Chess in the news at any price?
By Wanda Combs and Doug Thompson
A jury of 6 men and 6 women found Jeffrey Martin Young guilty of all four charges in the 2008 attack of a Slaughter’s Supermarket employee and sentenced him to a total of 16 years, eight months in prison.
After a short sentencing hearing, the jury began deliberations on Young’s punishment at 11:24 a.m.
Boyd told the jury that she had trouble returning to work after the attack and was afraid to go shopping alone, adding that parking lots and large crowds bothered her. She said she suffers from vertigo as a result of the attack and takes medication to control it.
Judge Brown ordered a pres-sentencing report and set sentencing for Feb. 8., A jury sentence is a recommendation, but Virginia judges seldom change what the jury sets.
Young, a former chess champion and Eagle Scout, felt he had to slaughter someone at Slaughters Supermarket on January 30, 2008, and that feeling led to an unprovoked, violent attack on a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who worked at the grocery store on U.S. 221 south of Floyd, a forensic psychologist told a jury in circuit court Tuesday.
In closing arguments before the judge sent to the case to the jury shortly before noon, Shortt called the attack “brutal, unprovoked and calculated.”Recalling Young’s prowess as a chess player, Shortt said the defendant was still playing chess with the court and the jury.“But in this case, it is checkmate,” she said.
Employees and customers of Slaughters told the jury they saw Young’s car strike Boyd and then saw him beat her on her head with both the log and club. The employees watched from behind the locked front doors of the store. At one point, several said, he came up to the door and tapped on the glass with a kitchen knife.
The attack left Boyd with scars on her head and vertigo, which she must tread with medication. Her wounds required several stitches and places where he hair has not grown back. In her opening statement, Shortt said Young’s attack on Boyd was unprovoked and said the young man knew what he was doing in the assault.
Young cut off his hand with a chain saw near the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2006. The hand was reattached and he told police the incident was an accident.
A wonderful video of a TV news report on the scandal is included in the abc link below.
Spring ISD’s spending leaves people puzzled
By Wayne Dolcefino
HOUSTON (KTRK) — 13
A summer trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Nice beach. Great diving, and a cruise ship brings you to the island paradise. Check out the onboard casino and the miniature golf course. You didn’t get to go — but you paid the bill. And it’s all in the name of education, Spring ISD style.
Really?” said one parent. We asked, “You didn’t know about the cruise?” “No,” she answered.
But it’s all for the kids.
First Move claims chess can help second and third graders improve math and reading skills, and self-esteem. And all Spring elementary schools now have to teach an hour long class of chess at least once a week in place of other subjects.
Vandi Redfern’s son loves to play. “He loves it,” she said. “And I think it’s a great idea for him to be learning it. It helps him mentally.”
“The deal is somebody got something free,” Spring taxpayer Tom Matthews said.
Dalane Buillion got something free. She’s chief of the Curriculum Department for Spring ISD. The vendor has paid for her to be on the cruise twice. Her family was on board once. Buillion said they paid their way. But no question, she’s a big fan.
Just look at the chess vendor’s website: “Dalane Bouillion, Ed.D. Associate Superintendent, Curriculum & Instructional Services, Spring Independent School District. I give the First Move program the highest ratings possible!”
Buillion said the chess program provides “authentic engagement for students, and allows them to learn via a hands-on approach.”One of Buillion’s jobs is to monitor the 29 chess lessons that are supposed to be taught in all Spring elementary schools. You wouldn’t want to waste that cruise training. But the answer to every to every question we tried to ask Spring administrators on camera is the same — every time.
“Again, I’d like to ask for you to please contact our public relations,” Buillon said. “I know you know our procedures.”We did. Didn’t help. When I asked how we scheduled an interview with an administrator, they just walked away.
“So, Allison, what do you think? Is it working?” “The excitement is there.”Last November, Spring’s School Board got a chess report card of sorts.
“Our campuses completed at least 20 lessons. We expect that the pacing will improve this year.”
Yet our review of the most recent Spring school year shows most Spring teachers never complete the chess curriculum.
“If you have some documentation that allows me to pursue that, hand it over to me please and I will make sure that we pursue it,” said School Board President Mel Smith.
You know where we got the records? From Spring.
At Reynolds Elementary School, less than half of the lessons were even taught. “If it’s not being implemented, then that’s something the district needs to know about,” Smith said.
Look at how much the First Move program has cost so far — nearly $390,000. The lion’s share of the investment are not the little chess sets for the kids. It’s the cruise to Cozumel.
“I know for a fact that teachers have to supply their classrooms with school supplies out of their own income,” said parent Faith Stankovic. So are taxpayers getting rooked?
“They can come up here and learn it here in the school,” Redfern said. “They don’t have to take a cruise to learn how to play chess.” “That’s the program they offer — I don’t know. The answer is I don’t know,” Smith said. “That’s something you’d need to ask administration.”
The chess cruise is just part of the out-of-state travel bill for Spring ISD this summer — nearly $400,000. The travel is part of Spring’s strategy to help the kids. “We’ve had to look at alternative ways of keeping our children engaged in the education process,” Smith said. “We’re losing them.”
And in the middle of our investigation, Dalane Buillion took her staff on a two day retreat during the school week to the Tremont Hotel. “Oh, it must’ve been nice,” parent Connie Szykowny said.
Buillion says the benefit of meeting away from Spring is “to remove oneself from the pace you keep in order to think and reflect on the direction in which you are going.”
Of course you got to eat. We found $6,571 in food and hotel bills for two just days. “I’ve still got to pay school taxes every year like everybody else around here,” said Spring ISD grandparent Guillermo Barboza. “Why do they have to do that?”
The chess lady says a Caribbean cruise is actually cheaper than training teachers in Seattle or Chicago. She does not explain why the teachers can’t be trained here, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By Jennifer Peebles ; October 29th, 2009
When Dolcefino asked folks with the school system about it, he got phony-baloney answers like “call our PR people.” Yeah, right. Call your PR people so you, who screwed up and have now been caught on television screwing up, don’t have to answer for your actions.
first move program information: