Springfield, MO

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Heer's On The Street

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COVER YOUR GLASS. "You'd think it would be a beehive of activity, but there's nothing going on," said Tedd Hamaker, veterinarian and downtown habitue, regarding the Heer's building and efforts to stabilize its facade. When, two weeks ago, a glass pane fell from the building and damaged a parked car (just missing the car's owner, and startling a passing SBJ staff member), the city barricaded Park Central West to traffic. That's what used to be called closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Pedestrian traffic continued unabated, and indeed, vehicle traffic often managed to skirt the half-hearted roadblocks. As Hamaker mentioned, no evidence of progress to correct the problem which is not new; glass has been falling from the empty building for two years or open the street is visible, even on the most temperate day of 1998, when Dr. Tedd made his comments. At the urging of Moon City Cafe owner Dennis Radford-Kapp, a letter to the city on Urban Districts Alliance letterhead was composed and the signatures of area property and business owners were sought. The letter urged quick action on the problem lest customer access to the area be further prevented to the detriment of Park Central West and other area businesses. Other word on the street had engineering reports due "any day," after which, presumably, action will be at hand.

CANNED. Urban Districts Alliance, with federal grant money, has purchased trash cans for downtown. The 30 receptacles are out on the sidewalks now. Springfield's Public Works Department placed the cans and will empty them. Perhaps any future falling glass from the Heer's building will have the decency to plummet into the trash cans, saving valuable clean-up time.

HOMETOWN BOY. Radio stations KTTS both on the AM and FM dial announced a change in news directors. Brian Vandenberg is out, and Morris James is in. James is not new to Springfield or the Radio Ranch. He worked at KTTS from 1972-83 starting when he was 18 years old and was news director for nine years.

RECORD GIVING. Ozarks Public Television, KOZK Channel 21 in Springfield, set records in its recent beg-a-thon, raising $144,000 in the just-completed "March of Support" membership drive. "Within the last two pledge drives, we have seen an increase in new members and financial support from our membership base," said Sarah White, president and general manager of the PBS station. Though a release from the folks at KOZK mentioned some of the special programming during the drive (a Rolling Stones concert among them), it seems within reason to think donors were hoping generous donations would result in a quicker return to the airwaves of "Ozarks Roundtable," pre-empted for the last three weeks by the pledge drive.

WARNING. In what Missouri's Secretary of State Bekki Cook called an "extraordinary action," her office announced an ongoing investigation of International Heritage Inc., a North Carolina-based direct-sales company. Cook said it is unusual for her office to discuss a case until a cease-and-desist order is issued, but that this case deserved early warning. Though Missouri's investigation continues, the Securities and Exchange Commission got a temporary restraining order in a Georgia federal court, barring the company from recruiting new investors. Cook's release said meetings in Springfield, Joplin and Jefferson City have taken place, but the full extent of the company's activity is not yet known. Word on the street has a number of members of the men's fitness center at the Downtown Y involved with IHI, and these same folks took their wares into the Joplin market. Mary S. Hosmer, assistant securities commissioner in the secretary of state's securities division, said those approached to participate in IHI should call her office's investor hot line at 800-721-7996. "We've received word that representatives of the company are continuing to recruit Missouri investors and not informing these potential investors of the federal action and that's just wrong," Cook said.

SLICE OF NICE. Bibliophiles can bolster this year's Friends of the Library book sale by donating a portion of their stash to the sale, which promises to be the biggest one yet. If you have a few extra copies of "A Farewell to Arms," donate them to help fund library programs for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. You can fill the empty spots the donated Hemingways made in your bookshelf at the sale, also. The sale will be held in the North Town Mall in what was once the Heer's store. It will begin Saturday, April 18, and end Sunday, April 26. If you would like to donate books, drop off donations at any public library branch. Records, CDs, video and audio cassette tapes are also needed. For more information, please contact Mark Gideon at 886-1364.

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