Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Joplin Redevelopment Corporation to hear library project update

AMENDED
JOPLIN REDEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, INC.
TUESDAY, March 10, 2015, AT 4PM
5th FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
602 SOUTH MAIN STREET
JOPLIN, MISSOURI 64801

AGENDA

I.                   Meeting Called to Order


II.                Approve February 10th Minutes

III.             Old Business

IV.             New Business


A.    Review Financials.
A.    Review and approve easements needed from JRC property at 26th & McClelland for City sewer projects
B.     CBC Group – Michelle Kaiser, Library Project Development Manager Update

II.                Any Other Business

III.             Vote to go into closed session, which shall pertain to leasing, purchasing or
sale of real estate by public governmental body where public knowledge of the
transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefore as set
forth in Section 610.021 (2) RSMo, as amended, 2011. This meeting, record,
and vote to be closed to the extent provided by law. The Joplin
Redevelopment Corporation shall adjourn at the end of the session.

IV.             Adjournment 

With Joplin R-8's Jennifer Doshier, it's do as I say, not as I do

When it comes to Jennifer Doshier, who holds the lofty title of executive director of elementary education for the Joplin R-8 School District, the philosophy is do as I say, not as I do.

As noted earlier today in the Turner Report, Doshier sent an e-mail to elementary principals letting them know that any teacher who was not able to make it to school today because of the weather conditions would have to make that day up, either by using one of their personal days or after the school year ends.

But will Jennifer Doshier have to make up the day she will spend at Tan-Tar-A Monday, March 16, when she speaks at the annual Missouri Association of Elementary Principals Association Conference? Normally that would seem like a proper place for an executive director of elementary education to be but her speaking topic has nothing whatsoever to do with the Joplin R-8 School District (or at least that is what members of the C. J. Huff Administration say).

Doshier, Huff, and former R-8 director of communication and community development (they certainly love those titles) Kim Vann will talk about Bright Futures USA, the not-for-profit which supposedly has no connection whatsoever to do Bright Futures Joplin, but has been allowed to maintain headquarters on taxpayer-financed facilities for more than three years without a paying a cent for rent or utilities.

According to the publicity for the event:

Bringing Grassroots Community Engagement into Your School
Room 76/77
Kim Vann, Jennifer Doshier and Dr. CJ Huff, Joplin Schools
The belief that each individual community has the ability to help every one of its children thrive is a core value of Bright Futures USA. Bright Futures USA uses its established framework to help communities and schools partner to quickly and efficiently meet student basic needs, often within 24 hours.  Bright Futures operates under the belief that when communities invest their time, talent, and treasure in children and schools, students are more likely to stay in school through graduation, have a higher degree of self-worth and confidence, and set and reach goals for the future. In turn, these students grow up to be better neighbors, quality employees, and impactful leaders in their communities.  It is a win for all parties involved. Bright Futures is currently present in 30 communities in the states of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina and helps meet the needs of over 150,000 students.
Huff has spent at least three workdays this year away from the district promoting Bright Futures USA.

Joplin R-8 to elementary teachers: If you weren't at school today, you will pay for it

The following message was sent to Joplin elementary principals today by Jennifer Doshier, who holds the lofty title of executive director of elementary education:


From: Jennifer Doshier
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2015 11:41 AM
To: Elementary Principals
Subject: Information for today
 
If you have teachers who did not come in today due to weather or you sent home due to weather conditions worsening, please send that list in an email to me, Tina and Erin Parrigon.  
 
Teachers may choose to take a personal day rather than add a contract day at the end.  Please let us know as soon as possible if they want to use a personal day.
 
In the future, it is important to remember that if school is in session, these are contracted days that teachers need to be present, rather than choosing to stay home or go home due to poor weather.  Please emphasize that this is not a precedence we are setting moving forward. 
 
Jennifer Doshier wrote:
Elementary is in attendance the entire school day.
 
Attendance:
 
1.  Please take attendance
2.  Absence will be excused for any that are not there or who were picked up early.  
3.  Do not count this against perfect attendance, referrals for truancy, etc.
 
Staff:
1.  If staff were unable to come in due to the weather, they will make up an extra contract day at the end of the school year.
2.  If staff needs to be sent home due to weather and where they live, you may send them home if it does not impede the need you have with students.  They will make up the rest of their day at the end of the school year if they choose to head home.  
 
Daycare Question:
 
We are not a daycare.  We will continue our school day as usual with the students you have in attendance.  That means learning will take place.
 
PLC:
 
PLC is cancelled today
 
Gifted:
 
Gifted is cancelled today
 
Thank you for your patience and flexibility this morning.  You are each appreciated more than you know!!
 
Jennifer

***

(I would hate to see what she would do if they did not appreciate teachers.)

Joplin classes canceled for Thursday; school closings listed

Superintendent C. J. Huff tweeted about a half hour ago that classes are canceled Thursday for the Joplin R-8 School District:

No school tomorrow March 5th. Stay warm and safe Eagles!

Schools that have closed for Thursday are listed below. The list will be updated as more closings are announced.

Avilla
Carl Junction
Carthage
Crowder College
Diamond
East Newton
Joplin
Joplin Area Catholic Schools
Martin Luther School Joplin
McDonald County
Monett
Neosho
Saint Ann's School Carthage
Sarcoxie
Washburn-Southwest
Webb City
Westview
Wheaton

Federal investigators: Testing data at Granby sewer plant falsified

(Today's Newton County News hit the streets today with an investigative report from Chad Hayworth following the execution of a federal search warrant last week at the city of Granby's sewer plant. Hayworth, a graduate of Missouri Southern and a one-time Chart editor, has been on a role for the past several months, taking the role of watchdog, which some newspapers in this area have conveniently forgotten, seriously. Chad has given me permission to run this article in its entirety.)
By Chad Hayworth
Newton County News


Former Granby sewer superintendent Chuck Ranslow — along with, perhaps, other city officials and employees — falsified testing data at the city's sewer plant and lied on government-mandated monitoring reports for more than 2 ½ years, federal investigators say.

A team of criminal investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency served a search warrant Thursday at Granby's sewer plant, seizing lab results, check sheets, budget documents, city council reports, operator notes and an electronic clone of the sewer plant's computer, among other items, federal court records show.

Investigators also stopped at Granby City Hall seeking information.

The government's case is laid out in a 17-page affidavit by EPA Special Agent Kimberly M. Bahney, a Kansas City-based criminal investigator. The affidavit is the basis for the search warrant, which federal Magistrate Judge David P. Rush signed on Feb. 20, court records show.

The EPA believes that Ranslow repeatedly falsified the results of tests he was required to conduct on the sewer plant's discharge by listing the same levels of total suspended solids, ammonia, and oil and grease on successive reports.

By falsifying the lab results, Ranslow was able to hide from state and federal investigators that the plant was discharging unacceptably high levels of the three elements, the affidavit shows.

Both the federal Clean Water Act and Title 18 of the United States Code forbid making false or fraudulent statements. Both statutes carry the possibility of fines and federal prison sentences for those convicted of violating them.

The apparent subterfuge came to light during a four-day inspection of the plant in late September and early October by EPA inspector David Pratt, whose work is being conducted independently of the criminal investigation.

In an interview last month with Bahney, Pratt said that he discovered the repeated element levels during his review of paperwork at the plant.

Of 127 values reported on internal lab tests from January 2012 to September 2014, only nine were non-replicated. The reports showed a total suspended solids level of 2.3 milligrams per liter on 12 separate occasions, while 11 other levels were replicated at least five times during that time period.

Pratt told Bahney that in his decade as an inspector, he has never seen a sewer plant obtain the exact same figures while testing at different times.

The records — sworn to be true and correct — that showed the false data were signed by both Ranslow and Granby Mayor Richard Eutsler and submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources, the affidavit shows.

Reached for comment Tuesday, Eutsler said that while he did sign documents that were later sent to state and federal regulators, he didn't create the data included in them.

“I didn't have any way of knowing what it was,” he said. “This could come out OK for us. I hope it does.”

The last falsification inspectors found occurred in July 2014, a month before Eutsler campaigned to aldermen for a $2,300-a-year raise for Ranslow, saying he'd been told Ranslow was doing a great job. The City Council approved the raise by a 3-0 vote, with Alderman Travis Gamble abstaining from voting.

Ranslow was less than cooperative during Pratt's inspection last year, the affidavit shows.

“I felt like I was being lied to the entire investigation,” Pratt told Bahney.

Pratt said that when he asked questions of Ranslow and Bill Breedlove, who was working at the plant as a part-time operator, he would get different answers from each, or get a different answer from the same operator later in the inspection.

An example, the affidavit shows, was when Pratt asked about how they collected testing samples. Breedlove explained the procedure, but then Ranslow retracted Breedlove's statement and said they took samples in a different way.

Pratt's examination of internal lab records suggest the work was being completed in the way Breedlove described, the affidavit shows.

During the inspection, Ranslow said to Pratt: “You must think I'm a complete dumbass.” Pratt took that to mean Ranslow was probing to see if the federal inspector recognized he had been falsifying data, the affidavit shows.

Pratt's investigation also discovered that the plant is not properly disposing of as much sludge as should be expected for a facility of its size. Records show the plant disposed of 18.6 dry tons of sludge in 2009, 14.2 tons in 2010, one ton in 2011, and 1.8 tons in 2013. No records for 2012 could be found, the affidavit shows.

Granby's operating permit shows the plant should produce 37.4 tons of sludge per year, the affidavit shows.

Granby's plant has been under increasing scrutiny from state and federal regulators for a series of sludge discharges into an unnamed Shoal Creek tributary, known locally as Gum Springs Branch. The affidavit notes that the Granby plant has spilled untreated sludge into the creek on at least 11 occasions since 2001.

Pratt noted during his inspection that sludge is being discharged into the creek because the “mixed liquor” — that is, water that contains biosolids — is not being captured accurately for treatment. State regulators didn't catch the discharges because data the plant supplied was being falsified.

In addition to falsifying results from tests he was conducting, Pratt's investigation found that Ranslow also failed to accurately document the results of plant tests conducted by an outside laboratory on documents he submitted to regulators.

In both June 2013 and March 2014, Granby reported ammonia values that are 99 percent lower than what the lab results show, the affidavit shows. While the lab found ammonia levels of 16 and 14.9 milligrams per liter, respectively, the city's report to inspectors shows 0.16 mg/l and 0.14 mg/l. Similar results were also discovered on the city's reporting of oil and grease levels in its discharge, the affidavit shows.

Ranslow quit in the wake of Pratt's inspection, which found five potential major violations of the plant's operating permit. He is currently working at Joplin's sewer plant, a city spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Granby is still awaiting the final results of Pratt's inspection and any potential administrative penalties, including fines.

The city has hired engineer Gene Spears to find ways to improve the plant, at the behest of state regulators. Granby has about a month to present its plan for fixing the plant to the state.

Granby aldermen met in closed session Tuesday to discuss the case. They apparently reviewed copies of the affidavit, which the Newton County News provided to them. Aldermen made no public statement when they emerged after an hour behind closed doors.

Bahney's affidavit is not an indictment, nor does it show all the evidence the government has collected in the case.

C. J. Huff: All right, all right, it wasn't God's fault

(From Joplin Schools- A Message from Dr. C. J. Huff)

Thank you to everyone for your patience this morning. I won't make any excuses regarding the late decision this morning. Certainly not a position I wanted to put our children, parents, and bus drivers in this morning. During the 4:15 a.m. National Weather Center conference call this morning there was little to no risk of ice and were calling for 1-3 inches of dry snow starting at 7:30 a.m. So it is with Missouri weather. I offer my apologies for the late decision and the confusion and inconvenience it caused.

As for details related to school today...

Since elementary students were already on the bus, the decision was made to go ahead and deliver our K-5 kids to the elementary schools to ensure their safety. If parents want to pick their child up because they don't want them to ride the bus home, or if they want to drop their child off at school later that is fine. All absences or tardies today will be excused. The absences must be documented for record keeping purposes but WILL NOT count towards perfect attendance or towards any violation of the district's attendance policy.

The middle schools and high schools are closed today.

I want to thank our outstanding transportation department for a job well done. Under challenging conditions, all children have been delivered safely to their destinations and all buses have safely returned to the bus garage.

I apologize for any undue stress my decision may have caused this morning, but I'm thankful all of our children are safe and accounted for.

Joplin R-8 elementary schools open- C. J. Huff blames God

Schools are closed in Carthage, Webb City, Carl Junction, Neosho, and almost every other surrounding school.

Even Joplin High School and Joplin middle school students will not be in class today.

The only students in the area who will be attending school today will be those who are in grades K-5 in the Joplin R-8 elementary schools.

At about 4:30 a.m., Huff issued a tweet proclaiming, "School is in session today. Bundle up...it will get colder throughout the day!

Huff changed his mind about holding school, but not before elementary bus routes had already started. At about 7 a.m., he issued this tweet:

We are closing for middle school and high school. Elementary will still be open, but parents can make the decision.

A few moments ago on KZRG, Huff explained the problem, but as usual, he remains pathologically incapable of taking the blame for anything:

"We thought we were doing the right thing, but God had other plans."

C. J. Huff: Middle schools, high schools closed today, elementary schools open

Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff just issued the following tweet:

We are closing for middle school and high school. Elementary will still be open, but parents can make the decision.

Winter weather advisory in effect for Joplin area

(From the National Weather Service)

MORE ACCUMULATING WINTRY PRECIPITATION ON THE WAY...

.A COLD FRONT HAS PUSHED SOUTH OF THE AREA...BUT THE FREEZING LINE
WAS LAGGING WELL BEHIND THE FRONT. TEMPERATURES WILL CONTINUE TO
DROP THROUGHOUT THE DAY WHILE PRECIPITATION EXPANDS ACROSS THE
AREA. A MIXED BAG OF PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED THROUGH ABOUT
MIDDAY WITH THE TRANSITION OCCURRING FROM RAIN...TO FREEZING
RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST DURING THE
MORNING. BY THE AFTERNOON...ALMOST ALL LOCATIONS SHOULD HAVE
CHANGED OVER OR IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING OVER TO ALL SNOW.

PRECIPITATION EARLY THIS MORNING WILL BE LIGHT AND MORE SCATTERED
IN NATURE BUT SHOULD BEGIN TO INCREASE IN INTENSITY AND COVERAGE
BY MID TO LATE MORNING. DRIER AIR WILL BEGIN WORKING SOUTHEAST
INTO THE AREA WITH THE COLD ARCTIC AIR MASS AND WILL CREATE A
SHARP CUTOFF TO THE PRECIPITATION BY MIDDAY AND SPREAD SOUTHEAST
THROUGH THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

THEREFORE...THE BEST CHANCE OF ACCUMULATING WINTER PRECIPITATION
WILL BE OVER SOUTH CENTRAL MISSOURI...ROUGHLY SOUTH OF A BRANSON
TO SALEM LINE...WITH LESSER AMOUNTS THE FURTHER NORTH AND WEST
ACROSS THE REGION.

KSZ097-101-MOZ057-058-068>071-077>081-088>090-093-094-101-102-
041745-
/O.CON.KSGF.WW.Y.0010.000000T0000Z-150305T1200Z/
CRAWFORD-CHEROKEE-MILLER-MARIES-HICKORY-CAMDEN-PULASKI-PHELPS-
BARTON-CEDAR-POLK-DALLAS-LACLEDE-JASPER-DADE-GREENE-NEWTON-
LAWRENCE-MCDONALD-BARRY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...PITTSBURG...BAXTER SPRINGS...COLUMBUS...
ELDON...LAKE OZARK...VIENNA...HERMITAGE...OSAGE BEACH...
CAMDENTON...FORT LEONARD WOOD...WAYNESVILLE...ROLLA...LAMAR...
EL DORADO SPRINGS...STOCKTON...BOLIVAR...BUFFALO...LEBANON...
JOPLIN...CARTHAGE...GREENFIELD...SPRINGFIELD...NEOSHO...AURORA...
MOUNT VERNON...ANDERSON...PINEVILLE...MONETT...CASSVILLE
336 AM CST WED MAR 4 2015

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST
THURSDAY...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR FREEZING RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW
REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST THURSDAY.

* SHORT TERM TRENDS...TEMPERATURES REMAIN AROUND FREEZING TO ABOVE
  FREEZING ACROSS THE AREA...BUT SHOULD CONTINUE TO DROP TODAY AND
  WILL BE BELOW FREEZING BY MID MORNING. RAIN WILL CHANGE TO
  FREEZING RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW BY MID TO LATE MORNING WITH ALL
  SNOW BY LATE MORNING AND THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.

* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...PORTIONS OF SOUTHEASTERN KANSAS AND
  SOUTHWESTERN AND CENTRAL MISSOURI...INCLUDING THE GREATER
  INTERSTATE 44 CORRIDOR...FROM TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING.

* SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS...A TRACE UP TO HALF INCH OF
  SLEET...ALONG WITH TWO TO FIVE INCHES OF SNOW. THE LOWEST SNOW
  AND SLEET AMOUNTS WILL BE ACROSS THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE
  ADVISORY AREA.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...A TRACE TO FIVE HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH OF
  FREEZING RAIN WILL BE POSSIBLE.

* WINDS AND VISIBILITY...MODERATE SNOW WILL LIKELY RESULT IN
  VISIBILITY AT OR BELOW ONE MILE AT TIMES ON WEDNESDAY.

* IMPACTS...A COMBINATION OF SLEET...SNOW...AND FREEZING RAIN
  WILL LIKELY RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE TRAVEL IMPACTS ACROSS THE
  AREA STARTING LATE TONIGHT...AND CONTINUING THROUGH THE DAY ON
  WEDNESDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FREEZING
RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR
SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITY...AND USE CAUTION WHILE
DRIVING.

Winter storm warning in effect for Branson area

(From the National Weather Service)

MORE ACCUMULATING WINTRY PRECIPITATION ON THE WAY...

.A COLD FRONT HAS PUSHED SOUTH OF THE AREA...BUT THE FREEZING LINE
WAS LAGGING WELL BEHIND THE FRONT. TEMPERATURES WILL CONTINUE TO
DROP THROUGHOUT THE DAY WHILE PRECIPITATION EXPANDS ACROSS THE
AREA. A MIXED BAG OF PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED THROUGH ABOUT
MIDDAY WITH THE TRANSITION OCCURRING FROM RAIN...TO FREEZING
RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST DURING THE
MORNING. BY THE AFTERNOON...ALMOST ALL LOCATIONS SHOULD HAVE
CHANGED OVER OR IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING OVER TO ALL SNOW.

PRECIPITATION EARLY THIS MORNING WILL BE LIGHT AND MORE SCATTERED
IN NATURE BUT SHOULD BEGIN TO INCREASE IN INTENSITY AND COVERAGE
BY MID TO LATE MORNING. DRIER AIR WILL BEGIN WORKING SOUTHEAST
INTO THE AREA WITH THE COLD ARCTIC AIR MASS AND WILL CREATE A
SHARP CUTOFF TO THE PRECIPITATION BY MIDDAY AND SPREAD SOUTHEAST
THROUGH THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

THEREFORE...THE BEST CHANCE OF ACCUMULATING WINTER PRECIPITATION
WILL BE OVER SOUTH CENTRAL MISSOURI...ROUGHLY SOUTH OF A BRANSON
TO SALEM LINE...WITH LESSER AMOUNTS THE FURTHER NORTH AND WEST
ACROSS THE REGION.

MOZ082-083-091-092-095>098-103>106-041745-
/O.CON.KSGF.WS.W.0004.000000T0000Z-150305T1200Z/
TEXAS-DENT-WEBSTER-WRIGHT-CHRISTIAN-DOUGLAS-HOWELL-SHANNON-STONE-
TANEY-OZARK-OREGON-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...HOUSTON...CABOOL...SALEM...MARSHFIELD...
ROGERSVILLE...MOUNTAIN GROVE...MANSFIELD...NIXA...OZARK...AVA...
WEST PLAINS...WINONA...EMINENCE...KIMBERLING CITY...GALENA...
BRANSON...FORSYTH...GAINESVILLE...THEODOSIA...THAYER...ALTON
336 AM CST WED MAR 4 2015

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST
THURSDAY...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR FREEZING RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW
REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST THURSDAY.

* SHORT TERM TRENDS...TEMPERATURES REMAIN ABOVE FREEZING ACROSS
  THE AREA EARLY THIS MORNING...BUT SHOULD CONTINUE TO DROP AND
  WILL GO BELOW FREEZING BY MID TO LATE MORNING. RAIN WILL
  GRADUALLY CHANGE OVER TO FREEZING RAIN SLEET AND SNOW BY MID
  MORNING AND THEN ALL SNOW DURING THE AFTERNOON.

* TIMING AND AREAS AFFECTED...AREAS ALONG AND SOUTHEAST OF A LINE
  FROM KIMBERLING CITY...TO MARSHFIELD TO SALEM FROM VERY LATE
  TONIGHT UNTIL EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.

* SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS...A HALF INCH OR MORE OF SLEET...
  ALONG WITH 4 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW WILL BE POSSIBLE. THE HEAVIER
  SLEET ACCUMULATIONS WILL OCCUR IN THE SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE
  WARNING AREA.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...A FEW HUNDREDTHS TO AROUND 12 HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH OF
  FREEZING RAIN WILL BE POSSIBLE.

* WINDS AND VISIBILITY...GUSTY NORTH WINDS...COMBINED WITH
  MODERATE TO AT TIMES HEAVY SNOW...WILL LIKELY RESULT IN
  VISIBILITY BELOW ONE MILE FOR MUCH OF THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY.

* IMPACTS...A COMBINATION OF SLEET...SNOW...AND FREEZING RAIN
  WILL LIKELY RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE TRAVEL IMPACTS ACROSS THE
  AREA STARTING LATE TONIGHT...AND CONTINUING THROUGH THE DAY ON
  WEDNESDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF FREEZING
RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.
CONSIDER TAKING A WINTER STORM KIT ALONG WITH YOU. THIS KIT SHOULD
INCLUDE SUCH ITEMS AS TIRE CHAINS...BOOSTER CABLES...A
FLASHLIGHT...SHOVEL...BLANKETS...EXTRA CLOTHING AND ANYTHING ELSE
THAT WOULD HELP YOU SURVIVE IN CASE YOU BECOME STRANDED.