Friday, August 26, 2016

Greitens receives biggest campaign contribution in Missouri history- $2.5 million

On most normal days (for Missouri, at least) a candidate receiving a $265,000 contribution as Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster did today from the CHIPP Political Fund in St. Louis, would be on top of the world.

Unfortunately for Koster, that amount left him nearly $1 million behind his Republican opponent, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.

A 48-hour report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows Greitens received the largest campaign contribution in state history, $2.5 million from the Republican National Governors-Missouri, which received it earlier in the day from the Republican National Governors based in Washington, D.C.

Greitens broke his own record, set in July when a Super PAC called Seals for Truth gave his campaign $1.975 million.

Though it was by far the biggest contribution Greitens, or anyone else, received today, it was far from the only oversized paycheck to find its way into campaign bank accounts.

Greitens also received $15,000 from Dan Drury, Cape Girardeau, $5,001 from New York businessman Mark Gerson, $25,000 from the Missouri Chamber PAC, and $10,000 from Cameron Dunafon, Columbia.

In addition to the $265,000 from the CHIPP Political Fund, Koster picked up $50,000 from the Simmons Hanley Conroy, Edwardsville, Illinois.


Billy Long: Our law enforcement must be prepared to combat terrorism

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Sadly, it has become far too common that American law enforcement officials are tasked with handling an active shooter situation. The deadly attacks in Dallas, San Bernardino, Orlando, Baton Rouge, Newtown, and elsewhere are all horrific examples of the devastation these situations are to our everyday life. Our law enforcement officials put their lives on the line to protect us, so Congress must act in every way possible to make sure that they are prepared for these threats.

Today, roughly 45 percent of police agencies in America – more than 8,000 – have undergone some form of active shooter training. In light of recent events, the value of preparing our emergency responders and training them for these situations is greater than before.

However, given that the threat is clearly increasing, the House passed legislation this month to help get every police organization in America up to speed. The “Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion Act of 2016 (the POLICE Act) will provide the Department of Justice with the tools they need and more flexibility in funding specialized response training with existing Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) grants. It will ensure our police professionals and other emergency responder team have proper preparedness for efficient response.

This training has been proven in the field. For Nidal Hasan’s 2009 attack on Fort Hood, it was two civilian officers who were trained at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) center in Texas became integral in stopping the bloodshed that day. The center’s curriculum is dynamic force-on-force, scenario-based training. It has been adopted by the FBI as the national standard for response, and has been provided to more than 40,000 police officers nationwide.

I am proud to have supported this bipartisan bill, which was signed into law by President Obama last month, because I know that it will make a true difference in law enforcement training and the more rapid diffusing of dangerous situations. Many law enforcement associations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, agreed by way of their full support and endorsement of the POLICE Act.

Unfortunately, terrorism is a very real danger that threatens all Americans and Department of Homeland Security experts and others believe that it is not a question of if, but when, radicals will attack again and where. We must be prepared to face this threat, and more training in our communities will save lives. I will continue doing all I can to support our law enforcement officials and emergency responders.

So you want to be a Joplin R-8 Director of Facilities

(An advertisement for a director of facilities was posted Wednesday on the Joplin R-8 School District website)

Position:                      Director of Facilities
                                                             
Term:                           Full-Time/12 Month

Classification:             Classified

Location:                     Buildings, Grounds, and Transportation Office

Qualifications:             College diploma or equivalent technical training helpful but not
                                    required.
                                    Experience in construction trades with at least five years in a large scale maintenance supervisory position desired.  Also, experience in the fields of architecture and/or engineering a plus.
                                    Such alternatives to the above qualifications as the Board and Administration may find acceptable.
                       

Supervisory:                Yes

Reports to:                  Assistant Superintendent of Operations

The Director of Facilities will work to perform supervisory and planning duties for Support Services areas of buildings, grounds, and maintenance.

General Expectations:
  • Supports the mission of Joplin Schools.
  • Supports the value of education.
  • Complies with the privacy rights of students.
  • Safeguards confidential and/or sensitive information.
  • Communicates effectively with all the members of the school district and community.
  • Provides excellence in customer service both internally and externally.
  • Reacts to change productively.
  • Keeps abreast of new information, innovative ideas and techniques.
  • Maintains accurate records and filing systems for accountability and audit purposes.
  • Ensures that all activities conform to district and state guidelines.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals.
  • Respond to common inquires or complaints from patrons, regulatory agencies, or members of the business community.
  • Effectively present information to top management, public groups, employee groups, and/or Board of Directors.
  • Be able to work with mathematical concepts as probability and statistical inference, and fundamentals of plane and solid geometry and trigonometry.
  • Apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.
  • Solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete and abstract variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.
  • Interpret a variety or instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, and the community.
  • Perform duties with awareness of all district requirements and Board of Education Policies.

Essential Functions:
  • Develop and administer a District-wide buildings and grounds program, including program planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • Manages the planning process for building and maintaining facilities needed to deliver the program of instruction.
  • Oversee the cleaning and custodial services (and staff) of the buildings.
  • Oversee the handling of hazardous and other waste.
  • Supervise and inspect major projects of building repairs and remodeling, overseeing general contract work at the respective facilities
  • Work with architects and contractors on project problems.
  • Perform minor surveying, blueprint reading, line locations such as water, sewer, gas, telephone, electric, CATV, etc.
  • Manage employee bids on open positions
  • Be involved in the interview and hiring process for buildings and grounds positions
  • Annually update the Building Summaries Book.
  • Initiate bid requests and apply for state prevailing wage rates for projects.
  • Conduct inspections of each school district facility on a monthly basis.
  • Oversees the corrective and preventive maintenance programs for the District’s physical plants and the motor fleet.
  • Coordinates the procurement of contractors’ services for maintenance and construction projects funded by the budget
  • Supervise the development and the administration of Buildings and Grounds Programs.
  • Supervise, evaluate, and direct the work of all Buildings and Grounds supervisors.
  • Coordinates the District’s energy management system.
  • Interpret school rules and regulations.
  • Supervise the staffing of Buildings and Grounds personnel.
  • Direct the evaluation of Buildings and Grounds personnel and programs.
  • Relate Capital Project needs and Buildings and Grounds operating needs in the preparation of the budget.
  • Administer the department’s approved budget.
  • Oversees the inspection, maintenance, and repair of school buses and other vehicles owned by the District.
  • Play a significant leadership role in fostering professional growth and building of staff morale throughout the area of Buildings and Grounds.
  • On call at all times for security alarm callbacks.
  • Carry out all other duties as assigned.

Physical Demands
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to walk and talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand or sit. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision and depth perception.

Attendance
Regular and consistent attendance is an essential function of this position. 

The work conditions and environment described here are representative of those that an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

Conditions and Environment
The noise level in this position varies. When visiting a building or on a job site the noise level may be loud, in the office, quiet and at meetings, moderate.

Note:  The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees, and are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified.  Furthermore, they do not establish a contract for employment and are subject to change at the discretion of the employer.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ridder: We need a graphic design class at Franklin Tech

If the recent controversy over whether the Joplin R-8 School District should hire a graphic design artist has had any positive result it may have come from a remark made by Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder during the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.

One of the questions that has been posed, both by board members and by readers of this blog is why couldn't at least some of the graphic design work be done by students.

As it turns out, Franklin Tech does not have a graphic design class, though Director of Communications Kelli Price told the board that students in the regular art classes have done some work for the district.

"We need to have graphic design as part of our program at Franklin Tech," Ridder said and board members appeared to agree that should be done.

Though it is unlikely anything can be done for this school year, it does sound like the idea of bringing someone in to Franklin Tech who can teach graphic design would have plenty of benefits for the district, including having a professional graphic designer on staff who can teach students a subject for which there is a demand in the workplace and also enabling them to learn the requirements for doing the kind of work that has been the subject of the discussions at the last two board meetings.

During the meeting Tuesday, the board agreed to hire Christina Williams, who worked for the district as a graphic designer before her position was eliminated during budget cuts, at a rate of $45 per hour, with a cap of $12,000.

Mercy McCune-Brooks administrator's driver's license hearing moved to Newton County

The decision on whether Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital Administrator Scott Watson will retain his driving privileges will be held in Newton County Circuit Court on a change of venue from Jasper County.

The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 7, just nine days before the temporary stay that has allowed him to continue driving is scheduled to expire.

Watson's driving privileges were suspended after the Joplin Police Department arrested him 1:15 a. m. July 2 at the 9 mile marker on eastbound I-44 for driving while intoxicated. Online court records indicate Watson refused to take a breathalyzer test, a claim that is disputed by Watson's attorney Judd McPherson, Joplin, in his request for a stay to allow Watson to continue driving until the administrative hearing is held.

"Plaintiff was not properly under arrest and the said officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that Plaintiff committed any offense."

The petition says Watson, who was Newton County prosecuting attorney for 14 years, "did not refuse to submit to any chemical test at the request of said officers," and "was not informed that his license may be revoked upon refusal to submit to a test.:

The officer "did not have reasonable grounds to believe plaintiff was driving a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition," according to the petition.

The outcome of the hearing will likely determine whether charges are filed against Watson. If so, the charge will likely be filed in Joplin Municipal Court, the Carthage Press reported.

-

Severe thunderstorm warning extended for southwestern Newton County

(From the National Weather Service)

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SPRINGFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  SOUTHWESTERN NEWTON COUNTY IN SOUTHWESTERN MISSOURI...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 726 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER SENECA...OR
  12 MILES WEST OF NEOSHO...MOVING EAST AT 15 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING...AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  NEOSHO...                         SENECA...
  RACINE...

Joplin City Council special meeting set for Monday

SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING
August 29, 2016 6:00 P.M., 
Council Chambers 

Notice is hereby given that the City Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri will hold a special meeting beginning at 6:00 pm on Monday, August 29, 2016, in the 5th Floor Council Chambers, 602 S. Main Street, for the purpose of items listed below.

 1. Call to Order

2. Reading of the Special Call

3. Roll Call

4. Public Hearing Public Hearing Procedures

    1.Public Hearing on the 2016 property tax rate.

5. Resolutions

    1.RESOLUTION NO. 2016-018-A RESOLUTION extending the Financial Oversight Committee for an additional term of three years.

 6. Ordinances – Emergency

    1. COUNCIL BILL NO. 2016-517-AN ORDINANCE levying taxes in the City of Joplin, Missouri for the year 2016 in the amount of Seventeen and Fifty-Eight Hundredths Cents ($0.1758) on One Hundred Dollars of valuation of all real property in said City, and levying taxes in the Joplin Public Library District for the year 2016 in the amount of Twenty-Five and Forty-Five Hundredths Cents ($0.2545) on One Hundred Dollars of valuation of all real property in said District, and containing an emergency clause.

    2.COUNCIL BILL NO. 2016-518 - AN ORDINANCE approving a partial assignment of the Northpark Crossing Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Agreement by and between the City of Joplin and North Park Crossing, LC, a Missouri limited liability company; authorizing the City Manager to execute said Agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin and containing an emergency clause.

7. New Business

1. Options for 15th Street improvements

8. Adjourn to Budget Work Session

    1.Council to discuss raises and other budget items.

Danforth endorses Greitens

(From the Greitens for Governor campaign)

Politics is, at its root, about how we help people. Somewhere along the way, politicians have forgotten this. They have turned politics into the worst kind of personality contest and brought a pettiness and ugliness to the public sphere.

The change begins with the politicians themselves—the men and women we elect to serve us and shape the direction of our state and country. They must be servants first, people who are focused on how we help our fellow citizens. They must be people of uncommon character, courage, and conviction.

That’s why I’m proud to endorse Eric Greitens for Governor. At a time when it’s easy to become cynical about public service, Eric Greitens has spent his life devoted to serving others. He has worked hand-in-hand and side-by-side with children in some of the world’s poorest and toughest places. He has served his country honorably as a United States Navy SEAL. And he built an organization that has improved the lives of his fellow veterans here at home. He has worked tirelessly to improve the life of his fellow man, and now he is stepping up to improve the future of our state.

Missouri has real needs—in education, jobs, and infrastructure—and I believe those challenges require leaders who have achieved results—leaders like Eric Greitens. I urge my fellow Missourians to vote for Eric Greitens this fall. It’s time to send a trusted public servant to Jefferson City.

Best,
Senator John C. Danforth

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Jasper, Newton counties

(From the National Weather Service)

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SPRINGFIELD MO
549 PM CDT THU AUG 25 2016

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SPRINGFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
  NORTHERN NEWTON COUNTY IN SOUTHWESTERN MISSOURI...
  SOUTHERN JASPER COUNTY IN SOUTHWESTERN MISSOURI...

* UNTIL 645 PM CDT

* AT 549 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED OVER SHOAL CREEK
  DRIVE...OR OVER JOPLIN...MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

  HAZARD...60 MPH WIND GUSTS.

  SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED.

  IMPACT...EXPECT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...SIDING...AND TREES.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  JOPLIN...                         CARTHAGE...
  WEBB CITY...                      GALENA...
  GRANBY...                         CARTERVILLE...
  DUQUESNE...                       DUENWEG...
  DIAMOND...                        LOMA LINDA...
  AIRPORT DRIVE...                  LEAWOOD...
  SILVER CREEK...                   SHOAL CREEK DRIVE...
  SAGINAW...                        FIDELITY...
  REDINGS MILL...                   GRAND FALLS PLAZA...
  BROOKLYN HEIGHTS...               SHOAL CREEK ESTATES...

THIS INCLUDES INTERSTATE 44 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 0 AND 27.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
BUILDING.

TORRENTIAL RAINFALL IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM...AND MAY LEAD TO
FLASH FLOODING. DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE THROUGH FLOODED ROADWAYS.

&&

Victim of Jasper High School aide's sexual assault, sues woman and her husband

The victim of a sexual assault that resulted in a seven-year prison sentence for a former Jasper High School teacher's aide is suing the woman for sexual assault and battery and her husband for negligence.

In the lawsuit, which was filed July 22 in Jasper County Circuit Court, Joplin attorney Scott Vorhees, representing the young man, who is referred to only as D. S. in the petition, Janice Rusk, 46, is described as a "manipulative" woman who lured the boy into a series of sexual encounters.

Under the guise of being a mentor, the lawsuit says, "(Rusk) deceived D. J.'s mother into believing that she would educate and care for her child while he was in school and after school activities.

"For a period of time, (Rusk) repeatedly sought opportunities to sexually molest D. S. by bribery, employing manipulative tactics, false professions of affection, forced vows of secrecy and silence, and other such methods to coerce the minor child into keeping her actions silent, despite the enormous harm she was inflicting on the child physically, emotionally ,and mentally."

The lawsuit says Rusk sexually assaulted, battered, and sodomized D. S. in various Jasper County locations, including on the tailgate of D. S.' pickup.

"D. S. did not have the physical or mental wherewithal to consent to our escape from her advances."

The petition also accuses Rusk's husband, Dan, of "general negligence," claiming he "knew or should have known that his wife was using marital funds to bribe children."

Rusk also had ample evidence of what his wife was doing, the petition says.

"Multiple warning signs of inappropriate behavior by (Janice Rusk) were evident both before and after November 2013, but Dan Rusk turned a blind eye to said signs, choosing instead to enable his wife's sexually inappropriate perversities by permitting her to be alone with D. S.  in her private vehicle. (He) did so despite on one or more occasions witnessing inappropriate conduct between (his wife) and minor boys and in a manner that should have caused him to rescue the children and to report his wife' to the children's parents and/or law enforcement."

The lawsuit also claims that Rusk's husband:

-Did not warn D. S.'s mother of (her) pedophilia

-Chose to ignore warning signs that (she) was not controlling her perversity and pedophilia

-Chose to be inattentive to the safety and well being of children when they were supposed to be in her care

-Chose to enable his wife's perversities rather than insisting that she receive mental health counseling and that she stay away from children, including D. S.

The petition asks for unspecified actual, compensatory, and punitive damages and asks for a jury trial.

The lawsuit was served on Janice Rusk at her present home, the women's prison in Vandalia. She was sentenced to seven years in prison on statutory rape and statutory sodomy charges, but was eligible for release after 120 days after going through a sex offender treatment program.

At the end of the 120-day period, Judge David Dally denied the early release.