Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hacker leaves Joplin Globe

The best pure reporter on the Joplin Globe staff, and easily the most versatile, John Hacker ended his second stint with the newspaper when he gave notice Friday, which also turned out to be his last day.
Hacker will reportedly be the key figure in the new Joplin weekly being launched by Liberty Group Publishing, owner of the Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Neosho Post, and The Big Nickel.
More information on this development will be featured in upcoming posts.
Hacker is the latest in a long line of talented young reporters who have left the Globe in recent months.

Joplin Herald advertising blitz begins

The Joplin Globe is pouring money into television advertising supporting its latest venture, the weekly Joplin Herald.
In the TV ad, an attractive young woman says that the Herald is the newspaper that is "about me."
Give the woman credit for courage. If the Joplin Herald is the newspaper that is about her, she must be the most boring woman in Joplin.
The third edition of the newspaper hit the streets a day early yesterday and the page-five headline tells the story. "A real page-turner," it said, and that is exactly what I kept doing, turning the pages hoping to run into some news.
The only allegedly hard news story is a brief piece on candidates running for Joplin City Council seats. Obviously, the Herald is not designed for the hard news reader. In that respect, it is similar to the Globe.
It also lacks any flair in its writing. In that respect, it is also similar to the Globe.
Of course, part of the reason for that could be the mass exodus of talented reporters from the Globe, something which I will be writing about more in the next day or two.
The Herald does have a few nice features, but considering some of the people that Liberty has reportedly lined up for its new weekly Joplin publication, a few nice features just is not going to cut it.

O'Sullivan financial report filed with bankruptcy court

The average Lamar R-1 schoolteacher made $31,172 last year, according to the district report card released earlier this year and available for viewing at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. That total is $8,085 less than what O'Sullivan Industries' million-dollar CEO Bob Parker made...during the last two weeks of October.
A financial report filed Tuesday in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia indicates Parker, who took a medical leave of absence during the time period, was paid $39,257 for Oct. 15-31. His fellow Newell Rubbermaid refugees, Rick Walters and Kelly Terry earned E$10,474.88 and $8,076.46 respectively during the 16-day time period.
An interesting feature of the report was a listing of taxes that the company has not yet paid. The list includes more than $275,000 in personal property and real estate taxes owed to Barton County and due at the end of the calendar year.
The report shows O'Sullivan Industries had $1,133,435 as of Oct. 15 and $1,178,405 at the end of October.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Seneca man to remain behind bars

The Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a police officer's comment was not reason enough to grant a Seneca man a new trial.
Gerald E. Rayborn, 40, is serving a 30-year sentence after a McDonald County jury found him guilty Sept. 2, 2004, on a forcible sodomy charge. Rayborn was also sentenced to 10 years on each of two counts of armed criminal action and seven years on a felonious restraint charge. The trial was held in McDonald County on a change of venue from Newton County.
According to reporter John Hacker's account in the Sept. 3, 2004, Joplin Globe, the victim was visiting a friend on Jan 1, 2004 and called her father to pick her up. A family friend sent Rayborn to pick her up. Instead of taking her home, Rayborn drove the 16-year-old to his Seneca home, and when she tried to leave, Rayborn pulled a gun, took her to his car and sexually assaulted her. Rayborn drove to Southwest City and went he stopped to get gasoline, the girl escaped.
The trial, according to Hacker's report was characterized by an attempt by public defender Larry Maples to attack the girl's reputation, calling witnesses who said she had been drinking that night and that she was a known liar.
The girl's testimony, backed by evidence found in Rayborn's car convinced the jury to convict him on four charges, but he was found not guilty on a rape charge.
The lawyer for Rayborn's appeal, Irene Karns, hinged the appeal on one question asked of a police officer and the officer's answer. The prosecutor asked, "Did he respond in any way to the Miranda warning?"
The officer answered, "He stated that he would rather--" Ms. Karns indicated that answer made it appear that Rayborn had something to hide.

Arraignment of former Hollinger CEO delayed

Former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black's arraignment, originally scheduled for today in U. S. District Court in Chicago has been delayed until Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Black is charged with stealing money from his company.
Hollinger, an international newspaper company, at one time had a string of newspapers in the U. S. under the name American Publishing. Among those newspapers were the Carthage Press and the Neosho Daily News.

No truth to DNR rumor

There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources was called to Crowder College Monday to investigate a foul odor emanating from State Senator Gary Nodler's press conference.
A source who has spent considerable time in Carthage dealing with the RES smell and in Neosho dealing with the Moark chicken odor told The Turner Report, "The odor at Crowder has nothing to do with the environment, it's just the smell of another election year approaching."

Nice work if you can get it

Some men have an appetite for power; some just have a powerful appetite.
In the latter category you can place Missouri Senate Majority Whip David Klindt, R-Bethany. The Turner Report has written several times about Rep. Steve Hunter, who has received more gifts from lobbyists than any other state representative, with $2,995 at last count.
If you double that total, you still won't reach the total of gifts accumulated this year by Klindt. In fact, you would have to go another $800 or so to reach his total of $6,823.43.
On March 15, Klindt accepted gifts of "meals, food and beverage" from five lobbyists: $18.75 from Datra Herzog of the lobbying firm of Herzog & Rhoads; $46.05 from her partner, Mark Rhoads; $76.33 from Mary Strate of the Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association; $46.20 from Richard Wiles of the Missouri Soft Drink Association; $30 from Guy William Black, representing Transcanada Corporation.
During a three-day period when the Senate was not in session, Aug. 16-18, Klindt received more $2,100 in gifts. The spree began Aug. 16 with Klindt receiving $421.77 for meals, food and beverage, $589.56 for travel, another $681.90 for travel, and $21.34 for a gift from William Shoehigh, lobbyist for the Microsoft Corporation, for a total of $1714.57. In addition to the meal that was paid for by Shoehigh, even with all of that traveling, Klindt managed to have four more meals paid for by lobbyists: $141.27 from David Christian, lobbyist for Kansas City Power & Light; $11.69 from Drue Duncan, Ameren UE, $10 from Black, and another $20 from Black, for a total of five meals, costing $604.73.
On Aug. 17, Klindt had meals, food and beverage from four more lobbyists, totaling $158.06, and on Aug. 18, he had meals, food and beverage from three more lobbyists totaling $64.45.
Klindt, who serves on the House's Energy and Environment Committee also received $157.70 for travel on Sept. 12 from Barry Hart, lobbyist for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives; $60 for entertainment and $37.30 for meals, food and beverage from Drue Duncan of Ameren on Sept. 17, the same day he received an additional $60 for entertainment and $37.30 for meals, food and beverage from Larry Pleus of Ameren.
In October, Klindt picked up $102.47 for entertainment from Steven Bledsoe, lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield and $220 for entertainment from Stephen Knorr of the University of Missouri.
The Missouri Ethics Commission documents also show $315.32 for meals, food and beverage on June 3, split evenly between Duncan and Charles Caisley of the Missouri Energy Development Association.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Giving credit where credit is due

Several days ago, I read Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton's impassioned plea in favor of the Medicaid cuts enacted by the Republican-led legislature in 2005.
The first paragraph of Jetton's column read, "There's a lot of talk about Medicaid these days. The changes that the Governor recently signed into law are on everyone's mind. Whether you believe those changes were good, or even if you don't, there’s one thing that was certain: Medicaid in Missouri was a flawed system that was on course to consume our entire state budget within ten years. Not only would we not have the money to educate our children, but also we wouldn't even have the money to help those who truly had nowhere else to turn."
Imagine my surprise today when I received the latest Capitol Report from Ron Richard, R-Joplin. The first paragraph of the column read, "There's a lot of talk about Medicaid these days. The changes that the Governor recently signed into law are on everyone's mind. Whether you believe those changes were good, or even if you don't, there’s one thing that was certain: Medicaid in Missouri was a flawed system that was on course to consume our entire state budget within ten years. Not only would we not have the money to educate our children, but also we wouldn't even have the money to help those who truly had nowhere else to turn."
And you know, I could almost swear I read those same words in another Joplin Republican's column recently.
Speaker Jetton's column and Richard's column are word for word the same, including the following passage:
"If you hear about a disabled or elderly person losing benefits, let me know. I will be happy to double-check their situation. I am also looking for any across-the-board, unintended consequences from last year’s bill. I am sure that if there are cases where the disabled or elderly who have nowhere else to turn are getting hurt, we will take steps to change the law and help them with their situation."
The only addition to Richard's column was the final paragraph, which reads, "As always, if you have any questions on this or any other issue, I can be reached at 573-751-2173 in my Jefferson City office, or at 417-623-0022 in my Joplin office, or through the mail at: Representative Ron Richard, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Also, you can reach me through e-mail at This is the same ending, I might add, that Richard features on all of his columns.
Not so coincidentally, a quick Google check also turned up nearly the exact same column, only this time the credit was given to Rep. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar. The first 11 paragraphs are virtually word-for-word the same. Parson then adds two paragraphs of localized content, returns to the Jetton column for a paragraph, then concludes with a paragraph of his own.

RES odors investigated by alternative weekly

David Martin, writer for the Kansas City-based alternative weekly, The Pitch, has written a thorough, solid investigative report on Renewable Environmental Services (RES) and the odors that have plagued Carthage for the past several months.

Skelton injured in Iraq

Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton is expected home later this week after being injured in an accident Saturday while traveling on a back road to the Baghdad airport while on a visit to Iraq, according to numerous wire reports.
The Kansas City Star said Skelton, 73, was complaining of neck pains. The armored bus in which Skelton and two other congressmen were passengers was sideswiped by another car and overturned.

Timing off on Nodler announcements

State Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin will hold two press conferences today to announce his CAFO legislation, according to news reports. It is interesting how Nodler was silent until the Moark decision had been made and now that it is over and done, he comes up with legislation which seems more designed to placate his critics and boost his reelection bid.
Nodler could easily have come out and made statements that echo the content of his bill during the time when the Moark issue was still being debated. Perhaps his bill will make a difference, but it doesn't appear designed to do anything to help the people of Neosho.

Five Nexstar stations for sale

Locations weren't given, but Nexstar CEO Perry Sook says that five Nexstar stations in four locations are for sale.
Sook's announcement, made during the recent announcement of quarterly results, is noted in today's electronic edition of Radio and Television Business Report. Nexstar owns KSNF in Joplin and KSFX in Springfield, and operates KODE in Joplin and KOLR in Springfield for Mission Broadcasting.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

New Sunday newspaper in the offing

The Nevada Daily Mail and Fort Scott Tribune, both daily newspapers, will combine their Sunday editions, beginning a week from today, Dec. 4, according to an announcement earlier this month by Julie Righter, publisher of both newspapers. Since the Nevada newspaper's Sunday edition has always been called the Nevada Herald, the new newspaper will be known as the Herald-Tribune.
Ms. Righter promises that it will be a "spectacular new Sunday newspaper, serving both communities."
The rest of the news release really doesn't give much indication of anything of value that will be added in the new hybrid; apparently it is enough that Nevada readers will be able to read Fort Scott news they don't want and Fort Scott readers will be able to read Nevada news they don't want.

Columnist: Blunt education plan purely political

Springfield News-Leader Editorial Page Editor Robert Leger labels Governor Matt Blunt's 65 percent education proposal as purely political in a column in today's newspaper.
Leger points out, quite accurately, that this could be done by the state legislature rather than by voters in November and this appears to be a transparent effort to not only boost Senator Jim Talent's re-election bid, but also to repair the governor's tattered image.

La-Z-Boy expecting flat sales for first quarter

Sales for the January quarter are expected to be flat, La-Z-Boy officials said in their quarterly report filed earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. La-Z-Boy, of course, is a major employer in Neosho.
"Although we continue to make steady progress in our cost structure and believe that we have a solid and relevant business model in place in each of our three segments, we remain concerned about the macro economic environment," the report said.
"We are currently expecting sales for the January quarter to be flat compared to last year’s third quarter, and we anticipate reported earnings for the third quarter to be in the range of $0.13 — $0.17 per diluted share which includes up to $0.01 in after-tax restructuring charges, versus the $0.21 we earned per diluted share from continuing operations in the same quarter of fiscal 2005, which included an after-tax restructuring charge of $0.03 per share."

Fox 14 accounts for increases in Saga earnings

Net revenue for Saga Communications' television division was up $52,000 during the third quarter, according to a report filed earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company reported $3,698,000 in net operating revenue, up from $3,646,000 the previous year, a one percent increase.
"The majority of the improvement in net operating revenue was attributable to the Fox affiliate in Joplin, Missouri that went on the air in October 2003," the report said.

Moark parent company: Egg prices to remain weak

Egg prices were down 26 cents per dozen at the end of September, compared to the previous year, and things are not expected to get much better.
That was the grim assessment made by Land O'Lakes officials in their quarterly report, filed earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Prices were at 95 cents per dozen on the average on Sept. 30, 2004, and only 69 cents now, the report said. Moark, of course, is the egg division of Land O'Lakes.
"We believe that egg market prices will marginally improve in the fourth quarter due to an increase in demand due to the holidays, but continue to be weak due to excess
capacity in the industry."
Incidentally, losses for Moark for the third quarter were $1.9 million, compared to $1.6 million during the third quarter of 2004, according to the report. "At September 30, 2005, $61.1 million of our long-term debt was attributable to MoArk," the report said.
And this is a company that just had to push through its expansion in Neosho?

Cable One suffers hurricane-related losses

Cable One, which has the cable franchise for Joplin, took a beating during the third quarter, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, according to the quarterly report filed earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission by its parent company, the Washington Post. According to the report:
"The Company’s cable division was significantly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in the third quarter of 2005. About 94,000 of the cable division’s pre-hurricane subscribers were located on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, including Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and other neighboring communities where storm damage was significant. Through the end of the third quarter of 2005, the Company recorded an estimated $9.9 million loss of property, plant and equipment, incurred an estimated $4.2 million in incremental clean-up, repair and other expenses in connection with the hurricane, and experienced an estimated $4.4 million reduction in operating income from granting a 30-day service credit to all its 94,000 pre-hurricane Gulf Coast subscribers; additional costs related to the hurricane recovery will continue to be incurred in the fourth quarter of 2005.
"The Company has property and business interruption insurance that is expected to cover some of these losses. The Company has not recorded any estimated insurance recovery amount as of the end of the third quarter of 2005 as the Company is in the early stages of preparing its insurance claim."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Globe employee to defect to competition

Liberty Group Publishing's long-rumored Joplin weekly will be apparently be headed by someone from the Joplin Globe, sources have told The Turner Report.
The publication and the Joplin Business Journal, reportedly planned by the publisher of the Springfield Business Journal, were the driving forces behind the Globe's recent decision to start a free weekly, The Joplin Herald, and a business publication.
Hopefully, a little competition will reap benefits for Joplin readers.
Liberty Group Publishing owns the Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Neosho Post, and the Big Nickel.

Graham Packaging reports third quarter gains

Graham Packaging, which bought the Tetra Pak plant in Joplin, reported a 126.3 percent gain in net sales during the third quarter, according to PR Newswire. The company also had an 83.5 percent gain in operating income, compared to the third quarter of 2004.
Net sales for the three months ending Sept. 30 were $615.1 million, the article said, an increase of $343.3 million or 126.3 percent.
Graham Packaging is based in York, PA.

Northpark Mall owners buy three more malls

CBL & Associates, owners of Northpark Mall in Joplin, announced earlier this month it had finalized the purchase of three malls.
According to a company news release, CBL bought Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan., Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth, Ill., and Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Ill.

Leggett & Platt talk to be webcast

Carthage-based Fortune 500 company Leggett & Platt will webcast its meeting with New York investors and analysts 7:30 a.m. Tuesday (Central Time), according to a company news release.
Felix Wright, chairman and CEO, and Matthew C. Flanigan, CFO, will discuss "restructuring plans, recent acquisitions, and long term goals and strategy," according to the release.
The webcast can be accessed from the Investors Relations page on the Leggett & Platt website.

Accused double murder won't be allowed to represent himself

Accused double murderer John Opry has been representing himself in a lawsuit against the Jasper County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Archie Dunn, but he will not be allowed to serve as his own lawyer when his trial takes place in April 2006.
During a hearing Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court, Judge Jon Dermott overruled Opry's motion to represent himself. Opry is charged with the murder of two Sarcoxie men.
Opry, 26, is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with the July 23 shooting deaths of Jim Grace, 59, and Glen Nelson Cramer, 81, both of Sarcoxie.
Opry is being held in lieu of half a million dollars bond.
Federal Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled earlier this month that the lawsuit filed by Opry can go forward at the taxpayers' expense, at least for a while. Opry will be able to have the $250 filing fee for his case paid for initially, but he will have to pay it back in monthly installments, according to the opinion.
In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 12 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. 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."

Murder victim's widow faces felony drug charges

Rebecca Kullie, whose husband, Jim John Kullie, was beaten to death with a tire iron May 25 in Lamar Heights, has a Dec. 14 hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court after being arrested by the Joplin Police Department Oct. 3 on felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
Ms. Kullie, 40, Seneca, will also be in Jasper County Circuit Court Dec. 13 for a hearing on misdemeanor DWI and marijuana possession charges. Both of those crimes allegedly occurred Feb. 10, according to court records.

Former Carthage board member trial delayed again

Former Carthage R-9 Board of Education member and Carthage police officer Michael Wells' trial, originally scheduled for Nov. 7, then postponed until Nov. 21, has been delayed again with no new date scheduled, according to court records.
Wells is charged with forcible rape, sexual assault and two counts of incest, in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred on Sept. 1, 1994, and April 1, 2001.
During an Oct. 20 arraignment, Wells entered a not guilty plea on a separate charge of violation of a protection order. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for Dec. 8 in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Shields hearing set for Monday

A pre-trial conference in the theft case against former Southwest City Clerk Dehonna Shields is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in McDonald County Circuit Court.
Ms. Shields, 26, is charged with three counts of forgery and two counts of theft for allegedly stealing city money. The missing money was uncovered during a state audit.

Review hearing set for Lindstedt

The next review hearing for accused child molester Martin Lindstedt has been scheduled for Dec. 29 in Newton County Circuit Court.
Earlier, Lindstedt was found incompetent to assist in his own defense and was transferred to a mental hospital. He has been held in the Newton County Jail since being arrested on felony statutory sodomy charges.
Lindstedt, an avowed racist, has been a frequent candidate (and always a losing candidate) for everything from U. S. senator to East Newton R-6 Board of Education, and has frequently filed lawsuits, including one against Missouri Governor Matt Blunt.

Hollinger exec to appear in court

Former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black says he will appear in court to answer "smear charges" against him, according to an article in today's Chicago Sun-Times.
A federal indictment issued last week, claims that Black stole millions of dollars from Hollinger, through fake fees and by such actions as "using the corporate jet for a vacation in Bora Bora and dipping into the Hollinger treasury to pay for his wife's birthday party."
Hollinger was the parent company of American Publishing, which at one time owned the Carthage Press and the Neosho Daily News.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Second edition of Joplin Herald: more of the same

You won't find a long, detailed review of the second edition of the Joplin Herald on this blog. The school coverage was better, but for the most part it still looks exactly like what it is- the Joplin Globe doing just enough to block the path of someone else who is trying to start a weekly. There is absolutely no reason why these news items would not fit in the Joplin Globe, even if the Globe does consider itself to be a regional newspaper.

Joplin native's quilt show reviewed in Star

Joplin native Sonie Ruffin's quilt show about her home town, Joplin, is reviewed in today's Kansas City Star.

Schurman finalist for St. Joseph police chief position

Former Joplin police official Richard Schurman, currently police chief in Colonial Heights, Va., is a finalist for the police chief position in St. Joseph, according to today's Petersburg Progress-Index.
Schurman,a Kansas native, has been in Colonial Heights since 1998.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dec. 14 hearing set on pay increase request for O'Sullivan interim CEO

A 10 a.m. Dec. 14 hearing has been scheduled in U. S. District Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia on O'Sullivan Industries' officials' request for a $100,000 pay hike for interim CEO Rick Walters, according to court documents filed Monday.
Walters is filling in for CEO Bob Parker who recently took a medical leave of absence. Both Parker and Walters came to O'Sullivan Industries from Newell Rubbermaid.
Under the terms of the proposed increase, Walters, who was already receiving $250,000 annually, as well as a guaranteed $200,000 bonus, would receive an additional $100,000, bringing his salary to $350,000.
The reasons for the request were outlined in the Nov. 18 Turner Report.
Another bankruptcy court filing Monday featured a bill for $221,878.96 for a consulting firm which has been helping the company through the bankruptcy process. According to the bill, the company's senior managing director receives $625 an hour. Fortunately, he worked less than a full hour.
On the other hand, a $580 an hour senior managing director billed the company $41,586 and a $560 an hour senior managing director billed O'Sullivan $44,658.
Nice work if you can get it.

McBride lawyer seeks to have statements tossed

The attorney for Webb City businessman Keith Erwin McBride, who is facing a federal arson charge, filed a motion Monday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to have McBride's statements to law enforcement officers suppressed.
Shane Cantin, Springfield, says McBride's rights were violated when he was interviewed April 19, while he McBride was in the middle of a four-day hold for psychiatric and medical treatment.
McBride, 51, was arrested April 15 after allegedly burning his business Coin-Op in Webb City to the ground, as well as his home in Duquesne. He was arrested following an hours-long standoff, in which he "barricaded himself into one of his business properties threatening suicide," according to the court filing.
"Armed with a handgun, Mr. McBride attempted to shoot himself in the head, but the firearm failed to function. After teargas was introduced into the warehouse, Mr. McBride was eventually taken into custody, and without further incident."
He was placed on a 96-hour hold at the Hawthorn Center in Joplin. During that time, according to the court document, "Mr. McBride was diagnosed with 'major depressive disorder-single episode, severe" and 'severe psychological stressors.' Hospital records indicate that Mr. McBride was exhausted, despondent, quiet, and detached from those around him. He suffered from insomnia, and refused to participate in group counseling sessions. Mr. McBride had to be coaxed out of his room to walk around. (He) was given sedatives to assist in his sleeping, and was medicated throughout his stay at the Hawthorn Center."
When officers arrived at the center to question him, they were able to convince him to sign a waiver of his Miranda rights "although Mr. McBride had been sleeping and was otherwise medicated with sedative type drugs," the court document said.
McBride made incriminating statements during that interview, according to the document.
Cantin says his client could not have been able to give thoroughly informed consent due to his condition. "Mr. McBride was suffering from at least three days without any, or very little, sleep, prior to his arrest of April 15, 2005, and continued to suffer from insomnia, depression, and anxiety since arriving at the Hawthorn Center. His symptoms were treated throughout this time with medications which caused him to have unclear through processes, difficulty comprehending and remembering, and which otherwise impaired his ability to understand the complete nature of the rights he was being asked to give up, and the consequences of the decision to abandon them."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Business Journal: Candlewood Suites to open in Joplin

The Springfield Business Journal reports today that construction is almost finished on Candlewood Suites, 3212 Range Line Road, which will open in January. The suites, designed for business travelers, will include a complete kitchen, a recliner, an executive desk chair, two phone lines, a data port with free high-speed Internet connection, and a flat-panel TV, according to the article.

News-Leader: State should reward educational success

The Springfield News-Leader editorial board says school districts such as Joplin and Westview, which achieve distinction in their performance, should be rewarded with additional funding. The editorial, from today's edition, also criticizes Governor Matt Blunt's proposal to put 65 percent of state educational funds into "classroom" instruction.

State auditor candidate has open-door policy for lobbyists

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week that State Senator Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, a candidate for state auditor, declared bankruptcy in 1998.
An examination of Missouri Ethics Commission records indicates that Ms. Coleman also has a friendly relationship with lobbyists. During 2005, she has accepted more gifts from lobbyists than all but one senator, Majority Whip David Klindt, R-Bethany.
She has received gifts totaling $3,395.55, according to the Ethics Commission documents, including $912 for entertainment (for a total of four occasions) and $977.38 overall from John Bardgett, lobbyist for John Bardgett & Associates.
Other items on Ms. Coleman's list include $200 for entertainment from John Sondag of Southwestern Bell on Feb. 5, $124.27 for meals, food and beverage from Steven Carroll, lobbyist for the St. Louis City School Board, $161.11 for Kent Gaines, lobbyist for the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, Monsanto, and the Kansas City Chiefs, among others, on March 16, an additional $357.40, including $170 for entertainment and $187.40 for meals, food and beverage from Sondag on April 2, and $235.22 for travel from Richard Doherty, lobbyist for Harrah's Casino on Aug. 23.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blunt encourages Japanese businesses to come to Missouri

Emphasizing the pro-business legislation passed by the 2005 General Assembly, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, State Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Director of Economic Development Greg Steinhoff met with Japanese businessmen in New York City Wednesday.
Blunt, Richard, and Steinhoff stressed the workers' compensation and litigation reform bills passed by the legislature and the Missouri Quality Jobs Act, according to articles in the St. Louis Business Journal and Kansas City Infozine.
"With its high quality of life, talented work force and low tax burden, Missouri is in a strong position to compete successfully in the global marketplace," Blunt said, according to the E-Zine article. "By reaching out to leaders in Japan and elsewhere we are positioning Missouri to create high-paying, quality jobs for our citizens."

Broadcasting magazine: Nexstar was the big winner

Radio and Television Business Report, a trade magazine of the broadcasting industry, categorized this week's Federal Communications Commission decision against Cable One as a major victory for Nexstar. According to the report, which was headlined "FCC smacks down Cable One in Nexstar dispute:"
"The battle between television group Nexstar and cable operators over carriage terms has made it to the halls of the FCC - - and the winner is Nexstar. Cable One's Joplin system failed to agree to carriage terms with Nexstar's NBC KSNF-TV, and pulled in a station from Tulsa - - egregiously enough that it resulted in a 20K fine, almost triple the amount usually assessed for a similar violation."

Columbia school district raises superintendent pay nearly $20,000

One of the best things about the 65 percent plan being proposed by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is that it brings additional scrutiny on the actions of school boards who give sizable pay increases to superintendents while keeping teacher salaries on the low end.
Today's Columbia Missourian reports on that city's school district which increased its superintendent's salary from $161,000 to $180,000, while beginning teachers make about $27,000.
The Republican blog,, has been hammering on the pay and benefits received by superintendents to promote the governor's proposal, and while it is a legitimate point, couldn't the same point be made about big business, which routinely offers outrageous pay and benefits packages to CEOs and other top officials, who are outsourcing jobs and eliminating or reducing pension and insurance benefits and oftentimes are losing money for their companies? Where is the outcry about that. Perhaps the 65 percent backers should propose some sort of artificial formula to cover that situation.

Democrat blog explores Blunt 'attack' on public schools

Roy Temple's Fired Up Missouri blog is undoubtedly a center of propaganda for the Democratic party, but it also brings to light some important stories, including a post this weekend about the originator of the 65 percent plan that Governor Matt Blunt has said will put more money into Missouri classrooms.
According to the post, the 65 percent plan is being pushed nationwide by millionaire Patrick Byrne, who, along with his company,, is supplying money for proposals that would put public money into private schools.
Since we have already seen at least one such proposal from the governor, this really does not come as much of a surprise. It also comes as no surprise since the governor was a keynote speaker earlier this year at an out-of-state convention sponsored by All Children Matter, a group that promotes putting taxpayer money into private schools.

Blunt's House leadership struggles defined in article

The political challenges that his rise to House majority leader have provided for Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt are featured in an article in today's Springfield News-Leader.

KC Star features profile of governor

Anyone wanting to know how Missouri Governor Matt Blunt thinks should read the article in today's Kansas City Star. The similarity in thought processes (in addition to how he attained high office) between Blunt and the president is remarkable.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Former Hollinger CEO indicted

Lord Conrad Black, former CEO of Hollinger International, was indicted in Chicago Thursday on mail fraud and wire fraud charges, according to an article in the New York Times. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Black is charged with stealing more than $50 million from his company, the article said.
Hollinger International is the parent company of American Publishing, which at one time owned The Carthage Press and the Neosho Daily News. Those two newspapers were among approximately 300 that spun off from American to become Liberty Group Publishing in 1998.

Lamar graduate speaks out against Blunt plan

Reed's Spring School District Superintendent Angela Besendorfer, a Lamar High School graduate and former principal in the Carthage R-9 School District, told the Branson Daily News she plans to fight Governor Matt Blunt's plan for a constitutional amendment requiring that 65 cents of every dollar going to education go toward classroom instruction.
According to the article, "Besendorfer said the proposal doesn't include things in the classroom instruction category that she feels should be included, such as library services, counseling and health services, which are critical to student success. She has urged the school board to oppose the proposal."
Not many people are jumping on the governor's bandwagon on this proposal, including Republicans, simply because it is a shortsighted proposal. As a teacher, naturally I am for putting more money into the classroom, but when the proposal considers sports to be part of that 65 percent, but not libraries or school nurses, well, it appears to be a program that is doomed to fail.
The basic idea of putting more money into the classroom and less into administrative costs is laudable, but when you consider that many of those administrative costs are because of the incredible amount of paperwork required by federal and state mandates, that would seem to be the direction in which we should be headed.
Like most con jobs, when something sounds too good to be true, that is generally because it is.

''Small Town News" available from author

For those who are not comfortable with giving out their credit card numbers to order information over the Internet (or those who are truly desperate for Christmas gift ideas), I am accepting orders for autographed copies of my novel, "Small Town News."
Send $20 to cover the cost of the book, tax, and shipping costs to: Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Joplin, MO 64801.
For those who have already bought the book and would like to have their copies signed, feel free to mail them to me at the above address and enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I would be happy to sign them.

Auditor candidate filed for bankruptcy in 1998

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Missouri state auditor candidate Maida Coleman, currently a Democratic state senator from St. Louis, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1998.
While bankruptcy does not have the stigma it once did, I would hate to see the Democrats nominate someone with a bankruptcy on her record to be in charge of making sure state officials and agencies are spending taxpayer money properly.

Law firm's bill submitted to bankruptcy judge

Lamberth, Cifelli, Stokes, and Stout, one of the law firms employed by O'Sullivan Industries to help the company work its way through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, submitted a bill for more than $50,000 to a bankruptcy judge...for two and a half weeks of work...according to documents filed Friday with the U. S. District Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The bill includes 29.40 hours for partner James Cifelli at a rate of $350 a hour, the documents indicated. Another lawyer also charged that amount per hour, while a third charged $325 per hour. The billing was for everything from dealing with phone calls from creditors to sending out bankruptcy documents. Included in the $51,316.17 bill, which covers the period from Oct. 14-31, was more than $6,500 in expenses, including numerous Federal Express bills, mileage, and parking fees.
Of course, considerable research was done involving O'Sullivan Industries "assumption and assignment of intellectual property licenses," the documents said.
Court documents were also filed asking for permission to pay the Wheaton, Ill., law firm of Norton, Mancini, Weiler & DeAno to defend O'Sullivan against a lawsuit filed by a customer who had a drawer from a piece of O'Sullivan furniture fall out and damage his foot. The company is asking for $125 an hour and says the amount will run approximately $800 per month.
Another Friday filing asked for permission to employ auditor Bennett Thrasher of Atlanta at a rate of $240 an hour, and an estimated $25,000 a month for "consultations" concerning the company's 2002 state tax returns, and state and federal tax returns for 2003 and 2004, according to court documents.

Blunt, Skelton vote for Congressional pay increases

Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, R-Strafford, and Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, were among the 392 representatives who cast votes for a bill giving House members a $3,100 annual pay increase.
The measure was apart of a Treasury spending bill. Initially, a Senate plan had called for blocking senators' and congressmen's yearly raises, but that portion of the bill was eliminated during negotiations between House and Senate members.
Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, the vote came on the same day that Blunt was barely able to corral enough votes (217 to 215) on spending cuts, that, according to the Washington Post, will include "new fees on Medicaid recipients, squeeze student loan programs, cut child support enforcement and push tens of thousands of low-income families off food stamps."
The post article continued, "GOP leaders hailed the tough-minded measure as proof that the party is ready to make the difficult decisions necessary to confront stubborn budget deficits."
Blunt, of course, cast a "yes" vote on the measure, while Skelton voted against it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nexstar forces Hope cable company to drop Little Rock station

The same FCC law that caused Cable One to be hit with a $20,000 FCC fine earlier today is forcing Hope Community TV, Inc., an Arkansas cable company to drop KARK, NBC's Little Rock affiliate from its lineup, according to an article in the Hope Star. Nexstar pulled its Shreveport, La., NBC affiliate, KTAL, off the Hope system months ago. The major difference between this case and the battle between Nexstar and Cable One in Miami, Okla., is that both KTAL and KARK are Nexstar stations.

Nexstar reaches agreement with another cable company

The Midland-Reporter Telegram in Texas reports today that Nexstar Broadcasting has reached an agreement that will keep its ABC affiliate KMID-TV on the Grande Communications cable system.
The agreement came only a day after Nexstar began broadcasting a crawl saying that KMID would likely be removed from Grande at the end of the calendar year. The crawl is similar to one that Nexstar is using on its sister station KODE in Joplin as its carrier agreement with Allegiance expires at the end of 2005.
As with the earlier agreement reached between Nexstar and Cox Communications, no details were given on what compensation the station would receive for its programming.

Neosho man charged with kidnapping

Logan Cash Franks, 23, Neosho, is being held by Arkansas authorities after allegedly kidnapping a teenager and holding him at gunpoint Thursday, according to an article in the Northwest Arkansas Times.
Franks allegedly forced the 19-year-old man to drive him around while Franks tried to buy marijuana. After the second stop, the teen was able to drive away, went to the police, gave a description and Franks was arrested shortly after that.
Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate Franks pleaded guilty to domestic assault in 2003, was placed on probation and violated it numerous times before finally being put in jail for 180 days.
He was released on Jan. 2, 2005. He also has a conviction in Newton County though the records do not have any further information.

Loyal reader reports Cable One fine

You never know who reads The Turner Report.
Apparently one of those readers is Nexstar Broadcasting COO Duane Lammers, who was kind enough to send me the story today of the Federal Communications Commission's decision to levy a fine against Cable One. Lammers was generous enough to send me a link to the decision.
Basically, Cable One was fined $20,000 for illegally showing a Tulsa station's NBC programming after KSNF programming was removed from the Cable One franchise in Miami, Okla.
KSNF is the only station legally permitted to provide NBC programming in the Miami area, according to FCC regulations.
Of course, as regular readers of The Turner Report are well aware, Nexstar programming on KSNF and its sister station, KODE, were removed from the Cable One lineup in Joplin on Dec. 31, 2004.

O'Sullivan asks for approval of interim CEO's salary increase

O'Sullivan Industries filed documents in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia Thursday asking for permission to increase interim CEO Rick Walters' salary from $250,000 to $350,000 a year. Walters is filling in for CEO Bob Parker, who has taken a temporary leave of absence for medical reasons.
Walters, who previously worked for Parker at the Sharpie/Calphalon group of Newell Rubbermaid from 2001 to 2004, "has been instrumental in implementing cost-cutting measures and strategic initiatives on behalf of the debtors, including the creation of a new sales and marketing organization, the expansion of new product lines, and the enhancement of sourcing opportunities from abroad," according to the documents.
"Moreover," it continued, "since the petition date, Mr. Walters has been involved in every aspect of the debtors' bankruptcy cases, including formulating the debtors' business plan and in obtaining post-petition financing."
The documents said Walters' duties have been increased since Parker went on leave. "Among other things, he now has the primary responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the customer and supplier relationships that are the lifeblood of the debtors' business, as well as for maintaining employee morale and confidence."
In a portion of the documents,O'Sullivan officials laid out their justification for the increase in Walters' salary. "There are sound business reasons to pay Mr. Walters an increased salary to serve as interim CEO. Without an acting CEO at their helm, the debtors could lose essential customer and supplier support.
"Given his qualifications, experience, and knowledge about the debtors' business, Mr. Walters is the logical choice for interim CEO. Among other things, he is in the best position to continue maintaining and cultivating the customer and supplier relationships vital to the debtors' business and their ability to maximize the value of their estate, as well as interfacing with employees and preserving their morale and confidence during the restructuring process."
The document continues, "The debtors believe that the relatively modest increase in Mr. Walters' salary (he would not receive any other additional benefits) would be far less than the costs associated with retaining an executive search firm to locate an outside interim CEO who, in all likelihood, (1) would not be hired in a position to manage the debtors' business for weeks or even months, (2) would not have the strong customer, supplier, and employee relationships that Mr. Walters has, and (3) would require a substantial salary- particularly for what may be a temporary assignment."
The documents do not mention that Walters is already virtually guaranteed a $200,000 bonus in addition to his $250,000 salary.
"Moreover, Mr. Walters' increased responsibilities as interim CEO are in addition to, not in lieu of, his duties as executive vice president and chief financial officer, and, as such, have required, and will continue to require, significant additional time commitments on his part."

Joplin R-8 School District accredited with distinction for second straight year

Only two school districts in the area generally covered by The Turner Report (Jasper, Newton, Barton, McDonald, and Dade counties) received the Distinction in Performance Award, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Joplin R-8 School District was honored for the second straight year and was the only K-12 school district in this area to receive the honor. Westview, a K-8 school district, was also recognized.
"The Distinction in Performance Award is a prestigious honor for Missouri school districts. It requires districts to demonstrate outstanding achievement or consistent improvement in multiple areas. The entire community should be proud of its public schools for earning this honor," Commissioner of Education D. Kent King said in the news release. To continue quoting from the article:
"To qualify for the award this year, K-8 districts had to meet five out of six performance standards (at least 45 out of 54 possible points), including all of the standards that are based on the MAP exams. K-12 districts had to meet 11 out of 12 standards (at least 91 out of 100 possible points), including all of the MAP-based measures.
"Under the state’s accreditation process, school districts are formally evaluated once every five years, according to State Board of Education standards. The Distinction in Performance award is based on the same performance criteria used in the accreditation review process. The award, however, represents a one-year snapshot of a district’s overall academic performance."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blunt records subpoenaed by Texas prosecutor

Associated Press is reporting records of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's contributions to the Missouri Republican Party and Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt's Rely on Your Beliefs fund have been subpoenaed by Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earl, who recently indicted DeLay on money laundering charges.
DeLay allegedly diverted some of his money to the campaign of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, according to the article.

Money machine continues to roll

The October quarterly report filed by Sen. Gary Nodler's campaign committee with the Missouri Ethics Commission indicates Nodler has made his maximum $1,200 contribution to Missourians for Matt Blunt.
Other expenditures for the Joplin Republican include the maximum $600 to Mount Vernon Republican Jack Goodman's successful state senate campaign and $300 to the 129th District Legislative Committee.

England creditors to receive payments from O'Sullivan

A federal bankruptcy judge earlier this week granted permission for O'Sullivan Industries to continue paying what it owes creditors in the United Kingdom. As noted earlier in The Turner Report, some debt toward Lamar and area businesses has been totally written off, but O'Sullivan feels it is critical that the people it owes in England be paid off.
Documents filed earlier this month in U. S. Bankruptcy Court indicated O'Sullivan officials feared that their fledgling operation in the U. K. might collapse if they are not allowed to pay the money. O'Sullivan Industries has about a dozen employees in that overseas office.

Accused killer's lawsuit to go forward

One accused double murderer had a lawsuit against the Jasper County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Archie Dunn dismissed, but a lawsuit by another accused double murderer will go forward.
Federal Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled earlier this week that the lawsuit filed by John Opry can go forward at the taxpayers' expense, at least for a while. Opry will be able to have the $250 filing fee for his case paid for initially, but he will have to pay it back in monthly installments, according to the opinion.
In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 12 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."

July date set for Holman trial

A July 10, 2006, date has been scheduled for the double murder trial of Micah Joel Holman, 32, Carthage.
Holman is charged with two counts of murder, and counts of armed criminal action and arson in connection with the deaths of Marvin and Peggy Steverson of Carthage.

Nexstar, Allegiance battling in Texas

Nexstar Broadcasting has two stations that will be pulled off Allegiance cable systems in Texas, according to an article in the Abilene, Texas, newspaper. As noted earlier in The Turner Report, the same battle affects Nexstar's Joplin stations on Allegiance systems in southeast Kansas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

La-Z-Boy suffers sales decline

La-Z-Boy, which employs more than 1,000 in Neosho, lost $6.4 million for the second quarter, a drop of 12.7 percent, according to Furniture Today. Foam shortages were blamed for the losses.
Sales were $454.6 million, down from $520.8 million last year.

Nexstar selling out its news department again

It has been brought to my attention that Nexstar Broadcasting is abusing what is left of the good name of KODE's news department by running a message at the top of the screen during some of its programming telling viewers that the station will soon no longer be available on the Allegiance cable system in southeast Kansas.
It is listed as a bulletin from the KODE newsroom. Apparently, no lessons were learned from the way KODE and KSNF's news operations were compromised last year as the battle between Nexstar and Cable One was being waged. The news personnel on KODE deserve better than this shameless manipulation by Nexstar (or Mission if you really believe Mission runs that station).

Joplin Herald is worth every cent I paid for it

The good news is that the Joplin Herald is worth every cent I paid for it.
The bad news is the Joplin Herald is worth every cent I paid for it.
The darned thing is free.
What Publisher Dan Chiodo described in his Tuesday Joplin Globe column as something akin to the Second Coming has less meat than a vegetarian special.
The writing ranged from pedestrian to decent, there were no compelling columns, there was only one hard news story in the entire paper (and I'm being generous on that one), and the sports writing was deadly dull.
It was almost like reading The Joplin Globe.
I commented in a post Tuesday that the Globe appeared to be firing a preemptive strike toward anyone with an eye toward starting a weekly newspaper in the area. Commenters indicate two such publications in the work- The Joplin Business Journal, started by the same company that publishes the Springfield Business Journal, and a weekly newspaper that plans to stress school, sports, and other light, positive stories.
So, coincidentally, the powers that be at the Globe decided this was the time to launch a special business publication and a weekly newspaper that simply carries stories that should have been in the mother newspaper all along.
What did the first edition of the Joplin Herald include?
-The page-one story features the following lead: "Gabe Fast loves to sing at home with his family. And even though he's only in the fifth grade, he's found a way to sing at school, too."
-An introductory column by editor Debby Woodin that gives the reader no reason to read the newspaper. It's almost as if Ms. Woodin is screaming, "After all of the good work I have done for this newspaper all of these years, how did I get stuck with this?"
-Page 3 has the first full-page advertisement that the Joplin Herald has, wait, it is a full-page advertisement for the Joplin Herald. That ought to bring in the bucks.
On page four, the Herald begins what seems to be its bread-and-butter coverage...Joplin schools. It features four pages of news-release type items and no coverage of education whatsoever.
The Missouri Southern State University coverage starts on page eight. It features four news briefs, a by-the-numbers story on how students are coping with the gas crisis and another one of the Globe's overused and outdated features- the man-on-the-street, with this one exploring how higher gasoline prices have affected the students' budget, something which could have just as easily been placed in the story. MSSU is a university and a major employer, yet there are no stories that actually explore anything of substance.
The Metro section starts on page nine, and except for one bulletin-board type story that includes information about the indoor hockey arena proposal, there is nothing.
The newspaper features the type of records material that should be the staple of the Globe and not require an extra newspaper- building permits, food inspections, Joplin police logs, road construction notices, etc.
One of my favorite items in the newspaper was the subhead for a column written by Carolyn Trout of the Joplin Public Library: "Explore Joplin's virtual history in your pajamas." If someone has virtual history going on in their pajamas, that story needs to be moved to page one.
A new newspaper needs to fire its best shot its first time out. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. The Herald forfeited its chance. It appears rather obvious now that Dan Chiodo failed to give Globe readers the entire truth when he explained why the Herald was necessary. This was just the Globe's craven effort to cut off competition. Ironically, this predatory business tactic comes from the same newspaper that assigns one of its best reporters, Andy Ostmeyer, to write a regular column on the nefarious antics of Wal-Mart.
A new, sassy, no-holds-barred weekly newspaper could be just the medicine Joplin needs. The Globe's new product is not it. The Joplin News Herald is just Globe-lite. Unfortunately, too often these days, the same description applies to the Globe.

Former Globe official named to new post

Sam Gett, who spent part of 1997 as general manager at the Joplin Globe, was named publisher at the Danbury News-Times in Connecticut Tuesday, according to an article in that newspaper.
Gett, 44, left the Globe to take a publishing job in Mankato, Minn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Joplin Globe continues to marginalize its main product

A few years ago, The Joplin Globe, deciding it needed to have better coverage of its home city, came up with a bright idea. It resurrected the Joplin News-Herald title and made it a free weekly.
It was a miserable failure.
In today's Globe, Publisher Dan Chiodo, writing what was termed a "guest column" introduced the Globe's brilliant idea for the new millennium...a free weekly newspaper covering Joplin news called the Joplin Herald. Other than dropping the News (and hopefully, that is not a portent of things to come) it appears to be the same idea.
Listen to Chiodo's reasoning: "Why would we start a weekly publication in Joplin? Because some people want to know more about Joplin, and when you are a regional newspaper such as the Globe, you can't always fit everything in one publication."
That logic does not hold up. A free weekly newspaper with wide distribution would appear to use up far more newsprint than adding a few pages to the everyday Globe would do. Why not add more pages to the daily edition and perhaps offer some extra links on the website for those who want to delve even deeper into local news?
The simple reason is money.
The Globe faces the same problems all daily and weekly newspapers in the United States face...declining circulation. Its penetration in its home town simply is not what it used to be. By using this method, Globe officials can offer advertisers higher penetration into the Joplin market and perhaps can get some of them back into the fold and convince others to increase their advertising buys.
Unfortunately, it has the side effect of marginalizing the daily newspaper. Why should Joplin readers fork over their hard-earned money for a newspaper that plans to leave its in-depth local coverage to a weekly free publication?
The same business model is being used with the Globe's Business Watch publication. Why does it need a special business publication when the Globe should be offering the most comprehensive coverage of local business in its pages?
It will be interesting to see if some of the items that currently appear in the Globe will remain in its pages once the free publication starts. If you recall, before the Joplin News-Herald experiment, the Globe had stopped running sheriff's calls, marriage licenses, dissolutions, court cases, etc. The records coverage moved into the Globe when the News-Herald ceased publication.
Of course, the new publication also serves as a pre-emptive strike against anyone with plans of starting a weekly publication to compete with the Globe.
My former publisher at The Carthage Press, Jim Farley, always said a strong weekly newspaper, emphasizing local news, school, and sports coverage would succeed in Joplin.
It's just unbelievable that the people who are finally using that idea to compete against the Globe are the people who run the Globe.

Liberty buys five Colorado newspapers

Liberty Group Publishing, owner of The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Big Nickel, Neosho Post, and more than 300 other publications announced the purchase of five small Colorado newspapers, including two daily newspapers, the Telluride Daily Planet and the La Junta Tribune-Democrat, Monday.
This is Liberty's first venture into Colorado, according to Editor & Publisher. Former Neosho Daily News Publisher Randy Cope is Liberty Group Publishing's co-president.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Student loans part of U. S. budget cut plan

One of the cuts being proposed by the Republican Congress is $14.3 billion in student loans, according to Cavalier Daily, the newspaper for the University of Virginia.
The newspaper quotes Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, the House majority leader, as saying, "I think we'll have the votes this week."

Nixa board member criticizes Blunt education plan

Of course, there is time to work out flaws in Governor Matt Blunt's 65 percent education plan (which requires 65 percent of funding for education go directly to the classroom), but Nixa Board of Education member Brenda Rantz, in a column in today's Springfield News-Leader, points out some serious flaws in the plan.
No one, especially a classroom teacher, is in favor of outlandish salaries for administrative personnel, but there are many services required by federal and state governments that require a considerable number of administrators just to make sure it is done. Perhaps that is an area the governor and our state legislators should consider as they work on this plan.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Joplin 'Small Town News' signing held

They say just before you die you see your life flash before your eyes.
The same thing happens with a book signing and it's far less traumatic. I had the good fortune of seeing dozens of friends from all phases of my life at the signing for "Small Town News" held Saturday at Hastings and completely sold out the 50 books I had ordered for the event.
Since the three books that had already been allocated to Hastings also sold, as well as one that a customer had ordered before it was stocked and asked Hastings to hold onto until the signing, and two more that I went out to the car and got after the initial allotment had sold...a total of 56 books were sold and autographed, and since many of those customers left with other Hastings merchandise, I would imagine the store managers are pretty well satisfied.
The manager told me it was the biggest signing Hastings had ever had. Of course, I really don't know how long she has been the manager, but it sounds good anyway.
I saw people ranging from my high school Spanish teacher Mr. Burney Johnson and high school classmates Paul Richardson, Jeff Yost, and Leslie Haase, to former Natural Disaster members Kristi Berner and Tammy Yost, Charlie Brown, who has been playing with the group recently, and fellow South Middle School teachers Linda Weaver, Jason Weaver, Joyce Wall, and Sheri Medlock, and many of my former colleagues at Diamond, whom I will not mention so as not to cause them any difficulties.
Several of my current and former students from South stopped by, either to say hi or buy a book, including some students who are so talented I hope one day to read books written by them, including Lindsey Hamm, Andrea Steere and Brittany Harmon, and some of the top Journalism Club members from this year and last year, including Ashley Kissee, Skye Smith, Melody Ketron and Chelsea Moore.
Another group consisted of people who read this blog on a regular basis or who were readers when I worked at various area newspapers, including The Carthage Press, the Lamar Democrat, and the Newton County News. One of the biggest pleasures of the day were seeing two people who helped me get my start in journalism. After my miserable eight months with the Newton County News in 1977 and early 1978, I was determined to get back into journalism and make a go of it. Lou Nell Clark gave me that opportunity. She was the editor of the Lamar Democrat and gave me a chance in May 1978. During my time at the Democrat, which was a daily newspaper then, Lou Nell probably did more than anyone else to help me become the journalist I became (hmm, that might not be considered to be much of a compliment). Lou Nell Bath, which is her name now, came over from Pittsburg and it was great to see her and have a chance to talk with her for a while.
Another visitor from those old Democrat days was Dorothy Parks, who served as the newspaper's institutional memory, knowing nearly everything about the area, as well as being a pro in grammar and spelling.
"Small Town News," was inspired by an eighth grade class discussion at Diamond Middle School, where I was teaching in those months, about the tragic death of the Diamond R-4 Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith. The students were not thrilled with the way the local media (both broadcast and print) handled the event. After that discussion, I began thinking about writing the novel and I wrote the first draft of it the following summer.
Students from that class who were at the signing included: Lydia O'Donnell, Shane Gallagher, Zach Towers, and the talented young lady who has helped me with publicity for both the Neosho and Joplin signings, Michelle Nickolaisen.
Carthage High School teacher Caroline Tubbs, who gave me some extremely helpful advice before I interviewed for, and landed, the Diamond teaching job, was there, as well as Sarah Simpson, who served as the Diamond Middle School Student Council president the year we began the book drive which helped put more than 3,000 volumes in the middle school's first-ever library. Alicia Bradley, the talented writer who won both the short story and essay contests I sponsored during my last year at Diamond, and whose blog entries are always entertaining and worthwhile, spent some time at Hastings. And I definitely should not forget Tom Shaw of Liberal, who is one of the few people who actually read the original Turner Report when I tried it back in 2000.
I apologize for not mentioning everyone who was there, (and all of you will receive more personal thank-yous from me) but rest assured, all of you contributed in making it a special day. Thank you.

Lammers: Negotiations between Nexstar, Cable One unlikely

Nexstar COO Duane Lammers told the Texarkana Gazette he does not anticipate reaching any agreement with Cable One. Nexstar programming has been pulled off Cable One in that area, as well as in Joplin where KSNF and KODE have been off cable since Dec. 31, 2004.
Lammers told the newspaper if Cable One makes an offer, "We would consider it, but I don't think one is forthcoming."
The Nexstar officials also talked about the recently reached agreement with Cox Communications, which will keep KODE and KSNF on cable franchises in Carthage and Lamar. He said Cox was "able to satisfy our need to realize some financial consideration." Of course, citing the confidentiality agreement, he declined to say just what that consideration was.

Blunt campaigns receive timely contributions from Moark official

On the same day, May 23, that more than 300 people filed into the Neosho Municipal Auditorium to discuss the impact of Moark's proposed expansion of its Neosho facilities, company official Jerry Wells, Joplin, found a better way of making sure the project was allowed to continue...he contributed the maximum $1,200 to Governor Matt Blunt's campaign committee.
Only a month earlier, the Wells family had contributed $600 to the campaign fund of Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin (the maximum $300 for both individual contributors). On July 26, Wells put $1,000 into the Friends of Roy Blunt campaign for the Seventh District Congressman. He had contributed $2,000 to Blunt earlier in the year.
Missouri Ethics Commission records also indicate that he contributed the maximum $300 to the campaign fund of Rep. Marilyn Ruestman on Sept. 27.
Wells did not just begin his largesse to coincide with the Neosho expansion. Federal Election Commission records indicate, he wrote out a $2,000 check to the Seventh District Republican Committee on March 11, 2004, and another $2,000 check to Friends of Roy Blunt on April 14, 2004. He contributed $2,000 to Congressman Blunt's campaign in February 2003.
It appears the citizens opposing the Moark expansion wasted their time with the reams of paper they provided documenting environmental abuses by Wells' Moark company.
The only paper that some politicians will listen to has the name of a bank in the corner and a string of zeroes written on it.

Even lobbyists make mistakes

Patrick Bly is a busy man, so you can understand if he makes a mistake every now and then.
On Sept. 30, Bly, the registered lobbyist for Southwestern Bell, mistakenly recorded a $100 gift to State Representative Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin. That notation in Missouri Ethics Commission records has been corrected. It turns out that what Bly did that day was to make a $100 donation to Ms. Ruestman's campaign fund.
That donation was among $3,200 worth of contributions received during the past quarter, according to the candidate's disclosure form. Most of those contributions, not surprisingly came from health care, medical, and pharmaceutical interests.
Bly was the only registered lobbyist donating to the campaign, though you could make a strong case to classify the $300 contribution from Grass Roots for Hunter, Rep. Steve Hunter's campaign organization since Hunter is a paid employee of Associated Industries of Missouri, a lobbyist for business interests.
Among Ms. Ruestman's contributions:
-An additional $150 from the Southwestern Bell PAC
-$300 (the maximum allowed for House races) from Missouri Osteopathic PAC
-$300 from NHS Management (a Tuscaloosa, Ala., based nursing home company)
-$300 from Missouri Hospital Association Southwest District PAC
-$300 from Political Action Committee for Health (Healthpac), Jefferson City
-$300 from AstraZeneca, Wilmington, Del., a pharmaceutical company
-$300 from Missouri Insurance Coalition, Jefferson City
-$300 from Joplin physician Christopher Banwart
There is an additional contribution for Ms. Ruestman that I will be writing about in a future posting.
Ms. Ruestman has $33,673.52 in her account, according to the campaign disclosure form.

March 7 retrial set for Gary Black

The second murder trial of Gary Black, Joplin, will be held March 7, 2006, according to Jasper County Circuit Court records. The case had originally been scheduled to go to trial this month.
Black is charged with the October 1998 stabbing death of former Missouri Southern State College student Jason Johnson.
More information about the case can be found in this earlier edition of The Turner Report.

Wells trial now set for Nov. 21

Former Carthage R-9 Board of Education member and Carthage police officer Michael Wells' trial, originally scheduled for Nov. 7, has been moved back to Nov. 21. Wells is charged with forcible rape, sexual assault and two counts of incest, in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred on Sept. 1, 1994, and April 1, 2001.
During an Oct. 20 arraignment, Wells entered a not guilty plea on a separate charge of violation of a protection order. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for Dec. 8 in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Contempt charges against Lindstedt dropped

I neglected to mention in my last posting on the Martin Lindstedt case, that Judge Kevin Selby dropped the 22 contempt of court charges against Lindstedt after a court-ordered report indicated he was not capable of helping with his defense against felony statutory sodomy charges.
The information was featured prominently in the Neosho Daily News and is in Newton County Circuit Court records.
I still question the necessity of 22 contempt of court charges. Would it have not been simpler to have issued one contempt of court citation and simply had Lindstedt removed from the courtroom instead of allowing the situation to escalate into a farce?

Next Holman hearing is Monday

Pre-trial motions in the double-murder case against Micah Joel Holman, 32, Carthage, will be heard Monday, Nov. 14, in Jasper County Circuit Court.
Holman is charged with murdering Marvin and Peggy Steverson of Carthage, then burning their home in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Purdy signs two-year deal for Edison summer school

Friday's Monett Times reports the Purdy School Board has agreed to continue having Newton Learning, the summer school arm of Edison, run its summer schools for two more years.
Apparently, the company has made money for Purdy, as it has for Sarcoxie, McDonald County, and virtually every other school district that has hired it to operate summer school.
You may remember, one school, Diamond, actually sued Edison saying it had billed the district too much, despite the fact the district made more money during its 2002 summer school than it ever did before or since. The suit was settled out of court with Diamond paying a few dollars less, according to reports, and Diamond's lawyers earning a heck of a lot more.

Former MU, Pittsburg announcer lands Cardinal play-by-play job

The St. Louis Cardinals fired play-by-play announcer Wayne Hagin after three seasons Friday and named Chicago White Sox announcer John Rooney as his replacement.
I remember Rooney's work as announcer for the MU football and basketball teams, and also his brief stints working with Jack Buck and Mike Shannon on Cardinal games a couple of decades ago. Rooney has some of his early radio experiences in Pittsburg, Kan., according to the Associated Press story.

News-Leader offers 'thorn' to newly-elected senator

I heartily agree with the Springfield News-Leader editorial board's decision to issue one of its thorns in its weekly "roses and thorns" column to newly-elected State Senator Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon.
Goodman's barrage of negative ads during the last several days of his campaign to succeed the late Larry Gene Taylor, was sickening, and as the newspaper pointed out, unnecessary.
The News-Leader editorial writer said:

A THORN: To Rep. Jack Goodman, who needlessly went negative in his campaign for a vacant state Senate seat. Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, took two-thirds of the votes in Tuesday's election, as all observers expected. There was no need to smear his 71-year-old opponent, whose best showing was 40.8 percent in McDonald County. It's this style of politics that alienates citizens and turns them into nonvoters.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Daily confirms Neosho Forums scoop

Today's Neosho Daily News confirmed what had been written a few weeks back in Neosho Forums: perennial candidate (and perennial loser) Martin Lindstedt was found incompetent to assist in his own defense and will be transferred to a mental hospital for at least a six-month stay. Lindstedt has been held in the Newton County Jail since being arrested on statutory sodomy charges.
If you remember, Judge Kevin Selby issued an order prohibiting people who attended an open court session from reporting what had been said, a seeming overreach, even for a judge. Of course, this was the same judge who had overreacted earlier by sentencing Lindstedt to 660 days in jail on 22 separate counts of contempt of court. I would imagine that was probably just the kind of publicity Lindstedt wanted.
Lindstedt has been a candidate for everything from U. S. Senator to East Newton R-6 Board of Education, never winning any election.
He has described himself as a pastor in his writings, but Lindstedt was kicked out of the church because of statements he made, as first noted in The Turner Report.

Joplin firm enters into agreement with Texas firm

Hicks Logistics of Joplin, has entered into a major agreement with a Plano, Texas, firm, according to Market Wire.
Energy & Engine Technology Corporation, described as a "leading developer of auxiliary power generators for the long haul trucking industry," announced today it had entered into a 100-unit purchase order and dealer agreement with Hicks Logistics. Hicks specializes in "mobile and stationary fleet after market production installation and truck maintenance," the article said.
The purchase order is the Texas company's first step in its efforts to move toward "larger, long-term orders," according to the article. The purchase order is for 100 units over the next 12 months for $550,000.

Globe, KSNF websites reporting rogue officer fired

The websites for the Joplin Globe and KSNF are reporting that Joplin's rogue police officer, Charles Ward, has been fired.
Ward, you may recall, was off-duty when he went onto a Joplin elementary school campus and handcuffed and arrested an 11-year-old boy who had an off-campus run-in with Ward's son.
Joplin city officials, as usual, are mum about the reason why Ward was given the heave-ho.

Hastings signing is Saturday

It's just a little more than 24 hours before my novel, "Small Town News," has its first Joplin signing and I am looking forward to seeing many old friends and hopefully, seeing some new ones. I also invite my enemies to drop by and buy the book. I will be happy to sign it for you, too.
I will be at Hastings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the area behind the book desk where the coffeepot is. More than 50 copies of the book will be available, and on the chance that all of those are sold, orders will be taken for more and those copies will be autographed, as well.

RES problems may provide blueprint for Moark situation

The actions taken by Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt and his son, Governor Matt Blunt, to rectify odor problems in Carthage caused by Renewable Environmental Services (RES) don't seem to have done any good at all in the long run.
The company has been issued warnings, says it will do better and is putting in new equipment, then a few days later, the odor returns, more warnings are issued, and more new equipment is promised.
It appears the only positive to come out of the situation is that the public-spirited RES officials are willing to shut down the plant's odors long enough for the city to hold such events as the Maple Leaf Festival and Carthage Senior High School Graduation.
I doubt if Moark is going to provide any such gifts for Neosho. In the Moark situation, officials again have the promise of new, improved equipment from people who have been serial environmental violators in the past. Complaints will be registered, threats will be made, then officials will promise they will take care of the situation, put in new equipment to remove odor and everything will be o. k.
The people in the Carthage and Neosho areas deserve much better from the public officials whose job it is to protect the environment.
For the latest on the RES situation, read the article from today's Joplin Globe.

Jurors called for capital murder trial

Jurors have been called for the early December capital murder trial in Arkansas of a man who was captured by the Neosho Police Department, according to an article in today's Benton County Daily Record.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

School administrators' actions being used by those battling for Blunt's 65 percent proposal

The actions of area school boards in raising administrators' salaries while cutting teaching positions during the 2003-2004 school year is being used as ammunition by supporters of Governor Matt Blunt's plan to require 65 percent of school funding go into educational rather than administrative costs.
Area school districts fitting into that category, according to the website include: Carl Junction, Diamond, East Newton, Jasper, Joplin, Lamar, Lockwood, Neosho, Seneca, Webb City, and Springfield.
But those figures are paltry compared to St. Louis City which eliminated 401 positions, while giving the superintendent a $16,820 raise, St. Louis County Special, which cut 114 positions and raised the chief administrator's pay $27,500.

Another cable battle for Nexstar

The Hagerstown, Maryland, Herald-Mail has an article today about yet another cable battle, in that community, for Nexstar Broadcasting.
On the local front, it appears the Nexstar and Mission Joplin stations will lose more customers from the fringe of their viewing area. The stations are advertising that they most likely will not reach a deal with the Allegiance cable system, which has affiliates in southeast Kansas.

Fees set for pros assisting with O'Sullivan bankruptcy

It pays to help a company that has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Documents filed today in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia indicate the law firm and accounting firm the company have employed will receive a pretty penny as the process continues.
The Kansas City law firm of Armstrong-Teasdale bills at $258 per hour, the document said "and rates typically increase Jan. 1 of each year." At the moment, the firm estimates it will bill O'Sullivan Industries $2,800 per month, but future billings "are not expected to exceed $20,000 per month."
The famed Price Waterhouse accounting firm will handle auditing for O'Sullivan Industries. Price Waterhouse's rates range from $75 per hour to $739 per hour, the documents said. At the moment, the average hourly rate is $340, the documents indicated with average monthly fees starting at $50,000. That too, will increase when post-petition time gets here, with the bill skyrocketing to $89,000 to $141,000 per month, according to court documents.
Of course, the company issued a press release Wednesday, indicating it has received $35 million in financing, so it can keep paying wages and other costs of doing business.

More lobbyists' gifts for Hunter

It didn't take Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, to make his next move at that coveted $3,000 mark in gifts received from lobbyists.
Missouri Ethics Commission documents indicate Hunter received $93.60 in meals, food, and beverage from Sarah Topp on Oct. 28, leaving him only four dollars and 79 cents short of $3,000 with two months of reports left to achieve the mark. His total of $2,995.21 is more than any other Missouri state representative. In addition to that money, as has been noted in this blog, Hunter is also a paid employee of Associated Industries of Missouri, a lobbying organization.
As I noted earlier this week, Hunter has received $1,130.34 cents since the 2005 session ended. A commenter noted that I was conveniently leaving out gifts legislators received during the veto session, as if that is some type of excuse for continuing to gobble up all of the meals the lobbyists offer.
Ethics Commission records show that Hunter received only $44.80 during the time the House returned to session.
If the name of the lobbyist whose gift was the latest reported to the Ethics Commission sounds familiar, that should come as no surprise. Sarah Topp is a lobbyist for the utility giant Ameren and numerous other interest groups, but nearly all of her gifts to Hunter have come in her position as a lobbyist for Ameristar Casinos. Hunter's background with Ameristar was related in previous editions of The Turner Report.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hunter approaches $3,000 mark

All Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, (2005 and 2003 photos shown from left) needs to reach the $3,000 mark in lobbyists gifts is to record another $98.39 worth in November and December.
The crown prince of special interests collected $115 in meals, food and beverage from lobbyist Michael G. Winter on Oct. 18, according to a disclosure form filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The form detailing who exactly Winter was representing has not yet been posted on the Commission website, but he represents Ameren, the Missouri Riverboat Gaming Association, and a number of health care interests, all of which is right up Hunter's alley.
Hunter, as has been noted in The Turner Report, tops all Missouri legislators, Democrat and Republican, in gifts received during 2005. Ethics Commission documents show he has received more gifts, $1,036.74 worth, since the 2005 legislative session ended, than two-thirds of legislators have received for the entire year.
It should be noted that in addition to the nearly $3,000 worth of gifts he has received from lobbyists, Hunter is essentially a paid lobbyist working for Associated Industries of Missouri.
Hunter was one of only two area legislators who was reported receiving any gifts in October. The other was State Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, who received $110 worth of entertainment from University of Missouri lobbyist Stephen C. Knorr. Nodler has received $881.05 total this year, including $406 since the legislative session concluded.

Federal judge dismisses Holman lawsuit

U. S. District Court Judge Ortrie Smith dismissed accused double murderer Micah Joel Holman's lawsuit against the Jasper County Sheriff's Department Tuesday.
Holman, who is charged with the brutally murder Marvin and Peggy Steverson of Carthage, and then allegedly burned their home to erase the evidence, claimed that Sheriff Archie Dunn and his deputies violated his civil rights by going through his mail.
In documents filed last month in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Holman claimed that on Sept,. 3 "I was given my mail by Detention Officer Graham, which consisted of legal mail, clearly marked as such, from my attorney of record, Mr. Joe Zuzul, public defender, 121 West Cherry Street, Nevada, MO.
"I believe my attorney/client privilege was violated by the opening of this mail, mainly the third and fourth amendments."
Upset that his constitutional rights had been so grossly abused, the accused killer set out to put things right. He asked an officer, "Do you remember handing me a letter from my attorney that had been opened." The officer said he did, but that he wasn't the one who had done it.
Holman said he was told the person who did had already been spoken to and that it never should have happened. "I asked him what he was going to do about this," Holman wrote, "and all he could say was, 'Really, what can I do?"
Holman says he requested a grievance form and filled it out, but never heard from anyone, so he elected to sue.
He won't be able to refile the action, since Judge Smith dismissed the case with prejudice. "Plaintiff has failed to indicate how someone tampering with his outgoing mail has denied him access to the courts or injured him," Judge Smith said. "Furthermore, he offers no specific incident that would form the basis for such belief."

Cox drops complaint against Nexstar

It probably goes without saying, and maybe that's why I didn't say it, but as part of the recent deal between Cox Communications and Nexstar Broadcasting, Cox has agreed to drop its FCC complaint against Nexstar.
That tidbit of information was included in Nexstar's quarterly report filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The report contained the following information about the continuing standoff between Nexstar and Cable One, which has kept KODE and KSNF off Joplin cable since the end of 2004:
"On December 31, 2004, retransmission consent agreements with Cable One, Inc. (“Cable One”) expired for Nexstar’s television stations KTAL (Texarkana-Shreveport) and KSNF (Joplin), and for Mission’s television station KODE (Joplin). As a result, Cable One is not permitted by law to carry these stations’ signals. Nexstar and Mission have requested that Cable One pay a cash per subscriber fee in exchange for the right to carry the stations’ signals under new agreements. Cable One has informed Nexstar and Mission that it will not pay any cash fees for the carriage of the stations on its cable systems. If Nexstar and Mission do not reach new agreements with Cable One, the stations in the affected markets could lose audience share which may impact the stations’ revenue. The Company is currently unable to determine the ultimate outcome of this matter, but does not believe it will have a material effect on the Company’s financial condition or results of operations."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Goodman campaign rakes in $80,000+ in final week

It takes money to buy the attack ads Mount Vernon Republican Representative Jack Goodman has aired in his Senatorial race against Democrat Nolan McNeill.
According to his campaign committee's filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission eight days before the election, Goodman had approximately $70,000. In the final week of the campaign, an additional $80,000 has poured into his coffers, according to Ethics Commission documents.
Monday, Goodman reported receiving $21,550, including $6,050 from the Lawrence County Republican Central Committee, $5,000 from the 123rd District Republican Legislative Committee, and $6,000 from the 127th District Legislative Committee. He also picked up $600 from the Drury Development Corporation of St. Louis, $600 from SBC PAC, $600 from Neosho banker Rudy Farber, $600 from Missouri Freedom of Jefferson City, $600 from Chuck Gross for Protem, and $600 from General Motors.
On Nov. 4, Goodman received $6,050 from the McDonald County Republican Central Committee, and $1,800 from three health industry interest groups.
The Nov. 3 filing shows $6,050 from the Newton County Republican Central Committee, $6,050 from the 32nd District Senatorial District Committee; $5,450 from the 129th District Republican Legislative Committee, $1,500 from the 2nd Senatorial District Republican Committee, and $400 from the 12th Legislative District Committee, as well as $6,000 from the Barry County Republican Committee.
The Nov. 1 filing indicates Goodman received $6,050 from the 131st Legislative Committee and about $2,500 from the Missouri Republican Party.
On Oct. 31, Goodman reported receiving $6,000 from the 128th District Legislative Committee, $600 from Friends of Stevenson, Webb City Republican legislator Bryan Stevenson's campaign committee; $6,000 from the Republican State Committee, and $600 from Leggett & Platt, among the contributions.

St. Louis company reaches deal with O'Sullivan Industries

The St. Louis Business Journal reported Monday that Funnel Fits LLC, a St. Louis company, signed a multi-year licensing agreement with O'Sullivan Industries. The agreement gives O'Sullivan exclusive rights to market and distribute the company's products in North America. Funnel Fits designs and manufactures funnel-shaped, wall-mounted systems for organizing household items, according to the article.

Former lawman's wife takes out restraining order

Connie Hance, ex-wife of former McDonald County sheriff's candidate and Seneca police officer Randy Hance, filed for a protection order Monday in Newton County Circuit Court.
Hance pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal weapons charge and was sentenced to one year in prison, most of which he had already served since he was denied bail, due to threats he had made against his ex-wife.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Nexstar not getting what it wanted

Today's Television and Business Report says what I have been saying for the past few weeks on this blog: Nexstar didn't get the money it wanted as compensation when it reached its agreements with Cox Communications and Insight.
The TVBR observation was: "Clearly Nexstar is finding new ways to come to terms with the cable MSOs, but hasn't succeeded in its original objective of being paid a fee of a penny a day per subscriber by the cable companies."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Update on '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 (next Saturday) at Hastings. Approximately 50 books will be available and should we run out, orders will immediately be taken for books and I will autograph those books.
The book is on the shelves at Hastings, as well as at the Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin. Those from outside the area who would like to buy it or those who can't make it to the signing or who want to avoid the Joplin traffic, can buy it online at,, Barnes & Noble, Borders or from the IUniverse website.
More information about the novel can be found at its website.