After over seven and a half years living in Columbia, I am relocating to St. Louis. I have taken a job as the Web editor for Missouri Lawyers Media Additionally, I will no longer cover the Missouri State Capitol on a regular basis.
I am tremendously grateful and excited for this opportunity. And I wanted to sincerely thank everybody who helped me get to where I am today.
I've been writing newspaper articles since I was in middle school.
In fact, I consider myself a reporter first and foremost, even though
some may understandably infer that blogging is my passion.
Reporting is not just a practical way for writers to make a decent living in this country. It goes further than that. Reporting forces insular people to become expressive. It prompts individuals to reach out to others, even when it's out of their comfort zones. And it provides a wonderful chance for exposure inside a community - or, perhaps, a state.
The funny thing is that if it wasn’t for a smiley face cookie, I would probably be a
The cookie I speak of came from Caryl Jo Dagro, my high school
journalism teacher for three years. She was tough and often unforgiving. So tough, in fact, that I
was failing an introductory journalism class because I could not manually crop
When I saw this grade, I was angry – and ashamed. I decided to
get out of a more advanced journalism class for a film class. And I seemed well on my way to studying
history in college. After all, I could name all of the presidents in
backward order. I was destined to be stuck in a library, reading primary
sources while listening to house music.
When Dagro found out, she called me into her office. On her
desk was a big smiley face cookie readily available at Chicagoland White
Hens. I don’t recall what she said exactly, but it was something along the
lines of ‘keep your head up,’ ‘don’t quit’ and ‘work hard.’
The ploy worked. I dropped the film class and began my path that will change pretty soon. I've made mistakes throughout my life and my career. But taking that cookie was the best decision I ever made.
There are, of course, so many people to thank. That includes all of my friends at the Columbia Daily Tribune, the Columbia Business Times, the St. Louis Beacon, KBIAand the University of Missouri Journalism School. I'd also like to thank my reporting colleagues at the Missouri Capitol for your infinite wisdom and companionship.
And of course, I'd like to thank all my friends in Columbia for making these past years the greatest period of time of my life.
Thank you all for your support, advice and encouragement. I'll meet you all in St. Louis.
With only a few days left before the end of the decade, I thought it would be a fitting finale to count down the 25 greatest stories I got to cover in the 2000s. I'm going to stick with material I covered. The Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske compiled a more comprehensive list here.
Some of these stories may be funny. Others may be serious. But regardless, I hope this list provides a engaging and light finale to the decade of despondence.
BACKGROUND: If you venture up to the third floor of the MissouriCapitolBuilding, you’ll find busts of so-called “Famous Missourians.” The usual suspects – Walt Disney, John Ashcroft and Mark Twain – are present. But in 2007, House Speaker Rod Jetton sent a wave of excitement through the halls when he tabbed game show host Bob Barker to enter the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Barker, of course, was the longtime host of The Price is Right, one of the most popular television shows in history. And when news got out that he was coming to Jefferson City, thousands of people jammed into the Rotunda to catch glimpse of the “bronzed star.” He made a very entertaining speech, took some questions from the press and signed autographs. It was a run-of-the-mill speaker story. But come on! It’s Bob Barker!
WHY IT MADE THE LIST:The Hall of Famous Missourians is a ceremonial honor that has little impact on the future of the state. But Barker’s visit attracted more visitors than most events I've witnessed. It wasn’t even close. And best of all, Barker showcased a terrific sense of humor, never wavering from dropping references to his cameo in Happy Gilmore. Believe it or not, that film still strikes a cord for people who are in my age bracket. "You're going to die clown" is still music to my ears.
FUN FACT:Columbia Daily Tribune photographer Nick King managed to snapa picture of Christine Franckholding a signed photo of Bob Barker. Christine Franck is the wife of Matt Franck, who at the time was a capital reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
KMIZ sports anchor Kevin Lewis (right) is one of seven Milwaukee Bucks fans in the world.
As many people know, I was honored earlier this year to win "Columbia's Best Blogger" award from Inside Columbia. It was, of course, the reason for this rather interesting situation. The magazine didn't include 'Best Blogger' category this year, dashing my hopes of once again donning a prom dress.
But there are several friends who were nominated. And I would like to take a few moments to briefly endorse these people:
The first person I endorse is Kevin Lewis, a sports anchor for KMIZ. Even though he's a little bit down Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd, he's a top-notch sportscaster who deserves your vote and support. And as you can see from the above photo, he's also apparently a great guest coach for the Missouri Tigers.
For best newspaper reporter, I offer a dual endorsement for T.J. Greaney and Caroline Dohack. Both work for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Greaney is a versatile reporter who also pens the region's best column - Against the Grain. And Dohack, a native of scenic Ripley County, provides Columbia with much-needed exposition into fashion, travel and everything in between.
I would also highly beseech you all to vote for Josh "Big Pants" Windle as Columbia's favorite bartender. Not does "Pants" pour a mean drink, but he's also a tremendous guy to converse with at Eastside Tavern.
You can vote for your favorite Columbia-centric things at this Web site.
Deer of Missouri - Gov. Jay Nixon has put you on notice.
Well, not really. But the Democratic chief executive did successfully shoot a doe yesterday while hunting in Pulaski County. He donated the meat from the animal to Share the Harvest, a public-private partnership that donates food to the needy.
"Share the Harvest is a wonderful way for Missourians to continue that tradition, by providing fresh, nutritious meat for their neighbors in need," Nixon said in a statement.
According to a press release, Nixon took the meat to Steve-n-Sons Custom Meat Processing in Newberg, which is one of 125 approved processors for the program.
In Columbia, the only certain things are death, taxes and Darwin Hindman.
But according to the Columbia Missourian, the longtime Columbia mayor announced today that he will not run for re-election next year. The decision will likely lead to a scramble to replace the longtime officeholder.
Columbia's mayor doesn't have a lot of executive power. In essence, he or she acts as an at-large voting member of the City Council. But Hindman has became a highly-visible ambassador to the city. He even got his own bobblehead doll.
Sen. Ted Kennedy - a constant presence in national politics since the early 1960s - has died. He was 77.
One of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S.
history -- a liberal standard-bearer who was also known as a consummate
congressional dealmaker -- Kennedy had been battling brain cancer,
which was diagnosed in May 2008.
His death marked the twilight of a political dynasty and dealt a blow to Democrats as they seek to answer President Barack Obama's call for an overhaul of the healthcare system.
Kennedy was a longtime advocate of healthcare reform, a signature issue
of Obama's presidency. Obama said on Wednesday he was heartbroken to
hear of the death of Kennedy, a crucial supporter of his presidential
"I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the
swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished
his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency.
And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've
profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom," said Obama,
who was elected last November and took office in January.