Saturday, September 30, 2017

Nancy Hughes: Not forgotten- Help is on the way

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
Isaiah 49:15 (NIV

Captain Scott O’Grady – a name you might hear and forget but whose story is unforgettable. Captain O’Grady is a former United States Air Force fighter pilot. He was shot down during the Bosnian War on June 2, 1995, but was able to eject safely and hide for a week in rough woods before being rescued.

The facts of this true story are incredible. The Bosnian Serb Army hunted relentlessly for the downed captain. He had to stay in hiding by day and move only at night, surviving by eating grass and insects and storing rainwater in a sponge kept in a plastic bag. Eventually he was able to radio his position to the Air Force, hoping that they would receive the transmission and he would be rescued.

But he was in hiding for a week - a week that must have seemed like an eternity to the captain. “Am I going to be rescued? Do they even hear my signals for help? Have they forgotten me?” he must have wondered.

But here’s what Captain O’Grady didn’t know and couldn’t see. He was not forgotten. Help was on the way.

His rescuers included 51 Marines, two helicopters along with two Marine helicopter gunships, and two Marine jump jets. There were also six aircraft along with identical replacement crews, two Navy warfare planes, two Air Force warfare planes, two Marine Hornets, two anti-tank Air Force Warthogs and a NATO radar plane – all intent on rescuing Captain Scott O’Grady!

And rescue they did. The Marines were only on the ground seven minutes – long enough to rescue the captain and take him to safety. Only later did he discover the extensive team who rescued him. Captain O’Grady was not forgotten.

My friends, we are not forgotten either.

Read today’s Scripture from Isaiah 49:15. God’s promise to Israel many years ago is also a promise to us today. Just as a mother could never forget her child, God tells the Israelites that He will never forget them. And He will never forget us either!

I don’t know what you may be facing in your life today. A child has left home and has not looked back. The diagnosis is cancer. The refrigerator has quit and there is no extra money to replace it. We may begin to question if God hears us when we cry out to Him and whether we have been forgotten in this world.

I encourage you to hold tight to His words of truth in the Bible. Don’t give up! Our hope and trust are in God alone.

Our physical eyes may not be able to see what is going on around us. But rest assured that – just like Captain O’Grady – we are not forgotten! Help is on the way!

Father, you warned us there would be pain and heartache in this world. But I praise you for never forgetting us and for answering when we call. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up


Have you ever felt like you were alone and God had forgotten you?


During your prayer time, read Psalm 18 every day for a week. Write down specific actions that God does for you, His child.

Praise Him for how He is going to sustain you and deliver you when you call on His name. Thank Him for never forgetting you, His child.

Power Verses

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV) “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

I Samuel 12:22 (NIV) “For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.”

Psalm 18:6 (NIV) “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”

II Timothy 4:18 (NIV) “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Psalm 59:17 (NIV) “O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.”

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

Kim Frencken: The widening gap between schools and parents

You want support? Buy a girdle.

Okay, so maybe I'm a little over the top, but haven't we all felt like the only support we have is in our undergarments??? I mean, do you feel like no one wants to accept responsibility or be held accountable? Why is everyone running around trying to protect their own interests instead of taking care of business and doing their job? Ugh!! So frustrating.

Take parents for example. They have a cuddly, cute little darling. They nourish and pamper their offspring for 5 years then trust them to the school system. The teacher contacts them about the behavior concerns of their little darling. "What?"they gasp, "My child would never do that!" Oh. Yes. They. Would. Or they are contacted about academic concerns. "My child makes A's on everything. Every year. It must be you." Well... I have a problem with parents that fail to be realistic. Parents who prefer to live in their own little fantasy world. No one is perfect. No one. We all need some assistance now and then. Does this make us a bad person? No. Does this make us stupid? No.

Why is there a growing trend toward widening the gap between schools and parents? It seems like they are pitted against each other in a struggle for what is best for the child. The level of trust has diminished. The level of respect is almost nonexistent. Parents often have an unrealistic view of their child's behavior and academic ability. Teachers are frustrated with the attitudes of parents. Administrators are caught between a rock and hard place.

Too often this results in teachers and students losing. Teachers lose respect for their administrators and parents of their students. Children lose the support they need to succeed. I don't mean that the teacher or parent gives up. I mean that the child realizes that nothing the teacher does will be supported by the parent, and they realize that the teacher has no support at the school. It doesn't have to be stated. Kids know. All it takes is one phone call or conference or comment made at home for the child to figure out that mom or dad won't believe or support anything the teacher says. After that... the battle is lost. The seed of entitlement is planted and the lesson on accountability becomes an antiquated notion buried in the past.

I will say that there are still some of those rare administrators that support their staff. They put their teachers and students first. They tackle the tough job of calling parents with less than stellar news. They stand up for what is right. They defend teachers who are doing what is best for children, even when parents don't agree. If you are fortunate enough to work for one of these individuals, count yourself as truly blessed. Administrators that are strong and supportive are a dying breed.

Maybe one day those perfect children will grow up to be perfect parents raising more perfect children. One can only hope.

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

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

The senseless death of young people who have been on this earth for such a short time and never had a chance to live their lives is something that we never understand but have to deal with as the rest of us go through life.

This week, two sad stories of people dying young were the most visited posts on the blogs.

The death of Missouri Southern State University student Elly Liegenbuth in an auto accident topped the Inside Joplin Obituaries blog, just as the accident itself was among the top Inside Joplin posts the previous week.

On the Inside Springfield blog, the death of a 10-year-old at the hands of a driver who was dealing with a medical situation and drove into a crowd injuring six others topped this week's posts and became the most visited post in the blog's history.

The top posts and links to them are below:

The Turner Report

1. Court rejects appeal of Newton County woman who murdered ex-lover in "Fatal Attraction" case

2. Joplin R-8 Board approves naming of areas of Early Childhood Center after Melissa Fuell Cuther, Stephanie Stephens

3. Joplin R-8 Board approves hiring of 35 classified employees, six teachers, 27 substitute teachers

4. Carl Junction woman sentenced to 10 years without parole on weapons charge

5. Tyson to pay $2.5 million for violations of Clear Water Act

6. Federal grand jury indicts Rogers man for dealing meth at Judy's Cafe in Jasper

7. Webb City man found guilty of murdering Joplin woman, dumping body in mine shaft

8. Monday arraignment set for alleged drunk driver who shut down portion of Range Line

9. Blasting News article: KC man, daughter beat up her ex-boyfriend at school, leave him in critical condition

10. Hartzler: Tax reform plan will lead to more jobs, fairer taxes, bigger paychecks

Inside Joplin

1. Lamar residents arrested in Golden City following high speed chase

2. Domestic disturbance calls leads to two arrests, man smearing marijuana-covered feces into Joplin Police car seat

3. Baxter Springs policeman, two others taken to Springfield hospital after catching on fire during domestic disturbance call

4. Traffic slowed due to two-vehicle accident on I-49

5. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

6. Driver fleeing from Joplin Police shuts down traffic at 15th and Range Line, cited for DWI, multiple charges

7. Webb City teen injured in car-cow collison

8. Citizen report leads to arrest of Joplin man on robbery warrant, 129 grams of meth confiscated

9. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

10. Joplin Police Department Arrests September 26-27

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Elly Liebenguth

2. Betty Frazier

3. Dolores Johnson

4. Hiram Hicks

5. Carolyn Hill

6. Ruth Reynolds

7. Susan Werries

8. Pamela Page

9. Gregory Bennett

10. Jimmy Goforth

Inside Springfield

Six people injured, 10-year-old dead after car crashes into crowd on Grant Avenue


Monday arraignment set for alleged drunk driver who shut down portion of Range Line

A 1:15 p.m. Monday arraignment has been scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for David Tyler Ingle, 29, Joplin, who faces felony charges of driving while intoxicated, resisting arrest, and property damage following a high-speed chase Monday that closed a portion of Range Line.

The incident was described in a Joplin Police Department news release:

On September 25, 2017 at 8:43pm our officers were dispatched to 2517 South New Hampshire for a disturbance.

When the first officer arrived, she saw a male outside yelling at another male in a vehicle. The male in the vehicle was attempting to leave and the other male was yelling to the officer that the male driving was “drunk.” The male reversed towards the officer and almost struck her with the vehicle. The officer ordered the male to stop and he instead drove away. The officer radioed the vehicle was fleeing northbound and was possibly an intoxicated driver.

A sergeant who was driving up to the call saw the vehicle and attempted a stop. The vehicle refused to stop, while driving normal speeds, with no lights on and weaving side to side on the roadway.

The vehicle drove through a stop sign at 24th and Roland and then left the roadway and hit a mailbox and trash cans. The vehicle picked up speed, turned on its headlights, but continued to run stop signs. The vehicle regularly left the roadway and returned, further indicating the driver to be impaired. The vehicle also failed to stay on the right half of the road.

The vehicle went through 15th and Range Line eastbound, failing to stop for the red light. Other officers had shut down the traffic at the intersection, preventing any innocent motorists from getting hit. The vehicle hit a “dip” in the road while crossing Rangeline, causing the vehicle to go airborne and turn sideways. The vehicle struck a yellow metal/concrete stop sign post in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. The impact caused the vehicle to roll over onto its top and slide about 150 feet on its roof. Officers contacted the driver and sole occupant in the vehicle and placed him under arrest. The driver wasn’t wearing a seat belt so he was taken to the hospital, evaluated and released to our jail.

The vehicle that ran was a 1998 Honda Accord. The driver, David T. Ingle, 29, Joplin, was arrested for felony fleeing/resisting arrest, careless and imprudent driving, felony property damage, no insurance and felony Driving While Intoxicated. Those charges have been submitted to the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration.

Joplin R-8 Board approves hiring of 35 classified employees, six teachers, 27 substitute teachers

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education approved the hiring of 35 classified employees, six teachers and 27 substitute teachers during closed sessions August 22 and September 26, according to minutes posted Friday on the district website.

September 26 meeting
Certified Employments - Kristin Clark, Christopher Enslow, and Janet Hackney
Classified Employments - John Adams, Katherine Besser, Anne Brown, Nancy Carney, Wendy Chrisenbery, Kerry Cravens, Theresia Danner, Sydney Dodd, Mathew Ebbs, Edith Garcia, Karen Hobson, Kendra Howe, Linda Kearnes, Mauree McIntosh, Samantha Miller, Sara Nurnberger, Doreen Poston, Denise Santillan, Caleb Smith, Christopher Smith, Keisha Smith, Robert Speir III, Melissa Vantrease, Tina Vazquez-Aguilar, Jennifer Wardlow, Leah Watson, Nina White, Jessica Woods, Mark Young, 
Substitute Teachers - Dawnita Campbell, Gallagher Cardona, Jennifer Ellison, Gerhard Esson, Stephen Fuller, Stanley Garber, Brian Geier, Jordan Gossard, Kelsey Gould, Elizabeth Hickam, Jaren Hulette, Polly Hunter, Melissa Mails, Joan Martin, Kenzie McAlister, Christian McCaulley, Jamie McMillan, Maggie Oathout, George Richardson, Cheryl Sieber, Toby Sissons, Christina Solorio, Rose Staley, Kelly Talley, Susannah Watkins, Annie White, Jessica Whiteley
August 22 meeting
Certified Employments - Judith Clarkson, Kate McDonald, Amanda Mehrens, Jamie O'Donnell, Crystal Stokes, and Bethany Walles. 
Classified Employments - Harold Anderson, Curtis Baker, Gena Brown, Graham Chambers, Taylor Clements, William Clouse, Garrett Cummings, Whitney Cummings, Dawn Craig, Sarah Crossley, Nicole Derenthal, David DeWelt, Abbey Holloway, Zachary King, Eve Lauriault, Kristi Lawson, Joan Martin, Nalynn Morris, Christina Phelps, Aaron Power, Anna Revels, Rebekah Seward, Kristen Sisseck, Jodi Stewart, Bruce Stockton, Terri Taylor, Sheri Virgin, Candra Wallace, Darren Wallace, and Lori Yakopec. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Billy Long: We can all work together to end domestic violence

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

A few years ago, I noticed an unsettling trend in local news coverage: a significant increase in stories about domestic violence. Many people are aware that domestic violence occurs, but they never think it will happen in their backyard. This spike in coverage served as a wakeup call. It made clear that we all have an obligation as and residents of southwest Missouri to be a voice for the victims of these horrible acts.

On average, 20 people are victims of domestic violence every minute in the United States. That’s over 10 million people annually. In the United States, 35 percent of women who visit the emergency room are victims of domestic violence. In 2016 there were over 44,000 incidents of domestic violence in Missouri alone.

In early 2015, I met with members of Harmony House, a shelter for domestic violence victims located in Springfield. It was jarring to not only see their cramped and aging location, but also to hear that they were turning away over 1,000 women annually simply due to a lack of space. I immediately began working to organize a district-wide domestic violence roundtable discussion that brought together groups from across southwest Missouri, including shelters, law enforcement, city government officials and business leaders. We discussed what measures could be taken both locally and nationally to get those in crisis the help they so desperately need. This meeting, along with the diligent efforts of business leaders and other advocates, directly led to help get Harmony House into their new location where they no longer have to turn away those in need due to space restrictions.

Domestic violence is a nonpartisan issue, and it can affect anyone regardless of political affiliation or socioeconomic status. I am thankful for the resources we have in southwest Missouri, and the incredible work that organizations and individuals do in such difficult situations. However, I believe that we can do more to address this problem. I plan to soon visit a domestic violence center out of state that offers comprehensive services in a single location to victims of domestic and sexual violence. This visit will allow me to see and bring back some of this shelter’s best practices and innovations to southwest Missouri and see how we as a community can improve our response and resources for those in need.

No one should have to endure the physical and emotional anguish associated with domestic violence alone. I believe that moving forward we can all work together to end domestic violence, but when it occurs we must be able to give people the best care possible

Cleaver addresses NFL protests

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

I thought I would share with you the same letter I sent to my colleagues on the House this week. Lately, I have been contemplating the President’s response to numerous athletes’ peaceful protests during the National Anthem. This is what I would have liked to hear him say:

My Fellow Americans,

Tonight, with heartache and frustration, I must report that our beloved nation is perilously divided. Over the past few nights, I have agonized over the fact that we have made progress on race relations but the controversy surrounding the refusal by some African American NFL athletes to stand during the ritualistic pre-game singing of the National Anthem has revealed that on the issue of race, our once fast-paced progress has stagnated. 
I fully understand that many of you, honest and hardworking Americans, find offensive the kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem. While I would choose to protest in a different manner, I frequently recall the words I uttered at my inauguration on January 20, 2017, “I do solemnly swear…to the best of my ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Any American has the constitutional right to protest, and even if I disrelish this form of protest, as the president of this great nation, I will and I must defend and respect their incontrovertible, guaranteed right to kneel during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. And I will honor my pledge that I made upon taking office, a pledge which was purified by the blood of those Americans who selflessly fought to their dying breath for the freedoms we enjoy.

Finally, we must bring to a halt our mutating political and racial tribalism or it will bring to an arrest our capacity to “form a more perfect union.” We must proudly become the blessed nation that tolerance built. And, in an attempt to turn down the volume and volatility in the public square, I will hold a series of meetings here in the White House where I, along with Congressional leaders, can better inspire a new tone as we seriously discuss the issues that launched the protest in the first place. If our nation is to continue its euphuistic pursuit of that more perfect union, we must terminate our ultimate allegiance to a race, a tribe, an ideology or a cultural identity. Our destiny is unity not division. When we are engaged in fighting each other, we are unconsciously inviting our adversaries to test us. Yes, it is true that racial minorities see things quite differently from the majority, but our differences do not demand division.

James Baldwin said that “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” Calling a protester unpatriotic is in and of itself unpatriotic. It reduces patriotism to a falsity.

Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress

Carl Junction woman sentenced to 10 years without parole on weapons charge

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

A Carl Junction woman was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.

Lisa Lee, 43, of Carl Junction, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 10 years in federal prison without parole, the maximum statutory penalty for the offense.

On April 26, 2017, Lee pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Lee admitted she was in possession of a Taurus 9mm revolver when she was stopped by a Joplin, Mo., police officer on Feb. 26, 2016.

The police officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Lee was driving. As he approached the vehicle, the officer saw Lee hide something near the door. Based on Lee’s furtive movements and nervous manner, investigators conducted a canine sweep of the exterior of the car. The dog alerted on the car, indicating the presence of narcotics.

Officers searched the vehicle and found $21,000, approximately 83.68 grams of pure methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and the Taurus revolver. The firearm was located in the trunk of the vehicle and wrapped in a multi-colored handkerchief.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Lee has prior felony convictions for receiving stolen property, forgery and stealing. She currently has four felony cases pending against her in the Circuit Court for Jasper County, Mo.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

KRPS profile on the Turner Report/Inside Joplin

I had the pleasure recently of sitting down for an interview with Fred Fletcher-Fierro of public radio station NPR for a profile that was broadcasted on one of the local segments during Morning Edition.

I missed out on hearing the profile when it first aired, but Fletcher-Fierro was kind enough to send me a link to it.

In the interview, I talk about my rather suspect beginning in journalism at the Newton County News in 1977, about the influence my editor at the Lamar Democrat in 1978 Lou Nell Clark had on my subsequent reporting, how I became a blogger and how I do the Turner Report and Inside Joplin.

Let me know what you think.

Blasting News article: Transgender teen brutally murdered, four arrested in Texas County, Missouri

My latest Blasting News article is much too close to home as it covers the murder earlier this month of a Texas County Missouri teen who had only recently come out as transgender.

Texas County authorities have not termed the murder of Ally Steinfeld to be a hate crime as defined by law, but the grisly details of the crime as they are spelled out in the article should make you wonder how it could not be considered a hate crime.

It is scary to think this kind of thing can happen.

You can find the article at this link.

Previous Blasting News articles

No $3 million bonus for former Equifax CEO, but millions headed his way

Father, daughter charged with assault after beating of her ex-boyfriend

Nationally known Jewish singer/songwriter arrested on child pornography charge

Meth-soaked greeting card leads to four-year prison sentence for Texas couple

Turner, Hacker to be at book signing Saturday at Pat's Books in Carthage

The second signing for my new books, Classroom Confidential and Sports Talk Memories is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Pat's Books, 1250 S. Garrison Ave., Carthage.

In addition to the new books. I will have copies of my older books, including Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud, Scars from the Tornado, Let Teachers Teach, No Child Left Alive and Devil's Messenger available.

Carthage Press Managing Editor John Hacker will be there to sign copies of his book on the Battle of Carthage 150th Anniversary Re-Enactment, as well as copies of the two books we worked on- 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado and Spirit of Hope.

Turner Report t-shirts will be available.

Anyone buying two of my later books or one of those books and a Turner Report t-shirt will receive a free copy of one of my three early books- Small Town News, The Turner Report, or Newspaper Days.

Subscriptions to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin will also be accepted.

Come check out the large selection of books, videos, CDs, vinyl rccords and magazines at Pat's Books.

See you there!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Federal grand jury indicts Rogers man for dealing meth at Judy's Cafe in Jasper

A federal grand jury indictment, charging Philip Allen Northcutt, 58, Rogers, Arkansas, with possessing and dealing methamphetamine was unsealed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Northcutt was nailed October 22, 2016, in the parking lot at Judy's Cafe in Jasper during a sting operation conducted by the Jasper Police Department, the Barton County Sheriff's Office, and the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team.

The law enforcement officials confiscated nearly five pounds of crystal meth during the arrest.

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

Monday, October 2, 2017
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers

Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Request To Address Council

Janus Lazurus, 2922 E. 15th, requests to address Council to invite Joplin City Council to defend the City Challenge Champion title in USA Sanctioned Joplin Table Tennis Fall 2017 Tournament on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Memorial Hall. Joplin Police Department would be the challenger this year. 

Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by designating the Reverend Harris Joplin Home as an Historic Landmark and include in a Historic Preservation Overlay District as described below and located SW Corner of 6th and Elm Streets in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri. 


AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by designating the Site of the First Major Lead Strike property as an Historic Landmark and include in a Historic Preservation Overlay District as described below and located at which a tract of land 750 feet north of Broadway Street and 75 feet west of Murphy Boulevard, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.


AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by designating The Jackson Avenue Low Water Bridge as a Historic Landmark and include in a Historic Preservation Overlay District as described below. 


AN ORDINANCE providing 27th Street between Picher and Bird Avenues – A request to vacate
425’ of public right of way, more commonly known as 27th Street – Michael Landis. 

Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The September 18, 2017 City Council Meeting




Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving and authorizing payment into the Circuit Court of Jasper County, Missouri, the amount of the Commissioners’ Award and Commissioners’ Fees in the case styled City of Joplin v. Arizona Property, LLC et al., Case No. 17AO-CC00094, from the Parks/Stormwater Sales Tax Fund, Account 130-4555-530-8665, Project TS0605, to complete the acquisition of right-of-way across property located at 2902 Arizona Avenue, in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE electing John Podleski as Municipal Judge for the City of Joplin and approving an Agreement with John Podleski for Municipal Judge services; authorizing the Mayor to execute said Agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving an amendment to a Lease Agreement with Alpha Air Center, LLC, in an amount not to exceed Nineteen Thousand Four Hundred Seventy and No/100 Dollars ($19,470.00) for an additional 4,338 square feet of lease space through the duration of the original lease; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Joplin Roofing for the purpose of repairing the GA terminal building roof at the Joplin Regional Airport for the not to exceed price of One Hundred Five Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($105,000.00); authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and, amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 as adopted by Ordinance 2016-177 on October 17, 2016; and, containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving a 5 year car rental concession agreement with Carco Capital Corp dba Hertz Car Rental in an amount not to exceed the following monthly rental amounts, year 1 - $3,400.00, year 2 - $3,450.00, year 3 - $3,525.00, year 4 - $3,600.00 and year 5 - $3,675.00 to occupy space and conduct business in the commercial terminal at the Joplin Regional Airport; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving a 5 year car rental concession agreement with Bob’s Rentals Inc. dba Avis Car Rental in an amount not to exceed the following monthly rental amounts, year 1 - $3,400.00, year 2 - $3,450.00, year 3 - $3,525.00, year 4 - $3,600.00 and year 5 - $3,675.00 to occupy space and conduct business in the commercial terminal at the Joplin Regional Airport; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving a Work Authorization with Olsson Associates dba Joplin Joint Engineering Team in the not to exceed amount of Fifty Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Six Dollars and no/Cents ($50,846.00) for design, right of way acquisition, and construction management for a street extension at 26th Street and McCoy Avenue funded through CDBG-DR, and containing an emergency clause.

COUNCIL BILL NO. #2017-614

AN ORDINANCE approving the Memorandum of Understanding and Lease Agreement by and between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area, for the lease of real estate located at 520 S. School Avenue; authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.

Ordinances - First Reading


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading



AN ORDINANCE approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) And Agreement by and between the City of Joplin, Missouri, a Municipal Corporation, and Connect2Culture, a Missouri Not-For-Profit Corporation, dealing generally with the transfer of the Memorial Hall Parking Lot by the City of Joplin to Connect2Culture for the purpose of constructing a Joplin Arts & Entertainment Center; authorizing the City Manager to execute said Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) And Agreement, and such other documents as may be necessary to complete the conveyance, by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri.

Unfinished Business


New Business


News From The PIO



Vote to go into closed session, which shall pertain to leasing, purchasing or sale of real estate by a public governmental body where public knowledge of the transaction might adversely affect the legal consideration therefore; and which shall pertain to the hiring, firing, disciplining, or promotion of an employee or particular employees of a governmental body involving personal information; more specifically for the purpose of evaluating certain Council employees; as set forth in Section 610.021(2) (3) RSMo, as amended, 2016. This meeting, record, and vote to be closed to the extent provided by law. The City Council shall adjourn at the end of the session.

Roy Blunt speaks in favor of tax plan

In this speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Roy Blunt expresses the need for tax reform and says lower taxes will mean more taxpayers and that will make up for the money that won't go into the federal treasury.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Blasting News article: Former Equifax CEO golden parachute worth millions

In my latest article for the Blasting News website, I examine just how much money former Equifax CEO Richard Smith stands to make after "retiring" from his job.

The article also looks at how much Smith made last year and the fringe benefits he received as part of his pay package.

One in particular stood out to me as I was going through the Securities and Exchange Commission documents- During the same time the personal information of millions of us was hacked into in one of the biggest security breaches in our nation's history, Richard Smith had his home security system paid for by Equifax.

It angered me to read the documents. Check it out and let me know what you think. You can find it at this link.

Tyson to pay $2.5 million for violations of Clean Water Act

(From the Department of Justice)

Tyson Poultry Inc. (“Tyson”), pleaded guilty today in federal court in Springfield, Missouri, to two criminal charges of violating the Clean Water Act stemming from discharges at its slaughter and processing facility in Monett, Missouri.

Tyson, the nation’s largest chicken producer, is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas. Tyson is a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., which owns and operates multiple companies in the food supply and food service industry. The charges to which Tyson pleaded guilty arose out of a spill after the company mixed ingredients in its chicken feed at its feed mill in Aurora, Missouri.

One ingredient in Tyson’s feed was a liquid food supplement called “Alimet,” which has a pH of less than one. According to the plea agreement filed in federal court, in May 2014, the tank used to store Alimet at the Aurora feed mill sprang a leak, and the acidic substance flowed into a secondary containment area. Tyson hired a contractor to remove the Alimet and transport it to Tyson’s Monett plant, where the Alimet was unloaded into the in-house treatment system that was not designed to treat waste with Alimet’s characteristics. Some of the Alimet made it into the City of Monett’s municipal waste water treatment plant, where it killed bacteria used to reduce ammonia in discharges from the treatment plant into Clear Creek, and resulting in the death of approximately 108,000 fish.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Tyson will pay a $2 million criminal fine and serve two years of probation. In addition, Tyson will pay $500,000 to maintain and restore waters in the Monett area, with a focus on Clear Creek and the adjoining waterways. Tyson will also implement environmental compliance programs including: hiring an independent, third-party auditor to examine all Tyson poultry facilities throughout the country to assess their compliance with the Clean Water Act and hazardous waste laws; conducting specialized environmental training at its poultry processing plants, hatcheries, feed mills, rendering plants, and waste water treatment plants; and implementing improved policies and procedures to address the circumstances that gave rise to these violations.

“Our Division is hopeful that the outcome of this case will help deter future violations of the Clean Water Act and keep our water supply and marine life free from pollution,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Today’s agreement will remedy environmental harm caused by the defendant’s actions while also helping to ensure that these kinds of problems do not happen again.”

“Tyson’s admitted criminal conduct caused significant environmental damage, including a large-scale fish kill,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Larson of the Western District of Missouri. “Today’s plea agreement not only holds Tyson accountable for its actions in Missouri, but requires the company to take steps to insure compliance with the Clean Water Act at its poultry facilities throughout the United States.”

“Ensuring agricultural operations dispose of their waste in a lawful way is critical to protecting the health of local communities and clean water,” said Larry Starfield, acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The plea agreement in this case will improve Tyson’s compliance with important clean water and hazardous waste laws and help prevent future violations.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Wood and Acting U.S. Attorney Larson thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division for its work in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Hartzler: Tax reform plan will lead to more jobs, fairer taxes, bigger paychecks

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

After the announcement of the Republican tax reform plan Wednesday, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) released the following statement:

“I’m pleased we are working together in Congress on a tax reform plan that will lead to more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks. The last time America had major tax reform was in 1986, and since then everything has gone out of style, especially our outdated, complex tax code. Now is the time to make our tax code simpler for everyone while allowing businesses to be more competitive globally. This means more investment in our economy and increased jobs for all Americans.

Our tax reform plan will immediately benefit the average American and small business owner. For example, a farmer can now buy a tractor and immediately expense the cost of this new investment, and the maximum tax rate for small and family-owned businesses will drop down to 25 percent. Families will see an increase in their child deduction tax credit, and most Americans will now be able to fill out their taxes on a paper the size of a postcard. The days of spending hours poring over complicated documents and exemptions will be replaced by a simpler system with much lower taxes for small businesses and the middle class.

Our tax reform plan eliminates excessive loopholes that are used by the wealthy while protecting key deductions for the middle class, such as tax deductions for charitable contributions, home mortgage interest and tax incentives for retirement security, work, and higher education.

I hope we can quickly pass this legislation and get it on the President’s desk so that we can create more jobs, simplify the burdensome tax process, and put more money in the wallets of Americans.”

Webb City man found guilty of murdering Joplin woman, dumping body in mine shaft

A Jasper County jury deliberated for 27 minutes before finding Todd Greathouse, 55, Webb City, guilty of first degree murder today concluding the three-day trial.

Sentencing for Greathouse is scheduled for November 6 in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Greathouse was charged with the May 29, 2016 death of Anita Dunn, 61, Joplin, whose body was discovered in an abandoned mine shaft

The case against Greathouse was spelled out in the probable cause statement from Cpl. Luke Stahl of the Joplin Police Department:

Greathouse drove from his residence (1715 Prairie Flower Road, Webb City, 64875) to the victim, Willana "Anita" Dunn's residence (1101 S. Jackson Ave.). Greathouse and Dunn got into an argument and during the argument Greathouse strangled Dunn until she lost consciousness.

He then used a cord from a lamp and strangled Dunn until he was sure she was deceased. After Dunn was deceased, Greathouse carried her to his 1998 Volkwagen Beetle (Missouri License Plate SN0A9U) and placed her in the trunk.

Greathouse drove Dunn's body to the area of 1745 Pump Lane, Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, 64801. Greathouse used wire and weed eater cord and tied Dunn to a rock; he then dropped Dun's body into an abandoned mine shaft filled with water.

Dunn's body was located in a flooded mineshaft in the area of 1745 Pump Lane. Dunn was tied to a large rock by wire and weed eater line.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Court rejects appeal of Newton County woman who murdered her ex-lover in "Fatal Attraction" case

The Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals Monday rejected the appeal of a Fairview woman serving a life sentenced without parole for the March 30, 2015 murder of her ex-lover.

Connie Sanders-Ford, 58, Fairview, was convicted by a McDonald County jury May 19, 2016, for killing John Jordan, 58, at his Granby home. The case was heard in McDonald County on a change of venue.

Sanders-Ford argued that hers was a crime of passion and that the prosecution had not proven that she deliberated before shooting Jordan. The appellate court disagreed.

The background of the case was provided in the opinion:

Victim’s wife was fixing supper at home when Defendant walked in, introduced herself, said she and Victim had “been having an affair for over a year” and “I’m here to tell you so that he can leave you,” called Victim’s wife “pathetic,” then spent the next month trying to break up the marriage:

• Defendant repeatedly returned to Victim’s home to make trouble. Once the police had to be called to get her to leave.

• Defendant stalked Victim’s wife at her job, her home, and on the streets. Victim’s wife drove to the sheriff’s office on one occasion and Defendant followed her inside.

• Defendant offered Victim’s adult son a financial incentive to convince Victim to abandon the marriage. When the son refused and told Defendant to leave them alone, Defendant threatened to shoot Victim and herself.

• Defendant went to the son’s house, argued with Victim, and pulled a gun, which Victim took away from her.

• Defendant threatened to “destroy” Victim’s family by telling the whole town about the affair, then went to the local newspaper and angrily demanded that a story be written about Victim.

• While Victim’s wife was at the courthouse seeking an order of protection, Defendant approached and handed her a purported “love contract” between Defendant and Victim.

• Defendant called Victim and threatened to shoot herself because he would not leave his wife. Victim then heard a gunshot, hung up, and called 911. Police found Defendant at the cemetery, lying near grave plots owned by Victim and his wife. Meanwhile, Victim sought to sever financial ties with Defendant, then he, his wife, and his son all obtained ex parte orders of protection against her. Later that day, Defendant confronted Victim at his son’s house and threatened to shoot Victim and his son unless the orders of protection were dropped.

Two days before the hearing date on full orders of protection against Defendant, she shot Victim in the chest at the front door to his home. As he succumbed, Defendant fled to a friend’s house, confessed what she had done, and sought to call an attorney.

Joplin R-8 Board approves naming of areas of Early Childhood Center after Melissa Fuell Cuther, Stephanie Stephens

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education a few moments ago approved the recommendation of the Early Childhood Education Center Naming Committee to name portions of the center after two Joplin education pioneers. The committee also recommended naming the building the Joplin Early Childhood Education Center.

The official recommendations were delivered by committee members Brad Belk (shown in photo) and Melinda St. Clair. Belk read the biographies of Melissa Fuell Cuther and Stephanie Stephens.

The committee suggested that the administrative and child services center of the building be named after Cuther and the learning grove, described as a "large learning exploration area" after Stephens.

After the committee's first meeting, it had narrowed its list of potential names to three, Cuther, Stephens and Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin and the Joplin City Council voted to support naming the center after Richard, but Richard asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration.

Earlier in the meeting, the board was told construction of the center is on target to be completed in July 2018.

The biographies provided by Belk are printed below"

Stephanie Stephens

Stephens began her career with Joplin in August 1989, teaching kindergarten at Irving Elementary School. Shortly thereafter, she joined a team that pursued the vision of establishing an early childhood center and became one of the first teachers hired for the early childhood special needs program. She ultimately became the director of that program, a position she held until her death.

"Stephens was a tireless, dedicated servant to her program, spending countless hours going way beyond the typical 9-to-5 scenario," Belk said in his prepared remarks. "Her director’s role was not only her career but was her life’s goal, enhancing the quality of life for the little ones, preparing them for school. She believed that education was for all children, no matter of their social, cultural or economic background."

For a time, Stephens also served as principal of Washington Education Center, and in 1999, she ran the summer school career program. She established the Great Expectations program, and her school was named as a model for the state of Missouri. Throughout her tenure, she oversaw the Parents as Teachers program.

In addition, Stephens was involved with the Joplin High School band program, serving as an executive board member for the Booster Club. She also volunteered with the north and south Head Start centers in Joplin, and she helped develop the St. Paul's United Methodist Church preschool program.

Stephens died March 18, 2006. She is survived by one son, Andy Cornilson.

Melissa Fuell Cuther

Melissa Fuell Cuther was an outstanding, highly respected leader in Southwest Missouri as a teacher, parks founder, board member, singer and author. Her accomplishments were numerous and varied, each adapted toward empowering people and improving society. Much of her humanitarian efforts occurred in an era when blacks were barred from bathrooms, restaurants and public schools, yet she remained determined.

Cuther was born in 1886 in Warrensburg, but she attended school in Sedalia because there wasn't an educational facility for African-Americans in her hometown. She later enrolled at Lincoln University and paid for her education by scrubbing the college's halls; she graduated second in her class.

She taught elementary classes in Joplin at Lincoln School from 1905 to 1912 and married Charles William Cuther, a longtime head waiter at the Connor Hotel, in 1916.

The Cuthers, along with other local residents, were responsible for elevating the value of Ewert Park. Through their efforts, the park developed into a meeting and recreational place for African-Americans. Today, the three-day Emancipation Days event is still held at Ewert Park.

Cuther also helped found the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond by writing letters to Washington, D.C., senators, explaining to them the importance of Carver and the need to preserve his legacy. During the late 1940s, she directed Carver Day celebrations, and the monument was dedicated in 1953.

In 1951, Cuther established the Carver Nursery School in Ewert Park, offering black children the opportunity to attend preschool for the first time in Joplin. During its first 10 years, the school cared for more than 600 children.

Her dedication to improving opportunities for African-American residents extended beyond her nursery school. She encouraged black children to participate in Joplin's annual Christmas parade, and in 1946, she organized the first African-American Girl Scout troop in the region. She also established the Ewert Park Little League baseball program and served on the board of directors for Lincoln University.

Cuther was also an author and singer. She joined the Blind Boone Concert Co. as a singer and worked as its secretary. While touring, she wrote a biography of John "Blind" Boone — a groundbreaking achievement, as she was the first African-American author to write about the life of a black musician.