Monday, December 1, 2008

Bikers ride for babies

By Megan Tilk

September 21, 2008

What started as 387 bikers in 2004 grew to the 603 bikers who rode through St. Joseph Saturday.

The annual March of Dimes Bikers for Babies ride began at St. Joe Harley-Davidson at noon and ended 65 miles later at Terrible’s St. Jo Frontier Casino.

The March of Dimes is a nonprofit health organization in the fight against prematurity.

“We’re not here because it’s cool, but it is,” said Forrest Schubert, whose family was the ambassador family for a second time.

“We’re not here to show off tattoos or do burnouts ... ” Mr. Schubert said. “One in eight babies are born prematurely, and that is why we’re here.”

During the opening ceremony, a flock of doves was released. For every seven white doves, one black one was in the mix to represent the one baby born prematurely.

Mr. Schubert and his wife’s twin daughters were born prematurely.

For a minimum of $20 a person, bikers enjoyed the ride through St. Joseph and a free lunch.

Marlene Leimen, a small-built 58-year-old, holding a motorcycle helmet said this year was her fourth year to join in on the ride.

“It’s a nice ride. We enjoy getting out and having fun, and it’s for a good cause,” Mrs. Leiman said just before hopping on her bright yellow Sportster and jetting off.

The 603 riders raised more than $20,000 for the March of Dimes.

For more information on the March of Dimes Bikers for Babies, visit

Left to die, she fought to live

By Megan Tilk
September 21, 2008
Photo: Zachary Siebert: News-Press
FAUCETT, Mo. —The 19-year-old’s beaming green eyes and giant smile almost hide the scar that stands as a reminder of a night that could have ended her life.
Kimberly Dejonge was living what seemed a normal life. Residing in Atchison, Kan., and working as a convenience store clerk, she never thought she would fall victim to a criminal.
The night of June 19, she was working at the Stop-N-Go in Winthrop, Mo., when a man entered the store, slit her throat and stabbed her multiple times. The man robbed the store then took off, leaving Ms. Dejonge to die.
Seeing Ms. Dejonge Saturday, one never would have guessed the horror she had suffered were it not for her scars.
Surrounded by family, friends and some unfamiliar faces, Ms. Dejonge shined. Everyone gathered in her honor in hopes of raising enough money to cover mounting medical bills.
Friends of the family George and Laurie Duncan, along with Jim Corkins, hosted a benefit for Ms. Dejonge on a farm just outside of Faucett, Mo., Saturday afternoon.
“Kimmy has always had the greatest personality ever,” Ms. Duncan said, fighting off tears. “Words can’t describe this child.”
For Ms. Dejonge’s older brother, Jason Dejonge, the night was unbelievable.
“My first thought was, ‘She’s dead.’” Mr. Dejonge said.
Mr. Dejonge remembers the doctors discussing the possibility of brain damage while Ms. Dejonge was in surgery. Now he likes to think that he helped play a part in what kept her alive.
“Me, our brother and our grandpa raised her to be tough,” Mr. Dejonge said. “I just hope she doesn’t take it for granted that she’s still alive. It was an eye-opener for everyone.”
Ms. Dejonge remembers that night from a different perspective.
“My first thought was, ‘I’m going to die like this,’” Ms. Dejonge recalls. “The second thought was, ‘I have too much to live for, I’m going to fight to the end,’ and that’s what I did. I just fought as hard as I could.”
Ms. Dejonge has a few more doctor visits in her future but looks to be cleared from physical therapy soon. She also plans to attend Heritage College in Kansas City.
Ms. Dejonge said she doesn’t harbor any hard feelings.
“Every day is a good day to wake up,” Ms. Dejonge said.
Sean E. Cave, 38, of Atchison, Kan., has been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. He remains in the Buchanan County Jail.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Benefit for Kimberly Dejonge can send donations to 2868 S.E. Halleck Road, Faucett, MO 64448.

Popcorn, movie nights featured at Buchanan County Jail

By Megan Tilk       September 20, 2008

After cutting inmates’ desserts from their jailhouse menus in an effort to save money, Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong is now offering popcorn and movie nights.

While touring some neighboring jails, Mr. Strong realized that the Buchanan County Jail could use a fresh coat of paint. He also learned what kept the other jails looking so fresh — inmate incentives. So he began popcorn and movie nights.

Mr. Strong said after maintenance workers repaired the graffiti and paint-chipping damage done over time by inmates, he began allowing non-violent offenders the opportunity for a late night PG-rated movie and popcorn to try to ensure the damage wasn’t done again.

“There’s no nudity, no violence or anything that would agitate or excite the prisoners in anyway,” Mr. Strong said. “If they abuse it, they don’t get it.”

Mr. Strong said in the last six weeks that jailers have conducted the program that he can only remember one time the privilege was taken away.

So why remove privileges such as dessert but grant a movie night?

“When you stop and think about it, it comes down to money,” Mr. Strong said. “Look at this as preventive maintenance.”

Mr. Strong, who is up for re-election in November, believes that cleaner facilities lead to fewer inmate infections, fewer chances of inmates hiding contraband and fewer accidents.

Galen Higdon, Mr. Strong’s Republican opponent, remembers movie nights at the Buchanan County Jail years ago.

“There’s always room for programs to help pass the time,” Mr. Higdon said. “Most of the people that are in there, for the most part, are accused of a crime and not yet convicted.”

“If it’s working, don’t change it, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Mr. Higdon said.