Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Billy Long spokeswoman: You will have to ask someone else if he was in Las Vegas October 1

I was hasty Tuesday when I published a post questioning whether Seventh District Congressman Billy Long was in Las Vegas on October 1, the day of the mass murder of people attending a Jason Aldean concert.

As I noted, I contacted Long's Washington office and was told I would have to talk to his press secretary who was at lunch.

I e-mailed my question and did not receive any answer yesterday.

I should have waited.

The e-mail arrived this morning and answered my main question- my main question was not going to be answered.

This is the entirety of Press Secretary Hannah Smith's response:

This is a campaign related question, so you will need to speak with Congressman Long’s campaign team.

I don't think so. 

If Billy Long's press secretary can't answer a simple question about whether or not the congressman was in Las Vegas on the day of the shooting, I would say that speaks volumes. I await with interest the January campaign finance report when we will see if Billy Long was in Las Vegas that day, or someone from Billy Long's campaign who had to go to Vegas for important campaign business.

Has anyone ever noticed how few campaign contributions Long receives during these Vegas junkets?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Joplin man on probation for failure to register as sex offender is back in prison

A federal judge today ordered Urban Danley, 34, Joplin, on probation for failure to register as a sex offender, to be held without bond while awaiting a probation revocation hearing.

The document filed by the government asking that Danley's probation be revoked was not included in available court documents, but he was less than four months into a five-year probationary record when the motion was filed.

Court records show Danley is a Tier 3 offender who is required to register four times a year for the rest of his life.

The original conviction occurred in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where he was convicted in 2003 at age 20, of lewd molestation. The victim was six years old.

Danley's record was spelled out in a detention motion filed November 4, 2015, in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri:

DANLEY last registered on July 29, 2015, in Cherokee County, Kansas. DANLEY registered his address as 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY signed the registration paperwork stating he understood his sex offender registration requirements. DANELY also initialed on line 17 that he understood failing to register after traveling across a State line is a violation of federal law and that he could be sentenced up to ten years in prison. 

On July 9, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin, Missouri Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the police that he was staying at the Budget Inn in Joplin, Missouri. 

On July 11, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street in Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY was arrested for obstruction of justice and/or resisting an arrest. 

On August 14, 2015, DANLEY went to the Social Security office located at 4102 South Arizona Avenue, Joplin, Missouri to request a new Social Security benefits card. DANLEY requested the card be sent to 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. 

On September 14, 2015, DANLEY was arrested for assault by the Joplin Police Department in the area of 531 Kentucky Avenue, Joplin, Missouri. 

On September 22, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin Police Department at Ewert Park located at 900 East 5th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the interviewing officer that he was currently homeless. 

On October 2, 2015, DANLEY contacted the Social Security Office and changed his address to 102 East 2nd Street, Joplin, Missouri. 

On October 5, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department for obstruction and failing to register as a sex offender. DANLEY told the arresting officer that he was homeless. 

On the same date DANLEY was interviewed by Detective Charles Root with the Joplin Police Department. DANLEY told Detective Root that he was staying at his registered address of 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY further stated that he stays at this address with his girlfriend, Susan Wise. DANLEY stated that he was in Joplin to visit his sister, Jackie Danley.

Upon further questioning, DANLEY admitted that he stays in Joplin three to four days a week. On October 6, 2015, Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force Officer (TFO) Brian Martin interviewed Susan Wise at the Joplin Police Department. Wise told TFO Martin that she has been with DANLEY for approximately one month. Wise further stated that the entire time they have been together they have resided in Joplin, Missouri and at no time have they been in Kansas.

Anthony Cable contacted Robin Taylor with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office. Taylor is the sex offender registrar for Jasper County, Missouri. Taylor stated that DANLEY last registered on July 7, 2004. 

DUSM Cable also contacted Stacey Hinson with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Hinson is the sex offender registrar for Missouri. Hinson stated the last registration information they had for DANLEY showed he moved to Kansas on December 20, 2005. 

On October 15, 2015, DUSM Cable and Detective Root interviewed DANLEY. DANLEY admitted the fact that he was a convicted sex offender and required to register for life. DANLEY also admitted that he has been living in Joplin, Missouri since approximately June of 2015. DANLEY admitted that he signed his registration requirements that he understood his requirement to register if he moved to another state. DANLEY further stated that he did not know he was required to register if he was homeless.

A sentencing memorandum filed January 26 by the U. S. Attorney said that Danley claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, schizophrenia and bi-polar depression and he has been unemployed since 2000, though he did receive a monthly disability payment from the government.

Danley's problems could have been taken care of by medication, but Danley did not take it, according to the sentencing memorandum, which said he preferred to self-medicate.

His self-medication of choice, according to the memorandum, was meth, which he said he used daily.

Was Billy Long in Las Vegas when mass murder occurred?

Aa far as our Seventh District Congressman is concerned, there is no good answer to the question.

Was Billy Long in Las Vegas October 1 when 59 people were murdered while attending a Jason Aldean concert.

There were two possible answers to that question- yes or no- so I was surprised when a spokeswoman from the congressman's Joplin office came up with a third.

I noted that Long's quarterly financial report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission showed that he had been in Las Vegas with an expenditure of $5,496.12 to the Wynn Vegas Hotel for lodging. on September 29, "so was he still in Las Vegas on October 1?

Her answer took me surprise. The congressman had not gone to Vegas, someone else had gone.

I wanted to ask a follow-up question or two. Is Billy Long in the habit of spending $5,496.12 in campaign money for someone else to take a trip to Las Vegas (for campaign purposes, of course), not to mention the $1,179.66 expenditure for a meal at Craftsteak in Las Vegas or $288.15 for another meal at Michael Mina's restaurant, which according to its advertising has the "best seafood in Vegas," but she did not give me a chance.

"That's all I can tell you," she said. "You'll have to talk to someone at our Washington office," and our conversation ended before I could even ask for the number.

Fortunately, I already had the number, so I called, identified myself (as I had during the Joplin conversation) and asked the same question. As expected, I was told I would have to talk to the media spokesperson who was "out to lunch."

That was approximately six hours ago. I am not expecting to receive a call, though there is always a possibility I will be pleasantly surprised.

As for my original question, I still do not have an answer.

I searched the Congressman's tweets for the day of the shooting and the following day. On his official Twitter site, he wrote, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible act."

The FEC document covers the dates through September 30.

Odds are, we will have to wait until the next quarterly report is filed in mid-January to know whether Long or someone representing Long was in Vegas October 1.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There he goes again- Greitens headed on trade mission to Europe

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens will depart today for a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The trip will include meetings with government officials, business executives, and workforce development leaders.

The Governor chose these nations for his second trade mission because of the great opportunity that the state of Missouri has in these markets to increase trade, promote job growth, attract investment to Missouri, and create educational and cultural ties.

“Our goal is to win more jobs for Missouri families and sell more Missouri products around the world,” said Governor Greitens.

Approximately 15 percent of Missouri’s nearly $14 billion worth of exports are destined for Europe. The UK is Missouri’s 8th largest export destination, and Switzerland is Missouri’s 17th largest. While in Europe, the Governor will meet with many industry leaders, with a particular focus on the financial and professional service and manufacturing sectors.

The trip will be paid for by the non-profit Hawthorn Foundation.

Trial date set for former Sonic supervisor charged with statutory sodomy, Alred remains free on bond

Since his arrest in January on felony statutory sodomy charges, former Rangeline Sonic supervisor Chris Alred, Alred was stopped by a Sarcoxie police officer August 28 for his sixth driving while intoxicated charge and Joplin Police filed assault charges against him for an unprovoked attack on me at my apartment on September 11.

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office asked that his bond be revoked following the August 28 DWI arrest.

Alred was in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin today where his lawyer, Michael Roberts asked for a continuance and received one, had a motions hearing and trial date set, and then Judge Dean Dankelson permitted Alred to leave the building, remaining free on bond while awaiting trial.

Online court records indicate Alred's trial is scheduled for April 2-4, 2018 with the criminal motion hearing set for 9 a.m. March 12.

Alred's statutory sodomy charge came after he allegedly forced a teenage Sonic carhop to perform a sexual act on him in March 2016. That act is also mentioned in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Rangeline Sonic by the carhop, which is scheduled to go to mediation next Monday.

The motion to revoke Alred's bond came after his DWI arrest, which occurred with his eight-year-old daughter in the car with him and also led to him attempting to drive off and flee from the police. The following information was provided in the Monday, September 11, Turner Report, which apparently angered Alred enough that he decided to do something about it:

A primary reason for revoking the bond, it is made clear in the motion is Alred's long history of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement for Alred's most recent arrest, shows that he has pleaded guilty to DWI charges five times, along with another guilty plea to amended excessive blood alcohol content:

-Pleaded guilty April 20, 2012 in Jasper County Circuit Court for a November 2, 2011 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2012 in Newton County Circuit Court for a December 1, 2010 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a September 6, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a May 12, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty February 22, 2007 in Neosho Municipal Court for a July 3, 2006 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2, 2006 in Jasper County Circuit Court to excessive blood alcohol content for a February 23, 2005 arrest

Online court records indicate Alred also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in 2003 in Jasper County Circuit Court after being arrested by the Jasper Police Department, marijuana possession and defective equipment in Bates County Circuit Court in 2008 after being arrested by the Highway Patrol, and an amended charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia in Jasper County Circuit Court in 2004.

Alred's fourth and fifth DWI arrests were the ones that finally put him in prison. Online court records show Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Mouton sentenced Alred to five years in prison on April 20, 2012. Newton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Perigo sentenced Alred to four years in prison to run concurrently with his Jasper County sentence on May 21, 2012.

It is not clear how much time Alred spent in prison or how a man with a prison record, five DWIs, and multiple drug arrests came to be hired by Sonic or to be placed in a position of supervising underage car hops.

Previous posts

Sunday, October 15, 2017

FEMA rejects $70 million of Joplin R-8 claims

The full extent of the overspending that took place during the C. J. Huff Administration is finally beginning to take shape.

An Associated Press investigation posted today says that FEMA officials have denied $70 million of reimbursement requests for Joplin R-8 building projects, including one last month.

Reporter David A. Lieb wrote, "The key issue is whether FEMA underestimated the cost to rebuild the schools or whether the district is stretching FEMA rules to try to grasp as much cash as possible for its improved facilities."

When the Turner Report submitted a Sunshine Law request earlier this year asking for documentation of correspondence between FEMA and the Joplin R-8 School District since the beginning of 2016, I was told that the paperwork would fill up numerous boxes and I would be charged an exorbitant amount not only for the copies, but also for all of the research and manpower that it would take to collect the documents and make sure I was not getting any I was not supposed to be receiving. A revised Sunshine Law request was made for copies of denial letters FEMA sent to the district over that time period.

One reason for all of the paperwork, according to the materials I received is that the district tried to overwhelm FEMA with hundreds of pages of documents that had little or nothing to do with the requests.

The FEMA denials presented a clear picture of deadlines for submitting requests that were missed by more than a year, deliberate attempts to ignore agreements with the federal agency and build things the way district officials wanted them built and the hiring of an outside consultant for $3 million on a no-bid contract, an arrangement that continued by allowing the consultant to charge far more than the contractual amount.

The Turner Report investigation also showed that R-8 officials asked FEMA to reimburse the district $44,000 for the planning of work that was never done at Emerson Elementary.

An audio recording revealed that C. J. Huff was already planning to bypass the original arrangement with FEMA when it came to construction of the new schools and Huff acknowledged that the federal agency would not cover any costs except for those that would restore the schools to cover the same area they covered prior to the tornado.

From the May 1, 2017 Turner Report:

During a February 2012 meeting with faculty at East Middle School, former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff explained the upcoming $62 million bond issue, as well as the way FEMA funding worked.

Though the new East Middle School would be bigger than the one that was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 tornado, FEMA would only pay for the cost of rebuilding East the way it was.

"Just that square footage," Huff said. "Not the additional square footage. They won't pay for an upgrade, I don't think, unless we do some arm-twisting." (Note: Huff's comments are featured in the podcast below.)

The efforts at arm twisting on the East project, Joplin High School and the other new buildings was done late in nearly every instance and was done after the construction work had already been completed.

Though the district continues to file appeals at different levels of FEMA, the odds of success are remote. An Associated Press analysis indicates that FEMA denies two-thirds of final appeals.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nancy Hughes: Prayer in the gym

“If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV)

I truly love working out. Well, except legs day. I hate legs day. But all the rest of the time I love it! And I will admit that almost every time I work out, I pray for the strength to get through the next set of burpees or squats.

But early one morning as I was lifting and praying, the prayers were not for me but for a friend of mine. I had received a message that Sam was struggling with his cancer; it had roared back and he was in a huge battle.

So as I walked into the gym, I was praying for him. For strength and courage. For a peace in knowing that God was beside him. That his heart would be open to Jesus as never before.

When I saw Al, someone who hates legs day almost as much as I do, I asked him to be praying for Sam. I shared a bit of what was going on and Al immediately said “Sure I will pray.” But he went one step further.

As I was warming up, he asked a question: “Would you like to pray now?” Wow! Without a doubt my answer was yes!

So in a fitness gym, surrounded by equipment designed to make one stronger, we came together before the Strongest Power in the universe in prayer.

He prayed for Sam’s heart, for his health, that someone would come into his hospital room and gently share the love of Jesus. For peace in the battle. And he praised the Lord for His control in every situation in life.

Some things didn’t change that morning. I still hate legs day and I despise burpees. But God, the Creator of the Universe, leaned down and met His children in a gym as they knelt before Him. Because He is always with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even on legs day.

Father, thank you for hearing us when we cry out to you, no matter where we are in this world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever thought that God only heard your prayers if you were in church or at a Bible study?


Journal all the places you normally pray.

Can you think of places where you don’t usually pray?

Journal those places as well and make an effort to be praying and praising at those times, as well. For example, mowing the lawn, while you are at a beauty salon, waiting in a long line at the grocery store.

Power Verses

Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV) “If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 66:19 (NIV) “. . . but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Psalm 116:1 (NIV) “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing and information about her books, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

Links provided for top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week

More scandal for the city of Joplin and this one did not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the situation. The top post for the Turner Report this week was the revelation that $170,000 was missing from the Hope Valley CID.

Will the next big story be that the City of Joplin is filing a lawsuit against the consultant to get back the money. That certainly worked well with Wallace Bajjali.

The top posts and links to them are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. City of Joplin: $170,000 missing from Hope Valley CID

2. Federal lawsuit claim: Former East Newton superintendent's inaction led to sexual assault of eighth grade girl

3. Blasting News article: Father arrested, investigation continues as baby found dead in the woods

4. Kirksville Republican: We have invested a lot of money in the NFL and we are not receiving a good return on our investment

5. Blasting News article: Florida couple traded sex with child for drugs

6. Cox Health signs agreement to buy Barton County Memorial Hospital

7. Missouri adoptees will soon be able to request original birth certificates

8. Josh Hawley: Claire McCaskill has been in Washington forever (I've been in Jefferson City for nine months)

9. Hartzler: Let's give federal money to Christian organizations to handle opioid crisis

10. Hawley auditions for Koch Brothers funding

The top posts for Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries can be found below the advertisement.
The Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs are reaching more people all of the time and I need your help to continue to not only provide the same level of coverage, but to increase the kind of news and hard-hitting investigative reporting and commentary that can't be found from any other Joplin area news source. Please consider taking a stand for independent journalism and subscribing or making a contribution of any size to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin. You can use the PayPal buttons below or send your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thank you for your consideration.

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Inside Joplin

1. Northpark Mall to be closed on Thanksgiving

2. Joplin man arrested for abusing six-week-old, baby had broken leg, other injuries

3. Counterfeit fraud attempt at Sonic leads to arrest of four Joplin residents on drug, weapons, forgery, stealing charges

4. Joplin Police investigate death of two men from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds

5. JPD arrests two on felony charges, one after foot chase, one hiding in Joplin Public Library dumpster

6. Woman arrested at traffic stop has meth in her bra, cocaine in her vehicle

7. Two injured, one airlifted to Freeman after accident on 43

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. Webb City Police captures suspects in armed robbery at Newman and Florida

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Lilianna Clevenger

2. Brandon Bacal

3. Paula Durbin

4. Marlene Hansen

5. Danny Miller

6. Terry Schimmel 

7, Dwayne Fisher

8. Brad York

9. Marcia Forman

10. Richard Williams

Some things I've been thinking about

I haven't done this in a while, but occasionally I like to write a post featuring short thoughts on several items that have been in the news or that have crossed my mind and invite readers to comment.

Here goes.

Tax increment financing

With the recent revelation that the cupboard at the Hope Valley CID has been stripped bare, isn't it about time we said no to the habit of the City of Joplin and other governing bodies to put the stamp of approval on every tax increment financing proposal or giving gigantic tax breaks to anyone who says they will bring 50 jobs or help the city grow?

Perhaps we should examine the city's pitiful record- Consider the bill of goods the city and the school district bought on Wallace Bajjali's disastrous TIF. Wallace should be in prison. Or how about the 1717 Marketplace TIF? The developer of that project is is prison. Tax increment financing is supposed to be for blighted areas. How in the world can either the 1717 Marketplace or Northpark Crossing TIFs be considered to be in blighted areas?

Part of the problem we have run into this country is that we have pitted cities and states against each other in a never-ending battle to throw money away to attract businesses that then have no loyalty when the next community is willing to offer even more.

And when you have a situation like the Hope Valley CID where then City Councilman Mike Woolston voted in favor of it despite being a business partner with the developer, it brings an even stronger odor to the entire process.

And Joplin has certainly had problem with odor recently.

Harvey Weinstein

One of the themes being pushed on right wing media is that women on the left are hypocritical because they marched and protested immediately after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, but have not come out en masse to protest against Harvey Weinstein.

No one from the right wing media has passed along their talking points to me, so maybe I am missing something.

Since when can Harvey Weinstein make decisions that can send us to war, deprive millions of health care, talk about how warm and fuzzy those white nationalists are or send the message that America's word can no longer be trusted?

Harvey Weinstein is a pig and deserves personal and professional payback and probably prison time. Some protests against him would not be out of the question, but to compare protests against an entertainment figure with someone whose every decision affects all of us is nonsense.

Josh Hawley and Eric Greitens

I miss the good old days when people actually worked their way up the political ladder and showed they knew what they were doing before they began auditioning for national political office.

In the past few days, the Turner Report has had posts about Attorney General Josh Hawley cozying up to Steve Bannon and the Koch Brothers to boost his U. S. Senate candidacy and Greitens has made trips all over the U. S., going to Washington at least five times and visiting with the president in Florida.

These two men have only served slightly more than nine months in office.

It would be nice to see resumes being built through accomplishment.

Break up the Cubs

I also miss the days when I rooted for the National League every year in the World Series. I want to see the Houston Astros take it all this year. (At least, they spent most of their existence in the National League.)

I definitely do not want the Yankees back in the World Series and while I hate seeing the Dodgers playing in the Fall Classic either, I will hold my nose and root for them to beat the Cubs. Cub fans got their World Series last year. Let them wait another 108 years.

ACLU report: Black students punished more severely than white students in Missouri

(From American Civil Liberties Union Missouri)

Justice begins at the schoolhouse doors.

Today, we released our report, Missouri's Pipeline of Injustice: From School to Prison.

In nearly every category of school discipline, we found that Black students and students with disabilities are punished more severely and more frequently than their peers.

Some of the facts:

Black students are 4.5 times more likely to be suspended than White students.
Black students with disabilities were more than three times more likely to be suspended than White students with disabilities.
Black boys are almost four times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White boys. Black girls are six times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White girls.

The consequences of excessive discipline extend far beyond the classroom. We should all be outraged at these findings. This is a wake-up call to every Missourian: we must act now for the future of our children. Read the full report on our website.

This report is just the beginning of our efforts to address Missouri's school discipline problem. Read our recommendations for students, parents, educators, policymakers, legislators and law enforcement. You can also download our sample toolkit on how to understand discipline policies at your child's school and become a more powerful advocate in breaking the school-to-prison pipeline.

Get involved with our efforts to stop Missouri’s school-to-prison pipeline by helping us understand what’s happening in your school district. We want to hear from you!