Category Archives: Missouri News

You Can Send Kid to College, But You Can’t Make Him Think

After trying to learn more this weekend about the folks involved in the Million Student March student group, I learned you can send a kid to college, but you can’t make him think.

The decision to learn more about these young people came to me early Saturday morning while putting together my latest weekly recap which included a mention of a now-famous video of Neil Cavuto’s recent Fox Business interview of Keely Mullen, a young female college student identified as the national organizer of the Million Student March. Based upon her interview performance, I concluded she could not have been “the brains” behind the student group and decided to find out who else is at the heart of the misguided movement.

I started by visiting the ICANN WHOIS website where one can find details about who is responsible for a domain name or an IP address. There, I typed in the domain name for the group’s website (which I will not share because that’s my prerogative as owner of this website). Next, I filled in a Captcha blank and clicked on the “LOOKUP” button. Milliseconds later, I was shocked to find the personal information (i.e., phone number, physical address and email address) of the person who had registered the domain (which I will not share for the same reason).

After grabbing a few screenshots of the personal information, I concluded that I had two options:

1) I could expose this person’s personal information for all the world — including individuals previously unaware of the ICANN WHOIS website as well as potentially-violent folks on the opposite side of the philosophical arena — to see; or

2) I could use the person’s phone number to contact him and advise him to purchase private registration immediately. Why? So that he might avoid being found by the aforementioned “potentially-violent folks” who might wish to do him harm because they disagree with his political philosophy.

MY DECISION

Perhaps, because I can’t shake my fatherly instincts (I’ve put one son through college while a second is in college and a third is in the pipeline), I chose Option #2. Before exercising that option, however, I decided to learn more about this person and found the following:

• This person is co-founder with Mullen of the student activism group; he has given interviews to numerous national media outlets; and he has written at least one pro-communism article for at least one socialist online publication;

• This person is a third-year student at a very expensive and well-known university in New England;

• This person is under 21 years of age; and

• In addition to being a co-founder with Mullen, this person teamed up with her to create both the group’s website and the group’s Facebook page (links to which I will not share) as tools to call students nationwide to action.

THE CALL

I dialed this young person’s phone number at 12:48 p.m. Central Saturday afternoon, careful to block my own phone number from appearing in his Caller ID. After all, I didn’t know whether or not he was a genuine nut job or simply a misguided college student. After a technical glitch surfaced during the first attempt, he answered the second time I called and our brief conversation began.

I told him I was an investigative reporter who, while insisting on remaining anonymous, had something important to share with him. Having gotten his attention, I continued by telling him I wholeheartedly disagree with the philosophy embodied in the Million Student March, but felt obligated to offer some advice that might prevent him from enduring bodily harm.

My advice came out something like this: “You need to obtain private registration for your domain so that your personal information is not be visible on the ICANN WHOIS website for anyone, including those who might wish to do you harm, to find.”

I could sense he was paying very close attention while still a bit confused.

To emphasize how important it was for him to complete the recommended task, I reminded him I had reached him by dialing the very phone number listed on the ICANN WHOIS website. I hammered home my point by reading out loud to him the rest of his personal information I had found online, including his email address and a physical address — which I assume belongs to his parents or another relative in a state not too far away from where he attends school.

When he told me he had, indeed, received several threats as a result of his newfound notoriety, I recommended he move — at least until the situation settled down a bit — in case someone who didn’t have his best interests in mind had also found his personal information online.

Our short conversation ended with him thanking me. And that, I think, is the difference between a conservative and a socialist. A true conservative is willing to help safeguard the life of a young, impressionable and naive college student even if that student is pushing a political agenda that makes no sense whatsoever. But, per the headline above, the story does not end there.

When I finished writing my first version of this piece, it included his name, exact age, the university he attends and the domain for his group’s website, but it did not include his phone number or addresses — email and physical, that is. I planned to publish the piece Saturday afternoon after I was able to confirm this young person had taken my advice.

When I checked the ICANN WHOIS website Saturday at 2 p.m., the information was still visible on the site, indicating this young person had still not taken action to protect it.

When I checked later that night, nothing had changed.

Same thing Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Same thing Monday morning.

It seems as if this young person — half of the “brain trust” responsible for launching a student movement purported to be national in scope — doesn’t care whether or not his personal information is available to be found by anyone familiar with the ICANN WHOIS website.

Fully realizing it won’t take anyone long to figure out who this kid is, I feel as if I’ve done as much as I can to give him a chance. And now you understand the inspiration for the headline, atop this article.

UPDATE 11/17/2015 at 8:55 a.m. Central: As of two minutes ago, he still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info. smh

UPDATE 11/19/2015 at 8:15 a.m. Central: He still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info.

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Someone Else at Mizzou Should Resign or Be Fired ASAP

One day after the resignations of Timothy M. Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, and R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the system’s flagship campus in Columbia, I realized one more academic affiliated with the state’s largest university should resign or be fired immediately. Her name is Dr. Melissa Click.

An assistant professor of mass media who earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2009, Dr. Click is living out her “15 minutes of fame” in large part thanks to the video (above).

Throughout most of the video’s six and one-half minutes, Dr. Click doesn’t appear in the frame, but her voice can be heard clearly over others in the vicinity of Tim Tai, a Mizzou student and freelance journalist working for ESPN. Repeatedly, Dr. Click demands Tai leave the area student protesters (a.k.a., “Concerned Students 1950”) had designated as a so-called “safe zone” for the purpose of waging protests, sans journalists, against alleged racial inequalities on campus.

Only during the final 20 seconds of the video does Dr. Click finally appear, seeming almost apoplectic. A bespectacled redhead dressed in black, she again demands Tai leave the area. When he refuses, she turns away from him and shouts toward a crowd of students a short distance away: “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here.”

Dr. Melissa Click

Dr. Melissa Click

Clearly, the actions of Dr. Click show she has failed to “click” — pun intended — with important elements of our freedom, such as the First Amendment of the Constitution. Likewise, this academic loose cannon’s actions — aimed at preventing a journalist from doing his job — reflect poorly upon the UM School of Journalism — one of the top journalism schools in the country, by the way — where she is listed as a faculty member. See update below!

As a result, I hope she takes my advice and resigns before returning to Amherst where, perhaps, she can work on furthering her education. According to her curriculum vitae on this page, her first doctoral dissertation was titled, “It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.”

I will not, however, hold my breath in anticipation of either her resignation or firing, because I doubt either will happen as “higher education” seems an oxymoron at Mizzou (a.k.a., “Ferguson West”).

UPDATE 11/10/2015 at 2:22 p.m. Central: It appears as if the folks at Mizzou might be listening to me. Sort of. According to a new article in the Columbia Missourian, Missouri School of Journalism faculty were voting today to revoke a courtesy appointment for Dr. Click that allows her to serve on the graduate committees of students from the School of Journalism while she teaches mass media in the Department of Communications, part of MU’s College of Arts & Science. Kind of confusing, but it’s a start. The fact she’s not a faculty member of the J-School restores my confidence in that school just a tiny bit.

UPDATE 11/11/2015 at 4:54 p.m. Central: Dr. Click resigned her “courtesy appointment” today and apologized. Sort. of. Details. In other news, today was Transgender Remembrance Day at Mizzou.

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GROUNDHOG DAY: Missouri Health Department Official Tight-Lipped About Cancer Report Due for 2016 Release

“Bob, I am unable to speculate on any potential further updates at this time. As you may be aware, all information released for the department is available here. Thanks, Ryan.” When I read those words from Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, in an email message Tuesday afternoon, I felt like I was in the middle of a serious remake of “Groundhog Day.”

Click on image above to visit page Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, suggested I visit in lieu of providing me with answers.

Click on image above to visit page Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, suggested I visit in lieu of providing me with answers.

I call it a “serious remake” of the 1993 Bill Murray film, but not because it has something to do with the public health dangers associated with the long-term storage of radioactive waste at a place known as the Weldon Spring Site, located in a once-rural area about 30 miles west of St. Louis. Instead, his message reminds me of “Groundhog Day” because it’s so similar to the correspondence I had received from Hobart’s predecessor two spokespersons removed, Jacqueline Lapine.

When I tried, during a nine-month period in 2011, to find out from Lapine when the long-overdue five-year update to the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report would be released by officials at the state agency responsible for keeping citizens in the Show-Me State informed about monitoring efforts at Weldon Spring, she gave me nothing useful.

It wasn’t until shortly after 5 p.m. Dec. 29, 2011, that I finally received a copy of the 2011 report, known officially as the Analysis of Leukemia Incidence and Mortality Data for St. Charles County, Weldon Spring and Surrounding Areas December 2011 (Update to April 2005 Report) and unofficially as the “Weldon Spring Update” or “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.” It came as an attachment to an email message from Gena Terlizzi, the woman who replaced Lapine who, presumably, moved on to new challenges.

To fully understand the issues at Weldon Spring, read this article before continuing.

Read about my "Uphill Battle for Answers" at http://bobmccarty.com/?p=1949.

The investigation that led to my first article about Weldon Springs in January 2012 (see screenshot above) began with state health department officials being very tight-lipped about the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report. Read about it at http://bobmccarty.com/?p=1949.

Now, back to Hobart’s message highlighted at the top of this piece. It wasn’t our first exchange.

Our online conversation dates back to the morning of Oct. 21 and an email message I sent to Hobart:

Dear Ryan:

Five years ago, I communicated with your predecessors, Jaqueline Lapine and Gena Terlizzi, regarding the Weldon Spring Site where radioactive waste is stored in St. Charles County, Mo.

Because I had read in your agency’s 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report that the authors recommended “the Cancer Inquiry Program should continue to monitor the cancer incidence and mortality rates in Weldon Spring and its surrounding areas,” I asked for — and eventually obtained — a copy of the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.

Today, I’m repeating the process in hopes of obtaining an update about your agency’s forthcoming release of a 2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

With several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, reporting recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, it’s imperative that your agency be transparent when it comes to testing and monitoring at the Weldon Spring Site.

At your earliest opportunity, I would like you to provide answers to the following questions:

1. When do officials at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services expect to release another five-year follow-up report (a.k.a., “2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report”)? and

2. Who, within the agency, is in charge of producing the five-year follow-up report?

Please let me know ASAP if you have questions or anticipate any delay beyond 48 hours in responding to my questions. Thanks in advance for your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

After five days passed without an answer, I left a phone message with Hobart Monday morning and followed up by sending another email message: “Are you ignoring me on purpose? I’ve emailed — twice now — and I left a phone message three hours ago.”

“Sorry for the delay,” he replied two hours later. “I will be back in touch as soon as I have responsive information to share.”

Almost 24 hours later, I responded: “Ryan, As a long-time veteran of public affairs work, I must say that six days is an unacceptably-slow response time and that delaying the release of bad information — if that is, indeed, the reason for your delay — never works out well for the organization behind the delay.”

Two more days passed, and I received a mid-Tuesday afternoon message from Hobart: “Bob, I am unable to speculate on any potential further updates at this time. As you may be aware, all information released for the department is available here: http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/cancerinquiry/reports.php#weldon. Thanks, Ryan.”

I responded two hours later: “Well, that’s a lame answer, because I’m not asking you to speculate. I’m asking you to tell me whether the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will be releasing an update on the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report and the 2011 Weldon Spring Update. If public funds are being spent on preparing such a report, it is your agency’s obligation to inform the public as to how that money is being spent and when they might expect to see any official update.”

I ended my message by asking Hobart a question and sounding something like a game show host: “Is this your final answer, because it is about to go national. I’ll give you one more chance — 24 hours, to come clean — before the gloves come off.”

At 9:24 a.m. today, I asked Hobart one last time if he was going to provide me with genuine answers. He didn’t reply, so the gloves are off.

Stay tuned for more developments.

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Will Missouri Legislators Finally Decide to Pay Attention to Radioactive Waste Issues Outside of Saint Louis County?

Several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, have reported recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, but none have reported the exclusive story I published for the first time Jan. 23, 2012, and, again, only nine months ago. It’s about radioactive waste impacting the lives of citizens in neighboring St. Charles County Mo., and about a state agency report due to be published in January 2016.

Click on image above to read the story I published Jan. 23, 2012, about radioactive waste issues in Missouri..

Click on image above to read the story I published Jan. 23, 2012, and, again, nine months ago, about radioactive waste issues outside of St. Louis County, Mo., and about a state agency report due to be published in January 2016.

I won’t repeat the story referenced above, since you can click this link to read it. Instead, I will republish two related stories that, for reasons beyond my control, went offline a little more than one year ago.

The first article was published March 26, 2012, under the headline, Missouri State Legislators Not Inclined to Place High Priority on 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report. The text of the article, which put me at loggerheads with my state legislators, appears below with only minor modifications for clarity and most, but not all, of the original links:

March has been a miserable month for me when it comes to dealing with Republican Party officials in my own backyard.

While most of my interaction about “things Republican” has revolved around the 2012 St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Presidential Caucus, other interactions have involved GOP members of the Missouri House of Representatives.

During the first week of March, I made multiple attempts to contact several of those representatives with questions I had regarding the “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report,” a four-page document published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that was the subject of an exclusive article I broke Jan. 23.

The Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo., was contaminated during the production of 2, 4, 6 – trinitrotoluene (TNT) and 2, 4 and 2,6 Dinitrotoluene (DNT) by the U.S. Department of Army from 1941 to 1945 and from enrichment of uranium ore and thorium processing by the Atomic Energy Commission from 1958 to 1966, according to an earlier MDHSS document, the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

Those initial contact attempts, made between March 2 and March 6, involved sending three separate Facebook messages to five state representatives – Kurt Bahr of O’Fallon, Kathie Conway of St. Charles, Chuck Gatschenberger of Lake Saint Louis, Mark Parkinson of St. Peters and Anne Zerr of St. Charles.  My goal was to find out what each is doing, or planning to do, to obtain answers for their constituents about the controversial report.

To their credit, Representatives Bahr and Conway replied soon after being contacted.  Both admitted they were not extremely familiar with the topic, both explained they were very busy with legislative matters in Jefferson City, and both gave me the initial impression that the matter isn’t likely to become a “front-burner issue” anytime soon.

Sadly, three of the state representatives – Gatschenberger, Parkinson and Zerr — chose not to reply, leading me to come up with several possible reasons for their failures to respond:

• They place a low priority on the health and well-being of their constituents who live in the shadow of the Weldon Spring Site 30 miles west of St. Louis;

• They haven’t been asked often enough by their constituents to look into the matter;

• They place a low priority on inquiries from non-mainstream media reporters like me;

• They don’t want to have their names attached to such a potentially-volatile political “hot potato” during an election year;

• They believe ignorance is bliss; or

• Last but not least, it’s possible they don’t check their Facebook messages very often.

On March 7, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding the Facebook possibility and send the same basic inquiry to all five state representatives via their official state email addresses.  Interestingly, the same two representatives who had replied to my Facebook messages replied to the email, and the same three representatives who had not replied to my Facebook messages did not reply to the email.

On the positive side, Representative Conway‘s reply came the same day and seemed to display genuine interest in the issue.

Not so positively, Representative Bahr‘s reply came the following day, was copied to all four of his colleagues, and didn’t leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

After he labeled me “the expert” on the matter at hand, Representative Bahr demanded I offer a solution before he would devote time to the matter.  In a “Reply to All” message, I refused the expert label and went on to share my beliefs that elected and unelected state officials must be responsive and that the issues raised in the report are not the kind to be solved quickly.  I closed by explaining what, at a minimum, officials at the state health agency should be required to do.

My short to-do list included requiring MDHSS officials to explain how they reached the conclusions they had reached in the report, to answer why they’ve refused to answer any questions from reporters — including Blythe Bernhard at the Post-Dispatch and me — about the report, and to respond to criticism of the report, such as that offered by Washington University Professor Robert Criss in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, Report on cancer risk from Weldon Spring site assailed.  It was published Feb. 20, four weeks after my initial article.

Interestingly, I ran into Representative Parkinson Saturday at the aforementioned caucus (a.k.a., “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”), a topic about which I’ve written and published nine posts to date (not including this one).  He was manning the first chair at a long table of GOP officials processing caucus registrations.

When my turn to register came, I asked Representative Parkinson why he had not responded to any of my messages about Weldon Spring.  He said he had not seen them and acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

The conversation continued, and Representative Parkinson asked me to provide details about the issue.  I told him it was Weldon Spring, that he should read his email from me and — cognizant of the fact that 300 people were waiting behind me in the long caucus registration line — that “now” wasn’t the time or the place to discuss the matter.

As I started to walk away, Representative Parkinson asked if I, as “the expert” on the Weldon Spring matter, would like to discuss it over coffee.  I replied by telling him I would prefer to handle the matter more expediently, without wasting more time, via his response to my email message.

Later, while waiting for the caucus to begin inside the larger of two gymnasiums at Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters, Representative Parkinson approached me and again assured me that he had not seen any of my messages.  In response, I told him I found it odd that he had referred to me earlier as “the expert” – in much the same way Representative Bahr had in his aforementioned email — even though he said he had not seen any of the messages related to me.  The conversation ended there, and I went back to my seat in the bleachers.

A few hours after the caucus ended, Representative Parkinson sent me the Facebook message below, shown verbatim:

Bob…after an exhaustive search of my inbox (mark.parkinson@house.mo.gov) I can not find any correspondence from you on this issue. I don’t check facebook mail often (or at all). Please direct any official correspondence to the above email address.

We can discuss this issue when we sit down to discuss the other.

Mark

My response — “Mark – Perhaps you should look more closely. See screenshot of the message to you from my email “SENT” folder. – Bob” — was accompanied by a screenshot (taken March 18 and shown below) as evidence that Representative Parkinson had received the same message that all of his colleagues received.

Email-Message-Screenshot-to-Parkinson

Is it possible that Representative Parkinson is just computer illiterate?  Sure, it’s possible.  But I think that’s a stretch.

Instead, I believe he received my message but chose to ignore it.  My belief is augmented by the fact that my email message sent to the five state representatives did not produce any bounce-back messages like those I received on a handful of occasions in the past after I had used incorrect email addresses when trying to communicate with Missouri legislators.  [FYI:  As of this publication, I have still not received any email response from Representative Parkinson.]

Finally, it’s certainly worth noting that I ran into Representative Conway at the caucus, too.

During two brief discussions, she (1) seemed to express genuine interest in the matter, (2) told me she had read the materials to which I had provided links, and (3) gave me the feeling she would follow up on the matter.  Then, lo and behold, she contacted me via Facebook message to let me know she had contacted MDHSS and had more questions.  So much for that “initial impression” I mentioned early in this piece.

Sadly, the other state representatives’ responses and failures to respond raise more questions then they answer.

That in mind, I would like to offer a suggestion to readers (1) who live in one of the zip codes (63301, 63303, 63304, 63366 and 63376) covered by the cancer report, (2) who live in a zip code near the Weldon Spring Site or (3) who simply think these state legislators should be interested in this matter.  Use the information below to contact them in Jefferson City and let them know:

Rep. Kurt Bahr — 573-751-9768 or Kurt.Bahr@house.mo.gov;

Rep. Kathie Conway — 573-751-2250 or Kathie.Conway@house.mo.gov;

Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger — [Note: He’s no longer in office.]

Rep. Mark Parkinson — 573-751-2949 or Mark.Parkinson@house.mo.gov; and

Rep. Anne Zerr — 573-751-3717 or Anne.Zerr@house.mo.gov.

On March 29, 2012, I published another article — this one under the headline, Missouri Legislators Pass ‘Birther,’ Jumping Jacks and Butterfly Bills While Ignoring Cancer Report — in which I criticized Missouri legislators for what they were doing in lieu of investigating serious public health issues. The text of the first half-dozen or so paragraphs of that article appears below with only minor modifications for clarity and most, but not all, of the original links [Note: I opted to cut out paragraphs at the end of the article that simply rehashed details already shared in the aforementioned exclusive story]:

On Wednesday, the 46th day of the 2012 Regular Session, Missouri state legislators tackled at least one important bill which, I predict, will never be signed by liberal Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon.  That bill, HB1046, “requires proof of identity and status as a United States natural born citizen for the office of President and Vice President to be submitted with other required certification documents to the Secretary of State.”

In addition to the so-called “Birther Bill” which I support, legislators could have done so much more.  Before looking at what could have been, let’s look at what was addressed yesterday.

The house passed several bills that might eventually receive the governor’s signature.  Among them are seven specialty license plate-related measures, eight bills designating portions of several Missouri highways as memorial roadways to honor individuals who had served their country in law enforcement, the military and government and two bills designating days each year to honor veterans — March 26 as “Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day” and March 30 as “Vietnam Veterans Day.”

Other bills that might get reach the governor and get his nod are bills advocating recognition for organ donation, Pallister-Killian Syndrome, fibromyaligia, lupus, spinal cord injuries and pancreatic cancer.

While I’m not specifically against any of the measures above, I simply think there are more pressing issues with which legislators should be spending their time.

Conversely, the ridiculous measures listed below were also pushed forward by legislators:

• “Jumping Jacks” as the official state exercise (HB1063);

• State Highway 5 between the cities of Ava and Mansfield as the “Missouri Fox Trotting Highway” (HB1107);

The Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) as the official state butterfly (HB1266); and

The month of December as “Pet Breeders Appreciation Month (HB1404).”

Sadly, several of the same legislators who spent the day dealing with these “vital” pieces of legislation are the same ones who’ve been “too busy” and seem to have an avoid-at-all-cost attitude when it comes to answering questions about the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

That report, issued by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services officials, has remained largely under wraps since it was released to me Dec. 29.  Why?

For starters, because it reveals troubling findings about leukemia and leukemia death rates among people living in five zip codes near the Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo.  In addition, they must realize the report’s findings could turn into a “hot potato” political issue far too dangerous for ambitious politicians to tackle during an election year.

I ended that story by encouraging readers to learn more about the matter and to contact their state legislators. Today, I suspect state legislators might be more willing to listen to citizens concerns about this “hot potato” issue. No guarantees though, so keep your fingers crossed.

UPDATE 10/21/2015 at 10:48 a.m. Central:  A few minutes ago, I sent the media query below to Ryan Hobart, MDHSS director of public information:

Dear Ryan;

Five years ago, I communicated with your predecessors, Jaqueline Lapine and Gena Terlizzi, regarding the Weldon Spring Site where radioactive waste is stored in St. Charles County, Mo.

Because I had read in your agency’s 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report that the authors recommended “the Cancer Inquiry Program should continue to monitor the cancer incidence and mortality rates in Weldon Spring and its surrounding areas,” I asked for — and eventually obtained — a copy of the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.

Today, I’m repeating the process in hopes of obtaining an update about your agency’s forthcoming release of a 2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

With several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, reporting recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, it’s imperative that your agency be transparent when it comes to testing and monitoring at the Weldon Spring Site.

At your earliest opportunity, I would like you to provide answers to the following questions:

1. When do officials at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services expect to release another five-year follow-up report (a.k.a., “2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report”)? and

2. Who, within the agency, is in charge of producing the five-year follow-up report?

Please let me know ASAP if you have questions or anticipate any delay beyond 48 hours in responding to my questions. Thanks in advance for your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

FYI: I’ll let you know how he responds — or not — as soon as possible.

UPDATE 10-26-15 at 8:27 a.m. Central:  After waiting five days for Hobart to reply via email, I called him this morning and left a phone message for him. As the third public information officer in five years at the agency, I suspect he might have been caught unaware on the subject. Then again, he might be an obedient lackey, willing to do whatever he can to keep the subject under wraps. Stay tuned to see if he responds.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Did Man’s Confession Save Parents Who Failed Polygraph?

Four years ago this week, then-43-year-old Shawn Morgan confessed he had suffocated Breeann Rodriguez with a white plastic bag, according to an Associated Press report.  Had it not been for his confession, Edgar Rodriguez and Claudia Ramos might have had to face charges for the murder of their three-year-old daughter.  Why?  Because both reportedly failed polygraph tests administered by investigators trying to crack the case.

Shawn Morgan / The Clapper Memo

The little girl’s body was found in a remote area a few miles from the from the family home in the Southeast Missouri town of Senath, population 1,500.

The decision to conduct polygraph tests came after investigators decided they needed fast answers about the girl’s disappearance. That’s when, according to the father who spoke about the matter with CNN’s Nancy Grace Aug. 11, 2011, Breeann’s parents were asked to take polygraph tests and, after the tests were completed, were told they had failed.

Who, exactly, decided to turn to the polygraph?  Dunklin County (Mo.) Sheriff Bob Holder told me the county prosecutor would be able to answer that question. I decided not to call him, however, because I’m not interested in the answer to that question as much as I am in the tests and the consequences little Breeann’s parents could have faced as a result of failing them.

Is there an alternative to the polygraph? Yes, and details about it — including a plethora of success stories and reasons why more local and state law enforcement agencies across the United States use it instead of the polygraph — are highlighted throughout the pages of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.

Click here to learn more about the book and read some of the high-profile endorsements it has received.  Click here to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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