Tuesday, July 22, 2014

State Auditors to Joplin R-8 Board: Every move you make, we'll be watching you

Anyone who has information for the Missouri State Auditor's team that will be investigating the Joplin R-8 School District over the next few months can call 1-800-347,8597 or e-mail moaudit@auditor.mo.gov.

During tonight's meeting, Audit Manager Kelly Davis told the Joplin R-8 Board of Education what to expect from the audit, which has already begun, with some records being provided to the auditor's office and the team arriving and beginning work Monday.

The audit begins with an entrance conference, followed by the fieldwork phase, in which the auditing team spends four days a week in Joplin, working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

During the fieldwork phase, the auditors will review records, procedures and "talk with anyone who wants to provide input," Ms. Davis said.

After that phase, the auditors will share their findings with the Board of Education during a closed session and ask for additional information to address any issues that may arise.

The team will return to Jefferson City to prepare the final report, write a first draft with findings and recommendations and meet again with the board in closed session to get its response to those findings.

After that, the final audit report will be prepared and released to the media and on the state auditor's website.

C. J. Huff: School will start on time- Where have I heard this before?

From tonight's Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting:

C. J. Huff says everything is on track for the new high school to be ready to move in August 11 and to start school August 25.

Photos were shown, people watched. It took 20 minutes. Board members are excited about everything being on schedule.

 Others are skeptical.

(Sorry, I just really don't want to write about construction.)

Maximum Security at JHS- 285 cameras, database to check for sex offenders

When the new Joplin High School opens, 285 cameras will keep an eye on everything going on inside and outside the school. The old high school had 110 cameras.

The district's security director, former Joplin Police Department officer Jim Hounschell detailed what students, staff, and visitors can expect when they come to school.

Everyone will be required to have decals on their cars to park in the parking lot and students and staff will have ID badges they will need to carry at all times.

When visitors come to the high school, their identification is "swiped into the system," Hounschell told the R-8 Board of Education tonight, checking their identity against a national database that will indicate if they are sex offenders, or people who have committed other crimes.

R-8 Board votes 5-1 to borrow $8 million to cover "might as well" spending

Paul Barr must have been taken to the woodshed after the June Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting.

During his explanation of why the school district went into debt, Barr, the district's chief financial officer, talked about $8 million in "might as well" spending that included an additional four tennis courts, articificial turf for all fields, lighting for all fields, and a track so the high school students don't have to go to Junge Stadium.

Paul Barr learned his lesson well. Not only did the words "might as well" never cross his lips, but he never mentioned any athletic construction as he talked about the $8 million debt.

It was all "bathrooms" and educational items, according to Barr and Superintendent C. J. Huff.

State Board of Education: We'll make it as tough as we can on Kansas City

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

The State Board of Education did not make a decision on Kansas City Public School's (KCPS) request for provisional accreditation today. There is not sufficient data available yet for KCPS to verify that they have earned provisional accreditation. Once the data are available, and the district is able to confirm that they have, in fact, earned such status, the Board will consider their request.

Democratic candidates for 7th District Congress to be in Joplin Saturday

(From Southwest Missouri Democrats)

Southwest Missouri Democrats will gather for their monthly breakfast Saturday, July, 26 2014.  The featured speakers for this meeting are 7th Congressional Democratic Primary Candidates Genevieve Williams and Jim Evans.  The Primary will be held on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.  The winner of this Primary will face Billy Long on Tuesday, November 

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Golden Corral meeting room (2415 S. Rangeline Road, Joplin, MO 64804) 
f9:00 am to 11:00 am  

Each candidate will speak and answer questions from the audience. Information about all August Primary Ballot Amendments will be available at this meeting. 

Missouri GOP: We're happy the poor won't have access to health care

The Missouri Republican Party wasted no time issuing a news release following an Appellate Court decision that says giving tax subsidies to the poor so they can buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in states like Missouri that did not establish health care exchanges. The following news release was issued:

Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Matt Wills issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in the case of Halbig v. Burwell:

“From the get-go, Missourians have seen ObamaCare for what it really is – a bad policy riddled with legal problems and a disastrous implementation. In 2010, 7 in 10 Missourians voted to block ObamaCare’s individual mandate. In 2012, 6 in 10 voted to prevent Governor Nixon from establishing a state-run healthcare exchange, and they were right in doing so. Since the day of its passage Missourians have made their feelings about ObamaCare abundantly clear. Today’s appeals court ruling echoes the voice of Missouri voters.

“With an ear to that voice, Republicans in the Missouri legislature have worked to craft legislation that minimizes the devastating effects of ObamaCare. In contrast, the Democratic duo of Jay Nixon and Chris Koster has repeatedly called for the widely unpopular policy to be accepted, implemented and even expanded. When Koster refused to join 20 other states in a lawsuit to stop ObamaCare in 2010 it was a Republican, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who stepped up and fought for our state by filing a lawsuit of his own.

“Unlike many of his fellow Attorneys General who are rightly fighting ObamaCare on legal grounds, Koster has decided time and time again to side with Barack Obama and ignore the will of the people he was elected to serve. The verdict is in: KosterCare isn’t working.”

Judge to ponder decision on whether to hold Joplin man without bail on child porn charge

A Joplin man will remain behind bars while a federal judge decides whether he should be allowed bond on a child pornography charge.

Frank Ness, 51, formerly of Carthage, was arraigned this morning at the federal courthouse in Springfield. During the 17-minute hearing, prosecutors explained why they felt Ness should be held without bond, while Ness' lawyer asked that is client be allowed to be free while awaiting trial.

Ness was arrested following the execution of a search warrant at his home at 1421 S. Cleveland July 16..

The search warrant was executed following a tip to the task force that child pornography was being sent to a computer with an IP address that was being used at that house

Southwest Missouri Cyber CrimesTask Force officers found 124 videos containing child pornography on Ness' computer, according to an affidavit. All were hidden in a folder.

Ness waived his Miranda rights and talked with Task Force officers July 16 at the Joplin Police Department. He said he had been looking at child pornography for approximately 10 years and said he had sent child porn to others and that he had received child porn from others. He disguised his identity by using female names such as "Heather Todd," "Caroline Barns," and "Mandy Wicks," he said. Officers had come across the Barns and Wicks names during their investigation.

More information about the Ness case can be found at this link.

Grand jury indicts Quapaw man for trying to have sex with pre-teen girl

A federal grand jury today indicted a Quapaw, Oklahoma, man on charges of coercion or enticement of a minor female.

According to documents filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Aaron Longanecker, 23, is accused of coming from Quapaw to Jasper County Monday in an effort to have sex with a girl younger than 12.

His initial court appearance was held this morning. A detention hearing for Longanecker is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday in Springfield.

Former Kansas City Chief great pleads guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court

Former Kansas City Chief safety Deron Cherry, a six-time All-Pro selection, pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court June 30 to an amended charge of defective equipment.

The written plea was entered eight days before a scheduled arraignment before Judge Joseph Schoeberl. According to online court records, Cherry was pulled over April 14 for going one to five miles over the speed limit, but failed to pay the fine by May 19 when it was due.

At the request of Cherry's lawyer, Samuel J. Buccero, Kansas City, the charge was amended and Cherry paid a $95 fine.