Archive for Joan Graves

Facility Plan – What Are We Made Of?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Encouragement, In The News, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Joan Graves

the-future Tomorrow night the Clark County School Board will vote on which facilities plan to accept.  Each plan has its strength and its weaknesses.  Each plan will make some pleased and leave others mad.  That can be said of any facility plan in any school board room in any town USA.  Clark County will no doubt have double the emotions simply because of all we have been through prior to this point.

Our facility plan drama began years ago with a highly controversial plan cloaked in accusations of wrongdoing and corruption.  From the moment the ink was quietly placed on the contract, the deal immediately began treading water in a pool of innuendo that immediately divided the community.

It had been quite some time since several of those school board members had been challenged so apparently they were under the misguided notion they could do as they pleased.  They simply did what they had always done.  They counted on the community’s outrage to play itself out and citizens to lose their steam.  When instead the community rallied together to fight for the common good of everybody then things changed.

behind clouds  The previous board’s inability then and even now to consider that they made terrible mistakes, disregarded community opinion, failed to weigh all the options or even begin to have the courage to stand up for the least of us, proves how grossly inadequate they were to represent the greatest of us.  Therefore, they brought shame and suspect upon all of their actions most notably the notorious facilities plan.  In an outrageous show of unification, the community made clear their disgust of being muted and voted out the old and in the new.  Now, we turn to a new era.  It’s a new time and opportunity.

This is the first time that any board member, with the exception of Judy Hicks, in this entire facilities plan drama, has taken time to consider all angles.  This board heard the community loud and clear.  They fought the state.  They have labored, sweat, prayed, talked, lost sleep over and contemplated beyond the realms any of us wish to consider.  This board has taken on what everyone wanted changed but few dared to tackle.  This board, with the exception of Judy Hicks, stepped up to the mound in the last inning with everything lined up against them and nothing going for them but an overwhelming desire to take one for the team because it’s the right thing to do.  Could you do it?  I couldn’t.  That’s why I didn’t run for the board.  images (18)

So, on this eve that changes everything I am asking you, Clark County, what are we made of?  This facilities plan is more than about a mere vote on metal and steel.  It’s a vote on the kind of people we are.  Are we selfish people willing to turn on one another if we don’t get our way?  Are we weak people willing to flaunt that our vote won over the plan that didn’t?  Or are we people with backbone, people who reach deep and know that regardless of what tomorrow holds it is a new era?  It’s a time of when we say all that is gone before, matters no more.  We have a board that will never again put our kids or their own reputations on the market to the highest bidder.  There is no more secret meetings, over-paid bureaucrats, over inflated egos or nauseating misuse of the media.

Life has shown us that more often than not to find what is keeping we must first sift through the rubbish.  To find a hidden treasure we must get dirty digging it from the dirt.  To find a diamond we have to travel the blackest coal shafts.  And if we want real gold then we have to spend hours on our knees shaking it from the imposters and fool’s gold surrounding it.  Finding what is real is important but what becomes more important is how do we treat what is authentic when we are not accustom to seeing it?  Now, is our time Clark County.  Stand up for your school board and say we respect your effort you have put into this decision making process – thank you for having the courage to do the job no one else wanted.

stand-up-cc1.jpg

 

Partial Lawsuit Resolution

Posted in Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Joan Graves

In the multiple pages of documents filed by former superintendent Elaine Farris, there was mention of only one specific. Farris stated that Patti and Paul Columbia and I filed false criminal charges against her niece, Tiffany Davis. The charges against Davis stem from an incident during a board meeting when Farris was still in charge of Clark County Schools.  Patti filed criminal charges against Davis after Davis walked by Patti and nudged, kneed, kicked, pushed or whatever verb you prefer to use. Neither Paul nor I had a hand in filing those charges. I, however, was listed as a witness due, in part, to a snippet of video captured on my phone. Davis denied all of the charges and Farris filed her civil lawsuit within a day or so of Davis being criminally charged.

In October, Davis and her attorney met with Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas. After months of delaying Davis’s trial resolution finally came. In a plea bargain, Davis agreed to a peace bond. While it doesn’t necessarily indicate Davis is admitting guilt it certainly makes the statement that she opted not to take her chances before a jury trial. The peace bond functions as a type of restraining order in which Davis agrees to stay away from the Columbias and therefore avoids further court appearances and possible jail time.

Why did you not read this in the Winchester Sun? I asked the same question. The Sun’s response was that since Davis didn’t live in Clark County they didn’t report on it. Yet, the crime occurred in Clark County, the trial would have taken place here and the plea deal was struck by our tax paid county attorney, thereby providing a steak in the case to every tax paying citizen in Clark County. The Winchester Sun is filled daily with car accidents, crimes and other stories regarding individuals that do not live in Clark County. So, we must ask ourselves why the Sun has “rules” that apply to some but not all. Then again, considering comic books are larger than the Winchester Sun these days I don’t think it matters much.

Stand Up Clark County and demand truth and disclosure.  Image

 

Death Threats, Rivals, Ghosts & The Way To Make It Right.

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by Joan Graves

My last post, “Beyond Friday Night”, generated heated responses from people calling themselves Tony and Jessica. Their remarks indicate they are friends with GRC Head Football Coach Steve Collins. They defended Collins vehemently and I actually applaud them for standing up for their friend. The manner in which they do it however, is highly questionable.

Tony and Jessica went to excessive lengths to hide their identities. They set up a dummy email account, which both used to access the comments section of the blog. Their IP addresses indicate they are in the same network. Which means Jessica and Tony either is the same person or is closely connected.

If you have followed this blog or read the Lexington Herald-Leader, you are aware of death threats made in the past. What you may not know is that a few weeks ago I received a threat, which basically said for me to stop Stand up Clark County or die. I was not impressed. People against Stand Up Clark County have long tried to silence me by using disgusting, perverted, and threatening remarks. The only common denominator is that each time the attack came after a post about the football program.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am in absolutely no way saying that Coach Collins or his staff is responsible for death threats or verbal attacks. What I am saying is that it is the topic of Collins’ football program that triggers the venom. I have no idea if it’s a coach, fan, parent, player, cheerleader, or community member launching the assaults. What I do know is whoever it is they are extremely passionate about Collins’ football program.

From my point of view, this is what I see. Paul Columbia’s firing was not the fault of Coach Collins, though Collins and his staff like to use that as an excuse for their shortcomings. Collins took a job he knew was in drowning in controversy so none of this is a surprise to him. What is surprising to us, however, is that Collins has invested more in our rival Montgomery County than he ever has in the community of Clark County. He made the decision early on to place himself in opposition of the majority of the community. Little did he know the previous board of education would fall and the superintendent who hired him retire, leaving him at the mercy of the very people he has shunned.

One of the first things Collins did, as football coach was take business away from Clark County’s long time small business staple, South Main Grocery. He immediately ended the team’s tradition of having breakfast there. Many saw that move as self-serving because Collins failed to realize the importance of tradition in the midst of turmoil. Since then, Collins’s program has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the treatment of players.

Collins has failed to ever address the concerns or even as much as attempt to interact with the community. Instead, he opted to take money from our small businesses while investing in Montgomery County golf scrambles. Collins appears to be heavily involved in the community in which he lives but not in the community who pays his salary or in which the kids he interacts with live. If Collins does not produce well-rounded individuals, what concern is it of his? Clark County is a paycheck not an investment.

Collins’s divided mind has cost him greatly but us even more so. While he spent his time trying to defeat the ghost of Paul Columbia, his team logged one of the worst seasons on record. Now, rather than focus on the players and how to make them successful he has opted instead to spend his time and energy into making PR rounds for an Astro Turf. When what we really need is a leader.

Clark County takes pride in our heritage and sense of community. We are not like other counties. We still stand for “old fashioned values”. We do not want new flashy things that spend our money but produce nothing. We prefer to invest in people not things.

We do not want to oppose Coach Collins but we must protect our core values. We have an obligation to the future of our kids. Therefore, we must insist Coach Collins invest in Clark County, speak out against those creating turmoil and crime in his name and begin building a bridge that will improve the lives of all Clark Contains.

Stand Up Clark County for all we are, have been and will be.

A New Era Begins For CCPS

Posted in Board of Education (General), Encouragement, In The News with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Joan Graves

Image

After much deliberation and contemplation Paul Christy has been selected to be the next superintendent of Clark County Public Schools. Christy’s road to the helm of CCPS has been anything but smooth.

During the 2009 superintendent search Christy was in the running but lost to previous superintendent, Elaine Farris. Christy and Farris’s relationship came under scrutiny when Stand Up Clark County released emails exchanged between them. The emails, obtained through Kentucky’s Open Records law, revealed that Christy’s job responsibilities included washing and refueling Farris’s car, despite the fact that he has been a long-time educator in Clark County and was the assistant superintendent at the time.

As our educational woes increased, Christy and his family became a direct target. Mean-spirited and unfounded accusations regarding Christy were submitted to Stand Up Clark County through this blog. The safety of the entire Christy family was brought into question when secret videos of  the Christy home and family, including children, were taken and posted online by KY Anonymous. Throughout the ordeal the Christy family remained strong and committed to educating the students in this county.

Considering Christy has been employed during the controversy and weathered personal attacks himself, he is likely better prepared for the extremely difficult road ahead. Superintendent Christy is the latest step taken on a very long road to healing for this community. There will be many obstacles we still will face but with a new superintendent and united, strong board we are well on our way to improving the educational landscape of this community. Congratulations, Paul Christy and thank you Michael McGowan, Ashley Ritchie and Dr. Michael Kuduk for having the courage and strength to take on the stressful task of bringing forth a new era.

Stand Up Clark County for our new superintendent.

 

Trying To Answer Your Questions On Today’s Fast Breaking Events

Posted in Board of Education (General), Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Joan Graves
Downtown Winchester, KY

Downtown Winchester, KY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There have been some important events today. I’m always amazed at how quickly information travels. As you all know, I am restricted from discussing specifics of the lawsuit filed against the Columbias and me. I can confirm that yes there have been new developments today but I can elaborate no further. However, be assured that the moment we have secured our victory you will hear about it first right here.

The middle school merger is getting some long overdue attention. In addition to the previous post regarding Herald-Leader coverage you can follow this link http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-971738 to my CNN iReport.

Speaking of media attention, I will be interviewed tomorrow by Casey Castle of the Winchester Sun. I know many of you have been frustrated with the Sun coverage which is why I think it’s important you know about the interview. I have been very pleased with recent conversations with Mr. Castle and am thrilled he has taken on the endeavor of writing an in-depth report of the entire school issue.

I know many of you want answers and you will have them as soon as I am able to release them to you. Until then be pleased with the changes your commitment has brought about and look forward to the fantastic days ahead.

Stand Up Clark County and stay tuned.

Dear Deatra Newell: Love God – Love People

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , on March 31, 2013 by Joan Graves
President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin ...

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the White House Cabinet Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Martin Luther King Jr. created much needed equality, but he would be greatly saddened by your letter to the editor in the Winchester Sun. You were absolutely correct when you said; “People who really don’t like a people because of their skin color, gender, national origin or religious preference use untruthful flaws about that person to cause others to react negatively.” You know this because it is exactly what you are doing to me. You are making baseless accusations about me in a desperate attempt to paint me as a racist and cause others to see me that way.

I am neither unhappy nor miserable but  you and I definitely have very different definitions of equality. Do you think I should pretend to agree with someone just because they are of a different race? To me that is the epitome of racism. You are my equal and I am not afraid to tell you that I don’t agree with you. It never occurred to me that anyone would consider my stance on this matter as racism because my mind is color blind. I cannot conceive what I don’t see.

Perhaps you should stop looking at the color of my skin and accept that I’m disagreement is with actions and people not skin. Can you extend to me the same equality you want from me? If you cannot give equality to another then how will you ever recognize when it’s been given to you?

You said; “As a black American, I am proud of our school superintendent.” Why add the color? Can you not just identify yourself as an American? If color is added to a statement to make it more powerful isn’t that racism? I certainly would never refer to you in that manner because I don’t see your skin. I see you.

You also said; “The real issue is that the superintendent broke racial barriers as the first black female superintendent in Kentucky. I know this has been an adjustment for most people with different interests, but that’s just how it is. We may never see that day come in our life when we all can see and treat each other the way God intended, but it will come when Jesus returns.”

“People with different interests”? Do you mean white people? Because I’m willing to bet that if the tables were turned and I made that statement you’d be calling me racist. If you don’t want racism then why are you bringing it up? Why is it so difficult to believe that there are people who disagree with a person, not a color? Martin Luther King Jr. wanted equality all of us. He would never condone baseless accusations about race for either of us. He welcomed the opportunity to speak with those of different opinions because he loved people not color. He believed enlightment, intelligience and Christ-like love was achieved when we respectfully considered the views of our opposition.

Without knowing anything about me or having any sort of meaningful conversation with me you have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that I am a racist because I’m white. You have not discussed with me my points nor considered the possibility that I am not a racist. How exactly is that seeing me as God intended? The Bible is crystal clear on how God sees us all. “But the LORD said to Samuel, Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7  My opinions are based on Scripture, prayer, research, conversations with those I disagree with and people’s actions. On this earth that’s about as close as any of us can be to seeing the heart of a person.

You and I apparently have vastly different definitions of equality. I would never disrespect you so much as to pretend to agree with you just because you’re black. I would be a racist if I disagreed with a white person with the same views but pretended to agree with you. Not considering that I may just be a person disagreeing with another person rather than one race pitted against another says more about you than me. Are you so perfect that I can never disagree with your thoughts or actions? Do you find yourself above the remarks of Christ who said all fall short of the Glory of God?  Because if you do in fact believe in Christ, then you must believe all He said.  And He said we are all are sinners. As a Christian I can’t agree with your sins nor should you agree with mine. Yet, somehow my disagreements with you are not Christian, moral, ethical or opinion; they are racial to you. There is nothing Christ like in that.

Which brings us to another statement by Jesus. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5.

Stand Up Clark County for the removal of all forms of racism and the God-like attitude of hating the sin but loving the sinner.

Final Legal Update

Posted in Board of Education (General), Elaine Farris, Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , on February 19, 2013 by Joan Graves

A Flashmob for Free Speech - 2

This will be the last update I will provide regarding the lawsuit. I have been notified by my attorney that an order has been secured which prevents me from having any comments on this blog or elsewhere in social media. This “gag order” of sorts, is in effect for ALL parties. Your continued support and prayers are greatly appreciated and I will be back in touch as soon as I am legally able to do so.

KY Board Of Education & Stand Up Clark County Share Priorities

Posted in Board of Education (General) with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

http://education.ky.gov/comm/news/Documents/R13-012%20kbe.pdf

Susan Allred, Associate Commissioner of the Kentucky Board of Education, said nearly verbatim what Stand Up Clark County has been promoting for a year. We have always said that the major determining factor of how quickly our schools can recover, meet goals and improve is based upon whether the adults in charge truly have the best interest of the kids as a priority. When we make sacrifices and hard, sometimes unpopular decisions, for the betterment of our students, improvement will run like a wildfire though our schools.

 

Kudos To Kuduk For His Handling Of Tonight’s BOE Controversy

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2013 by Joan Graves

When Dr. Michael Kuduk became the board chair he made it clear that a major priority will be improving the district and community relationship. He certainly demonstrated his commitment tonight. Even though tonight’s board meeting meets Kentucky Open Meeting regulations that was not enough for Dr. Kuduk. He has higher expectations. He does not want a board willing to meet the bare minimum of the law. Instead, he seeks a board that embodies the “spirit of the law“. That spirit is how the board carries out KRS statute 61.805 which states that the public must have ample notice regarding any meeting that will be discussing public business. Dr. Kuduk made clear  someone had failed to put the public’s best interest first and he was not happy about it.

To remedy the situation, Dr. Kuduk announced the board wouldn’t be taking action on any agenda items tonight. Instead, the public would be made aware of what was going to be discussed so they may attend the next meeting if they desire. He went on to say the board would continue with presentations from superintendent search organizations in attendance but there be no board vote on it until the public had an opportunity to comment.  What is likely not a surprise to anyone,  Judy Hicks objected.

Judy determined that because one of the agenda items was the acceptance of Superintendent Elaine Farris’s  resignation they shouldn’t hear any presentations until the resignation had been formally accepted by the board.  Judy seems to be laboring under the misconception that Elaine’s resignation is questionable. Dr. Kuduk pointed out that Elaine publicly announced her resignation to the board at the last meeting and it has been posted on the  district’s website.  He concluded that it would be a tremendous waste of time for the organizations prepared to pitch their services to now be denied because someone on our part dropped the ball.

In her typical passive-aggressive style, Judy continued to verbally spar with Dr. Kuduk, who was having none of her nonsense. Then in a shocking move, Judy attempted to undermine Dr. Kuduk by soliciting the opinion of board attorney Henry Rosenthal. Rosenthal agreed with Dr. Kuduk, stating it was common knowledge Elaine resigned and the vote to accept her resignation was formality because Elaine couldn’t be forced to work at a job she quit.  Discussion over.

The importance of the exchange between Dr. Kuduk and Judy Hicks cannot be ignored. Judy claimed only to be asking a question to get clarification. Yet, there was no confusion. It had been established that Dr. Kuduk was acting in accordance with the law and that Elaine had made her resignation public.  Despite these glaring facts Judy continued to press the issue.

Dr. Kuduk is the chairman of the board which technically makes him Judy’s boss. In what other job would an employee be allowed to continue protesting the instructions of her boss and not be insubordinate? Insubordination is grounds for automatic dismissal in the working world. While Judy’s behavior is up for interpretation, it certainly raises some questions. Is she having trouble relinquishing control of the board to Dr. Kuduk? Was she challenging Dr. Kuduk because she personally resents him? Is there a deeper, more sinister motive of which we are not privy?

It’s important to keep these questions in mind. If Judy is on a personal mission it is the responsibility of the board and the community to seek her removal from the board. It is also our responsibility to give Judy an opportunity to demonstrate that she is willing to work with the new board for the betterment of Clark County students. At this stage we can’t determine for certain what is taking place so we should carefully observe her behaviors and attitudes in the future.

In the mud of all the legalities, petty differences and personal agendas one thing is absolute. A new era has arrived in Clark County. Change is marching in and taking no prisoners. Dr. Michael Kuduk is taking the board of education in a new direction. People are talking about how, under his leadership, the board is more focused on priorities. As more energy, enthusiasm and zeal tear through the board the public celebrates its readmission into education.

Stand Up Clark County and give kudos to Kuduk.

Our Answers Only Hours Away

Posted in Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by Joan Graves

2012 teacher of yr Rebecca Mieliwoki

For over a year the citizens of Clark County have searched for answers for what has been described as burning questions. Yet, we have been repeatedly denied what we believe is our right to know. Despite a rigorous legal campaign launched by Elaine Farris to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit she filed, that deposition will take place in a little over 12 hours. At long last many questions that have echoed in our minds will now be asked and In a peculiar twist it’s Elaine that we can thank for our impending revelations.

The lawsuit Farris filed against the Columbias and me was ambiguous at best. Though rich in shock-value adjectives, the suit provides not a single shred of evidence or specific allegations.  It basically says we said things about her she doesn’t like so she is suing. Only in a civil case could someone have others hauled into court with a list of baseless allegations and not even a smidgen of circumstantial evidence. The only requirement for a civil lawsuit is money for an attorney. It’s a shocking revelation of American “justice” of which, I could have lived my entire life without knowing,  It’s an an insult to the integrity our forefathers thought they were creating in America and disgusting waste of tax-payer money that could be invested in our schools.

In her deposition Farris will either defend herself and her actions or she will be as evasive as she’s been in the past. I am expecting the latter but Farris’s supporters are excitedly spreading  word that Elaine will rigorously defend herself in great detail. . According to them, Elaine will provide evidence and details that will be a logical explanation for everything and prove us to be liars. And I’m saying that’s not even possible. But one thing is for absolute certain, this time tomorrow we can all stop speculating.

To be fair, we should note that after Farris’s deposition the Columbias and I will also give a deposition. Don’t expect any new information from us. Lord, knows we’ve not only been an open book but we’ve provided sketches, maps and Cliff Notes. But regardless of whether you are interested in information from Farris, the Columbias or me you will have it tomorrow.

Having never gone through the process before, I am uncertain how long it will take tomorrow. But I will provide an update to this blog as soon as possible. It’s impossible to face tomorrow and not thank all of you. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve my community in this fashion. Thank you for your overwhelming support, perseverance and grace to correct any mistakes I have made. Together we are marching toward truth and justice.

Stand Up Clark County – our time is at hand.