Thursday, May 31, 2018

State auditor urges legislature to continue investigation into dark money in Missouri politics

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today praised the efforts of the Missouri House of Representatives' Special Investigative Committee on Oversight and urged the legislature to continue efforts to root out and combat the influence of dark money and secret donors on state government.

Auditor Galloway encouraged the legislature to move forward with its investigation into coordination between dark-money organizations and state entities. She also urged passage of legislation to effectively put an end to secret donations to 501(c)(4) political nonprofits.

A full copy of the letter sent today is here. An excerpt is below:

Missourians deserve a full accounting of the truth and full disclosure of the extent of dark money's influence on state government. The General Assembly should take action to address this corrupting influence and continue, as it did with the Special Committee, to wisely exercise its oversight.

Joplin City Council to hear comments on Police Department, Fire Department pay issues Monday

A shortage of Joplin Police Department officers that led to the elimination of some services, as well as pay issues for the police and fire departments will be among the main topics when the Joplin City Council meets 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Seven speakers have lined up to address JPD cuts, low pay and a perceived Council emphasis on entertainment over public safety.

The complete agenda is printed below:


COUNCIL AGENDA
Monday, June 4, 2018
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers
1.

Call To Order

Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America
2.

Roll Call

3.

Presentations

1.

Proclamation To Recognize Carolina And Jeff Neal Of Neal Group Construction, LLC, For Receiving The McReynolds Award For Their Significant Achievements In Preservation.

2.

Financial Sustainability Presentation By Finance Director, Leslie Haase

4.

Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.

Reports And Communications

6.

Citizen Requests And Petitions

1.

Ryan Jackson, 1729 S. Wall Avenue, Requested To Address The City Council Regarding The Lack Of Action To The Under Paid Employees Of The Joplin Police Department.

2.

Steve Urie, 1846 Connecticut Avenue, Requested To Address The City Council Regarding The Joplin Public Safety Departments

3.

Mari “Susan” Cameron, 2634 S. Byers Avenue, Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Stopping The Walking Trail From Mohaska To 26th Street.

4.

Tim Wright, 2619 W. D St. Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Our Retention Of Policemen And Firemen Being A Top Priority Over Entertainment Possibilities

5.

Margey Upson, 1218 W. 9th St. Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Public Safety – Moving Blocks.

6.

Ashleigh Teeter, 407 S. Pennsylvania Requested To Address The City Council Regarding JPD Pay As It Relates To The Effect It Has On Road Racing Events In Joplin.

7.

Ashley Raby, 811 W. 6th St., Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Police Services Cutbacks.

8.

Kathy Blood, 2902 McConnell Avenue, Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Fire And Policemen’s Pay

9.

Laura Lenhart, 2621 Illinois Ave., Requested To Address The City Council Regarding Pay For Fire And Police.

7.

Public Hearings

1.

Public Hearing Procedures

2.

RESOLUTION NO. 2018-012

A RESOLUTION granting a Special Use Permit (First Request) to Trish Draper for a parking lot located 2927 E. 18th Street in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2018-258

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-3 and including in District C-0 property as described below and located 200 feet south of West 26th Street, between South Picher Avenue and South Bird Avenue.
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO 2018-259

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District R-3 property as described below and located at 210 S. Duquesne Road, City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
8.

Consent Agenda

1.

Minutes Of The May 21, 2018 City Council Meeting

Documents:
  1. MAY 21, 2018.PDF
2.

MInutes Of The May 23, 2018 Special City Council Meeting

9.

Resolutions

10.

Ordinances - Emergency

11.

Ordinances - First Reading

1.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2018-021

AN ORDINANCE amending Chapter 90, Peddlers and Solicitors, Division 2, Registration Certificate, by repealing Sec. 90-62, Application; and enacting a new Section 90-62, Application.
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2018-510

AN ORDINANCE approving a Petition to add real property to and remove real property from the Northpark Lane Community Improvement District.
12.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading

13.

Unfinished Business

14.

New Business

1.

CASE 016-18

Case 016-18: 721 S. St. Louis – A request for a Site Plan Review for a vehicle repair shop – 360
Auto Service – Shane Pennel. 
2.

News And Announcements From Public Information Officer, Lynn Onstot

Forty-eight Sears stores to close by September 1, Northpark Mall store not on the list

Even more Sears closings were announced today, but once again the Sears anchor store at Northpark Mall in Joplin is not on the list.

The 48-store list includes two Missouri locations- St. Louis and Chesterfield.






Today is Greitens' last full day in office- KZRG commenters insist governor victim of liberal witch hunt


Today is the last full day that Eric Greitens will be governor of Missouri. His resignation is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Friday.

Reading the comments on KZRG's website makes me wonder if these people have ever actually paid any attention to what Greitens has accomplished during his year and a half in office.

Greitens spent much of his time out of state hobnobbing with wealthy potential contributors to lay the groundwork for a presidential race that will never happen.

He made few friends on either side of the aisle, instead concentrating on criticizing legislators for their corruption at the same time that the was operating a secretive administration and conducting much of the state's business using apps that destroyed messages so no record would be left of how he was managing or mismanaging taxpayer dollars.

Greitens exploited a loophole by having the commissioner of education fired by State Board of Education members who were never approved by the Senate. The governor has never explained why it was so important to remove Margery Vandeven from her post that he had be so secretive and his actions have left the state of Missouri without a board of education, a situation which hopefully Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will rectify quickly when he becomes governor.

Greitens never told us much of why he did anything. He did not do interviews with the media, preferring instead to deliver his messages through Facebook.

Of course, that pleased his supporters who throw themselves into a frenzy believing that the media are the root of all problems.

When it comes down to it, Greitens' entire approach to governing was to take the role of the savior who was going to ride in on a white horse and rid this state of all of the corruption that was holding it back.

Every one else was a problem. Only Greitens stood for what was right and good.

A lot of people bought into his act and are still buying into it, judging by the comments I am reading.

Greitens, following a national playbook, claimed that all allegations against him were part of a "witch hunt." and attacked the character of anyone who stood in his way.

That term "witch hunt" has been parroted in the KZRG comments, as well as attacks against the media and the "liberal Democrats" who ran Greitens out of office.

It would have been hard for "liberal Democrats" to have removed the governor since the Republicans have a veto-proof majority in both houses.

Some of the commenters, recognizing this flaw in logic, immediately referred to the Republicans who have played key roles in opposing Greitens as "RINOs" or Republicans in Name Only.

If that is the case, nearly every Republican officeholder in the state of Missouri is a RINO.

In the opinion of many of those commenters, Greitens never had a chance. The media was out to get him, the Democrats were out to get him, and the Republicans like Attorney General Josh Hawley and others who are not really Republicans were out to get him.

Greitens helped reinforce that thinking with his "poor me, I am resigning for my family and I never did anything wrong" statement.

There are some of the Greitens supporters who acknowledge that he had an affair and it was wrong, but almost immediately add that it would never have made a difference if it had been a Democrat.

It also would never have made a difference if it were just a consensual affair. The Republicans on the House Investigative Committee found the woman's story credible.

Of course, those are Republicans in name only.

I could be wrong. It may all be a witch hunt. Perhaps there is an organization that could prove Greitens was framed. Whatever happened to Seals for Truth?




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My new book Newton County Memories available in paperback, e-book formats

For the past several months, I have been working on my latest book, Newton County Memories.

I have researched my past writings, in the Turner Report, my books, and in newspapers, looked through boxes of materials and then selected some previously published stories, many of them coming from the early days of this blog when it was lucky to reach a couple of hundred readers a day.

After I had selected the previously published pieces for the book, I wrote four new stories and added what I refer to in the book as "extra" stories that tie in with the previously written ones.

The work paid off this morning with the official publication of the paperback version of Newton County Memories and as of a few minutes ago, it is also available in an e-book format.the pers

I announced the publication of the book this morning on my Facebook page and the Inside Joplin Facebook page and listed the chapters in the book. Those are listed again in this post. Since this morning, I have had a couple of people ask me who some of the people and memories that are included in the book.

I am also printing a nearly complete list in this post of people whose names are featured in the book.

My thought behind the book is to remember the people, places and events that have enriched my life. Much of the book features stories about people who are no longer with us but who thankfully crossed my path.

Chapters

Introduction
2. Cold-Blooded Assassin (Remembering Dean Keeling)
14. Becky’s Mom (Remembering Helen Hildebrand)
18. Good Intentions Don’t Cut It (Remembering Willi Pierson)
21. The Meeting Place (Remembering the Neosho Square)
25. The Hangout (Remembering Gertrude Brown and the Brown Derby)
28. A Commitment to Young People (Remembering Terry Shepherd)
33. A Bases Loaded Intentional Walk (Remembering Gary Shepherd)
39. Special Delivery (Remembering Gary Nagle)
42. Return to Granby (Remembering the Newton County News)
50. No Love for the Captain and Tennille (Remembering James Payne)
53. The Long and Difficult Road (Remembering the Newtonia Tornado)
56. One-Year Anniversary (Remembering the Newtonia Tornado)
59. One of a Kind (Remembering Duane Beaver)
62. The Trailer Classroom (Remembering T. J. Bowman)
66. Those Who Can (Remembering the Teachers)
70. World Champions (Remembering the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals)
73. (The Words That Keep Her Alive (Remembering Barbara McNeely)
76. Letter to the Editor (Remembering Mr. Patrick)
79. No Stealing in Heaven (Remembering Rev. Freddie Franks)
82. Death of a Newspaper (Remembering the Neosho Daily News)
86. Art for the Ages (Remembering Newtonia History)
89. The Joy of Reading (Remembering the Bookmobile)
93. The Man in Charge (Remembering Rue Porter)
96. The Last Cup of Coffee (Remembering Wilma Bragg)
99. Taking the Blame (Remembering Mickey Owen)
102. The Last Performance (Remembering Bill Pierson)
105. Solid, Steady and Reliable (Remembering Tom Channel)
108. Instead of Just A Wishin’ (Remembering the Sportsman’s Friend)
111. The Place to Be (Remembering Rita Wheeler and Reta’s)
114. The Baseball Fields of Neosho (Remembering Ralph Houk)
116. The Last Time I Wore Makeup (Remembering Patty Renfro)
119. A Slap in the Face (Remembering Susan Warren and Little Moon of Alban)
122. A Few Ill-Chosen Words (Remembering Ranae Powell)
125. The Voice of the Cardinals (Remembering KMOX)
131. A Name From the Past (Remembering Bob Shore)
134. Making the Past Come to Life (Remembering Dixie Haase)
136. The Face of the Newspaper (Remembering Harlan Stark and Bill Ball)
139. The House on the Hill (Remembering Max Carter)
142. The Final Deadline (Remembering Eulah Hawkins)
145. It Started at East Newton (Remembering Ron Lankford)
148. Conversation and Politics (Remembering Mike Camerer)
151. Stolen Bases (Remembering an Oldtimers Game )
157. A Child Discovers Reality (Remembering Ranger Ed and the Fun Club and Children’s Shows of Yesteryear)

Names and Places

-->
Jack Anderson
Slim Andrews
Anything Goes
Louis Armstrong
Ted Arnall
Aroma Express


Karla Babb
Pete Babb
Bill Ball
Buzz Ball
Lou Ann Ball
Baseball Digest
Duane Beaver
Don Bogle
Maggie Bowman
T. J. Bowman
Ken Boyer
Roy Bragg
Sharon Bragg
Vicki Bragg
Wilma Bragg
Lou Brock
Teddy Brock
Ernie Broglio
Brown Derby
Gertrude Brown
Vernie Browning
Jack Buck
Burnett Grocery
Bill Burress
Howard Bush
Richard Bush


Harry Caray
Max Carter
Orlando Cepeda
Norma Champion
Tom Channel
Charles O. Chester
Preston Chester
Civil War Cemetery
Bob Clark
Roberto Clemente
Sue Cole
Combat
Ronna Cook
Ed Cooper
Anne Cope
Ken Cope
Randy Cope
Geoff Cornish
Corral
Crowder College
Nettie Cummins

Dairy Dip
Bill Dalbom
Diamond
Diamond Middle School
Dog N Suds

East Newton High School
Lester Ray Edgar
Harold Ensley

Fairview
Fife and Drum
Kiley Finkbiner
Woody Fitzmaurice
Curt Flood
John Ford
Rev. Freddie Franks
The Fugitive
Donna Fullerton
Reta Fullerton

Bob Gibson
Charles Goade
Andy Griffith
Carroll Gum

Dixie Haase
Scott Harris
Eulah Hawkins
Gerry Henson
Whitey Herzog
Todd Higdon
Becky Hildebrand
Bob Hildebrand
Helen Hildebrand
Laurie Hildebrand
Anita Hilton
Danny Hilton
Craig Hopper
Jim Hunter
Ralph Houk
Kaylea Hutson

J. C. Penney
Julian Javier
Jackie Jensen
Billy Johnson
Burney Johnson
Hattie Mae Johnson
Lee Ann Johnson
Stan Johnson
Teddy Johnson
Don Johnston
Joplin Globe
Joplin News-Herald
Danny Judd
David Judd
Gary Judd
Larry Judd
Mark Judd
Tim Judd

Bill Keith
Ken’s Pizza
KMOX
Paul Knight
Debbie Kruse
KUHI

Ray Lankford
Ron Lankford
Tony LaRussa
Helen Lee
Lettermen
Brad Letts
Charlie Letts
Steve Letts
Tim Letts
Little Moon of Alban
Jim Lobbey
Lumberjacks

Joyce Mann
Mickey Mantle
Roger Maris
Janice Matthews
Willie Mays
Tim McCarver
Patrick McFarland
McGinty’s
Gray McKinney
Barbara McNeely
Midway School
Ron Mitchell
The Mouse That Roared
Stan Musial

Gary Nagle
Roger Neer
Rick Nelson
Neosho
Neosho Boulevard
Neosho Daily News
Neosho Newsstand
Neosho Nurseries
Neosho Square
Newton County News
Newtonia
Newtonia Community Building
Nichols Grocery

Old Mining Town Days
Gene Oliver
Roy Orbison
Mickey Owen
Alan Oxendine
Gary Oxendine

Helen Patrick
Hodgen Patrick
James Payne
Drew Pearson
Sherry Pettey
Bill Pierson
Willi Pierson
Rue Porter
Burl Powell
Keith Powell
Ranae Powell
Elvis Presley

Ranger Ed
Steve Ray
Irene Relf
Patty Renfro
Reta’s
Ritchey House
Johnny Rivers
Mae Robbins
Rita Roller
Jean Rowe

Chief Saddler
Ray Sadecki
St. Louis Cardinals
Karen Sapp
John Scott
Wana Senter
Mike Shannon
Gary Shepherd
Rob Shepherd
Terry Shepherd
Red Schoendienst
Bob Shore
Skinny and Rusty
Dick Smith Memorial Park
Bob Snyder
Rhonda Speak
Sporting News
Stark City
Harlan Stark
Chad Stebbins
Casey Stengel
Sterling's
Carolyn Strait
Emery Styron
John Styron
Pat Styron
Vern Styron
Amber Swartz
Randy Switzer

Danny Tanner
Richard Taylor
Vickie Thomas
Tigers
Joe Torre
Herb Troxel
Robyn Trowbridge
Bill Turner
JoAnn Turner
Kelly Turner
Vicki Turner

Rob Viehman

Susan Warren
Scott Watson
Bill Webster
Minnie Weems
Larry Wheeler
Rita Wheeler
Scott White
Steve White
Williams
Ed Wilson
Woodpeckers
David Wormington
Dee Wormington

Zoey

***
Newton County Memories can be ordered in paperback or e-book at the links below:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

State Treasurer on Greitens resignation: Missourians must come tegother and work toward a better future

(From State Treasurer Eric Schmitt)

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt today released the following statement in response to the resignation of Governor Eric Greitens:

“Now is the time for the people of Missouri to come together and work toward a better future for our state. My focus is on helping to ensure a smooth transition of power so that state government can continue to serve Missourians without interruption. To that end, my office will be actively working with partners across state agencies and departments to help facilitate the transition process.”


State auditor on resignation: Greitens corruption must be cleaned up and our state's reputation restored

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released the following statement on the resignation of Eric Greitens as Governor:

Corruption in state government became worse than ever under Eric Greitens. That corruption must be cleaned up, and our state's reputation must be restored. This can only happen if leaders put the needs of Missourians ahead of themselves.

Greitens: I quit, but let me whine about it for a while

Sunday, May 27, 2018

House Special Investigative Committee subpoenas Greitens, mistress for public testimony

(From Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City)

Special Committee Fireworks Continue with Open Hearings

The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has met for 88 days and this past week was full of drama as public hearings were held with testimony from three witnesses. 

Scott Faughn, publisher of the Missouri Times Magazine, testified on Wednesday. He’s the guy that claims to have given $100,000 of his “own money” to Al Watkins the defense attorney, for the ex-husband of Governor Greitens’ former mistress. The money was to purchase a recording that the ex-husband made of his wife admitting to the affair and the details of it. 

Mr. Faughn said he ponied up the money himself, but couldn’t remember who delivered it, wasn’t willing to say where it came from; whether it was stuffed in a mattress, above a ceiling tile, in a closet, a drawer, in a bank bag or in a pillow case. 

I gave him those scenarios and even told him if I had $100,000 in cash laying around, I would have a vivid memory of the details surrounding it. I also told him “It’s a good thing the delivery guy (you can't remember) delivering the money didn’t forget where to take it and keep right on going.” It was an incredibly concocted story that was laughable.

The next day, Mr. Al Watkins, testified that Scott Faughn personally delivered the money but Faughn told him the source of the money was an out of state, Republican political operative. I have a feeling it’s a very rich, in-state Republican political busy-body. 

At any rate, the two testimonies on the same subject were totally contradictory and as arrogant, vulgar and rude as Mr. Watkins was during his testimony he was far more believable than Mr. Faughn! Mr. Watkins stated that the money came in two cash payments of $50,000 and was in stacks of $100 bills. Watkins said the money came in a large brown folder. There was another $20,000 given to Watkins supposedly as part of a retainer for his services ($10,000 so Watkins could take his family on vacation)! So, $120,000 in cash was the total amount.

Then on Friday, a forensic specialist, Brian Koberna, from the Madison County Illinois Sheriff’s Dept. testified. 

Officer Koberna analyzed the Governor’s cell phone and during his testimony things really got going; not because of him but because of a lame stunt by way of the Governor's office to blindside the committee. 

Rep. Curtis Trent, Republican from Springfield, is a newly appointed member of the committee, and he was given documents (while on break, in the hallway) by Ms. Nassar, an attorney from the Governor’s office. 

Ms. Nassar wanted the documents to be offered as evidence. Rep. Trent offered the documents, which appeared to be five pages of text messaging between the ex-husband and the former mistress about his disdain for the Governor. I didn’t read what I saw, just glanced at it briefly. 

When Rep. Trent made his motion for the committee to accept the documents, things quickly got sideways! Our committee immediately went into closed session and we ultimately did not accept the documents as evidence with the stipulation that all the documents concerning the Governor are released to the committee by his legal team. 

The Governor’s legal team likes to “cherry pick” what they want us to see, in an attempt to discredit the former mistress. Repeatedly, we see the Governor's attorneys doing things and making claims that are less than credible to say the least. In fact, it’s mind-boggling to me the way they are distorting the truth and misrepresenting the facts! It’s an attempt to control or at the least, distract the committee.

What’s Next

We have subpoenaed the Governor for testimony on June 4th. We have subpoenaed the former mistress for testimony June 6th. This will be her second time before our committee to testify but the first time publicly. The investigative committee will potentially be meeting Tuesday through Saturday this next week. The entire House of Representatives will return to the capitol on Wednesday and we are scheduled to have floor session on Thursday. Things are getting ready to become very interesting. I have both feet in the stirrups!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Joplin Tornado video, Joplin Police cutting services among top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for week

The horror of the Joplin Tornado will never be forgotten by those who lived through it and evidence of that horror remains in the videos from May 22, 2011.

On the seventh anniversary of the tornado, I posted a few Facebook links to early Turner Report posts from that day and one of those taken at a convenience store as it was hit by the storm was the number one post for the week.

Other than that, the most visited post was the announcement by Joplin Police Chief Matt Stewart that his undermanned department is cutting services.

Links to the top posts for the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. First person video of Joplin Tornado

2. Joplin Police Department cuts services, effective immediately

3. Hearing set for Joplin man charged with felony assault for dragging police officer behind motorcycle

4. Sears closing 31 more stores, including one in Missouri, Joplin Sears not on list

5. Six more Joplin R-8 teachers, high school principal resign, 14 teachers hired

6. Computer hacking, massive data breach revealed to Springfield Board, Attorney General reportedly investigating

7. Joplin man sentenced to 25 years for role in large-scale meth conspiracy

8. Joplin man plaeds guilty to sex charge involving minor

9. Monteleone appointed to Joplin City Council

10. Back when local newspapers covered news

Inside Joplin

1. Carl Junction teen reported missing

2. Joplin Police Department Arrests May 24-25

3. Carthage teen falls asleep, collides with Freightliner on I-44

4. Carl Junction Police seeking gift card owner

5. Autopsy: Eight-year-old Webb City girl's death due to accidental drowning

6. Complete video: Joplin High School Graduation

7. Remembering police officer who lost his life during disaster response following Joplin Tornado

8. JPD traffic stop leads to arrest of two, including woman with 29 grams of meth and prescription pills in her bra

9. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

10. Jasper County Marriage Licenses

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Caryn Durbin

2. Mariah Martinez

3. Alex Arehart

4. Kassady Doty

5. Mary Braun

6. Kimberlea Hutson

7. Norma Brewer

8. Felix

9. Gary Hopper

10. Gary Neece


Help the Turner Report/Inside Joplin continue to provide a much-needed alternative news source for the Joplin area. If you feel this independent news operation benefits you and this area, please consider taking a subscription or making a contribution of any amount by using the PayPal buttons below or by mailing a contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801

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Kim Frencken: All teachers are not created equal

Let's face it, we may belong to a group of humans that teach, but we are not all the same. Take for example the primary teacher. Soft singsongy voice. Smiling. Motherly. Cute. Everything is cute. Next to a high school or middle school teacher they look so innocent and ... well... cute. Speaking of middle school teachers, you can see the sarcasm written all over their faces. Or rather, their smirks. Everything and anything (and I do mean anything) can be reduced to a swift sarcastic comeback. High school teachers crank it up a notch. They are more 'adult' in their casual dismissal of teenage angst. Oh, and let's not forget elementary teachers. They are the middle child of the education family. They do a little cute, a little sarcasm, and a participate in a little adult competition. Granted it isn't intentional competition, but there is a sense of the finish line push in the bulletin board race.

There is no way in this world that I could have spent my teaching career in a primary classroom. No way. I'm not soft. I don't sing. I'm as far from motherly as you can get. And, cute? That would really be a stretch of the imagination. Almost every word I utter is tinged with sarcasm. I've perfected the 'look' and the eye roll. And the blank face... almost. Nope primary is not my thing. I mean the kids are cute, but they are little germ bundles just waiting to wipe their snotty hands on you. I almost gag thinking about it. If I could just listen to their kindergarten drama all day and laugh, it might work. But to try and teach them something?! No way. I just don't have the patience.

Teaching high school would not have been a happy career for me either. The first couple to tell me of their undying love that will stand the test of all time would put me over the edge. The first kid who tried to tell me that he knew more than any adult and had the world in the palm of his hand would soon realize that I had already jumped over the edge. The world of status would leave me gagging. I really don't care who your daddy is or what he owns. And that new little sports car that he bought for you does not evoke any feelings of envy. I'm just thinking what an idiot would buy a new little sports car for a teen-age driver. I was one. Once. And I did have to learn a few lessons the dented-fender-ticket way, but thank heavens my parents had the sense to put me in a used tank.

Elementary. Now that could have been a temptation. They are old enough to blow their own noses. They can still be disciplined (to a degree). I mean, let's face it, recess is the life-line of every 9 year old. And, no one likes to have mom called. On the other hand, they tattle. About everything. Every look. Every thought. Everything. You can see them coming a mile away. They have a determined look on their face. They have a mission. To tell the teacher. Well, this teacher doesn't want to be told that someone looked at them wrong so I head it off at the pass. "If you're not bleeding or vomiting, I don't want to hear it. If you are not hurt and no one can get hurt, don't tell me." Harsh? Well, you try listening to a dozen or more "he looked at me mean" or "she said my backpack was ugly" and then judge.

I know God put me right where He wanted me. I wasn't perfect (who is?), but I loved the ups and downs of life with teen-agers. Occasionally, I'd have the urge to run from the building screaming, but for the most part it was fun. Please don't ask my students if it was fun. They'll tell you how much work I made them do and how strict I was. Don't ask administers about my classroom management. They'll refer to me as the little general. But ask them if they learned and they will say yes. That was my goal. To teach them to learn and keep learning. To not quit or give up or give in. To be strong and independent. To think for themselves and not believe everything they heard or read. I have regrets. Sure, who doesn't? But if I had it all to do over again, I would go right back to middle school.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)