Monday, May 09, 2016

About the selling of the tornado anniversary and other topics

The five-year anniversary of the Joplin Tornado is less than two weeks away and evidence is mounting that the same people who steered the tornado recovery away from healing and rebuilding and toward master developers and pie-in-the-sky projects are doing their level best to continue to shape the way Joplin is perceived.

CART (Citizens Advisory Recovery Team) Chairman Jane Cage has been the face of the early publicity for the event. Though certainly well-meaning in her efforts to help the city after the tornado, she was among those who led the charge for master developer David Wallace of Wallace Bajjali.

There remains little doubt that Wallace was hired, despite a horrific record of lawsuits, bankruptcies, and fraud accusations, because he promised to deliver everything that people like Cage, former City Manager Mark Rohr, and Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rob O'Brian, as well as other unelected community leaders had wanted for years before one-third of the city was destroyed.

A centerpiece of the anniversary observance is a summit on emergency management, which will include such people as Cage, former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff, and Joplin Globe Editor Carol Stark telling everyone of the "enormous" successes they had in guiding the community following May 22.

The myth of the community that pulled itself together, thanks to having just the right leaders in place will be perpetuated. While Stark will be involved in a panel discussion on the media, there apparently was no place on the panel for a representative from KZRG and the Zimmer Group, who undoubtedly did more to keep the community informed in those hours, days, and weeks, after the tornado than anybody.

The national media will come calling as the anniversary date nears and we will see a number of nearly identical stories quoting these unelected leaders and talking about Joplin's remarkable recovery- a recovery that, for the most part, happened despite the best efforts of the people who were supposed to be guiding us out of the post-tornado trauma.

Make no doubt about it- Joplin has made great strides in five years. The true heroes in that process, and hopefully many will be recognized, are the volunteers, the homeowners and businesspeople who jumped right in and rebuilt homes and businesses, and the public servants- fire, police, medical, educational, who never missed a beat in making sure that the most important services in Joplin were maintained despite the chaos.

People like Jane Cage, C. J.. Huff, and Carol Stark could provide a valuable service to those attending the summit if they were to acknowledge the missteps they made along the way. Instead, we have seen a conspiracy to bury those missteps-missteps that eventually led to the Loraine Report and two state audits and led to Texas con artist David Wallace stringing Joplin along for three years.

Instead, our unelected elite, those who aligned themselves with the much-maligned (and deservedly so) Joplin Progress Committee have attacked the work of Thomas Loraine, a skilled investigator, as well as the pros in the Missouri state auditor's office.

For months, we saw the spectacle of the Joplin Globe bending itself out of shape to create one excuse after another for CART. Mark Rohr, and C. J. Huff and attacking the state audits and the Loraine Report with ferocity.

We also saw damning evidence that the tornado mayor, Mike Woolston, used the tornado to benefit himself and his friends by pushing for deals on property in the tornado area. At the least, Woolston was guilty of a conflict of interest. The Globe and the majority of the City Council was willing to accept Woolston's resignation and sweep the matter under the rug, with some of the council members even offering the taxpayers a slap in the face by voting to pay for Woolston's legal expenses.

The story now being pushed is that everything that went wrong after the tornado was David Wallace's fault.

David Wallace is beneath contempt, no doubt about it. But he came from Texas to take advantage of us. The people who invited him and who betrayed the community from the start are, for the most part, still among us.

Tomorrow, I will write about some of the public servants whose contributions have been completely overlooked by the media.

What can I do to help?

That;s the question I have been hearing often the past few days. For some, it is referring to my recovery from open heart surgery abd others want to know what they can do to help the Turner Report/Inside Joplin websites

Since I won't be returning to Joplin for a few more weeks, there really is not much anyone can do to help with my recovery, except your kind thoughts and prayers, which have been much appreciated.

There are a few things that can be done to help the Turner Report/Inside Joplin:

1. Share the stories you like or think your friends should read. Many people have been introduced to these websites through Facebook shares.

2. Tell your friends. If they are not aware that free, searchable obituaries are available at Inside Joplin Obituaries, that information on crime, accidents, road closures, and community activities can be found at Inside Joplin, and investigative reporting and commentary, as well as coverage of the Joplin School District, the Joplin City Council, and major news events can be found on the Turner Report.

3. Write a book review. My work is not limited to the websites. As anyone who has read Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud or the other non-fiction works that Carthage Press Managing Editor John Hacker and/or I have written about the Joplin Tornado knows, I am also into long form reporting. If you have read one of the tornado books, Let Teachers Teach, or one of my novels, please consider writing a review for Amazon. Even if it not totally favorable, I can learn from it, and reviews help spread the word about the books.

4. Send your news. I am happy to print news about community events, school accomplishments, weddings engagements, anniversaries, whatever. You can e-mail information and photos to me at

5. Take a subscription or make a contribution. While I have been fortunate enough to break even most months and have even had some months when I have finished a few hundred dollars to the good, the simple fact is it has been tough trying to establish the Turner Report/Inside Joplin as a profitable business. Several loyal readers have been subscribers since I first started accepting subscriptions or have signed on later to help keep this alternative news source afloat.  Unfortunately, those are just a few of the more than 13,000 readers who check out the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, or Inside Joplin Obituaries each day. If those who feel they are receiving a service that has value to them could chip in a few dollars now and then, not only will the news keep coming, but new features can be added and more news can be covered. At the bottom of this post are two PayPal buttons (which can be used with PayPal or with credit cards) One allows you to take a subscription for either $1 a week, $3 a month, or $30 per year. The other button allows you to donate any amount. If you feel like sending $1, feel free to do so. If you want to contribute an amount above the $30 for the annual subscription, you can do so at that button. Those who would prefer not to use PayPal can send contributions to my temporary address- 91 Spring Street, Newtonia MO 64866.

6. Word of Mouth Spread the word to anyone and everyone you know about the Turner Report/Inside Joplin websites.


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Anonymous said...

I would be happy to pay a few dollars if you would write the same thing you wrote while you were in the hospital, NOTHING. It was a breath of fresh air for those of us who are sick of the problems you have caused in Joplin by turning people against one another and maligning the reputations of good people like CJ Huff, Carol Stark and Mark Rohr.

Anonymous said...

Joplin Proud events gleaned $25,000 from Joplin City Council

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:02...No one is forcing you to read what Randy Turner writes. If you want to be part of the delusional gang, quit reading and save your money.
For everyone else, keep yourself informed of more than the "sheeple" version and keep reading The Turner Report.
Get better soon Randy and get back to reporting full force.

Anonymous said...

Why must we keep reliving the horrible events come every may for some people reliving that pain & tragedy it's really hard to make day to day life functions when everytime you turn on the TV or go online and all you see more crap about the tornado. The scars and pain are deeper than some really see. Some people just want to move on with life, some were not handed thousands in donations & yet we still have to figure out how to go on with no life.

Anonymous said...

As a businessman in Joplin I want to thank Randy Turner for keeping us abreast of actual news. 8:02 go back and follow the sheep.

Unknown said...

My name is Lee Humphrey. I stood in the middle of that F5 tornado while the world was ripped apart around us. We lost everything we owned. In the days and weeks afterwords, I never once heard the names Huff, Stark or Rohr in relation to anything that happend with or to us in terms of "recovery". What I recall is the outpouring of help, generosity and giving from the Joplin Community as a whole without any prompting or organizing by city officials. Since then all I have seen and heard is a wasteful squandering of monies and resources with no thought to aiding a wounded community and, where the cameras weren't pointed, they built cheap look alike housing where beautiful old homes once stood. I haven't attended any of the "memorials" for the tornado. I still have frightening daydreams of it that hit me like a lightening bolt and I'm back in the middle of the black swirling mass with 100 jet engines screeming in my ears and I have given myself over to God...and they come right out of nowhere. Recovery is a good word. Joplin need to heal and become better than it was and that's not happening.

Concerned citizen said...

Wonder how much financial benefit Jane Cage has received..grants that paid for her travels to tell "our" story, honoria for her time and her administrative overhead paid for by grants.She did a lot of good things but her lack of objectivity in dealing with Rohr's ideas/personality only made things worse. Perhaps some national media feed will focus on the real challenge of not having real leadership in place before a disaster...think about 9/11 and Rudy's role in NYC.

Anonymous said...

My name is Lee Humphrey. I stood in the middle of that F5 tornado while the world was ripped apart around us. We lost everything we owned. In the days and weeks afterwords, I never once heard the names Huff, Stark or Rohr in relation to anything that happend with or to us in terms of "recovery".

I was luckier than you, at the very edge of the "zone of total destruction, but I do remember one thing Rohr did in the immediate aftermath, require all of us who wanted to go back and retrieve what we could to stand in line for a long time to get a permit, an inane hurdle that was quickly dropped because of its impracticability. For that matter, it would have kept outside volunteers out, and several of them later helped me finish retrieving what I could from my trashed apartment.

He's among many other things a control freak who almost certainly more hindered than helped until he was sent packing to his next failure as a leader.

they built cheap look alike housing where beautiful old homes once stood

Unfortunately, when so many homes got destroyed at once, as I recall at least 1,700 out of the 7,000 total housing units (lots of apartments were lost), that's inevitable.

And now I'm about to move back after staying with my elderly father just outside of Joplin since the tornado, I much be a glutton for punishment. Or just someone who was born and raised in Joplin, and expects to finish his retirement there.

Anonymous said...

Luckily your post is not self serving..

Anonymous said...

Randy Turner, you yourself have made money off the tornado, with your three books being sold on Amazon! Pot, meet kettle.

Anonymous said...

The idea that the Joplin Proud committee has managed to schedule 4 days of events and spend thousands of dollars is just another example of the self-appointed "Joplin elite" having zero self awareness or a modicum of humility.

Perhaps the committee should have looked at other cities that have experienced tragedy. In Oklahoma City, where 168 people were killed in that terrible bombing, they have a brief memorial service for the families which begins with 168 moments of silence followed by the reading of the names of the victims. In New York, where thousands died when the twin towers fell, they read the names of the victims and ring bells. In New Orleans, they have a day of service in which thousands of people participate in community service projects around the city and then they have a church service that evening. And in Moore, they don't do anything when the anniversary comes around.

It's classic Joplin narcissism and waste. City council turned over $25,000 in taxpayer dollars to support this Joplin Proud nonsense. Fun fact: guess who's the chair person for the Joplin Proud committee? Logan Stanley. Sound familiar? That's because his brother is none other than city councilman Ryan Stanley. Conflict of interest is what got Woolston tossed out, right?

Really? said...

Who forced you to read and respond to this post?

Amen. said...

As one of many that were there just like you, all I can say is you echo the thoughts of me and everyone else I know who survived that horrific mess.

Really? said...

A writer writes and gets paid to do so. The tax funded public officials and unelected elite used their position to steer help away from victims into their own pockets. Apple meet orange.