Monday, October 31, 2005

Blunt actions questioned in News-Leader op-ed piece

Decisions by local TV stations not to air ads critical of Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt and the pressure allegedly placed by Blunt on these stations is the subject of an op-ed piece in today's Springfield News-Leader.

GOP plan puts Blunt in perilous position


Today's Springfield News-Leader carries a Gannett News Service story which points out that the Republican plan to pay for the war in Iraq and hurricane relief by cutting social programs such as Medicaid, is going to put Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt in a precarious position.
Blunt, of course, is the one who will have to guide that plan through the House of Representatives since he is now majority leader.

Moark decision expected today


Print and broadcast sources have been saying for the past few days that Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials will announce their decision today on whether to grant a permit for the expansion of Moark's egg-laying facilities in Neosho.
It is generally expected that Moark will receive permission since state officials go by the convoluted logic that Moark will straighten up and move away from its documented history of environmental problems just so it can get what it wants.
I say go ahead and grant the permit...but only on one condition. It cannot be done unless DNR Chairman Doyle Childers agrees to move his family to Neosho to live by it.
If he is going to make the decision, he needs to have to live with it.

Natural Disaster photo


Thanks to Rob and Melissa Brunner for sending on a photo they took of Natural Disaster's performance Saturday at the Sane Mule Motorcycle Shop near Boulder City.
This is the sixth or seventh time the group has performed at one of shopowner Paul Richardson's events. Paul, band leader Richard Taylor and I are members of East Newton High School's Class of 1974. We saw another member of the class, Bill Lemaster, at the event.
Paul had a crafts fair and chili cookoff, along with a motorcycle run. That combination, along with the pleasant autumn weather, helped bring out a sizable crowd.
Shown in the photo, from left, are Taylor, drummer John Scott of Newtonia, and me.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

January trial set for accused hospital embezzler

A Jan. 25 date has been set for the jury trial of former Barton County Memorial Hospital finance director Kim Schlup, 41, Deerfield, who is charged with embezzling $77,135 between March 15, 1999, and Oct. 7, 2003. The trial will be held in Cedar County Circuit Court in Stockton, on a change of venue from Barton County.

Jobst preliminary hearing rescheduled

The preliminary hearing for Grove family dentist Karl Jobst has been rescheduled to 1 p.m. Dec. 5, according to McDonald County Circuit Court records. It had been scheduled for this Friday.
Jobst is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June 14, 2003, accident in which his girlfriend, Helen Chandler, was killed. Authorities believe Jobst was driving while intoxicated.
Jobst is a former Lamar resident.

Former Jasper councilman given probation

This most likely has been covered in other media, but I just came across it.
Former Jasper City Councilman Nicky Crews was sentenced to four years in prison and then placed on supervised probation for five years after pleading guilty to marijuana possession charges. He initially had also been charged with possession of child pornography after being arrested at a Newton County truck stop.

Clarification on Brumley item given

Apparently, a few people were upset that I plugged a Springdale Morning News item about this weekend's dedication of the Albert Brumley Highway without mentioning that articles about the recognition of the Powell native whose songwriting collection included "I'll Fly Away," first appeared in the Neosho Post and in the Neosho Daily News.
I did not mean to slight either of those publications. I simply had not seen their articles at the time.
I should mention though that the first mention of Rep. Marilyn Ruestman's bill to name the highway for Mr. Brumley, came in The Turner Report.

Massachusetts column explores Truman character

A column in today's Ipswich MA Chroncicle explores Lamar native Harry S Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Natural Disaster performs at skateboard park benefit

It was kind of a last-minute thing, but "Natural Disaster," the 50s/60s country/rock band that I sing with, performed Saturday afternoon at the Neosho Recreation Center at a benefit for the planned skateboard park.
Earlier in the day, we performed at the Sane Mule Motorcycle Shop outside of Neosho. Thanks to those who attended either performance.

DeLoach exits Globe

As noted earlier, Neosho Forums reported Friday that the Joplin Globe's Newton County reporter Melissa DeLoach's final day is today. She left on a high note with articles no the upcoming decision by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on whether to permit Moark to expand its Neosho facilities, and another article on the proposed skatebaord park for Neosho.
I look forward to reading her articles for her new employer, the Springfield News-Leader.

Lindsey interview set for this week

The next step in Joplin Police Chief Kevin Lindsey's effort to land another job is scheduled to take place this week when he formally interviews for the Springdale, Ark., position.
The Springdale Morning News indicated Lindsey and the other 10 finalists will be interviewed Nov. 1-3. Lindsey already was one of three finalists for the Grand Island, Neb., police chief position, though another candidate was selected.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

K. C. Star: State on verge of saying yes to Moark


Today's Kansas City Star features an article which outlines the disdain with which Moark has treated the environment and the law...and then goes on to say that the company is just about to receive permission from the state to expand its Neosho facilities. The article begins like this:

"Moark, an egg-producing company with 2.6 million laying hens, has been in business for years without a state operating permit.

For years it violated pollution laws, enraging many residents in the region. And when Missouri reached settlements with Moark to bring it into compliance, the company did not abide by them.

Now Moark wants to add 2.5 million chickens to its flock — and Missouri is on the verge of saying yes."

Later in the article, Missouri Department of Natural Resources director Doyle Childers,pictured, following along the whatever business wants is good for Missouri line that has been the hallmark of state politics in 2005, actually says that Moark will be a better neighbor if it gets to expand. This is like saying that businesses will take all of the things that have been done this year to make life easier for them in Missouri and pour that money back into raises and better benefits for workers. Our government leaders appear to either be living in a fool's paradise, or they just don't care as long as the campaign contributions keep rolling in.

Brumley dedication ceremony scheduled

Today's Springdale Morning News features a story on today's dedication of the Albert Brumley Memorial Highway. The dedication. coming on what would have been the famed composer's 100th birthday, will be held at 1 p.m. at the Rocky Comfort Elementary School.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Globe reporter takes position with News-Leader

Neosho Forums reports that Joplin Globe reporter Melissa DeLoach, who has covered Newton County for the past several months, will be leaving the newspaper and taking a job with the Springfield News-Leader.

'Small Town News' available through Barnes & Noble, Borders


I just noticed that my novel, "Small Town News" can now be ordered through Barnes & Noble's website, which means it can also be ordered at any Barnes & Noble or B Dalton store. (Update: It is also now listed on the Borders/WaldenBooks site.)
The book is available locally at the Changing Hands Book Shoppe, 528 S. Virginia, Joplin, and at Hastings in Joplin. It can be ordered through Amazon.com, Books-a-Million or from the publisher, IUniverse.
The next signing for "Small Town News' is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Hastings.

Leggett & Platt to arrange severance packages for Pennsylvania workers

The York PA Dispatch says Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt will meet with union officials in that town to work out severance packages for 118 workers who will lose their jobs when Leggett closes the shipping plant there.

Leggett CEO to speak to investors

Felix Wright, CEO of Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt, will speak to investors 7 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the UBS Building and Building Products CEO Investor Conference, according to a company news release.
The presentation will be webcast and can be accessed from the Investor
Relations section of Leggett's website.

New CEO for CFI


Herbert J. Schmidt, Contract Freighters president since 2000, has been promoted to chief executive officer, according to a company news release. He replaces Glenn Brown, who will remain as chairman of the board.

Empire District Electric reports profit increases

Empire District Electric Company of Joplin released good news for stockholders today.

Joplin students shine in TV competition

The spotlight was on young journalists, of both the broadcast and print variety during the annual Southern Media Showcase today.
Joplin High School's TV production students, under the tutelage of Bruce VonderHaar, captured first and third place in the news story category, honors which have been traditionally claimed by Springfield Hillcrest.
Chris Warner took first place in that category, with Nathan Ward and Caden Worley teaming for third.
Joplin winners in other categories included:
Music Video- 1. Brennan Mock, honorable mention Erica Miranda
Animation- 2. Art Mejia
Instructional- 2. Blake Farmer
Comedy/Drama- Honorable Mention Nathan Ward, honorable mention Blake Farmer and Shawn Hale.
***
I had the privilege of speaking to high school newspaper reporters from Joplin, Republic and Southeast high schools and critiquing the Joplin and Republic newspapers, as well as newspapers submitted by Carl Junction and McAuley. I had a great time looking over the publications and talking with these young people, some of whom will hopefully go on to great things in journalism in the future.
Before critiquing the newspapers, I gave a half-hour talk on the subject "Are Blogs Journalism?"
Naturally, I believe that they are. Even the ones which are strictly commentary are presenting a form of journalism. Blogs do not provide a threat to mainstream media; they simply offer choices to discerning readers. They also provide a much-needed prod to the traditional media.
I encouraged the students to blog; primarily because of my firm belief that everyday writing sharpens the mind and helps young people to build their writing skills.
A big thanks to the Chad Stebbins, J. R. Ledford, and the others involved in the Southern Media Showcase for inviting me to return to my alma mater this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

O'Sullivan receives approval for credit facility

A U. S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a $35 million credit arrangement today for O'Sullivan Industries, Lamar's biggest employer, according to PR Newswire.

Independent- KOAM, KYTV pull anti-Blunt ads

A posting on the Joplin Independent site says that KODE and KSNF stood up to pressure and are running advertising critical of Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, while KOAM and KYTV in Springfield pulled the ads.

Joplin signing planned for 'Small Town News'

The first Joplin signing for my novel, "Small Town News" has been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Hastings, which is one of two sites where the book can be purchased. It is also available at the Changing Hands Book Shoppe.
I will have more information as we get closer to the date.

Taxpayers to foot the bill for Joplin officials' mistakes

The headline in this morning's Joplin Globe says, "Joplin settles suit," with the subhead, "City to pay $16,000 after allegations of civil rights abuse."
If I may offer a correction- Should that not be "Taxpayers top ay $16,000?" After all, that is the taxpayers' money that city officials are using in an effort to put this fiasco behind them.
And let us remember what this settlement is about. An off-duty Joplin police officer, with the help of a fellow officer, used his position to bully his way into an elementary school, question a boy who had a run-in with his son that did not even occur on the school campus, then he handcuffed the boy and arrested him.
The article says, "The city and the officers continue to deny 'any and all liability' connected with the Karns family’s allegations, the agreement said, which include damages suffered during the restraint of the child with handcuffs, questioning and arrest of the boy."
I don't recall ever arresting the boy and I am sure that none of my readers from Joplin had anything to do with it either, so why are we footing the bill for it?
Of course, it may be paid for out of the city's insurance policy. That scenario would most likely lead to an increase in insurance rates, which taxpayers would have to pay.
We're the ones who are paying for it, yet city officials will still not tell us what disciplinary measures were taken toward the two officers who no doubt traumatized an 11-year-old boy when they treated him like a common criminal.
City officials have continued to hide behind municipal regulations which they say prohibit them from talking about disciplinary actions. The handling of the entire matter has been a joke. Unfortunately, we are the ones who have ended up paying for the punch line.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks dies

The bulletin just went out that Rosa Parks died:
-CNBC is featuring an interview with rock star Tommy Lee.
-Fox News Channel is covering another bombing by the insurgents in Iraq.
-MSNBC has yet another chapter in the interminable story of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
-CNN is featuring a story on the special prosecutor who is investigating the CIA leak.
While I cannot argue the news value of the CIA leak investigation or the situation in Iraq, the passing of a pivotal figure in American history deserves much more than this.

Moark still dragging down Land O'Lakes

Third quarter results for Land O'Lakes were solid, except for its Moark joint egg venture, according to a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Depressed markets had a significant impact on the company's performance in the
Eggs business, which Land O'Lakes participates in through its MoArk joint
venture," the report said.
"Average eggs prices over the first three quarters were 69-cents per
dozen, as compared to 95-cents per dozen over the same period one year ago.
Year-to-date, the joint venture is reporting $287 million in sales and a $27.6
million pretax loss, as compared to $430 million in sales and $27.0 million in
pretax earnings through September 2004. For the third quarter, the joint venture
is reporting $96 million in sales and a $5.3 million pretax loss, as compared to
$111 million in sales and $9.9 million pretax loss for the third quarter of
2004."
It makes you wonder why the rush to expand Moark's Neosho facilities.

August 2006 date set for trial of former police officer

An Aug. 14, 2006, trial has been scheduled for a former Stone County jailer accused of having sex with an inmate. The document setting the trial schedule was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Michael Blumenthal has been charged in Stone County Circuit Court with the felony of sexual contact with an inmate. The case has been moved to Dade County Circuit Court on a change of venue.
According to the woman's petition, in July 2003, Blumenthal:
-Required and demanded she show him her breasts
-required and demanded she simulate masturbation and demanded that she "be loud about it."
-required and demanded she stand in the nude at a position where he could see her nude body
-required her to allow him to feel between, around and about her breasts
-required her to submit to "searches" in which he would require her to stand near while he placed his face about her panties, sniffed her panties, and then pronounced, "she's clean."
-required she cooperate and assist him in his attempts to commit similar abuses against other female inmates.
The woman said she submitted to Blumenthal's "sexual harassment, abuse and assault" because she received no help when she reported the conduct. "When plaintiff reported defendant's conduct to other officers," the petition said, "her complaints were turned aside, and she was told, 'You are going to make your time worse here,' 'we don't have time for these lies,' or 'that's not what Officer Blumenthal says.' "
The woman says Blumenthal threatened her by saying, "Give up, put out, or don't get out." She said she took that and other statements made by Blumenthal as threats, such as when he told her "of his prowess and ability with handguns, telling plaintiff that his nickname was 'Shooter' and 'someday' he would teach her 'how to shoot to kill.'
When she submitted to his demands, the woman said, she was given extra privileges, including "added telephone calls, soft drinks, candy, additional library cart privileges, scented shampoos, occasional releases from her cell, and, on two occasions, marijuana."
The woman is asking for "actual damages in such amount as will be deemed adequate to fairly and reasonably compensate her for all damages sustained; and for an additional judgment for punitive damages in such amount as may be determined" to keep Blumenthal and others from treating prisoners in that manner.

U. S. Supreme Court will not hear Carthage man's case

The United States Supreme Court today elected not to hear Douglas Gollhofer's attempt to have his 10-year sentence on a federal firearms charge reduced.
Gollhofer, 33,was sentenced after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He admitted that he possessed four firearms on Jan. 26, 2003, in Jasper County, including a .308 caliber Winchester rifle with ammunition; a .22 caliber Remington rifle; a 12 gauge Magtech shotgun, and a 12 gauge Harrington and Richardson shotgun.
Under federal law, it is illegal for a felon to possess firearms or ammunition. Gollhofer has a long record of convictions, primarily in Jasper and Barton counties, on charges including burglary, assault, and resisting arrest. He also has numerous drunk driving citations.
The case against Gollhofer was investigated by the Carthage Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Gollhofer's sole argument was that his sentence was too strict and that guidelines were followed that should not have been, according to recent court rulings. The appellate court said that the court still had it within its discretion to give Gollhofer the 10-year sentence.

O'Sullivan gets approval for p. r. firm

The most important decision made by a federal bankruptcy judge, as far as O'Sullivan Industries employees are concerned, is the one that makes sure their jobs, pay, and benefits are secure, at least for the time being.
That decision was made late last week, at the same time the judge approved O'Sullivan officials' request, first revealed in The Turner Report, to pay for the services of a number of companies to help them through the Chapter 11 proceedings.
Among those companies are law firms, specialists in restructuring and...a public relations firm, which had already received a $50,000 retainer before O'Sullivan Industries filed for bankruptcy.
Court documents indicate O'Sullivan officials are asking the judge for permission to hire p.r. consultant Edward Howard, saying that his "professional fees for the services provided would be between $80 per hour and $420 per hour, depending on the staff member assigned to the project."
And that's not all. "The debtors would be billed for necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with such services." Of course, those rates may go even higher, the documents said. "Edward Howard's rates are generally revised periodically and would be billed as necessitated by its computer software billing program."
Just in case any legal problems arise out of the Howard firm's representation of O'Sullivan Industries, the company would also be required to pay its legal costs, the documents indicate.
The services to be provided by Howard are spelled out in the court documents. "Edward Howard is skilled in providing communications consulting services in restructurings and reorganizations. It is (our) understanding that Edward Howard provides strategic counseling in corporate relations, financial relations, and public affairs and has experience serving as a public relations consultant to Chapter 11 debtors in the automotive, chemical, home decor, retail pharmaceutical, steel, and technological industries, among others."
The company's past client list includes: Revco Drug Stores, Borden Chemicals, Advanced Lighting Technologies, and A. B. Dick Company.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Globe print version does include blog name, address

I mentioned in an earlier post that The Joplin Globe's web article about this blog did not feature any reference to the name of the blog or how to get to it. That is not the case in the print version which I just received.
***
For those who are reading The Turner Report for the first time after finding out about it in The Globe, allow me to give you a brief introduction. The Turner Report features news and commentary that normally cannot be found in any other area media outlet and has broken several major stories that have later been picked up by the traditional media.
For many people, this blog has been the primary source of information on the battle between Nexstar Broadcasting and Cable One (and until recently Cox Communications), the problems that have beset O'Sullivan Industries in Lamar; and numerous investigations into campaign financing of area legislators and state officials.
As The Globe article mentioned, from time to time, The Turner Report features media criticism, and lately it has had quite a few mentions of my just-published novel, Small Town News."
During the month of October alone, The Turner Report has featured the following stories:
-Using SEC documents, this blog revealed two weeks before O'Sullivan Industries officials filed for bankruptcy that the step was going to take place.
-Former KODE newscaster Jimmy Siedlecki has been targeted by a blogger at his new station in Omaha where he co-hosts a morning show with another former KODE anchor, Malorie Maddox.
-The Missouri Hospital Association has found a way to get around state campaign finance laws to pour money into Governor Matt Blunt's re-election campaign.
-Sen. Gary Nodler has received a considerable number of donations from lobbyists, but only one of them has been listed as a lobbyist on the campaign disclosure forms.
-Brandie McLean's lawsuit over the shooting death of her eight-year-old son Braxton Wooden while he was in foster care has been moved into federal court and officials from the Department of Social Services responded to it earlier this month.
-Joplin Police Chief Kevin Lindsey will undergo a formal interview for the Springdale, Ark., police chief position during the first week of November.
-Two accused Jasper County double-murderers, Micah Joel Holman and John Opry, have filed lawsuits against Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn claiming their civil rights were violated in the jail.
And these are just the stories that have run in October...which has been a pretty slow month for this blog. New readers, take the time when you get the chance and take a look at our archives on the right-hand side of this page. And welcome to The Turner Report.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Richard has more than $55,000 in campaign war chest


State Representative Ron Richard has $55,576.79 in his reelection war chest, according to his campaign committee's quarterly report, filed earlier this month with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The Joplin Republican reported $5,300 in contributions during the past three months, and spent $1,253.
Three out-of-state companies donated the maximum $300 to the campaign, including Consumer Lending Alliance, Crawfordsville, Fla., Waste Management, Inc., Houston, Texas; and Burlington Northern, Fort Worth, Texas. Three other out-of-state companies, Cash America, Fort Worth, Texas, World Acceptance Corporation PAC, Greenville, S. C., and Brundage Management Company, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, donated $250 apiece.
Others donating to the Richard campaign include:
Missouri Bankers Association Ozark Region PAC, $300; MORES PAC, $300, Missouri Dental PAC, $300; Rural Telecommunications PAC, Jefferson City, $300; Missouri Pharmacy PAC, Jefferson City, $300; Christopher Doering, Chesterfield businessman, $250; Home Building Industry PAC, St. Louis, $300; Missouri Association of Health Plans PAC, Jefferson City, $250; Missouri Soft Drink Association PAC, Jefferson City, $300; Missouri State Troopers Association, Inc. PAC, Jefferson City, $75; The Boeing Company, St. Louis, $200.
Only a small portion of Richard's contributions. $750, came from this area. Those included:
Merit Finance, Joplin, $250; Bradley Reeves, Joplin physician, $200; J. Christopher Banwart, Joplin physician, $300

"Turner Report' featured in Joplin Globe article


The Turner Report and "Small Town News" are featured in an article that will run in the Sunday Joplin Globe and is already posted on the Globe's internet site. I was interviewed last Monday by the Globe's investigative writer Max McCoy, and his article, as usual, is accurate and even involves a scoop about The Turner Report, though for some odd reason, the name of the blog is not mentioned in the story, nor is there a mention about how someone could get hold of the book. (Hopefully, both of those things are remedied in the print version.)
According to McCoy's article, KSNF anchor Tiffany Alaniz (pictured) said she did not write the response to my criticism of her 5 p.m. news program "Life with Gary and Tiffany." I have always had a high regard for her integrity (if not her 5 p.m. program), so I will be making some revisions on the post and I offer my apologies for any damage its remaining presence on the blog may have caused.
Now for one more comment: Why in the world does the Globe have its investigative writer doing articles on ghosts and schoolteacher/bloggers when there is so much in this area that needs to be investigated?
Whatever the answer to that question may be, I do appreciate the article.

'Small Town News' will be available at Hastings



Hastings in Joplin will carry my novel, "Small Town News" beginning Monday. A signing at the store will be held on a Saturday in November. A specific date will be announced early next week.
As of Monday, the book will be available locally at Hastings and the Changing Hands Book Shoppe. It is available online through Amazon.com, Books-A-Million, and IUniverse.

Magazine: Nexstar is the big winner


"Nexstar wins retransmission battle with Cox Communications"
That is how Radio and Television Business Report started its article on the announcement of a deal between Nexstar Broadcasting and Cox.
The article credited Nexstar CEO Perry Sook, pictured, with "standing firm."
Nexstar chief operating officer Duane Lammers said, "Doing what we did has at least caused the cable people to think of different ways to get things done."
I am still thinking this agreement has more to do with the cable company taking whatever digital stations Nexstar and Mission create in coming years. Cable companies have been fighting efforts to make them carry these stations.
The magazine editors offered the following commentary on the agreement:
"No doubt hundreds of other TV owners and managers will be calling Sook and Lammers with thanks and congratulations - - and advice on how to go forward with their own retransmission consent negotiations. They took a big risk by deciding to become the industry's guinea pig - - and it has paid off. Most other TV companies have at least some of their retransmission consent agreements coming up for renegotiation in 2006. For those who don't have a cable card to play, which will soon include CBS, the rules of the game have been changed."

Leggett & Platt shuts down Pennsylvania plant

Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt announced Friday it would shut down its distribution center in Manchester Township, Pa., according to the York Daily Record.
Thirty-eight workers will lose their jobs as of Dec. 5, the article said. The announcement came only eight months after the company eliminated 60 jobs when it eliminated the manufacturing component of the plant, switching strictly to distribution.
Leggett told union officials the plant's location wasn't adequate for its New York-New Jersey customers, according to the article.

Blunt says he never discussed leak with Rove


During his first "pen-and-pad" session with reporters Thursday, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt said he never discussed the Valerie Plame CIA leak with Karl Rove during any of his regular breakfasts and lunches with the presidential advisor, according to The Hill magazine.
The pen-and-pad sessions are meetings with reporters in which television cameras are not allowed. Apparently, the sessions with Blunt's predecessor as majority leader, Tom DeLay, had been quite contentious. According to the article, Blunt employed a different approach, offering bottled water, coffee, Diet Coke, and donuts to approximately 30 reporters.

Abilene article offers insight into Nexstar-Cox agreement

What concession did Nexstar Broadcasting receive from Cox Communications that made it feasible to return its programming to Cox.
An article posted on the Abilene Reporter-News site Friday offers some insight. Two statements in the article are particularly revealing. Cox spokesman David Grabert says the agreement will not bring about an increase in cable rates. He also says Nexstar will not be paid on a per-subscriber basis.
"Grabert said the cable company compensates its broadcast stations through various deals, including favorable lineup placement, advertising rates and other agreements. He said the deal involving KRBC does not set a precedent for other broadcast stations."
Another Texas newspaper, the Sweetwater Reporter-News features the quote that may indicate just what concession Cox made:
"We highly value the local and national programming that the Nexstar and Mission stations deliver to our customers," said Debbie Cullen, Cox director of programming. "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Mission and Nexstar, which meets all of our original objectives. The deal demonstrates that broadcasters and cable operators can reach terms that are mutually agreeable and in the best interest of consumers. Our innovative agreement provides for incremental value to all parties, while giving Cox the long-term rights to carry the primary analog and digital signals of the Nexstar and Mission stations."

It appears that mention of digital signals is the key to the agreement. A recent bone of contention between broadcasters and cable has been the reluctance of cable to carry every digital signal that will be offered. Cox agreeing to do this with Nexstar and Mission should open up a new source of revenue for the broadcasters.

Friday, October 21, 2005

'Small Town News' available at Changing Hands


As of this afternoon, "Small Town News" is available at the Changing Hands Book Shoppe, 528 S. Virginia Avenue, Joplin (for those of you unfamiliar with Joplin, Virginia is one block east of Main).
I am particularly pleased that Changing Hands is the first retail outlet for the book since the owners are John and Susie Davidson, and John is a graduate of my alma mater East Newton High School
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 417-623-6699.
***
The book signing at the Neosho-Newton County Library went well last night. Thanks to librarian Shirley Gollhoffer for her hospitality and thanks to everyone who came. After the signing, Ms. Gollhoffer was kind enough to take the accompanying photo of some of my former Diamond Middle School students who showed up at the event. From left, Ashley Nickolaisen, unidentified author, Stacia Martens, Jessica Harrison, and Michelle Nickolaisen. Stacia, Jessica, and Michelle are juniors at Diamond High School, while Ashley is a freshman.
***
As I have mentioned earlier in the blog, I will meet with the book manager at another local store tomorrow afternoon and hopefully will have word soon about another retail outlet and a Joplin signing.

Moark buys its way out of animal abuse charges

It took a few hundred thousand dollars, but Moark has effectively bought its way out of animal abuse charges in Newton County.
County officials announced this morning, that Moark, which has been fighting a losing public relations battle in its efforts to expand its Neosho facilities, has agreed to pay $100,000 to the Neosho Humane Society, buy state-of-the-art equipment that will euthanize chickens humanely, and agreed to have a supervisor on site when the chickens are killed.
Charges against Moark, regional manager Dan Hudgens, and two subcontractors will be dropped.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

KODE, KSNF to stay on Cox

Carthage and Lamar viewers do not face the prospect of losing KODE and KSNF at the end of the current calendar year.
Cox Communications and Nexstar Broadcasting officials announced today they had reached an agreement on retransmission rights. The deal will also cover Cox service areas that carry KOLR and KSFX in Springfield.
The deal covers Nexstar and Mission Broadcasting stations in Abilene/Sweetwater, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; Lubbock, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Odessa/Midland, Texas; Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Little Rock, Ark.; Monroe, Ark.; and El Dorado, Ark, according to Business Wire.
Terms of the deal were not released, meaning either Nexstar was paid too little or too much.

'Small Town News' signing is tonight

Well, the big day has finally arrived. The first signing for "Small Town News" is set for 7 p.m. at the Neosho/Newton County Library.
I already received good news this morning. The book jumped from something like number 500,000 on the Amazon.com list to around 41,000 (I probably sold one book or something.). I will take that as a good sign. I hope to see some of you at Neosho tonight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oct. 24 arraignment set for Holman

When accused double-murderer Micah Joel Holman appears in Jasper County Circuit Court for an arraignment 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 24, he will be in county jail garb.
Judge David Dally overruled a motion by public defender Larry Maples requesting that his client be allowed to wear street clothes.
Holman, 32, Carthage, is charged with the June 4 murders of Marvin and Peggy Steverson, Carthage. He also faces two counts of armed criminal action and one count each of arson and burglary.

State officials respond to McLean lawsuit

The Missouri attorney general's office, representing the Division of Family Services and individual social workers, responded today to Brandie McLean's wrongful death lawsuit.
Ms. McLean filed suit against the state agency, its employees and foster parents Mark and Treva Gordon of Alba, in connection with the death of her eight-year-old son, Braxton Wooden, who was staying with the Gordons as a foster child. Braxton Wooden was shot to death by the Gordons' son.
As expected, the agency denies most of the allegations and says it has no knowledge of the others.
The attorney general's office offers 24 affirmative defenses against the allegations including official immunity and a claim that Ms. McLean's lawsuit is fraudulent and she has no standing to sue.
The attorney general's office is asking for a jury trial.
The lawsuit was initially filed in Jasper County Circuit Court, and then removed to federal court earlier this month. Defendants include the Gordons, their son, Ethan, who killed Braxton Wooden, Social Services caseworkers John McGinnis and Mickey Morgan.
A summary of the case can be found in the Oct. 5 Turner Report.

Nexstar set to battle Time-Warner

Nexstar Broadcasting officials are preparing to give Time Warner in Wichita Falls, Texas, the same treatment they gave Cable One in Joplin.
Today's Wichita Falls Times Record reports Nexstar's chief operating officer Duane Lammers as giving the same old 30 cents per customer per month ultimatum that was soundly rejected by Cable One officials in Joplin. That rejection, of course, led to the removal of KODE and KSNF from the cable company at the end of 2004.
Nexstar put a message on its KFDX NBC affiliate in Wichita Falls, again making the claim that customers in Joplin and the other areas affected by the retransmission battle have flocked away from cable and toward dish systems and antennas.

'Small Town News' signing set for Thursday

The first signing for my book, "Small Town News," as I write this is only about 37 hours away and I am looking forward to it. It comes in the middle of one of the busiest weeks I have had in a long time. So many things have been going on that I have had little time to check in on this blog.
The signing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Neosho/Newton County Library. It is my understanding that I will speak for about 15 to 20 minutes, then sign copies of the novel. I will have a little over 40 copies there. I look forward to seeing some of you.
***
In other updates on the "Small Town News' front, I was interviewed Monday by Max McCoy of the Joplin Globe for a story concentrating on bloggers in the Joplin area, but the novel was also touched upon during the interview. I understand the article will likely be published toward the end of the month.
The novel finally made the ranking on Amazon.com. After leapfrogging all the way up to number 173,000, I have rapidly plummeted to lower than 400,000, which simply tells me that not many people are ordering it through Amazon.com, but by golly, someone must have.
I have an appointment for Saturday with the book manager at Hastings, at which time hopefully, I will have a place lined up where people can buy the book in Joplin, as well as setting up a signing for sometime next month.
***
The novel has definitely not been the only thing keeping me hopping this week. Teachers at South are preparing for something else which is scheduled for Thursday night...parent-teacher conferences, which will take place right after school. Teachers have been contacting parents and setting up appointments and, of course, we will accept any drop-in traffic we get. I am not expecting many parents. Thanks to the school's ZAP (Zeros Aren't Permitted) program, I am seeing fewer students falling behind and failing due to missing papers.
I have also had the pleasure these past few days of reviewing approximately 120 essays for the annual Joplin Elks Lodge Essay Contest. The topic this year is "What Do I See When I Look Up at the American Flag." I have read some touching essays, as well as some disturbing ones from students who have no feelings whatsoever for the symbol of this nation.
And we have also had one practice Tuesday and another one scheduled for after school today for the Academic Bowl team, which for the first time this year will participate in a year-long competition with other middle schools in the area. The schools meet about once a month, with each get-together taking place at a different school and touching on a different area. Our first competition, Monday, Oct. 24, after school at Carl Junction, will center around language arts.
The Journalism Club which I sponsor will not be meeting this Thursday due to the parent-teacher conferences, but we are working on developing a news program for JET (Joplin Eagles Television) 14, the R-8 School District television station, which can be seen on Cable One. The students have also been writing stories for the Room 210 website and also have added streaming video to the site for the first time. It has been an exciting time for them and for their teacher.
***
Natural Disaster will be back in action a week from Saturday as the headlining group at a motorcycle rally at East Newton classmate Paul Richardson's Sane Mule Motorcycle Shop, near Neosho on the way to Boulder City. We are scheduled to play there at 11:30 a.m. We had a good practice last night in Newtonia.
Well, it's about time to head for school, so I will catch you later.

Alvarez lawsuit settled

The lawsuit brought by former Newton County jail inmate Oscar Alvarez against former Sheriff Ron Doerge has been settled, according to a filing Monday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
The attorneys stipulated that "the above-captioned case has been settled in its entirety and, therefore, request the court to enter its order dismissing the action, with prejudice, with all parties to bear their own respective costs," the document said. A dismissal with prejudice means the case cannot be filed again.
No details were given as to what settlement was reached.
In his lawsuit, Alvarez alleged that two jailers, Adam Brandon Babbitt and Shane Steven Smith unlocked Alvarez' jail door, turned off video surveillance cameras, unlocked the cell doors of two prisoners and then allowed them to go into Alvarez' cell and attack him.
As has been noted in The Turner Report, Doerge may have ignored evidence that his jailers had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack.
A federal court judge had dismissed Doerge as a defendant, saying that since he is no longer sheriff and the action was brought against the sheriff that the defendant should be current Sheriff Kenneth Copeland.

Monday, October 17, 2005

MHA funnels thousands into Blunt campaign chest


State election laws limit the amount that one organization, business, or individual contributor can donate to a candidate, but there are ways of getting around that...and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) knows all of them.
That much is obvious from a quick examination of the October quarterly filing by Governor Matt Blunt's campaign, which was filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The limit for the gubernatorial campaign is $1,200.
Contributing to the governor's re-election bid, albeit three years early were:
-Missouri Hospital Association $1,200
-Missouri Hospital Association Central District $1,200
-Missouri Hospital Association Northwest District $1,200
-Missouri Hospital Association Southeast District $1,200
-Missouri Hospital Association Southwest District $1,200
-Missouri Hospital Association St. Louis District $1,200
As if that $7,200 wasn't enough, MHA's stable of registered lobbyists also added to Blunt's coffers, although none of them were listed as lobbyists and one was listed as a homemaker. Those contributing were: Mary Becker (listed as homemaker) $600, Michael Dunaway $1,200, Dwight Fine $600, Daniel Landon, $600, Marc Smith, $600, Gerald Sill $600. All except Ms. Becker were listed as Missouri Hospital Association.
Others whose place of employment was listed as Missouri Hospital Association, but who are not registered lobbyists are; Donna Kuetsler $500, and Kathleen Poff $600.
The MHA lobbyists were not the only ones to contribute to the governor during the past three months. A review of the disclosure forms matched against the state's registered lobbyist list shows 11 lobbyists contributing, with the number sure to increase before the next election. An earlier Turner Report examination of Blunt campaign finance records showed that he received more than $100,000 from registered lobbyists during the two years before the 2004 gubernatorial election.
In addition to MHA lobbyists, those contributing to Blunt during the last quarter were:
-John Bardgett, lobbyist whose work is generally listed as being for John Bardgett and Associates, though he is registered as a lobbyist for numerous interests, $1,200
-John Bardgett & Associates, $1,200
-Kelly Gillespie, Missouri Biotechnology Association, $1,000
-James R. Moody, numerous health and gambling interests, $600
-David Overfelt, Missouri Grocers Association, Missouri Retailers Association, $400.
Of the 11 lobbyists who contributed to Blunt, only one, Overfelt, is listed as a lobbyist on the campaign disclosure forms.
***
Local politicians also did their bit for the governor. The campaign committees for Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, and Rep. Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, each contributed the maximum $1,200.

Supreme Court abortion decision was wrong

Roe v. Wade guarantees a woman the right to have an abortion, but I resent my tax money being used to pay for any part of that procedure.
That's what will happen now that the United States Supreme Court ruled today that a Missouri prisoner cannot be prevented from having an abortion and that she will be transported to the abortion clinic on the taxpayers' dime.
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am strongly pro-life, so I am not thrilled with the prospect of any abortion, much less one for which my tax money is being used.
According to the Associated Press story, Governor Matt Blunt criticized the court decision, saying it was "highly offensive to traditional Missouri values and is contrary to state law, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent to facilitate abortions."
The AP article says the woman, whose name is not given, is at least four months pregnant and is anxious and depressed. Well, think about that. How many women in prison are not anxious and depressed?
Of course, the woman was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. "Today, they said no more delay. It confirmed that a woman doesn't give up her right to terminate a pregnancy once she walks in a prison," Talcott Camp, one of the ACLU lawyers, says in the AP article.
The fact that this decision came on a unanimous vote is frightening.

O'Sullivan bankruptcy plan includes incentives for 'key' employees

The more than 1,000 workers at the O'Sullivan Industries plant in Lamar no doubt feel a little shaky in light of the company's decision to file for bankruptcy Friday. Top-level officials have no reason to start distributing their resumes, however.
Part of the bankruptcy plan scheduled to be reviewed during a 1:30 p.m. hearing today in Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia is what company officials refer to as the "Key Employee Retention Plan."
Under this plan, 25 members of management, with no names listed in bankruptcy court documents, "could potentially receive a total of approximately $1.47 million over time," with the including what is described as a "$200,000 discretionary pool."
The protected officials are divided into two groups, according to the documents, one tier consisting of "six members of the debtors' most senior management, potentially receiving a total amount equal to 37.5 percent of their annual salary," and a second tier "consisting of approximately 19 key employees, potentially receiving a total equal to 25 percent of their annual salary."
The payments will be divided into two components, the documents indicate, one for incentive and one just to keep the "key" employees with O'Sullivan Industries. Fifty percent of the money will be paid "upon the earlier of the effective date or June 30, 2006, with the remaining money being paid "at the earlier of Sept. 30, 2006, or the effective date."
***
Today's hearing will also take up O'Sullivan officials proposal that severance benefits be eliminated for several former O'Sullivan employees, including members of the O'Sullivan family.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

News-Leader on target with drug testing editorial

The Nixa School Board is contemplating drug tests for teachers. I am so tired of hearing the argument, well, if they don't have anything to hide why shouldn't they take the tests?
These are the same people who are willing to have all of our civil liberties taken away from us so they can be protected against terrorists. Random drug testing, whether it be for students or teachers, is wrong. On its editorial page today, the Springfield News-Leader hit it right on the money and quite rightly asked where the complaining teachers were when drug testing was initially proposed for teachers.
Drug testing is wrong; the whole concept of people having to prove they are innocent is against everything Americans believe in.

Carthage Press story added to 'Small Town News' site

Thanks to Ron Graber, managing editor of The Carthage Press, for permitting me to use his article on "Small Town News" on the book's website. Ron also took the photo that was used on the book's back cover.
I hope to see some of you at the first signing, 7 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Neosho/Newton County Library. I hopefully will have more information in about a week on a possible signing in Joplin.

More bankruptcies filed

One hundred thirty-eight more bankruptcy filings were recorded Saturday and today at the Joplin branch of the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri. Changes in the U. S. bankruptcy laws making it more difficult to erase debt are scheduled to go into effect Monday.

Bankrupt company lavishes funds on P.R.

At a time when they were drawing up papers designed to eliminate health insurance benefits for former employees, O'Sullivan Industries officials paid a $50,000 retainer to a public relations expert to help them put a positive spin on the bankruptcy.
As The Turner Report detailed Saturday, part of the plan proposed by million-dollar CEO Bob Parker and his core group of former Newell Rubbermaid executives calls for all severance contracts and retirement agreements with former company officials to be shelved because they are causing a financial hardship for the company. U. S. Bankruptcy Court documents indicate the company owes in excess of $132 million. The benefits it is asking the bankruptcy court judge to eliminate amount to approximately $1.3 million.
Court documents indicate O'Sullivan officials are asking the judge for permission to hire p.r. consultant Edward Howard, saying that his "professional fees for the services provided would be between $80 per hour and $420 per hour, depending on the staff member assigned to the project."
And that's not all. "The debtors would be billed for necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with such services." Of course, those rates may go even higher, the documents said. "Edward Howard's rates are generally revised periodically and would be billed as necessitated by its computer software billing program."
Just in case any legal problems arise out of the Howard firm's representation of O'Sullivan Industries, the company would also be required to pay its legal costs, the documents indicate.
The services to be provided by Howard are spelled out in the court documents. "Edward Howard is skilled in providing communications consulting services in restructurings and reorganizations. It is (our) understanding that Edward Howard provides strategic counseling in corporate relations, financial relations, and public affairs and has experience serving as a public relations consultant to Chapter 11 debtors in the automotive, chemical, home decor, retail pharmaceutical, steel, and technological industries, among others."
The company's past client list includes: Revco Drug Stores, Borden Chemicals, Advanced Lighting Technologies, and A. B. Dick Company.

Nodler September lobbyist report changed


Missouri Ethics Commission documents indicates Sen. Gary Nodler's gifts for September have been amended with the removal of $238.50 in meals, food and beverage from Southwestern Bell lobbyist David Klarich.
The gift from Klarich was among $478.50 Nodler was initially reported having received during September, which had put the senator on the brink of $1,000 total for 2005.
The reimbursement was filed with the Ethics Commission after a Turner Report post which showed that Nodler, in September alone, had more than doubled his gift total for the previous eight months.
With the reimbursement, Nodler's total dropped to $771.05, an amount which includes $11.20 in meals, food and beverage from David Hale, Missouri Hospital Association lobbyist. That declaration was not included in the original report.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Next round set in retransmission battles

Nexstar Broadcasting has taken its programming from a handful of cable systems, including KSNF and KODE from Cable One in Joplin, after the companies refused to pay for retransmission rights.
The rest of the stations owned by Nexstar will now battle the cable companies, according to an article this week in Broadcasting & Cable. Broadcasters are supposed to let the cable companies know what they want for their signals by next week, the article said.
Cox Communications, which also lost Nexstar programming, says its has not negotiated with Nexstar since February.
The Broadcasting & Cable article indicated that Nexstar is paying a heavy price for its so-called "noble cause."
"But Nexstar's audience has plunged; Nielsen Media's May book shows its stations are down 30%-40% in key dayparts. But the markets are small enough that it's not causing a financial crunch to Nexstar as a whole. Expanding the war will magnify the pain."

Bankruptcy filings increase just before deadline

One of the Internet sites I always check during my daily rounds is the bankruptcy court site for the Western District of Missouri. On a normal day, about five to 10 bankruptcies are filed.
On Friday, the final day before new bankruptcy laws go into effect that will make it more difficult for filers to erase their debt through bankruptcy, 233 filings took place.

No shipping costs for 'Small Town News' when ordered at Hastings

I apologize to those who have ordered "Small Town News" through Books-A-Million. I did not realize until a few days ago that the store will not order it, have it come to the store, and let people come to pick it up without paying shipping costs.
In fact, Books-A-Million makes the reader order the book, have it sent to their house and the reader is stuck with the shipping costs. I have not quite figured out what it is that Books-A-Million does that makes it any different than just ordering the book through Amazon.com or through IUniverse.
I just finished a conversation with the book manager at the Hastings store in Joplin, who tells me that the book can be ordered there and it will be sent directly to the store, where the reader can pick it up without footing the bill for shipping costs. The only negative is the turnaround time for delivery which is about three to five weeks, he told me.
I have an appointment set up with him for a week from today to discuss having the book placed in the store and perhaps conducting a signing either next month or in early December. I will let you know what happens.
***
A big thanks to Ron Davis for his mention of "Small Town News" today in his blog "Chatter."

Siedlecki targeted, Joplin insulted by Omaha blogger



Jimmy Siedlecki's confident, authoritative, but friendly anchor demeanor has been sorely missed at KODE since he left the station to rejoin former KODE 5, 6 and 10 p.m. co-anchor Malorie Maddox has co-hosts of a morning show at WOWT in Omaha, Neb.
Since his arrival in the Cornhusker state, however, Siedlecki has been targeted by Ted Brockman, whose blog "Omaha TV News" covers that city's media happenings.
Initially, Brockman criticized Siedlecki's appearance, saying he looked like Gomer Pyle. In an entry yesterday, Brockman again verbally attacked Siedlecki and took a gratuitous potshot at Joplin while he was at it:

"The Daybreak format, virtually unchanged since it was adopted a decade or so ago, has long since worn thin, and instead of improving the program, Jim Siedlecki has pulled co-anchor Malorie Maddox and the whole show down to his level. It's not that he's bad; it's just that he's only a Joplin, Missouri brand of good. In other words, he's not cut out to be an anchor in a market this size."

O'Sullivan officials want out of severance agreements

It should come as no surprise that at a time when his company owes more than $132 million, one of the steps O'Sullivan Industries' million-dollar CEO Bob Parker is asking a bankruptcy judge to take is to reject the severance agreements the company entered into with many of its departed officers, including former company president and CEO Daniel O'Sullivan.
In documents filed Friday with the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia, company attorneys say, "The debtors (O'Sullivan companies) currently receive limited, if any, benefits from such agreements, whereas they would owe in excess of $1.3 million in the aggregate thereunder if they are not rejected." By getting rid of these contracts, company officials say, it will benefit O'Sullivan Industries and its creditors.
As regular readers of The Turner Report know, this blog has chronicled Parker's reign, which started with the bloodbath removal of many of the people who had put O'Sullivan Industries on the map, including nearly every member of the family of company founder Thomas O'Sullivan.
Parker was brought in at a salary of $1 million a year, and stands to make another half million in bonus. After he removed the longtime O'Sullivan officials, many of whom had been with the company for two or three decades, he replaced them with former confederates of his from his former employer, Newell Rubbermaid.
The company then moved its corporate headquarters from Lamar to a suburb of Atlanta, Ga., claiming that it would help attract top-flight officials and would make it easier for the company to deal with its customers. As The Turner Report first revealed, that move had already been decided before Parker inked his contract with O'Sullivan. Even though the company's corporate headquarters was in Lamar at that time, his contract specified that if the company moved from the Atlanta area, Parker could ask for and receive a costly buyout. The same clauses were later placed in the contracts of some of the other Newell Rubbermaid expatriates.
But it is the severance agreements O'Sullivan entered into with Daniel O'Sullivan and other former company officials, among other things, that are weighing the company down, the documents filed in bankruptcy court yesterday claim.
The contracts were spelled out in court documents:
-Daniel O'Sullivan- The company entered into a retirement and consulting agreement with O'Sullivan Oct. 16, 1998, with O'Sullivan resigning as CEO immediately. He retired as a company executive on March 31, 2000. He is to be paid $11,458.33 per month to serve as a consultant until Aug. 6, 2006 (leaving $115,000 to be paid). He is also provided with health and life insurance benefits, amounting to an additional $6,000.
-Terry Riegel- On June 25, 2003, the company entered into an agreement with Riegel, calling for him to retire on Nov. 15, 2003. He is to be paid $5,000 a month as a consultant through Nov. 15, 2007 (leaving $125,000 to be paid). He and his family also receive health insurance, amounting to $18,000 over the term of the agreement.
-Howard Bass- Bass agreed to retire as of July 6, 2001, and is being paid through Dec. 31, 2006. He continues to receive health and dental insurance with about $4,000 left over the contract.
-Sheila Roland- On Dec. 20, 2000, O'Sullivan Industries entered into an agreement with her, calling for her to retire on July 6, 2001. She is still owed $1,800 in insurance benefits through Sept. 30, 2006.
-Tom Thieman- On Sept. 10, 2004, he was forced to retire effective Sept. 30, 2004. He is owed $1,500 in health and dental insurance benefits through Jan. 31, 2006.
-Richard Davidson- His agreement was entered into on Aug. 13, 2004 and he agreed to serve as a "consultant" through Dec. 31, 2005. He is owed about $1,000 in health and dental insurance benefits.
-Michael O'Sullivan- His contract was signed Oct. 28, 2004 and he is owed $1,000 in insurance benefits through Dec. 31, 2005.
-Tom Riegel- Riegel's agreement, entered into on Aug. 18, 2004, calls for him to serve as a "consultant" through Aug. 31, 2007. He is owed approximately $6,500 in insurance benefits.
-Betty Brasher- The company owes her about $1,000 in insurance benefits through Feb. 1, 2006, according to an agreement signed Jan. 2, 2002.
-Rowland Geddie- Under the terms of a contract signed Feb. 1, 1996, if Geddie is terminated with two years of a "change in control" without "good reason" he has to be provided with salary and benefits and the amount of the highest bonus he had received during the previous three years. The company says that if it is determined that it did not have good cause to remove Geddie, it could owe more than a quarter of a million dollars.
In addition to those obligations, bankruptcy court documents indicate the company is trying to get out of all sorts of agreements and leases.

Friday, October 14, 2005

O'Sullivan Industries files for bankruptcy

O'Sullivan Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the close of business today. Filing were O'Sullivan Industries Holdings, O'Sullivan Industries Inc., O'Sullivan Industries Virginia, and O'Sullivan Furniture Factory Outlet, Inc.
Million-dollar CEO Robert Parker said in a press release that the company does not plan to cut back on its workforce. Documents filed in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia indicate the company has asked the court to continue its employee pay and benefits as is.
Court documents indicate O'Sullivan Industries has $158,433 in assets and $132,151,000 in debts. The company's biggest creditor was Bancboston Investments at $29,755,324.
The filing came one day before the deadline for the end of the company's forbearance agreement with its major creditors. The agreement was designed to give O'Sullivan officials more time to work out the company's financial problems.
MORE TO COME

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Carthage Press story on "Small Town News" published


Today's Carthage Press features a nice story written by Managing Editor Ron Graber on "Small Town News." Ron, whom I have always considered to be an example of what a small town newspaperman should be (even before he wrote about my book), has kindly given me permission to reprint the story, which I will do after it is no longer on The Press site. Ron took the photo which accompanies this post.
***
I have just discovered that the Neosho Daily News also carried the Press story. You can find it at the Daily's website until some time Friday.

April 2006 trial date set for Brandon Kahl

An April 13, 2006, trial date has been scheduled in Barton County Circuit Court for Brandon Wayne Kahl, Lamar, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the June 7 death of two-year-old Alexander Cole.
Kahl is free on $15,000 bond.

Hospital embezzlement trial postponed

The embezzlement trial of former Barton County Memorial Hospital Chief Financial Officer Kimberly Schlup has been postponed, according to Cedar County Circuit Court records. The trial had originally been scheduled for this week.
Ms. Schlup, 41, Deerfield, allegedly stole $77,735 from the hospital between March 15, 1999, and Oct. 7, 2003. An assistant Missouri attorney general will prosecute the case, assisted by Barton County Prosecuting Attorney Steven Kaderly. The trial is being held in Stockton on a change of venue from Barton County.

Northpark Mall owner buys Overland Park facility

CBL & Associates, owners of Northpark Mall in Joplin, have reached an agreement to buy the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park for approximately $345 million, according to an article in today's Kansas City Star.
The mall is the largest shopping center in that region, the Star article said.

Conference call set for Leggett earnings

Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt will hold its quarterly conference call to discuss third quarter results 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, according to PR Newswire.
The call will be webcast and can be accessed through the Investor Relations section at www.leggett.com.

Press, Daily owner hires vice presidential candidate



John Edwards now works for the same company that owns The Carthage Press, the Neosho Daily News, and the Big Nickel.
The former Democratic vice presidential candidate and North Carolina senator, who is considered a top prospect for the 2008 presidential nod, has joined Fortress Investment Group, where he will be a "part-time global dealmaker," according to Business Week. Fortress bought Liberty Group Publishing, owner of the local publications earlier this year.

Lindsey to interview for Springdale post


Joplin Police Chief Kevin Lindsey will be interviewed sometime during the first week of November for the Springdale, Ark., police chief position, according to the Springdale Morning News.
Lindsey is one of 11 remaining candidates for the position. All 11 will be interviewed Nov. 1-3, the article said. Lindsey already was one of three finalists for the Grand Island, Neb., police chief position, though another candidate was selected.

Preliminary hearing moved up for alleged internet pervert

Dee Wampler's out and Ross Rhoades, Neosho, is in as attorney for alleged internet pervert Gary Reed Blankenship, whose preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14 in Newton County Circuit Court.
The case of Blankenship,55, a former O'Sullivan Industries official, who was nabbed in one of Diamond police officer Jim Murray's internet sex stings on Jan. 27, has gone through delay after delay, while he was represented by Wampler, one of the top criminal attorneys in southwest Missouri.
Blankenship is charged with 10 felony counts, including enticement of a child, promoting obscenity, and eight counts of possession of child pornography.
The first action taken by Blankenship's new lawyer was to file a motion to dismiss.

Meerwald hearing doesn't accomplish much

The lack of a transcript delayed action in drunk driver Edward Meerwald's attempt to have his involuntary manslaughter conviction overturned. According to McDonald County Circuit Court records, the attorneys will contact the court when the document arrives and they are ready to proceed. The aborted hearing was held Oct. 4.
Meerwald, the drunk driver whose vehicle left the road and killed James Dodson, 68, Neosho, and his eight-year-old granddaughter Jessica Mann, Joplin, was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty March 11 in McDonald County Circuit Court, where the case was moved on a change of venue from Newton County. Meerwald now claims he only pleaded guilty because he was told if he didn't, he would have armed criminal action charges filed against him.
Taxpayers will pay for Meerwald's attempt to get out of his prison sentence. Anne R. Wells, Neosho, has been appointed to serve as a public defender for Meerwald, according to court records

Accused killer files lawsuit against Dunn, Sheriff's Department

Following the path blazed a few days ago but another man charged with murder, Micah Holman, John Opry, who is also accused of killing two people, has filed a lawsuit against the Jasper County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Archie Dunn.
In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Opry claims his constitutional rights were violated when a disciplinary hearing tribunal found him guilty of violating jail rules and punished him by not allowing any canteen spending, personal use of telephone, visits or "out-of-cell recreation opportunity" for 30 days. Of course, Opry makes no mention in his petition of the reason he is behind bars. The 26-year-old is awaiting trial for the brutal July shooting deaths of two Sarcoxie men.
Opry says he wants damages, and wants all records related to the discipline to be removed from his file. He also asks that the sheriff "cease disciplinary action without process which is due." (Due process would be another good name for that.)
In one of last week's posts, I mentioned that Holman, who is accused of murdering Marvin and Peggy Steverson of Carthage, then burning their home to erase the evidence, is also suing the Sheriff's Department, saying deputies went through his mail.
Naturally, Holman is also seeking damages.

Updates on 'Small Town News'

(Note: I am going to try to keep the latest information about "Small Town News" at the top of the blog for the time being. Newer postings can be found below. Thank you for your patience.)
The newly-formed teen advisory council, LENDS (Library, East Newton, Neosho, Diamond, Seneca), is sponsoring the first book signing for my novel, "Small Town News," 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Neosho Library.
The council includes two high school students from each of Newton County's schools: Sara Spangler and Katlyn Peterson of East Newton, Megan Davis and Jessica Uitts of Neosho, Hannah Pendergraft and Becky Wohlenhaus of Seneca, and two of my favorite former students from Diamond, Ashley Nickolaisen and Lacey Carneal.
The signing and short presentation I will make are part of the first two teen council activities, Teen Read Week, which is Oct. 16-22 and Kids Love a Mystery Month.
I will talk a little about the background of my book, my writing techniques, and checkered career, and I will take questions from the audience before the signing.
I hope to see some of you there.
***
In other "Small Town News" updates:
-I am scheduled to be interviewed by another local newspaper next Monday. I will let you know more afterward.
-The story in The Carthage Press should be coming out sometime by the end of the week.
-The library will be providing publicity information to Neosho media outlets to promote the signing.
Everything is moving rapidly on the "Small Town News" front.
My first signing has definitely been set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Neosho Library. I will have 40 copies of the novel available and I will definitely be happy to order more if there are not enough copies to accommodate the audience (and, of course, I am hoping that turns out to be the case).
***
"Small Town News" can be ordered through Amazon.com as well as Books-A-Million and IUniverse. It can also be ordered at any Books-A-Million store, which will save you shipping costs. I plan on having some outlets set up in the Joplin area sometime in the next few weeks.

More lobbyists contribute to Nodler campaign


Six lobbyists contributed $1,500 to Sen. Gary Nodler's re-election campaign during the past three months, according to the Joplin Republican's latest filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
As noted earlier this week in The Turner Report, in September alone, the Joplin Republican more than doubled the amount of gifts he had received from lobbyists during the first eight months of 2005, receiving $478.50.
The Aug. 7 Turner Report noted that the senator has received much much more from lobbyists in the form of campaign contributions.
The October campaign finance disclosure form shows contributions from the following people who are registered as lobbyists:
-$100 from Gerald Grimaldi, lobbyist for Truman Medical Center. Grimaldi had contributed an additional $100 earlier. His job is listed as Truman Medical Center on the disclosure form.
-$250 from former State Representative Roy Cagle, who at one time lobbied for Enron, and who now represents the Missouri Finance Institute. Cagle is listed as a lobbyist.
-$175 from James Farrell, Ballwin, lobbyist for the city of St. Louis, the Missouri Downtown Association, and the St. Louis Zoo, among others. He is listed as a lobbyist.
-$175 from Kyna Iman, lobbyist for Missouri Southern State University. Ms. Iman, who is listed as a lobbyist, has now contributed the maximum $600 to the campaign.
-$300 from J. Scott Marrs, whose clients include the Missouri Hospital Association and St. John's Regional Medical Center. Marrs' employer is listed as Governmental Services Group. He has contributed $450 so far.
-$500 from Jack Pierce, Jefferson City, lobbyist for Humana Health Care, the Missouri State Employees Retirement System, and the Missouri Teachers Retirement System, among others. No place of employment or job is listed for Pierce.
In Nodler's July quarterly report, he listed more than $2,100 in contributions from lobbyists, and another $600 from a lobbyist's wife, a though most of them were not listed as lobbyists. More information can be found in the Aug. 7 Turner Report.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Globe photo a welcome sign

I neglected to mention this last week, but I enjoyed seeing a picture, albeit a small one, of the Joplin High School Football Homecoming queen on page one. Joplin stories should always be the bread and butter for The Globe, and though obviously a high school sports homecoming is not going to be treated as a major event in Joplin, it is still important to a sizable segment of the Globe's readership.
Most small dailies and weeklies play up football and basketball homecomings. At The Carthage Press, we had blanket coverage of the ballgames, one or two photo pages, thanks to Press photographer Ron Graber (now managing editor), and an interview with the newly-crowned queen. Sales were up for the issue and it was a proper way to play up a major school event in a small town.
I followed the same approach with Lamar homecomings when I was at The Lamar Democrat. Unfortunately, the homecoming is no longer considered to be a major news story at that newspaper, just an advertising vehicle to sell a few support ads in the newspaper that is published just before the game.
Sports Editor Chris Morrow did a fine job with game coverage, but the queen photo did not run on page one, was extremely small, and was farmed out to a commercial photographer, the same approach the newspaper now uses for many other events that were once covered by the news staff.
If you can run 25-inch stories on the Dade County Commission on page one (which the Democrat does in nearly every issue, it seems), certainly there should be a spot for an event that draws more than 1,000 people to Thomas O'Sullivan Stadium.
There is a place for Greenfield news, as well as news from Golden City, Lockwood, Liberal, Jasper, and Sheldon in The Lamar Democrat, but the number one priority of a local newspaper has to be local news.

Room 210 adds video

Our South Middle School Journalism Club made its first foray into video today, as we added video links to the homepage of our website Room 210. The first videos put on the site are from last week's fall sports pep rally and Monday night's vocal music concert. We plan on working toward a regular two or three minute news program on the site, and at some point, a longer version for JET (Joplin Eagles Television) the district's TV channel, which can be viewed on Cable One in Joplin.
Of course, our club, which has 15 students and is headed by Managing Editor Melody Ketron, an eighth grader, also writes stories for the website.

Leggett & Platt buys five companies



Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt has bought five companies, expected to add approximately $85 million to annual revenues, according to PR Newswire.
The acquisitions include two in China, the article said.
According to the article:
"The company also is acquiring a store fixtures manufacturing facility in
Shanghai, China. This facility, which has been a key supplier to Leggett's
U.S. operations, manufactures a broad line of retail store fixtures and
gondola shelving. Its acquisition will enhance Leggett's production of store
fixtures by about $20 million; however, since nearly all of the facility's
product is sold to Leggett & Platt for distribution in the U.S., near-term
annual sales revenues will be unchanged.
"Acquisition of this facility gives Leggett a well-developed operating
presence in China from which to serve the growing domestic Chinese market,
while continuing to meet existing U.S. demand. The operations include full
steel fabrication resources, and both powder coating and chrome plating finish
capability. The facility is modern (built in 2000), expandable, and
well-situated to serve key Leggett customers. It offers an Asian base to
expand L&P's capability in gondola, wire, and wood manufacturing. The
facility has approximately 460 employees, and runs two shifts per day."
The article continues:
"Leggett recently acquired a motion furniture mechanism business in the
city of Jia Jiang, northwest of Shanghai. This operation complements
Leggett's existing plant, located southwest of Shanghai, which began producing
furniture mechanisms in the spring of 2003. This new acquisition should add
over $10 million in annual revenue to the Home Furniture & Consumer Products
group within the Residential Furnishings segment. With this acquisition, and
the pending completion of a new facility in southern China, Leggett will have
three mechanism manufacturing locations in China by the end of 2005."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

FCC rules against Cable One

Cable One violated FCC rules by showing a Tulsa station to its Miami customers after Nexstar pulled KODE and KSNF programming off cable in that community, the agency announced. Multichannel News said the agency will hold hearings to determine if Cable One should be fined.
Cable One added KJRH, the Tulsa NBC affiliate after losing KSNF.
"Obviously, we’re very pleased that the FCC agreed with our position,” Nexstar chief operating officer Duane Lammers told Multichannel News. He said he hoped the decision sent a message to the cable industry.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nodler campaign account overflowing


The campaign bank account of Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, nearly doubled during the last three months, according to a disclosure form filed earlier this month with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Nodler, who had $51,970.34 three months ago, received an additional $49,895 and spent $7,665.93, leaving him with $94,199.41, while no potential competitors for the 2006 race have even announced, much less pulled out of the starter's gate.
The Nodler list is a who's who of heavy hitters, indicating, as expected, that the senator's movie meltdown doesn't particularly mean anything to his well-heeled contributors.
Among those contributing:
-Harry Cornell- The Leggett & Platt board chairman contributed only $25, but that was because had already contributed $575 and by law is limited to donating $600.
-Ann Cornell- matched her husband's $600.
-Nick Myers, Joplin CPA, $600
-Jerry Perry, Grace Energy, Carthage, $200, $450 total
-Larry Neff, Neosho, $600
-Ethelmae Humphreys, TAMKO, $600
-Jack Henry, Jack Henry and Associates, Monett, $600
-Suzanne Duncan, wife of Freeman Hospital CEO Gary Duncan, $600
-David Humphreys, TAMKO, $450, $600 total
-Jim Otey, Newton County collector, $200
-Friends of Stevenson, Rep. Bryan Stevenson's campaign committee, $600
-Committee to Elect Ron Richard, $600
-Gary Rowe, president and CEO of St. John's Regional Medical Center, $100, $455 total
-Richard Page, Neosho R-5 superintendent, $175
-Roy Cagle- lobbyist (at one time including Enron among his clients) and former state representative, $250
-Larry Hickey, Joplin, retired, $300, $400 total
-Jerry Griffith, Neosho car dealer, $200
-Rudy Farber, Neosho banker, $600
-Dorothy Farber, Neosho, $600
-William Gipson, CEO, Empire District Electric Company, $600
-Alden Buerge, Joplin banker, $200
-Julio Leon, Missouri Southern State University president, $200, $425 total
-Robert Corn, MSSU basketball coach, $400
***
The health care industry provided a considerable amount of money for the Nodler campaign during the past three months. In addition to the $700 contributed by Mrs. Duncan and Rowe, Nodler recorded the following amounts from doctors, their wives or those connected with health care:
Miriam Putnam, Carthage, $600; Larry Deffenbaugh, Carthage, $250; Carole Eastman, St. John's, $200; Melissa Little, Joplin, $100; Roger Schonfeld, Carl Junction, $200; Linda Rook, Freeman Hospital, $200; Thomas Reinsvold, physician, Joplin, $200; Thomas Dunlap, chiropractor, Joplin, $100; Gerald Grimaldi, Truman Medical Center, Kansas City, $100; Larry Talley, Neosho, chiropractor, $100; Freeman Physicians Group, Joplin, $400; J. A. Dryden, dentist, Carl Junction, $100; Cynthia Croy, physician, Joplin, $600; Charles Bentlage, Freeman Health Systems, $400; Harvey Eplee, dentist, Weston, $100; D. Mitchell Stinnett, physician, Joplin, $300; Jennifer McGinty, Joplin, Associates of Dentistry, $600; Larry Cole, Christian Health Care, Mount Vernon, $400; Christopher Banwart, physician, Joplin, $600; Professional Medical PAC, Jefferson City, $600; HMO Missouri, Inc., St. Louis, $300; Missouri Association of Health Plans PAC, $250; Paula Baker, Ozark Center, $600; Hish Majzoub, physician, Joplin, $600; Robert Peterson, dentist, Kansas City, $100; Joseph Graham, physician, Joplin, $600; Missouri Hospital Association Southwest District PAC, $400; NHS Management, Joplin, $600; Community Support Services, Joplin, $400; Missouri Hospital Association Southeast District PAC, $600; Missouri Association of Health Plans, Jefferson City, $250.

-

Goodman cleans up on health lobby gifts


Representative Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, who is vying for the 29th District Senate seat left vacant by the death of Larry Gene Taylor, must have needed a seltzer after his excruciating Jan. 10 in our state capital.
Missouri Ethics Commission records indicate Goodman accepted $469.31 in meals, food, and beverage that day from three health industry lobbyists. Goodman, of course, was in lockstep with his party (and the lobbyists) in voting for so-called tort reform to curb lawsuits against health providers.
According to the disclosure form, Goodman received $156.44 for meals, food and beverage from former State Representative Jerry Burch (D-Walker) representing the Missouri Hospital Association. He also received $156.43 worth of meals, food and beverage from another MHA lobbyist, Francis Flotron; and made it a clean sweep with $156.44 from Kathryn Ann Harness. Metro St. Louis lobbyist, again for meals, food and beverage.
That one-day eating (or beverage) spree by Goodman accounted for more than one-third of the money Goodman has received through the first nine months of 2005. Ethics Commission records indicate he has accepted $1,270.22, ranking him among the top 10 percent among state representatives.
Among those giving gifts to Goodman were:
-Scott Swain, lobbyist for Missouri Energy Group and CenturyTel, paid $25 for entertainment and $12 for meals, food and beverage Jan. 19.
-L. Kent Gaines, lobbyist for Monsanto and the Kansas City Chiefs, gave $100 for entertainment and $125 for travel on March 5.
-Flotron paid for a $51 meal on April 6, and added another for $34.40 two weeks later.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Selby appears to be a little drunk with power

I just finished reading the Neosho Daily News story on the most recent hearing for accused child molester Martin Lindstedt and my first reaction was shock.
No, I am no longer shocked by anything Martin Lindstedt does. Lindstedt is a racist who files lawsuits whenever the wind changes. Authorities have charged him with felony statutory sodomy. He has run unsuccessfully for every office from East Newton R-6 Board of Education to governor to U. S. Senator.
His rantings are disgusting, especially when you consider that the only reason he is able to rip into society like he does is because he lives in a society that allows him to do so. Nothing he does shocks me.
That being said, the comforting thing about Martin Lindstedt, and yes, there is one, is that we know he will never come to power.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same about Newton County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby.
Read this excerpt from John Ford's story in the Daily News:

"On Thursday, Newton County Division III Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby ordered both prosecutors and potential defense attorneys to keep mum on the results, as well as all witnesses in the courtroom. In addition to court personnel and a representative of the news media, Lindstedt’s live-in “paramour,” Roxie Fausnaught, was present in the courtroom."

The results Selby refers to are in connection with the mental evaluation that was ordered for Lindstedt. If those results show that Lindstedt is not capable of helping to prepare his defense, and that is what recent postings on Neosho Forums have indicated, then that would definitely bring under question Selby's use of his judicial power a few months back when he levied 22 30-day contempt sentences against Lindstedt for disrupting his courtroom during an unsuccessful attempt to hold a hearing. Consider the following paragraph from the Daily's article:

"Not present, however, was Lindstedt himself. Within seconds of entering the courtroom Thursday afternoon, Lindstedt questioned the court’s authority, legality, and alleged the court of having 'secret proceedings.' He was then escorted from the courtroom by members of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department."

For once, Lindstedt was absolutely correct. The judge was conducting secret proceedings.
This brings into question Judge Selby's understanding of the United States Constitution. Consider what the man did: He held an open hearing and ordered everyone to remain silent about what happened during that hearing. There is a reason why we conduct judicial hearings in the open in the United States. It is to keep society informed...and to protect us from judges like Kevin Selby.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New York Times article discusses Blunt, lobbyists


Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, shown with his wife, Phillip Morris lobbyist Abigail Periman Blunt, has naturally come under more scrutiny since his promotion to the number two position in the House of Representatives following the indictment of Tom DeLay.
Blunt's connections with lobbyists are explored in an article just posted on The New York Times website. The story offers nothing new to Turner Report readers, but it is a sign that the national media is turning its focus on Congressman Blunt.
(The photo was originally printed in the Washingtonian Magazine.)

The rising importance of blogs

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch features an article today about the growing power of blogs in Missouri politics. Most of it is devoted to Roy Temple's pro-Democrat site www.firedupmissouri.com, and the new pro-Republican site, rightmissouri.com
While naturally I would like to see a mention of The Turner Report in the article, this blog continues to fly under the radar as far as most of the state of Missouri is concerned, with the exception of Jefferson City, since I notice that many of my daily visitors are located in state offices (let me be quick to say I have no idea who those people are, just their general location). I don't have a big problem with that.
Besides, though some who are involved in partisan politics may disagree, this site is more of a news blog with an attitude and not a site that comes down on either side as far as politics are concerned. I follow the old journalistic adage about "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable."
Those who remember my days at The Lamar Democrat in the 1980s might remember that I ripped into former Missouri Speaker of the House Bob Griffin, a Democrat, in one column after another.
It is hard to find a Democrat doing anything worth examining at the moment because the party has little political power in this state (though that may change as a result of actions taken by our Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Blunt).
All of the local elected officials are Republicans and they have certainly done quite a bit that needed to be revealed. Voters need to know that they have three legislators, Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City, who are among the Missouri representatives who have received the most gifts from lobbyists.
They need to know that they have a state senator in Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, who has made an art form out of receiving campaign contributions from registered lobbyists, but not identifying them as lobbyists on the campaign disclosure forms. The makeup of Nodler's campaign contributions is a much more significant story than his movie meltdown (I eagerly await the handful of Nodler supporters who will immediately begin their attack and say that it is a Turner meltdown.) While Nodler's attitude about the poor and downtrodden is significant, how he expresses that in his voting record is even more significant.
The traditional media has done little or nothing to let people know how legislators voted on an amendment that would have trimmed the amount paid for their own health insurance. They elected not to do so at a time when they were taking the meat cleaver to Medicaid for the poorest Missourians. They deserve to know that Hunter, Richard, Stevenson, and Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, voted to keep their benefits intact. They also deserve to know that two area representatives, Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, and Ed Emery, R-Lamar, voted to cut their benefits. Maybe it was only a symbolic vote, but it was a revealing one.
Area media outlets also failed to cover how the local legislators voted on the attempt to override Governor Blunt's veto of a $227,000 appropriation for Alzheimer's research. As far as I can tell, The Turner Report is the only media outlet that reported that Bryan Stevenson was the only Joplin-area representative to vote to override the governors' veto. Hunter, Richard, Ruestman, Wilson, and Emery voted to sustain it.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article mentioned that the blogs have stepped into the breech because newspapers and television stations have cut back on their coverage of news. That is likely true, especially when it comes to politics.
And while I would have loved to have been included in that article, if only for publicity's sake, this is not Fired Up Missouri or Right Missouri. This is not a blog for people who don't believe Democrats can do any wrong, nor is it a blog for those who believe Republicans do no wrong.
The Turner Report is here to cover news that is not being covered by the traditional media. Judging by the growing number of readers for this blog, there is an appetite for this kind of coverage.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hunter approaching the $3,000 mark

The king of gift recipients, Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, is closing in on the coveted $3,000 mark, according to Missouri Ethics Commission documents.
After his September disclosure form figures are added in, Hunter, who leads all Missouri representatives in the amount of gifts he has taken from lobbyists, now has a total of $2,782.67, and he still has three months to go.
Hunter added $240.80 to his total last month, according to the documents. He accepted $210 for entertainment from University of Missouri lobbyist Stephen Knorr on Sept. 3, $29.80 from Armstrong Teasdale's Sherry Doctorian on Sept. 12 for meals, food, and beverage, and $11 from Mark Johnston, Blue Cross Blue Shield lobbyist for the same reason on the same day.
Since the 2005 legislative session ended, Hunter has received $557.72 in gifts from lobbyists.
Amounts accepted by other legislators in September included:
Ron Richard, R-Joplin- Richard accepted $29.80 in meals, food and beverage from Ms. Doctorian on Sept. 12. He has a total of $1,686.14, one of the top 10 in the House and has received $463.93 in gifts since the legislative session concluded.
Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin- Ms. Ruestman received $100 classified as "other" from Patrick Keenan Bly of Southwestern Bell on Sept. 30. That is the only gift she has received since the end of the session. Her total for 2005 is $792.94.
Bryan Stevenson, R-Webb City- Stevenson had the same $29.80 for meals, food and beverage from Ms. Doctorian on Sept. 12. He has had $141.05 since the session ended and $1,512.56, one of the top 20 representatives, overall.
Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho- Wilson reported no gifts in September. He has had $28 in gifts since the session ended, and $223.11 overall.
Ed Emery, R-Lamar- Emery did not report any gifts for September. His total since the legislative session ended is $46.27 and he has received $557.72 in gifts overall.
Statistics for State Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, can be found on yesterday's Turner Report.