Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NFL PLAY60 Visits Martin City

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jamar Newsome (#84) stopped by Martin City K-8 last week to take part in the popular Play 60 Program at the school. Newsome showed Martin City students how to run agility drills, and then coached selected students as they competed in lateral drills, hiking and catching practice, and even a trivia competition against Kansas City’s own KC Wolf. KC Wolf drew a raucous ovation as he entered the Martin City gym, and remained a crowd favorite after the program as he hung around to sign autographs for eager students. Newsome thanked the Martin City students for all of their hard work, and presented a Chiefs game ball to the school as a token of their great work.
“This ball is symbolic because it stands for excellence,” said Newsome to the students. “The Chiefs would like to present a game ball to Martin City for their excellence.”
Newsome also earned some instant karma for his visit to Martin City, as he was activated to the Chiefs active roster and recorded a catch in last week’s 17-9 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SKC Man Charged With Murder Made to Look Like Suicide

By Mary Wilson
Twenty-three-year-old Micah Moore of South Kansas City was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the death of twenty-seven-year-old Bethany Deaton of Grandview.
Deaton’s body was found on October 30 at Longview Lake. A c c o r d i n g to the Probable Cause Statement, Jackson Count Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a Longview Lake shelter house on a reported dead body. Once there, deputies found a tan-colored van in the parking lot with a body slumped over in the rear seat. The body appeared to be that of a white female with a white trash bag over her head.
A notepad was also inside the vehicle, with an apparent suicide letter, along with over-the-counter medication. Deaton’s photo identification for Menorah Hospital, where she was a nurse, was also found on the floor of the vehicle. There were several International House of Prayer CD’s on the front seat.
On November 9, ten days after Deaton’s body was discovered, Moore responded to the Grandview Police Department and made statements about being involved with the death of Deaton.
According to court records, while being interviewed Moore stated, “I killed her.” Moore said he killed Deaton because she and her husband, Tyler Deaton, had shared a residence with Moore and several other
males, where they had sexually assaulted her for several months. According to Moore, Deaton had been seeing a therapist and they were afraid that she was going to tell her therapist about the assaults.
Moore admitted to being at Longview Lake with Deaton and said he “…placed a bag over her head and
held it there until her body shook.”
The court records also state that Moore said someone (the name of whom is blacked out) told him to kill Deaton, saying they knew Moore had it in him to do it. Moor told detectives that Deaton had been given
Seroquel, a prescription anti-psychotic, and mentioned it being given to her during the sexual assaults and in a water bottle the day of her murder.
Detectives interviewed International House of Prayer Pastor Shelly Hundley, who stated that she had talked with Moore at the Grandview Police Department and he admitted to the sexual assaults, saying they were video recorded on Moore’s iPad. Moore also stated there were poems, which the assailants wrote about the assaults, on his iPad.
Detectives also interviewed several other roommates of the Deatons. One, who said he was a roommate and member of his church and religious community, said he had been in a secret ongoing sexual relationship, which Tyler Deaton claimed was to “discover his masculinity.”
Another roommate stated that he had not been in the “community” as long as everyone else. This person had come into contact with Tyler Deaton at Southwestern College and moved to Kansas City to become part of the community after graduation. He advised that Tyler Deaton was the leader of the community, and that he felt he was groomed to fit into the group of men. He recalled,according to court records, one time that he was lying in bed and Tyler had laid next to him and held him, and stated that he realized now that Tyler was attempting to make him a member of their sexual group.
Another roommate describes Tyler Deaton as “controlling and manipulative”, and said that the sexual activity that went on in the house was part of a “religious experience.”
The final roommate interviewed stated he had been involved in a long-term sexual relationship with Deaton. He said he and Deaton’s sexual relationship had been in secret, but he knew of other male roommates also involved with Deaton. He explained that Tyler Deaton was viewed as a “spiritual leader” that had control over the members of the household. He also said he believes that members of the household would lie for Deaton so he could remain the leader of the group.
According to court records, Deaton’s behavior the weeks prior to his wife’s death was “angry and frustrated.” Deaton told him that he had a dream that he had killed his wife by suffocating her.
Prosecutors requested a bond of $500,000 and said there could be more charges coming in the case.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Honoring Our Veterans

 By Paul Thompson
After 88 years on God’s green earth, United States World War II veteran Omer “Jeff” Embree will tell you that he’s a lucky man.
The day Jeff Embree turned 18, he registered for the United States Army. Four months later, Embree left his childhood farm in Knob Knoster, Missouri, to help his fellow Americans finish World War II. The year was 1943, and Embree had begun what would become a wild, crisscrossing journey across the globe. One of nine children and three Embrees who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, Jeff felt it was his duty to fight on behalf of America. Jeff’s older brother Harvey had enlisted in 1942, and his twin brother Homer enlisted right alongside him January of 1943.
Embree’s first stop was Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he reported for basic training.
“I walked guard when it was 35 below zero,” recalls the 88 year-old
Embree today, the memory cutting through the fog of decades.
Embree was also paid a visit in Cheyenne from older brother Harvey, who had found time on leave
to visit his young brother at Basic Training. Jeff still remembers getting sick before his brother arrived,
and hiding the illness in order to keep the visit on track. When Harvey arrived, Jeff begrudgingly showed his brother the rashes that traveled up and down his arms: a tell-tale sign of scarlet fever. Harvey told Jeff to check himself in for treatment immediately, but Embree was happy just to have seen his brother.
“I knew I was sick enough that they weren’t going to let me cut loose,” says Embree in explanation.
After surviving that scare, Embree was shipped off to Bloomington, Illinois, to be schooled as a mechanic at the Midwest Motor Trade. He was taught how to tear down a vehicle and change parts. After three months of training, he was dispatched to Camp Ellis, Illinois, where he was charged with teaching officers how to maintain their cars, changing oil and the works.
“All the officers there had to learn how to change oil, and I had to teach them,” says Embree, an
almost apologetic tone in his voice. “Could you imagine a corporal issuing orders to a colonel or a major?”
The job did not last long, however, as Embree was eventually loaded into a boxcar for New York City, where he would board a boat overseas towards the European theatre. There was only one problem: Embree broke his foot jumping out of the boxcar.
“They told me I couldn’t go o v e r s e a s , c o u l d n ’ t be shipped with a broken foot,” says Embree of his imjury. “But the colonel said ‘yes he can.’ He pushed me onto the boat on a wheelchair. Sixteen days later I landed in Marseilles, France.”
Embree found his first bit of luck when he was picked by his colonel (yes that colonel) to drive into town
to find a woman to do laundry for the men in his unit. Soon enough, Embree’s background with cars
elevated him to a new role: his colonel’s personal driver.
“The guy that was supposed to drive for the colonel was from St. Louis, but the colonel was scared
to drive with him,” says Embree. “So he picked me to drive for him. I drove all over Paris with him.”
Embree ran errands all through the night for the colonel, and his new position offered him one notable perk.
Because he had to be ready at a moment’s notice, Embree was assigned to sleep in the officer’s tent. As a result, he was afforded extra bedding during the coldest of nights. Embree’s role in France was simple. With most of the heavy fighting concluded, he was tasked with bringing supplies through battle zones
in Germany for Allied forces surrounding Berlin. Although hobbled at first with his foot in a cast, Embree was able to help his compatriots. He was part of a regiment in which engineers utilized inflatable
pontoon bridges to cross the Rhine River into Germany with pivotal supplies and rations. The pontoon bridges were necessary in order to circumvent vital bridges that had been destroyed. Those supplies helped replenish the Allied troops that eventually coaxed a surrender.
When the Axis powers conceded defeat, Embree was packed onto a boat for what he only assumed was a
return voyage. It wasn’t long, however, until he and the rest of the ship’s passengers realized that they weren’t headed home after all.
“We thought we were headed home, since the war was over,” remembers Embree. “By the second day,
we realized that we weren’t going the right way to get home.”
Instead, Embree was headed around the world to the Pacific Theatre.
“We traveled about thirty days on that boat,” says Embree. “We rode 14,000 miles, from Germany to Okinawa.”
On the way to the destination, the boat stopped through the Panama Canal. There, the crew bought
enough bananas to feed the crew for the rest of the voyage and then some.
“We bought them for 25 cents a bunch, and there were bananas lining the boat,” remembers Embree.
The day that Embree and company reached Okinawa was the same day that the Japanese surrendered. It was lucky timing for Embree, too, as he broke his foot once again while jumping off the boat. Although the fighting had concluded, he spent the next three months recuperating in Okinawa.
Once Embree finally touched back down on U.S. soil, he bee-lined back to his old home in Knob Knoster, Missouri. Although it was 4 a.m., he couldn’t resist the urge to wake up his twin brother upon arriving home.
"I hadn’t seen my twin brother in four years,” said Embree. “He was in bed. I went in there and brought
him out of it.”
Looking back through the years, Embree is thankful at how his family was able to make it back safely from the harrowing war.
“I was very lucky, and my twin brother was lucky,” says Embree. “My older brother got shot in the knee, and I never knew it until he died.”
After the war, Embree continued to find success in his endeavors. He worked for the Kansas City Highway Department, and at one point earned an unprecedented two raises in one month. He also threw his vast energy into his local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post. Embree organized musical acts and dances, served as post commander, and even met his second wife Jenny at the VFW (his first wife died of cancer in her 40’s).
“We were introduced at the VFW 1829, up here at 59th and Crystal,” says Embree of Jenny. “We’ve been together 43 years.”
For 30 years, Embree orchestrated two pig roasts a year for the VFW. He also secured a liquor license
for his post, and instituted a popular bingo night to help bring in funds. Embree continues to be proud to
serve his fellow veterans.
“You probably don’t know what the VFW does,” says Embree rhetorically. “We give money to people who are hungry. We give our money to GAP; we just gave $1,500 to them. We give our money to the Salvation Army.”
Although Jeff and Jenny still contribute to VFW dinners and events, their advancing age has caused
them to cut back on their activities. Embree has not contributed a pig roast for a few years. It simply became too much work. It’s a familiar theme at many VFW posts: many struggle financially as their members continue to age.
Embree is not the only veteran with a compelling story. He’s not the only lucky veteran who survived to serve their peers in the VFW. On Friday, the Grandview VFW Post 8100 will be servinga ham and bean dinner throughout the afternoon and evening in honor of Veterans Day at 3413 Main Street in Grandview.
Veterans eat for free, and the general public is welcome to join for $6. The company alone will be worth
the charge of admission.
Try to make it out to support our veterans, and spend a moment to remember how lucky we all are to live in the United States of America.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grandview Citizens Petitioning for Audit of School District

By Mary Wilson
Some Grandview community members are speaking out against the Grandview CSD-4 School District and requesting signatures for a state audit.
The petition is asking for registered voters in the Grandview C-4 School District to consider signing for a state audit to potentially uncover over $200,000 that was written off by the district’s auditors, as well as raising some questions in regards to the turf installation and MAP scores.
“I think it is important that the school district keeps close track of the patron’s money in this district,” said former school board member Donald Fisher.
The school district underwent a state audit at year-end in June of 2004. At that time, the state auditors found no material weaknesses and no misuse of funds. The 2004 audit was the result of a petition at that time, as well.
“That audit cost the district just under $20,000, not including staff involvement,” said Ann Marie Cook, Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Operations for the district. “We are now working with a completely different set of people than who were here in 2004.”
For the 2011 fiscal year, the Board of Education approved DSWA to audit the district’s financials. While the audit was clean, DSWA did identify some material weakness. This could have been a deficiency in internal controls, or a possibility of a misstatement of funds.
“We were not doing complete monthly bank reconciliations for all of our accounts,” said Cook. “All of that was reconciled by the time it went before the board for approval.”
As part of the 2011 audit, DSWA did find and report a $221,524 prior adjustment, and brought that to the district’s attention. However, per the scope of the audit that was being performed, DSWA did not go in and identify what exactly that money was as part of their regular audit work.
DSWA was then separately contracted out to further investigate the un-accounted for funds. After the September, 2012 board meeting, Advocate staff reported that the school district’s current process for handling outstanding checks at the end of the year, as well as outstanding transactions after year-end processes, were what was creating the problem. There were no missing funds as a result of the material weakness.
“DSWA made recommendations to us that we needed to change our monthly processes and make improvements as needed, and we’ve done that,” said Cook.
“I would like somebody else besides DSWA to look at it,” said Fisher. “I stated that at the board meeting, and I was turned down.”
According to district officials, the request for an outside audit was on board agenda in Februrary, 2012. At that meeting, it was decided to add the item to the March workshop. At that time, DSWA came out and presented to the school board.
“After their presentation to the board, there was a time for questions, comments or concerns,” said Board Secretary Kathy Meyers. “There were no comments made at that time. The board did not direct or deny moving forward with another agency.”
Those behind the petition feel that there needs to be a more in-depth audit. On whether or not Fisher hopes to uncover that $221,000 with a state audit, he said, “basically, and also to see if there are any other problems.”
Another issue is the fact that the district had $1,000,000 of bond money left over and decided to use it to install artificial turf on the GHS football field. According to petitioners, the school district chose to forego a potential $200,000 NFL grant to help defray the cost of the project.
The bond project was originally for piping work to be done at Grandview Middle School. Phase one of the project was to replace the central core piping. After that work was completed, the workers replacing pipes noted that the piping in the “pods” of the school were not as deteriorated as they originally thought. At that time, the school district hired an independent company to test the pipes as well as a separate independent company to analyze the pipes. This determined that the piping did not need to be completely replaced and could be repaired, which then caused a significant reduction in the scope of the work as well as a significant reduction in the cost.
“I think it’s important that the school district keeps close track of the patron’s money in this district,” said Fisher. “The people that I’ve talked to are not happy with the way that the district was being run. They do not like the football field. They thought that the money could be better spent elsewhere.”
The district then held several open community input meetings, and ultimately the turf installation passed in a board vote of 4-3.
“Grant proposals for the NFL grant were due last December,” said Cook. “We were too late for that. If we waited another year, there was no guarantee that we would receive the grant. Because of this, the board of education decided to move forward with the project.”
In order for the state of Missouri to approve an audit of the Grandview school district’s finances, the petition must garner 1500 signatures.
“We’re right about halfway there,” said Fisher.
According to the school district, the implications of a state audit would be more than just the cost to the district.
“I imagine the cost of the audit would be similar to what it was in 2004, which was right around $20,000,” said Cook. “We would also be considering how much time our staff would need to devote to the audit. Their plates are full enough as it is, and this would pull them away from their regular work. The audit would also, I believe, cause a distraction or disruption to the district as a whole, especially when we’re trying to focus our efforts on positive things.”