Your work on EEZ has been very helpful to me and others who are opposing the EEZ being proposed in Callaway County.
-- Beverly Martin, Fulton, MO
About Rob Hill's Rock Bridge subdivision and earlier problems in the Grasslands
I am writing in regards to Rob Hill. You may recognize my name as I was one of the more vocal individuals in the Grasslands when Rob built the 8-unit rental property on Clarkson Road. Since you referenced the situation from many years ago in your recent article on the proposed Route K development, it seems fair and appropriate to let you know how effective and conscientious Rob has been with regards to his management of the properties on Clarkson these past few years.
My name is Nikki Bappe and my daughter recently set up a campaign on a fundraising site to raise money to help our family.
I am seriously ill with a chronic lung condition which has deteriorated to the point where a double lung transplant is my only option. My husband (her dad) was diagnosed with cancer this June and received the second harshest treatment that they have for cancer and has not been able to work since August.
He is still a long way from recovered.
Ellen is one of my daughter's favorite people. There's so much she enjoys about her including her humor, her shows and her philanthropy.
Enter "Jodie's story" in the search window and the story should be on that page. The campaign is no longer active but it's one of their success stories.
That said, there are lots of things available in the "safety net." If Jodie's dad was a Marine, he would be eligible for VA disability, about $900 a month if non-service connected. If he has paid into Social Security 5 of the last 10 years, he’s entitled to Social Security if he can’t work and it will last a year. If he has not paid in, he’d be eligible for $698 in SSI, same disability test. Same for her mom, disability and SSI.
About criticism of Heart Beat coverage of public efforts to support Shakir Hamoodi
In "Readers Rite," Mike Burnam alleges and objects that "you are supporting a person, convicted of funneling money to terrorist groups with an auction." Since he asked to be taken off your list, he probably will not see my rejoinder to his mistaken and irresponsible charges against our friend, local food merchant Dr. Shakir Hamoodi.
I am one who proudly and openly helped organize that auction, which raised money for the Hamoodi Family Benefit Trust: a cushion to help Shakir's local family while he's away at Leavenworth Prison on a 3-year sentence. In substance (though not in law) we have done exactly what Shakir did: help those in distress.
If Mr. Burnam had either checked the facts of the federal case, or even more closely studied the extensive local coverage of the trial last May, he would have realized that Shakir's conviction was the result of a plea-bargain in which he admitted to a technical violation of a Presidential Executive Order against anyone sending money to anyone in Iraq during the period of U.N. Sanctions against the Sadaam Hussein regime, unless that donor went through a near-impossible set of hoops for getting a Treasury Department license.
The government had Dr. Hamoodi's seized records for over 5 years, during which time he fully cooperated in interpreting and clarifying all of them, which scrupulously accounted for the moneys he transmitted for humanitarian purposes to Iraq. From the FBI and at trial there was never a finding that any of these funds went to "terrorist groups" or benefitted the Hussein regime.
On the contrary, our appeal for Presidential Clemency is filled with testimonial letters from those whose lives were made more bearable and in some cases saved from disease and death due to the charity which Dr. Hamoodi enabled, for which he is now suffering.
Mike, I appreciate the ongoing education and support you've given this righteous effort. I would remind your readers that Shakir's collection and transmittal of funds to family members and their friends in Iraq — far from being "terrorist groups" — was in response to dire suffering from the sanctions, during which they could not afford medicines, adequate food, or other necessities of life.
Scores of us in Columbia — whether we've known Dr. Hamoodi or not — have said that we would have tried to do exactly the same thing, if we learned that our mother was going blind or needed medicine that she could not afford.
We in the support community for Shakir & his family will continue to work to bring this matter to the attention of our newly re-elected President, who now may be less vulnerable to hysterical political pressures, to urge him to grant Executive Clemency to commute a sentence which is a travesty of justice, an affront to our common humanity.
Those who wish to join that support can follow this work in the online petition and blog, www.helphamoodi.org. They also are encouraged to stop by World Harvest Foods near Nifong & Providence, both for shopping and for information.
This compassionate community must not and shall not abandon our friend and his family. I urge that we continue to take a stand against bigotry and ignorance. To do so is to honor Shakir's leadership on just such matters, for which Columbia is a more enlightened place. -- David Finke, Columbia