Thursday, April 27, 2017

New report: High paying jobs available for workers without four-year degree

(From the Missouri Community College Association)

A report released today by the Missouri Community College Association outlined three problems with Missouri’s workforce and highlighted several ongoing efforts to address these issues.

The report listed supply and demand gaps for key industries, the availability of middle-skill workers, and the availability of adequate soft skills as the top three gaps in the state’s workforce today. The report cited a number of different studies which analyzed both labor market data, job ads, and employer feedback.

“Employers have said for a while now that the availability of a skilled workforce is the number one challenge that they face,” Rob Dixon, Missouri Community College President and CEO said. “With this report, we wanted to dig deeper and find the specific skills that employers are having difficulty finding.”

According to research reviewed by the association, there is a gap between the number of jobs available and the number of job seekers in several key industries. Health care, business and sales and science and technology each had more than a 9 percent gap between the number of job ads posted in 2016 and the number of registered job seekers.

The second gap outlined in the report had to do with the number of workers qualified to fill jobs that require more than high school but less than a four-year degree. The research reviewed showed that these “middle-skill” jobs make up 53 percent of the labor market, but only 46 percent of Missourians are trained to this level.

Lastly, the report highlighted research demonstrating gaps in the availability of workers with basic soft skills, such as communication, work ethic and critical thinking. In one study that was referenced, more than 60 percent of employers reported difficulty finding workers with adequate soft skills.

The report comes as Missouri’s community colleges are launching several new initiatives, including the new Workforce Development Network, announced last month.

“We know that these gaps exist, and our colleges are working to address them,” Dixon said. “One of the biggest challenges that we face in implementing these solutions is raising awareness among the public.”

Dixon was optimistic that Missouri can close the gaps in the workforce, but referenced one major challenge.

“There are high paying jobs to be had for workers without a four-year degree,” Dixon said. “We need Missourians to understand that, and we need them to enroll at a community college.”

Heavy rainfall, threat for significant flooding for Joplin area beginning Friday night

Threat for a Significant Flooding Event Increasing for Friday
Night into the Weekend...

KSZ073-097-101-MOZ055>058-066>071-077>083-088>098-101>106-282100-
/O.CON.KSGF.FF.A.0002.170429T0000Z-170501T0000Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
Bourbon-Crawford-Cherokee-Benton-Morgan-Miller-Maries-Vernon-
St. Clair-Hickory-Camden-Pulaski-Phelps-Barton-Cedar-Polk-Dallas-
Laclede-Texas-Dent-Jasper-Dade-Greene-Webster-Wright-Newton-
Lawrence-Christian-Douglas-Howell-Shannon-McDonald-Barry-Stone-
Taney-Ozark-Oregon-
Including the cities of Fort Scott, Pawnee Station, Chicopee,
Lone Oak, Pittsburg, Baxter Springs, Lowell, Riverton, Columbus,
Neutral, Sherwin, Stippville, Warsaw, Whitakerville, Cole Camp,
Crockerville, Mora, Edmonson, Lincoln, Versailles, Rocky Mount,
Stover, Laurie, Aurora Springs, Eldon, Lake Ozark, Vichy, NEVADA,
Tiffin, Appleton City, Johnson City, Weaubleau, Hermitage,
Quincy, Wheatland, Cross Timbers, Osage Beach, Camdenton,
Decaturville, Roach, Village of Four Seasons, Fort Leonard Wood,
Laquey, Waynesville, Northwye, Rolla, Kenoma, Lamar,
Cedar Springs, El Dorado Springs, Filley, Arnica,
Caplinger Mills, Stockton, Bolivar, Buffalo, Charity, Foose,
March, Plad, Windyville, Olive, Lynchburg, Lebanon, Plato, Roby,
Bendavis, Huggins, Lake Spring, Bangert, Darien, Gladden, Howes,
Jadwin, Salem, Joplin, Carthage, Greenfield, Lockwood, Meinert,
Springfield, Marshfield, Northview, Seymour, Rogersville, Dawson,
Graff, Mountain Grove, Duncan, Mansfield, Neosho, Aurora,
Mount Vernon, Marionville, Nixa, Christian Center, Ozark,
Selmore, Vanzant, Ava, Goodhope, Rome, Squires, Dogwood, Pomona,
Pottersville, Siloam Springs, South Fork, West Plains,
White Church, Teresita, Winona, Birch Tree, Montier, Anderson,
Noel, Goodman, South West City, Pineville, Rocky Comfort, Monett,
Madry, Cassville, Kimberling City, Crane, Elsey, Indian Point,
Silver Dollar City, Branson, Hollister, Kirbyville,
Edgewater Beach, Forsyth, Ozark Beach, Powersite, Wasola, Thayer,
Alton, Couch, Greer, Thomasville, and Wilderness
847 PM CDT Thu Apr 27 2017

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING
THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING...

The Flash Flood Watch continues for

* Portions of southeastern Kansas and Missouri, including the
  following areas, in southeast Kansas, Bourbon, Cherokee, and
  Crawford. In Missouri, Barry, Barton, Benton, Camden, Cedar,
  Christian, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Greene, Hickory,
  Howell, Jasper, Laclede, Lawrence, Maries, McDonald, Miller,
  Morgan, Newton, Oregon, Ozark, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Shannon,
  St. Clair, Stone, Taney, Texas, Vernon, Webster, and Wright.

* From Friday evening through Sunday evening

* Periods of thunderstorms producing heavy rainfall will occur
  from Friday night through Sunday. Storm total rainfall amounts
  from 3 to 6 inches are expected, with localized amounts of 8
  inches or more likely. It is still unclear where the heaviest
  rainfall will occur...although at this time the most probable
  axis of highest precipitation amounts will be along and south
  of the interstate 44 corridor.

* With soils already saturated as well as creeks, streams, and
  rivers running high, the potential for widespread and
  significant flooding is becoming increasingly likely for
  portions of the Missouri Ozarks. Flooding of some creeks,
  rivers, and low water crossings could last for several days
  after the rain ends. Areas that don`t normally flood could flood
  in this event.

Some main stem rivers that will experience significant rises and
potential flooding include the Elk, Spring, James, Big Piney,
Gasconade, Jacks Fork, Current, Eleven Point, Osage, and
Marmaton.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead
to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action
should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Farmington Republican, former teacher on why fully funding Foundation Formula is so important

(From Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington)

Providing each child in Missouri with a quality education is one of our greatest responsibilities as lawmakers. For me, education is a passion that started years ago when I began my professional career as a high school teacher in the Branson and Farmington school districts. And although I haven’t taught for quite a long time now, the education of our young people has never been far from my mind.

Whether by serving as a past president and member of the Mineral Area College Board of Trustees, chairing the Senate Education Committee or working to expand career and technical education throughout the state, my goal as a senator and public servant has been to not only support education at all levels, but also to make it relevant to the business needs of our communities. Our future success as a state depends entirely on our ability to provide business and industry with a well-trained, highly qualified workforce. We can’t do that if we aren’t adequately educating our students from their very first days in the classroom to their last. This brings us to the issue of funding.

Back in 2005, the Missouri General Assembly passed a new K-12 education funding plan called the Foundation Formula, which uses a complex formula to determine the amount of funding each school district receives. The goal of the formula has always been to ensure every school district has enough funding to provide an adequate education for their students, regardless of where they live. To work the way it was intended, however, the formula needs to be fully funded — something we’ve never once managed to do in the 12 years since its inception. Underfunded, the formula has created a host of other issues the state has had to spend time and resources addressing.

In 2009, the legislature removed a cap within the formula because it was anticipated that lottery proceeds would increase going forward. Instead, we saw the gap between available funding and the amount needed to achieve full funding grow at an alarming rate to the point the entire formula was in jeopardy of collapsing. To save it, the Legislature passed a bipartisan measure last year to make full funding a possibility.

We made the decision that the formula was worth saving, and we did what we needed to do to fix it. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve run out of reasons not to take that last step of fully funding it. This is why, after years of debate and countless conversations that have gone nowhere, I offered an amendment Tuesday to fully fund the formula by adding $45 million in general revenue dollars back into the education budget bill: House Bill 2. With the support of colleagues from both sides of the aisle — ten Republicans and nine Democrats — I’m pleased to say the amendment passed. The money we voted to restore is the same amount originally passed by the House but later removed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Where others have been critical of my decision to offer a budget amendment during floor debate, I say this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get away from politics and to stop merely talking about making education funding a priority. Amending HB 2 on the Senate floor wasn’t a decision I made lightly because I do respect the budget process and the hard work and long hours the budget committee devotes each and every session. However, the budget is a moving, fluid process, and we ultimately have the right as state senators to do what we believe is best. At the end of the day, education is a nonpartisan issue, which is why it speaks volumes there was an almost equal number of Republican and Democratic senators who believed this was the right thing to do for Missouri’s children, and now was the right time to do it.

As one fellow senator said, what happened Tuesday was truly a historic moment in the Missouri Senate. This week was first and foremost about the education of Missouri’s children, but it was also about finally putting a stake into the ground as to what education means to us as lawmakers. As I said during floor debate, there’s a reason the elementary and secondary education budget is included in HB 2 rather than further down the list. It is because education should and must always be one of our top priorities. Fully funding the formula is the right thing to do and is something that will benefit the state for years to come.

Now that the Senate has approved the budget bills, we’ll move to conference with the House to resolve any remaining differences. One important point: because both chambers are in agreement, the Foundation Formula funding provision is non-nonnegotiable and can’t be changed during conference. At this point, only the governor has the ability to alter the funding level, but we hope and trust that won’t happen.

Joplin City Council to vote on artificial turf for Joe Becker, Redden stadiums, tourism study

COUNCIL AGENDA
Monday, May 1, 2017
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers
1.

Call To Order

Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America
2.

Roll Call

3.

Presentations

1.

Proclamation Recognizing Grant Landis In The City Of Joplin

2.

Proclamation Recognizing National Public Works Week May 21 – May 27, 2017

4.

Finalization Of Consent Agenda

5.

Reports And Communications

6.

Citizen Requests And Petitions

7.

Public Hearings

1.

Public Hearing Procedures

2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-256

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District R-2 property as described below and located 2530 Picher Avenue in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-257

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District R-1-PD property as described below and located Southwest Corner of South Even Avenue and West 26th Place in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri
4.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-258

AN ORDINANCE providing for the vacation of 50’ public right-of-way easement located 27th Street between Cunningham Avenue and McCoy Avenue, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
5.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-259

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District C-O-PD and including in District R-3 property as described below and located Southwest Corner of 27th Street and McCoy Avenue in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
6.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-260

AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District C-1 property as described below and located Southeast Corner of 44th Street and Indiana Avenue in the City of Joplin, Newton County, Missouri.
8.

Consent Agenda

1.

Minutes Of The April 17, 2017 City Council Meeting

2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-255

AN ORDINANCE establishing grands and accepting the Plat of CEDAR POINT SUBDIVISION PLAT located Southwest Corner of South Even Avenue and West 26th Place, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri
9.

Resolutions

10.

Ordinances - Emergency

1.

COUNCIL BILL 2017-002

AN ORDINANCE authorizing and approving a Letter of Intent between the State of Missouri and the City of Joplin outlining the material terms and conditions for the proposed exchange of properties located at the corner of South Wall Avenue and West 8th Street in Joplin owned by the State of Missouri, and the City’s property in the 700 block of South Wall Avenue; authorizing the City Manager to execute said Letter of Intent on behalf of the City; and, containing an emergency clause.
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-450

AN ORDINANCE approving a Construction Agreement by and between Stiles Roofing Inc. and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for the amount of One Hundred Fifteen Thousand, One Hundred Eighteen Dollars and no Cents ($115,118.00), for Fluid Applied Roof Restoration at the Joplin City Health Department facility; and, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and, containing an emergency clause.
3.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-508

AN ORDINANCE amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 as adopted by Ordinance 2016-177 on October 17, 2016, to adjust appropriations and containing an emergency clause.
11.

Ordinances - First Reading

1.

COUNCIL BILL 2017-604

This Council Bill seeks permission for the City Manager to sign an agreement between the City of Joplin and Design Workshop of Aspen, Colorado for the development of an Independent Tourism Study of the Greater Joplin Tourism Region.
2.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2017-605

AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Sprinturf, LLC for the purpose of installing synthetic turf at Joe Becker and Wendell Redden Baseball Stadiums for the not to exceed price of Four Hundred Sixty One Thousand Three Hundred Sixty Three and 00/100 Dollars ($461,363.00); amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 as adopted by Ordinance 2016-177 on October 17, 2016; and, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.
12.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading

13.

Unfinished Business

14.

New Business

1.

News From The PIO

2.

Closed Session

Vote to go into closed session, which shall pertain to leasing, purchasing or sale of real estate by a public governmental body where public knowledge of the transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefore as set forth in Section 610.021 (2) RSMo, as amended, 2016. This meeting, record, and vote to be closed to the extent provided by law. The City Council shall adjourn at the end of the session. 

Little Rock pimp sentenced to 15 years in prison

(From the Justice Department)

Patrick C. Harris, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today Dana “Big Face” Deffenbaugh, 36, of Little Rock, was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment for sex trafficking of a minor.

United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes also sentenced Deffenbaugh, who was known to prostitute multiple women, to 10 years of supervised release.

Deffenbaugh was indicted on two counts of sex trafficking on January 6, 2015. On September 19, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking of a minor.

“Sex trafficking is a problem throughout the United States,” Harris said. “The exploitation of a minor causes irreparable harm that is lasting. Even though this sentence does not erase the pain that the defendant has caused, it does send a strong message. There is no hesitation on our part to prosecute Deffenbaugh and criminals like him as vigorously as we can.”

The investigation began in December 2014, when the North Little Rock Police Department received a tip that a minor was being held against her will at a hotel and forced to prostitute by someone known as “Big Face.” The 17-year-old had been introduced to Deffenbaugh, who immediately told her “you my ho” and “you work for me now.” He then supplied the minor with drugs, had sex with her, and told her things such as she “does not exist no more” and “you have no outside life.”

Further investigation revealed that the minor and other female victims who worked for Deffenbaugh were forced to have sex with men who located their services on the now-defunct website Backpage.com. Each female saw an average of 15 customers a day, sometimes as many as 25, often with little to no sleep. The women then had to turn their money over to Deffenbaugh or face beatings. Deffenbaugh referred to himself as “Big Face” in reference to “big face hundred dollar bills.”

“Today’s sentencing of Deffenbaugh should make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that engaging in child prostitution and human trafficking of a minor is intolerable and unacceptable,” Upchurch said. “I appreciate the collaborative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office and the North Little Rock Police Department.”

This investigation was conducted by the FBI and the North Little Rock Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Allison W. Bragg and Kristin Bryant.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Frozen appetizer production plant to bring 220-240 jobs to Joplin

(From Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.)

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., a leading company in the frozen food industry, will support the expansion of its frozen foods business in North America by building a new frozen appetizer production plant in Joplin, Mo., the company announced today. The new facility, which is located near its existing plant in Carthage, will open in late 2017.

The company also announced that it has entered into a sales agreement to transition ownership of its Piedmont, Mo., food manufacturing facility to Today's Food, LLC, an affiliate of Tasty Brands, LLC, a U.S.-based food manufacturer of frozen and refrigerated food products.

"With the new facility in Joplin and our current Carthage plant, Ajinomoto Windsor will be centralizing our Missouri operations to create efficiency for suppliers, end users and management," said the Ajinomoto Windsor Executive Team. "The Piedmont community has supported us for more than 20 years, and we are confident it will offer the same support to Today's Food, LLC."

Frozen appetizers is a food category that grows by 5-8% each year. The $39 million Joplin plant will bring between 220-240 news jobs to the community.

"We are very excited to announce 220-240 new quality jobs for Joplin," noted Governor Greitens, "That's 220-240 families who will now have access to great work. We have been fighting for every single job and this investment in Joplin shows that the world is recognizing that Missouri is open for business."

Ownership of the Piedmont facility is scheduled to transfer to Today's Foods, LLC in early 2018. During this transition, Ajinomoto Windsor's Piedmont facility will remain open and in full operation and customers will see no impact in their service.

"We have been very impressed by the Piedmont community and the employees at the facility," said David Horowitz, President of both Today's Food, LLC, and Tasty Brands, LLC. "We look forward to working with the Ajinomoto Windsor team to smoothly transition the facility to our Missouri-based entity, Today's Food, LLC."

About Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.
With a vision to create meaningful food experiences through high quality ingredients and innovative technologies, Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., is a leader in the frozen food industry. We are committed to providing consumers nutritious and premium meals that honor our rich history of diverse ethnic brands. From Asian, Italian, or Mexican flavors – Ajinomoto Windsor satisfies consumers varied tastes with its broad palate of products. It is our mission to create memorable experiences through our meals, and to ensure that our food not only tastes great, but feels great. To learn more about our dedication to bringing quality meals to your table, visit www.ajinomotowindsor.com.

Felony fraud, tax charges filed against JB's Piano Bar owner

A Missouri Department of Revenue investigation into tax and bank records of Joplin businessman Jon Buck has resulted in the filing of charges of filing false sales tax returns and failure to pay sales tax due.

Twenty felony counts were committed with the intent of defrauding the state of Missouri, according to the probable cause statement.

A 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 5, arraignment is scheduled for Buck, 35, before Judge John Nicholas in Jasper County Circuit Court Division 4 in Carthage.

The probable cause statement, written by is printed below:

INVESTIGATIVE FACTS 

1. I am currently assigned to an investigation of Jon Thomas Buck (hereinafter referred to as Buck) and JB's Piano Bar LLC (hereinafter referred to as JBS Piano Bar).

 2. Buck of JB's Piano Bar, filed Articles of Organization for a Limited Liability Company with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office on September 6, 2010, and received Charter Number #LC1083302. 

According to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the company is still active as of the time this probable cause statement was written. 

3. The Missouri Department of Revenue Integrated Tax System (MITS) files shows that on or about October 16, 2010, Buck, member/owner of JB's Piano Bar, applied for a sales tax license and was assigned Missouri Tax Identification Number 20933789 (sales tax license).

4. JBsPiano Bar is a retail establishment which serves food and alcohol and offers various forms, of entertainment. The Missouri Department of Revenue Individual Income Tax System (MINITS) files show that Buck filed federal and state of Missouri income tax returns, for tax years 2014 and 2015. 

For the tax year 2014, Buck completed a federal 1040 Schedule C form for JB’s Piano Bar. According to Buck's federal income tax return, Buck reported that JB's Piano Bar had two hundred eighty seven thousand three hundred thirty seven dollars ($287,337.00) in gross sales. For the tax year 2015, Buck completed a federal 1040 Schedule C form for JB's Piano Bar. 

According to Buck's federal income tax return, Buck reported that JB's Piano Bar had four hundred twenty two thousand eight hundred forty seven dollars ($422,847.00) in gross sales. In reviewing sales tax returns filed quarterly for JB's Piano Bar between the quarterly periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016, I discovered discrepancies when comparing them to federal income tax returns filed by Buck. 

In June 2016, I issued subpoenas to Mid-Missouri Bank-and Southwest Missouri bank requesting financial documents pertaining to Buck and his associated businesses including, JB's Piano Bar. 

During my analysis, I located a small-business checking account (Acct #4004) held at Mid-Missouri bank for JB's Piano Bar. Buck was listed as an authorized signer on the account. This account was opened in September 2013. When reviewing the monthly statements, I observed numerous deposits from Heartland Payment Systems, a credit card processing company. 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2013, I discovered forty four thousand seven hundred sixty four dollars and Sixty-nine cents ($44,764.69) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty thousand four hundred fifty seven dollars and twenty-two cents ($20,457.22) in taxable sales, a difference of twenty four thousand three hundred seven dollars and forty-seven cents ($24,307.47). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2014, I discovered fifty five thousand five hundred forty four dollars and eighty-three cents I ($55,544.83) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported sixteen thousand eight hundred thirty three dollars and ninety-four cents ($16,833.94) in taxable sales, a difference of thirty eight thousand seven hundred ten dollars and eighty-nine cents ($38,710.89).

For the quarterly sales tax period ending June 30, 2014, I discovered forty one thousand five hundred ten dollars and eighty-eight cents ($41,510.88) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported sixteen thousand five hundred twenty two dollars and twenty one cents ($16,522.21). in taxable sales, a difference of twenty four thousand nine hundred eighty eight dollars and sixty-seven cents ($24,988.67). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending September 30, 2014, I discovered thirty one thousand seven hundred fifty one dollars and forty-seven cents ($31,751.47) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twelve thousand eight hundred seventy four dollars and fifty-three cents ($12,874.53) in taxable sales, a difference of eighteen thousand eight hundred seventy six dollars and ninety-four cents ($18,876.94). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2014, I discovered thirty three thousand three hundred eighty three dollars and fifty-two cents ($33,383.52) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty thousand one hundred eighty six dollars and fifty-two cents ($20,186.52) in taxable sales, a difference of thirteen thousand one hundred ninety seven dollars ($13,197.00). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2015, I discovered sixty one thousand three hundred dollars and fifty-six cents ($61,300.56) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty one thousand seven hundred eighty five dollars ($21,785.00) in taxable sales, a difference of thirty nine thousand five hundred fifteen dollars and fifty-six cents ($39,515.56). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending June 30, 2015, I discovered one hundred sixteen thousand three hundred ninety five dollars ($116,395.00) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty four thousand one hundred ninety two dollars and thirty nine cents ($24,192.39) in taxable sales, a difference of ninety two thousand two hundred two dollars and Sixty-one cents ($92,202.61). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending September 30, 2015, I discovered one hundred seven thousand one hundred fifty five dollars ($107,155.00) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported fifteen thousand seven hundred sixty two dollars and thirty-three cents ($15,762.33) in taxable sales, a difference of ninety one thousand three hundred ninety two dollars and sixty-seven cents ($91,392.67).

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2015, l discovered seventy six thousand one hundred ninety one dollars and forty-seven cents ($76,191.47) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported eighteen thousand eight hundred seventy five and fifty-three cents ($18,875.53) in taxable sales, a difference of fifty seven thousand three hundred fifteen dollars and ninety-four cents ($57,315.94). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2016, I discovered seventy eight thousand one hundred forty nine dollars and ninety-five cents ($78,149.95) in taxable sales. According-to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported nineteen thousand four hundred fifty six dollars ($19,456.00) in taxable sales, a difference of fifty eight thousand six hundred ninety three dollars and ninety-five cents ($58,693.95). 

On July 12, 2016, I attempted to contact Buck had JB's Piano Bar, but the business was closed. I left a message with an employee of another business Buck owned and requested that Buck contact me. A short time later, l received a phone call from Buck. I briefly explained to Buck that there are inconsistencies in his income tax returns and sales tax returns filed for JB’S Piano Bar. l asked Buck what credit card processing company he used for JBsPiano Bar and he stated Heartland Payment Systems. 

Buck stated he would review his business records and contact me back. On July 14, 2016, I received another call from Buck. During this phone interview, we discussed the inconsistencies with the taxable sales reported on his quarterly sales tax returns and the gross sales reported on his income tax returns. I asked Buck if he had lowered the amount of taxable sales on his sales tax returns in order to pay less sales tax. Buck stated, "I have done that once or twice. I’m going to be real honest; I'm not going to lie to you."

Buck has willfully, with intent, defrauded the state of Missouri, by falsifying ten (10) quarterly sales tax returns for the quarterly periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016 and failed. to pay sales tax owed to the state of Missouri for ten (10) quarterly sales tax periods ending ’ December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016.

The probable cause statement ends with an assessment of how much money Buck allegedly failed to pay the state in sales tax:

As a result of the criminal acts that Buck committed, the state of Missouri has incurred a loss in the amount of seventy eight thousand five hundred ninety five dollars and twenty-eight cents ($78, 595.28). This total includes a calculation of sales tax due based off previous sales tax returns filed, analysis of bank records, interest, penalties for failure to file/pay quarterly sales tax and fraud penalties for quarterly sales tax periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016.

State audit report finds disorganized records, missing money in Ferguson Municipal Court

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of the Ferguson Municipal Court in St. Louis County. The audit found a court in disarray with disorganized case files, including some housed in an unsecured storage garage. This caused water and mold damage to many of the court records. Uncooperative and at times combative court and city personnel caused multiple delays that prevented audit staff from gaining access to the files necessary to complete their review. The audit also found $26,000 in illegal fees charged to citizens.

"Considering the lack of cooperation my staff experienced in their official roles as representatives of my office, I can only imagine how average citizens are treated when they are trying to get information about their cases or resolution on serious issues," Auditor Galloway said.

The audit found court records stored in several locations within the city, including a storage garage, the joint police and court building, and city hall. Documents were housed in areas that were not secure and there was no process in place to track the location of the records. Many of the records included personal information that should be protected, such as social security numbers, birthdays, and driver license numbers.

Records storage issues caused multiple problems during the course of the audit, as city and court personnel claimed the files could not be accessed or that documents were too damaged by mold and water to read. During this time no effort was made to move the files to a different location in order to prevent further damage. After months of negotiations, the State Auditor's Office was forced to take the unprecedented step of hiring a mold remediation company to recover and preserve available records in order to complete the audit. Some of the requested files were never recovered, presumably because they were lost or misplaced. This made it difficult to account for all fines, fees and costs submitted to the court.

"My forensic audit team was able to piece together partial records and receipts to indicate that at least $1400 in cash was missing, but the careless way these records were kept may prevent us from ever knowing the total amount," Auditor Galloway said.

Physical storage concerns were compounded by an equally disorganized electronic case management system. The computer system did not include necessary safeguards to prevent inappropriate adjustments or to ensure only authorized staff could access court records.

The audit also identified $26,000 in illegal fees paid by citizens over the course of a year, including a $15 letter fee and a $50 warrant recall fee. The court also charged a $75 non-prosecution fee against anyone who made an initial report, but then did not go forward with charges.

The Ferguson Municipal Court received an overall performance rating of poor, the lowest rating available. Due to the low rating, the State Auditor's Office will return later this year to conduct a follow-up review. A complete copy of the report is available online here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Former EN superintendent announces retirement, fails to show at board meeting

Former East Newton superintendent Jim Hinson, who suddenly announced his retirement as superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District last week, failed to show at tonight's SMSD Board of Education meeting.

Board members would not give reporters any reason for Hinson's absence. Hinson, a Carthage native, who at one time served as a principal in the Carthage R-9 School District, is also a former superintendent at Greenfield.

The report is from Kansas City's 41 Action News.

Ed Emery: Prescription drug bill is unreasonable search and seizure

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

A few weeks ago the Senate passed a version of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), Senate Bill 74 and sent it to the House of Representatives. That bill appears to have been deliberately sidetracked while the House version, House Bill 90 - in my opinion a more invasive and unconstitutional version - was perfected by the Senate last Thursday and is currently in conference to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. I have opposed and voted against both bills but favor the Senate version because it is far less susceptible to abuse or unlawful access.

House Bill 90 and 68 (a single bill with two numbers) creates an unconstitutional database that by the collection of personal data, violates the fundamental right of Missourians to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures as stated in Article I, Section 15 of the Missouri Constitution. I believe it also violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that the citizens of this state shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order for the state to search any place or seize any person or thing, there must be probable cause for the issuance of a warrant. This bill, however, allows the seizing of personal information of every citizen who has been dispensed certain prescribed controlled substances without any probable cause or the issuance of a warrant.

The citizens of this state have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prescription records and the PDMP is, in essence, a form of surveillance that violates this expectation of privacy. The state should not collect this private information without any basis that a crime has been committed. It flies in the face of the fundamental precepts of state and federal constitutional protections. These precepts are designed to protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures where there is no probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.

Additionally, available data confirms that state PDMPs do not effectively reduce the number of opioid overdose fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the number of state PDMPs increased from 16 to 49 between 2000 and 2015, prescription drug-related deaths during that same period grew from 7,885 to 29,728. Further, Missouri is the only state without PDMP, which, if such programs were successful, would suggest that Missouri would have the highest number of drug deaths per capita. However, Missouri actually ranks 22nd, meaning that 21 states with PDMPs have higher rates of prescription drug deaths than Missouri with none. Clearly, there is no favorable correlation to support implementing a PDMP in Missouri. One possible reason for the growing numbers of prescription drug-related deaths in states with a PDMP may be the predictable shift from opioids to the least-cost alternative, heroin, which is even more deadly.

Finally, it has been consistently reported that a reasonable estimate of the doctor-shopping portion of opioid abuse is roughly three percent. If Missouri demands full PDMP participation by doctors (100 percent), the maximum impact possible would be 3 percent, which cannot justify the overreach of government and the invasion of privacy created by House Bills 90 and 68. States that do not mandate doctor participation, are seeing far less than full participation which means those states may be impacting less than one percent of the doctor-shopping problem.

In summary, the proposed legislation creating the PDMP is an unconstitutional and unreasonable search and seizure of our personal prescription records and the establishment of PDMPs in other states has not stemmed the tide of opioid abuse sufficient to justify the search and seizure of our prescription records. Shouldn’t we be asking the question – what justifies this clear growth of the power and reach of government? Each of us can hold to our own opinion, but we cannot have our own version of the facts.