Sunday, July 31, 2005

Stacy writes about car know-how

The latest Dallas Morning News Neighbors column by former Carthage Press lifestyles editor Stacy Rector details why a woman needs to know how to deal with car problems. You can find it at:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/neighbors/coppell_vr/news/stories/copp_editors_note_7-30.2c0ee492.html

Carthage Press letter way off base

No one ever thinks enough investigative reporting is done about whatever their pet topic it be whether it be police brutality, public spending, or in the case of a letter published in Saturday's Carthage Press, the environment.
Jean W. Griffith of Brooklyn Heights began his letter by commending Carthage Mayor Kenneth Johnson for his stand against Renewable Environmental Solutions, then started right in on the lack of investigative reporting done by The Carthage Press.
"The question that should be on everyone's mind is why this serious threat to the health of property owners of Carthage took so long to appear on the front page of the Carthage Press. This newspaper is so obsessed with preserving its journalistic integrity it has forgotten the reason for its existence: to publish the facts and checks them for accuracy it has about as much chance of being sued for libel and slander as it does of being struck by lightning or winning the Power Ball jackpot."
As far as I can tell, the Press has done a good job of covering the RES situation and though Griffith rightly credits reporter Dennis Sowers with his coverage, it should be noted that the stories he writes also go through his editor, Ron Graber, who has shown no reluctance to tackle environmental issues.
At the same time, it is not as if this is the first time the Press has taken the lead on environmental issues. When Neil Campbell was managing editor in the early 1990s, I wrote a long series of articles on the hazardous waste incinerator at ICI, another series that showed that a convicted felon, against state statutes, was being allowed to apply to operate a landfill in eastern Jasper County. I wrote stories about money being funneled into State Representative Bubs Hohulin's campaigns by people associated with corporate farming interests, and those kinds of stories have been written throughout the years, after I became managing editor, and many since I left The Press in May 1999.
I am always irritated by people who think that the world started and ended when they developed an interest in an issue. When you have a staff of five people, which is about what the Press has consistently had through those years, to accomplish that amount of investigative reporting is nothing short of remarkable.
I have no doubt of Griffith's sincerity, but her allegations are way off base.

Democrat editor has conflict of interest

Wednesday's Lamar Democrat featured a troubling paragraph in editor Rayma Bekebrock Davis' article on the latest Barton County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees meeting.
Apparently, Mrs. Davis is one of a number of Lamar and Barton County citizens who have been selected by hospital administrator Rudy Snedigar to participate on a strategic planning committee.
I don't question Mrs. Davis' intelligence or ability to contribute to such a committee, but it definitely smacks of conflict of interest. How can she cover hospital board meetings and participate on such a committee. If she is part of a committee that recommends that certain steps be taken, can she fairly report on those steps, or can she overcome the perception that she cannot.
I faced the same problem during my last two or three years as editor at the Democrat when Publisher Doug Davis successfully ran for a Ward One City Council seat. We overcame those problems by taking a few simple steps. One, I covered the council meetings, not Doug, and I guarantee you there were times when I quoted Doug that he wished he was writing the articles, but he not only allowed me to write the stories, he never looked at them until the newspaper was out on the streets.
There were a few people who questioned Doug running for city council, but I don't recall ever receiving any calls claiming the Democrat's coverage was biased during that time.
If the board approves Mrs. Davis' participation in this committee, she should quickly make the same kind of arrangement with the Democrat's government reporter Richard Cooper.

Scheduling order approved for Freeman lawsuit

The scheduling order that was recommended for the lawsuit filed by Charis L. Seaton, Joplin, against Freeman Neosho and Freeman Health system was approved by U. S. District Court Judge Fernando Gaitan, according to an order filed Friday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
If the two sides stay on schedule, the trial, which is expected to last one week, would begin Aug. 7, 2006 and last for approximately one week.
Ms. Seaton is seeking more than $10 million from the hospital, claiming she was wrongfully fired. She says Freeman Neosho Chief Operating Officer Janice Walker violated criminal law by obtaining and disclosing patients' health information. The patients to whom Ms. Seaton is referring allegedly "were having sex with the Freeman Hospital physician who was under investigation for allegedly abusing drugs," according to the lawsuit. The petition also says Ms. Walker used Ms. Seaton's private medical records for her own gain.

Home jobs offer flexible hours,extra income

Jefferson City News-Tribune feature writer Michelle Reagan, whose work stands out in a basically routine paper, has an interesting feature idea that could be done by anyone in the print or broadcast media.
Michelle started her journalism career writing sports for me at The Carthage Press in 1991 when she was attending Lockwood High School.
You can find her feature on home-based jobs at:
http://www.newstribune.com/articles/2005/07/30/news_local/0073005005.txt

Alan Benes to join Springfield Cardinals

Area baseball fans will get a chance to see ex-major leaguer Alan Benes as he continues his comeback attempt. Benes, 33, is scheduled to be activated by the Springfield Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals AA minor league team today, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
During his rookie season with the St. Louis team in 1996, Benes won 12 games and helped lead the Cardinals to the Central Division championship in manager Tony LaRussa's first year with the club. Benes won nine games the next year and has been in and out of the majors with arm trouble since that time.
The article said it was uncertain whether Benes would pitch in the starting rotation or out of the bullpen.
The article can be found at:
http://www.springfieldnews-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050731/SPORTS02/507310390/1044

Daily notes date of Moark hearing

I was jumping all over the local television stations Friday for saying that no court date had been set for Moark, its regional manager Dan Hudgens, and the other two defendants in the animal cruelty case, when the arraignment had already been scheduled for Aug. 22. That information was not featured in the Saturday Joplin Globe story, though the Globe did not say as the TV stations did that no hearing date had been set.
Give credit to Neosho Daily News reporter John Ford who features that information in an article in today's paper.

Globe features O'Sullivan Industries problems

Today's Joplin Globe, in a story written by veteran reporter Wally Kennedy, details recent problems at O'Sullivan Industries and gets in the rumors so that if and when a big story hits, as everyone is expected, nobody can say the Globe was caught offguard.
That being said, it's a solid article and reveals the news that our area legislators are getting involved and letting O'Sullivan officials know that Missouri is a pro-business state now.
Apparently, so is Georgia.
You can find the Globe article at:
http://www.joplinglobe.com/story.php?story_id=199306&c=87

Star analyzes Blunt contributions

Tons of money from medical and insurance interests started pouring into Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's campaign coffers after he signed legislation that curbed medical malpractice lawsuits. The Kansas City Star's story on the contributions can be found at:
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/12266257.htm

Sun-Times features Mickey Owen School

Today's Chicago Sun-Times has a well-written feature article on the Mickey Owen Baseball School in Miller. You can find it at:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/baseball/cst-spt-owen31.html

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Shields preliminary hearing set for Thursday

A 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, preliminary hearing has been scheduled for former Southwest City Clerk Dehonna Shields, 26, who is charged with three counts of forgery and two counts of theft for allegedly stealing city money.
The missing money was uncovered during a state audit.

Next hearing set for Holman

Accused double murderer Micah Holman will be back in court 9 a.m. Aug. 2, but not on the murder, arson, and armed criminal action charges he faces in Jasper County in connection with the murders of Marvin and Peggy Steverson.
Holman's hearing will be in Barton County Circuit Court in Lamar on a charge of stealing. He allegedly stole property worth more than $5,000, but less than $25,000, according to court records.

Blunt tells how CAFTA vote came about

In an article in The Washington Post, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt gave an interesting insight into how legislation gets crafted. I have reprinted a segment from that article, which was about the 217-215 vote by which the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was passed:

Mr. Blunt said the winning result was partly because lawmakers in the weeks and days leading up to the vote had had a chance to vent their frustrations with illegal immigration and rising competition from China.
In addition to the broad overtures, lawmakers also were cognizant that the highway and energy bills were nearing completion, and that both contained projects important for each district.
"It's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that members come and say, 'Gee, how am I doing with my projects that I already have in the highway bill?' And we probably weren't beyond saying, 'We'll check and see how you're doing with those projects,' " Mr. Blunt said. "We don't do near as much of that as people would think," he added.

News-Leader gives 'thorn' to Bush, Blunt

In the opinion section of the Springfield News-Leader today, the editorial board awarded a thorn to Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt and President Bush for their mislabeling of the CAFTA issue. The thorn is reprinted below:

A THORN: To President Bush, Rep. Roy Blunt and others who pushed the Central America Free Trade Agreement as a national security issue. It is a trade issue. Period. This constant use of "national security" to support or oppose bills that have nothing to do with the war on terrorism is counterproductive, much like the boy who cried wolf.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Drought conditions worsen

Drought conditions have reached the third, or next to worst stage in 30 Missouri counties, including Dade County in this area, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Dade County is listed as being in the drought conservation phase. In that phase, "streams are dry, river and lake levels are falling below what is expected to occur once every 10 years, soil moisture is approaching wilting point for plants and dry weather is expected to continue. Groundwater recharge has stopped. Water supplies should begin supplementing and conserving." The only worse stage is the emergency stage.
Counties in the second drought stage, drought alert, in this area include Jasper, Barton, Cedar, Lawrence, and Greene. Under drought alert, "plants begin to show stress, stream levels drop, and rainfall is below normal for many months. Pond levels begin to noticeably fall."
Counties in the first stage, drought advisory, include Barry, McDonald, and Vernon. That stage features "below normal rainfall has occurred for several months. This is the beginning of a county's monitoring by the Climate and Weather Committee of the Drought Assessment Committee."
Only nine counties are not under some form of drought alert, according to the news release. The DNR's Drought Information webpage can be found at:
http://www.dnr.mo.gov/geology/droughtupdate.htm

Seneca project receives $850,000 in federal funds

A total of $850,000 for the Seneca Wastewater Improvement Project was among $6.7 million in federal funds for Missouri water and environmental needs announced today by U. S. Senator Kit Bond.
The spending bill has passed both houses and has been sent to President Bush for his signature.

Moark leads again at 6

The local TV stations replayed the 5 p.m. news, running the Moark animal abuse charges at the top of the hour.
KOAM, using documents provided by the Newton County prosecuting attorney's office, showed that Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson has a signed affidavit from a former Moark worker indicating the cruelty caught on videotape by Rick Bussey was not an isolated incident. Jennifer Denman reported the story for KOAM. KOAM made the same error made by KODE, saying that no hearing has been scheduled in the case. The arraignment date, which was posted about three hours ago on case.net and more than two hours ago on The Turner Report, is 8:30 a.m. Aug. 22, in Newton County Circuit Court.
I enjoyed the quotes given by Moark Regional Manager Dan Hudgens, Joplin, one of the defendants to KODE and KSNF. He pretty much said it wasn't a Moark crew, I wasn't there, and mistakes can be made."
Didn't anyone learn from the way Watergate was handled by President Nixon. Admit it, take responsibility, and do something about it.
The attention being paid to a misdemeanor charge, as I pointed out in an earlier post, is unusual, but it is warranted. The TV stations, the Globe, Neosho Daily, Neosho Forums, and the Joplin Independent have done a great job of keeping attention focused on Moark.
Now what I would like to see done by one or more of these media outlets is an explanation of how Moark can justify its proposed expansion at a time when egg prices are depressed and the company lost its parent, Land O'Lakes, millions of dollars. You can find out more about that in a Turner Report article from Wednesday at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/moark-suffers-heavy-losses.html

New cartoonist pays tribute to Frising

The Webb City Sentinel's new cartoonist, Curtis Smith, paid tribute to his predecessor, the late Nic Frising, in today's page-two cartoon.
The cartoon features a small girl saying, "Grandpa, are you replacing Nick Frising by doing these drawings," with the grandfather, sitting at the drawing board, saying, "Yes, sweetheart. I am doing the drawings, but I could never replace Nick." In the background is a nice sketch of Mr. Frising.
While I agree with the sentiment that Mr. Frising is irreplaceable, I commend Publisher Bob Foos for his decision to continue the tradition of having a page-two cartoon. It is one of the things that sets the Sentinel apart and makes it the best weekly newspaper in this area.

Webb City teachers still tops in area salaries

First-year teachers in the Webb City R-7 School District will make $31,300 this year, up from $29,500, according to Bob Foos' article in today's Webb City Sentinel. The pay increases were made possible by the passage of Senate Bill 287, Superintendent Ron Lankford told the R-7 Board. Webb City had had the top salary in the area for the past several years.

St. John's letter arrives

I haven't been left out.
My personal information was also stolen during a burglary at a microfilming company that was working for St. John's Regional Medical Center. I knew that I had stayed two days at the hospital in December 2002, which was during the time the records covered.
All three local TV stations reported one week ago that the hospital was sending out letters. Mine didn't go out until Monday and arrived today. I had forgotten that I did not live in Joplin at the time I was a patient at St. John's, so the mail was sent to Carthage and then forwarded.
The letter, as has been reported on TV and in The Joplin Globe, says that the information in the computers that were taken includes my name, date of birth, and admission and discharge date.

Local stations lead with Moark story

The filing of misdemeanor charges would seem to be an unlikely way for all three of our local TV stations to open up their 5 p.m. newscasts, but the Moark story is not your usual misdemeanor crime.
First, of course, it involves a company involved in a controversial expansion plan in the Neosho area. It had already been in the news when similar plans were shot down in Riverton, Kan. Second, and just as important, it has the unusual angle of charges being brought as a result of video taken by a citizen. Not only do you have a feature angle, but you have the video.
KOAM and KODE both had reporters covering the filing of charges with KSNF sharing the KODE video, while returning the favor with footage of training exercises for soldiers at Camp Crowder.
Alan Cavanna, as usual, was given the lead story for KODE and except for his mention at the end that no hearing had been scheduled (an 8:30 a.m. Aug. 22 arraignment has been scheduled for all defendants in Newton County Circuit Court and that was posted on case.net at least an hour and a half before the 5 p.m. newscast), he did his usual solid job.
The same can be said for KOAM's Jennifer Denman.
***
On Live with Gary and Tiffany on KSNF, I like the segment where they answer viewer questions, especially since the question today was what a typical day is like for the two. Any chance news people, whether it be broadcast or print, get to explain their jobs and how they make the decisions they make, can help bridge this gap between the viewer (or reader) and the media. If the questions revolve around the news, weather, and how the TV newscast is shaped, this is an excellent idea.
I would even suggest as they go along, they might consider an occasional segment with their news director explaining how decisions are made as to what events get covered, perhaps an interview or two with reporters. If the 5 p.m. newscast on KSNF is seeking to be different, then perhaps that kind of segment, along with interviews with newsmakers, could make the program the go-to alternative at 5 p.m.
And I would go even further to suggest that KSN follow the approach it has taken on an occasional basis and send Tiffany Alaniz out on some of the bigger stories. The station has used that approach a few times over the past several months and it has worked well each time. The networks have had considerable success with sending anchors to hotspots. It couldn't be done all the time, but having an anchor out in the field on something besides a fluff event benefits the station and the anchor.
I've mentioned this before, but I recall an article written about Ms. Alaniz in one of Liberty Group Publishing's free magazines, in which she spoke of her initial reluctance to take the morning show post opposite Mr. Bandy, because of her love of reporting and being out in the field.
I can appreciate that sentiment. In 1993, when Jim Farley, the publisher of The Carthage Press, asked me to take the managing editor position replacing Neil Campbell, who retired due to poor health, one condition I required was that I be allowed to continue reporting, and fortunately, he had no problem with that condition.

Daily, Globe post Moark articles

The Neosho Daily News' John Ford posted a strong, well-balanced story in today's edition over the filing of charges against Moark and its regional manager Dan Hudgens, with plenty of statements that would refute claims that the dropping of live birds into a dumpster was just an isolated incident.
The Globe also posted one of its bulletin stories, though I am not sure what time it went on line. The article was not as well-rounded as Ford's, but the Globe says it will have the full story in its Saturday edition.

Oklahoma man faces DWI charges in two counties

If you wonder why legislators push DWI laws so hard and why organizations like MADD think they are so important, you can find a perfect example in Henry William Hull, 41, Wyandotte, Okla. The McDonald County prosecuting attorney filed six charges against Hull today in connection with a traffic stop made July 3 by the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Hull is charged with driving while intoxicated as a prior offender, driving while revoked, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child since he's not only charged with drinking and driving, but taking along four children for the ride.
He has a 10 a.m. Aug. 8 arraignment in McDonald County Circuit Court.
The arrest came less than four months after Hull's March 16 arrest, again by the Highway Patrol, this time in Jasper County for driving while intoxicated as a prior offender. He also is charged with driving while revoked and failure to display his plates. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Sept. 13 in Jasper County Circuit Court.
Oklahoma records indicate Hull pleaded guilty on Aug. 15, 2000, to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless handling of firearms, carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, and domestic violence. And this man was driving with four kids?
Hull was sentenced to 10 years in prison, then placed on probation, according to court records.

Animal abuse charges filed against three, Moark

Newton County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson filed misdemeanor animal abuse charges this morning against Moark, its regional manager Dan Hudgens, and two others, according to court records.
The charges are in connection with a July 8 incident in which Moark chickens were seen being dropped into a dumpster alive. The charges were filed after the prosecutor received a videotape of the incident taken by Rick Bussey of Neosho.
Charged were Moark as a corporate entity, Hudgens, 49, Joplin; William R. Sharp, 46, Salina, Okla., and Robert Beck, 47, Southwest City.
Arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 22 in Newton County Circuit Court.
The news of the charges against Moark and Hudgens was broken this morning by Neosho Forums at www.neoshoforums.com .

Federal judge slams door on Lindstedt lawsuit

Martin Lindstedt will not be allowed to continue his lawsuit against Missouri Governor Matt Blunt at the taxpayers' expense.
Federal Judge Richard E. Dorr today rejected Lindstedt's motion to file an appeal, describing the accused child molester of filing an appeal that is "frivolous, and therefore cannot be taken in good faith."
Lindstedt, a perennial political candidate, is in the Newton County Jail awaiting trial on felony statutory sodomy charges. He also is facing 660 days of jail time for contempt in court.
Lindstedt said he did not have the money to file an appeal because Newton County officials were not allowing him access to his money. In his ruling, Judge Dorr said, "The Court has reviewed the financial affidavit supplied by the plaintiff. Plaintiff advises the Court not of his lack of funds, but of his current incarceration which makes access to these funds difficult.
"Additionally, the Court has reviewed the facts of this case, including the order dismissing the complaint. It is clear from the record that Plaintiff initiated this case with the purpose of harassment. It is equally clear that the appeal in this case is taken for the same purpose. Therefore, the Court concludes the Plaintiff's appeal is not taken in 'good faith' and that the application for IFP (pauper) status should be denied."
Lindstedt filed the lawsuit in 2004 claiming that then Secretary of State Matt Blunt had illegally kept him from using his nickname "Mad Dog' on the ballot. He also claimed that Blunt had discriminated against him by not putting a link to Lindstedt's website on the secretary of state's website as Blunt had done for other candidates. Blunt had refused to do so, noting the hate-filled and racist content of Lindstedt's site.

DESE to honor former Senator Russell

Former State Senator John Russell, R-Lebanon, whose district at times included Barton County, will be one of six people honored as Pioneers in Education during the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's annual conference for school administrators Monday, Aug. 1, at Tan-Tar-A.
According to the DESE website, Russell served in the General Assembly for 42 years (1962-2004), first in the House for 14 years and then 28 years in the Senate. He served on the Senate education and appropriations committees, serving as chairman of the appropriations committee from 2001-2004.

'Small Town News' coming soon

For those of you who have asked, I finished the revisions on my novel "Small Town News," Thursday and e-mailed them back to the publisher. Barring any unforeseen complications (and there are almost always unforeseen complications), it should be available sometime around November.
If you are one of the few who read the excerpt I placed on www.wildcatcentral.com many months ago, you should be aware that the book has undergone considerable rewriting since that time. I am planning to remove that page from Wildcat Central in a few minutes.
The plot was inspired by the events of Oct. 31, 2001, in Diamond when the bank was robbed and Diamond R-4 School District Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith disappeared on the same day. Of course, as most of you in the southwest Missouri area will recall, Dr. Smith's body was found 11 days later in his car at the bottom of a pond.
"Small Town News" is a fictionalized version of that time, centering around the topic of how newspaper and television can affect a community. As I have more information, I will pass it along.

Grand jury called for to investigate Joplin Police

KOAM is reporting this morning that Jack Stults is calling for a grand jury investigation of the Joplin Police Department and has sent a letter to the Jasper County Circuit Court presiding judge with that request.
Stults, who has been a regular visitor to Joplin City Council meetings with complaints about the police department and city government, is also calling for a highway patrol investigation into the conduct of two Joplin officers who handcuffed and detained an 11-year-old at a Joplin elementary school.
Stults' problems with the police department began when he claimed he was treated badly during a traffic stop.

Four-laning of U. S. 60 included in transportation bill

Twenty-five million dollars to widen U. S. 60 in southwest Missouri to four lanes is among the $860 million a year Missouri will receive if the six-year transportation bill passes the House and Senate. It is being debated this week. Combined with other funding for specific projects, the state will receive $1.3 billion.
Missouri has benefited from the clout wielded by Senator Kit Bond, who is largely responsible for pushing the package through and for obtaining extra projects for the state.
The bill would provide $286.4 billion for transportation projects across the United States. Its passage has been delayed previously by the opposition of President Bush, who claims too much money would be spent.
The House and Senate are both expected to vote on the bill today before leaving for their six-week summer recess.

Compromise improves chances of meth law passing

U. S. Senator Jim Talent's bill that would make anti-meth bills passed in states including Missouri and Oklahoma applicable across the nation cleared a hurdle Thursday after a compromise was reached saying that the bill would not affect the states' own efforts to fight the growing meth epidemic.
A criticism of Talent's bill, which was lodged by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, is that it would weaken laws such as the one in place in his state because Talent had made too many concessions to the drug companies.
Under the compromise, the states would be allowed to keep laws in place, or pass laws that are even stricter than the one outlined in Talent's bill, which would restrict sales of cold medicines used to make methamphetamines.

Reporter shield law comes to screeching halt

Bowing to concerns from the Justice Department, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said he will not even hold hearings on the law unless the bill has "little or no opposition," according to Human Events.
The bill has 42 co-sponsors in the House, including the third most powerful member, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt. The move came despite an effort by sponsors in the House and Senate to meet the Department of Justice's objections by adding a national security exception.
The shield law would enable reporters to protect their sources and prevent a replay of the ridiculous situation in which New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been placed in jail for revealing a source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case.

Skelton tells Rumsfeld allies must be more involved

Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton backed a resolution for the U. S. to stay the course in Iraq, but he said he told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a meeting a few weeks ago that more effort and policy changes need to be made to draw allies into helping the U. S.
Missourinet reports that Skelton said only 5,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained in the past year, "far too few." He added that the allies need to become involved in large numbers before the American public quits supporting the effort in Iraq.

Jasper County Courthouse improvements approved

One hundred thousand dollars worth of improvements for the Jasper County Courthouse is included in appropriations for the U. S. Interior Department, according to a news release from Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt.
The amount go will part of the way toward paying for $400,000 worth of upgrades the Carthage building will need, Blunt said. "Commissioners have found most of the wiring is cloth-covered and dangerous. The building’s antiquated boiler needs replacement with modern heating and air conditioning. The exterior of the structure needs tuckpointing, waterproofing, and sidewalk and step repairs.":
According to the news release, county commissioners will need to apply for the federal funding and when they receive it, they will be the ones who will determine how the money is used.
A news release issued by U. S. Senator Jim Talent says he is the one who secured the $100,000 (there's apparently plenty of credit to go around). The following is excerpted from the release:
"These funds will preserve one of the most historically significant buildings in Carthage," said Sen. Talent. "The Jasper County Courthouse is in dyer need of restoration. These funds will be used to restore the architectural integrity of the structure as well as help restore it for future generations."
"This funding addressed a very important safety issue," said Chuck Surface, Presiding Commissioner of Jasper County. "I want to thank Sen. Talent for securing this money for the court house. It’s a treasure in the community and is on the National Register for being a historically significant structure."

Blunt, Skelton key in CAFTA passage

The two Congressmen who represent the area generally covered by The Turner Report, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, R-Strafford, and Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton, D-Strafford, played key roles in the passage of CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), wire service reports are saying.
Blunt, in his position as majority whip, was responsible for lining up votes for the agreement, which was pushed by President Bush, while Skelton was one of just 15 Democrats who voted for it. The bill passed by a slim 217-215 majority and is headed to the president for his signature.
"This was a national security vote and that was the selling point in the House," Blunt is quoted in AP and Gannett News Service articles. Opponents fear this bill is great for big business and bad for American workers.
"It is a step backward for workers in Central America and a job-killer here at home,"House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, told Gannett News Service.
"It's not a big market. It's like having a free trade agreement with New Jersey," Blunt told AP.
Apparently, Blunt had a big role in some trade agreements of his own. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes him as saying "it didn't hurt" to have the $286.5 billion highway bill, loaded with projects that would help House members in their districts, still on the calendar as votes were being collected.
The Post-Dispatch noted that Skelton has supported previous trade agreements, but CAFTA opponents had hoped to put him in their column. He said he based his vote on national security, adding that a vote against the agreement would have sent the wrong message when Americans are abroad fighting for democracy.
In the article, Skelton is quoted as saying, "We have a chance to reinforce democracies in the region. This is the moment to move forward and to help those leaders who want to modernize and humanize their countries."

Famous-Barr name to be retired

All Famous-Barr stores, including the one at Northpark Mall in Joplin and Battlefield Mall in Springfield, will become Macy's after the holidays, according to an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.The change is part of the recent merger between Macy's and Federated Department Stores. The Famous-Barr name dates back to 1911.
The article says that Famous-Barr came about as a result of two acquisitions. "David May and three of his brothers-in-law bought the Famous Clothing Store in 1892. They purchased the William Barr Dry Goods Co. in 1911, and Famous-Barr was born."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

La-Z-Boy sales flat

La-Z-Boy earnings per share for the quarter ending July 30 will be in the range of four to six cents per diluted share, according to a company news release. The previously announced range had been 10 to 14 cents, the release said.
The rest of the release is printed below:

La-Z-Boy President and CEO Kurt Darrow noted, "The weaker-than-anticipated retail environment during what is historically the industry's slowest season leads us to now expect year-over-year sales for the quarter to be essentially flat. Our reduction in earnings guidance is primarily due to greater-than- expected expenses and transition costs from the additional 21 company-owned La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries(R) stores that we acquired in the fourth quarter of our fiscal year 2005. As previously mentioned, the operations we acquired were in need of a variety of changes, including information systems, personnel, management, physical infrastructure and some store relocations. While we are implementing the necessary corrective actions, lower retail sales volumes are amplifying these short-term increases in expense."
Darrow concluded, "Although the negative impact from company-owned retail in the quarter will be greater than we anticipated, we are pleased that our core upholstery and casegoods businesses are expected to show improving margin trends. These improvements are the direct result of the changes we have made in our casegoods business model and our focus on continuous process improvements across our entire enterprise." The company plans to report this year's fiscal first quarter operating results after the market close Monday, August 22, 2005 with its regular quarterly investor conference call the following morning, Tuesday, August 23, 2005 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Mediator tabbed for Catholic Church lawsuit

Springfield attorney Gary R. Cunningham has been selected as an outside neutral mediator for the wrongful dismissal/sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Glenna McKitterick against Father Phillip Bucher, Bishop John J. Liebrecht, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, and Our Lady of the Ozarks Catholic Church, according to a certificate filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
More information about the lawsuit can be found at:http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/priest-responds-to-mckitterick-lawsuit.html

Trial set in Joplin Police civil rights case

As the Joplin Police Department waits to see if two of its officers will face civil rights charges in connection with the handcuffing and detention of an elementary school student, preparations for a trial involving another alleged civil rights violation have been flying under the radar.
The trial for the lawsuit filed by James Keener, Joplin, against Officer James Kelly is scheduled to begin Aug. 16 in U. S. District Court in Springfield. Keener claims Kelly violated his civil rights during a drunk driving arrest.
The incident occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. April 1, 2000, according to court records. Keener was driving at 30th and Main when "a Joplin police officer began following (him) without (his) knowledge." Keener drove the remaining two and a half blocks to his home, pulled into the driveway and parked his car in the carport. He turned off the car and went into his house through the rear door.
Shortly afterward, Officer Kelly "entered the residence and began assaulting plaintiff." It wasn't long before other officers arrived and joined in, the complaint said. The other officers are listed as "John Does" in the complaint. The Joplin Police Department was initially listed in the complaint but the judge dismissed the department as a defendant.
Keener was sprayed with Mace "injuring his face and eyes and damaging the carpeting in (his) residence so that it had to be replaced."
The door to Keener's house was also damaged, the complaint said, as well as a personal computer, glassware and other personal property. The police had no arrest warrant and no search warrant, facts which have been stipulated by both sides.
After Keener was subdued, he was handcuffed and taken to the Municipal Jail, where he was placed in a cell "with no running water or toilet facilities for a period of over eight-and-one-half hours while his wife tried to post a bail bond for him," according to the complaint.
Keener says the officers' actions were a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and "unlawful and unreasonable use of force incident to an arrest."
Keener is asking for compensation for his injuries and for his "emotional distress," damages for his property and punitive damages.
In his response, Kelly said he began following Keener because of his "erratic driving" and was using his emergency lights. "Plaintiff failed and refused to stop." Any injuries Keener suffered, the response said, "were brought on by plaintiff's resisting arrest, becoming combative and his drunken condition."
An exhibit list filed today by the defense indicates evidence presented will include the DWI ticket, an April 1, 2000 mug shot of Keener, his Missouri and Kansas rap sheets, the use of force report, the alcohol influence report and the dispatch log.
The two sides have wrangled over what will be allowed to be presented as evidence. The defense filed a motion today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri asking that all testimony about Keener's treatment at the jail should be disallowed because "it is irrelevant and immaterial to any of the issues which will be submitted to the jury," and "defendant would be highly prejudiced because he has not designated any witnesses from the jail to testify as to the conditions or treatment."
Kelly's lawyer, Karl Blanchard, is also asking that all evidence about how Keener's case turned out be excluded. He was found not guilty at trial. "The issues in this case center on whether or not Officer Kelly had a reasonable suspicion to attempt to make a traffic stop of plaintiff on April 1, 2000, and whether or not his actions affecting the arrest of plaintiff were within the constitutional boundaries of the Fourth Amendment. It is not necessary for the defendant to prove that plaintiff was guilty of the charges, whether he was ultimately acquitted is irrelevant to the issues to be submitted to the jury and further is highly prejudicial."

Clarification issued on editing of Joplin Globe post

I wrote yesterday about how a portion of my posting on Rep. Bryan Stevenson's comments was used word for word in the comments posted on the Joplin Globe's website to the story about House Speaker Rod Jetton's visit to Neosho.
A clarification was placed in those comments today by "Retired and Disabled." If I understand correctly, "Retired" originally posted the comment with The Turner Report credited, but it was not accepted by The Globe. Please someone correct me if I am misunderstanding this.
"Retired" thought enough of the comment to resubmit it without The Turner Report being mentioned and suddenly it was appropriate for the website.
When The Globe mentions a source for information in one of its articles, it is considered good journalism. When one of its readers attempts to do the same, I guess it must be free advertising and is not allowed.
Thank you, "Retired" for clearing that up and thanks for your initial mention of this blog in your post.
Comparisons between my original post and the one that finally made it to the Globe website can be found at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/did-globe-edit-turner-report-out-of.html

Revenue up at Empire District Electric

Revenue for the 12 months ending June 30 was up $9.9 million for Empire District Electric Company, according to Business Wire. The company's board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 32 cents per share on common stock payable Sept. 15 to holders on record as of Sept. 1.
Earnings for the second quarter stood at $3.2 million or 12 cents per share, compared to $2.1 million and eight cents per share during the same quarter in 2004.

Special election called to fill Taylor vacancy

Governor Matt Blunt has set a Nov. 8 special election to fill the 29th Senate District seat left vacant by the recent death of Larry Gene Taylor, R-Shell Knob. The district included McDonald and Barry counties.
Candidates must be selected and filed with the secretary of state's office no later than 5 p.m. Sept. 18, according to a news release issued by the governor.
Special elections will be held the same day in the 94th and 150th House districts, which have been left open by a death and a resignation.

Ryan asks for change of venue

Jim Edward Ryan, 42, Lamar, wants a change of judge and a change of venue in his first degree murder trial. His public defender, Joe Zuzul, filed the motions Wednesday in Barton County Circuit Court.
He is charged with beating his brother-in-law, Jim John Kullie, to death with a tire iron on May 25 in Lamar Heights.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 15 with Judge James R. Bickel.
***
Meanwhile, Ryan's sister, Rebecca Kullie, 40, Joplin, the widow of Jim John Kullie, was allowed to switch lawyers during her hearing today on DWI and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges in Jasper County Circuit Court. She will be allowed to use a public defender, according to court records.
The next hearing in the case will be held Aug. 3.

Sarcoxie murder suspect arraigned

John M. Opry, 26, pleaded not guilty to two counts of first degree murder during his arraignment this morning in Jasper County Circuit Court. Opry is charged in connection with the July 23 shooting deaths of Jim Grace, 59, and Glen Nelson Cramer, 81, both of Sarcoxie.
Opry's lawyer, public defender Larry Maples' objection to having cameras in the courtroom was overruled by Judge Richard Copeland.
Preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 17. Opry is being held in lieu of half a million dollars bond.

Jarden profits double

Jarden Corporation, owner of the Sunbeam plant in Neosho, reported second quarter profits of $32.8 million, up from $16 million last year, according to Reuters. Earnings were 58 cents a share.
Sales were up to $754 million, Reuters reported.

Globe parent company expands into New England

The number of family-owned newspapers continued to shrink this week, as Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., owners of approximately 90 daily newspapers, including The Joplin Globe, announced it would buy Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company, which has newspapers serving 55 communities in northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, according to a story in today's Boston Globe. The biggest newspaper in the transaction is the company's flagship product, the Lawrence Mass. Eagle-Tribune.
Neither company was talking about the price, the article said. The company has four daily newspapers plus twice-weekly and weekly publications. The Eagle-Tribune has won two Pulitzer Prizes, the story said, with the most recent coming in 2003 for its coverage of the drowning of four boys.
Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., is primarily operated by Retirement Systems of Alabama, a state employee pension fund.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

CBL, Northpark Mall, have new websites

CBL & Associates issued a news release today announcing it has launched a new corporate website, as well as websites for each of its malls across the U. S., including Northpark Mall in Joplin.
The Northpark Mall site can be found at:
http://www.visitnorthparkmall.com/
The Northpark Mall website includes "detailed store information with website links, site-wide search capability, links to the mall's sponsors, printable coupons and special offers, media spots, links to local weather and theaters, and mall-centered maps with directions through MapQuest," according to the news release.
The CBL corporate website, which has links to all of the company's malls across the country, can be found at: http://cblproperties.com

Wal-Mart sues former top executive

Wal-Mart filed suit against its former vice chairman Tom Coughlin today claiming he misused company gift cards, according to an Associated Press article. In the lawsuit, which was filed in Benton County Circuit Court, Wal-Mart officials claimed Coughlin used the gift cards to buy a number of items including: "watches, Bloody Mary mix, headphones, sunflower seeds, a Toby Keith CD, underwear and a karaoke machine," the article said.
Coughlin also allegedly used his expense account to buy "snakeskin boots, a radio receiver for XM satellite radio, truck accessories and airplane tickets."
In the lawsuit, Wal-Mart officials claim Coughlin misspent more than half a million dollars. The company is seeking to void Coughlin's "multimillion-dollar retirement package," the article said.
Wal-Mart filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year saying it was firing Coughlin for "gross misconduct."

Did Globe edit Turner Report out of comment?

I was a bit surprised when I was checking the reader comments on The Joplin Globe website about Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton's visit to Neosho and found my own words staring back at me.
In the comment from "Retired and Disabled," the following is shown:

Example: State Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, representative of each person in his legislative district, told the poorest of them, hey, if you can't afford medical care, you don't deserve it. Stevenson was quoted in a recent article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch as saying, "People have come to think there's an entitlement to medicine. If I don't pay my electric bill, they cut it off. If I don't pay my water bill, they cut it off. Yet as a society, we expect medical care." Stevenson, of course, has plenty of money to cover his medical needs, including taxpayer-financed health insurance for legislators, which he voted to continue at the same time he was happily going along with cuts to Medicaid.

This is what was written in The Turner Report:

State Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, representative of each person in his legislative district, told the poorest of them, hey, if you can't afford medical care, you don't deserve it. Stevenson was quoted in an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch as saying, "People have come to think there's an entitlement to medicine. If I don't pay my electric bill, they cut it off. If I don't pay my water bill, they cut it off. Yet as a society, we expect medical care." Stevenson, of course, has plenty of money to cover his medical needs, including taxpayer-financed health insurance for legislators, which he voted to continue at the same time he was happily going along with cuts to Medicaid.

The only difference is the change from "today's" St. Louis Post Dispatch in my version to "a recent article" in St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the Globe comment version.
Perhaps I am wrong, but I have a strong feeling that it wasn't "Retired and Disabled" who used my writing without giving credit. I would guess that whoever that person is, he or she mentioned The Turner Report, but The Globe, which has had no qualms about following the lead of this blog on many of its articles (without ever crediting the source) had that part removed.

Moark suffers heavy losses

Land O'Lakes reported a $16.1 million loss for its Moark imprint during the second quarter of 2005, according to the current report filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At the same time as the company is preparing a large-scale expansion of its egg-growing facilities in the Neosho area, the company says its volume has improved since last year but "depressed egg prices had an adverse effect on dollar sales and earnings."
For the second quarter the company recorded $86 million in sales, down from $143.3 million in sales last year. The $16.1 million loss compared to a 7.6 percent profit the previous year.
For the first half of the year, sales totaled $192 million with a loss of $22.4 million, the report said, compared to sales of $319 million and a profit of $36.9 million through the first half of 2004.

Blunt aide blames low approval rating on Holden

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is tied with his California counterpart Arnold Schwarzenegger for third-lowest approval rating among U. S. governors, according to a Survey USA poll taken between July 8 and July 10.
The poll showed Blunt with an approval rating of 35 percent and a disapproval rating of 60 percent. The margin of error for the poll was listed as plus or minus four percent.
Blunt's spokesman, Spence Jackson, told the Columbia Missourian he would not comment on the survey, but he added that the governor's office is recovering from mismanagement under former Governor Bob Holden.

Davis blog has new address

For those of you who use the links on the right-hand side of this page, you may have noticed that Ron Davis' Chatter link has not been working. Davis, a former investigative reporter for the Springfield News-Leader and one of the first in southwest Missouri to run a news-oriented blog, has shifted his blog to a new address. I have updated the link.
It can now be found at: http://chatterbyrondavis.blogspot.com/

Blunt eliminates Missouri Board of Mediation

In what appears to be another anti-union/pro-business move, but is being characterized as a cost-cutting measure, Governor Matt Blunt signed an executive order July 1 eliminating the Missouri State Board of Mediation, according to an article in today's Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian.
The move, the newspaper says, was done without any public announcement. The board "presided over union elections for public workers and determined the status of collective bargaining units," the article said.
It consisted of five members, two representing unions, two representing businesses, and a neutral chairman.
The panel's duties will be turned over to the state Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.
The fear, and it is an understandable one considering the pro-business bent of the Blunt administration, is that Missouri's workers are going to be the losers from this decision.

Jefferson City backs out of school lawsuit

The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports the school board in that city has joined others, including Webb City and Carl Junction in this area, in dropping out of the lawsuit filed by the Committee for Educational Quality against the state of Missouri's foundation formula for funding elementary and secondary education.
Locally, school districts in Carthage and Nevada have remained in the lawsuit, questioning where the money is going to come from to fund the plan approved by the Missouri General Assembly during its last session.

NYPD interested in Zobel horses

Today's Springfield News-Leader reports the New York Police Department is interested in using some of the horses that were rescued from William Zobel to patrol Central Park.
If you remember, the horses were confiscated from Zobel, who is from Republic, when several were found dead on his ranch, and others were malnourished.
Many of the horses had been kept by the Carthage Humane Society, which had not been allowed to adopt out the horses until the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against Zobel earlier this month.
The News-Leader story also indicates the syndicated Judge Joe Brown program has taken an interest in some of the lawsuits that have been filed against Zobel.
You can find the article at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

McKitterick files amended complaint against church

A Branson woman has asked for permission to file an amended complaint in her lawsuit alleging she was sexually harassed by Phillip Bucher, a priest.
The allegations outlined in Glenna McKitterick's amended complaint are the same as in her initial filing, but this time, she charges that Bishop John J. Liebrecht, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, and Our Lady of the Ozarks Catholic Church failed to supervise Bucher.
More information about the lawsuit can be found at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/priest-responds-to-mckitterick-lawsuit.html

Hearing set for McBride

An arraignment, scheduling conference and competency hearing will be held Aug. 18 in the U. S. Courthouse in Springfield for Webb City businessman Keith McBride.
As noted earlier in The Turner Report, McBride's psychiatric report was filed Monday in U. S> District Court and was ordered sealed by Judge James C. England. McBride, who is charged with arson, in connection with the fire that destroyed his business, Coin-Op, underwent the psychiatric evaluation at the U. S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield.
McBride had also burned his home in Duquesne and had a standoff with police officers, in which he threatened to kill himself, but his gun jammed, according to court records.

Arraignment set in Sarcoxie murders

An 8 a.m. Thursday arraignment has been scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for John M. Opry, 26, Sarcoxie, who is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with the July 23 shooting deaths of Jim Grace, 59, and Glen Nelson Cramer, 81, both of Sarcoxie.
The two men were killed at a house they had been watching for a neighbor, according to published reports.
Bond for Opry has been set at half a million dollars.
Judge Richard Copeland issued a ruling today permitting television cameras at the arraignment.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gutteridge subject of Morning Sun feature

Out of more than 20,000 articles I wrote while I was a working journalist, one of my favorites was an interview I did in the mid-1980s on former Chicago White Sox manager Don Gutteridge.
Gutteridge, who I believe is the only surviving member of the St. Louis Browns team that played the Cardinals (he is also one of the last members of the 1930s Cardinal Gashouse Gang) in the 1944 World Series, is 94 and lives in Pittsburg, Kan. He was featured in an article in the Sunday Pittsburg Morning Sun.
You can find it at:
http://www.morningsun.net/stories/072305/loc_20050723030.shtml

Stevenson: People have no right to medical care

State Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, representative of each person in his legislative district, told the poorest of them, hey, if you can't afford medical care, you don't deserve it.
Stevenson was quoted in an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch as saying,"People have come to think there's an entitlement to medicine. If I don't pay my electric bill, they cut it off. If I don't pay my water bill, they cut it off. Yet as a society, we expect medical care."
Stevenson, of course, has plenty of money to cover his medical needs, including taxpayer-financed health insurance for legislators, which he voted to continue at the same time he was happily going along with cuts to Medicaid.

Judge orders McBride evaluation sealed

The psychiatric report for Webb City businessman Keith McBride, who faces federal arson charges in connection with the burning of his business has been ordered sealed by Judge James C. England.
The report was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Judge England ruled in May that McBride, owner of Coin-Op would be evaluated at the U. S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield. McBride was charged after burning his business, as well as his home in Duquesne, and threatening to kill himself. The purported suicide attempt was thwarted when McBride's gun jammed.
According to Judge England's order, the report was to include:
-McBride's history and present symptoms
-A description of the psychiatric, psychological, and medical tests that were used and the results of those tests.
-The examiner's opinion as to whether McBride is suffering from a mental disease or defect that would render him incompetent to understand the court proceedings or to help with his defense.
-The examiner's opinion on whether McBride was insane at the time he allegedly burned his business to the ground, and was "unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts."

Hance PSI to be given top priority

Federal Judge Richard E. Dorr issued an order today for probation officers to give former McDonald County sheriff's candidate Randy Hance's pre-sentence investigation top priority.
As noted earlier in The Turner Report, U. S. attorneys plan to recommend a sentence of one year and one day for Hance, who pleaded guilty July 15 in Springfield to federal weapons charges.
Hance's lawyer, Shawn Askinosie of Springfield, filed a motion last week to expedite the presentence investigation since Hance may have already served his sentence by the time the report was issued.
Hance has been held without bond since his arrest Nov. 23. For more information on the case and Hance's guilty plea, go to the following link:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/hance-pleads-guilty.html

Second bad check charge filed against Shafer

Carrie Shafer, Oronogo, whose tax return preparation service was shut down earlier this year by the federal government, has been charged with passing bad checks. The charge, which was filed July 22 in Jasper County Circuit Court, is the second such charge to be leveled against her in the past three weeks.
The first one, filed July 6, involved a check written in September 2004, according to court records. The most recent charge involved a check written in March.
The federal government cracked down on Ms. Shafer earlier this year, claiming she was filing fraudulent income tax returns.
Brandon Wayne Kahl, 25, Lamar, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June 7 death of two-year-old Alexander Cole, found himself on the losing side of a civil case today, according to Barton County Circuit Court records.
The court awarded Barton County Memorial Hospital, a total of $1,006.18, including $721.50 principal, $179.68 interest and $105 in court costs. The hospital had sued Kahl for breach of contract, court records indicate.

Pineville lawman enters not guilty plea

Suspended Pineville police officer Terry Dene Bates pleaded not guilty in McDonald County Circuit Court today to misdemeanor assault and DWI.
Bates, 35, has been under suspension since the June 12 incident in which he was stopped by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper. News reports following Bates' arrest indicate he had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit. Bates has also been charged with failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.The reports said the assault was on a nine-year-old girl at a get-together in Noel. He allegedly grabbed the girl by the arm. Court records indicate an Anderson man filed a child protection order against Bates on June 13, though the temporary order was dismissed without prejudice June 27.
A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 29.

Ethics complaint against Blunt forwarded to A.G.

The Missouri Ethics Commission has forwarded an ethics complaint against Governor Matt Blunt to the attorney general.
The decision was made at the Commission's July 21 meeting, according to information posted today on the Commission's website.
No specific information was given on the website about the nature of the complaint, which was filed by the Missouri Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party has issued a news release which says it involves the Blunt campaign's failure to report an "illegal in-kind contribution" of a tour bus by Mike Kehoe. Kehoe was recently appointed to the Missouri Highway Commission.
The Democratic Party news release notes that Blunt's campaign did pay Kehoe for the use of the bus...after the ethics complaint was filed, but still only paid a third of what the bus was worth.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Nine-year-old with Joplin ties shot to death

An incredibly sad story ran in the Grand Junction, Colo. Daily Sentinel this morning concerning a nine-year-old skateboarder who was murdered by a 14-year-old.
Taylor DeMarco had visited family in Joplin numerous times and his uncle, Tony Robyn of Joplin, is quoted in the story.
You can find it at:
http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content/news/stories/2005/07/24/7_24_DeMarco_memorial_WWW.html

Saturday, July 23, 2005

More depositions set in Southwest City lawsuit

Former Southwest City Police Chief Toi Cannada will be among those scheduled to give depositions the first week of August in the wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed by her predecessor, Ron Beaudry, against Southwest City officials.
As was noted in the July 21 Turner Report, Beaudry is scheduled to give his deposition Monday, Aug. 1, at the law offices of Lathrop & Gage in Springfield. The depositions of Ms. Cannada and others sought by Beaudry's attorneys will be held the following two days at the same location.
According to documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the first day of depositions for Beaudry's side, Tuesday, Aug. 2, will feature Ms. Cannada at 1 p.m. and Sandra Harris at 3 p.m. Depositions scheduled for Wednesday, Aug 3, start with councilman Farley Martin, who is Ms. Cannada's stepfather, at 9 a.m., councilwoman Mildred Weaver at 11 a.m. Mayor Al Dixon at 2 p.m. and Ryan McKee at 4 p.m.
More information about the lawsuit can be found at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/deposition-set-for-former-southwest.html

Harris receives funding from Roy Blunt

Katherine Harris, the former Florida secretary of state who became a political lightning rod during the 2000 presidential election, is challenging incumbent Senator Bill Nelson in Florida and has already received a sizable donation from Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt's political action committee, according to an article in the Sarasota, Fla. Herald-Tribune.
Ms. Harris has raised far less money than Nelson, the article said, but experts predicted that gap would narrow quickly.

Former Joplin trumpeter dies at 93

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Jules Herman, who once played trumpet in Joplin ballrooms during the late 1940s, and who fronted his own orchestra at the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul, Minn., for 35 years died Friday at age 93 of heart failure.
Herman at one time played in Lawrence Welk's band, according to the article, and in fact, married Welk's first Champagne Lady, Lois Best.

The low pay of Jasper County deputies

If I had any doubts about whether the Jasper County law enforcement sales tax should be put on the ballot, they were erased after I read the story that will run in the Sunday Joplin Globe about deputies' salaries.
When I found out that one seven-year veteran, Scott Stringer, had resigned his job $25,800 a year job to get a higher salary teaching in the Diamond R-4 School District for $26,000 a year, I said two things.
The first was "They need to pass that law enforcement sales tax."
The second was "Why did he settle for being a teacher? If he's going to work in the Diamond School District, he could make over $40,000 a year supervising the maintenance crew or pull down $35,000 or more annually as a secretary.
I guess it's just a matter of priorities.

Neosho turkey sexer featured in Post-Dispatch

Get your minds out of the gutter.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just posted a story about Tai Toelken, a South Korea native, who works as a turkey sexer for the Ag Forte hatchery in Neosho. You can read the feature at:
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/missouristatenews/story/BFE24B405B357B88862570470032D2B7?OpenDocument

Friday, July 22, 2005

Lamar R-1 Board to review extra-duty pay

It's too soon to tell if anything good will come of it, but Lamar R-1 administrators were apparently shocked Thursday night, when the school board, by a 4-2 vote, had the administrators go back to the drawing board when it comes to extra duty pay for teachers.
The board had approved a plan which called for hefty increases for men's sports coaches, but not much of anything for people who sponsor academic-oriented extracurricular activities.
The message board at www.lamarmo.com has been buzzing with the news. It appears the old guard at the school is still pushing the nonsense that if we they don't pay those football coaches a bunch, they will go somewhere else. Also, they are buying into the fiction that coaches put in a lot more hours with their sports than other teachers do with academic-related activities.
Some do, some don't. I know of teachers who sponsor academic activities who put in just as much time and for far less money than coaches. That's not a knock against coaches. That is an indictment of some school districts' priorities.
Nothing may come of the board's decision to examine the situation a little bit more, but it was a worthy first step.

Nation watching Moark decision

Apparently, Newton County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Watson plans to file charges against Moark, if I read the article in today's Neosho Daily News correctly. The charges, of course, are in connection with the dumping of live chickens caught in Neosho resident Rick Bussey's videotape.
The article didn't say Watson was decided whether to file charges, it said he was deciding what charges to file.
Apparently, the case has drawn considerable interest from groups across the U.S., from what the prosecutor told the Daily. People are apparently ready to see someone go up against Moark, or its parent company, Land O' Lakes.

Zywicki murder relived in Philadelphia Inquirer story

The unsolved murder of 21-year-old Tammy Jo Zywicki of Marlton, N. J., is relived in a Philadelphia Inquirer article that was syndicated through Knight Ridder's services.
Miss Zywicki, you may recall, was returning to Grinnell College in 1992 when she stopped her car on a a shoulder of I-80 near LaSalle, Ill. The last witness who saw her said the hood was open on her car and a tractor-trailer driver, about 35 years old, was standing beside her.
Nine days later, her body was on I-44 near Joplin. She had been stabbed to death and was sexually assaulted, according to law enforcement officials.
You can find the article at:
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/nation/12202441.htm

Epoch has not asked for airport extension

Interesting letter to the editor scheduled to be printed in the Saturday Joplin Globe.
Timothy Whelan, executive vice president, of Epoch Composite Products, Inc., in Lamar, says his company has never complained about the Lamar Airport runway being "inadequate" for its planes.
The Globe on June 25 quoted Lamar City Administrator Lynn Calton as saying the city's attempt to buy property for an airport extension was because of Epoch, Thorco, and Sun Container complaints.
The city is attempting to buy out a property owner who does not want to move in order to make way for the expansion.

Former KOAM anchor returns for duty

It was probably not the way the former Bre Sakas, now Bre LaFerla, had imagined her return to lending her face and voice to the big story of the day, but the former KOAM anchor was right in the middle of the big story today.
As mentioned earlier in The Turner Report, KODE's Alan Cavanna broke the news at 5 p.m. that a burglary at a microfilming company had resulted in the theft of thousands of St. John's Regional Medical Center patients' billing information.
Mrs. LaFerla, who is media coordinator at St. John's, had to explain the situation, first to the stations who used to be her competitors, KODE and KSNF, then to her former station KOAM, where she once anchored the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. news with Dowe Quick.
As for those records, I am still awaiting a letter from St. John's, but I have to admit I am not too concerned about this one. Apparently, St. John's has taken steps to make sure that they never lose information because of something done by an outside company again.

AP story details how McVeigh was caught

With all of the stories in the news about terrorists who have not been captured, it is refreshing to read the Associated Press account of the man who arrested Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
You can find the story at:
http://www.channeloklahoma.com/news/4760392/detail.html?treets=okl&tid=2656282752813&tml=okl_8pm&tmi=okl_8pm_1_08000107222005&ts=H

Morning Bible club at school did not violate law

The American Civil Liberties Union is still considering a lawsuit against a Louisiana teacher who led a before-school Bible Club in Tangipahoa Parish in Lousiana.
ACLU officials are considering their next step after federal court judge Ginger Berrigan said the meeting, which included a silent prayer following the Pledge of Allegiance, did not violate the First Amendment establishment clause.
Apparently, the school had an agreement with ACLU officials not to have prayer on school campus, but the judge said the agreement doesn't prohibit all prayer on school property. It only "prohibits religious invocations at athletic events, prayers offered over the public address system and prayer during school assemblies."
After ruling, ACLU officials indicated they might file a separate lawsuit which would be directed at the teacher and not the school district, according to an Associated Press article.

Seneca police chief files for bankruptcy

Seneca Police Chief Doyle Shields filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri today.
The first meeting of creditors is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 8, at the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage. Court records indicate Shields listed $10,475 in property and $46,924 in debt. Shields has worked for the city of Seneca for the past nine years.

KODE breaks story on theft of St. John's information

I quickly checked my mailbox after hearing KODE's Alan Cavanna report on the 5 p.m. newscast that personal information about St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin patients had been stolen from a microfilming company.
I didn't quite catch the dates that were covered by the thefts, since I was flipping back and forth between the stations to see who else had the story, but since I very clearly remember spending a day and a half at St. John's in December 2003 and having 12 units of blood pumped into me, so I could keep on teaching and writing, the story understandably caught my attention.
KSNF also had the story, though it was a readthrough by anchor Tiffany Alaniz.
There was no letter from St. John's in my mailbox, though two more companies did want me to use their credit cards.
***
It was a nice touch for Gary and Tiffany to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Bruce VonderHaar on Mrs. VonderHaar's pregnancy. I am sure many viewers who are connected with the two through television or through Bruce's work at Joplin High School, were happy to hear the news. I have no problem with it being mentioned on the air.
It's just a shame that the corporate bosses at KSNF didn't allow a mention of another news story involving VonderHaar earlier this year, when the first school operated television station in southwest Missouri, Jet 14, went on the air under VonderHaar's guidance. This was obviously a newsworthy event, but it was not covered by either KSNF or VonderHaar's old station, KODE, where he worked diligently for years as a sports anchor, because Jet 14 can only be seen on Cable One.
Nexstar Broadcasting, KSN's owner, and the de facto owner of KODE, pulled its programming off Cable One at the beginning of 2005. The company had every right to do so, but it should never have allowed that decision to affect its news coverage. Instead, it allowed KOAM to carry the exclusive story on what has been a major educational development for the Joplin R-8 School District.

Jasper Farmers Exchange files for bankruptcy

A meeting has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 8 in the Division II courtroom in the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage for all of those owed money by Jasper Farmers Exchange, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today.
The Jasper business reported having $224,178 in personal property, but owed $185,932.12, including more than $135,000 to Southwest Missouri Bank, $18,036.73 to the MFA Law Department in Columbia, $2,761.81 to Lamar Feed and Grain, $23,711.70 to Farmland, and $3,753.31 to Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is essentially a liquidation of the business, in which any real or personal property is sold to pay off creditors.

No preliminary hearing for McLean

A motion to remand Brandie McLean's forgery and endangering the welfare of a child charges for a preliminary hearing was overruled by Judge Jon Dermott and a tentative trial date has been scheduled for Sept 12 in Jasper County Circuit Court, with a fallback date of Sept. 26.
Ms. McLean originally pleaded guilty to the charges, but withdrew the plea after she discovered it could keep her from regaining custody of her children. The endangering the welfare charge was filed after her two-year-old was on the roof of her home, in Webb City where she was living at that time. The Division of Family Services took her four children away from her.
One of the children, Braxton Wooden, 8, was shot to death at the Alba foster home in which he was placed.

Today is deadline for killer's response

Today is the deadline for Death Row inmate Alis Ben Johns to respond to Pulaski County officials' reasons why he should not receive a writ of prohibition that might prevent his execution.
Johns' public defender Donald Catlett filed the motion with the Missouri Supreme Court on July 5, the most recent in many maneuvers the man who was convicted of murdering Wilma Bragg of Stark City and two others has tried in an effort to stay alive.
As was mentioned earlier in The Turner Report, Catlett has a long record of working with defendants who have mental problems or who are alleged to have mental problems.
A thorough breakdown of the crimes Johns committed can be found in the June 30 Turner Report at http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/06/bragg-killers-appeal-rejected.html
More information about the case can be found at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/death-row-inmate-appeals-to-supreme.html

Sept. 9 sentencing set for Feagans

A presentencing investigation has been ordered and a Sept. 9 sentencing date set after former Neosho South Elementary PTO treasurer Melanie Feagans, 33, pleaded guilty today in McDonald County Circuit Court to three felony stealing charges. The case was being heard in McDonald County on a change of venue from Newton County.
Ms. Feagons pleaded guilty to embezzling at least $25,000 while serving as treasurer of the Oakwood Cemetery Association, between $2,821 and $9,618 from the Neosho Wildcat Booster Club, and $13,025.40 from the PTO.

Deposition planned for Neosho bus driver

No hearing date has been set, but the lawsuit filed by parents of a Neosho Benton Elementary Schools student who died after being run over by a Neosho school bus seems to be moving along, according to Newton County Circuit Court records.
Patrick Michael Martucci, lawyer for the late Jacob Wright's parents, John and Terri Wright, filed a notice July 13 saying that a videotaped deposition will be taken of bus driver Bill Hoover, 72, who is a defendant in the lawsuit, along with the Neosho R-5 School District.
Jacob Wright was killed Dec. 16, 2004, near the intersection of Morrow and Summit streets in Neosho. Police Chief Dave McCracken explained what happened in a Neosho Daily News article published the following day. "Apparently, the boy was walking in the street near the bus when he fell under the vehicle and received his injuries." Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges said the official cause of death was "massive internal injuries."
The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 29 in Jasper County Circuit Court, then moved to Newton County Circuit Court on March 16.

Blunt, Skelton vote to renew Patriot Act

The U. S. House of Representatives voted 257-171 Thursday to extend the Patriot Act.
Among Missouri and Kansas politicians, those voting to extend the act were:
Republicans Roy Blunt, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson, Sam Graves, and Kenny Hulshof of Missouri, and Jerry Moran, Jim Ryun, and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas.
Democrats Ike Skelton and Russ Carnahan of Missouri.
Those voting against the extension of the act were:
Democrats William Lacy Clay and Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, and Dennis Moore of Kansas.

More problems for state revenue department

I hate to keep piling on the Missouri Department of Revenue, but this morning's Kansas City Star indicates the department has even more woes in addition to those it has had with its changeover to contract fee offices.
"About 1,500 Missouri motorists are driving around with new license plate numbers that belong to someone else," the article begins.
"The Department of Revenue acknowledged Thursday that it had printed 20,000 sets of duplicate license plates, 1,502 of which had already been distributed before officials learned of the mistake July 8."
The article says the Missouri Highway Patrol has been told about the problem. It is going to cost approximately $55,000 to correct, according to the Star.

Director of audits answers DOR director's column

As you recall, I posted a link earlier this week to a column written by Missouri Director of Revenue Trish Vincent explaining the stance taken by her and Governor Blunt against allowing state auditors to review use of taxpayer money and equipment at the new contract license fee offices.
I felt Ms. Vincent's column and the stance taken by the governor misrepresented the work done by the state auditor's office. Naturally, those who work at the state auditor's office thought so, too.
In today's Springfield News-Leader, Kenneth Kuster, director of audits for the state auditor's office, rebuts Ms. Vincent's column.
You can find his column at:
http://www.springfieldnews-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050722/OPINIONS02/507220318/1006/OPINIONS

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Globe: FBI completes Joplin police investigation

The Joplin Globe will report in its Friday edition that the FBI has completed its civil rights investigation into the treatment of an 11-year-old Joplin boy by two Joplin Police officers at an elementary school.
The police officers' actions and the subsequent decision by city officials not to reveal what disciplinary measures were taken against the officers have kept the issue in the news for the past several months.
The FBI investigation report will be turned over to Justice Department officials who will determine whether any action will be taken, according to the Globe article.

Expert witnesses named in Alvarez lawsuit

Lawyers for former Newton County prisoner Oscar Alvarez earlier this month filed the names of three expert witnesses for Alvarez' lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department.
The three are all listed as "treating physicians" for Alvarez, according to the documents, which were filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Named were: Dr. Juan Jose Fernandez Salinas, Dr. Jamie Flores Gonzalez, and Dr. Nunez Lara.
Alvarez claims former jailers Adam Babbitt and Shane Smith left his cell door unlocked and allowed other prisoners to enter his cell and beat him up. In their response, county officials say they didn't do that and that doing something like that would be a violation of county policy.

Deposition set for former Southwest City chief

The lawyer for Southwest City officials named in a lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Ron Beaudry will get a crack at Beaudry on Aug. 1.
The notice to take Beaudry's deposition was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The questioning will take place 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Lathrop & Gage law firm in Springfield. If the deposition has not been concluded at that point it will continue the next day during the same hours, the document indicated.
A March 2006 jury trial is expected in the lawsuit which was filed by Beaudry against Southwest City's mayor and city council. According to the schedule filed earlier this year, all discovery must be completed by Aug. 26 with the deadline for filing of discovery motions set for Aug. 12.
A three-day trial is expected, according to the court documents.
Beaudry claims that his successor, Toi Cannada, who has since resigned from that post, was convicted of a "driving-related alcohol offense" on July 21, 1994, in Webb City, and on July 13, 2001, in Callaway County.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the city of Southwest City, Mayor Al Dixon, and council members Farley Martin and Mildred Weaver. Beaudry noted in his petition that Ms. Cannada is Martin's stepdaughter. Beaudry was hired as police chief in June 2003, according to the petition.
Ms. Cannada was hired on a part-time basis last November.She was promoted to full-time status after a closed council meeting in March 2004, the petition says. 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. Canada." 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 claims his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the city officials. He is asking to be reinstated as police chief, to have all references to his suspension and firing removed from city files, and for damages and punitive damages.
The trial is scheduled for March 2006, according to court records.

Ribbon cutting held for Precious Moments distribution

The official ribbon cutting for Precious Moments, Inc.'s distribution center was held Tuesday in Carthage, the Carthage Press noted earlier this week.
July 1 was the official day for Precious Moments, Inc., to take control over distribution of its trademark figurines.The operation is being run out of Precious Moments, Inc., office in Elgin, Ill., with distribution handled through the plant in Carthage, according to the June 29 Chicago Daily Herald. Marketing will be shared with Enesco through the end of the calendar year.

Leggett earnings slightly below expectations

Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt had its best second-quarter earnings ever, but officials are not crowing about, saying they had expected more.
The company reported net earnings of $79.2 million, or 41 cents a share for the three months ending June 30, up from $76.8 million, or 39 cents a share, a year ago.
CEO Felix Wright said in a company news release that those figures were not as high as what he and other Leggett officials had anticipated.
Company officials blamed an unexpected drop in prices for some Leggett products and customers switching to cheaper brands to hold down on inflation.

Freedom coming soon for Hance

U. S. attorneys plan to recommend a sentence of one year and one day for former McDonald County sheriff's candidate and Seneca police officer Randy Hance, who pleaded guilty July 15 in Springfield to federal weapons charges.
The agreement was spelled out in a document filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri today by Hance's lawyer, Shawn Askinosie of Springfield. Askinosie filed a request to speed up the presentence investigation. "According to the United States Probation and Parole officer conducting the PSI interview," Askinosie said, "Mr. Hance could very well have served his term by the time the PSI is completed, in the event the court follows the plea agreement recommendation." Judges are not bound to go along with plea agreements.
Askinosie said the probation officer in charge of Hance's case said that it would be possible to speed up the investigation so that Hance does not end up spending more than a year and a day in the Greene County Jail.
Hance has been held without bond since his arrest Nov. 23.
For more information on the case and Hance's guilty plea, go to the following link:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/hance-pleads-guilty.html

Child molester wants to continue lawsuit

Convicted child molester Martin Anthony Eck has asked a U. S. District Court judge to give him more time to file court papers explaining why his lawsuit against Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn and Jasper County commissioners should continue.
On June 20, Judge Richard E. Dorr gave Eck 20 days to show him why the lawsuit should not be dismissed. Eck's response was filed today, 11 days past the deadline.
In his handwritten letter, Eck said, "I would like to request a extension on time because I need adequate time to prepare my response and am only able to go to the law library two times a week to review the cases named by the defendant. I would like another 30 days to prepare." Eck is in the Jefferson City Correctional Center.
Naturally, Jasper County officials do not want the judge to give Eck the 30 days. The county officials' lawyer, Peter Lee of the Springfield law firm of Lathrop & Gage, said Eck has already had "adequate time" to prepare his response, since he had 30 days between the time the motion to dismiss was filed and the deadline imposed by Judge Dorr.
Lee says his clients are willing to give Eck 10 additional days, saying that would be "fair, reasonable and allow plaintiff adequate time to prepare his response."
Eck is suing the county officials for $10 million, saying he did not receive adequate dental care while he was in the Jasper County Jail awaiting trial on the child molestation charges.

Blunt, Leggett contribute to DeLay defense fund

Ethically-challenged House Republican Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has raised more than $1 million for his defense and $20,000 of that has come from Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, according to documents filed with House's Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
Blunt's total was far and away the most donated to DeLay by any of his colleagues, the reports indicated. The money provided by Blunt was all given last year, the reports indicate. Only two congressmen provided money to DeLay during 2005.
Other four-state officials who donated to the Texas congressman, all of them Republican U. S. representatives were: Tom Cole, Oklahoma, $1,000; Todd Tiahrt, Kansas, $10,000, Todd Akin, Missouri, $1,000; JoAnn Emerson, Missouri, $1,000; and Frank Lucas, Oklahoma, $1,000.
The documents also indicate that one of the biggest corporate contributors to DeLay was Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt, which gave him $5,000.
No Missouri individual, other than the aforementioned members of Congress, gave DeLay more than $500.
The House Ethics Committee admonished DeLay for three violations in 2004, and many of his close associates are apparent targets in a grand jury investigation involving corporate money laundering.
More information about the DeLay defense fund can be found at www.citizen.org, the website of Project Citizen.

Governors battle driver's license requirements

It didn't happen in Missouri where our governor and legislators moved as quickly as they could to kiss up to President Bush, but governors across the United States are battling the ridiculous requirements that states are being required to add to driver's licenses.
The major part of it is the cost, which I am betting will be worse in Missouri where we have a bunch of new people (contract agents) operating the license fee offices, and a governor who does not want to let the state auditor do her job and make sure taxpayer money and equipment are being properly handled.
There is also a concern about a government decision to make the driver's license the first line of defense when it comes to national security.
You can read the Stateline.org article on the subject at:
http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=43671

Arraignment set for former Carthage R-9 Board member

A 9:30 a.m. Aug. 2 arraignment has been scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for Michael Lloyd Wells, 52, Carthage, who is charged with violating an order of protection. Wells was formerly a Carthage police officer and a member of the Carthage R-9 Board of Education.
Court documents indicate Wells, 52, violated the protection order on Nov. 1, 2003.
Wells is already awaiting trial on two charges of incest, one charge of forcible rape, and one charge of sexual assault. The incidents are alleged to have occurred on Sept. 1, 1994, and April 1, 2001. No hearing dates are scheduled in those cases, according to court records.

Blunt asks for drought assessment

Gov. Matt Blunt today asked the Missouri Farm Service Agency to conduct drought condition damage assessment reports for 106 counties, according to a news release.
"In a letter to Tim Kelley, executive director of the Missouri Farm Service Agency, Blunt said that 106 counties have been without significant rainfall and are suffering from the drought. Reports have been received of scorched pastures causing some livestock farmers to begin feeding their winter supply of hay or to sell their animals prematurely due to the lack of forage. In addition, row crops are in desperate need of rainfall and will most likely suffer substantial yield loss without immediate relief."
The news release continues, "Blunt has requested damage assessment reports for the following counties: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Caldwell, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Holt, Howard, Howell, Iron, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Madison, Maries, Marion, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Nodaway, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis County, Saline, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, Shannon, Shelby, Stoddard, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Worth and Wright. Damage assessment reports will show the extent of the drought damage and could make producers eligible for federal financial assistance."

Precious Moments Chapel features in Chicago Tribune

The Precious Moments Chapel is featured in a Chicago Tribune article, which has been syndicated to other newspapers across the United States.
The article can be found at:
http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/living/12186841.htm

Empire District to announce quarterly earnings

Empire District Electric Company, Joplin, will announce its second quarter business results at 9 a.m. Friday, July 29, according to a story on Business Wire.
The call is being webcast by Thomson/CCBN, the story said, and can be accessed from Empire's website at www.empiredistrict.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

KOAM owner to release second quarter earnings

Saga Communications, owner of KOAM and KFJX, will release its second quarter earnings 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3.
The company only owns a handful of television stations, but is a major player in the radio market.

National magazine notes Cope promotion

The magazine of the newspaper industry, Editor & Publisher, featured a story this week on the reorganization of Liberty Group Publishing.
The reorganization, which has been mentioned earlier in The Turner Report, placed former Neosho Daily News Publisher Randy Cope as co-president co-chief operating officer of the company.
The promotion went into effect the same day that Liberty officially was owned by Fortress Investment.

Lockwood couple's court win goes national

The nearly $3 million Kenneth and Alisha Moenning of Lockwood won from a Jasper County jury in their lawsuit against International Flavors and Fragrances and Bush Boake Allen has hit the national wires.
Among the cities whose newspapers have picked up on the story are: Los Angeles, Kansas City, Seattle, Newsday of Long Island, San Jose, Charlotte, and the London Guardian.

McLean: 'My son was murdered'

Brandie McLean, 28, Joplin, whose eight-year-old son Braxton Wooden was shot to death on June 2 has apparently posted messages responding to entries on The Turner Report.
You can find them at:
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/mclean-trial-canceled.html and
http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2005/07/dankelson-considers-filing-charges.html

Carthage R-9 to stay in lawsuit for now

The Carthage Press reports the Carthage R-9 Board of Education is staying in the lawsuit against the state of Missouri regarding school funding...for now.
The board is waiting to see how things develop and has a concern about how local legislators will feel about the district's continued presence in the lawsuit, since Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, was the man who pushed through the latest formula.
The Nevada R-5 School District voted last week to remain in the lawsuit, while Webb City, Carl Junction, and Sarcoxie are among school districts that have dropped out of it.

DNR to open temporary office in Carthage

Tired of having to travel from Jefferson City or Springfield or Neosho to Carthage to check on the latest odor complaints, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today it will open a temporary office here on or before Aug. 1. The state agency will rent an office from the city of Carthage at Memorial Hall, according to a news release.
"Opening an extra office in Carthage will enable staff to provide routine odor surveillance throughout the day," said DNR Director Doyle Childers. "The department will also have the opportunity to address compliance issues with Carthage area industries. We have a satellite office in Neosho. However, this additional office in Carthage will give us the ability and opportunity to respond more quickly to odor complaints."
The news release continues, "Odor issues are a continuing concern in the Carthage area. In late March, the department and city officials from Carthage met with ConAgra, ADM Milling, Schreiber Foods and Renewable Environmental Solutions to discuss the odor issues in the industrial area. Daily surveillance of the Carthage area began on April 1.
"In recent months, the department issued a Notice of Excess Emissions to Schreiber Foods and also issued five NOEEs to RES. Three of the NOEEs to RES were upgraded to Notice of Violations. The Schreiber NOEE was found to be the result of equipment malfunction. On April 20, investigators conducted compliance inspections of RES, ConAgra, ADM Milling and Schreiber Foods to evaluate each facility for water or air pollution compliance concerns. Reports on those findings were submitted to each facility."

Blunt popularity rate low

The Missouri Democratic Party is naturally crowing about a poll that shows only three governors in the United States are less popular than Matt Blunt.
Someone should remind the Democrats that Blunt has three more years before he runs for re-election. Things can change a lot in that amount of time.
The KSDK-TV/Survey USA poll shows only 35 percent of Missourians approve of Governor Blunt's job performance.

KODE anchor debuts

KODE's new anchor Brian Hamman seems professional, well-spoken and comfortable as he settles in on the evening news.
I am rather curious about why KODE felt the need to put his name before Tara Brown's on the intro. That seems a slap in the face for someone with seniority at the station. Or is it just a sexist tradition that the man's name always comes first?
If anyone knows, leave a comment for me.

Eminent Domain Task Force appointed

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt issued a news release a few moments ago unveiling who will be on the task force to study eminent domain in the state. The task force was formed after the U. S. Supreme Court ruling of a few weeks ago to review state and federal eminent domain laws and to set up criteria to be used in Missouri. The committee will also recommend legislation on eminent domain.
Listed below are those appointed to the task force and the description given by the governor's office on each one:
-Gerard T. Carmody of St. Louis is an attorney with Carmody, MacDonald P.C. Carmody's practice concentrates in commercial, real estate and employment litigation. Carmody is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Carmody holds a bachelor's degree from Spring Hill College in Alabama and a juris doctorate from St. Louis University.
-Chris Goodson of St. Louis is president and owner of The Goodson Company and Goodco. Goodson is also a principal at Gilded Age. Goodson has extensive knowledge in real estate development. Goodson holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing and a master's in business administration from Southern Illinois University.
-Sen. Chuck Gross of St. Charles is vice president of Business Development for UMB Bank. Gross is a licensed real estate appraiser and owner of a small appraisal firm. Gross holds a bachelor's degree and master's in public administration from the University of Missouri- Columbia.
-Rep. Steve Hobbs of Mexico is president of Hobbs Farms, Inc. Hobbs is also the Audrain County director for the Monroe County Water Board. Hobbs is a member of the following organizations: Audrain Cattlemen's Association, Beef Advisory Council, Soybean Association and Audrain Country Board of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
-Leslie Holloway of Jefferson City is director of State and Local Governmental Affairs for Missouri Farm Bureau (MFB). Holloway began working with MFB on regulatory issues and administrative duties. She also has worked in Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business. Holloway holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural science from the University of Illinois.
-Lewis R. Mills of Jefferson City is public counsel who serves as the state's consumer advocate in the area of utility regulation at the Department of Economic Development. Mills previously served as deputy chief regulatory law judge for the Public Service Commission. Mills holds a bachelor's degree in geology from St. Lawrence University in New York and a juris doctorate from the University of Utah.
-Spencer R. Thomson of Kansas City is an attorney with Blackwell, Sanders, Pepper, and Martin LLP. Thomson has extensive knowledge in tax increment financing, Chapter 100 Bonds, Chapter 353 Incentives and transportation development districts. Thomson holds a bachelor's degree from Rockhurst College and a juris doctorate from Washington University.
-Howard C. Wright of Springfield is retired and works under contract as special council for Springfield. Wright has practiced eminent domain law as an attorney for the Missouri Highway Commission, city attorney for Cape Girardeau and city attorney for Springfield. Wright holds a bachelor's degree in public administration and a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri- Columbia.
According to the news release, the task force will only exist through the end of this calendar year. The governor's general counsel, Terry Jarrett, will serve as its chairman. Task force members will not be paid.