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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

More Bell City woes

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007, at 8:27 PM

In light of the recent developments in the Bell City debacle I thought I'd see what your take on that whole mess (including last year's events) is.

The incident Niemczyk has been charged with stems back to what is obviously bad blood in the first place, however, there are just certain things you can't do. ESPECIALLY as a teacher AND on school property.

I'm not really sure who I agree with on this one, and as a reporter that's probably best. I can see where both Niemczyk and Finney are coming from in this situation.

Finney is concerned about the kind of influence people in charge of last year's events will have on his grand-children. I see where he's coming from.

On the other hand, Superintendent Niemczyk has been drug through the mud good and proper throughout this whole thing and regardless of fact, husbands don't like to hear their wives bad mouthed.

It's really just an ugly situation all around.

The full story will be posted Thursday morning.

What's your take?

Showing most recent comments first
[Show in chronological order instead]

Hahaha! That's what journalists do, Big Chief!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Aug 29, 2007, at 7:54 AM

Corey, you do a great job of riding the fence and stirring the pot for news purposes whether you really have a side or not. One thing to remember here is that a pocket knife is ok until it is used as a weapon. Arms and hands are ok until they are used as a weapon. For you other readers, save me the "extreme" examples like machine guns and how they are just metal until fired.

-- Posted by BigChiefRedhawk on Tue, Aug 28, 2007, at 1:27 PM

Well, Corey's blog title -"More Bell City Woes"- says it all. They've had their share of bad press, and now anything that happens over there will hit the news and be magnified out of proportion.

The Scott County community of Oran has gone through the same thing with their continuing saga over the police chief.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Aug 26, 2007, at 7:43 AM

Now the story really begins,so Mr.Finney pulled a knife after the deputy pulled them apart,when there was no reasonable expectation that he was still endangered(although Mr.Niemczyk did get fired up in front of same deputy, so neither man really was thinking clearly).Hmmm, very interesting indeed.

Who provoked whom, who escalated to physical violence first,but always was the response justified in light of the "beating" Mr. Finney had just suffered?

In Stoddard County,as in other places, it has been get the other dude to throw the first punch then give him(or her) the beatdown of their life and race to call the cops and report it first. Unless the beatdown involves weapons or a death, the first punch thrower usually gets into trouble!

With Mr. Finney's public admission of pulling a weapon afterwards, in front of a deputy,looks like this case will be a no-brainer for Mr.Niemcyzk's attorney,although if the Prosecutor,Sheriff and Deputy are all such good buddies, I'd think the Highway Patrol would investigate and our Prosecutor would recuse himself.

Public Schools are not really all that public,and with Mr.Finney not being an employee,district taxpayer or parent or guardian,or was he even a signed in visitor if he was talking to an employee, his case seems weak for a distict lawsuit as he comes across as the trespasser.You really can't just go anywhere you please anymore!

Also,if he loses this case he can certainly be resticted legally from ever being on school property! At RHS years ago, an angry parent got into a fight with a teacher and she was banned from the campus except for attending "special events".Sad this "incident" is being scrutinized like a major case crime,hopefully it will be settled soon.

Keep us posted Corey.

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 9:26 AM

Golly, I thought everybody knew that pocket knives are a no-no ever since 9/11. Schools are really strict about stuff like that.

Shame you couldn't talk to the other fellow, and get his side of the story. I expect he's lawyered up and been told not to comment.

It's a sad thing when grown ups fight on school grounds. I agree with another blogger that it shouldn't reflect back on the superintendent, though.

Sad day for Bell City. Hope things get better for those folks.

-- Posted by scotswoman on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 1:35 AM
Corey Noles' response:
I wasn't able to get in touch before press time for the first story, but if he's able and/or willing to talk I'm hoping to do a follow-up.

It's very possible that what you said about being lawyered up is true. In most criminal cases that's the way things go.

Childish actions by supposed adults. Very young children.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 8:56 PM

They would have been given a scholarship and early acceptance at the Stoddard County Justice Center and Alternative School!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 5:42 PM

CoreyN- interesting story.What is the policy of the Bell City School on "visitors" to their property,and does the weapons ban include a pocket knife?

Does this policy extend to cover their entire property? Must any visitors sign in at the office?

I know at Richland carrying a pocket knife will allow you to continue your education at the alternative school!

Keep us posted on this and the school boundaries issue-how has that been settled?

I know at RHS, you either pay taxes here,pay tuition, or pay a lawyer to help set up some sort of educational guardianship if you have folks that do live indistrict that can help you with your kids.People were scrambling last year to buy indistrict property to qualify, to keep their kids at RHS.

What a mess!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 4:47 PM
Corey Noles' response:
I'm not positive, but I'm sure Bell City's policy would include pocket knives and TYPICALLY those policies cover not only the school grounds but also any school related event. For example, taking a school bus to an away game or the mall.

However, while I understand the threat knives create, I also believe that in Southeast Missouri the majority of people carry them everywhere...including school.

My problem with this whole situation is not just the knife. It's the fact that this happened at school. These guys don't like each other and I can accept that. I can also accept the idea that occasionally grown men beat on each other to solve their problems. I just don't believe school is the place to handle it. There are plenty of ways for them to avoid one another such as restraining orders or not coming to town.

Had these been two students how do you think it would have been handled?

First of all since when did it become illegal to carry a pocket knife?? I suppose that from now on the school will have to search every male that enters into a ball game or school activity to see if they too carry a pocket knife and then not allow them on the school property if they do. RIDICULOUS!!! I do also believe that Mr. Finney was at the bus garage having a friendly conversation with a Stoddard County deputy before Mr. Niemczyk ever arrived. I am sure he went there looking for trouble. Wonder what Mr. Niemczyk would have done if someone the size of Arnold Scwarchzeneggar would try to slap him and kick him?? There is quite a size and age difference in these two men.

-- Posted by dexter lady on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 4:12 PM

I believe that Finney was wrong to go to the school property with a weapon in the first place. Apparently he went there looking for trouble. I wonder if Finney would have felt differently about the whole situation had he not gotten beat up or if it was he who had been verbally assaulted. NO ONE should be allowed to do what Finney did and I'm proud to have men like Mr. Niemczyk to defend our kids and his family.

-- Posted by simplysolar on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 1:52 PM

Finney is a bitter man because his son didn't get hired to teach at Bell City a few years ago. He is doing everything he can to bring negativity to Bell City, a town to which he does not live, own a business, pay taxes or have any other function. His kids don't seem to be having a problem with the way his Grandkids are being influenced and if they did then they could move.

Mr. Niemczyk was sticking up for home, his work and most importantly his family. I don't condone physical violence, however, in this instance Mr. Niemczyk may be justified.

-- Posted by bbjunkie on Thu, Aug 23, 2007, at 11:42 AM

Is Pat Niemczyk a teacher? If he is, I didn't know that. If Rhonda wasn't involved, I really don't think her husband's actions should reflect on her. I would never have been able to control MY husband if he ever wanted to hit someone...

I don't have enough information to formulate an opinion, Corey. I'll just wait until I hear more.

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Aug 22, 2007, at 8:51 PM
Corey Noles' response:
Pat Niemczyk teaches "at risk" students at Bell City according to the school's website.

More to come in the morning.

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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