Archive for Winchester Sun

Winchester Sun Article On Collins Firing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2014 by Joan Graves

Winchester Sun Article On Collins Firing

Clink the red link above  to read Winchester Sun Sports Reporter Keith Taylor’s article on the on the firing of GRC Head Football Coach Steve Collins.  Stand Up Clark County would like to salute Keith Taylor as a great, reporter with integrity and thank him for all he does for our community.

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

 

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.

Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), In The News, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Casey Castle with the Winchester Sun reported on events from last night’s board of education meeting.  His report is the latest in the accolades being heaped upon new board members. Expectations for the board were high but  after only one meeting, the praises are higher.  Control of the board is now in the very capable hands of Dr. Michael Kuduk who made it clear that the community-board relationship a priority.  Stand Up Clark County for Dr. Kuduk as he stands for us.

Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Click the link below the “rethinking education” banner to be connected directly to the Winchester Sun’s report. 

Stand Up Clark County continues to be the central focus in education. Although, we would like to say the central focus is purchasing backpacks for students, improving test scores and retaining our teachers, we accept the attention to our cause and the students of this great county. As the Sun’s report made crystal clear, Stand Up Clark County has done nothing but speak the truth. Which is exactly what we will continue to do.

Stand Up Clark County for truth.

Stand Up Clark County Listed As Major 2012 Event

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Joan Graves

Stand Up Clark County Listed As Major 2012 Event

The Winchester Sun reported on events in Clark County that were important in shaping our community over the past year. The success of Stand Up Clark County in redesigning our educational landscape was noted. Unfortunately, our intent to allow the election to bring closure was thwarted when the lawsuit by the superintendent was filed. However, I predict that next year at this same time Stand Up Clark County will again be reported as a major news story for continuing to improve education.

Stand Up Clark County to improve our community through educational accountability.

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Educating the disabled – Final Segment In Series

Posted in In The News, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , on August 12, 2012 by Joan Graves

This is the final installment of the 3-part look inside how the disabled are educated. I hope this helps others to understand what the purpose must be for our board of education. If we don’t focus on students and employees nothing works. The change from 2005 until now is dramatic and it is not good. Anyone can see the decline. If we don’t stop it now imagine how much worse it will be 7 years from now.

You all have heard the many things swirling around our district. You’ve witnessed destruction of people and their lives. You’ve seen an aggressive battle rise up and unfortunately I have not always handled it appropriately. But what you must ask yourself is, how did we get here? What must happen to bring positive change? When we stand where we are and look back at where we’ve been, our rebuilding task seems overwhelming and impossible. Don’t believe that. We not only will rebuild but with patience, self-sacrifice and extensive commitment to this community and our schools we will come out of this better than we’ve ever been. I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles and I look forward to our journey ahead and continue to Stand Up for Clark County.

Note: Due to the scanning process the last sentences of each   column in the final post were cut off. I have inserted only             those missing sentences at the end of this post.   

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore – How Education In Clark County Once Was

Posted in In The News, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , on August 9, 2012 by Joan Graves

Beginning on Wednesday, July 13, 2005 I dominated the front page of The Winchester Sun for three consecutive days with an inside look at educating the disabled in Clark County. That is not bragging on my writing ability it’s a tribute to the hard work of the educators in this county. I interviewed scores of parents, teachers, students, administrators and average citizens. While I was only able to select a few stories for the series I have not forgotten a single person with whom I spoke. I’ve thought about them over the years and wondered how things were going for them now. I spoke with people spread throughout Clark County from the vastly poor to the exceedingly wealthy in every school district. I specifically asked about the good and the bad and of all I interviewed only two had complaints about the school system. Interestingly, neither wanted to classify the incidents as complaints because they had been so quickly resolved.

Today, it’s a rare event to find parents with a disabled child that doesn’t have a problem. It’s equally difficult to find an employee that doesn’t feel bullied, underpaid, overworked and overall dissatisfied with the progress or lack there of, in CCPS. The rumblings of trouble that began several years ago has now become a tsunami of turmoil. Knowing how it once was and how it is now fueled me to take my private battle public. Because of that some have spoken out against me with erroneous assumptions, ridiculous conclusions and flat-out lies.

Many of the individuals interviewed in these articles are no longer with the school system. I will leave it to them to explain why. You will also find familiar names such as Donald Stump. Although, he maintains the same position, I must say the Mr. Stump I interviewed in 2005 is vastly different from the Donald Stump that is now in office. If you care about educating the disabled in this county I urge you to contact Mr. Stump and demand an answer for the downward spiral.

The first article in the series appears below. It is scanned with the pictures and sections as it originally appeared in the Winchester Sun. I will post the remaining articles over the next two days so you may better understand why I aggressively challenge our current board members and superintendent. Sometimes we must remember where we’ve been in order to know where we are going.

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Stand Up Clark County Takes The Case To CNN

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by Joan Graves

Sun’s Report on Possible Tape Tampering

Bob Flynn’s report on the possible tape tampering that was in today’s Winchester Sun was excellent. I posted it to CNN’s iReport.  We can take our battle national by following the link above, “Sun’s Report on Possible Tape Tampering”. That will connect you to the sight. At the end of the article you will be asked about your thoughts on the article. If enough people click “This belongs on CNN” – BAM – we’re national news.

Stand Up Clark County and show all of America how much we love our kids, teachers and community.

Felony Charges For School Board? Winchester Sun’s Bob Flynn Explains

Posted in Board Meetings, Documents, In The News, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by Joan Graves

Activist: District changed Video

Board attorney denies meeting footage altered

By Bob Flynn The Winchester Sun

 

Hostilities between a local activist and the Clark County Board of Education escalated recently when Joan Graves accused the school district of tampering with a recording of one of its meetings and suggested employees had committed a felony in doing so.

Graves’ accusations brought a strong denial from both the Board and its attorney.

Shortly after the Board’s June 19 meeting, Graves, spokesperson for Stand UP Clark County, sent a letter to Board members and the school district complaining about the quality and content of a video of the meeting that was later uploaded on the district’s website.

The school district posts videos following each meeting, and Graves said she watches them each month. When she tried to watch the June video, there were problems with the sound on part of the recording, and there were parts that were blank, leading her to think it had been altered in some way.

“When they first put them up, there was a series of five tapes. One didn’t play at all, another one just went blank. But the first thing I noticed when people started contacting me was the time on the tapes. They weren’t right,” Graves said. “The running times from one tape to the other didn’t match up. There was a lag time of several minutes between tapes when they should have been running together. And there was no video at all of the end of the meeting when they read the superintendent’s evaluation. Clearly, the tape was altered.”

Her letter, titled “Public Record Tampering,” asked Board members to correct the problems with the video and pointed out that the recordings were protected from tampering by Kentucky law.

It reads:

“The videoing of the board meeting is done with equipment purchased with public money. It is a recording of a public event. Therefore, it falls under the protection of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. Kentucky law states that tampering with a public record is a Class D felony. According to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, punishment for being found guilty of a Class D felony is 1-5 years of imprisonment; fines of $1,000 to $10,000, or double the gain from the commission of the offense up to $20,000 for corporations. Despite our differences, there is not a single one of you I would want to see in jail. Please do not take it to that level. You need to correct this wrong and put online a video the public can view. In the future, make certain that the camera is always on when the board is in open session and that no one tampers with it.”

Several days after receiving the letter, Board Chairwoman Judy Hicks and Board attorney Henry Rosenthal responded by mail to Graves’ complaint saying that while there were technical issues with the video equipment during the June 19 meeting, the video had not intentionally been altered.

Hicks’ letter stated that the Board is not required to video or livestream the Board meetings; it is done so as a service to the community “as a method of providing transparency in our decisions.”

Her letter also stated, “The board room where the meetings take place is not a professional recording studio, and the videotaping equipment is considerably less expensive than that used in professional studios. While the board could approve the purchase of more expensive video recording equipment, we prefer to continue the priority of using our limited equipment funding in the classrooms of the schools in the district. We apologize for the equipment malfunction that was unforseen and unintentional.”

Rosenthal’s letter explained when the technical difficulties were discovered by school district employees and said the allegations of tampering were baseless. It also reiterated that the district is not required to video the meetings and could discontinue the video posting.

“A technical issue was experienced at the start of the meeting and the technology employee attempted, without success, to determine the problem during the meeting of June 19-20, 2012. The actual problem was discovered during normal working hours on June 20 and the recording has been improved as much as reasonably possible. Accusations of ‘Public Record Tampering’ are without merit,” Rosenthal’s letter stated.

“From time to time, other technical problems beyond the control of employees may occur. Quite, frankly, it is unfair to subject an employee to such accusations absent any basis in fact. Such apparent baseless allegations of tampering may have a stifling effect on future broadcast recordings of meetings. As a matter of law, such broadcasts and recordings are not required. In addition, the Board of Education could establish policies determining what portions of the public meeting can and will be broadcasts and recordings. Be that as it may, the Board of Education initiated in good faith the broadcast and recording of its meetings and, I assume, will continue to do so in the future.”

Graves said that while she wasn’t surprised by the school district’s explanation about the video, she wasn’t satisfied with it and she planned to pursue the matter further. She also warned that it wasn’t a good idea for the Board to discontinue posting the videos.

“I knew this was going to be their response. It was exactly what I thought I would get from them. But to respond with a threat not to do the broadcasting would be a very bad choice for them. No, they don’t have to do them. But it is a good community tool, and if they choose to shut that down just because they can’t get it right, they are really going to have some irate community members on their hands,” Graves said. “I’m not through with this. I am going to request an audiotape of the meeting, and I am going to go to central office to view the tape, then I need to get back in touch with Jerry Carlton at the Library and Archives to see if I can get access through open records or whatever, to their uploads to Ustream.”

When contacted by the Sun this week, Carlton said if Graves wasn’t happy with the school district’s response and wanted to pursue the issue further, she could, but it would have to be done through the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.

“Our office has no standing as far as bringing suit on anything like this. If anyone wants to do that they need to appeal to the attorney general’s office, and it would be up to them to do something,” Carlton said. “On things like this it’s simple. You have to prove that there was criminal intent on tampering with the public document, in this case the video. But proving criminal intent is a hard thing to do. I’ve seen time and again that appeals go to the AG’s office alleging tampering, and nine times out of 10, the AG’s office will come back and say, ‘If they don’t have it, we can’t really do much about it.’ That’s what it boils down to.”

Graves said that she would continue to look at her options concerning the video and would craft a response to Rosenthal’s letter.

She has approached the School Board several times in recent months with other problems she feels need addressing in the district. And though she hasn’t always been successful in her attempts to engage the Board in dialog about those concerns, Graves said, she and the group will continue to closely monitor the Board and the school district.

“One of the reasons I did this was I wanted them to know that we are watching them, and we’re not going to let anything pass,” Graves said. “We are moving toward a point to where something is going to have to give, and it’s not going to be me. The Board is going to have to reach a point where they are going to have to say they are going to do something and change things they are doing or take their chances in November. I wouldn’t advise the latter. But that is their choice.”

Contact Bob Flynn at bflynn@winchestersun.com.