Your story about Dan Olsen is just beautiful. I am going to send it to a family member who lost his wife a year ago and is having a difficult time. Thank you for this column. We love it. -- Fran Reynolds, Columbia
Thank you for loving Dan Olsen, caring about him, and sharing your experiences with him.
I am Dan's daughter and your story about him was passed on to me by his co-workers. I want to tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. I so cherished the stories about him in your article. I enjoyed hearing how he interacted with others in Columbia.

Dan was the most special man and about the best Dad a girl could ask for. I miss him dearly. A huge dent was left in my heart and life when he disappeared from this world.
Sunday phone calls still make my heart skip, hoping all these months were just a bad dream and he is calling to tell me about his work week and adventures. A HOG (Harley motorcycle) driving by my house has me rushing to peek out the window to see it roar up the hill. I have had something fun or exciting happen and caught myself picking up the phone to call him to share the news, and then my heart sinks when reality kicks in, knowing he won't be on the other end.

Dan Olsen was such a special person. He was loved by so many people.
-- Angel Portice, Michigan
I don't tell you often enough, but you have a phenomenal publication, in the best tradition of Alternative News Sources ... and citizen journalism. -- David Finke, Columbia

The severance deal may not be so bad after all. Consider that it is not available if Matthes quits, but presumably only if terminated or forced to resign. A city manager must take risks in the job, making unpopular decisions, which in his judgment is the right thing for the city. Don't we want a bold leader? The severance provides a financial cushion, and gives him more "courage" than would be the case otherwise. I don't think you should fan this fire.
-- John Dean, Columbia
Thanks for all your work on the Beat Byte. The news is timely and your perspective is appreciated. Ever since you started reporting, I feel Columbia has gained an advocate and promoter for liberty and justice for all. Thanks again!
-- Ken Leija, Columbia
Bless your soul for soldiering on. This entire community owes you an infinite measure of respect and eternal gratitude for focusing the light of truth on Columbia's elected "representatives", the local government workings and the overwhelming duplicity that is on constant display at City Hall. -- Judie G., Boone County

I found the Columbia Heart Beat after my first entrance into city politics on the Blight/EEZ issue. I've been impressed by your coverage. -- James Ginns, Columbia

What you are doing with Heart Beat is amazing and I am so grateful for your work. This is what journalism is supposed to be. -- Jean Blackwood, Columbia


In a recent Heart Beat column, you wrote: "Conflicts of interest are part of the local leadership culture. Leaders often take umbrage at being questioned about them, or pooh-pooh concerns with witty rejoinders or tired rhetoric."
I believe we can put a finer point on this criticism of our "leaders." It can be summed up in one word: "sociopath."

A sociopath lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience and engages in behavior in which social norms and the rights of others are persistently violated. To the sociopath, the world only exists to satisfy personal wants and needs.

Not surprisingly, sociopaths often reach the top of businesses and politics, where their warped approach gives them free rein to force their agenda (and never mind its effect on others).

They are "effective," but at a great price. In business, shareholders love their sociopath-CEO’s dividends, but their employees fear them.
In politics, they do whatever seems most likely to get them elected. Lying, cheating, and flip-flopping are simple necessities -- and par for the course. They are experts with weasel words – saying something that sounds real, but actually means nothing (and will be denied as "misunderstood" the instant it causes them trouble). They tend to avoid taking a public stand on anything of consequence, unless temporarily forced to do so to satisfy an important group.
Thanks for always having a great collection of short articles, including those that expose the leeches within Columbia and Boone County. Obvious sociopaths populate our local government. Once you know what to look for, you can see the distain for "ordinary" people on their faces. -- W. T., Columbia