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Thursday, May 15, 2003 02:54 pm

Disturbing the peace

Heartland Peace Center battles phone company and Yugoslavian “outlaw.”

Sheila Walk was puzzled when she showed up for the Heartland Peace Center's annual meeting in January. It was supposed to be held at the Space on Super Bowl Sunday. For years, the Heartland Peace Center's annual meeting has always been on Super Bowl Sunday. This year was supposed to be no different; Walk, a longtime supporter, says she dialed the center's phone number and a recorded message confirmed the meeting date and place. But when she showed up at the Space, no one was there.

When she returned home, she dialed the phone number again and left a message. No one responded. She called again, and again. The third time, a recording stated the number had been "temporarily disconnected." She wondered whether the center was still in business. Its Web site (www.heartlandpeacecenter.org) hasn't been updated in years and leads with a three-year-old article written by Walk's husband, Doug Kamholz, who once directed the Heartland Peace Center.

Marc Sanson, the center's board chairman, says everything's OK. The meeting was postponed and will be rescheduled for sometime in early March. The board postponed the meeting because it wasn't prepared. "It's as simple as that," Sanson says. As for getting its phone reconnected and its Web site updated, the former will be no problem. The latter is proving to be troublesome.

"Someone from another country snatched it away from us," Sanson says. "We're in the process of trying to get it back." The Heartland Peace Center forgot to renew its registration of the site; when that expired, someone claimed the name and stripped the site of contact names, numbers, and e-mail addresses. The person eventually revealed himself as outlaw@sezampro.yu. The address is from Yugoslavia; the person behind it claimed ownership of Heartland's Web site and requested $100 to transfer it back. Sanson says he responded, agreeing to the price. But the outlaw hasn't replied.

In the meantime, Sanson says, the Heartland Peace Center is planning for a busy year. It's participating in this Saturday's anti-war march (which will leave the Old State Capitol, at Fifth and Adams, at 12:30 p.m. and proceed to the Capitol building on Second). It will continue with its annual Peace Camp, quarterly newsletters, anti-sweatshop activities, and sponsoring of speakers and other events. For more information on the Heartland Peace Center--and for the time being--you can call the Space at 528-2457. We'll let you know when the Web site's back in Heartland's hands.

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