""It's my contention that in order to have a point of view you have to have information. That's what I'm about. If you hide the information from the public, it's meaningless . . . to go vote, you have to be informed . . . I realized it was basic to journalism -- if you can't get information, you're out of business."
excerpts from a Media Giraffe Project interview and from: http://startribune.com/stories/1405/5427630.html)
Photo Linked From: http://news.sctimes.com/Photos/706144.jpg
BELOW EXCERPTED FROM: "A Lonely Quest to Keep Government Open" by Kate Parry (http://startribune.com/stories/1405/5427630.html):
What could there possibly be about a soft-spoken, gray-haired, retired psychiatrist that would make a roomful of Minnesota's finest journalists jump to their feet in a standing ovation?
Meet Dr. Walter Kuckes, 70, a kindred spirit to tenacious reporters everywhere and a royal pain in the posterior to officials in Minnesota's 87 counties.
It was back in August 1996 that Kuckes, newly retired from years as a psychiatrist for the federal prison system in Rochester, was sitting at his home on a lake in Avon, Minn., pondering his future.
"I don't golf, I don't fish, I don't like to hunt," he noted. The future seemed, well, a little empty.
But on a trip to the county courthouse to pick up a brochure the state had put out on visitation issues in divorces, Kuckes stumbled upon the cause that would bring meaning and pleasure to his retirement. He discovered that some information that's supposed to be open to the public is hard to get, and some resources that are supposed to be available to citizens aren't.
Now, every reporter can regale you with tales of having to charm, cajole, pressure and irritate public officials to get to information that's officially public.
But this was news to Kuckes. It was also the beginning of a crusade. He thought the visitation guide should be easily available, which it wasn't. Soon he learned that "the judicial system is not very open to John Q. Public making suggestions."
But Kuckes is not a man easily dissuaded once he makes up his mind. He began visiting courthouses asking for that visitation guide, driving from county to county until he'd been to all 87 counties.
Read another article on Walter Kuckes at: http://www.judicialaccountability.org/articles/lawlibraryaccess.htm
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