Friday, February 27, 2015
Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud Preview now available as an e-book
My book, Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: How Greed and Corruption Destroyed the Joplin Tornado Recovery, which will be published a few weeks after the release of the city audit, details the story of Joplin from the tornado to the present and eventually will be in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 pages and will offer information on everything from the firing of Mark Roar, the collapse of Wallace-Bajjali, the ups and downs of C. J. Huff to the release of the audits, including the untimely death of State Auditor Thomas Schweich.
Using sources ranging from videos, recordings (secret and otherwise), government documents, court records, and interviews, I have done my best to tell the story of how Joplin's recovery changed from being the feel good story for the ages to a cautionary tale of how not to let dreams and ambitions outweigh necessity.
As of a few moments ago, the preview edition, the first 10 chapters of the book and approximately 100 pages, depending on your reader, is available in an e-book format from Amazon Kindle. This is the edition that was released to a select few readers a week ago.
The chapters include the following:
Chapter One- The tornado hits and this chapter takes three of Joplin's leaders, City Manager Mark Rohr, Superinrendent C. J. Huff and Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer through the tornado and the period right after it.
Chapter Two- Mark Rohr's first press conference at 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, background on how Rohr arrived at this point in his career, C. J. Huff is interviewed by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren in his first brush with fame; Huff tries Disaster Recovery for Dummies as he tries to figure out what to do.
Chapter Three- David Wallace of Wallace-Bajjali learns about the tornado; Mayor Mike Woolston sees the town he knows totally changed and two schools he attended destroyed;. Woolston, Rohr, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian and the beginning of the Citizen Advisory Recovery Team (CART).
Chapter Four- Angie Besendorfer begins to dream of what the Joplin R-8 School District can become; Besendorfer's background, including Lamar and her turbulent time as superintendent of the Reeds Spring School District, her arrival in Joplin and losing the superintendent job to C. J. Huff
Chapter Five- C. J. Huff announces there will be school, how the R-8 Board of Education behaved during that time. Huff and Besendorfer threaten to fire anyone staff member who talks to the media.
Chapter Six- Barack Obama and the Westboro Baptist Church arrive in Joplin, the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service; Mark Rohr delivers a speech at the Moment of Silence and turns people's thoughts from death toward recovery.
Chapter Seven- How Bright Futures came into being. details on C. J. Huff's background that led him to begin Bright Futures, one major claim about Bright Futures that simply is not true; how C. J. Huff worked to bring up the Joplin High School graduation rate.
Chapter Eight- How Bright Futures USA hijacked Joplin Tornado recovery funds and how Ron Richard and the Joplin legislative team helped it do so; Angie Besendorfer makes it possible for school to start on time, the truth about how the MODOT building became the administration building for Joplin R-8, how R-8 officials decided to tear down a perfectly good two-year-old middle school that could have been reopened in time for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.
Chapter Nine- David Wallace comes to Joplin, CART takes over, Wallace pushes for Joplin to hire a master developer, Mike Woolston and Jane Cage go to Waco to examine Wallace-Bajjali projects. Councilman Ben Rosenberg offers the only opposition to the hiring of the master developer
Chapter Ten- David Wallace unveils his $794 million plan, what Missouri Southern State University President Bruce Speck was doing while other leaders were making their presence known after the tornado and how one of Speck's wildest ideas became a keystone in David Wallace's plan.