Monday, July 31, 2017

My response to the Globe's Geoff Caldwell's attack on John McCain's courage

It occurred to me a couple of years ago that Joplin Globe Editor Carol Stark must subscribe to the Roman Hruska school of thinking, especially when it comes to choosing local contributors to the newspaper's opinion page.

Hruska was a highly capable U. S. Senator from Nebraska, who unfortunately, it not remembered for his skill as a legislator as much as he is for a comment he made in 1970 while defending President Nixon's nomination of Harrold Carswell as a Supreme Court justice.

The nomination was criticized by feminists and by the NAACP and Carswell's judicial career was described as mediocre.

Hruska defended Carswell, noting that mediocre people deserve representation, too.

The Senate voted down Carswell, and another  Nixon nomination Clement Haynsworth was also rejected, forcing Nixon to go with a third choice, Minnesota judge Harry Blackmun, who three years later authored the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

No one has made the argument for mediocrity on the Supreme Court in the 47 years since it was mentioned by Hruska.

There is still one place, however, where mediocrity has its champion- the opinion page of the Joplin Globe, which some reason offers a platform every Sunday for Geoff Caldwell to offer the same viewpoints being offered by Fox News and conservative talk radio, the difference being- give me a second- the difference being- give me another second.

Forget it. There is no difference except the ones who receive the big bucks for expressing those viewpoints usually do so more coherently.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that one of the few times Caldwell ever strayed from writing about national politics was when he told his readers four years ago what an evil person I was and how C. J. Huff had no choice but to fire me. It always seemed peculiar to me that Caldwell and another example of Carol Stark's Roman Hruska complex, Anson Burlingame, both felt this was an issue they desperately needed to speak on and that they both then felt a need to read my novel No Child Left Alive and give it the lowest Amazon review possible. It could just be a case of like minds coming to the same conclusions. Especially on my book, since another person with similar leanings, Martin Lindstedt, also gave No Child Left Alive a low rating.

So I have no use for Caldwell's joyless style of writing.

His column in Sunday's Globe, headlined "McCain a Political Coward" was a typical example of how Caldwell's slavish devotion to following the dictates of the right wing echo chamber often leads him to ignore inconvenient facts and ascribe evil motives to anyone who does not see things the way Caldwell does.

In his column, Caldwell felt compelled to launch an attack on Sen. John McCain for his no vote on the so-called "skinny repeal" bill.

Caldwell made a point of noting McCain's experience as a prisoner of war, but serving as a conservative version of former Vice President Spiro Agnew's alliterative "nattering nabobs of negativism" remark, he felt compelled to note how poor McCain's grades were at the U. S. Naval Academy, cast doubt on the senator's service record prior to his capture, and ripped into McCain-Feingold (Caldwell refers to it as an attack on the First Amendment instead of as an effort to get the influence of money in elections under control.

Caldwell criticized McCain's vote on the skinny repeal and launched into a liberals and big government are evil tirade.

Caldwell noted that the courage McCain had shown at the Hanoi Hilton was nowhere to be found.

It appears Caldwell defines courage as whether someone agrees with his point of view.

Whether I would define what McCain did as an act of courage, I don't know.

What I do know is that McCain flew from Arizona where he had just been diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer that will most likely take his life within the next couple of years to cast his vote. If that is not courage, it certainly shows conviction.

McCain made no pretense that this skinny repeal actually would do anything to improve healthcare for Americans. While most of his Republican colleagues stayed quiet about the bill, McCain was quick to note just how bad it was.

A number of Republicans indicated they would be willing to vote for the skinny repeal, but only with the guarantee that it would never be passed into law. Now that's an act of courage voting for something you don't believe in as long as the vote doesn't end up meaning anything and gets President Trump and Mitch McConnell off your backs.

And while McCain's vote was not necessarily an act of courage, it was a matter of taking one for his team. If he had not cast the third Republican vote against the amendment, joining Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, someone else was going to have to do it and it would have been done.

Those who stayed up well past midnight to watch the vote could see that several GOP senators did not announce their votes until after the first round was completed. They waited to chime in until after McCain had cast the third vote and had taken the pressure off them.

The senators who held back their votes were ones like Dean Heller of Nevada and Rob Portman of Ohio, who have been highly critical of the repeal and replace bills that have been submitted. Thanks to McCain, none of them had to vote their conscience and strike down a bill they knew spelled nothing but problems for their constituents.

Thanks to McCain, they could all go home and say they voted to repeal Obamacare.

Maybe what John McCain did was not your typical profile in courage, but it certainly showed more courage than a columnist giving lip service to a man's heroism and then condemning him because he had bad grades and did not share his political views.

Joplin woman charged with DWI has lengthy history of alcohol, drug violations

A Joplin woman arrested by the Highway Patrol on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated as a persistent offender today has a lengthy record of felony convictions, nearly all accompanied by suspended sentences, followed by second, third, and even fourth chances.

The Patrol report shows Correnna M. Gray, 43, was arrested at 2:58 p.m. in Bates County.

Online court records indicate the arrest took place while Gray was free on $10,000 bond from Clay County, where she is facing two felony drug possession charges with her next court date scheduled for August 31.

Her 2016 arrest on those charges occurred at a time when she was still serving probation for numerous other felony charges. Court records show Gray completed her probation April 1.

Her rap sheet includes a July 24, 2006, guilty plea in Jasper County Circuit Court for felony possession of a controlled substance. Judge William Carl Crawford gave her a suspended sentenced.

She also had a 2011 guilty plea for possession of a controlled substance and she was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation on December 16, 2015, after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated (drugs) and driving while revoked. A condition of her probation was that she enter and complete a substance abuse program.

Jarub Baird pleads guilty to meth conspiracy, money laundering charges

U. S. District Court Judge Greg Kays ordered a pre-sentencing investigation for Jarub Baird, 27, Carthage, who pleaded guilty this morning to meth conspiracy and money laundering charges.

The plea occurred during a 23-minute session. A federal grand jury indicted Baird and 12 others in April 2016. Baird had been scheduled to stand trial in August.

Baird will continue to be held without bond as he awaits sentencing.

Judge Sarah W. Hays ruled against bond after the government presented information on Baird's criminal record, which includes three prior felony convictions for involuntary manslaughter, assault, and distributing marijuana.

The involuntary manslaughter charge came as a result of the December 8, 2006, crash on an icy country road just outside of Carthage in which Hannah Smallwood, 15, was killed.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bed company files infringement lawsuit against Leggett & Platt

In a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Texas this week, Knickerbocker Bed Company claims Carthage-based Leggett & Platt infringed on its trade dress rights with its emBrace line of bed frames that it has sold since 2011.

From Furniture Today:

“Knickerbocker alleges this infringement was committed with willful intent for the purpose of trading on Knickerbocker’s goodwill and business reputation, with Leggett’s knowledge of the lack of right to do so, and has caused Knickerbocker damage,” according to the lawsuit.

Leggett & Platt denies the claims in Knickerbocker's petition.

John Case, president of Leggett's Consumer Products Group issued the following statement:

“Leggett & Platt is prepared to vigorously defend all the accusations and allegations in defense of the Presto bed frame. We have invested substantial time and resources in developing our own intellectual property position for the Presto bed frame, and we likewise respect the intellectual property rights of others."

Ron Richard to Post-Dispatch: If the governor calls another special session, we may ignore him

After two lengthy and costly special sessions of the Missouri Legislature, our elected officials appear to have had enough.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said as much to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Richard suggested that even if Greitens does call another special session, the Senate could decide to ignore it.

“We’ll have a conference call with all the senators, and we’ll decide together if we decide to come back,” Richard told reporters.

For now, lawmakers are not scheduled to return to action until Sept. 13, which is the day set aside for them to consider overriding vetoes the governor has made to the bills they sent him in the spring.

Nancy Hughes devotion: Delay with a purpose

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

I had our trip all planned. My granddaughter Ella and I were driving to Kansas City. Car packed: check. Seat belts on: check. Stopped to fill up the car at the gas station: check. Well, semi-check.

We pulled up to the pump and she hopped out to get a drink and stepped into something that appeared to be a mixture of kitty litter and silly putty. Her new flip flops were covered. Delay #1.

“Just hit them together and we will pull around to another pump,” I told her. But as she did that, the mixture went everywhere: in the car, in her hair, on her clothes. Everywhere! Delay #2.

We pulled around to another pump and wiped off as much of the gunk as we could with a towel. And she went inside for her drink as I slid my card, hit the buttons and tried to pump the gas into my car tank. Again and again. Nothing. Delay #3.

After the third try, I walked into the gas station and found out that I had picked the one pump that occasionally gave customers problems. “Try again, please” I was instructed. Delay #4.

I did – a fourth time. Nothing. But finally on the fifth try it worked! Hallelujah! The car was filled up, the drink was purchased, seat belts were on and we finally left town after a 30 minute delay.

A delay that had us shaking our heads in frustration but one that quickly changed to praise and thanksgiving a few miles from our destination. There had been a wreck.

A semi had swerved back and forth on the highway before running off the right side and into a huge ditch, destroying a long metal protective rail in the process. The highway patrol and two ambulances plus several other vehicles were lined up along the side of the road.

It instantly occurred to us that if we had not had all the delays before leaving town, we could have been exactly where that wreck occurred. What a great reminder for us of God’s protection and plan for our lives!

Today’s Scripture is found in Isaiah 55:8-9. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

I get upset and frustrated over trains stopped on tracks and long lines in grocery stores because I have MY lists and MY priorities for MY life. And I seldom stop and consider that the delays I experience may be part of God’s plan for me. My timeline is not always the same as His and I truly believe that my check list is not a top priority for Him either.

If you struggle with your plans not going as you think they should, join me in deciding to stop, take a breath, and consider that God has your delay planned for a purpose.

Father, forgive me when I act like I know better how to lead my life. Help me to look less at my check lists and more in your Word to guide me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up

Have you ever become frustrated and upset when your timeline and check list were delayed or ruined?

The next time your plans are delayed, take a deep breath and reflect on what the Lord is protecting you from or planning for you.
Thank Him for His wisdom and purpose in all situations.

Power Verses

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

II Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV) “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

John 10:10 (NIV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Psalm 46:1 (NIV) “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Check out Nancy Hughes' new children's book, Lola B. and the Skinned Up Tree at its website.

You can find more of Nancy's writing at her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Carthage woman pleads guilty to murder- I struck my daughter; I never intended to kill her

Carthage Police and Jasper County prosecutors say Tearra Olson slammed her boyfriend's two-year-old daughter Emolata Hoeft's head against a hard surface three times, causing the injuries that led to the child's death.

On Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court, Olson acknowledged what she did and pleaded guilty to second degree murder and felony child abuse. Judge David Mouton ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for 1 p.m. Monday, November 6.

The guilty plea came as a result of a plea agreement. Court records indicate Olson will have to serve at least 15 years behind bars with no probation.

"I knowingly struck my daughter Emolata. I never intended to hurt her," Olson said on the plea agreement document.

Though the form says the crime that was committed must be described in detail, those were the only two sentences Olson wrote.

More time was spent detailing problems she has had while being held in the Jasper County Jail awaiting trial.

She claims she was not being fed properly and was not being fed a substitute when peanut butter upset her stomach. " Also, "there were no sheets for females, medical is not in a timely manner" and doesn't meet her needs.

"I can go on," she said.

The description of how Carthage Police drew a confession out of Olson was featured in a March 28 Turner Report post:

They had to keep her talking.

No case affects a police officer like the death of a child and it did not take long for Carthage Police officers to realize that Emalata Hoeft did not die from natural causes.

For the next several hours after the discovery of the two-year-old's body on August 15, 2015,, the police had to skate the thin line between skilled interrogation of the suspects- the child's father Albert Steven O'Connor and O'Connor's girlfriend Tearra Olson- and violating their constitutional rights.

Officers separated the two and quickly determined that Olson had been with the child and O'Connor had not been at home. Emalata had thrown a tantrum and Olson was having a hard time dealing with it.

Olson told the officers that Emalata hit her head against a hard surface. It was that blow that killed her.

"So was she acting like she was sleeping?" Officer Steve Norman asked, following up with the question that should never have had to be asked.

"Did you guys think about taking her to the hospital?"

Apparently not.

'Did she aggravate you?" Norman asked.


The picture that interview, which was captured on Officer Norman's body camera, provides- is one of a neglected two-year-old who never had a chance.

O'Connor pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and is serving seven years in prison.

Olson was changing her story as she spoke to the officers, acknowledging that she and O'Connor had left the two-year-old alone with just a sippy cup for as much as five hours at a time while they were working because they could not afford day care.

But it wasn't just when they were working. It had only been a few hours since they decided they were in the mood to eat some Sonic food, left Emalata at home while they drove to Sonic, ordered their food, returned- and never checked in to see if the child was all right.

The interviews at the O'Connor home lasted two hours and 51 minutes. She was given her Miranda rights after she was taken to the police station.

At one point, Norman asked Olson to go with him into the child's room. "Show me what happened."

She started to enter the room, then turned away. "I can't!. I can't!" she said and began crying. The officers did not force her to go into the room.

An officer asked, "Did you call the hospital?"

"I was too scared."

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

Court cases, both on the local and federal levels dominated the top stories on the Turner Report this week, including the cases of a Neosho businessman waiting to be sentenced on child pornography charges, a Webb City woman hit with felony charges after leading the Highway Patrol on a chase, lawsuits filed by a Joplin man against the U. S. Post Office, and the IRS against Webb City circus owner Tarzan Zerbini and the latest hearing for a former North Middle School reading teacher charged with statutory rape.

Links to the top posts are provided below:

Turner Report

1. Lawyer asking for probation for Neosho businessman: Child pornography offenders don't molest children

2. Webb City woman with lengthy political history arrested on felony charges after leading Highway Patrol on chase

3. Joplin man sues Post Office for $375,000 after slipping on wet floor

4. Tarzan Zerbini responds to IRS: We're too old to pay taxes

5. Restraining order filed against Springfield businesses; massage parlors rub attorney general the wrong way

6. Former North Middle School teacher bound over for trial on statutory rape charge

7. FEC filing: Roy Blunt leadership PAC accepts $112,000 from health care/pharmaceutical special interests

8. Lawyer for man charged with beating girlfriend, posting bond and assaulting her again asks for bond reduction

9. Eagle Forum: We applaud Trump's wise decision on transgenders in the military 

10. McCain returns to Washington, pleads for Republicans, Democrats to work together

Inside Joplin

1. Jasper Police Department makes drug arrest

2. Children removed from Galena home following drug raid, two men arrested

3. Joplin Police searching for missing man

4. Quapaw Police: Have you seen this felony assault suspect?

5. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

6. U. S. Bankruptcy Court Petitions

7. Carl Junction Police arrest suspect with property stolen from vehicles

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 25-26

10. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Charles Emmert

2. Billy Goff

3. Melba Hitchcock

4. Mickey Stanley

5. Clayton Smith

6. Velma McKenzie

7. Bill Richardson

8. Janis Melton

9. Evelyn Collins

10. Jean Keithly

Friday, July 28, 2017

Billy Long on HR 3219 vote: This bill makes sure our country remains safe and secure

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Congressman Billy Long (MO-07) released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 3219, Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018.

“Today I voted in favor of providing for our military, securing the border, maintaining nuclear security and supporting the nation’s waterways infrastructure,” said Rep. Billy Long. “The Make America Secure Appropriations Act will decrease our dependence on foreign oil, secure our Southern border and provide proper care for our veterans. It continues to build and strengthen our military while providing the largest pay increase for our troops in nearly a decade. This bill is critical for making sure our country remains safe and secure.”

Jacob Williams named Joplin R-8 middle school athletic director

(From Joplin Schools)

At the July 25, 2017 Board of Education meeting, Mr. Jacob Williams was named athletic director for Joplin Middle Schools. In this role, Williams will manage the middle school athletic program and intramural basketball program at all Joplin Schools.

Williams is replacing Matt Hiatt who was recently named athletic director of Joplin High School (JHS).

"As an educator and coach with the district, Jacob has shown a strong work ethic, a passion for Joplin Athletics, and the ability to motivate our student athletes to reach their potential both in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Matt Hiatt, Athletic Director for JHS. “Jacob's experience and abilities will no doubt have a positive impact on our middle school programs, as he transitions into this leadership role. I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with Jacob, on a daily basis," added Hiatt.

"I am extremely passionate about our athletics in Joplin and want to see our student athletes excel in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Jacob Williams, Athletic Director for Joplin Middle Schools. “I am excited for the opportunity to serve our students, coaches, and community through this position. I also want to say how grateful I am for my fellow teachers and coaches that I have worked with in the school district. Without your
guidance, support, and mentorship, I would not be in this position,” added Williams. “Go Eagles!"

Williams most recently taught physical education at JHS. Prior to his time at JHS, Williams taught physical education and North and East Middle Schools. In addition to his teaching experience, Williams has been coaching for seven years. This includes being part of the boys’ basketball program for seven years, the track and field program for six years, the volleyball program for four years, and the cross country program for two years. His coaching experiences have resulted in exposure to athletics at the middle school level and high school level.

Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri Southern State University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from William Woods University.
Williams and his wife, Erin, have two daughters, and another one on her way in August.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Joplin man sues Post Office for $375,000 after falling on slick floor

A Joplin man who says he was injured in a fall at the U. S. Post Office at 101 N. Main is suing the government for $375,000.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Robert Counts claims the fall took place December 5, 2014.

"It was raining that day and after entering the Post Office, Mr. Counts slipped on the slick and wet floor, causing him to fall down and sustain significant and permanent injuries to his body."

The petition says the Post Office's floor presented "an unsafe and dangerous situation" and postal workers should have removed the water or set up barricades to keep people away.

Counts' injuries, according to the petition, included a rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder that required surgery, an injury to his right wrist that required steroid injections and a brace, an injury to his right hip, and other injuries.

Counts says he has had more than $57,000 in medical expenses and has suffered "lost wages, lost income, and lost business opportunity. Specifically, at the time of the injury, Counts worked as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and missed three weeks of work. He was also set to start employment at the Price Cutter store in Webb City, but could not take the job due to his injuries."

Counts is represented by Kevin J. Rapp, Springfield.

Tarzan Zerbini responds to IRS: We're too old to pay taxes

Tarzan Zerbini Circus owners Jean "Tarzan' Zerbini and his wife, Elizabeth, Webb City, filed their response to the federal government's efforts to force them to pay $418,483.14 in unpaid taxes, by claiming the government did not assess the taxes properly and they are too old to be able to pay them. The response was included in documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Defendant Jean C. Zerbini is 75 years of age and Defendant Elizabeth B. Zerbini is 62 years of age; by virtue of their advanced age, neither are likely to have future ability to pay the tax liabilities at issue.

The Zerbinis' lawyer, Jacquelyn Hunt, Chesterfield, offered the following reasons why her clients should not have to pay the taxes:

-The Internal Revenue Service did not assess the taxes properly.

-The Zerbinis can't pay the taxes, so it would be a hardship on them.

-The government waited too long to make its claim.

The IRS says the Zerbinis failed to pay taxes in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2015.

The government is asking for the amount of the unpaid taxes, plus interest and additions accruing after June 4.

Kansas governor ends tenure as one of least popular in U. S.

For the past seven years, Sam Brownback and the GOP legislature used Kansas as a laboratory for experiments in cutting taxes and limiting governmental services.

As Brownback prepares to leave his job as governor for a position in the Trump Administration, he has left behind a legacy that is not even receiving plaudits from his fellow Republicans.

In this NPR report, the Brownback years in Kansas are examined:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Blake Altman sentencing rescheduled

Sentencing for Blake Altman, 33, Neosho, former manager of Sam's Cellar, on child pornography charges has been rescheduled.

The sentencing, which was originally scheduled for today will be held 10 a.m. August 17 in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

Hartzler takes victory lap over Trump transgenders in military announcement

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

After President Donald Trump announced significant changes to Department of Defense policy Wednesday, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) released the following statement:

“President Trump’s decision today to rescind Obama’s transgender military policy has the best interests of the military in mind, and I thank him for taking this decisive action,” saidCongresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. “Our military is the most effective, efficient and well-funded fighting force in the world, and as the president notes, we cannot burden our armed forces with the tremendous costs and disruptions that transgender in the military would entail. With the challenges we are facing across the globe, we are asking the American people to invest their hard-earned money in national defense. Each dollar needs to be spent to address threats facing our nation. The costs incurred by funding transgender surgeries and the required additional care it demands should not be the focus of our military resources,” added Hartzler, who has been a proponent of changing the Obama transgender policy since its inception in 2016.

Hartzler recently offered an amendment on the House floor to end the military paying for very expensive sex change surgeries that prevents soldiers from being deployed. Hartzler noted that this current policy of providing and paying for transgender surgeries hurts readiness and is projected to cost more than a billion dollars over the next ten years. This is a conservative estimate with other studies projecting over $3 billion in medical costs over a ten-year period.

Eagle Forum: We applaud Trump's wise decision on transgenders in the military

(From the Eagle Forum)

Today via Twitter, President Donald J. Trump announced that "the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military." We applaud Trump's wise decision. We also know that this will be a legal fight, as liberals attempt to block the Trump agenda at every turn in the courts.

Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense is gearing up for the court battle that will ensue. We successfully helped defend Trump's travel ban before the U.S. Supreme Court by filing an amicus brief urging the High Court to overturn the lower court decisions, which the Supreme Court did.

"The Left is already planning to block President Trump's good ban on transgenders in the military," said Eagle Forum Education president Ed Martin. "Liberal groups will quickly run to courts, seeking an injunction against the Trump administration, just as they did to block his travel ban."

Martin continued: "We will not stand by silently as judicial supremacy interferes with our national security. Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund will do everything we can in the legal proceedings to fully uphold President Trump's efforts to make America great again."

As the president stated: "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail." We are now preparing for the legal challenges to Trump's sensible ban on transgenders in the military. Our Armed Forces should not be a place for social engineering.

El Dorado Springs woman sentenced for embezzling $380,000

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

An El Dorado Springs, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for a mail fraud scheme by which she stole more than $380,000 from her employer and to filing a false tax return.

Regina Allison, 47, of El Dorado Springs, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 30 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Allison to pay $460,404 in restitution, including $380,134 to Allison Tire Company, Inc., and the remainder to the IRS and the Missouri Department of Revenue.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Allison pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.

Allison was hired by Allison Tire Company and Allison Oil and Auto Supply in 2003. As a part of her duties at the company, which is owned in part by her ex-husband, Allison prepared company checks for payment of invoices. Allison was fired from her position in November 2015 after her supervisors discovered that she had forged numerous checks from the accounts of Allison Tire and Allison Oil to pay fictitious businesses she had created for her personal benefit.

Allison opened two bank accounts, one at a bank in Bolivar, Mo., and another at a bank in Nevada, Mo., under the names of two separate businesses. Neither of the business entities actually created any products or provided any services. Allison admitted that she used her position at Allison Tire and Allison Oil to write numerous company checks to these fictitious businesses, and forged the signatures of authorized signors.

Over the span of nearly four years, from November 2011 to November 2015, Allison embezzled a total of at least $380,134.

Allison also admitted that she failed to report this embezzled income on her federal income tax returns. The total tax loss to the United States was $58,813, without penalty or interest. The total tax loss to the state of Missouri was $16,315, without penalty or interest.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Casey Clark and Amy Blackburn. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Nevada man sentenced to 20 years in prison for receiving, distributing child pornography

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

A Nevada, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

Ben Culbertson, 56, of Nevada, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 262 months in federal prison without parole. Culbertson has been detained in federal custody since his arrest in October 2016.

On March 22, 2017, Culbertson pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

According to court documents Culbertson, came to the attention of law enforcement after distributing images of child pornography (including some victims likely under the age of 8 years old) over the Internet. Culbertson, who was previously convicted of two counts of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, admitted to investigators that he received and distributed images of child pornography on multiple occasions.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force.

Greene County Democrats stand with transgender community after Trump tweets

(From Greene County Democrats)

This morning, we began our day less united as American citizens. The 45th President of the United States of America announced via Twitter that he will be banning transgender patriots from serving in their country’s defense. This is more than appalling. This decision highlights the venom that is the foundation of the Trump Administration.

Not only does his callous choice weaken the U.S. Military, it dishonors all who have served. This policy tells veterans that their sacrifice can be nullified in 140 characters or less.

Sixty-nine years ago, today, on July 26th, 1948, President Harry S. Truman ordered the establishment of the President’s Committee on Equality Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. It was established with the mission of integrating the segregated military. President Trump should look to history for guidance as to how America should treat its service members.

In Isaiah 6:8, Jesus asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" When these transgender heroes stood up and said, "Here am I. Send me!” Trump is saying, “No thanks.”

The Greene County Democratic Central Committee denounces this small and petty President’s policy change and we stand with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQA+ community.

McCaskill works with Arizona Republicans on bill to help veterans land border protection jobs

IMAGE: Marking up Committee bills with my Republican colleagues, Senator John McCain and Chairman Ron Johnson(From Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO)

Shoring up security on our border & making sure that communities across America are safe, and making it easier for our veterans to secure good jobs when they return from service, are two issues that are near and dear to my heart—and a priority for me in the Senate.

That's why I'm working with my Republican colleagues from Arizona, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, to pass our bipartisan Boots on the Border Act, to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection fill vacancies by removing duplicative standards for veterans and federal law enforcement officers who have already undergone strict vetting.
This bill would also apply to local and state law enforcement officers as well, who have already completed a polygraph for their current position, and shouldn't have to go through redundant hurdles to help protect America's borders. As a former prosecutor, it's important for me that the waiver would not apply to anyone currently under investigation, or anyone who has ever engaged in criminal activity or serious misconduct.

I'm proud to work with my friends across the aisle to pass this commonsense bill, which will make it easier for our men and women in the military and in civilian law enforcement to continue serving our country.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Two area Republican senators defect on first Obamacare repeal vote, amendment fails 57-43

The first amendment to the Republican Health Care Plan was defeated by a 57-43 vote earlier this evening with two area Republican Senators, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, among nine who joined with the 46 Democrats and two independents to provide the final margin.

Other Republicans voting with the majority were Susan Collins, Maine; Bob Corker, Tennessee; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina; Dean Heller, Nevada; Mike Lee, Utah; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; and Rand Paul, Kentucky.

Missouri's Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill, also voted against the amendment.

Area senators voting for the amendment were Republicans Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and James Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma.

Blunt: Democrats' obstruction has kept Trump from putting his team in place

(From Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO)

President Trump was sworn in more than six months ago and he has every right to put his government in place. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats’ unprecedented obstruction of the confirmation process has prevented him from doing so.

Our colleagues across the aisle have only allowed us to confirm 56 of President Trump’s 257 well-qualified nominees. That’s just 22 percent. By the August recess of President Obama’s first term, the Senate had confirmed 313 of 454 nominees – or 69 percent. At the current rate, it will take more than 11 years to fill all of the Senate-confirmed government positions.

Behind these numbers are critical government jobs that are currently vacant – including positions that protect our country.

In fact, my colleagues across the aisle have only allowed us to confirm 7 of the president’s 22 nominations to the Department of Defense. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I’m told constantly that our country faces more threats – and from more directions – than ever before. We need these nominees in place to help keep Americans safe.

The longer these needless delays go on, the less time we have to focus on Missourians’ top priorities: helping businesses create jobs; making college more affordable; improving our infrastructure; and much more.

It’s time to stop this senseless obstruction so that the Senate and the president can continue the work we were elected to do.

Former North Middle School teacher bound over for trial on statutory rape charge

Former North Middle School reading teacher Amanda Schweitzer waived her preliminary hearing today in Jasper County Associate Circuit Court and was bound over for trial on a felony statutory rape charge.

Judge John Nicholas left Schweitzer's bond at $40,000 surety plus $10,000 cash only.

Schweitzeri's arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. August 14.

Schweitzer, 38, allegedly had sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old boy at her home on March 29.

Schweitzer is also charged with three felony charges, kidnapping, statutory rape, and statutory sodomy in Newton County for allegedly taking the same 13-year-old boy to the Water's Edge Camp Ground and having sex with him.

Schweitzer, who was placed on administrative leave by the Joplin R-8 School District, has since resigned.

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live tonight

McCain returns to Washington, pleads for Republicans, Democrats to work together

The return of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, to the Senate today to participate in a procedural vote to allow debate on the Republican health care plan enabled the vote to reach 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote.

Though, I would have preferred that the bill be buried and never mentioned again, I can't say the same about the speech McCain delivered on the Senate floor following the vote.

In his speech, which can be seen in its entirety on the accompanying video, McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this month, chastised himself and his colleagues for the way they have operated the past few years and pleaded for both parties to work together for the American people.

He also said he would not be voting for the current legislation without major changes.

"Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the internet and television," McCain said. "The hell with them," indicating they are profiting from the partisan division.

Lawyer asking for probation for Neosho businessman: Child pornography offenders don't molest children

Sentencing for Neosho businessman Blake Altman, who pleaded guilty in January to child pornography charges is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Wednesday in U. S. District Court in Springfield and his attorney is asking that Altman be placed on probation.

"Child pornography offenders do not go on to molest children," attorney Joe Passanise said in a sentencing memorandum filed Monday. Passanise, who is representing Altman along with his partner, Dee Wampler, noted Altman "has no history of harming or touching children and his criminal history consists of DWI traffic offenses."

The attorney offered other reasons to offer Altman probation:

-"Child pornography offenders are punished far beyond incarceration. They suffer more collateral consequences than other offenders such as being restricted to where they can live, work, and even whether they can visit family members for the rest of their lives."

-Altman "quickly deleted" the child pornography images after he looked at them because that was not the kind of porn he was seeking.

-Counseling and treatment should be considered.

-Altman would be subject to "mistreatment" while in custody.

A federal grand jury indicted Altman, the former manager of Sam's Cellar In Neosho June 16, 2015, charging that he received and distributed child pornography from August 14 to October 1, 2014

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Altman’s home after he was identified in an undercover investigation into child pornography distribution through file-sharing software. Officers seized Altman’s laptop, which contained child pornography images and videos.

The mandatory minimum sentence is five years, but Altman's lawyers are asking that the judge consider lesser Missouri sentences. The maximum sentence is 20 years without parole.

Altman's crimes were described in a motion for detention filed by the government, which was reported in the October 14, 2016 Turner Report.

The defendant was utilizing peer-to-peer file sharing software to receive and distribute images and videos depicting child pornography. The imagery in question depicted children, some as young as infants, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The defendant, at the time of the search warrant, possessed a rifle loaded with armor piercing bullets, two sets of body armor, and a Kevlar helmet.

The defendant was accused by a family member of inappropriately touching her when he was 16 years old. The accusation was never reported to the police. The defendant told the investigators that his preference was for girls between 10 and 14 years old. This case involves a minor victim..The evidence against the defendant is overwhelming.

Webb City woman with lengthy criminal history arrested on felony charges after leading Highway Patrol on chase

A woman who listed Webb City as her address, but has a long list of priors in Barry, Stone and Lawrence counties when she was living in Aurora, is being held in the Cass County Jail after being arrested by the Highway Patrol following a chase 12:24 a.m. today.

Ashley Brooke Griffin was charged with felony resisting arrest by flight, felony possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), felony possession of a controlled substance (prescription pills), two Barry County felony warrants, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Griffin, 28, had good reason to run, according to the report. Judge Jack Goodman issued a warrant for her arrest after a probation violation hearing July 5 in Barry County Circuit Court.

Griffin pleaded guilty in July 2016 to felony charges of distribution of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance and Goodman sentenced her to 12 years in prison, but suspended the sentence.

Since that time, Griffin has not been able to stay out of trouble, according to online court records. Notices of probation violations were filed October 14, 2016, and January 3, 2017.

A probation violation hearing was scheduled February 22, but Griffin failed to show and a warrant was issued for her arrest. The hearing was finally rescheduled for June 17, but in the meantime after contact was made with Griffin, Goodman released her on her own recognizance.

Court records indicate the release likely happened after Griffin agreed to go to substance abuse facility. She violated the conditions of her probation by leaving the facility. The Highway Patrol stopped her May 30 in Barry County, charging her with operating a motor vehicle without a license, failure to maintain financial responsibility, failure to drive on the right half of the roadway, failure to display plates and for not wearing a seat belt.

 Griffin then failed to show for the June 17 probation violation hearing.

Griffin's problems with the law began long ago, court records indicate. She entered an Alford plea in Lawrence County Circuit Court to three felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child in 2009, the same year she pleaded guilty to felony receiving stolen property charges in Barry and Stone counties in 2009.

During the time she was sentenced to the women's prison in Chillicothe, she received a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to committing violence of an employee of the Department of Corrections.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kansas man sentenced to 30 years for attempting to detonate car bomb at Fort Riley in the name of ISIS

(From the Department of Justice)

John T. Booker Jr., 22, of Topeka, Kan., was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb on the Fort Riley military base in Manhattan, Kan. On Feb. 3, 2016, Booker pleaded guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted destruction of government property by fire or explosion.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Darrin E. Jones of the FBI’s sKansas City Division made the announcement.

“With this sentence, John Booker is being held accountable for his plan to kill U.S. military personnel on American soil in the name of ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats and protecting American lives by bringing to justice those who plot to attack us. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who made this result possible.”

“Violent extremism is a threat to America and all its people,” Acting U.S. Attorney Beall said. “Our goal is to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from inspiring, financing or carrying out acts of violence.”

“The investigation leading to today's sentencing illustrates the FBI's commitment to disrupting acts of terrorism,” said Special Agent in Charge Jones. “If Mr. Booker had been successful in detonating a car bomb, the results could have been dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties. The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain committed to protecting the citizens of the United States and thwarting acts of terrorism.”

In his guilty plea, Booker admitted he intended to kill American soldiers and to assist ISIS’s (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) fight against the U.S. His plan called for constructing a bomb containing 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Booker intended to trigger the bomb himself and die in the process, and filmed a video he intended Americans to see after his death.

“You sit in your homes and think this war is just over in Iraq,” Booker said in the video. “Today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep.”

Unbeknownst to Booker, the bomb that he constructed was made with inert materials, and the two men working with him were undercover informants for the FBI.

The FBI began investigating Booker in March 2014 after he posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to commit jihad. Booker admitted that he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army in order to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like the one at Fort Hood in Texas, but his deadly plans were thwarted when he was denied entry into the Army. In October 2014, Booker began communicating with an undercover FBI informant. He told the undercover FBI informant that he dreamed of being a fighter in the Middle East, and proposed capturing and killing an American soldier.

In March 2015, Booker was introduced to another FBI informant who he believed would help him plan an attack. Booker said he wanted to detonate a suicide bomb because he couldn’t be captured, all the evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target. On March 10, 2015, Booker made a video filmed at Freedom Park near Marshall Army Airfield at Fort Riley in which he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. That month, he rented a storage unit in Topeka where the bomb would be assembled.

On April 10, 2015, Booker and the informants drove to an area near Fort Riley that Booker believed to be a little-used utility gate where they could enter Fort Riley undetected. He was arrested when he made the final connections on the device that he believed would arm the bomb.

Mr. Boente and Mr. Beall commended the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for their investigation of this case. They also thanked Assistant Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi of the District of Kansas, who prosecuted this case.

Restraining order filed against Springfield businesses; massage parlors rub attorney general the wrong way

(From Attorney General Josh Hawley)

Attorney General Josh Hawley and attorneys from the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office brought a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a number of the massage parlors that were raided on Thursday as part of a major crackdown against suspect human trafficking in Springfield, Missouri.

Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Hawley filed an emergency civil action to immediately halt all prostitution and trafficking activity at the massage parlors. That petition was granted by the court Friday morning. The order will prohibit those activities during the pendency of the civil case.

“This order sends a clear message to human traffickers everywhere,” Hawley said. “Don’t come to our state. Don’t commit your crimes here. Don’t prey on our children. If you do, we will find you out and we will prosecute you. And that’s exactly what we have done.”​

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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

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

A closed session to discuss legal matters and personnel issues is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Meeting Agenda

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 Data Analysis Committee Update - Info. (J. Koch, S. Dermott, and L. Musser)

c. BOE Safety Committee (S. Dermott, L. Musser, and D. Gander)

2. Superintendent's Data Report

a. Health and Dental Care Insurance Reports - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

b. Financial Statements - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

F. Consent Agenda - Action

1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

2. Consent Agenda Contracts - Action

a. Roof Top Heating and Air Conditioning Unit for Cecil Floyd

b. JHS Service Contract for Photo ID Card Printers

c. Anderson Engineering Surveying and Geotechnical Drilling Services

d. Service Agreement for Speech-Language Pathologist

3. Food Bid and Supply Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

4. Bread Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

5. Dairy Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

6. Net Off Invoice Bid - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

7. Local Tax Effort (LTE) Billbacks - Action (Sandra Cantwell)

8. Copy Paper Bid - Action (Dr. Lankford)

9. Policy Update Second 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 GDC: Support Staff Recruiting and Hiring

f. Policy IGBCA: Programs for Homeless Students

g. Policy JEC: School Admissions

h. Policy JGF: Discipline Reporting & Records

G. Regular Agenda

1. JEC - Prime Contract Change Order #6 Crossland Construction Co. - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

2. JEC - Architect Contract Amendment: Special Inspection Services - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

3. MSBA Delegate Selection - Action (Dr. Moss)

4. Accounts Payable - Action (Dr. Lankford)

5. Bank Depositary Bid - Action (Dr. Lankford)

6. Meal Price Increase - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

7. Purchase Four School Buses - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

8. Weidenhammer (Alio) Maintenance Renewal - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

9. Renewal Student Information System - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

10. Antivirus Licensing - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

11. enVision Math Workbooks K-2nd Grade - Action (Dr. Gilbreth)

12. School Supplies Bid - Action (Dr. Moss)

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

a. Plus: What did we do well

b. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

H. BOE Announcements

I. Adjourn

Nancy Hughes devotion: Do you know a Mrs. Wallace?

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of
the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

Her name was Mrs. Wallace. Just saying the name – Mrs. Wallace – and immediately I picture that little lady with extremely short naturally curly and seldom washed hair. A tiny lady with jack-in-the-box teeth that needed no prompting to pop in and out of her mouth at a moment’s notice.

I can almost smell the talcum powder that did little to mask the scent of one who seldom bathes that we kids always knew would be there – and almost always was – when our mother picked her up on Saturday mornings to take her to town with us.

I admit that we complained every time Mother told us we would be picking up Mrs. Wallace. “Why does she have to go with us?” “She smells funny.” “Her socks are always down around her ankles.” “Doesn’t she have someone in her family who can take her to town?” “What if our friends see us with her?”

My mother would always respond to our questions with the same answers. “She is going with us because she has no one close by to take her. How will she get groceries? This is a good opportunity for you to get to know Mrs. Wallace. She is a very sweet lady. How can I tell her that my children don’t want her to go with them? Imagine how hurt she would be!”

And so for one more trip to town, we would sit in the back seat and watch her and wonder . . . why she didn’t bathe more often, why her socks continued to rest around her ankles, what kept her teeth from separating completely from her mouth and falling on the floor of the car.

But something happened during one of those car rides: we began to realize what our mother was doing. She was putting God’s love into action. She was taking care of Mrs. Wallace the widow lady as if she was HER mother! We saw that our mother was living what she believed. The teaching that Jesus was sharing in Matthew 25:34-40 was not something she took lightly.

In that Scripture Jesus was speaking to the righteous and blessing them for giving Him food and drink, for clothing Him, for taking care of Him when He was sick and for visiting Him in prison.

When they question Him as to exactly when they did those acts specifically for Jesus, He replies in verse 40: “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV)

My mother was showing us that when “the least of these” needed help, we should be willing to step in and show our Father’s love without complaining and without asking anything in return. Her unselfishness in being willing to put Christ’s love into action was a lesson we never forgot.

What are we doing to show our children how to be Jesus to those around us? Could it be that there is a Mrs. Wallace in our neighborhoods or where we work?

The best way for our children to learn Christ’s unselfish love for others is to see it reflected in our acts of kindness toward “the least of these” around us.

Father, please help me to never cease to look around me for those who need your loving touch in the very simple everyday things. Help me to always remember that people will learn about you by watching me. May I be a mirror of your love and compassion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

R.A.P. it up

Is there a Mrs. Wallace in your family or neighborhood?

Do you need a “vision check” so that you see them through the eyes of Jesus?

What lessons are you conveying to your children when it comes to taking care of widows and others in need?


Find out the birthdays of the older neighbors in your community or at church who may not have any family living close by. Help your children to design coupons for (a) “a meal brought to your home;” (b) “a shopping trip;” (c) “a tea party time” (and you provide the tea and cookies). Pass out the coupons to each person and check back every couple of days to see if a date has been decided on to use the coupon.

Pray with your children concerning the salvation of each person who accepted a coupon. Have them write a note of encouragement to each person.

Power Verses

Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
Philippians 2:4 (NIV) “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
I John 3:17 (NIV) “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
James 2:15-16 (NIV) “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

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

Lawyer for man charged with beating girlfriend, posting bond and assaulting her again asks for bond reduction

According to a probable cause affidavit, Bruce Anthony Chambers, 36, Joplin, beat his girlfriend viciously, dragged her across the floor by the hair, was arrested, posted bond and went back for more.

That time, a probable cause affidavit asserts, Chambers went back for more.

Joplin Police received word that the woman was "in immediate danger." When they arrived, Chambers refused to let the woman answer the door and took her phone away from her, throwing it across the room, according to the probable cause statement.

Chambers was charged with three misdemeanor offenses- kidnapping, domestic assault in the fourth degree, and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia.

After the second arrest, the judge set Chambers' bond at $40,000 cash only.

After the second incident, the judge set bond for Chambers at $40,000 cash only.

On August 2, his lawyer, at the moment public defender Christina Ewers, will try to get the amount reduced.

From the bond reduction motion:

Were his request to be granted, Mr. Chambers would reside—with his brother—off of Colonial Dr. in Webb City, MO.

Mr. Chambers has lived in the Jasper County area his entire life.

Before Mr. Chambers was arrested, he was employed with Cupit Construction.

Mr. Chambers is not a flight risk, due to his social and familial ties to the local community. Mr. Chambers has indicated that he has reliable transportation to and from work.

Since the motion is for the bond set for the three misdemeanor charges, it mentions nothing of the felony incidents that led to the increase.

The Joplin Police Department probable cause statement for the earlier offense said Bruce Anthony Chambers, 36, "knowingly caused serious physical injury to (the victim) by using his fists to repeatedly strike (her) in the face resulting in multiple hematomas and the loss of and/or permanent damage to the upper two front teeth."

The second domestic assault count came when Chambers dragged the woman across the floor by her hair.

He was also charged with a third felony, child abuse, since the woman's five-year-old son was at home when the beating occurred, according to court records.

FEC filing: Roy Blunt leadership PAC accepts $112,000 from health care/pharmaceutical special interests

Political action committees (PACs) representing pharmaceutical, insurance, and health related special interests contributed at least $112,500 to Sen. Roy Blunt's Rely On Your Beliefs Leadership PAC.

Leadership PACS are used by senators and representatives who are shooting for leadership positions or who want to hold on to those positions. They do so by contributing money to fellow legislators' campaigns and by showing their fundraising ability.

Blunt received $331,765.75 in contributions during the past six months, according to his July financial disclosure form filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).  He spent $256,807.92, leaving him with $231,067.95.

Blunt entertained potential donors lavishly, according to the report, spending $15,000 for catering and facility fees for a PAC event at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, a luxury resort near Charleston, South Carolina, and $16,372.39 and $14,446.44 for PAC events at Disney Destinations at the Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, as well as several meals costing thousands of dollars and two events at the Stonewall Golf Club in Gainsville, Virginia.

Among the PACs giving the maximum $5,000 contributions to the leadership PAC were the following:

Boehringer Ingelheim USA
Eli Lilly
Abbott Laboratories
American Hospital Association
United Health Corp
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Other PACS contributing at least $2,000 include the following:

Abbvie Pharmaceutical Research and Development
Federation of American Hospitals
Johnson & Johnson
Health South Corp
Emergency Biosolutions
Blue Cross Blue Shield

Saturday, July 22, 2017

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

Politics took the front seat this week on the Turner Report with Billy Long's July quarterly financial disclosure report accounting for the number one and number and number nine posts and my letter to Sen. Roy Blunt about Obamacare coming in at number two.

The discovery of a dead boy between Buffalo Wild Wings and Wal-Mart on Range Line was the top post this week on Inside Joplin with the announcement that no foul play was suspected in that case landing at number five.

Links to the top posts are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. Billy Long not only failing to drain the swamp, he's soaking up the overflow

2. A letter to Roy Blunt on Obamacare: Are you not even listening any more?

3. Former Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr sues League City, Texas, mayor

4. Joplin R-8 Board to act on school lunch price increase

5. Arkansas Human Services employee sentenced to nine years, ordered to repay $9 million intended to feed poor children

6. R-8 Board bills include Victory Ministries attorney fees, half a million for computers, Chamber fees

7. St. Louis area man charged with shooting Jasper County deputy asks for change of venue

8. Mother of driver in quadruple-fatality accident- McKay was not impaired by anything but his phone

9. Shocker- no trips to Vegas on Billy Long campaign report, $10,000 on meals

10. Five teens injured in crash near Pineville: Diamond teen charged with DWI

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin Police find body between Buffalo Wild Wings and Wal-Mart

2. Joplin parents search for runaway daughter, missing since Sunday

3. Joplin runaway found, is safe

4. No foul play suspected in death of man found between Buffalo Wild Wings and Wal-Mart

5. Diamond woman charged with DWI following one-vehicle accident near Carthage

6. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

7. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

8. Five teen injured in two-car crash near Pineville

9. Jasper County Marriage Licenses

10. Portion of Range Line closed as swat team deals with gun-wielding Kansas City man

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Betty Dennis

2. Donnie Balestrin

3. Michael DeBoard

4. Tammy Dalton

5. Becky Boyd

6. Ron Baker

7. Bill Salchow

8. Sharon Burgess

9. Kevin Ewing

10. Vickey Phillips

Billy Long: I will work to confront the challenges of cybersecurity

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

In a world where security is not simply a matter of physical safety, but also virtual safety, cybersecurity continues to be a topic of discussion in both the news and in Congress. As technology rapidly changes, our approach to cybersecurity and its emerging threats needs to adapt as well. Recently the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing regarding security in wireless technology. This hearing examined mobile cybersecurity problems while also discussing possible solutions. In the United States alone, 77 percent of the population owns a smartphone and 51 percent own a tablet.

In 2015, people purchased 1.4 billion smartphones, which was a 10 percent increase from the previous year. As smartphone purchases have increased, so have their vulnerabilities to cyber hacks. There are numerous ways hackers can exploit mobile vulnerabilities. Some ways include downloading an app through a third party, opening a suspicious text message or email or having weak passwords. In 2014 there was a 214 percent increase in mobile vulnerabilities, compared to a 32 percent increase in 2013.

As more and more people buy smartphones and store sensitive information on them, such as health records, social security numbers and credit card information, the more likely a hacker will target these vulnerable devices. According to the 2017 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, in 2016 1.1 billion people had their identities stolen, doubling the number from the previous year.

People are connected now more than ever before, and addressing all these vulnerabilities becomes even more important. The good news is there are techniques than we can do to improve mobile security. Changing passwords regularly, backing up mobile devices, paying closer attention to permission messages and avoiding downloading third-party apps can decrease the likelihood of a hack. In 2015, an analysis of over 10 million apps showed that roughly one third were created for viruses.

Cybersecurity touches on virtually every aspect of American life and our laws and policies have not kept up with technology; we must take critical steps to protect American information and ideas. I will continue to work with my colleagues on legislation that confronts these issues and addresses the most pressing problems from these emerging cyber-related challenges.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cleaver: Student debt is a growing problem

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

In a few days, I will be hosting a town hall meeting to discuss an issue that many Americans are struggling with - student loan debt.

Student loan debt has been such a growing problem that I feel it may become just as paralyzing and damaging to the economy as the mortgage debt crisis in 2008. The total debt has surpassed $1.4 trillion dollars with millions of Americans continuing to struggle to pay their student loans.

I’ve spoken with students who tell me they have difficulty moving forward in life because they are burdened with overwhelming student loan debt.

It’s time address this issue and find solutions to ease the burden and make college more affordable.

The federal government should continue to incentivize loan repayment as an employee benefit and utilize the tax code to further expand this benefit.

Colleges and high schools need to improve existing efforts to help students understand the debt they are taking on, understand the difference between grants and loans, and improve financial education.

I can’t wait to hear from students, parents and others impacted by student loan debt at my town hall August, 2, 2017. Be sure to check my Facebook page and follow me on twitter, @repCleaver to learn more. Together we can make changes to this ongoing crisis.