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DEAR READER: Meet the members of this year's Readers Board

Friday, September 20, 2013 | 4:50 p.m. CDT; updated 5:36 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — We had our first Readers Board meeting of the year this week, and the advice from new members is already useful to me.

  • Don't underestimate the effect journalists' choices have on sources' lives.
  • Be more transparent about what the Missourian stands for and what sets us apart.
  • Continue the reporting practice of accuracy checks — it fosters trust.
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The Readers Board (read more about it here) is a group of people who agree to meet monthly to learn about what we do and help us do it better. And as much as former board members have told us about why they value the experience, I'm sure we're getting the better end of the deal.

We had some wonderful applications this year — the most we've gotten in our several years of having a Readers Board, and we worked to put together a board that would help keep us in touch with the needs of Columbia's diverse population.

If you're interested in being considered next time we're filling vacancies on the Readers Board, please get in touch with me at 882-8182 or mayerj@missouri.edu.

Without further ado, please meet the new Readers Board:

Wayne Behymer moved to Columbia from Macon when he was in the third grade and is a graduate of MU. He attended a one-room rural elementary school, then Jefferson Junior High School and graduated from Hickman High School in 1956. Wayne’s careers include several years as a computer systems analyst and many years as a life insurance agent. He has been active in numerous volunteer activities and is currently involved in the Boonslick Kiwanis Club, Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Relay for Life, Woodhaven Learning Center and Olivet Christian Church. He is married to Jo Haden Behymer.

Barbara Buffaloe is the city of Columbia's first sustainability manager. She began the position in February 2010 and manages the city's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant activities, which focus on improving energy efficiency in city-owned facilities. Besides being the annoying person in the office telling people to turn off lights when they leave a room and to stop printing emails, she also enjoys being a cheerleader for Columbia and talking with different civic groups about the great quality of life Columbia has to offer its residents.

Jilly Dos Santos is a junior at Rock Bridge High School. She has worked within her community to expand the student voice in districtwide issues through Students’ Say, a student advocacy group she created along with her peers. In July, she began working as content manager for the website Student Voice, a national student advocacy organization. She enjoys volunteering around Columbia.

David Harris works as an MU event staffer in the athletics department. He also belongs to the Missouri University Track and Field Officials Association, of which he was president for three years. David is interested in all things happening in his community. He was an officer of his subdivision homeowners' association and is a graduate of the city's Neighborhood Leadership Program.

Emily Holdman is co-founder of The Remarkables and The Agency Post and is an entrepreneur-in-residence at adventur.es. She graduated from MU, having studied journalism and economics. Emily and her husband, Chris, are big Missouri sports fans and active users of the regional parks, which help to wear out their two big dogs. They also enjoy traveling abroad. Emily can be found "nerding out" at the library or downtown on such topics as globalization, geopolitics, technology, the future of education and eccentric characters from history.

Danielle Johnson came to Columbia in 1996 to pursue certification as a language arts teacher through the College of Education at MU. She continued as a Tiger to earn a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in adolescent literacy. Her Mizzou pride runs deep. For the past 14 years, Danielle has worked at Oakland Middle School (previously Oakland Junior High). While there, she has served as a reading intervention teacher, yearbook adviser, mentor to new teachers, and most recently, language arts department chair and reading specialist. She has been the Missouri Writing Project Youth Programs director since 2006. Her biggest accomplishment is being mom to three beautiful little girls and wife to Josephus Johnson. When she can snag a spare moment, she usually spends it altering and testing new recipes, reading her latest book club book or wasting time on the Internet.

Kattesh V. Katti is an MU curators’ professor of radiology, physics, biological engineering and medical pharmacology and is director of MU's Cancer Nanotechnology Platform. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is globally recognized as the "Father of Green Nanotechnology" and also as one of the "25 Most Influential Scientists in Molecular Imaging in the World." Katti is a strong advocate of the globalization of education, especially as U.S. universities have state-of-the-art tools for graduate and undergraduate education. Katti believes that smaller towns such as Columbia can attract high-tech industry, especially from countries where space, uninterrupted electricity, water, affordable housing and quality education are all scarce. He has lived in mid-Missouri for 23 years. Katti and his wife were born in India and have lived in Columbia since 1990. Their 18-year-old twins were born here.

Sarah Klaassen is a community organizer at Central Missouri Community Action and works to empower low-income individuals and families while also addressing the causes and conditions of poverty in the wider community. She is active in the faith community as an elder at Rock Bridge Christian Church. Commuting by bike, talking religion and learning to garden are among her great joys in life. She moved to Columbia two years ago and quickly fell in love with the people and the place, especially her Benton-Stephens neighborhood.

Jan Mees is a retired Columbia Public Schools library media specialist and has lived in Columbia since 1973. She earned an undergraduate degree in French secondary education from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and a master’s degree in library science from MU. Since 2007, a passion for education continues through service on the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education. Other activities include Assistance League of Mid-Missouri, church activities and membership in a variety of community and education groups. Family includes a husband of 43 years, two grown sons and five grandchildren.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Bissell Miller is MU's first international communications coordinator. She handles communication for the International Programs Division, which focuses on creating international opportunities for MU faculty, staff and students, as well as preparing MU students for global citizenship. Elizabeth graduated from MU in 2011 with a master’s degree in political science. She also has a master's degree in teaching from Rice University and a bachelor's degree in political science and Russian language from Bryn Mawr College. Before attending MU, she taught at Rock Bridge High School and at the Missouri Scholars Academy. Elizabeth has been a leader in many local, state, national and international boards and organizations, most recently with the Timbuktu Libraries in Exile project. She has lived in Columbia since 2005 with her husband and two cats.

Jeff Muscato is from Columbia and (mostly) grew up here. He has managed a small downtown business and owned other businesses in Columbia. Now, he's a student at Columbia College, where he studies history.

Becky Sterling is the incoming 2014 president of the Columbia Board of Realtors. She has been in real estate sales with RE/MAX Boone Realty for more than 16 years. Becky has been and is active in both the local and state Realtor associations. Becky holds an undergraduate degree in business from Columbia College as well as a master's degree in public administration from MU. Prior to real estate, she worked for the state of Missouri for 16-plus years. Becky's long-standing interest in public policy issues includes federal, state and local issues. Becky's volunteer activities include victim advocacy for True North Shelter of Columbia (formally The Shelter) and raising funds over the years for United Way, American Cancer Society and Columbia College. While she grew up in the South and still loves it, her home is in Columbia and has been since 1978.

Charlie Triplett is a designer living and working in Columbia. He is happily employed at MU and specializes in logo design and Web design. He enjoys working on his 1920s bungalow in the historic old southwest of Columbia and spending time with his friends (both of them). If it comes down to you and him, Charlie would prefer to drive.

Joy Mayer is the director of community outreach for the Columbia Missourian.


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