The board of directors of the Grundy County Nursing Home District approved auxiliary heating units for the new addition and approved an across-the-board wage increase during a meeting held Monday evening at Sunnyview Nursing Home.
According to information provided by the board, the options for auxiliary heating in the RCF addition were discussed, with the board voting to approve the additional cost for cove heaters for auxiliary heating units and a combined thermostat to control both primary and auxiliary heating units. The board approved the contractor’s application for payment in the amount of $144,552.60 for work completed to date and architecture fees in the amount of $3,643.
Board members voted to give a 15-cent across-the-board raise to all employees effective Jan. 1. The increase will coincide with the Missouri minimum wage increase. Board members also discussed voluntary benefits available for employees and requested bids to be obtained for employer-paid life insurance.
Administrator Donita Youtsey presented the administrator’s and RCF reports. The board went into closed session and approved the minutes of the Dec. 2 closed session.
The next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 in the conference room of the administrator’s office at Sunnyview.
As of press time this morning, a request from Waste Corporation of Missouri, Inc. for a temporary restraining order against the city of Trenton is still in the hands of Daviess County Associate Judge Daren Adkins.
Arguments for and against the request were heard Friday in Grundy County Circuit Court, with Judge Adkins assigned to the case after Third Circuit Judge Jack Peace recused himself. Judge Adkins heard the arguments in the suitby video conference due to his involvement in a trial and the slick condition of roadways.
WCM, represented by W. Joseph Hatley of the firm Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne, LLC of Kansas City, is seeking the temporary restraining order or temporary injunction as a way to stop the city of Trenton from entering into a contract with Rapid Removal for residential trash pickup service. The city, represented by City Attorney Tara Walker, sought to have the suit dismissed, indicating that the city had the right to reject any and all bids in whole or in part, to waive any irregularities and to accept the bid deemed to be in the best interest of the city.
WCM is the current residential trash hauler for city customers and had submitted a lower bid than Rapid Removal, however the bid was awarded to Rapid Removal, in part because of its local presence within the city. Hatley argued that local presence was not listed in a section of the city ordinance for purchasing that includes seven factors to be considered.
In asking for the TRO, Hatley admitted that he needed to prove four factors are present: the likelihood that WCM would win the case on its merits; that irreparable harm would come to WCM if the contract was allowed to be executed; that in weighing the balances of harms that WCM would be more harmed than the city if the contract is executed; and public interest.
Hatley said the city did not follow its own ordinance by not selecting the “lowest responsible bidder” and used local presence, an arbitrary factor in the opinion of WCM, as a consideration in the selection of Rapid Removal. He argued that the ordinance limits the council to those factors specifically listed, with the only exception being the ability to choose a local contractor if the cost is within $1,000 of the low bid. In addition, he said the city did not follow its own ordinance because they did not provide a detailed, written explanation of its reasons for selecting a bidder other than the low bid.
“To this day, we don’t know why Rapid Removal got the bid when it is considerably more expensive,” Hatley said. “It seems irregular.”
Hatley went on to say that city council members, at their Nov. 25 meeting, said that because WCM submitted a bid lower than its current charge, the company must have been overcharging citizens all along. He indicated that the bid is lower because the company has found ways to be more efficient since the last bid cycle, including using a landfill closer to Trenton. He said that not only is WCM the lowest bidder, but there is also no proof to indicate that it is not a responsible bidder. No concerns or serious issues have been brought to the attention of WCM during the current contract, he said, and while one city councilman indicated that the trucks were too heavy for the city streets, that was not brought up to the company.
As for irreparable harm, Hatley said that once the contract is executed, WCM would not have any recourse. As a practical matter, he said, injunctive relief is the only possible way to halt the further process of the execution of the contract.
In addressing the issue of balancing the harms, the city, Hatley said, will not be harmed if the restraining order or injunction is granted, while WCM would be harmed. He noted, in fact, that if the matter is not settled by Jan. 1, when the new contract is to go into effect, WCM would continue picking up the trash at the new, lower bid price.
“The city and its residents would actually see some benefit,” he argued.
In discussing the factor of public interest, Hatley said that by granting the TRO, the public would benefit by getting service at the lowest possible price and following its own ordinances.
Judge Adkins asked Hatley why he could not come up with a monetary number for the “irreparable injury” that WCM would suffer if the TRO was not granted. Hatley said that believes that precedence prohibits a “disappointed bidder” from being entitled to monetary damages even if it is found out that the bid was awarded unfairly or arbitrarily.
“We don’t believe we’re entitled to seek damages,” he said.
In her argument, Mrs. Walker said that there is not a likelihood that WCM would win the case and that Hatley is reading into the purchasing policy what is not in it. She noted that the ordinance section being used against the city might not even pertain to this situation since no city funds are being expended for trash service, which is paid for by residents. She noted that the city takes “numerous” factors into consideration when comparing bids and that the drafters of the ordinance, all but two of whom voted for Rapid Removal, drafted it with the intent of doing what is in the best interest of the city, which does include buying locally. She noted that the difference in the bid price is $1 per month per household, not a “substantial” amount of money. She said buying locally is important not just from a business aspect, but also affects the quality of service, which is part of the purchasing policy ordinance.
“The evidence is clear that the council made a thoughtful decision, not arbitrarily,” she said.
In addressing the issue of price, she said it is the feeling of the city that if Rapid Removal had not entered into the market as a trash hauler, WCM would not have lowered its cost. She told Judge Adkins that granting the TRO would result in great harm to the citizens of Trenton by undermining the right of officials to choose the bidder that they deem is the best one for the city.
Hatley then went on to say that he felt Mrs. Walker’s assertion that the bid was not subject to the purchasing policy was “baffling” and noted that if the TRO is not granted, WCM would officially be without remedy. He also said that while the city has the right to reject any and all bids, they did, in fact, not reject any bids, but considered them on what WCM believes is an “improper basis.” Judge Adkins questioned Hatley about the plaintiff’s ability to prove the intent of any of the city councilmen as to what factors they might have used in making their decision. Adkins said without calling each one and having them say that they absolutely ignored the factors listed in the ordinance, he didn’t see how that could be proven.
“We do know they based it on an impermissible factor – the local presence which is not in Sec. 155.040,” replied Hatley, who also reiterated that the city had not followed its own ordinance that requires a written explanation for not selecting the lowest bid. He asked that the city be made to go “back to the drawing board and do it again and do it right.”
“We’ll still be the lowest bidder by a large margin,” he said.
Adkins, who had hoped to issue a ruling Friday evening, was given assurances by Mrs. Walker that the city would not take any action prior to the Dec. 23 city council meeting. She did indicate that the city would like to have the matter resolved by that meeting.
A rural Spickard family has lost their home following an early morning fire.
According to Jesse Richmond, training officer/public relations with Spickard Fire and Rescue, the W.A. “Dub” Wilson family was able to escape from the home, located at 631 N.E. 122nd St. after they woke to a fire shortly after 1 a.m. The residents of the one-story home were able to get dressed and escape unharmed, but the home was a total loss. Although an exact cause of the blaze has not been determined, it is believed that it began in the area of the hot water heater. Richmond said the American Red Cross has been contacted to help provide assistance to the family.
In addition to Spickard firefighters, those from the Grundy County Rural Fire Protection District assisted in fighting the blaze, with the Grundy County Ambulance Department also providing assistance. Firefighters were on the scene until about 4 a.m.
The 2013 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference was held November 20-21 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, with Trenton resident Jacob Hall coming home with a first-place finish.
Hall, the son of Gary and Becky Hall, took first place in the turkey barbecue contest, bringing home the Robert Hogue Memorial Award, a gold pin and $250.
This annual conference allows 4-Hers from all over the country to compete in educational events that help them learn to make and defend decisions, speak publicly, and gain poultry-related skills.
Other winners in the cooking contests included Anne Catherine LeBlanc from Louisiana for chicken barbecue and Emily Falica from Kentucky for egg preparation demonstration.
The annual 4-H conference includes five separate competitive events. In the Poultry Judging contest, participants are required to judge ready-to-cook chicken and turkey carcasses, live production hens and market eggs. In the Chicken and Turkey Barbecuing contests participants barbecue three chicken halves or two turkey fillets and give an oral presentation on the corresponding poultry industry.
In the Egg Preparation demonstration contest participants prepare an egg dish and give an oral presentation on the nutritional value and versatility of eggs. In addition to these events, the conference includes an Avian Bowl contest which is a round robin tournament in which the contestants are required to answer questions regarding poultry science, poultry meat and egg production, and information about the poultry industries.
A Poultry Careers workshop is also held at the conference, exposing the 4-Hers to hands-on information from poultry food industry personnel and the participants are given pertinent information about career and educational opportunities in poultry industries. This year there were two speakers at the workshop. Ms. Tracy McKinney spoke about her job as Flock Advisor with Perdue Farms. Dr. Carey Ritz from the University of Georgia discussed the career opportunities available in the poultry industry and how to pursue a college program that will give students diverse experiences in poultry to develop a successful career.
At the 2013 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference, 157 senior 4-Hers, representing 26 states, participated as teams or individuals in the various events. Twenty-one teams and four independent individuals participated in the Poultry Judging contest and 13 teams competed in the Avian Bowl contest. Eleven individuals participated in the Chicken Barbecue contest, nine in the Turkey Barbecue, and nine in the Egg Preparation Demonstration.
Jameson Read’s own statements about the July murder of his business partner, John Vencill, provided plenty of evidence to have the case bound over following a preliminary hearing held Tuesday afternoon in the Associate Division of the Grundy County Court.
Read, 24, was bound over to the Circuit Division to face charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse, first degree assault and tampering with physical evidence. Associate Judge Steven D. Hudson presided over the hearing, which is being prosecuted by the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Read is being defended by the Missouri Public Defender’s Office.
Scott Fox, the lead attorney for the state, told Judge Hudson that he has about 30 “trial-level” witnesses in the case, but for the purpose of the preliminary hearing, would be calling three of them. He also indicated that while Read’s video-taped statement on July 6, in which he admitted killing 52-year-old John Vencill, is available in its entirety, he would only show excerpts from it during the hearing.
The first witness to be called was Greg Coon, who is employed with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department assigned to the ATF NITRO Task Force, where he concentrates on violent crime and drug offenses. Coon testified that he had been attempting to locate the defendant, eventually using the “ping” of his cell phone to find him at a local convenience store. During the interview with Read, Coon said the defendant told law enforcement officers that he had shot Vencill three times with AK-47. The gun, he told Coon, belonged to the victim. The shooting occurred at the defendant’s home on Speedway and he said he was afraid that Vencill was going to rob him, so he had shot him. He indicated he then took the body to Sullivan County, where it was found submerged in a car in a farm pond. He also said he had disposed of the assault rifle, as well as a wicker chair.
Coon also told Fox that another individual later, identified in the hearing as Logan May, told investigators that he had been with the victim’s son, Ryan Vencill and Read when he overheard them talking about shooting Vencill. During the course of that conversation with Coon, which also included Tristan Vencill, the younger son of the victim, Coon noticed that Tristan had a laceration on his head.
“He said Jameson Read had hit him with a hammer,” Coon testified.
On cross-examination by Public Defender Kelly Miller, Coon clarified that his conversation with Logan May and Tristan Vencill had been just that, a conversation, not an interview, and that he had not filed a supplemental report. Someone else, he said, interviewed them and prepared a supplemental report in which May said he had overheard the conversation between Ryan Vencill and Read and that they discussed an AK-47 and “taking care of business.”
Trenton Police Lt. Rex Ross was also brought to the stand, indicating that he began his interview with Read by advising him of his Miranda rights and being sure he understood them. Using video from the interview, Fox had Ross explain that Read suspected Vencill had stolen a computer, an X-Box gaming console and games from him. He also said he had been in a business venture with the victim to operate a restaurant at the Riverside Country Club. He indicated there had been problems and John Vencill had left him “holding the bag.” Again, Ross said Read told him he was afraid the victim was going to hurt him and that he might have a handgun. Ross said Read went on to describe how he placed the body in a car and drove it to Sullivan County, where the car was submerged in a pond south of Humphreys. He also indicated during the interview that he had acted alone. Ross said that Read took him to the pond where the body was located.
Ross also testified about trash bags found in a dumpster at 2600 Oklahoma Ave. The bags contained rounds of ammunition consistent with an AK-47, surgical gloves, paper towels with what appeared to be blood on them, pieces of skull and hair attached to flesh. Those items are at a crime lab for analysis, he told Fox.
Ross also testified that Read told him he had hit Tristan Vencill on the head with the hammer at the Sullivan County home of Jim Bowe. He told Ross he hadn’t been sure if he would have to kill Tristan Vencill or not. He said he didn’t want to kill him because he is “just a kid” and that he had told him to take care of his family and straighten up.
Under questioning by Miller, Ross indicated that Read’s demeanor was initially calm when he talked, but that he became agitated when he thought about it. Ross explained to Miller how the investigation had progressed from looking for Vencill at his home on Speedway to looking for the body. He noted that when officers went to the residence and looked through the window, they could see a wicker chair that had been turned over. When they later went back to the residence with a warrant, the chair could not be located.
Trenton Police Officer Keith Edmonston testified that he had been asked to witness the autopsy of Vencill, which found that the cause of death was a shot to the chest. He also had wounds to the left side of his head above his eye, with most of the skull in that area missing. He said the victim’s skin was “sloughing off” due to having been submerged in the pond. He also had two wounds to his chest that were “oozing” a black material.
Edmonston testified about text messages sent between Read and Ryan Vencill that indicated an involvement with marijuana, including conversations about potting soil and “transplanting the girls.” Messages sent on July 3 indicated that Read asked Ryan Vencill “do you want to be here for this?” When asked by Fox what Edmonston believed that meant, he said he believes Read was asking Vencill if he wanted to be there for the murder of his father. Other messages indicate that Read wanted Vencill to come to the house alone after the murder to help him clean up.
Prior to ruling, Judge Hudson brought up the issue of jurisdiction since the assault on Tristan Vencill occurred in Sullivan County, rather than Grundy County, as the other four charges had. Miller asked that the assault charge not be bound over due to improper jurisdiction. Fox argued that Missouri statute allows the charge to be prosecuted in Grundy County because the motive for it stems from the Grundy County case – that Tristan Vencill was uncovering evidence of the location of his father’s body. Fox said Read would only face that charge in Grundy County, not Sullivan County, where he had also been charged. Ryan Vencill is also charged with assault in Sullivan County for the attack on his brother.
Read is scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m.
The Laredo R-7, Princeton R-5 and Newtown-Harris boards of education met Monday, setting the filing dates for the April election.
The Laredo R-7 board purchased a bus, set filing dates and discussed fifth and sixth grade basketball during its meeting.
According to information provided by Superintendent Phil Fox, the board voted to purchase a 1994 International bus from Randy Small Transportation. The board declared the 1994 GMC Blue Bird that the district owns as surplus property. It will be sold.
The board approved the filing period for the April 8 election, with the terms of Jim Marsh, Jason Meeker and Stephen Lowrey expiring. Persons may file beginning at 8 a.m., Dec. 17 until 5 p.m., January 21, 2014. The school office will close at 1 p.m. on Dec. 20 and re-open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2014. The office will also be closed in the event of inclement weather.
A discussion was held on fifth and sixth grade basketball, with the board agreeing to allow third and fourth grade boys to participate in the fifth and sixth grade season due to low numbers. There are enough girls in fifth and sixth grade without having to move anyone up to play.
In other business, the board approved MSBA policy updates on their second reading and reviewed the deductible increase on a variety of coverages from MUSIC insurance, which is the school liability carrier. The district has not yet received its quote for the year.
In administrative reports, the board reviewed the budget, learned that all but one teacher evaluation has been completed and reviewed a maintenance update. It was noted that the seventh and eighth grade boys basketball team is 4-4 on the season, with the girls at 4-2. Board members were told that options are being reviewed for the January 2015 insurance renewal. The Christmas program has been scheduled for Dec. 17, with graduation set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, unless inclement weather results in days to make up at the end of the school year.
An executive session was held, with no announcement made.
The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9.
The Princeton R-5 Board gave approval to an early retirement incentive during its meeting on Monday night.
Superintendent Terry Mayfield said the incentive would be offered to certified staff this year. Any certified staff who qualifies for retirement may receive a $5,000 stipend if they submit their retirement notice by the regular January board of education meeting.
Approval was given to a sports cooperative sponsorship with the North Mercer School District. Princeton will serve as the host school for varsity football, junior high football and junior high softball while being the sending school for varsity boys softball.
The board voted to renew its property/casualty/liability insurance for 2014 with CPSK for $43,017, which is an increase of 8.7 percent. Also approved was a bid from Mason and Son Snowplowing for snow removal for the 2013-14 school year.
Approval was given to the annual library/media program evaluation review.
Filing dates for the April board meeting will be from Dec. 17 to Jan. 21. The terms of Dr. Larry Letner, Gene Anderson and Stan Johnson will expire.
Mayfield reported that the district infrastructure is nearly updated, with increases to bandwidth and installation of the wireless network. Mayfield said the district is also facing the challenge of having the ability to meet the needs of the upcoming online testing requirements and updating out-of-date technology. Staff and administrators have been discussing the choice for the best mobile/wireless device to meet student and teacher needs as well as developing a “Bring Your Own Device” policy.
There was an 89 percent participation rate at parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school and 51 percent at the high school, which is up from 37 percent last year. Average daily attendance numbers are at 339.18.
Mayfield recognized members of the all-HDC football team as well as Rachelle Parks for competing at the district and state cross country meets.
Elementary Principal Angie Ormsby reported average daily attendance at 97 percent. She also recognized the students of the month for October as well as Crissy Weber, who was named the first quarter employee of the quarter for her work as a paraprofessional. Mrs. Ormsby said a goal of 80 percent has been set for students reading at or above grade level. At the beginning of the year, that number was at 54 percent. The goal for math has been set at 85 percent.
Efforts were made to encourage parents to fill out the free and reduced lunch applications, which resulted in an increase of participants. Mrs. Ormsby said the cooks are working hard to find new entrees that are tasty and meet the nutritional guidelines.
Average daily attendance at the junior/senior high school is 96 percent. Students of the quarter and the week were recognized along with the teacher of the quarter, Jackie Price. Also honored were those named to the Northwest District Middle School Honor Choir.
The fall sports banquet will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18 and the varsity basketball teams will have their first games on Nov. 26.
An executive session was held with no announcement made. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 9.
The Newtown-Harris Board of Education heard several reports at its meeting.
According to information provided by Superintendent Dr. Bryan Copple, board members set the filing dates for the April election for Dec. 17 to Jan. 21. Members whose terms expire include Chris Gibson, Jack Wells and Steve Peterson.
The board heard a report about the new teacher evaluation tool and how teachers are responding positively to it. They were also told that the elementary school received recognition as a Title I Reward School, being one of only eight districts in northwest Missouri to receive this distinction.
The MARE Conference, which includes board training for new members, will be held Feb. 20-22 at the Lake of the Ozarks. Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 27-29. The first varsity basketball game will be on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Tri-County.
Grandparents/Relatives Day will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 18 and the annual school Christmas program will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9.
Tyler and Dani Jackson at the Leaning Power of Pisa.
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part story. Part two will appear in Friday’s Republican-Times.
by Ronda Lickteig
R-T News Writer
We’ve all heard about people who take time off after college and backpack around Europe, but most of us don’t know anyone who has actually done it. Galt native Tyler Jackson and his wife Dani did just that – and returned with stories of adventures they will never forget and a ministry that has the potential to affect the lives of hundreds of orphans in India.
When the couple, married in July 2012, graduated from Truman State University in May they already had most of their plan in place to backpack across Europe. Tyler, a 2009 graduate of Grundy R-5 High School at Galt and the son of Les and Lora Jackson of Galt, had been the recipient of the prestigious Pershing Scholar-ship, which included a stipend to study abroad. Leaving in June, the couple traveled to Iceland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and India.
“We tried to plan the trip in the most economical way, so we could stretch the stipend and get to see as many countries as possible,” Dani explained.
The couple wanted the cultural experience of traveling in Europe, but also knew they wanted to combine the trip with work at a Christian mission before returning home.
Iceland proved to be a wonderful place to start their trip as it was one of the highlights.
“I’m a nature person, so Iceland was awesome,” commented Dani. “It’s so unique. There’s not a tree in the country, but there is lots of green grass, cliffs, waterfalls. It’s the only place we rented a car, but we needed to if we were really going to see anything. Reykjavik is a cool city, but not a big city, so we really wanted to get out and see everything.”
“There are only a few paved roads in the entire country,” Tyler explained, noting that the couple found it to be very peaceful.
Switzerland was another highlight of the adventure. The couple stayed in a hostel, as they did many times on the trip, but this one was located on the side of a mountain in the Alps.
“The hostel had a super cozy feel,” Dani said. “We would wake up in the morning and the Alps were staring us right in the face.”
Tyler explained that while they met many young people on their trip, a lot of them were there to “party.” Not so in the Alps.
“There wasn’t the ‘party’ environment. We played cards, just hung out and talked…it was more our pace,” he said.
The two were amazed when finding themselves at some of Europe’s most famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Sistine Chapel. The Coliseum in Rome was a standout.
“You’ve read about it, but you’re seeing things you never dreamed you’d get the chance to see,” Tyler said about The Coliseum. “You’re just overwhelmed with gratitude. It made us very thankful. When you think of the history of that place, it’s just amazing that we were standing there.”
Money was always on their minds as they attempted to make the trip on the least amount possible. They spent some nights in airports and rarely splurged on food (don’t even ask about Tyler’s instance of fountain-diving in Slovakia and eating an abandoned plate of french fries in an airport in Iceland). But when it came to Greece and the island city of Santorini, they loosened the purse strings a little.
“I had wanted to go there my entire life,” said Dani. “Even my entire teenage life. It was an eight-hour ferry trip from Athens. The ferry was very expensive, but we splurged on it and did the hotel thing. It was almost our first anniversary, so that’s how we celebrated.”
Dani loved the island with whitewashed houses and blue roofs and shutters. The houses are build into the sides of cliffs. The people, she said, live very simple lives and the entire place felt, as she described it, “quaintesque.” Being there, she said, was definitely a highlight of her trip.
“I couldn’t believe it. I just said ‘This is so worth it! I’m so happy!’,” she said, with the excitement still in her voice months later.
In Italy, the couple found the people a little “off-putting” but loved the food and Cingqueteere National Park, a string of five little villages perched along six or seven miles of the coast, with crystal clear blue water and a trail that runs along with it. Even though they weren’t crazy about the Italians they met in the city, they loved the feel of the villages.
“The villagers were laid back, they lived a simple life,” Dani said. “What they eat is what they’ve grown or what they’ve bought from the guy down the street.”
Dani also recalled the Plitvice National Park in Croatia as another highlight. The park, which is an actual national park as opposed to the villages in Italy, boasts ponds, lakes and waterfalls that go on for miles.
Of course, Tyler had to “study” some on this “study-abroad” trip. He took a three-week college credit language class in Bulgaria that proved to be challenging to this eternally straight-A student.
“There were people from 36 nations in the class. Everyone else just wanted to learn Bulgarian and I’m there for college credit,” he laughed. “I took a placement test, it was an entire sheet, and I literally did not know one word. I told the teacher ‘I don’t know anything on this.’ I got placed in an easier class and I learned a little bit of Bulgarian while I was there.”
After finishing the European part of the trip, the couple headed for India. As remarkable as it had been to see some of the earth’s most beautiful natural scenery, eat some of best food in Europe and experience some of the most historical landmarks in the world, they were about to be even more amazed by a group of poor Indian orphans and the man who has made it his mission to help those children.
Tomorrow: How an internet search on “mission opportunities” led the couple to a pastor in India who is changing the lives of orphans – and how that experience changed the lives of Tyler and Dani.
Tuition waivers and their impact on the budget, as well as a report on the allied health program were among the main topics of discussion at a Tuesday evening meeting of the North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees.
A report on tuition waivers was presented, comparing where the college is at this point in the 2013-2014 school year versus the amount spent during the 2012-2013 school year. Waivers for the 2012-2013 school year totaled $38,125.50 being awarded for NCMC employees, Trenton R-9 employees and Head Start/WIB employees. So far a total of $20,041 has been awarded for the 2013-2014 school year.
In discussing the waivers, NCMC President Dr. Neil Nuttall said that while he had earlier asked that funds be budgeted for the program and that the amount be limited, he does not feel that plan should be implemented this year, noting that the amount budgeted for 2013-2014 has already hit about 65 percent of the funds allocated. He said the program continues to increase in cost each year and that there are real benefits to it. Head Start employees, in particular, have been able to use the program to earn certifications. Most NCMC employees, he said, use it for their children and the expense from the Trenton R-9 employees has remained consistent over the years. He told board members he will take another year to look at the issue and develop guidelines and policies for the plan.
“I think we need to let people be a part of the changes if we’re going to make them and they won’t feel that way if we change it this year,” he said.
Funds will be allocated from another area to cover the cost of the waivers this year.
Dean of Allied Health Sciences Janet Vanderpool gave an overview on the allied health/nursing program. She commended the program staff for working diligently to update and align programs as needed and for their efforts in getting the “meat” in the college’s programs, such as Health Information Manage-ment, which has gone from five students to 22 in one year. Ms. Vanderpool said one need the allied health program has is for quality internship opportunities. As the number of students has increased, it is more difficult to find enough internships for all the students, and especially those that will offer meaningful work, such as billing, coding, etc. She also told trustees that the new pharmacy technician program started this fall with eight students who are taking the on-line program.
In other reports to the board, CFO/Director of Operations Tyson Otto said the Missouri Department of Conservation has inspected the Barton Farm campus dock project, which passed, and said the repairs of damage from a lightning storm are basically done. He noted that the wind turbine at the Barton Campus will be coming down for repairs from that storm. He also reported that auditors will be on campus Nov. 4.
Director of Development Teresa Cross gave an update on the Gifts in Action campaign, which kicked off in February and has resulted in gifts of $261,260. She said she is working on a sixth named scholarship and reported on the recent NCMC Foundation Gala. She said an estate planning seminar will be offered with a tentative date of Monday, Nov. 18.
Dr. Nuttall told the board that he and board president Steve Busch recently attended a meeting with Gov. Jay Nixon concerning budget issues, including performance-based funding. As he had done at a previous meeting, Dr. Nuttall discussed his concerns with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s new testing requirements for prospective teachers. If the test is implemented in December as has been proposed, colleges would have no idea what is included and would not have time to ensure that the core standards on the test are being included in their programs. He would like to see a timeline “that makes sense” and gives colleges the time to include the standards in course syllabi. In addition, testing for reliability and validity need to be conducted.
Trustees approved the grant application for continued refunding for Head Start FY 2014 in the amount of $1,792,516, with an additional $448,129 in non-federal resources. The application is for the budget period beginning Feb. 1, 2014 and ending Jan. 31, 2015. There is a funded enrollment of 237 children in the program.
In personnel matters, the board approved the hiring of Diana Michaelis of Princeton as full-time cashier/admissions. She will be paid $11.71 per hour and is scheduled to begin her duties on Thursday. Lesa Gray of Weatherby was hired as a part-time clinical instructor in the nursing department and will be paid $250 per clinical day for the Level I program in Trenton. Also hired was Ray Summers of Chillicothe, who will serve as an adjunct instructor at Chilicothe, teaching tractor electronic systems.
Board members held an executive session to discuss real estate, personnel and legal matters, with no announcement made.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26.
A bid for renovation of Johnson Field at the Ebbe Sports Complex was accepted during a special meeting held Wednesday afternoon at the park superintendent’s office.
The board accepted a bid for $37,503 from Performance Sports Fields and $18,492 from Aaron’s Lawn and Landscaping, for a total of $55,995. The renovation will be nearly identical to that being done on Griffin Field and the cost will be split equally by the Trenton R-9 School District and North Central Missouri College. The usage agreement among the park department, NCMC and R-9 mirrors that of Griffin Field.
Board members discussed the timeline for the work, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 21, and expressed their hope that if the weather is good, the contractor will be working on the project in order to get it completed as quickly as possible and have as little disruption in the ball schedules nex spring as possible. NCMC will play its spring 2014 season on Griffin Field.
Shuler was given permission to seek bids for the block work at Johnson Field, which will match the blocks at Griffin Field. Shuler said he will need to order only a small amount of block since it had already been ordered with that used on Griffin.
The board approved an agreement with the Trenton R-9 School District to operate the concession stand at the Ebbe Complex during the school softball seasons only. Several stipulations are included in the agreement, including that only Coca-Cola products may be sold, no raw or perishable foods may be stored or cooked in the stand and all products sold will be purchased from local vendors if at all possible. The agreement approved by the board is for a 25-year period with rent to be $1 per year. Either entity can terminate the agreement with 30 days notice.
Those voting in favor of the agreement were John Dolan, Gary Schuett, Robert Shields and Kari Whitaker, with Duane Helmandollar, who is an employee of the Trenton Coca-Cola Bottling Company abstaining. Board President Don Altes only votes in the case of a tie.
Board members also approved a bid from Grundy County Lumber for fencing at Moberly, Griffin and Grimes fields. The bid, which was for $9,397.01, was higher than a bid from Shoop and Sons of Illinois, which was $7,953,90, plus a $150 delivery charge. With the shipping, the difference in the two bids would have been $1,293.11. Board members felt that even though the difference falls outside the city’s 5 percent local purchasing policy, it was still in the best interest of the department to use the local vendor, who had provided help to the department in the past by unloading block.
Board members learned that the tubing project on the ditch north of Griffin Field now has an estimated cost of $7,708 thanks to a decision by the Trenton City Council to only charge a $2 per ton loading fee for asphalt millings that will be used in the project. The original estimate was $11,528. It is believed that about 650 tons of millings will be needed. The board publicly thanked the city, as well as Trenton Municipal Utilities, which helped move an electrical pole in the middle of the ditch and dug a hole for a flag pole base near the Bloss Whitney shelter house at the Ebbe Complex.
Board members agreed to not hold their regular October meeting next week, so unless a special meeting is needed, the board will meet again on Wednesday, Nov. 6.