Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Defense concedes Springfield teacher's aide raped, murdered, kidnapped 10-year-old girl

The first degree murder trial of Craig Michael Wood for the February 18, 2014, murder of 10-year-old Hailey Owens of Springfield, will enter its third day Wednesday. I wrote about it in my latest article for the Inquistr, but under my contract, I am only allowed to use a small sample from the article on the Turner Report. The complete article can be found at this link.

The article begins in the following fashion.

High on a combination of meth and alcohol, Craig Michael Wood, a coach and teacher’s aide at a Springfield, Missouri middle school, kidnapped, raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl, then stuffed her remains in a trash bag.

The remainder of the article, including two details from the first two days, including evidence that was collected against Wood and the emotional testimony of Hailey Owens' mother can be found at the Inquisitr article.

Suspect in New York City terror attack stopped by authorities in Kansas City, St. Louis areas

The suspect in a terror attack that killed eight people and hospitalized 11, is no stranger to Missouri.

Court records indicate law enforcement officials stopped him in both the Kansas City and St. Louis areas in 2015 and 2016.

Law enforcement authorities say Sayfullo Saipov, 29, of Florida drove a rental truck down a bicycle path today, hitting a school bus and shouting "Allahu Akbar" as he was shot by police and taken into custody.

Online Platte County Circuit Court records show Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov was driving a 2006 Freightliner 6;53 a.m. December 16, 2015, when he was stopped by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper and cited for an equipment violation involving his right side brake lining.

It took nearly a year for the case to work its way through the judicial system.

When Saipov failed to pay a fine or show for his court appearance on April 5, 2016, Judge Dennis Carl Eckold issued a warrant for his arrest, with bond set at $200.

The warrant was eventually served by the St. Charles County Sheriff's Office on October 21, 2016, though there do not appear to be any online records showing he was arrested for any other violation. He posted the bond and was released

The bond was applied toward Saipov's fine and court costs when he failed to show for a November 29, 2016 hearing.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Joplin sex offender dodges prison at probation revocation hearing, must enter residential treatment center

A Joplin sex offender will not return to prison for violating the terms of his probation.

U. S. District Court Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark order Urban Danley, 34, to enter a residential re-entry center until it is determined by the center director "after consultation with a parole officer" that he can be released.

The stay at the residential center is not to exceed 120 days, according to the order.

Danley was less than four months into a five-year probationary period when the government filed its motion to revoke the probation..

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

The original conviction occurred in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where he was convicted in 2003 at age 20, of lewd molestation of a 6-year-old victim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mediation session in Sonic Rangeline sexual harassment lawsuit unsuccessful

A mediation session between lawyers for Sonic and a former carhop who is suing the company for sexual harassment ended with no agreement reached, though the two sides are continuing to talk.

The report to Judge Douglas Harpool on the mediation results was filed this afternoon in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Filings can resume in the lawsuit as of Thursday.

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

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

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

Not included are defendants Alred and manager Portland Keough.

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

Earlier posts

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

Sonic supervisor named in sexual harassment lawsuit cited for sixth DWI

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

Thirty minutes ago, I was attacked

Hartzler bill to improve FEMA relief efforts signed into law

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

President Trump signed into law the FEMA Relief Improvement Act (H.R. 1117), a measure sponsored by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) aimed at increasing the reliability of FEMA’s services following disasters. The law ensures disaster victims receive better guidance, more accurate information, and greater service from FEMA during emergencies and natural disasters.
“There are already enough ‘unknowns’ for disaster victims,” Hartzler said. “They deserve to have confidence and certainty in our nation’s emergency response systems. A family who has experienced the devastation of a flood, a tornado, or a hurricane needs peace of mind—not bureaucratic roadblocks and red tape.”
In the past, there have been repeated incidents of lost and misplaced paperwork, poor communication between state and federal agencies, and a general lack of information from FEMA officials during emergencies, hindering disaster response and relief. In Missouri, there are still cases pending from floods that occurred in 2013.
The signing of this bill into law is timely, considering the many natural disasters that have affected the U.S. this year—from devastating hurricanes and wildfires to the widespread flooding that struck Missouri in spring 2017, leaving homes, farms and properties plagued with water damage.
Hartzler’s bill, which passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, requires FEMA to improve accountability by devising a plan to provide consistent and timely guidance during disaster responses.
Specifically, the legislation requires FEMA to create an action plan to improve field transition by:
·        Providing consistent guidance to applicants on FEMA disaster funding procedures during the response to an emergency or disaster;
·        Conducting appropriate record maintenance and transfer of documents to new teams during staff transitions;
·        Providing accurate assistance to applicants and grantees to ease the administrative burden throughout the process of obtaining and monitoring assistance;
·        Implementing operating procedures and documenting retention requirements to ensure the maintenance of appropriate records throughout the lifecycle of the disaster; and
·        Identifying new technologies that further aid the disaster workforce in partnering with state, local, and tribal governments and private nonprofits in the wake of a disaster to educate, assist, and inform applicants on the status of their disaster assistance applications.
“I’m thrilled this timely piece of legislation has been signed into law,” Hartzler said. “Now, victims of disaster will receive the prompt assistance they need and deserve.”

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Nancy Hughes: The candy corn reminder

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15 (NIV)

There is a small bowl full of candy corn sitting on my coffee table. It’s almost always there. I keep it as a reminder of something that happened to me as a small child and as a reminder of my behavior as an adult.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents played cards with several couples and we had gone with them to the home of a family we had not met before. As we were sitting on their sofa in the living room, we spotted a bowl of candy corn on the coffee table. That was a delicacy to us and one that we seldom had at our house.

The daughter of this family frowned as she watched us dip into the bowl again and again. We truly were not trying to be greedy; we simply knew that we would probably not get another opportunity to eat candy corn for a long time.

We must have eaten almost all the sweet candy because she suddenly grabbed the bowl and shouted to her parents in the other room: “Those kids are eating ALL the candy! By the handfuls, Mom! It’s almost gone!” and gave us a look of ‘what is wrong with you’ that mortified us all.

I remember thinking as my face flushed with embarrassment that I would never treat anyone like that – ever.

Fast forward to my being a parent and buying my children a package of 12 juice boxes. I had just enough money to get them and told my kids to make them last all week.

When I came in the kitchen about an hour later and saw all 12 empty boxes, I blew up. “You kids drank ALL the juices at one time! Every single one! Now it’s all gone!” and gave them the ‘what is wrong with you’ look. I am sure they were mortified.

Suddenly, I was not looking at 12 empty juice boxes but rather at a nearly empty bowl of candy corn and I could feel the sting of hurtful words and the weight of embarrassment.

The very thing I hate, I end up doing. That’s what Paul is saying in Romans 7:15. I know what is right. I know what I should do. But instead, I do the very thing that I hate.

Reading further in verses 18 and 19 of Romans, Paul states that he, too, has the desire to do what is good and right but he just doesn’t do it. Even Paul struggled with the sinful nature that urges us to ignore the right thing to do and instead to do whatever we want.
There is an ongoing battle between our sinful natures and God’s will for our lives.
How thankful I am for the cross and for a Savior whose grace and mercy are mine when I ask for forgiveness and another opportunity to be Jesus to the world.

Let us keep on praying, confessing our mistakes and trying again. He who is faithful will never leave us. And His grace covers candy corn and juice boxes.

Father, how many times have I said I would never treat someone a certain way, and yet I have. Forgive me and help me to focus on you and your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever seen or overheard something and thought “I would never do that” but later found yourself doing the very thing you said you would never do?


Find something, like my bowl of candy corn, to place in your home as a reminder of Romans 7:15.
When you find yourself, as Paul did, doing the opposite of what you want to do, ask the Lord for forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to redirect you to God’s will.

Power Verses

Romans 7:15 (NIV) “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Romans 12:9 (NIV) “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Romans 7:18 -19 (NIV) “. . . For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.”

James 4:17 (NIV) “Anyone, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

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

Kim Frencken: The things kids get away with

Times have changed. There is no doubt about that. Back in the day (my day) I wouldn't have dreamed of disobeying an adult or talking back to them. Okay. I did. Once. Notice that? Once. Being a mouthy teenager got nipped in the bud pretty quickly. My parents showed me that they were still in charge and I still had a lot to learn.

Fast forward a few years and we now have 5 year olds talking back. Trying to argue. I say trying because I refuse to argue and it is hard for someone to argue with a brick wall. Although... I have seen it. Even after I give my directive and walk away they are still standing there arguing with the air. I guess they want to have the last word.

What about the kid who has learned that when they don't want to do something all they have to do is throw a tantrum or simply refuse and become a statue. Unfortunately, the statue is really quite effective. They don't budge. Or speak. It is frustrating, but on the brighter side they are quiet. I call this silently defiant. It irritates me. It also tells me that this practiced behavior is something that is called to action frequently. Not only at school, but also at home. And, it tells me that at home parents simply give up and complete the task themselves and move on. Time isn't taken to correct the behavior so the behavior is found to be effective. And heaven knows how tied the hands of a teacher are. So... we do what we can and eventually we ignore the little statue and move on. I know what my parents would have done. It wouldn't have been pretty, but it would have gotten my attention and it would have proven once and for all time how ineffective my strategy was. Not that I would have tried this anyway. I couldn't keep my mouth shut for more than 30 seconds.

Here's one that is almost laughable. Almost. "I'll tell my parents and you'll be in trouble." I say, "Go ahead. In fact, let me dial the number for you and speak to them also." Sadly, in these upside down times teachers are often guilty until proven innocent and parents call the school ready for a fight. Back in my day, if I had done something horrible enough for the teacher to call home, I could expect a spanking. Not a beating given in anger, but discipline given in love. And my parents didn't blame the teacher. Instead they apologized for my behavior. They were ashamed of my behavior. Okay, I need to be politically correct.... choices. My parents were ashamed of my choices. I made the wrong choice. I needed to rethink my choice. Whatever you want to call it, it still means the same. I did something wrong and needed correction... punishment.

Oh, and the word wrong. When did that go out of vogue? I guess it was the same year that we were told not to use the word lazy. I don't care what you call it- unmotivated, tired, bored, unchallenged.... it is L.A.Z.Y. There are several days that I am exhausted or unmotivated but I still get out of bed and go to school. I don't have any excuses or reasons for staying home. But I do have several reasons for going to work.

Here's one. "This is too easy for me. I'm bored with the assignments." "Really? Why don't you try doing them to prove to me that they are too easy for you?" What is really irritating is when these words come from the parent. In over 25 years I have yet to meet a child that is so highly intelligent that every assignment, project, or activity is boring. I have met several that would rather be having fun than doing 'work' (another taboo word), but I've never had the privilege of someone so intelligent that they were too bored to complete tasks. And... I've had several off-the-charts-smart kids. But, they always contributed and dug deeper and rose to challenges. I have had a parent tell me that their child was smarter than anyone in the class, including me. Somehow I doubt that and I was never given any evidence to prove it.

You know what?
All of this leaves me pining for the good ole days.

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

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

For the first time since I started posting these reports on the most visited Turner Report posts for the week, the same post has topped the list for two straight weeks.

The lawsuit against the closed Exploration Station pre-school remained at number one and is now the third most visited post in the 14 years of the blog.

Inside Joplin's list features three posts related to a SWAT team standoff at 5th and Maiden Lane.

Links to the top posts are featured below:

The Turner Report

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

2. Former Webb City teacher enters Alford plea on sex charge, will serve no prison time

3. Walgreens to close 600 stores

4. Associated Press article on $70 million in FEMA rejections caught 4-8 officials by surprise

5. Ohio company buys Joplin's North Point Shopping Center

6. Traffic accident causes power outage, delaying Webb City teacher sex trial

7. Neosho woman pleads guilty to stealing government property, faces up to 15 years in prison

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

9. Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live

10. Exclamation Station, child pornography search, Billy Long among top Turner Report/Inside Joplin links for the week

The top posts for Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries can be found below the advertisement.


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

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Inside Joplin

1. Jasper County Sheriff; Do you know these suspects in credit card theft?

2. Officer involved shooting- Joplin Police SWAT team attempting to get suspect to surrender in 5th and Maiden Lane area

3. Joplin Police stop serial drunk driver on 7th Street

4. Thirteen-year-old driver slams into tree, two injured

5. Joplin Police offer updates on capture of Parr Hill shooting suspect, K-9 officer injured in accident at 7th and Range Line

6. Standoff at 5th and Maiden Lane ends, one suspect in custody

7. Four people, JPD K( injured in accident at 7th and Range Line

8. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

9. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. Bronaugh teen killed in ATV accident

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Travis Hensley

2. Taryn Haggard

3. Matthew Cade

4. Kristina Knight

5. Carlos Gonzales

6. Slugger Miller

7. Lisa Johnson

8. Ervin Standlee

9. Logan Wade

10. Kent Snyder

Billy Long: I won't stand in the way of self-driving cars

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

My driving career got off to a rather inauspicious start. My dad took me way out in the country by Greenlawn Cemetery, got out of the car and had me move behind the wheel. He got back in the passenger side and off we went almost a full quarter of a mile. Then it happened. Another kid whose dad had picked the same location for his first driving lesson turned towards us from a crossroad. When he saw us at first he panicked. He then pulled off into the ditch, gunned it, came flying out of the ditch and smashed into us. Other than three other minor wrecks since, only one of which was my fault, the last 47 years of driving have been remarkably uneventful.

Over the past year and a half, the Energy and Commerce Committee has held several hearings, technology showcases and real-life demonstrations highlighting both the societal and economic impacts of self-driving cars. Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Safety Ensuring Lives Future Development and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act, which addresses concerns surrounding self-driving cars. This bill aims to ensure safety while also clearing a path for further testing, development and deployment of these cars. As technology continues to change, hitting these challenges head-on is vital to making sure we do not hinder innovation but also remain safe while promoting ingenuity.

When will fully self-driving cars be available? Much sooner than you think. According to some estimates, it could be as soon as 2020 or 2025. Once available, estimates show that by 2035 there will be 12 million fully self-driving cars. However, self-driving cars, just like regular cars, will be held to the same standards and regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Why is all of this important? Safety. In 2015, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities and more than 2 million people injured in the U.S. In 2016, this number increased by 6 percent resulting in 40,200 fatalities. This is the highest number of traffic fatalities in a single year over the last decade. What was the primary cause for all of these traffic fatalities? Human error.

Self-driving cars, with the help of cutting-edge technology, work to eliminate human error, such as blind spots, slow reactions times and unpredictable driving behaviors. These cars would have 360-degree awareness and advanced collision avoidance systems, which would drastically cut traffic accidents and fatalities.

When it comes to self-driving cars, safety is not the only positive. These vehicles would increase access to transportation for rural and underserved communities, such as those in southwest Missouri, that do not typically have comprehensive transportation systems. For individuals like the elderly and disabled, this would allow them the independence to complete day-to-day activities they currently rely on others to facilitate.

As self-driving cars move closer to becoming a reality, I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure that the deployment of these vehicles is safe and with as little red tape as possible. The future is limitless and it is my job as a Congressman to make sure that innovation is not hindered, but rewarded.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ohio company buys Joplin's North Point Shopping Center

(From Chase Properties)

Chase Properties Ltd., a Beachwood, Ohio-based owner and operator of shopping centers, announces the acquisition of North Point Shopping Center in Joplin, Missouri. North Point is an approximately 200,000 square foot shopping center that is anchored by Ashley Furniture Homestore, Ross Dress for Less, and PetSmart. Mid-America Real Estate Group brokered the sale.

North Point Shopping Center benefits from being positioned in the center of Joplin’s retail corridor and draws shoppers from a wide trade area that spans into Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.

North Point Shopping Center is Chase Properties’ fourth acquisition in the past year, as the company continues to expand by acquiring high quality shopping centers in secondary and tertiary markets. According to Andy Kline, Chase Properties’ Co-CEO, “We’re excited to add to our holdings in Missouri through the acquisition of North Point Shopping Center. The property is very well-located at the primary retail intersection in Joplin with terrific visibility and a strong anchor tenant lineup. North Point is a terrific example of our strategy of buying strong shopping centers located in stable, regional markets such as Joplin.”

Chase Properties Ltd is a full-service owner and operator of shopping centers located in 17 States throughout the Midwest, Southern and Eastern U.S. The company was founded in 1973. Currently, Chase Properties owns and manages 32 shopping centers comprised of approximately 7 million square feet. Additional information can be found at www.chaseprop.com.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Walgreens to close 600 stores

Walgreens announced today it would close 600 stores in early 2018 as a result of its recent purchase of 1,900 Rite-Aid pharmacies.

No details were given on which stores would be closing, if any of them would be in the Joplin area, most of the stores that will be shuttered will be the former Rite-Aid locations.

The Rite-Aid deal makes Walgreens the largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States with more than 13,200 stores.

Graves: INTERDICT Act will help U. S. deal with opioid crisis

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Over the years, different illegal drugs have been abused as they become more accessible and cheaper to purchase. Now, heroin, laced with synthetic opioids, has quickly become the latest epidemic to devastate our communities.

Daily news reports document countless heart-wrenching stories of fatal overdoses nationwide. This growing epidemic is infiltrating our homes, schools, and workplaces. Additionally, many of whom have died from an overdose aren’t frequent users, but rather first time users who made a terrible decision.

Heroin overdose deaths have dramatically increased due to a drug called Fentanyl. The opioid is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Heroin dealers are now using Fentanyl to make this lethal concoction stronger and are selling a synthetic version which has led to over 20,000 deaths in the United States in 2016 alone.

Many of our North Missouri communities have taken action, both through enforcement and education, but also by having anti-overdose medication available to save lives. More needs to be done!

President Trump has said the opioid crisis is a national emergency and action must be taken on the national level.

Congress has taken note.

We know that most of the illicit fentanyl that makes its way to the U.S. comes from Mexico and China.

That is why, this week, I voted for H.R. 2142, the INTERDICT Act, which will give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) upgraded tools for chemical screening devices to detect drugs such as Fentanyl. Equipping CBP with these devices will help ensure that they are able to stop these deadly drugs from entering our country before it kills more of our families, friends and neighbors.

The opioid crisis affects each and every one of us as it continues to grow at a rapid rate. Solving this epidemic won’t be quick or easy, but all of us can play a part.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Associated Press FEMA article on $70 million in rejections caught R-8 officials by surprise

An Associated Press article revealing that FEMA has rejected more than $70 million in requests from the Joplin R-8 School district caught district officials by surprise.

"We don't know what prompted them to raise the question," Interim CFO Ron Lankford told the board a few moments ago.

Lankford said he thought the recent disasters, including hurricanes and wild fires that have hit the United States might have made FEMA a point of interest and Joplin's role as a city involved in a major disaster made it a natural for AP reporter David A. Lieb.

The FEMA funding was later addressed in the Joplin Globe after the AP story had run in newspapers and websites across the nation.

Su.san Smith, the district's accounting director gave a rundown of what has been received from FEMA, what has not been paid, but has been obligated, and items that are in first or final appeal.

The amount that has been rejected by the federal government at this point is $71,044,295.25.

Two projects are on their second and final appeal, Lankford said, while four others have been rejected once and second appeals are being prepared.

If FEMA does not allocate the money, it will make no difference as far as the projects are concerned. The money for them has been paid. Where it does make a difference is in repaying the loans that have been taken out to cover earlier obligations.

District personnel have also borne the cost since they received no raises or meager raises over the past several years and many have moved on to other school districts.

"The goal of the district is to get the matter resolved," Lankford said, noting that he had talked with the offices of Sen. Roy Blunt and Seventh District Congressman Billy Long about FEMA since the AP article was published.

"Joplin needs to get this behind us."

Previous posts

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

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

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

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

FEMA rejects $70 million of Joplin R-8 claims

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live

Roy Blunt: It's time to make our tax code work for Missourians

(From Sen. Roy Blunt)

Americans spend 6 billion hours a year on taxes at a cost of $263 billion. No wonder tax season and headaches go hand-in-hand.

But our burdensome tax code isn’t just causing stress. It’s leaving hardworking families with less take-home pay, making it harder for businesses to create jobs, and hurting U.S. competitiveness.

For almost a decade now, Americans have struggled with below-average economic growth and wages that haven’t kept pace with the cost-of-living. They’ve had to navigate a 70,000+ page tax code that has doubled in length since 1986. Our tax code is so convoluted that 9 out of 10 people rely on a professional tax preparer or computer software to prepare their tax returns. Enough is enough.

It’s time to make our tax code work for Missourians instead of against them. That’s why my colleagues in the Senate and I are continuing our effort to make the tax code simpler and fairer.

A simpler tax code would help Missourians keep more of their hard-earned money. It would empower small business owners and entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and create more jobs. And, it would create opportunities for us to compete as a country and make it easier for Missouri families to see a pathway toward success.

Last week, the Senate took a significant step toward pro-growth tax changes by passing a budget. We now have a critical tool we need to move forward and provide much-needed tax relief for Americans.

Former Webb City teacher enters Alford plea on sex charge, will serve no prison time

With her four lawyers surrounding her and the seating of a jury about to begin, former Webb City High School choir teacher Carrie Njoroge withdrew her not guilty plea and entered an Alford plea today in Jasper County Circuit Court.

The plea means that Njoroge was not admitting to the felony charge of sexual contact with a student, but was acknowledging that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict her and that she might be facing a longer sentence if she had gone through with the trial. Njoroge waived a pre-sentence investigation and went straight to the sentencing.

It could not have been a shorter sentence.

Judge David Mouton handed Njoroge a suspended sentence and placed her on supervised probation for five years. She will also have to pay $50 to the Jasper County Law Enforcement Restituation Fund. She will be allowed access to her children and will surrender her teaching certificate. Njoroge was represented by attorneys Dee Wampler, Joe Passanise, Scott Pierson and Judd McPherson.

The sentence came during a day in which proceedings were delayed due to a power outage this morning caused by a nearby traffic accident.

Today's hearing brought a conclusion to a three-and-a-half year process that began with Njoroge's arrest for an after school hours sex act with an 18-year-old high school student on April 15, 2014. Two days later, Webb City R-7 officials placed Njoroge on paid administrative leave and she later resigned from her teaching position.

The April 15 sex session was not the first Njoroge had with the teenager, according to court documents. The relationship began three months earlier.

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

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

Neosho woman pleads guilty to stealing government property, faces up to 15 years in prison

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

A Neosho woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally receiving federal disability benefits for her son for seven years, while concealing a $4 million settlement that provided them with a home and income.

Kerry D. Sanders, 47, of Neosho, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of participating in a conspiracy to steal government property and one count of theft of government property.

By pleading guilty today, Sanders admitted that she conspired from May 2005 until July 2012 to receive at least $56,138 in Social Security disability benefits to which she was not entitled.

Sanders was approved to become her son’s representative payee when he was born in 2001 and began receiving Supplemental Security Income due to his disabilities. A $4 million monetary settlement was paid to her son surrounding his birth, with a conservatorship set up to receive the settlement proceeds that began with the first disbursement of $164,290 in 2005. Sanders admitted that she concealed this income from the Social Security Administration and provided false statements in order to continue receiving federal benefits.

Sanders also admitted that she concealed the purchase of a home by the conservatorship in April 2008. Sanders falsely claimed that she paid $400 per month to rent the home where she lived with her son, and which she shared with a co-conspirator. The conservatorship did not require either Sanders or her co-conspirator to pay rent for the home.

As the funds held in the conservatorship could be used for the support and maintenance of Sanders’s son, the conservatorship constituted both a resource and income, and as such, Sanders was required to report its existence to the Social Security Administration in its oversight of his eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. The actions of Sanders and her co-conspirator in concealing the conservatorship, the home, and the living arrangement led to the Social Security Administration paying at least $56,138 in benefits to which her son was not entitled.

Under federal statutes, Sanders is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Clark. It was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

Traffic accident causes power outage at Joplin Courts Building delaying Webb City teacher sex trial

One hundred twenty-four  Empire District Electric customers, including the Jasper County Courthouse in Joplin are without power due to a traffic accident. There is no word on how long the power is expected to be out.

The outage has reportedly delayed the beginning of the jury trial of former Webb City High School choir teacher Carrie Njoroge, who is charged with having sex with a student.

A motions hearing in the Njoroge case was held Monday before Judge David Mouton. The trial, which is expected to last two days, was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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

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

    The meeting will be preceded by a closed session beginning at 6 p.m.

    Regular Meeting Agenda

    A. Call to Order

  • 1. Roll Call

    B. Pledge of Allegiance

    C. Approval of Agenda - Action

    D. Reports

    1. Board President's Report

    a. Celebrations - Info. (Jeff Koch)

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

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

    d. BOE Data Analysis Committee - Info. (L. Musser, S. Dermott, & J. Koch)

    e. MSBA Feedback - Info. (J. Koch, D. Gould, and B. Jordan)

    2. Superintendent's Data Report

    a. Parents as Teachers - Info (Sandra Cantwell, Janet Earl, and Patty Wheeler)

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

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

    E. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items 

    F. Consent Agenda - Action

    1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

    2. Consent Contracts - Action

    a. Dental Assistant Externship & Clinical Rotation Agreement - (Dr. Moss)

    b. Crowder College Behavior Technician (Sandra Cantwell)

    c. Empire Install Fiber to Joplin Early Childhood (Dr. Sachetta)

    3. Purchase of Retread Bus Tires - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    4. Purchase of Michelin Steer Bus Tires 2017-18 - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

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

    a. Policy CBG: Evaluation of the Superintendent - Action

    b. Policy CFB: Evaluation of Principals

    c. Policy GBEBC: Criminal Background Checks - Action

    d. Policy GBL: Personnel Records - Action

    e. Policy GBLB: References - Action

    f. Policy GCPD Suspension of Professional Staff Members - Action

    g. Policy GDPD: Suspension of Support Staff Members - Action

    h. Policy GDPE: Non-renewal and Termination of Support Staff Members - Action

    6. Revised - Playground Safety Material for Irving & Royal Heights

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

    8. Fuel Purchase - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    G. Regular Agenda

    1. JEC - Prime Contract Change Order #9 Crossland Construction Co. - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    2. Architect Contact Amendment for Construction of Joplin Early Childhood Center - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

    3. Accounts Payable - Action (Dr. Lankford)

    4. Resolution Approving Investment of Public Funds - Action (Dr. Lankford)

    5. Policy Updates for First Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

    a. Policy BBE: School Board Vacancies

    b. Policy GCN: Evaluation of Professional Staff - Action

    c. Policy GB: Part-time and Substitute Employment - Action

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

    a. Plus: What did we do well

    b. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

    H. BOE Announcements

Kim Frencken: Seven ways to incorporate engaging methods into your teaching

Are your students engaged? Do they really hang on every word you say and follow your directions to the last detail? Probably not so much. Student engagement is so much more than capturing their attention and holding it. Engagement is the level that they are involved. Engagement occurs when students would rather complete the lesson than text a friend or check their email. Engagement occurs when students completely forget to count down the clock. The bell rings and they are so surprised.

Achieving engagement isn't easy. And, contrary to some evaluation models, it doesn't occur all the time. This isn't a bad thing. I think we've been made to feel that if our students aren't engaged 100% of the class time we've failed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solid teaching of basic facts cannot always be presented in a lesson with high-level engagement. There is a time for necessary business and a time to involve students in the process.

Many resources claim to engage your students. I use this phrase in some of my advertising. But I only use it with resources that truly involve the students in their learning process. Resources that require a great deal of teacher facilitation are not always engaging. You may have a lesson on the most interesting topic ever written, but you can't keep attention past a certain time. It doesn't matter how interesting you present the material or how interesting the topic is, minds begin to wander and engagement begins to die.

Here are some simple ways to bring some level of engagement into your lessons.

1. Students need to be taught good listening skills. What may look like simple recall may actually be an engaging lesson in listening. Asking students to repeat instructions or teach another student is a very basic way of engaging them.

2. Chunking up your lesson is a great way to achieve engagement. Don't try to give all of the instructions at once. You might even leave something out and let the students problem solve to figure out what to do next.

3. Ask a student to prepare a lesson covering material that has been taught in class. Then give them an opportunity to teach the class.

4. Turn a lesson into a riddle or a puzzle and have the students solve it.

5. Escape rooms are the newest engagement trick. Students can't help but become involved!

6. Turn a lesson into a game. Most students love to play games. This is also a great way to practice collaboration skills.

7. Older methods, such as reading and then sharing content with a peer, can be revitalized to incorporate some student involvement in the lesson.

Think about what keeps your attention and makes you want to become involved. Chances are it will be the same for your students.

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

Exploration Station, child pornography search, Billy Long among top Turner Report/Inside Joplin links for week

The filing of a lawsuit leveling charges of mistreating a child against the Exploration Station pre-school did not take long to jump to the top of this week's list of most visited Turner Report posts and it is still receiving an additional 1,000+ new visitors per hour long after other posts have normally started losing steam.

At this point, the Exploration Station is the fourth most visited post in the 14-year history of the Turner Report.

If you were looking for the news in these posts on the Joplin Globe, you would have been disappointed.

The top posts and links to them can be found below:

The Turner Report

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

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

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

4. FEMA rejects $70 million of Joplin R-8 claims

5. Was Billy Long in Las Vegas when mass murder occurred?

6. Trial of former Webb City teacher charged with having sex with student scheduled for Tuesday

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

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

9. Greitens: Foster children will no longer have to pay for birth certificate copies

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

The top posts and links from Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries can be found below the advertisement.


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

Payment options

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin Police searching for missing teen

2. Joplin Police Department Arrests October 16-17

3. Carl Junction Police searching for teen runaway

4. Joplin Police SWAT team standoff with man holding woman and child at gunpoint ends with no injuries

5. Drug-addled intruder climbs through window into Joplin home screaming for help

6. Gunshot report leads to Joplin man's arrest for DWI, resisting arrest, 31 JPD warrants

7. Four JPD stops: People running, biking, driving a car, skateboarding arrested on meth charges

8. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

9. Call to McDonald's drive-through results in DWI, drug arrests. sleeping driver and passenger

10. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Darlene White

2. Judy Stanley

3. Richard Collins

4. Debbie Crossley

5. Frances Schroeder

6. Twila Dunn

7. Ava Bronson

8. Dallas Robbins

9. Eddie Morlock

10. George Maddox

Mediation session in Rangeline Sonic sexual harassment lawsuit scheduled for Monday

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

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

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

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

Not included are Alred and manager Portland Keough.

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

Earlier posts

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

Sonic supervisor named in sexual harassment lawsuit cited for sixth DWI

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

Thirty minutes ago, I was attacked

Friday, October 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billy Long: We must prioritize fiscal responsibility

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

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

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

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

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

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

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