Archive for May 2008

Obit- Jay Bowman

May 28, 2008

Jay W. Bowman, 45, Neosho, co-owner of the Newton County News in Neosho, died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident May 24, 2008, in northeast Oklahoma.
Mr. Bowman and his wife, Jennifer, published the weekly newspaper.
The Oklahoma High Patrol reported that Mr. Bowman was riding a motorcycle on Highway 10 near Grove, Okla., when a van backed into his path from a driveway.
Survivors are Mrs. Bowman, his parents, six children, a sister and a grandmother.

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Documents reveal Missouri license records fee increase set to pay for computer system

May 27, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008
By DAVID A. LIEB
The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A sharp fee increase for state vehicle and driver’s license records appears to have been set to pay for the cost of a new computer system — a justification not allowed under Missouri’s open-records law.

The Missouri Department of Revenue this month began charging $7 each for license records — up significantly from its previous $1.25 charge. The agency also eliminated a discount to businesses that previously could buy bulk quantities of records for less than a penny each.

Missouri’s open-records law limits fees for computerized public records to the costs of the copies and the staff time needed to retrieve and duplicate them.

But documents provided to The Associated Press suggest the Department of Revenue picked the $7 fee to cover the cost of a new computer database for the records. The equipment and contracted maintenance of the sought-after system is projected to cost nearly $70 million by 2017, according to department records.

“The statute is very specific about what they are allowed to charge for — and equipment is not one of the factors,” said Jean Maneke, a Kansas City lawyer who specializes in public records law.

The AP received about 200 pages of materials from the department in response to a Sunshine Law request for documents justifying how the department arrived at its new rate.

Department spokesman David Griffith cited a lawsuit by four businesses that regularly buy the records to track vehicle histories and traffic violations and in turn sell that information to used car dealers, consumers, insurance companies and other entities.

That lawsuit contends the new $7 fee violates Missouri’s Sunshine Law, and a hearing on a preliminary injunction request is set for May 29. Attorneys involved in that lawsuit also received the documents provided to the AP.

Those documents include numerous calculations about how much money would be generated for the department under various fee-increase options.

For example, an undated spreadsheet prepared by the fiscal manager for the department’s Customer Services Division projects that a fee of $7.09 per record would cover the one-time cost and annual maintenance for the new system.

Another document from the same manager, dated Dec. 6, shows several options crossed out with a rectangle drawn around a computer configuration option that would result in a fee of $6.90 to cover one-time costs and annual maintenance.

Department Director Omar Davis has previously acknowledged the fee increase would pay for the equipment. When outraged legislators voted last week to limit the agency’s bulk-purchase fee to 0.5 cents per record, Davis said the department probably would have to cancel its contract for the new system.

One of the attorneys suing the department said the documents show the fee increase was not set according to the Sunshine Law.

“My impression is that it does not justify the drastic increase in fees, that should be simply the cost of an employee getting an electronic copy generated and put on some type of a CD or other electronic media form, and that’s it,” said attorney Alex Bartlett, who represents Experian Information Solutions Inc.

Fliers prepared by the department list the basic fee as $7, plus a $2 processing fee when purchasing the records from the state’s contractor-run license offices.

The flier states: “The Department of Revenue has determined this price more accurately reflects its costs and is comparable to fees charged by other states for driver records.”

But a department document dated Dec. 21, 2006, indicates that an employee can process a record request in 3.5 minutes, which when divided by the employee’s hourly wage, results in a record retrieval cost of 67 cents. The department also can charge 10 cents per page for a copy of the records, according to the Sunshine Law.

The 2006 document also adds numerous other things into the cost of each record sale, including prorated portions of the salaries for various department supervisors, attorneys, fiscal staff and human resources employees.

When factoring in those other personnel, the cost for each driver’s license record sale would equal $7.17 and $11.56 for each motor vehicle record sale, the document states. When adding prorated expenses for staff travel, training and supplies, such as license plates, the cost for each driver’s license record sale would be $13.40, and $21.69 for each motor vehicle record sale, the document states.

Maneke, who reviewed the document at AP’s request, said such costs cannot be passed on to the public seeking copies of the records.

“That is ridiculous to be building that into this, it is illegal under state law,” said Maneke, later adding: “This kind of document is the kind of thing that a lawyer bringing a Sunshine Law suit would find very damning in terms of evidence against the Department of Revenue.”

Griffith defended the department’s cost estimates.

“I think the information that is in there is accurate,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s been padded.”

MSHSAA Spring Media Sports Update – May 20

May 21, 2008

Dear Media Representatives –

The baseball and girls soccer agate can be found below. Game times and locations for Thursday’s Class 3 and Class 4 baseball quarterfinals will be updated on our web site as information is sent to us.  The only game I know at this point is the Webb City/Logan-Rogersville game which starts at 6 p.m.

ALSO . . . Noon Wednesday (May 21) is the credential application deadline for this weekend’s Track & Field Championships.  Also, if you are attending the Boys Tennis Championships in Springfield this weekend, you may still submit your information until Noon Wednesday. . . DON’T FORGET – the BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS credential application deadline is Monday at Noon.  If you have teams in the Quarterfinals, please send in your requests NOW – if your team loses, we’ll just remove you from the list.  We leave for Springfield Tuesday morning with all the credentials, so we can’t accept late applications.  If you plan to attend the Girls Soccer Championships, the credential application deadline is Wednesday, May 28.

PDF brackets for Soccer and Baseball can be found in the Media tab on our web site (www.mshsaa.org) along with tennis and track information for this weekend.  If you haven’t visited the “Information Central” pages for each of the championship events, it’s a great way to get schedules, results, weather reports, hotel links, maps, and other information all in one place.

Kansas City Star names Fannin editor

May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Star has named Mike Fannin as its new editor.

Fannin’s promotion from managing editor was announced Thursday morning. He replaces Mark Zieman, who was named president and publisher of The Star in March.

Fannin has been managing editor for sports and features for the last two years.

He came to The Star in 1997 as a deputy sports editor after years at The Dallas Morning News. He was named assistant managing editor of sports in 1999.

Zieman also named Bryan Harbison, The Star’s chief financial officer, a vice president of the newspaper.

MSHSAA Sports Announcements

May 14, 2008

Final results from the 2008 MSHSAA Boys Golf Championships have been posted on-line at http://www.mshsaa.org <http://www.mshsaa.org/&gt; .  You can click on the Golf icon in the menu bar or just click on the Golf Championships Information Central link from the home page to get the scores and standings.

Of note in today’s action, Class 2 golfers Jared King of Lawson (2nd) and Jordan McLaurin of Arcadia Valley (3rd) along with Springfield Central’s Kevin Kring (1st) in Class 4 all became four-time state
medalists. That means that they have been in the top 15 four consecutive years at the state tournament on four different courses.

Also, the only returning individual champion to emerge victorious today was Dixon senior Jace Long who was also co-champion in 2007.  He becomes the 18th two-time boys golf champion.

Team-wise, Tipton repeated as the Class 1 champions to claim its fifth title; in Class 2 Ash Grove won its third title and third in a row; in Class 3 Kearney (which had never placed in the top four prior to this
year) won its first title; and Rockhurst won the Class 4 title for the 10th time.

TRACK REMINDER
– Wednesday at Noon is the application deadline for this weekend’s Class 1 and Class 2 Track & Field Championships in Jefferson City.  Please make sure you have everything submitted on-line by noon tomorrow.

LOOKING AHEAD – Future credential application deadlines for state final events:  Boys Tennis (deadline – May 20 at Noon); Class 3&4 Track (May 21 at Noon);  Baseball (May 26 at Noon);  Girls Soccer (May 28 at Noon).

Journalism teaches thinking

May 13, 2008

Arlington, Va. – High school students who participate in school journalism programs earn significantly higher grade point averages, score better on college entrance exams and demonstrate better writing and grammar skills in college compared with students who had no involvement with their school’s newspaper or yearbook, according to a study of more than 31,000 students released in April by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.
The research, “High School Journalism Matters,” confirms findings from a study conducted by the Journalism Education Association and ACT in 1987. In both the 1987 and 2008 studies, students with journalism experience had higher scores than non-journalism students in these areas: High school overall grade point average, ACT Composite score, ACT English, college freshman GPA and college freshman first English course grade.
“ASNE applauds this NAA Foundation study, which is must-reading,” said Gilbert Bailon, 2007-08 ASNE president and editorial page editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Journalism helps students get a rounded education. It teaches literacy, critical thinking, diversity and community connection. It helps youth emerge as tomorrow’s leaders and stewards of our precious democracy.”
Of the 31,175 respondents in the study, nearly 20 percent – or 6,137 students – were on the staff of their high school newspaper or their high school yearbook. An executive summary is available at naafoundation.org.
“If schools want to motivate and have motivated students who are involved in a multiplicity of activities, clearly journalism is a significant component of that,” said Gene Policinski, vice president, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center.
“In this day and age, when school systems are so concerned about academic performance, no school can justify not having a student newspaper and yearbook,” said Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University, and member, NAA Foundation Youth Services Committee.

Google Research confirms: Newspaper advertising works!

May 13, 2008

Among people who research products and services after seeing them advertised in newspapers, 67 percent use the internet to find more information, and nearly 70 percent of them actually make a purchase following their additional research.

This is according to the Newspaper Association of America and new consumer research conducted by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo and commissioned by Google.
John F. Sturm, NAA president and CEO, said “…newspaper advertising
is incredibly effective in motivating consumers to make a purchase.”

Among internet-using newspaper readers:
• 56% researched or purchased at least one product they saw advertised
in the newspaper in the previous month.
• 44% researched at least one product; 48% of them visited a store; 23% called a store; 23% asked a friend.
• 47% of those who responded to a newspaper ad by going online went directly to a URL they saw in the advertisement.

Spencer Spinnell, head of Google’s Print Ads program, said, “Newspaper advertisements drive readers to the web, where they search, find and obtain products… ”