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SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN CRANE: Playing with Ryan Ferguson's high school ban

Oh, what a tangled web.... 


COLUMBIA, Mo 11/22/13 (Op Ed) -- Every so often, it's a journalist's job to untangle the web of small town life.

The print newspaper did it here, about the IBM deal.  Naturally, some town bosses were involved. 
 
When someone is selling expensive land to City Hall or the school district, or getting crazy tax break schemes like Blight approved, the town bosses are usually behind that, too.
 
And wouldn't you know it:  their names have popped up with what else -- the Ryan Ferguson case.
 
Word the principal of Hickman High School -- by virtually any measure, one of the country's finest public schools -- banned Ferguson from speaking to student journalists on campus, has struck more than a few folks as another WTF moment -- something completely inexplicable that's usually connected to the bosses.
 
And then -- voilà -- a bunch of crazy connections start showing up, just like that game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Ryan's father Bill Ferguson expressed anger over the situation four years ago, when Boone County Circuit Judge Jodie Asel threw out an appeal asking for a new trial based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Judge Asel's opinion might have been fair, but here's the rub: her husband, Don Asel, is director of marketing at MBS Books, where Robert Pugh is CEO.
 
As in Boss Pugh, who's been spitting bookmarks over Mayor Bob McDavid's failure to bring the gavel down on talkative citizens at Columbia City Council meetings.  And selling really expensive land to the city and school district ($3 million worth).
 
At the time of Ferguson's appeal, Pugh’s daughter was engaged to marry -- Ryan's prosecutor, Kevin Crane!  They have since married and Crane -- now a Judge -- is a Pugh-in-law.
 
Ryan's father raised a ruckus.  He "alleged a conflict of interest on the part of Judge Asel," whom he thought "should have recused herself from the case," the newspaper reported.

"Our family is considering filing an allegation of misconduct against Judge Asel with the Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline," Bill Ferguson wrote in the newspaper comments.  
 
All right students -- back to work.  In the spirit of high school, here's the six degrees quiz.
 
Bob Pugh:
 
a) Is the father-in-law of Judge (and former Prosecutor) Kevin Crane
b) Employs Judge Asel's husband
c) Is irked at Mayor McDavid for not telling activists to shush at City Council meetings
d) Recently sold $3 million worth of under-taxed farmland to City Hall and the school district
e) Is a Kewpie, not a Bruin  (a-hah!) 
f)  All of the above
 
If you answered "f", you get an A and will graduate this spring.   And don't worry -- if you'd like to return someday, we'll welcome you back with open arms.
 
 
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