilize this service.

-- Posted by Sunflower Girl on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 10:43 AM

Check your facts. They cannot call the parents unless the student in question is under the age of 18. The age of 18, to the university and according to state law, is the age of majority and dictates what contact the university may have with the parents. When you start classes at SEMO, you have the option to limit or forbid disclosure of your grades to parents because of your age. This also applies to your criminal record, which includes speeding tickets, jaywalking, and failure to keep property free from litter (to name a few). So, would you also say that these criminal incidents would fall under that "agreement?" What agreement? With whom do they have an accord? What kind of "incidents" warrant a call to mommy and daddy by this "agreement?" Although college students may not act like it, they are adults and do not need a call to their parents, although admittedly it might help. If they get the cops called on them, they should be able to handle it themselves. The burden of informing their parents is on them because they will likely have to do it anyway to pay the fines and whatnot. By law, the university does not and should not have an obligation to do this.

-- Posted by PMA_Ranch on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 12:37 PM

First off, I would like to address all those people who claim that the partying and music till 3 am has a correlation to failing out of school, working at Wal-Mart, or being of a lower intelligence. This is not true, plain and simple. I lived in a house on Dunklin and Illinois which is right across from the property that has been the flag ship for this witch hunt and feel like I have a different viewpoint on this article. Yes the parties were late, but no they weren't that loud. Also, as BUSSY had mentioned earlier, any trash or damage that had occurred the night before was cleaned up and repaired the following morning. The fact that they are using this particular house as the focal point for the article is actually ironic seeing that the majority of the readers are focusing on this as being a lawless house and that its residents are party animals that do nothing but bring down the environment of the neighborhood and community. What you should know is that it IS a house full of Greeks, it should also be noted that their particular affiliation has no weight in all of your arguments and that all of your remarks are slanderous and could be considered defamation of character on a national level, but I digress. As I stated they are greeks and yes, as a whole we like to party but we also are some of the biggest contributors to the community. The following information is taken directly off the SEMO Greeks website and is for the year of 2009. For the 2009 Greek Week, there were over 1,500 hours of community service completed on projects such as habitat for humanity, Salvation Army, battered women's shelter, and other organizations. In addition to that, we also gathered over 34,000 canned goods for Salvation Army, 502 pints of blood for the Red Cross, and raised over $25,000 in donations which were given to organizations such as Make-A-Wish foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters. That is all just in one week, during the rest of the year each fraternity and sorority holds fundraisers for various charities as well. That is just some of the work we do for the community that chooses to focus on only the bad that we do.

As for on campus, greeks have to maintain a 2.5 GPA to stay greek which is above the university requirements to graduate which results in a higher probability of graduation simply by going greek as opposed to not. In addition to maintaining a minimum GPA, over 66% of all greeks are involved in organizations other than their greek affiliation. These organizations include student government, all university judicial board, president of the student alumni board, and I would also like to point out that at this year's commencement ceremony one of my fraternity brothers spoke as the student representative for the board of regents.

At this point you might be asking the relevance of this information in regard to the article, it is simple, as greeks we do a lot for the community and the university. All the parties that go on in Cape are usually greek related and if you attempt to crack down on these parties it will have repercussions on greek involvement. I am not using this as a threat but as an observation that if you remove the wild animal house parties, then greeks will not see as much of a reason to be involved in a community that doesn't even want them.

For this I propose the university and the City of Cape along with the leading landlords in the area and work on setting up a greek themed, off-campus, neighborhood. I am sure something along these lines has been proposed already, but as citizens of this community, I feel that you could help this dream become a reality. The benefits of this type of zoning would include contained party areas which would allow Cape PD to focus on one neighborhood instead of multiple areas. Another benefit would be that the destruction and loud music that comes as a result of the party would not affect those who have already been living in the neighborhoods such as Mrs. Strom.

Creating new laws or questioning the strength of enforcement will not get anything accomplished, it will only make the situation worse, I mean for christ's sake, it has only been a few days and there are already over 67 comments. Clearly this is a problem and needs to be resolved. What you people are doing on here does not help and only creates more drama. If you want results come up with ideas that benefit both sides, its simple politics. Alright, I'll step off my soap box now, but I would like to say that personal attacks on people or organizations by means of an online media such as this that blocks your true identity is childish and the sad part of it is a lot of the slander has come from adults. Also, as I am sure comments will ensue, so as a preemptive strike I would like to state that I partied just as much as the house in the article and I still graduate with a BS in biology and was also accepted into a doctorate program that I will be starting in the fall, so just because I like to drink and play my music loud doesn't make me a bad person or a failure at life. I respect my neighbors and have reduced the noise levels when asked, but if you don't speak up until it's over then you can't accomplish anything.

-- Posted by SemoGreek on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 6:29 PM

Consider -

"as greeks we do a lot for the community and the university" -- 1 aw-crap cancels 100 atta-boys. Lesson - better to be a complete zero when it comes to media coverage and related scrutiny.

"the university and the City of Cape along with the leading landlords in the area and work on setting up a greek themed, off-campus, neighborhood" -- IMO, would have a much better appearance if corrective actions would be initiated by the perps, instead of those affected.

IIRC, one SEMO fraternity has an old schoolhouse, another formerly acquired a 'club' across the river and later near the intersection of way-East Cape Rock and 177 - away from the general residential cluster for their activities. Not aware of any university, city, or landlord help here.

College greek - been there, done that, got the t-shirts, learned the secret handshake and doorknock, sharing the lessons learned. :-)

-- Posted by fxpwt on Wed, Jun 1, 2011, at 8:45 PM

Yes, she was there when college students still had manners. Now they are like animals. You can still party and have fun with out being infantile and viscious about it. College students should be progressing to adulthood not regressing to childhood and childish behavior I'm beginning to believe they are sent to SEMO not for education but for the parents to be rid of them. Maybe SEMO should have classes in "how to be a decent human being" and "compassion for others". since their parents obviously didn't teach them.

-- Posted by ArcticFox on Thu, Jun 2, 2011, at 12:19 PM

Plain and Simple...If grandma dont like it, she can move!! We have a right to party too!! Sigma Chi, Never Die!!

-- Posted by RedShirt on Thu, Jun 2, 2011, at 1:33 PM

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