Wednesday, August 23, 2017

KZRG breaks major story on Hope Valley CID District

KZRG posted a major investigative story today involving the management of the Hope Valley CID, using Sunshine Law requests.

At question are the actions of consultant David Gross, the consultant who is alleged to have mishandled funds of the Big Spring Plaza CID in Neosho. Gross faces felony charges connected to actions he took stopping direct deposits into the Big Spring bank account and instead having paper checks sent directly to him:

From the KZRG report:

NewsTalk KZRG filed a Sunshine Law Request with the Missouri Department of Revenue and found that Gross received paper checks on behalf of seven CID’s throughout the state, including Big Springs Plaza and Hope Valley. It should be noted that although the paper checks were sent to Gross, the checks were made out in the names of the respective CID’s.

KZRG also contacted the state auditor's office and learned that the Hope Valley CID has not turned in required financial reports.

Solid job of investigative reporting.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One brave teacher and the historically worthless monuments to Confederate generals

Few teachers ever did as much for their students as Joseph DeLaine and few ever suffered as much for their efforts.

During my 14 years as a classroom teacher, I taught a third quarter research project on the American Civil Rights Movement, with students selecting different aspects of the movement and the events that sparked it, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Riders, and the murder of Emmett Till.

For these students in classrooms that have long since been integrated, the idea that students once attended schools that were supposedly separate but equal is quite the revelation. Students who walk down the halls each day, side by side, with students of different races and religions cannot imagine a time when African American students could not attend the same schools as white students.

The reason that changed was the U. S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision and one of the people who worked hard ... and suffered much ... to make that happen was Joseph DeLaine.

As I have listened to the arguments over the past few days about the continued existence of Confederate monuments on public land, DeLaine's story came to mind.

DeLaine, a minister, was also a teacher at the St. Paul Rural Primary School in Summerton, South Carolina, fought to give his students some of the same necessities that were automatically provided to the white students.

Since his students often had to walk miles to get to school, he fought to get the school board to buy a bus. The request was rejected. Even though African American students were by far the majority in the Clarendon County school, DeLaine was told that white parents paid more in taxes than the poor black parents and it would be wrong to require white taxpayers to pay for a bus for black students.

The idea of separate but equal was always a fiction. DeLaine knew that well. But he was worried about children getting sick walking to school in bad weather and being too tired to accomplish anything once they arrived.

Parents pooled their money and bought a second-hand bus, but it broke down on a regular basis.

Eventually, DeLaine worked with NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall to put together a lawsuit against the school district, Briggs v. Elliott. The case initially began as an attempt to ensure equal facilities, but evolved into a full-fledged attack against the evils of segregation and became one of the cases included in Brown v. Board of Education.

DeLaine, the teacher who fought so hard for his students, paid dearly for his efforts. Those who preferred to keep things the way they were and keep the students separate, burned DeLaine's house to the ground, vandalized the parsonage, and threatened his life in vicious, unsigned letters.

DeLaine finally moved to New York where he spent the remaining years of his life.

Though the decision to end segregation in American schools was unanimous, the Court did not demand that it happen immediately, only that it be done with "all deliberate speed."

That led to decades of efforts to keep the races apart. It also led a number of southern leaders, fearful of the future as symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement, to begin building the mythology of a South where the Civil War was recreated as a battle against an overbearing central government and an effort to end the southern way of life. It was almost as if slavery had not played even a bit role in what was continually referred to as The War Between the States in those states below the Mason-Dixon line.

Demagogues stirred the voters with talk of preserving their "heritage." The media, as it was constituted in the '50s and '60s, became the enemy, spreading that era's version of "fake news," which both then and now can be defined as news that politicians with only a passing connection to the truth do not like.

Southern politicians said the media was stirring up the trouble. There would be no racial foment were it not for the media.

Another protest method devised by these southern leaders was one that had been used around another time of racial unrest in the early 20th Century- they began the process of erecting monuments to Confederate leaders, the people who had fought to preserve that southern heritage, the people who wanted to keep African Americans in their place.

Long forgotten Confederate flags suddenly became a symbol of that same "heritage."

The monuments, for the most part, had nothing whatsoever to do with history. Then, as now, they stood as symbols of a time when the American dream was an impossibility to those who were not born white.

The monuments to such men as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Nathan Bedford Forest should be preserved, but only as artifacts of a time in which their ghosts emerged from the 19th Century to play roles in an attempt to preserve a Jim Crow heritage.

Put them in museums, not in prominent public places where they have the stamp of approval of those who cynically attempt to use what is left of a white supremacist ideology as the foundation for a political movement.

The pieces of sculpture serve as a testimonial to long dead Confederate officers who waged war against their country to preserve an institution that never should have existed.

In 2004, 30 years after his death, Joseph DeLaine was posthumously awarded a Congressional gold medal for his bravery and persistence in his fight for his students.

The greatest monuments to DeLaine's legacy, however, are the classrooms across the United States where black and white children sit side by side, preserving a legacy that has done far more for this nation than any Confederate general on horseback.

Richard praises decision of Senate minority leader to strip Chappelle-Nadal of all committee assignments

(From Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin)

Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, released this statement today on the future of Sen. Chappelle-Nadal’s appointments to Senate, Joint, and Statutory Committees.

“I support the decision of Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh to remove Sen. Chappelle-Nadal from all of her Senate committees. I am also removing her from all appointments under my authority.”

Parson: Missouri Senate should expel Maria Chappelle-Nadal for Trump assassination post

(From Lt. Gov. Mike Parson)

Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson sent the following letter today to members of the Missouri Senate asking them to begin proceedings to expel Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal from the Senate.

August 22, 2017
Members of the Missouri Senate
Missouri State Capitol
Jefferson City, Mo. 65101

Dear Colleagues,

The recent inflammatory comments made by Senator Chappelle-Nadal are unacceptable and unbefitting conduct of a Missouri State Senator. I am calling on the Missouri Senate to go into special session in conjunction with Veto Session, with the purpose of expelling Senator Chappelle-Nadal from the body under the authority vested to the Senate under Article III, Section 18 of the Missouri Constitution. I do not make this request of you lightly, but you and I know it is the right course of action to take for the people of Missouri.

Condemnation for these remarks was swift and bipartisan. Governor Greitens, Senator McCaskill, Congressman Clay, Congressman Cleaver, and numerous others – including myself – have called for Senator Chappelle-Nadal to resign, but she has thus far refused. I would like to thank Minority Leader Gina Walsh for her swift action to condemn the Senator’s remarks and remove her from committee assignments.

I realize what I am asking is nearly unprecedented. The Senate has not sought to remove a member since 1945. However, in a situation like this, we as a body have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard and draw a line against these inexcusable actions. It is unacceptable for a public official to call for violence against the President of the United States, and there is no place in the Missouri General Assembly for a legislator who embraces such harmful rhetoric.

State audits released for 10 license offices, including Springfield, Monett

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released audits of ten license offices across the state. Most of the offices received an overall performance rating of good, with one office receiving an excellent rating, the highest available.

"License offices throughout the state provide services directly to Missourians who are looking to renew license plates, receive their driver's licenses and process vehicle titles and registrations," Auditor Galloway said. "By auditing these offices, we are able to recommend management practices that will help safeguard taxpayer dollars. When concerns are identified, recommendations are provided to help make improvements to better serve the community."

The most common finding among the license offices included concerns related to voiding transactions. When a transaction has to be voided after it is entered in the system but before payment is made, a supervisor is expected to review the canceled transaction. In some instances, the customer must sign a document acknowledging the transaction was canceled. In more than half of the offices surveyed, all necessary steps were not always being taken.
Other common findings were related to accurately recording methods of payment and ensuring staff inquire of each customer whether they are interested in making a donation. State law allows license offices to collect donations for the World War I Memorial Trust fund, and for the organ donor and blindness awareness programs, but not all offices regularly shared this information with customers.

A summary of findings is included below, along with total donations collected by each office.

Gainesville License Office (Ozark County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $59,895  Charitable donations raised: $614
Concerns: Inventory records See the full report

Fayette License Office (Howard County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $36,711  Charitable donations raised: $96
Concerns: Voided transactions, issuing receipts See the full report

Ellington License Office (Reynolds County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $30,055  Charitable donations raised: $53
Concerns: Voided transactions See the full report

Monett License Office (Barry County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $139,313  Charitable donations raised: $1,391
Concerns: Voided transactions See the full report

Hermann License Office (Gasconade County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $60,011  Charitable donations raised: $3
Concerns: Voided transactions, donation inquiries See the full report

Brookfield License Office (Linn County) Overall rating: Excellent
Total fee collections: $74,673 Charitable donations raised: $833
Concerns: None See the full report

Hannibal License Office (Marion County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $112,625 Charitable donations raised: $7
Concerns: Voided transactions, donation inquiries See the full report

Glenstone License Office (Greene County)  Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $587,237  Charitable donations raised: $8,791
Concerns: Recording payment methods See the full report

Oakville License Office (St. Louis County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $314,897  Charitable donations raised: $919
Concerns: Voided transactions,  recording payment methods See the full report

Wentzville License Office (St. Charles County) Overall rating: Good
Total fee collections: $497,039  Charitable donations raised: $7,151
Concerns: Voided transactions,  recording payment methods See the full report
The Missouri Department of Revenue is responsible for selecting agents to operate the 177 contract license offices in the state. These offices process transactions related to driver licenses, vehicle titles and license plates. In 2009, state law was amended to allow the Missouri State Auditor's Office to audit contract license offices.

Greitens issues stay of execution to convicted killer

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

In 2001, a jury convicted Marcellus Williams of the first-degree murder of Felicia Gayle. Williams was sentenced to death. DNA testing of the murder weapon, conducted in 2016, was inconclusive.

In furtherance of the Governor’s constitutional power to grant pardons and executive clemency, state law gives the Governor exclusive discretion to appoint a Board of Inquiry to gather information and make a report to the Governor as to whether or not a person condemned to death should be executed. Section 552.070, RSMo.

Today, Governor Eric Greitens is issuing a stay of execution to appoint a Gubernatorial Board of Inquiry to further consider Marcellus Williams’ request for executive clemency.

“A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment. To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt. In light of new information, I am appointing a Board of Inquiry in this case,” said Governor Greitens.

The five members of the Board of Inquiry to be appointed by Governor Greitens will include retired Missouri judges. The Board shall have subpoena power over persons and things, pursuant to state law. At the close of its work, the Board will report and make a recommendation to the Governor as to whether or not Williams should be executed or his sentence of death commuted.

The executive order appointing a Board of Inquiry can be found here:

https://governor.mo.gov/sites/governor/files/Executive%20Order%2017-20.pdf?utm_content=bufferbee5e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=buffer

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live at 7 p.m.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Graves: I will work to pass comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

America’s tax code is now more than 2.4 million words long. To put that into perspective, the King James Bible is roughly 783,137 words – or less than one third as long as our tax code.

When the House returns to Washington in September, we will begin the process of passing comprehensive tax reform.

In just a few words, what that means for Missourians is lower taxes and a simpler filing process.

A streamlined process and lower rates for individuals and businesses means more time spent growing the economy and more money in the pockets of everyday Americans.

Need proof? A few recent studies have shown that Americans spend $99 billion each year complying with income tax requirements. That’s really outrageous. And it’s got to change.

At the end of the day, I'm a firm believer that the American people should decide how to spend their money – not the federal government. And federal regulations also shouldn’t be allowed to distract our focus away from growth and prosperity

Right now, with both Congress and the White House controlled by Republicans, we have a chance to pass the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years.

What that means is pro-growth tax reform that will grow jobs and paychecks, make the tax code flatter and fairer for all Americans, and help middle-class families – not Washington special interests.

But again, the first priority here is simplification. And as a proponent of the Fair Tax system for years now, I’ve always felt that this is the most important part of any tax reform discussions. Simplification will continue to be my priority during discussions on tax reform, but with the opportunity to do something about as rare as a solar eclipse, I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to pass commonsense, comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Proposal for Joplin High School band trip to Chicago to be presented to R-8 Board

An opportunity for the Joplin High School Band to perform in Chicago during spring break will be presented to the Joplin R-8 Board of Education when it meets 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Memorial Education Building.

According to the board documentation, the trip would take place March 17-20 and provide the students with the opportunity to work with the staff at VanderCook College of Music, one of the top schools for music educators in the United States.

The band will perform a concert at the Field Museum of National History and efforts are being made to arrange a performance by the Color Guard at the Navy Pier.

Band Boosters parents will serve as chaperones and the trip will be paid for through Band Boosters fundraisers.

The cost would be $540 per student with 50 to 60 students going.

Links posted to top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week

A mixed bag of top stories this week on the Turner Report including an update on the lawsuit against former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr, the four-year anniversary of the murder of 12-year-old Adriaunna Horton of Golden City, felony sex charges against a doctor who is a former Carl Junction resident and questions about the firing of Carthage R-9 Superintendent Sean Smith (pictured).

Links to the top posts this week are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. Arraignment set for doctor, former Carl Junction resident charged with tape, sodomy, incest

2. Carthage R-9 parents, taxpayers deserve to know why superintendent was fired

3. News-Leader: Charlottesville tiki torch carrier lives between Joplin and Springfield

4. Judge rejects McDonald County white supremacist's motion for early release from probation

5. Senator who called for Trump's assassination, "It was inappropriate, but I won't apologize."

6. Lawsuit response: Former Joplin city manager disruptive factor more interested in playing politics than working

7. Adriaunna Horton was murdered four years ago today

8. Trial date set in lawsuit claiming Carthage elementary teacher abused autistic boy

9. SW MO Democrats: Mr. President, use your bully pulpit for good instead of hate

10. State Emergency Operations Center to open Friday to deal with traffic, eclipse

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin Police: Woman turns herself in, children still missing

2. Joplin teen arrested on felony cocaine charge

3. Joplin News First scoop: Thefts plague Main Street construction area

4. Joplin Police arrest five people on 16 warrants at home on North Maple

5. Police: Joplin man asked Webb City boys to perform sex acts while he filmed them

6. Joplin Police arrest man at Wildcat Glades with meth in his shoe

7. Joplin vehicle stop nets meth, handgun, driver arrested

8. Jasper County Dissolutions of Marriage

9. Joplin killed in accident on Business Loop 49

10. Motorcyclist killed in head-on crash on 59

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Jennifer Smallwood

2. Patricia Daugherty

3. Terrel Cobb

4. Andy Smith

5. Leroy Wiebe

6. Scott Neese

7. Jim Wild

8. Carolyn Anderson

9. Nancy Wiebe

10. Sharon Royer

***
Classroom Confidential, my new book featuring essays on educational officials and profiles of people and events that made a lasting impact, is available now in paperback and e-book editions at the links below

Kim Frencken: Should we be attempting to erase history or embrace it and learn

I'm going to jump in the deep end on this one, but it is something that I am very passionate about... history. The recent events in the news sadden me. Should we be attempting to erase history or should we be embracing it to learn from our past? It startled me that so many people didn't even know why the statues were there or what was symbolized. I'll bet that many couldn't even tell me where or why the Civil War started. I know for certain that a particular group didn't know who Robert E. Lee was. How do I know? I wrote a response on the FB page of Fox News (to comments clearly indicating that the writers didn't know their history) and a person replied with a 'that's right go ahead and tear the statues down', it won't change history. The person's comment continued which told me that they didn't even know who Robert E. Lee was or what he did or why he was remembered. Naturally, I replied with a history lesson.

How can people have comments and opinions when they don't even know what they are commenting on or have opinions about? Easy. They follow the crowd. They don't need to understand or know. They just follow. They fall into the "this is a just cause" trap and buy into the lie without really understanding what it is all about. People get hurt or killed and property gets destroyed in the process, but history was not changed or erased.

Our job is to teach history. Teach the facts. Period. It is not our job (as the media seems to believe) to think for our students or sway them. Present the facts. All of the facts. Not just the ones that suit our beliefs, but even the ones that make us stop and question our own opinions.

History isn't pretty. But, it is real. It happened. Burning books, destroying buildings, changing names, and pulling down statues won't change it. We can't make it go away. We can't rewrite history books so that they say what we want them to say. We can learn from our past. We can weigh the information and make informed decisions. We can choose to be educated, rather than ignorant.

Rather than be indignant over a statue or name of a park, we could be doing something about slavery today. Slavery didn't die in 1865. The detestable practice continues today. It isn't confined to a race. Or a place. It happens in your state. In your country. In our world. Slavery is just as horrific today as it was over 150 years ago. Brothers are still lured by the shiny coin to sell out brothers. Until we get to the heart of the matter and understand the disease, we cannot hope to find a cure.

Before judging or joining a protest, learn the facts. Study history. Know what happened and why. Then, find a way that you can make a difference. Differences are not made through violence or riots or demonstrations. A difference starts in your heart. And your mind.

More of Kim Frencken's writing and her products can be found at her blog, Chocolate for the Teacher.

Nancy Hughes devotion: Reality check- Who's in control?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom
shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV)


“He’s going to college, Lord…COLLEGE!!!! What if he meets the wrong people? What if he doesn’t study and loses his scholarship? What if someone hits him over the head and takes his money? What if he doesn’t match the right shirt with the right pair of jeans?

What if? What if? What if? What if? Calm and reason gave way to unreasonable in a matter of seconds. Ever been there?

Well, I was. Our oldest, our son, was heading to a college only about 40 miles away. But to me it might as well have been across the country, the sea, and on a completely different continent.

I realized that I was worrying and fearful, but isn’t that on a mother’s job application? “Must be able to worry and be fearful on demand.” However, something happened…the worry and fear that I entertained occasionally with a cup of tea and two cookies became a never-ending eight-course meal.

I was unable to do anything without those two sins (and they ARE sins) popping up in my mind. I had gotten to the point of allowing common sense and sanity to be overrun with what could be called an obsession with our son leaving when the Lord decided He had had enough.

One evening I was praying about my son moving away from home when the Lord spoke quietly but firmly to my heart: “Nancy, I’ve checked and the college he is going to is within my territory. It’s on my beat. It’s on my shift. I do not need a map. I KNOW where it is, Nancy. And I love him more than you will ever know.” Talk about a reality check!

It was easy for me to trust the Lord with my son’s life when he was right in front of me and living in my house. But the minute I saw that he was going to be out of my control, I lost control and became a maniac.

Every Scripture that I had memorized about a Father Who is in control and who knows all things and who takes care of us and protects us was replaced with doubt and a franticness that threatened to consume me.

What had happened? I had allowed Satan to creep in and steal my confidence in my Father. Instead of praising the Lord and asking Him to guide and direct my son as he moved in a new direction in his life, I focused on the situation and not on the Source of strength and power.

Instead of realizing that no matter where my son is, my Father is in complete control, I had somehow thought that I was the one in control and that my son’s success or failure in life would solely depend on his living under my roof where I could keep an eye on his every move and every decision.

I immediately kneeled and asked my Father to forgive me for not trusting His plan and protection for my son’s life. My heart cried out “He is yours, Father. You have entrusted him to me for this time on earth and I trust You to do Your will in his life.”

Would you believe that my son did just fine at college? He did. Would you believe that the Lord watched over him and directed his path? In every way, yes. And would you believe that Satan still occasionally tried to sneak fear and worry into my thoughts?

Oh, yes, he tried. But each time Satan whispered his lies, I focused on a Father who says in Isaiah 43:1 “. . . Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

God knows my son’s name and He knows your name, too. He is a Father who wants to take care of us, His children, and to direct our lives as we face new challenges and circumstances every day.

I encourage you to hand every situation in your life to the One who is in control of heaven and earth, sky and sea, and yes, of your life and mine. The Creator does not need directions to your home. He simply needs permission to enter your heart and take control.

Father, you are in control of all things. Forgive me for forgetting that nothing happens in my life that does not first pass through your hands. Help me to daily give you everything in my life and trust you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

R.A.P. it up


Reflect

What is your first reaction when you feel you are not in control of a situation? Is it worry and fear or prayer and trust?

Application

Before getting out of bed every morning, pause for two minutes and give the Lord your day and everything in it. Ask Him to help you to trust Him to handle whatever comes your way and praise Him for His answers.

Ask a prayer warrior to hold you accountable when you begin to worry over problems instead of placing them at the feet of Jesus.

Power Verses

Psalm 27:1 (NIV) “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Matthew 6:33-34 (NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I Peter 5:7 (NIV) “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

I Corinthians 16:13(NIV) “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”

(More of Nnncy Hughes writing and information about her books can be found at her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

***

Nancy Hughes' latest children's book is available at the Amazon link below:

Agenda posted for Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Memorial Administration Building.

The annual tax levy meeting will be held before the regular session starts.

A closed session will be held at 6:30 p.m. for legal action and personnel.

The regular session agenda is printed below:

A. Call to Order

1. Roll Call

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda - Action

D. Reports

1. Board President's Report

a. Celebrations - Info. (Jeff Koch)

b. BOE Policy Committee Update - Info. (J. Martucci, D. Gould, and B. Jordan)

c. BOE Finance, Salary, and Benefits Committee - Info. (J. Martucci, L. Musser, and B. Jordan)

2. Superintendent's Data Report

a. Health and Dental Care Insurance Reports - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

b. Financial Statements - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

c. JHS Program and Curriculum Update - Info.

E. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items 
F. Consent Agenda - Action


1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

2. FTC/MSSU Adult Education Textbooks 2017/18 - Action (Dr. Moss)

3. Student Testing Fee for FTC/MSSU Practical Nursing Program for 2017/18 - Action (Dr. Moss)

4. Consent Contracts - Action

a. MSBA Full Policy Maintenance - Action (Dr. Moss)

b. Boiler Repair @ MEC - (Dr. Sachetta)

c. Elevator Maintenance Agreement - (Dr. Sachetta)

d. JHS Elevator Service Agreement - (Dr. Sachetta)

5. JHS Band Trip to Chicago Over Spring Break - Action (Dr. Moss)

6. Adoption of State Compliance Plan for Joplin Schools Special Education - Action (Sandra Cantwell)

7. ACCESS Family Care Medical and Dental Clinic MOU - Action (Sandra Cantwell)

G. Regular Agenda

1. JEC - Prime Contract Change Order #7 Crossland Construction Co. - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

2. Asbestos Abatement at MEC Gym - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

3. Marketing Services for FTC Adult Programs - Action (Dr. Moss)

4. Proposed Joplin Early Childhood Naming Committee - Action (Dr. Moss)

5. Accounts Payable - Action (Dr. Lankford)

6. Depositary Resolution United Missouri Bank - Action (Dr. Lankford)

7. Set Tax Levy for 2017-18 School Year - Action (Dr. Lankford)

8. Renewal of Employee Health Plan Reinsurance - Action (Ashley Jones)

9. Policy Updates First Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

a. Policy ADF: District Wellness Program

b. Policy DFA: Revenues for Investments/Use of Surplus Funds

c. Policy IGCE: District-Sponsored Instruction Options

d. Policy IKF: Graduation Requirements

e. Policy JCC: Interdistrict Transfers

f. Policy JFCL: A+ Schools Program

g. Policy JO: Student Records

10. Annual Facility Use Fees Including JHS Performing Arts Center - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

11. SW Center of Educational Excellence Membership - Action (Dr. Gilbreth)

12. Cognitive Coaching Training / Adaptive Schools - Action (Dr. Gilbreth)

13. Plus/Delta - Info. (Dr. Moss)

a. Plus: What did we do well

b. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

H. BOE Announcements


I. Adjourn

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sports Talk Memories available in paperback, plus news about two of my other books

For the past several months, I have been juggling several book projects and have been keeping quiet about them because I was beginning to wonder if any of them were ever going to come to fruition.

After not publishing a new book since Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud two years ago, I have published two paperbacks this week, as well as three e-books.

And I am expecting to have at least one more book and possibly two published by November (just in time for Christmas, of course)

Earlier this week, Classroom Confidential, my follow-up to Let Teachers Teach, was published. You can find the complete breakdown on that book at this link.

On Thursday, I published a collection of my sports writing, Sports Talk Memories, which up to this point has only been available as an e-book under the title Best of Sports Talk.

Both Classroom Confidential and Sports Talk Memories have also been published in e-book formats, with the Sports Talk book now including the new cover. The previous e-book has been discontinued.

In 2016, I republished my second book, the mystery-horror novel Devil's Messenger, in a Banned in Joplin edition. Devil's Messenger has now been published as an e-book as of earlier this week.

In November, I will be publishing a book, currently untitled, featuring my memories of some of the fascinating people I have known over the years from the Newtonia, East Newton/Granby, Neosho area.

I am keeping the subjecdt of the other book I am working on under wraps for the time being.

Sports Talk Memories

Sports Talk Memories is a collection of features about some of the people I wrote about when I did the Sports Talk column in the 1980s and 1990s. Those columns provided a window into the people who played and coached the games, as well as the games themselves.

Over a 14-year period, I wrote more than 1,000 Sports Talk columns.

Some of the most interesting are revisited in the book, including the following:

1. Football Coaches Don't Cry- Seneca Coach Alvin Elbert meets his eight-year-old pen-pal Abby Phipps of Lamar, the wheelchair-bound victim of a drunk driver.

2. A Bases-Loaded Walk- My tribute to the late Gary Shepherd, tells a story from my youth when the coach of my Little League team, Brad Letts, decided to walk the best player on the other team, his brother, Steve Letts, with the bases loaded. (Gary was the coach of Steve's team.)

3. She Will Always Be With Us- Webb City cheerleader Miranda Yocum (Joplin City Council member Miranda Lewis) talks about the death of her aunt, Nancy Cruzan, whose right-to-die case went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

4. Stacey and the Magic Free Throw- The story of how a non-existent free throw enabled the Mt. Vernon girls team to beat Carthage in double overtime, despite the best efforts of Stacey Brunnert.

5. Gary Embry's Memory Lives On- Rita Embry talks about her son, former Lamar High School and Missouri Southern great Gary Embry, who was killed in a car accident.

6. Under Mom's Watch- Peggy Lucas watches as her daughter, Carthage senior Tysha Lucas, plays her final high school volleyball match.

7. The Days of Swine and Roses- The day Jasper County Youth Fair princess (and pig-catching expert), Christy Olson got the munchies and lost a friend.

8. Just Five Minutes- The real-life horror story of former Lamar coach Armando DeLaRosa, who committed suicide moments after murdering his wife.

9. The Love of Baseball- My interviews with the former KOM minor league players at a reunion in Carthage as they played in an oldtimers game 50 years later.

10. Past His Bedtime- Today, he's head basketball coach at Parkview High School in Springfield, but in this story Landon Cornish was six years old and had no use for girls whatsoever.

11. Remembering Harry Caray- My thoughts after the death of the broadcasting legend

12. This Is My Class, Too- Jamie Turner, a Carthage High School graduate, returns to watch her former classmates at Sarcoxie High School graduate.

13. Smiles at the End of their Rainbows- The first graders whom he volunteered to help every day were the ones hit the hardest when Lamar swimmer Brandon Teel died suddenly from spinal meningitis.

14. Girls in the Big Gym- I wrote a column that put an end forever to having Carthage High School girls basketball games in the much smaller physical education building instead of the big gym.

15. Cruel Words- When she was in junior high, adults said Webb City volleyball and basketball player Kari Perry would never amount to anything. She tells the story of how she fought back with the help of her coach Sarah Wall.

16. Return of a Legend- Twenty-five years after leading Jasper to two straight undefeated football seasons, Bill McClintock returns to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

17. The Game Ball- Lamar's Jim Hillman presents the game ball to his grandfather, Tom O'Sullivan, at the dedication of the stadium named after O'Sullivan.

18. Carthage's King Carl- The story of New York Giants great Carl Hubbell and how he struck out five future Hall-of-Famers in a row at the 1934 All-Star Game. (Hubbell was born near Carthage.)

19. First Kiss- When she was crowned Lamar High School Basketball Homecoming Queen, senior Leigh Hughes received her first kiss in front of 1,500 people. That was the hook Leigh's sister, Lindsay, used to get students to vote for Leigh. But there was another secret that no one knew at the time.

20. She Said Yes- The follow-up, two years later, to the previous story, as Leigh Hughes' boyfriend offers a surprise wedding proposal, and once again it was in front of 1,500 people.

21. Tiger Pride- Polite to referees, but downright mean while playing defense, Carthage junior Brandi Richardson receives the Tiger Pride award at the basketball banquet.

22. The Final 16 Seconds- The high school football career of Jasper senior Stacy Maggard comes to an end.

23. Waffling- Pairing the serves of Carthage junior varsity volleyball player Stephanie Greenwood with breakfast food.

24. Love and Haiti- While her Lamar teammates were playing in a brand new gym at the Aurora Tournament, Kelly Stahl was teaching Haitian children how to play on a dirt court.

25. Beating the Odds- A Liberal barber survives brain surgery and holds off death for a few days to accept a special award for years of supporting the school's athletic teams.

26. Taking the Wrong Path- Carthage junior varsity basketball player Alicia Peters was great with the steals, but did not always take the ball in the right direction.

27. My Little Brother's Face- Lockwood High School reacts to the suicide of a freshman football player.

28. As Time Ran Out- Webb City guard Jennifer Lawrence takes one last shot at a district basketball championship.

29. Smelling the Silver- He played in one of the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl games in history, but more than four decades later, it is still the Silver Tiger game between Lamar and Nevada that ranks first in Pete Ihm's memory.

30. My Comeback- A first person account of my return to baseball, playing in the Granby Old Mining Town Days Oldtimers Game.

31. Family and Friends- When his house burned down, Lamar guard Michael Miller learned what was important.

32. A Shining Star- On the day when everyone thought she would be headed to the state volleyball championship, funeral services were held for Diamond senior Kelli Dorsey.

33. A New Home- After spending all of her life in the small town of Henderson, Nebraska, Andrea Friesen moves to the big city (Carthage) for her senior year.

34. The Power of Prayer- After an ACLU protest, the pre-game prayer over the loudspeaker at Lamar football games was stopped, but more than 100 people gathered in the end zone to pray.

35. Second Chance- He nearly died when a trash dumpster fell on him, but only a few years later, Carthage wide receiver Shaine Sundy received a scholarship to play football at MSSC.

Links to the paperback and e-book versions of Sports Talk Memories are featured below:


Adriaunna Horton was murdered four years ago today

Adriaunna Horton was a sixth grader at Golden City Elementary School, a member of the youth choir at at the First Christian Church in Golden City, and a free spirit who did not have an enemy in the world.

Four years ago today, Adriaunna Horton was abducted and murdered.

Her accused killer, Bobby Dale Bourne, 38, Lockwood, is still awaiting trial as the judicial system moves at a glacial pace.

It will be close to another full year before Bourne's jury trial begins. It is scheduled to start Monday, August 6, 2018, in Barton County Circuit Court in Lamar. A Buchanan County jury will be brought in to hear the case.

The state is seeking the death penalty.

During a court hearing, prosecutors revealed that Bourne's motive for killing the 12-year-old was an affair his wife had with Adriaunna's father while Bourne was serving time for another crime.

Kidnapping and Murder

Adriaunna was playing in Hazel Park in Golden City with her two sisters when for some reason she climbed into Bourne's blue 1998 Ford Expedition, according to a probable cause statement from the Barton County Sheriff's Office.

The sisters told their grandfather, the authorities were called and the search began.

At 7:05 p.m. that evening, approximately two and a half hours after Adriaunna left with Bourne, Highway Patrol trooper Justin Leemasters spotted Bourne's vehicle on Mill Street in Golden City.

After the stop, Bourne denied taking Adriaunna and said he had no idea where she was.

After he was given his Miranda warning, he eventually admitted he had picked up Adriaunna, said she ran away from him and fell down and died as a result of the fall.

Bourne guided investigators to Adriaunna's body, which he left in a wooded area near Golden City.

The probable cause statement says there was evidence Adriaunna had been sexually assaulted. Bourne was initially charged with rape, but that charge was later dropped.

Bobby Bourne's Dark Past

The real question after Bobby Bourne's arrest was how in the world he was free to kill Adriaunna Horton when his record showed clearly he should have been behind bars.

Bourne is currently serving a 15-year sentence since kidnapping and murder are generally considered solid reasons to revoke someone's probation.

The following information about Bourne's past was published in the June 23, 2014 Turner Report and was never followed up on by any area media:

Evidence that Bourne was capable of this kind of violence can be found in an October 2012 probable cause statement filed by Lockwood Police Officer Ruth Cottingham.

It told of Bourne assaulting another young girl, who yelled at him to get off her after the two had an argument and he followed her into a bedroom. The girl's mother rushed to the room and was frightened by what she saw. Bourne, a man in his 30s, was hitting her daughter, who was lying on her back on the bed.

Shawnee Bench yelled at Bourne, her brother-in-law, to get off the girl. When he did not, she tried to grab his arm and pull him off, but he was too strong. Bourne grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a violent shove.

"Get out of my "f------g house," Bourne shouted.

Bourne's lengthy record, including arrests for domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, tampering, and driving while intoxicated, were enough to put him behind bars, but Officer Cottingham was also convinced by the savage nature of the incidents involved in that October 2012 arrest that Bobby Dale Bourne posed a threat to the community.

The assault on the Lockwood child occurred only a month after Bourne admitted in Polk County Circuit Court he had assaulted a law enforcement officer and had been intoxicated, violating the terms of his probation on a 2006 felony tampering charge.

A motion to revoke Bourne's probation and send him to prison for five years was filed, but no hearing was ever held. Polk County records show that during an October 1 hearing, Judge John Sims ruled that Bourne's probation would be continued with the same conditions.

Before the month was out, court records indicate, Bourne violated his probation two more times. Though there is no mention in the Polk County online records of what the violations were, it would appear that at least one of the violations occurred just one week after Judge Sims' decision when Bourne was charged with two counts of domestic assault.

The charges that Officer Cottingham filed against Bourne in Lockwood included one felony assault, one misdemeanor assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.

On Nov. 5, 2012, a warrant was issued for Bourne's arrest and his bond was set at $60,000. Three times revocation hearings were scheduled and three times they were postponed. In the middle of that period, Judge Sims retired, complicating the situation even more.

The motion to revoke Bourne's probation was withdrawn and on Feb. 8, the $60,000 bond was posted. His probation ended March 4, 2013.

Shortly after that, the assault charges against Bourne were reduced from felony to misdemeanor; he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail on each count with the sentences to run concurrently.

It was shortly after Bourne was released that authorities say he ended Adriaunna Horton's life.

It took the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 12-year-old girl to finally convince a judge that it was time to revoke Bobby Bourne's probation.


***

NEWS, COMMENTARY, AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING 

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Governor calls for Senate to remove St. Louis Democrat who called for Trump's assassination

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Senator (Maria) Chappelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis) said she hopes the President is killed. Republicans and Democrats have called on her to resign. Her response: "Hell no." Last night, in an interview, she refused to apologize—twice.

If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should."

Billy Long: I will work with President Trump to prevent spread of chemical weapons

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Every day we hear about the global threat of chemical weapons and the devastating impact they have. These weapons of mass destruction are weaponized toxic substances such as chlorine bombs, sarin nerve gas, and mustard gas. Many chemical weapons can cause blistering and blindness, while nerve agents such as sarin and VX attack the nervous system and lead to death from asphyxia. Although the use of chemical weapons has been prohibited for decades, that hasn’t stopped countries like Syria or terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, from using them.

During World War I, the use of chemical weapons caused over one million fatalities on the battlefield. The global community saw the horrors these weapons inflicted and worked together to make sure it never happened again by prohibiting their use under the Geneva Protocol.

Decades later, the global community came together again, this time setting its sights on halting the creation of chemical weapons and eliminating a country’s ability to stockpile them. In 1997, the U.S. joined over 150 countries and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) treaty, which bans the creation and stockpiling of chemical weapons. Since then, the U.S. has eliminated 27,000 tons of chemical weapons.

However, laws and treaties are only as effective as the entities that follow them. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an inter-government organization, is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the CWC. If problems arise, the OPCW has the ability to bring issues before the UN Security Council and General Assembly for economic sanctions or trade embargoes.

In August of 2015, the OPCW confirmed that ISIS used mustard gas on civilians in Syria. Just this past March ISIS attacked civilians in Iraq with rockets laced with chemical agents. In the Iraqi city of West Mosul alone there were 15 confirmed chemical weapons attacks from April to mid-May. These types of chemical weapons are nearly impossible to defend against without specific protective gear, which is nearly non-existent in Iraq and Syria. According to U.S. intelligence officials, ISIS is working towards creating a chemical weapons cell of specialists to increase its supply of deadly nerve agents like sarin or VX.

Sadly, ISIS isn’t the only entity using chemical weapons. The Syrian government, though it denies it, has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own people. In 2013, chemical attacks from the Syrian military killed nearly 1,500 civilians. Last April, sarin gas launched from a Syrian military base killed over 80 civilians and injured hundreds more, including many women and children.

Fortunately, our president is not complacent in the face of such evil. In April, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military base responsible for launching the attack. His swift actions stated unequivocally that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. I agree and will continue to work with the president to prevent the spread and use of these weapons.

Missouri State Parks issues advisory not to use specific brand of solar eclipse glasses

(From Missouri State Parks)

Missouri State Parks is issuing an advisory not to use a specific brand of solar eclipse glasses and viewers because it cannot be confirmed they meet ISO and CE certification or came from a recommended manufacturer.

The glasses and viewers were sold under the name “PMS Promo Mart” at Missouri state park and historic site stores throughout the state. The name is listed on the inside of the glasses between the lenses. Anyone who purchased the glasses with the name “PMS Promo Mart” should return them to any state park or historic site store or gift shop to receive a full refund.

“We are issuing this advisory as a precautionary measure because we cannot verify that the solar eclipse glasses and viewers meet all the requirements to safely view the eclipse,” said Ben Ellis, Missouri State Parks director. Ellis said they are advising anyone who bought the glasses with the PMS Promo Mart label to NOT use them during the eclipse.

NASA and the American Astronomical Society advise viewers to use only certified solar eclipse glasses or other solar filters to protect their eyes when the viewing the sun or an eclipse. Using any other type of glasses or filters may result in loss of vision or permanent blindness.

“Missouri State Parks apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause but we want to take all possible steps to make sure everyone can safely view the solar eclipse,” Ellis said.

For more information about the advisory, visit mostateparks.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Arraignment set for doctor, former Carl Junction resident, charged with rape, sodomy, incest

A 9 a.m. September 5 arraignment is scheduled in Camden County Circuit Court for an Osage Beach doctor accused of five felony sex crimes.

According to court documents, Dr. George Koch, 47, a former Carl Junction resident, was arrested July 28 on charges of rape, sodomy, incest, statutory rape and statutory sodomy.

The probable cause statement indicates a delivery man interrupted Koch during a sexual attack on his underage victim when he heard screaming coming from inside Koch's residence on April 13.

Court records indicate the sex was done by forcible compulsion.

Koch, an infectious disease specialist, is free after a $100,000 surety bond was posted. As a condition of his bond, he is required to have GPS monitoring.


Judge rejects McDonald County white supremacist's motion for early release from probation

For a second time, U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool has rejected a request from McDonald County white supremacist Robert Joos for an early release from his supervised probation.

In his August 14 motion Joos, representing himself, said he had "29 months of clean conduct" since his release from prison after serving six years on a weapons charge.

Joos probably did not do himself any favors by continuing to insist that the original charges against him were trumped up and that his sentence was "ridiculously long."

As he did in his first motion for an early release, Joos said he needed the freedom to help track down the people who had been vandalizing and stealing things from his church. The stipulations of his probation kept him from crossing the state line into Arkansas. "I can't follow them to their hideout and report them to the cops," Joos wrote.

In the earlier motion, Joos said he wanted to help the Joplin FBI office because it was too busy dealing with all of the meth in the area.

Joos was arrested in 2009 as part of an FBI investigation into a 2004 racially motivated bombing in Scottsdale, Arizona, which also resulted in the arrests of national white supremacist leaders, the Mahon brothers, Dennis and Daniel.

An Associated Press article in 2009 described Joos' operation:

The Missouri affidavit says the Mahons told an undercover federal agent that white supremacists used Joos's remote property in southwestern Missouri's McDonald County for survival training.
One of the Mahon brothers described Joos as "an expert on weapons, explosives, bomb making and general survival skills," the affidavit said.

Joos himself told undercover agents who visited his property of the importance of having firearms "in several locations" and said he used 18 caves to hide weapons, according to the affidavit.

Classroom Confidential available on Amazon

As of this evening, my new book, Classroom Confidential, is available on Amazon.com.

The book is a collection of my writings on different aspects of education. The photo on the cover should be familiar to some of my former students and teaching colleagues. It was taken in Room 210 at South Middle School, a room where I spent six years teaching eighth grade English.

The book features essays on problems in our public education system and the way public schools are being treated by our politicians, remembrances of teachers and former students who are no longer with us, thoughts on different aspects of teaching, memories of my classroom days, both as a teacher and as a student and much more.

The essays have been previously published, but many include updates and in one case, I admit I have changed my mind about what I wrote.

The book includes the following chapters:

The Girl Next Door- A high school student discovers her life work during a job shadowing experience, but that life is tragically shortened.

The School Where Cheating Does Not Exist- Student journalist Lauren Fetters discovers that her story was inaccurate and that cheating does not happen at Diamond Middle School.

A Few Words About Teachers- In this one, angered by someone who used that old saying, "Those who can do and those who can't teach," I write about the teachers who have influenced my life, beginning with my teachers at Midway, Triway, and East Newton all the way through my time in the Joplin School District.

The One With the Gun- This one was written following the 2006 shooting at Memorial Middle School in Joplin.

Improving Graduation Rates- This was one was written shortly after the Joplin R-8 School District hired C. J. Huff as superintendent. I offer my suggestions non how graduation rates can be improved.

Teachers and Facebook- In this one, I address the controversy over whether teachers should communicate with students over Facebook.and other social networking sites.

Remembering Dick Ferguson- A slightly embarrassing situation at Diamond Middle School when two of my students ask guest speaker Dick Ferguson some eyeopening questions.

Teachers Must Take the Lead in Removing Bad Apples- Teachers have a responsibility to police their own profession.

The Mythical Crisis in Public Education- You can probably guess what this one is about.

Blame It on the Teachers

A Time When All Things Are Possible- My thoughts on the first day of school

Reviving My Enthusiasm For Teaching- I was never a big fan of the pep rallies the Joplin R-8 School District held for all employees on the first day back, but at this particular one I had a chance to talk with one of my former Diamond Middle School students, Kristen Hicks, as she was preparing to begin her teaching career.

Remembering Brendan Garrett- A former South Middle School student who died far too young

The Murder of Rowan Ford- As Triway Elementary School fourth graders dealt with the rape and murder of their classmate, I remembered how much simpler life was when I was a Triway fourth grader during the 1965-66 school year.

Remembering Terry James- Thoughts about a longtime Webb City R-7 Board of Education member

Gov. Greitens' Latest Attack on Public Education- As you can tell, this is a recent one.

Young People Should Become Teachers

Football Coaches Don't Cry- A Seneca football coach develops a friendship with a six-year-old wheelchair-bound victim of a drunk driving accident.

The Death of Creativity in the Classroom- Too much testing and test preparation

Remembering J. R. Polen and South Middle School- My first year teaching in the Joplin R-8 School District and some of the students who made it special

Remembering Terri Byrd- A North Middle School teacher whose career was cut tragically short, but not without leaving many wonderful memories

Ten Signs Your Child Is In a Failing School District

Tornado Victim Should Be Able to Leave Joplin High School With His Classmates- One of two essays on the Zach Williams controversy

Zach Williams Controversy is About Community and Humanity- The other essay

Remembering T. J. Bowman and the Trailer Classroom- Some memories of my first year as a teacher

A Special Group of Seniors- My thoughts on the graduation of the students who were my eighth graders during the first year in the warehouse school after the tornado

Betsy DeVos and the Blunt Connection- What would a book on education be without some investigative reporting?

Remembering Spencer Nicodemus- Friends remember the life of a young man who contributed much during his short time here.

Remembering Larry Dixon- A Lockwood High School science teacher influences generations of students

The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time- In this one, I explain why charter schools and vouchers are bad ideas.

Trump Plagiarism Scandal Offer New Excuses for Our Students- I feel sorry for Melania.

No Amount of Data Can Replace a Good Classroom Teacher

Donald Trump Jr. Attacks Teachers in Convention Speech

Remembering Larry Augustine- Larry, a Diamond Middle School math teacher, helped me a great deal during my early years of teaching. He made math a go-to destination for students.

The Third Voice- Two Carthage students vie for a I rating at state with a duet that was originally supposed to be a trio until the third member committed suicide.

From First Kiss to Lasting Love- A basketball homecoming is the start of a wonderful life for a Lamar High School student.

A Warning to Young People: Don't Become a Teacher- I can never make up my mind.

Reflections on a Field Trip- East Middle School students take in a Springfield Cardinals game and see the magic of Oscar Taveras.

Forget Voter ID, We Need a Voter IQ Law- Isn't the time right for this?

Random Drug Testing of Students Sends the Wrong Message

Message to a First Year Teacher- As my former Diamond Middle School student Stephanie Taylor began her teaching career, I offered some advice to all first year teachers.

I Am Sick of Class Warfare- The effect class warfare is having on public education

Billionaire Links KKK with Public Education- There Rex Sinquefield goes again.

Obama State of the Union Sends Positive Message to Public Schools

Finding "Hi" in my Joplin Classroom- A special gift from eighth grader Sabrina Randles means even more after the tornado.

The Smackdown of Those Spoiled Teachers

Tribute to a Middle School Principal- Some thoughts about current East Newton R-6 Superintendent Ron Mitchell

Recovering From a Hate Crime- Joplin High School student Laela Zaidi works to bring the community together after an arson fire destroys the Joplin Islamic Community Mosque.

The book can be ordered as a paperback or as an e-book at the links below:

State Emergency Operations Center to open Friday to deal with traffic, eclipse

(From the Missouri Department of Public Safety)

In preparation for a large number of visitors to Missouri and the potential for increased traffic and eclipse-related issues, the State Emergency Operations Center will be activated beginning Friday morning and continuing through Tuesday, Aug. 22, to monitor conditions and respond to possible requests for assistance.

Just as Missourians have been preparing for the chance to witness the total solar eclipse that will span the Show-Me State, Missouri’s emergency managers and response agencies have been planning, too. The Department of Public SafetyState Emergency Management AgencyMissouri State Highway Patrol and other state response partners, including the Missouri Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources, have been working together on a coordinated response plan since March. 

“This will be a unique event, but we’re utilizing the experience gained from other major events that bring in large numbers of people, increased traffic and that have the potential to tax local resources,” Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden said. “Preplanning and coordination with our state and local partners have been essential, and strong communication throughout the event period will continue.”

At the local level, many communities and businesses have been making adjustments to reduce traffic, including changing trash collections schedules, deliveries and work schedules. In Jefferson City, the only state capital in the 14 states in the eclipse path of totality, non-essential state offices will be closed to free up parking for an expected inflow of thousands of visitors to the Capitol Complex and to reduce traffic congestion.
Jefferson City will host a series of events, including NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow traveling exhibit. The Missouri capital city will also be one of seven cities from which the space agency will broadcast a live feed of the solar eclipse.

Here are key steps the public can take to reduce traffic and increase safety, particularly in areas of the state that are in the eclipse path of totality, a 70-mile-wide band stretching approximately from St. Joseph to Ste. Genevieve:

·         Plan ahead where you’ll view the eclipse and allow extra time to travel there. You don’t want to view a historic event stuck in traffic! Also, wait for traffic to abate before heading back onto the road. Consider carpooling to reduce traffic.
·         Follow news reports beginning over the weekend and especially traffic reports Monday morning for information about local traffic and events that could affect travel. The MoDOT Traveler Information Map is a good resource: http://traveler.modot.org/map/
·         Avoid unnecessary travel in and near the path of totality on Aug. 21. Consider taking care of routine matters that involve vehicular travel before or after Aug. 21.
·         Motorists should be alert and expect the unexpected. Expect additional traffic and avoid distractions. Remember, out of town visitors may not be familiar with traffic patterns or be looking for viewing sites. Watch out for cars on road shoulders and pedestrians. Remember, visibility will be reduced during the eclipse.
·         Think of eye safety and only use approved “eclipse glasses.” Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the very brief total phase of the eclipse, which will occur only in the narrow path of totality. According to NASA and other experts, the only safe eclipse glasses are verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Even the darkest sunglasses are not safe. Check NASA’s eclipse safety page:https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety for details.
The Department of Public Safety has created an eclipse safety webpage with recommended steps the public can take to get the most enjoyment out of the eclipse. The page is can be accessed from the DPS homepage at https://dps.mo.gov/ or directly here. The page includes an eclipse safety video.

The state of Missouri’s eclipse page can link you to local events planned across Missouri, transportation information, along with details on viewing areas at Missouri State Parks and Conservation areas. Find it on the state homepage: https://www.mo.gov/.