Workers at the former Sunbeam plant in Neosho can be cautiously optimistic following a few statements made in Wichita last week by the CEO of the plant's new owner, Jarden.
Jarden completed its purchase of American Household, parent company of Sunbeam and Coleman last week. During a visit to the Coleman plant in Wichita, CEO Martin Franklin said he saw no reasons for layoffs at the Wichita plant or for further outsourcing of jobs to China. According to an article in The Wichita Eagle, Franklin said the previous owner had done enough of that.
"All of the changes that need to be made have been made," the article quoted Franklin as saying. "Now we'll be focusing on trying to be as efficient as possible."
Franklin also indicated he is not afraid to put money into the Coleman plant, the Eagle article indicated. "The checkbook is open," he said.
Though no indication has been given of what will happen at the Neosho plant, signs seem positive so far. However, Franklin did say the first 180 days at the Wichita Coleman plant will be spent "fine-tuning the company's operations to cut costs in order to raise operating profit margins." Similar words have come back to haunt the employees at many companies.
Sunbeam has gone through much upheaval in the past decade, including the hiring and firing of controversial CEO Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap and the bankruptcy that he led the company toward during his stormy tenure.
An internet source confirms what has been written during the past several days in The Turner Report. The Deal.com, a site that specializes in business sale and merger information, says that the proposed sale of Liberty Group Publishing, owner of the Neosho Daily News, The Carthage Press, The Neosho Post, and The Big Nickel, and 300 other publications across the United States, is off.
On Jan. 18, The Turner Report, relying on initially confidential letters that were later filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, reported that Liberty had made an arrangement with Wells Fargo for $330 million worth of loans. The loan will enable the company, which is heavily in debt to put off its day of financial reckoning for another seven years. The Deal said its information came from "sources involved in the process."
When a large amount of money was poured into the financially-troubled Boys and Girls Club of Joplin Friday, KOAM had its cameras there, but KODE and KSNF were nowhere in sight.
The KOAM report did not mention it, but Cable One has recently been putting a portion of its signup money into the Boys and Girls Club, and of course, that company is on the outs with Nexstar Broadcasting, owner of KSNF and de facto owner of KODE. You don't supposed that has anything to do with the the two stations' absence, do you?
No, of course not. Through all of this controversy, the Nexstar stations have done nothing to let us think they are less than professional.
All right, now that I've stopped laughing, time for a little personal news. One hundred dollars will be donated to the South Middle School Band Monday thanks to the performance of the South faculty at the second annual Joplin High School Band Trivia Night Friday.
The South team, which consisted of counselor Karensue Hensley, special education teacher Caryn Deckard, librarian Bonnie Turner, seventh grade social studies teacher Jason Weaver, eighth grade social studies teacher Rocky Biggers, and eighth grade communication arts teacher Randy Turner took first place out of 38 teams, correctly answering 73 percent of the trivia questions. The winning team won $100 in the event, which was emceed by KSNF weatherman Gary Bandy.
It's sad when you know that it was not Peter Falk who was originally sought to play Columbo, but Bing Crosby. The Trivia Night was a fun activity and all of the proceeds went to the JHS band. Other teams came from the Joplin schools, MSSU, and various businesses.
The arrest of a Neosho man as a result of another of Diamond police officer Internet stings unfortunately indicates that not all of the people who prey on our young come from out of state. Of course, the charges against Gary Reed Blankenship, 55, Neosho, are just that, charges.
The Sunday Neosho Daily News article on the arrest reminded me of just how often the word allegedly is misused. When someone is charged with a crime, that is the allegation. Newspaper reporters, especially inexperienced ones, but sometimes veterans, as well, have a tendency to think that the word "allegedly" is a cureall for all ills.
One example: "Also during those chats, Blankenship allegedly revealed he lived in Neosho, the assistant prosecutor said. I highly doubt that the assistant prosecutor told The Neosho Daily News that Blankenship allegedly revealed that information. He most likely said Blankenship revealed the information.
Or "On Wednesday, Blankenship allegedly told the girl he was in Lamar, would be driving to Neosho soon and would be coming to Diamond. He agreed to meet the girl at a Diamond convenience store." An easier way to handle that would be to say the same sentence, without the word allegedly, but attributing that information to the assistant prosecutor. After all, he is the one making the allegation.
The Daily then did a fine job of filling in on the background on what had happened with the other people who fell for Murray's scams.
State Representative Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, has withdrawn a bill that would allow the courts to impound vehicles driven by people convicted of driving while intoxicated or excessive blood alcohol content for one year. Wilson indicated he plans to refile the bill later during this session.
State Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, will begin tearing into the meat of the education bills when his Education Committee meets 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Among the bills scheduled to be taken up by the committee:
SB 102- Allows certain school districts to be reimbursed fully for costs associated with offering special educational services.
SB 20- Creates a tax credit for teachers' out-of-pocket expenses.
SB 112- Formulates a procedure for recalling school board members.
Senators will begin discussing a bill that could lesson the strain during future occurrences of the tax increment financing situation at the old K-Mart building which will take money from the Joplin R-8 School District. SB 80, which would dedicate at least 10 percent of future TIF increments to schools affected by the TIF, will be discussed during a 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, meeting of the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Local Government Committee in the Senate Lounge.