Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Greitens: I'm a conservative outsider; watch me veto a bill supporting the arts

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens vetoed a bill today that would have asked Missouri taxpayers to pay for a new building for dancers and art students in Kansas City. The bill passed the Missouri Senate 28-4 and passed the House 117-39.

In a statement first posted to his Facebook page, the Governor said:

“Politicians are addicted to spending your money.

This year, they passed a bill that would put taxpayers on the hook for over $75 million to build and run a conservatory for dancers and art students. I'm vetoing the bill, and I'm ready to fight them on this.

They had no plan for who would pay the bills—about $55 million in state debt and interest and $20 million in operating costs. Worse, this spending was hidden in the budget at $1 because politicians were “borrowing” the money. That’s like saying something is “free,” because it's on a credit card. You know who would have to pay that bill? You. Missouri families. I think that's wrong.

I'm a conservative outsider. And I told you that I'd act as a budget hawk and protect your money. And that's what we're doing. We've told leaders across government to do more with less tax money, and to get better results.

Here's the really good news: I have urged the leaders of Missouri's universities to think and act different, to prioritize, and to make tough decisions to take Missouri in a new direction. And they are taking a stand. Today, the President and the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System announced that they don't want any additional taxpayer money to pay for a conservatory. Instead, they’ve committed to develop a detailed plan to pay for it by making tough budget decisions and using private funds along with strong leaders in the Kansas City community. That’s how it should be.

I think a lot of the good people in Jefferson City agree with me. In the rush of the legislative session, some were not aware of the potential hidden costs of this project. Still, you’ll hear a few politicians threaten to override my veto. That’s their decision to make. I am proud to veto this bill, and glad that we have university and community leaders who are working to take Missouri in a new direction. With my veto today, we are changing the way business is done in Missouri.”

Remembering Larry Dixon

It was a high school science teacher's  nightmare.

Larry Dixon was working with a group of students on the latest class project and a persistent young man was not willing to wait his turn.

"Mr. Dixon, I need your help," the sandy-haired young man said, tapping him on the shoulder.

"Hold on a second, Travis," I'm busy helping J. J.," Mr. Dixon, at the time a veteran of two decades in the classroom, told the young man.

Only a few seconds passed before Travis said, "I really need help, Mr. Dixon."

"I'm really helping J. J."

After a brief interlude, Travis approached Mr. Dixon from behind, leaned over and spoke quietly. "O. K. then, I'm now placing one drop of hydrochloric acid on your neck."

It was a sight the student Mr. Dixon was helping, J. J. Huckin, has never forgotten, though nearly a quarter of a century has passed.

"(Travis) used a medicine dropper to squeeze some water on (Mr. Dixon's) neck and he sprung up like a cat five feet into the air and yelled like a wild banshee."

At that moment, Huckin watched a wave of anger cross Mr. Dixon's face.

Travis, cowering in the corner, cried, "It's only water. It's only water, I swear!

Huckin remembered thinking that he and his classmates would have loved it if their teacher had flushed Travis' head down the toilet and told him it was only water, but as quickly as the anger had hit Mr. Dixon, it was gone.

Travis was spared.

But it added to the legend of a teacher whose presence brightened the hallways of Lockwood High School for 35 years, a teacher whose influence led to a school nestled in a community of less than 1,000 to have far more than its share of doctors, scientists, and science teachers, all of whom give credit to Larry Dixon for the influence he has had on their lives.

Many of those students shared their stories with their favorite teacher during the last few weeks of Mr. Dixon's life as a man who had been such a vital part of the everyday fabric of Lockwood, not only as a classroom teacher, but as a member of the library and park boards, a scorekeeper at the high school volleyball matches, and the architect of the most attractive gardens in the community (foregoing Miracle-Gro and mixing his own fertilizer), deteriorated rapidly due to multiple inoperable brain tumors that eventually ended his life one week ago.

It wasn't just the doctors and scientists who flourished in Mr. Dixon's classes. The tall, broad-shouldered teddy bear of a man had a way of connecting science with students' everyday lives.

Some of that was done through tales from Mr. Dixon's earlier job at Eagle Picher in Joplin where he worked as a power systems engineer, helping develop batteries for the space shuttle and missile battery systems for the Department of Defense and stories from his time serving his country in Vietnam. His hands on projects, ranging from bug collections to throwing a bucket of dry ice down the hallway, provided memories that remain as clear as if they had happened yesterday.

Mr. Dixon and his wife, Melinda, who was a teacher and counselor at Lockwood High School for nearly four decades, helped put the school on the map long before its string of state basketball titles in the '90s, with their championship scholar bowl teams.

Starting with a set of buzzers that Mr. Dixon built from scratch, the Dixons fielded high school academic teams that blew away the competition for year after year long before the Missouri High School Activities Association sanctioned scholar bowl as a competition and then made numerous trips to the Final Four after the state began holding the tournaments.

The team's success was such that even during the height of the Lockwood basketball frenzy of the '90s, Coach Dennis Cornish paid his respect to the level of achievement the scholars had brought to the school, by giving his team's top scorer, 6-6 center J. J. Huckin, permission to attend the scholar bowl meets instead of practice and working with the Dixons to create a schedule that would allow Huckin to practice for both teams.

Though his former students paid their last tributes to Larry Dixon during the final weeks of his life, many of them shared their memories two years earlier when the Dixons were named grand marshals of the annual Lockwood September Days Parade.

A former student and later a fellow Lockwood teacher, Amy Schnelle, collected letters and testimonials from other former students and colleagues in a scrapbook, which was presented to the Dixons following the parade.

It was a labor of love for Schnelle.

"When I was in high school I dreaded taking science classes because I knew how hard he was so it wasn't until after high school that I really appreciated all that he had taught me," Schnelle said. "When I came back to Lockwood four years later as a teacher, he was one of the first to congratulate me and offer any help so there were times I had to ask him some science-related questions from my first graders."
During the awards ceremony that included the presentation of scrapbook, the Dixons also heard personal testimonials from former students. The experience had a powerful impact on Larry Dixon, which he shared a few days later on his Facebook page:

To hear from so many former students concerning our influence on their lives was incredible to me. I had always assumed that our influence might reach to their sophomore year of college but that we would then fade from most of their memories. 

To find that we have apparently had that much impact on so many lives was unexpected and scary. I am proud of all of the success that our former students have achieved and dared to hope that we had some small effect. This was unexpected. We have just been given a huge bonus in "coin of the heart". We will treasure it for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Carthage man sentenced to 17 years on statutory sodomy charges

A Carthage pedophile who was recently arrested for trying to lure children into his van with candy was sentenced today to 17 years in prison for first degree statutory sodomy by Circuit Court Judge David Mouton.

Mark Christopher Kenendy, 43, was also sentenced to seven years for second degree statutory sodomy. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Kennedy was awaiting sentencing June 6 when the Carthage Police Department
arrested him on attempted kidnapping and enticement of a child charges.

Kennedy's criminal background was explored in the June 8 Turner Report:

On 6/6/2017 at about 1127 hours, Mark Kennedy contacted (names redacted) while playing in a children's pool in the front yard of (home on 100 block of Elk). Mark was driving by in his van and stopped in front of the house. He called the children over to his van while offering them candy to entice them over. A parent overheard the children and stopped the children from going over there.

Even after being told not to go to the van, Mark continued to try to entice the children. When the male resident of the house walked outside, Mark left the area.

He was soon contacted by Officer Greenstreet. With consent, Officer Greenstreet searched the vehicle and did not locate candy that was offered to the children.
Kennedy's Alford plea stems from an incident that occurred with a 10-year-old Carthage girl. From the probable cause affidavit:

On 11/26/2014, it was reported that at 1923 Wynwood Street, Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri on 11/2/2014 Mark Christopher Kennedy had deviate sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old female. Kennedy placed his fingers inside (the girl's) vagina, as well as touched her breast and buttocks while she slept on a couch in her residence.

When this happened, (the girl) said she was "shocked" and "scared". This happened on more than one occasion over a one-week period. Kennedy was a next door neighbor and landlord of the apartment (the girl) and her family resided in. Kennedy had been allowed access to the residence via unlocked front entry door to awake (the girl's) mother and mother's boyfriend for work in the early morning hours. Upon entering the residence, Kennedy would sexually touch (the girl) prior to waking the rest of the family.

Kennedy admitted to having access to the residence via unlocked front entry door. Kennedy admitted to being in the residence and observing (the girl) asleep on the couch.

Two computers were located in Kennedy's residence. Upon a consent search on 11/26/2014, the web browser history of the computer showed internet addresses for what appeared to be child pornography websites.

After Kennedy's arrest on the 2014 charge, police discovered an earlier instance in which Kennedy allegedly molested another underage female at his rental property, as well as other locations and he was charged once again with statutory sodomy.

From the probable cause affidavit:

On 8/3/2015, (a girl) and (her mother) made a report to the Carthage Police of statutory sodomy that occurred approximately four years ago at 1923 Wynwood, Carthage, 1111 W. Central, Carthage, and an unknown address near Clinton Street, Carthage. (The girl) was eight years old at the time. The assailant was Mark Kennedy, who was the landlord and neighbor of (the girl) and her family. (The girl) described several incidents that happened to her.

One occurred at McDonald's in his truck, when he allegedly pulled her pants down and looked at her vagina.

Another incident, according to the affidavit, took place in Kennedy's apartment. (The girl) fell asleep and awakened to Kennedy pulling her pants down and licking her.

The affidavit describes two other incidents, including one in which Kennedy had the girl touch his penis.

Initially, bond was set at $1 million cash only, but Judge Gayle Crane revoked Kennedy's bond during a hearing today in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Ron Lankford to replace Barr as Joplin R-8 chief financial officer

Former Webb City R-7 Superintendent Ron Lankford, who has been serving as interim HR director for the Joplin R-8 School District received a promotion tonight.

Lankford will replace the retiring Paul Barr as chief financial officer for one year.

The veteran educator told those attending tonight's R-8 Board of Education meeting that he had come to appreciate the district during the past few months.

"You have great leadership, buildings, you're got great teachers in the classroom. This district is positioned to start moving forward after a long trial. You have gone through a lot."

Lankford said the new position is "kind of exciting," but he emphasized that it is "one year and done."

Superintendent Melinda Moss introduced Lankford's replacement as HR director, Ashley Jones.

Tonight marked the last board meeting for Barr and Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder.

Watch Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live tonight

Newsmakers program: Interview with Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm

Elementary principal at Christian school principal pleads guilty to child pornography charge

(From the Department of Justice)

Jeffrey Richard Goss, 56, of Tulsa, pled guilty to Accessing with Intent to View Child Pornography, announced Loretta F. Radford, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. United States District Court Judge Claire V. Eagan will sentence Goss on September 28, 2017.

According to documents filed in the case, on November 12, 2015, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents conducted an undercover operation in an internet chatroom. While in the chatroom, HSI agents observed Goss and other individuals watching child pornography that was being streamed. Some of the children in the videos were under the age of 12.

Goss, an elementary principal at Christian Education Alliance in Tulsa admitted he accessed the internet chatroom on November 12, 2015, and viewed child pornography. Goss faces a maximum sentence of twenty years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and at least five years of supervised release up to life following a sentence of imprisonment.

This case was investigated by HSI, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tulsa Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Neal C. Hong.

State audit of Vernon County Ambulance District begins

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced her office has begun an audit of the Vernon County Ambulance District in southwest Missouri. Residents of the district requested the audit through the petition process.

In May, the former director and the former bookkeeper of the Vernon County Ambulance District were indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling more than $260,000 from the district between January 2013 and October 2015.

"Even after fraud and abuse has been identified, an audit can identify processes and procedures that need oversight in order to protect taxpayer dollars in the future," Auditor Galloway said. "I encourage anyone with information that might be helpful to contact my Whistleblower Hotline."

The petition audit required 863 signatures from registered voters within the district. Individuals who would like to provide information for consideration in this or any audit may contact the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline at or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at

Monday, June 26, 2017

Dewey Combs, coach of three Parkwood state football champions dead at 87

The most legendary football coach in Joplin history, Dewey Combs, died Sunday at age 87.

Combs won state championships in 1975, 1980, and 1983, at Parkwood High School and also coached the 1966 Trenton team to the state title.

"This was my dream job," Combs told Columbia TV station KOMU during an interview at the dedication of the Dewey Combs Athletic Complex at Junge Field on August 22, 2014. "I ended up here in Joplin and I never looked for another job."

Combs arrived in Joplin the year after leading Trenton to the state championship and remained through the 1986 season. He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Supreme Court rules for Missouri church in playground case

Court document: Former North Middle School teacher beaten in jail while awaiting trial on felony statutory rape charge

In a bond reduction motion filed today in Jasper County Circuit Court, Rebekah E. Wedick, the newly hired lawyer for former North Middle School reading teacher Amanda Schweitzer, claims Schweitzer has been "harassed, beaten, and threatened by other inmates."

The incidents, Redick said, "have been witnessed and documented by the guards."

Schweitzer is being held on a $40,000 surety bond plus $10,000 cash bond on a felony statutory rape charge.

The probable cause statement said Schweitzer, 37, took a 13-year-old boy to her home and had sex with him.

She also has been charged with statutory rape, statutory sodomy and kidnapping in Newton County for allegedly taking the same boy to the Water's Edge Camp Ground and having sex with him.

In the bond reduction motion, Wedick points out her client has no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions and up until now had never had any problems with the law.

"Defendant has long suffered from depression and six months ago was treated for a major concussion. She voluntarily checked herself into (a) mental health treatment program prior to being arrested."

Redick notes that Schweitzer has "a stable place to go home to should she be granted a reasonable bond.

"Defendant's husband is more than willing to let her move back into the marital home. Defendant's husband is compassionate, involved and is supporting her throughout this despite the alleged circumstances."

The husband has a new job and is financially stable, Redick wrote, adding that her client would "happily comply with GPS monitoring or any other restrictions this court deems necessary."

Schweitzer was arrested during a Joplin Police Department investigation of allegations that Schweitzer sent nude photos of herself to three students, age 14, 14, and 13.

Probable cause statement: Monett substitute teacher admits to sexual relationship with student

A Monett School District substitute teacher faces felony sex charges in Barry and Lawrence counties after allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Loryn Barclay, 24, Monett, is free after posting a $25,000 surety bond in Lawrence County. She has not yet appeared in Barry County, where her bond is set at $10,000

School officials told the Monett Times Barclay had been working as a paraprofessional since the beginning of the year and was fired April 27, the same day officials learned about the sexual relationship. Before becoming a paraprofessional, she had worked as a substitute teacher.

Barclay is charged with two counts of sexual contact with a student in Lawrence County and two counts in Barry County.

The details of the allegations against Barclay are included in the probable cause statement below:

Graves: House to vote on Kate's Law this week

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

On July 1, 2015, 32-year-old Kate Steinle was tragically shot and killed while the walking the streets of San Francisco with her father. The bullet came from a gun stolen by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an immigrant who had re-entered this country illegally after being deported for committing a separate crime.

This week, the U.S. House will vote on H.R. 3004, legislation that will increase the criminal penalties for deported felons who come back into the United States. Kate's Law, as it is also known, is designed to prevent any American from facing a tragedy like Kate Steinle and her family did two years ago Saturday.

I’ve always said that there is nothing wrong with legal immigration. But it has to be legal. The problem is that some misguided federal policies - and certain cities across the country - fail to recognize the dangers of illegal immigration.

Illegal immigration is just that - illegal. And regardless of the reason they are here, illegal immigrants are still living here illegally. One of the things that frustrates me most about Washington D.C. is that people seem to forget that.

The horrible death of Kate Steinle highlights the real consequences of Sanctuary Cities and weak illegal immigration laws. Even though Lopez-Sanchez had seven felony convictions and had been deported multiple times, he was still released by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office when detained prior to Steinle's death.

There is no reason why any city in this country should refuse to enforce laws against illegal immigrants. It punishes everyone who follows our laws, it sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, and it can have devastating consequences for our people. I look forward to voting for a bill this week to help make sure that never happens again.

Moran: If health care bill isn't good for Kansas, it isn't good for me

(From Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas)

Healthcare is one of the most important issues facing individuals and families across Kansas. 

I was not and am not for Obamacare and have seen firsthand the negative impact the law has had on too many Kansans. 

I was the first member of Congress to offer legislation to repeal the burdensome law and we must make certain it is replaced with a plan that improves the opportunities for Americans and Kansans to access affordable and quality healthcare. 

I will fully review this legislation to gain a complete understanding of the impacts and consequences this bill would have on hardworking Kansans. 

If this bill isn’t good for Kansas, it isn’t good for me. Please click here for a video of my take on the bill. Text of the draft legislation can be found here.

Hartzler: Supreme Court has ruled for our religious liberties

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court announced their ruling in favor of Trinity Lutheran’s preschool in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer:

"I am pleased the High Court has ruled on the side of our constitutionally protected religious liberties in today’s Trinity Lutheran case," said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who represents the district where the learning center resides. "A ruling against this preschool would have had far-reaching consequences for Americans. When one freedom is threatened, they are all in jeopardy.

"This case was about whether Trinity Lutheran, like all other schools in the state, could competitively apply for and receive grant funding to provide recycled tires that are used to improve playground safety for Missouri’s children,” added Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who led an amicus brief in the House supporting Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center. “Religious discrimination has no place in America, and I'm glad to see the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, reinforcing our First Amendment freedoms.”

Greitens praises Supreme Court decision in Trinity Lutheran case

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens praised the United States Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision today in favor of Trinity Lutheran, a church in Columbia, Missouri.

“People of faith won an important victory today.

Earlier this year, I reversed Missouri’s policies that discriminated against religious organizations. The ACLU and others attacked our decision. We did not back down, and we will continue to fight for people of faith.

Like our administration, the Supreme Court decided that people of faith should not be discriminated against. Missouri is home to many excellent religious organizations that serve our kids, our families, and our communities. We will continue to work together with these organizations to help the people of Missouri.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Links provided to top Turner Report/Inside Joplin links for the week

An Iowa sex offender who plowed into the Diamond Post Office during a high speed chase Friday morning provided the top post this week on Inside Joplin and the number seven post (and still gaining visitors) on the Turner Report.

Meanwhile, a reader's comments about Ace Mohr and about me topped the Turner Report statistics. The death of Joplin High School student Dylan Paugh was the number one post on Inside Joplin Obituaries.

The Turner Report

1. Reader: Ace Mohr is redeemable; Turner is a sad, haunted negative human being

2. High school photographer sentenced to 24 months in prison for internet stalking

3. Ten lawsuits alleging assault and battery, malpractice filed against former Joplin pediatric surgeon

4. Joplin High School sinkhole repairs cost $17,000+

5. So you want to be a Joplin R-8 middle school athletic director

6. Accused killer of Carthage man pleads not guilty

7. Sex offender charged with two felonies after crashing into Diamond Post Office during high speed chase

8. MSSU education student/Lamar student teacher arrested on child pornography charges

9. Greitens signs four bills into law

10. Joplin City Council approves $3.7 million contract for senior center construction

Inside Joplin

1. Iowa sex offender crashes into Diamond Post Office following high speed chase

2. Joplin Police: Have you seen this woman?

3. Dangerous, possibly armed, sex offender may be in Joplin area

4. Barton County Sheriff looking for missing Lamar teen, may be in Joplin area

5. Jasper County Dissolutions of Marriage

6. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

7. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

8. Joplin Police Department Arrests June 21-22

9. Joplin man charged with felony leaving the scene after injury accident on 66

10. Jasper County Marriage Licenses

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Dylan Paugh

2. Leah Robinson

3. Janice Roughton

4. Kenneth Roach

5. Jason Chenault

6. Kristy Blanchard

7. Sheila Childers

8. Bradley Hembree

9. Thomas Bennett

10. Earlene Kelley

Agenda posted for Tuesday Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting

  • The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Memorial Administration Building. 

  • A closed meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. to discuss personnel issues and legal actions.

    A. Call to Order

    1. Roll Call

    B. Pledge of Allegiance

    C. Approval of Agenda - Action

    D. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items 

    E. Reports

    1. Board President's Report

    a. Celebrations - Info. (Jeff Koch)

    b. BOE Policy Committee Update - Info. (J. Martucci, Deborah Gould, and Brent Jordan)

    c. BOE Finance, Salary, and Benefits Committee - Info. (J. Martucci, Lori Musser, and Brent Jordan)

    d. MSBA Leadership Summit Update - Deborah Gould

    2. Superintendent's Data Report

    a. Health and Dental Care Insurance Reports - Info. (Paul Barr)

    b. Financial Statements - Info. (Paul Barr)

    F. Consent Agenda - Action

    1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

    2. Consent Agenda Contracts - Action

    a. Financial Advisory Services Agreement - (Paul Barr)

    b. Fundraising Works, Inc. - Eastmorland Elementary - (Dr. Moss)

    c. JHS Job Site Contract - Action (Sandra Cantwell)

    d. Contract Beacon School Autism Center - (Sandra Cantwell)

    e. Pest Control Renewal Contract (Dr. Sachetta)

    3. Declare Vehicles Surplus - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    4. Paper Products Supplier for Joplin Schools - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    5. Policy Updates Second Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

    a. Policy JFCF: Bullying

    b. Policy JFCG: Hazing

    c. Policy JG-R: Student Discipline

    d. Policy IND: Ceremonies and Observances

    e. Policy KK: Visitors to District Property/Events

    G. Regular Agenda

    1. JEC - Prime Contract Change Order #5 Crossland Construction Co. - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    2. Accounts Payable - Action (Paul Barr)

    3. Budget Adjustments - Action (Paul Barr)

    4. Fund Transfer Authority - Final DESE Calculation - Action (Paul Barr)

    5. Salary Schedule Updates - Action (Paul Barr)

    6. Budget for the 2017-18 School Year - Action (Paul Barr)

    7. Life Insurance Bid - Action (Paul Barr)

    8. Depositary Bid - Action (Paul Barr)

    9. Health Plan TPA - Action (Paul Barr)

    10. Sports Medicine Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    11. Bus Video Systems - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    12. Learning Management System Renewal - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    13. Capital Outlay Projects - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    a. Playground Safety Material for Irving and Royal Heights - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    b. Purchase of Two (2) Grasshopper Zero Turn Mowers - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    14. Emergency Repair of Sink Hole at JHS - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    15. Appointment of BOE Treasurer and Secretary 2017-18 - Action (Dr. Moss)

    16. Policy Updates First and Final Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

    a. Policy GCBA: Professional Staff Compensation

    b. Regulation GCBA-R1: Professional Staff Salary Schedules

    17. Policy Update First Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

    a. Policy ECA: Building & Grounds Security

    b. Policy GBA: Exempt & Nonexempt Employees

    c. Policy GBAA: Staff Extra-Duty Assignments

    d. Policy GCD: Professional Staff Recruiting and Hiring

    e. Policy GDBA: Support Staff Compensation

    f. Policy GDC: Support Staff Recruiting and Hiring

    g. Policy IGBCA: Programs for Homeless Students

    h. Policy JEC: School Admissions

    i. Policy JGF: Discipline Reporting & Records

    18. Read 180/System 44 Product Support - Action (Dr. Gilbreth)

    19. School Messenger - Action (Dr. Gilbreth)

    20. Plus/Delta - Info. (Dr. Moss)

    a. Plus: What did we do well

    b. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

    H. BOE Announcements
  • Kim Frencken: What we are missing is respect and the ability to agree to disagree

    (The following post, written by veteran educator Kim Frenckenm, is from her blog, Chocolate for the Teacher.)

    I'm sure to step on toes today. Sorry in advance. I don't mean to, but I feel very strongly about this issue. The freedom of speech. We all have our own opinions, right? So, why are we so eager to censor others, just because we disagree with them. This has made it to the news in different levels this week, but all alarming.

    First, a student was denied his diploma because he did not read the speech prepared by school administrators. He wrote one thanking his mother and God. Apparently, this was unacceptable to school administrators and teachers. Later, he was given his diploma and an apology, but what did he learn from this instance? I hope that he learned that defending freedom, everyone's freedom, not just those who agree with you is important. He has already enlisted in the military so he apparently believes in fighting for freedom. I hope that all of the administrators and teachers that condemned him will appreciate his service which protects their freedom. What was also disturbing to me was the fact that the journalist reporting the incident lumped all educators into the same basket. According to the news media, we are all a bunch of closed minded individuals that do not applaud our students achievements if they disagree with us and we are not educating them to search for facts and express their opinions. That wouldn't describe me or many of my colleagues. Maybe he should meet some of the teachers I know.

    On another level, a woman, wearing a Trump t-shirt, was ridiculed at a Starbucks. She left feeling humiliated. Did the associates forget that she was a customer? Did they think it was okay to print a message to her on her drink? I think they forgot that paying customers are the reason they have job. She did receive an apology from Starbucks, who stated that they will use this as a learning opportunity. Great. I just hope that they do. And, I hope that they instill in their employees a sense of respect regardless of the opinions of others.

    Social media certainly hasn't been any help. We think that because we are safe behind our computer screens that it makes it okay to trash someone. We unfriend and block people without giving it a second thought. Ranting and raving is the norm for some. I don't get it. If you don't like my posts or what I have to say, scroll on by. I'm not forcing you to read it or agree with it. And, please don't call me names. You don't know me. You only read my FB posts and judge me. I'm not judging you, nor am I being childish and blocking you. I'm reading and, if I don't agree, I respectfully scroll on by.

    That is what is missing. Respect. The ability to agree to disagree. It will come as a shock to some that we don't all agree. That doesn't make you right and me wrong. It makes us different. That is what makes us a great nation. We all think for ourselves and forge new ideas and make discoveries. By working together we can do things we could never do alone. Disagreement makes us dig deeper, have a better understanding of what we believe and why we believe it. Disagreement helps us find the bugs in a plan and work them out. Disagreement that results in arguments, violence, depictions of violence, or some other equally immature way only deepen the problem. These methods are not solutions.

    Are responsibilities being taught in school, along with freedoms? Do people, young and old alike, realize that with all of our rights we have responsibilities? Apparently not. We've crossed the line between socially acceptable and downright disgusting. Are we teaching students what the Constitution and Bill of Rights says or what we want it to say? Do we have the right to force our interpretations on a captive audience? NO. We don't have the privilege of enforcing our ideology in the classroom. We are modeling behavior for impressionable young people that we are teaching how to think for themselves. How to explore and research. Don't believe everything you read or see. We all know the old adage, "You can't yell 'Fire' in a crowded theater." But, do we know the legality behind it and, more importantly, are we teaching it? You see.. this is the responsibility part. It goes hand in hand with the rights part. We can't have one without the other. We want our kids to grow up to be independently thinking, mature adults that express themselves wisely. We can do this by teaching the whole picture, not just the one that agrees with us. After all, it isn't about me. It is about my students and their future.

    (For more of Kim Frencken's writing, check out her blog.)

    Nancy Hughes devotion: Putting gods before God

    (Nancy Hughes'  devotions, which have been featured on the Inside Joplin page in the past, are moving over to the Turner Report, as I begin occasionally adding other voices to the mix on this blog. For those who have missed Nancy's devotions in recent months, she has been recuperating from two arm surgeries and now is back in writing mode. You can find more of her writing on her new blog, Encouragement from the War Room. Please check it out.)

    A glance at the clock as I sat down and opened my Bible for much-needed moments with the Lord showed almost 8 am – more than enough time to dig in His Word before I met a friend for lunch. I looked at the curtains pulled across my door to the deck. “I’ll pull them open,” I thought. “Much nicer to see God’s creation during prayer time.”

    And the view was better . . . except for the hand prints on the glass door. Several sprays of Windex and swipes with paper towels cleaned up my view even more.

    As I turned to go back to my quiet time, I noticed the cob web. “Good grief! What if someone came to visit and saw that thing hanging down!” my mind winced.

    It didn’t take long to remove the offending web but it had friends in the corners of my living room so as long as I was getting rid of one, I decided to clean the rest of the room.

    I sat down and picked up my Bible and realized I didn’t have a pen or paper to take notes. As I scooped up a pad of paper on my computer desk, it occurred to me that I hadn’t wished my friends “happy birthday” on Facebook so I took just a few minutes to get that done.

    I found a pen in a drawer by the kitchen sink but I also noticed all the dirty dishes so I rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher.

    As I sat back down in my chair, I again glanced at the clock and was shocked to see that over two hours had passed since I first opened my Bible for prayer time!

    What was more important than a face to face, intimate conversation with God my Father? Clean glass doors and no cobwebs and a loaded dishwasher. I put household chores before the Creator of the Universe. God was not my first priority of the day. To be honest, He wasn’t my first priority at all.

    As I sat in silence, one of the Ten Commandments spoke to my heart. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.

    Surely household chores or getting on Facebook aren’t gods? They are simply things that need to be done . . .right? Sure . . . unless. Unless I allow them to take first place in my life.

    Now, just to be clear, I know we all have those days when a daughter is throwing up, a son can’t find his shoe and the bus is coming, and the washer is broken – all BEFORE 8 am. And our only prayer is “Get me through the next five minutes, Lord!” Believe me, I get it.

    But if we are continually putting daily activities before the Lord, they have indeed become idols – in other words, gods – because they have taken His place of importance in our lives.

    May I encourage you to do a daily heart check? Are there any “gods” in your life that are moving up your priority list each day as your time with the Lord moves down?

    If so, decide today – this minute – to re-evaluate what holds first place in your life. If it’s your time with the Creator, fantastic! If it isn’t, see what you can change to make sure you are never putting gods before God.

    Lord, with all my heart I want You to have first place in my life. Please show me those things that I need to rearrange so I can spend time with You every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    R.A.P. it up

    · Look over your last few weeks of being in the Word and having prayer time with the Lord. How many times have you put activities before Him?

    · Before you go to bed, make a “to do” list for the next day. Rearrange activities to make time with the Lord a priority.

    Power Verses
    · Exodus 20:3 (NIV) “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    · Proverbs 3:6 (NIV) “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

    · Matthew 6:33 (NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

    · Colossians 3:2 (NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

    · Matthew 26:40 (NIV) “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter.”

    FEMA documents: Joplin R-8 officials asked for $44K for planning work that was never done at Emerson Elementary

    In the Joplin R-8 School District, officials don't just want a penny for their thoughts but $44,389.54.

    What they got was less than a penny when FEMA turned down the heavy thinking that the officials put into a restoration of Emerson Elementary that never took place following the Joplin Tornado.

    Documents obtained by the Turner Report through an Open Meetings Law request show that on April 12, in a letter to R-8 CFO Paul Barr, FEMA rejected the request for $44,389.54 noting "applicant has provided a statement that 'Joplin Schools did not incur any actual costs for this project for permanent repairs to Emerson. Additional repairs needed to make the facility safe and secure were not completed."

    Still, even when the work is not done, costs are incurred for all of the work that goes into deciding what to do.

    The FEMA letter indicates the money was all designed to go to administrative costs, with $43,786.54 going to J. L. Witt and Associates, the consulting firm hired to help the district deal with its recovery. The other $1,002.78 was for the district.

    Among the other revelations in the documents, most of which have been noted in previous Turner Report posts, Joplin R-8:

    -Missed one FEMA deadline after another, some of them by as much as three years.

    -Asked for more federal taxpayers' money, but provided almost no documentation to support those requests.

    -Asked for money for damages that FEMA photos indicate were either overstated and/or non-existent.

    -Agreed to a limit of $155 an hour for some of those working on the project, but submitted requests far above that amount, up to as much as $430 an hour.

    -Violated FEMA regulations from the beginning by hiring a high-powered and high-dollar firm (Witt and Associates) to guide the district through the recovery process without putting the job up for bids.

    -Possibly violated the Sunshine Law during a December 2016 Board of Education meeting when the same firm was hired to help the district as it tried to deal with FEMA paperwork. Again, the firm was hired without taking bids.

    -Told FEMA the district's entire focus was on "rebuilding and reopening its educational facilities" and then they would focus on how much it cost.

    FEMA documents showed R-8 agreed to budget, then ignored it completely

    Waiting for FEMA; Joplin R-8 Board extends loan, plans for sharp dip in reserves

    FEMA documents: Joplin R-8 tornado recovery began with $3 million no-bid contract

    FEMA Joplin High School documents: Where the hell did the money go?

    Turner Report to State Auditor: Send City of Joplin audit evidence to Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney

    Nearly two years have passed since the results of a petition audit of the City of Joplin were announced by State Auditor Nicole Galloway at Missouri Southern State University.

    Though Galloway told the audience that evidence from the audit had been turned over to the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office and law enforcement agencies, it does not appear that any action was ever taken.

    Former Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson, now a judge, told the Joplin Globe last year he had never received anything from the state auditor.

    As difficult as I find that to believe, one thing cannot be denied- the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney never took any initiative to
    look into the allegations from the audit.

    I have sent a letter to the state auditor's office asking that the information be sent to new Prosecuting Attorney Theresa Kenney:

    Saturday, June 24, 2017

    Sex offender charged with two felonies after crashing into Diamond Post Office during high speed chase

    An Iowa sex offender has been charged with two felonies in connection with a high speed chase that ended Friday morning when he crashed into the Diamond Post Office.

    Online Newton County Circuit Court records indicate Mason D. Vang, 21, Webster City, Iowa, has been charged with assault in the second degree with a special victim and resisting arrest by fleeing creating a substantial risk of injury or death. The assault charge came as a result of Vang ramming a Newton County deputy's vehicle.

    Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings told KZRG that the chase began when a deputy tried to make a traffic stop at I-49 and V Highway. Vang turned on to Cortez Lane, a dead end. When the deputy got out of his car, Vang backed up and rammed the car.

    Vang's crash did structural damage to the Diamond Post Office, the adjacent Community Bank and Trust building, and the roadway. A fire hydrant was snapped off causing damage to the water main, according to the Diamond Fire Protection District's Facebook page.

    According to the Iowa Sex Offender registry, Vang was convicted two years ago of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

    Bond for Vang has been set at $25,000.

    (Accident photo from Diamond Area Fire Protection District Facebook page)

    Ten lawsuits alleging assault and battery, malpractice filed against former Joplin pediatric surgeon

    Ten lawsuits have been filed against a former Joplin pediatric surgeon alleging assault and battery and malpractice.

    The actions, which were filed in Albuquerque, New Mexico District Court, claim Dr. Guy Rosenschein, who left Joplin for New Mexico in 2013, allege Rosenschein used his access to his underage patients for his own sexual gratification.

    Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, is also listed as a defendant.

    Rosenschein told authorities that he is sexually attracted to underage males "on occasion." The doctor, who is being held without bond while he awaits trial in federal court on child pornography charges, has acknowledged participation in illegal activities prior to his time in Joplin and is charged with activities that took place after he left, but at this point there have been no allegations of any illegal behavior during his time in Missouri.

    Eight of the lawsuits were filed by the same law firm on behalf of "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" clients and claim that Rosenschein abused the patients and Presbyterian Health Care Services did nothing to prevent it. A petition to join the eight cases has been filed.

    Another case charges Rosenschein and the hospital with medical malpractice, while the 10th legal action is a personal injury lawsuit.

    The petition in the first lawsuit noted that law enforcement officers found photos of children taken in a medical setting, taken on the type of iPhone that did not exist before 2014 among Rosenschein's possessions, which would indicate the photos were taken at Presbyterian. Rosenschein also made a habit of asking parents to leave the room during examinations.

    According to the petition, "when he examined patients, he made inappropriate remarks about the size of children's genitals, which is further proof that he was viewing the children through the eyes of a pedophile, rather than as a physician."

    The petition also noted the child pornography that was found in his possession, the undressed teenage boy who was in his bed when law enforcement arrived to execute a search warrant at his home, and his admission to officers that he was attracted to younger boys.

    The four-count lawsuit alleged invasion or privacy, lack of informed consent, intentional infliction of emotional distress and charged the hospital with "negligent hiring, retention, supervising, and credentialing."
    From the petition:

    On or about November 7, 2016, a detective of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant to search Dr. Rosenschein’s residence. Upon searching the residence, the detective found a 16-year-old boy in Dr. Rosenschein’s bed wearing nothing but his underwear. The boy was a former patient of Dr. Rosenschein’s. Detectives also found numerous electronic devices, some of which were encrypted and required further analysis. A thumb drive that was not encrypted contained approximately 1,100 images and 78 videos of child pornography. During an interview following the search of his residence, Dr. Rosenschein accepted responsibility for the thumb drive and admitted that he is sexually attracted to underage males. The data from the thumb drive containing the child pornography indicated that it was viewed as recently as May 2016.

    Following the execution of the first search warrant, federal law enforcement officers learned that there was a “secret room” inside Dr. Rosenchein’s residence. They obtained a second search warrant to search the home and found the secret room. During their search, the officers found five printed photographs depicting a minor male child who was approximately 11 to 15 years of age. Four of the photos depicted the child nude in the shower.

    In addition to the foregoing, law enforcement seized an iPhone 6 from Dr. Rosenchein’s residence. The forensic analysis of this phone revealed approximately one dozen photographs taken in a hospital or medical setting. Several of the photographs depict close up views of infant children’s genitalia. Other photographs depict the breasts of a child just entering puberty, which could be a male or female. The fact that the photographs were taken on an iPhone 6 (which was released for sale in September 2014) establishes that the children in the photographs were most likely Presbyterian patients.

    Other photographs and/or videos of infants and children have been taken and either have yet to be discovered or were destroyed. Indeed, given Dr. Rosenchein’s admitted sexual interest in underage children and his position at Presbyterian as a pediatric urologist and surgeon, it is most likely that there were many other photographs, videos, and similarly improper and illegal actions taken by Dr. Rosenchein while he was at Presbyterian.

    Because Dr. Rosenchein was a practicing pediatric urologist – a specialty in which Dr. Rosenchein is cloaked with authority to examine and touch children’s genitals – Dr. Rosenchein had frequent contact and exposure to his young patients’ genitals. Given his admitted attraction to underage males, and given that he took personal photographs of males and females in the hospital setting, it is believed and alleged that Rosenchein examined his young patients’ genitals for his personal gratification, rather than solely for medically appropriate reasons. A pedophile was given unfettered acces to the objects of his desire under the guise of being a trusted Presbyterian physician.

    Dr. Rosenchein abused his authority and his position of trust to the serious detriment of Class Members. When he examined patients, he made inappropriate remarks about the size of children’s genitals, which is further proof that he was viewing the children through the eyes of a pedophile, rather than as a physician.

    Dr. Rosenchein further abused this position of trust given the fact that upon his arrest, he was found with a 16-year-old former patient in his bed. According to a finding in the criminal case, Dr. Rosenchein “understands how to ‘groom’ children so that they trust him and will agree to spend time with him. And although both John Doe 1 and Dr. Rosenschein denied having a sexual relationship, the fact that his former patient was found in his bed in only his underwear suggests that the relationship was not entirely platonic.”

    Dr. Rosenchein is currently in federal custody facing charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. According to court records, “evidence in this case indicates that Dr. Rosenchein possessed more than one thousand images and videos of child pornography, many of which involve prepubescent minor males. Dr. Rosenchein kept these images literally at his fingertips – on a thumb drive attached to a key chain found in his vehicle.”

    In a decision denying release of Dr. Rosenchein, the court made the following finding:
    [Dr. Rosenchein’s] history suggests that he is a danger to children, and that he is willing to use his position as a pediatric surgeon to gain access to minors for purpose of engaging in inappropriate behavior. Dr. Rosenchein admitted that he sometimes is sexually attracted to underage males. . . . Dr. Rosenchein also had several photographs on his phone that depict close-up views of genitalia in what appear to be a medical or hospital setting.

    As the court stated, Dr. Rosenschein’s actions and history demonstrate “that the recent charges against him are not an aberration.”

    As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, Plaintiffs and all others similarly situated are left in utter dismay over the known fact that Presbyterian allowed a pedophile access to minors at its facility. They are further alarmed that Presbyterian, apparently, allowed Dr. Rosenchein to take illicit photographs of patients, to meet underage children that he attempted to groom for his own gratification, and to invade the privacy and innocence of pediatric patients when conducting examinations for his personal sexual gratification rather than solely for the treatment and diagnosis of medical conditions.

    As the United States Supreme Court held in Paoline v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1710 (2014), the harm that child pornography inflicts on children is “devastating.” As a “consumer” of child pornography, Dr. Rosenchein “encourages others to sexually abuse young children to create pornography.”

    As cited by the United States Attorney in Dr. Rosenchein’s criminal case, several studies report that child pornography offenses are indicative of hands-on offenses. See The 'Butner Study' Redux: A Report of the Incidence of Hands-on Child Victimization by Child Pornography Offenders, Michael Bourke and Andres Hernandez, Journal of Family Violence, 2009 (child pornography offenders are “more likely than not” to have engaged in the hands-on abuse of a child); Child Pornography Offenses Are a Valid Diagnostic Indicator of Pedophilia, Seto, Cantor & Blanchard, 2006 (child pornography offending is a “stronger diagnostic indicator of pedophilia than is sexually offending against child victims.”). Here, the Class Members and Court are not left to simply speculate whether Dr. Rosenchein has or will engage in hands-on contact with minors; he admitted to previously having sexual contact with a minor overseas. Furthermore, the very position that Presbyterian bestowed on Dr. Rosenchein gave him hands-on contact with minors’ genitalia on an almost daily basis.

    On information and belief, because Dr. Rosenschein was brazen enough to take at least a dozen photographs at Presbyterian’s facilities, it is certainly likely that he engaged in other inappropriate and illegal acts at those facilities during his tenure as a Presbyterian physician and employee.

    Dr. Rosenschein was performing examinations and providing medical care and treatment to minor children with ulterior motives in mind and was viewing the children entrusted to him as sexual objects, rather than as patients. Such actions by Dr. Rosenchein breached the trust that Defendants promised all pediatric patients to provide them with care in a safe environment that was free from all forms of abuse, neglect, and harassment and that preserved their dignity.

    Presbyterian fired Dr. Rosenschein approximately one day after he was taken into federal custody. Dr. Rosenschein also lost his hospital privileges as well as his medical license.

    Presbyterian engaged in a quick effort to spin the story in its favor. Days after Dr. Rosenchein’s arrest, and without full knowledge and investigation of the facts and circumstances involving Dr. Rosenchein’s predatory activities, Presbyterian gave interviews and sent letters to patients and parents assuring them Dr. Rosenchein was not engaged in inappropriate conduct at Presbyterian.

    To the contrary, Presbyterian policy prohibits taking photographs of patients on a personal cellular telephone. Yet, it failed to enforce its policy. Additionally, no legitimate basis exists to claim that pictures of boys’ and girls’ genitalia and a child’s exposed chest on the personal iPhone of an admitted pedophile is “clinically appropriate”. The iPhone 6 was released in 2014 – between 2014 and his arrest in 2016, Dr. Rosenchein was a Presbyterian doctor who saw patients at Presbyterian facilities. The photographs were most likely taken at a Presbyterian facility and are most likely Presbyterian patients.

    For Dr. Rosenchein’s patients, the hollow assurance that nothing inappropriate happened at Presbyterian is simply a cover-up by a corporation that allowed a pedophile access to the most vulnerable members of the community.

    No court date has been set for Rosenschein on the federal charges.

    Billy Long: Trump budget calls for investing in water delivery systems

    (From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

    The U.S. has over one million miles of pipes that carry the country’s water supply. However, many of those pipes are aging and becoming out-of-date. With water impacting every American’s life, investing in our nation’s water delivery systems is crucial. The need to invest in water delivery systems over the years has only increased and is a more pressing issue. The problem is not just aging pipes. The sources of the drinking water are also becoming out-of-date, which include depleted aquifers and inadequate storage. As land and population distribution continue to change, new demands emerge.

    The U.S. has faced these issues for decades. As water systems age and little investment is made into water delivery systems, the country is paying a costly price. Over the next 10 years, the U.S. will need to invest $123 billion per year to ensure that the water systems throughout the country are up-to-date.

    The problem with Missouri’s drinking water infrastructure isn’t just a lack of access to water, but also the systems that are used to deliver the water. Though a majority of Missourians receive safe drinking water, there is still a portion of the population that does not live in an area that meets the minimum water quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Over 300,000 people in Missouri live in communities that have outdated water systems.

    One important program to help states update their water infrastructure is the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF), which serves as a federal-state financial assistance program in which states receive federal grants and contribute an additional 20% in matching funds. The DWSRF acts as an infrastructure bank to provide low interest loans for drinking water infrastructure projects. As recipients pay back the loans into the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other recipients. Through 2016, state revolving loan funds have provided more than $30 billion for water infrastructure projects.

    President Trump recognizes the importance of this program for infrastructure projects, and his budget proposal calls for increasing federal funds for this program. More funding for this program will greatly benefit states like Missouri to help update its water delivery systems. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I look forward to working with President Trump to address these pressing issues.

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Speaker of the House: We're even tougher on abortion than the Senate

    (From Speaker of the House Todd Richardson)

    The members of the Missouri House worked this week to amend and strengthen a piece of legislation sent over from the Senate to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics.

    The Governor called the legislature into a special session to enact the stronger safety regulations after a court ruling that struck down Missouri’s previous law requiring abortion providers abide by the same regulations as ambulatory surgery centers. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

    Senate Bill 5, handled in the House by Rep. Diane Franklin, makes many changes to current state law to address the issues created by court rulings. The bill allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to adopt rules governing complication plans to ensure patients undergoing abortions induced by drugs or chemicals have access to safe and reliable care. Abortion facilities would be required to provide affirmative evidence that each person authorized to perform abortions is a physician currently licensed to practice in Missouri. The health department will also be permitted to make unannounced on-site inspection of any abortion facility annually. Senate Bill 5 also requires that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to a pathologist with seventy-two hours for examination.

    While the version of Senate Bill 5 sent to the House provided a framework, the House wanted to strengthen the legislation even further. One of the provisions included by the House would prevent abortion clinic staff from requiring emergency responders to alter their normal response procedure by turning off lights or sirens. A second provision allows the attorney general to prosecute violations of state abortion laws with no obligation to wait on local prosecutors. Penalties for abortion clinics that do not comply with the requirements for submitting fetal tissue after an abortion were also strengthened by the House.

    Components of Senate Bill 5 were also designed to address a city ordinance that has turned St. Louis into an abortion sanctuary city. The bill passed by the House protects the right of an "alternatives to abortion" agency to operate freely and engage in speech without governmental interference, and the right of a person not to be compelled by the government to participate in abortion contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions. In effect, the bill would pre-empt the St. Louis ordinance.

    Senate Bill 5 now moves back to the Senate for further consideration.

    SEMA flood recovery update

    (From SEMA)

    FEMA has now approved more than 1,375 applications for assistance from Missouri flood survivors and more than $8.9 million in assistance grants to survivors.

    The National Flood Insurance Program has received nearly 1,300 claims from Missouri policy holders. To date, more than 700 have been processed and closed, with payments totaling more than $35 million.

    More than $4.6 million in low-interest disaster loans to individuals and business has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

    FEMA and SBA are currently staffing more than 10 disaster recovery centers to assist survivors of flooding and severe storms. The schedule is changing almost daily now, so check for a recovery center location in your area.

    Missourians who still have critical unmet needs are encouraged to call to learn about other types of assistance provided by voluntary agencies, faith-based and other organizations. If you have already called 211 for recovery assistance, you still need to register separately with FEMA. Call 2-1-1 for assistance or contact 211 online at

    People should register for assistance before going to a recovery center. Register online at or by calling 800-621-3362.

    From June 19-23, SEMA held 13 Applicant Briefings for local governments and nonprofits considering applying for federal Public Assistance seeking reimbursement for infrastructure repair, debris removal and emergency response expenses. A total of 169 Requests of Public Assistance (RPAs) have been received by SEMA. Applications for assistance must be filed with FEMA by July 1, after first being processed by SEMA. For information call SEMA at (573) 526-9234. Additional information on the Public Assistance program is available here.

    McCaskill; Stand up to the Republican health care plan

    (From Sen. Claire McCaskill)

    It's now or never.

    Senate Republicans are about to bring their disaster of a healthcare bill to the floor. They've been working behind closed doors for weeks, and now we know why they kept it a secret: This plan will raise costs for older Americans, strip protections away from people with preexisting conditions, and leave millions without health insurance. It's just as bad as we thought – and according to POLITICO, it's coming to a vote AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK. We're running out of time to stop it.

    If you care about protecting healthcare coverage for millions, now is the time to make your voice heard. Add your name to tell the Senate: Stop the GOP healthcare plan!

    Sign the Petition

    Thanks for speaking out.

    Twenty more Sears stores to close- Joplin store not on list

    The number of Sears store closings has climbed to 265 with the announcement Thursday to employees that 20 more stores have been added to the list.

    The list does not include the Sears store at Northpark Mall in Joplin.

    This is the fourth round of closings that have been announced in 2017.

    With the closings, the number of Sears stores in the United States has dropped from 2,073 to 1,180 in the last five years.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Reader: Ace Mohr is redeemable; Turner is a sad, haunted, negative human being

    One week ago, the Turner Report featured a post noting that Ace Mohr, 24, Carthage, facing multiple felony charges and having recently had his bond revoked, had been released on his own recognizance on the condition that he enroll in a drug rehabilitation program at "The Road."

    In a comment to that post received a few moments ago, a person claiming to be the founder and director of The Road took issue with the earlier post.

    In addition to printing his comments on that blog post, they are also printed below:

    As the Founder and Director of The Road I have seen many men change that were deemed unchangeable. Maybe Ace is one of them and maybe he's not, but what I believe is that every human being is valuable and capable of redemption. 

    Ace has broken laws, burned bridges, and been locked up many times. All of the negative things he has done was under the influence. 

    If we can support this young man and help him find sobriety and purpose then he will be a success. If we lock him up (and maybe he deserves to be locked up) then the odds are that he will reoffend and not get proper recovery. We are and have been one of the most successful recovery programs in the state (rated by the DMH - MRSS) for several years. 

    If he can't succeed here then he will probably not succeed anywhere. How about send a prayer for this dude that begins his new journey today. 

    And as for Mr. Turner, it seems that your life is built on pessimistic criticism. Must be a sad and haunting existence to be such a negative human being. Many, if not the majority, of your articles are based on how "bad" people are. 

    Why don't you look for the good? 

    An example would be Judge Mouton. Judge Mouton is one of the fairest, nicest, smartest, gentlest, souls I have ever met. It's not just because his wife was my kindergarten teacher that I say such a thing, but because he and his wife try to inspire and draw out the best in children and "misfits" believing in second, third, and even tenth chances in order to try to redeem the "small" people in this world. 

    They do more for our community in one calendar year than you have done in your whole life. Take notes and emulate people such as them, for you come across as a judgmental, doomsday, hater. Find some humanity, find some grace, and find some love.

    State auditor issues report on impact of tax credits

    (From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

    Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an examination of the state's tax credit programs. The audit, which was conducted as part of the State Auditor's Budget Integrity Series, shows a $3 billion tax credit liability that extends at least into the next 15 years due to credits that have been authorized by the legislature, but not yet redeemed. In addition, tax credit programs have cost the state $5.4 billion over the past decade.

    Tax credits are authorized by the General Assembly to give businesses or individuals a break on taxes owed to the state. Tax credits are not considered state expenditures and may be redeemed years after issuance. The impact on the budget can be volatile and even if the number or amount of tax credits were reduced immediately, the state's financial obligation would continue well into the future.

    "Tax credit programs serve a purpose, but each one must be regularly analyzed for efficiency, effectiveness and to ensure they meet desired purposes," Auditor Galloway said. "Budgets are about priorities and the impact tax credits have on the budget has to be considered."

    Tax credits have been redeemed at a growing rate in Missouri, with a 20% increase in redemptions of all tax credit programs in the state over the past 10 years. The examination noted the current process makes it difficult for policymakers to get access to information about the cost of the tax credits because of incomplete or inaccurate information provided by the Department of Economic Development and other state agencies. The audit noted a $50 million understatement of outstanding tax credits reported in fiscal year 2016. Additionally, legislators do not have a clear picture of the amount of tax credits allowed under the law because funding limits are unclear for some programs and non-existent for others.

    "Policymakers need accurate and realistic data on tax credits in order to weigh the social and economic benefits against the impact on the state's finances," Auditor Galloway said. "The General Assembly must demand more from the agencies that are charged with administering these programs. My report provides clear recommendations to improve this process and the administration of tax credit programs."

    The report makes recommendations to address costs and improve data integrity, including reducing the amount of time tax credits can be carried forward, along with more clearly defining annual or cumulative cost limits. Auditor Galloway is also pushing for new processes to ensure accurate benefit-cost analyses, since the Department of Economic Development reports a majority of tax credit redemptions have negative benefit-cost ratios.

    The audit primarily reviewed seven high-cost tax credit programs in Missouri, which account for more than 75% of all tax credit redemptions in the state over the past 4 fiscal years, including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Senior Citizen Property Tax Credit, Historic Preservation Tax Credit, Missouri Quality Jobs, New Market Tax Credit, Infrastructure Development Tax Credit, and Missouri Works.

    A complete copy of the report is available online here.

    Health and Human Services secretary Price, Hartzler tell Missourians Obamacare is abandoning them

    (From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

    A group of Missourians from the Fourth District met with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to share their concerns about the continued implosion of the Affordable Care Act. These Missourians all live in counties where they will no longer have access to health insurance on the ACA exchange when Blue Cross Blue Shield leaves the market by the end of the year.

    The Blue Cross Blue Shield decision to exit the Affordable Care Act exchanges will leave 77 of Missouri’s 114 counties with only a single insurer, and some 31,000 Missourians in another 25 counties with no coverage options, including Bates, Benton, Henry, Johnson, Pettis, St. Clair, and Vernon Counties in the Fourth District. According to Health and Human Services, premiums in Missouri have gone up an average of 145% over the last four years.

    “Obamacare is collapsing, and Missouri families are being hit hard,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) who met with the constituents to hear how the ACA has impacted their lives. “It seems like every week there is a new insurer abandoning Obamacare and leaving Americans high and dry. We have to do something quickly before more Missourians lose access to coverage and premiums skyrocket anymore.”

    Nationwide, a third of counties in the country only have one insurer on the ACA exchange.

    “When I speak with my fellow Missourians, they tell me their health insurance is being taken away from them, and this is unacceptable,” Hartzler added. “It is imperative we repeal Obamacare and institute policies that will drive down costs and increase access to coverage for Missouri families. I’m so glad some Missouri Fourth District citizens got to come and share their stories.”

    “That’s my major concern, no coverage, and then will we get penalties for not having something that is not in place?” said Candace Fowler, a Missourian from Henry County who met with Hartzler and Price Wednesday. Fowler has a neurological condition that will render her blind if not controlled but faces losing coverage.

    “I felt like it was kind of an Abraham Lincoln moment … by the people,” Fowler said. “I got to be the people. I got to be by the people for the people, and I’m one of those people. Who am I, this woman from rural Missouri to be in the White House? I felt the responsibility of trying to represent the people who are my friends who are losing coverage. I felt like there was sincerity around the table as far as listening to us.”

    White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway and CMS Administrator Seema Verma also attended the meeting, where Secretary Price listened to Americans who are experiencing the negative effects of the collapsing healthcare law.

    “Get rid of the problem, now,” said Benton County resident Jim Blundell, who will lose his insurance when Blue Cross Blue Shield exits the Missouri exchange. “Because it is just going to continue to fester. It is just going to grow.”