Thursday, April 30

Joe Biden Strikes Again

"Swine flu is on the loose! Stay in homes, lock all the doors, cover your windows with plastic sheeting and duct tape, and by all means if you have to leave your home, don't use the subway or fly on airplanes or you will die!"

Okay, okay... so maybe that isn't exactly what Joe Biden said this morning on The Today Show, but it was something similar and now the White House is working hard to stop the gaffe machine story before it really gains traction.

CNN reports this evening that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had to spend much of the afternoon spinning, retracting, and clarifying what VP Biden "really meant to say."

Here is Reuter's take on the actual events this morning:

Asked on NBC's "Today" show what he would tell members of his family if they asked him whether they should get on a commercial airliner to Mexico in the next week, Biden said:

"I would tell members of my family -- and I have -- I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now."

He said the problem is that "when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft."

"I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway. So from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation," he said.

Anyone who knows Joe Biden, or has followed his campaigns, should not be surprised. In fact, the White House should be happy he hasn't done anything else this silly yet.

Now if you will excuse me, I am off to buy a hazmat suit before I use the city transit system. Why? 'Cuz Joe said so. Oh, he meant that figuratively? Oops.

Wednesday, April 29

New Developments: Missouri Reports First Likely Case of Swine Flu

Governor Jay Nixon announced this afternoon that the state's first likely case of swine flu has been confirmed in Platte County, up around Kansas City. The governor urged people to be alert but not to panic. It was only just a matter of time before the flu reached the state.

An investigation is now taking place to determine how the individual contracted the flu.

More details here: Swine Flu Reaches Missouri

Lots of Rain Headed This Way

Flash Flood Watch is out for much of Missouri. Please check your local National Weather Service office homepage for details. Be aware that rapid rises on streams and creeks are possible. Also, do not drive into areas where water covers the road. As the National Weather Service puts it: "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

Sunday, April 26

Mayor of Sedalia Passes Away; City Remembers A Good Man

I have a soft spot in my heart for the city of Sedalia. I called it home for a little over a year back in 2001 and 2002. There is sad news from that community this weekend as their mayor, Bob Wasson, passed away Friday after battling cancer.

The Sedalia Democrat, the town's newspaper, has a moving story on the life and the legacy of the mayor. He seemed to be a good man. I think the title of the article says it all: "His Heart Was In Sedalia."
Mayor Wasson was 78.

Links Worth Reading: Swine Flu

I know a lot of people are concerned about swine flu, but officials are urging people not to panic. Education is obviously key when dealing with any medical condition. As a result, I have compiled a few links that you might find interesting regarding swine flu:

Q&A: Why Is Swine Flu Such A Big Deal (NBC News)

Human Swine Flu Investigation (CDC)

Swine Flu Basics (FOX News)

Saturday, April 25

Pandemic Potential

That is what the chief of the World Health Organization said on Saturday as a new swine flu strain has claimed the lives of 68 and least another 1,000 ill in Mexico. Still to early to determine the magnitude of this outbreak the pandemic potential cannot be ruled out at this point according to officials. With cases now being reported in Texas and California, officials met Saturday to discuss the next course of action.

While no deaths have been reported in the United States, Mexico City has become a city gripped by fear as officials handed out masks, closed schools and canceled public events. Saturday 24 new cases in Mexico City alone were reported. Residents were being urged to stay home and avoid close contact with others.

This new disease, a mix of human, pig and bird strain has not been limited to attacking infants or the elderly. Most of the cases so far have consisted of healthy young adults. There are currently two flu drugs that the CDC reports as being effective against this new strain, Tamiflu and Relenza. The makers of Tamiflu said they are prepared to send out stockpiles of the drug immediately if needed.

Thursday, April 23

Going, Going, Gone...

I will be out of town on a working trip until Sunday. Blogging will likely be little to none from my end. So, unless Donna gets moved by the blogging spirits sometime in the next couple of days, there won't be a whole lot of information on this page until Sunday. Get out and enjoy the awesome weather!

Tuesday, April 21

Congrats To Skills USA Students

The Southwest Region did very well at the recent Skills USA state contest. Below is a link from The Monett Times detailing of the students who placed at the competition. Skills USA often is overlooked in our school system so I wanted to make sure that provided that link. Congrats to all!

Area Vo-Tech Students Win Medals At State

Monday, April 20

I Remember Columbine...

I remember Columbine, the nation stunned by two boys who had death on their mind.
Ten years ago today, another part of our innocence was lost.

I remember Columbine, the media rushing to be the first with the exclusive interview.
Ten years ago today, another senseless act of violence occurred.

I remember Columbine, the teacher who perished just doing his job.
Ten years ago today a mother wept the loss of her son.

I remember Columbine, the child who was asked if she believed in God before being shot.
Ten years ago today a father discovered his son was a murderer.

Cassie Bernall,
Steven Curnow,
Corey DePooter,
Kelly Fleming
Matt Kechter
Dan Rohrbough
Dave Sanders,

Rachel Scott
Isaiah Shoels
John Tomlin
Lauren Townsend,

Kyle Velasquez,
Daniel Mauser

Don't ever let the world forget what happens when someone fills with too much rage.
Don't ever let the world forget what happened to innocent people on that day.
Don't ever let the world forget the importance of family connection.
Don't ever let the world forget that we never know when our life will end.

I remember Columbine... do you?

Sunday, April 19

The KTTS Can of Worms

Jason, over at Life of Jason, has conducted his investigation into the KSGF Tea Party that took place yesterday that I blogged about with disdain (see below). While we have a difference of opinion, I do think you should read over his thoughts as well. I have also commented on his post to elaborate on my thoughts and feelings.

Feel free to chime in and let me know, as Jason did, that I am completely overreacting. :-)

Saturday, April 18

Journal Broadcast Group Has Gone Too Far

In a world of radio that lacks the decency to break in for a severe weather bulletin, KTTS has always been on top of their coverage of breaking news and weather. I have always found every other station second rate when trying to do what the station does so flawlessly. Tonight, however, I am considering boycotting the station.

Why you might ask? The simple answer can be found in the lead story from their 7:00 newscast. The station reported on a tea party protest rally held at Fassnight park in Springfield today where apparently close to 1,000 people attended. Okay, that is newsworthy. What is the big deal, right? Well, the clincher came in the closing line of the story. The protest rally was sponsored by NewsTalk KSGF, a sister station to KTTS.

There has been a lot of discussion and media attention given to the Tea Parties that took place this week. I am not either for or against them. I don't necessarily agree with their ideals, but feel that they have a right to express them. In fact I am glad someone is getting off of their bum in this country to stand up for what they believe in.

My problem is the fact that a station not only condoned the event, but sponsored it! I realize that KSGF is a conservative talk radio station. I listen to it some. Yet, Journal's decision to spend money on this cause/political movement crosses a line in my opinion. I do not feel that I, as a listener, should support an organization that is in the business of advocating a certain spectrum of political beliefs. And you can't say that it only applies to KSGF. Journal Broadcast Group also owns KTTS, Power 96.5, and Z106.7, therefore, my listenership of these stations increases their ratings and henceforth increases the amount they can charge for advertising. The money they make because of me then goes to support a political movement? Sorry, doesn't fly. You see, there is no difference in what they did today and sponsoring a rally for a political candidate. Can you imagine the outrage that would occur if KTTS had sponsored a campaign rally for Sarah Palin or Barack Obama? Journal Broadcast Group doesn't get it apparently.

Oh, and before you start saying I am a liberal, I refuse to frequent a specific car wash here in town because the owners had Obama (and other Democract) signs on their car wash lot and did not allow Republicans to place signs there. Their right? Yes. Also, my right to not waste my money on a business that uses my quarters to shove a political party down my throat.

The next time my friends get in the car, they will likely ask me why my preset buttons have changed. When I finish with my explanation they will wish they had never brought up the subject. But they will definitely know how I feel when I am finished. I'll miss KTTS, but that is the sacrifice I am willing to make to prove my point. Journal Broadcast Group -- you have gone too far.

Wednesday, April 15


Last night I attended a storm spotter training class in Nixa presented by the National Weather Service. It was a great presentation and though I had been to one in the past, this one was much more detailed. I walked away feeling very knowledgeable about how to safely spot storms. Spotting in SW Missouri is a difficult job because of the terrain, which makes it hard to see things until they are right upon you.

I want to thank the NWS for putting on these classes and I am certainly glad that I attended. Hopefully we won't have to deal with any major storms around here soon, but if we do, I feel safer knowing that there are many people who live in the Ozarks that have the spotter training needed to safely help others know what potential bad weather is coming their way!

Monday, April 13

MSNBC Developing A Show For Chuck Todd

MSNBC is in the process of developing a weekend political show for its White House Correspondent and Political Director Chuck Todd, according to The New York Observer. The article appears to have several sources to confirm the news. No word on specific details yet though, including the details of the show format.

While MSNBC has shifted left considerably in the last year or so, Chuck Todd is one of the few bright spots for the network in my mind. I look forward to seeing this show come to fruition. Maybe MSNBC will replace a few hours of the crime spree dramas on the weekends with some actual news reporting for once.

Something About This Pictures Strikes Me As Funny

Obama and the Easter Bunny share an intimate secret? The possibilities here are endless!

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, April 12

The Battle That Never Ends

As the Easter weekend comes to a close and we head back to work tomorrow I already feel tired. Not because I dread being at work, I love my career. I just hate the commute. No, it's really not even that far, it just seems like a battle to get back and forth everyday.

Since I've been commuting I have been attacked by a chainsaw that has come bouncing out of the back of a pickup truck. Sure hope he had enough wood to get him through the winter. A women who decided that the stop sign at the off ramp of the interstate was merely a suggestion. A higher power was involved in that one. A couple in a car coming down a slick hill that couldn't stop at a stop sign. I'm pretty sure that the guy behind me had to change his clothes after he watched me battle my car for at least a half a mile. Once again a higher power. A cat that I truly hope had at least one of his nine lives left.

The last episode was coming around a corner just to find boxes everywhere, big boxes. The road became an obstacle course in matter of seconds. As I dashed around one plasma television box, I had to wonder how anyone could not notice that the whole load of trash they were hauling had suddenly disappeared.

It never fails, every morning at least one person I pass is apparently leaning down to pick up something that they have dropped or they have a far more advance automobile than I have. And at least once a week someone decides that their side of the road does not provide them with enough room and they need some of my side. Trust me when I say I need all of my side. I now take a change of clothes just in case.

I guess the good side to all of this is that I haven't had to fuel up on caffeine before leaving for work. Morning commuters' provide enough adrenaline.

Saturday, April 11

News Takes A Holiday On

It is a holiday weekend for many. Many news organizations try to sell the slogan that “the news doesn’t take a holiday and neither do we.” Apparently KOAM doesn’t hold to that philosophy.

A quick glance of KOAM’s website shows that the news stories haven’t updated since Thursday. That is 48 hours since the news section of their website has been updated. In my mind, this is unacceptable.

I know what some of you will say: you are the pot calling the kettle black. There are periods of time when your blog isn’t updated frequently. I would say that there is a huge difference between a news organization that gets paid to cover the news and a blogger who chooses to cover it.

Even Four States Homepage and The Joplin Globe have updated since Thursday. It is unfortunate that the #1 station in the four states isn’t living up to that standard online.

Nixa Resident: The Sirens Were Too Late

On Thursday evening as the storms rolled through Christian County many residents knew there was a threat of severe weather. They had no idea, however, that a tornado was going to touch down in the city of Nixa.

At 7:53 p.m., Christian county went under a severe thunderstorm warning. The warning informed residents that 64 mph winds had been reported in Monett and also told them to expect up to quarter sized hail. At 8:24 p.m., the National Weather Service upgraded to a tornado warning for Christian county indicating that there was a radar indicated tornado near Nixa. It was at that point the sirens began sounding.

According to the weather bureau's survey team, the tornado wasn't just doppler indicated. It was the real deal. The tornado touched down at 8:20 and was finished traveling through the city by 8:23.

Nixa resident Mindi Holcomb was watching out her back door when the storm hit.

"I was standing in my back doorway videoing and when the wind blasted through, it threw me off balance slightly."

I want everyone to know that the point of this blog post is not to blame the weather service but rather to make a very important point. If this tornado had been larger it would have likely taken lives because people don't take severe storms as seriously as they should. The National Weather Service always mentions that severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes with "little or no advanced warning" so it is up to you, the resident, to take adequate precautions during severe storms.

Holcomb agrees.

"Hopefully you can get the word out that a tornado warning doesnt have to be issued for one to hit. At least there was a tstorm warning which shows that everyone should be on guard."

The pictures shown here in this post taken by Ms. Holcomb are just a small glimpse into what can be done by an EF-0 tornado. Had this have been a bigger tornado the damage would have been significantly worse. It is important to realize that sirens are not always going to sound before the storm hits. In fact, sometimes the sirens may be too late. The residents of Nixa learned that lesson first hand.

Links Worth Reading (Obama, Unemployment, and Condoms)

Local Unemployment Rate Highest Since 1990

Mo. Poll: 60% Approve of Nixon; 57% of Obama

What Sells In A Recession: Canned Goods and Condoms

Friday, April 10

Weak Tornado Confirmed In Nixa

The NWS has confirmed that a weak tornado touched down in Nixa yesterday evening. According to the National Weather Service, an E-F0 was on the ground for approximately three minutes. The damage path was 1.6 miles long and 150 yards wide. Numerous homes had minor damage. For a complete look at the storm on radar, plus a Google Earth look at the path, please click here.

Another Southern Sport Bites The Dust

Women’s tennis will follow in the footsteps of the men’s soccer program at the end of this season at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, according to an article in The Chart.

I am sure that this was a difficult decision for the university, but this question remains: why are similar stories not playing out all across Missouri at other state universities? Could it be because they manage money better than MSSU? Naw, that couldn’t be it!

Cox To Open Another Clinic In A Local Supercenter

It was an unique announcement that came from Cox Hospital a few months ago: they would open a clinic in a Walmart Supercenter on South Campbell in Springfield. Now, several months later, Cox hospitals has announced it will be opening another clinic.

The Republic Supercenter will be the next home of a clinic in Southwest Missouri, which is scheduled to open on May 4th. If you would like more information on this story, please click here to read the entire article from the Springfield Business Journal.

Thursday, April 9

Damage Reports From Tonight's Storms

Below are some of the damage reports sent in to the NWS as of 10:00 p.m.:

0735 PM     TSTM WND GST     MONETT                  36.92N 93.93W
04/09/2009 M64.00 MPH BARRY MO AWOS

0826 PM     TSTM WND GST     REPUBLIC                37.12N 93.48W

0847 PM     TSTM WND DMG     2 W NIXA                37.04N 93.33W


0915 PM     TSTM WND GST     6 N HARTVILLE           37.34N 92.51W

0919 PM     TSTM WND DMG     MANSFIELD               37.11N 92.58W


Severe Weather Possible This Evening and Tonight

The National Weather Service says be on the lookout for severe storms this evening into the overnight hours as a front moves in from the west. All modes of severe weather are possible -- including large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes. Keep updated on the weather throughout the day. Looks like it could get nasty later this evening.

Tuesday, April 7

April Election Night Live Blog

6:55 p.m.: I just came back in from voting and am getting prepared to watch the election night results... also American Idol. Oh the horror of having to choose!

7:26 p.m.: No results yet, and that is really no surprise. If you are wanting a really fascinating perspective from one Springfield City Council candidate as results are being announced, check out Life of Jason's blog.

7:42 p.m.: With a few initial results coming in and the race for Springfield mayor have Jim O'Neal with a 500 vote lead Christopher Donegan (with 13% of the results in).

7:52 p.m.: Absentee ballots are all in from the Neosho District and the R-5 bond issue has 63 votes for it and 61 votes against it. Wow... very close. Also, unless there is a major swell, with 46% of the vote in Jim O'Neal has a little more than a 1,000 vote lead on Donegan.

7:59 p.m.: While it is not looking good for the Neosho Bond Issue (now losing by almost 200 votes), KOAM has a good report on what the bond issue would (maybe would have) do/done.

8:07 p.m.: According to the Neosho Daily News, Richard Davidson and Heather Bowers have been elected to the Neosho City Council.

8:26 p.m.: Paul Ferguson has been elected the mayor of Granby. Plus, with 97% of the votes in inside Springfield voter turnout is only 8.7%.

8:35 p.m.: A few more election results from across the Ozarks:
Buffalo Mayor - Jerry Hardesty
Weaubleau Mayor - Richard Thompson

8:51 p.m.: I will be back in a few minutes with more details. The news is breaking on The Turner Report that MSSU has cut its tennis team. I am following up with some of my contacts.

9:17 p.m.: More updates for you:
Camdenton Mayor - Dennis North
Lake of the Ozarks Lodging Tax - FAILED
Ava Mayor - Leon Harris
Pierce City School Bond - FAILED
Monett School Board - Jerry Roberts and Mark Coatney

9:34 p.m.: The Briarbrook Issue from Carl Junction has FAILED.

9:41 p.m.: If you are disappointed in the low voter turnout, you are not alone. The Springfield News-Leader has a story about how few people participated in the election process today.

9:45 p.m.: It is time for me to wind up my live blog. If you need a link to a very comprehensive look at election results in the Ozarks, please check out the KSPR list. It is by far the easiest on the eyes.

Turnout Light In Many Places, But Not In Carl Junction

Many locations across the Ozarks are reporting light voter turnout today. Cities where light voter turnout has been reported include Joplin, Carthage, Neosho, Monett, Springfield, and Bolivar.

One community in the region is bucking that trend. Carl Junction is reporting heavy voter turnout, according to the Joplin Globe. In fact, turnout is as heavy as the 2008 Presidential election. That is quite a significant response. The big issue there: a service levy to help fund the purchase Briarbrook's Golf Course and Country Club.

It is good to see one community fired up about an issue.

Don't Forget To Vote

Today is election day. Many local issues are at stake. While today is likely to have lower voter turnout, this election is just as important. Many times, city and county issues can affect the average citizen just as much as statewide or national elections. So take five minutes (or maybe even less) and go vote.

Show-Me Opinions will provide blogging this evening concerning election results as they come in.

Saturday, April 4

I’m Scared To Death

On Monday over 120 high school students from across Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas will convene at the Holiday Inn in Joplin for the Carver-Truman District Student Congress contest. The top students at the competition will advance to the national congress contest in Birmingham, Alabama in June.

Why should that bother me? The honest answer: I am scared to death because I am in charge of the competition. The former chair of the competition is no longer on the competitive circuit and I volunteered to organize the event. That was noble of me, right?

Well, noble or not, the task of the Student Congress competition is overwhelming. I have most of the work completed and I don’t think that I am forgetting about anything, but I have this knot in the pit of my stomach. I want the competition to go off without a hitch. Combine my new status as chairperson with a new location and I am on edge.

I know that if something goes wrong we will work it out, but the fear of the unknown is what gets me. I guess the best news in all of this: it will be over 48 hours from now.

Happening Now: Dangerous Structural Fire In Monett

Fire has erupted in an old tire shop on the north side of town. Fire fighters from surrounding cities have been called to the scene. Houses around the building are being watered down as high winds are making this an increasingly tense situation.

Newsy is on the scene and will be bringing updates to this dangerous situation shortly.

Update: Approximately a 6 block area has been evacuated: Sycamore on the North, Cleveland on the South, 12th street on the East, 9th street on the West.

Update 2: This is Newsy... just back from the scene. The fire is winding down, but the scope of the damage is not completely known. The smoke is so thick you can't see anywhere near the structure. Several on the scene are reporting that a house near the building is also on fire, but I can't confirm that. It seems the entire town is on the scene.

Update: Joplin Student Arrested For Text Message Hoax

Following up on the story we brought to you earlier this week regarding a text message hoax that kept Joplin students on edge, we have learned that a juvenile student has been arrested for making those threats.

The blog Crime Scene has followed up on this story and reports that a juvenile has been arrested. The investigation also continues in to whether or not anyone else was involved in the text message hoax.

One has to wonder if this text message wasn't inspired by the earlier rumors about gang shootings at Walmart, which also turned out to not be true. There is a lot of information we will likely never know because of the suspect's classification as a juvenile.

Friday, April 3

Even A Presley Twitters

First it was David Catanese... then it was Claire McCaskill... somewhere along the line I got involved. Now Branson mayor Raeanne Presley is getting in on all the twitter action. If you would like to follow the mayor, you may find her at . What is next? Will Life of Jason or SugarBritches join the mix?

Oh wait... they already have.

American Idol: An Unhealthy Addiction

My friends tell me that I have been locked under a rock for the past 7 years. I say that I am just a busy guy. Whatever the case may be, this is the first season I have watched American Idol and am I ever addicted!

What can I say? I love to sing and love music in general. Combine that with my love for competition and we have a show tailor made for me. I even enjoy the bantering between Simon and Paula.

It has caused problems for me though. It has consumed my thoughts and all I ever want to talk about is American Idol. I am sure that isn't healthy.

My favorites on the show are Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta. So... do you watch American Idol? Is the show "so last year" by your standards? Do you hate the show?

Sound off!

Wednesday, April 1

Happy April Fool's Day

I am too tired tonight to even try to fool anyone. So, did anyone have a great April Fool's prank played on them or did you pull a fast one? Looks like Life of Jason is the winner of this award for 2009. :-)