Claire McCaskill Has Nearly $3M in Bank
By Joshua Miller
Roll Call Staff
July 11, 2011, 4:59 p.m.
Top GOP target Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) pulled in almost $1.4 million in the second quarter
and had nearly $3 million in cash on hand at the end of June, according to the state Democratic
“Claire’s focus on common-sense solutions has won her broad support across Missouri and
respect throughout the country,” Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said.
Her two declared GOP opponents, Rep. Todd Akin and former Missouri Treasurer Sarah
Steelman, have yet to release their fundraising totals.
Democrats: Sen. McCaskill raises nearly
Jul 11, 4:07 PM EDT
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill posted a solid fundraising
quarter in her re-election campaign for U.S. Senate.
The state Democratic Party said Monday that McCaskill raised nearly $1.4 million during the
second quarter of 2011, which ended June 30. The party said McCaskill will report almost $3
million in her campaign account.
Candidates are not required to file quarterly campaign finance reports until Friday.
Two Republicans already have declared their candidacies against McCaskill in the 2012 Senate
race. They are St. Louis area Congressman Todd Akin and former state Treasurer Sarah
Sinquefield gives $50,000 to Kinder, plus a
plane ride for Perry
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter
Posted 10:29 pm Mon., 7.11.11
Wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield is leaving no doubt of his support for the campaign
aspirations of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican who is expected to challenge Gov. Jay
Nixon next year.
A report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows that Kinder (left) received
$82.191.35 on Friday from Sinquefield. That's in addition to $115,000 given earlier this year --
making Sinquefield Kinder's top individual donor.
The bulk of the latest largesse was a $50,000 cash contribution. The remaining $32,191.35 was
reported as an inkind contribution. (The Democratic-leaning firedupmissouri.com was among
the first to take note of the donations.)
Campaign consultant Jared Craighead -- who noted that he was not required to offer details
-- explained in an interview that the inkind contribution was payment to cover the private-plane
bill to fly Texas Gov. Rick Perry to St. Louis on June 21 for Kinder's fundraising event at Hunter
Farms, the estate of Stephen and Kimmy Brauer.
Perry, by the way, shares Sinquefield's opposition to state income taxes. Kinder indicated
support for an end to the state income tax in last January's response to Gov. Jay Nixon's State
of the State address. Craighead says that Kinder has not taken a position on the proposal to
replace Missouri's income tax with a larger sales tax, but that he believes it is a topic worthy of
Sinquefield's most recent donations won't show up, however, on Kinder's latest
campaign-finance report, due Friday. That report covers donations only from April 1-June 30.
The new report also won't mention Sinquefield's earlier donation of $115,000 to Kinder on
Lawsuit Filed Against Missouri's "Religious
By Chad Garrison Mon., Jul. 11 2011 at 8:29 AM Riverfront Times
In November 2012, Missouri voters will be asked to approve an amendment to the state
constitution, titled Religious Freedom in Public Places.
According to the sponsor of the resolution, Republican Mike McGhee of the western Missouri
town of Odessa, the amendment would make it "okay to read a Bible in study hall" and "pray
briefly before a City Council meeting." The amendment also requires public schools to
prominently display a copy of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
But that's not all the amendment would do.
It also states that school children cannot be compelled to participate in any assignments that
violate their beliefs. Moreover, the amendment goes out of its way to deny inmates any
additional religious freedoms under the state constitution, noting that "the resolution cannot be
construed to expand the rights of prisoners in state or local custody beyond those guaranteed
by federal laws."
Voters at the polls, however, won't know about those last two provisions. That's because they're
excluded from the ballot language that asks:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:
That the rights of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;
That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their
That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
Now two Missouri women are challenging that ballot language. Last Thursday, the Reverend
Madeline Coburn, a Methodist minister who works with prisoners, and Brenda Bredemeier, an
associate professor at University of Missouri - St. Louis, sued the state in an attempt to change
what voters will see at the polls.
In their lawsuit filed in Cole County, the women argue that the ballot doesn't sufficiently state
that the amendment would reduce the religious rights of inmates and deny children a
well-rounded education. As Bredemeier's attorneys with the ACLU argue, the amendment
"would detract from educational quality by curtailing students' exposure to significant concepts
and theories that are integral to related domains of study and underlie important public
Coburn and Bredemeier want the ballot language changed to the following, which they believe
more accurately reflects its intent:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:
Repeal the the state constitutional right of prisoners to religious freedom and liberty of
conscience and belief, and;
Create a right for any student, in public or private schools, to refuse to participate in
assignments or classes that violate the student's religious beliefs?
Group Wants Legalized Pot Put to a Vote In
Their Goal Is To Make It Legal For Anyone Over 21-Years-Old
George Sells FOX2now.com
8:34 a.m. CDT, July 8, 2011
ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com)—
The first step has been taken toward putting a referendum on the legalization of marijuana on
Missouri’s ballot next year. A group calling itself Show-Me Cannabis has submitted the
paperwork so it can begin circulating petitions. Their goal is to make marijuana legal for use by
anyone over the age of 21.
Among the supporters is St. Louis medical marijuana activist Mark Pedersen. Pedersen says
he suffers from an illness cause by prolonged lead exposure, and uses the drug himself.
He says he has taken the stories of chronically ill, medical marijuana users to lawmakers in
Jefferson City, only to be turned away.
“The overwhelming answer I hear is, I’m sorry. I agree with you, but this is a career killer. We
could never vote for it. A career killer is not good enough. People are suffering.”
That’s a big part of the reason Show-Me Cannabis is attempting to take the measure straight to
voters. They believe the direct route to the ballot box gives them a realistic chance of passing
“The people are the ones who should be making the decision on something as crucial as this,”
Pedersen says. “We need to allow the people to make that decision. Not the lawmakers but
They will meet fierce opposition on a number of fronts, not the least of which will be anti-drug
groups who believe passage is unlikely, but that other damage can be done.
Dan Duncan, from the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse says, “We would be very
concerned that a movement like this would go even further to give a message to our kids that
this is a safe, harmless drug when in fact it’s not.”
Duncan says there are simply too many risks to making pot legal.
“It’s not true that everybody that uses marijuana is gonna end up on cocaine, or
methamphetamine or heroin,” he says, “but it is true that that most people that do those drugs,
the drugs with the greater lethality, have all used drugs like marijuana prior.”
It’s one of many topics upon which he and Pedersen couldn’t disagree more.
“Cannabis is safer than table sugar,” Pedersen insists. “I would be happy to argue that with
anybody who is a prohibitionist. The facts are on our side.”
Duncan, again disagrees. “The way science is weighing in, it tells us, no way, it’s just not a
To get the measure on the ballot, proponents need to get signatures from a percentage of
voters in each of 2/3 of Missouri’s congressional districts. Five percent is required for a ballot
initiative, and eight percent for a constitutional amendment. They haven’t decided which they
They’ve got until May of 2012 to get the signatures. If they succeed, voters would take up the
question the following November. That would be the same day as the presidential election.
Trial finally underway on 2009 altercation at
Carnahan town hall
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter
Posted 12:08 am Tue., 7.12.11
Almost two years after the altercation that hit national news, a jury trial is underway in Clayton to
determine whether two local union members assaulted conservative Kenneth Gladney at a
health-care forum hosted by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.
The courtroom was packed for much of Monday's opening testimony and cross-examination of
Gladney and an allied witness. Most of those in the audience appeared to be allies of the
defendents, Elston McCowan and Perry Molens, who are charged with misdemeanor assault
in connection with the August 2009 incident.
The two each face up to a year in the county jail and a fine of $1,000. City Counselor Pat
Redington says the trial was delayed because the defendants demanded a jury trial, which is
rarely held for such county offenses. A judge and an open courtroom had to be scheduled, she
McCowan also is an ordained pastor and a vice president with the St. Louis chapter of the
NAACP. Those in the audience included NAACP members and activists with a local Green
Party group, the Gateway Green Alliance.
Gladney wore a neck brace, which he acknowledged to the jury has nothing to do with the
assault but is the result of a recent unrelated surgery.
Ever since the incident, Gladney has been a cause celebre for tea party activists. He and
witness Sandra Himes testified that his assailants used racial epithets during the attack. The
defendants have yet to testify, but earlier have denied the allegations. They do, however, allege
that Gladney was selling campaign buttons that showed Obama in white face; Gladney denies
(Click here for a look at a video of part of the incident. A similar video was shown in court.)
During Monday's testimony, the defense focused on Gladney's appearance in a wheel chair at a
tea party rally shortly after the assault -- he said he was on medication at the time -- and his
paid trip to San Diego to speak at a tea party event.
On Tuesday, the defendants and their allies are expected to take the stand. Redington said the
trial may last through Wednesday.
The defendents' lawyer declined comment Monday. Gladney said in a brief interview outside the
courtroom, "I'm glad that the trial is here, that all of this will be over."
Trial begins over altercation at 2009 town
hall forum in St. Louis County
FROM STAFF REPORTS STLtoday.com | Posted: Monday, July 11, 2011 5:54 pm
CLAYTON • A trial began in St. Louis County Municipal court on Monday in the case of two men
accused of assaulting a third man selling buttons outside a town hall meeting in south St. Louis
County in August 2009.
The charges stem from a contentious meeting called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis,
to discuss aging. But much of the audience came to talk about health care reform, including Tea
Party members and others opposed to proposed changes on one side and supporters of
President Barack Obama on the other.
Kenneth Gladney said he was selling "Don't Tread on Me" buttons and flags outside the forum
when Elston McCowan, of St. Louis, and Perry Molens, of De Soto, attacked him, unprovoked.
Each was charged with assaulting a person and interfering with police, both misdemeanor
"They attacked (Gladney), there's no question about it," John Mirelli, a witness for the county,
McCowan and Molens, each at the meeting for the Service Employees International Union,
claim Gladney was selling anti-Obama buttons and that when they confronted him about them,
Gladney started the physical attack by slapping McCowan's hands.
The attack escalated to punches and shoves, and McCowan suffered a fractured shoulder, his
The trial is set to continue Tuesday.
Nixon to announce company's expansion
1:00 PM, Jul. 11, 2011
Gov. Jay Nixon will be in Ozark today to announce the expansion of HealthMEDX, a
business that provides computer software to long-term health care providers across the
According to a news release, the Ozark-based company will create 65 new jobs and
make a substantial new capital investment.
Nixon will make the announcement at HealthMEDX, 5100 N. Towne Centre Drive, at 2
Governor Nixon Will Announce 65 New Jobs
Tuesday at Ozark Software Firm
The company is creating the new jobs and making a new
July 11, 2011|By Leigh Moody | Anchor
Governor Jay Nixon will be in Ozark on Tuesday to announce the creation of 65 new jobs by a
local business that provides computer software to long-term health care providers across the
HealthMedX is expanding its operations, creating 65 new jobs and making a substantial new
capital investment. The Governor will make the announcement at the offices of HealthMedX and
be joined by business representatives and community leaders.
Republicans angered over Jay Nixon veto of
By VIRGINIA YOUNG • email@example.com > 573-635-6178 STLtoday.com |
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:26 am
JEFFERSON CITY • Republicans say Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an elections bill has made
Missouri "irrelevant" in the presidential nominating process and should be overridden by the
The bill would have moved the state's presidential primary to early March from early February,
to comply with national Republican and Democratic Party committee rules.
National party rules say that only four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and
Nevada — can hold caucuses or primary elections before the beginning of March. The aim was
to keep states from front-loading the process to gain influence.
States that break the rule can be punished by having their delegations cut in half at party
conventions. That, in turn, could prompt presidential contenders to ignore Missouri during the
"If I was a candidate and I knew that I could campaign in Iowa and be sure to have delegates
and make an impact, or campaign in Missouri and the delegation might not even be seated,
where would you choose?" asked Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, sponsor of the elections
Veteran Republican consultant John Hancock said the veto "makes Missouri irrelevant in the
presidential primary process."
Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the elections bill late Friday, saying that while he supported the
presidential primary date change, the bill contained other provisions he deemed "unacceptable."
One of those provisions would have removed the governor's authority to fill vacancies when a
statewide elected official resigned. Nixon said the state couldn't afford the $7 million cost of a
special election each time a vacancy occurred.
He also opposed a change that would have eliminated the possibility of write-in candidates in
cities with populations under 35,000. That provision would have canceled elections for local
offices if the number of candidates equaled the number of open positions.
Engler said he would consider trying to override the veto when the Legislature convened for its
annual veto session on Sept. 14. An override would require 109 votes in the House and 23
votes in the Senate.
Republicans control the Senate 26-8, so Engler should have no trouble there. But they would
have to pick up four Democratic votes in the House.
"I think we'll have a good shot at it," Engler said.
The bill had bipartisan support when it passed in May, on votes of 137-11 in the House and 31-2
in the Senate. But the presidential primary change didn't generate much excitement among
Democrats, because their party controls the White House and they know who their presidential
nominee is likely to be.
Each party blamed the other for the bill's demise, with Democrats saying Republicans should
have kept controversial items out of it and Republicans saying Nixon should have weighed in
while the bill was being written.
House Majority Whip Jason Smith, R-Salem, served on the conference committee that worked
out the final version of the bill. He said he was "very surprised the governor vetoed it because
no one ever told us they didn't like it."
Governor signs omnibus ag bill into law
July 12, 2011 | Missouri News Horizon | Posted by: Tim Sampson
MEXICO, Mo. – On a hot summer day when most farmers would be moving hay up to the loft,
Gov. Jay Nixon signed a comprehensive new package of agriculture provisions into law.
The bill became somewhat of a Christmas tree toward the end of session with lawmakers
attaching a number of diverse measures all related to agriculture. The act contains new sales
tax exemptions for farmers, establishes an animal protection fund and places tougher
restrictions on grain dealers.
“One of the most important things (the law) does for Missouri Farmers is give them additional
security when it comes to grain. This bill protects grain producers by reducing the risk of failure
by grain dealers by requiring increased financial security and oversight,” Nixon said.
These new rules are a direct response to a 2009 case in which Cathy Gieseker, a grain dealer
from Martinsburg, was arrested and convicted of defrauding roughly 180 farmers out of $27
million in a Ponzi scheme.
The law will now raise the minimum surety bond requirement for licensed gain dealers from
$20,000 to $50,000 and raise the m
Gov. Jay Nixon speaks about agriculture bill before signing it into law. Photo by Tim
Sampson/Missouri News Horizon
Maximum from $300,000 to $600,000. The act also requires dealers to maintain a minimum net
worth of 5 percent of the total amount of grain purchased in the previous fiscal year. Dealers
will also be required to include annual grain purchases on financial statements which are
audited or reviewed by a certified public accountant.
Nixon said these and other requirements will bring Missouri more in line with the policies of
other grain producing states.
“Together we’ll make sure that we never see another case like the one we saw in Martinsburg in
2009, where a single bad actor can steal assets from hundreds of hard working farmers – never
again,” he said.
The bill’s original author, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Clarence, was on hand at the bill signing
ceremony, which took place at the MFA grain storage facility in Mexico. He was quick to
champion two pieces of the bill that provide direct financial assistance to Missouri Farmers.
The bill establishes new state and local sales tax exemptions for farm machinery. It also creates
the Missouri Farmland Trust, authorizing the Department of Agriculture to accept or acquire
farmland in the state for the purpose of leasing the land to beginning farmers.
“This bill is something that does a lot of different things and a lot of very good things for
agriculture,” Munzlinger said. “Not only for those of us who are in agriculture right now, but (the
Farmland Turst), that’s going to help our next generation come to the farm.”
The act also establishes another trust fund. The Puppy Protection Trust Fund allows individuals
and corporations to donate a minimum of $1 on their tax returns – or $2 on a joint return – to be
used by the state for the administration of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act. The fund is part of
revised Proposition B legislation signed into law earlier this year.
The agriculture bill also contains new protections against noxious weeds that threaten crops and
allows the Department of Agriculture to begin publishing its annual brand book online – a
provision expected to save the state a significant sum on printing costs.
Rep. Tom Loehner, R-Koeltztown, who carried the bill through the House of Representatives,
said the final product would help protect the growth of Missouri’s agriculture sector.
“It was a pleasure to serve all of agriculture,” Loehner said of his work on the bill. “Agriculture is
Mo. Gov. Nixon approves grain dealer
The Christian County jail is well over capacity, and as a result inmates are
being houses in less secure areas of the facility.
By DAVID A. LIEB, Southeast Missourian
Associated Press Jul 11, 4:53 PM EDT
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri grain dealers will face more stringent financial
requirements under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jay Nixon in response to the most costly
grain fraud scheme in state history.
The new Missouri law, effective Aug. 28, will require grain dealers to set aside more money as a
safeguard against insolvency, though it will come too late for the roughly 180 farmers who lost
about $27 million to a northeast Missouri grain dealer now in federal prison on fraud charges.
Cathy Gieseker, of Martinsburg, received a nine-year federal sentence on mail-fraud charges
and a concurrent 10-year state sentence for felony charges of theft and filing false statements
with state officials. Gieseker and her husband, Timothy, ran T.J. Gieseker Farms and Trucking
in Martinsburg. She continued the business after he died of cancer in 2007.
Prosecutors say Gieseker defrauded farmers by telling them she had contracts with Archer
Daniels Midland Co. that would provide returns of 50-100 percent above market. But she had no
such deal. Instead, Gieseker sold the grain at spot prices. To keep the scheme going, she
would occasionally pay inflated returns to some farmers as false evidence that she really had a
contract, prosecutors said.
Some farmers started to worry as Gieseker kept putting off their payments, and eventually
turned to regulators with the state Agriculture Department. An audit revealed financial
irregularities in her firm that prosecutors claim date back to 2002.
Nixon held a bill signing ceremony Monday at a feed store in the northeast Missouri city of
Mexico. Agriculture officials have said Gieseker served as broker between grain farmers and
buyers in Mexico, Mo.; Louisiana, Mo.; St. Louis; and Quincy, Ill.
The new Missouri law will require grain dealers to maintain assets at least equal to their
liabilities. Missouri had been one of the few states that did not have an asset-to-liability ratio,
said Richard Wahl, president of the Association of Grain Regulatory officials and chief of the
Grain Warehouse Bureau for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
The Missouri law also will require grain dealers to maintain a net worth of at least 5 percent of
their annual grain purchases. For larger grain dealers, Missouri law previously capped that
amount at $20,000 or 1 percent of annual grain purchases, whichever was greater. The law also
increases the net worth requirements for grain warehouses, often referred to as elevators, from
the current 15 cents to 25 cents per bushel based on their storage capacity. The new
requirement for grain elevators brings Missouri more in line with national standards.
Under the new Missouri law, the surety bond required for grain dealers also will rise to a
minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $600,000 instead of a range of $20,000 to $300,000.
"Overall it's a move to modernize Missouri's grain dealer statute, and it should enhance the
protections that the (state agriculture) department provides to the farmers through its regulatory
program." Wahl said.
The legislation also contains several provisions unrelated to grain regulation. It creates a
program allowing retiring farmers to donate their land to the state to be leased to young farmers.
It also creates a new check-off option on state income tax returns, allowing people and
corporations to donate $1 or $2 toward the state's efforts to regulate dog breeders.
Grain bill is SB356.
After a 6-month lapse, water quality fees
signed back into law
July 12, 2011 | Missouri News Horizon | Posted by: Tim Sampson
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With just a few days left to sign legislation into law, Gov. Jay Nixon
put his signature on a bill that reauthorizes the water permit fees that fund a significant portion
of the state’s water regulation programs. These fees are paid by utilities, manufacturers, large
agricultural operations, developers and others for the permits to discharge wastewater or divert
storm water. The permit fees, which go to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources,
expired last year after the legislature failed to approve an extension during the 2010 session.
Nixon signs Mo. water permit fees
Jul 11, 6:07 PM EDT Southeast Missourian
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation reinstating fees
that provide more than one-quarter of the funding for the state's water regulation programs.
The fees are paid by commercial developers, home builders, utilities, manufacturers and
livestock producers for permission to discharge wastewater or divert storm water into streams
The fees had expired in December. The legislation signed Monday reinstates them until
Officials say the fees raised more than $4 million in the latest budget year for clean water
programs overseen by the Department of Natural Resources.
Water fees is HB89
New law clamps down on auto service
July 12, 2011 | Missouri News Horizon | Posted by: Tim Sampson
Gov. Nixon has signed new auto service provisions into law aimed at reforming an industry that
has faced several lawsuits from the attorney general’s office in recent years.
The new rules apply to sellers of motor vehicle extended service contracts. These companies
must now provide copies of proposed contracts before sale at consumers’ request. They have
to allow customers a 20-day grace period in which they can cancel their contract. And such
companies must refrain from calling their contracts warranties, when in fact they do not meet the
legal definition of a warranty.
“This is a troubled industry that has too many illegitimate players that have given the industry a
bad name,” said Attorney General Chris Koster.
The attorney general’s office has maintained 12 lawsuits against auto service contract
telemarketers in the last year for the type of business practices addressed in the law. In
addition, Koster’s office obtained criminal indictments in June against Darain Atkinson and his
brother Cory Atkinson, who owned and operated U.S. Fidelis. The indictments include felony
charges of unlawful merchandising practices, stealing and insurance fraud.
Nixon to sign Mo. disability legislation
Jul 12, 5:01 AM EDT Southeast Missourian
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is preparing to sign legislation addressing several
physical and mental disability issues.
The governor scheduled a signing ceremony Tuesday morning at Paraquad Independent Living
Center in St. Louis.
The legislation provides in part that a disability or disease doesn't automatically diminish an
adult's parental rights or disqualify someone from being an adoptive or foster parent.
Another section requires that parking spaces at least 96 inches wide be set aside in new
parking lots or lots that are being restriped.
The measure also replaces the term "mental retardation" in state law with "intellectual disability"
or "developmental disability."
Disability legislation is HB555
UM Presidential Search Committee begins
informal talks with candidates
Monday, July 11, 2011 | 10:36 p.m. CDT
BY Megan Cassidy
COLUMBIA — The UM Presidential Search Committee met for three and a half hours in a
closed session Monday evening to discuss potential candidates for the new system president.
In a teleconference following the meeting, Curator Warren Erdman said the committee
discussed somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 names as potential successors to Gary
Forsee, who stepped down as president in January.
Erdman stressed that the number was not static and changed daily.
"The process remains open, and we intend to keep it open until there are finalists," he said. "We
don't want to discourage any candidate."
Erdman said for the past three weeks, the committee had been engaged in informal
conversations with various individuals regarding the position. He would not go into detail about
any of those in the running, as nearly all had insisted on confidentiality.
In broader terms, Erdman described the candidates as extremely diverse and was encouraged
by their qualifications.
"We are a very sought-after institution in terms of this presidency," he said.
Erdman calls the talks a "get acquainted opportunity," and said the committee plans to conduct
formal interviews with the candidates in August.
"We're still at the very beginning stages," he said.
KMBC Report: Mo. Levee Association Chief
Blames Environmentalists for Missouri
Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association Chairman Tom Waters is accusing the
environmentalists of pushing policies on the Amry Corps of Engineers that contribute to the
Great Flood of 2011. He says when the flooding subsides, there may be a backlash against the
movement because of that.
“I think it is very likely and I think it is very well deserved”, said Tom Waters in an interview with
The Association represents many local levee and drainage districts around the Missouri and
some agricultural business interests.
Waters charges environmentalists had too much influence in the development of the Corps
2004 Master Plan for the Missouri River.
“And since that time, the focus of that operation has really been on endangered species,”
Waters said. He believes flood control and other river management elements have been pushed
A spokesman for the Kansas Sierra Club, Bill Griffith called Waters’ claim, “laughable”.
“To say that we’re the puppet masters, holding the strings of the Corps, well, we didn’t get that
memo,” Griffith told KMBC.
Waters points to the 2011 Corps of Engineers’ budget that provides more than $72, million
dollars for fish and wildlife issues. He says there is $6.1 million in the same budget for flood
Griffith counters, he says the difference is because the levee system is already in place. He
says it is relatively inexpensive to maintain levees year-to-year, at least before this flood.
He adds the Corps’ work on fish and wildlife is still developing.
Critics of Corps also point to a June 6,2011 letter sent out to owners of river property. It arrived
about the same time the Missouri River levels started to rise sharply.
The letter says the Corps is seeking “willing buyers” to sell land to the Corps for wildlife habitats
and wetlands. Critics say that’s proof the Corps has an agenda to expand the environmental
influence within the Corp.
Griffith says the buy-out letters are not new. They go out, periodically he says, and have since
the 1993 flood.
At that time, there was an effort to buy-up property and homes in flood plains subject to
Griffith also disputes the claim the river is managed with the environmental interests first.
He says while the Corps has had the ability to do spring rises along the Missouri River to help
endangered birds and fish, such as the piping plover; least tern and pallid sturgeon. Griffith
says the spring rises have only taken place twice in the nearly 10 years that policy has been in
“If we win an occasional victory and the other side thinks that’s a complete capitulation, I’ll
accept that,” Griffith said.
“Even though the environmentalist didn’t get everything they wanted,”, responded Waters, “they
still got plenty”.
Later this week, Members of Congress from the states that border the Missouri River will meet.
They’re expected to try to push for reforms to the management of the river.
The Corps declined a request to sit for an interview for the report.
Rail funds could be used for disaster relief,
Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:00 am stltoday.com
WASHINGTON • Congressional Republicans this week are side-tracking $1.5 billion in
high-speed rail funds already awarded to several states.
In an adroit maneuver, GOP lawmakers propose shifting the high-speed rail dollars to pay for
Midwestern disaster relief. The move would help ease the federal deficit while it underscores
Republican resistance toward the rail plans by the administration of President Barack Obama.
"The flooding in the Midwest has been devastating," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.,
adding that "we must be serious about controlling the deficit."
If House Republicans succeed, California would lose $368 million. The Amtrak Northeast
corridor would lose $795 million, and a Midwestern high-speed rail corridor linking Chicago,
Detroit and St. Louis would lose $404 million.
The high-speed rail grants were announced by the Transportation Department in May, after
Florida had rejected the money. The checks, though, have not yet been sent.
"They're taking after this because it's sponsored by the president," Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.,
complained Monday, adding that "I think it's a real slap at California."
This year's bill would add $1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to respond to floods,
tornadoes and other natural disasters in the Mississippi and Missouri river basins. The
post-disaster work is considered an emergency, which usually means lawmakers don't need to
offset the additional spending.
Since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, for instance, Congress has provided some $5
billion on an emergency basis without demanding budget offsets.
"We have always treated those as stand-alone items," Costa noted.
Graves seeks new course on river
Ken Newton, St. Joseph News-Press
POSTED: 1:36 pm CDT July 11, 2011
UPDATED: 10:00 am CDT July 12, 2011
Congressman Sam Graves used a debate Monday on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill
to spell out “the absurdity” of Missouri River management practices.
The Northwest Missouri representative offered a spending bill amendment to redirect money
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ wildlife rehabilitation program to its levee maintenance
Fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the New Jersey lawmaker who chairs the
Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the legislation, spoke against the amendment. That
normally would kill the request, though a roll call later Monday resulted in its passage. The vote
was 216 to 190.*
Mr. Graves, who asked to transfer $1 million, trifling by congressional spending standards,
wanted to make a point.
“What I’m trying to do here is point out the absurdity and misalignment of priorities, which has
become clear in this appropriations bill,” he told House colleagues after the clerk read the
“We are spending nearly 12 times more to buy land for the betterment of fish and birds than we
are to protect farms, businesses and homes being flooded right now.”
Mr. Graves, whose home county of Atchison has experienced considerable flooding, said the
appropriation bill includes corps spending of $73 million for the Missouri River Recovery
Program and $6 million for building and maintaining levees.
Calling himself “sympathetic” to the flooding situation, Mr. Frelinghuysen cited the bill’s inclusion
of more than $1 billion in emergency assistance for flood and storm recovery. He also stood up
for the wildlife rehabilitation program.
“If the river system jeopardizes species, it could have great effect on the operations of the river,”
the chairman said.
Mr. Graves offered, “While I believe conservation is important, we should not overlook what we
sometimes sacrifice to achieve conservation.”
The Northwest Missourian said he would offer a second amendment to the bill, that one to affirm
that the corps’ priorities in managing the Missouri River are flood control and navigation.
By late Monday afternoon, that amendment had not been called to the House floor.
Mo. gets federal money for covered bridges
Jul 12, 5:01 AM EDT Southeast Missourian
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri is getting nearly $145,000 to help preserve two of the
state's historic covered bridges.
The state Department of Natural Resources announced the grants Monday. The funds come
from the Federal Highway Administration's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation
One project is planned at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site near Goldman in
Jefferson County. The other will take place at the Union Covered Bridge State Historic Site in
Among other things, the department will use the money to remove graffiti from the Sandy Creek
bridge and install two infrared cameras with motion sensors to record activities at the bridge.
The money will also go toward repairing 2008 flood damage at the Union Covered Bridge and
hiring a structural engineer to inspect the bridges.
MoDOT gets new public transit director
Jul 12, 5:01 AM EDT Southeast Missourian
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri has a new director for programs funding airports,
railroads, river ports and public transit.
The state Department of Transportation says Michelle Teel, of Fulton, will oversee its
Teel replaces Brian Weiler, who has been named director of aviation for the Springfield-Branson
National Airport. The airport says Weiler is expected to start his duties there Aug. 1.
Teel has worked for MoDOT for more than 15 years.
St. Louis-area casino revenue up again in
BY TIM LOGAN • firstname.lastname@example.org > 314-340-8291 STLtoday.com | Posted: Monday,
July 11, 2011 12:15 pm |
Local casinos had another strong month in June, the latest sign that gamblers are opening their
wallets again, weak economy or no.
Gaming revenue at the region's six casinos climbed 4.2 percent compared to last June,
according to new figures from Missouri and Illinois regulators. The strongest gains came at
Pinnacle Entertainment's sister properties in downtown and south St. Louis County. River City,
Pinnacle's Lemay casino, saw revenue jump by nearly one-fifth to $16 million.
In all, four of the six casinos saw revenue grow. The Casino Queen, in East St. Louis, reported
its best year-over-year performance since 2007, with revenue growth of 8.4 percent to $10.5
million. Ameristar in St. Charles saw the steepest decline, with business down 6.4 percent to
Casino revenue has grown every month this year, and through June was up 3 percent
compared to the first six months of 2010.
Here are the numbers for June.
Ameristar $21.9 -6.4%
Argosy Alton $5.9 -1.1%
Casino Queen $10.5 8.4%
Harrah's $21.4 6.4%
Lumiere Place $13.9 8.6%
River City $16.0 19.5%
Market $89.6 4.2%
Prosecutor testifies about relationship with
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
By Erin Hevern ~ Southeast Missourian
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle testified at
his divorce proceedings Monday that he was involved in a romantic relationship with a victim in
a 2009 embezzlement case several weeks before taking himself off the case.
The romantic relationship began before his recusal, according to testimony he and his ex-wife
Candace Swingle gave at the divorce trial.
Morley Swingle testified the intimate relationship began with Lane Thomasson after Aug. 30,
2010, although the pair exchanged personal emails beginning Aug. 7 when she was in London.
Thomasson was the victim in the case involving Joe T. Buerkle, a former local lawyer who was
sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing $325,000 from the trust fund of Thomasson's
late father. Buerkle pleaded guilty in the case Aug. 30 and was sentenced Feb. 22.
Swingle worked on the case until Nov. 12, the date he asked a judge to have a special
prosecutor take over. When questioned by the Southeast Missourian in January, Swingle said
when an attorney develops a conflict in a case he or she is required to get a special prosecutor
"And I did that instantly," he said, without giving details of the conflict of interest at that time.
Candace Swingle testified that she became aware of her husband's infidelity by reading
hundreds of emails. One set of emails, she said, was found Aug. 14, and another was found on
Oct. 13. A large stack of printed emails was presented to the court, but their specific contents
were sealed by the judge.
While emails before Aug. 14 didn't indicate a physical relationship, according to Candace
Swingle they detailed Swingle and Thomasson's plans to be intimate when she came to the
United States for a plea hearing. Candace Swingle said her husband and Thomasson talked in
detail via email about their sexual acts, including in his county office.
Morley Swingle was not questioned extensively about the emails' contents or his sexual
relationship with 29-year-old Thomasson, but more so about the expenditures to travel to see
Thomasson in London. All were put on a personal credit card. When emails turned personal, he
said he only wrote to Thomasson via two personal email accounts.
Swingle was asked in court whether he was concerned that his actions would end up before an
ethics commission. "To some degree, but once I researched it and realized there was not [a
violation] I was not concerned," he said.
In January, Morley Swingle said he wasn't worried about a complaint from the Missouri Bar.
"I'm confident that my actions will be vindicated and that I acted appropriately," he said.
Swingle is in good standing with the Missouri Bar and has had no public discipline against him
within the last three years, according to the state's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, an
agency of the state Missouri Supreme Court responsible for investigating allegations of
misconduct by lawyers.
Governor Nixon signs bill creating
by Mike Lear on July 11, 2011
A bill signed by Governor Nixon is another step toward more fresh fruits and veggies for the
state’s schoolchildren and inmates. It creates the Farm-To-Table Advisory Board, to look for
ways to get local produce into the state’s schools and correctional facilities.
House sponsor Casey Guernsey says right now red tape is holding up that process. He says
local produce is healthier than what is currently served in cafeterias in those facilities, and
would also save them some money.
The Bethany Representative says he isn’t necessarily looking to create a framework for how
local produce might be sold to institutions. He just wants to make that process easier.
The Board will be made up of at least one representative from the University of Missouri
Extension, the departments of Agriculture, Corrections, Economic Development and
Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Administration. The state Director
of Agriculture will also appoint a member who is actively engaged in a small agribusiness
It must have a report ready for the Governor, the General Assembly and the director of each
agency represented by August 31, 2012.
Governor signs new grain dealer regulations into
by Mike Lear on July 12, 2011
The Governor has signed a bill written in part because of grain dealership insolvencies that
cost farmers 32 million dollars in 2009. Senator sponsor Brian Munzlinger of Williamstown
hopes that language will help the Department of Agriculture’s inspectors keep grain
elevators in line.
Among its provisions, the act requires all licensed grain dealers or license applicants
maintain a minumum net worth of 5% of the total amoung of train bought in the previous
fiscal year. Licensed dealers and applicants also have to maintain assets at least equal to
It also raises the minimum surety bond requirement for licensed dealers from $20,000 to
$50,000 and raises the maximum from $300,000 to $600,000.
Munzligner says it won’t be a panacea, however, saying those who want to break laws will
still break laws and could commit fraud. He cautions farmers not to rely on the “hand shake”
deals of the past, and to get proper documentation of all transactions.
The omnibus bill also establishes the Missouri Farmland Trust and broadens law regarding
Levee breach threatens Highway 65
by Bob Priddy on July 11, 2011
The Corps of Engineers says a Carroll County levee has developed an opening of 250 to
300 feet, letting water flow through that could endanger Highway 65 north of Waverly. At the
same time the state transportation department is trying to keep a section of the highway
open—but water backing up from a nearby creek has cut traffic to one lane south of
Corps of Engineers would pay for part of
Mississippi River flooding
by Allison Blood on July 11, 2011
Flooding on the Mississippi River south of Cape Girardeau has already been historic. Army
Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division says they’ll use money from their less
important programs to repair flood damage if Congress doesn’t give them enough.
Spokesman Bob Anderson says recovery is too important to be underfunded.
Anderson says there isn’t a set list of programs to take money out of, but probably some
studies and navigation projects. He says it’s better to repair the levees now with the Corps’
own money so the levees can be effective later in the year and next flood season.
He says the Corps’ management this year has prevented 100 billion in damages. There has
already been a total of 54 million dollars transferred to date.
Consumer fraud on the rise in Joplin
by Allison Blood on July 11, 2011
Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a restraining order a company that was
misrepresenting itself to Joplin residents. Koster says Northland towing company was towing
vehicles that were damaged in the May 22nd tornado without permission or after lying and
telling people their insurance company had sent them.
Koster says they were towing the cars into Kansas and then charging people for a tow they
may not have ordered. Northland Towing operates out of Parkville Missouri, but they were
sending trucks to the disaster area. He says he will be seeking damages against the
company as soon as he can assess how much the damage is.
Koster says this is part of a larger pattern of companies and people taking advantage of
those in crisis. He says to expect to hear about at least two more lawsuits this week dealing
with the same type of fraud. He says his office has gotten more than 240 complaints about
unethical business practices so far.
EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
The Star’s editorial | Ethical slip-up in Missouri
Posted on Mon, Jul. 11, 2011 10:15 PM
An unsavory picture of Missouri government is presented by the Senate’s handling of a bill
meant to protect the state from a meltdown in the medical malpractice insurance market.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican, rushed into the office of Senate leader Rob
Mayer as soon as he learned of the bill’s existence, The Star reported Sunday.
Schaaf had good reason to be concerned. He owns a medical malpractice insurance firm
that would be regulated under the bill’s provisions.
A good-government optimist could hope Schaaf was hurrying to inform his Senate leader of
his direct financial interest in the bill and to make sure he wasn’t assigned to play a role in its
But that’s not what happened. Mayer assigned the bill to a committee where the outspoken
Schaaf is vice chairman. The malpractice insurance reforms never even got discussed.
It’s not unusual for first-year bills to get bottled up in committee. But Schaaf’s conflict of
interest gives rise to legitimate suspicion that he was instrumental in holding up the
Like most states, Missouri gives lawmakers wide latitude to decide which issues to be
involved with. Legislators are often assigned to committees or asked to handle bills on the
basis of their professional expertise. And although more specificity in ethics laws and
legislative rules would help, no law can resolve all ethics issues.
Common sense goes a long way, though. Mayer should have steered the malpractice
insurance bill away from Schaaf, who should have insisted on it.
That neither did the right thing speaks volumes about business as usual, Jefferson City
Editorial: Public defender crisis is a ‘family’
dispute among lawyers
By the Editorial Board STLtoday.com | Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:00 am
A new chapter has begun in the saga of Missouri's chronically underfunded and overworked
public defender system. The Missouri Supreme Court currently is reviewing legal briefs ahead of
a case to be heard this fall. It poses the question of whether public defenders can control their
For more than a decade, the statewide commission that oversees lawyers appointed to
represent indigent defendants in criminal cases has been begging for resources to meet
ever-increasing caseloads. A Missouri Bar task force concluded in 2005 that system is
overworked and underfunded. A special committee of the Missouri Senate reached the same
conclusion in 2007. The committee recommended that caseloads be reduced and that support
staff and the number of public defenders be increased.
With state revenue slipping, none of that has happened. The public defender commission took
matters into its own hands. It established a protocol that allows public defenders to refuse new
appointments when their caseloads exceed certain limits.
That refusal rule is being challenged in the high court.
The controversy is a tug-of-war among lawyers. Prosecutors and judges in Christian County
(south of Springfield) argue that the public defenders lack the legal authority to refuse
The Public Defender Commission counters that rules governing the professional responsibility
of lawyers require the defenders to refuse new cases if accepting them compromises their
ability to provide competent, adequate and conflict-free representation to existing clients. The
American Bar Association, appearing in the case as a friend of the court, emphatically agrees
with this point.
Indeed, that is how the rest of the criminal justice system works. We leave it to prosecutors to
decide for themselves, as a matter of professional judgment, how best to deploy limited
resources — including what cases to pursue and when to file them. The courts also
independently set their priorities when deciding how cases will be scheduled, which judge will
hear them and when they will be heard.
State law similarly empowers the Public Defender Commission to make "any rules needed for
the administration of the public defender system." If prosecutors and judges can make their own
decisions, why not the public defenders? The case before the Supreme Court boils down to
questions of control.
Judges and prosecutors in Christian County have practical concerns. They fear that recognizing
a rule that permits public defenders to refuse appointments means the defenders could bring
prosecutions to a screeching halt. Theoretically that's true, but only if prosecutors, defense
lawyers and judges fail to act reasonably.
Public defenders aren't the only part of a criminal justice system under stress. Prosecutors and
courts also are deluged with work and strapped for personnel. Any one of them is capable of
pushing the system into chaos. They prevent a meltdown by behaving responsibly, respecting
each other's independence and as — officers of the court — coordinating and cooperating with
Under the protocol, public defenders can refuse appointments only as a last resort. The judges,
prosecutors and defenders first must meet and confer. They are given ample time to prevent
The challenge before the Missouri Supreme Court is to resolve what amounts to a "family
dispute" in the justice system — and to push all sides to manage for the common good.
Our opinion: Flood loss personal, national
St. Joseph Noews-Pressnow.com
It’s not “just” farmland.
We are returning to this topic because of the urgency and importance of getting this point across
amid all the calls for meetings and reconsideration of how the Missouri River is managed for the
In May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the decision to blow up the Bird’s Point Levee
on the Mississippi River to protect a town on the Illinois side. The implication was the flooded
area in Missouri was “just farmland.”
With the record-setting flows released on the Missouri River this year, the brunt of the flood
once again has been inflicted on agriculture, particularly in Northwest Missouri.
On one hand, the loss is personal. Land that has been tilled by the same family for generations
has been rendered useless. The entire income for a year was wiped out in a matter of hours
and farmers say it will be years before the land is useful again.
The economic impact will reverberate throughout Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska far
beyond the river’s reach.
The loss, however, also is national in scope. The Missouri River flooding has covered about
450,000 acres of crop land, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Southeast
Missouri, about 130,000 acres were flooded.
When that much fertile land is taken out of production, there’s that much less corn and
soybeans and food grown.
The USDA reported earlier this year that American farmers planted the second-largest corn crop
on record. It’s obvious much of that corn won’t be harvested and make its way to the kitchen
table, here and around the world. It also won’t be processed into ethanol, removing an important
alternative fuel as families cope with budget-busting gas prices.
It’s not just farmland. It’s the land that feeds and fuels us. The impact from these floodwaters will
linger long in our region and our nation.
Letters to the editor, July 12
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:00 am | (3) Comments
Mandatory pet spaying, neutering programs don't work
"Pet control taken up in city" (July 8) describes a hodgepodge of misguided regulations and a
disaster in the works. Education and low-cost spay/neuter work; mandatory spay/neuter does
not. For example, after seven consecutive years of decreases in impounds and euthanasia in
Los Angeles, impounds increased 30 percent after spaying and neutering became mandatory.
There was a similar increase in euthanasia.
Mainstream animal welfare organizations oppose mandatory spay/neuter because it doesn't
work. That's been demonstrated in city after city.
Let's be clear: St. Louis already has a number of good low-cost spay/neuter programs. People
should be educated about the benefits, and those programs should be made more accessible.
Let's be clear: St. Louis City has no "animal shelter." Stray Rescue has done a great job picking
up and adopting out stray dogs, but until or unless it becomes an "open admission" shelter,
accepting any and all dogs, including owner turn-ins, the city simply is shifting that burden to the
county. Why should the donor-funded Animal Protective Association and Humane Society
become the city's animal control?
It's beyond time for St. Louis City to seriously address its animal control problem, but mandatory
spay/neuter will make it worse for the animals.
Joann Stephan • Webster Groves
Build the shelter
Regarding "Pet control taken up in city" (July 8): People who donated money, including me, for
a new city shelter for stray animals should be outraged with decision-makers who do not want
Stray Rescue to receive that money. Randy Grim of Stray Rescue stepped up to the plate to do
the right thing, and he has done a much better job than the city did. Mr. Grim does this from his
heart, but he can't do it without funds to carry him through. When we donated that money it was
for a shelter — not for anything else. It should not be spent on anything else.
I am upset with decision-makers (city, state and federal) for not respecting the voice of the
people. The city should do the right thing and give those donations to Stray Rescue so that Mr.
Grim can use it in the way it was given. Without Stray Rescue taking on this problem, the city
would be overrun with strays.
And making spaying and neutering mandatory is just common sense. This problem with strays
and negligent owners will go on forever if something isn't done to control it. There is a happy
medium to these problems if decision-makers would just work together to reach a
common-sense solution instead of worrying about their political standing.
Brenda DiTrapani • Florissant
Stray Rescue should get the cash
How unfortunate that the funds collected to build an animal shelter that has been scrapped by
the city were not given to Stray Rescue ("Pet control taken up in city," July 8).
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wanted Stray Rescue to have the money because, as he stated,
Stray Rescue has saved the St. Louis a lot of money. It also is doing a wonderful job of housing,
feeding and, most important, adopting a lot of animals. Stray Rescue also picks up stray dogs
from various places in the city.
The aldermen voted against giving the money to Randy Grim, who runs Stray Rescue. What
happened? Do the aldermen have other plans for this money other than helping animals? The
public is entitled to know how this money is distributed. Perhaps the people who contributed the
funds should demand it back.
I hope Stray Rescue will at least end up with part of these funds. It is only fair.
Shirley A. Forster • Bridgeton
Despite coverage in the Post-Dispatch and on television, I am concerned that the what Ameren
Missouri is trying to accomplish in Labadie is being overlooked by the general public. This is not
simply a case of "not in my back yard" thinking. While there is constant reference to the existing
and proposed pits in the Missouri River flood plain, that generic description simply does not
convey satisfactorily the actual on-the-ground situation.
Ameren wants to build a coal ash landfill feet, not miles, from the banks of the Missouri. Right
now there is standing water in the corn fields where the proposed site would rest. It is
understandable why Ameren would want to use this site. The costs of moving the fly ash would
be minuscule. And, to be fair, Ameren is proposing extensive engineering efforts to "minimize"
the possible failure of its construction. No one, including Ameren, can guarantee that this design
will not fail. An existing pit has been leaking for 20 years.
While I understand Ameren's motives, I am amazed that the Franklin County commissioners are
allowing this project to proceed. The only reported comment from one of the commissioners was
that the Labadie Environmental Organization had not provided any alternatives. That is not the
mission of the group. The people of St. Charles and St. Louis counties should understand that
should this construction fail, the carcinogenic materials will not be limited to Labadie — they will
be flowing down the Missouri and into the Mississippi.
It is a small world when it comes to pollution.
James W. Froehlich • O'Fallon, Mo.
Hot time, summer in the city
Regarding "Searing Heat Wave killed 153 in St. Louis in 1980" (July 10): The temperature was
105 degrees. I recall the record St. Louis on July 14, 1954, of 115 degrees. I was a teenager,
and we did not have air conditioning. It did not seem that bad.
I recall stories of thermometers breaking (there were no digital thermometers). I Googled that
record temperature when 104 lives were lost. I also found a Post-Dispatch photo showing the
street buckled at College and Emily streets.
I remember summer nights when our whole family would pack up and head for Forest Park to
sleep on the hill where the colored fountain was. We were not the only family there.
George Stealey • St. Louis
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday, said that the
United States was close to strategically defeating al-Qaida, adding that our goal was to capture
or kill 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the group in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
Why didn't Mr. Panetta mention Afghanistan? Because that's not where al-Qaida is. That's only
where our troops are dying. That's only where we are throwing away billions of dollars a month.
Maybe it's time our leaders faced reality: Propping up the corrupt Karzai government no longer
is a matter of our national security.
We're making the same mistakes we made in Vietnam: fighting an indigenous population on its
turf; trying to train an incompetent, homegrown army and police force to provide stability;
nation-building there, not here.
If only our leaders had the guts to admit that staying in Afghanistan makes no sense. As Pete
Seeger questioned long ago, "When will they ever learn?"
Jeff Klayman • St. Louis County
Regarding "Buyers may need 20% cash for house" (July 10): Here we go again. Putting aside
the pros and cons of returning to a greater qualifying down payment, it appears that the
Dodd-Frank twins are at it again. The small print says, "Loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie
Mac and the Federal Housing Administration would be exempt from QRM rules."
Isn't that the reason we got into this mess in the first place?
Steve Jellison • Manchester
Letters | Tuesday, July 12
Posted on Mon, Jul. 11, 2011 10:15 PM
Dear Councilwoman Jan Marcason,
Thank you for stating your position on the Plaza Highwoods office building project. I volunteer at
the Liberty Memorial World War l Museum. Reading the history of this world-class museum, I
am proud of how Kansas City area citizens stepped up and restored the original vision from
1921 to the present twice and even expanded it. It is one of many Kansas City jewels.
Another is the Union Station. We listened to a Memorial Day tribute to our veterans (I am one)
by the Kansas City Symphony. It was a spectacular presentation of Union Station and the
J.C. Nichols had a vision for the Plaza — stores, restaurants, residences, plenty of parking and
offices. Highwoods is in the business of office complexes.
Residents are here 24/7 whereas office folks are here 9 to 5 and then leave. The proposed
building is too large for the footprint, and 46th Terrace and Broadway cannot adequately handle
the added traffic. Emergency vehicles use those streets. Add more than 500 office workers, and
it will become dangerous.
Good luck on your next election.
Media pit bull bias
It disturbed me to see that Kansas City news stations bought into all of the pit bull stories. For
two days in a row, I saw stories on how two pit bulls attacked a pony in Wichita, which is clearly
outside of the Kansas City area.
Why is this news in Kansas City? The media give the American pit bull terrier a bad reputation,
not the dogs.
I invite you to check out the Missouri Pit Bull Rescue website, especially the “find the pit bull
test,” and see how you do.
Also check out the American Temperament Test Society, which tests all breeds of dogs for
behavioral temperament. The American pit bull terrier had a pass rate of 86.4 percent, which is
better than the Basset hound, Australian cattle dog, beagle, golden retriever and the Chihuahua.
There are plenty more.
Cities are implementing breed specific legislation that will kill these wonderful dogs just because
of what they are or what they look like. Biased reporting isn’t good for anyone, especially
innocent animals that cannot tell their side of the story.
The recent spate of angry editorials in The Star and accompanying letters from readers casting
Sunflower Electric as villains for wanting the permit to build to be granted under the old rules
rather than the new, more restrictive (and more expensive) rules are disingenuous, to say the
We should recall that if Sunflower had been permitted to build not one but two coal plants as
approved by our elected representatives, the permits would have been issued and construction
would be well along. The fact that one unelected bureaucrat could stop this entire effort does
not seem to uphold the principle of the democratic representative government that we claim to
Does anyone really believe that Kansans prefer to pay more for electrical power forced on them
by a single unelected bureaucrat for the elusive goal of “climate control” than that agreed to by
their elected representatives? Get real.
No pass for wrongdoers
I’ve watched since December the announcement and subsequent devastation of the Ohio State
football program. Through actions fueled by self-interest, continuing success and domination in
sport, trust, reputations and confidences lie in shattered pieces.
Consequences abound in careers, future earnings and potential lost. A restoration of honor is
possible in time, though.
Comparably, far above college sports, love, honor and accountability disappeared. Regardless
of faith — Catholic or Protestant — we can agree the most heinous of crimes was covered up,
lives manipulated, words twisted and cowardice reigned within the faith. No repentance. No
Written apologies delivered by subordinates reek of denial. New and improved guidelines echo
Your solutions don’t change or heal the damages you inflicted upon God’s children. Your pride,
arrogance, and unrepentance continue, and your name will be associated with active and
passive participation in this devastation. For the sake of faith, for the witness of believers, for
healing and restoration to begin, step down.
For coaches, pastors, CEOs or priests, consequences exist. Neither titles nor profession offer a
Education is best hope
As an elementary educator (and graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism), I take offense
to the July 8 letter about how “our schools are certainly dumbing our students down.” I, like the
letter writer, am a “Grammar Grouch.”
I personally have a vendetta against misused apostrophes, homophones and text language.
Students in my fourth-grade classroom know that grammar and spelling matter, and that saying
“I’m just bad” at either is an excuse I won’t accept.
Despite budget cuts and mandatory testing, many of us in education are working to supplement
curriculum with these overlooked, yet necessary, skills.
Regardless of the way we are viewed by society, we continue to mold young minds, proud of
the work we do every day. In spite of everything, schools are still our best hope for the future.
Our digital society accepts poor grammar and spelling because of 140-character limits. I’m
working to break that down, one student, one year at a time. Those who can do, in fact, teach.
Folly in driving faster
The increase in the speed limit to 75 mph on some interstate highways in Kansas is a great
example of how members of our Republican Legislature are not serving the public that elected
In return for a questionable claim that it will increase business, the June 22 article, “Kansas
enters 75 mph club,” makes it clear from past studies that fatalities will increase.
Federal sources say state gas mileage will decrease by about 8 percent at 75 mph over 70
mph. CO2 emissions will also go up as well.
As I see it, gas stations, Big Oil and unfriendly Middle East countries will clearly see increases in
business. Mortuaries, hospitals and doctors will see increased business.
What’s wrong with Kansas? Need you ask?
Loud TV boasting
I have been trying to reconcile the concept of modesty with that of “It pays to advertise.” This is
in reference to the never-ending boasting by every television news channel in town.
One cannot get through a single broadcast without the announcement of “only seen here on
Channel Z” or “first on the scene with Channel X.” Most times these pronouncements precede a
I would suggest that all the bravado be saved for truly remarkable stuff: another Watergate-type
scandal or perhaps the discovery of who was really on the grassy knoll.
In short, if it isn’t Peabody-worthy, tone it down.
I have good news for the Overland Park City Council in its drive to preserve the city’s rainy-day
fund. It’s OK to use the fund now. The rainy day has arrived.
In fact, many of the targeted taxpayers have already spent their rainy-day funds as they try to
survive the current economic downturn.
The primary function of the city government is to provide and maintain the infrastructure, police
and fire protection. All additional services are nice, but not necessary when times get tough.
The city owns numerous facilities including golf courses, a soccer complex, aquatic centers,
fitness centers and a convention hotel — all expensive to maintain. These assets should be
privatized or sold before asking the taxpayers for a bailout.
It is time to return to the basics of government.
As an Overland Park taxpayer, I appreciate the good job the city has done in maintaining
services at a low tax rate. That should not be an excuse for raising real estate taxes while many
are struggling to make their mortgage payment.
We all should learn to live within our means, including the city fathers of Overland Park.
Fundraising, and lack of it, fuels Carnahan
BY JAKE WAGMAN • email@example.com > 314-340-8268 STLtoday.com | Posted:
Monday, July 11, 2011 11:09 am | (16) Comments
ST. LOUIS • While many candidates are planning their moves for next year, the siblings
Carnahan find themselves on opposite ends of the campaign spectrum.
U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan's seat won't exist in 2012, but he's still attempting to raise lots of
money. His young sister, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, has said she is running for
re-election, but has raised nary a dime for next year.
That has raised questions about whether Robin really will be on the statewide ticket next year —
and where on the ballot her brother will land.
Russ Carnahan's campaign blitzed supporters last month with donation requests, looking for an
impressive quarterly number in the reports due by July 15.
He did so without actually specifying the office he's seeking, employing vague references to "my
2012 reelection campaign."
Russ, of course, won't be running again in the 3rd Congressional District, which became a
casualty of the state's redistricting process.
He has contemplated running in a primary against fellow St. Louis Congressman Lacy Clay,
which would provoke a racially-divisive contest many Democrats would prefer to avoid.
Russ has also mulled running to replace Todd Akin in the newly reshaped 2nd District, also
unlikely because of the area's demographics (still reliably Republican) and his own geography
(Carnahan doesn't live in the district.)
He has entertained the possibility of looking to the courts for a reprieve, filing a lawsuit to spike
the redistricting map passed in Jefferson City.
That would be a long shot, but Carnahan's cash reserve gives him flexibility. His campaign
reported $286,000 cash on hand in April, a number that will probably go up in his next report.
If he was so inclined, he could transfer all of that money to a campaign for state office — not
that he has hinted at running for state office, but it's difficult to ignore the possibility.
Speaking of state office: Robin Carnahan has insisted she is running for a third term as
Secretary of State, but has raised virtually no money, at least not any checks larger than $500,
which have to be reported immediately.
Her last campaign report shows she's keeping some of her stuff at a storage facility. She listed
about $220,000 in the bank, certainly a healthy amount this far from election day.
But the lack of recent activity — plus the shadow of her convincing defeat in the race for U.S.
Senate —raises the question of whether she really is planning another statewide run.
Budget Crisis? What budget crisis?
Missouri’s privileged class gets some more
SLM Daily Monday, July 11, 2011 / 4:42 PM
Commentary By Ray Hartmann
At least everyone isn’t being asked to participate in Missouri’s recession.
With the state facing dramatic and painful cuts in every area—especially in higher education,
where the cuts are as high as 8 percent—it’s good to know that there’s at least enough money
left over to spend on someone.
That would be the farmers.
In full pander mode, Gov. Jay Nixon went to Mexico, Mo. today to announce a host of special
tax exemptions—a polite way of saying increased state spending—for an agriculture industry
that he proclaimed to be “the backbone of Missouri’s economy.”
“Once again, I’m proud to stand with Missouri’s farmers,” Nixon said.
That can’t be questioned. But at a time when virtually every state department is taking a hit,
when Missouri is demanding sacrifice from Medicaid recipients, domestic violence victims,
students, and just about anyone else who depends upon state services, it is a curious time to be
enacting new tax exemptions.
That’s precisely what Nixon and the legislature are proposing with Senate Bill 356, which, Nixon
proudly says, “exempts local sales and use taxes for the sale of captive wildlife to hunting
ranches, including captive white-tail deer, quail, pheasant and other types of animals.
“The bill clarifies that the sale of any farming accessory upgrade for machinery and equipment
used for agriculture purposes, and the freight charges for shipping such equipment, are also
tax-exempt,” said the governor.
Apparently, this is the one area of spending—again, delicately framed as foregone income
through tax exemption—that didn’t need to be cut as an offset for state emergency spending in
response to the tragic Joplin tornado.
That excuse for Nixon’s deep spending cuts—beyond what the legislature proposed—is so
outrageous that even the state’s right-wing Republicans have been morphed into a liberal
chorus claiming that Nixon has wrongly slashed children’s education by not tapping into the
state’s rainy-day fund for disasters like the one in Joplin.
“He’s stockpiling money at the expense of school kids right now,” charges House Budget
Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City.
These are strange times, and the new handouts for agriculture represent even stranger timing.
Less than a month ago, the governor made Missouri the first state in the nation to completely
eliminate its film office, a move blamed publicly on the state’s fiscal crisis and privately on the
disparate benefit that film tax credits are said to give to its cities.
But what of the disparate benefit to rural areas offered by the new tax exemptions for farmers?
Is the fairness question a one-way street?
The bill also “protects farmers from losses due to grain dealer failure,” says Nixon.
Again, how many other industries receive government protection from the negative impact of
their suppliers’ possible demise?
Try to imagine the governor coming to St. Louis to proclaim, proudly, some new tax exemptions
for an urban industry. Imagine him describing that industry as the “backbone” of the state.
There’s a phrase in vogue to describe ridiculous giveaways, such as the notion of finding new
tax exemptions for a few while the many are experiencing sacrifice: It’s called giving away the
Missouri's politicians voted to kill river
study similar to the one they now seek
Kansas City Star Prime Buzz
Dave Helling. 21 hours, 56 minutes ago
The political battle over the Missouri River will rise this week. Rep. Sam Graves says he’ll
propose amendments this week related to flood control and navigation on the river, while Sen.
Claire McCaskill will help convene a “working group” to study the Army Corps’ management of
But records show both members of Congress — and others from Missouri — have bitterly
opposed a Missouri River study that might lay the groundwork for changing the way the Corps
determines how much water to release from the upstream reservoirs, including changes that
could help prevent flood events in the future.
It’s called the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study (MRAPS), approved by Congress in
2009. The idea is to spend $25 million over 5 years to take another look at the eight authorized
purposes for the river (including flood control, power, recreation, and navigation) and
recommend changes, if needed.
Supporters say the study could provide a new groundwork for the Corps’ Master River manual,
the guiding document used to determine when and how much the river flows. That manual will
almost certainly now undergo major revisions after the 2011 floods.
McCaskill, though, along with then-Sen. Kit Bond and others, has repeatedly and vigorously
opposed MRAPS and the funding for it. So far the government has spent more than $7 million
on the study.
“Since its inception, we have opposed the Missouri River Authorized Purposes Study because it
is wasteful and because its advocates have not shown that there have been any changes in the
Missouri River basin since the completion of the last Missouri River study in 2004,” McCaskill,
Bond, and then-Rep. Ike Skelton wrote last year. “The Corps has indicated, as recently as April
2010, that the Master Manual continues to provide the necessary management guidance to
meet the contemporary needs of the Missouri River basin.” (emphasis added.)
That manual, of course, provided the guidance that contributed to this year’s floods.
Opposition to the MRAPS study on the House side is even more intense. In February, Rep.
Blaine Luetkemeyer sponsored an amendment that specifically prohibited spending any
money for the MRAPS study.
“It is careless and irresponsible to conduct another multiyear, multimillion dollar study” of the
river, Luetkemeyer said on the House floor. “We want it out. We don’t want it funded any longer.
The purpose of it is duplicative. The study has been done before. And I think it’s time that we
called a stop to it.”
Luetkemeyer’s amendment defunding the MRAPS study passed 245 - 176. Among those voting
yes and against MRAPS: Reps. Luetkemeyer, Graves, Emanuel Cleaver, Russ Carnahan,
Todd Akin, and Joann Emerson.
UPDATE The cutoff of MRAPS funds for FY 2011 became law in April when the Senate passed
H.R. 1473. Sens. McCaskill and Roy Blunt voted for it.
Why would Missouri’s lawmakers oppose a study that could lead to greater flood control?
Because they don’t think that’s what will happen. Instead, they think MRAPS — which was
sponsored by then-Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, a Democrat — is a thinly disguised
attempt to re-write the manual and remove protection for Missouri’s navigation uses.
“This new study..is nothing more than an attempt to eliminate navigation as one of the river’s
authorized functions,” Skelton said last year.
In a news release today, for example, Graves says he’ll offer an amendment this week restating
his view that the River’s primary uses should be “flood control and navigation,” the two uses
Missourians always argue for when the river is discussed.
Putting aside likely opposition to that view from politicians in the Dakotas, though, this year’s
flood suggests why Graves’ position is problematic, and why MRAPS could help sort it out.
After all, this year’s flood happened in part because the Corps saved water for navigation —
that is, it used the reservoirs to store water for the summer navigation season, when levels are
usually lower. That storage turned out to be a mistake when it snowed and rained too much in
Navigation, in short, is a use that isn’t compatible with flood control — a contradiction MRAPS
might help sort out.
USA TODAY MISSOURI NEWS
Monday, July 11 – No Update
Tuesday, July 12 -