Saturday, December 31, 2016

Trump Jr., Dankelson, Woolston, Scott Watson, Billy Long featured in top July 2016 posts

The eyes of the nation were on Donald Trump and his family during the Republican National Convention in July.

Each night, a different member of the Trump family was spotlighted in a prime time speech. For those of us who are deeply interested in education, the speech given by Donald Trump Jr caught our attention.

Trump insulted U. S. teachers and showed little knowledge of what is truly going on in education. Of course, as I pointed out in the number one Turner Report post for July 2016, the Trump family has no connection to public schools and apparently, no interest in finding out what is truly going on in public education.

July was a strong month for the Turner Report and one way to judge that is to look at some of the posts that did not make the top 10.

These included extra police and security being called to Eagle Picher after a second round of layoffs, C. J. Huff claiming that Bright Futures could prevent school shootings, the announcement that Matt Harding would be the new North Middle School principal, a lawsuit against Joplin Police officer, the setting of $180,000 as the pay for the new Joplin R-8 superintendent and the setting of a trial date for a Joplin man accused of using his children to make child pornography

Three posts I have included as extras, but which did not make the top 10, also give an indication of how good a month it was for the blog.

These include a Turner Report investigation into that lawsuit against the Joplin police officer which showed that the woman suing had been charged with assaulting law enforcement officers in 2014, the selection of Brandon Eggleston as Joplin High School principal, and an appellate court decision not to give a new trial to the man who murdered Missouri Southern State University offensive line coach Derek Moore.

July was a good month for the kind of reporting that has resonated with Turner Report readers over the years. The Top 10 posts included an examination of evidence against former Joplin City Councilman Mike Woolston that then Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson ignored, a Billy Long campaign finance report that showed his campaign account paid for $50,000 in meals in three months, plus trips to Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, and the Kentucky Derby, and FEMA's rejection of the Joplin R-8 School District's reimbursement requests.

As I have pointed out during the posts for January through June (don't worry, you only have to read the sales pitch five more times after this) if you believe that this kind of reporting makes a difference for you and for the Joplin area, please consider donating to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin/Inside Joplin Obituaries, or taking a subscription at the PayPal buttons below. If you would prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card, you can send a contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thanks.

The top posts for July 2016, a few extras, and links to the top posts for January through June can be found below the PayPal buttons.

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Top 10 July 2016 posts

1. Donald Trump Jr. attacks teachers in convention speech

2. Former Jasper County deputy charged with assaulting emergency personnel

3. Former state representative candidate Michael Jarrett dies from injuries sustained in car accident

4. Mercy McCune-Brooks administrator, former prosecuting attorney charged with DWI

5. Billy Long report: $50K in meals, trips to Vegas, Frisco, Seattle, Kentucky Derby

6. Mike Woolston and the case that Dean Dankelson ignored

7. Judge decides in favor of Home Depot in Joplin Tornado lawsuit

8. Billy Long plans "Weekend in Vegas" fund raiser

9. FEMA rejects Joplin R-8 requests for reimbursement, millions at stake

10. Former Joplin R-8 employee asks for jury trial in million dollar lawsuit

And these extras

Brandon Eggleston named Joplin High School principal

Appellate court rejects self defense claim in murder of MSSU coach

Woman suing Joplin police officer arrested for assaulting cop in 2014

The top posts for January through June 2016

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

Resignation of two principals, memories of T. J. Bowman among top February 2016 posts

Threats of JHS school shooting, superintendent's love affair top March 2016 posts

Diamond sex scandal, Blasters lawsuit, my triple bypass vacation among top April 2016 posts

FBI investigation of Northpark Mall owners, Tina Smith resignation among top May 2016 posts

Mitchell departure, new job for Sachetta, my apology for Tina Smith article top June 2016 posts

Mitchell departure, new job for Sachetta, my apology for Tina Smith article top June 2016 posts

About 22 or 23 years ago, Carthage Press Publisher Jim Farley, made a statement that was as true then as it is today.

"A good weekly newspaper in Joplin could do a lot of damage to the Globe."

At that time, Farley asked me to come up with a news coverage plan for such a publication. My plan involved a heavy emphasis on community coverage, something that the Globe has always considered beneath it.

I am not talking about the kind of cookie-cutter features the Globe seems to prize to the extent of often pushing real news off page one. I am talking about blanket coverage of issues that affect Joplin.

This prototype weekly would have had comprehensive coverage of school news and when the school had a major event, it would be treated as such. A Joplin High School football homecoming, for instance, would not only have had game coverage, accompanied by a feature about some kind of athlete, but there would have been a one or two-page photo spread of the whole event.

All aspects of the player recognition and royalty coronations would have been included in those photos and there would have been interviews with the royalty. The issue before would have had a preview of the game, the ceremonies, and perhaps a feature about a JHS homecoming of 20 years earlier, complete with yearbook photos and interviews.

With the Globe, you get the game preview, the game story, and a posed photo of the royalty candidates taken several days before the event.

That is the difference between a community newspaper and a newspaper that considers itself to be above that kind of "small town" coverage.

The weekly would also have emphasized investigative reporting, strong columnists who could write about local issues, not a bunch of wannabes who want to write Fox News talking points or regale us with the latest misadventures of their families.

The challenger newspaper would have featured coverage of government at the city, county, and state levels, a generous helping of records material and feature coverage on the passing of people who were important to the community, often including people whose names would not be readily familiar

The project sounds like it would require a large staff, but that is not the case. During my years at the Press and at the Lamar Democrat, I learned how to make do with small staffs augmented with eager part-time college and high school reporters.I also learned how to hire the right people.

The same approach would work in Joplin, I told Farley and he wanted to give it a go. He was never able to get approval for the project.

The only challenger that ever emerged to the Globe was the flawed Joplin Daily in 2006 and the failure of that project after only one year has discouraged any other potential print competitor.

The Daily's original concept of having a weekly newspaper to lead into daily online coverage was a good one, but management never had any idea of how to sell the product and kept pushing it like it was an ordinary newspaper and despite the hard work Editor John Hacker put into it the publication never had a chance.

I thought about that conversation with Farley and that plan when I saw what the top Turner Report post for the month of June 2016 was.

Another suggestion I included in my Joplin weekly plan was regular coverage of area media. People were interested in what wass happening with the local television and radio stations and with the Joplin Globe. Today, that interest includes local websites and blogs.

Some of the best known people in this area are those who appear on our local TV news programs, and in the case of former KSN anchor Phillip Mitchell, the interest was even greater because he was one of the few local reporters who grew up in Joplin. His departure from KSN for other opportunities was the top post for June.

Joplin R-8 coverage continued to make the list with the announcement that JHS Principal Kerry Sachetta had been named assistant superintendent and the departure of Chief Operations Officer Tina Smith, as well as my "apology" for a post I had written about her also landing among the top posts.

Again, a brief pitch for the Turner Report/Inside Joplin- I do not want a cent from any reader who does not believe the posts on this blog, Inside Joplin, and Inside Joplin Obituaries have any value. If you do believe this news operation has value to you and to the community, please consider making a contribution, for any amount, or taking a subscription at the PayPal buttons below. If you would prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card, send your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801.

The June 2016 Top 10 list, a couple of extras, and the links for the lists from January through May can be found below the PayPal buttons.

As always, thanks for reading.

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The Top 10 posts for June 2016

1. Phillip Mitchell leaving KSN

2. Kerry Sachetta named Joplin R-8 assistant superintendent

3. Turner Report apologizes for Tina Smith post

4. Joplin business owner indicted for $3 million tornado fraud scheme

5. Huff, R-8 officials received numerous warnings Victory Ministries lawsuit would be filed

6. Goodbye Tina Smith and good riddance

7. R-8 Board rejects airfare for PR junket

8. MSBA locked out of Joplin R-8 superintendent hunt, search firm finalists named

9. Probable cause statement: Greathouse strangled Joplin woman, dumped her body in mine shaft

10 R-8 support personnel delay grievance, working with Ridder to correct problems

And some extras

Joplin city audit follow-up: The cover up continues

Joplin man who bragged about having sex with children sentenced to eight years in prison

Eggleston: No one complained to me about field trip

Top 10 posts for January through May 2016

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

Resignation of two principals, memories of T. J. Bowman among top February 2016 posts

Threats of JHS school shooting, superintendent's love affair top March 2016 posts

Diamond sex scandal, Blasters lawsuit, my triple bypass vacation among top April 2016 posts

FBI investigation of Northpark Mall owners, Tina Smith resignation top May 2016 posts

Billy Long: It's time to make America great again

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

As 2016 comes to a close, a new era begins. On January 3rd a new Congress will be sworn in. Our nation's 115th Congress begins on that day and a new presidential administration will take office January 20. With Republicans controlling the House, Senate and now the White House, a unified Republican government will set an aggressive conservative agenda.

As President-elect Donald Trump has said, some of his top priorities would be our health care system and immigration.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, it has continually let the American people down. With premiums continuing to rise, hardworking Americans are being hit the hardest. In late October, the Show-Me Institute released a study that showed premiums rising for rural Missourians the most. With Missouri’s 7th Congressional District being predominately rural, this will hurt my constituents most.

Republicans will keep their promise and repeal this disastrous law. First we will start with the repeal resolution. The repeal resolution is a budget resolution that will allow for a repeal and stable transition between the old and new law. Within the repeal resolution will be reconciliation instructions. Reconciliation instructions allow for certain committees to produce legislation that can later be passed by a simple majority in the Senate.

Both the Senate and the House must pass the repeal resolution in order to move forward to the second step which would be reconciliation process.

The new law will reflect what Republicans believe is missing in the current law: more choices, more control and lower costs.

Though health care will be an important part of Republican's agenda in the 115th Congress, immigration will be as well. Ever since I became a Congressman the debate on immigration has continued to become more polarized. With our national security at risk, I have no doubt that President-elect Donald Trump will keep his promise and do all he can to protect our borders and country.

For the past eight years we have failed to enforce our immigration laws. The current administration has taken it upon itself to bypass Congress and use executive actions to set immigration policy. Starting in January, things will change. We will no longer use power of the pen to get things done. We will bring about reform through the legislative process with the president signing bills into law.

Though many legislative goals were accomplished during the 114th Congress like the 21st Century Cures Act, I know the 115thCongress with the House, Senate and White House being controlled by Republicans will be even better. It’s time to make America great again.

(Turner Report comment: After all of the years Billy Long and his legislative colleagues have been riding the anti-Obamacare gravy train, we are about to find out that they haven't got the slightest idea of what its replacement should be and it is already obvious that it could have worked much better if they had not kept throwing obstacles in its path,)

Mexican charged with raping 13-year-old had been deported 10 times

The Associated Press article about a Mexican who had been deported 10 times and who is charged with raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus in Kansas isn't going to get any wall built, but it still should serve as further evidence that there is a problem that needs to be debated.

Not only was Tomas Martinez-Maldonado deported 10 times, but the AP investigation showed he was removed voluntarily on nine other occasions.

Nineteen times the man left the country and 19 time he returned.

All 10 of the deportations have taken place since 2010.

From the AP article:

Nationwide, 52 percent of all federal prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 were for entry or re-entry without legal permission and similar immigration violations, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

It’s not unusual to see immigrants with multiple entries without legal permission, said David Trevino, a Topeka immigration attorney who has provided legal advice to Martinez-Maldonado’s family. Most of Martinez-Maldonado’s family lives in Mexico, but he also has family in the United States, and the family is “devastated,” Trevino said.

“(President-elect Donald Trump) can build a wall 100 feet high and 50 feet deep, but it is not going to keep family members separated. So if someone is deported and they have family members here … they will find a way back — whether it is through the air, under a wall, through the coast of the United States,” Trevino said.

How do you feel about this issue? I want to hear your thoughts, but please do not include any racist remarks or insults They will not be published.

Lee's Summit Republican explains effect of new law on school fighting charges

(From Rep Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee's Summit)

Before the beginning of a new session starting next week, I wanted to provide clarification on some issues regarding the new changes to Missouri’s criminal code. 

 As many are aware, come January 1 a comprehensive rewrite of Missouri’s criminal code will take effect. This overhaul is long overdue since there has not been a complete revision of Missouri’s criminal code since the late 1970s. 

 Though the rewrite mostly provides cleanup language and clarification to Missouri’s criminal code, the changes also provides Missouri prosecutors with modern sentencing options. One of the changes that will go into effect is a clarifications on the use of a felony charge for students who get into a fight on school property.

Under existing laws, it is a felony to knowingly cause physical injury on school property. The new revised criminal codes narrows the instances in which assaults will be considered felonies. 

 A few school districts around the state have interpreted these changes to mean harsher penalties for students who could now be charged with felonies for getting into a fight in school. However, the new revised criminal code adds another type of assault, so what was considered an automatic felony could now be considered a misdemeanor. 

 In practice the new revised criminal code should result in fewer felony charges for students. As today, judgement will be involved from school districts.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Turner Report reaches 8 million visitors

Sometime earlier this week, the Turner Report received visitor number eight million.

I started publishing this blog in October 2003, and it plugged along steadily for its first seven and a half years of existence.

The first major spike in readership came after the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, but even more readers arrived after my firing by the Joplin R-8 School District when I expanded coverage of both the school district and the city of Joplin.

While it took 12 years and eight months to reach seven million visitors, the last million have stopped by during the past six months.

Thanks for your support.

Statutory rape trial for former Diamond School Board member will be held in McDonald County

A January 3 pre-trial hearing is scheduled in McDonald County Circuit Court in the case of former Diamond R-4 Board of Education member Johnny Russow, who is charged with two counts of statutory rape.

The case is being held in McDonald County on a change of venue from Newton County.

Russow was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old Diamond student twice at his home, but the teen told investigators she had sex with Russow, 44, in two other places prior to the incidents in Russow's home.

Russow resigned from the Diamond School Board April 6.

Federal judge: Joplin man to be held without bond on meth dealing, weapons charges

A federal judge today ordered that James E. LaRue, 40, Joplin, who is charged with one count of distributing a controlled substance (methamphetamines), four counts of selling a controlled substance, one count of unlawful transport of firemars and one count of using firearms in a criminal activity should be held without bond.

In his decision, Judge David Rush noted the severity of the charges against LaRue:

An indictment has been returned alleging a violation of the Controlled Substances Act, for which there is a maximum period of imprisonment of ten years or more. There is therefore a rebuttable presumption that there are no conditions which would reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance at all proceedings, as required, and the safety of other persons and/or the community. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, there are no conditions the Court can impose that would reasonably assure the safety of other persons or the community. 

 Regarding the potential danger to the community, the Court notes the nature of the instant offense and defendant’s criminal history involving prior arrests and convictions, violent behavior history, and a pattern of similar criminal activity history. In addition, the Court notes defendant’s extensive substance abuse history.

LaRue was initially arrested after the Joplin Police Department and the Ozarks Drug Enforcement team executed a search warrant December 15, 2015, at 1202 South Murphy, Joplin.

Though LaRue was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and receiving stolen property, according to a news release from the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team, Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate the only charge Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson filed against LaRue was possession of a controlled substance.

FBI investigation of Northpark Mall owners, Tina Smith resignation among top May 2016 posts

To many readers of the Turner Report (and believe me, I have heard from them) while the names of David Wallace, Mark Rohr, Mike Woolston, C. J. Huff, and Angie Besendorfer bring an immediate feeling of contempt, there is still no one whose name angers them as much as former Joplin R-8 Chief Operating Officer and Human Resources Director Tina Smith.

I have never made it any secret that you can count me on that list. And those who have read this blog since April 2013 have no problem understanding why.

Her departure from the Joplin R-8 School District, years too late to help the hundreds of people who ran afoul of her during her tenure here, was one of the biggest stories of May 2016.

The top posts for the month included others that involved the R-8 Board of Education's ongoing effort to drain the swamp of the leftover problems of the C. J. Huff Administration.

The top post of the month had nothing to do with the school district, however. It involved an FBI/SEC investigation into CBL & Associates, owners of Northpark Mall in Joplin. The investigation involved investments by Sen. Bob Corker, who was originally considered by President-Elect Donald Trump as a vice presidential candidate and was later a finalist for secretary of state.

The investigation indicated Corker may have been receiving inside information from CBL officials and was making investments that were extremely well-timed and made him a lot of money.

Despite this story having national implications and involving Joplin, not a word of it was ever printed in the Joplin Globe. Nor did the Globe ever report on the departure of Smith, or some of the other posts that made the list.

That is a pattern that has been obvious in the posts from the first five months of 2016 and which I am sure will continue as we review the rest of the year.

While it is uncomfortable for me to continue pointing this out, it is also important- a small group of people have been footing the bill so everyone is able to continue receiving the information provided in the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, and Inside Joplin Obituaries. A phrase that quickly becomes tiresome, but is true, is that if each reader would contribute even $5- well, considering that the Turner Report receives an average of about 5,000 readers per day increasing to 15,000 depending on what is in the news, Inside Joplin receives 5,000 to 6,000 a day and Inside Joplin Obituaries between 3,500 and 5,000, well, you get the picture.

So once again, PayPal buttons are included for those of you who believe the Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs benefits you and the community. Those who prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card, can send contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G.  Joplin, MO 64801.

The Top 10 posts for May 2016, a couple of extras, and the links for the January, February, March, and April 2016 lists can be found below the buttons. Thanks for reading!


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1. Report: FBI, SEC, investigating Northpark Mall owners

2. JHS senior Kagan Hoffman saves a seat for Zach Williams

3. Joplin R-8 Board accepts Tina Smith's resignation

4. R-8 Board to C. J. Huff: We're not paying extra for your travel, lodging

5. Joplin School Board rejects Bright Futures funding proposal

6. Joplin R-8 Board accepts three resignations, hires seven teachers

7. Former curriculum director lands job with consulting firm she pushed on Joplin

8. So you want to be a Joplin R-8 director of human resources

9. First bargaining agreement lands $1,000 raises, promise of discipline support for R-8 teachers

10. Joplin R-8 legal bill for P1 lawsuit- half a million and counting

The extras:

Joplin R-8 taxpayers pay $385 for Chamber membership, $1,100 for party inflatables

A salute to a special group of Joplin High School seniors (the ones who attended the East warehouse school during the 2011-2012 school year)

The Top 10 lists for the previous months

Diamond sex scandal, Blasters lawsuit, my triple bypass vacation on Top 10 list for April 2016

Threats of JHS school shooting, superintendent's love affair top March 2016 posts

Resignation of two Joplin R-8 principals, memories of T. J. Bowman among top February 2016 posts

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

Diamond sex scandal, Blasters lawsuit, my triple bypass vacation among top April 2016 posts

In April 2016, I did something I probably should have done a long time ago.

I have never really taken a vacation. While I was teaching, even on my breaks, I was either attending seminars allegedly designed to benefit the education Joplin R-8 and Diamond R-4 students were receiving, or I was working on my books and my blogs.

While I was working at the Carthage Press and the Lamar Democrat, I was notorious for continuing to cover some events while I was on my vacation and sneaking in almost every night after everyone had gone home and working on some new project or another that I wanted to implement when I was back on my regular schedule.

A psychiatrist would probably have a field day with the way I have used my vacations. I always said it was because I loved what I did so much.. I was lucky enough for 36 years to be able to go to work every day at a job I love, whether it was in education or in journalism. So that is one explanation.

Of course, there was always the fear that no matter how much I believed I had accomplished working in newspapers or in schools that when I was gone, people would suddenly realize how easy it was to get along without me.

And when I start looking into that, I start thinking about another part of my work record. For the first 26 years I worked, through my entire time in newspapers and my four years at Diamond Middle School, I never missed a day of work, not one day. I had to leave early one day in 1979, when I was the editor of the Lockwood Luminary-Golden City Herald, but otherwise I did not miss a day until I was hospitalized right before Christmas 2003 during my first year at Joplin South Middle School. I only missed one day that time. Though I was encouraged by the principal to take the week before Christmas off, I was hospitalized Thursday night and was back to work Monday morning.

After that, I only missed three more days- when I had a pacemaker implanted in 2011.

Four days in 36 years. I prefer to think of it as a strong work ethic, but who knows? When people miss work, business goes on. The Carthage Press, Lamar Democrat, and Newton County News have all continued to publish without my contributions, and not one child lost out on an education when I left the Diamond and Joplin schools.

So in April 2016, nearly 39 years after I started working for the Newton County News, I finally took a real vacation from work.

For one week, I did not work on the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, Inside Joplin Obituaries. or on one of my books.

I got away from it all.

I finally did what people had been telling me to do for years, but even then I screwed it up.

I spent most of that week flat on my back, not allowed to sit up and have much movement of any kind, as the doctors at the Heart Institute at Freeman prepared me for triple bypass surgery after I suffered a mild heart attack.

For a full seven days, there were no posts on any of my blogs....and life went on as usual.

Yes, there were many people, and I appreciate them all, who were concerned and wanted to know why I had vanished off the face of the earth and why the blogs were not being updated, but life continued. No one missed a beat just because there was no alternative news source to the Joplin Globe.
Hopefully, that will not happen again any time soon.

Despite that, the month of April 2016 was a busy one for the Turner Report, including my April 29 account of why I had missed that week.

The month also featured plenty of news that appeared first on this blog and in some cases, did not appear at all elsewhere.

That included a wrongful death lawsuit involving an accident that killed a Diamond teenager, a sex scandal and criminal charges against a member of the Diamond R-4 Board of Education, a breach of contract suit against the Joplin Blasters, and plenty of R-8 news.

And that is just the stories that made the Top 10.

Among those that did not reach the top, Joplin Mayor Michael Seibert's claim that there was nothing wrong with the process that brought Wallace Bajjali to Joplin and a complete examination through public records of the sale of Empire District Electric Company to a foreign firm,

Once again, as with the posts on January, February, and March's top stories, there are PayPal buttons below if you believe the work that is done on the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, and Inside Joplin Obituaries deserves your financial support in any amount. For those who would prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card, you can send your contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G., Joplin, MO. 64801.

The Top 10 for April, a couple of extras, and the links to  Wednesday's posts for January, February, and March are posted below.

1. Parents of Diamond teen killed in accident file wrongful death lawsuit

2. Diamond School Board member charged with statutory rape

3. Seven Joplin R-8 teachers resign, one retires

4. Affidavit: Diamond Board member had sex with teen twice at his home

5. Fired R-8 employee's attorney to get a crack at Tina Smith

6. My open heart surgery and a few announcements

7. Joplin R-8 Board accepts 16 resignations, hires 4 teachers

8. Breach of contract lawsuit filed against Joplin Blasters

9. R-8 Board hires Ridder for second year, does not renew four certified contracts

10. Parents upset about R-8 attorney's romance with supeirntendent

And some extras:

Seibert: There was nothing wrong with the way Wallace Bajjali was selected

Anatomy of a merger: SEC document details Empire District Electric sale

From yesterday:

Threats of school shooting, superintendent's love affair top March 2016 posts

Resignation of two R-8 principals, memories of T. J. Bowman top February 2016 posts

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

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Auditor: Clean Air Commission ruling raises business privacy concerns

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released the results of a review into whether the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Clean Water Commission will begin requesting confidential and proprietary financial information from businesses seeking operating permits, and whether the department has implemented safeguards to keep that information secure. Auditor Galloway initiated the review after being notified through the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline of new information being requested during the permitting process.

The Department of Natural Resources has not requested or required such financial documentation from any facility applying for a permit in the past, but indicated a change in process is possible following a Clean Water Commission decision issued earlier this year. The department stated privacy concerns would be considered during any potential future rule changes related to new requirements, which could, in some cases, include private businesses' tax records and proprietary business plan and asset documentation.

"Government agencies must exercise great care when implementing new regulations that impact Missouri businesses and industry, including the agriculture industry," Auditor Galloway said. "Careful consideration must be taken to ensure new regulatory policies advance the public interest and do not harm critical sectors of our economy through reckless or overly burdensome regulations."

The review found proprietary financial and business records submitted to the state could become subject to public disclosure. This disclosure of private information has the potential to endanger the competitiveness of business owners or operators. The process also raises the question of whether the government is prepared to properly protect sensitive and proprietary information from unnecessary disclosure and potentially damaging breaches of privacy.

Auditor Galloway recommended the department work with the General Assembly to ensure private financial and proprietary business information would remain properly protected before implementing the newly proposed regulations. A copy of the review information is available online here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Threats of JHS school shooting, superintendent's love affair top March 2016 posts

Rumors of a planned school shooting at Joplin High School provided the most visited Turner Report posts for March 2016. accounting for the number one, three, four, six and nine posts.

The month also saw a big career move for former KSN anchor Toni Valliere, a sex scandal involving an attorney who has worked for the Joplin R-8 School District, a reader who thought former Joplin R-8 Superintendent had served the community well by getting rid of the trash (me), and my thoughts about the Joplin Globe milking grieving family members out of as much money as it can.

Posts that did not make the Top 10, but which are included here, included the revelations that the CEO of Empire District Electric Company has a $10 million golden parachute and that communications between C. J. Huff and the White House and vice president's office over the visit of Vice President Joe Biden to the Joplin High School dedication ceremony in October 2014 no longer exist.

Links to the posts from earlier today that featured the top stories and a few extras from January and February 2016 are also included.

Again, if you have not subscribed to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin or donated to it and you believe that these blogs have value to you and the community, you can do so at the PayPal buttons below or by sending a contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, Mo 64801.

Here are the top posts for March and a few extras:

1. School shootings, rape, and discipline at Joplin High School

2. Romance with the superintendent? R-8 lawyer accused of conflict of interest

3. KODE report: JHS freshman had list of those he planned to kill

4. JPD news release on threatened school shooting

5. Toni Valliere returning home

6. Police investigate threatened school shooting at Joplin High School

7. Reader: Give C. J. Huff credit for getting rid of trashy teachers like Turner

8. Joplin Globe continues milking money from grieving families

9. Heavier police concentration at Joplin High School as rumors of threats circulate

10. Joplin, CJ men plead guilty to meth conspiracy

And a few others from March

Empire District Electric Company CEO has $10 million golden parachute

Sunshine Law request indicates correspondence between Huff, White House has vanished

Video- East Newton Board candidate rants and raves about former Joplin teacher (In other words, Martin Lindstedt does not like me, but what that has to do with today's East Newton education, I have no idea)

And the top stories for January and February

Resignation of two principals, memories of T. J. Bowman among top February 2016 posts

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

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Greitens thank you tour schedules Joplin stop

(From the Greitens Team)

We're just a few days away from the inauguration! Because of your effort and commitment, Missouri will soon have a Navy SEAL and an outsider as governor. Eric is hard at work preparing to change politics as usual and shake up the status quo. In the days leading up to the inauguration, he'll be traveling the state on a Thank You Tour, meeting with supporters and discussing his plan to fight for Missourians. We'd be honored to have you join the governor-elect as we begin to take Missouri in a new direction.

- Team Greitens
January 3rd

10:00 AM

Truman State University Student Union
100 E Normal Street
Kirksville, MO 63501
Click to RSVP

1:30 PM

Missouri Western University
Hall of Fame Room
Spratt Stadium
4525 Downs Drive
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Click to RSVP
7:00 PM

Garozzo’s Ristorante
526 Harrison Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Click to RSVP

January 5th

11:30 AM

Mark Twain Museum
120 N Main Street
Hannibal, MO 63401
Click to RSVP

6:00 PM

Marquette Tower
339 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Click to RSVP

January 6th

2:00 PM

Freeman Hospital West
1102 West 32nd Street
Joplin, MO 64804
Click to RSVP

5:30 PM

Missouri State University Welcome Center
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, MO 65897
Click to RSVP

January 7th

2:00 PM

RBO PrintLogistix

2463 Schuetz Road
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Click to RSVP

Drunk driver who killed Joplin child, Neosho man one step closer to regaining license

It may not be long before the driver who killed a seven-year-old Jessica Mann of Joplin, and her grandfather, Jim Dodson, 69, Neosho, is back on the streets legally.

McDonald County Circuit Court Judge John LePage took the decision under advisement Tuesday, after receiving documentation that Edward Meerwald, 62, Noel, had completed a Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program (SATOP).

Meerwald filed for reinstatement of his driving privileges in January.

Jessica Mann and Jim Dodson were killed on July 30, 2004, when according to investigating officers, Meerwald, intoxicated and driving at a high rate of speed, ran his car off Highway 86 and hit the two of them as they were standing in Dodson's driveway.

The deaths led to a new law in the state of Missouri, sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, which allows prosecutors to charge drunk drivers whose actions lead to someone's death with second degree murder.

The law did not apply to Edward Meerwald, who was charged with two felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and after three changes of venue, first to Jasper County, then to McDonald County, and finally back to Newton County, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years on each count to be served consecutively, but was released early.

(Note: The post originally said that LePage filed for reinstatement of his driving privileges. It was Meerwald who applied. I accidentally typed in the wrong name. I apologize for the error.)

Resignation of two R-8 principals, memories of T. J. Bowman among top February 2016 posts

Since 2013, the Turner Report has provided comprehensive coverage of the decisions and events that have shaped education in the Joplin R-8 School District.

That emphasis can readily be seen in the posts that received the most visitors in February 2016.

Four of the Top 10 posts were about the district, as were several that just missed the cut.

The top story was the national coverage of a double murder committed by a former Webb City High School principal, while the number two post for February featured my memories of one of my former Diamond Middle School students, T. J. Bowman, who left us much too soon.

Again, if you feel the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, and Inside Joplin Obituaries benefit you and the community, please consider helping out by taking a subscription or making a donation by using the PayPal buttons below or by mailing contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO. 64801. Thanks.

Now for the Top 10 posts for February 2016 and a few extras:

1. Former Webb City principal/double murderer to be featured on Dateline

2. Remembering T. J. Bowman and the trailer classroom

3. Joplin R-8 eliminates teaching/learning coaches

4. McKinley Elementary Principal Terri Hart resigns

5. Empire District Electric executives buy thousands of shares just before sale announcement

6. Cravens named East Middle School principal

7. Nila Vance out at Irving Elementary, Mwangi to take reins

8. Hayslip to join Tawnya Bach on KOAM Morning Show

9. CJ woman takes teen's phone, posts nude photos on Facebook

10. Crisis counseling available for Joplin students after freshman's suicide

And a few others:

2014 letter to R-8 official warned of rising Joplin High School costs

Billy Long campaign funds buy $17,000 in booze, meals

Mother wants bullying to stop after daughter's suicide

Payment options

KOAM departure, Zach Williams protest, $3.5 million lawsuit among top January 2016 posts

I don't suppose it would surprise anyone for me to say that 2016 has not been a particularly great year. It started with me at Freeman Hospital  on New Year's Day undergoing my second stent operation in less than eight months.

Four months later, I was back in Freeman following a heart attack, undergoing triple bypass surgery.

Now as 2016 draws to a close, I am feeling much better, but I am afraid to say anything about it, remembering that I initially felt better after the first stent operation and the second one. So please allow me to remain cautious about that subject.

It has also been a year that has seen serious health problems for other members of my family, though thankfully, all are doing better as the year draws to a close.

On the other hand, it has been another successful year, content-wise at least, for the Turner Report and the Inside Joplin blogs, with readership up for all three.

During this week, nearly all media outlets review what happened during the year and the Turner Report is not going to break that tradition.

Over the next day or two, I plan to review the top posts for each month, listing the top 10 and mentioning a few that barely missed.

One thing you will notice- some of these posts were never covered in the Joplin Globe or by any other local media outlet and even in the ones that were featured in other media, you will often find information on this blog that was not included in the other reports.

Some of the top posts also feature the kind of commentary that you do not receive from any other Joplin area media outlet.

Please check the list, review posts you have read before, check out those you have missed and determine if the service provided by this blog, as well as the types of records-based police, courts, and community coverage on the Inside Joplin blog and the free, searchable obituaries on Inside Joplin Obituaries has any value to you.

Quite frankly, a small number of readers have been supporting this news operation and in order for it to continue at this high level and keep growing, I need help from others. Over the past several months, in particular since my operation, while I have cut spending nearly to the bone, my expenses have increased, much of it as a result of that operation, despite insurance.

At the bottom of each of these year-in-review posts, I will include subscription and donation buttons. If you do not feel the Turner Report/Inside Joplin contributes anything to you or to this community, please ignore them. If however, you appreciate the service that has been provided and if you see the value of what I have been doing day after day, month after month, and year after year, consider taking a subscription or donating any amount, large or small.

Those who would prefer not to use PayPal or a credit card can send contributions or subscription payments to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801.

My apologies for the long message, now it's time for the Top 10 posts for January 2016:

1. Dave Pylnnt signs off at KOAM

2. My New Year's Eve stay at the Freeman Hotel

3. Drunk driver who killed Joplin child, Neosho man headed back to court

4. Zach Williams graduation controversy is about community and humanity

5. Russian national: Joplin businessman heated out of $3.5 million

6. Protest considered for JHS Graduation ceremony over Zach Williams request

7. Domestic violence victim: I shouldn't be alive

8. Reader: Martucci needs to go; nothing has changed at Joplin Schools

9. More changes for Joplin Schools, what a little transparency can do

10. Joplin businessman responds to $3.5 million fraud lawsuit

Some of the posts that did not make the Top 10:

Road to Blasters agreement began with Mark Rohr dog and pony show (the first news outlet to examine the documents relating to how the Blasters arrived in Joplin)

Reports: Empire District Electric sold to foreign company (Turner Report was the first area news outlet to report this)

Murder-suicide took place days before custody hearing

Payment options

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Greitens names Chris Chinn director of Department of Agriculture

(From Governor-Elect Eric Greitens)

Our farmers and ranchers form the backbone of Missouri. Every day, men and women across the state wake up before dawn and do hard work to make quality, affordable food for our families.

But not everyone recognizes the important role of agriculture in Missouri. Activists and bureaucrats have attacked our farmers and ranchers. They've come after our family farms with crippling regulations (from Washington and Jeff City), reckless lawsuits, and political threats. This affects all of us. Our state depends on agriculture for food production and job creation.

Today, I'm proud to welcome an outsider and a champion for agriculture to our team - I have selected Chris Chinn as the next Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Chris is a fighter who cares deeply about our farmers because she is one. She's fought hard for her family farm and for the tradition it represents. Now, she's ready to fight for you.

Watch Chris Chinn tell the story of her farm.

Chris and her husband are fifth-generation farmers. They raise hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, and hay on their farm in Northeast Missouri. It’s tough enough to run a successful farm, which the Chinns do, but Chris is also a leading agriculture advocate. She has become a voice for Missouri farmers, and she has repeatedly stood up to critics and activists. She writes and speaks around the state and country about what a farm can do when it is run with care.

Her words and actions have been widely recognized. In 2013, she was selected by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance as one of their Faces of Farming & Ranching, an honor given to just four outstanding farmers in the country. Chris has given hundreds of speeches around the country defending farm families and sharing the values that make farming such a vital profession.

Her new mission is clear: to protect and promote agriculture in Missouri so that her kids can grow up to be the family's sixth generation of farmers. She understands that we have a great opportunity before us. We need to double world food production in the next generation. Missouri’s farmers and ranchers can lead the way. They can meet that challenge and make the state of Missouri a national leader in food production. Chris and I are both deeply committed to that vision and will work to make it a reality.

During the campaign, we heard one simple message from farmers: let us farm. Keep the lawyers, activists, and federal government off our backs. Chris understands this struggle better than anyone, and we will work every day to uphold the proud tradition of Missouri farming. It's my honor and privilege to welcome her to the team.

Joplin pastor to speak at Governor's Prayer Breakfast

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Pastor Randy Gariss, a nationally known speaker on issues of leadership and justice, will be the featured speaker at the Missouri Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, on Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Jefferson City. The Prayer Breakfast is an annual inter-faith event for all leaders and citizens of Missouri; its purpose is to seek God’s guidance for the state’s governmental leaders at the beginning of the legislative session.

Pastor Gariss is the Director of the Life and Ministry Preparation Center for Ozark Christian College, in Joplin. He previously was the preaching minister of College Heights Christian Church and was the keynote speaker at the Prayer Breakfast in 2012. The event will also feature prayers, scripture verses and special music from the Blair Oaks High School Select Choir.

Tickets for the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast are $35 per seat or $350 per table, and may be purchased online at Questions about the breakfast or about ordering by mail may be sent to; the event also has a Facebook page. Seating of guests the morning of the event will start at 7:10 a.m., with the breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 9 a.m.

Proceeds from the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast support the Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values. The forum, which will be in its 30th year, brings together select Missouri college students from public and private universities for a three-day study of faith and leadership. Participants explore the role faith has played in the lives of business executives, sports figures and government officials.

The Missouri Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, established in the 1950s, is an annual observance welcoming participants from around Missouri at the beginning of the General Assembly’s legislative session. It was established as an extension of the National Prayer Breakfast, which was first held in 1953.

About the speaker

As Director of the Life and Ministry Preparation Center for Ozark Christian College, Randy Gariss and his wife, Julie, coach, mentor and stand beside college students processing their life formation, education, and first church ministries.

Previously, for 33 years, Randy had been the preaching minister of the College Heights Christian Church in Joplin; a congregation with an extensive ministry with the poor and in helping to plant the church in restricted or closed areas around the world.

College Heights played a significant role following the Joplin tornado. Randy served as the host of the national broadcast of the Memorial Service that included President Obama and Gov. Nixon.

Randy often speaks nationally and globally on issues of leadership and justice, and is a frequent speaker on college campuses. He is a contributing editor for The Christian Standard magazine, and currently serves on the Joplin Habitat for Humanity board. His greatest passion, in his own words, is simply to be a Christ-follower.

Randy and Julie have been married for 41 years and have three children and eight grandchildren. His bio notes with humor that as a hobby, he makes custom furniture and forces it upon his family.

Monday, December 26, 2016

New bill targets businesses that don't allow guns on the premises

Gov. Nixon pardons 12, including Jasper County man

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Gov. Jay Nixon announced that he has granted pardons to 12 individuals, each of whom has completed their sentence and become a law-abiding citizen. To date, the Governor has granted 88 pardons and commuted the sentences of three incarcerated offenders, for a total of 91 acts of clemency. Those granted pardons today are:

John Baker, who completed a five-year term of probation after being convicted of sale of cocaine in 1992 in Camden County. Baker has maintained gainful employment and serves as a mentor for troubled youth.

Michael Sullwold, who completed a five-year term of probation for two counts of sale of marijuana in 1982 in Buchanan County. Sullwold recently retired after 30 years of service at the Missouri Department of Mental Health. 

Mark Stroud, who was discharged early from a five-year term of probation after being convicted of sale of marijuana in 1996 in Lewis County. Stroud has maintained gainful employment.

James Medley, who completed a three-year term of probation after being convicted of possession of marijuana in 1985 in Greene County. Medley has maintained gainful employment and is active in his church. 

David McCarthy, who completed a two-year term of probation for receiving stolen property in 1979 in Howell County. McCarthy has maintained gainful employment in the logging industry.
Eugene Atterberry, who completed a five-year term of probation after being convicted of burglary and stealing in 1970 in Texas County. Atterberry retired in 2012 after 30 years of service in the Department of Defense. 

Malta Stepp, Jr., who served 14 months in the Department of Corrections for Burglary in 1969 in Stoddard County. Stepp, a Vietnam veteran, resides in Arkansas and maintained gainful employment before retiring in 2012.

Jeffrey Hargrove, who served four months in the Department of Corrections and received a five-year term of probation for receiving stolen property in 1999 in Buchanan County. Hargrove has since received his Master’s Degree and maintains gainful employment.

Bernard Curtis, who served three months in the Department of Corrections and received a one-year term of probation after being convicted of second-degree burglary in 1980 in St. Louis City. Curtis has maintained gainful employment.

Donnie Yantis, who completed a two-year term of probation for possession of a controlled substance in 1990 in Shelby County. Yantis owns an excavating business and cattle farm.

Granger Layman, who completed a six-month term of probation for stealing in 1997 in Jasper County. Layman has maintained gainful employment and works in the meat-packing industry.
Richard Crow, who was discharged early from a five-year term of probation after pleading guilty to sale of a controlled substance in 1974 in St. Louis County. Crow has maintained gainful employment in the real estate industry.

Free e-books of Scars of the Tornado and Let Teachers Teach available today and tomorrow

A little post-Christmas present for Turner Report/Inside Joplin readers.

Today and tomorrow, I am giving away free e-books of Scars from the Tornado and Let Teachers Teach.

Scars from the Tornado, subtitled "One Year at Joplin East Middle School, and published in 2013 is the story of the tornado and the first year at a warehouse school, with some of my writing about that year combined with essays, first-person stories, and poems from EMS students.

Let Teachers Teach, also published in 2013, is a collection of my writing on education, including some of my work that originally appeared on Huffington Post.

Go to the links below, or the links above and get your free copies.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Links posted to top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for past week

Posts about the Joplin R-8 School District were the most popular ones this week on the Turner Report, capturing the number one, two, four and six positions, with many of the posts in the top 10 drawing multiple comments, including more than 60 for number one.

The most visited post on any of the blogs was the search for a missing Joplin man, which placed number one on the Inside Joplin list.

The Turner Report

1. How Joplin overcame adversity to have educational success- and how one woman destroyed it

2. C. J. Huff received his last paycheck from Joplin R-8 taxpayers today

3. Missouri preparting to become permitless/carry state

4. How Melinda Moss plans to revive the Joplin R-8 School District

5. Mark Rohr, the Joplin Globe, and the myth of the tornado heroes

6. Four candidates file for Joplin R-8 Board of Education

7. Links provided for top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week

8. Video- MODOT director's monthly report

9. Links provided to top Turner Report posts of all time

10. Jarub Baird posts top Turner Report links for past month

Inside Joplin

1. Police searching for missing Joplin man

2. Joplin Police searching for burglary/forgery suspect

3. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

4. Joplin Police Department Arrests December 22-23

5. Joplin Police searching for credit card fraud suspect

6. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

7. Joplin Police Department Arrests December 20-21

8. Joplin Police Department Arrests December 19-20

9. Jasper Police looking for owner of these dogs

10. Newton County Dissolution of Marriage Petition

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Linda Nichols

2. Ricky Foster

3. David DuRall

4. Charlie Howell

5. Ed Autry

6. Stan Honey

7. Alice Hoover

8. Carson Smith

9. Mike Dooley

10. Marvin Luelf

Inside Springfield\

1. Ash Grove woman killed in accident on 160

2. Springfield man charged with kidnapping 13-year-old autistic child, bond set at $500,000

3. Missing Springfield girl found safe, uninjured

4. Springfield woman charged with DWI, manslaughter after fatal head on crash

5. Springfield woman sentenced to 50 years without parole for producing child porn