Monday, July 25, 2016

Mercy McCune-Brooks administrator, former prosecuting attorney charged with DWI

Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital Administrator Robert Scott Watson was arrested by the Joplin Police Department July 2 on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

According to online records, Watson, 55, was pulled over at 1:15 a.m. at the 9 mile marker on eastbound I-44.

The arrest occurred three weeks and two days ago, but at this point, the prosecuting attorney has not filed any charges.

An action filed in Jasper County Circuit Court July 7 indicates Watson refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Judge Joseph Hensley issued a stay order enabling Watson to be able to continue driving until a hearing is held. That hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. September 16. 

Watson was formerly Newton County prosecuting attorney.

Lawsuit accuses Joplin Police officer of punching woman, fondling her breasts

A Miami, Oklahoma woman claims that Joplin Police officer Seth Lugenbell punched her, kicked her, and fondled her breasts during while arresting her at Mercy Hospital January 31.

In a lawsuit filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Cassie Tritthart, Miami, accused Lugenbell of committing assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, violating her right to due process, using excessive force, and unreasonable search and seizure.

The City of Joplin is listed as a co-defendant for "negligent supervision and training" of Lugenbell.

The petition details Tritthart's version of events:

On or about January 31, 2016, Plaintiff visited Freeman Hospital West located at 1102 W. 32nd St., Joplin, MO 64804 (“Freeman Hospital”) with complaints of heart issues. 

At Freeman Hospital, Plaintiff was given medication, and released. Plaintiff began to feel nauseous, and thought she may faint, and decided to seek a second medical opinion regarding her heart complaints. 

Upon leaving, Plaintiff accidentally knocked over a few items in the waiting room at Freeman Hospital. On information and belief, Freeman Hospital nurse Steven Mitchell called the Joplin Police Department to report someone allegedly “vandalizing” the waiting room. Plaintiff’s mother drove Plaintiff to Mercy Hospital located at 100 Mercy Way, Joplin, MO 64804 to obtain a second medical opinion regarding her heart complaints.

At Mercy Hospital, Plaintiff began to change clothes in a private examination room at which time Defendant Lugenbell, without warning, barged into the private examination room while Plaintiff was undressing, and began to question Plaintiff. 

Plaintiff asked Defendant Legenbell why he was in her private examination room, and told Defendant Lugenbell that she would not speak without first consulting an attorney. Next, without warning, Defendant Lugenbell grabbed Ms. Tritthart by her left arm and threw her into the hallway, causing her face to slam violently into the floor. 

Defendant Lugenbell proceeded to punch and kick Plaintiff while she was on the ground, both before and after handcuffing her. 

After handcuffing Plaintiff, Defendant Lungenbell fondled Plaintiff’s breasts, causing her bra to raise up around her neck, where it remained during the entirety of her booking and subsequent holding at the Joplin City Jail, until she was released. 

Plaintiff was arrested and charged with (1) vandalism, (2) assault on a law enforcement officer, (3) resisting arrest, and (4) failure to comply with a request for information. 

Those charges are no longer listed on Newton County online court records.

The lawsuit was initially filed June 29 in Newton County Circuit Court and was removed to federal court at the request of attorney Karl Blanchard representing the City of Joplin and Lugenbell.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

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

The posts from the past that have dominated the weekly statistics for the past couple of weeks are gone, but this week's list is topped by the number two post in Turner Report history.

Since my critique of Donald Trump, Jr.'s Republican National Convention speech was published Tuesday, more than 37,000 visitors have gone to that specific post and the number continues to grow.

The Trump story was also posted on Daily Kos, where it has received more than 21,000 Facebook likes.

You never know which posts are going to take off.

The Turner Report

1. Donald Trump Jr. attacks teachers in convention speech

2. Judge decides in favor of Home Depot in Joplin Tornado lawsuit

3. Joplin man pleads guilty to sexually exploiting children

4. Joplin R-8 bills include Price expenses, Johnson deposition mileage. Rotary dues

5. Trump plagiarism scandal offers new excuses for our students

6. Doshier: Please let us spend $69,000 for more outside consulting

7. Beginning of superintendent search on tap for R-8 Board

8. Billy Long's FEC report disguises lobbyist contributions

8. The governor's race comes to Carthage- a look at the Lincoln Ladies Ice Cream Social

10. Northpark Mall owner sells two more malls, 11 in two years

Inside Joplin

1. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests July 1-15

2. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

3. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 21-22

4. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 19-20

5. Joplin man injured in crash near Atlas

6. Newton County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

7. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 19-20

8. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

9. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 20-21

10. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Terri Lortz

2. Willa Goostree

3. Piper Gottes

4. Paul Graskemper

5. Rubi Burris

6. Donald Montgomery

7. Rodney Overman

8. Betty Wilson

9. Imogene Tappana

10. Ronald VanWinkle

Doshier: Please let us spend $69,000 for more outside consulting

Just a year after deciding that $100,000 was too much to pay on an annual basis to have an outside consulting firm handle all of the Joplin R-8 School District's educational needs, it appears the district is headed down the same path again.

In documentation provided to the R-8 Board of Education before its 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting, Executive Director of Elementary Education Jennifer Doshier, who signed off on the Core Collaborative proposals that the board rejected last year, explains why Cognitive Coaching is the new miracle cure that will take care of all of the district's educational problems.

Doshier notes that for the bargain price of $69,000 the district can bring Cognitive Coaching experts to Joplin to train three cohorts and also train three people from the district who can serve as trainers in the future preventing the need for any future expenses.

Why is there a need to spend $69,000 for this training? Doshier explains that in the board documentation:

Cognitive Coaching is a process that enhances teachers'  cognitive processes and is an integral part of the empowerment piece that principals and teachers are requesting.

It would appear that Doshier needs training in how to write proposals in clear, understandable language, since her paragraph is only going to make sense to those who pretend to understand educational jargon.

It would also be interesting to get the names of the teachers and principals who think Cognitive Coaching is what is needed in the district. Are these the same teachers and principals who put on a Barnum and Bailey show for the R-8 Board last year on why they so desperately needed Core Collaborative?

(And it should be noted that the former R-8 Curriculum Director Sarah Stevens, the chief supporter of Core Collaborative, after being removed from that position and resigning, was hired by Core Collaborative.)

What do administrators and teachers learn when they attend Cognitive Coaching seminars such as the one for which $4,500 in bills is scheduled to come before the board Tuesday night?

According to the website for the seminars:

Please join us in Folsom, CA for this valuable seminar. Advanced Cognitive Coaching immerses you in a supportive and stimulating environment to provide refinement and depth of learning for those desiring to perfect and deepen their understanding of Cognitive CoachingSM. 

Part 1 Participants will:
  • refine and extend core coaching capabilities and skills
  • develop skills with advanced forms of paraphrasing
  • expand the possibilities of and applications for our identities as mediators
  • develop an understanding of deep structure and processes for coaching for cognitive shift
  • experience and practice the Calibrating Conversation Map
Part 2 Participants wilI:
  • increase craftsmanship with the Problem-Resolving Map
  • increase capacity for coaching for deep structure
  • develop automaticity with the Pace
  • experience mastery of the Lead
  • develop skill in using the Outcome Structure with individuals and groups
  • experience increased efficacy with all the maps and tools of Cognitive Coaching
The cost for the seminar was $750 per participant, indicating the R-8 District sent six people to California earlier this month.

The Thinking Collaborative website goes into more depth about Cognitive Coaching, but with plenty of jargon to spare:

The mission of Cognitive CoachingSM is to produce self-directed persons with the cognitive capacity for excellence both independently and as members of a community. Research indicates that teaching is a complex intellectual activity and that teachers who think at higher levels produce students who are higher achieving, more cooperative, and better problem solvers. It is the invisible skills of teaching, the thinking processes that underlie instructional decisions, which produce superior instruction. Cognitive CoachingSMis a research-based model that capitalizes upon and enhances teachers’ cognitive processes.
In the eight-day Seminars, participants learn how to:
  • develop trust and rapport
  • develop an identity as a mediator of thinking
  • utilize conversation structures for planning, reflecting and problem resolving
  • develop teachers’ autonomy and sense of community
  • develop higher levels of efficacy, consciousness, craftsmanship, flexibility and interdependence
  • apply four support functions: coaching, evaluating, consulting, collaborating
  • utilize the coaching tools of pausing, paraphrasing, and posing questions
  • distinguish among the five forms of feedback
  • use data to mediate thinking

From Core Collaborative to Cognitive Coaching, the unqualified remnants of the C. J. Huff Administration still seem to be covering up a lack of  ability with the belief that highly paid outside consultants and new initiatives can convince the faculty (and the public) that an educational renaissance is right around the corner.

Beginning of superintendent search on tap for Joplin R-8 Board

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will prepare for the search for a superintendent when it meets 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Memorial Education Building.

At its June meeting, after hearing presentations from three search firms, the board selected Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the company that recently guided Kansas City in its superintendent search and in 2007 conducted the search for the Lindbergh School District that resulted in the choice of Joplin Superintendent Jim Simpson.

The board agenda indicates the discussion Tuesday night will be about the board's input into the process and information about the beginning of the search.

The board will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to discuss legal and personnel matters.

The agenda for the regular meeting is printed below:

A. Call to Order

1. Roll Call

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda - Action

D. Superintendent Search: BOE Input and Search Preparation - Info. (Dr. Ridder)

E. Reports

1. Board President's Report

a. Celebrations - Info. (Jeff Koch)

b. BOE Policy Committee Update - Info. (L. Banwart & J. Martucci)

c. BOE Data Analysis Committee Update - Info. (J. Koch, S. Dermott & L. Musser)

d. BOE Finance, Salary, and Benefits Committee - Info. (Dr. Fort & J. Martucci)

e. BOE Safety Committee - Info. (Dr. Fort & C. Sloan)

2. Superintendent's Data Report

a. FEMA Update - Info. (Paul Barr)

b. Health and Dental Care Insurance Reports - Info. (Paul Barr)

c. Financial Statements - Info. (Paul Barr)

F. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items 

G. Consent Agenda - Action


1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

2. Personnel Recommendations - Action (Brandon Webb)

3. Copy Paper Bid - Action (Paul Barr)

4. Bread Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

5. Dairy Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

6. Food and Supply Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

7. Senior Photography Bid - Action (Dr. Ridder)

8. Declare Modular Classrooms at McKinley Surplus - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

9. Trash Service Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

10. Local Tax Effort (LTE) Billbacks - Action (Mark Barlass)

11. Student Testing Fee for Practical Nursing Program - Action (Dr. Ridder)

H. Regular Agenda

1. Accounts Payable - Action (Paul Barr)

2. Telemedicine Services - Action (Paul Barr and Brandon Webb)

3. Cognitive Coaching - Action (Jennifer Doshier)

4. Meal Price Increase - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

5. Columbia Elementary Roof Replacement - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

6. West Central Elementary Roof Replacement - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

7. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt iReads - McKinley Elementary - Action (Mark Barlass)

8. Local Compliance Plan Implementing Part B of the IDEA - Action (Mark Barlass)

9. Policy Updates Second Reading - Action (Brandon Webb)

a. Policy IGAEB: Teaching About Human Sexuality

b. Policy JECA: Admission of Students

c. Policy JECC: Assignment of Students to Grade Levels/Classes

10. Plus/Delta - Info. (Dr. Ridder)

a. Plus: What did we do well

b. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

I. BOE Announcements

J. Adjourn

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Joplin R-8 bills include Price expenses, Johnson deposition mileage, Rotary dues

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education refused to approve a bill last month for airfare for Communications Director Kelli Price and her assistant, Whitney Warren, to attend the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).seminar in Chicago, Illinois.

When the board meets Tuesday, it will consider a $355.36 bill for Price's expenses at that conference.

The airfare that was removed from last month's bills was listed under U. S. Bank, indicating that the item had already been paid by credit card. CFO Paul Barr said, "Administration approves removal of prepaid airfare of $656.40 bill that's for the July NSPRA Conference.

District taxpayers have had to foot the bill for NSPRA seminars for several years, while former Superintendent C. J. Huff became a national officer in the organization. 

As part of Huff;s severance agreement, the board agreed to pay $8,000 for his expenses to attend the July 2015 seminar in Nashville, where he made a presentation about Bright Futures USA.

The taxpayers also spent at least $1,078.55 for Price to attend the seminar.

The price, no pun intended, taxpayers are paying for public relations is not limited to the NSPRA junkets.

During the last weeks of his tenure at Joplin R-8 superintendent, Huff took care of favored employees, giving them different job titles and giving them sizable increases in pay, including two in the public relations area.

Price, who was already receiving a $48,053 salary that was far more than most of the teachers in the district receive, was given a  nearly $15,000 boost to $63,000, and a new title as communications director.

The money was taken from 15 teachers who were receiving $1,000 stipends to update the Facebook pages for their schools, an expense which also came under fire when it was announced.

Huff also gave a raise to Warren, who had been his events coordinator, boosting her salary from $38,475, which was already more than many district teachers were making, to $42,000 a year.Warren's title was changed to "communication specialist."

Other bills to be considered Tuesday include the following:

-$4,500 to LB Associates for training in Cognitive Coaching

-$140 to Daybreak Rotary of Joplin to cover the quarterly dues for Assistant Superintendent Kerry Sachetta

-$179.52 mileage reimbursement for Mike Johnson to give a deposition at the Polsinelli law offices in Kansas City for the P1 lawsuit.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mike Huckabee endorses Brunner for governor

(From the John Brunner campaign)

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate John Brunner today announced former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has endorsed John Brunner for Governor of Missouri.

In his endorsement Governor Huckabee said: “Special interests are falsely attacking my friend John Brunner because he can’t be bought. A lot of politicians are too indebted to the donor class to fight for you, but not John Brunner. He is a tough marine, a manufacturer, and a missionary whose faith doesn’t just influence him, it defines him. Unapologetically pro-life and pro-liberty, John Brunner will fight for you. I urge you to vote for John Brunner for Governor.”

Governor Huckabee served as the Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, and was a candidate for President in both 2008 and 2016. In 2005, Time Magazine named Governor Huckabee as one of the nation's Top 5 Governors.

"I am incredibly humbled and honored to have Governor Huckabee's support and endorsement. He is a principled conservative and dedicated leader of faith who leads with conviction and stood up to the establishment and the special interests throughout his entire career,” John Brunner said. “We both share a common vision of securing more freedom, with less government - and putting our faith into action. Like Governor Huckabee, I believe we can take back America, one state at a time, with tested and proven conservative leadership."

Billy Long: American lives at risk because of Cuban air safety situation

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

On February 16th of this year, American officials signed an accord with the Cuban government that will allow for more than 100 daily round-trip flights between the U.S. and Cuba without adequate - if any - oversight from Congress. We have since discovered, the Cuban airport's infrastructure is far behind current national security standards and much due diligence must be done to ensure the safety of travelers before commercial flights resume.

Rep. John Katko, Chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee on the House Committee on Homeland Security, remarked earlier this year that attempts by the committee "to attain information about various aspects of the negotiations and requirements to begin regularly scheduled commercial service to Cuba have been stonewalled." Then, last month, he and other members of the committee were denied access to Cuba on their trip to survey US-Cuba airport security risks.

All the while, the administration has pushed on without answering traveler security questions and has opened a Department of Transportation application process for US air carriers to bid on these future commercial flights at all ten of Cuba's international airports. Furthermore, after more than 50 years of stalled diplomacy, the administration is now attempting to designate all of these airports as last points of departure (LPDs) to the US.

For perspective, only seven foreign countries have ten or more LPD airports to America. These nations include some of our closest allies or economic partners like Canada and the UK. On the surface, it seems as though deeming so many LPDs for a country with less than one-fifth of the UK’s population is a symptom of the White House's rushed plan for improved US-Cuba relations.

By the end of summer, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to have already certified three LPD airports in Cuba, but have returned deeply concerning reports of the security situation there. TSA hasn't been able to obtain information on any standards of training for airport attendants and was unable to determine if airport workers had been checked for terrorist affiliations. They reported that Cuba's bomb sniffing dogs were inadequately trained, they possess no explosive trace detection equipment whatsoever, and the two full body scanners they have in Havana are the only ones on the entire island.

Historically, flights to and from Cuba have attracted terrorists and hijackers. In a time when foreign fighters and radicalized terrorists are growing in number and ambition, we shouldn't be rushing to open commercial air travel and new LPD airports with a system that practically welcomes those wishing to do America harm. On another note, we shouldn't trust Cuba in the first place, considering that their leaders undervalue Cuban citizens and reject the principles for which America stands.

Commercial air travel between our countries cannot be permitted to commence until due diligence is done to ensure Cuban airports are to code and that our citizens will be safe. I've cosponsored the "Cuba Airport Security Act of 2016," which will do that by effectively putting a pause on all commercial air travel between the US and Cuba until TSA certifies that Cuban airports have necessary security measures in place.

I have serious doubts that the Administration has fully analyzed the air safety situation with Cuba and will not stand by as American lives are risked. I believe that air travel with Cuba can be achieved in a safe way, but will continue to oppose any plan by this administration that puts optics over safety during that process.

McCaskill: Sign the pledge- I'll never vote for Donald Trump

(From Sen. Claire McCaskill)

You and I know Donald Trump is unfit to hold public office, but the whole world is still listening to his every word – especially during the convention this week. So we have to come together to condemn the outrageous comments he’s made, like using racism to “justify” attacks on a federal judge and saying women should be punished for seeking abortions. Is this 2016 or 1816?

This kind of discrimination isn’t coming from just anybody, Robert. Donald Trump is a major party’s nominee for President of the United States. Would he talk like this at international summits? Or to our troops as Commander in Chief?

I’m not interested in finding out. I’m doing everything I can to make sure Donald Trump never sets foot in the Oval Office. But I can’t stop him alone – will you stand with me against Trump?

Add your name to pledge that you’ll never vote for Donald Trump.


It’s still mind-boggling that Trump was even invited to the convention. He makes statements 10 times a day that should be disqualifying, but they only seem to gain him more points with the Republican Party.

Maybe the right wing doesn’t care how risky, reckless and wrong Trump is for America. But I most certainly do, and I know you do, too. So let’s say so, loud and clear:

Sign your name to take the pledge: I will never vote for Donald Trump.

Northpark Mall owner sells two more malls, 11 in last two years

(From CBL & Associates)

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE: CBL) today announced that it closed on the sale of Fashion Square Mall in Saginaw, MI, and The Lakes in Muskegon, MI. The malls were sold to a private buyer for an aggregate price of $66.5 million, including the assumption of a $38.2 million loan secured by Fashion Square. Net proceeds from the sale were used to reduce outstanding balances on the Company’s lines of credit.

“This disposition marks another milestone achievement for CBL, having now completed transactions on 11 lower-productivity regional malls since introducing our portfolio transformation strategy in April 2014,” said Stephen D. Lebovitz, president & CEO. 

“Over the past two years, we have completed more than $765 million in transactions, including approximately $460 million from regional malls and more than $305 million from selling community centers and other non-core assets. Today, CBL operates with a higher-quality, higher-growth portfolio and a markedly improved balance sheet. We look forward to continuing the momentum as we make further progress in our transformation strategy.”

CBL & Associates owns Northpark Mall in Joplin.