JOPLIN, Mo. —
I don’t always agree with politicians.
It’s nothing personal. In fact, I’ve liked most of the politicians I have met. Even though I tend to have a bit of fun at the expense of many of our elected folks, the fact is, most of them are decent people who are in politics for the right reason.
Now before you think I’m going overboard here, you should note that I said “most of them.”
I think being a politician today is pretty tough. I mean, talk about a “you’re-not-going-to-please-everybody” deal. In most cases, politicians learn to live with the fact that at least 40 percent of the people are going to dislike them.
On Tuesday, the Missouri House of Representatives did something that I’m pretty sure most folks liked.
I know I liked what the House members did.
They passed a resolution honoring the hundreds of AmeriCorps volunteers from all across the nation who have helped fuel Joplin’s recovery from the May 22 tornado.
The resolution was the brainchild of state Reps. Bill White, who represents much of Joplin, and Charlie Davis, who represents Duquesne. For the record, both men are Republicans, but I don’t think most folks in Jefferson City were thinking about that on Tuesday. I’m pretty sure most folks in Jefferson City were thinking, “When Joplin needed help, AmeriCorps was there”.
It’s hard to overstate what a great program AmeriCorps has turned out to be. Sure, in 1993, when President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Service Trust Act, not everyone thought it was such a good idea.
That’s fair. I mean, politicians can disagree. But even some of the early critics such as Missouri’s own Kit Bond grew to admire the program. Bond, by the way, is one of those good and decent people who got into politics for the right reason that I was talking about earlier.
By now we’ve all heard the numbers. Since the storm, AmeriCorps has sent more than 200 workers to Joplin, and those young people have given more than 49,000 hours of service. Those volunteers have helped raise houses, salvage belongings and remove debris. They have helped deal with missing-person questions, offered legal services, and manned donation sites and distribution warehouses. And perhaps most importantly, they have helped organize the more than 60,000 volunteers who have flocked and continue to flock to Joplin. Most people with tell you that those AmeriCorps folks managed to do their work with compassion, good humor and determination.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. AmeriCorps workers will tell you that they signed up for the program because they wanted to make a difference, because they wanted to give back to their country.
So, thanks Bill and Charlie for helping to recognize AmeriCorps on behalf of Joplin. And thank you to anyone associated with AmeriCorps.
You make a difference. Every day.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
I don’t always agree with politicians.
- Local News
Missouri man accused of exploiting teen in Georgia
A Vernon County man is being held on charges that he talked a 16-year-old girl from Georgia into sending him pornographic images of herself and solicited men to have sex with her. Curt L. Bowman, 42, was arrested Friday at his home near Nevada based on information developed by investigators with the Cobb County Police Department in the Atlanta area.
Joplin assistant superintendent position to go unfilled
The recently vacated assistant superintendent position with the Joplin School District will not be filled. That decision is natural now that the district is returning to a more normal operating state nearly three years after the May 2011 tornado damaged or destroyed 10 of its buildings, Superintendent C.J. Huff told the Globe when asked for an update on the vacancy.
Former agency employee pleads guilty in tornado fraud case
A former employee of the Economic Security Corp. in Joplin pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding a disaster relief program that assisted victims of the 2011 tornado. Herlana L. Latham, 32, a former resident of Joplin now living in Memphis, Tenn., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Mike Pound: Watoto Church brings mission, music to area
What began as a small mission church in Uganda has become home to thousands of children orphaned and women widowed by years of conflict in the African nation. Watoto Church was founded in 1980 in Uganda by Gary and Marilyn Skinner.
Long, cold winter could prompt more disconnects this spring
Vett Spain, of Joplin, uses both electricity and natural gas to heat her home during the winter. During extremely cold winter months — and this winter has been among the coldest for the area — it can cost her almost $500 a month to heat her home.
New library to be built separate from movie theater
The new Joplin Public Library will be constructed separately from a new movie theater at 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue, the Joplin City Council was told Monday night. Plans had called for the movie theater to be built as a second-floor addition to the library, but interim City Manager Sam Anselm made the announcement of the change at a special meeting of the council.
Carthage board member arrested on DWI charge
Mark Westhoff, a member of the Carthage School Board, was arrested early Sunday in Newton County on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Westhoff, 56, of Carthage, also has been charged with failing to yield to an emergency vehicle displaying red lights and siren, and failing to drive on the right half of the roadway.
Joplin Memorial Run to hold new event
A new event, the “Walk of Silence,” will be held this year in conjunction with the Joplin Memorial Run. Run organizers also will give out newly designed medals and T-shirts, announced Audie Dennis, chairman of Active Lifestyle Events Inc., the organization that annually stages what has become a run to remember the 161 people who died as a result of the 2011 tornado and to help rebuild Joplin.
Carl Junction Chamber to manage annual bluegrass festival
After 17 years, Carl Junction’s annual bluegrass festival is changing.
Baseball team naming contest continues; announcement to be made at end of March
oplin’s new independent baseball team still is nameless, but not for long. Owners have extended the contest through this month and will make an announcement on the new team name at the end of the month, said Shawn Suarez, a partner in the team’s ownership group, WLD Suarez LLC. The original deadline had been March 4.
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