Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Branson: Show will go on after tornado

Jim Jackson: Thank you, Four States

"Thank you, Four States," Jim Jackson said as he signed off after being anchor at KSNF since 1980.
"It has been a pleasure to serve you and the Four States."

Jackson said, "I love politics and I love political science and I want to serve the people of Newton County," explaining his decision to run for a spot on the Newton County Commission.

Brad's Beat: The women of Jim Jackson

Sorry about the tabloid title, but Brad Douglas' piece on the eight co-anchors Jim Jackson has had during his 32 years as anchor at KSNF, brings back a lot of memories.

You get a chance to see Jackson as he was during those times. Extra points if you can remember all of those co-anchors.

Jim Jackson ended his three-decade plus tenure at KSNF tonight as he begins a run for Newton County Commission.

Jim Jackson signs off at KSNF

After 30 years, Jim Jackson has signed off as KSNF anchor after three decades. KOAM offered this rare tribute to a competitor. Jackson is running for a spot on the Newton County Commission.


Huckabee Rally for Liberty, Akin set for Saturday

This Todd Akin ad promotes the Mike Huckabee Rally for Liberty set for 5 p.m. Saturday at the Holiday Inn in Joplin.

Leaders of VoteHope Committee talk about Joplin Schools bond issue

Parkwood Bear made from tornado-damaged trees finds home at JHS

Memorial Eagle made from tornado-damaged trees delivered to Joplin High School

Nixon: Joplin will serve as example to Branson after tornado

Branson Mayor: Some historic theaters hit in tornado

Branson Tornado: Not the widespread devastation we saw in Joplin

Tornado causes Branson Hilton glass projectiles to hurtle through skies

Branson residents describe tornado

Rebuild Joplin's backyard with Missouri State Parks


(From Missouri State Parks)

Missouri State Parks and Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center are partnering to build birdhouses for Joplin. On March 3, 13 Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites will host birdhouse building workshops assisting the Operation Backyard initiative to assist Joplin’s recovery efforts from the devastating tornado last year.
“We are pleased to assist in this worthy cause for Joplin,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “Missouri State Parks welcomes everyone to participate in this event as we help our friends in Joplin and surrounding communities experience nature and put their lives back together.”
This program is part of the Audubon’s “Operation Backyard” to use nature as a healing experience for Joplin tornado victims in their own backyards. Also, placing more birdhouses in the destruction area will provide roosting areas for birds whose habitat was destroyed.
There is no fee for this feel-good event to help restore nature in the wake of disaster. Materials and tools will be provided at each site to build a birdhouse for Joplin. Pre-registration is needed to ensure supplies will be available. Please see the individual park and historic site information for registration instructions.
The birdhouse building events will be held at the following state parks and historic sites. 
  • Arrow Rock State Historic Site – noon to 3 p.m.; meet at the Visitor Center Small Gallery; pre-register at 660-837-3330, especially if you are a group.
  • Crowder State Park – 1 p.m.; meet at the Camp Grand River Recreation Hall;
pre-register at 660-359-6473.
  • Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park – 1 p.m.; meet at the River Hills Visitor Center; pre-register at 636-458-3813.
  • Felix Valle House State Historic Site – 1 p.m.; meet at the Felix Valle House State Historic Site; pre-register at 573-883-7102.
  • First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; meet at the interpretive center; pre-register at 636-940-3322.
  • Ha Ha Tonka State Park – event limited to 10 people at the 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. session and 10 people at the 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session; meet on the porch of the Ha Ha Tonka Visitor Center; if temperature is too cold, meet at the Visitor Center to walk to Maintenance Shop area; pre-register at 573-346-2986.
  • Knob Noster State Park – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; meet at the Visitor Center and weather permitting we will build houses outside at picnic tables near the Visitor Center; pre-register at 660-563-2463.
  • Prairie State Park – 10 a.m.; meet at the Nature Center; pre-register at 417-843-6711.
  • Roaring River State Park – 1 p.m.; meet at the Nature Center; pre-register at 417-847-3742.
  • Sam A. Baker State Park – 1 p.m.; meet at Picnic Pavilion #1; pre-register at 573-856-4411.
  • Scott Joplin House State Historic Site – 10 a.m., noon and 2:00 p.m.; pre-register for a specific time at 314-340-5790.
  • Wakonda State Park – 9 a.m.; meet at the Wakonda State Park Maintenance Shop;
pre-register at 573-655-2280, please leave a message.
  • Watkins Mill State Park and State Historic Site – 2 p.m.; meet at the Visitor Center and
Museum; pre-register at 816-580-3387.
For information on the “Operation Backyard” initiative, visit wildcatglades.audubon.org For more information on the birdhouse building day as well as all Missouri state parks and historic sites, visitmostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Tilley endorses Sarah Steelman, to serve as campaign chairman



(From the Sarah Steelman Senate campaign)

Missouri Speaker of the House of Representatives, Steven Tilley, today announced his endorsement and support of Sarah Steelman for the U.S. Senate. In addition to his endorsement, he will serve as the Campaign Chairman.

"I am truly honored to have the endorsement and support of the Missouri Speaker of the House Steve Tilley in my race for the U.S. Senate," said Steelman. "Not only has he offered his support, but he will be taking on a substantial role in my campaign for United States Senate as Campaign Chair. Speaker Tilley's proven leadership serving Missourians, coupled with his personal commitment to my campaign, is humbling and I look forward to working with him as we take back the Senate and get this country headed in the right direction."

Speaker Tilley has served in the Missouri State House of Representatives for eight years. During his tenure as Speaker he has fought tirelessly for pro-life legislation, protecting our Second Amendment rights, eliminating the franchise tax, and creating a pro-business environment that gets government off the backs and out of the way of small business.

"I have decided to get involved in this race because the importance of this upcoming election cannot be underestimated. Missouri simply cannot afford six more years of Claire McCaskill. Our nation cannot afford two more years of a democrat controlled senate and the fate of Republicans taking back the majority in the United States Senate hinges on Missouri. Sarah Steelman is the only candidate that ensures true reform in Washington and a victory over Claire."

"Washington D.C. is broken. If we continue to elect the same type of person we will continue to get the same result; self service over what's best for Missouri. Sarah has a proven track record as a fighter and her conservative credentials are unmatched. Sarah is going to win this election and shake up the status quo."

Speaker Tilley has successfully helped balance the budget in all of his years of service in the state legislature calling it "common sense."

Sarah Steelman, in her recently released 'Sarah's Show-Me Solutions for the first 60 days' is making it a priority to implement a cut, cap, and balance amendment in the United States Congress and expressed her excitement of Speaker Tilley's support.

"To have the support of a proven leader such as the Speaker in Missouri is truly an honor. Leadership is something that is missing in D.C. and something that Mr. Speaker understands well. I'm tired of the status quo in Washington and I know that Missouri and Mr. Speaker are as well. I am truly honored to have his support and will continue to promote the leadership that he brought in Missouri to the broken system in D.C."

Billy Long: My thoughts and prayers with those affected by tornadoes

In his February newsletter, issued today, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long issued a statement about Tuesday night's tornado destruction.


My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tornados across southwest Missouri that have claimed lives and left many with injuries and property damage.  My staff has been in Branson since first light and will continue to monitor the situation and help in any and every way possible. As the nation saw after the Joplin tornado, Southwest Missourians know how to pull together and this is no exception.
I have been in close contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and now that Governor Nixon has declared a state of emergency I will ensure the federal government continues to work with local and state officials to provide disaster relief to those in need.  For assistance and updated information, please call my Springfield office at (417) 889-1800 or my Joplin office at (417) 781-1041.

City of Joplin offers help to tornado-stricken Branson


(From the City of Joplin)

After hearing the news about tornados and severe storms hitting towns throughout southwest Missouri, including Branson, Joplin City officials reached out to their peers to offer assistance.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Branson and other areas impacted whose lives have been affected by the storms on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning,” said Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.

Holding the same position in southwest Missouri municipalities, Rohr and Dean Kruithof, Branson City Administrator, share similar responsibilities and are friends, so it was natural for Rohr to reach out to Kruithof this morning to offer assistance. In fact, earlier this week Kruithof had invited Rohr to attend a regional managers meeting to present information on disaster response.

“We contacted Branson earlier today to share our willingness to assist them,” said Rohr. “Thus far we have sent ten officers to assist the Branson Police Department, and we stand prepared to offer any other assistance to our neighbors if and when they call on us.”

Please visit the City of Branson’s website or Branson Tornado Info on Facebook to stay informed of the latest information regarding recovery efforts.

In addition, Joplin City officials are contacting other cities impacted by these storms to offer assistance to them as well.

Branson Convention Center to close for up to four months

The tornado that ripped through Branson Tuesday night, has resulted in the closure of the Branson Convention Center for possibily as long as four months, according to the Springfield Business Journal.


Jury selection begins for accused Rowan Ford killer

Access to online court records in this case won't be allowed until a jury is sequestered, but in this segment, KOAM reports on the beginning of jury selection for Chris Collings, one of two men accused in the November 2007 rape and murder of nine-year-old Rowan Ford of Stella.

The trial will be held in Rolla.

Joplin School District salvages items from tornado

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Joe White, Kanakuk: Sex abuse victim's lawyers trying to make us the bad guys

In a response filed today in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, attorneys representing Joe White and Kanakuk in the sex abuse lawsuit filed against them by one of the underage victims of convicted child molester Pete Newman, say they are wrongfully being labeled as villains in the sparring over the trial date.

After the two sides met late last year and seemingly agreed to a June 2013 trial date, Kanakuk lawyers filed a motion asking for the case to be delayed until August because one of the legal team had a vacation scheduled for the trial time and because it would be the height of the camping season and many of those who would have to testify would not be available for work.

Attorney Linda Turley, representing the family of the sex abuse victim, argued that Kanakuk's proposed August 13 trial date would conflict with preparation for the beginning of the victim's senior year in high school.

The Kanakuk Defendants recognize that it is imperative that the trial not be scheduled
during John Doe I’s school year and have offered to make accommodations to avoid any conflict with John Doe I’s school schedule. That is why Defense counsel conferred with Plaintiffs’ counsel and proposed a date that would result in the least disruption to all parties’ schedules. Plaintiffs’ Response misstates or omits these conversations with Defense counsel in an attempt to inflame this Court and the public. Such tactics should not be tolerated by this Court.

Jane Cunningham shows hypocrisy when her tenure is threatened


Debate is scheduled to begin today in the Missouri Senate on another of Sen. Jane Cunningham’s anti-public education bills.

Just as she did (unsuccessfully) during the 2011 session, Mrs. Cunningham is trying to bring an end to teacher tenure. She continues to foster this myth that Missouri’s public schools are filled with teachers who have no ability but cannot be fired because they have tenure.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, tenure is more difficult to obtain in Missouri than in most other states. In the Show-Me State, a teacher has to have taught five years in the same school district to receive tenure on the first day of the sixth year.

Bad teachers rarely make it that far. They are either shown the door or they decide on their own that teaching is not the proper profession for them.

Mrs. Cunningham also props up the myth that you cannot fire a teacher who has tenure. All tenure does is give you a right to hearing and due process. It does not take months or years; generally, it is accomplished in a matter of weeks.

During the whole time Mrs. Cunningham has been pushing her anti-public school, anti-teacher legislation (and this has just been one example, there are dozens more), she has also indicted teachers for whining about tenure, saying that “good teachers” have nothing to worry about if tenure is eliminated.

Now thanks to the redistricting commission appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a threat has been made to Sen. Jane Cunningham’s tenure, and apparently either she doesn’t really believe what she has been saying about the good not having to worry about their jobs, or she knows she is not good enough to hold onto hers without some institutional support.

The redistricting commission has forced Sen. Cunningham into a situation where she either has to change districts to run for re-election, or she has to sit out two years and face incumbent Brian Nieves.
If Jane Cunningham had just lived up to her words on teacher tenure, kept her mouth shut and accepted her fate, I wouldn’t have anything to write about. Thankfully, Mrs. Cunningham decided to face her fate with her head up…and mouth open…so everyone could hear her whining hundreds of miles away.
In an unsuccessful effort to make it appear as though a naturally-forming grass roots effort was underway to save her seat, Mrs. Cunningham sent an e-mail, asking her supporters to lobby the redistricting commission:

 On Thursday, the 10 commissioners drawing the new senate maps shocked everyone with the map they presented. Many think it is the GOP trying to rid the ranks of the conservatives. One Democrat colleague commented to me, "What did your commissioners get promised to betray Republicans like they did. We would never put up with that treatment from Democrats."
 They wiped out my district altogether and put it in the middle of KC. Since my district is up for election this year, it will pull out the Democrat vote in KC for Obama, McCaskill, Nixon and all the statewide Dems. It will also give the Dems another senator in the senate right away and take out a Republican conservative. They made Sen. Lembke's district almost unwinable.
 The present map energizes voters in Democrat areas during presidential years and decimates the St. Louis area representation (one sure senate district rather than the present four) and therefore the donor base for all of us.
 As Senator Luann Ridgeway pointed out, she and I are the only Republican women in the senate of 26 Republicans. She is termed out this year leaving me as the only woman left. Now they have taken me out leaving no assurance there will even be one Republican woman left in the Senate when they so desperately need to "sell" our party to women.
 The commission that drew this map was made up of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans. It is a dream map for Democrats and all but one Republican, Steve Ehlmann, voted with the Dems for the map.
 PLEASE CONTACT ALL THE COMMISSIONERS BELOW. Our goal is to get four of these Republican Commissioners to vote 'no' on their final vote for the map. I believe that vote will take place on March 9th after this 15 day period to comment. If they vote 'no', we have a chance to get back to the acceptable and court approved "appellate map 2". Most feel that if they don't go for that, no judge could give us anything worse for the party than what we have. Also shore up Ehlmann. Don't assume he will stay a 'no'.
 I have also added Lloyd Smith's contact information because he is the executive director for the MO Republican Party and he selected these guys. Notice there are no women.
 The Republican Commissioners are:Jean Paul Bradshaw II jpbradshaw@lathropgage.com 816-460-5507. Lathrop & Gage in KC
 Steve Ehlmann sehlmann@att.blackberry.net 636-949-7520. The only "no" vote but that needs to be shored up so he doesn't flip to a yes.
 Marc Ellinger mellinger@blitzbardgett.com 573-230-1192, Vice Chair of the Commission and head of Republican delegation. No one knows why Lloyd chose him since he testified for the plaintiffs against our Congressional maps. Practices law in Jeff City.
 Nick Myers myerscpa@swbell.net 417-623-2214, SW part of state.
 Lowell Pearson lowell.pearson@huschblackwell.com 573-761-1115,
 Lloyd Smith lloyd@mogop.org, 573-636-3146, Executive Director, MO Republican Party.
 Please forward this information around, although probably better without my name. The commissioners need to hear the views of Missourians to this travesty.  

“Probably better without my name.” What better words to describe a Missouri Senate with no Jane Cunningham?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Joplin Schools CFO discusses district finances

As the Joplin School District prepares for a vote in April on a $62 million bond issue, Jet 14, the Joplin Schools TV station has been broadcasting a series of informational videos. In this one, CFO Paul Barr discusses the school district's financial situation:

In e-mail to supporters, Jane Cunningham begs for her job

It is always the bullies who cry the hardest when the tables are turned on them and Jane Cunningham is no different.

Mrs. Cunningham, who has spent her time in the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives doing everything she can to destroy public schools, appears to be out of a district following the latest redistricting plan.

And she doesn't plan to go without a fight. In an e-mail sent to her supporters today, Mrs. Cunningham urges them to contact members of the committee that will make the final decision....but she adds, "although probably better without my name."

I could say the same thing about the Missouri Senate- it would definitely be better without Jane Cunningham's name.


From: Senator Jane Cunningham [mailto:jane.cunningham7@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 12:26 AM
To: Karladine Graves
Cc: Annette Read; Joan Langenberg; janetengelbach@yahoo.com; Bev Ehlen; Missouri Family Network; Joe Ortwerth; bottnet
Subject: Travesty - calling all hands on deck, quickly!!!!
On Thursday, the 10 commissioners drawing the new senate maps shocked everyone with the map they presented. Many think it is the GOP trying to rid the ranks of the conservatives. One Democrat colleague commented to me, "What did your commissioners get promised to betray Republicans like they did. We would never put up with that treatment from Democrats."
They wiped out my district altogether and put it in the middle of KC. Since my district is up for election this year, it will pull out the Democrat vote in KC for Obama, McCaskill, Nixon and all the statewide Dems. It will also give the Dems another senator in the senate right away and take out a Republican conservative. They made Sen. Lembke's district almost unwinable.
The present map energizes voters in Democrat areas during presidential years and decimates the St. Louis area representation (one sure senate district rather than the present four) and therefore the donor base for all of us.
As Senator Luann Ridgeway pointed out, she and I are the only Republican women in the senate of 26 Republicans. She is termed out this year leaving me as the only woman left. Now they have taken me out leaving no assurance there will even be one Republican woman left in the Senate when they so desperately need to "sell" our party to women.
The commission that drew this map was made up of 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans. It is a dream map for Democrats and all but one Republican, Steve Ehlmann, voted with the Dems for the map.

PLEASE CONTACT ALL THE COMMISSIONERS BELOW. Our goal is to get four of these Republican Commissioners to vote 'no' on their final vote for the map. I believe that vote will take place on March 9th after this 15 day period to comment. If they vote 'no', we have a chance to get back to the acceptable and court approved "appellate map 2". Most feel that if they don't go for that, no judge could give us anything worse for the party than what we have. Also shore up Ehlmann. Don't assume he will stay a 'no'.
I have also added Lloyd Smith's contact information because he is the executive director for the MO Republican Party and he selected these guys. Notice there are no women.


The Republican Commissioners are:Jean Paul Bradshaw II jpbradshaw@lathropgage.com 816-460-5507. Lathrop & Gage in KC
Steve Ehlmann sehlmann@att.blackberry.net 636-949-7520. The only "no" vote but that needs to be shored up so he doesn't flip to a yes.

Marc Ellinger mellinger@blitzbardgett.com 573-230-1192, Vice Chair of the Commission and head of Republican delegation. No one knows why Lloyd chose him since he testified for the plaintiffs against our Congressional maps. Practices law in Jeff City.

Nick Myers myerscpa@swbell.net 417-623-2214, SW part of state.
Lowell Pearson lowell.pearson@huschblackwell.com 573-761-1115,
Lloyd Smith lloyd@mogop.org, 573-636-3146, Executive Director, MO Republican Party.
Please forward this information around, although probably better without my name. The commissioners need to hear the views of Missourians to this travesty.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chart tries something new, weekly TV newscast

If you are looking for substance, try another video, but the Chart, Missouri Southern State University's newspaper, is trying something new- a weekly newscast. It appears that Bruce Speck has the kind of journalism program he has been wanting since he arrived at MSSU.

Richard: Senate examines bills to encourage job creation


(The weekly column of Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin)

Last week, the Senate approved Senate Bill 572, which modifies the law relating to workers’ compensation. The legislation returns workers’ compensation as the exclusive remedy for workplace accidents. Under the bill, no civil action for injury or death can proceed until all administrative remedies are exhausted. By reducing the cost of lawsuits for businesses, those funds can be reinvested in expanding and creating additional jobs.

The bill also protects co-workers from being found personally liable for honest workplace accidents, abrogating, or abolishing, a 2010 appellate court decision. If approved by the House and signed by the governor, co-workers could no longer be sued for their part in the work injury of another employee, unless their actions are proven to be purposely done to cause harm. Senate Bill 572 now goes to the House for consideration.

Missouri recently received $196 million from a national settlement between 49 states and five of the largest mortgage lenders in the country. The case stemmed from accusations the lenders were robo-signing foreclosure notices, allowing employees to sign off on documents without verifying information. A large portion of the settlement, around $100 million, will go to helping homeowners.

The governor also announced, however, that he will amend his budget to have $40 million of the settlement go to higher education. This was a welcome bit of good news to Missouri’s public universities and colleges. The governor’s FY 2013 budget included sharp cuts to higher education, around $106 million, or 12. 5 percent. With the additional mortgage settlement funds, the cuts will be reduced to $66 million, or around 9 percent. This will help universities curb some of their planned tuition increases. 

However, the settlement funds are a one-time fix, and if we’re not able to create more jobs and bring in additional state revenue, we’re going to continue having problems funding the critical functions of state government, including higher education.

I filed a bill this session aimed at fostering job creation in Missouri while bringing in additional state revenue. Senate Bill 588, which was combined with Senate Bill 585, would create a tax incentive to attract amateur sporting events to Missouri. These events, such as college championship games, are a financial boost to the cities that host them. By bringing more of these games to Missouri, we not only attract attention to our area, we help bolster our state’s economy through tourism dollars. As we continue to face budget shortfalls, it is important to find ways to bring in additional revenue. The bill has been passed out of committee and awaits debate on the Senate floor.

MNEA issues action alert on Dieckhaus education bill

The Missouri National Education Association issued an action alert Friday in advance of this week's debate on the omnibus education bill sponsored by Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, R-Washington. The bill eliminates tenure for Missouri teachers and opens the door for educational vouchers. The text of the action alert is printed below:

ACTION ALERT - HOUSE TO DEBATE OMNIBUS BILL PUTS REAL NEEDS AT RISK BY PUSHING AGENDA OF VOUCHERS, OPEN ENROLLMENT, TENURE REPEAL AND CHARTER EXPANSION

The House is expected to take up HCS/HB 1740 (Scott Dieckhaus) on February 28.  The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee approved an HCS version of HB 1740 on February 22 in a contentious executive session. 

The HCS:
1) repeals teacher tenure for all new hires and eliminates use of seniority in reduction in force, 
2) repeals the minimum teacher salary for teachers with Master's degrees and ten or more years of teaching, 
3) contains a tax-credit style voucher for students of unaccredited districts to attend private schools,
4) adds charter school expansion and accountability similar to HCS/HB 1228 (Tishaura Jones), 
5) creates statewide virtual district school and virtual charter school open enrollment,
6) includes provisions allowing accredited districts to establish class-size capacity standards with regard to student transfers from unaccredited districts,
7) contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1174 (Mike Lair) to allow the State Board of Education to hold a hearing and act to revise the governance of a school district when it becomes unaccredited, rather than automatically lapsing the district after two years, and
8) contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1043 (Mike Thomson) regarding distribution of school formula funds when the formula is underfunded.

The committee approved the HCS without amendment by a 13-9 vote.  Reps. Dieckhaus, Cookson, Bahr, Barnes, Burlison, Cierpiot, Funderburk, Leara, McNary, Neth, Schad, Scharnhorst and Stream voted in favor.  Reps. Anders, Aull, Fitzwater, (Tishaura) Jones, Lampe, McNeil, Shively, Swinger and Thomson voted against the bill.  Reps. Carter and Frederick were not present for the vote.

The Association strongly opposes the tenure repeal, charter school expansion, virtual school open enrollment and tax credit-style voucher portions of the bill. Legislative action is needed on several issues included in the bill, such as stabilizing formula aid next year, creating fair standards for student transfers from unaccredited districts and allowing prompt intervention by the State Board in support of unaccredited districts and their communities.  The Association opposes holding those positive steps hostage to a radical and unworkable agenda.


ACTION NEEDED:  Your help is needed! Please call, write or e-mail to urge your state representative to oppose HCS/HB 1740. The following link will connect you to the MNEA Legislative Action Center Action Alert on HCS/HB 1740.

Newman gives nightmarish rundown of what is happening in GOP-dominated legislature

They have told us the same thing each year for the past few years- We are going to concentrate on jobs- and then the legislation is all posturing against the federal government and making things more difficult for those who have already received the short end of the stick.


In her latest column, Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis offers a nightmarish account of the items that are dominating the time of the Missouri House of Representatives:


YOU MUST BE WONDERING WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING IN JEFF CITY...
 Our recent legislative agenda doesn’t quite jive with Speaker Steven Tilley’s remarks on opening day, January 5th. No jobs or economic relief bills – NO, we are focused on the war against birth control and discrimination - in many forms. 
 This past week the House went after immigrants – continuing the trend.  It’s no wonder public opinion is fairly low for elected officials, particularly those in the Missouri state legislature. 
 I WAS ONE OF THE “SILENCED SEVEN” – IGNORED IN BIRTH CONTROL DEBATE ON RESOLUTION TELLING CONGRESS WHAT TO DO.
 On Wednesday I was one of seven Democrat women who stood at our mikes for almost 3 hours and failed to be recognized to speak on HCR41.  The resolution opposes the federal health care mandate, specifically targeting contraception. The GOP argued that the mandate would impede religious freedom and the federal government should not be involved in religious organizations.
 Immediately upon afternoon adjournment, we “Silenced Seven”, along with many in our Minority Caucus, held a news conference outside on the Capitol south steps and expressed our anger of the lack of recognition during the debate.
I don’t know about you but purposefully ignoring women who wanted to speak on a resolution on an issue that is unique to women is not my idea of democracy.  Rep. John Diehl (R-Ladue) was presiding as speaker on the dais during the debate and knew full well we were there standing there - yes, for almost 3 hours.  
 I guarantee you we will CONTINUE standing and demand our voices be heard on your behalf.
MY WORK AGAINST VOTER SUPPRESSION CONTINUES…
 Last weekend I had the pleasure to be on the Jaco Report on Fox2 with a St. Louis Tea Party representative talking about voter suppression efforts in MO – specifically Voter ID efforts.
 AND I am thrilled to be invited to participate (along with local voter protection expert,  Denise Lieberman of the Advancement Project) in the first Missouri Anti-Voter Suppression Forum hosted by Congressman Lacy Clay Jr. at Harris Stowe College on March 16th.  The panel of experts will include Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC (who has just confirmed) along with several members of the Congressional Black Caucus.   Stay tuned as more details are announced.
 BIRTHER BILL AGAIN – QUESTIONING PRESIDENTIAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE. AS AMY POEHLER ON SATURDAY NIGHT SAYS... REALLY?!!
 Last week my Elections Committee heard HB1046 sponsored by Rep. Lyle Rowland  (a former Superintendent) – which would require the MO Secretary of State to verify the credentials of Presidential (and VP) candidates in the United States.  This is Rowland's second year sponsoring the bill which had a number of cosponsors in 2011, including Reps. Shane Schoeller (R-Springfield and a GOP Secretary of State candidate).
 The bill next proceeds to the Rules Committee (chaired by Rep. John Diehl) for final approval before hitting the Floor Calendar.  It's also important to note that the House Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-West St. Louis County) was a plaintiff in the original lawsuit claiming that President Obama is in office illegally - the suit was rejected by the Ninth District Court of Appeals last December).
 Opponents to the bill explained that both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee certify their presidential candidate nominees following each national convention and issue letters of nomination to every state's Secretary of State prior to the general election ballot deadlines.  The qualifications for the office of the president are set by the U.S. Constitution.
 The hearing on HB1046 lasted over 45 minutes.  Rep. Rowland had a number of his constituents there to testify in favor of his bill.
 HOUSE ENDORSES ENGLISH-ONLY DRIVER’S LICENSE TESTS
 We voted Thursday 93-63 in favor of prohibiting MO from offering driver’s license exams in languages other than English. The state currently offers written tests in 11 languages. The bill, HB 1186, now goes to the Senate.  We had GOP state reps who crossed over to vote with us, but not enough.
 Supporters of the bill said people who want to get Missouri driver’s license should be proficient in the state’s dominant language in order to better assimilate.  I VOTED NO – AS YOU WOULD HAVE EXPECTED OF ME.  My husband is a first-bornAmerican in his family which includes several who escaped Germany in the late 1930’s.  Frankly, I do not understand anti-immigrant sentiment in the Capitol since no one there is using native-American language.
 The insurance industry opposes the legislation, which it says will make it harder for non-native English speakers to obtain a license, thus increasing the number of unlicensed and uninsured motorists on Missouri roadways. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has said the bill would not enhance driver safety since most road signs are based on internationally recognized symbols. Other opponents have simply labeled the legislation as a xenophobic effort to punish legal immigrants with no legitimate public policy purpose.

Friday, February 24, 2012

MSBA report: House Omnibus Education Bill reviewed

House approves English-only driver's tests

Sen. Justis offers views on security in the capitol

The anonymous bullies who comment on blogs

Those who have read The Turner Report over the past nine years have seen this pattern before.

I write something that ticks off someone and the vicious comments begin almost immediately and don't stop. And at some point it always leads to personal accusations about my past (and if I had done all or any of the things these anonymous bullies and cowards accuse me of doing, I would probably be sitting in a jail cell).

The same pattern began shortly after my post about the firing of McAuley Coach Chuck Williams earlier this week. And I made the same mistake I have made in the past. I went out of my way to be fair to those who were leaving comments.

Though I deleted the ones that were the most egregious, I wrongly left derogatory comments about the alleged victims in this case, one of whom is underage. That was a mistake. Those comments have also been removed.

At least one person, perhaps more, has been bombarding me with negative comments, often the same ones over and over, berating me for not publishing them. These comments have included some new stories that I had never heard before about why I was fired at The Carthage Press. I accidentally posted one of those. It is also gone.

The anonymous writer noted a few moments ago that I had deleted nine comments, bringing the number on the Williams post from 32 to 23 and he bragged that he has "a screen shot" of them. Congratulations! What I deleted were comments that made you look like a jerk. I also deleted one comment that I had accidentally posted twice, my complete rundown of the times I was fired at various places, (all of which I wrote about extensively in Newspaper Days, which is available at Amazon.com and I did not sugarcoat my shortcomings in that book), and several cowardly swipes at the girls who were involved in the incidents that led to Williams' dismissal.

Call it a violation of your First Amendment rights. It is not. You can take your screen shot and you can publish it anywhere you want. You can even start a blog and if you are lucky and have any writing skill (doubtful from the samples I have seen of your writing) perhaps in a few years you will develop a following that is a small percentage of the reading community I have worked years to build.

I would advise you take one step if you plan to do that. Use your real name. My readers don't have any use for cowards who want to bully teenage girls under the cloak of anonymity.

My blog has always been open to comments, whether they agree with me or not. I encourage a a wide-ranging discussion on issues and news stories. I will continue to do so. Character assassination has no place on this blog and will not be tolerated.


Court document: Peggy Newton attorney says family ties, special needs son should mean little or no jail time


Joplin businesswoman Peggy Newton pleaded guilty to fraud, but from the objections her lawyer filed today to the presentencing report, it does not sound as if she thinks she did anything wrong.

Mrs. Newton indicates that both she and her former business partner Diane Pine became "extravagant" with money from Evergreen and Amber, and that she used the company credit card for other personal items, but she always intended to pay it back through the company's profits.

Of course, when the company went belly up, it put an end to that plan.

At the conclusion of the court document, the recommended sentencing guidelines of four to nine months is questioned since "defendant’s family ties and specifically her help to their special needs son should warrant a departure from the guidelines."

The objection to the presentence report is printed below:

DEFENDANT’S OBJECTION TO THE PRESENTENCE REPORT
Comes now before the Court the Defendant, Peggy S. Newton, with her Objection to the Preliminary Presentence Report prepared by the United States Probation Office on January 31, 2012.

1. Objections 

a. Paragraph 8, Defendant denies that she was to maintain all financial records and states
that both Pine and she viewed the financial records together and that both parties were to run the day-to-day operations.

b. Paragraph 9, as stated in paragraph 9 both parties had signature authority over the credit accounts that the business proceeds that Evergreen & Amber generated were to pay. These credit accounts although used to help finance the business were also to be repaid by the business even though the loans were also used to finance Diane Pine’s automobile, and previous credit cards. The Business was to decorate houses and both parties agreed that their personal appearance was important in their business and both used these credit cards to pay for clothing and the like used in their business. This is expressly recognized by the government when the Defendant was able to prove that Counts I and II of the indictment were found to actually be charges made by ”victim” Diane Pine to Upstairs Boutique for her own clothing.

c. Paragraph 11, Defendant denies that there were 393 checks drawn for her personal use and further states that all payments made to spouse were for work rendered by him and that the one check used for the purpose of making a payment of his truck, this was done at the suggestion of “victim” for the repayment for the use of his truck in their business.

d. Paragraph 12, Defendant denies signing Pine’s name on checks without her knowledge or permission.

e. Paragraph 13, Defendant denies altering or falsifying carbon copies of any checks and further states that nearly all of the documents in this case were removed from the business and sent to Diane Pine’s son where he compiled and had complete control.

f. Paragraph 14, Defendant denies that she fraudulently used the accounts some 500 times and that on October 24, 2011 the defendant presented to the presentence officer an accounting of the actions she had done. Attached hereto are exhibits A & B setting forth said accounting.

g. Paragraph 15, Defendant denies opening any accounts without the authority of Diane Pine. The Advanta Bank Corp’s account was used by both parties to advance Evergreen & Amber funds to pay bills.

h. Paragraph 16, Defendant denies the number of unauthorized transactions alleged by the government and states that the accounting given to the presentence officer on October 24, 2011is the correct sum. The Defendant states that there were unauthorized transactions in the sum of $17,611.29 and that she had repaid $2,575.00 to Evergreen & Amber. Defendant states that there was an additional $24,855.29 in transactions that were clothing and accessories worn at the business and purchased by her.

i. Paragraph 17, Defendant states that the total amount of the loss sustained by Diane Pine is $17,611.29 as submitted to the presentence officer on October 24, 2011.

j. Paragraph 18, Defendant states that the total restitution due in this case is $17,611.29 as given to the probation office on October 24, 2011. We have attached Exhibits A & B which has our calculations as we had done previously. These two exhibits were prepared from the copy of the discovery given to us by the government. The supporting documents have been attached to the four volumes of discovery. These supporting documents were found in a box that was found in the attic of Evergreen & Amber. The documents supplied by the government were the documents in the sole possession of Diane Pine’s son who compiled them in a manner deemed by him to be appropriate. The defendant had no way to know if all the document’s had been supplied to the government and it was only the fortuitous finding of a box of documents left behind by the victim’s son that we are able to show document’s refuting the son’s findings.

k. Paragraph 19, as stated before our computation are attached hereto as Exhibits A & B, the supporting documents are numerous.

l. Paragraph 20, In response to the victim’s impact statement Defendant states that she is sorry for any harm that she has caused Ms. Pine and her family and that she too felt like Diane had become like family to her.

Peggy met Diane as Diane painted a mural on her son’s wall. A mutual friendship occurred and they started a business after an open house that was a success having utilized Peggy’s client list. The two of them looked for a place to open a store and Peggy’s in-laws remodeled a store for the sum of $185,000.00 and agreed to rent it to them for $750.00 a month.

The agreement was that they would use Diane’s credit cards because her in-laws had repaired the building and that Peggy had used her credit on the house that they had built.

The parties went to U.S. Bank but were denied the line of credit by letter and decided that Diane would finance the business through her line of credit secured by her house. The mortgage paid for her car, credit cards and that left around $150,000.00 for Evergreen & Amber.
Peggy admits that the two of them got extravagant when they went to market and that they both utilized credit cards to purchase items of clothing to enhance their appearance at the store.

Peggy also utilized the cards to purchase other items. It was her belief that she would pay back the business for these items with future income from the business and then the business failed and these charges were filed.

m. Paragraph 25, pursuant to 2B1.1(b)(1)(C) the loss is more than $2000 but less than $20,000. +4

n. Paragraph 26, Defendant denies using the victim’s Social Security Number to open credit accounts without the victim’s permission. +0

o. Paragraph 28, Defendant denies that she was in a position of trust as an overseer of the financial transactions. +0

p. Paragraph 35, should read Total Offense level: 

q. Paragraph 58, should read :

Guide Line Provisions Total offense Level Criminal History Category Sentencing Range – 4-10 months

r. Pursuant to 5H 1.6 defendant’s family ties and specifically her help to their special needs son should warrant a departure from the guidelines.

Joplin School Board approves East Middle School design

United Way raises $1.3 million for tornado-affected charities

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lembke: You can't buy my vote for a cheeseburger

In this hard-hitting KSDK investigative report, an arrogant Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, defends his frequent meals from lobbyists and treats the reporter rudely. Lembke points out he only makes $36,000 a year, so what's the big deal about having lobbyists pay for meals.

Liberty High School donating prom dresses to Joplin

Blunt discusses Joplin recovery, rising gas prices

Nieves bill would allow students to abandon public schools for virtual, charter schools

In his latest video, Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Union, explains SB 735, which he says would expand choices for Missouri families by allowing students to attend virtual schools and charter schools. When a politician talks about choice in education, it almost always means another attempt is underway to undercut public education.

City of Joplin changes siren notification, testing policy


Following the May 22, 2011 tornado, City officials noted several types of reactions to the storm sirens which prompted discussions and review of Joplin’s storm siren policy to determine best practice uses of this technology.
Emergency Manager Keith Stammer and Fire Chief Mitch Randles presented their findings at the February 21 City Council meeting to Council members and viewers at home to notify them about the storm siren policy changes that will occur immediately in response to their research.
“We worked with several weather agencies to learn what our citizens knew about the storm sirens on the day of the tornado, and how they reacted to its sounding,” said Stammer. “With this information, we are making changes to our siren sounding policy as well as upgrading the technology of our sirens with the goal that people take IMMEDIATE cover upon hearing a siren.”
Following the May 22, 2011 tornado, numerous reports from citizens noted that the second sounding of the storm siren created their awareness and urgency to take cover. Other citizens commented that they heard the sirens all of the time and didn’t take the warnings seriously, and yet some even said they thought the second siren sounding was an “all clear” notification.
To eliminate numerous soundings as part of the tests, the City looked at different options, and has announced the following changes:
  • Siren testing will now be conducted only on the first and third Monday morning of each month, (weather permitting) at 10 am. This testing is for one minute and is NOT conducted when threatening weather is in the area.  The first test will be conducted on Monday, March 5.
  • When activated for due to storm alerts, the siren consists of a steady tone for duration of three minutes. A second siren activation will now occur IF the initial warning had been sounded more than ten minutes prior to the warned storm system’s arrival to the city. The second activation will be another three-minute sounding.
  • The City reminds residents that there will be NO “all clear” sounded by the sirens.
  • To prepare for the severe weather season, the City will need to test each siren individually. These tests will be conducted during the week of February 27, and will occur throughout the week, weather permitting.  The purpose of these tests is to ascertain the condition of the siren batteries and facilitate any repairs, if needed.
Outdoor warning sirens are activated when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Jasper County, Newton County and/or Cherokee County, Kansas with a storm path including the City of Joplin or when receiving a report from a trained spotter of a funnel or tornado sighted in or approaching Joplin.
Outdoor warning sirens will also be activated when the National Weather Service reports a storm system approaching Joplin producing sustained winds of 75 mph or greater.
Keith Stammer, Emergency Management Director, reminds people that the siren warning is an alert for people who are outside, and is not designed to be heard from indoors.
“The sirens provide a warning for anyone who is out of doors to go indoors, if possible, and take shelter,” he said. “People indoors cannot always expect to hear the outdoor warning sirens.”
Stammer encourages residents to utilize a NOAA Weather Radio that provides a warning signal when the area is under a watch or a warning. “The advantage of having a weather radio is that you hear the alerts directly from the National Weather Service, and are kept current of the warning status.” Weather radios are available at local retailers and are priced at approximately $30.
Stammer also encourages people to watch the local television channels for updates and information about specific locations of storms. For more information, call 417-623-5858.
Important Safety Information:

·         TORNADO WATCH means watch the sky! TORNADO WARNING means seek shelter immediately.
·         SHELTER: Immediately go to an interior room with NO windows on the lowest possible floor.  If you are at school or work DO NOT GO to a cafeteria, gymnasium or large interior open space because the roof might collapse. 
·         LEAVE MOBILE HOMES IMMEDIATELY -- seek shelter in a nearby building or in a ditch. 
·         DRIVING: Take shelter in a nearby building, in a ditch or low-lying area away from your car. If you are outside, remember to cover your head with your arms, coat or blanket to protect yourself from flying debris. Also watch for flash flooding.  Never try to out drive a tornado.
·         OVERPASSES Are NOT Safe -- An overpass’s under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect.  This may cause the winds to be stronger and more focused underneath.  This can also cause the overpass to be a collector of debris.
·         FLASH FLOODING OR WATER ON THE ROAD: During a thunderstorm, low-lying areas are prone to flash flooding.  Never drive into water on the road. If your car stalls, get out of your car immediately and seek higher ground.  It takes less than two feet of water to make your car float.  Once floating downstream, your car can overturn trapping you inside.