Friday, September 03, 2004

It would be easy for me to point out the flaws in the taxpayer-financed , the website Diamond R-4 School District Superintendent Mark Mayo had put on line last year to get his message across to district patrons. Of course, the district already had a website at the time, , which Dr. Greg Smith had asked me to construct in the year 2000, but it had one thing Mayo did not want to deal with (me) and I was using it as an educational opportunity for my students and Mayo had another idea in mind. He told me during a meeting late in the 2002-2003 school year, "That's all fine and good (that students were helping with the website and turning it into a learning experience) but that's not what I'm interested in out of a district website. I want to be able to reach the people."
Of course, this conversation took place shortly after Mayo had been the target of tons of criticism on, which has been resurrected this week as
The "official" district website has its good points. It can provide basic information to the school district, and often does. Of course, it only puts a selected portion of the board minutes on line (none of the decisions made in closed session are included) and those are usually put on long after the meetings have actually taken place. Also, they don't appear to be archiving board minutes so you have to make sure you get the information when it is on the board minutes page or it will be gone the next time the page is updated.
The board agendas are not specific enough to help anyone who is interested in what is going to take place at the meeting.
That being said, the main reason I brought this up is that I noticed two of my former students have had their pictures added to the webpages and they couldn't have made better selections. Kristen Hicks is an excellent student and was the winner of the first two writing contests I put on at Diamond Middle School during her seventh and eighth grade years. Brittney Stevens transferred to Diamond late in the first semester of her eighth grade year and quickly made a difference in the school, becoming editor of the school newspaper that I sponsored and being appointed to a vacancy on the student council, which Renee Jones and I sponsored.
The two are symbols of people who are making the most of their school years and are greatly deserving of this honor.
It's a shame someone doesn't put them in charge of the content of those pages. Especially those self-serving CAT updates. You give those to Kristen or Brittney and I guarantee you the writing would improve 100 percent
Tonight is the traditional Silver Tiger football game at Lamar with age-old rivals Lamar and Nevada battling for that fabled traveling trophy.
I haven't seen this week's Democrat. It would be nice if there was a feature story or two about the Silver Tiger game. When the late, lamented Lamar Press was being published, our Sept. 12, 1996, issue featured several articles about the game. Historian Marvin VanGilder wrote about the 1940 game, which included a near-riot after a Lamar player was injured. A story Kelly Stahl wrote five years earlier in The Carthage Press about the 1968 game in which Bennie Reed accidentally tackled a cheerleader, was featured in thiat issue.
Other stories included my account of the 1978 game, the first Silver Tiger game I saw in which remnants of Coach Chuck Blaney's Dirty Thirty team went to Nevada and came back with Oscar. I reprinted an interview I did with Pete Ihm, who still had fond memories of the game even though he went on to play in the 1946 Cotton Bowl.
John Wagaman Jr.'s recollections of the 1948 game, Kelly Stahl's article on the 1991 contest, a listing of the winner and score of each game since its inception, and John Jungmann's preview of the upcoming 1996 game were prominently featured, as well as historic photos from earlier games.
Another chapter will be added to that history tonight. I know Chris Morrow, the Democrat sports editor, will do a good job of covering it. I just hope there is something in the paper to remind the people of the rivalry's grand history.
The 1998 sale of The Neosho Daily News, The Carthage Press, and other newspapers that belonged to American Publishing (a subsidiary of the Canadian company Hollinger) to the newly-formed Liberty Group Publishing marked the start of a long period in which Hollinger CEO Conrad Black looted his company coffers, according to a report filed with the federal Securities Exchange Commission earlier this week.
Most of American's community newspapers were sold to a California-based leveraged buyout firm, Leonard Green and Associates to $310 million with $31 million going toward a "non-compete" clause.
What was never explained is why Hollinger should have been paid a non-compete clause when it is almost impossible to start a newspaper in a small community which already has one and make it financially successful. One of the selling points for these newspapers, which Liberty is using now that it has them on the block, is that they have no competition.
Liberty officials appear to be lucky. As Hollinger continued to sell off the remainder of its community newspapers in the late 1990s and early this century, even more money went into these non-compete clauses, according to the report, and most of this money made its way into the personal bank accounts of Lord Black and two or three other high-ranking company officials. Buyers were also required to pay non-compete money to another publishing concern, which was totally owned by Lord Black and this handful of confederates.
The report indicates these robber barons took Hollinger for more than $400 million over the past five years.

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