As famed television reporter Sam Donaldson once observed, “It’s not the questions that hurt people. Answers hurt people.”
And the prospect of delivering answers to questions about plagiarism apparently angered Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Frank Romero to the point of submitting his resignation Thursday. This according to former MUSD Board Chairman Shana Stapp.
A special Board meeting is set for Friday, December 18. What Board calls a meeting on a Friday night unless something’s going down?
The Sheet called Romero for comment after a reader brought several instances of plagiarism to our attention. Though Romero apparently issued one mea culpa in The Fifty Center for not citing a source in a recent column (Romero writes a regular column for The Fifty), the one instance is not isolated.
An October 23, 2008 column entitled “Why Get Involved in Your Child’s Education?” appears as if it was entirely lifted, literally verbatim, from the website www.childdevelopmentinfo.com.
It’s either that or Romero is an unaccredited contributor to the website
and he’s simply stealing his own stuff.
Further plagiarism could be found in the ironically titled column “Writing can be a student’s ticket to success” which appeared in the Nov. 24, 2008 edition.
Here’s an example. In Romero’s column, he writes, “A friend recently told me, ‘No one in my company writes anymore. We just send e-mails.”
Compare that with an article by Jane Watson entitled “Writing: An Important Tool in Business” which appears on the www.presentation-pointers.com website.
Watson writes, “For example, a senior executive recently told me, ‘No one in my company writes anymore. We just send e-mails.”
So here are the possibilities. 1.) Watson is an avid reader of The Fifty and ripped off Romero. 2.) Romero’s pen name is Jane Watson. 3.) Unbelievably,
Romero’s “friend” is actually the senior executive Jane Watson
spoke to, or 4.) Romero stole material from Jane Watson and didn’t attribute it.
Oh, this just in. Copyright on that article by Watson is 2006, leading to possibility number 5. Frank Romero could be a time traveler.
Shana Stapp met with The Sheet on Tuesday to discuss her feelings about the superintendent.
Sheet: You have enough going on in your life. Why speak out?
Stapp: We had such a torn district 5-6 years ago, and I ran for the Board to fix that, and I think we really got it fixed with Mike DeRisi as Superintendent healing the riffs and mistrust … Frank Romero has undone this work. He’s broken the district again.
He projects a strong, stable persona, but I found in my personal dealings
with him that that’s not true.”
Stapp said that before she resigned, she asked Romero to make the following changes. She wanted Middle School Principal Gabe Solorio shifted to the High School, High School Principal Mike Agnitch shifted to the Elementary School and Romero, who is serving dually as Superintendent and Elementary School Principal, to take over the Middle School.
Stapp’s reasoning is that Agnitch, not the best people person but a decent administrator (he spearheaded the formation of the Health Science Academy at MHS) should be shifted to Mammoth Elementary, where his lack of people skills are not as crucial.
She felt Solorio’s personality is a better fit for the high school.
Romero, however, didn’t want to hear it. Before he got the Super’s job, Stapp said he was bypassed for the Middle School job in favor of Solorio and had to settle for the Elementary School position. Ever since, she maintains he’s held a grudge and has taken the opportunity to publicly ridicule Solorio on at least two occasions.
Stapp also believes Romero intentionally hid the high school’s STAR testing results from the Board this summer to protect Agnitch.
Chris Hernandez, long-time local and popular mixologist behind the bar at Nevado’s, was injured in a skiing accident on Mammoth Mountain’s Upper Roadrunner this past Tuesday. Hernandez apparently hit a snow-covered lip and was catapulted into the rocks below.
Travis Thompson was first on scene, apparently discovering Hernandez bent like a taco over a rock.
According to postings on a Facebook newsfeed, as of Wednesday, Hernandez was in intensive care and has some fractured vertebrae, cracked ribs, a punctured lung, a broken leg/hip, is black and blue, and is heavily
sedated, but has been alert and communicative since the accident. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which some credit with saving his life.
Hernandez’s neurosurgeon said the fractured vertebrae don’t appear to need surgery. An MRI of the vertebrae area was scheduled, but the surgeon said he feels good about the diagnosis. In addition he said that the head trauma (internal bleeding and pressure) is also not a major concern.
Sometimes it’s good to be hard-headed.
And you know Hernandez is compos mentis by the report that he’s flipping off the nurses anytime the pain medication begins to wear thin.
He is stable, but it won’t be an easy road back to Roadrunner. Instead of back surgery, Hernandez may instead be wearing some type of immobilization
back brace for three months or so.
Good wishes and offers of assistance were popping up on the page, including one from Kate Plost, who donated all her Sunday football tips at Giovanni’s.
At press time, Hernandez was said to be in stable condition and resting reasonably comfortably. Nevado’s is being covered by Janice, so feel free to drop by and sink one to send some extra good karma Chris’s way. -Lunch/Geisel
And from Geisel’s desk …
Mammoth Town Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to grant $630,771 in the second block of Measure R funds, including a $266,000 award to Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access (MLTPA) for ongoing contractual services on local trails, public access and recreation projects. Town Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud said 14 applications were received, requesting $1.4 million in funding.
Stroud said that figure was obviously considerably more than the $631,775 in Measure R sales tax remittance the Town had received from the state, but added that figure also doesn’t yet account for additional revenue that may still be due, or any deductions for over-estimated payments the state may want back. (Great accounting in Sacramento, eh?).
The Town of Mammoth Lakes also was awarded four grants for trails and parks projects, including important matching funds for federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars to get the Mammoth Lakes Trail System’s signage and wayfinding program underway.
“MLTPA staff will work with Town staff to refine our scope of work and specific deliverables, and we look forward to sharing our work program with you in the coming weeks,” said Executive Director John Wentworth. “Congratulations are also in order for Mammoth Trails, the High Sierra Striders, Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and Mammoth Nordic, among others, who were awarded Measure R funds to further their fantastic recreation projects, from avalanche practice beacons to the all-weather track at Whitmore.”
It seems that United Airlines wants some terminal space in Mammoth’s modest little airport. Town Council deliberated approval of a contract with URS to prepare an environmental assessment required by the Federal Aviation Authority, this one specifically addressing noise concerns. (United’s planes are reportedly turbojets, as opposed to Horizon Air’s turboprop-powered aircraft.) URS is the same company that did the assessment regarding Horizon’s flights. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area said it would split the $219,000 fee with the Town, which according to staff will pay for its’ half ($109,000) with funds pilfered from the Tourism reserve account.
Council member Jo Bacon was not enthused. “Let me see if I’ve got this straight. We have a terminal building that’s not paid off, uncertain success with the new flights from the Bay area this year that have yet to be documented and we’re planning to use half of what’s in the Tourism reserve account on an environmental assessment. I don’t think it’s a good time to be doing this,” Bacon stated. Council voted to approve the contract 4-1, with Bacon casting a definitive “nay.”
And The Sheet bids a fond retirement farewell to Town Clerk Anita Hatter, who was recognized by Town Council and staff Wednesday night. Hatter, whose 20 years with the Town of Mammoth Lakes includes 18 years as clerk, said she was privileged to work in a career that was so challenging and rewarding. “I don’t know why anyone would want to run for Town Council. It’s a hard job, harder than most people think. The glory is minimal,” she said. Before making her exit, while she had the floor, Hatter asked everyone to stand. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” she said prior to leading the room in a verse or two from Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”