Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jason Smith, Vicky Hartzler sign on to letter demanding enforcement of work requirements for food stamp recipients

(From First District Congressman Kevin Hern, R-Oklahoma)

Today, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in support of the proposed rule to enforce work requirements for SNAP Benefits. There were 64 Members of Congress who signed the letter in support of the proposed rule as well.

“This proposed rule is long overdue,” said Rep. Hern. “For decades, we have let unchecked spenders in Congress and the White House turn SNAP into a crippling dependency that it was never meant to be.

“I know firsthand what happens to a family when the adult becomes dependent on food stamps,” continued Hern. “Because of my stepfather’s unwillingness to work, I grew up on food stamps until I was 18 years old. It’s not a sustainable lifestyle and certainly not one we should be subsidizing. President Reagan once said that the best social program was a job. It’s just as true today as it was then. Let’s get Americans back to work and restore our people to self-sufficiency.”

Background Information:

When the stricter work requirements were removed from the 2018 Farm Bill, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a proposed rule to tighten SNAP’s work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) between the ages of 18 and 49.

Under the current requirements, ABAWDs must work or participate in a training program at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits for more than three months over a 36-month period. However, states may request waivers for areas without sufficient jobs for the time requirement. As a result of these state waivers, nearly three-fourths of those on food stamp rolls in 2016 were not working.

With a strong economy coming out of 2018 and a strong outlook for 2019, areas with an unemployment rate of just 5 percent could be eligible for a waiver on the work requirement. Thirty-six states currently waive the work requirements for some or all of the ABAWD population.

In December, Secretary Perdue said, “these waivers weaken states’ ability to move the ABAWD population to long-term sufficiency because they do not require ABAWDs to engage in work and work training.”

The proposed rule is intended to move ABAWDs towards self-sufficiency through work and restore the original intent of SNAP, to assist and support families in difficult times. SNAP was never meant to be a way of life.

Joining Rep. Hern on the letter are:

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02)
Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS-01)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC-11)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08)
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA-04)
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36)
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL-06)
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL)
Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-03)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01)
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-01)
Rep. John Joyce (R-PA-13)
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26)
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07)
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX-04)
Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL)
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC-05)
Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX-06)
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA-10)
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS-01)
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL-05)
Rep. Alexander Mooney (R-WV-02)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03)
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL-12)
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-06)
Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO-08)
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN-02)
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-06)
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX-25)
Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS-03)
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL-01)
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX-14)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA-04)
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04)
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04)
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-03)
Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-05)
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06)
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL-19)
Rep. Gregory Steube (R-FL-17)
Rep. Daniel Meuser (R-PA-09)
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-06)
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11)
Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS-04)
Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07)
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04)
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-06)
Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI-04)
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI-01)
Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV-03)
Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC-07)
Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01)
Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA-06)
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH-08)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-01)
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16)
Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10)
Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA-06)
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14)
Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27)

You can find a copy of the letter here.

Paul Richardson: The days of being in Sane

While I might be considered a native son, the good wife is not from around here. She was born in St. Louis, raised in Salem from the time she was 10 and then came with me to Neosho the year that she was turning 29.

As of this coming June we will have been back in Neosho for 36 years. That’s a piece-’o-time, you know. As a result of that fact, she has been in Neosho longer than any other place and for the majority of her life. I think she is going to stay.

In conversation a few days back, I made reference to her not being from around here. She quickly took offense to this statement due to her time served. I really hadn’t given consideration to the facts stated earlier. This is due in part to the fact that the years have just flown by. I know that we are older and a lot of water has gone under the bridge. It couldn’t have been that many years, could it?

So as it turns out, the good wife considers Neosho home. This community has grown on her and became such a part of her consciousness that it is now her default place to be. Her loyalties are here, her passion is that this community excel and all things continue to transform and improve.

I have a more gypsy spirit. If I am not where I want to be, I make where I am what I want it to be. Due to this attribute, I simply created my own town, Sane City Limits. That is why the name of the motorcycle shop we once operated was Sane Mule & Motorcycle Trade Co. 

The Sane referenced a location and not my condition or my name. Many a customer called me Sane as if that were my name. I just let it pass. But let a phone call come in with someone asking directions to Sane and the good wife’s reaction was not something you wanted to hear. Her response was, “There is no such place as Sane, Mo. My husband just made that stuff up.” 

My thought was, “Just give them directions and don’t worry about what they believe“. Sane City Limits was a neat piece of branding and was easy to market. Even a blind hog gets an acorn every once in a while.

It wasn’t long after we established a website and were engaging in some online marketing, that one could “Google” Sane, Mo and Google Maps would give a location. Very handy, indeed! So don’t tell me that there is no such place as Sane, Mo!

Once we closed the shop, took down the website and ceased the marketing activity, that service also disappeared. Don’t bother to search on “Google” as the search will not yield the same results. There are, however, plenty of t-shirts out there with the Sane City Limit sign on the back and our tagline of “I’ve Been ‘in’ Sane”. We sold and shipped those to people all other the United States.

There are plenty of other places of interest in and around Neosho. I have been working as of late on a project to get as many of these as possible on a website that belongs to the Missouri Department of Tourism, www.visitmo.com. 

Branding these businesses and places of interest will only enhance our community. We have some really cool stuff to share, but we must let people know about it’s existence. If you would like some assistance in getting a place of interest, business or event onto this site, let me know. We can help as the site is free and our assistance on this issue is at no charge.

While your item may not have the panache of Sane City Limits there are some positive things that can be accomplished. Not everyone can have their own little town, complete with a fire truck and logo, but none-the-less you can be accessible to the masses as they look for things to do in Missouri.

Oh, by the way, if you are ever ‘in’ Sane, your speed is controlled by your ability to take the curve and don’t ever ask to ride the mule!

(Paul Richardson's column The Horse I Rode In On is featured weekly in the Neosho Daily News, the Seneca News-Dispatch and the Turner Report.)


Newton County, the way it was. Relive the people, places and events of the 1960s, '70s, and '80-s.

Available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon and locally at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin, Pat's Books in Carthage and Granby Auto Supply and Hardware in Granby.

Joplin R-8 Board of Education to meet in soecial session today

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet in a special session 5 p.m. today at Columbia Elementary School.

The Board's Finance, Salary and Benefits Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in the Memorial Administration Building.

Agendas for both meetings are posted below:

Special Session

A. Call to Order
1. Roll Call

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda - Action

D. Tour of Columbia Elementary - Info. (Dr. Sachetta)

E. Contract with Helitech - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

F. Demographer Report - Info. (Dr. Sachetta)

G. Joplin Schools Climate Report - Info. (Dr. Moss)

H. Financial Update - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

I. Adjourn - Action

Finance, Salary and Benefits Committee meeting

A. Call to Order

B. Overview of Budget Revisions - Dr. Lankford

C. Progress on FY 20 Budget - Dr. Lankford

D. Overview of Investment Earnings - Dr. Lankford

E. Info re: Newton County's Initiative for Accurate Cell Tower Assessment - Dr. Lankford

F. Adjourn

Payless ShoeSource files second bankruptcy, stores to close by end of March

Payless ShoeSource filed its second bankruptcy Monday and announced plans to close all of its locations by the end of March.

The company has continued to have debt problems after filing its first bankruptcy two years ago. Bankruptcy court documents showed debts totaling $500 million to $1 billion.

The company has two locations in Joplin, 1502 S. Range Line and Northpark Mall and has been in Joplin for 26 years.

Payless was one of the first businesses to rebuild after its Range Line location was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 tornado.

"The people of Joplin have been through a great loss and they need the support of many to build-back all that was lost," said LuAnn Via, CEO and President of Payless in an August 2011 news release.

"They are now energized by their future and focused on rebuilding a community even better than before. And we'll be there with them."

Immediately following the tornado, Payless delivered 6,000 pairs of shoes to those who needed them and donated money to the American Red Cross to help Joplin.

While the Range Line location was being rebuilt, Payless workers from that store were able to keep working at other company stores.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ann Wagner: I'm grateful to have Ivanka Trump as a strong partner in the fight for paid parental leave

(From Second District Congresswoman Ann Wagner)

I was so pleased to hear the President give a strong shoutout to paid parental leave during his State of the Union Address. I was the first on my feet to say, “Yes!” I'm a big supporter and advocate in this arena.

We are looking forward to restarting these parental leave discussions in the new Congress, and I am very much in support of bringing this legislation forward and gaining bipartisan support to get this done.

I’m grateful to have Ivanka Trump as a strong partner in the fight for paid parental leave and look forward to continuing to work with her and my colleagues on behalf of America's families. 

We had a productive meeting last week regarding our Paid Parental Leave bill. Our priority is to expand freedom and flexibility and give new parents the option of paid parental leave so they can spend more time with their children during the most precious and formative time of a child’s life. 

This legislation is a conservative approach that does not raise taxes, create mandates for businesses, or grow the government.

So you want to be a Joplin High School band director

The R-8 School District posted an opening for a band director for Joplin High School for the 2019-2020 school year.

The text of that ad is posted below:

High School Band Director (2019-2020 School Year)
Job Description
Salary RangePer Year
Shift TypeFull-Time

Three-year-old Joplin murder victim's donated organ enables another three-year-old to live

The Justice for Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey Facebook page passed along a post from the murdered three-year-old's mother, Natasha Bilbrey, that one of the child's donated organs has enabled another three-year-old to live.
This morning I received a letter in the mail from mid-transplant where my son has donated 4 of his organs. This is one of the transplanted people my son donatedto. He is now 3 years old and super happy and healthy. I cried because of the happiness this family gets to have because they're little boy got the chance to live because of my little baby boy. I appreciate them reaching out to me because this is part of my healing process. And thank you to mid-transplant!

Jonathan Munoz-Bilbrey died November 12, 2017, due to abuse he received from his mother's live-in boyfriend Leonard Valdez at their home at 1502 S. Michigan.

Valdez, 22, pleaded guilty to second degree murder January 17 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Webb City man sentenced to four years in prison for fifth and sixth DWIs

A Webb City man was sentenced to four years in prison January 28 after pleading guilty to his sixth DWI.

When Michael Robinette, 56, drove while under the influence August 31 at Madison and 16th in Webb City, he was already awaiting trial on the fifth DWI. Judge Dean Dankelson sentenced him to four years on that case, as well, during the January 28 hearing.

Both drunk driving offenses occurred less than eight months after Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Hensley restored Robinette's driving privileges following the Webb City man's fourth DWI.

As part of a plea agreement, the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office dismissed charges of driving while revoked, felony resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident and first degree property damage.

The probable cause statement for Robinette's sixth DWI says Robinette ran from the police after being stopped, failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a vehicle at Fountain and Lakeview, then continued to Fountain and Main where he struck another car that was stopped in traffic.

The arresting officer found that Robinette had "a strong odor of intoxicants," as well as three open vodka bottles.

Jasper County Circuit Court records show Robinette's fifth DWI came as a result of another Webb City Police Department arrest May 6. After that arrest, Robinette was behind bars on a $10,000 cash or surety and $1,000 cash bond. Judge John Nicholas reduced the bond to $5,000 cash or surety and Robinette was released June 5.

Burnett: Medical marijuana bills drawing attention in Missouri House

(From Rep. Ingrid Burnett, D-Kansas City)

The Medical Marijuana Amendment 2 discussion is getting more and more interesting. As specified in the language, the Department of Health and Senior Services has until June 4, to promulgate the rules.

To that end, they held a public hearing in Jefferson City on February 13. According to The Missouri Times, the house was packed with people expressing concerns that it would have affordable and equal access to all Missourians in need of it. There was also some consensus that Missourians, be they growers, dispensers or patients, get first consideration over out of state producers or big business.

Meanwhile, 11 House Bills dealing with marijuana have been filed, 2 of which are in play. HB 341, introduced by Representative Ron Hicks (R), allows certain marijuana-related offenses and violations to be expunged if the offenses or violations occurred in Missouri prior to the issuance of a patient identification card. 

It has made it out of the Committee on Criminal Justice and is headed to Rules Committee. I imagine that will be a long debate with a lot of amendments offered when it gets to the House Floor for perfection. HB 829, introduced by Representative David Wood (R), Creates provisions stating any litigation that Missouri is involved in due to medical marijuana shall be paid out of the Department of Health and Senior Services’ portion of the Missouri Veterans’ Health and Care Fund.

On the Senate side, 4 bills have been filed dealing with marijuana. A complete list of bills that have been introduced this session regarding the legalization of marijuana can be found here. The DHSS timeline on licensing and regulations for medical marijuana can be found here.

Since we’re on the topic of drugs, on February 11, the House of Representatives voted 103-53 to advance a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) bill to the Senate. If it gets through the Senate, this bill will establish a statewide system for tracking the dispensing of prescription narcotics. Even though some counties implement a PDMP, Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewideprescription drug monitoring program. Opponents believe the personal information that is collected by a PDMP could be hacked, but supporters view them as a vital tool to combat opioid abuse. This was the third time I was able to vote “yes” to advance this bill to the Senate. With some newly elected Senators in place, the speculators are giving this bill a good chance of getting to the Governor’s desk.

Bill That Supports Children’s Rights Getting Attention

On Monday, 2/11, I had the honor of joining with the Legislative Black Caucus at a press conference highlighting criminal justice reform bills. 

Among the bills that were highlighted was HB 42, which would prevent children from waiving their right for legal counsel unless that waiver is made in open court and is recorded in writing. This is an effort I started about a year ago, and I am happy to report that it has been assigned to the Committee on Children and Families. It has received wide bipartisan support as well as support from judges, prosecutors, juvenile officers, and others. 

Check out this video that explains HB 42. Several media outlets published stories about our press conference including The Missouri Times, The Columbia Missourian, and the Houston Herald. It also ran in the hometown paper of Governor Parson - The Bolivar Herald Free Press. Here's hoping the Governor reads his paper.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Former KODE anchor Tiffany Alaniz crashes into utility pole, charged with driving under the influence

Former KODE anchor Tiffany Alaniz, now anchor for Fox 23 News at Noon in Tulsa, was charged with driving under the influence after crashing into a utility pole in a rollover crash at 17th and Peoria in Tulsa.

The crash left the area without power for several hours.

The Tulsa World account says Alaniz after officers thought she showed signs of being intoxicated and underwent field sobriety tests.

She posted bond and was released.

Alaniz, a Tulsa native, anchored KODE's 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts during the early part of this decade, after spending the 2000s at KSN, forming a highly successful team with weatherman Gary Bandy, first on the morning show and later with a 5 p.m. newscast/talk show format.

For a time, Alaniz also served as assistant news director at KSN.

Oklahoma court records do not show any previous DUI arrests, but Alaniz has received five speeding tickets in the past four years and three months, including two in which in which court records indicate she was going 16 to 20 miles per hour above the speed limit and two others in which she drove 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit. The tickets were issued in Delaware, Mayes, Rogers (2) and Tulsa counties.

Alaniz has a February 27 court date on the most recent speeding ticket, which took place January 11 in Mayes County.