Travis Wyrick, 18, Joplin, the man facing a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident, is free from jail after posting $25,000 bond Thursday.
The next hearing for Wyrick, who is charged in connection with the hit-and-run death of Joplin High School senior Jamison Alexander, had a hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 23 in Jasper County Circuit Court.
The latest novel by former Joplin Globe and Pittsburg Morning Sun investigative reporter Max McCoy is plugged in today's Pittsburg Morning Sun.
McCoy's book is about a reporter who is a native of Baxter Springs, Kan., who uncovers a right-wing conspiracy to steal a nuclear weapon and start armageddon. "Hinterland" is being published by Leisure Books.
McCoy will talk about his book and sign copies of it 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Pittsburg Public Library.
A few notes on the recently-announced acquisition of Pulitzer, parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Lee Enterprises out of Iowa:
According to the St. Louis Business Journal, two Pulitzer shareholders have filed a class-action suit against Pulitzer, claiming $64 per share price paid by Lee for the company was nowhere near enough. One of the two men filed his suit Feb. 2, while a similar lawsuit was filed Jan. 31, according to the publication.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured a humorous take by star columnist Bill McClellan on the change of ownership. Earlier, when it appeared Pulitzer was going to be purchased by Gannett, owner of the Springfield News-Leader, McClellan wrote a hilarious column, in which he purposely kissed up to Gannett, singing the virtues of its flagship newspaper, USA Today.
In Friday's Post-Dispatch, McClellan wrote, "Actually, I never liked Gannett. More to the point, I like everything about Lee. Let me frank about that. I have never seen anything associated with any Lee that I didn't like. The chicken? It's the best. The jeans? Better than Levis. Robert E. Lee? The finest general in the Civil War.
"That's something to consider. I bet if Robert E. Lee were to name his favorite Union general, it would be my great-great-great-grandfather, George B. McClellan. General George refused to march south. He did not want to do battle with his good friend, Bobby Lee, and he was relieved of command because of his refusal. In other words, the Lees and the McClellans go way back."
A study released Friday by the Federal Communications Commission indicates that cable TV prices are increasing, but at a slower rate than they have been. The annual report says the overall monthly rate for cable service increased by 5.4 percent over the 12-month period ending Jan. 1, 2004 from $42.99 to $45.32. It had gone up 7.8 percent the previous year.
Readers on most computer screens are no longer able to see any local news on the screen when they click on KODE's website. Unless you have a giant computer screen, the only items visible on the top of the KODE homepage are the latest self-serving pronouncement by parent company Nexstar Broadcasting and the holdover letter to Cable One customers.
The message is headlined "Questions Answered Concerning KODE and Cable Carriage" and reads like this:
"As you know, the KODE signal is no longer available on certain cable systems within the station's viewing area. Cable One has removed the signal from the systems it controls, while Cox cable with its systems in Carthage and Lamar has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the station on those systems. Cox has conceded the value of the station to its systems by taking these steps to keep them in their lineup. Within the next few days, KODE will air a special program about the cable issues as they pertain to KODE. The Chief Operating Officer for Nexstar Broadcasting, Duane Lammers, will address the matter and answer questions concerning KODE and cable carriage. If you have questions you would like to ask, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org."
The same message is at the top of KSNF's home page, with the only difference being the substitution of KSN for KODE. The slightly different layout of KSNF's homepage allows the viewer to be able to see a couple of news stories in addition to the new message and the letter to Cable One subscribers. It appears to me to be another slap in the face at the news departments at both local stations.
Speaking of Cable One, on its 6 p.m. news, KOAM carried a brief story on the company's $3,000 donation to the financially-troubled Boys and Girls Club of Joplin. The cameras from KODE and KSNF (both owned by Nexstar) were nowhere to be seen. You could make a legitimate argument that other stories are more worthwhile than another company making another donation to another cause, but there are two legitimate reasons why the Nexstar cameras should have been rolling for this news story.
First, KODE and KSNF have both been carrying stories about the court hearings of former Boys and Girls Club director Rob Clay, whose alleged embezzling is cited as the reason for the non-profit organization's financial problems. That gives the story a hard news peg. It's not just another fluff item.
Second, it would have been a smart public relations move for the Nexstar stations to cover news involving Cable One, even if it placed the company in a positive light. This photo opportunity gave Nexstar a chance to prove that its stations' news departments will fairly cover the news, even when it is positive news about an antagonist.
You can make a good case for not covering the check presentation...were it not for the extensive coverage of the Clay hearings, and it it were not for Nexstar officials' ongoing battles with Cable One and their shameless efforts to use their news departments as shills in that battle.
Coverage of Friday's Cable One-Boys and Girls Club story would have been a brilliant public relations maneuver and could have restored a bit of the reputations of the news departments of KODE and KSNF...reputations that Nexstar has done everything within its power to tarnish.
Despite the meddling of Nexstar officials, the beleaguered news departments at the Joplin stations have managed to put together some nice stories on a daily basis. One that was particularly well done was KODE's Alan Cavanna's piece on the closing of the Greyhound station in Carthage/
Cavanna did what good reporters should always do with feature stories of this nature. He got out of the way and let the subject of the story do the talking, in this case, Lorene Denney, who has run the Carthage Greyhound station for the past three decades.
And for those of you who were not aware, Sweeps Month began Thursday which means the local stations will have all kinds of special news reports during the next four weeks. The viewership of the stations during the three sweeps months (February, May, and November) determines how much the stations can charge for their advertising rates. Simply put, the more viewers you have, the more money you can charge.