The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

January 4, 2013

McDonald County band to perform in Washington, D.C.

ANDERSON, Mo. — Students in the McDonald County High School band are counting down the days until they leave for Washington, D.C., where they are scheduled to take part in some of President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremonies later this month.

As a representative of Missouri, the 55-student band is in the running to perform in the inaugural parade, which is set for Jan. 21 along Pennsylvania Avenue. But that’s not guaranteed and, as of Friday, was still undecided by parade directors, said Laurie Kinder-Lang, band director.

“We may not get selected; they all know that,” she said. “Just to get to represent Missouri is a big deal.”

Bands not selected for the parade will still have the opportunity to perform and compete with other high school bands from across the country in Washington, D.C., Kinder-Lang said.

And aside from its performances, the band will also visit several major tourist attractions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Aquarium, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Hard Rock Cafe, she said.

The trip’s $800 cost per student has meant nearly a year of selling candy bars and coupon books, and stocking the concession stands at University of Arkansas football games in Fayetteville, said Carley Hendrix, a trumpet player and drum major.

“We’ve been fundraising a lot, working really hard to get community support as well as state support,” said Hendrix, a junior.

Hendrix said she looks forward to the 24-hour bus ride with her friends and “band family.” She also is eager to visit the U.S. Capitol for the first time.

“I’m really excited to see what this trip has in store for us,” she said. “It’s a life-changing experience. Not many people get to go to the inaugural ceremonies.”

Bryan Mendoza, a sophomore tuba player, said he will be excited to be in Washington, D.C., regardless of whether the band gets to march in the parade. Yet there is a little bit of pressure as well, he said.

“It’s a big responsibility because this little band from McDonald County is representing the entire state,” he said. “We have to look good for the other states, but we have to be ourselves at the same time.”

Mendoza said he and his classmates would not be preparing for their trip without the support of their school, families, friends and neighbors.

“This has been a long journey, and it’s taken a lot of work,” he said. “It’s been worth it.”

Jeff Whitehill, a sophomore trumpet player, said he was “pretty pumped” when he learned the band would make the trip to Washington, D.C.

“I think it’s a very good honor to be representing the state, ourselves and our own community,” he said.

In addition to seeing the sights of the Capitol for the first time, Whitehill said he looks forward to playing in large performance or concert halls — a change from the small, concrete-walled, acoustically challenged band room of McDonald County High School.

“A lot of us have never experienced that,” he said.

The trip to Washington began last year, when the band performed in New Orleans during the halftime show at the Sugar Bowl and placed third in that competition, Kinder-Lang said. That showing encouraged her to audition the band to be part of the inaugural ceremonies, and she solicited letters of recommendation from across the state, including a letter of support from Gov. Jay Nixon, she said.

The band is scheduled to leave McDonald County High School at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and return on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Also in Washington

Sanjay Jenkins, a junior at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School in Joplin, will attend the High School Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Jan. 19-23. Participants will study and discuss campaign strategy and presidential politics with historians and political experts.

WITH MUG OF SANJAY

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 080114 Older worker1_72.jpg Co-workers, friends honor nurse with 50-year career

    Wilma Massey has worked a half century in health care and, even at the age of 74, she’s the first to arrive at work each morning.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Scott Branden Smith 080114.jpg Comatose assault victim dies

    A Joplin man left in a coma from an apparent assault died this afternoon at Freeman Hospital West.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

    Tuesday’s election
    Amendment 7 is one of five measures voters will consider when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Statewide, local election officials reported to the Missouri secretary of state that it was their estimate that about 27 percent of the state’s 4.06 million registered voters will show up to vote, including 25 percent of registered voters in Jasper County and 30 percent in Newton County.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Detour in Parsons for bridge work begins

    A portion of south U.S. 59 Highway will close at the Parsons, Kansas, city limits on Aug. 4 for drainage work, asphalt resurfacing and a bridge deck repair project.

    August 1, 2014

  • Autism center to break ground on future home

    Ground will be broken Tuesday morning for the future home of the Bill & Virginia  Leffen Center for Autism at 2808 S. Picher Ave.

    August 1, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Home runs for area

    Baseball fans, there’s something exciting going on today that has nothing to do with the major leagues.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIVE BLOG: Little League Regional Tournament

    Athletes and parents from Joplin and Frontenac are headed to Indianapolis for the Little League Central Region Tournament. Follow their progress here.

    August 1, 2014