This is the Old, Outdated Version of Joplin Confidential

Please go to:

for the current version.

Sorry for all the confusion, but your humble correspondent doesn’t know how to fix it!


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Help For JHAP Promised by Council Members

It is a popular program that helps families buy homes in the tornado zone. But like many governmental programs, there have been hassles along the way. 
JHAP(Joplin Homebuyers Assistance Program) helps qualifying persons buy homes in the area of Joplin devastated by the May 22 2011 tornado. For those who meet certain income guidelines (size of family and income as compared to the average in the area) JHAP will cover 20% of the price of the home including down payment and closing costs, up to a maximum of $30,000. 
Former city council member Doug Hunt took to the podium representing two clients of his consulting firm. The essence of his remarks were that communication problems seem to be causing delays in the closing process of these homes. Specifically, buyers are given a specific closing date and they make plans and arrangements toward that end, such as moving. The problem appears to be that the closing date is changed to a later date, for one reason or another, and the buyers were not informed of that development. Chaos ensues. 
Staff explained in the meeting that these are HUD funds, so that means that there is a lot more to the lending process than a normal mortgage. Environmental assessments have to be made, and sometimes that slows it all down. Other times a glitch in the application can make it go slower. 

Joplin Project Coordinator Patty Heagel told Joplin Confidential that many JHAP applications go smoothly, but delays do happen. She says about 700 families have applied for the program, and so far close to 300 families have been approved and received funds. The others are still in the process or did not qualify. She says they’re averaging about ten new applications a week. Those who have received loans on houses received an average of $28,000 in assistance. The program has doled out around $7.8 million. 
Said Coordinator Heagel, “I’m sure we would not see as many rooftops as we do if it weren’t for the program. 
City Manager Sam Anselm promised to look into the communications issues going on. Councilman Bill Scearce echoed that, telling Joplin Confidential that a buyer has to know what’s going on, and the communications issues will be fixed.  

In other business the Council approved a permit for South Joplin Christian Church to continue operating their facility where volunteers coming to Joplin for service projects can stay. It has been ongoing since the tornado.
Foodies will be happy to know that Chili’s is coming to 15th and Rangeline. The council gave final approval after developers agreed to close access to the popular eatery from 14th Street. That took care of the neighbor’s concerns. 
And speaking of parking issues, the council spent some time talking about parking issues at the Joplin Blasters games. Mayor Mike Seibert said that this is a good problem to have because it means attendance is good. However neighbors aren’t too happy when people park in their yard. That issue is being addressed. 

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Every Weatherman’s Nightmare! 

The forecast for today was clearing skies. Cool temps. A beautiful day, it said! Here it is late afternoon and not a peep of blue sky anywhere! I guess Mother Nature didn’t get the memo!  

The sky as seen about 4pm behind Freeman Hospital. 

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Joplin School Board Unravels More With Third Resignation

School Board Member Michael Landis earlier this afternoon (May 26 2015) tendered his resignation from the board seat he has held since 2001. The Joplin Globe reported the breaking news a short time ago, and offered up this quote from his resignation letter:

“During the past year, it has become increasingly obvious to me that the board is turning in a direction that I feel is not in the best interest of kids of Joplin Schools.

“Political agendas have taken the place of what the focus of the board should be, which is setting policy for the school district.

“However, when the members of the board are getting down in the weeds and trying to take the place of administration, then I know it’s time to move on.”


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Update: Joplin Superintendent Announces Retirement

Here is the complete News Release released by Joplin Schools this morning (Thurs May 28 2015)

Dr. C.J. Huff

Joplin, MO – During a gathering with principals and administrators this morning and in a letter to staff, Dr. C.J. Huff announced his plans to retire from Joplin Schools effective June 30, 2015.

“This has been a difficult decision for me to make,” Dr. Huff said. “But, it’s time for me to step aside based on two primary factors. First, I love my family dearly and have missed them greatly. They miss me too. It’s time to be a dad and husband again. Second, I’ve had many opportunities in recent months to visit with my principals, as well as with many, many teachers and support staff. It is crystal clear, Joplin Schools is on the right track. I’ve seen amazing work going on in classrooms and buildings across our district, and I will leave knowing that our kids and our community’s future are in good hands. I am proud and honored to have worked with this team for the last seven years.”

Dr. Huff began his career with Joplin Schools in 2008. During his tenure, the district has experienced more than $325 million in construction projects and facility improvements. These include the completion of three new middle schools and the reconstruction of several schools, including two elementary schools, a middle school, a high school and a technical school, after half of the school district was damaged or destroyed in the May 2011 tornado. In addition, renovations have been completed at nearly every school in the district and thirteen community safe rooms have been constructed across the district with a final safe room scheduled for completion in October 2015.

Upon his arrival to Joplin Schools, Dr. Huff was tasked with improving a dismal graduation rate. In 2008, the graduation rate at Joplin Schools was 73.3%. That rate has improved to 87.5%. Dr. Huff has also led the district through a devastating natural disaster – the costliest tornado in the nation’s history, as well as the worst economic disaster since the great depression and the controversial and most significant national education reform movement in decades. Dr. Huff has served 19 years in the education field as a teacher, principal and superintendent.

“We have seen a great deal of change over the last eight years, and that has taken strong and dedicated leadership,” said Board of Education President Jeff Koch. “Operating at a sustained peak for such a long period of time can make the work/life balance unequal. We will continue to draw on Dr. Huff’s expertise over the coming months and know that with a steady foundation, there can be a smooth transition. We appreciate Dr. Huff’s guidance through many challenges and accomplishments and wish him the very best in the future.”

The Board will discuss the process for selecting a new superintendent at its next meeting. The next board meeting is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, June 23. If an additional board meeting is scheduled prior to that meeting, that information will be shared with local media and on the district’s website at

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Breaking: Joplin Superintendent Dr. C.J. Huff Calls It Quits

A spokeswoman for the Joplin School District has announced that the turbulent tenure of Superintendent Huff is about to come to an end.  Dr. Huff will be retiring from the district. The retirement is effective June 30th.

Dr. C.J. Huff

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A 1975 TV Guide Ad Preserves a Time Gone By

There in February, 1975 when you picked up the TV Guide at the grocery store checkout you would see three hot comedy stars that made America laugh itself silly. Bob Newhart, Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore.

TV Guide Cover

Yeah, these guys were pretty famous. But turn inside that issue and we’ll find the real celebrities! Behold an ad for the newsroom of the CBS affiliate in town, KUHI-TV!

Feb 10 TV Guide 1

And there you see the entire news department. From left to right: Steve Russell, photographer. Joe Sims, weather anchor. Connie Isle (standing) production assistant, Dave Richardson (sitting) News Director/Anchor, Ted Easley, reporter, Carol Parker, The First Lady of KUHI (and KTVJ and KSN), Ken Ford, sports director and Keith Mackey, reporter.

The caption says “Friendly faces make the news easier to swallow.” Well, that may not have been as powerful as the “Hello Fourstates” campaign of several years hence, but it was all we had to work with.

A couple of those faces are pretty familiar, especially the great Carol Parker. Does anybody remember Joe Sims? And we here at Joplin Confidential would love to find out what Connie Isle has been doing these past 40 years.

One final note: don’t forget the back cover:

TV Guide Back

Yes, TV and about every publication was more hooked on cigarettes than all of us smokers were! You have to admit, it is kind of a jarring image in the 21st century, but it was a different time back then. It was a good time for a young struggling newsroom finding its way into the 20th century.

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