meganstuke (Megan Green Stuke)

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Audit finds lack of controls by Just Food board played role in alleged fraud by Jeremy Farmer

1) Farmer was a rat and I knew it the day I met him, but that doesn't mean that many other people were not completely surprised by his actions. His board was full of people who loved and trusted him. Boards are supposed to provide oversight, but they are also best served to let their ED's do their jobs. This is not an excuse or an indictment of the JF board. Just a bit of information. I presume the board was acting under the auspices of having a capable ED.

2) We continue to support JF because there is a great need. And because Elizabeth Keever, who is the interim director, has done a graceful job of correcting the situation and is an amazing person who will run this important community resource ethically and with great fidelity. Also, she's a brilliant planner and a champion of her clients. No reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We have a functioning and much-needed food clearinghouse in this town. Why start over? The mistakes have been made and righted. Moving forward is the best thing for the clients who count on Just Food.

3) The only piece of this that still has me scratching my head is the firing of the accountant (I believe it was Chris Kohart, who I know to be highly ethical and thorough in his work) without the board's knowledge. I would like to know what kind of financials were presented monthly to the board, where salaries and/or contracting costs were calculated, who did the payroll, and if the finance committee ever met. Because that is where these things would have easily come to light.

As to questions about bank statements: boards do not look at bank statements. They look at financial reports that are prepared by accounting staff and are pulled from accounting software like quickbooks. They look at budgets and forecasts and line items and expenditures, This is why outside controls are necessary. This is why Farmer knew that firing the accountant would protect him at some level, but I still can't understand HOW the board didn't know that the accountant had been terminated. Usually, the accountant would attend finance meetings. Was that absence not noted?

The Just Food board has been transparent, knows where the errors were, and has suffered mightily over all of this. Still, there they are, trying to do what is best for the thousands of residents of Douglas County who count on Just Food for their very existence. Please, let us not lost sight of the forest for the trees. I commend them on their willingness to come forward, to handle the situation, and to take responsibility. This has not been easy on any of them,. professionally or personally. At the end of the day, we are a community of people who want a better Lawrence. We are working toward that goal doggedly. Let us build up those who are taking on the extra work of making that happen.

December 6, 2015 at 6:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence commission split on idea of paving way for food trucks

Do the citizens of this city want food trucks? I'd guess that most of us do. Oh wait, maybe that's just me. I say viva la truck! It might be less expensive than brick and mortar to run but I'd say good on the entrepreneur who knows how to run a business with low overhead. And no, it's not going to stop me from eating at a traditional restaurant in the least. I like to sit down with my food in air conditioning most of the time. Still, a taco or sandwich on the go while I enjoy a Final Friday or other outdoor event? Yes please.

August 21, 2014 at 3:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Delicious/Nutritious: White chocolate for Valentine's Day

So sorry! 12 ounces of chocolate chips - one bag.

February 17, 2014 at 9:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

T.O.Y.S. (Take Our Youth Shopping)

Yes, it actually was the third year. ;)

January 3, 2014 at 2:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

School employee removed from Sunset Hill for possessing weapon

Are we sure it was a gun? The article just said "weapon". Anyone know any more?

October 29, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas to reimpose work requirement for food assistance

What evidence? Of how hungry they are? Of how hard they've tried to get a job? Of their disability? How long might that take? How hungry might they be in the meantime, only for me to find out that gosh darn, that guy really does deserve some help.

September 5, 2013 at 9:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas to reimpose work requirement for food assistance

I also work in a place that supplies a food pantry. Trust me when I say the people there are not loving being in this situation.

Please enlighten me. How am I to serve as a judge and jury to a hungry person who walks through our doors? How are we to establish who has a right to be hungry and who doesn't? We do provide strengths-based case management and we do try to also help people find employment. They are grateful - they are all looking to leave the system behind and be self-sufficient.

I encourage you to come and spend time at The Ballard Center, Penn House, Salvation Army, or Just Food and see for yourself the families who need help. Explain to that mother with a two week old baby just how she should be finding work right now instead of schlepping herself and her two kids to Ballard to get three bags of canned goods.

September 5, 2013 at 2:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County youths making a difference in this Summer of Service

I LOVE our interns! They are so amazingly happy, positive, and most of all, HELPFUL! We are a not-for-profit with limited resources to pay staff, so their help this summer getting us organized and on top of our summer projects has been invaluable. Thank you SO MUCH to United Way, Douglas County Community Foundation, and most of all our amazing interns for everything they've done for us!
-Megan Stuke, Ballard Center

July 22, 2013 at 11:08 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

North Lawrence residents, irked by a rash of thefts, find that many have gone unreported

Our north Lawrence house was burgled 3 years ago. They got all our electronics, all my jewelry, lots of heirlooms. I had a pretty good idea it was some neighbor kids down the street. Cops were at my house about six minutes and I never heard another thing. We sold and moved within the year. Too bad, I loved being a sandrat.

June 3, 2013 at 8:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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