Monday, March 28, 2005

Alternate Fuels, Inc., a Barton County mining outfit, will have to pay the state $40,000, according to a ruling issued by the Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals March 25.
The action was initially brought against AFI in Barton County Circuit Court by the Missouri Land Reclamation Commission, according to court documents. The Commission brought the action against AFI and its owner Larry Pommier, claiming they had not lived up to a consent agreement reached in 1998 after the company had been cited for several violation notices. The Commission levied a $75,000 fine against the company, but suspended $40,000 of the amount, with the stipulation that AFI had to install erosion controls.
Under the schedule AFI agreed to in August 1999, the company had to install the control structures by Dec. 1, 1999, and "respond to all staff comments and have an approved plan and map" no later than Jan. 1, 2000.
"On Jan. 11 and 12, 2000," the opinion said, "Inspector Bret Geger toured AFI's facility, known as the Blue Mound Mine" to see if the work had been done. It had only been partially completed, Geger said and no plan or map had been submitted for approval.
By March, the structure was finished, but no plan had been received. In a letter dated March 30, 2000, Larry Coen, Land Reclamation Commission director, notified AFI that it still had a problem and specified how it could correct the problem. After another 13 months passed and nothing had been done, the Commission filed suit to recover the $40,000.
After the trial, Judge James R. Bickel ruled in favor of the Commission.
In its opinion, the appellate panel said the evidence indicated AFI had not lived up to its part of the agreement and upheld Judge Bickel's decision.

KOAM viewers won't have to worry about CSI or Without a Trace or Cold Case being interrupted by pre-empted by news of Terri Schaivo's death.
According to , top officials at CBS were anxious to prevent a repeat of the recent incident in which CSI: New York was interrupted just before its conclusion with the announcement that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had died. The network received hundreds of complaints.
To keep that from happening again, the following message was sent to the affiliates last week:
"If Terry Schiavo dies during daytime hours, CBS News will do a brief special report. If this should happen during prime time, we will do a crawl only. On the weekend during sports, we will do a crawl first, followed by a brief special report. Once again, we will only do a crawl during primetime hours."
It's nice to know how seriously CBS takes its public service responsibilities.
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt was in Joplin today to celebrate the signing of legislation that will limit the amount Missourians can win in lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Some of the parts of the bill are unquestionably long overdue, no matter what trial lawyers say. A company or a hospital or anyone else who is only one percent responsible for an injury should not end up having to pay the whole amount just because someone else cannot afford it. Maybe that keeps people who did nothing wrong from being able to collect for their suffering, but collecting it from people who played very little role in causing that suffering is not right either.
The process of venue shopping, or trying to find a sympathetic county to file a lawsuit in, was also wrong. Lawsuits should be filed where the damage was done.
After that, this Blunt-promoted legislation is a handout to big business and the medical community. The Republicans have used the buzzwords "frivolous" and "excessive," and, of course who among us wants to come out in favor of frivolous and excessive lawsuits. The only problem is that Republicans are actually characterizing all lawsuits as frivolous and excessive and trying to make their campaign contributors almost lawsuit-proof.
As I have pointed out earlier, we will not see an immediate decline in insurance rates, even though the insurance industry is well aware of the legislation. In fact, the example from other states where this type of legislation has been enacted is that more lawsuits are filed before the law goes into effect. The insurance companies use this as an excuse to raise everyone's rates, then when the law goes into effect, those rates do not go down because of the decreased number of lawsuits...they are locked in for life.
Big businesses and hospitals are not going to absorb the rate increases just because there allegedly won't be any more coming down the pike. They will pass them on to the customers and patients, including those who can least afford them.
If the state legislature truly wanted to benefit the taxpaying public, it would take steps right not to limit the price gouging the insurance companies will do, but that will not happen, not when the insurance oversight group appointed by the governor is made up primarily of representatives of the industry and not when the legislature's insurance committees are a collection of representatives who are also insurance agents.
Plus, insurance companies are heavy contributors to the Republican party.
Former Lamar High School basketball standout Nicole Lehman will have a chance to end her collegiate career on a winning note Thursday night when Southwest Missouri State University plays host to West Virginia in the Women's National Invitational Tournament championship game.
Lehman's Bears put an end to the basketball career of another former Lamar High School standout, Jenna Armstrong, when they beat the University of Iowa in the semi-finals earlier tonight.
Lehman and Armstrong played together as freshmen for Coach Richard Marti's Tigers before Armstrong transferred to Stockton, where her dad, Tony Armstrong, former Lamar High School boys coach, later coached her team to the Missouri state championship.
Lamar R-1 Board of Education member Mark Piley is featured in today's Springfield News-Leader in a story about the increased interest in running for local school boards in Missouri.
Piley, maintenance manager at Epoch Composite Products, is one of 10 candidates for three seats on the R-1 Board.
Canadian officials have blocked one of former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black's efforts to avoid prosecution on charges of bilking the company out of millions of dollars.
Crain's Chicago Business reports today that the Ontario Securities Commission issued a cease trade order to prevent Black from taking the holding company Hollinger Inc., which has been the basis of many of the accusations private. Black was attempting to buy the 21.7 percent of Hollinger Inc. stock which he does not already own, then take the company private, according to the article.
Black is being investigated by Canadian and U. S. authorities in connection with the alleged fleecing of parent company Hollinger International, which at one time was the owner of The Carthage Press and The Neosho Daily News.
Investment firm Morgan Stanley issued a warning Friday that it might have to set aside more money to cover the cost of its court battle with former Coleman CEO Ronald Perelman, according to an article in the Friday Wall Street Journal.
Perelman is suing the company for more than $2 billion he says he lost when the Morgan Stanley did not let him know that Sunbeam was about to go belly up.
Perelman sold his 82 percent of Coleman to Sunbeam in 1998 for $1.5 billion worth of Sunbeam stock. Shortly after that, the company declared bankruptcy.
The judge in the case, which is in the jury selection process now, ruled last week that she will tell the jury that Morgan Stanley participated in the fraud against Perelman. Florida state judge Elizabeth Maass was reportedly irritated with the inability of Morgan Stanley or its law firm to produce documents.
The Wall Street firm says it, too, was a victim of Sunbeam and lost more than $300 million.
Sunbeam, now a part of the Jarden Corporation, has a plant in Neosho.


Anonymous said...

It's Mark Piley.

Anonymous said...

His name is Mark Piley

Anonymous said...

The NewsLeader was sent at least two sample ballots from the County Clerk's office. You'd think they could get it right! Did they even talk to him? I'm pretty sure he wouldn't spell his own name wrong!

Randy said...

Thanks for pointing that out to me.Sorry about the error. I should have realized that the News-Leader had the name wrong. It has been corrected.