Monday, September 30, 2013

KZRG report: Turner says Joplin R-8 administration called employers to keep fired employees from getting jobs

If you have read the headline to this story, the first thing I should say is that as far as I know no Joplin administrator has ever called anyone to keep me from getting a job. That wasn't necessary after Joplin R-8 Board of Education President Jeff Flowers allowed C. J. Huff and his administrators to assassinate my character over and over.

I had a long interview with KZRG this afternoon and why this was the part of it that was chosen for the story I don't know since the interview covered various topics. Perhaps more of them will be coming tomorrow since the interview was recorded.

I will say that the people that I know of whose prospective employers received calls from Joplin R-8 Administration apparently were not impressed by them and hired the former employees anyway.

This, however, is important because it is the modus operandi for the Huff Administration. It is not content to get rid of someone, it has to destroy them, as well.

Thankfully, these things are starting to come out.

My guess- C. J. Huff will tell KZRG, I am just a disgruntled former employee.

Perhaps someday someone will be able to say that about him.

Hartzler, thinking we are idiots: I voted to avoid government shutdown

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) has issued the following statement regarding her vote to fund the government and protect individual Americans from ObamaCare’s intrusive mandates:
 “Tonight I voted once again to avert a government shutdown and delay ObamaCare’s individual mandate for one year. With our latest funding proposal, House Republicans are calling on the Senate to keep the federal government funded while providing fairness to all Americans who are being forced to comply with ObamaCare’s onerous mandates. It is clear that ObamaCare is not ready for implementation – yet the Obama Administration and its allies in the Senate insist on moving forward with provisions that have already been determined to be unworkable. Corporations have been provided relief from ObamaCare in the form of a one-year delay in implementation, and the Obama Administration has given more than 2,000 waivers to special interests. It is only fair for the Senate to join the House in providing the same relief – a one-year delay in implementation – to hardworking families.”

Accreditation fight leaves KC schools with big questions

McCaskill to Boehner: Let House vote on Senate funding bill

Tulsa doctor to underage boy: Want to take a naked ride in my Porsche?

A Tulsa doctor who offered a 16-year-old Lebanon boy and offered him a naked ride in his Porsche, is facing federal child sex charges.

During questioning, Dr. Shelby Coleman admitted having sex with underage boys in Oklahoma.

An 11 a.m. Thursday hearing has been scheduled at U. S. District Court in Springfield to determine whether Coleman should be allowed to be free on bond. Coleman will remain in custody until that time.

The affidavit spelling out the allegations against Coleman, written by Joplin police officer Charles Root, is printed below:

Former Sarcoxie School Board member to plead guilty on child pornography charge

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at federal court in Springfield for former Sarcoxie Board of Education member John R. Lewis, who is charged with sexual exploitation of minors.

The case against Lewis is spelled out in an affidavit from Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force member Charles Root. The affidavit is printed below:

1. I am a Task Force Officer (TFO) with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), assigned to the office of the Joplin Field Office of the FBI, Joplin, Missouri. As part of the Affiant’s daily duties as an FBI TFO, the Affiant investigates criminal violations of federal law relating to child exploitation including violations pertaining to the illegal production, receipt, and possession of child pornography (18 USC 2252(a)(2) and 2252(a)(4)(B)) and other federal statutes involving child exploitation. The Affiant has received training in the area of child exploitation and child pornography investigations, enticement, inducement of minors and has had the opportunity to observe and review numerous examples of child pornography in all forms of media, including computer media. The Affiant has been employed with the Joplin Police Department since 2004 and has been a sworn law enforcement officer since 1994. The Affiant is assigned to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force. 

2. The statements contained in this affidavit are based on information the Affiant learned through personal knowledge, investigative reports from other Investigators familiar with this investigation, and conversations with Investigators familiar with this investigation and who are formally trained and experienced in conducting investigations involving child exploitation.

3. On October 4th, 2012, Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Trooper D/DCC Sgt. Jamie Musche initiated an investigation at the request of the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office regarding a Sarcoxie School Board member, identified as John R. Lewis, exposing himself to a Sarcoxie High School Student while they worked at his residence located at 4360 Dandelion, Sarcoxie, Jasper County, Missouri. The information regarding Lewis exposing himself was forwarded to the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office after a school official overheard a conversation between Sarcoxie High School male students. The school official later talked to one of the students who confirmed he was present at Lewis’ residence when Lewis exposed his penis in close proximity to another students face. 

4. After taking the initial complaint on Lewis, Sgt. Musche interviewed two (2) of the male Sarcoxie High School students that were present at the time Lewis allegedly exposed his penis. Both males were 16 years old at the time Lewis exposed his penis. Both students disclosed to Sgt. Musche about an incident that occurred in the late spring of 2012 when they were working for Lewis at his farm outside of Sarcoxie, Missouri. Both students disclosed that after swimming in the creek with Lewis, he stood up in an all terrain vehicle, in which one of the students was seated next to him, when he pulled down his underwear exposing his penis just a few feet from the face of the student seated in the front seat of the all terrain vehicle. The students disclosed conversations Lewis had with them about masturbating and how he would touch them on the buttocks when they were working. 

5. On December 5th, 2012, MSHP Trooper Sgt. Brad Bearden, Troop D Criminal Unit, and Sgt. Musche contacted Lewis at his residence located at 4360 Dandelion, Sarcoxie, Missouri. Lewis allowed both Investigators to enter his residence to speak to him. They sat with Lewis at his kitchen table and explained to him the nature of their contact with him. Sgt. Musche advised Lewis he was not in custody and was not under arrest. During the interview, Lewis denied exposing his penis in close proximity to any Sarcoxie High School student that worked at his residence. At the conclusion of the interview Sgt. Musche asked Lewis for his consent to search his computers for any images of child pornography. Lewis stated he had images on his computer he did not want to be made public. Lewis stated he had 2 computers in his residence, a desktop and a laptop. When Lewis mentioned the desktop he pointed to a nearby office that was visible. 

Sgt. Musche also observed a laptop computer on the kitchen bar. Lewis stated he had downloaded images of naked children from a nudist website to his desktop computer. Lewis refused to give consent to Sgt. Bearden and Sgt. Musche to search the computers. 

6. Based on the above information, the Investigators secured the residence and Sgt. Bearden obtained a search warrant to search Lewis’s residence including the computers and all electronic storage devices. During a subsequent search Sgt. Musche located an additional desktop computer in a basement bedroom along with multiple electronic storage devices. He seized all computers and electronic storage devices located inside the residence. 

7. After seizing the items, Sgt. Musche submitted them to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force (SMCCTF) for analysis. Detective Larry Roller of the SMCCTF examined the seized electronic evidence. Detective Roller reviewed 19 multimedia files that he labeled as child pornography due to the activity depicted. Detective Roller also located 113 still images of suspected child pornography. The multimedia files and still images primarily depicted male children, with the youngest child being approximately 5 years of age, engaged in the display of genitalia, masturbation, oral sex, and anal intercourse. 

8. During Sgt. Bearden and Sgt. Musche’s contact with John Lewis at his residence, he became adversarial and was found to have a very large weapons collection. 

Cardinals mark 50th anniversary of Stan Musial's last game

Kansas City superintendent delivers State of the District address

Republican speaks out about bullying tactics of Club for Growth

In his latest legislative report, Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City, one of 15 Republicans who backed Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of HB 253, and has been targeted for that vote, says it is time to stand up against the bullying tactics of the Club for Growth.

There’s been much publicity concerning the 15 Republicans that challenged the party and voted “no” on HB 253, a so-called tax-cut bill.  I was one of those that voted “no” and I’ve already gone into detail about why in past reports, so I won’t repeat that information.
 We’ve been labeled as “The Flimsy 15” by the far right and “The Famous 15” and “The Fantastic 15” by more moderate groups.  I’ll refer to us as “The 15” for the purpose of this report. 
HB 253 had some serious language flaws that caused concern in many areas other than tax deductions.  “The 15” were more concerned about their constituents than their party!  On Sept. 20th, several members of “The 15” met in Ozark to discuss the best way to move forward in developing a quality tax cut bill without the language flaws; a bill that benefits as many Missourians as possible without the unintended consequences.
 We came up with several, common-sense ideas and will present them to the original bill sponsor of HB 253 for his consideration.  Our goal is be a voice of reason, aside from party loyalty and do what’s best for our constituents and the people of Missouri.  Ultimately our districts and our state will benefit greatly from the stand taken by “The 15” as we participate in developing a tax cut bill that can garner bi-partisan support.
 Now all we need is for Missouri Club for Growth to realize the veto session is over and to stop spewing their damaging chatter. Bullying tactics didn’t work then and won’t work now! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tony's Kansas City: Sexual harassment allegations made against Kansas City School District

The top blog in KC, Tony's Kansas City, is reporting a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment against the Kansas City School District:

"As the plaintiff was driving going home from work, Plaintiff was in her car on her cell phone when the KCPS Security Guard called her. His vehicle was close to the Plaintiff's. He drove right behind the Plaintiff as if he was going to crash into the back of her car. He then changed lanes and swerved as if he was going to hit Plaintiff. A police officer witnessed the conduct and pulled over the car but since the driver was a security guard, the police office let him go."

Another allegation says the same security guard sent the plaintiff a photo of his sex organ.

Brownback would welcome truce on tax incentives

At the St. Louis CPAC meeting Saturday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he would welcome a truce with Missouri on offering tax incentives for businesses. Kind of makes you wonder if all of that poaching is working out well for Kansas.

The video is from the St. Louis Beacon's Jason Rosenbaum.

Rick Perry: Shutdown of government is not a good idea

A St. Louis Beacon/Jason Rosenbaum video

C. J. Huff and the Assassination of a Teacher's Character Available as a Free Download

The transcript of my termination hearing from the Joplin R-8 School District, C. J. Huff and the Assassination of a Teacher's Character, is available as a free download for the next two days.

Those who got all of their information about my hearing from the media or never heard anything about it at all are in for quite a surprise.

Once you get past the initial shock value tactic of the administration's lawyer reading excerpts from my book No Child Left Alive, you should find it interesting to see just how C. J. Huff and his administrators were willing to go, not to get me to lose my job (that was pretty much determined before the hearing was even held), but to make sure that I would never be able to get a teaching job again.

Also, pay attention to the kind of testimony that Board President Jeff Flowers allowed the administration to present. Every time an administration member made an attack on my character, indicating I had done things that had never even been alleged, my attorney objected, and every time, without fail, Flowers noted the objection and allowed the character assassination to continue unabated.

If this were the only time that C. J. Huff and his administrative team had pulled a stunt like this, it would be bad enough, but this has been his management style since he arrived in Joplin- this is just the first time the evidence has been presented in a public hearing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Billy Long: I remain committed to doing away with the train wreck of Obamacare

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

U.S. Rep. Billy Long issued the following statement prior to voting for a continuing resolution that delays Obamacare for one year and repeals the medical device tax, and legislation to ensure our military men and women get paid in the event of a government shutdown: 
“The president delayed Obamacare for big business but not for hardworking Americans.  It is not fair for the president to protect big business at the expense of American families.  This bill delays Obamacare for one year, which includes the taxes, mandates, and spending.  This bill also repeals the onerous excise tax on medical devices that is already costing our country much needed jobs.  I remain committed to working with my colleagues to find a solution to ultimately do away with this train wreck of a law.”
            “Our military men and women put their lives on the line to protect our country and freedoms.  We owe it to them and their families to ensure they continue to receive their paychecks in the event of a government shutdown.”    

Free downloads of C. J. Huff and the Assassination of a Teacher's Character

Beginning at about 2 a.m. Sunday, or about five hours from the time I am writing this, the entire transcript of my May 23 termination hearing at the Joplin R-8 Administration Building at 32nd and Duquesne will be available for two days as a free download.

There is no introduction, no words of my own in the book, C. J. Huff and the Assassination of a Teacher's Character, other than those I spoke when I testified. The nine-hour hearing began with the administration attorney reading scenes containing sex, violence, and/or profanity just to give everyone the idea that I was an evil human being who deliberately exposed children to pornography. It was only later in the day that the truth came out- they were never able to find even one student who had read the book.

I published the transcript because I look at it as sort of a turning point, not only for my teaching career, which came to an end because of the things C. J. Huff and his administrators said (only administrators testified against me; one parent shared concerns but offered no evidence, otherwise the only parents and students who testified were there to support me), but also because it was the first time that the public was able to see just how ruthless C. J. Huff can be and what little concern he and his administrators have for sworn oaths to tell the truth.

I initially thought I was not able to offer this as a free download, but I tried again tonight and found it was possible.

I do offer one piece of advice- Please, whatever you do, do not download this on a Joplin R-8 computer. They are watching you.

5:41, Globe, KC Star tornado books top Amazon charts

Our 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado continued to be the top ranked book about the May 22, 2011, disaster, but just barely over the Joplin Globe's 32 Minutes in May.

The third-ranked book was the Kansas City Star's Joplin 5:41.

1. 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado, Randy Turner and John Hacker, 124,944
2. 32 Minutes in May, Joplin Globe 127,749
3. Joplin 5:41, Kansas City Star, 291,457
4. When the Storm Passes, Julie Jett 986,16
5. Joplin: Miracle of the Human Spirit, Mark Rohr  1,276,152
6. 5/22: Stories of Survival, Stories of Faith, Scott Hettinger, 1,682,404
7. Joplin Tornado House of Hope, Tim Bartow, 1,691,710
8. Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, Randy Turner and John Hacker 1,727,376
9. Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School, Randy Turner 2,350,485
10. Singing Over Me, Danielle Stammer 2,387,036
11. Mayday in Joplin, Donald Clugston, 4,421,169

A couple of the books that had previously been listed are no longer available in paperback from Amazon, though Kindle versions remain available of Mike Smith's When the Sirens Were Silent, and Kathryn Sandlin's EF5 at 5:35.

Rick Perry: Legislature didn't have the guts to override Nixon veto of HB 253

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says businesses are going to leave Missouri because the legislature failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of HB 253. The video comes from Jason Rosenbaum and St. Louis Beacon.

Big day for Koster campaign- $87,500

Attorney General Chris Koster, who will run for governor in 2016, raked in the big bucks Thursday, picking up $87,500 in contributions, according to 48-hour reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission:

Centene Management Company, LLC 7711 Carondelet Avenue Saint Louis MO 63105

August A Busch III 1 Mid Rivers Mall Drive Suite 210 Saint Peters MO 63376 Retired Retired

Clayco 2199 Innerbelt Business Center Drive Saint Louis MO 63114

Gephardt Group Government Affairs, LLC 1101 K Street, NW Suite 310 Washington DC 20005

Integrated Mental Health Services 7711 Carondelet Avenue Suite 800 Saint Louis MO 63105

Pyramid Home Health Services PO Box 1927 Cape Girardeau MO 63702

Pink blooms planted in honor of Adriaunna Horton

In this KSN video, reporter Rae Patterson tells how three Golden City boys launched the idea of filling a park with pink flowers in honor of 12-year-old murder victim Adriaunna Horton.

Video: Cardinals celebrate Central Division title

Billy Long: American Health Care Reform Act is good alternative to Obamacare

In his latest newsletter, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long talks about an alternative to Obamacare.

It is clear the American people do not support Obamacare.  Recently the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservatives in the House, unveiled our answer to ridding our nation of Obamacare and replacing it with common sense solutions.
The American Health Care Reform Act will not only fully repeal Obamacare, but also provide a common sense alternative to health care reform in our country.
This legislation spurs competition in a competitive market to lower costs, provides for equal tax treatment of all, and protects people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination.  Under this legislation, Americans would be able to purchase health insurance across state lines, and association health plans are created to allow small businesses to join together to purchase health insurance at cheaper rates for their employees .  We help people with pre-existing conditions by supporting state-based high risk pools and improving insurance portability for people with a pre-existing condition.
The American Health Care Reform Act also expands access to Health Savings Accounts by increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars a person can deposit into a savings account that can later be used for health care expenses.
Our proposed legislation would protect the unborn by ensuring that no state pro-life or conscience protection laws will be preempted.  This bill also ensures that no federal dollars can be used for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is jeopardized.
I am proud to support the American Health Care Reform Act, which is a huge step in the right direction to include conservative ideas in providing an alternative to Obamacare.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Missourinet's Bob Priddy talks about Missouri history

This video features Missourinet's Bob Priddy speaking to the Missouri Retired Teachers Association.

Blunt: I will do everything I can to delay, defund, repeal Obamacare

Southwest Missouri will see rainfall Saturday

(From the National Weather Service)

It appears as though some much needed rain will approach the region from the west this weekend. Showers and thunderstorms will become widespread across the region, positioned along a passing
cold front. All locations look to experience measurable rainfall.
As far as timing is concerned, locations along and west of Highway 65 will likely experience the onset of this rain between 7 a.m. and noon on Saturday. Areas east of Highway 65 will see the onset later in the afternoon on Saturday. So for Springfield, we`re looking at rain beginning around noon or shortly after.
This band of convection will translate eastward a little slower than previous systems have, mainly due to the structure of the upper trough being of the long wave variety.
Some lingering showers will be possible late Saturday night and into Sunday over south central Missouri, prior to exiting east of the region by late Sunday afternoon.
Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Hartzler: Fourth District deserves better than Obamacare

In my current situation, the only thing that is going to keep me from having to spend an extra $350 a month for health insurance is Obamacare. A reeasonably priced health insurance premium that will take someone who has a pacemaker without charging extra. I am sure I am not the only one who appreciates being able to actually afford health insurance. That doesn't stop people like Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who has an incredibly good Congressional health insurance plan, from continuing to rail against Obamacare, as she does in her latest report.
As of this writing, the next phase of the ObamaCare health care takeover is set to take effect on October 1st, with the launch of the new health insurance exchanges for individuals.
 It has been more than three and a half years since ObamaCare was jammed through Congress, and Americans are painfully learning more about the hostile takeover of the best health care system in the world. Although multiple reports of computer glitches and pricing uncertainties with the exchanges have surfaced, the Obama Administration has decided to march forward, anyway. The Administration has buckled due to criticism from major companies and has ordered a one year delay for the employer mandate, But it has refused to grant any relief for average Americans who are now forced to comply with a law that is confusing, at best, and unworkable, at worst.
 ObamaCare is an obstacle to the growth of small businesses as employers are keeping payrolls under 50 employees to avoid expensive compliance requirements that are triggered when 50 or more workers are employed. The unintended consequence is that businesses considering expanding have put those plans on hold. Additionally, employers are cutting hours to avoid ObamaCare’s 30-hour full time trigger that forces employers to provide government approved health insurance or face heavy fines. This is an unacceptable recipe for economic turmoil.
 It’s bad enough that this law is not ready for prime time; if left intact, over the next decade, ObamaCare will impose at least $500 billion in new taxes on the American people. Clearly, the Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor caring. The people of Missouri’s 4th District deserve better.

New media group forming out of GateHouse bankruptcy

(From Newcastle Investment Corp.)
Newcastle Investment Corp. ("Newcastle", the "Company")NCT +1.43% has announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to spin off its media assets, which include an interest in GateHouse Media, Inc. ("GateHouse") and 100% ownership of Local Media Group, Inc. (Note: Local Media Group is the group of newspapers Newcastle bought from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.) Newcastle intends to effect the spin-off in early 2014 by distributing shares of its subsidiary New Media Investment Group Inc. ("New Media"). New Media will be a publicly traded company primarily focused on investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing its online advertising and digital marketing businesses.
On September 27, 2013, GateHouse commenced voluntary chapter 11 proceedings under the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware pursuant to a prepackaged plan of reorganization (the "Plan") for which Newcastle is acting as sponsor. As a result of the transactions contemplated by the Plan, New Media will own the reorganized GateHouse and Local Media on the effective date of the Plan.
New Media has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") with respect to the planned spin-off. The spin-off is subject to certain conditions, such as the approval of the Plan by the Bankruptcy Court, the declaration of New Media's registration statement effective by the SEC, the filing and approval of an application to list New Media's common stock on the NYSE and the formal declaration of the distribution by the Board of Directors. In evaluating the spin-off, the independent members of Newcastle's Board of Directors were advised by Houlihan Lokey.

Cleaver: Our country cannot afford another manufactured crisis

In his latest EC from DC report, Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver writes about President Obama's trip to Missouri and about the looming government shutdown.

President Obama tells the crowd a government shutdown will hurt our country, our credit rating, and our rebounding economy

President Obama recently visited our area to talk about the improving economy, the importance of growing the middle class, and the looming issue of a government shutdown. I believe the dysfunction in Washington and the ideological demands we are hearing, are threatening to take this nation down a very dangerous and partisan path. A government shutdown will hurt our economy, threaten jobs, and leave our families and our country with less security, certainty, and stability. Put more simply, it’s ridiculous. 

We have seen the specter of these threats loom large over the last years—but now it seems the prospect may be all too real. As of this writing, Congress is evaluating a number of options, each one worse than the last. On Tuesday, October 1, our current Continuing Resolution to fund the government will expire. 

Employees of the Ford Stamping Plant in Liberty await the arrival of President Obama

As the President spoke to the employees of the Ford Stamping Plant recently, he explained again, what we already know. A government shutdown will impact them, and all of us. It will mean that many of our agencies will shut their doors, hurting seniors, families, businesses, and children. From the Centers for Disease Control, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the National Park Service, to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the State Department, and more -- many offices will be almost entirely closed. That means public servants will suffer and Americans who depend on their service will too. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Fifth District is home to 44,371 government workers. They are not the only ones who will be impacted, but their sacrifices will be the most severe. Further, a shutdown will actually cost the government and the taxpayer money, hinder the economy, waste billions of dollars in federal funds and scare the markets. Even now, Congress’s indecision is already causing a slowdown in normal operations for agencies and businesses. The Office of Management and Budget estimated in 1996 that the two closures in that fiscal year, which lasted 26 days total, cost the government $1.4 billion, or roughly $2.1 billion in today’s dollars. 

Congressman Cleaver speaks with constituents after 
arriving with President Obama on Air Force One

I have spoken with constituents throughout Missouri’s Fifth District, Republicans and Democrats, and virtually everyone agrees. This is no way to run a government. CBS poll out this week says 80 percent of Americans agree it is not appropriate to threaten shutdown to achieve goals during budget negotiations, including 75 percent of Republicans.

We have put forth a responsible, balanced alternative, authored by Budget Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, to fund the government and end the devastating, across-the-board cuts of the sequester. It contains a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases in order to reduce the deficit in a responsible way. I am certainly open to debating the budget, our policy priorities, and how we should best serve our constituents. I am not, however, a believer in shutting down the entire government simply because my “side” cannot get what we want. 

As if a government shutdown wasn’t bad enough, some in Congress are determined to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to their radical agenda. The full faith and credit of the United States is non-negotiable. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling poses a cataclysmic danger to the stability of our markets and the economic security of our middle class. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated last week: “A government shutdown, and perhaps even more so a failure to raise the debt limit, could have very serious consequences for the financial markets and for the economy…

Congressman Cleaver listens as the President addresses the excited crowd

The President urged local workers to speak out and let elected officials know that this is not the answer. While no one knows with certainty the full extent of the damage to the economy if the U.S. defaults on its debts, the cost to American families will be significant with:

  • Higher interest rates for mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and credit cards. [JEC]
  • Higher interest rates and less access to business loans needed to finance payrolls, build inventories, or invest in equipment & construction. [JEC]
  • Families’ retirement savings in 401(k)s dropping as the stock market plummets. [ABC News]
  • 3.4 million veterans not receiving disability benefits. [JEC]
  • 10 million Americans not receiving their Social Security check on time in just the first week. [BPC]
  • Drug reimbursements under Medicare stopping, and doctors and hospitals not getting paid. [CNN]
The American people have seen enough. We, here in Missouri’s Fifth District, have had enough. Our country cannot afford another manufactured crisis. It’s time for us to honor America’s commitments, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class.

GateHouse CEO to employees: Bankruptcy is not because we are doing anything wrong

GateHouse Media CEO Michael Reed, who has received millions in bonuses over the past few years has his company accumulated $1.2 billiion in debt, told his employees, in a message issued this morning, that the bankruptcy does not reflect any problems with the way he has been running things. The message is printed below:
Dear Fellow GateHouse Employees:
This morning, GateHouse Media filed for Chapter 11 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The purpose of the filing is to implement a “prepackaged” Plan of Reorganization that has the overwhelming support of our lenders. The Plan proposes a “balance-sheet restructuring,” by which GateHouse will emerge from bankruptcy with much less debt on its balance sheet, but with its business operations completely intact. We don’t believe you will notice any change in day-to-day operations.
The bankruptcy filing is not a reflection of any operational problems – we have complied with and are current with all our obligations. Rather, it was a strategic decision to facilitate the restructuring of our bank debt that will come due in August 2014. The restructuring remains on track, and we expect to complete it in as soon as 45 to 60 days. In the meantime, and throughout the process, we expect there will be no change in our business and no negative impact on our employees, customers, or vendors. In fact, our prepackaged plan provides for full payment of our obligations to employees, customers, and vendors. Essentially, from an operational standpoint, it’s business as usual.
When we emerge from bankruptcy, we will be under common ownership with Local Media Group, a company with a strong community media presence and performance that operates eight daily community newspapers and thirteen weeklies. Joining with Local Media Group will be an important step in growing our business and will contribute to our future success as the pre-eminent source for locally focused content, covering and serving our subscribers, advertisers and customers through print, online and other digital products, including mobile applications.
Most importantly, we want to thank you for your support of GateHouse Media, and specifically, for your dedication to our local publications and the communities we serve. We look forward to our next phase of growth and success.
Michael E. Reed
Director and Chief Executive Officer

Attorney General warns of scams surrounding launch of Obamacare

(From Attorney General Chris Koster)

Attorney General Chris Koster and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) are teaming up to educate Missourians about possible scams surrounding the new federal Health Insurance Exchange plans that begin enrollment on October 1st. As part of the Affordable Care Act, an insurance marketplacecommonly referred to as an exchange, will provide individuals with options for private health insurance coverage to comply with the law’s minimum essential coverage requirement.
 "As with any new system, scam artists may prey upon consumers who are attempting to comply with the law," said Koster. "My concern is that scammers will use the insurance coverage enrollment period opening on October 1 as an opportunity to commit fraud."
Consumers seeking insurance coverage through the exchange will need to provide personal information in order to determine which plans are available to them and to sign up for health insurance coverage. Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn warns that scammers may attempt to con people into thinking that they are enrolling in a marketplace insurance plan when they are not.
"Scammers may trick consumers using phony websites, mailings, calls, or visits to the home," said Kuhn. "We want Missourians to be on the lookout for fraudsters asking consumers to provide personal information or to take steps that are not actually required." 
Scammers could use personal information to commit financial identity theft, medical identity theft, or insurance identity theft. Financial identity theft is when a scam artist steals your information to access your accounts or to open a line of credit in your name. Medical identity theft happens when the scam artist gets medical treatment by using your information. Insurance identity theft is when someone uses your information to sign up for coverage. 
In an attempt to prevent Missourians from becoming a victim of these types of identity theft, Koster and the MHA offer the following tips:
  • Beware of people asking for money to enroll you in the Marketplace, "Exchange," or "Obamacare" insurance. Legitimate enrollment assisters will NOT ask for money. Especially be wary of anyone offering to sell Obamacare insurance cards. Scammers could try to sell you an insurance card without enrolling you in an insurance plan.
  • Check Credentials. Ask anyone who wants to help you enroll to verify their affiliation. In addition to your licensed insurance agent, there are two new types of licensed assistants who can also help you take the steps necessary to sign up: Certified Application Counselors and Insurance Navigators. 
    • Certified Application Counselors are part of organizations, such as hospitals, that have been certified by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
    • Insurance Navigators are licensed with the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). 
    • To learn whether the person assisting you is legitimate, call 1-800-318-2596, the number for the CMS Marketplace assistance.  It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are two Missouri websites that provide legitimate information only – operated by the Missouri Hospital Association and operated by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
  • Don’t be swayed by high-pressure visits, mail solicitations, e-mails, and phone calls from people pretending to work for the government. No one should threaten you with legal action if you do not sign up for a plan. Always ask for identification if someone comes to your door.
  • Only provide personal information if you initiate the contact.  People who contact you seeking personal information may be trying to steal your identity. No one from the government will call or email you to sell you an insurance plan or ask for personal information. Be careful when giving out personal information, such as credit card, banking, or Social Security numbers.
  • Communicate directly with the Official Exchange.  Unless you are using a licensed insurance agent or assistant, the only way to ensure that your personal data is not going to a scammer is to sign up using the official website or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Avoid sham websites and look for official government seals, logos or website addresses. Look for internet sites with a .gov on the end of the website address. 
  • Watch for "fake" products.  Some scammers will try to sell you a prescription card.  These can be phony.  Some appear to be real but are only discount cards and not really insurance.
Suspected fraud should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission through the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 or on All suspected fraud should also be reported to the Attorney General's Office online or 1-800-392-8222. Koster said Missouri consumers should not hesitate to report anything suspicious because scams can only be stopped if law enforcement learns of them. 

GateHouse CEO: It will be business as usual

The GateHouse Media spin on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was filed this morning in U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, was provided in a news release, which was also filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In it, CEO Michael Reed says it will be business as usual for his company, which certainly won't make most of its employees or readers happy.

 GateHouse Media, Inc. (OTC: GHSE) and certain of its subsidiaries (collectively, “GateHouse”), comprising one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, have commenced voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Concurrently with the bankruptcy filing, GateHouse filed and requested confirmation of a joint prepackaged plan of reorganization.
GateHouse announced on September 11, 2013, that it had entered into a plan support agreement with the administrative agent and certain lenders under its 2007 secured credit facility, including certain affiliates of GateHouse, which contemplated a comprehensive restructuring of approximately $1.2 billion of debt scheduled to come due in August 2014.
According to Michael Reed, director and chief executive officer, the bankruptcy filing was a strategic decision to facilitate this restructuring, and not a reflection of any operational difficulties on the part of GateHouse.
“We have complied with and are current with all our obligations,” he said, “but with the challenges facing our industry and the impending maturity of our secured debt next year we needed to be proactive in exploring options to restructure our debt, recapitalize, and position ourselves for future growth. The prepackaged plan proposes a ‘balance-sheet restructuring,’ by which GateHouse will emerge from bankruptcy with much less debt on its balance sheet, but with its business operations completely intact. Upon emergence, we will be under common ownership with Local Media Group, a company with a strong community media presence and performance that operates eight daily community newspapers and thirteen weeklies. Joining with Local Media Group will be an important step in growing our business and will contribute to our future success as the pre-eminent source for locally focused content, covering and serving
 our subscribers, advertisers and customers through print, online and other digital products, including mobile applications.”
Pursuant to its plan support agreement, GateHouse solicited votes on the plan over the past week from holders of claims under its 2007 secured credit facility and certain related interest rate swaps. The plan was accepted by the only impaired class of creditors entitled to vote on it. Specifically, 79 out of the 80 holders of secured debt entitled to vote holding an aggregate amount of $1,199,317,153 (representing 99.99% of the total secured debt) voted to accept the plan. No creditors voted to reject the plan.
Pension, trade and all other unsecured creditors of GateHouse would not be impaired under the prepackaged plan, and their votes were not solicited. GateHouse’s common stock would be canceled under the plan, and holders of secured debt would have the option of receiving a cash distribution equal to 40% of their claims, or stock in New Media Investment Group Inc., a new holding company that will own GateHouse and Local Media Group.
GateHouse, which operates in 330 markets across 21 states, intends to continue to operate its business without interruption as a “debtor-in-possession” under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court. According to Reed, GateHouse has sufficient cash to operate during the chapter 11 process and does not need, nor does it intend to obtain, debtor-in-possession financing.
“We don’t believe our customers, vendors, or employees will notice any change on our day-to-day operations as a result of the bankruptcy,” he said. “From an operational standpoint, it’s business as usual.”

SEC filing: GateHouse Media to continue business without interruption

In a filing this morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GateHouse Media, owner of the Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Pittsburg Morning Sun, and the Big Nickel, in the Joplin area, said its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was filed this morning in U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, will not affect its day-to-day business.
The filing is reprinted below:
On September 27, 2013, the Company and certain of its subsidiaries (collectively with the Company, the “Debtors”) commenced voluntary chapter 11 proceedings (the “Chapter 11 Cases”) under the United States Bankruptcy Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Bankruptcy Court”).
Concurrently with the commencement of the Chapter 11 Cases, the Debtors have filed and requested confirmation of a prepackaged plan of reorganization (the “Plan”).
The Debtors solicited votes of holders of claims under the 2007 Credit Agreement (as defined below) and certain interest rate swaps secured thereunder (collectively, the “Secured Debt), including certain affiliates of the Debtors. The Plan was accepted by the only impaired class of creditors entitled to vote on the Plan. Specifically, 79 out of the 80 holders of Secured Debt entitled to vote holding an aggregate amount of $1,199,317,153 (representing 99.99% of the total Secured Debt) voted to accept the Plan. No creditors voted to reject the Plan.
Pension, trade and all other unsecured claims of the Company would not be impaired under the Plan and their votes were not solicited. The Company’s common stock would be canceled under the Plan.
Pursuant to a support agreement executed by the administrative agent and lenders constituting the “Required Lenders” under the 2007 Credit Agreement, the parties thereto have agreed that the commencement of the Chapter 11 Cases in furtherance of the Debtors’ obligations under the support agreement shall not be deemed to constitute a default under the 2007 Credit Agreement. Absent such agreement, the commencement of the Chapter 11 Cases would have constituted an event of default under the Debtors’ credit agreement, dated as of February 27, 2007 (as amended, supplemented or modified from time to time, the “2007 Credit Agreement”), by and among certain affiliates of GateHouse, the Lenders from time to time party thereto and the administrative agent thereto.
The Debtors intend to continue to operate their businesses without interruption as “debtors-in-possession” under the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court and in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and the orders of the Bankruptcy Court. Pursuant to the Plan, the Debtors do not need, nor intend to obtain debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing during the Chapter 11 Cases.
Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. is acting as financial advisor to the Company, and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP is acting as its legal counsel. Additional information is available at the Debtors’ restructuring website at

GateHouse Media files for bankruptcy

GateHouse Media, owner of the Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Pittsburg Morning Sun, and more than 400 publications in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning in U. S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

The filing is part of a reorganization that will see the company paying back a portion of its debt and eventually joining with 23 newspapers formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp to form a new company. GateHouse has more than $1.2 billion of debt.

The bankruptcy includes all of GateHouse Media's subsidiaries, including GateHouse Missouri, which publishes the following newspapers:

Carthage Press
Neosho Daily News
Waynesville Daily Guide
Rolla Daily News
Moberly Monitor-Index
Mexico Ledger
Maryville Daily Forum
Greenfield Vedette
Boonville Daily News
Camdenton Lake Sun Leader
Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune
Macon Journal
Hannibal Courier-Post
Aurora Advertiser
Kirksville Daily Express
Linn County Leader
Independence Examiner
St. James Leader-Journal

GateHouse also owns a number of shoppers and advertising publications in the state, including the Big Nickel in Joplin and the Lake Stockton Shopper.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

McCaskill takes to the phones to answer Obamacare questions

Roy Blunt on Senate floor: Defund Obamacare

DESE rejects personal plea from Kansas City superintendent

Blunt: Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight

DESE: We're not changing Kansas City's accreditation status

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Citing concern for many students still struggling in Kansas City, today the Commissioner of Education, Chris L. Nicastro, notified the Superintendent of Kansas City Schools, Dr. Steve Green, that the Department would not recommend changing the district’s accreditation.

At the September State Board of Education meeting, Dr. Green requested that the Department recommend changing the district’s accreditation and that the State Board classify the district as provisionally accredited. This issue will be on the State Board of Education’s October agenda. Any response from the Board would come after the October meeting.

The district’s first performance report under the Missouri School Improvement Program 5 (MSIP 5) showed progress in science and math, but less than 30 percent of students are proficient in those subjects. In English language arts and math, almost 70 percent of Kansas City students are not reading or performing math at grade level. The data suggest that the district has hard work ahead to improve student performance.

“We were pleased to see the progress students made in Kansas City schools this year in science and math,” said Nicastro. “But we must do what we believe is in the best interests of the children.”
In a letter, the Commissioner explained that one year of district performance was not sufficient to determine a sustainable positive trend in the district. MSIP 5 recognizes progress in school districts, but the program needs at least two to three years of information before determining school district performance trends. It is the first year of the MSIP 5 accountability system.

The State Board of Education classified the Kansas City Public School District as unaccredited in 2012. This is the first year since then that the district’s annual report rated its performance in the provisionally accredited range.

The Department will continue to work closely with the Kansas City School District to help sustain its improvement efforts.

To find the letter from Commissioner Nicastro to Supt. Green, go to this link.