Saturday, May 27, 2023

Judge rules former Missouri AG had no authority to order end of school mask mandates

By Jason Hancock

Former Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt lacked any legal authority to order school districts to end COVID-19 mitigation measures, a Jackson County judge ruled Friday.

In his 18-page decision, Judge Marco Roldan concluded that the attorney general’s office did not follow Missouri law when it demanded last year that Lee’s Summit R-7 School District rescind the measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Schmitt sued Lee’s Summit, along with 46 other school districts, then amplified his attacks on social media, “encouraging parents and students to defy the authority granted to the board of education by Missouri law,” Roldan wrote.

That led to “even greater confusion than the pandemic had already caused.”

“The attorney general lacked any legal authority to insert himself into the school district’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” Roldan wrote.

Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate last year, and his lawsuits challenging mask mandates were a major part of his campaign messaging. A spokeswoman for his successor, Attorney General Andrew Bailey, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday’s ruling.

The mask mandate lawsuits were filed in early 2022. Eventually, all were dropped by the attorney general’s office or dismissed by the courts.

Only the Lee’s Summit case survived, as the school district refused to let Schmitt dismiss the case and instead filed its own counterclaim demanding Roldan establish the extent of the attorney general’s authority over local school districts.

In his Friday ruling, Roldan concluded that Schmitt wrongly assumed he had any authority over school districts by relying on a 2021 ruling in Cole County Court that deemed health orders designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 that were issued by local health departments violated the Missouri Constitution.

Roldan noted that no school districts were involved in the 2021 case and the court’s ruling said nothing about the authority of local boards of education under Missouri law.

After ordering school districts to end COVID mitigation measures, Schmitt publicly invited parents across the state to report to him school districts who were in violation of the 2021 court order.

This caused unnecessary confusion, Roldan wrote, by wronging convincing students and parents that their school districts were violating the law.

They were not.


Local school boards should have been able to exercise their authority “free from unlawful interference by the attorney general.”

“There exists no Missouri law allowing the attorney general to involve himself in a school district’s efforts to manage COVID-19 or other disease within its schools,” Roldan wrote. “He had no authority even to issue an opinion on those matters to the school district. In neither of his orders nor in his social media communications did he identify a valid legal basis for asserting that the school district was acting contrary to Missouri law.”

Preliminary hearing set for former JHS Project Graduation president on embezzling charge

A 1:30 p.m. June 26 preliminary hearing is scheduled in Newton County Circuit Court for former Joplin High School Project Graduation President Melanie Dawn Patterson, 42, Joplin, on felony stealing charges.

According to the probable cause statement, Patterson allegedly stole $1,400 from the Project Graduation bank account through withdrawals from the Southwest Missouri Bank ATM at 1102 E. 32nd Street. 

The withdrawals were made on September 15, September 30, October 12 and October 13, 2022.

From the probable cause statement:

Melanie D. Patterson was the president of Joplin High School Project Graduation Inc. Class of 2023 and was issued a Debit Card (last #9478) through Southwest Missouri Bank.

The treasurer for Joplin Project Graduation noticed suspicious activity on the account and upon going through bank records noticed five withdrawals that had not been approved by the organization. The withdrawals had been made with card #9478 at the ATM located at 1102 E 32nd St on the following dates for the following amounts:

1. 09-15-2022 for $150 at 1244 hours

2. 09-30-2022 for $150 at 1731 hours

3. 10-12-2022 for $500 at 1356 hours

4. 10-13-2022 for $300 at 1738 hours

5. 10-20-2022 for $300 at 1214 hours

Video obtained from the ATM confirmed that Melanie D. Patterson withdrew money on each occasion as she exited her vehicle registered to her, and she was the only one present during each transaction.

Patterson was contacted via phone and stated that the debit card in question was stolen a while back and she had nothing to do with the thefts and refused to speak with officers further on the matter.

Nancy Hughes: Who has the answers?

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

Nursing school was a fantastic experience for me. No two days were ever the same. As students, we rotated through different aspects of the medical profession, from pediatrics to geriatrics, from surgery to emergency rooms. All areas were important in our training to become the most competent nurses that we could be.

Early one morning we were observing a procedure and the physician was explaining through a protective mask what he was doing. I was at the back of the viewing area and could not clearly understand him, so I whispered to the classmate on my left “What did he call that type of suture?”

Her answer did not make sense to me, so I turned to the right with the same question. That response was completely opposite from what I had just heard. I asked 3 or 4 more classmates and their answers were just as varied.

Shaking my head, I turned to see our nursing instructor looking directly at me. “Now that you have asked everyone else, why don’t you ask the one who knows the answer?” she gently corrected me. And she was right. I had the expert - my instructor - in front of me and yet I tried to get my answer from everyone else.

I hate to admit it, but there are times when I do that very thing in my spiritual life. I am faced with a situation or problem and instead of going directly to the One who has every answer, I instead look at other sources to help me.

Here’s the question: would I do that with anything else in my life? For example, if my father was Mario Andretti and my car started making funny noises, who would I turn to for help? Or what if my father was Bill Gates and my computer crashed? Who would I trust with my computer files?

In the same way, my Father is God and He should be my first source to find answers for everything I am facing. Yes, I know that great Christian resources are an encouragement, and the Holy Spirit will often nudge me to share with a Christian friend and prayer warrior. But my first thought should be one of “I need to take this to my Father.”

Jeremiah 33:3 is a promise from the Lord. When He says “Call to me and I will answer you . . .” He encourages us to bring all our seemingly unsolvable problems and tough situations to Him because He has the answers. The right answers.


Jeremiah must have found that promise to be true in his own life because he spent more than 40 years faithfully going before God and then sharing His truth with a world that did not want to listen or believe.

Just as I should have taken my medical question to my nursing instructor, I need to bring all my problems before my Father. He truly is the One who knows the answer.

Father, there is no problem too big for you. Thank You for wanting me to share everything in my life with you and thank you for your answers. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


When you are confronted with a situation that needs a solution, where do you turn first for answers?

Do you ever think that your problem is too big for God to handle? Why or why not?


Journal a situation or problem that you are facing today.

Beside that problem, journal three promises from the Lord in His Word that tell you He is able to handle everything that you face. Praise Him for His answers.


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

Psalm 34:17 (NIV) “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . .”

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

Friday, May 26, 2023

Fifteen Carthage R-9 employees retiring


(From the Carthage R-9 School District)

Fifteen Carthage staff members will be retiring at the end of this school year. Together they have given 259 years of service to Carthage Schools.

Join us in thanking these dedicated staff members for all that they have done for our students and school!

Enjoy your retirement!

• Carthage R-9 School District, Dr. Mark Baker served 25 years

• Steadley Elementary, Dr. Tom Barlow served 13 years

• Columbian Elementary, Lori Harter served 12 years

• CHS, Debbie Hensley served 13 years

• Carthage R-9 Transportation, Jeff Kasperski served 11 years

• Fairview Elementary, Leesa Loggains served 26 years

• CHS, Laura McClary served 6 years

• CJHS, Betsi McCrary served 16 years

• Carthage 6th Grade Center, Renea Mills served 22 years

• Fairview Elementary, Betty Pritchard served 21 years

• CJHS, Kevin Provins served 5 years

• CHS, April Sheets served 27 years

• Carthage R-9 Bus Driver, Lorene Thorn served 33 years

• CIC, Christine Weeks served 3 years

• Fairview Elementary, Pam Whiteley served 26 years

Retiring Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland honored


(From the Joplin Police Department)

Today we were privileged to honor Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland as he closes this chapter on his law enforcement career. 

Chief Rowland will be retiring from the City of Joplin on June 1st after serving 35 years in law enforcement, with the last 20 years being at the Joplin Police Department. 

Chief Rowland was celebrated for his leadership and devotion and received several gifts, proclamations, and symbols of appreciation, including recognitions from Mayor Doug Lawson, State Representative Lane Roberts, State Senator Jill Carter, U.S. Representative Eric Burlison, the Joplin Fraternal Order of Police, Deputy Director of Public Works Lynden Lawson, members of the JPD Command Staff, as well as several members of the Chiefs Advisory Committee and citizens of Joplin.
We want to thank Chief Rowland for his leadership, dedication, and service to the citizens of Joplin and to the men and women of the Joplin Police Department. We wish you the best, hope you enjoy your retirement, and pray protection over you and your family as you embark on this new journey.

Revocation hearing set for Noel man on probation for child pornography charges

A final hearing to determine whether a Noel man's probation after serving his sentence on child pornography charges will be held 11:30 a.m. June 23 in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

When Edward S. Hetherington, 63, was sentenced by U. S. District Judge Beth Phillips to eight years and one month in prison in 2015, a news release from the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri said he had "a massive library of child pornography."

Hetherington pleaded guilty on August 12, 2014. His criminal conduct took place over a period of 25 years, during which time he collected more than 100,000 images of sexual violence against children.

Hetherington is being held without bond in the Greene County Jail following an alleged probation violation.

So you want to be a Joplin police chief

The City of Joplin is looking for a new police chief to replace Sloan Rowland who is retiring.

Here's what city officials want:

The City of Joplin is seeking an exceptional Police Chief with a proven track record of leadership, integrity, and accountability. In addition to in-depth knowledge of existing federal, state, and local law, the next chief should be committed to staying up-to-date with the latest trends, best practices, and technologies in the law enforcement field, integrating innovative strategies and tools to enhance the department’s effectiveness and efficiency. 

They should also be proactive in building strong relationships, inspiring trust, and encouraging collaboration with internal and external stakeholders to address community concerns and develop effective crime prevention strategies.



This position requires graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, criminal justice, or a related discipline, with a master’s degree preferred. Candidates must also have at least seven (7) years of experience in a command position with a law enforcement agency of equivalent or larger size and scope. Command experience with a smaller organization will be considered with additional years of experience.


The City of Joplin is offering a salary range of $97,405 to $148,214 for this position, commensurate with experience and qualifications. The organization also provides a comprehensive benefits package, including health, dental, vision, and life insurance; 12 paid holidays in addition to vacation and sick leave; longevity pay and tuition reimbursement; care leave and wellness programs; and health club reimbursement. This position also receives a cell phone allowance. Joplin participates in the Missouri Local Government Employees’ Retirement System and offers a choice of supplemental retirement plans.


Please apply online

For more information, contact: Kurt Hodgen, Senior Vice President at or 1-540-820-0531. The City of Joplin is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants and employees have equal opportunity in the application and employment process, including promotion, demotion, transfer, dismissal, performance measurement and pay increases without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or status as a special disabled veteran. Applicants selected as finalists will be subject to a comprehensive background check.

Joplin R-8 Board accepts resignations from 13 teachers, 40 classified employees

During a closed session Tuesday, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education accepted resignations from 13 teachers and 40 classified employees.

The resignations included three teachers, Jessica Gilmet, Laura Phillips and Joseph Mann who had already signed contracts for the 2023-2024 school year. The resignations for those teachers had to be done individually with Gilmet and Mann's resignations accepted unanimously and Phillips being accepted on a 6-0 vote with board member David Weaver abstaining.

Classified Separations: Justin Henson, Christina Barron, Reagan Broaddus, Kimberly Bronson, Abigail Brower, Charlene Campbell, Larry Coleman, Grace Dailing, Mathew Ebbs, Carol Fartash, Steven Gartin, Krystal Hager, Darla Hightower, Dilyn Hunt, Morgan James, Elin Johnson, Herman Lambert, Lauren Lankford, Dana Newman, Johnny Osborne, Michele Palisay, Elijah Pearson, Doris Powell, Emily Renolds, Carolyn Richins, Melissa Riley, Robin Root, Chuck Sexson, Nicole Shelley, Judith Smith, Elizabeth Tymeson, Hayden VanDorien, Dianne Vlasin, Patricia Waldo, Laura Washburn, Jesse Zajac, Nichole Valenti, Hannah Arnold, Ashley Harris, Darren Sill.

Certified Separations: Larissa Harry, Sara Jackson, Lisa Jolley, Shannon Neil, Tammy Struthers, Jessica Woods, Timothy Gubera, Angie Malcom, Abby Rodgers, Grant Bennett.

Classified Hires: Jennifer Clark, William Berry, Becky Fife, Tracy Fox, Patrick Franklin, Kaley Gunnet, Joan Hagan, Darren Helms, Melanie Johnson, Kayla Ledord, Jennifer Russow, Kassie Schwarting, Ashley Sharp, Robert Sherwood, Abbie Smith, Crystal Soles, Ginnie Hudspeth, Billy Gray, Amanda Pulliam, Erin Bartmess, Gina Brown, Adrianna Hendrix, Sarah Mayfield, Lisa Bromley, Nicole Junge, Robin Yarrington, Cristina Mayfarth.

Certified Hires: Manhattan Caldwell, Kari Dietrich, McCade Gordon, Heidi Hedrick, Kadie Henderson, Nicole Hubbard, Kyle Jones, Lauren LaMaster, Haleigh Leisure, Juneau Lopez, Catherine McCombs, Miranda Mordica, Diana Nolan, Rena Selvey, Eric Severson, Maria Socha, Hailey Stamper, Taylor Tyrrell, Megan Welch, Anna Wieneke, Joshua Wilkins.

Stipend Hires: Sara Harbaugh, Doug Barto, Kira McKechnie, Kaitlyn Welch, Payton Wells, Manhattan Caldwell, Lauren Lant, Bradley Cox. Dora Eastin, Parker Howard, Aaron Ketcher, James Spencer.


Consider supporting the Turner Report/Inside Joplin/Inside Joplin Obituaries with a voluntary subscription or with a contribution of any amount at one of the PayPal buttons below or by sending your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Mike Landis company buys Miami radio stations for $100,000

Radio Insight reports that Land Go Radio Group, owned by Mike Landis, Joplin, bought two Miami, Oklahoma radio stations for $100,000.

Taylor Made Broadcasting sold AC 100.9 KGLC and Country 910 KVIS to Land Go.

Land Go Radio Group now owns four stations, including SOMO Sports Radio WMBH 1560 in Joplin and Oldies 101.3 KHST in Lamar.

Consider supporting the Turner Report/Inside Joplin/Inside Joplin Obituaries with a voluntary subscription or with a contribution of any amount at one of the PayPal buttons below or by sending your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Thursday, May 25, 2023

So you want to be a Joplin High School head boys basketball coach

The Joplin R-8 School District posted an opening for head high school boys basketball coach today on its website.

Here's what they are looking for.

Position:                    Head Boys Basketball Coach 


Term:                        Supplemental Position for 2023-2024 School Year


Location:                    Joplin High School


Classification:             Exempt


Reports to:                 Athletic Director


Joplin Schools is looking for a highly qualified, energetic individual that enjoys working with high school age students and has the ability to teach those students the skills needed to succeed in basketball.  In addition, previous successful head basketball coaching experience is preferred.


General Expectations:

  • Supports the mission of Joplin Schools.
  • Supports the value of education.
  • Complies with the privacy rights of students.
  • Safeguards confidential and/or sensitive information.
  • Communicates effectively with all the members of the school district and community.
  • Provides excellence in customer service both internally and externally.
  • Reacts to change productively.
  • Keeps abreast of new information, innovative ideas and techniques.
  • Maintains accurate records and filing systems for accountability and audit purposes.
  • Ensures that all activities conform to district and state guidelines.


Supervisory Duties

Supervise students at all times



Regular and consistent attendance is an essential function of this position. 


The work conditions and environment described here are representative of those that an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.


Conditions and Environment

The individual who holds this position will regularly work in a school environment that is noisy and active.  


Note:  The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees, and are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified.  Furthermore, they do not establish a contract for employment and are subject to change at the discretion of the employer.