Friday, September 10, 2004

Nothing makes news in a small town quicker than a controversy in the police department as Southwest City residents have been finding out for the past few months.
John Ford's article in The Neosho Daily News earlier this week chronicling the latest occurrences was fascinating.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this case, Southwest City's former police chief, Ron Beaudry was suspended in May when he tried to fire policewoman Toi Cannada after discovering she had been convicted on a DWI charge three years ago when she was living in Jefferson City. She was not in law enforcement at that time.
The city council overruled him, even though Beaudry had a letter from the city's insurance carrier saying it would not cover Ms. Cannada because of that conviction.
According to the Daily's article, the Southwest City mayor said the only reason Beaudry wanted to get rid of Ms. Cannada is because she is a woman.
I will leave it up to individual preference whether you think someone who has been convicted of DWI should be allowed to work in law enforcement. What bothered me was her explanation for the drunk driving offense, which Ford printed in his article.
"Cannada said she was at a co-worker's home in Fulton the night of her arrest when the host and another co-worker got into an argument. The host got mad, she said, and ordered everyone out of the house, locking the door behind them."
After telling what led to the incident, Ms. Cannada continued, "It was on the bad side of town. I weighed the situation and asked myself: Did I really want to be a white female out walking by myself? I then decided to drive to where I was working at the time and sleep it off."
Apparently, she got lost, was stopped by the police and had a blood alcohol content far above the limit at which a person is legally intoxicated.
I was disturbed by her comment about being a "white female" out walking by herself. While I would guess she meant no harm by that comment, I am not sure I would want a police chief who doesn't think before making racially-tinged comments. After all, she has to work with the entire community.
I would suggest Southwest City officials should clean out the police department and start all over again, but then again no one asked me.
The Diamond R-4 School District's attorneys filed their response to Edison's counterclaim Sept. 8 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
They pretty much denied everything they didn't like and agreed with everything they did. Imagine how much simpler and more understandable the law would be if they actually put it in basic, simple terms like that.
Dorothy Parks prevented me from making a lot of mistakes during the time I worked as a sports editor for the Lamar Daily Democrat in 1978. Dorothy, who worked as a typesetter and proofreader at the time, was an expert speller, an expert on grammar, and knew Lamar front and back. She and the composing room foreman, Russell Pierson, saved my bacon numerous times and helped me turn the road toward having a little success in journalism.
Fortunately for me, Dorothy still knows her business. Dorothy worked for the Lamar Journal beginning in 1953, her first job in the newspaper business, and told me that it was the Journal, not the Lamar Leader as I wrote in an earlier entry, that folded in 1954, leaving the city with only one daily newspaper, the Democrat.
My entry was wrong. The Missouri Press News had it right, but I wrote the item without looking back and got my defunct Lamar newspapers mixed up.
Thanks, Dorothy!
Natural Disaster practiced last night in preparation for our 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, performance at the annual Newtonia Fall Festival. We've added the old Johnny Rivers standard "Secret Agent Man," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" to our repertoire, as well as bringing back the Beatles "Please Please Me," which we haven't done since Old Mining Town Days in Granby in July 2003. I hope to see a few of you in Newtonia.
The short week has gone by even faster than I expected. This morning eighth grade teachers will meet before school, then my communication arts classes will work in the computer lab today, continuing to learn research techniques. School has come a long way since my day.
USA Today reported Thursday that President Bush has opened a 14-point lead over John Kerry in Missouri. Isn't it a shame that our system leaves us with these two as our choices? The reforms that started for both parties when the 1972 Democratic National Convention nominated George McGovern have really damaged our chances of getting the nomination for anyone who is qualified.

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