Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mediation session in Rangeline Sonic sexual harassment lawsuit scheduled for Monday

A mediation session for the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former carhop against Rangeline Sonic is scheduled to be held Monday, according to federal court records.

The lawsuit alleges Rangeline Sonic officials did nothing about a culture of sexual harassment and that inaction led to sexual assaults on two teenage girls, including the then 16-year-old carhop, by former supervisor Chris Alred.

Alred, 32, is scheduled to stand trial in April in Jasper County Circuit Court, on a felony statutory sodomy charge, for his alleged assault on the carhop.

Lawsuit defendants who will be represented in the mediation session are the Rangeline Drive-In (dba Sonic), franchise owner D. I. Rogers Corporation and supervisors Frances Bentz and Chris Cote.

Not included are Alred and manager Portland Keough.

Action in the lawsuit is being stayed until after the mediation session. If no agreement can be reached, the suit will continue.

Earlier posts

Explosive lawsuit claim: Pervasive sexual harassment at Rangeline Sonic led to rapes of two underage girls

Sonic supervisor named in sexual harassment lawsuit cited for sixth DWI


Joplin Police Department issues arrest warrant for former Sonic supervisor charged with my assault


Thirty minutes ago, I was attacked

Friday, October 20, 2017

Joplin businessman implicated in child pornography, search warrant ordered for his business

More than 1,000 images of child pornography were discovered on a Joplin businessman's cell phone, according to a search warrant request filed earlier this week by the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.

The businessman does not appear to have been arrested at this point, so his name and the address of the business, which was the subject of the search, will not be provided in this post.

The businessman came on the Sheriff's Office radar after his wife told a deputy she had seen 221 images in her husband's deleted photo folder featuring girls age approximately 13 to 15 years old, but when she looked again the next morning she saw 40 photos with girls age 5 to 8.

"(She) said she saw child victims who were posed nude and partially nude, adult males having sex with minor aged children" and photos of the young girls performing oral sex on the men.

Deputies interviewed the man at his place of business August 31, according to the search warrant affidavit. told him what they had discovered and read him his Miranda rights.

The businessman told the deputies he visited pornography websites regularly and had been visiting them earlier that day. "(He) stated during the interview he had seen young teens engaged in sexual acts and admitted there was a strong possibility his cell phone possessed images of child pornography from him viewing the images on pornography websites."

He consented to have his phone searched, but couldn't find out. After the interview, however, he texted his wife several times, according to the affidavit.

The businessman contacted the sheriff's office later and said he had searched everywhere but he could not find his phone.

After the wife found the phone and turned it over to the sheriff's office, a search warrant was obtained and 1,076 child pornography images were found on the phone, including one of an adult man having sex with an infant.

The phone also contained normal photos of his family, according to the affidavit.

Trial of former Webb City teacher accused of having sex with student scheduled for Tuesday

It has taken three and a half years to reach this point- and there is no guarantee it will happen- but the trial of former Webb City High School choir teacher Carrie Njoroge on a charge of having sex with a student is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin with Judge David Mouton presiding.

A motions hearing is set for Monday and there could be a change of plea at that time. Otherwise, the trial, barring any more continuances, is scheduled to last two days.

The case was delayed for months when Njoroge's attorneys, Dee Wampler and Joseph Passinise of Springfield, argued that Njoroge had not committed any crime at all because the student was 17 and the sex was consensual and that she was constitutionally permitted to having sex with a student who had reached the age of consent.

In Passanise's original motion, filed October 2, 2015, the attorney said the state statute prohibiting a teacher from having sex with a student is "unconstitutional," he said, "because it is overbroad. It prohibits conduct to which a person is constitutionally entitled along with conduct that a person has no right to engage in,."

Passinise cited Lawrence v. Texas, noting "the U. S. Supreme Court held that consenting adults have a liberty right under the Due Process Clause to engage in private sexual conduct." That ruling, handed down in 2003 by a 5-4 margin, struck down sodomy laws in 13 states, but had nothing whatsoever to do with teachers having sex with students.

Passinise continues, "The 14th Amendment accords constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, family relationships, child rearing, and education."

That argument, which caused the first delay in Njoroge's trial, was rejected by Judge Mouton.

An after-hours sex act with an 18-year-old high school student led to criminal charges being filed against Njoroge, according to the probable cause statement.

The act allegedly took place Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in her office at the school. Two days later, school officials placed her on paid administrative leave. She resigned the following day, according to a statement from the school district.

The probable cause statement says April 15 was not the first time Njoroge had sex with the student. He says the relationship began three months earlier.

The probable cause statement, written by Webb City Police Department Cpl. Josh Smith, is printed below:

On April 15, 2014, between the hours of 19:30 and 21:30 hours at 621 N. Madison, Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri, 64870 (Webb City High School), Carrie Njoroge, a Webb City High School choir teacher, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office. The student stated they participated in an ongoing relationship for approximately three months involving oral sex on multiple occasions and sexual intercourse on April 15, 2014.

Lawsuit claims: Exploration Station pre-school teachers resigned rather than lie to state about abuse of two-year-old

A lawsuit filed today in Jasper County Circuit Court sheds light on the sudden closing two weeks ago of the Exploration Station Pre-School, 3132 E. 12th, Joplin.

According to the lawsuit, teachers at the facility resigned rather than sign a document to back the owner's version of what happened during the continuing punishment of an Oronogo two-year-old.

In their five-count petition, the plaintiffs, Nick and Adrienne Weston, Oronogo, allege that Exploration Station owners Charyl and Chad Copher and co-defendant Kayla Copher were responsible for false imprisonment of their son, who is referred to as J. W. , intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional address and negligence due to child endangerment and abuse.

The petition spells out what the Westons claim happened during the short time J. W. was at Exploration Station and how they came to learn about the extent of what had been done to their son:

(O)n or about July, 2017, Nick and Adrienne Weston, legal parents of J.W., engaged the services of Exploration Station Preschool and Childcare for the care of J.W. during the workday. J.W. was a typical two-year-old child that occasionally cried when his parents dropped him at the facility, but according to all written reports the child would be fussy at drop off or nap time, but would be “great” the remainder of the day. 

Nick and Adrienne Weston were told by Charyl Copher and Kayla Copher that if a child became too upset, they would contact the parents to come to the facility and calm the child. Over time, the parents noticed that J.W. seemed more upset than usual at drop off and Nick Weston called the facility to discuss how to best address the issue. 

Kayla Copher said she appreciated the parents' willingness to work with them, and felt that the child would adjust over time. On one occasion, when Adrienne Weston picked up the child she was informed by two teachers outside the classroom that J.W. was having a “breakdown.” 

Upon entering the room, Ms. Weston noticed that Kayla Copher was frustrated with J.W., and she commented that the child seemed to get upset when the teacher in his classroom was switched out during the afternoon. 

Again, the Westons discussed with the staff how to address the issue, and Ms. Weston began leaving work early to pick the child up prior to the teacher change in mid-afternoon. 

On September 25, 2017 Adrienne Weston received a call from Charyl Copher that J.W. had a “bad fit” right before nap and hit his head and face on his cot, but they didn’t notice any injury until after his nap. There appeared to be some bruising and they were treating it with ice, but didn’t want her to be alarmed at pickup about his condition. Charyl went on to say she had never seen a child act so badly. This confused Ms. Weston, as the written reports on J.W. were always good other than fussy at drop off and nap time. 

Ms. Weston arrived at the facility to pick up J.W., and was surprised at the severity of injuries to the face, head and neck of J.W. from hitting a nap cot, and was going to take the child to the doctor immediately. Cheryl, Kayla and the teachers did not have matching accounts of the incident. 

She immediately requested a copy of the incident report from Ms. Copher to provide to the doctor. An incident report was reluctantly provided. En route to the doctor, J.W. was unusually clingy and lethargic, and kept complaining he was hungry. The doctor noted the abrasions and scratches, but felt that those would properly heal over time, and the bigger concern was the social aspect of what happened at the facility. 

Ms. Weston made the decision to terminate services at Exploration Station, as she felt she was not given an accurate account of the incident with J.W. that resulted in such injuries. 

On October 6, 2017, the Westons learned that Exploration Station was closing because all of the childcare teachers voluntarily terminated their employment with the facility. 

On October 7, 2017, the Westons were invited to a private Facebook group by former teachers at the facility, and learned that J.W. was emotional and crying the morning of September 25, 2017 in the classroom. The teacher was working to soothe the child when Kayla Copher removed J.W. from his classroom. Kayla returned with him a short time later, and he began to cry. This took place three or four times in a short period of time. The last time the child was not returned to the classroom. 

The classroom teacher stuck her head out the door of the classroom to look for J.W., and she could hear him screaming her name. She went toward the child and found he was being forced to lay on the lunchroom floor. The child attempted to get to his teacher, and Charyl and Kayla would not allow it. 

The child was removed behind closed doors with Charyl and Kayla, so that no other staff members could witness their actions. The child was then locked in a dark room alone until he could calm down, and was not fed any lunch. 

The child was returned to the classroom for nap time where he appeared so scared he would not even move on his cot, and it was at this time that the injuries were noted by the teacher. 

Charyl Copher typed an untruthful statement regarding the incident, and told each staff member they were required to sign the statement, so they “would all have the same story in case the State comes in to investigate.” 

The teachers/staff members all chose to voluntarily terminate their employment based on this incident, and the facility closed October 6, 2017. 

(S)ince September 25, 2017 J.W. has suffered from severe separation anxiety if one or both the parents leave his presence, and suffers from fear of the dark at bedtime and night terrors which were not present prior to actions of the Defendants. The child is in need of psychological care and therapy as result of the Defendants’ actions.

Nick Weston and Adrienne Weston have suffered and continue to suffer emotional distress because of the injuries and suffering of their small child at the hands of Defendants.

The Westons, who are represented by the Tracey Martin Law Office, Joplin, are seeking at least $25,000 in actual damages, punitive damages and costs. They are asking for a jury trial.

Greitens: Foster children will no longer be required to pay for birth certificate copies

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Today, Governor Eric Greitens announced that boys and girls in foster care will no longer be required to pay the state to get a copy of their birth certificate. This change takes effect immediately. The Governor released the following statement:

"Imagine you're a sixteen-year-old in Missouri. Like most sixteen-year-olds, you want to get a job and learn to drive. You want to be more independent and self-sufficient. Pretty simple, right?

Except if you're a teenager in foster care. To get a driver's license or to fill out employment paperwork, you need a birth certificate. You probably don't have your birth certificate. No one in your life knows where it is. You could request it, but the state—your legal parent—will make you pay for it. And that's tough because you may not have the cash. You may not even have your own bank account.

Before today, this was how the state of Missouri dealt with young people in the foster care system. We made foster kids pay the state for their birth certificates.

Sheena recently met with a group of current and former foster youth to hear their thoughts. These kids told Sheena, over and over again, that not having a birth certificate made it difficult for them to get a license, learn to drive, and get a job. Sheena took that message to the team.

Today we’re making a change so that foster youth in Missouri will no longer have to pay the state to get a birth certificate. They'll get a copy provided to them at no charge. This is a small fix for the government. It'll make a good difference in some kids’ lives.

Foster kids don't have teams of lobbyists. They don’t know insiders or the special interests. And in the past, that meant that they were—like too many Missourians—forgotten.

Until now. We're standing up for them. This is who we were sent here to fight for: the vulnerable, the forgotten, the people who get a raw deal while the powerful get their way. That's what we were sent here to do, and I’m proud that everyone on the team is keeping their promise to fight for you."

First Lady Sheena Greitens released the following statement, “The children and young people in Missouri’s foster care system need to know that we’re listening to them, and that we are working every day to make their experiences better. I’m delighted that the state is making this change to lower barriers for kids in foster care, which will help them acquire important life skills and have normal childhood experiences.”

Edie Hammet, State Youth Advisory Board Chairperson, released the following statement, “Having a free birth certificate helps me because in order to get a job I needed mine. I wasn’t able to get a copy from my caseworker, so my foster parents had to cover the cost. Not every youth is that lucky. So this change helps provides independence skills for youth in care to be able to get a job, a license, and any number of things that other young people their age are getting.”

Billy Long: We must prioritize fiscal responsibility

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

It is past time to make good on our promises in Washington and ensure a fiscally sustainable future for generations to come. A lot of has changed in the last eight years. When Republicans took the majority in the House of Representatives in 2011, the federal deficit stood at over $800 billion. Without control of the Senate and White House, it was nearly impossible to pass strong conservative legislation, but we did succeed in reducing the deficit by $300 billion.

While this is steady progress, these efforts have not been good enough, and the deficit for Fiscal Year 2018 is just under $500 billion. If Congress doesn’t act to make reforms, the Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will reach $1.4 trillion in 2027. It is time to get our fiscal house in order.

Earlier this October the House passed the 2018 fiscal year budget. This budget would reduce spending, rein in the deficit and balance the budget within 10 years. It directs the House to find a minimum of $203 billion in savings through program reforms over the next 10 years. This budget would also pave the way for tax reform, limit the size of the federal government and strengthen our national defense. Our budget would reduce the deficit by $6.5 trillion over the next decade, which would result in a $9 billion surplus in 2027.

The House budget makes serious reforms to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently by reducing waste and mismanagement. In 2015, the federal government spent $843 billion on duplicative programs. To many unelected Washington bureaucrats that might not matter, but to me, and the millions of hardworking American Tax-payers, that is unacceptable. Not only are we spending money on duplicative programs, federal agencies have been unknowingly making improper payments for many years by overpaying or simply making payments to the wrong person. The waste and inefficiency is so staggering that improper payments totaled over $140 billion last year alone. My Republican colleagues and I have worked hard to make sure this does not happen again. We’re taking a serious look at all of the improper payments made by federal agencies, which could result in $700 billion in savings over the next 10 years.

Our budget also ensures that our military is ready and our men and women in uniform are properly equipped in a time of international turmoil. During the previous administration our military strength and readiness was ignored. Our defense budget was cut by over 20 percent from 2010 to 2016. As threats continue to expand it is my job to ensure we are ready. The need to invest for future needs is paramount to ensure our armed forces have the resources they need to protect our country.

President Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” I could not agree more. The House Republican budget does just that by prioritizing fiscal responsibility.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sessions to Oklahoma law enforcement officers: President Trump and I have your back

(Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered the following speech today at the Oklahoma Sheriffs Association meeting at Midwest City, Oklahoma.)

I am here on behalf of President Trump to thank all of our law enforcement officers for their dedication and service. President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order president. He is a proud and unequivocal supporter of law enforcement.

I know firsthand the important work that each of you do. I was a federal prosecutor for 14 years, and during that time, I was blessed to partner every day with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to protect the rights of all individuals.

There is nothing I am more proud of than what we accomplished in our district.

I know that each of you has that same kind of impact in your communities.

But today we are fighting a multi-front battle: an increase in violent crime, a rise in vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, threats from terrorism, combined with a culture in which family and discipline seem to be eroding further and a disturbing disrespect for the rule of law.

State audit: Koster never developed conflict-of-interest policy after contribution controversy

A state audit of the attorney general's office released today indicates that former Attorney General Chris Koster never followed through with establishing a conflict-of-interest policy following the controversy that arose over his accepting of campaign contributions from companies that were under investigation.

The audit gave Koster's attorney general office a rating of "fair," which is the next to lowest rating possible.

The complete audit report can be found at this link.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hartzler announces VA reform legislation

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) announced Wednesday the introduction of theVA Fairness in Hiring Act (HR 4037), new legislation that will address the Veterans Affairs hiring shortage. Hartzler made the announcement at a press conference at the Truman VA Hospital in Columbia where she emphasized the importance of taking care of our veterans and cutting government inefficiencies.

“Our veterans need us to look out for them, and I’m happy to announce new legislation that makes sure our government runs efficiently and that veterans receive the care they deserve,” Hartzler said. “This bill enables VA hospitals to compete with private practice medical centers for the best doctors and medical staff, heightening veterans’ quality of care and easing the VA’s current personnel shortage.”

The need for medical professionals in the VA is near an all-time high, but the VA continues to face challenges with recruitment and retention of medical personnel. The VA Fairness in Hiring Act provides relief to the VA by exempting certain medical professionals seeking VA employment from non-compete agreements they may be subject to in a private practice.

“Our veterans deserve the best and most stable health care we can provide,” Hartzler added. “This bill provides VA hospitals potential relief to recruit and retain the medical personnel required to provide that care. It also allows medical providers to answer the call to serve their nation by providing health care to our veterans.”

Currently, the VA cannot require its employees to enter into non-compete agreements like private practice. Because of this, private practice is able to entice potential employees away from the VA. Once private practice hires these medical professionals, many times, they must sign non-compete agreements, preventing the VA from even attempting to recruit medical professionals from private practice. Traditionally, non-compete agreements aim to prevent an employee from leaving a well-established practice and creating their own practice, thereby drawing clients away from the original practice. Doing so has a negative financial impact on the well-established practice; therefore, hospitals and clinics use non-compete agreements for protection. In the case of the VA and private practice, they are not competing for patients, because the VA serves only those that qualify for VA care. Therefore, the underlying premise behind the non-compete does not apply.

This bill also prevents physicians from using this exemption as a loophole to get out of their private practice non-compete agreements. For instance, if a physician leaves private practice to work for the VA and then leaves the VA prior to the expiration of the original non-compete, that non-compete will still be valid and enforceable.

Graves: I was happy Trump signed order eliminating Obamacare subsidies for low income people

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Obamacare is broken.

It wasn’t long after the law was passed that we began hearing those very words.

And it’s true. Many Missourians lost the insurance plans that they were promised they could keep, premium prices doubled, and doctors are harder to find. Barack Obama promised his namesake law would boost the economy, but across the country, millions of Americans as well as small businesses reported ObamaCare harmed their ability to afford access to care for their families and employees.

More than 1500 counties, including most in North Missouri, will only have one health insurance option in 2018 and that option will likely cost more than it did this year. As predicted, when the law was passed paying the penalty for not having insurance is cheaper than actually having it. Most of those households choosing to pay the penalty make less than $50,000. They have to choose between daily essentials or paying high premiums and high-deductibles for insurance they can’t even use. You and I both know that health insurance coverage is meaningless if you cannot afford to use it or have access to quality care.

That’s why I am happy to see President Trump sign an Executive Order last week which starts the process of dismantling the burdensome regulations imposed on everyday Americans and small business owners by Obamacare. This takes the first step in providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief they desperately need.

The President’s action will help make more health insurance options available to North Missourians. Anyone who is in between jobs or only serviced by one insurer could potentially get more access to short-term insurance.

Small businesses would also get the opportunity to join with other small businesses, even those across state lines, to provide more affordable health insurance to their employees. Selling health insurance across state lines is something I have pushed for from the start and I’m glad to see that the idea is moving forward. Our small businesses are the backbone of this country. They should be able to provide health insurance to their employees at an affordable cost. This executive order gives them the opportunity to do that. I believe that more competition in the marketplace means affordable.

These welcomed changes are a positive step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues in the House to continue our push to keep our seven-year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Failure is not an option.

Billy Long spokeswoman: You will have to ask someone else if he was in Las Vegas October 1

I was hasty Tuesday when I published a post questioning whether Seventh District Congressman Billy Long was in Las Vegas on October 1, the day of the mass murder of people attending a Jason Aldean concert.

As I noted, I contacted Long's Washington office and was told I would have to talk to his press secretary who was at lunch.

I e-mailed my question and did not receive any answer yesterday.

I should have waited.

The e-mail arrived this morning and answered my main question- my main question was not going to be answered.

This is the entirety of Press Secretary Hannah Smith's response:

This is a campaign related question, so you will need to speak with Congressman Long’s campaign team.

I don't think so. 

If Billy Long's press secretary can't answer a simple question about whether or not the congressman was in Las Vegas on the day of the shooting, I would say that speaks volumes. I await with interest the January campaign finance report when we will see if Billy Long was in Las Vegas that day, or someone from Billy Long's campaign who had to go to Vegas for important campaign business.

Has anyone ever noticed how few campaign contributions Long receives during these Vegas junkets?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Joplin man on probation for failure to register as sex offender is back in prison

A federal judge today ordered Urban Danley, 34, Joplin, on probation for failure to register as a sex offender, to be held without bond while awaiting a probation revocation hearing.

The document filed by the government asking that Danley's probation be revoked was not included in available court documents, but he was less than four months into a five-year probationary record when the motion was filed.

Court records show Danley is a Tier 3 offender who is required to register four times a year for the rest of his life.

The original conviction occurred in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where he was convicted in 2003 at age 20, of lewd molestation. The victim was six years old.

Danley's record was spelled out in a detention motion filed November 4, 2015, in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri:

DANLEY last registered on July 29, 2015, in Cherokee County, Kansas. DANLEY registered his address as 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY signed the registration paperwork stating he understood his sex offender registration requirements. DANELY also initialed on line 17 that he understood failing to register after traveling across a State line is a violation of federal law and that he could be sentenced up to ten years in prison. 

On July 9, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin, Missouri Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the police that he was staying at the Budget Inn in Joplin, Missouri. 

On July 11, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street in Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY was arrested for obstruction of justice and/or resisting an arrest. 

On August 14, 2015, DANLEY went to the Social Security office located at 4102 South Arizona Avenue, Joplin, Missouri to request a new Social Security benefits card. DANLEY requested the card be sent to 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. 

On September 14, 2015, DANLEY was arrested for assault by the Joplin Police Department in the area of 531 Kentucky Avenue, Joplin, Missouri. 

On September 22, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin Police Department at Ewert Park located at 900 East 5th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the interviewing officer that he was currently homeless. 

On October 2, 2015, DANLEY contacted the Social Security Office and changed his address to 102 East 2nd Street, Joplin, Missouri. 

On October 5, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department for obstruction and failing to register as a sex offender. DANLEY told the arresting officer that he was homeless. 

On the same date DANLEY was interviewed by Detective Charles Root with the Joplin Police Department. DANLEY told Detective Root that he was staying at his registered address of 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY further stated that he stays at this address with his girlfriend, Susan Wise. DANLEY stated that he was in Joplin to visit his sister, Jackie Danley.

Upon further questioning, DANLEY admitted that he stays in Joplin three to four days a week. On October 6, 2015, Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force Officer (TFO) Brian Martin interviewed Susan Wise at the Joplin Police Department. Wise told TFO Martin that she has been with DANLEY for approximately one month. Wise further stated that the entire time they have been together they have resided in Joplin, Missouri and at no time have they been in Kansas.

Anthony Cable contacted Robin Taylor with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office. Taylor is the sex offender registrar for Jasper County, Missouri. Taylor stated that DANLEY last registered on July 7, 2004. 

DUSM Cable also contacted Stacey Hinson with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Hinson is the sex offender registrar for Missouri. Hinson stated the last registration information they had for DANLEY showed he moved to Kansas on December 20, 2005. 

On October 15, 2015, DUSM Cable and Detective Root interviewed DANLEY. DANLEY admitted the fact that he was a convicted sex offender and required to register for life. DANLEY also admitted that he has been living in Joplin, Missouri since approximately June of 2015. DANLEY admitted that he signed his registration requirements that he understood his requirement to register if he moved to another state. DANLEY further stated that he did not know he was required to register if he was homeless.

A sentencing memorandum filed January 26 by the U. S. Attorney said that Danley claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, schizophrenia and bi-polar depression and he has been unemployed since 2000, though he did receive a monthly disability payment from the government.

Danley's problems could have been taken care of by medication, but Danley did not take it, according to the sentencing memorandum, which said he preferred to self-medicate.

His self-medication of choice, according to the memorandum, was meth, which he said he used daily.





Was Billy Long in Las Vegas when mass murder occurred?

Aa far as our Seventh District Congressman is concerned, there is no good answer to the question.

Was Billy Long in Las Vegas October 1 when 59 people were murdered while attending a Jason Aldean concert.

There were two possible answers to that question- yes or no- so I was surprised when a spokeswoman from the congressman's Joplin office came up with a third.

I noted that Long's quarterly financial report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission showed that he had been in Las Vegas with an expenditure of $5,496.12 to the Wynn Vegas Hotel for lodging. on September 29, "so was he still in Las Vegas on October 1?

Her answer took me surprise. The congressman had not gone to Vegas, someone else had gone.

I wanted to ask a follow-up question or two. Is Billy Long in the habit of spending $5,496.12 in campaign money for someone else to take a trip to Las Vegas (for campaign purposes, of course), not to mention the $1,179.66 expenditure for a meal at Craftsteak in Las Vegas or $288.15 for another meal at Michael Mina's restaurant, which according to its advertising has the "best seafood in Vegas," but she did not give me a chance.

"That's all I can tell you," she said. "You'll have to talk to someone at our Washington office," and our conversation ended before I could even ask for the number.

Fortunately, I already had the number, so I called, identified myself (as I had during the Joplin conversation) and asked the same question. As expected, I was told I would have to talk to the media spokesperson who was "out to lunch."

That was approximately six hours ago. I am not expecting to receive a call, though there is always a possibility I will be pleasantly surprised.

As for my original question, I still do not have an answer.

I searched the Congressman's tweets for the day of the shooting and the following day. On his official Twitter site, he wrote, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible act."

The FEC document covers the dates through September 30.

Odds are, we will have to wait until the next quarterly report is filed in mid-January to know whether Long or someone representing Long was in Vegas October 1.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There he goes again- Greitens headed on trade mission to Europe

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens will depart today for a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The trip will include meetings with government officials, business executives, and workforce development leaders.

The Governor chose these nations for his second trade mission because of the great opportunity that the state of Missouri has in these markets to increase trade, promote job growth, attract investment to Missouri, and create educational and cultural ties.

“Our goal is to win more jobs for Missouri families and sell more Missouri products around the world,” said Governor Greitens.

Approximately 15 percent of Missouri’s nearly $14 billion worth of exports are destined for Europe. The UK is Missouri’s 8th largest export destination, and Switzerland is Missouri’s 17th largest. While in Europe, the Governor will meet with many industry leaders, with a particular focus on the financial and professional service and manufacturing sectors.

The trip will be paid for by the non-profit Hawthorn Foundation.

Trial date set for former Sonic supervisor charged with statutory sodomy, Alred remains free on bond

Since his arrest in January on felony statutory sodomy charges, former Rangeline Sonic supervisor Chris Alred, Alred was stopped by a Sarcoxie police officer August 28 for his sixth driving while intoxicated charge and Joplin Police filed assault charges against him for an unprovoked attack on me at my apartment on September 11.

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office asked that his bond be revoked following the August 28 DWI arrest.

Alred was in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin today where his lawyer, Michael Roberts asked for a continuance and received one, had a motions hearing and trial date set, and then Judge Dean Dankelson permitted Alred to leave the building, remaining free on bond while awaiting trial.

Online court records indicate Alred's trial is scheduled for April 2-4, 2018 with the criminal motion hearing set for 9 a.m. March 12.

Alred's statutory sodomy charge came after he allegedly forced a teenage Sonic carhop to perform a sexual act on him in March 2016. That act is also mentioned in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Rangeline Sonic by the carhop, which is scheduled to go to mediation next Monday.

The motion to revoke Alred's bond came after his DWI arrest, which occurred with his eight-year-old daughter in the car with him and also led to him attempting to drive off and flee from the police. The following information was provided in the Monday, September 11, Turner Report, which apparently angered Alred enough that he decided to do something about it:

A primary reason for revoking the bond, it is made clear in the motion is Alred's long history of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement for Alred's most recent arrest, shows that he has pleaded guilty to DWI charges five times, along with another guilty plea to amended excessive blood alcohol content:

-Pleaded guilty April 20, 2012 in Jasper County Circuit Court for a November 2, 2011 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2012 in Newton County Circuit Court for a December 1, 2010 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a September 6, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a May 12, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty February 22, 2007 in Neosho Municipal Court for a July 3, 2006 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2, 2006 in Jasper County Circuit Court to excessive blood alcohol content for a February 23, 2005 arrest

Online court records indicate Alred also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in 2003 in Jasper County Circuit Court after being arrested by the Jasper Police Department, marijuana possession and defective equipment in Bates County Circuit Court in 2008 after being arrested by the Highway Patrol, and an amended charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia in Jasper County Circuit Court in 2004.

Alred's fourth and fifth DWI arrests were the ones that finally put him in prison. Online court records show Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Mouton sentenced Alred to five years in prison on April 20, 2012. Newton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Perigo sentenced Alred to four years in prison to run concurrently with his Jasper County sentence on May 21, 2012.

It is not clear how much time Alred spent in prison or how a man with a prison record, five DWIs, and multiple drug arrests came to be hired by Sonic or to be placed in a position of supervising underage car hops.

Previous posts


Sunday, October 15, 2017

FEMA rejects $70 million of Joplin R-8 claims

The full extent of the overspending that took place during the C. J. Huff Administration is finally beginning to take shape.

An Associated Press investigation posted today says that FEMA officials have denied $70 million of reimbursement requests for Joplin R-8 building projects, including one last month.

Reporter David A. Lieb wrote, "The key issue is whether FEMA underestimated the cost to rebuild the schools or whether the district is stretching FEMA rules to try to grasp as much cash as possible for its improved facilities."

When the Turner Report submitted a Sunshine Law request earlier this year asking for documentation of correspondence between FEMA and the Joplin R-8 School District since the beginning of 2016, I was told that the paperwork would fill up numerous boxes and I would be charged an exorbitant amount not only for the copies, but also for all of the research and manpower that it would take to collect the documents and make sure I was not getting any I was not supposed to be receiving. A revised Sunshine Law request was made for copies of denial letters FEMA sent to the district over that time period.

One reason for all of the paperwork, according to the materials I received is that the district tried to overwhelm FEMA with hundreds of pages of documents that had little or nothing to do with the requests.

The FEMA denials presented a clear picture of deadlines for submitting requests that were missed by more than a year, deliberate attempts to ignore agreements with the federal agency and build things the way district officials wanted them built and the hiring of an outside consultant for $3 million on a no-bid contract, an arrangement that continued by allowing the consultant to charge far more than the contractual amount.

The Turner Report investigation also showed that R-8 officials asked FEMA to reimburse the district $44,000 for the planning of work that was never done at Emerson Elementary.

An audio recording revealed that C. J. Huff was already planning to bypass the original arrangement with FEMA when it came to construction of the new schools and Huff acknowledged that the federal agency would not cover any costs except for those that would restore the schools to cover the same area they covered prior to the tornado.

From the May 1, 2017 Turner Report:

During a February 2012 meeting with faculty at East Middle School, former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff explained the upcoming $62 million bond issue, as well as the way FEMA funding worked.

Though the new East Middle School would be bigger than the one that was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 tornado, FEMA would only pay for the cost of rebuilding East the way it was.

"Just that square footage," Huff said. "Not the additional square footage. They won't pay for an upgrade, I don't think, unless we do some arm-twisting." (Note: Huff's comments are featured in the podcast below.)

The efforts at arm twisting on the East project, Joplin High School and the other new buildings was done late in nearly every instance and was done after the construction work had already been completed.

Though the district continues to file appeals at different levels of FEMA, the odds of success are remote. An Associated Press analysis indicates that FEMA denies two-thirds of final appeals.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nancy Hughes: Prayer in the gym

“If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV)


I truly love working out. Well, except legs day. I hate legs day. But all the rest of the time I love it! And I will admit that almost every time I work out, I pray for the strength to get through the next set of burpees or squats.

But early one morning as I was lifting and praying, the prayers were not for me but for a friend of mine. I had received a message that Sam was struggling with his cancer; it had roared back and he was in a huge battle.

So as I walked into the gym, I was praying for him. For strength and courage. For a peace in knowing that God was beside him. That his heart would be open to Jesus as never before.

When I saw Al, someone who hates legs day almost as much as I do, I asked him to be praying for Sam. I shared a bit of what was going on and Al immediately said “Sure I will pray.” But he went one step further.

As I was warming up, he asked a question: “Would you like to pray now?” Wow! Without a doubt my answer was yes!

So in a fitness gym, surrounded by equipment designed to make one stronger, we came together before the Strongest Power in the universe in prayer.

He prayed for Sam’s heart, for his health, that someone would come into his hospital room and gently share the love of Jesus. For peace in the battle. And he praised the Lord for His control in every situation in life.

Some things didn’t change that morning. I still hate legs day and I despise burpees. But God, the Creator of the Universe, leaned down and met His children in a gym as they knelt before Him. Because He is always with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even on legs day.

Father, thank you for hearing us when we cry out to you, no matter where we are in this world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .

Reflect

Have you ever thought that God only heard your prayers if you were in church or at a Bible study?

Application

Journal all the places you normally pray.

Can you think of places where you don’t usually pray?

Journal those places as well and make an effort to be praying and praising at those times, as well. For example, mowing the lawn, while you are at a beauty salon, waiting in a long line at the grocery store.

Power Verses

Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV) “If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 66:19 (NIV) “. . . but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Psalm 116:1 (NIV) “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.”

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

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

More scandal for the city of Joplin and this one did not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the situation. The top post for the Turner Report this week was the revelation that $170,000 was missing from the Hope Valley CID.

Will the next big story be that the City of Joplin is filing a lawsuit against the consultant to get back the money. That certainly worked well with Wallace Bajjali.

The top posts and links to them are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. City of Joplin: $170,000 missing from Hope Valley CID

2. Federal lawsuit claim: Former East Newton superintendent's inaction led to sexual assault of eighth grade girl

3. Blasting News article: Father arrested, investigation continues as baby found dead in the woods

4. Kirksville Republican: We have invested a lot of money in the NFL and we are not receiving a good return on our investment

5. Blasting News article: Florida couple traded sex with child for drugs

6. Cox Health signs agreement to buy Barton County Memorial Hospital

7. Missouri adoptees will soon be able to request original birth certificates

8. Josh Hawley: Claire McCaskill has been in Washington forever (I've been in Jefferson City for nine months)

9. Hartzler: Let's give federal money to Christian organizations to handle opioid crisis

10. Hawley auditions for Koch Brothers funding

The top posts for Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries can be found below the advertisement.
 ***
The Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs are reaching more people all of the time and I need your help to continue to not only provide the same level of coverage, but to increase the kind of news and hard-hitting investigative reporting and commentary that can't be found from any other Joplin area news source. Please consider taking a stand for independent journalism and subscribing or making a contribution of any size to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin. You can use the PayPal buttons below or send your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thank you for your consideration.


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Inside Joplin

1. Northpark Mall to be closed on Thanksgiving

2. Joplin man arrested for abusing six-week-old, baby had broken leg, other injuries

3. Counterfeit fraud attempt at Sonic leads to arrest of four Joplin residents on drug, weapons, forgery, stealing charges

4. Joplin Police investigate death of two men from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds

5. JPD arrests two on felony charges, one after foot chase, one hiding in Joplin Public Library dumpster

6. Woman arrested at traffic stop has meth in her bra, cocaine in her vehicle

7. Two injured, one airlifted to Freeman after accident on 43

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. Webb City Police captures suspects in armed robbery at Newman and Florida

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Lilianna Clevenger

2. Brandon Bacal

3. Paula Durbin

4. Marlene Hansen

5. Danny Miller

6. Terry Schimmel 

7, Dwayne Fisher

8. Brad York

9. Marcia Forman

10. Richard Williams


Some things I've been thinking about

I haven't done this in a while, but occasionally I like to write a post featuring short thoughts on several items that have been in the news or that have crossed my mind and invite readers to comment.

Here goes.

Tax increment financing

With the recent revelation that the cupboard at the Hope Valley CID has been stripped bare, isn't it about time we said no to the habit of the City of Joplin and other governing bodies to put the stamp of approval on every tax increment financing proposal or giving gigantic tax breaks to anyone who says they will bring 50 jobs or help the city grow?

Perhaps we should examine the city's pitiful record- Consider the bill of goods the city and the school district bought on Wallace Bajjali's disastrous TIF. Wallace should be in prison. Or how about the 1717 Marketplace TIF? The developer of that project is is prison. Tax increment financing is supposed to be for blighted areas. How in the world can either the 1717 Marketplace or Northpark Crossing TIFs be considered to be in blighted areas?

Part of the problem we have run into this country is that we have pitted cities and states against each other in a never-ending battle to throw money away to attract businesses that then have no loyalty when the next community is willing to offer even more.

And when you have a situation like the Hope Valley CID where then City Councilman Mike Woolston voted in favor of it despite being a business partner with the developer, it brings an even stronger odor to the entire process.

And Joplin has certainly had problem with odor recently.

Harvey Weinstein

One of the themes being pushed on right wing media is that women on the left are hypocritical because they marched and protested immediately after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, but have not come out en masse to protest against Harvey Weinstein.

No one from the right wing media has passed along their talking points to me, so maybe I am missing something.

Since when can Harvey Weinstein make decisions that can send us to war, deprive millions of health care, talk about how warm and fuzzy those white nationalists are or send the message that America's word can no longer be trusted?

Harvey Weinstein is a pig and deserves personal and professional payback and probably prison time. Some protests against him would not be out of the question, but to compare protests against an entertainment figure with someone whose every decision affects all of us is nonsense.

Josh Hawley and Eric Greitens

I miss the good old days when people actually worked their way up the political ladder and showed they knew what they were doing before they began auditioning for national political office.

In the past few days, the Turner Report has had posts about Attorney General Josh Hawley cozying up to Steve Bannon and the Koch Brothers to boost his U. S. Senate candidacy and Greitens has made trips all over the U. S., going to Washington at least five times and visiting with the president in Florida.

These two men have only served slightly more than nine months in office.

It would be nice to see resumes being built through accomplishment.

Break up the Cubs

I also miss the days when I rooted for the National League every year in the World Series. I want to see the Houston Astros take it all this year. (At least, they spent most of their existence in the National League.)

I definitely do not want the Yankees back in the World Series and while I hate seeing the Dodgers playing in the Fall Classic either, I will hold my nose and root for them to beat the Cubs. Cub fans got their World Series last year. Let them wait another 108 years.

ACLU report: Black students punished more severely than white students in Missouri

(From American Civil Liberties Union Missouri)

Justice begins at the schoolhouse doors.

Today, we released our report, Missouri's Pipeline of Injustice: From School to Prison.

In nearly every category of school discipline, we found that Black students and students with disabilities are punished more severely and more frequently than their peers.

Some of the facts:

Black students are 4.5 times more likely to be suspended than White students.
Black students with disabilities were more than three times more likely to be suspended than White students with disabilities.
Black boys are almost four times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White boys. Black girls are six times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White girls.

The consequences of excessive discipline extend far beyond the classroom. We should all be outraged at these findings. This is a wake-up call to every Missourian: we must act now for the future of our children. Read the full report on our website.

This report is just the beginning of our efforts to address Missouri's school discipline problem. Read our recommendations for students, parents, educators, policymakers, legislators and law enforcement. You can also download our sample toolkit on how to understand discipline policies at your child's school and become a more powerful advocate in breaking the school-to-prison pipeline.

Get involved with our efforts to stop Missouri’s school-to-prison pipeline by helping us understand what’s happening in your school district. We want to hear from you!

Blasting News article: Missouri postmaster/scout leader/church deacon molested more than 100 children

Over the years, Turner Report readers have grown accustomed to tales of people who committed crimes when they should have been behind bars long ago or should have remained behind bars.

My latest Blasting News article features one of the most egregious examples of such a person. When postman Jamie McPherson (pictured) was first accused of improperly touching a child, he was allowed to retire quietly and moved from Lexington, Missouri to Independence.

When he pleaded guilty to a sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl and was being investigated for similar assaults on six boys, a judge placed him on probation.

McPherson has admitted to molesting more than 100 children and believes it is their fault. You can find the latest development in his story at this link.

My other two most recent Blasting News articles are in the national website's sports section and involve wrongdoing by a coach and an athlete.

A one-time Michigan high school Coach of the Year was arrested after arriving to meet an underage girl for a sexual encounter. The girl, as those of you who are familiar with the stings pulled in this area by former Diamond Police Chief Jim Murray or the one that captured a Joplin R-8 technology employee a few years back, was actually an undercover officer. That article can be found at this link.

The other sports story involves a University of Southern California linebacker who pleaded guilty to an amended misdemeanor sexual assault charge. Police say Osa Masina not only raped a woman, but sent a SnapChat video of the rape to her ex-boyfriend, a University of Arizona football player. The article can be found at this link.

Thanks for supporting the Turner Report/Inside Joplin by going to the Blasting News website and reading these articles.

Earlier Blasting News articles

Father arrested for brutal murder of 15-day-old baby

Authorities: Florida couple traded sex with child for drugs for 13 years

Feds: Cyberstalker targeted ex-roommate, her family and friends

Judge rules men's and women's breasts are different

Arkansas judge who forgave fines in exchange for sexual contact pleads guilty

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hawley auditions for Koch Brothers funding

Attorney General Josh Hawley, who wooed former White House strategist Steve Bannon a few days ago seeking his support for his bid for the U. S. Senate seat currently held by Claire McCaskill, met with the Koch Brothers political advisory group today in New York, according an article posted by McClatchy.

It is the second time  Hawley has met with the Koch Brothers group, according to the article. The first time was at a January meeting in Palm Springs, California.

Billy Long: Bill will help bring health care professionals to rural areas

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Many rural areas throughout the country often experience a shortage of health professionals, and the result is that many who live in these underserved areas have to travel long distances to find a provider or simply go without care. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) was created to address these provider shortages to encourage health care professionals, including primary care, dental and mental and behavioral health professionals, to work in underserved areas.

Established in 1972, the NHSC provides federal scholarships, federal loan repayment programs and state-operated loan repayment programs to help pay back student loan debt. Since its inception, over 50,000 health care professionals have participated in this program, and in 2016 alone, 10,400 people participated.

Health care professionals accumulate a great deal of debt while in school, and the NHSC aims to alleviate some of that financial stress and incentivize these individuals to work in underserved areas. The NHSC provides a variety of financial loan repayment options depending on where participants are placed. And for current students studying primary care, the NHSC provides scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition and other school fees. Over a thousand medical students receive scholarships. However, to qualify for this aid, participants serving at NHSC-approved health professional shortage area sites must commit to staying between two and four years.

Missouri has the fifthhighest number of NHSC grantees with over 350 health care professionals participating. As a predominantly rural area, Missouri’s 7th Congressional District has 85 NHSC participants. This has a real impact for our district. Jordan Valley Community Health Center, located throughout the district, has 16 current grantees, and many who started at Jordan Valley through the NHSC have stayed on after finishing their service with the NHSC.

Over the years, participation in the NHSC has only increased, with 2016 having the highest participation rate in the last five years. Behavioral and mental health providers lead the pack in participation rates. The NHSC’s goal is to keep health care professionals in underserved areas even after their contract is up. Over 75 percent of NHSC health care professionals stay in underserved areas, and almost half remain in underserved areas for more than a decade after their commitment is up. That news is both encouraging and proof that the program works.

As a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, I worked to ensure the extension of the NHSC for an additional two years as the lead co-sponsor of H.R. 3935, the BOOST Primary Care Act, and was pleased to see the Committee advance legislation that includes this extension. I will work hard to ensure the bill’s passage to continue to attract the best and the brightest talent to work in rural and underserved areas.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

City of Joplin: $170,000 missing from Hope Valley CID

It certainly was not hard to see this coming.

A few moments ago, the City of Joplin issued a news release revealing that $170,000 was missing from the Hope Valley CID.

The revelation came following a Highway Patrol investigation requested by the city after Darrell Gross, a consultant for the CID, was arrested on felony charges involving theft from the Big Springs Plaza CID in Neosho.

The city's news release is printed below:

At the October 16, 2017 City Council meeting, an ordinance will be presented to name three new members to the Hope Valley Community Improvement District (CID) Board; Brandon Davis, Charles Genisio, and Brian Christmas. These local individuals will take the place of three board members whose terms have expired. The City believes it is important not to delay the appointment of these three individuals to the CID, and because of this, feels it is necessary to provide an update on the Hope Valley CID.

In August, the City of Joplin became aware of some questionable transactions in the Hope Valley CID bank account and asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate the bank accounts for any improper activity or missing money. The MSHP is still conducting their investigation.

The City has undertaken its own investigation into the Hope Valley CID bank account and believes that there is a substantial amount of money that is unaccounted for, approximately $170,000. The City is aware that Darrell Gross, who was authorized to receive the tax revenue generated by the CID from the Missouri Department of Revenue and on the Hope Valley CID bank account, was charged with three felony counts of Receiving Stolen Property in Newton County Associate Circuit Court, that generally alleges that he forged a document and stole $12,633.49 from the Big Springs Plaza (Neosho) CID bank accounts. On September 1, 2017, Darrell Gross resigned from his role with the Hope Valley CID. The Hope Valley CID bank account, (which is now closed), lists Darrell Gross’ address on the account statement, and the monthly statements show regular withdrawals, transfers, and checks being written. None of the current CID board members, including the Hope Valley Developer Kevin Steele, authorized any of these transactions.

The City has taken steps to redirect the tax revenue to ensure that it is protected, and looks forward to the MSHP completing its investigation to provide more clarity on the whereabouts of the unaccounted-for money.

Note: A Community Improvement District is an association of property owners in a defined area that voluntarily tax themselves in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. The Hope Valley CID is its own political subdivision and petitioned the City of Joplin in 2015 to form the CID and assess a 1% sales tax on the businesses within the taxing district. The CID Board is responsible for governing its own affairs and appoints legal representatives of the property owners in the CID to serve as board members. The Board is responsible to collect the tax revenue from the State of Missouri and then use that money in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement with the City of Joplin; namely, to use the money for infrastructure and other improvements that are provided for in the Cooperative Agreement. The City must approve all of the expenses for which the CID seeks reimbursement. Since no development has occurred, no expenses have been submitted to the City.

Blasting News article: Florida couple traded sex with child for drugs

For the most part, my articles for the national Blasting News website have dealt with crime and courts and have painted a grim picture of the depths to which humanity can sink.

It is more of the same with the two articles I posted Wednesday night.

In the columns, I have written about education, I have noted many times that it is folly to hold teachers completely responsible for children's grades when we have no idea what kind of things are happening to those children at home.

Such is the case with the Florida girl whose parents forced her into prostitution at age three and up until she was able to get away from them at age 16.

They traded use of her body for drugs and money. One of my Blasting News articles details the events that led to the arrest of the parents.

The other Blasting News article is a follow-up to one I wrote over the weekend. At that point, the father of a two-week-old baby whose lifeless body was found stuffed into a duffel bag under a log in woods near her trailer park home, had been arrested for a probation violation. Now he has been charged with felony murder after the results of the autopsy came in. This post includes the information that the autopsy revealed, information about the 911 call the mother made when she discovered her baby was missing, and what the father was shouting in a convenience store that led the clerk to call 911 and enabled the sheriff to capture the father.

(Franklin County, Florida Photo)

Earlier Blasting News articles

Feds: Cyberstalker targeted ex-girlfriend, her family and friends

Arkansas judge who forgave fines in exchange for sexual contact pleads guilty

Judge rules men's and women's breasts are different


Hartzler: Let's give federal money to Christian organizations to handle opioid crisis

In her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler explained why providing federal money to faith-based organizations (at one point she refers strictly to Christian organizations) could help solve the opioid crisis in Missouri and the nation.

Missouri adoptees will soon be able to request original birth certificates

(From the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services)

Per the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, adoptees born in 1941 or later will be able to request a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate beginning January 1, 2018. To expedite processing, the Bureau of Vital Records (BVR) is now accepting applications for adoptees to request a copy of their original birth certificate. In accordance with the law, the certificates will not be provided until January 2, 2018, but early submittal will allow BVR to research and process the request in advance.

Non-certified original birth certificates may only be obtained by the adoptee or the adoptee’s attorney, and may only be obtained from the BVR office in Jefferson City. To make a request, an adoptee or their attorney must complete the Application for Non-Certified Copy of an Original Birth Certificate and pay a non-refundable $15 fee. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The application must be notarized unless the adoptee brings it in person to the BVR office in Jefferson City.

Although BVR will begin accepting applications to expedite processing, it may take six weeks or longer to locate requested records. Non-certified copies of the original birth certificates issued by BVR cannot be used for establishing identity, and will be stamped “For genealogical purposes only—not to be used for establishing identity.” In addition, no records will be released without first checking for receipt of a parental preference form. Another provision of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, the parental preference form allows birth parents to designate whether they want their information released. Birth parents may also establish a contact preference and complete a medical history form.

The Application for Non-Certified Copy of an Original Birth Certificate, Birth Parent Contact Preference and Medical History forms can be obtained at the BVR office in Jefferson City, requested via phone or found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website at health.mo.gov/data/vitalrecords. Completed forms and a non-refundable $15 fee must be sent to:

Bureau of Vital Records
ATTN: Adoptee Rights
930 Wildwood
Jefferson City, MO 65109

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Graves: President Trump's EPA is undoing harm caused by President Obama

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

In 2008, then Presidential candidate Obama declared war on coal, stating that his regulations would "bankrupt the coal industry." As President, he did exactly as promised.

Excessive, burdensome regulations came pouring out of the Environmental Protection Agency and when it came to coal-fired power plants, the final blow was called the "Clean Power Plan."

The "Clean Power Plan" was implemented by President Obama in 2015 requiring coal-fired power plants to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The benchmarks were so drastic that it would have shut many coal burning power plants down, drastically increasing rates, and hampering our economy for years to come.

While some coastal elites felt it was noble to enact more stringent regulations on power generators, the reality was that the "Clean Power Plan" placed the crushing weight of regulation squarely on the backs of those who use electricity - you and I.

Because of this, I and many of my colleagues in Congress came together to pass a bill disapproving of the "Clean Power Plan." Not surprisingly, President Obama vetoed it.

Thankfully, implementation of the Clean Power Plan was halted by the Supreme Court in 2016 and has been on hold since that time.

Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt paid a visit to Missouri's Thomas Hill Energy Center, a low sulfur coal-fired power plant that is responsible for providing energy for many of our electric co-ops in North Missouri. That particular plant has already been doing its part to reduce emissions. While there, Pruitt declared on behalf of the Trump Administration that "the war on coal is over!"

Yesterday, after significant review, Administrator Pruitt made good on that promise by announcing that President Trump's EPA is proposing to repeal the "Clean Power Plan" rule.

This is yet another step in undoing the harm done during the last Administration and ensuring we have a thriving economy moving forward.

As a farmer, and representative of a largely agricultural district, I understand that we must be good stewards of the land. However, we cannot stand for politicians who overstep their authority by regulating industries vital to rural Missouri out of existence.

State auditor: Tax breaks, incentives may be jeopardizing Missouri's fiscal health

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

As part of her Budget Integrity Series, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a report of the state's tax incentives and exemptions. The review included hundreds of tax breaks intended to spur economic activity in the state, but found the legislature lacks an accurate way to account for or track their fiscal impact.

"There's no system in place to determine whether taxpayers are getting promised economic benefits from special interest giveaways," Auditor Galloway said. "Unless the legislature does a better job assessing the costs and benefits of their policy decisions, the state will continue to jeopardize its fiscal health and threaten critical services for Missourians."

During the legislative process, bills receive a fiscal note, an estimate of the impact the proposed legislation will have on state funds. The report found that these cost estimates are sometimes formulated with out-of-date information and require much greater economic analysis than is currently performed. In addition, there is no follow-up process to evaluate the accuracy of the estimates and actual impact of new laws.

The report looked at a 2015 law that created a new method of allocating corporate income from interstate sales between states. The bill's fiscal note estimated the legislation would have a cost of $15.2 million each year. However, in the first two years since the law was implemented, corporate income tax collections have decreased by $177 million — five times the amount predicted in the fiscal note.

The audit also reviewed the discount offered to retailers in exchange for paying sales taxes on time. Missouri's discount is the second highest in the nation. A similar discount is offered to businesses that remit their employee withholding taxes on time, which is a discount only offered in Missouri. Over a two year period, these two discounts account for up to $282 million in taxes citizens paid, but are instead funneled to corporations.

"While Missourians absorbs dramatic restrictions on higher education funding and cuts to prescription drugs and in-home nursing care, the state is giving away millions to corporations for simply doing what the law requires," said Galloway. "Promoting a good business climate doesn't have to be at odds with protecting taxpayers."

The report also found that the state does not monitor the effect of sales tax exemptions, making it difficult to know the actual fiscal impact. Missouri has 209 sales tax exemptions for items like commercial laundries, fitness classes, and medical equipment. However, the Department of Revenue only tracks the specific impact of three individual exemptions.

The complete report is available here.