Maryville (MO): Shame on You

Although Nodaway County Missouri and its county seat, Maryville, are over a thousand miles from my home in Montana, I grew up in the area and know it well. In fact, at one time I moved to a town about an hour from Maryville and I can personally attest to the fact that outsiders are not treated too kindly.

I was shocked (and later I was just ticked off) when I read about the recent events in the little town of around 12,000 in northwestern Missouri involving Melinda Coleman and her family.

The Kansas City Star has the story HERE.

This all happened in 2012. To recap, two girls age 13 and 14 were spending the night with each other at the Coleman home and were texting boys. They came up with a plan and sneaked out of their home at 1:00 in the morning. They went to a party where a high school senior (age 17) and another boy had sex with them after getting them drunk. A third boy recorded the act.

After the encounter they brought the girls back to their house and left the 14 year old outside passed out on the front steps in freezing temperatures. Melinda Coleman found her daughter (Daisy) when she heard something scratching on the door. She was almost frozen.

The Star reports, “Interviews and evidence initially supported the felony and misdemeanor charges that followed. Yet, two months later, the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped the felony cases against the youths, one the grandson of a longtime area political figure.”

Online threats started with many in the town turning against the Coleman family. One kid made a t-shirt saying the boy leads Daisy 1-0. The Coleman’s oldest son was booed (at home) when he took to the wrestling mat for a match. Melinda Coleman lost her job. The family had suffered a tremendous loss a few years before when their husband and father (a medical doctor) was killed in an automobile accident. The family moved to Maryville after the accident.

The harassment became too much and the family moved away from Maryville and back to the town of Albany where they first moved from.

Then their vacant house in Maryville burned to the ground.  Continue reading

Taking Care of Our Own

Every day thousands of people put their lives on the line to protect us while working as firefighters and police officers. They are there for us in our time of need. Sadly, some will leave home today and never return.

These heroes need to know that if they don’t return home, someone will have their back.

Several weeks ago 19 men who were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots based in Prescott, Arizona, died while fighting wildfires in Arizona. We mourned with their families about this tragic loss of life. Out here in the west we know all too well about the summer wildfires and the devastation they can do. We also know these fires can kill.

During this tragedy the last thing a family member of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew needs is the runaround over survivor benefits, but that is exactly what the widow of crew member Andrew Ashcraft is getting from the city officials in Prescott.   Continue reading

Dear Dallas: Only You Can Stop the Madness

With just a few hours before the tip-off of the NBA Finals I, along with several (shall I say million) other fans, want to see the Dallas Mavericks put an end to the Miami Heat’s run (purchase) of an NBA Championship.

It may be too late.  I was pulling for the Heat to lose in the first round and then I would have loved to hear the cries of “They are a bust” rolling in from around the country.  But they did not lose.  They also beat my Boston Celtics and made them look old during the Eastern Conference semifinals.

So here we are just a few months after Jame$, Bo$h and Wade decided to $tick together to win an NBA Champion$hip and they are only four games away from succeeding and doing irreparable harm to the NBA.

Somewhere Jordan, Bird, and Magic are thinking “What if we…?”

If the Miami Heat succeed in winning the championship, we can look forward to seeing several trios of players putting together packages to sell – we may see it happen in Middle School, High School and College, too.

Full Disclosure:  During my eighth grade intramural basketball draft, I told two really good players to go home and I would put their names on the draft board and draft them – a package deal.  We won the eighth grade intramural championship that year because nobody knew these players were good – so they did not draft them.  I always felt bad about that just as James, Bosh and Wade will if they win the NBA Championship.

We’ll also probably end up seeing some of these “great players” start their own cable/satellite channel to sell their deal (a la The Decision) because ESPN received some big ratings for the show (and lost some credibility).

It was self-serving to say the least and LeBron made Clevelanders cry…and forget Elway.

So Dallas, it is up to you to put an end to this madness.

I’ll be cheering for Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and the boys to win it all.  I want to see little Jose Barea slice and dice through the Miami players and be like a piece of jello when cornered. I want to see Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic rain threes like a thunderstorm on the Texas Plains.

And yes, I want to see Dallas owner Mark Cuban get his ring.

I also want to see Clevelanders smile…

The 2010-11 NBA Finals airs on ABC starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Armstrong

As I wrote about in July of 2010, doesn’t the United States Government have more important things to do than try to prosecute Lance Armstrong – who won some bicycle races?

Federal attorneys do know that our government is broke, don’t they?

I still think there are more important things (like real criminals) to go after than someone who rides a bike, hits or throws a baseball, or even tries to get a few favors for appointing a U.S. Senator (The Rod Blagojevich trial cost taxpayers millions and now the government is getting a do-over because Blagojevich was convicted on only 1 of 23 counts).   Good grief.

In fact, it’s asinine.  The quality of people running and working in our U.S Attorneys offices and at the U.S. Department of Justice must be at an all-time low. Continue reading

Amanda Knox

I happened to catch CNN’s “Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story” last night. Knox was the University of Washington student who studied abroad in Italy. She is now serving a 26 year sentence in Italy for the murder of her roommate. I had read a little about Knox off and on over the past few years, but the CNN story tied it altogether.

You can read the story from CNN HERE.

First of all, Amanda Knox is not a murderer. Continue reading

Comments…

Back on March 10, I commented about a story written by Lee Newspapers concerning Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Mont. In the story, which you can read HERE, some folks in the state accused the hospital in Great Falls of ‘predatory’ pricing.

I commented at that time that the story “seems to have been disregarded by the Great Falls media.” On March 30, the local Great Falls Tribune newspaper picked up on the issue and did a story which you can read HERE (be advised, Tribune stories are only on-line for about seven days before you have to pay to read them). Continue reading

Honesty Should Count

A 16 year-old Columbia Falls (Montana) high school student was honest when she heard that a contraband dog would be roaming the school parking lot.

The student, Demarie DeReu, remembered that she had left her hunting rifle in the trunk of her car after a Thanksgiving weekend hunting trip. She told school officials about the rifle.

The trunk was locked. The rifle was inside a locked case. It was not loaded.

Ms. DeReu is an honor student. She serves on the student council. She is a varsity cheerleader.

This is Montana where hunting and owning a few guns are the norm.

On Monday, school officials will make a decision about the punishment for DeReu. The federal Gun-Free Schools Act of 2004 mandates a one-year expulsion for any student who brings a gun onto school property. Thankfully, Montana law allows for some cooler heads to prevail.

Some reports say she faces a 21 day suspension. That’s too much. Whether it’s a year or 21 days, that is just too severe and could irreparably harm her future – including college. Teachers, administrators, and school board members are all about preparing students for the future and this is a case where they can make a big difference.

DeReu’s honesty and her record of achievement should count for something here. Since she was already suspended, her punishment should be the days that she has already been suspended. That should be it. Have DeReu visit a few classes and talk to younger students about her mistake, her being honest in owning up to the mistake, and let her move on to what appears to be a very bright future.

Justice Delayed

I happened to catch a story in the Great Falls Tribune that August 1-5, 2011, is the date that has been set to decide if Barry Beach deserves a new murder trial. You can read the Tribune story HERE.

Waiting that long is ridiculous and deserves some commentary…

I have always contended that there are more questions than answers in this case – and that Beach deserved a new trial. You can read my commentaries about the case by going to “Categories” on the right side of the screen, clicking on it, and selecting “Barry Beach.”

New judges have been assigned to this case several times – the latest being assigned (PDF) on May 5, 2010 –which means it will be around 454 days or one year, two months and 28 days before Beach gets his hearing in August 2011. Continue reading

Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday, so that means another edition of “Caught My Eye” the (almost) award-winning, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, look at some of the stories that I did not have time to write about during the week.

This week “new” ice cream, an Eagle, Malmstrom AFB, an underdog, shrimp and zucchini, bullying, and being “hot” are some of the things that Caught My Eye. Continue reading

Blago!!!

From the “who cares” file but worth some room on The Western Word because it concerns an underdog and Illinois politics:

I’m no fan of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but the Federal Government had their chance and came up almost empty-handed.

It took the jury 14 days of deliberations (after an 11 week trial) to find former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of one of lesser of the 24 counts brought against him by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his office of government-paid lawyers. The one count carries with it a maximum penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine. Big freaking deal.

The Judge intends to declare a mistrial on the remaining 23 counts.

After all the hoopla and positioning by both sides, Patrick Fitzgerald and his team are the losers – slapped in the face as some reports put it. They painted a case to the media that they said would have made Abe Lincoln roll over in his grave.

Old Abe is rolling – from laughing at the poorly prosecuted case. Continue reading