Thursday, March 31, 2005

Two Joplin residents were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury for counterfeiting money. The indictment names Wendy Ann Mabry and Roger Roy Perry. The first count says they counterfeited money on Feb. 7.
The second count says that from January to Feb. 7, the two conspired with someone else to counterfeit money, distribute it.
Also indicted by the grand jury were Juan G. Limon-Gonzalez, also known as Jose Lopez-Lopez, and James Scott Powers on sixteen counts involving manufacture and sale of methamphetamines. Limon-Gonzalez was also charged with using a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver in connection with his other alleged criminal activities.
A federal grand jury Wednesday indicated a Mexican citizen who was arrested in Joplin March 12 after he was charged with transporting illegal aliens in the back of a van.
The Joplin Police Department was responsible for the arrest of Yovani Diaz-Cruz on March 12, when JPD officers came across a 1995 GMC Safari Van parked at the corner of Main and F. Officers saw Hispanic men sitting in the driver and front passenger seats. Cruz was the man in the driver's seat, according to court documents.
Twelve other Hispanic men were found hiding under a nearby bridge. Believing them to be undocumented aliens, Joplin Police called the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Springfield. All 12 men admitted to being Mexican citizens illegally in this country, according to court documents.
"They claim to have paid between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars for transportation from Phoenix, Ariz., to Georgia or Kentucky," Special Agent James Webb said in an affidavit filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. "Three of the 12 claimed to have paid 5,500 pesos as their fee for transportation. The group identified (Diaz) as the driver of the vehicle."
On March 14, according to the affidavit, Diaz said he was "hired by an unidentified person he called 'Mario' to transport the group from Phoenix, Ariz., to various locations in Atlanta, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He claimed that on March 11, 'Mario' gave him the van with the group of illegal aliens already loaded in the van. A check with the FBI database determined that Diaz had been deported from this country twice, on March 10, 2003, and April 20, 2003, both times from Nogales, Ariz.
Cruz' first appearance on the indictment was held Wednesday afternoon in the federal courthouse in Springfield. He pleaded not guilty.
The merry-go-round of departures for O'Sullivan Industries officials continues.
The Atlanta-based firm continues to sever ties with officials who were here before the Newell Rubbermaid clan came into power.
Under a severance agreement signed on March 24, Stuart D. Schotte, former vice president of supply chain management, was released from a $350,000 debt to the company, which he had as a result of a note dated Nov. 30, 1999.
In exchange, Schott gave to O'Sullivan his shares of Class A common stock and Series B junior preferred stock in O'Sullivan Industries Holdings, Inc. The company will not have to pay Schotte $49,000, as originally required under an agreement. Schotte also released the company from any obligations it had under its deferred compensation plan.
O'Sullivan Industries will continue to provide health insurance at employee rates and other benefits through June 30, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Administration.
Viewers of MSNBC's "Hardball" last night had the opportunity to see William Colby, the lawyer who helped Joe and Joyce Cruzan during their court battle to remove the feeding tubes from their daughter, Nancy, who had been left in a persistent vegetative state after an automobile accident near Carthage in 1982.
See him was about all viewers had the chance to do since as usual the program degenerated into a shoutfest between people on the various sides of the Terri Schaivo situation. To his credit, Colby did not get involved in that shoutfest, but he was given little opportunity to get involved in the conversation.
I am not a big fan of "Hardball" and that type of program, but when I was flipping through stations right after I got home last night, I saw Colby's name and decided to watch. Issues like the right to die (and just about anything else that is important) deserve better than these programs full of shouting and interrupting.
The March 9 Neosho Daily News featured a page-one article about plans to honor the Neosho High School Debate Squad at the first Excellence In Education Award Banquet Thursday, April 28. The speaker at the event will be Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.
The selection of the award-winning squad was richly deserved, but there was another part of the article I found troubling. In order for the parents of squad members to have the opportunity to see their sons and daughters being honored, they have to buy tickets at $40 a pop.
The article says that proceeds from the ticket sales go to the foundation's drive to fund major technology improvements at Neosho High School and the Neosho Alternative School, so there's no issue about the use of the money. The only problem is that some of these parents cannot really afford to spend $80 (for mother and father) to see their children being honored. They are having a hard enough time making ends meet and hoping to have enough money to send their children to college. Maybe the foundation has already come up with a solution to this problem.
I hope so. The people who involve themselves in foundations and fund raising events usually have a bit more money than the average person and what would be a small amount for them could be considered a staggering amount for others.
Nevertheless, here's hoping the foundation has a successful fund raiser.
This morning's Joplin Globe indicates that DNR Director Doyle Childers actually found a possible source for the odor that has been plaguing Carthage while investigating ConAgra's Renewable Environmental Solutions plant last week.
That probably would not have happened if the Blunt family, both Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt and his son, Governor Matt Blunt, had not stepped in.
The operation of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has been a problem for some time. I remember covering stories on the Lamar East Landfill and on Atlas while I was at the Lamar Democrat and Carthage Press and remembering how little concern these bureaucratic types seemed to have about the problems facing ordinary citizens.
The DNR's lament has always been that it does not have enough money to investigate the things that need to be investigated. That usually means that instead of investigating things one at a time, that the agency simply does not investigate any of them.
Though this has nothing to do with the DNR, it reminds me of a story I did one time on Missouri's prevailing wage law, which is again being threatened by state legislators. The idea behind the law is basic. Firms that are hired to do governmental projects must pay workers whatever the prevailing wage is in that area. Obviously, if the law was enforced properly, that would mean it would cost more for building projects in St. Louis and Kansas City than it does for projects in this area.
As usual, when government bureaucracy was involved, that was not the way it worked. Instead of having employees pick up the phone and call contractors and find out what the prevailing wage was, the person in charge send out paperwork forms for contractors and unions to send in the prevailing wage in their area. Usually, the only ones that were returned came from the big unions in Kansas City and St. Louis, which meant that those figures were used to determine this area's prevailing wage. That led, quite naturally, to complaints about the large amount of money that the prevailing wage added to local projects.
During one interview, I asked the man in charge of collecting prevailing wage statistics why he didn't just pick up the phone or have one of his employees pick up the phone and call contractors and get accurate figures for this area's prevailing wage.
"We don't have the manpower for that," he said.
I have to admit, I kept badgering him. "If you called five contractors, and each conversation lasted about five minutes, that would take less than half an hour."
"We don't have the manpower for that," he said.
In many government agencies that is the mantra for every situation and it is one of the reasons why people distrust bureaucracy so much.
Fortunately for Carthage residents, Roy Blunt took charge of the matter. Unfortunately for all of us in the world of government bureaucracy, there are far, far too many situations for even a congressman with Blunt's power, or any other elected official to take care of.
We're the ones who don't have the manpower for that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hmmmm I wasn't aware O'Sullivan was in the business of making personal loans.