Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Upset parents question Marshfield School Board about arrested teacher

Angry parents used the comment time during Monday night's Marshfield School Board meeting to voice their disapproval of the district's handling of teacher/coach Johnna Feazell, who is being held in the Webster County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bond on a charge of sexually abusing a 16-year-old student.

Some parents said they made a complaint around a year ago to the school district about how Feazell showed inappropriate behavior in the classroom. They say their children in Feazell's class said she would write messages about drugs and alcohol on the white board.

Parents like Alissa Johnson say they are furious that the school district did not listen to their previous concerns about Feazell and that they would like to see a change in leadership.

"Now I know, a year ago when I complained, this was also going on that she had inappropriate contact with a student, not once but twice. And I feel like that's bad judgment on the administration's behalf and not recognizing that this teacher was no good," said Johnson.

(Superintendent Mark) Mayo encourages parents to talk with their students to see what is going on in and outside of school.

"If there is something that raises concern or thought that there was something inappropriate happening, come to us and if we can help, we will help. We want to be proactive and work with parents to do that," said Mayo.

Mark Mayo receiving heavy criticism in Marshfield student/teacher sex case

The handling of a relationship between a Marshfield teacher who has been charged with sexually abusing a student has come under fire, according to a KY3 report.

The first notice to 46 year old Johnna Feazell from her building principal in June 2013 ordered her to stop texting and writing letters to the now 16 year old victim. We went back to Marshfield Superintendent Mark Mayo, who says any private electronic communication between teachers and students is prohibited.

Mayo says, "If it's a personal communication, it's supposed to be done in a manner that's available to the parent and available to the administrator of the building.

Mayo says Feazell's second issue was different than the first, but said he couldn't share details. Court document say she tried to meet up with the victim at a friend's house because her parents wouldn't allow contact.

"They came to the school and told the school about their concerns. So that causes me concern. How long has this contact been going on, and what kind of things are we going to find out as this case unfolds?" says Webster County Prosecutor Danette Padgett.

The girl tells investigators Feazell gave her a cell phone to communicate, and she had a sexual encounter with Feazell earlier this month. School officials and Marshfield Police are now asking parents to speak with their kids. "If there is something that comes up, that even raises the remotest thought that there is something inappropriate happening, come to us," Mayo says.

Mayo, a Lamar native, is the former superintendent of the Diamond R-4 School District and a former Carthage City Council member.

Joplin R-8 Board prepared to sign off on two contracts with no cost amounts listed

A long list of items is included on the consent agenda for tonight's 6 p.m. meeting of the Joplin R=8 Board of Education, including one that does not even have an amount attached to it.

According to the board documentation, Buildings Project Director Mike Johnson and Superintendent C. J. Huff signed off on a plan to award the contract for restoring the mall high school to the owner's specification.

Though the board documentation notes that bids were sought, it does not include any information about those bids or any information about the bid of the firm, Smith & Boucher Engineers, that Huff and Johnson are recommending:

Contract terms are currently being negotiated and will be finalized soon.

No other details are provided.

The mall school rehabilitation is not the only item the board is expected to approve without any financial information or without any discussion.

The consent agenda also includes funding for "Visible Learning" professional development with no cost given, only which funding areas the money will come from. Huff, Sarah Stevens, director of curriculum, and Jason Cravens, executive director of secondary education, signed off on the request.

Items that are put on the consent agenda are rarely discussed by the board, which passes them as a group rather than voting on each individual item.

In addition to the two items for which the board was not given any cost totals, the remainder of the items on the consent agenda cost more than $140,000.


Lobbyists provide cash for Billy Long campaign

Four lobbyists, including one whose company helped a private equity firm sell U. S. property to Middle Eastern interests, were among those whose money found its way into the campaign account of Seventh District Congressman Billy Long.

Long's quarterly financial disclosure report, filed October 15 with the FEC, showed contribution from at least four lobbyists, including the following:

-Harvey Tettlebaum, a lawyer with the Husch-Blackwell firm, is a registered lobbyist for the Missouri Republican Party, the Missouri Health Care Association, and Kansas City Southern, $100

-Blair Larkins of the Bokorny Group, whose clients include 21st Century Fox, NewsCorp (the parent company of Fox News), the American Hospital Association, National Hog Farmers, and other interests, $250

--Gregg Hartley, former chief of staff to Billy Long's predecessor, Roy Blunt, a lobbyist for Cassidy and Associates, and considered one of the top guns among Washington lobbyists, $1,500

-Christopher Giblin, a lobbyist for Ogilvy Government Relations. On its website, Ogilvy boasts about helping a private equity firm sell U. S. property to Middle Eastern interests just a year after the well-publicized and criticized sale of U. S. ports to Dubai.  "OGR represented a major private equity firm selling domestically held Fixed Based Operators to Middle Eastern purchaser. The sale was less than one year after the Dubai Ports exchange debacle. OGR successfully managed the political risk on Capitol Hill. Furthermore, OGR worked with Administration officials to seek successful approval through the CFIUS process."

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Jim Evans fundraiser Tuesday at J. B.'s Piano Bar in Joplin

A fundraiser for Democratic Seventh District Congressional candidate Jim Evans will be held 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 21, at J. B.'s Piano Bar in Joplin.

Chili and soup will be available and there will be a cash bar.

Stephen Smith will provide musical entertainment.

The suggested donation is $7. The event is being held by the Hillary Clinton Women's Democratic Club.

For more information, call Patrick Barham, 417-576-2500

Roy Blunt on KZRG- The president needs to be engaged on Ebola situation

Thirteen injured in school bus crash near Lee's Summit

Three Southwest Missouri men plead guilty to child pornography charges

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that three Missouri men pleaded guilty in federal court today, in separate and unrelated cases, to charges involving child pornography.

USA v. Allison

Larry Allison, 50, of Weaubleau, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to using a minor to produce child pornography.

By pleading guilty, Allison admitted that he used a minor, identified in the federal indictment as “Jane Doe,” to produce child pornography in January 2014.

Sam Graves: Obama Administration out to bankrupt coal companies

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Missouri has a long and proud history of producing coal. In fact, the Show Me state was the first state West of the Mississippi to produce coal for commercial use. When it comes to the generation of electricity in the United States, about half of that power is provided by coal.

The coal industry is booming and the United States is one of the world’s largest exporters of coal. According to the Energy Information Administration, there is enough coal to last for the next 200 years.

Most of that coal, however, is headed to Asia. American demand for coal has been slowed down by costly regulations from the federal government. Missouri sits on large reserves of coal, which is a cheap and abundant source of energy.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Probable cause affidavit in Baxter Springs sex case

(Warning: If you are offended by details being furnished in this kind of case- stop reading. I have written before that the Joplin Globe slanted its story on the case against former teacher/coach Scott Madden by starting its article by writing about how the relationship between a 45-year-old and a 15-year-old started innocently. The problem is the use of that particular word. Other passages in the Globe story also made it sound more like an excerpt from a romance novel than a crime story. This is the document from which Globe reporter Jeff Lehr wrote his story.)

I, officer Richard Comer, state that the following incidents occurred within the Incorporated City Limits of Baxter Springs, Cherokee County, Kansas. Furthermore, I state that these incidents are within the investigative jurisdiction of the District Court of Cherokee County, Kansas.

On February, 27, 2014, I was assigned to investigate allegations of aggravated indecent liberties of a child. On March 4, 2014, I met with B. B. (stepfather) and S. B. (natural mother) along with their daughter A. P. (DOB 1998) at the Children's Advocacy Center in Pittsburg for a forensic interview. Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) Special Agent Bethany Brooks assisted in the investigation. S. A. Brooks conducted the interview of A. P.