Thursday, August 31, 2017

Granby residents no longer have cable TV

Granby and Newtonia no longer have cable television service as of 1 p.m. today.

Granby Telephone Company, which has provided cable for both communities, let customers know recently that they could no longer afford to provide cable service.

The company, which also sells internet services, recommended its customers sign up for its digital television services.

Granby Telephone Company's message to customers is printed below:

Dear GTC Video Television Customers,

We greatly appreciate all the years that you have selected GTC Video as your television provider.

Unfortunately, we have reached a dead end with the programming networks as they are unwilling to negotiate with small companies. The continued demand to include new programming, with no flexibility for our customer preferences, and unreasonable programming costs have caused us to make difficult decisions. It is with sadness that we must share that GTC Video will be closing our television service effective August 31, 2017.

It was important for us to give you as much notice as possible to evaluate your future television needs and make changes for new subscriptions. Please remember to call the office if you want to disconnect your television service before you go with another provider and/or before the August 31, 2017 date.

We encourage you to consider over-the-top video options, such as Apple TV, Amazon Prime, HULU, VUDU and ROKU Internet devices to continue your television entertainment. These applications have low monthly fees, are easy to use, and allow you to control the content/commercials that you and your family view.

The video equipment is yours to keep for no charge; however, if you would like to return the equipment, you are welcome to do so. Remember: only set-top boxes and remotes are video equipment. Don’t unplug your cyber powers, ONTs, gigacenter, wireless routers or modems.

If you have questions, please contact the office during business hours (M-F, 8am-4:30pm).

Again, we thank you for your business.

Joplin City Council budget sessions to stream live on city website

(From the City of Joplin)

The City of Joplin will hold their budget work sessions Tuesday, September 5 through Thursday, September 7. The sessions will be streamed live on the City’s website at .

The first budget session will convene at the close of the City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, September 5. The start of this work session is estimated at 7 p.m. The budget session on Wednesday, September 6 will begin at 5:45 p.m. and on Thursday, September 7 the session will begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are being held in the City Council Chambers on the fifth floor of City Hall.

The public is also welcome to attend these meetings taking place in the Council Chambers on the fifth floor of Joplin City Hall.

For more information, contact Lynn Onstot, Public Information Officer at 417-624-0820, extension 204.

To view work sessions during live stream...

MIssouri increasing life-saving efforts in response to Hurricane Harvey

(From the Missouri Department of Public Safety)

The assistance Missouri first responders are providing to survivors of Hurricane Harvey has significantly increased in the last 24 hours. Wednesday evening 56 Missourians representing 18 different fire and ambulance departments deployed to Texas to assist with swift water rescue operations, in response to an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request from the state of Texas.

“I am proud of the work our Missouri responders are doing to save lives and assist our fellow Americans in Texas,” Gov. Eric Greitens said. “Those of us at home send our prayers to the survivors of Hurricane Harvey and all of the first responders who are risking their own safety to protect others.”

Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team with swift water rescue capabilities that has been in Texas since Friday night, Aug. 25, had already completed the rescue of more than 375 people and over 35 pets through Wednesday.

In addition, the Missouri Air National Guard 139th Airlift Wing began supporting rescue operations on Sunday, Aug. 27, by transport specialized military personnel and equipment into Texas from Kentucky. Currently, about 20 139th Citizen-Airmen and two C-130 Hercules tactical aircraft are positioned at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. In Texas, they have transported personnel and cargo between Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, and San Antonio's Kelly Field.

The Missouri fire and EMS swift waster rescue personnel who deployed Wednesday night compose four teams. The teams from the Kansas City and Cape Girardeau areas have received mission assignments and forward deployed to the Sugarland, Texas area. The two teams from the St. Louis region are currently staged in College Station, Texas, and awaiting mission assignments.

Missouri Task Force 1 is currently assigned to training Houston Fire Department firefighters on the use of GPS for wide-area searches. GPS can benefit both tracking areas covered by search efforts and documenting the locations of hazardous materials, damaged structures and other data.

The Missouri National Guard is continuing to monitor the situation in Texas and Louisiana. Planning is underway to provide additional support, if requested, for a wide-range of missions, including transportation, engineer support, security and medical response capabilities.

In addition, personnel from Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency and Division of Fire Safety assisted in locating the personnel and equipment to respond to Texas’s EMAC request for swift water rescue teams. They continue to monitor for any additional EMAC requests for assistance that Missouri could fulfill.

Here are the agencies that responded to Texas Wednesday evening: Cape Girardeau Fire Department, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Central County Fire and Rescue, Cottleville Fire Protection District, Lake St. Louis Fire Protection District, Jackson Fire Rescue, Kansas City Fire Department, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, Mehlville Fire Protection District, Metro West Fire Protection District, Monarch Fire Protection District, O’Fallon Fire Protection District, Pattonville Fire Protection District, Orchard Farm Fire Protection District, St. Charles County Ambulance District, St Charles Fire Department, Wentzville Fire Protection District, and West County EMS and Fire Protection District.      

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

State treasurer says Trump tax proposal is a step in the right direction

(From State Treasurer Eric Schmitt)

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s tax reform speech in Springfield, Missouri:

“Having worked to pass two of the largest tax cuts in Missouri history, I know the importance of enacting tax reform that spurs economic growth and expands opportunity. President Trump’s proposal to reduce the tax burden on businesses, simplify our overgrown tax code and provide relief for working families is a step in the right direction toward revitalizing Main Street and increasing take-home pay for hardworking taxpayers.”

Hartzler agrees with Trump- we must fix our broken tax code

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

After President Donald Trump spoke on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri Wednesday, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) released the following statement:

“I’m pleased the president came to Missouri to discuss how we can energize our economy, cut taxes, and bring jobs to the great state of Missouri,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, who attended the speech and met with the President. “We must fix our broken tax code to unleash a flood of innovation and resources into our local economies. Americans know better how to handle their paychecks than the federal government. With tax reform, Congress will give Americans and Missourians a pay raise and make "Made in the U.S.A.” a reality again.”

Complete text and video of President Trump's speech in Springfield

Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. It's so nice. And we appreciate it. And all of the people outside that were waving proudly the American flag -- believe me, we appreciate it very much.

I want to thank Jerry Cook, Steve Burney -- (applause) -- and all of the tremendous employees here at the Loren Cook Company for hosting us today. Where is Jerry? Where is Jerry? (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Jerry. What a job. I've heard so much about you. It's a great honor to know you, Jerry. Thank you.

I also want to welcome the many distinguished guests who are here with us for this very important event: Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin. (Applause.) Thank you, Steve. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. (Applause.) Small Business Administrator -- which, by the way, is a very large business, I will tell you that -- Linda McMahon, a friend of mine. (Applause.) And from the purely political world, a really great friend who did such an incredible job with his beautiful wife at the inauguration, Senator Roy Blunt. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Where's Roy? Thank you, Roy.

Governor Greitens is here, who is doing some job. (Applause.) Thank you, Governor. Special. Lieutenant Governor Parson. Lieutenant Governor, thank you, Lieutenant Governor. And our great members of Commerce [Congress], I want to thank you all for coming. There are so many. I was asking the Governor and Roy, I said, do you think I should announce them all? I have so many. But I'm honored that they're here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Springfield airport officials: Trump visit will have minimal impact on airline customers

(From Springfield/Branson National Airport)

We expect the presidential visit on Wednesday will have minimal impact on airline customers – there may be short flight delays when the president's plane lands and takes-off. If you're flying out of Springfield on Wednesday, we suggest that you monitor possible delays by staying in touch with your airline.

All presidential movement will be on a remote, non-public part of the airport. Business at the airline terminal will not be affected.

Since the airport does not have an area designed for plane watching, we ask that you not come out to the airport to see the president's plane. Most parking lots at the airport are meant for the private businesses that operate here.

Labette County woman pleads guilty embezzling $213,000 from Parsons bank

(From the Department of Justice)

A Labette County woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of embezzling more than $213,000 from the bank where she worked, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Debra J. Nading, 59, Oswego, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of theft by a bank employee. In her plea, she admitted the crime occurred while she worked as an assistant cashier and bookkeeping supervisor for the Labette Bank in Parsons, Kan. She used her access to the bank’s credit card accounts to make false entries to cover up the theft.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 17. She faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million. Beall commended the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for their work on the case.

Former Joplin/Carthage/Webb City Burger King owner sentenced to five years for $5.5 million bank fraud scheme

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

The owner of several Springfield, Mo., area restaurants was sentenced in federal court today for a more than $5.5 million bank fraud scheme.

Bruce Swisshelm, 70, of Battlefield, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Swisshelm to pay $5,592,583 in restitution.

(Swisshelm formerly owned Burger King franchises in Joplin, Carthage, and Webb City, as well as local McAlester's Deli franchises.)

Swisshelm was the owner of Horned Frog Deli, Inc., and Swisshelm Properties, Inc. These corporations, which specialized in the restaurant industry, owned and developed commercial properties in Springfield and elsewhere. Swisshelm owned and operated Burger King restaurants, Macaroni Grill restaurants, San Francisco Oven restaurants, McAlister’s Deli restaurants, Ebbetts Field restaurants and a Fog City Coffee restaurant.

On July 22, 2015, Swisshelm pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. Swisshelm was originally sentenced to one year and one day in prison on Jan. 22, 2016, but the government appealed that sentence. The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found Swisshelm violated the terms of his plea agreement and ordered the case to be re-sentenced.

Swisshelm admitted that he submitted false financial documents to Great Southern Bank in order to receive four commercial loans, totaling $5,592,583, from February to June 25, 2011. The bank relied on the false information provided within the financial statements submitted by Swisshelm when it approved the commercial loans.

According to court documents, Swisshelm knew his businesses had lost money for several years and were on the brink of bankruptcy. He gambled away what little money remained, and Arvest Bank, his original bank, denied numerous requests for extensions on his existing loans and his request for additional financing. Instead of simply declaring bankruptcy or selling off a portion of his assets to potentially preserve a part of his business, Swisshelm perpetrated a multi-million dollar fraud against Great Southern Bank.

Swisshelm intentionally traded on his reputation and deceived officials with Great Southern Bank into believing that his businesses were in good financial heath and he was able to repay these multi-million dollar loans. When asked for his tax documents, he again lied to Great Southern Bank officials and claimed the documents were not complete.

Swisshelm instead submitted financial statements to the bank that claimed his businesses earned a net income of more than $780,000 in 2010. Tax documents submitted by Swisshelm to the Internal Revenue Service revealed those businesses had losses that exceeded $1.8 million in 2010.

Almost immediately after receiving these monies from Great Southern Bank, Swisshelm failed to make even his minimum payment requirements toward the loan. Within approximately 60 days Swisshelm filed for bankruptcy and attempted to have the entire $5.5 million loan excused by the bankruptcy court.

Officials with Great Southern Bank began investigating the representations made by Swisshelm when he applied for these loans. During the bank’s initial investigation and a subsequent investigation by law enforcement, it was determined that nearly every representation made by Swisshelm as to the financial standing of his businesses and restaurants were lies. He claimed that his two primary corporations were either making significant profits or had reversed earlier losses and were breaking even. He also claimed ownership of several restaurants outside the state of Missouri and claimed additional revenue from those businesses as support for approval of his loan request. In truth, both of Swisshelm’s corporations and his associated restaurants were losing vast sums of money. At the time his multi-million dollar loan was approved, his out-of-state restaurants, which he had claimed to Great Southern Bank were making money, had actually been closed, shuttered, or seized by his creditors for outstanding debts owed.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Joplin firefighters among those responding to disaster in Houston

KY3 is reporting that Joplin and Springfield firefighters are among those serving with Missouri Task Force 1 as it helps with the flooding situation in Houston.

The following news release, issued by the Boone County Fire Protection District details the work the Task Force completed Monday.

MO-TF1 update from the work completed yesterday in Houston, TX.

MO-TF1 rescued 316 people, 35 pets and provided instructions to 41 individuals who decided to shelter in place. 

One incident that truly saved lives was a home that was filled with carbon monoxide. The generator was running inside and the levels of CO were very high. The family was rescued and transported by ambulance. A true disaster averted for that family.

Below is the work that continues long after the rescues are made and crews return to base. All numbers are verified with names on the lists as well as GPS mapping of areas searched to avoid duplication and confirm that no area was missed. The work behind the scene is just as important as the work in the field.

We would anticipate the same work continuing today in the Houston area as there are many more subdivisions flooded and citizens needing help.

Updates will be posted as they become available.

(Photo from Boone County Fire Protection District)

Probable cause statement: How an Ozark County mother murdered her autistic daughter and burned the body

A preliminary hearing is scheduled October 5 in Ozark County Circuit Court for a Theodosia mother and volunteer firefighter accused of murdering her autistic daughter, then repeatedly attempting to destroy her body by burning it.

The arraignment for Rebecca Ruud, who faces charges of first degree murder, child abuse or neglect, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse, was held Monday. She is being held without bond.

The details of what the Ozark County Sheriff's Office believes happened to 16-year-old Savannah Leckie are included in the probable cause statement written by Deputy Curt Dobbs.

On July 18, 2017 at 3:43 p.m., Rebecca Ruud contacted Michael Williams of the Theodosia Fire Department and asked him if he could bring a fire truck to help her with a fire at her home located at 4118 County Road 905 in Theodosia, Missouri.

Ms. Ruud was a member of the Theodosia Volunteer Fire Department and both she and her biological daughter, Savannah Leckie, were known to Mr. Williams.

Ms. Ruud told Mr. Williams that both and and Savannah had been burned during the fire. Mr. Williams told Ms. Ruud to contact the sheriff's office and have them officially send out the fire department.

Twelve minutes later at 1555 hours, Ms. Ruud contacted the Ozark County Sheriff's Office to report a fire at her home. At 1556 hours, the Ozark County Sheriff's Office dispatched the Theodosia, Gainesville, Pontiac and Caney Mountain volunteer fire departments along with emergency medical personnel from the Lifecall ambulance services. Theodosia Fire Chief Tim Jeffery arrived at the Ruud farm at 1623 hours.

After fire department personnel arrived they informed dispatch that the fire was a brushfire and not a structure fire as first reported. Fire department units from Gainesville, Pontiac, Caney Mountain and Lifecall ambulance were called off prior to arrival. As firefighters and equipment arrived at the Ruud property, Ms. Ruud directed them away from her residence and toward a logging road up a hill.

The fire was located at the top of the hill and was described by firefighters as being about a 1/2 to 3/4 acre in size.

Fireman Norman Jarrett first saw Ms. Ruud as she was coming down the hill from the fire area. Ms. Ruud told Mr. Jarrett that both she and Savannah Leckie had gotten burned. Ms. Ruud showed Mr. Jarrett a burn on her left arm. Mr. Jarrett then transported Ms. Ruud back to an area about 40 yards from the residence where he tendered medical assistance.

Mr. Jarrett asked to see Savannah in order to check on her injuries, but Ms. Ruud said Savannah was fine and she was in the travel trailer taking a shower. The travel trailer was located near a large metal building that served as a barn/workshop. Part of the metal building was converted to living quarters where Ms. Ruud resided.

The travel-trailer where Savannah primarily lived was about 30 feet long and had minimal ventilation. While it was equipped with an air conditioner, it was inoperable. There was no electrical service to the 80-acre farm and the only source of electricity was a gas-powered generator located near the travel-trailer. The generator was used to charge batteries and apparently to power the well pump. The generator was not running while the firefighters were on the farm.

The fire department personnel extinguished the fire on the hillside. As they came back toward the residence, Ms. Ruud would not let anyone check on Savannah or come close to the residence. Firefighters asked for a drink of cold water, which would require starting the generator to operate the well pump. Ms. Ruud refused their request. Ms. Ruud told the firefighters they could not come over by the residence or the travel trailer because she did not want them to see or disturb Savannah. Ms. Ruud said Savannah was naked and was lying on her bed cooling off. July 18, 2017, was a hot summer day with temperatures in the 90 degree range. At no time did any fire department personnel see Savannah at the Ruud property. Ms. Ruud's injuries were described as burns to her left arm and were treated at the scene with the assistance of Fire Chief Tim Jeffery and Robert Best, Sr. 

Rogersville Republican explains how wonderful right-to-work is

(From Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville)

The business climate in our state is always a big factor in the news and daily lives of many Missouri residents. This year, the state has made substantial progress in attracting business since the passage of Right to Work, tort reform and other pro-business legislation. We know that Right to Work is being held up, but its passage has already brought about some change in the work environment.

This year Missouri’s ranking in the CNBC America’s Top States for Business 2017 study noted Missouri has risen nine spots in one year and is currently ranked at 22. This positive increase of nine positions was the fifth biggest jump in this year’s study. Fit Small Business Magazine has also ranked Missouri the 6th best place to start a small business.

The study also shows that Missouri is ranked 17th in cost of doing business, and is 23rd in business friendliness. Across the state, there has been an increase in the enrollment at state technical colleges. These students who are seeking a skilled trade are already coming to Missouri, where we believe many will stay and establish their careers. Another recent study shows that employees in Right to Work states and states that are not report the same levels of safety, job conditions and more. The study by National Employee Freedom Week showed there is no significant difference in those factors along with number of hours worked, pay rate, benefits and more.

Several states have passed Right to Work legislation and have seen an increase in jobs, union membership and increased wages including Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. All of the states immediately surrounding Missouri, with the exception of Illinois, have passed Right to Work laws. The 22 states that passed Right to Work laws before 2012 have some of the largest economic growth. We have learned from these states that it can take time to build up jobs and the economy; but we also have seen proof as Missouri starts to see these benefits.

Right to Work states had more than 17 percent average growth between 2004 and 2014. During the same time period, states without Right to Work only experienced 11.5 percent growth. Research has shown that the top states for new manufacturing jobs, the states with lower unemployment rates and more private sector job growth are Right to Work states. And so far, it seems as though Missouri has already experienced this growth.

Monday, August 28, 2017

City of Joplin asks Highway Patrol to investigate Hope Valley CID money

KOAM's Jordan Aubey reports that the City of Joplin has asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate sales tax money that is going into the Hope Valley CID has been stolen.

The investigation came after Darrell Gross, a consultant to the Hope Valley CID was charged with stealing money from the Big Springs CID in Neosho.

From the KOAM report:

The same year investigators say Gross began stealing from the Neosho back in March of 2015, Joplin's city council approved the Hope Valley CID. The 147-acre CID includes the Cracker Barrel restaurant, two hotels, and a furniture shopping center. A one-percent sales tax in this area has been collected for proposed new construction, utility improvements, and walking trails. But Joplin city council members say not one of these improvements has been made in Hope Valley since the CID's approval.

Joplin City Attorney Peter Edwards told us in an e-mail, "Joplin is concerned, based on Mr. Gross charged with three felonies in Newton County...that Mr. Gross also had access to the bank accounts of the Hope Valley CID."

The Missouri Department of Revenue says more than $177,000 in revenue from the Joplin CID was mailed to, what the Missouri State Highway Patrol says is, Gross' personal address.

Trump coming to Springfield, public not invited

Plans for President Trump's visit to Springfield were released today and the public is not invited.

Trump is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Loren Cook Company, where he is expected to talk about tax reform.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Loren Cook, which was established in 1941, describes itself as a “leader in the design and manufacturing of fans, blowers, gravity vents, laboratory exhaust systems, and energy recovery ventilators.”

Trump has chosen to give the speech at the company of a major Republican campaign donor. Federal records show that since 2008, someone identified as Loren Cook or Loren Cook II and affiliated with the company has given more than $24,000, individually, to GOP candidates, including Trump, who got $2,800, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Missouri Democratic Party: Republicans have prioritized millionaire megadonors over Missourians

(From the Missouri Democratic Party)

Today is a sad day for working families in Missouri.

Today, harmful policies from Republicans in Jefferson City are going into effect, which means Missourians across the state will start to feel the effects of the GOP's attacks on working families.

No Missourian who works hard for forty hours every week should struggle to put food on their table. But this morning, Missourians woke up to smaller paychecks due to Republican attacks on the minimum wage.

And with the passage of SB43, which guts discrimination protections for workers, Missouri is now stained with an embarrassing and discriminatory bill that diminishes our workers, hurts our economy, and pushes the state backwards.

Republicans have once again prioritized their millionaire megadonors and dark money backers at the expense of Missourians. We should be fighting every day for working families -- not cutting their paychecks or rolling back their civil rights.

Stephen Webber, Chair
Missouri Democratic Party

Missouri Southern to buy old Joplin Public Library, implementing plans for downtown campus

(From Southern News Service)

Missouri Southern State University is returning to its roots, with plans to open a campus in downtown Joplin taking a major step forward.

Following a one-hour presentation Monday evening, the Joplin City Council voted to proceed with plans to negotiate a five-year contract with the city attorney for the university to acquire the former Joplin Public Library building at 300 S. Main St. and an adjacent parking lot on Third Street.

The presentation was offered by Dr. Brad Hodson, Missouri Southern’s executive vice president; Nancy Good, president of the Missouri Southern Foundation; and Dr. Alan Marble, president of the university. The council viewed conceptual designs and heard how private giving would allow the university to transform the building into a home for one or more academic programs.

Over the last several months, representatives from Missouri Southern have worked with the city of Joplin and the Downtown Joplin Alliance to discuss the financial and structural viability of the proposal. Architects and real estate development consultants also weighed in on discussions, said Hodson.

“Having thoroughly studied the issue – from the infrastructure costs to the pros and cons of the idea – the task force determined that the building would be a great fit for the university,” said Hodson.

Hodson also shared Phase Two of Missouri Southern’s plans for a downtown expansion, which would include working with a private developer to acquire the Howsmons building downtown for additional programs and student housing.

Marble said he was pleased with the council’s interest in proceeding with the plans, as well the university’s partnership with the foundation as a means of continued growth.

“We want to continue to make advancements and be progressive with the expansion of our programs and facilities,” he said. “And the opportunity to return to downtown Joplin is one that holds exciting potential for the university and the Joplin community.”

The university originated as Joplin Junior College, founded in 1937, sharing a home with Joplin High School on the top floor of their building at Eighth Street and Wall Avenue.

Due to overcrowding, the college moved the following year to a building at Fourth and Byers, where it would remain through 1958. That year, it moved back to Eighth and Wall until 1967, when it became a four-year college and relocated to the Mission Hills estate – Missouri Southern’s home for the last 50 years.

The former Joplin Public Library building was built in 1980 on the site where the historic Connor Hotel once stood, and opened to the public the following year.

Probable cause: Joplin man supplied so much booze to Duquesne girl she was hospitalized

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Joplin man who allegedly got a teenage girl so drunk she had to be hospitalized locally, then transferred to a Springfield hospital.

The probable cause statement indicates Brett Allen Daty, 22, bought alcoholic beverages for a 16-year-old Duquesne girl at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 1501 S. Range Line and allowed her to drink so much that he and a friend eventually had to take her to her home.

Emergency personnel had to be called to the girl's home "due to the level of her intoxication and required her to be to be transported to a Joplin hospital where she was intubated, then transferred to a Springfield hospital."

Bond has been set at $15,000 cash or surety and $5,000 cash.

Lawsuits charge Eagle-Picher with age, sex, disability discrimination

Five people fired by Eagle-Picher Technologies July 28, 2016,  including three who had worked for the company for more than 30 years, are suing for discrimination.

In the lawsuits, filed last week in Jasper County Circuit Court, the plaintiffs claim they were fired for "false reasons." All five are asking for more than $25,000 in damages.

Those filing lawsuits were:

- David Wallace, 62, Webb City, an x-ray technician who worked for Eagle-Picher for 33 years, from October 4, 1982, to July 28, 2016.

-Roxanne L. Outt, 57, Galena, Kansas, worked for the company for 31 years, from February 1, 1985, to July 28, 2016.

-William L. Kittrell, 51, Granby, worked for Eagle-Picher for three years, from March 2013 to July 28, 2016.

-Kurt Maneval, 49, Carthage, worked 15 years, from June 2001 to July 28, 2016, as an environmental lab test technician.

-Elizabeth Singleton, 61, Joplin, was employed by Eagle-Picher for 31 years, April 22, 1985, to July 28, 2016, as a quality control inspector.

The five, who are represented by the Siro Smith Dickson law firm from Kansas City, were among 135 employees who were let go by the company that day and a total of 225 who were sent packing during the first half of 2016.

Long time Joplin piano teacher charged with sexual misconduct involving a child

A long time Joplin piano teacher waived formal arraignment Thursday and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of sexual misconduct with a child.

Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate Bobby Durham, 54, is free after posting a $10,000 cash bond. Conditions of his bond include no contact his victim or her family and no contact with anyone under the age of 18,

According to the probable cause statement, the alleged sexual misconduct took place between September 2005 and September 2009 while he was giving piano lessons at his Joplin home to a girl who was aged nine to 13 during those years.

Durham allegedly made the girl lie down on the floor and then performed a solo sexual act over her.

Durham's next hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. September 27

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Kim Frencken: What does it take to run a school?

A school is not just a building. It is a community within a community. A finely tuned machine. A home away from home. A place of nurturing and growth. A nursery of learning. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Schools are not just teachers and kids, although kids are definitely the heartbeat! Schools involve custodians, cooks, bus drivers, special service providers, counselors, volunteers, administrators, substitutes, parents, and many others dedicated to helping children.

Take one out of the equation and you are unbalanced. The ride can get rough. Someone else has to pick up the slack. It is easy to get wrapped up in your own little world and forget about the teacher down the hall or the person who cleans your room after you turn off the lights. It is easy to take for granted the cookies sitting in the teacher's workroom or the encouraging email that you received. That is until they are gone. Then you feel their absence. Some more keenly than others.

If you've worked in a district that had cutbacks you are familiar with extra duties. Emptying your trash, cleaning your boards, wiping down cafeteria tables. Or, taking your Friday night to take tickets at a game or pass out programs at a musical event. And the entire time you were probably thinking about all the things you could and needed to be doing to get your room ready instead of helping in some other area.

Do we take time to consider what responsibilities others have? I know that I can get impatient when some things are not done when I think they should be done, or an email is not responded to as quickly as I would like. I have to take a step back and realize that there are more pressing issues or other responsibilities that take precedence over mine. This is a good time to have a humbling reality check. A good time to ask myself if I am appreciating those people that work in my world. Am I respecting their duties? Do I think mine are more important?

Truth is, no one person is more important than another. We are all needed to keep things running smoothly. Teamwork. It takes every one of us to pull off this thing called 'school'.

(Check out Kim Frencken's blog, Chocolate for the Teacher for more of her writing and information about her products for teachers.)

Nancy Hughes devotion: Would ya take less?

“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”
Luke 11:28 (NIV)

I recognized her the instant she walked up to my house. She was quite familiar to me; in fact, she was quite familiar to every person in my town who had ever had a garage sale.

Although she didn’t realize it, she was called the “Would Ya Take Less” lady. The reason? No matter what price you had on anything at your sale, she always ALWAYS asked if you would take less for every item she wanted.

It didn’t matter the price. An item could be marked as low as a quarter and she would ask if you would take ten cents for it.

That put you in a quandary. If you said “no” you would appear to be greedy. If you said “yes,” that opened up everything in your entire garage sale to her question again and again. Always trying for a deal, always looking for a bargain. That was the “Would Ya Take Less” lady.

As I was preparing for yet another garage sale, the “Would Ya Take Less” lady came to mind. And I wondered: do I ever do that with God? Do I ever offer Him less than what He is asking? Do you?

For example, in Mark 12:31 Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. What is our response? “Absolutely, Lord, I’ll do my best” or do we say “Lord, have you seen what I have to put up with next door? How about I just try to tolerate them?”

God states clearly in Exodus 20:14 that we are not to commit adultery. Do we honor His command concerning marriage or do we think “I know God wants me to be happy and I’m not. So I won’t leave my marriage but I’ll look for happiness somewhere else.”

In Ephesians 4:26 the writer Paul says that we should not let the sun go down while we are angry; in other words, apologize quickly and work out the situation. So do we apologize to our spouse for what was said or compromise God’s word by deciding to apologize – but not for a day or two?

Maybe we don’t actually ask God if we can bargain and give Him less than what He is asking but isn’t that really what we are doing?

We feel the nudging in our hearts. We know without a doubt what the Lord wants us to do. And yet we try to bargain with Him, as if we are the ones in control and God is simply giving us suggestions.

What if Jesus did that same kind of bargaining with us? II Corinthians 5:15 says that Jesus “died for all.” But what if He were to say to us: “I know Scripture says I died for everyone but I’m not too crazy about the depressed or angry or poor so let’s just change it to say I died for some.” Would that be okay with you?

Would ya take less, God? May we never ever ask that question of the One who gave absolutely everything for all of us on the cross.

Father, I know that I am guilty of wanting to do things my way instead of your way. Forgive me for picking and choosing the parts of your Word that I want to follow. Help me to give you my all and nothing less. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up


· Can you think of a time when you knew exactly what God’s Word said but you tried to bargain with Him instead of obeying?


· Journal decisions in the last week that you have made and write Scripture beside each one that shows whether or not you are in God’s will.

· If you are doing less than what the Lord has commanded or ignoring His Word, repent before Him and begin again to be obedient.

Power Verses

· Luke 11:28 (NIV) “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”

· James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

· John 14:23 (NIV) “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

· John 14:15 (NIV) “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

· Psalm 119:105 (NIV) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.”

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

Sports Talk Memories available at Joplin retail outlets

Copies of my new book Sports Talk Memories are available at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin.

I am expecting the first shipment of copies of my other new book, Classroom Confidential, to arrive early next week.

The first signing for both books will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, September 16, at Always Buying Books.

Turner Report t-shirts and copies of my earlier books will also be available for purchase.

Two years have passed; criminal acts uncovered by Joplin state audit still unaddressed

Last week marked the two-year anniversary of the release of the state audit of the City of Joplin.

The city received the lowest rating possible, the auditor turned over evidence of wrongdoing to county officials, and when all was said and done, nothing happened.

(Photo: Joplin city officials listen as State Auditor Nicole Galloway unveils the audit.)

It is true that changes were made in the operation of the city itself, which means that the thousands of city residents who signed the petition for the audit at least got something out of it.

Otherwise nothing has changed.

In recent issues of the Joplin Globe, we have learned that some of the same people who pushed for the hiring of the master developer Wallace Bajjali are still promoting the same sorts of projects the Texas con artist told them he could deliver.

Why not build a major concert venue in downtown Joplin and smash our sacred covenant with local veterans by razing historical Memorial Hall?

After all, there is a study showing that the arts are bringing in millions to Joplin and the new venue would bring in even more.

The study reminds me of the flawed study the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce used to show that the city would embrace a minor league baseball team with open arms.

Two years have passed and the same people whose benevolent wisdom gave us David Wallace and the Joplin Blasters are still pulling the strings.

David Wallace and Costa Bajjali are free and clear in Texas and it is unlikely the city will ever receive a cent of the money it won in a court judgment.

And from all appearances no one locally has ever investigated those two or others who were deeply implicated in the audit, including former City Councilman Mike Woolston, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian, Mayor Michael Seibert, or CART director Jane Cage.

In the August 18, 2015 Turner Report, I wrote the following:

(State Auditor Nicole) Galloway spelled out a scenario in which Woolston had purchased property at the behest of Joplin developer Charlie Kuehn, who then sold the property to the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation at heavily inflated prices.

"It was a taxpayer-funded house flipping plan," Galloway said.

The auditor showed a chart which detailed the most egregious example of property flipping.

On July 1, 2013, Woolston, working on behalf of Kuehn's Four State Homes, bought property at 1801 Delaware for $35,000. Four State Homes then sold the property to the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation for $162,000.

In all, 16 parcels of property in that area were purchased by Woolston for Four State Homes for $963,380, then sold to JRC for $1,340,824.

"Council member Woolston was aware of the properties the JRC was considering buying for redevelopment and may have used this information for personal gain," the report says. "Council member Woolston signed the real estate sales contracts as the broker on the 16 properties originally purchased by the FSH (Four State Homes) and subsequently sold to the JRC. Further, NEWCO, LLC was formed on April 4, 2013, as a partnership between Wallace-Bajjali and Charlie Kuehn to purchase these 16 properties back from the JRC for redevelopment into a theatre and retail/loft shopping center near the new library."

Later in the report, Woolston's conflicts of interest are spelled out.

"Due to council member Woolston's involvement with the CART, he was aware of properties the JRC and city were considering buying for redevelopment and may have used this information for personal gain.

"Further, acting as a broker and signing the sales contracts involving FSH's purchase of real estate in the redevelopment area (which the CART and the city had identified for future development by the JRC) created an actual, or at the very least an appearance of conflicts of interest."

Though Woolston abstained from voting on anything having to do with these parcels, he did not abstain on another occasion when there was a clear conflict of interest, according to the report.

"Council member Woolston did not abstain from voting (or disclose his business relationship with the developer) on an ordinance approving a tax increment financing redevelopment plan involving Kevin Steele, a developer with whom he co-owns a local realty company.

"During the July 7, 2014, council meeting, the council approved the Hope Valley Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan, which established a redevelopment area and designated Hope Valley Development Group, Inc., a group that includes Kevin Steele as the designer of the redevelopment project.'

The audit also noted the conclusions of Osage Beach investigator Thomas Loraine, who examined Woolston's dealings with Four State Homes and Wallace-Bajjali.

"In November 2013, the city entered into an agreement with an individual for investigative services including, 'The facts, circumstances, and ethical considerations surrounding the involvement of Council Member Woolston with Mr. Charlie Kuehn/Four State Homes, its subsidiaries and related entities, and the City's master developer, Wallace-Bajjali, with respect to the purchase, sale, or leasing of real estate for current or future development.'

"The investigator noted in his final report, issued February 3, 2014, that 'All business should be stopped under the contracts between Wallace-Bajjali and the City of Joplin. Further investigation should be considered.' "

The audit report noted, "Council members of a city serve in a fiduciary capacity. Personal interests in business matters of the city create actual or the appearance of conflicts of interest, and a lack of independence could harm public confidence in the council and reduce its effectiveness."

The audit features references to Joplin City Charter and state laws concerning conflicts of interest for elected officials, but since the state auditor is not a law enforcement official, those concerns have been turned over to others.

"We were unable to investigate in more depth the issues of possible conflicts of interest as the pursuit of some information (e. g. subpoenaing personal bank records) is beyond the scope of our audit power. However, we have referred this matter to proper law enforcement authorities who can conduct such in-depth investigations."

The audit also addressed the roles of Rob O'Brian and others in putting in the fix so Wallace Bajjali could be hired as the master developer, a decision that cost the city millions:

Wallace Bajjali may have benefited from favorable treatment during the RFP and qualifications preparation and evaluation process because the RFP preparer and two evaluators had been meeting with David Wallace or employees of Wallace Bajjali before the RFP was drafted and proposals solicited.

In addition, the city did not take sufficient actions to eliminate potential conflicts of interest before awarding the master developer contract. The Joplin Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian (a member of the ITF) drafted the RFP and qualifications for the master developer during December 2011.

Chamber invoices indicate Chamber of Commerce President O'Brian and another chamber employee, Gary Box, traveled to Houston, Texas, on October 1, 2011, to meet with representatives of Wallace Bajjali. They also met with David Wallace in Joplin on October 13, 2011.

Box later evaluated the potential master developer proposals and was subsequently hired by Wallace Bajjali in August 2012. Additionally, an employee of Wallace Bajjali submitted a parking invoice from Dallas, Texas, dated December 5, 2011, which indicated he was meeting with city of Joplin representatives.

Chamber credit card invoices indicated Chamber of Commerce President O'Brian was also in Dallas, Texas, on December 5, 2011. Additionally, in sworn testimony Chamber of Commerce President O'Brian indicated he first met with Wallace in August 2011, and met with him several other times during the fall of 2011.

Also in sworn testimony CART Chairperson Jane Cage indicated she had met Wallace a few months after the tornado and at other times during the fall of 2011. Chairperson Cage was also a member of the CART ITF and an evaluator. Chairperson Cage developed the evaluation scorecard, evaluated the master developer respondents and completed a scorecard, and compiled the totals of the scorecards.

It is questionable why the Chamber President, CART Chairperson, and another chamber employee had multiple meetings with a potential master developer company or its partners prior to drafting and evaluating the RFPs.

In sworn testimony Chamber of Commerce President O'Brian indicated Wallace suggested the "master developer concept" for redevelopment of the city, and a Wallace Bajjali employee emailed him a template of a RFP at Wallace's request. However, Chamber of Commerce President O'Brian indicated he deleted the email.

These prior relationships with Wallace Bajjali may have impaired the RFP preparer and the evaluators' ability to act impartially when preparing and evaluating the RFPs. Some of the RFP requirements and terminology may have been favorably written for Wallace Bajjali. The RFP included terminology regarding pursuit costs as a form of compensation, which was not used in proposals submitted by the 5 other RFP respondents. The ability to estimate these types of costs was also questioned by one of the respondents. In addition, some of the RFP requirements likely would have required the respondents more than a month to prepare and were questioned by other respondents.

The audit noted that three of the seven members of the committee that evaluated the master developer proposals gave Wallace Bajjali much higher scores than the others. One of those was Chamber of Commerce employee Gary Box, who was later hired by Wallace Bajjali.

Another was Mayor Michael Seibert, who told auditors "he could not recall" why he gave Wallace Bajjali a higher score.

Much more information about the hiring of Wallace Bajjali, including the content of CART documents obtained by the Turner Report and featured in my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud which showed how local officials ignored Wallace Bajjali's record of bankruptcies and lawsuits and how they not so subtly moved the vote in the direction of recommending that Wallace Bajjali be hired for a job that never should have been created in the first place.

The state auditor clearly thought that crimes had been committed, particularly in the roles played by Woolston, Wallace and Bajjali, but the actions of others raised suspicions.

Two years have passed and it is becoming more and more apparent that this community, unlike nearly every other community where the state auditor has turned information over to prosecutors and investigators, plans to ignore the auditor's recommendations and continue with the same brand of leadership that caused so many people to sign petitions in the first place.

Maybe we will all feel better when we attend the first concert in that brand new performing arts center.


The lowdown on what city and school officials did in the months and years following the May 22, 2011 tornado and those who fought back to take back their city government and school board can be found in my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption and the Joplin Tornado, available at Amazon. com and at Always Buying Books, Changing Hands Book Shoppe, and the Book Guy in Joplin, and Pat's Books in Carthage.

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

News events affect different people in different ways.

One such event- an accident on Highway 96, earlier this week offers a perfect example. Any time roads are closed, people want to know why. In this case, it was because of fatality accident.

The announcement that a fatality accident had occurred, even before the name of the victim had been released, was the most visited post this week on Inside Joplin.

The news that the victim was Jacob Holliday, 21, Jasper, (pictured) was released later that day and was the number four post for the week.

Jacob Holliday made many friends in his short time on this earth. He lived in Jasper, worked in Lamar, attended Crowder College in Webb City and had recently begun working in Joplin. His obituary was the most visited post this week on the Inside Joplin Obituaries blog.

It was news about a much different kind of person, President Donald Trump, that dominated the Turner Report statistics. The initial news that he will be coming to Springfield next week was the top post, while my commentary on Confederate statutes, based on the president's misadventures in reacting to Charlottesville, came in at number two and confirmation of his visit was number nine.

At number five was my commentary advising some of the most vehement of President Trump's supporters to lighten up.

The top posts and links to them are posted below:

The Turner Report

1. President Trump coming to Springfield next week; Joplin breathes a sigh of relief

2. One brave teacher and the historically worthless monuments to Confederate generals

3. Plea agreement spells out role Jarub Baird played in meth conspiracy, money laundering

4. Audrianna Horton was murdered four years ago today

5. Lighten up- Some Trump supporters are beginning to whine as much as he does

6. Proposal for Joplin High School Band trip to Chicago to be presented to R-8 Board

7. KZRG breaks major story on Hope Valley CID District

8. Arraignment set for doctor, former Carl Junction resident, charged with rape, sodomy, incest

9. White House confirms- Trump will come to Springfield, day, location still not certain

10. MSSU to present proposal for old Joplin Public Library to City Council at special meeting

Inside Joplin

1. Highway 96 closed east of 171 due to fatality crash

2. Highway Patrol arrests Neosho man for DWI, meth, weapons, four felonies, eight misdemeanors

3. Joplin Police makes arrests on child molestation, child abuse charges

4. Jasper man killed in collision with semi on 96

5. Bloody, intoxicated man who interrupted wedding event at Joplin bar arrested

6. Meth, marijuana and mushrooms- Joplin Police arrests woman with unusually padded bra

7. Joplin woman arrested on felony drug charge, nine warrants

8. Joplin Police arrest naked man in drainage system

9. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. Jasper County Sheriff's Office searching for missing teen

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Jacob Holliday

2. Randall Cox

3. Alaina Stepp

4. Stephanie Barnes

5. Alonzo Tidball

6. Justin Scott

7. Joseph Black

8. Kandace Landrenau

9. Dale Roark

10. Gerald Owen

A few things to consider:

-Since November 2013, Inside Joplin Obituaries has published more than 5,600 free obituaries.

-Inside Joplin features daily updates on law enforcement, court records, accidents, information on upcoming meetings.

-For the past 14 years, the Turner Report has offered the Joplin area the type of investigative reporting, political coverage and commentary that cannot be found in other area news source. The Turner Report was the first to report on the background of former Joplin master developer Wallace Bajjali, problems with our judicial system, questionable campaign contributions for Judge Dean Dankelson, the financial situation and other questionable decisions of the Joplin R-8 School District and has continued to be the only news source that has reported extensively on how local governments mishandled funds and abused authority in the years since the Joplin Tornado.

Consider helping the Turner Report/Inside Joplin continue providing an alternative news source that puts the readers first by taking a subscription or making a contribution either by using the PayPal buttons below or by sending it to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Joplin MO 64801.

Thank you for your continued support.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Flashback: Politics key opposition to affordable health care act

The health care debate is not front and center right now, but I thought it worthwhile to look back at the previous administration and its handling of opposition to the affordable health care proposal.

This is what the president said:

"The opposition was still the same- political opponents of my administration, reactionaries, and leaders of 'organized medicine.' The same false charge of 'socialized medicine' was used to discredit the program and confuse and mislead the people."

If you notice, in the first paragraph I deliberately failed to capitalize affordable health care. That is because the previous administration I was referring to was the Truman Administration.

I first noticed the statement a few years ago when I was reading Truman's diaries of his presidential years.

And the idea that the United States should have universal health care for its citizens did not begin with the Show-Me State's favorite president. Truman's predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, proposed it earlier and ran into the same opposition from the big money insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical special interests.

It should be noted that it was mostly the same legislators who opposed Social Security when it was first proposed and those who followed in their footsteps opposed Medicare.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lighten up- Some Trump supporters are beginning to whine as much as he does

Have you heard the one about the latest state dinner at that great Presidents Club in the Sky?

The former presidents were all talking about the latest person to sit in the Oval Office (when he is not at one of his golf clubs).

Harry Truman turned to Dwight Eisenhower and said, "All of these years I thought I was giving them hell. Listen to this man."

"You can't say hell up here, Harry," President Eisenhower said.

"The hell you can't."

Calvin Coolidge laughed and turned to the president nearest him. "This Russia business makes your scandal look like a tempest in a Teapot Dome."

Warren Gamaliel Harding was not amused.

Richard Nixon shook his head. "Fake news. At least they don't have me to kick around any more."

Off in the corner Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were having an intense conversation. 'Back in my day," Reagan said, "I told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall. This guy wants to build one and is willing to shut down the government to do it."

"I know what you mean," Ford said, shaking his head sadly. "I thought Nixon was our long national nightmare."

I would love to know what our former presidents would say about the current officeholder. I will never find that out, but one thing is for absolute certain- there are some Trump supporters who were already fuming as they read that little flight of fantasy. They are snarling and steam is pouring out of their ears as they condemn what the evil Randy Turner, that master of "fake news" is doing to the president. They take every real and perceived slight against Trump as a slight against them and end up sounding more like the bass voice of the Coasters as he proclaimed, "Why's everybody always picking on me?"

While that was funny when the Coasters did it, it comes off as whining now. Heaven help us, it sounds like something somebody would tweet at five in the morning.

I appreciate the readership of the Turner Report. For the most part, I don't see the totally clueless comments I notice on the Facebook pages of some of the area media and that is saying a lot since people many times do not put their names on the comments they leave on this blog. You would think that would open the door to some truly horrific comments, but for the most part, it does not.

You have continued to keep up an intelligent conversation in the comment section for years. The comments are occasionally cruel but for the most part, the conversation is polite and there is an acceptance of other opinions, even when they are diametrically opposed to your own.

I have never tried to hide what the Turner Report is- news and commentary. The large majority of you have no problem telling what is news and what is opinion. I have had many of you comment that you never agree with me, but you appreciate the news you get from this blog and the Inside Joplin blogs.

That is the way it should be.

I have also made a concerted effort to provide views that do not necessarily agree with my own and not just in the comments. I regularly run news releases, columns, and videos from our elected officials.

I have never been one to believe that people's opinions have no value if they don't agree with mine.

There have been times when I have changed my opinion because I was convinced by a winning argument. I grant you it does not happen often, but you have to have an open mind.

That being said, there is a small, but sizable, minority of Trump supporters who cannot tolerate any criticism of their hero. They seem to always deal in hyperbole. No president has ever been treated the way Donald Trump has been. Anyone who reports on Trump with less than the lavish affection provided him by people like Sean Hannity of Fox News are showing "fake news."

I was "fake news" yesterday, according to some of these people. I had the audacity to headline my first post about the president's upcoming visit to Springfield "President Trump coming to Springfield next week- Joplin breathes a sigh of relief."

You would have thought I had committed treason or colluded with Russians.

Lighten up, people. It was a funny line. Of course, people have their own ideas about what is funny and I am sure there are many of you, including some who are not Trump fans, who weren't particularly amused by my attempt at humor.

The comments have not stopped coming. Many simply said they wished Trump would come to Joplin and I have no problem with that.

The first commenter was not at all amused.

And where is that sigh of relief coming from? You are interjecting your opinion into your stories. I for one would be happy if he came to Joplin, and I am sure many share that belief in the area. It would elevate the prominence of Joplin for something besides getting blown away in a Tornado.

Pull your editorial comments out of the stories, if you want to be a journalist, or I'm going to put you in the fake news category too.

And this one.

If you want to loose most of your readers this is the way to do it! #TRUMP2020

One person was kind enough to give me a second chance.

I didn't vote for Obama, didn't agree with his policies. Definitely did not fall for the cool guy persona, but I still thought it was pretty cool when a sitting president visited Joplin. 

This wholesale hatred of Trump is childish and very disturbing. The guy is not a racist and if you think he is then you should turn off CNN and go outside. The media is playing you like a fiddle. It's all for ratings(they admitted it). 

Have you heard anything about Russia lately? They are already on to the next popular smear.
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt Mr. Turner and assume that you were concerned about Antifa idiots protesting, not disrespecting the highest office in the land. I'm sure if this were a year ago, the headline would have been much more positive.

It might have been. I growled and griped about Vice President Biden coming here for the dedication of the new high school, but that's just me I growl and gripe about a lot of things. I was fully in favor of President Obama's visit to Joplin one week after the tornado. That was an appropriate role for a president. I find a rally in Springfield, this one apparently to pressure Congress to pass tax reform, something that the president would have a better chance of doing if he stopped tweeting bad things about the legislators from his own party and stopped whining about the "obstructionist" Democrats, he might be able to stay in Washington and get something done on tax reform and a number of other issues.

Hopefully, Joplin will not have another reason like we had in May 2011 for a president to visit. If it does, I would be writing a much different headline about the visit.

I am also curious about where these people accusing me of "fake news" were when I thoroughly ripped into Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal for her Facebook post advocating the president's assassination.I suppose since they agreed with that, it was "real news."

I will be the first to say I am irritated by some of the anti-Trump comments that are quick to label anyone who supports the president as a racist. While there are certainly racists who support Trump, I don't have a feeling that they make up a large percentage of those who back him.

I am more irritated, however, by those who have tossed common sense to the wind and hopped on the "Fake News" bandwagon.

The worst of the Trump supporters' messages I have not published until now. 

Randy Turner, Remember When everybody thought you were a no-good dirty child molester. And people still have that opinion of you but they gave you the benefit of the doubt when you were never arrested or charged. However you seem to not be able to give the president the benefit of the doubt that maybe your colleagues in the Press are doing a hatchet job on him. I for one will not pay attention anymore and I would encourage those other readers who feel the same to stop following you too. You know we can't put CNN out of business after all the lies that they should be you everyday but hopefully we can you. Now I don't care if you publish this or not but I know you read them so you'll at least understand how we feel about your hatred towards somebody you probably never met. And all you know about him is what you watch on TV from the fake news. Maybe you should look into the good things that he's done in the past and the good things that he's going to do in the future and the good things that you've done now instead of criticizing him for his speech and the way he talks about things. He was elected to get rid of two-faced politicians not to become one.

If the continued existence of the Turner Report is based on having people like this person supporting me, then please, please put me out of my misery.

If the only thing you want to read is someone who totally agrees with your viewpoint, then by all means, go find "real news." I won't try to stop you.

I predict there will come a time in the near future when the people who are being bashed by the president and some of his supporters for their "fake news" are going to be appreciated for providing a patriotic First Amendment service.

To conclude, I note that most of the people who are being described as "two-faced politicians," do not deserve that insult ... and neither does Donald Trump.

If he were two-faced, he wouldn't be wearing that one.

Oh no, there I go with humor again. That always gets me in trouble.

City of Springfield- President Trump will be here Wednesday

(From the City of Springfield)

The City can confirm that the Springfield, MO Police Department has been contacted about President Trump visiting Springfield sometime on Wednesday, Aug. 30. 

We will update the media and the public when we are able to do so.

Billy Long working for passage of Childhood Cancer STAR Act

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

While great strides have been made against cancer over the years, much more lies ahead to be done. Cancer affects most everyone, whether a friend, relative or even yourself, many have experienced its devastating effects. In the U.S. alone, approximately 15,700 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 10,270 children under the age of 14 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. While protocols have made great strides and survival rates have improved significantly still sadly 1,190 of these children won’t survive. No child should have to go through this, and no parent should have to watch their child suffer.

I recently cosponsored the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act. This bill would expand childhood cancer research, enhance the lives of children who survive cancer and improve efforts of reporting childhood cancer. It also ensures children have access to compassionate use policies, which are treatments that are still in development.

By the time a child in the U.S. turns 20, one in 285 will be diagnosed with cancer. That statistic alone is reason enough to expand research for childhood cancer. However, there are challenges when it comes to accomplishing this. Limited resources and smaller population of cancer patients have drastically affected the amount of research that’s available. The Childhood Cancer STAR Act would expand the National Cancer Institute’s ongoing research efforts and collect vital information on children participating in clinical trials.

This bill would also expand research and resources for children who survive cancer as they age. More than 95 percent of children who survive cancer will have a related health issue, such as a secondary cancer or organ damage, before the age of 45. Typically this is related to the cancer itself or the type of treatment they received. The Childhood Cancer STAR Act would increase research on aging childhood cancer survivors. It would also establish a pilot program that works towards establishing programs that care for cancer survivors as they age.

It’s equally important to make sure that childhood cancer is being properly monitored and reported. With limited research, every child matters. This bill would expand upon current efforts by authorizing grants to states to establish cancer registries that will help better track childhood cancer.

Finally, this bill would ensure a child has access to compassionate use policies. If a child is unable to receive treatment that works, they would have the ability to access treatment that is either still in development or outside the clinical trial setting. Over the last 37 years, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for children with cancer.

The good news is in the U.S. alone more than 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term cancer survivors. I look forward to increasing that percentage by passing bills like the Childhood Cancer STAR Act. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure its passage in the House and the Senate and signed into law by the president.

White House confirms Trump will come to Springfield, day, location still not certain

The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will speak about tax reform in Springfield next week, but has not released a day, time, or venue:

Trump will use the speech to push for comprehensive tax reform, and signal that he expects Congress to move on this issue after the failure earlier this year to pass repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the White House official said.

The speech will also be intended to show that Trump will be engaged in the tax-reform process as soon as Congress returns from an August recess early next month.

Special Joplin City Council meeting to be televised

(From the City of Joplin)

The Joplin City Council will hold a Special Meeting on Monday, August 28, 2017. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, fifth floor of City Hall. The public is welcome to attend, and it will be aired live on KGCS-TV, Missouri Southern State University’s television station. It will be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 29.

Agenda items include a proposal from Missouri Southern State University on the use of the former library building at 300 Main Street. In addition, there will be a Public Hearing on the property tax rate for 2018. Following the hearing, the Council will take a vote regarding the public tax rate.

Generally, the proposal would be discussed during a work session, however the Council had already called this special meeting for the property tax rate hearing and a closed session, and the Joplin Charter dictates that this be designated a Special Meeting to allow an official vote to be taken.

President Trump coming to Springfield next week; Joplin breathes a sigh of relief

President Donald Trump is coming to Springfield, the Springfield News-Leader is reporting this morning.

The News-Leader, citing a report from Bloomberg, says Trump is coming to southwest Missouri Wednesday, August 30, to talk about tax reform, but will not be getting into any specifics, just acting as a cheerleader for the concept of tax reform.

The article mentions no venue for the event.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Devil's Messenger available as an e-book

My favorite "Banned in Joplin" book, Devil's Messengeris available in an e-book format for the first time in several years.

The book is a horror/mystery novel first published in 2006. The "Banned in Joplin" edition (it was pulled off the shelves of Joplin R-8 schools during the Turner evil book frenzy of 2013) was published in 2016. At the time the book was removed, it had been in school libraries locally for seven years and had never been the subject of any complaints from parents or students.