Saturday, August 31, 2013

Man behind Common Core Standards couldn't get hired as a teacher

Noted education blogger Diane Ravitch, a former Education Department official under President George H. W. Bush, is an outspoken opponent of Common Core Standards. In her latest post, she notes that the man who is generally acknowledged as the creator of Common Core Standards, David Coleman, was unable to get a teaching job. (And while it's true that I am in the same boat, Coleman cannot blame C. J. Huff, Angie Besendorfer and the Legion of Doom at 32nd and Duquesne for his problem.)

And now the man who could not get hired for a teaching job is the one who is determining what most of the schools in the United States will be teaching.

That would be like putting someone who has never been a teacher in charge of the U. S. Department of Education.

Who would ever think of doing a thing like that?

At the same time that he was writing the Common Core standards, Coleman was treasurer of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst in its first year of operation. The board had two other members: Jason Zemba, who wrote the Common Core math standards, and a third person who was an employee of David Coleman’s Student Achievement Partners.
Now, Coleman is reshaping the SAT and the AP tests to align with the Common Core.
Obviously, Coleman is an incredibly brilliant and well-educated man. He went to the very best universities. His parents were highly educated (his mother is president of Bennington College).
Since he has never been a teacher, what we must wonder about is his ability to understand that not all children will score over 700 on their SAT, no matter how hard they try. Not all children will go to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Not all children will go to Oxford.
We have a federal policy today that seems to have been written by people who got very high scores on their standardized tests and lack empathy for those who can’t do the same.

Joplin's IPads for eighth graders and 21st Century learning

(The following post was originally published Friday at Inside Joplin)

As I watched the accompanying KSN video extolling the virtues of IPads for every eighth grader in the Joplin R-8 School District, I kept wondering about some of the things that were left out of the report.
How do the parents feel about this? How do the students feel about this? What changes are being made in the way teaching is being done?
Under the present R-8 Administration, the primary goal seems to be to spend hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars (or find someone else to spend it for them) in a never ending quest to be the first to do something. It might be laptops for high school students, IPads for eighth graders, or whatever new innovation comes along the road. Whether it is technology or the newest, trendiest programs and buildings, the greedy educational architects at 32nd and Duquesne have to have it all.
And while the students are being handed the latest in technology, administration has been pushing a new, supposedly better way of teaching in which the teachers serve as facilitators while the students, using their brand-new playthings, are supposed to take charge of their own learning.
Teachers who lecture, even those who are quite effective at it, are going to be graded down by their principal evaluators. Teachers who lead discussions are old hat. Teachers who actually teach are not going to score as highly under this new 21st Century method as teachers who sit back and bask in the glow of all the learning that is magically taking place by highly motivated students with IPads.
There are many wonderful lessons that can be created with IPads, but from what I am hearing from the teachers at East Middle School, where I taught until top administrators made the sudden decision that literacy was important and kicked off this discovery by reading my books, longer writing assignments are a thing of the past.
The teachers were given paper and pencils, but only because someone had contributed them to the school. The not-so-subtle message the teachers have been given is that paper and pencils are instruments of the 20th Century. They do not belong in Joplin Schools.
That has made it extremely difficult. It would still be possible for writing assignments to be given on laptops, if that were the 21st Century device that had been given to the students, but it is not easy to do a longer writing assignment on an IPad.
As much as I would still love to be in the classroom, I have to admit that I would not be looking forward to trying to figure out a way to have students do my third quarter civil rights research paper on the IPads. The research can be done on the IPads, obviously; the writing is something altogether different.
Since my class was writing-intensive, students had at least one longer writing assignment each week. The best ones were put on the Writers’ Wall of Fame.
Thankfully, I will never have to figure out how to staple an IPad to the wall.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cleaver: The dream has not yet been realized

In his latest EC from DC report, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver notes on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the parts of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech that have not yet been realized.

As this country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think it is important to take a look at where we are going, the progress we’ve made, and where we have been. 

The March for jobs and freedom took place 50 years ago on August 28th at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Of course, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech captured the hearts and souls of America, and is one that I find inspiring still to this day. We have come so far as a nation – yet there is still much work to do. 

This year, as I marked the anniversary of the march, I also hoped it served as a reminder to all of us that the “Dream” has not been fulfilled yet, and the battle for justice goes on. 

Unemployment continues to plague communities throughout Missouri’s Fifth District, and our country.

  • The black community still sees double the unemployment rates of the rest of the country.
  • Youth unemployment is nearly six times higher.
Voting Rights suffered a crucial blow with the Supreme Court’s recently ruling on the Voting Rights Act.
  • New laws are threatening voter protection.
For all of us, we must continue our battles in these areas and others. Workers’ Rights, Women’s Rights, Immigration Reform, Environmental Justice, and making sure our children, and their children, will be able to afford a college education. 

The March on Washington is a call to action for all of us. It is a call to work together to move forward -- to ensure equality for all. 

Hartzler, Congressmen, ask president to approve Nixon's request for major disaster declaration

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) and other Members of Missouri’s Congressional Delegation have sent a letter to President Obama, asking that he approve Governor Jay Nixon’s request for a major disaster declaration as a result of the severe storms and flash flooding that hit Missouri earlier this month.
“Following several weeks of Preliminary Damage Assessments … it has been determined that damages due to recent storms exceed the state’s emergency response capabilities,” states the letter.
The letter continues: “We, as Members of the Missouri Congressional Delegation, respectfully urge you to issue a major disaster declaration for our state, providing Missouri with the resources needed to recover from these damaging storms and mitigate future losses.”
“Several counties in Missouri’s Fourth District were harshly impacted by the severe weather,” commented Hartzler. “The saddest result of this flash flooding was the deaths of a mother and her child in Pulaski County. While no amount of federal assiatance can ease the pain and sorrow of the family and friends of the victims of this tragedy, any aid that is forthcoming will be welcome help to citizens whose homes and businesses were badly damaged by this severe weather.”

Bobby Bourne sentenced to 15 years after admitting probation violation

Accused child killer Bobby Don Bourne, 34, Lockwood, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday after he admitted he had violated his probation by not attending a court-ordered Batterer Intervention Program.

As noted earlier in the Turner Report and other media sources, Bourne was on probation in Cedar County for charges of domestic assault, assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest when he was charged with first degree murder, forcible rape, statutory rape, and kidnapping in connection with the August 19 death of 12-year-old Adriaunna Horton of Golden City.

As noted in the August 22 Turner Report, Bourne remained free even after he was arrested in Dade County after being charged with assault on an underage girl and assaulting the girl's mother.

Now his probation has been revoked for not attending the meetings he was scheduled to attend a year ago.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nixon highlights new Missouri job program

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Gov. Jay Nixon today visited with local business leaders and officials at Boeing to highlight Missouri Works, a comprehensive strategy to support economic growth and create career opportunities for Missourians. Missouri Works was included in House Bills 184 and 196, which go into effect today. 
"Missouri Works consolidates and modernizes Missouri's economic incentives into a single, business-friendly program," Gov. Nixon said. "Making these programs easier to use, and easier to understand, will allow businesses to focus on creating jobs, instead of cutting through red tape."
Missouri Works consolidates Missouri's four existing business development incentives into a single program with a uniform set of definitions and a streamlined application process to cut through red tape. The Governor called for streamlining Missouri's economic incentive programs in his 2013 State of the State address earlier this year. Missouri Works also improves on existing programs by enabling more small businesses and businesses in rural areas to participate and providing targeted benefits to existing Missouri businesses.
Missouri Works also consolidates Missouri's workforce training programs into a single, streamlined program that is more closely aligned with the state's other economic development programs. It also targets workforce development resources more efficiently toward job placement and training for job-seekers.
"Our relentless focus on fiscal discipline, holding the line on taxes and creating jobs is paying off in real ways for Missouri families," Gov. Nixon said. "Today, our perfect AAA credit rating is intact, Missouri employers have added nearly 47,000 jobs over the past year, and Missouri had the third-fastest rate of technology job growth in the nation last year. Missouri Works is just the kind of strategic, fiscally responsible approach we need to build on this momentum and keep our economy moving forward."
Missouri Works implements recommendations of the Governor's Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, an effort that engaged 600 business, education and labor leaders from across Missouri, including leadership from Boeing, to develop a comprehensive strategy to transform the state's economy. The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission also recommended improving Missouri's existing economic development incentives by consolidating them into a single, business-friendly program designed to create jobs and encourage capital investment, while maintaining a positive return on investment.

Tim Jones: We are going to make Missouri the 25th right to work state

You have to move forward to about the 45-minute mark on this video, but Speaker of the House Tim Jones throws some red meat to his crowd, by ripping Gov. Jay Nixon. A few minutes into his speech, Jones says, "We're going to make Missouri the 25th right-to-work state."

Jones criticizes the governor for being for "failed experiments like Medicaid expansion and food stamps."

Nixon talks with Kirksville educators about HB 253

Billy Long: Reining in red tape

In his latest newsletter, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long tells what he has been doing to stop all of the government red tape.

Traveling our district this month there is one issue that keeps popping up in my meetings and visits with constituents: excessive regulations.  
The flurry of regulations from this administration continues to stifle our economy and makes it harder for manufacturing and small businesses to succeed.  The financial costs of these regulations place a heavy burden on job creators and cause too much uncertainty for a healthy economic recovery.  
Creating new jobs remains one of our most important priorities, yet the unelected bureaucrats in Washington continue to issue regulation after regulation with little thought on how they will impact our businesses and families.  As the branch held most responsible to the American people, Congress should reclaim much of this law-making authority.
Sadly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to lead on issuing job-crushing regulations.  That is why I have supported legislation that would help to rein in this unprecedented authority that the EPA has accumulated.
With my support, H.R. 1582, the Energy Consumers Relief Act, passed the United States House of Representatives on August 1, 2013.  This legislation requires the EPA to submit a detailed report to Congress specifying certain cost, benefit, energy price, and job impacts before they can finalize any energy-related rule or regulation estimated to cost more than $1 billion.  It also requires the Energy Secretary to analyze the potential effects of the rule on the economy, and prohibits any rule that is determined to have an adverse effect.
Additionally, I cosponsored H.R. 367, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, and supported it when it passed the U.S. House of Representatives on August 2, 2013.  This bill requires Congress to approve all major rules and regulations with an economic impact of $50 million or more created by the Executive Branch before they can take effect.  This bill will reinforce the checks and balances system of our Federal government.
The Executive Branch likes to crank out regulations with little to no thought on how they will impact American families and job creation.  I am working and will continue working to rein in the Executive Branch rulemaking authority by requiring Congress to have a greater say in the rulemaking process.

Former MSU bookstore manager sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling $1.1 million

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

 Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former manager of the Missouri State University bookstore was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $1.1 million by pocketing the money from the school’s textbook buyback program.

Mark Brixey, 48, of Ozark, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to five years and three months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Brixey to pay $1,329,484 in total restitution to his victims, including $163,237 to Missouri State University, $166,247 to the Internal Revenue Service and $1 million to Zurich American Insurance Company.

On March 26, 2013, Brixey pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return. Brixey, the manager of the MSU bookstore from 1998 to August 2012, admitted that he embezzled $1,163,237 from the student textbook buy-back program.

Brixey’s 10-year fraud scheme began in 2003 with the theft of nearly $29,000 and escalated each year, with more than $190,000 stolen during each of the last two full years of the scheme in 2010 and 2011. Brixey embezzled another $20,580 before he resigned in 2012.

Textbook Buyback Scheme
As manager of the MSU bookstore, Brixey handled all contacts related to the textbook buy-back program. At the close of each semester, MSU students had the opportunity to sell their used textbooks to Follett Educational Services, which contracted with MSU to administer the book buy-back program. Follett operated 10 textbook buy-back stations on the MSU campus during finals week in December and May of each year.

On the last day of each buy-back period, a Follett representative prepared a report that detailed how many textbooks were purchased and at what price. A Follett representative also calculated the commissions to be paid to MSU for allowing Follett to conduct the textbook buy-back program at the university.  A Follett representative gave a sight draft/check to Brixey for payment of the commission to MSU (beginning in 2011, the Follett representative paid the commission in cash directly to Brixey).
Follett also purchased textbooks that were no longer used by MSU professors directly from the MSU bookstore. Similar to the textbook buy-back program, a Follett representative calculated the total amount to be paid to MSU for these books and gave a sight draft/check to Brixey. The bookstore also disposed of surplus textbooks by reselling them to textbook wholesalers, such as MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc., and Nebraska Book Company.

When Brixey received sight drafts/checks payable to MSU for these buy-back programs, he took those checks to the MSU bursar’s office. Brixey falsely claimed that the sight drafts/checks were needed to pay students for books purchased in the buy-back program. The bursar’s office relied upon Brixey’s misrepresentations and provided cash to Brixey.

Brixey did not record the cash received in the MSU Bookstore accounting system, but instead used the cash for his personal benefit.

Count One: Wire Fraud
Brixey admitted that he executed the scheme to cause electronic transmissions related to the processing of sight drafts (in connection with the commissions and the purchase of textbooks).

Count Two: Money Laundering
Brixey admitted that he concealed his fraud scheme by disguising the proceeds through multiple financial transactions. Brixey routinely deposited the proceeds of his fraud scheme into Educational Credit Union accounts then transferred cash from those accounts to purchase and add value to certificates of deposit. Between Jan. 11, 2008, and July 16, 2012, Brixey made or caused to be made 55 transfers totaling $121,000 from Education Credit Union deposit accounts to Educational Credit Union certificates of deposit.

Count Three: Filing a False Tax Return
Brixey admitted that on April 15, 2011, he filed a tax return that failed to report approximately $194,521 in income received through the fraud scheme in 2010. Brixey also filed a tax return for 2011 that failed to report $192,202 of income from his fraud scheme and a tax return for 2009 that failed to report $166,354 of income from his fraud scheme.

Between 2009 and 2011, Brixey failed to report a total of $553,077 of income from his fraud scheme, resulting in a tax loss to the government of approximately $166,247 for those three years.
This case was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the Greene County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney.

McCaskill: Sinquefield is a mad scientist

In this video, Sen. Claire McCaskill rips into Texas Gov. Rick Perry and retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tim Jones: If Nixon is governor, businesses might as well move to Texas

In this audio, posted by Progress Missouri, Speaker of the House Tim Jones tells us what a wonderful state Texas is because it has so many things that Missouri needs like right-to-work laws and courts that bend over backward for business.

And while he never says the exact words in the headline, that is exactly the message he is sending.

"Time is on our side; history is against the governor," Jones says.

Stacey Newman: The sad priorities of the Missouri GOP

(In her latest report, Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, talks about a GOP-dominated legislature that appears to be more interested in thumping its chest and sticking its tongue out at the federal government than it is in helping Missourians to get jobs.)
I'm onto their game.  You should be too.
Veto session begins Wednesday, Sept. 11th in Jefferson City when the legislature has the opportunity to override any of the governor's vetoes = 109 votes in the House are needed.  I will NOT be voting to override any bill.
On this solumn day commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's epic speech, I am struck by the priorities of the MO majority party leadership.  For starters...
HB436, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, has been called the "most extreme gun bill in the nation".  It will be challenged in court by my husband, Burt Newman, via the St. Louis Lawyers Group, costing the state and money if the governor's veto is overriden and becomes law.
HB436 would nullify all federal gun laws, criminalize law enforcement who try to enforce them and allow certain teachers to bring guns into our schools.  Amendments to the bill include allowing open carry, lowering conceal & carry permits to age 19, criminalizing the press if names of gun owners are published and abolishing gun buyback programs.
Speaker Jones (a co-sponsor) and 115 other representatives who voted yes on HB436 do NOT care about the federal and state constitutions they swore to uphold or even the safety of citizens, including law enforcement.
Instead they walk hand in hand with the NRA.
The New York Times covered it today:  "Gun Bill in Missouri Would Test Limits in Nullifying U.S. Law".  As you might recall, Attorney General Eric Holder has already notified Kansas that their similiar nullification law is unconstitutional and will be challenged.  We know the Dept. of Justice is paying attention to Missouri's actions.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eurka) - (attorney)
Floor Leader John Diehl (R-Town & Country) - (attorney)
Linda Black (D- Desloge) -
Keith English (D-Florissant) -
Michael Frame (D - Eureka) -
Ben Harris (D-Hillsboro)  - Ben.
T. J. McKenna (D-Festus) -
Penny Hubbard (D-St. Louis) -
Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart -
Ed Schieffer (D-Troy) - (also a co-sponsor of HB436)
Sue Allen, R-Town & Country -  
Keith Engler, R-Farmington -
Doug Funderburk, R-St. Charles - (BILL SPONSOR)
Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis -
Don Gosen, R-Chesterfield -
Mike Leara, R- Sunset Hills -
Mark Parkinson, R- St. Charles -
Dwight Scharnhorst, R- Valley Park -
Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan -
Chrissy Sommer, R-St. Charles -
Bryan Spencer, R-Wentzville -
Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood - Rick.                          
Anne Zerr, R- St. Charles -
 Every House GOP member is expected to vote to override, except Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, who was the only GOP who previously voted NO.  An attorney, he has said publicly, "The Constitution is not a cheap Chinese buffet. We don’t get to pick the parts we like and discard the ones that we don’t.”   
Eleven Democrats voted YES previously on the bill.
This is the work of your state legislature.

Family dresses in pink to honor Adriaunna at her funeral

KSN video

Funeral held for Adriaunna Horton

A KOAM video

Adriaunna Horton discussed on Nancy Grace Show

Federal grand jury indicts former Joplin teacher on child sex charge

A federal grand jury indicted former South Middle school eighth grade science teacher Charles Dominic Gastel on a charge of sexually exploiting a child.
According to the indictment, which was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2011, Gastel “engaged in sexually explicit conduct” with an underaged girl and made videos of the acts.
Gastel, who resigned his position with the Joplin R-8 School District at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, was initially charged with the crime on July 26.

Comment period begins for initiative petition for educational vouchers

The word "voucher" is not included in the text of an initiative petition that may end up going to Missouri voters, but the language says that is exactly what the petition is offering, since it will allow public money to be put into private schools.

The comment period for the initiative petition has begun, as Secretary of State Jason Kander notes in this news release, which was issued this morning:

Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that his office has approved the form of an initiative petition amending Article IX of the Missouri Constitution, and the initiative petition is now open for public comment. The petition (2014-045) was submitted by Barbara Swanson. Missourians can provide public comment at
The five-day public comment period allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online or by mail or phone. The office has 10 days after the form of the petition is approved to draft the ballot summary language, during which time the office will review all comments.
In his first month in office, Kander instituted the public comment process, which includes posting the proposed initiative petition online as soon as its form is approved, to make the process more accessible and transparent for Missourians.

DESE asks for rehearing on Gordon Parks Charter School decision

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

The State Board of Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have filed a motion to request rehearing on the decision on Gordon Parks charter school in Kansas City.

"We are requesting the rehearing in order to clear up some of the factual inaccuracies expressed in the ruling that was written by opposing counsel," said Chris L. Nicastro, commissioner of education.

The State Board voted not to renew the school's five-year charter application at its May meeting. A decision by a judge last month overturned that vote.

Temple: Restore common sense by electing more Democrats to General Assembly

Roy Temple took over as chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party over the weekend and has already begun setting his sights on the 2014 elections. The following is a portion of a message Temple sent to Democrats today.

Last Saturday, I was elected as the new Chair of the Missouri Democratic Party.  I'm excited, but I'm also anxious.  I'm anxious because in many ways, the well-being of our state rests of the shoulders of our party. 
When the GOP gained back the super-majority status in the Missouri General Assembly, we all knew it would be bad...but it's been far worse than we could have ever imagined.  The GOP majority is so reckless that Governor Jay Nixon was forced to veto 29 bills.
Those bills ranged from the ridiculous - Agenda 21 - to the reckless - HB253.
HB253 is the so-called "tax cut" bill that would give the average Missourian a tax cut big enough to buy a Big Mac and the favored few would get $1200 bucks a year.  And it would devastate our public schools, eliminate critical services for the mentally ill, and raise taxes on prescription drugs.
Lucky for Missouri, Governor Nixon stood up to them and rejected their fatally flawed ideological legislation.  But, that can't be our long-term solution.  The only way to bring common sense back to the legislative process is for Democrats to start electing more members to the General Assembly -- from all across our state.
The message ends with a call for money to finance candidates for 2014.)

Golden City to say goodbye to Adriaunna Horton today

Funeral services for murder victim Adriaunna Horton, 12, will be held 1 p.m. today in the Golden City High School Gymnasium under the direction of Pugh Funeral Home.

The following obituary comes from the funeral home:

Adriaunna Marie Horton was born April 19, 2001, to James William Horton and Wendi Renea Jackson, in Grove, Okla. She went to meet the Lord on Aug. 19, 2013.
Adriaunna grew up in Golden City, Mo., and was in the 6th grade at Golden City R-3 Schools. She attended the First Christian Church in Golden City and participated in the youth group and children's choir. Adriaunna had played ball from age 5 to 11. She loved horses, nature and being outside playing with her sisters, cousins and friends. She was a free spirit that always had a smile and a hug for you and wanted to help everyone. Adriaunna was a true little angel loved by her class and many others.
Adriaunna is survived by her parents ,James W. Horton, Golden City, and Wendi Jackson, Overland Park, Kan.; her sisters, Destiny Nicole, Lydia Michelle and Madison Lynn Horton, of the home; her paternal grandparents L.C. and Velma Horton, Golden City; her maternal grandparents, Wiley Jackson, Grove, and Brenda Brewer, Eugene, Ore.; her uncles, Larry Wayne Horton and wife, Jenna, Golden City, Cliff Horton and wife, Christy, Arcola, Mo., Chad Jackson, and Cody Jackson and wife, Lacey, both from Grove; and her cousins, Chester, Dalton, Cutter, Ashley and Haley Horton, Maci, Carley, Chea, Nathaniel and Denver Jackson. Many other relatives, classmates, friends and neighbors will cherish the memories of this loving and caring young lady.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Koster explains silence on HB 253

Rugged individualist Ed Emery takes nearly $3,400 in meals, gifts from lobbyists

In his latest newsletter, Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, hit on one of his favorite themes- how the U. S. is becoming a welfare state, full of chiselers who are working the system to get freebies they do not deserve.

Emery wrote of food stamp cheaters, though every study of food stamps that has ever taken place indicates the actual amount of those bilking the system on food stamps is an extremely small percentage.

Emery also sounded an ode to those who do not need a helping hand from the government, but are rugged individualists like himself who will make do on their own without big brother government getting involved.

This never-take-a-meal unless you have earned it philosophy does not appear to extend to Emery's relationships with lobbyists and special interests.

An examination of the last four years that Ed Emery served in either the Missouri State Senate or the House of Representatives indicates that Emery has received well over 100 free meals, amounting to $3,386.89.

He was even accepting meals from lobbyists in December 2012 when he was a senator-elect and had not even taken his seat, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

It is hard to understand how Emery can be so quick to criticize people who have no money and need a helping hand, while he is wining and dining at the expense of lobbyists.

Apparently, he doesn't see a problem with that. And that is the problem.

FEC to Vicky Hartzler: Your numbers don't add up

The treasurer for Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's campaign committee has until Sept. 3 to correct errors in its second quarter disclosure report, filed July 15 with the Federal Election Commission.

The problem, according to the letter, which was sent July 30 and posted and the amendment was posted today, is that the numbers don't add up. The letter is addressed to Ms. Hartzler's treasurer, former State Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City.

 "Additional information is needed for the following 1 item(s): - The totals listed on Line(s) 6(a), 6(c), 11(a)(iii), 11(e), and 16, Column B of the Summary and Detailed Summary Page(s) appear to be incorrect. Column B figures for the Summary and Detailed Summary Pages should equal the sum of the Column B figures on your previous report and the Column A figures on this report. Please file an amendment to your report to correct the Column B discrepancies for this report and all subsequent report(s) which may be affected by this correction."

 Adequate responses must be received by the Commission on or before the due date noted above to be taken into consideration in determining whether audit action will be initiated. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act may also result in an enforcement action against the committee. Any response submitted by your committee will be placed on the public record and will be considered by the Commission prior to taking enforcement action. Requests for extensions of time in which to respond will not be considered. Electronic filers must file amendments (to include statements, designations and reports) in an electronic format and must submit an amended report in its entirety, rather than just those portions of the report that are being amended."

It apparently took four weeks and one day to figure out the problem since the response was submitted today, just one week before the FEC deadline.

Nixon: Our businesses aren't moving to Texas

In this audio posted by PoliticMo, Gov. Jay Nixon responds to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's hamhanded efforts to encourage Missouri businesses to make the move to the Lone Star State.

Nixon asks for federal disaster declaration for flooded areas

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Gov. Jay Nixon today requested that the federal government issue a major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri as a result of the severe storms that generated flooding and flash flooding throughout much of the southern portion of the state from Aug. 2 to Aug. 14. The Governor announced the request during a visit to Conway, which had flood damage to its streets and wastewater treatment system, where he spoke with local elected and emergency management officials.
"Earlier this month, many Missouri communities saw record rainfall that caused rivers and streams to rapidly overflow and leave widespread and extensive damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure in their wake," Gov. Nixon said. "The cost in responding to the flooding and in repairing public infrastructure and individual property will be high, and it's appropriate to request assistance with those costs from the federal government."
The Governor said joint damage assessments were conducted in 22 Missouri counties.
"I want to thank emergency response agencies, as well as faith-based and volunteer groups, for their tremendous and immediate response, and local emergency managers and other officials for their efforts over the last few weeks to thoroughly categorize the extent of the damage that was done," Gov. Nixon said.
Gov. Nixon's disaster declaration request is for both public assistance and individual assistance in the following 14 counties: Barry, Camden, Dallas, Laclede, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Osage, Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Taney, Texas and Webster. The Governor is seeking public assistance in four additional counties - Cedar, Dade, Shannon and Wright - and individual assistance in four other counties: Dent, Gasconade, Morgan and Polk.
Individual assistance means that eligible individuals and households can seek federal assistance for uninsured losses from severe weather and flooding; public assistance allows local governments to seek assistance for response and recovery expenses associated with the severe weather and flooding.
On Aug. 6, the Governor declared a state of emergency because of the flooding, and on Aug. 7 ordered the deployment of Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers to assist local authorities in protecting lives and property from flooding.  
The Governor's Aug. 6 order activated the State Emergency Operations Center and enabled the state to mobilize its resources, including the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to assist local authorities.

Koster: Walgreen overcharging customers

(From Attorney General Chris Koster)

Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that he has filed a civil lawsuit against Walgreen Co. of Illinois for engaging in false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and pricing schemes to lure consumers into purchasing certain products. The complaint, a result of a two-month investigation by the Attorney General's office, alleges that Walgreens engaged in a pattern of advertising lower prices on display tags, but charging higher prices at the checkout.
The Attorney General's Office made undercover visits to eight random Walgreens stores in five cities across Missouri in June and July, where investigators purchased various items.  Investigators discovered that nearly every store visited had pricing discrepancies in which the price of merchandise at checkout was greater than the displayed price for the product.  Overall, investigators found 43 price discrepancies out of 205 purchased products, resulting in overcharges nearly 21 percent of the time.  
According to the complaint filed today in the Jackson County Circuit Court, Walgreens also offered a rewards membership program promising price reductions or savings at the register, but investigators did not always receive the savings as advertised.  In addition, investigators found that sale display tags were often inaccurate and left on shelves beyond their expiration date. 
Investigators from the Attorney General's Office visited Walgreens locations in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Jefferson City and Osage Beach.
"Consumers have a right to expect the price they will pay at the register is the same as the price displayed on the shelf," Koster said.  "The sheer volume of tags on the shelves makes it nearly impossible to recall the details of each offer.  Consumers should not have to double-check the price tags or signage and compare them to the prices charged at the register."
For the alleged unlawful conduct, Koster's lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Walgreens from engaging in deceptive pricing, as well as civil penalties and reimbursement for the cost of the investigation and prosecution.
Koster encouraged any consumers who have incurred or observed any deceptive pricing at Walgreens or other retailers to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online

Ed Emery: Living in a welfare state

(In his latest newsletter, Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, decries the "welfare state" and wishes we all could be ruggedly self-reliant (like he is, of course).

This was an interesting week, with two incidents that drew attention to today’s cultural battle between dependency and independence. At a large rural cooperative annual meeting there was quite a line waiting to register for the election and to enjoy the provided meal. One man, finally arriving at the registration desk, walked up to the register and, joking about the disastrous state of the economy, remarked that when he arrived and saw the length of the line, he assumed it was the unemployment line.

There was some chuckling as another opined that it would be great news if that many people were willing to stand in line because they were eager to find a job. It is always better to laugh than cry, but it brought home the cultural makeover that has assaulted America and even Missouri, especially in the last five years under the intensifying scrutiny—think DOR, IRS, NSA, etc.—of an ever-more-powerful federal government, as cultural mores of rugged self-reliance have given way to mindless addiction to government programs, preferences, and handouts. We really have become a welfare state where the next revolution will not be for independence, but because, sooner or later, the checks will have to stop coming in the mail.

The seemingly never-ending scandals and exposés on food stamp abuse are a confirmation of the cultural devolution that is unlikely to be reversed short of a “Great Awakening” like the ones in the American colonies in the 1730s (Jonathan Edwards) and in New England in the early 1800s (Charles Finney). Today’s welfare dependent is the pre-war-for-independence Tory. Their loyalty to government (the hand that feeds them) is reflective of the Tories’ loyalty to King George who represented the government’s promise of provision and protection.

The highlight of the week, however, came in a conversation with a common laborer who turned out to be an uncommon man. In a conversation about the hopelessness that can invade our thinking when we find ourselves unable to pay our bills, he refused to concede. He then recounted how, due to no fault of his own, he had lost jobs three or four times – usually because Missouri companies went out of business.

Eventually he lost his cars, his home, and “everything except a few pieces of furniture and the clothes on our backs.” He was finally forced to file personal bankruptcy. This man declared he was a Christian and that his faith brought him from despair and even resentment toward God to a deeper faith and to a confidence about the future.

He admitted that he will probably never again own a house, but he has a wife who loves him and two adopted sons who, just in their teens, are already forging their own reputations as young men of character and conviction. He has a steady job and is paying his bills. His was the kind of American spirit that one could envision fighting against all odds for independence and refusing to become discouraged or dependent on government programs. I was encouraged and grateful that he shared his life story.

In the continuing fight for freedom over government-enslavement, we have not lost unless we give up, and it is accounts like this one that God can use to keep us from ever giving up. Liberty is worth defending, whatever the cost. The spirit of America lives on in the testimony of my friend and assuredly will continue in his sons. We should thank God for men and women whose character and faith prove sufficient to their day and who set a standard that is worthy of our heritage.

Sept. 24 hearing set for Kansas City lawmaker

A 9 a.m. September 24 hearing has been scheduled in Moniteau County Circuit Court for Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, for his failure to appear in court in May on traffic charges.

LaFaver was arrested Sunday by the Missouri Highway Patrol for the failure to appear, as well as for possession of less than 35 grams or marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

LaFaver resigned from his position on the Democratic Victory Committe, but indicated he intends to remain in the House of Representatives.

Missouri GOP: Nixon dishonest about HB 253

(From the Missouri Republican Party)

To highlight Gov. Jay Nixon’s blatant dishonesty regarding HB 253, The Missouri Republican Party launched a Top Ten list of excessive spending within the Nixon Administration.
“The governor has withheld money from the states most visible programs, including education. His arbitrary withholding highlights his willingness and arrogance to play games with the taxpayers. Missourians should be outraged with his distortions and outright dishonestly regarding a common sense approach to cutting taxes, said Ed Martin,” Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.
“This Top Ten list is only the tip of the iceberg that is government waste and excess in Missouri. Since the governor wants to play games, we are more than willing to highlight the areas of government where spending can be reined in.”
The Missouri Republican Party is committed to the practice of sound, fiscally responsible government. Our majorities in both chambers of the legislature are the reinforcement of the conservative principles Missourians hold.
Gov. Jay Nixon’s Excessive Spending

1$16K for candy at Dept. of Mental Health
2 $250K for NFL Football expenses for Dept. of Revenue
3 $716K for food at Education meetings
4$1.6 million for “agency provided” food
5 $225 million in undisclosed state agency spending
6$1.6 million for travel for Education departments
7$26 million for travel across agencies
8 $13 million for “reserve postage” across agencies
9  $141K for “limousine services” at DESE
.  $5.6 million for new airplane for Department of Public Safety

Nixon, Branson education leaders discuss HB 253

Monday, August 26, 2013

Obituary provided for Adriaunna Horton

(From Pugh Funeral Home, Golden City)
Adriaunna Marie Horton was born April 19, 2001, to James William Horton and Wendi Renea Jackson, in Grove, Okla. She went to meet the Lord on Aug. 19, 2013.
Adriaunna grew up in Golden City, Mo., and was in the 6th grade at Golden City R-3 Schools. She attended the First Christian Church in Golden City and participated in the youth group and children's choir. Adriaunna had played ball from age 5 to 11. She loved horses, nature and being outside playing with her sisters, cousins and friends. She was a free spirit that always had a smile and a hug for you and wanted to help everyone. Adriaunna was a true little angel loved by her class and many others.

Adriaunna is survived by her parents ,James W. Horton, Golden City, and Wendi Jackson, Overland Park, Kan.; her sisters, Destiny Nicole, Lydia Michelle and Madison Lynn Horton, of the home; her paternal grandparents L.C. and Velma Horton, Golden City; her maternal grandparents, Wiley Jackson, Grove, and Brenda Brewer, Eugene, Ore.; her uncles, Larry Wayne Horton and wife, Jenna, Golden City, Cliff Horton and wife, Christy, Arcola, Mo., Chad Jackson, and Cody Jackson and wife, Lacey, both from Grove; and her cousins, Chester, Dalton, Cutter, Ashley and Haley Horton, Maci, Carley, Chea, Nathaniel and Denver Jackson. Many other relatives, classmates, friends and neighbors will cherish the memories of this loving and caring young lady.

Funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Golden City School Gymnasium in Golden City.

Arrangements under direction of Pugh Funeral Home, Golden City.

KC Democrat cited for marijuana possession says he won't leave office

Kansas City Democrat Jeremy LaFaver does not plan to leave his position in the Missouri House of Representatives following his arrest Saturday for possession of less than 35 ounces of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear on a traffic charge.

Joplin Tornado books reduced in price on Amazon

541Three books authored or co-authored by Inside Joplin Editor Randy Turner on the Joplin Tornado have been reduced in price on

The first book, 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado, by Turner and Carthage Press Managing Editor John Hacker, originally $20 is now selling for $15.26 on Amazon, while its follow-up, Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, again written by Turner and Hacker, originally $26.99 is now selling for $14.39.

The final book in the trilogy, Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School, originally priced at $12.99, is on sale for $8.60.

The three books, which formerly would have cost approximately $60 can be purchased together for $38.25, plus shipping, or separately.

A chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the contents of each book is featured below:

5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado


Chapter One- Surviving- John Hacker's on-the-scene reporting minutes after the tornado.

Chapter Two- 45 Seconds- Kelly Maddy's tornado experience

Chapter Three- Armageddon at the Hospital- Emergency room doctor Kevin Kitka's details of the tornado at St. John's.

Chapter Four- Death, Destruction Hit Joplin, Missouri- Randy Turner essay on the morning after in Joplin

Chapter Five- Nightmare at Freeman- Carthage artist and Lamar native Kristin Huke offers an eyewitness account of May 22 at Freeman Hospital.

Chapter Six- Fire Chief Was a Hero- John's story on Joplin Fire Chief Mitch Randles

Chapter Seven- Death at the Full Gospel Church- Randy Turner's story on the tragic death of Ozark Christian College student Natalia Puebla, one of four people killed at the Full Gospel Church.

Chapter Eight- God Was With Me- Melissa Rainey-Campbell's survival story

Chapter Nine- Back to the Country For Me- Diamond High School graduate Gary Harrall made a momentous decision after his Joplin home was destroyed.

Chapter 10- Laela's Story- Former Joplin Daily reporter Kaylea Hutson's interview with Joplin High School senior Laela Zaidi, whose family lost its home, but whose doctor parents continued working to help those who were injured.

Chapter 11- Sarcoxie Soldier Saved Lives at Wal-Mart- John Hacker's story on Jeffrey Price, one of the heroes at the 15th Street Wal-Mart

Chapter 12- A Survivor's Story- Rhonda Hatfield's tale of returning home to a nightmare moments after the Joplin High School graduation

Chapter 13- McCune-Brooks Deals with Disaster- John Hacker offers a look at one of the overlooked stories of the tornado, the yeoman work done by those at McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage, which had to take much of the traffic that normally would be going to St. John's.

Chaper 14- Code Black- Randy Turner's story of life and death in the 15th Street Wal-Mart.

Chapter 15- Missouri Southern Tested After Tornado- John Hacker takes a look at how Missouri Southern State University stepped up after the tornado.

Chapter 16- Hall's Half Hour- Michael R. Sharp takes a unique look at the entire tornado as an act of the devil, but at the same time reaffirms the faith of the people of Joplin.

Chapter 17- A Graduation Day I Will Never Forget- It was a day that certainly will stand out for Lacy Heiskell, who offers her first person account.

Chapter 18- In An Instant, Everything Was Gone- Iris Fountain tells how her family survived the tornado.

Chapter 19- An Incredible Ride- The first person account of a Freeman Hospital maintenance worker

Chapter 20- The Day That Changed Everything- Joplin High School student Shaney Delzell waits out the tornado at Wal-Mart.

Chapter 21- The Voice of Joplin- Randy Turner's story on the incredible work done by Zimmer Radio which helped hold the community together in the time right after the tornado and since.

Chapter 22- Lucky to Have a Home- Joplin High School junior Denton Williams' final year at East Middle School was cut short, but he and his family made it through.

Chapter 23- Life of Will Norton celebrated- Randy Turner's coverage of the memorial service for Will Norton, who died shortly after graduating from Joplin High School

Chapter 24- The Story That Affected Me for Life- Shanti Navarre's tornado story, which includes thoughts about the death of her daughter Cheyla's friend, Will Norton

Chapter 25- Tornado Victim was a Shooting Star- Randy Turner's look at Will Norton's YouTube fame and his death

Chapter 26- How Will Norton Led Me to Joplin- Rose Fogarty tells the story of coming from St. Louis to help with tornado recovery and the formation of the St. Lou Crew for Joplin

Chapter 27- Tornado Ends School Year for Most Inspirational Teacher- Randy Turner feature on former East Middle School teacher Andrea Thomas, who was scheduled to be named Most Inspirational Teacher at East Middle School, but the ceremony was never held...and she lost her home in the tornado

Chapter 28- Calm in the Storm- That same teacher, Andrea Thomas, tells the story of how faith helped her and her husband Joe survive.

Chapter 29- Joplin Forever Changed Our Hearts- Tanya Snedden, a volunteer from Harrisonville, writes about her experiences.

Chapter 30- Joplin's Apocalypse Now- Randy Turner's trip through Duquesne and the apartments behind Wal-Mart, including his conversation with the father of Pizza Hut hero Chris Lucas.

Chapter 31- The Volunteer Spirit- Stephen and Della Bergen of Samaritan's Purse tell their tornado stories to John Hacker.

Chapter 32- A Return to East Middle School- Randy Turner returns to his tornado-damaged school

Chapter 33- Finding "Hi" in My Joplin Classroom" A special gift survives the tornado.

Chapter 34- The School Year That Never Ended- East Middle School students come to the Fourth Street Bowl three weeks after the tornado for a final get-together, but the belongings of many students remained unclaimed

Chapter 35- The transcript of Rev. Aaron Brown's speech at the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service

Chapter 36- The transcript of Gov. Jay Nixon's memorial service speech

Chapter 37- The transcript of President Barack Obama's memorial service speech

The official National Weather Service report on the Joplin Tornado

In Memory of Lives Lost- The obituaries of those who were killed in the Joplin Tornado

Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado

Spirit of HopePreface- Joplin Fire Chief Mitch Randles offers the introduction to the book.

1. Spirit of Hope- Randy Turner's introductory story and thoughts about how the people of Joplin have provided an example for the nation.

2. Historic Storm, History Reoovery- John Hacker relives the moment he arrived at the tornado site moments after it occurred.

3. One Year, One Community, One Direction- John Hacker's coverage of the Day of Unity

4. I'm Proud of Joplin- The transcript of City Manager Mark Rohr's speech from the Day of Unity

5. God Was With Me- Randy Turner's story on the Joplin High School Graduation, featuring senior Sarah Kessler, who lost her home during the tornado

6. St. John's Has Been Hit That's All We Know For Sure- Rebecca Williams of Joplin Tornado Info tells the story of how that innovative and essential web page began.

7. A Lazy Afternoon- One of the most searing memories of the days after the tornado was the viral video of people inside Fastrip when the tornado hit. One of those people, Carthage Press Sports Editor Brennan Stebbins, tells the story.

8. Love Led Me Through- Former East Middle School teacher Andrea Thomas told her tornado story in 5:41. In this stirring story of faith, Andrea tells the story of what has happened to her and her husband Joe since May 22, 201, and what she has seen while helping others.

9. Pancakes, Prayers, and Progress- Former reporter Rick Nichols relives the tornado as it hit the International House of Pancakes.

10. The House of Bricks- Randy Turner's journey to the apartment complex behind the 15th Street Wal-Mart after the tornado and his conversation with a father whose son died at Pizza Hut.

11. A Tale of Survival- Andrea Queen writes about how she and her family survived the tornado.

12. Ground Zero- Former Joplin Tri-State Business Editor Jeff Wells describes the helplessness of being in Texas while his mother and grandmother are fighting for their lives in Joplin.

13. Will There be a Christmas Tree?- Marty Oetting's moving essay on the items left behind after the tornado.

14. We Were All Affected- Joplin Tornado Information's Rebecca Williams shares stories from her website.

15. This Town is My Home- Joplin High School junior Laela Zaidi's story was told in 5:41.  This time, she writes the story of how she wanted nothing more than to remain in Joplin.

16-17- The Peace in the Midst of the Storm/Miracles at Walmart- A two-part story with two friends offering their versions of what happened at the 15th Street Walmart.

18. My Tornado Story: A Story About the Heart of America- An eighth grader at the time she wrote this, former East Middle School student Jennifer Nguyen tells a harrowing story of a birthday party that turned into a nightmare.

19. Big Builds- John Hacker's coverage of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Ten for Joplin, two building projects that brought the nation's attention to Joplin.

20. Pushed to the Breaking Point- John's story on Joplin Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer and what happened May 22 and in the days afterward.

21. Local Radio's Finest Hour- In this speech to the Missouri Broadcasters Association, Gov. Jay Nixon praises the work done by the Zimmer radio stations during and after the tornado.

22. Miracle of the Human Spirit- The transcript of City Manager Mark Rohr's speech at Cunningham Park one week after the tornado

23. Sometimes, Love Is All You Have- Amy Gilbert's family lost its home in the tornado, but her survival story has a twist when the band Sugarland invites her daughters to appear with them at the Country Music Association Awards.

24. I'll Never Forget- Pittsburg State University student Amy Herron's touching essay about the tornado.

25. Coming Together- John Hacker's story about how the tornado has affected three hospitals, Mercy (St. John's), Freeman, and McCune-Brooks

26. Autistic Children Benefit from Ozark Center- John Hacker tells another story of how the local health industry was affected by the tornado.

27. Mercy Joplin Opens Component Hospital- A few months after the tornado, Mercy offers a new temporary structure for its patients in this story written by John Hacker

28. An End and a Beginning- John Hacker's portrait of the day the wrecking ball hit St. John's

29. We Will Have School- Randy Turner's story of the Joplin Schools family gathering at the site of the destroyed high school where Superintendent C. J. Huff promised that school would begin on time.

30. Will Norton is With Us In Spirit- This is an article that Turner wrote for the magazine at Chapman University about the effect Will Norton's death had on the campus though he never had a chance to go to school there. It includes Turner's interview with Will's father, Mark Norton.

31. I Will Keep The Spotlight on Joplin, Missouri- The transcript of Rush Limbaugh's July 4 speech in Cunningham Park

32. Blessing in Disguise- John Hacker's story of the incredible job Samaritan's Purse has done in Joplin

33. We Will Not Be Kept Down- Mary Jean Miller, who was president of Joplin High School's Key Club, tells her own tornado story and then writes about how Key Club did everything it could to help the recovery effort.

34. These Are My Students: This Is My School- Randy Turner's essay on the difficulty he had getting ready to teach school in a converted warehouse

35. School Begins Today in Joplin- Randy Turner's story on the day teachers returned to duty and found themselves greeted by a hundreds of community members

36. The Toughest Town on God's Green Earth- The transcript of Gov. Jay Nixon's speech to returning Joplin Schools staff members

37. An Opportunity to Move Forward Together- The transcript of Superintendent C. J. Huff's speech as staff returned to duty

38. A Day of Miracles, Joplin Schools Start on Time- Randy Turner writes about the first day of classes.

39. Back to the Country- In 5:41, Gary Harrall wrote the shortest story, telling about how he wanted to leave the city after the tornado. Continuing the tradition, Gary has the shortest story in this book, too, with a much happier ending.

40. Nothing Stops Us- Denton Williams, another contributor to 5:41, offers an update and a tribute to those who have helped Joplin recover.

41. Tornado-Battered Joplin Honors Victims of Terrorists Attacks- John Hacker writes about the moving ceremony held in Joplin on Sept. 11.

42. Anti-Muslim Sentiment Clouds Gift to Joplin Schools- In every success story, there are a few discordant notes and they were offered here by some people who were not happy about the gift of laptops to Joplin High School students. Randy Turner takes on that sentiment in this story.

43. I'm Proud to be a Rising Joplin Eagle- Joplin High School student Micaela Tennis writes about the first day of school.

44. The Six-Month Anniversary: Nov. 22, 2011, in Cunningham Park- John Hacker's coverage of the activities on that eventful day, including the texts of speeches by Mayor Mike Woolston, Billy Long, Jay Nixon, and Chris Cotton

45. Come Home to Joplin- The text of Mark Rohr's speech at the six-month anniversary observance in Cunningham Park

46. Cunningham Park: Joplin's First Park- John Hacker writes the history of the park.

47. God Bless the People of Joplin, Missouri- In 5:41, Rose Fogarty wrote about how the story of Will Norton brought her to Joplin. Since then, she has continued her volunteer work and she offers a moving story about that volunteer work.

48. Remembering the Forgotten School- Not much attention was paid to the desruction of the old South Middle School, where Randy Turner taught. In this essay, he offers a tribute to it.

49. A Day in the Life of a Joplin Student- Karissa Dowell offers a different look at going to the mall high school- the feeling of a being on display in a glass house with different visitors every day.

50-51. Student to Student: Sharing Stories/College Students Forego the Beach to Help with Recovery- John Hacker writes about college students giving up their spring breaks to volunteer in Joplin.

52. A New Hope High School for Joplin- Randy Turner writes about the passage of the bond issue for new schools in Joplin.

53. A Seventh Grader's Gift That Keeps On Giving- Randy Turner's story about how a seventh grader from New York contributed to my students.

54. Avenue of Hope- John Hacker's story about Peace Lutheran Church, which had its building destroyed, beginning with outdoor services a week later and ending with outdoor services one year later

55. God Remains With Us in Joplin- Peace Lutheran Church's interim pastor Bill Pape writes about those first outdoor services.

56. Thanks Be To This Ever-Present God- A transcript of Pastor Kathy Redpath's sermon at the outdoor service at Peace Lutheran Church one year later.

57. Rejoicing, Remembering, and Rebuilding- Laela Zaidi's thoughts after the Joplin High School commencement program about how far this city has come.

58. Tornado Teaches the True Meaning of School- Randy Turner's story about the last day of the 2011-2012 school  year in our East Middle School warehouse

59. Joplin High School Prom Photos- taken by John Hacker

The following items are featured in the back of the book:

Death Doesn't Get the Last Word: Life Wins- The text of Rev. Aaron Brown's sermon at the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service

The Long Journey- The text of Gov. Jay Nixon's speech at the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service

Joplin Taught the World- The text of President Barack Obama's speech at the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service

The World Will Never Forget What You Achieved- Gov. Jay Nixon's speech at the Joplin High School Graduation

Because You Are From Joplin- President Barack Obama's speech at the Joplin High School Graduation

Center for Disease Control Report on Fungal Infections from Joplin Tornado

National Weather Service Central Region Assessment- The Joplin Tornado

Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School

Scars from the TornadoForeword- This features a story that a former East student, Joplin High School sophomore Rylee Hartwell, wrote about the school shortly after the tornado.

A Teacher's Story- Over several chapters, Randy Turner writes about the last day at East before the tornado hit, the tornado and his first trip back to the school, the meeting at Missouri Southern where Principal Bud Sexson outlined what the warehouse school was going to be like, the return to school, the first day and much more.

Tornado Stories- This section features the students recounting their tornado stories. Some were right in the middle of it. Others feared for their friends. It affected all of them. Students with stories in this section include Jennifer Nguyen, Nick Shellenbarger, Abi Killinger, Alexandra Stelts, Donna Tomlinson, Maggie Baker, Cami Sanders, Kaley Moser, Amber Fleming, Desirae Orlaski, Taylor Robinson, Keisha Grunden, Courtney Hunt, Victoria Stehm, Garrett Severs,  and Ryan Ball.

The School Year- This section features stories from the students about our year in the warehouse, with some commenting about the school. Those contributing stories include Sarah Peterson, Megan Hickey, Amy Koch, Jennifer Nguyen, Annie Strickling, Stella Ndauwa, and Melinda Adams. Megan, Amy, and Jennifer contributed multiple stories in this section.

Parting Shots- This section includes a longer story that Randy Turner wrote about the people from around the world who let those at East know that they were not alone in our battle. His story centers around his class's 86-year-old pen-pal from Santa Barbara who came to mean a lot to his students. The section also has shorter comments from Cara Marshall, Jimmie Willerton, Audrey Kanan, Taelor Stone, Logan Whitehead, Amelia Street, and Madison Meinhardt.

Tornado Poems- Among those contributing to this section are students Mykah Campbell, Michaela West, Sean Harrison, Ashton McGehee, Karly Weber, Jacy Welch, Mackenzie Gunderson, Bridget Ingham, Jerry Bland, Joseph Fry, Beth Dulinsky, and teacher Kathy Weaver.

The book also includes a photo section.