Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Joplin attorney Daniel Whitworth has signed on to represent accused arsonist Keith McBride, according to documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Whitworth's first challenge will be arranging bond for his client. U. S. Attorney Todd Graves filed another motion today asking that McBride be held without bail.
More information on the McBride case is featured in the April 25 Turner Report.
Just because you're governor of a state doesn't mean you can't have a social life.
Newly-minted Missouri Governor Matt Blunt will be attending the hottest pre-Kentucky Derby party in Louisville, according to today's Louisville Courier-Journal.
The event is the 17th annual Barnstable Brown Gala, named for its hosts, Tricia Barnstable Brown and her twin sister, Priscilla Barnstable, better known at one time as the Doublemint Twins in chewing gum commercials.
According to the article, the Blunts will mingle with such party guests as Kid Rock, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., Big Boi from the group Outkast, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Victoria Gotti, daughter of mobster John Gotti, country stars Travis Tritt and Sammy Kershaw, Buffalo Bills cornerback Lawyer Milloy, and syndicated radio host Delilah, among others.
Blunt won't be the only non-Kentucky politician at the shindig, which sells tickets for $1,200.
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is bringing Blunt and five other governors, according to the article. The other governors are Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, John Haeven of North Dakota, and Bob Taft of Ohio.
Among the musicians scheduled to perform are: Meatloaf, Michael McDonald of Doobie Brothers fame, Ann Wilson of Heart and Joey Fatone of NSYNC.
Hopefully, Governor Blunt will be able to convince some of the high rollers at this event to invest in Missouri and bring more jobs to the state. I assume that is the only possible reason why he would be attending such an event.
A third citation of Renewable Environmental Solutions of Carthage for odor emissions says something for the apparently more aggressive regulation enforcement by new Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Doyle Childers.
It may also be saying something about a different side to the pro-business administration of Governor Matt Blunt.
It was Blunt, you may recall, who made sure Childers and his team came to Carthage to take care of the situation. And, of course, there could be political rewards for taking care of some of his supporters in this highly-Republican area, but there is nothing wrong with that. Listening to constituents, then taking action is the way politics is supposed to work.
The big test for Blunt and Childers will come with Mo-Ark's expansion request in Neosho. How that situation is handled will say
a great deal about the leadership abilities of both men.
It should be mentioned that the first newspaper to carry information about the citation was The Carthage Press, which had an article in its Saturday edition. The Joplin Globe ran an article today, three days later.
State Representative Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, in his weekly column, continues to write about the pro-business legislation that he and his fellow Republicans are pushing through the General Assembly.
Not that there's anything wrong with helping business and bringing jobs to Missouri, but sometimes you have to wonder if we have to sacrifice everything else in order to do it.
There appears to be nothing alarming in Rep. Wilson's column, but I am mildly concerned about HB 863 that according to Wilson, "creates tax incentives for municipalities to promote redevelopment in blighted downtown areas." At one time, I would have had no qualms about that whatsoever, but since the city of Joplin declared a portion of Rangeline as a blighted area, I have developed a sense of skepticism. Hopefully, Rangeline-type areas are not included in this legislation.
I missed it on the evening newscast, but KOAM this morning carried a brief item quoting Webb City R-7 Superintendent Ron Lankford as saying that the school district's policy on controversial t-shirts will not be changing.
Lankford told KOAM, these situations will be judged on a case-by-case basis. While I am not sure what was carried on the evening newscast, it would have been nice to have heard someone point out that the district is saying something that appears on the face of it to be totally different in its filings in the federal First Amendment lawsuit brought by sophomore LaStaysha Myers.
As was noted in yesterday's Turner Report, school officials indicated nothing would change until the end of the school year, then these shirts would be all right again when the 2005-2006 school year begins.
District officials also pointed out, for the first time, in their April 21 filings in the lawsuit, that Brad Mathewson, the student who originally sued the school after he was not allowed to wear Gay Pride t-shirts, was actually allowed to wear those shirts, until they created a disturbance. As far as I can recall, this had never been mentioned before at any phase of this ongoing story.
This morning's Joplin Globe carries an article on the situation, complete with quotes from school officials and American Civil Liberties Union representatives.
The Globe also has an article about the Joplin R-8 School District's consideration of a drug testing policy. For obvious reasons, I don't intend to hit hard on this issue, since it would be a definite conflict of interest, but my stance on student drug testing has not changed.
I still look at it as a quick-fix solution that has not proven to be effective and may drive people away from the very activities that could prevent them from getting into drug problems. I have more problems with drug testing as a violation of civil liberties. The Joplin R-8 system currently has a voluntary drug testing system in place for students and apparently, many students are signed up for that. I have no problem with that.
The new policy being considered would not only be for athletes, but would require random drug testing for students participating in all extracurricular activities.

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