A warrant was issued today for the arrest of Southwest City Police Chief Toi Cannada.
According to McDonald County Circuit Court records, Ms. Cannada is charged with first degree burglary, a felony, and third degree assault, a misdemeanor, in connection with events that happened Nov. 28, 2004.
The hiring of Ms. Cannada, 40, Jay, Okla., the stepdaughter of City Council member Farley Martin, led to a federal lawsuit against the city filed Sept. 24, 2004, by former Police Chief Ron Beaudry. Beaudry fought against the hiring of Ms. Cannada as an officer in his department after he learned that she had a history of drunk driving.
In his lawsuit, Beaudry claimed that Ms. Cannada, who was promoted to chief after Beaudry was fired, was convicted of a "driving-related alcohol offense" on July 21, 1994, in Webb City, and on July 13, 2001, in Callaway County.
Southwest City officials fired Beaudry June 2, after he made an unsuccessful effort to fire Ms. Cannada. Named as defendants in the lawsuit were the city of Southwest City, Mayor Al Dixon, and council members Farley Martin and Mildred Weaver. Beaudry was hired as police chief in June 2003, according to the petition. Ms. Cannada was hired on a part-time basis in November 2003. She was promoted to full-time status after a closed council meeting in March 2004, the petition said.
At that point, Beaudry conducted a background check and uncovered the alcohol-related offenses, he said. "On March 12, 2004," the petition says, "(Beaudry) received a fax from Angela Heckart, a representative with Beimdiek Insurance Agency, regarding the insurability of Ms. Cannada." Ms. Heckart said Ms. Cannada could not be insured because she had an alcohol-related driving offense in the three years before she was hired. On March 30, the city received a fax saying that Ms. Cannada was prohibited from using any city vehicle.
At that point, Beaudry fired her. "On or about April 13, 2004," the petition said, "the city council refused to fire Cannada, rehired her, and allowed her to operate her own vehicle to conduct police business."On May 14, the council suspended Beaudry after he went public about his concerns about Ms. Cannada, the petition said. On June 2, he was fired. In the petition, Beaudry claimed his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the city officials.
The lawyer for former McDonald County sheriff's candidate and Seneca police officer Randy Hance is asking for extra time to file pre-trial motions.
Springfield attorney Shawn Askinosie, in documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, asked for an extension of time to April 18 to file motions for the trial, which is scheduled to begin April 25 in Springfield. Askinosie said the government has not provided him with its complete version of the file.
Hance faces weapons charge and is being held without bond after a federal judge determined he might harm his ex-wife or others.
Vornado Realty Trust will not stand in the way of the Sears-K-Mart merger.
In an article today, Crain's Chicago Business says Vornado, which owns 1.2 million shares of Sears says the company has elected to receive stock as a consideration in the merger.
Sears stock has been trading high recently with investors expecting a higher bid from Vornado or another rival. Vornado dropped any thoughts of going after Sears after it agreed to join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Bain Capital to buy Toys R Us Inc.
The editor of The Mankato Free Press, a Minnesota daily newspaper, resigned rather than follow a corporate dictate to eliminate two of her reporters.
That wouldn't have anything to do with this area...except that her corporate owners were Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., owners of The Joplin Globe.
"By eliminating my position," Deb Flemming told Columbia Journalism Review, "it allows more reporters on the street." She will leave the newspaper April 9. Community Newspapers officials said the Free Press had too many reporters.
The Free Press has a long record of excellence, according to the CJR story, including the recent capture of three first-place and five second-place awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
The increasing movement of people whose major interest is totally financial and not public service has damaged the quality of American newspapers. I have written frequently about Liberty Group Publishing, owner of The Carthage Press and The Neosho Daily News, which is owned primarily by the Los Angeles-based Leonard Green and Partners investment firm. Liberty's CEO is a lawyer whose only experience with journalism is being a lawyer for American Publishing, Liberty's predecessor.
Community Newspaper Holdings has less of a claim to journalistic credibility than that. CNHI's largest investor is the Alabama state pension system, which, according to CJR holds "a billion-dollar-plus stake in the papers."
"CNHI has to focus on short term results, from quarter to quarter," former Free Press publisher Sam Gett told CJR, who said he was not surprised by Flemming's resignation. "Even while I was there, she was becoming increasingly frustrated with the cost-cutting efforts."
The Mankato Free Press has only been in the CNHI fold since 2002 when it and three other daily newspapers were purchased from Ottaway Newspapers, a subsidiary of Dow Jones for $182 million. One of those other three newspapers was The Joplin Globe.
The CJR article said that Free Press staffers were just as uncomfortable as the members of The Globe's staff were went the deal went through. Their concern... that the new owners weren't journalists, but investors...a concern which has pretty much been borne out.
The Free Press' current publisher, Ken Lingen, who came to Mankato from another CNHI newspaper, said Ms. Flemming's departure won't have that much of an effect.
"The cut in upper management," he said without any reference to her name, "will not affect our day-to-day operation."
Now that's the kind of leadership that can inspire newspapers to do great things.
Any Globe staff members with information about CNHI dictates that have affected local news coverage here, feel free to contact me. I never divulge my sources.
The new owner of Northpark Mall in Joplin, CBL & Associates, had a great year in 2004, and its top officials are being rewarded for it.
As reported last week on this site, CBL & Associates, a Chattanooga, Tenn., based firm increased its revenues by $93 million last year.
According to a report issued today as part of a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CEO Charles B. Lebowitz received a salary of $526,724, a $500,000 bonus, $75,424 in restricted stock, and $13,849 in other compensation for a total of $115,998. Lebowitz holds company stock valued at approximately $6 million, according to the filing.
CBL's chief financial officer, John Foy, made $446,320 in salary, a $500,000 bonus, $75,242 in restricted stock and $13,849 in other compensation for a total of $1,035,411.
President and secretary Stephen Lebowitz made $425,000 in salary, $500,000 in bonus, $75,424 in restricted stock, and $13,849 in other compensation for a total of $1,014,273.
The shooting death of a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper yesterday is being compared to the shooting of the late Bobbie Harper at his rural Anderson home on Sept. 16, 1994.
Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham, 37, was found shot to death outside his home four miles north of Van Buren Sunday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Graham had worked yesterday and was still in uniform, the report indicated.
"The shooting of Graham bore some similarity to a case a decade ago in southwest Missouri," the article said. "Trooper Bobbie Harper was shot by a sniper at his rural southwest Missouri home in September 1994. Harper survived but later died, though not as a direct result of the shooting. An anti-terrorism task force offered a $10,000 reward for a suspected militia member wanted in the shooting, but the suspect, Timothy Coombs, remains at large. Authorities believe Coombs shot Harper in retaliation for the arrest of a friend."
The friend in question was Robert Joos, who continues to be a frequent visitor of our judicial system.
There has been no indication other than the fact that both shooting victims were Highway Patrol troopers that there is any connection between the two cases.
The Post-Dispatch also features an article that indicates the latest version of the foundation formula devised by state legislators could end up providing the death knell to gifted education programs in Missouri.
Right now, money is earmarked for gifted programs. The new version of the formula leaves it up to the discretion of the individual school districts whether to use money for gifted programs or not.
On the face of it, that sounds good since most people want to see decisions on how money is spent left to local officials, but with the continuing pressure to bring up test scores, the needs of gifted students, who already are almost guaranteed to do well on such tests, are likely to be neglected.
Nexstar Broadcasting took steps last week to alleviate some of its debt problems. Radio and Television Business Report indicates today that the company has completed the sale of $75 million worth of new seven percent senior subordinated bonds due in 2014. The money from the sales will be used to redeem Nexstar's 12 percent senior subordinated bonds due in 2008.
This will enable the company to spread out its interest costs over an additional six years.
The Federal Communications Commission is asking for public comments on the question of retransmission rights for local television stations.
The subject has been in the news locally since late 2004 when Nexstar Broadcasting, owner of KSNF and de facto owner of KODE, announced it would remove those channels from Cable One in Joplin on Dec. 31. The same move took place with Nexstar stations affiliated with Cox Communications in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
The American Cable Association has asked the FCC to make a ruling on the issue, according to Sky Report E-News. The ACA says retransmission consent and network non-duplication rules are being used to "create an unfair marketplace to prop up the price for retransmission consent of local stations," according to the article.
"By its action to open this petition for public comment, the FCC is acknowledging that important issues concerning retransmission consent require further scrutiny," said Matt Polka, ACA president and CEO told Sky Report E-News. "ACA appreciates the action taken today by the commission, and we look forward to providing the facts and examples necessary to remedy retransmission consent abuse."
Sky Report E-News also reports that DirecTV and EchoStar filed joint comments Friday with the FCC urging the agency to reject what they claim are cable industry efforts to impose higher regulatory fees on its satellite competition.
Governor Matt Blunt spent $811 for four panic buttons at the governor's mansion, according to today's Kansas City Star. Blunt reportedly is concerned about the safety of his family since some of the work at the mansion is done by prisoners. The only prisoners who participate in the program are carefully screened non-violent offenders, the article said.
"It seemed to be a fairly low-cost way to enhance security at the mansion," Blunt said. What he didn't say was that there are already three corrections officers at the mansion whenever the prisoners are there, as well as the Missouri Highway Patrol troopers who provide the governor and his family with protection.
Extra protection at the Jasper County Courthouse was the topic of news reports on the local TV stations last week. The murder of a judge in Atlanta recently returned the subject to the forefront.
No one can deny there should be added protection at the courthouse any time court is in session. You can't really argue with putting metal detectors at the entrance to courtrooms or even on the floor where the court is in session.
People who go to the courthouse on every day business like registering to vote, paying taxes, or meeting with the County Commission should not have to go through metal detectors to conduct their business. A guard or two would be quite sufficient.
Of course, none will be added as long as Sheriff Archie Dunn wants Jasper County voters to pass a law enforcement sales tax. We are going to be hearing for the next several months about what things cannot be done until we vote for the tax.
Right now, it is not a matter of the county not being able to afford protection at the courthouse, it is a matter of the sheriff deciding to use his manpower elsewhere.