Thursday, May 24, 2018

Joplin Police Department cuts services effective immediately

(From the Joplin Police Department)

The reduction in services Joplin Police Chief Matt Stewart told the Joplin City Council May 7 would take place has gone into effect, according to a JPD news release.

Stewart told the Council his department was short 13 officers and that number could go up to 19 in the near future.

The text of the news release is printed below:

The following reduction of services is now in effect, as announced May 7th by Chief Matt Stewart, due to manpower shortages in our department:

• No longer accept ride-alongs except for those that are testing with us and/or are in the Police Academy or the Citizen’s Police Academy.

• No longer provide security for the many 5k runs that occur in the City.

• No longer be doing graffiti abatement in the City.

• No longer respond to past tense property crimes that are misdemeanors.

• No longer respond to crashes that occur on private property where the suspect vehicle leaves the scene and there are no injuries.

• Detectives will no longer follow up on misdemeanor theft reports.

Past tense property theft and property vandalism can be reported online or at the front desk of the PD by filling out a paper form. Private property hit and runs can also be completed online or at the front desk by filling out a paper form.

The front desk is open monday through friday 8am to 5pm, excluding certain holidays.

Online police reports can be completed at:

Six more Joplin R-8 teachers, high school principal resign, 14 teachers hired

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education accepted resignations from seven certified employees, including High School Principal Brandon Eggleston, during a closed session Tuesday.

Eggleston resigned to accept the Seneca R-7 superintendent position.

The board hired 14 teachers, accepted what was described in the closed session minutes as "separations" from seven classified employees.

Administrative Employment: Penny Williams

Certified Employment: Charli Baugh, Katie Bozarth, Kristin Clark, Kristen Gavenda, Jennifer Barker, Nichole Butcher, Morgan Lamar, Tina Olson, Laurie Orr, Marvin Tinall, Ranesa Ward, Anthony Witt, and Jodi Rogers.

Certified Resignations: Machelle Hartley, Brandon Eggleston, Jeri-Ann Goswick, Tina Guiles, Lalita Kahol, Katherine Wilson, and Ellen Letterman.

Classified Separations: Gale Bigley, John Coady, Nicole Derenthal, Richard Edwards, Magan Enyart, David Haines, Jessica Hickman, Dollie Himes, Jamey McKeel, Rita Rainey, Ramona Reding, Calvin Sigars, James Simms, and Patricia Wheeler.

Summer School Hires: Candy Route, Kelly Holt, Casee Wheeler, Nicole Thorn, Karla Theilen, Donna David, Marina Hicks, Stefanie Wilson, Jamie Zeuschner, Kerri Fields, Jamie Taylor, Emily Holder, Vickie Gilbert, Beverly Mouton, Travis Trueblood, Bandi Burt, Kim Sparks, Tresha Thompson, Kristin Clark, Cassandra Copher, David White, Victoria West, Zach Holden, Autumn Shurley, Gina Pendrak, Mikka Osborn, Leslie Turner, Erica Doennig, Amber Chandler, Stacy Hagensieker, Christina Sargent, Eli Mason, Shannon Harris, Carrie Owen, Shelby Frakes, Sarah Nangle, Alana Bell, Shea Stehm, Kristen Moore, Brianne Keener, Angie Turner, Lori Hannon, Gina Mueller, Jennifer Mock, Teresa Morrris, Susan Flowers, Bret Ingle, Ginger Gibson, Shelly Riddle, Julie Woolever, Pam Devins, Bernadette Stuart, Kerri Rea, Nisha Jewsbury, Mary Beth White, Jennifer Williams, Carli Miller, Erica DuRossette, Nicloe Hart, Quinten Virden, Kelly Davis, Brian Evans, Courtney Throener, Ashley Wright, Betty Myers, Adrienne Carson, Katie Virden, Melissa Kendall, Annette Elam, Jackie Bogarin, Amanda Pal, Bobbie Hoag, Sherry Spaeth, Bethany Walles, Jessica Hilton, Elysha Thomas, Jessica Woods, Wendee Hughes, Michelle Blevins, Janet Paker, Elizabeth Nichols, Aimee Allen, Wes Brownfield, Shannon Elias, Grace White, Katie Gronberg, Laura Weaver, Deanna Yokley, Michaela Willis, Justine Douthit, Veronica McFarlane, Brian Starchman, Tammy Hale, Christi Sapp, James Newman, Lori Lindsey, Kathryn Johnson, Lisa Nolan, Ashley Tucker, Susan Elledge, Tonya Conn, Heidi Hodges, Cyndi Conway, Nash, Brodsky, Jessica Sewing, Laurie Olson, Katie Schmidt, Michelle Friskey, Crystal Stokes, Linda Norwood, Nicole Peters, Daphne Payne, Marcia Himes, Darren Morgan, Tashena Vickers, Michael Juergens, Chris Dishman, Connelaine Gustad, Grant Bennett Shelly Hoofnagle, Frances Ockert, Donnie Atkinson, Kim Rhea, Monica Reynolds, Ashley Trotnic, Andrew Seavy, Jaclyn Prater, Dave Armstrong, Denise Krolman, Kathleen Rivers, Dustin Dixon, Sean Woods, Donna Loyd, Gina Lee, Kimmie Lankford, Victoria Overton, Holly Yust, Amy Engelage, Julie McCain, Olivia Lovten, Curtis Jasper, Mike Lawrence, Brandon Taute, Nick Reid, Kris Garrett, Tracy Saunders, Ashley Ohlman, Brad Cox, Matt Crain, Kenneth Peters, Vivian Hays, Sarah Clemens, Kimberly Alford, and KarenSue Hensley.

Substitute Employment: Allison Reichman-Bennett

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Monteleone appointed to Joplin City Council

(From the City of Joplin)

During a Special Meeting of the Joplin City Council, members chose Anthony Monteleone to fill the vacant General Seat on the Council. He will serve until the next City Council election in 2020. Monteleone ran in the April 2018 election, and received the next highest votes after winning candidates Ryan Stanley, Doug Lawson and Joshua Bard.

Monteleone has lived in Joplin most of his life. “My parents taught me to bloom where you’re planted, and this is where I’m planted,” he laughed. “I’m ready to serve our community.”

Following the election, City Clerk Barb Gollhofer swore Monteleone into office, and he took his chair at the dais. His first meeting will be the regularly scheduled Council meeting on Monday, June 4.

“We do appreciate all of our citizens for their support and participation in this process,” said Mayor Gary Shaw. “We look forward to working with Anthony. He brings some young blood to the Council and we’re all ready to work together.”

During the May 21, 2018 City Council meeting, six applicants spoke to the City Council to discuss their interest and qualifications to serve on the Council. They included Monteleone, Steve Urie, Christopher Briley, Harvey Hutchinson, Rocky Biggers and James Scott.

“We were pleased to have such strong applicants to step forward to serve Joplin,” said Shaw. “It is our hope that those who had expressed an interest for this Council seat will consider serving on one of the boards or commissions that helps our City in so many ways.”

The Council seat became vacant upon Josh Bard’s resignation from the Council. The Joplin City Council voted to accept his resignation at the April 27, 2018 Council meeting.

Sears closing 31 more stores, including one in Missouri: Joplin Sears not on list

Without much fanfare, Sears is closing 40 more stores, 31 Sears stores and nine K-Marts.

The closings, which include a Sears store in Columbia, are in addition to the 166 stores that were closed earlier this year.

The Sears store at Joplin's Northpark Mall is not on the closing list.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

McCaskill issues statement on seventh anniversary of Joplin Tornado

(From Sen. Claire McCaskill)

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement on the seventh anniversary of the tornado that struck the Joplin area on May 22, 2011:

“Missouri’s communities are strong in the face of hardship, and nowhere was that better demonstrated than in Joplin after the devastating tornado that took lives, homes, and businesses. Seven years later, this community has shown extraordinary resilience in rebuilding after that crushing loss of life and property—and I join with all Missourians in praying for the families who lost loved ones that day.”

McCaskill has championed and helped deliver ‎needed resources in Joplin's disaster recovery effort. The total amount of federal resources that have been provided for tornado recovery in Joplin now exceeds $350 million. McCaskill also held a roundtable with "comeback businesses" in Joplin to discuss city revitalization efforts following the devastating tornado.

Joplin man sentenced to 25 years for role in large-scale meth conspiracy

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in southwest Missouri.

Santiago Soto-Garcia, 25, of Joplin, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 25 years in federal prison without parole.

On Nov. 2, 2017, Soto-Garcia was found guilty at trial of one count of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Soto-Garcia was also convicted of a forfeiture allegation that requires him to forfeit to the government $7,000 that was seized by law enforcement officers and was derived from the proceeds of the conspiracy.

Co-defendants Destiny O’Brien, also known as “Destiny Smith,” 21, of Joplin, and Michael L. Gonzalez, also known as “Chavez,” 25, of Texas, have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and for possessing firearms in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Evidence introduced during the trial proved to the jury that Soto-Garcia and O’Brien, assisted by Gonzalez, were multiple-pound distributors of methamphetamine in the Joplin area from late 2014 to August 2015.

After an investigation that began in February of 2015, Soto-Garcia, O’Brien, and Gonzalez were arrested on Aug. 11, 2015, following a traffic stop by a Joplin police officer. Soto-Garcia was the driver of a silver 2006 BMW, with O’Brien a passenger in the front seat and Gonzalez in the rear driver’s side passenger seat. When Gonzalez rolled down his window, the officer saw two pistols on the floorboard by Gonzalez’s feet and all three defendants were instructed to get out of the vehicle. The Hi-Point .40-caliber firearm and the Kel-Tec .223-caliber firearm, along with loaded magazines, were removed from the vehicle.

After the occupants and the firearms were removed from the vehicle, a K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the BMW from outside of the vehicle. When the officer attempted to open the door of the vehicle to conduct an interior search, he found the doors were locked.

The officer determined that Soto-Garcia had locked the doors with the key fob for the BMW and asked Soto-Garcia for the key fob. Instead of handing the fob to the officer, Soto-Garcia took the fob out of his pocket and threw it under the patrol vehicle. As Soto-Garcia began struggling with the officers, O’Brien ran over to the patrol vehicle and obtained the key fob. O’Brien then resisted officers as well. After obtaining the fob and arresting O’Brien and Soto-Garcia, officers searched the vehicle. Joplin police officers found a package that contained approximately a pound of methamphetamine and then arrested Gonzalez as well.

That same day, investigators searched Soto-Garcia’s residence and found a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun, a Tanfoglio .40-caliber handgun, a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, a North American Arms 22-caliber magnum revolver, ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, a money counter, and approximately five grams of methamphetamine. Investigators then searched another residence being used as a stash house by Soto-Garcia and found a Phoenix Arms .22-caliber handgun and approximately 852.3 grams of methamphetamine hidden in an air vent.

This case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Garrison, Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall C. Eggert and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jody Larison. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, ATF, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Joplin Police Department, and the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team.

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live at 7 p.m.

St. Louis Democrat: Special session on Greitens will see disturbing chapter in Missouri's history decided

(From Sen. Jill Schlupp, D-St. Louis)

The legislative session ended Friday at a bit after 6:00 PM, as per the 120 day constitutional limit.

Each session in which I have participated as a legislator has its unique character. This one will not soon be forgotten by any of us. Regardless of whether you believe the Governor's alleged actions have yet been proven, the facts and the speculation about his behavior have cast an unseemly air over the daily workings of the state government. And, here at home, this topic of conversation always seems to be at the top of constituents' concerns. For those reasons, the impeachment process is provided below.

Shortly after adjournment, legislators embarked upon a special session, particularly unusual in that it was called by members of the House and the Senate. It requires 75% of the members of both chambers to make this call. The 75% floor was exceeded for the purpose of consideration of impeachment of the Governor.

The special session is in effect for up to 30 days. In the next two or so weeks, members of the House Special Investigative Committee will continue their investigation. Once it is completed, their information will be provided to the entire House. It will require 82 affirmative votes (a simple majority) for the impeachment process to move forward. Should that happen, the Senate will convene in order to appoint 7 eminent jurists. An impeachment will occur if 5 of the 7 jurists vote to impeach.

One way or the other, this disturbing chapter in Missouri's history will be decided.

Joplin City Council to appoint replacement for Bard during special session

The Joplin City Council will appoint a replacement for Josh Bard during a special meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Bard resigned after being told that he could not serve due to a previous drug conviction.

The meeting agenda is printed below:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 6:00 pm
Council Chambers 602 S. Main Street Joplin

1. Call to Order

2. Invocation

3. Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America

4. Reading of the Special Call

5. Roll Call

6. Election of candidate to fill council seat vacancy

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hartzler: House bill will make sweeping improvements in health care for veterans

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill to make sweeping improvements to health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)! First, the bill would streamline the VA’s many community health care programs into just one program. While the programs are being consolidated, it would provide continued funding for the Choice Program.

This funding is particularly important in light of Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie’s April announcement that the VA Choice Program will run out of funding in early to mid-June, potentially creating another access to care crisis. Passage of this bill will avert this crisis.

Second, the bill would create a non-partisan process for reviewing the VA’s assets to ensure veterans can access the care they have earned. Specifically, it would begin a process of reallocating money from underutilized facilities to facilities that are more heavily used, in order to better serve our veterans.

Lastly, the bill would expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Caregiver Program, which provides aid to family members of veterans who are providing full or part-time care to that disabled veteran. The bill would expand this program to caregivers of veterans who served before 9/11, while currently, the program is only available to caregivers of veterans who served after 9/11.

Congress has worked tirelessly with veterans’ service organizations and the VA to create this bill, and I’m so pleased with what it means for our veterans. It will help veterans access care in their communities, take a close look at the VA’s aging infrastructure so that it can be improved, and help support the heroic efforts of those family members who have, in some cases, left their careers to care for the veterans in their lives.

I look forward to the Senate taking up this piece of important legislation.

On Wednesday, I also had the opportunity to testify at a hearing held by the House Veterans Affairs Committee about changes the VA should make to better provide for veterans. I spoke about persistent understaffing at the Department and how my bill, H.R. 5521, the VA Hiring Enhancement Act, would take a step to remedy the situation.

Specifically, my bill would allow civilian physicians to be released from their private practice non-compete agreements so they can serve in the VA. It would also make the training requirements for VA physicians more rigorous, so that they are held to the same standards as most civilian doctors.

Also, my bill would direct the VA to begin recruiting doctors before they finish med school, similar to most private sector health care providers. Currently, private sector health care providers begin recruiting medical residents as they begin their final year of residency, and residents often end up with a solid job offer from the private sector before VA recruiters are even able to get their recruiting process started.

I am hopeful this bill will gain traction after the hearing in which I participated on Wednesday. Please follow me on Facebook or Twitter to find out when there are updates on this bill.