Monday, October 21, 2019

Galloway urges statewide officials to encourage bills banning use of self-deleting applications for public business

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

State Auditor Nicole Galloway today urged the five other statewide officials to join her in encouraging the legislature to strengthen the Missouri Sunshine Law by banning the use of self-deleting applications for public business. She did so in a letter sent today to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer.

"Missourians expect government to be honest when conducting public business," Auditor Galloway wrote. "Banning self-destructing messaging by public entities, officials, and employees is another step to ensuring transparency, and is the best antidote to any perceived or actual government impropriety. It is not only a best practice, it is just good common sense."

Such a measure would be consistent with recent guidelines approved by the State Records Commission. The guidelines, which were adopted by a bipartisan vote, stated that the use of auto-deleting applications should be prohibited by policy. The State Records Commission membership includes the State Auditor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and the Governor's designees.

The Auditor noted that during the 2019 legislative session, legislation prohibiting the use of self-destructing messaging technology for use in public business was approved by the House. The measure then died in the Senate.

Auditor Galloway recently sent a letter to all local governments encouraging them to ban self-deleting applications. The letter included updated guidelines adopted by the State Records Commission and the Local Records Board related to electronic communications. The guidelines are the first time Missouri governments have had clear direction on self-deleting applications but, unlike the Sunshine Law, the guidelines are not legally enforceable.

The full letter to the other statewide elected officials is available here. The letter sent earlier this month to local governments throughout Missouri is available here.

DNR awards $3.5 million to Carthage for wastewater treatment facility improvements

(From the Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded $4.5 million in financial assistance to the city of Carthage to make needed improvements to its wastewater treatment facility. The funding is estimated to completely cover the project’s cost.

The project will include adding a new mechanical screen, increase the aerated basin capacity, increase aerobic sludge digestion capacity and modify the ultraviolet disinfection system at the city’s existing wastewater treatment facility. The project is expected to be completed by early 2022.

The funding consists of a $4.5 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan. The fund provides financial opportunities to communities with infrastructure needs for water quality, wastewater and drinking water. 

It is estimated to save the city’s ratepayers approximately $1.3 million in interest over the loan’s 20-year term. The city will be responsible for funding any ineligible costs and cost overruns.

“Water and wastewater systems are critical to the health and economic wellbeing of every community in Missouri,” said Carol Comer, director of the Department of Natural Resources. “Investing in our aging wastewater infrastructure helps protect human health and the environment and allows for our communities’ future growth. We are committed to working closely with public entities to assist with funding efforts that support these infrastructure improvement projects and provide financial savings.”

This project will be funded wholly or in part with monies received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bill White bills to address punitive damages, integrity and safety of water systems

Missouri Department of Public Safety receives nearly $1 million federal grant for school safety

(From the U. S. Department of Justice)

More than $900,000 in grants have been awarded to schools in the Western District of Missouri to bolster school security – including funding to educate and train students and faculty and to support first responders who arrive on the scene of a school shooting or other violent incident.

“Our kids’ schools should be safe environments where they can focus on learning, free from threats of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. “These STOP School Violence grants help provide the resources our schools need to protect students, including partnering with local law enforcement.”

Six school districts received a total of $912,288 in grants from the Department of Justice, in addition to a $999,372 grant awarded to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

“These federal resources will help to prevent school violence and give our students the support they need to learn, grow, and thrive,’ said Attorney General William P. Barr. “By training faculty, students and first responders, and by improving school security measures, we can make schools and their communities safer.”

Recipients of grant awards in the Western District of Missouri are:
• Raytown Consolidated School District 2: $250,000 (anonymous reporting technology)
• Warsaw R-IX School District: $142,068 (school violence prevention)
• City of Breckenridge: $120,593 (school violence prevention)
• Stoutland R-II School District: $84,055 (school violence prevention)
• South Pemiscot R-V Schools: $96,663 (school violence prevention)
• Lawson R-XIV School District: $315,572 (school violence prevention)
• Missouri Department of Public Safety: $999,372 (to create or enhance state school safety centers)

Five of the school district grants fall under the COPS’ School Violence Prevention Program. This is the second year the COPS program will provide K-12, primary and secondary schools up to 75 percent funding for the following school safety measures:
• Coordination with law enforcement;
• Training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves;
• Metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures;
• Technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency;
• Any other measure that the COPS Office determines may provide a significant improvement in security.

The Department of Justice announced today that more than $85.3 million in grants were awarded nationally. The STOP School Violence Act authorizes grants that are designed to improve threat assessments, train students and faculty to provide tips and leads, and prepare law enforcement officers and emergency professionals to respond to school shootings and other violent incidents.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services manage the programs and administer the grants, which include funds to:
• Develop school threat assessment teams and pursue technological solutions to improve reporting of suspicious activity in and around schools;
• Implement or improve school safety measures, including coordination with law enforcement, as well as the use of metal detectors, locks, lighting and other deterrent measures;
• Train law enforcement to help deter student violence against others and themselves;
• Improve notification to first responders through implementation of technology that expedites emergency notifications;
• Develop and operate anonymous reporting systems to encourage safe reporting of potential school threats;
• Train school officials to intervene when mentally ill individuals threaten school safety; and
• Provide training and technical assistance to schools and other awardees in helping implement these programs.

For more details about these individual award programs, as well as listings of individual 2019 awardees, visit

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kay HIvely: Remembering local artist Don Draper

I was thinking recently of my old friend, Don Draper.

For those who didn't know him or anything about him, Don was a local man who was a fine artist. He was also an outdoorsman and a somewhat controversial character. He certainly had a mind of his own and didn't hold back from what he was thinking.

Russell and I were in his home many times. His home was also his gallery and the walls were full of his work. He did his best work in landscapes, many of which were local scenes. He did fudge on occasion. 

For example, he would paint a landscape that he admired on Dan Longwell farm, west of Neosho, but stick the White house out there in the country. The White house is located on top of Big Spring Hill and was built around 1870 by saloon owner, Thomas White.

Don had a special place in his heart for his native Kansas. I have a painting he did that showed the old homestead at night. All the buildings can be seen along with the family graveyard. 

The farmstead was in the distance, and up close, Don painted a coyote howling at the moon on the Kansas prairie. He told me that when he died, he would be buried there beside his mother and father, and he was.

One of my favorite stories of Don was when he graduated from high school. He wanted to be a newspaper man so he applied at several schools. He got a scholarship from Notre Dame. Although his father was a doctor, Don was a country boy from the lonely plains of Kansas. He knew nothing about Notre Dame, but it offered a scholarship and he accepted.

When it came time to report to school, his parents drove all the way to Indiana to see their son off. When his parents left to go home, Don got a list of things he would need and was told where the college bookstore was. He made his way over there, along with a large crowd of students, teachers, etc. He was almost overwhelmed at all the people. But the most overwhelming thing he spotted was someone who wore a long flowing dress or robe. As he passed by, this person said to Don, "good morning."

Don was surprised and the only reply he could make was "Good morning, Ma'am."

Shortly after that, he learned that the "Ma'am" was none other than the President of Notre Dame, wearing his Catholic robes.

Don said he had never seen a man in a dress before, so assumed it was a woman.

He actually made it through Notre Dame and got a degree in journalism. After graduation, Don had the privilege of working for William Allen White, the famous editor of the Emporia Gazette. He came to Neosho to work at the Carnation Milk plant.

He admired Mr. White, and liked to tell the most important thing he learned from the great editor. He said Mr. White always believed in reporting local news. White said "…people would rather read about an old hound dog lying in the middle of Main Street than something that happened in Boston, Chicago or Washington D.C."

Just between you and me, that's a wise saying.

(Kay Hively is a historian, author, and former editor, reporter and columnist for the Neosho Daily News and Neosho Post.)

Nancy Hughes: Number three

“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach
the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15 (NIV)

My sister Mary shared a life-changing experience that was a huge turning point for her and sharing her faith. She was sitting at the doctor’s office in the waiting room and noticed a man across from her who had a look of anguish on his face as he waited for his name to be called. She said “hello” and they had a brief conversation.

The Lord prompted her to share His love with this gentleman and to encourage him on whatever journey he was on but she hesitated for a second. “What if he gets angry with me? What if he thinks I am being nosey?” she thought for just a moment and then she was called back to a room. He was gone when she came out and she never saw him again.

A few days later, Mary looked up from her desk at work and noticed an older gentleman wandering up and down the aisles in the store. As she helped him find what he wanted, she sensed his loneliness and immediately felt in her heart that she needed to share Jesus. Mary felt the Lord’s urging: “Go talk to this man. Encourage him. Share the Good News.”

Once again - unsure of exactly what to say - she hesitated. As the man walked out of the store, the Lord gently spoke to her heart: “Please…don’t let there be a number three.” Her mind instantly went back to the gentleman in the doctor’s office days before and now to this man leaving her store.

Immediately she confessed her disobedience to the Lord by not sharing His love with these two gentlemen and resolved from that day forward that she would share her Savior with everyone she met.

God gives us one opportunity after the other to share Him with people around us. Nothing – absolutely nothing – should keep us from speaking about eternity with people we meet every day. What if we are the one that the Lord has placed in the path of someone who is lost and hurting and needs to hear love and forgiveness?

Don’t let anything stop you from sharing Jesus. “Please…don’t let there be a number three.”

Father, I know you place people in my path that you want me to lovingly talk to about you. Please forgive me when I hesitate. Give me courage and wisdom to tell them the Good News that only comes from you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you felt the Lord nudging you to share His Good News with someone and you hesitated?

What was your reason for not sharing Jesus with that person?


Plan ahead different ways that you can share your relationship with Christ with people you meet.

Pray for opportunities to share Jesus and listen for His voice to direct your path.


Mark 16:15 (NIV) “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

Isaiah 52:7 (NIV) “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news…”

Psalm 96:2 (NIV) “Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.”

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

Kim Frencken: Beware of the crazy days

Beware of the crazy season. It starts in mid-October and ends when school resumes in January. You'll easily recognize it by the pumpkins and poinsettia displays. Retailers call it Hallowthanksmas. I call it crazy.

It happens between October and January, there is little time for catching your breath. Forget about finding your mind. School days go by in a blur of frenzied activities, parties, and hyper kids.

There seems to be little time for quality instruction with parties and concerts, and assemblies. Keeping focus and competing with costume comparisons is virtually impossible. Writing Christmas list becomes the writing lesson. Planning classroom parties takes precedence over lesson planning.

How do you survive and keep your kids engaged in quality lessons? Don't try to fight the system. It is what it is. There have always been holiday concerts and parties. There are always kids physically exhausted and mentally wired after Halloween. There always will be. Thanksgiving vacation will always cause a ripple of excitement. Kids will always be wide-eyed thinking about Christmas.

Make the best of the situation. Find resources (or create them) that play into the holiday spirit. Quality resources that provide review or reinforcement of skills. Limit how many new concepts/standards you teach (I know there isn't enough time). Focus on reinforcing skills you've previously taught.

Enjoy the holiday season. Count your blessings. Breathe. It happens once a year. Every year. You survived last year. You'll survive this year. You've got this.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

Trump supporters go ballistic over Joplin Globe impeachment editorial

I usually read the Joplin Globe editorial page, but somehow I missed the Globe's editorial on impeachment in Friday's edition.

So before I read it, I checked out the Facebook comments.

Normally, that is a big mistake because many Facebook commenters feel the need to comment on everything and do not bother to ever read the article they are commenting on.

This time, I did it for a reason. I wanted to see if I could figure out what the Globe editorial said based only on the Facebook comments.

The comments, mostly, were based on the brief summary that was provided on Facebook:

The president’s conduct is of concern, according to our editorial board. Determining the seriousness, and consequences, of that conduct is in the hands of those we have elected to serve our nation, and we urge them to solemnly and carefully perform their duty.
Uh, oh! I could already see how this was going to go. The post at the present time has received 545 comments.

I have found from personal experience that any time I write about President Trump and say anything that is remotely critical or is meant to be humorous, my Facebook comments are overwhelmingly negative.

Most of those who make negative comments are not my Facebook friends, but are people who seem to feel they have received a divine mission to slap down anyone who dares to criticize the president.
Of course, it was my decision to leave my Facebook page public, so I suppose I should expect nothing less.

Usually, the comments are not in response to whatever it is I have written, but are opportunities for people to refer to me as a liberal, a lefty (I am proudly right handed, but some of my best friends write with their left hand), or worse.

Rather than address whatever issue is the topic, many of them often make comments that I didn't write about this when Hillary and Bill Clinton did it. (I wasn't writing this blog when Bill Clinton was president and if memory serves me correctly, Hillary Clinton has never been president.)

The few who address the issue often do so by providing links to articles that are from dubious sources.

Some have tried to comment with memes, which I do not allow.

Nearly always, memes are the lazy person's way of saying "I have nothing worthwhile to say."

Now that the preliminaries are over, let's examine some of the Globe's Facebook comments (with my comments added after some of them:

Joplin Globe is a has been, liberal lying media source!

Anyone who thinks the Joplin Globe is liberal is living in an alternate reality.

The Globe is pandering to the left.

Sure it is. What a brilliant business strategy to pander to the left in southwest Missouri.

Great. JG has joined the ranks of prejudice journalism. I thought you were to report truth and unbiased news. Ignorance. Congress does not care about our country. They are not serving our country only a personal agenda. 

our pennies would be better spent on news that matters. News papers are dying. No impeachment!! Dream on lefties

 There will be impeachment. Even Trump supporters should realize that. You only have to have a majority of the House. It doesn't mean he will be removed from office, but he will be impeached.

I think you have a typo it’s the Biden’s that need to be investigated. Since you have decided to be biased you have lost my viewership.

What Hunter Biden did is part of what is wrong with the entire system. He was placed on the board of a Ukrainian company simply because of his name and undoubtedly as an effort to curry favor with the Obama administration. It is simply wrong for the sons or daughters of a president or vice president to attempt to cash in on who they are. I am certainly glad this commenter made note of that. 

Nice to see the death of journalism has found its way to small town America. Partisanship division like this is part of the problem especially when only one opinion is allowed on their soapbox. The Globe has devolved into a festering disgrace.

Good thing no one asked you your opinion. Joplin GlobeTrash

The criminal representatives of the nazi democrat party need to be forcibly removed, By the people of this country! President trump has been the best president this country has ever had and we will all stand for him and fight to the death for his family if need be!

And there were more- many, many more.

Now, I clicked on the link and read this vicious, evil anti-Trump editorial I saw described in the Facebook comments.

Ninety percent of the editorial was an explanation of the impeachment process.

This was the only part of it that was actually an opinion:

The president’s conduct is of concern. Determining the seriousness of and consequences of that conduct is in the hands of those we have elected to serve our nation. 
We urge them to solemnly and carefully perform their duty.
The only thing that was even mildly critical of President Trump is the first sentence. The Globe's Editorial Board since the president's conduct "is of concern."

The editorial did not say "President Trump is a crook."

The editorial did not say "It is time we removed President Trump from office."

The editorial did not say "The Democrats are doing God's work."

The editorial said it was up to members of Congress, people we sent to the nation's capital as our elected representatives to be careful and take their responsibilities seriously.

That is a reason to cancel subscriptions and to hope for the Joplin Globe to go out of business?

Apparently, the legions of Joplin Globe Facebook commenters who feel obliged to criticize the newspaper are as thin-skinned as the president they are supporting.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Jason Smith: LeBron James not following the teachings of Martin Luther King with failure to criticize China

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Letter from Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice.” – Sermon in Selma, Alabama on March 8, 1965

These are the words of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and these two quotes were also shared by LeBron James on Twitter to celebrate MLK Day in January of last year.

While these words appear crystal clear in their meaning, earlier this week LeBron made an exception to the late Dr. King’s advice.

For months on the streets of Hong Kong people have been beaten within inches of their lives, arrested and thrown into jail cells, and some have even been shot, all for just simply speaking their minds.

China, who hates any free expression that contradicts their communist control of society, has also positioned over 12,000 soldiers inside the city limits to scare the people of Hong Kong into ending their protests.

Still, the citizens of Hong Kong remain committed to fighting for their fundamental rights and freedoms. They look to the United States as the beacon of liberty; they run in the streets singing our national anthem and waving the American flag to keep their hopes alive.

In the United States of America, we defend the freedom of speech. That is why people like LeBron James are able to be vocally critical of everything from the White House to pop culture.

In fact, just in the last few years, LeBron has celebrated those like Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the national anthem and referred to the President of the United States as “u bum.” He went even further to describe the Americans who supported President Trump, as people who “make choices and say things that are uneducated.”

Yet rather than criticize a communist country for failing to recognize basic human rights, earlier this week LeBron directed his criticism towards those vocalizing their support for the people of Hong Kong. He, and the rest of the NBA, disgustingly defend communism and its total control over people’s lives at the expense of our most fundamental freedoms because they are so fearful of losing out on the expanding Chinese market driven by its nearly 1.5 billion consumers.

I am sick and tired of America getting kicked around and put down by those who benefit from our capitalist society and open, free speech. Our American values are our nation’s greatest export and LeBron’s response makes it clear that he feels those values are up for sale when trying to curry favor with communist dictatorships to expand his personal profit margins.

The freedoms and liberties that we enjoy as Americans were paid for with the blood of American heroes, and generations of brave servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in the centuries since to ensure we remain what President Lincoln called, “the last best hope of earth.”

That is why LeBron’s story is only possible in America and not in China, where you are told what to do and what to think. His incredible rise from the poor streets of Akron, Ohio to the wealthy Los Angeles suburbs is only possible because of American freedom and opportunity. It is heartbreaking that he is so quick to sellout those same values in order to make more money from a foreign and corrupt government.

Despite him, and others, heaping praise on Chinese dictators and their oppression of human rights, America still remains the only nation where you are able to achieve success through hard work and determination. If you were to open the gates on China’s border, more people would flow out than in. Yet here in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of people trying to claw their way in for a shot at the American Dream.

While LeBron James has achieved the American Dream, he can’t stop dreaming about Chinese money. And although LeBron did not listen to his words before, I hope he will internalize these words of Dr. King and think of the people in Hong Kong still struggling for their freedom: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Friday, October 18, 2019

Parson appoints Kevin Selby 40th Judicial Circuit circuit judge

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson appointed Kevin Selby as Circuit Judge for the 40th Judicial Circuit. He will fill the Circuit Judge position created by the Missouri General Assembly in 2018.

Mr. Selby, of Stark City, currently serves as Associate Circuit Judge for the 40th Judicial Circuit.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.