Tuesday, September 30, 2014

No onsite parking for Joplin High School dedication, ribbon-cutting

(From Joplin Schools)

We're four days away from the JHS/FTC dedication and ribbon cutting! The event starts at 1 p.m. on Friday. It will be open to the public and includes special guests Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. 

Please watch www.joplinschools.org for details regarding community shuttles to the event (there will be no on-site parking) and security information. We're working fast and furious to finalize all of the plans - stay tuned! There will also be a community open house at the school that evening from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Study cites Joplin as 10th most dangerous city in Missouri

A report from KOAM's Jordan Aubey KOAM TV 7

Bond set at $300,000 for former Baxter Springs coach in sex case

A report from KOAM's Lisa Olliges KOAM TV 7

SW Missouri teachers continue battling Amendment 3

A report from KOLR's Matt Lupoli

Monday, September 29, 2014

C. J. Huff responds to PSU logo controversy: We'll take money from anybody

In his latest blog post, Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff responds to the furor that took place after the posting last week on social media of a goal post at Jnnge Field with a Pittsburg State University logo on it.

Schools across the country are constantly challenged with coming up with new and creative ways to expand programming and support for students. In an era when state and federal dollars are reduced, withheld, and redistributed, finding new revenue sources is a necessity.

Not unlike colleges, universities, and private schools, public schools are beginning to wade into the world of marketing and advertising to secure new funding streams. At Joplin Schools, the Board of Education has taken steps to move forward into this world by aligning policy and establishing protocol for the sale of advertisement and naming rights on school campuses. Particularly at the new Joplin High School, it’s athletic complexes, and Franklin Technology Center. 

The idea of advertising on school property is not a new concept. For decades, banners have been hung from football stadiums, inside basketball arenas, and on the outfield fences of baseball and softball fields. Corporate sponsorships of teams and student organizations have also not been unusual. Like most school districts, we’ve done it for years. Just not in a structured, well organized, and intentional way.

One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that in Joplin Schools we don’t believe we exist in a vacuum. Joplin is a regional hub and depends on the surrounding region to support our community. Smart initiatives such as the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative and Bright Futures look for ways to engage the resources in the four state area to build bridges, instead of walls, between communities and across state lines. No small task, but a necessary and important effort in this time where resources are limited and collaboration is a must for progress and prosperity. 

For the last seven years, we have been building partnerships regionally between Joplin Schools and human service agencies, other school districts, colleges and universities, faith-based organizations, businesses, and industry. They are all partners in our on-going efforts to provide ample opportunities to support our children’s education. Today it is not uncommon for competing businesses and other organizations to set at the same table and problem solve together.

A great example of this effort in action was the recent collaboration between Missouri Southern State University, Crowder College, Franklin Technology Center and Joplin Schools. Because of these partnerships we are now able to offer more advanced certifications, dual credit, advanced placement courses, and the opportunity for high school students to earn an associate’s degree at the same time they earn a high school diploma. I challenge you to try and find another high school in the country that has such a menu of high quality programming opportunities for students. Operation College Bound is another great example. Northeast Oklahoma State, Missouri State University, Pittsburg State University, University of Arkansas, Crowder College, and Missouri Southern State University work with us by supporting this great program for our elementary students as they begin thinking about life after high school. 

So don’t be surprised if you come to a game, music performance, or some other special event and find it is sponsored by an organization inside or outside of our community. The world is bigger than Joplin and we rely heavily on the support of many organizations across our region to support the work of our students. Allowing advertising on our campuses provides an opportunity for those partners to visually demonstrate their support of Joplin Schools, while at the same time providing new resources to support programming that supports our children. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership. 

If you have additional questions about sponsorships or naming rights, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to provide you with further information.

Until next time,

Court documents: Jail hasn't stopped Joplin developer from committing crimes

Being behind bar has done nothing to slow down a former Joplin developer accused of fraud, money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.

Richard Gregg, the former developer of 1717 Marketplace on Rangeline, is being held without bond, but his attorneys have asked the judge to reconsider that decision.

In objections filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen Mohlhenrich says that even jail has not stopped Gregg from breaking the law.

Court orders health insurance payments for former Neosho city manager

A federal judge today ordered the city of Neosho to pay former City Manager Jan Blase the "reasonable value of 12 months of health care premiums for himself and his dependents."

The ruling came following a motion by Blase's attorney, saying that the city had not lived up to its agreement at the conclusion of the lawsuit filed by Blase after he was dismissed as city manager.

Arraignment for former Joplin High School teacher on sex charges postponed

The arraignment of former Joplin High School communication arts teacher Jessica Low on sex charges, originally scheduled for today, has been pushed back to 9 a.m. Monday, October 6.

Low is charged with statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and furnishing pornographic material to a minor.

The probable cause statement can be found at this link.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Long day in Joplin Friday for Vice President, Secretary of Education?

It appears that Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are planning a long day in Joplin.

Both men are advertised as "special guests" at the 1 p.m. Friday, October 3, dedication ceremony for the new Joplin High School/Franklin Technical Center. The event will also include the cutting of a six-and-a-half-mile ribbon, which will put the school in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The public schedule posted by Duncan on the U. S. Department of Education website sets the time for Duncan and the vice president's arrival in Joplin indicates the dignitaries will be here considerably earlier than that:

Friday, Oct. 3
10:30 a.m.Secretary Duncan will join Vice President Biden for a dedication ceremony at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri. The Vice President and Secretary Duncan will help celebrate the recovery the community of Joplin has made following the tornado in 2011.
Joplin High School, 2104 Indiana Ave., Joplin, Missouri

According to the invitations sent out by the Joplin R-8 School District, the dedication ceremony will last from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

News-Leader two weeks behind Turner Report on Springfield murder developments

It's the biggest crime story in Springfield in years.

A coach at a local middle school is accused of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 10-year-old girl.

The story in question, of course, is the murder of Hailey Owens, whose body was found in trash bags in the basement of the home of Pleasant View Middle School coach and teacher's aide Craig Michael Wood.

Today, the Springfield News-Leader revealed that Wood had photos of other school girls in his home- a big scoop except that readers of the Turner Report read about that two weeks ago and first learned that authorities believe Hailey Woods' ,murder may not have been random almost three months ago:

A purple folder found in the apartment of accused killer Craig Michael Wood contained material that sickened the officers who found out- and gave police what they say is a blueprint to how the former Springfield Pleasant View Middle School coach kidnapped, raped, and murdered 10-year-old Hailey Owens.

Documents filed in Greene County Circuit Court indicate that an FBI search warrant uncovered the purple folder in a dresser drawer in Wood's bedroom. It contained images of child pornography, school photos of "female children similar in age to the victim, along with handwritten erotic stories detailing the rapes of female minor children."

Also found in the drawer, according to the court documents, were "student records from a Springfield public school."

After investigating the material, police discovered that the names of two of the children in the handwritten stories matched the names of the two of the children in the school photos.

From the lead to today's News-Leader article:

Court filings make it clear that the former school employee accused of abducting, raping and killing young Hailey Owens had two other students' schedules and photographs — and pornographic writings using the girls' names.