Tuesday, January 17, 2017

GOP chairman: Now Missouri has a governor who isn't afraid to make tough decisions

(From the Missouri Republican Party)

Todd Graves, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, released this statement following the State of the State Address given by Governor Eric Greitens on Tuesday, January 17, 2017:

"Governor Greitens promised Missourians he would take our state in a new direction - and tonight he delivered on that promise," said Todd Graves, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. "Missouri now has a Governor who isn't afraid to make tough decisions as he forges the path to a balanced budget, economic prosperity for businesses and families and strong support for our law enforcement officers. Not only do I commend Governor Greitens on his leadership, I am honored to work alongside him as we continue to take Missouri in a positive direction for all people."

Fifth candidate files for Joplin R-8 Board of Education, no incumbents file

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will have three new members in April.

Incumbents Lynda Banwart and Debbie Fort, who were elected to three-year terms in 2014 and Chris Sloan, who was elected to a one-year, unexpired term last April, did not file for re-election.

The five candidates for the board:

Deborah L. Gould
Derek L. Gander
Elizabeth Talkington
Ron Brewer
Brent Scott Jordan

Joplin man indicted, pleads guilty to child pornography charge

A Joplin man, whose indictment by a federal grand jury on a child pornography charge was unsealed today, waived the indictment and pleaded guilty.

During a 28-minute hearing in U. S. District Court in Springfield, Gregory R. Case, 39, admitted to possessing child pornography between May 4, 2013 and January 15, 2017 in Jasper County.

Judge David P. Rush ordered a pre-sentence investigation, with the report due Tuesday, January 31.

Government asks that Pinnacle Bank robbery suspect be held without bond

Federal prosecutors filed a motion today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to hold one of two men accused in the November 14 robbery of the Pinnacle Bank of Joplin without bond.

The motion notes that Jimmy Eisenhour has confessed and that shots were fired during the robbery, making it a "crime of violence."

The robbery was described in this Joplin Police Department news release:

On November 14, 2016 at 3:46 PM officers with the Joplin Police Department were dispatched to 1316 E. 32nd St. Pinnacle Bank for a business alarm.

On arrival officers learned that an attempted robbery had taken place.

Two suspects entered the building, communicated with employees, and then fired several rounds. At this time investigators are on scene interviewing
witnesses and conducting a thorough investigation. No one was hurt during the event.

Gun-wielding Joplin man who threatened woman in vodka-filled rage pleads guilty to weapons charge

A Joplin man pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield today to unlawful charge of firearms.

Timothy Scott Reed's plea came as a result of a deal with the federal government dropping a second weapons charge.

Reed has a history of criminal activity going back three decades, according to a motion for a detention hearing filed by the U. S. Attorney.

He was arrested on marijuana possession charges twice in Arizona in 1985 and 1986 and for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in 1986 in Virginia.

After relocating to Missouri, Reed had numerous run-ins with the law, including guilty pleas for resisting arrest (twice), marijuana possession, and driving while intoxicated.

The arrest that led to today's guilty plea was detailed in the detention motion:

On November 16, 2015, officers from the Joplin, Missouri Police Department were dispatched to 1131 S. Moffett in Joplin, a location in the Western District of Missouri, for a report of a disturbance with a weapon. 

Upon arrival, officers contacted F.L. and C.T. F.L. stated that Timothy Reed had threatened her by pointing a loaded handgun at her. She said that Reed was currently “passed out drunk” in the living room of her residence with the gun tucked into his waistband. 

At that point, the officers entered the home. Immediately upon entering the home, Officer Costley reported he observed Reed lying on the floor. As Officer Costley approached Reed, he saw a black handgun on the floor partially underneath Reed’s waistline. Reed appeared to be sleeping to Officer Costley. 

Officer Costley secured the weapon and placed Reed in handcuffs. Reed woke up and asked what he was being arrested for. Officer Costley noticed his speech was slurred and the officer smelled the odor of alcohol coming from Reed. 

Officer Costley told Reed he was under arrest for assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Reed stated that the gun did not belong to him and he did not assault anyone. He stated he received the gun earlier that day from a male who told him that he had stolen it from a house down the road. 

Reed said he did not know the male, but described him as a male with a short, military style haircut. Officer Costley spoke with F.L. again, who stated that Reed arrived at the house between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. that day with the gun in his possession. 

F.L. said that Reed started drinking vodka and continued to drink all afternoon. She said Reed became belligerent around 4:40 p.m. and began making threats towards her. F.L. stated Reed asked her to give him a hug and then took the gun and pointed it at her, “punching” it into her stomach. She said that he made a statement similar to, “You know I wouldn’t hurt either of you, right?” F.L. stated there was a round in the chamber at that time. She said Reed eventually passed out with the gun in his waistband.

Officer Costley spoke with C.T., and she stated she saw Reed point the gun at F.L. while there was a round in the chamber. She stated she was able to get the gun away from Reed at one point and take the round out of the chamber. C.T. said that Reed was able to get the gun back from her, but then he was unable to get the gun loaded again. She stated that, at first, he was unable to get the magazine into the gun. 

After he got the magazine in, he was unable to rack the slide to chamber a round. C.T. stated that eventually Reed passed out with the gun in his waistband. 

Officers from the Joplin, Missouri Police Department confirmed through later investigation that the firearm possessed by Reed was stolen from a residence earlier in the day on November 16, 2015.

Sentencing will be held at a later date.

Greitens calls for increases in teacher pay, more access to advanced placement programs

(The following is the text of the portion of Gov. Eric Greitens' State of the State Address that addresses education.)

That understanding starts with our young people. And it begins in our homes—and in our schools.

I think we will all agree that we have incredible young people here in the state of Missouri.

And yet, we have an education system that ranks near last in every measure that matters.

Our people have done their part. Missouri pays about the national average for its education system.

Yet even though we spend what the rest of the country spends on education, we rank 47th in starting teacher pay. We have great teachers, and I believe our great teachers deserve to be paid more.

And let me be perfectly clear: this administration is committed to protecting teachers’ pensions.

What we need to do is make sure that the money we spend finds its way into the classroom.

Over half of Missouri school districts do not offer a single Advanced Placement class. Over 200 of our 520 school districts did not have a single student in physics. Over 100 did not have a single student enrolled in chemistry.

We need to expand course access programs, so that every child in Missouri can use technology to get the education they need.

We also need to make sure that every child in Missouri, especially those kids with special needs, get a fair shot at the American Dream. I will work with you to implement Education Savings Accounts for children with special needs.

Education Savings Accounts are simple. Kids with special needs have IEPs, individualized education plans. With education savings accounts, parents are able to use their fair share of state education money in a way that fits with what their kids need.

Arizona was the first state in the country to try these accounts, and the program has been a success. Parents are much happier with their children’s educations, and children are able to get the kind of education that meets their needs.

We do best when we put power into the hands of parents and teachers at the local level.

Special needs families know their children best. And it is time we gave control back to those parents, to select the best possible education for their children.

Every kid in the state of Missouri—whether in a public school, private school, or homeschool—deserves a fair shot at the American Dream. And these are just a few of the things we can do to make that happen.

Complete text provided for Gov. Greitens' State of the State Address

Governor Eric Greitens
2017 State of the State Address
Remarks as prepared for delivery
A Message From The People
Thank you, Lieutenant Governor Parson; Speaker Richardson and the members of the Missouri House; President Pro Tem Richard and members of the Missouri Senate; Chief Justice Breckenridge and the judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri; State officials; and our honored guests. Thank you.
And thank you to Sheena, my beautiful wife, and Missouri’s First Lady.
We meet tonight in the people’s chamber.
This is the seat of our republic—where the people’s will should be done.
Many of you have been good keepers of the public’s trust. Your families have sacrificed so that you can serve the people, and I appreciate you and your families.
But too many good, strong public servants have come here only to see the will of the people obstructed and corrupted by insiders and lobbyists.
This is a big place, with a powerful purpose, and it has too often been consumed by small goals and petty politics.
So tonight, I come bearing a simple message from the people of Missouri: They want a government that fights for them, and I come as an outsider ready to lead that fight.
Last week, I signed an executive order banning gifts from lobbyists to state employees of the executive branch.
I think all elected officials should do the same. And I thank Speaker Richardson, President Richard, Senator Kehoe, Representative Cierpoit, and other leaders in this room for their commitment to passing a ban on gifts from lobbyists.
In our first executive order, we also slammed shut the revolving door between employees of the Governor’s office and lobbyists. The people in my office come to work knowing they will never be able to lobby our office.

Greitens budget cut will trim four percent from Joplin, area schools' bus funding

Each Missouri school district will lose four percent of its state transportation funding as a part of the $146 million in budget cuts announced by Gov. Eric Greitens Monday. This Kansas City Action 41 report examines what those cuts will mean.

Background look at inauguration preparation includes interview with Blunt

Rogersville Republican: Right to work will make Missouri a great state