Thursday, March 23, 2017

Joplin R-8 Board of Education forum set for tonight

McCaskill: Go after employers who hire illegal immigrants

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Federal prosecutor wants Joplin man held without bond

In a detention motion filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, a federal prosecutor asked that Beau Rickman, 39, Joplin, be held without bond while awaiting a charge of illegally transporting a firearm.

Among the reasons offered:

- Joplin Police officers found a loaded gun in a car Rickman was driving. Rickman admitted the gun belonged to him.

- Rickman admitted to using methamphetamine every day.

- Rickman "has an extensive criminal history, including a conviction for murder.

- "The evidence against (Rickman) is overwhelming.

The federal grand jury indicument against Rickman stems from a December 30 traffic stop by Joplin Police Officer Adam Brannin.

The arrest is described in an affidavit included in the federal case file:

On December 30, 2016, Officer Adam Brannin conducted a traffic stop of a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu for failing to display a front license plate. The rear license plate of the car was registered to Rickman and Kerissa Wynn for a 2013 Dodge vehicle.

As Officer Brannin initiated the traffic stop, the driver appeared to be concealing something. Officer Brannin identified the driver as Rickman. Officer Brannin was familiar with Rickman, as he had recently encountered him in relation to suspicious activity related to narcotics. A female passenger, who appeared to be intoxicated, was in the front seat, and later identified as Kiley M. Carpenter.

Officer Brannin advised Rickman of the reason for the stop. Rickman appeared very nervous and Officer Branning observed Rickman's hands visibly shaking. Officer Brannon observed what appeared to be an empty black nylon holster between the driver's seat and the center console.

Rickman stated that Carpenter was intoxicated and he had just met her at a bar. Predicated upon the presence of the empty holster, Rickman was asked to exit the vehicle. Officer Brannin then frisked Rickman to ensure that he was not armed. No weapons were located on Rickman's person.

Officer Brannin explained that he was a K9 handler and asked if Rickman had anything illegal in his vehicle. Rickman responded that he did not have anything illegal in the vehicle. Rickman denied Officer Brannin's request for consent to search the vehicle. Officer Brannin then removed Rickman from the vehicle.

Officer Brannon retrieved his K9 Belgon to perform a sniff on the exterior of the vehicle. Belgon indicated to the presence of narcotics on both the front passenger and driver's doors. Belgon was allowed inside the vehicle where he showed a strong change in behavior on or around the driver's seat. Belgon was removed from the vehicle and Officer Brannin conducted a search of the vehicle, locating a black handgun under the driver's seat.

Officer Brannin, knowing Rickman was a convicted felon, left the vehicle and approached Rickman. Rickman commented that he was about to get sick and quickly stood up. Rickman was placed in handcuffs as it appeared he was going to flee. Rickman was placed in a patrol car and was not asked any questions.

Officer Gauss, acting as Officer Brannin's backup, attempted to identify the female passenger (Carpenter, who refused to identify herself. Carpenter was detained and was found to be holding and concealing a glass smoking pipe in her hand, commonly used for smoking methamphetamine. Carpenter was later identified and confirmed to have two confirmed arrest warrants.

Officer Brannin retrieved the black handgun and identified it to be a BERSA, Model Thunder 9 Pro, 9 mm pistol, SND96611. The pistol contained a magazine loaded with nine rounds of 9 mm ammunition. A black nylon belt clip holster was found beside the driver's seat and console, and a black nylon handgun zipper case was found beside the driver's seat and door. A black and grey backpack with a black nylon holster attached to the side was located in the back seat of the vehicle.

Located inside the backpack was male clothing and a black digital scale with a white residue. Officers located a black shoulder holster and a black pocket holster in the trunk of the vehicle.

Officers searched a woman's pink handbag located on the front passenger's side of the vehicle and located Carpenter's driver's license and a green plastic bag inside. The green plastic bag contained one green pill and a yellow plastic bag containing a crystal substance.

A black case from inside the handbag contained two clear plastic bags one containing two rounds of .380 caliber ammunition, the other containing four rounds of .25 caliber ammunition The crystal substance from the yellow plastic bag and the smoking pipe from Carpenter both tested field positive for methamphetamine.

Rickman was transported to jail where Officer Brannin interviewed Rickman after advising him of his Miranda rights. Rickman stated he had been using methamphetamine for over two months and was using methamphetamine daily. Rickman admitted that the firearm under the seat belonged to him. Ricman stated that he had purchased it in Joplin a week prior from two males in Galena, Kansas.

Your affiant researched Rickman 's criminal history I confirmed that Rickman was convicted of second degree murder in Kansas.

It was also determined that Rickman's gun had not been manufactured in Missouri.

A weapons charge was initially filed against Rickman in Newton County Circuit Court. Court records also indicate he is awaiting trial in Jasper County for driving while intoxicated, and for two felony burglary charges, both of which resulted from an arrest by the Carl Junction Police Department.

Future in doubt for Sears store at Northpark Mall

The future of the Sears anchor store at Joplin's Northpark Mall is in jeopardy.

The January announcement that 26 Sears stores were being shuttered across the nation spared the Joplin facility, but Sears' annual report, filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicates that all Sears stores and the company's K-Mart stores might soon bite the dust.

"Our historical operating results indicate substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern."

Drastic cuts made at Neosho Daily News, Carthage Press

Gatehouse Media is making drastic cuts at its area newspapers, company sources have confirmed to the Turner Report.

The Neosho Daily News, currently publishing five days a week, will publish twice-weekly beginning next month.

The Carthage Press,  which a few years ago published six days a week, then was cut to five, and is now publishing twice weekly, will have only one print edition per week.

The Pittsburg Morning Sun, currently publishing six days a week, will now publish five editions each week.

The Miami News-Record will publish twice a week.

In its article on the changes, the News-Record says it will continue to publish daily news online. Reportedly, that will also be the plan at the other publications.

Sources have also confirmed to the Turner Report that the newspaper company will also be cutting jobs at the already thinly-staffed newspapers, in addition to reducing the number of issues per week.

Joplin man pleads guilty to robbery of Pinnacle Bank

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

A Joplin, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to the attempted armed robbery of Pinnacle Bank in Joplin.

Sean LaDue, 29, of Joplin, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charges contained in a Jan. 18, 2017, superseding indictment.

By pleading guilty today, LaDue admitted that he used a firearm to rob Pinnacle Bank, 1316 E. 32nd Street, Joplin, on Nov. 14, 2016. LaDue also pleaded guilty to using a firearm during a crime of violence.

LaDue and an accomplice entered the bank at approximately 3:50 p.m. and announced, “This is a robbery, get down!” The sole customer of the bank struggled with one of the robbers in the bank lobby. During the struggle, the robber produced a firearm and fired three shots. Both robbers then fled from the bank without taking any money.

Police officers located and arrested LaDue after a brief foot chase on Nov. 16, 2016.

Under federal statutes, LaDue is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of up to life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

Roy Blunt speaks in favor of Gorsuch

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

League City pays $217K severance to Mark Rohr

League City, Texas officials are paying $217,108 to get rid of former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.

The former League City city manager, who was fired December 13, received $158,602 in straight severance pay, $40,000 for performance incentive pay, and 18,506 in vacation pay.

Ed Emery reveals more about those "vulgar, profane and unruly" transgenders

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

Today – March 20th, begins the legislative spring break; it coincides this year with my wife’s spring break from teaching kindergarten, so that is convenient. Last week ended on a high note as Rep. Donna Pfautsch, R-Harrisonville, and I attended the annual Cass County law enforcement awards banquet in Harrisonville. Eight law enforcement officers received recognition – including resolutions from both the Missouri House and Senate – in honor of their exceptional service to their communities during 2016. The Elks Club has sponsored and conducted this banquet for many years in recognition of the selfless sacrifices made by law enforcement officers and their families. May God remind us often to offer effectual and fervent prayer for these men and women as they face tests that may be both physical and emotional.

Floor action in the Senate last week included several hours working to perfect House Bill 251, commonly referred to as “paycheck protection.” It is designed to provide workers with an automatic “reenlistment” option that does not occur today for labor unions. HB 251 debate was interrupted, and the senate will return later to finish debate. The senate debated and finishedHouse Bill 153 and delivered it to the governor for his signature. House Bill 153, known as the “expert witness” bill, establishes enforceable guidelines regarding qualifications for witnesses providing “expert” testimony in a jury trial. In addition, Senate Bill 10 was perfected last week by the senate. It modifies the Missouri Works and Missouri Works Training programs. Although I opposed the bill because of my disinclination to insert government into the free market (sometimes referred to as mercantilism), it does improve those two programs by simplifying them and funding them directly rather than via tax credits.

Finally, you may have seen or heard about the episode in my office on Wednesday afternoon that some have termed a “scuffle.” There was no scuffle (I was there), but the group of fifteen or twenty that entered my outer office did become very vulgar, profane and unruly. For several minutes prior to their outbursts, we unsuccessfully attempted to address their questions and concerns. It then became clear, however, that I would have to out-shout them which I was unwilling to do. As they became more agitated, profanity erupted and a female staff member and I requested they cease that language. One young girl became even more profane, and when I gently restrained her from my female staff member she pretty well flipped out and refused to leave the office. For the first time in my legislative career, my office had to call security. I wish there had been time to separate the group and talk individually to each one, both about SB 98 which they so viciously opposed and about the harmful ultimate outcome of the path they’ve chosen.

Thanks for all you do for friends, loved ones and neighbors. Pray for your state and your legislature as often as God brings them to mind. I will offer one final reminder to pray especially this week for police, fire fighters and emergency personnel. God’s best to you all.

Lee's Summit Republican: Why I voted for charter school bill

(From Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee's Summit)

Last week my colleagues and I passed legislation that will provide young people in failing schools with additional educational opportunities. House Bill 634 would allow charter schools to expand to areas where at least one school is performing poorly in two of the last three years, with an APR score of 60% or less.

The legislation will increase the accountability and academic requirements for not only new charter schools, but existing ones as well. If a charter underperforms in comparison to similar schools in their district for two of the past three years, they will be limited to a three-year charter renewal. The bill provides that charter schools will have a three year probationary period, and if a charter performs poorly during two of the three years, that charter school will be ineligible for renewal and will be forced to close. 
The bill would also limit the public dollars sent to charter schools to no more than 90 percent of the sending district’s tuition. Additionally, the bill is contingent on the public school foundation formula being fully funded. If the K-12 formula is not fully funded, then no charter school changes go into effect. 

The expansion of charter schools will provide additional opportunities to better serve the needs of kids in failing schools. Charter schools will help underserved populations and will give parents a choice to do what is best for their kids.