Saturday, August 19, 2017

Governor calls for Senate to remove St. Louis Democrat who called for Trump's assassination

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Senator (Maria) Chappelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis) said she hopes the President is killed. Republicans and Democrats have called on her to resign. Her response: "Hell no." Last night, in an interview, she refused to apologize—twice.

If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should."

Billy Long: I will work with President Trump to prevent spread of chemical weapons

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Every day we hear about the global threat of chemical weapons and the devastating impact they have. These weapons of mass destruction are weaponized toxic substances such as chlorine bombs, sarin nerve gas, and mustard gas. Many chemical weapons can cause blistering and blindness, while nerve agents such as sarin and VX attack the nervous system and lead to death from asphyxia. Although the use of chemical weapons has been prohibited for decades, that hasn’t stopped countries like Syria or terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, from using them.

During World War I, the use of chemical weapons caused over one million fatalities on the battlefield. The global community saw the horrors these weapons inflicted and worked together to make sure it never happened again by prohibiting their use under the Geneva Protocol.

Decades later, the global community came together again, this time setting its sights on halting the creation of chemical weapons and eliminating a country’s ability to stockpile them. In 1997, the U.S. joined over 150 countries and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) treaty, which bans the creation and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Since then, the U.S. has eliminated 27,000 tons of chemical weapons.

However, laws and treaties are only as effective as the entities that follow them. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an inter-government organization, is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the CWC. If problems arise, the OPCW has the ability to bring issues before the UN Security Council and General Assembly for economic sanctions or trade embargoes.

In August of 2015, the OPCW confirmed that ISIS used mustard gas on civilians in Syria. Just this past March ISIS attacked civilians in Iraq with rockets laced with chemical agents. In the Iraqi city of West Mosul alone there were 15 confirmed chemical weapons attacks from April to mid-May. These types of chemical weapons are nearly impossible to defend against without specific protective gear, which is nearly non-existent in Iraq and Syria. According to U.S. intelligence officials, ISIS is working towards creating a chemical weapons cell of specialists to increase its supply of deadly nerve agents like sarin or VX.

Sadly, ISIS isn’t the only entity using chemical weapons. The Syrian government, though it denies it, has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own people. In 2013, chemical attacks from the Syrian military killed nearly 1,500 civilians. Last April, sarin gas launched from a Syrian military base killed over 80 civilians and injured hundreds more, including many women and children.

Fortunately, our president is not complacent in the face of such evil. In April, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military base responsible for launching the attack. His swift actions stated unequivocally that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. I agree and will continue to work with the president to prevent the spread and use of these weapons.

Missouri State Parks issues advisory not to use specific brand of solar eclipse glasses

(From Missouri State Parks)

Missouri State Parks is issuing an advisory not to use a specific brand of solar eclipse glasses and viewers because it cannot be confirmed they meet ISO and CE certification or came from a recommended manufacturer.

The glasses and viewers were sold under the name “PMS Promo Mart” at Missouri state park and historic site stores throughout the state. The name is listed on the inside of the glasses between the lenses. Anyone who purchased the glasses with the name “PMS Promo Mart” should return them to any state park or historic site store or gift shop to receive a full refund.

“We are issuing this advisory as a precautionary measure because we cannot verify that the solar eclipse glasses and viewers meet all the requirements to safely view the eclipse,” said Ben Ellis, Missouri State Parks director. Ellis said they are advising anyone who bought the glasses with the PMS Promo Mart label to NOT use them during the eclipse.

NASA and the American Astronomical Society advise viewers to use only certified solar eclipse glasses or other solar filters to protect their eyes when the viewing the sun or an eclipse. Using any other type of glasses or filters may result in loss of vision or permanent blindness.

“Missouri State Parks apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause but we want to take all possible steps to make sure everyone can safely view the solar eclipse,” Ellis said.

For more information about the advisory, visit mostateparks.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Arraignment set for doctor, former Carl Junction resident, charged with rape, sodomy, incest

A 9 a.m. September 5 arraignment is scheduled in Camden County Circuit Court for an Osage Beach doctor accused of five felony sex crimes.

According to court documents, Dr. George Koch, 47, a former Carl Junction resident, was arrested July 28 on charges of rape, sodomy, incest, statutory rape and statutory sodomy.

The probable cause statement indicates a delivery man interrupted Koch during a sexual attack on his underage victim when he heard screaming coming from inside Koch's residence on April 13.

Court records indicate the sex was done by forcible compulsion.

Koch, an infectious disease specialist, is free after a $100,000 surety bond was posted. As a condition of his bond, he is required to have GPS monitoring.


Judge rejects McDonald County white supremacist's motion for early release from probation

For a second time, U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool has rejected a request from McDonald County white supremacist Robert Joos for an early release from his supervised probation.

In his August 14 motion Joos, representing himself, said he had "29 months of clean conduct" since his release from prison after serving six years on a weapons charge.

Joos probably did not do himself any favors by continuing to insist that the original charges against him were trumped up and that his sentence was "ridiculously long."

As he did in his first motion for an early release, Joos said he needed the freedom to help track down the people who had been vandalizing and stealing things from his church. The stipulations of his probation kept him from crossing the state line into Arkansas. "I can't follow them to their hideout and report them to the cops," Joos wrote.

In the earlier motion, Joos said he wanted to help the Joplin FBI office because it was too busy dealing with all of the meth in the area.

Joos was arrested in 2009 as part of an FBI investigation into a 2004 racially motivated bombing in Scottsdale, Arizona, which also resulted in the arrests of national white supremacist leaders, the Mahon brothers, Dennis and Daniel.

An Associated Press article in 2009 described Joos' operation:

The Missouri affidavit says the Mahons told an undercover federal agent that white supremacists used Joos's remote property in southwestern Missouri's McDonald County for survival training.
One of the Mahon brothers described Joos as "an expert on weapons, explosives, bomb making and general survival skills," the affidavit said.

Joos himself told undercover agents who visited his property of the importance of having firearms "in several locations" and said he used 18 caves to hide weapons, according to the affidavit.

Classroom Confidential available on Amazon

As of this evening, my new book, Classroom Confidential, is available on Amazon.com.

The book is a collection of my writings on different aspects of education. The photo on the cover should be familiar to some of my former students and teaching colleagues. It was taken in Room 210 at South Middle School, a room where I spent six years teaching eighth grade English.

The book features essays on problems in our public education system and the way public schools are being treated by our politicians, remembrances of teachers and former students who are no longer with us, thoughts on different aspects of teaching, memories of my classroom days, both as a teacher and as a student and much more.

The essays have been previously published, but many include updates and in one case, I admit I have changed my mind about what I wrote.

The book includes the following chapters:

The Girl Next Door- A high school student discovers her life work during a job shadowing experience, but that life is tragically shortened.

The School Where Cheating Does Not Exist- Student journalist Lauren Fetters discovers that her story was inaccurate and that cheating does not happen at Diamond Middle School.

A Few Words About Teachers- In this one, angered by someone who used that old saying, "Those who can do and those who can't teach," I write about the teachers who have influenced my life, beginning with my teachers at Midway, Triway, and East Newton all the way through my time in the Joplin School District.

The One With the Gun- This one was written following the 2006 shooting at Memorial Middle School in Joplin.

Improving Graduation Rates- This was one was written shortly after the Joplin R-8 School District hired C. J. Huff as superintendent. I offer my suggestions non how graduation rates can be improved.

Teachers and Facebook- In this one, I address the controversy over whether teachers should communicate with students over Facebook.and other social networking sites.

Remembering Dick Ferguson- A slightly embarrassing situation at Diamond Middle School when two of my students ask guest speaker Dick Ferguson some eyeopening questions.

Teachers Must Take the Lead in Removing Bad Apples- Teachers have a responsibility to police their own profession.

The Mythical Crisis in Public Education- You can probably guess what this one is about.

Blame It on the Teachers

A Time When All Things Are Possible- My thoughts on the first day of school

Reviving My Enthusiasm For Teaching- I was never a big fan of the pep rallies the Joplin R-8 School District held for all employees on the first day back, but at this particular one I had a chance to talk with one of my former Diamond Middle School students, Kristen Hicks, as she was preparing to begin her teaching career.

Remembering Brendan Garrett- A former South Middle School student who died far too young

The Murder of Rowan Ford- As Triway Elementary School fourth graders dealt with the rape and murder of their classmate, I remembered how much simpler life was when I was a Triway fourth grader during the 1965-66 school year.

Remembering Terry James- Thoughts about a longtime Webb City R-7 Board of Education member

Gov. Greitens' Latest Attack on Public Education- As you can tell, this is a recent one.

Young People Should Become Teachers

Football Coaches Don't Cry- A Seneca football coach develops a friendship with a six-year-old wheelchair-bound victim of a drunk driving accident.

The Death of Creativity in the Classroom- Too much testing and test preparation

Remembering J. R. Polen and South Middle School- My first year teaching in the Joplin R-8 School District and some of the students who made it special

Remembering Terri Byrd- A North Middle School teacher whose career was cut tragically short, but not without leaving many wonderful memories

Ten Signs Your Child Is In a Failing School District

Tornado Victim Should Be Able to Leave Joplin High School With His Classmates- One of two essays on the Zach Williams controversy

Zach Williams Controversy is About Community and Humanity- The other essay

Remembering T. J. Bowman and the Trailer Classroom- Some memories of my first year as a teacher

A Special Group of Seniors- My thoughts on the graduation of the students who were my eighth graders during the first year in the warehouse school after the tornado

Betsy DeVos and the Blunt Connection- What would a book on education be without some investigative reporting?

Remembering Spencer Nicodemus- Friends remember the life of a young man who contributed much during his short time here.

Remembering Larry Dixon- A Lockwood High School science teacher influences generations of students

The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time- In this one, I explain why charter schools and vouchers are bad ideas.

Trump Plagiarism Scandal Offer New Excuses for Our Students- I feel sorry for Melania.

No Amount of Data Can Replace a Good Classroom Teacher

Donald Trump Jr. Attacks Teachers in Convention Speech

Remembering Larry Augustine- Larry, a Diamond Middle School math teacher, helped me a great deal during my early years of teaching. He made math a go-to destination for students.

The Third Voice- Two Carthage students vie for a I rating at state with a duet that was originally supposed to be a trio until the third member committed suicide.

From First Kiss to Lasting Love- A basketball homecoming is the start of a wonderful life for a Lamar High School student.

A Warning to Young People: Don't Become a Teacher- I can never make up my mind.

Reflections on a Field Trip- East Middle School students take in a Springfield Cardinals game and see the magic of Oscar Taveras.

Forget Voter ID, We Need a Voter IQ Law- Isn't the time right for this?

Random Drug Testing of Students Sends the Wrong Message

Message to a First Year Teacher- As my former Diamond Middle School student Stephanie Taylor began her teaching career, I offered some advice to all first year teachers.

I Am Sick of Class Warfare- The effect class warfare is having on public education

Billionaire Links KKK with Public Education- There Rex Sinquefield goes again.

Obama State of the Union Sends Positive Message to Public Schools

Finding "Hi" in my Joplin Classroom- A special gift from eighth grader Sabrina Randles means even more after the tornado.

The Smackdown of Those Spoiled Teachers

Tribute to a Middle School Principal- Some thoughts about current East Newton R-6 Superintendent Ron Mitchell

Recovering From a Hate Crime- Joplin High School student Laela Zaidi works to bring the community together after an arson fire destroys the Joplin Islamic Community Mosque.

The book can be ordered as a paperback or as an e-book at the links below:

State Emergency Operations Center to open Friday to deal with traffic, eclipse

(From the Missouri Department of Public Safety)

In preparation for a large number of visitors to Missouri and the potential for increased traffic and eclipse-related issues, the State Emergency Operations Center will be activated beginning Friday morning and continuing through Tuesday, Aug. 22, to monitor conditions and respond to possible requests for assistance.

Just as Missourians have been preparing for the chance to witness the total solar eclipse that will span the Show-Me State, Missouri’s emergency managers and response agencies have been planning, too. The Department of Public SafetyState Emergency Management AgencyMissouri State Highway Patrol and other state response partners, including the Missouri Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources, have been working together on a coordinated response plan since March. 

“This will be a unique event, but we’re utilizing the experience gained from other major events that bring in large numbers of people, increased traffic and that have the potential to tax local resources,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “Preplanning and coordination with our state and local partners have been essential, and strong communication throughout the event period will continue.”

At the local level, many communities and businesses have been making adjustments to reduce traffic, including changing trash collections schedules, deliveries and work schedules. In Jefferson City, the only state capital in the 14 states in the eclipse path of totality, non-essential state offices will be closed to free up parking for an expected inflow of thousands of visitors to the Capitol Complex and to reduce traffic congestion.
Jefferson City will host a series of events, including NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow traveling exhibit. The Missouri capital city will also be one of seven cities from which the space agency will broadcast a live feed of the solar eclipse.

Here are key steps the public can take to reduce traffic and increase safety, particularly in areas of the state that are in the eclipse path of totality, a 70-mile-wide band stretching approximately from St. Joseph to Ste. Genevieve:

·         Plan ahead where you’ll view the eclipse and allow extra time to travel there. You don’t want to view a historic event stuck in traffic! Also, wait for traffic to abate before heading back onto the road. Consider carpooling to reduce traffic.
·         Follow news reports beginning over the weekend and especially traffic reports Monday morning for information about local traffic and events that could affect travel. The MoDOT Traveler Information Map is a good resource: http://traveler.modot.org/map/
·         Avoid unnecessary travel in and near the path of totality on Aug. 21. Consider taking care of routine matters that involve vehicular travel before or after Aug. 21.
·         Motorists should be alert and expect the unexpected. Expect additional traffic and avoid distractions. Remember, out of town visitors may not be familiar with traffic patterns or be looking for viewing sites. Watch out for cars on road shoulders and pedestrians. Remember, visibility will be reduced during the eclipse.
·         Think of eye safety and only use approved “eclipse glasses.” Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the very brief total phase of the eclipse, which will occur only in the narrow path of totality. According to NASA and other experts, the only safe eclipse glasses are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Even the darkest sunglasses are not safe. Check NASA’s eclipse safety page:https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety for details.
The Department of Public Safety has created an eclipse safety webpage with recommended steps the public can take to get the most enjoyment out of the eclipse. The page is can be accessed from the DPS homepage at https://dps.mo.gov/ or directly here. The page includes an eclipse safety video.

The state of Missouri’s eclipse page can link you to local events planned across Missouri, transportation information, along with details on viewing areas at Missouri State Parks and Conservation areas. Find it on the state homepage: https://www.mo.gov/.

Senator who called for Trump's assassination, "It was inappropriate, but I won't apologize"

At the risk of offending many of my readers, Donald Trump has been a nightmare as president of the United States and at some point, the systems that were established by our forefathers- Congress, the courts, and a First Amendment that protects those who deliver the news and those who express their opinions- are going to decide the president's fate.

That process should be allowed to play itself out.

We should not have to wait that long in the State of Missouri.

It is time for Sen. Maria Chappelle Nadal, D-St. Louis, to resign.

When she wrote a Facebook post calling for President Trump to be assassinated, she forfeited any right she has to serve in our state legislature.

She removed the post, but not until after it, quite understandably, created a stir and received nearly universal condemnation from Democrats and Republicans alike, with many calling for her to resign.

In the accompanying video, Chappelle-Nadal says her comments were "inappropriate," but pointedly refuses to apologize to President Trump.

"I hate President Trump," she said. "He is causing mass chaos."

She adamantly insists, "I am not going to resign." Why should she have to resign, she said when there are people in the state legislature who smoke marijuana and cheat on their wives.

What world does she live in where calling for the president to be assassinated equates with smoking marijuana and having extramarital sex?

The reporters in the video give Chappelle-Nadal every chance to walk back her statements. Calling them inappropriate is a copout and it is obvious from the way she says it, that she really does not mean it.

We have enough people spreading hatred and violence without this self-serving senator doing so and claiming she is doing it in the name of the people she represents.

News-Leader: Charlottesville tiki torch carrier lives between Joplin and Springfield

The Springfield News-Leader is reporting that a man pictured in a photo that went viral from the Charlottesville rally is former Springfield resident Ted Von Nukem, formerly known as Ted Landrum.

Von Nukem told the newspaper that he now lives between Springfield and Joplin:

"The rally was not a racist rally. It was a rally to save our history," Von Nukem said, adding that he would also not like to see Union statues removed.

Von Nukem said he's a supporter of President Donald Trump and does not identify with some of the groups which attended the protest, including white supremacist, alt-right, neo-Nazi and pro-Confederate groups.

(Note: Nevertheless, I still tried to look up Von Nukem's current address on the White Pages.)

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

COUNCIL AGENDA
Monday, August 21, 2017
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers
1.

Call To Order

Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America
2.

Roll Call

3.

Presentations

1.

Rob O’Brian, President Of The Joplin Area Chamber Of Commerce To Give The Economic Development Update Report.

4.

Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.

Reports And Communications

6.

Citizen Requests And Petitions

7.

Public Hearings

1.

Public Hearing Procedures

2.

Public Hearing For The FY 2017-18 Proposed Budget

3.

FY 2018 Proposed Budget Presentation

8.

Consent Agenda

1.

Minutes Of The August 7, 2017 City Council Meeting

2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-006

AN ORDINANCE re-adopting Chapter 2, Administration, of the Joplin City Code, Section 2-107, "Financial interest disclosure", requiring certain officials and employees of the City of Joplin to file Financial Interest Disclosure Statements as described herein.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-606

AN ORDINANCE approving the applications of Four-State Trucks/Chrome Shop Mafia, for Guilty by Association; Ozark Christian College, for 2018 Conference Series; Active Lifestyle Inc., for Joplin Memorial Marathon; Rufus Racing, for Summer Roundup Triathlon; Joplin Disc Golf Club for 13th Annual Four State Open; MSSU Alumni Association for Alumni Tracking Software; George A. Spiva Center for the Arts for a Veterans Art Exhibit; George Washington Carver Birthplace Association, for the Marketing the Park’s 75th Anniversary year; ProMusica for 2018 Concert Series; Alliance of Southwest Missouri for Hope Conference; Emancipation Celebration Committee for Emancipation Park Day Celebration; Downtown Joplin Alliance for 2018 Events Marketing; Central Christian Center for Joyful Hearts Conference; Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce for the 18th Annual Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival; Joplin Art Fest Committee for the Joplin Arts Fest, and Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc. for Heritage Homes Tour , for utilization of FY2018 Festivals and Celebrations support pursuant to Ordinance No. 2000-148, as authorized by the voters on November 7, 2000; authorizing the City Manager to execute appropriate agreements with each such organization for the utilization of such funds.
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-608

AN ORDINANCE approving a License Agreement with Tempest, Inc. for their Customer Relations Management software for the Convention and Visitors Bureau; authorizing the City Manager to execute said Agreement or Agreement in substantially similar form, for the City.
9.

Resolutions

10.

Ordinances - Emergency

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-005

AN ORDINANCE approving the reclassification of the Senior Clerk positions in the City Prosecutor’s Office in the Legal Department to become Legal Specialist – City Prosecutor’s Office; and, containing an emergency clause.
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-147

AN ORDINANCE amending Chapter 114, Traffic Section 114-822, Specific Speed Limits, of the Code of Ordinance of the City of Joplin, Missouri to amend the speed limit on Schifferdecker Avenue from 9th Street to 20th Street to 45 mph and on Zora Avenue from St. Louis Avenue to Range Line to 40 mph; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-148

AN ORDINANCE approving an amendment to the Work Authorization with Allgeier, Martin & Associates Inc., in the not to exceed amount of Forty-Nine Thousand Six Hundred Twenty and no/100 Dollars ($49,620.00) for professional engineering consulting services for the ditch and culvert improvements, 4th and School Avenue project, and containing an emergency clause.
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-149

AN ORDINANCE approving a Work Authorization with Allgeier, Martin & Associates Inc., in not to exceed amount of Seventy-Five Thousand and no/100 Dollars ($75,000.00) for professional engineering consulting services for the 2018-2019 sanitary sewer rehabilitation toolbox and miscellaneous rehab assistance project, and containing an emergency clause.
5.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-452

AN ORDINANCE authorizing a Program Services Contract, by and between the State of Missouri, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for the City of Joplin Health Department to receive compensation, for Thirty-Nine Thousand, Three Hundred Ninety-Eight Dollars, no Cents, ($39,398.00); and, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and, containing an emergency clause.
6.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-453

AN ORDINANCE approving a Construction Agreement by and between Rio Contracting, LLC. and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for the amount of Fifty-Nine Thousand, One Hundred Eighty-Seven Dollars and no Cents ($59,187.00), for Modifications to the City of Joplin Health Department Storage Building; and, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and, containing an emergency clause.
11.

Ordinances - First Reading

1.

AMENDED COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-270

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District M-2 property as described below and located (210 acres) north of Highway FF and east of Prigmor Road in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
12.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-269

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-and including in District C-3 property as described below and located Northeast corner of I-44 and US Highway 66 in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri
13.

Unfinished Business

14.

New Business

1.

News From The PIO

2.

Vote To Go To Closed Session

Vote to go into closed session, which shall pertain to the hiring, firing, disciplining, or promotion of an employee or particular employees of a governmental body involving personal information; more specifically for the purpose of evaluating certain Council employees; as set forth in Section 610.021 (3) RSMo, as amended, 2016. This meeting, record, and vote to be closed to the extent provided by law. The City Council shall adjourn at the end of the session.