Monday, November 18, 2019

Parson announces Clear the Air youth vaping awareness campaign

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

In a press conference today, Governor Mike Parson announced the launch of the state’s Clear the Air youth vaping awareness campaign to bring attention to the risks of using electronic cigarettes and vaping products.

In October, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-18 directing the Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Public Safety (DPS) to use existing resources to develop a statewide campaign to educate, warn, and deter the use of vaping devices among Missouri’s youth.

“One of the most important responsibilities I have as Governor is to protect the health and well-being of our future generations. Vaping is truly an epidemic among our youth, and we must take action now to educate them about the potential risks of these products,” Governor Parson said. “Over the last 30 days, DHSS, DESE, and DPS have worked hard to develop this campaign, and we appreciate their team effort to bring awareness to the dangers of youth vaping and ensure a healthy public now and in the future.”

The Clear the Air campaign will educate Missourians on the dangers associated with youth vaping by dispelling myths and providing facts about how the products and chemicals impact the health and brain development of our youth.


Over the past month, DHSS, DPS, and DESE have worked together with partners from additional state departments and external agencies to learn more about the epidemic and how existing resources could be used for education on e-cigarette use. The social media portion of the Clear the Air campaign, which consists of graphics and a series of videos specifically targeting Missouri’s youth, launched on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat today. A website for youth to learn more about the public health issue was also created at

“We greatly appreciate the Governor’s initiative in bringing together different state departments and our external partners, which has significantly moved us forward toward our goal of preventing harm to both young adults and others,” said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. “The rate of teen vaping in Missouri is continuing to climb. We believe the Clear the Air campaign is a great first step toward educating Missourians and changing this trajectory.”

Parents and educators are witnessing the negative impact of e-cigarette use and subsequent nicotine addiction on youth each day at homes and in schools. As part of the campaign, fact sheets for educators, parents, and medical providers are also in production, along with posters for school facilities.

“It is alarming to hear that 20 percent of Missouri students are now addicted to vaping,” Missouri PTA President Susan Rupert said. “The educators and parents supporting these children need help addressing this epidemic. This youth-focused campaign gives our students the hard facts while also better informing and supporting our school leaders and families across Missouri as they address this urgent issue with their students.”

Through communication with district administrators and a variety of other means, DESE will help bring Clear the Air campaign materials to Missouri schools and families at no cost. Additionally, cessation and addiction treatment information will be made available in order to arm schools with helpful resources.

“The Clear the Air campaign is designed to better educate on the harmful effects of vaping and to provide educators and families with strategies to put an end to youth vaping in Missouri,” Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said. “We are pleased to work with other state agencies and school leaders in this joint effort to protect the safety and well-being of our children.”


The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) enforces Missouri and federal laws that ban the sale of tobacco and vaping products to persons under age 18. Each year, ATC conducts about 6,000 enforcement operations and inspections of retailers across the state. Over the last month, ATC’s six full-time tobacco and vaping enforcement agents have emphasized enforcement efforts at retailers who sell vaping products.

“Our enforcement operations show that across Missouri, 83 percent of retailers are checking IDs and refusing sales to those who are under age 18,” said Dottie Taylor, State Supervisor of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. "We're confident that through continuing enforcement and merchant education and training we can move the compliance percentage closer to 100 percent. Even more important, we’d like to see fewer and fewer young people tempted by vaping. We believe the Clear the Air campaign can help make that happen, and we’re committed to working with everyone interested in fighting this threat to the health of Missouri’s youth.”

Clear the Air materials can be viewed or downloaded from the DHSS website. To learn more about the current lung injury outbreak, visit

Kay Hively: Old movies

I’m not much of a movie fan these days. In my youth, I was very much of one. My father owned a grocery store on a city block that also had a movie theater.

Every day I walked pass the theater four or five times and always stopped to study the “coming attractions.” I was always aware of each movie that came to town and probably saw 99% of them.

In front of the theater there were wonderful photos of my favorite stars which included Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Debbie Reynolds, Rock Hudson, Jeff Chandler, Kim Novak, Mickey Rooney and many others. I loved the Lassie movies and anything that had a race horse.

Some of the great movies I liked were “Giant,” “Singing in the Rain,” “An Affair to Remember,” and cowboy and military pictures.

My taste in stars and movies has changed since my youth. Unfortunately there are almost no current movies I can list as a favorite. I haven’t seen a movie in a theater for years, but I have discovered a new set of favorites.

Movies made in a late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s are the ones I enjoy now. Many of these would be considered “B” grade, not blockbusters such as the “Wizard of Oz,”or “Gone With the Wind.”

I have learned to enjoy these movies because they are shown on the television movie channels. The “Thin Man” series is a great favorite and all the Bogart movies are good. In his early acting days, Humphrey Bogart often played a gangster. Later he became a leading man and a hero in such movies as “Casablanca,” (my all-time favorite film) and “Key Largo.”

Today’s movies seem to rely on sequels and we get the equivalent of War Stars II, III, IV, etc. It seems that original ideas as scarce. Cartoon characters such as Spider Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and other cartoons are always showing up in the theaters.

In the old black and white films, I find interesting characters, good plots and drama that could actually happen, not computer generated explosions. I have never seen a real zombie nor do I ever expect to, so am not interested in watching a movie or TV show about them. This kind of show doesn’t require much thinking. You just need to sit and watch, not use your brain.

I like crime stories because they feature forensics and old-fashioned detective work which allow the viewer to judge the suspects for themselves.

Just between you and me, I believe that we all need to use our own minds as much as possible.
(Kay Hively is a historian, author and former editor, reporter and columnist for the Neosho Daily News and Neosho Post.)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A complete breakdown of the chapters in The Buck Starts Here: Harry S. Truman and the City of Lamar

My new book, The Buck Starts Here: Harry S. Truman and the City of Lamar is available at three Joplin locations, Always Buying Books, Changing Hands Book Shoppe and The Book Guy and will be available at other area locations within the next few days.

It can also be purchased in paperback and e-book formats from at the links below.

Following is a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of what is included in the book:

Introduction- Jim Allen, retired Thorco official, announces intention of bringing President Reagan to Lamar for the Truman Centennial in 1984.

Chapter One- Two newcomers arrive in Lamar who make their marks on the city's history- lawyer Lee Chiswell, who becomes prosecuting attorney at age 24, and Wyatt Earp, who becomes the city's first marshal.

Chapter Two- Lee Chiswell buys the Barton County Progress newspaper to support Democrats and attack Republicans and renames it the Lamar Democrat. John and Martha Truman arrive in Lamar and their first child is stillborn.

Chapter Three- John Truman's mule and horse trading business struggles. The Trumans have another baby and name it Harry S Truman. Trumans leave Lamar in 1885.

Chapter Four- Lee Chiswell makes a name for himself both in politics and as a newspaperman until tragedy strikes.

Chapter Five- Arthur Aull's history. Aull buys the Lamar Democrat.

Chapter Six- Harry Truman's car breaks down on his way to Joplin and stops in Lamar in 1924 for the first time since the family left 39 years earlier. Truman enters politics. Wyatt Earp's relatives buy the house where Truman was born. Truman runs for Senate in 1934 and campaigns in Lamar.

Chapter Seven- Truman's benefactor Tom Pendergast's corrupt political machine is brought down. Truman faces stiff competition for re-election in 1940. Arthur Aull turns against Truman.

Chapter Eight- Richard Chancellor, the second man drafted into the army from Lamar becomes the first one inducted when number one flunks his physical. Arthur Aull tells the Joplin Rotary Club, the U. S. is headed for war and predicts a time when the U. S. will become the police force for the world. Aull becomes famous when a nationally syndicated columnist begins reprinting his warts-and-all coverage of the scandals of Lamar.

Chapter Nine- Richard Chancellor finds romance. Madeline Aull VanHafften returns to help her ailing father run the Democrat. Truman gains national attention when his Senate Committee uncovers waste and corruption in the war buildup. A woman beats Arthur Aull over the head with a baseball bat, hospitalizing him when he writes about her/

Chapter 10- Chancellor joins the Army Air Force. His plane crashes over the Mediterranean and he saves two crew members.

Chapter 11- Chancellor and his men avoid Nazi U-boats as they await rescue in the Mediterranean.

Chapter 12- Sheldon teen Gerald Gilkey visits the Lamar square in his canary yellow 1924 Model T and is asked by the police to go home. H. C. and Pearl Chancellor watch as their son Richard is honored for his bravery. Gerald Gilkey and Betty Medlin fall in love and secretly get married- until their secret is revealed to their parents on page three of the Joplin Globe.

Chapter 13- Truman becomes the vice presidential nominee. Two Republicans drinking coffee at the Travelers Hotel come up with the idea of having Truman accept the vice presidential nomination in Lamar. Roosevelt approves the idea.

Chapter 14- A Lamar youth dies fighting for his country in France. H. C. Chancellor learns Richard is missing in action.

Chapter 15- Three men rob a Jasper filing station/cafe. While making their escape, they are confronted near Lamar by Barton County Sheriff Roy Patterson and his son and kill them. A look back at the first time a Barton County Sheriff and his son were killed in 1919 and the vigilante justice that was given to their killer.

Chapter 16- Lamar plans for the Truman visit.

Chapter 17- Lamar and Joplin feud over Truman visit. Ione Williams waits to hear word of Richard Chancellor's fate. Betty Gilkey moves to Kansas City and helps with the war effort. Gerald Gilkey is stationed at an isolated post in the Aleutians.

Chapter 18- The Joplin Globe rips Lamar. Truman arrives at the Conner Hotel and gives a press conference. Truman visits the soldiers at Camp Crowder in Neosho.

Chapter 19- Crowds arrive in Lamar for Truman's return. H. C. Chancellor prepares the Travelers Hotel. Margaret Truman is not too thrilled with Lamar. Lamar is not too thrilled with Margaret Truman.

Chapter 20- H. C. Chancellor and Pearl learn Richard is being held in a German POW camp.Pickpockets and con artists arrive in Lamar for Truman Day. Truman's mother visits Lamar for the final time. The national media arrives. A professional tries to help Truman give his first major speech. Truman delivers the speech. Another Lamar boy dies in the war.

Chapter 21- Life in a POW camp for Richard Chancellor, Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. John Bricker of Ohio campaigns in Lamar, Barton County votes for Dewey-Bricker over Roosevelt-Truman, Truman becomes vice president

Chapter 22- Truman is sworn in as vice president. As the Allied Forces advance, the Germans move Chancellor and other prisoners, exposing them to Allied air raids.

Chapter 23- Life Magazine publishes a notorious photo featuring Truman and 20-year-old actress Lauren Bacall and in the same magazine profiles Arthur Aull. Bud Moore, later head of the Lamar Fair for years, updates Aull on the war in Europe.

Chapter 24- President Roosevelt dies and Harry Truman becomes president. Lamar residents mourn Roosevelt's death. Truman learns of the existence of an atomic bomb. Martha Ellen Truman reacts as her son becomes president. A VE Day ceremony is held in Lamar. Richard Chancellor is freed. Chancellor and Ione Williams reunite and get married.

Chapter 25- A service is held at Memorial Hall honoring 53 Barton County residents who died in the war. Life Magazine provides more publicity for Lamar. Everett Earp sees a chance to make money off the Truman birthplace.

Chapter 26- The killers of Sheriff Patterson and his son are captured and fears of a second lynching grow.

Chapter 27- Truman announces that an atomic bomb has been dropped on Hiroshima. Arthur Aull's health continues to deteriorate. VJ Day celebrated in Lamar.

Chapter 28- Gerald Gilkey returns to Lamar and reunites with Betty after three years apart. The court cases of the killers of Sheriff Patterson and his son. Madeleine Aull VanHafften takes the reins of the Lamar Democrat. A brawl breaks out on the Nevada High School football field after a Lamar football player is critically injured in the Silver Tiger game. Teenager Marvin VanGilder takes his first newspaper job with the Democrat's competitor, the Lamar Republican.

Chapter 29- Everett Earp's stories about his family's connection to the Trumans begin to evolve into tall tales. Truman finds himself an underdog to Tom Dewey in the 1948 election. Truman brings his Whistle Stop Tour to Neosho. Truman elected president.

Chapter 30- Arthur Aull dies. The city of Lamar says goodbye. Madeleine covers the story of her father's death. Two of the men who killed Sheriff Patterson and his son escape from the Missouri State Penitentiary.

Chapter 31- Claude "Brother" Adams, his brother Billee Bob Adams, Ed Knell of Carthage and a team of Lamar mules prepare to represent Lamar in the presidential inauguration parade.

Chapter 32- Madeleine and the Lamar Democrat struggle. The Lamar Republican sells to D. Wayne Rowland who changes its name to the Lamar Journal and stresses a more positive brand of journalism with less scandal. Gerald Gilkey moves to Lamar. Richard Chancellor struggles to find his place as he adjusts to civilian life.

Chapter 33- Marvin VanGilder becomes a music teacher after working his way through college as a reporter. Truman is threatened with impeachment after he fires Douglas MacArthur. Madeleine defends Truman. D. Wayne Rowland's Lamar Journal continues to put pressure on the struggling Lamar Democrat

Chapter 34- Arthur Aull's widow, Luanna, convinces son-in-law Stan White, a veteran advertising manager to come to Lamar to run the Democrat's business operation. The Journal gains the upper hand after it hires moonlighting teacher Marvin VanGilder. VanGilder enlists Harry Truman's support in creating the Barton County Historical Society and writes The Story of Barton County, with plans to publish the book in 1955 during the Barton County Centennial celebration. The Democrat buys the Lamar Journal and shuts it down, derailing VanGilder's plans for The Story of Barton County. As he leaves Lamar for an academic career, D. Wayne Rowland advises Marvin VanGilder to go in the opposite direction and quit teaching to become a full-time journalist.

Chapter 35- Everett Earp dies. The United Auto Workers buys the Truman Birthplace from the Earp family with plans of restoring it and giving it to the State of MIssouri as a shrine honoring Truman. A dedication ceremony is scheduled with Truman accepting an invitation to return. Stan White talks Gerald Gilkey into running for City Council. Richard Chancellor takes an executive position with Lawn Boy.

Chapter 36- No Sunday matinee at the Plaza Theater as Truman comes to town. Truman drives to Lamar for the dedication and thoroughly enjoys himself. Lamar High School Student Council President Donald Braker speaks to thousands as he presents Truman with a plaque that will be placed in the room where Truman was born. The United Auto Workers provide a dinner honoring Truman. Truman leaves Lamar for the final time.

Chapter 37- Not wanting to go into competition with his in-laws, Gilkey prepares to buy a car dealership in Abilene, Kansas and leave Lamar. Things are worked out and Gilkey buys a Lamar dealership starting Gilkey Chevrolet. VanGilder interviews Truman and artist Thomas Hart Benton at a day honoring Benton in Neosho. Truman judges a mule show with a Lamar winner Gilkey runs for mayor. With the Truman Birthplace running into management problems, Chancellor's suggestion of Jim Finley as the man who take over the operation is followed.

Chapter 38- After 72 years of ownership, the Aull family sells the Lamar Democrat to Missouri Secretary of State Jim Kirkpatrick. Harry Truman dies at age 88.

Chapter 39- The Democrat covers the death of Truman. Gilkey speaks at a memorial ceremony for Truman at the birthplace. Marvin VanGilder speaks for Lamar and Southwest Missouri with a stirring tribute to Truman.

Chapter 40- Madeleine struggling after selling the newspaper she loved dies at age 77. The birth of Truman is recalled during the Truman Pageant. The historic Travelers Hotel is torn down to make room for a bank. Marvin VanGilder's The Story of Barton County is published. Gerald Gilkey steps down as mayor in 2001 after 36 years, the longest serving mayor in Missouri history. After Gilkey's death, Mayor Keith Divine and city officials unveil a portrait of Gilkey that will always maintain a prominent place at City Hall. Current Mayor Kent Harris reflects on Truman's lasting legacy for the City of Lamar. A surprise ending.

For anyone who is interested, I will send a free 12-chapter PDF preview of the book.

Serial drunk driver Edward Meerwald accepts sweetheart plea bargain deal on day of trial

It may not be the sentence he ends up receiving but serial drunk driver Edward Meerwald, 65, Noel, accepted a last minute offer from the McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney's office of four years in prison for his latest DWI arrest.

The offer came after a jury had already been selected and seated and the trial was about to get underway.

Court records indicate the plea bargain was offered after Judge Kevin Selby rejected McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Dobbs' offer to have Highway Patrol Trooper Derek Carnagey, the arresting officer, attest to the accuracy of the breathalyzer test taken after the June 17, 2018 traffic stop.

Meerwald's lawyer, public defender Charles G. Oppelt had objected to the introduction of breathalyzer evidence noting that the prosecution did not have any professional witnesses who could establish the machine's accuracy.

The traffic stop June 17 south of Split Log Road and MO 59. According to the probable cause statement, Meerwald was clocked doing 77 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone.
Meerwald told Carnagey he had been to Joplin and was driving to his daughter's home. Carnagey smelled alcohol on his breath and asked if he had been drinking. Meerwald said he had two beers.

"I informed him two beers would definitely not place him anywhere near the legal limit," Carnagey wrote.

According to the statement, Meerwald voluntarily provided a breath sample on the trooper's portable tester. Despite his claim that he had only two beers, Meerwald said he would fail the test. The sample registered .177, more than twice the legal limit.

Because of the test and Meerwald's statements, Carnagey asked him to perform further tests.

"Meerwald claimed he had issues with both feet being previously broken, along with cellulitis in his legs causing swelling."

Carnagey placed Meerwald under arrest and took him to the Pineville Police Department for a chemical breath test.

The second test registered .121.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. January 30. Selby is not obligated to accept the plea bargain.

The McDonald County was not the only DWI charge pending against Meerwald.

On May 3, while Meerwald was awaiting trial on the McDonald County charge, an off-duty Joplin Police Department officer noticed him behaving erratically while he was at Hideout Harley Davidson and became concerned that Meerwald might drive when he left the business.

From the probable cause statement:

As Meerwald was leaving the store, he was stumbling and staggering as he walked toward the front door. 

Upon opening the door, Meerwald almost fell onto the ground. 

The officer informed me of the male and advised if he were to leave while operating a vehicle he needed to be stopped immediately. 

I observed (Meerwald) driving his 2016 Chevrolet Colorado eastbound out of the parking lot. I initiated an investigative traffic stop on the vehicle and made contact with Meerwald. I observed a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person and his eyes to be bloodshot/glassy.

The trial in that case is scheduled for Thursday, December 12 in McDonald County Circuit Court where it is being held on a change of venue from Newton County. Judge Joseph Schoeberl will preside.

A pre-trial conference is set for Friday in Newton County Circuit Court.

Meerwald also has a driving while revoked charge pending in Newton County.

Meerwald was the driver behind the wheel and driving impaired on July 30, 2004 on MO 86 when he ran off the road and killed Jessica Mann, 8, Joplin, and her grandfather, Jim Dodson, 69, Neosho.

The vehicle Meerwald was driving at a high rate of speed ran off Highway 86 and ran into the eight-year-old and her grandfather killing them.

Those deaths were the driving force behind a bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, during the 2005 legislative session that toughened the penalties on drunk drivers.

That law, however, did not apply to the man who killed Jessica and her grandfather.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and served time in prison.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Buck Starts Here arrives in Joplin, copies available for order, special deals offered

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when the first copies of my new book, The Buck Starts Here: Harry S. Truman and the City of Lamar, arrived at my apartment.

Signed copies of the book are now available at Changing Hands Book Shoppe, Always Buying Books and The Book Guy in Joplin.

I will be in Lamar setting up retail outlets next week and will have information soon about signings.

Signed copies of the books can also be ordered directly from me through PayPal for $20. PayPal adds the shipping and Joplin sales tax to the amount.

I am also offering two combination deals. Anyone ordering a copy of The Buck Starts Here, can also have a copy of either Lost Angels: The Murders of Rowan Ford and Doug Ringler or Newton County Memories for $5.

For those who prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card, send a check for $22 for The Buck Starts Here or $27 for either the Truman book and Lost Angels or the Truman book and Newton County Memories.

If you would like to have the book signed to someone in particular (as a gift, for instance), be sure to let me know.

Book Combination Offers

Nancy Hughes: The candy corn reminder

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want
to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15 (NIV)

There is a small bowl full of candy corn sitting on my coffee table. It’s almost always there. I keep it as a reminder of something that happened to me as a small child and as a reminder of my behavior as an adult.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents played cards with several couples and we had gone with them to the home of a family we had not met before. As we were sitting on their sofa in the living room, we spotted a bowl of candy corn on the coffee table. That was a delicacy to us and one that we seldom had at our house.

The daughter in this family frowned as she watched us dip into the bowl again and again, since we knew that we would probably not get another opportunity to eat candy corn for a long time.

We must have eaten almost all the sweet candy because she suddenly grabbed the bowl and shouted to her parents in the other room: “Those kids are eating ALL the candy! By the handfuls, Mom! It’s almost gone!” and gave us a look of ‘what is wrong with you’ that mortified us all.

I remember thinking as my face flushed with embarrassment that I would never treat anyone like that – ever.

Fast forward to my being a parent and buying my children a package of 12 juice boxes. I had just enough money to get them and told my kids to make them last all week. When I came in the kitchen about an hour later and saw all 12 empty boxes, I blew up.

“You kids drank ALL the juices at one time! Every single one! Now it’s all gone!” and gave them the ‘what is wrong with you’ look. I am sure they were mortified.
Suddenly, I was not looking at 12 empty juice boxes but instead I envisioned a nearly empty bowl of candy corn and felt the sting of hurtful words and the weight of embarrassment.

The very thing I hate, I end up doing. That’s what Paul is saying in Romans 7. I know what is right. I know what I should do. But instead, I do the very thing that I hate.

Reading further in verses 18 and 19, Paul states that he has the desire to do what is good and right but he just doesn’t do it. Even Paul struggled with the sinful nature that urges us to ignore the right thing to do and instead to do whatever we want. There is an ongoing battle between our sinful natures and God’s will for our lives.

How thankful I am for the cross and for a Savior whose grace and mercy call me to ask for forgiveness and another opportunity to be Jesus to the world.

Let us keep on praying, confessing our mistakes and trying again. He who is faithful will never leave us. And His grace covers candy corn and juice boxes.

Father, how many times have I said I would never treat someone a certain way, and yet I did. Forgive me and help me to focus on you and your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever seen or overheard something and thought “I would never do that” but later found yourself doing the very thing you said you would never do?


Find something, like my bowl of candy corn, to place on your coffee table as a reminder of Romans 7:15.

When you find yourself, as Paul did, doing the opposite of what you want to do, ask the Lord for forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to redirect you to God’s will.


Romans 7:15 (NIV) “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Romans 12:9 (NIV) “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Romans 7:18 -19 (NIV) “. . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

Kim Frencken: Too much tech?

Are we using too much technology in our classrooms?

 Some probably think we aren't using enough, but I wonder if we're missing interaction with our kids for the sake of using multiple devices in the classroom. 

Don't get me wrong, I think there is a time and place for everything, including technology. There are some outstanding programs in use. Programs that engage and teach students. But we can't lose sight of the importance of human interaction. Of teachers, teaching kids. Of listening and learning from the inflection in a voice what is really being said. 

It's too easy to write and read emails. But we lose the nuances of communication on the written page. Now, that's rich coming from me. I actually prefer email in some cases. I think email provides a great paper trail. 

I think letters are a fantastic way of phrasing your words in just the right way. They let you erase the mistakes before they words have been said. A chance to correct. But teaching social interaction is equally as important.

I see so many using technology just to use technology. They have to incorporate it into the lesson so they stick in a video or chat link or digitized document. I've been there. And done that. And not been so proud of it. I was left wondering if there maybe wasn't a better way. 

Had I just been checking off a requirement? Or was I really using technology to enhance my lesson? 

In some cases, I'll never know. In others, I knew the minutes I observed my students interaction. Or lack of it. They were going through the motions, but not really diving in.

This doesn't mean that I'll abandon all uses of technology, but it does mean that I'll rethink how and when I use it.
(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

Jason Smith: President Trump did nothing wrong

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

While the Left wishes it wasn’t the case, the facts remain the same: President Trump did nothing wrong.

Since the facts don’t create a reason to impeach the President, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Adam Schiff are now using the most desperate tactics to keep their endgame alive. 

First, it was top-secret auditions behind closed doors in the Capitol. Now, Adam Schiff has moved the spectacle into the national spotlight. Unfortunately for him, the lead witnesses have all failed to deliver “star” performances.

All of the witnesses we heard from this week had no direct knowledge of the phone conversation President Trump had with the President of Ukraine. The only thing they could share is what they heard from someone, who overheard from another person, who may have heard from another. This kind of hearsay would not be accepted in the court of law and should not be used to impeach the President of the United States. The Democrats’ star witness on Friday was an Obama Administration holdover who was fired by President Trump and proved to be nothing more than a disgruntled former employee lashing out at anyone willing to listen.

The so-called whistleblower, whose complaint launched this whole circus, has refused to testify as Schiff has blocked the American public from hearing from them. Ever since Adam Schiff's lie that he had no coordination with the whistleblower was exposed, he has claimed their testimony is no longer relevant. Despite his claim, more evidence of the whistleblower’s personal bias continues to trickle out including his attorney’s tweet from 2017 calling for a coup against President Trump.

If Adam Schiff and the Left wanted to actually find the facts in this case, we would be questioning Hunter Biden under oath to understand what he was doing on the board of an energy company in Ukraine when his dad, the Vice President at the time, was in charge of the United States’ policy towards that country. Instead of following a fair process, the Left continues to break with longstanding precedent by denying subpoena power to Republicans and refusing President Trump the ability to cross examine any of his accusers. This is unlike any impeachment investigation we have seen in modern history. During the most recent impeachment of President Clinton there was broad bipartisan support—430 of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives voted in some capacity to move forward with impeachment. Today with President Trump, the only bipartisan votes have been against moving forward with this sham.

With all of this absurdity taking place in Washington, I was grateful to take time and talk with thousands of people from southern Missouri during a town hall conversation this week. I heard repeatedly about how insane this impeachment investigation has been. I asked everyone participating to let me know whether or not they approve of the job President Trump is doing in spite of all this impeachment nonsense and 92% said they do. I am with you—President Trump has been able to get so much done with nearly all of Washington pushing back against him. In his first thousand days in office, I worked with him to slash burdensome regulations, saving $220 billion in regulatory costs for Americans.

While President Trump has been able to do so much, there is more that we could be focusing on. That’s why I asked my town hall participants which issue they would prefer Congress to focus on instead of impeachment. Nearly half said they would prefer Congress to work on securing our southern border and I could not agree more—and I know President Trump agrees too. He has been working around the clock to defend the United States by securing our borders, with 71 miles of new barriers on the southern border, 162 miles under construction, and an additional 276 miles are in the pre-construction phase. These are the kind of real results for the American People the Washington Establishment cannot stand.

They are fighting him, because he is fighting for us.

Missouri October unemployment rate 3.1 percent

(From the Missouri Department of Economic Development)

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in October 2019, remaining unchanged from September.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique used to measure and remove influences of predictable seasonal patterns to show how employment and unemployment change monthly.

Missouri has over-the-year job gains across key industries – with employment growing by 35,200 jobs, or 1.2 percent over the last year.

To view the October 2019 jobs report, click here.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cleaver: I am watching impeachment testimony with thoughtful deliberation that it deserves

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

As I’m sure you are aware, this is a week, unfortunately, that will be written about in American history books for generations to come.

This week, the United States House of Representatives opened public hearings as we uphold the solemn responsibility of investigating whether the President of the United States abused the powers enumerated unto the him by the constitution, and whether or not those offenses rise to the level of impeachment.

The misconduct alleged—that the President bribed and extorted a foreign government into interfering in our presidential election—is of the utmost seriousness for any democracy, and I can assure you I am watching the testimony with the thoughtful deliberation that such a moment deserves. 

I’m hopeful that, as a United States citizen with a say in this outcome, you will give these hearings the attention they deserve and will voice your opinion following the conclusion of testimony from all witnesses, many of which are nonpartisan career public servants.

While I know the impeachment hearings have been a focus of the media, the work of Congress on behalf of the American people has not stopped. I’m proud to let you know that a bill I introduced, the Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act of 2019, was passed unanimously out of the Financial Services Committee this week. This legislation would protect American consumers from predatory debt collection practices by closing federal loopholes and bolstering protections for consumers.

As it currently stands, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when collecting debts from consumers. Unfortunately for American consumers, a major exception in the FDCPA are debt collectors hired by state or federal government entities. One man in Kansas ended up in jail three times because he was unable to pay the growing debt from an unpaid speeding ticket. People in my home state of Missouri have been thrown in jail because they were not able to pay for traffic violations and other minor offenses. I don’t believe the federal government should be held to a different standard when it comes to preying on consumers, and this legislation will close that loophole, ensuring Americans and their credit are better protected.

The bill’s unanimous passage out of committee is a significant step in the legislative process, and a rare sight in such politically divided times. I’m hopeful the Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act will be taken up for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks, and that it will be able to garner the same kind of bipartisan support from the whole House. Until it does, I will continue my fight to protect Americans from predatory debt collectors.