The USD 447 faculty roster sees several new faces — and one familiar name — with the start of the 2008-09 school year on Thursday.
Among the new faculty members in USD 447:
• Shannan Mathes (pronounced MATH-is) is a special education instructor at Lincoln-Central Elementary School. The Altamont native and Labette County High School graduate previously taught music in Walker, Mo., and was most recently employed as a special education paraprofessional in the Labette County school district.
He is a graduate of Pittsburg State University. Shannan and his wife, Karrie, have two children: Lane, age 2, and Emma, age 7 months.
• Casey Lickteig is no stranger to Cherryvale, having been raised in the community and having graduated from Cherryvale High School in 2002. Lickteig will be a fifth-sixth grade teacher at Lincoln-Central Elementary School. A 2007 gradaute of Pittsburg State University, Lickteig spent the 2007-08 school year as a substitute teacher in USD 447.
Lickteig will also serve as an assistant high school football coach and help with the middle-high school wrestling program.
• Harry Hester also is a familiar figure in USD 447. Hester, who will teach eighth grade Kansas history and serve as a technology technician at Cherryvale Middle-High School, was a teacher and coach in USD 447 from 1999 to 2003. He spent the past four years as a teacher and head football coach at McLouth High School in McLouth, Kan.
The Caney native will also be the head high school football coach and summer weightroom coordinator.
Hester has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Pittsburg State University.
He and his wife, Gina, are the parents of a son, Hunter, who is in the sixth grade. The Hesters also are expecting a child in November.
• Emily Shearhart, a native of Coffeyville, will teach first grade at Lincoln-Central Elementary School. Shearhart is a graduate of Coffeyville Community College and Newman University. To complete her bachelor’s degree, she worked as a student-teacher at Lincoln-Central in the 2007-08 school year.
• Philip Swindler is a chemistry and physical science instructor at Cherryvale Middle-High School. Swindler spent his childhood in various towns in Kansas, including Lebanon, Troy and McCracken, as his father was a Methodist pastor. Philip has two bachelor’s degrees from Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina, Kan., including one degree in education and another degree in chemistry.
Swindler also has post-graduate hours through Emporia State University, the University of Mobile, University of Colorado, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas.
Swindler most recently taught at Wichita Word of Life School for nine years. He previously taught in the Madison, Kan., school district and also was employed in the flour mill laboratory at Cereal Food Processors in Wichita.
BY ANDY TAYLOR
Montgomery County Chronicle
State Sen. Derek Schmidt, who also serves as the Senate Majority Leader, carries the largest campaign war chest among area legislators, even though the Independence Republican is unopposed in his re-election bid.
All candidates for county, state and federal offices were required to submit campaign expenditure and contribution reports on July 28. Those reports are made public through the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.
According to the reports, Schmidt had $149,332.84 in cash during the reporting period (Jan. 1 through July 24, 2008) and spent $19,240.50 in that period, leaving him with $130,082.34 by July 24.
The bulk of Schmidt’s war chest was carried over from the previous year, the report showed. The senator had $140,664.70 on hand when the reporting period began on Jan. 1.
Schmidt is seeking his third four-year term as state senator. He was unopposed in his re-election bid in 2004.
In the hotly-contested race for the Kansas Senate, 14th District, State Sen. Dwayne Umbarger, R-Thayer, carried over $42,882 from previous campaigns, added $41,665.00 in contributions, and spent $27,041.88 during the reporting period. That left him with $57,445.98 to spend on the Aug. 5 primary election, which he won with a 65-35 percent victory over Republican challenger Iris VanMeter of Thayer.
Umbarger will face the Democrat party opponent, David L. Miller of Parsons, in the Nov. 4 general election.
VanMeter received $20,392 in contributions during the reporting period and spent $9,968.33, leaving her with $10,423.67 on July 24.
Miller collected $1,495 in contributions during the report period and spent $1,351.57, leaving him with $143.43 in his campaign fund.
Campaign information for State Rep. Jeff King, R-Independence, and State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, as well as their opponents — Sandra Frisco of Independence and Virgil Horn of Coffeyville, were also disclosed by the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. However, the four candidates were uncontested in their Aug. 5 primary election nominations and will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.
King will face Frisco in the race for the 12th District while Peck will face a challenge from Horn for the 11th district seat.
King had $19,391 on hand at the start of the reporting period and received an additional $8,983.01, giving him $28,374.12. He spent $4,490.92, which resulted in $23,883.20 available as of July 24.
Peck had carried over $12,788.70 into the election cycle and received an additional $6,501. That resulted in $19,289.70 in his campaign fund. He spent $4,227.86, giving him $15,011.84 cash on hand at the close of the reporting period.
Frisco received $765 in contributions during the reporting period and listed her campaign expenditures at $531.61, leaving her with $233.29 at the close of the reporting period.
Horn had collected $1,726.04 in contributions and spent $145.10, leaving him with $1,580.94 as of July 24.
Contributions to political campaigns come from a variety of sources, including individuals, businesses, political action committees, unions, lobbyists and political party central committees.
Contributions typically are in the $100 to $1,000 range.
Another reporting period is set for July 25 through Oct. 25, 2008.
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To view the campaign expenditure reports of area candidates, log on to www.kansas.gov/ethics. Then click on “Campaign Finance,” followed by “View Submitted Forms and Reports.” Once there, look at the “Receipts and Expenditures 200807” of any candidate for state office.
BY LAUREN BEATTY
University of Kansas
LAWRENCE — A Montgomery County student attending the University of Kansas completed an internship this summer that few other American journalism students have experienced.
Andrew Greenhaw, a senior from Independence, worked in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Al Jazeera English, the Middle Eastern television network. He was an intern in the political unit, where he conducted research on the U.S. presidential candidates, prepared information for the programming directors and served as a personal assistant to anchor Ghida Fakhry.
The bureau’s chief, Will Stebbins, was a guest speaker last semester in the International Journalism class taught by Malcolm Gibson, general manager and news adviser to the University Daily Kansan student newspaper.
“The emergence of Al Jazeera is one of the most significant media events in my lifetime,” said Gibson. “It offers an important, non-Western perspective and it’s a legitimate voice in the world.”
Greenhaw wrote about Stebbins’ visit for the Kansan. As someone who had closely followed world events and international politics, Greenhaw realized that a summer spent at Al Jazeera English would be incredibly beneficial to his journalism training. He promptly e-mailed Stebbins and asked for an internship.
Greenhaw’s duties in the political unit of the network involved a lot of in-depth research. Daily, he listened in on conference calls with campaign advisers for presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. During the calls, reporters from around the country took notes on the candidates’ schedules and asked questions. Greenhaw sent his notes to planning department personnel so that they could decide what stories the network should pursue.
Greenhaw also assisted the bureau’s anchorwoman, Fakhry. He helped her to prepare for interviews by conducting background research and suggesting questions. Greenhaw said he particularly advised her on issues regarding the U.S. economy, which Greenhaw had covered at the Kansan.
Greenhaw said he has encountered some skepticism regarding his internship but it did not deter him from pursuing it.
“After being here and seeing the work the Al Jazeera staff does, I have nothing but respect for the entire organization,” said Greenhaw. “They do 24-hour, in-depth coverage on a wide variety of international stories and issues rarely focused on in the American media.”
Al Jazeera English is aired in only two U.S. cities. After he returns to KU, Greenhaw says, he might start a campaign to get the network added to Sunflower Broadband’s lineup. He has contacted several student groups at KU, including Amnesty International and Students for Global Awareness, to help with the campaign.
“The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s essential for people from every cultural background to actively seek out information from sources outside their cultural boundaries,” said Greenhaw. “People inside the United States must actively seek out information from foreign sources to truly get every angle of any event or situation and also to understand why other cultures view the U.S. the way they do.”
Greenhaw also had the opportunity to use some of the network’s video equipment to document what goes on at the bureau. It was the first time Al Jazeera English had allowed someone to film the inner workings of the bureau since it was established two years ago. Greenhaw plans to use the footage to make a documentary. He hopes to complete it by the end of the fall semester.
Greenhaw is the son of Dennis and Patricia Greenhaw of Independence and a graduate of Independence High School. He plans to graduate next spring with a journalism degree with two areas of focus: news and information and strategic communication. His ultimate goal is to work for Newsweek.
USD 436 administrators will receive a 3 percent salary hike for the 2008-09 school year, courtesy of a unanimous decision by USD 436 Board of Education members on Monday.
The salary hikes will be for the school superintendent and three principals. Those new administrator salaries will be:
• Superintendent Danny Fulton: $84,460.
• Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School principal Justin Lockwood: $66,435.
• Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School assistant principal Ron Oyler: $56,135.
• Lincoln Memorial Elementary School principal: $60,873.
School administrators also receive an $11,500 health insurance package in addition to their salaries.
On a related note, the school board voted 6-0 to provide a 3 percent salary increase for classified personnel, which includes secretaries, custodial staff, food service staff, aides, and bus drivers.
In July, the board granted a 3 percent pay hike to USD 436 faculty members.
In other business transacted at Monday’s board meeting, the school board:
• heard an updated report from Superintendent Danny Fulton regarding summer projects in USD 436.
• voted 4-2 to adopt the school district’s 2008-09 budget plan, which calls for the total USD 436 mill levy, also known as a tax rate, to increase slightly from 31.680 mills to 32.288 mills, a difference of .608 mills.
That translates to about $12.58 in extra property taxes on a home valued at $100,000.
Of the 32.288 mills, 20 mills is imposed by the state of Kansas for each school district’s general fund (all school districts are required to assess the 20 mills for the general fund). USD 436 has a Supplemental General Fund, also known as a Local Option Budget, of 12.288 mills, which puts the total USD 436 levy at 32.88 mills.
Attached to the school district’s mill levy is the levy for the Caney Valley Recreation Commission. The commission’s mill levy is expected to increase from 2.865 mills to 3.112 mills for 2008-09.
Voting against the adoption of the budget were board members Jack Kopfman and David Young. Voting for the adoption of the budget were board members Suellen Holtzman, Debbie Morrison, Tim Rigdon and David Deal.
• received a preliminary enrollment report from Fulton, who indicated that 429 students were enrolled at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School and 422 students were enrolled at Lincoln Memorial Elementary School as of Monday.
• approved a $44,699 bid quote from Building Controls and Services of Wichita, Kan., to repair the cooling towers at Lincoln Memorial Elementary School. The repair project is expected to take one week, and cooling will not be made available in the school’s air conditioning system during that time. Fulton said he anticipated the project to be conducted sometime in early to mid autumn.
• accepted the resignation of John Rosson as a USD 436 mechanic and voted to hire Ginger Larkin as a pre-kindergarten paraprofessional.
• agreed to allow school administrators to establish a bus pick-up/drop-off area in Niotaze to serve the out-district students in Chautauqua County. The pick-up/drop-off site will be similar to an area located on the school district’s eastern-most boundary east of Tyro.
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Board members present at Monday’s meeting were David Deal, Suellen Holtzman, Jack Kopfman, Debbie Morrison, Tim Rigdon and David Young. Board member absent was Sherry Rackliff.
USD 436-Caney Valley welcomed several new faculty members when the 2008-09 school year began Tuesday.
Among the new faces on the teaching roster are:
• Sherry Owen, fifth grade teacher, is no stranger to the Caney community. The former Sherry Hockett is a 1990 graduate of Caney Valley High School, and she received her bachelor’s degree in education from Newman University in December 2007.
Prior to gaining her teaching degree, Owen was a production manager at Good News for 12 years.
She and her husband, Kenny, reside in Caney with their three children: Orie, age 15, Chase, age 12, and Aubrie, age 9.
• Melissa Waltrip, third grade teacher, comes to Lincoln Memorial Elementary School with 13 years of teaching experience in Oklahoma. She taught for seven years in the Foyil school district and six years in the Coweta school system. A native of Coweta, Waltrip is a graduate of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
She and her family, which includes four children, reside in Copan.
• Kandi Moulder will teach seventh,ninth and 10th grade mathematics at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. The Great Bend, Kan., native earned her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Okla., afterwhich she taught in Choteau, Okla., for two years and in Copan, Okla., for two years.
She and her two twin sons — age 5 — reside in Bartlesville.
• Thelma Ivie is a special education teacher at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. A native of Bartlesville, Ivie is in her 14th year in special education instruction, having taught in the Bartlesville school system for 12 years and at Field Kindley High School in Coffeyville for one year.
She has a degree in special education instruction from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
• Jami Tolle (pronounced TOLL) is the music instructor at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. A native of Moundridge, Kan., Tolle received her bachelor’s degree in education from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan.
Her previous teaching experience took her to Almena-Northern Valley, Jewell, Smith Center and Stockton school districts in Kansas.
• Deana Miller is the inter-related resources, formerly known as special education, director at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. She is employed through Tri-County Special Education Cooperative.
Miller is an area native, having been raised in Sedan. She comes to Caney Valley after nine years at Independence Middle School and three years in the Cedar Vale school district.
• Brenda Friedman (pronounced FREED-man) will be teaching mathematics at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. Raised in Harrisonville, Mo., Friedman received her bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University and earned a master’s degree in biomechanics from the University of Arizona.
Her teaching career includes four years as a teacher and coach in Clinton, Mo., eight years as a teacher, assistant principal and athletic director in the San Manuel, Ariz., school district, and 12 years as a director of an alternative high school in Flowing Well, Ariz.
She most recently served as a teacher in education at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville.
Friedman will serve as the assistant high school volleyball coach.
Brenda and her husband, Jay, reside in Copan where Jay serves as the pastor of the New Life Wesleyan Church.
• Bret Persinger will teach high school mathematics at Caney Valley Jr.-Sr. High School. Persinger is a native of Sedan, having graduated from Sedan High School in 2001.
He is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and was a student-teacher in Caney Valley in 2006.
Persinger will also be an assistant high school football coach and the assistant high school men’s basketball coach.
• Regina Hedges is a first grade teacher at Lincoln Memorial Elementary School. A 1992 graduate of Caney Valley High School, Hedges previously taught kindergarten at Community Elementary School in Coffeyville and also taught elementary classes in the Iola and Dodge City school districts.
She is the mother of three children: Britain, age 8, Hannah, age 7, and Seth, age 4.
Hedges, the former Regina Nunneley, is a graduate of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
• Chelsea Sherrick will be a long-term substitute teacher in the sixth grade level at Lincoln Memorial Elementary School. She will serve as a substitute for teacher Travis Potter, who currently is on military deployment.
Sherrick, the former Chelsea Powell, is a 1989 graduate of Caney Valley High School and earned her bachelor’s degree from Langston University. She has spent the past six years as a substitute teacher in the Bartlesville school district.
By Andy Taylor
INDEPENDENCE — Should you perceive that things aren’t going well in America, then come to Riverside Park on Tuesday nights during the summer.
You’ll feel better about all things red, white and blue after you hear the Mid-Continent Band performs its weekly evening concert in the Norman Rockwell-like setting of Riverside Park’s band shell.
You’ll leave the park wanting to wave streamers and flags.
You’ll wished you could have played under the baton of John Phillips Sousa . . . or maybe joined the war bond drive during World War II . . . or lived in constant regret that you gave up trumpet lessons as a kid.
And, you’ll be glad that you spent an evening with the television turned off and your ears and heart turned on to the sound of bold brass, toe-tapping percussion, and melodic flutes.
For nothing pleases the soul like the sound of a town band in a live performance under open skies.
Even the noisy cicadas and tree frogs chime provide background vocals.
That’s the way it has been in Independence since 1892, when the band was formed for the sole purpose of providing musical entertainment during the summer season.
The band has now become the oldest tradition in Montgomery County.
“I think people still enjoy coming to the park once a week to hear a live performance, knowing that they’ll hear songs they recognize or see band members who are in their church, their family or live in their neighborhood,” said Dan Frizane, the band director. “I think there is quite a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in it.”
Next Tuesday, Aug. 19, the band will perform its final concert of the season. The concert will begin at 8 p.m., and spectators can either sit in the amphitheater bleachers or bring their own lawn chairs.
However, area residents can get more information about the band — and music in general — when they visit the Independence Museum starting this week to view the special Smithsonian Institution exhibit: “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.” The exhibit, which will be in Independence through Sept. 28, celebrates all varieties of American music. As an addition to the exhibit, the museum has chosen pictures of the Mid-Continent Band dating back to the 1890s to put on public display.
The Aug. 19 concert also will feature some of the homegrown music of the band, Frizane said.
“We want to show the talent in our community by performing the songs that have been written by current and past band members,” said Frizane. “It’ll be a homegrown concert.”
Jessie Lickteig and daughter Rita Mendoza, both of Cherryvale, make it a goal to attend each weekly concert, barring intense heat or humidity. On Tuesday, the two women joined several dozen other spectators in lawn chairs in enjoying a blend of musical styles — from military marches to Motown hits.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Mendoza. “My mom likes it because she knows a lot of the music. And, we try to go when the weather is good. I think good weather makes the concert more enjoyable.”
Frizane said he was amazed to see several dozen spectators at the Aug. 5 concert, which, he described, as being held in “stiffling heat.”
“We still get people coming to the concert no matter how hot it is,” he said.
The band itself is a blend of people of varied backgrounds and ages. Tom Porter of rural Cherryvale is a pharmacist by training. He’s also the oldest member of the band, having been a stalwart member of the french horn section for many years.
And, then there are several band members who provide the newest and freshest blood to the group. At Tuesday’s concert, teenagers Aidan Goodrich and Zakery Wallace played in the woodwind section while fellow peer Daniel McDill, who plays in a Christian rock band called Ignite, played cymbals and other percussion instruments.
Matt Hastings of Independence graduated from Independence High School in May but found time away from Facebook pages and hippster outings with friend to play in the trumpet section.
“We have a variety of people in the band, but they all have an interest in playing music,” said Frizane. “Obviously, we’re not going to get a bunch of screaming teenagers to stand in front of the band shell and waving their arms in the air. But, I’m gratified to see people young and old not only in the band but also in the audience.
“I’ve had people come to me at church to tell me that they played in the band 50 or 60 years ago. They still look at those years as fun times.”
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