Archive for January 2008

Nixon sues Christian County Commissioners to enforce Sunshine Law

January 18, 2008

 Attorney General Jay Nixon  released the news today—Jan. 18— that his office finally acted on complaints sent to him by county  resident Ernest O’Gaffney. What follows is the news release from the AG’s office:
“Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a lawsuit against the three members of the Christian County Commission, alleging the commissioners violated the Missouri Sunshine Law when they appointed John Housley as county counselor.

The lawsuit alleges Presiding Commissioner John Grubaugh and commissioners Tom Huff and Bill Barnett violated the Sunshine Law by:

• Convening a meeting without public notice at which the appointment took place;
• Failing to keep any minutes of such meeting;
• Failing to conduct such meeting in a manner so as to be open to the public;
• Failing to record the vote to appoint Housley to the position of county counselor; and
• Conducting such meeting as a closed meeting without an affirmative vote to do so, and without prior public notice of its intent to do so.

“The Sunshine Law is quite clear that, with few exceptions, public business needs to be conducted in the open, with appropriate prior notice,” Nixon said. “The record shows that was not the case here, and these officials need to be held accountable.”

The lawsuit asks the Christian County Circuit Court to enter a judgment finding that the commissioners committed knowing and purposeful violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law; permanently enjoin the commissioners from further violations of the Sunshine Law; and assess civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each knowing violation, and up to $5,000 for each purposeful violation of the Sunshine Law.”

The Attorney General office also has two criminal complaints pending—one stemming from a forgery charge relating to the Housley appointment and the other from gravel diverted from the county’s Common 1 Road District to a parking lot at the Chadwick School.

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It isn’t easy being mean, but in some cases it’s smart

January 10, 2008

Last year, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol, less people lost their lives on Missouri highways than the year before. But this year isn’t off to a good start. It’s Jan. 10 and southwest Missouri is almost averaging one a day so far. The four Springfield youths killed in Greene County, a teacher killed south of Chadwick in Christian County, a motorcyclist killed at the James River Power Plant and two deaths last night in Douglas County as a result of running from the police.

Life’s a risk but car accidents take more young lives than anything else. And while parents can’t police their teenagers 24-7, they can take a stand, make the rules and follow through.
That’s exactly what one of the best, smartest and self-described “meanest” moms recently did.

From the Associated Press:

“DES MOINES, Iowa – Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the “meanest mom on the planet.” After finding alcohol in her son’s car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old’s misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper.
The ad reads: “OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.”
Hambleton has heard from people besides interested buyers since recently placing the ad in The Des Moines Register.
The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her.
“The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I’m telling people what happened here,” Hambleton says. “I’m not just gonna put the car for resale when there’s nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision.
“It’s overwhelming the number of calls I’ve gotten from people saying ‘Thank you, it’s nice to see a responsible parent.’ So far there are no calls from anyone saying, ‘You’re really strict. You’re real overboard, lady.’”
The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is “very, very unhappy” with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger.
Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn’t the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked.
The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week — just for the feedback.”