Tuesday afternoon Jane and I drove to Jefferson City for a Wednesday morning board meeting of the Children’s Trust Fund. The CTF is Missouri’s Foundation for Child Abuse Prevention. It is funded by donations from Marriage licenses and Specialty License Plates, (the ones with the child’s green handprints), and a grant from the Feds for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention Programs. McDonald County Project Care, administered by the Alliance of Southwest Missouri is the recipient of one of their grants as is Children’s Haven in Joplin. Stephanie Thies, the Executive Director of Children’s Haven gave a presentation on their work during lunch. The Trust Fund does some really great work on a very limited budget and I would encourage everyone to consider ordering one of the specialty plates to help out.
Bob Ziehmer, the Director of the Missouri Conservation Department held a lunch meeting in Joplin on Wednesday. Bill Reiboldt, Charlie Davis and I were there along with Dan Fuller, Russ Hively with Friends of the Fish Hatchery, David Hendrix, the Project Manager of the Hatchery, Larry Cole, and Andy Ostemeyer from the Globe. We had a great discussion on the Hatchery and the Department of Conservation working together to provide special fishing days for kids, elderly, and Vets. We got updated from both the Hatchery Manager, Dave Hendrix and Bob Ziehmer about what their future plans are. Bob has a concern about our poaching laws not having harsh enough penalties to prevent abuses. He mentioned several instances of both fish and wildlife poaching that resulted in very small fines. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Legislative attempt to fix the problem next session.
Thursday evening I was honored to take part in an Eagle Scout presentation for Devin Dawson and again on Saturday for Scott Herberger. Both of these fine young men belong to troop 95 at Anderson. I had Resolutions for them from the Missouri House commemorating their work in earning the honor.
The results are in from McDonald County High School’s first year of participation in the SAFE Program. Seat belt usage increased by 7% the first year! According to the Kansas State SAFE Coordinator Laura Moore, who is helping us evaluate our results, that is a great number for the first year of participation. In case you missed the column explaining the program, SAFE stands for Seatbelts Are For Everyone. A group of students hand out pledge cards to everyone in the High School. They are to agree to wear their belts at all times. At an assembly at the end of the month, 12 cards are drawn from the box and the winners receive a $25 dollar gift card. Surveys are done at the beginning of the year and again at the end. Over the past 10 years Kansas has reduced roll over deaths in high school age drivers and passengers by nearly 70%. Our goal now is to get the program in other area schools. I’ll be writing more about this, you can bet on that!