Saturday, December 29, 2018

Some thoughts on year-end reviews, 2018 for Turner Report, Inside Joplin, plus top posts for the week

For the past several days, those who follow my personal Facebook page and the Inside Joplin Facebook page have been treated, though some of them don't feel that way, to the first eight months of the year 2018 in review.

Year-end reviews have always been a staple for newspapers and television. One reason is the expectation that the end of the year is a slow time for news and it will fill time.

I never found that to be the case. Something big always happened during that holiday period, as this week's number one Turner Report post, my post on the 25-year anniversary of the murder of Douglas Ryan Ringler, 8, of Carthage, shows.

I long ago discovered other reasons to appreciate year-end reviews.

They offer me a time to see what stories need to be updated, how much the blog has accomplished during the past 12 months and it also gives readers a chance to catch stories they have missed and give them the full view of just how many big stories the Turner Report has covered, some that have remained untouched by other media outlets.

While going through the posts for 2018 has shown me what areas have been covered well, it has also shown me areas where there is room for improvement and I will work on those in 2019.

Thanks to those of you who read the Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs for your support this year. You have helped me to keep the Turner Report, a blog that started more than 15 years ago, as fresh as the day it started and you have helped me to establish Inside Joplin, Inside Joplin Obituaries, and the other Inside Joplin blogs as an alternative news operation for this area.

Thanks to those who have contributed financially to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin. Obviously, I wish there were more of you, but I appreciate the ones who have shown faith in what I do and what I try to do.

If you have not subscribed or made a contribution recently, please consider helping get 2019 off to a good start by using the PayPal buttons below or by sending your contribution, no matter how big or small to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO  64801. This week's top posts and links to them can be found below the PayPal buttons.

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The Turner Report

1, Twenty-five years ago today- Douglas Ryan Ringler, 8, Carthage, brutally murdered

2. Joplin man: I have sexually abused so many children, I can't put a number on it

3. Carthage teacher: A letter to my pregnant student

4. New motions in Jayda Kyle murder case, asks for mother phone, Facebook records, bond reduction for accused killer

5. Ace Mohr walks; judge suspends sentence, places Carthage man on probation

6. Probable cause: 34-year-old Carthage man shaved, videoed nude teenage girl, then locked himself in bathroom

7. Hank Rotten, Jr. calls it quits on KSN morning show

8. Oklahoma trucker who rear-ended SUV, killed former Joplin resident, cited for following too closely in 2012

9. For those who wondered, murderer of eight-year-old Doug Ringler remains behind bars

10. Clock may be ticking on Northpark Mall Sears store, company liquidation possible

Inside Joplin

1, Neosho woman killed, Joplin woman injured after car goes airborne, lands in water

2. Highway Patrol raid on Shoal Cliff Drive home results in arrests of Joplin residents, confiscation of 190 marijuana plants, 10 weapons

3. Galena Police search warrant execution leads to six arrests, confiscation of meth

4. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

5. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

6. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

7. Highway Patrol Arrests December 26-27

8. Jasper County Marriage Licenses

9. Newton County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. U. S. Bankruptcy Court Petitions- Joplin

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Arielle Ideker-Graddy

2. Joan Jaccaud

3. Brett Bruenn

4. Avery Maina

5. Mandi Pendergraft

6. Veronica Mullins

7. Barbara Box

8. Rhonda Murray

9. Teena Fallis

10. Jerry Hendry

Kim Frencken: The power of the spoken word

Once a word leaves the lips, it can't be retracted. Sometimes, we realize as soon as the letters go zinging out of our mouth that they should never have been uttered, and other times we don't realize it until they have hit their mark.

I'm an expert in this field. I should invent a lock system for the mouth. I'm sure I could earn a fortune. I certainly have all the expertise needed to refine my product. Words either come out wrong, with too much intensity, passion, or tone. Or the ones that need saying don't make it past my throat. I pray about this and I try, really I do, but.... well, let's just say that you will always know exactly what I'm thinking by the look on my face or the words that leave my lips. I don't leave much room for guessing. While being honest is a good thing, being brutally honest is not.

This is the same with children. I'm a firm believer that they need to hear the truth and be corrected when they are misbehaving. They need to be taught the difference between right and wrong. They need to be taught boundaries and expectations. But they need to be taught using the language of love.

There is a kind way to teach a child and there is a cruel, damaging way. Nothing makes me angrier than to hear an adult calling a child hideous names. Remember the old adage: If you hear it enough, you believe it. I've heard a five year old child tell me what his parents call him. Something that can't be repeated here. Something that broke my heart. Something the child was beginning to believe. Something the child thought was a normal thing for parents to call their children.

What will these children grow up to become if they are called profanities when they are young? What will they do if they are told that they are failures or stupid? Sadly, many will give up and live the lie because they believe that they will never learn or never be successful.

This year, I'm going to make an extra effort to control the things that come out of my mouth. I'm going to pray for a little more for guidance and control. And, I'm going to speak words of encouragement and kindness to those around me, especially the little ones.

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

Governor, House, Senate budget officials announce FY 2020 revenue estimate

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Gov. Parson with House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick and Senate Appropriations Chairman Dan Brown announced the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE).

The annual CRE, which is developed by state budget experts and outside consultants, is one of the basic assumptions the Governor and General Assembly use to build a balanced budget.

The key figure in the CRE is the projected general revenue collections for FY2020. Net general revenue collections in FY2020 are estimated to be $9.822 billion. This represents growth of $193 million over the estimated revenue for FY2019. The estimate for FY2020 assumes growth of 2.0%. The revised estimate for the current Fiscal Year is $9.629 billion.

“Maintaining a fiscally responsible budget for our state government is one of the most important and challenging responsibilities for lawmakers, and I want to thank Sen. Brown and Rep. Fitzpatrick for their work on finalizing the revenue estimate,” said Gov. Parson. “Missouri is at its best when we work together, and we look forward to creating a budget that will serve all Missourians and continue to move Missouri forward.”

Rep. Fitzpatrick said, “Budgets are based on projections. The best way to ensure a balanced budget is to use a conservative but realistic revenue estimate, which I feel is represented in this agreement. I appreciate Governor Parson and Senator Brown’s commitment to fiscal discipline as we enter a new budget cycle. As I exit the General Assembly and pass the torch to Rep. Smith, I am proud to say the state’s finances are on solid ground. I wish the new Chairmen in the House and Senate well as they work to craft a balanced budget.”

“With a low 3% unemployment rate in Missouri and jobs available, I think 2% growth is realistic and can be attained in Fiscal Year 2020. I am excited about Missouri’s outlook and future. A lot of thought went into this process, and I thank Rep. Fitzpatrick, Gov. Parson, and his staff,” saidSen. Brown.

For those who wondered, murderer of eight-year-old Doug Ringler remains behind bars

Since the publication Friday of my post noting the 25th anniversary of the brutal murder of Douglas Ryan Ringler, 8, a second grader at Hawthorne Elementary in Carthage, I have had a number of people who have asked if the man who killed him, Terry Cupp, is still behind bars.

Missouri Department of Corrections information indicate he is still locked up and there has been no change in his status.

When he pleaded guilty, he did so to avoid the death penalty, but under the full understanding that he would be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of a parole.

The accompanying screenshot is his current information from the Department of Corrections.

Billy Long: First Step prison reform legislation creates a better justice system

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

The media likes to portray Congress as Republican vs. Democrat, and although that’s sometimes the case, there are still areas where we can come together and work to advance important legislation. Prison reform is one of those areas. In December, both the House of Representatives and Senate passed the First Step Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. This bill will overhaul the federal criminal justice system, which is long overdue.

There are nearly 200,000 inmates in our federal prison system. Ninety-five percent of these individuals will leave prison, but unfortunately, due to how the system is currently set up, around 38 percent of these inmates will be arrested again within five years of release. Our failure to provide adequate resources for prisoners has led to challenges reintegrating into society. That’s why prison reform is so important. This bill will not only help provides opportunities for inmates to gain valuable skills to become productive, law-abiding members of society, it will also create safer communities.

The First Step Act’s goal is to ensure inmates don’t return to prison by better preparing them for reentry into society. This bill will provide opportunities for inmates to gain valuable skills through vocational training, educational coursework and faith-based programs. This targeted approach will help keep our streets safe and give inmates the ability to make the most of their second chance.

The First Step Act will also create a fairer justice system. This bill will improve mandatory minimums, which over the years have caused overcrowding and excessive costs that hardworking taxpayers end up paying for. Specifically, this bill will reduce harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and reform the three-strike mandatory life provision. It will also expand the safety valve, which will allow judges to avoid handing down mandatory minimums for certain offenses if the individual meets certain criteria.

Like President Trump said, it’s our job to fight for all citizens, even those who have made mistakes. The First Step Act does just that while also creating a safer America.

Oklahoma trucker who rear-ended SUV, killed former Joplin resident, cited for following too closely in 2012

A Bartlesville, Oklahoma semi-driver who rear-ended an SUV Thursday, killing a former Joplin resident and leaving three others critically injured has been cited previously for following too closely.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol report, the accident occurred just after 10 a.m. on snow-covered I-70, 10 miles south of Colby, Kansas. A 2018 Peterbilt driven by Robert Charles Goodine, 50, Bartlesville, struck a 2018 GMC Yukon driven by Justin Blaire Buerge, 42, Overland Park, Kansas, a former Joplin resident, in the rear, pinning the vehicle against a guard rail.

A passenger in the Buerge vehicle, Jackson Buerge, 16, was pronounced dead at Logan County Hospital.

Buerge and the other two passengers, Trisha Marie Buerge, 40, and Maxwell Buerge, 9, were taken to Logan County Hospital with serious injuries. All of them were wearing seat belts, according to the report.

Goodine suffered no apparent injury, the report said.

While there is no mention of any citation for Goodine, Oklahoma court records indicate the Oklahoma Highway Patrol cited Goodine in October 2012 for following too closely. He paid a $211.50 fine.

Goodine was arrested June 23, 2006, in Washington County, Oklahoma for driving while suspended, possession of drug paraphernalia and attempting to elude a police officer.

As Sears death spiral continues, Joplin's Northpark Mall store survives again

Eighty more Sears stores will be closed in March as a result of a plan submitted in CEO Eddie Lampert in U. S. Bankruptcy Court, but the anchor store at Joplin's Northpark Mall will not be among them.

Lampert submitted a $4.4 billion bid in a last-ditch bid to save the company from being liquidated. After these closings, as well as others that were announced earlier, 425 Sears stores will remain open in the U. S.

(M)any of (the lenders) have been clamoring for the company to liquidate, according to court documents, arguing that Sears has been hemorrhaging money for years and hasn’t turned a profit since 2010.

The only Missouri store scheduled to be closed is a K-Mart in Crystal City.

Jason Smith: We are fortunate to have a president who care about rural Americans and Missouri, specifically

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

A new year and a new Congress are just around the corner. Nancy Pelosi will become Speaker next week, and its uncertain if she’ll want to work with President Trump on common ground for the American people, or if she will use her power to obstruct the president and fight him on behalf of her friends running for president.

Despite the uncertainty in Congress, I closed 2018 how I have spent much of the year – meeting with folks in southern Missouri and holding public forums so I can hear thoughts and ideas directly from the people I represent.

I’m thankful for all the folks who joined me at Dottie’s Family Restaurant in Cuba and Jen’s Diner in Poplar Bluff this week to talk about the ongoing border security debate. We discussed how the government shutdown is impacting folks here at home, how arcane Senate rules are stopping us from sending a bill with border security funding to President Trump, and the real effects of an under-secured border that can be seen here in Missouri. 

The Chief of Police in Poplar Bluff shared how he has seen firsthand an influx in illicit drugs from Mexico that have wreaked havoc on our communities here at home.

We used the forums as an opportunity to discuss other major issues important to families in southern Missouri – the poverty trap, repealing burdensome regulations from Washington, and common sense work requirements for government aid that would save taxpayer dollars and encourage people to enter the workforce. 

I hold these public forums so I can relay directly to President Trump what Missourians are telling me on the ground. We’re fortunate to have a president who cares about rural America and Missouri specifically, and I’ve held public forums all year so Missourians can have a direct line of communication to the White House. In the 115th Congress I held forums on lowering health care costs, on reducing the tax burden on middle America, and this summer I held more than thirty events in thirty counties meeting with family farmers, agricultural businesses, and farm organizations that are the lifeblood of our communities and our economy.

A lot of thoughts and ideas were shared at the forums this week, which I am eager to share with the White House. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that politicians will fund themselves and greenlight electric vehicle tax credits, cash payments to the hostile Iranian regime, and infrastructure in other countries before they will consider securing our own border. 

Thankfully the brave men and women in the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol care about our national security and keep our country safe every day – it’s unfortunate that because my Democrat colleagues don’t want to secure our southern border, agents will be working without pay over the holidays. It’s further proof that liberals don’t support the men and women who monitor our borders for threats. 

A recent survey from the National Border Patrol Council found roughly 90% of border patrol agents believe more physical barriers are necessary to properly secure the southern border. In solidarity with these agents, I will be giving up pay every day that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer keep part of the government closed over partisan politics.

Even though Nancy and Chuck have kept 25 percent of the government closed, my office remains open so I can continue to serve the good people of southern Missouri. You can still contact my office if you’re having any trouble with a federal agency or want to share your views with me. If you would like to tell me what you’d like to see in a deal to secure the border and reopen the government, drop me a note at www.JasonSmith.House.Gov/Contact.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Twenty-five years ago today- Douglas Ryan RIngler, 8, Carthage, brutally murdered

It was 25 years ago today that the city of Carthage had its innocence taken by the brutal murder of Douglas Ryan Ringler, 8, a second grader at Hawthorne Elementary School.

The murder took place just three weeks after I became managing editor of the Carthage Press and I wrote about it in the following chapter from my 2007 book the Turner Report with some of the information supplied from reports written by Amy Lamb, Randee Kaiser and me covering various aspects of the murder investigation and the case as it wound its way through the courts.

It was standing room only at the BYKOTA Church for an early-afternoon service that two weeks earlier no one could have ever foreseen.

I was one of those standing, leaning against a wall in the back of the church, making an estimate of the number of those who were continuing to squeeze their way into the facility, which would be replaced within a year by a larger building.

More than 500 were standing or sitting shoulder to shoulder as the time for the service approached. In the front left corner, a cluster of multi-colored balloons and groupings of flowers surrounded an 11 x 17 photo of a smiling, eight-year-old boy.

Carthage was paying its final respects to Douglas Ryan Ringer, a second grader at Hawthorne Elementary School…and a victim in the brutal murder that robbed the city of its innocence.

Stock price for J. C. Penney falls below $1 per share

While the outlook is not as dire as that facing Sears, the owner of another anchor store for Joplin's Northpark Mall, JC Penney, is not much better.

The stock for the company fell to 97 cents per share Thursday, the first time it had been below one dollar in the four decades since it went first went public.

Many retail stocks were down on Thursday — a day after they rallied on news of strong holiday spending — but shares of Penney were down far more than rivals like Macy’s, Nordstrom and Kohl’s. 
“They are closer to the edge” than other retailers, Gerald Storch of Storch Advisors told The Post. 
With a new chief executive, Jill Soltau, on board since October, JCPenney has one year to show the market that it can sell merchandise that people want to buy, added Storch.

Clock may be ticking on Northpark Mall Sears store; company liquidation possible

The Sears anchor store at Joplin's Northpark Mall has survived one round of store closures after another, but its time may be running out.

Today is the deadline for companies to submit plans to buy the company with a hearing scheduled in bankruptcy court this afternoon and only one bidder has shown any interest.

Unfortunately, that bidder does not appear to have the financing and if Sears CEO Eddie Lampert fails to come up with it, the company is expected to be liquidated:
Lampert’s offer includes swapping $1.8 billion in debt that Sears owes ESL for equity — known as a credit bid — which the unsecured creditors have also objected to, according to court documents. 
Waiting in the wings are liquidators including Gordon Brothers, Hilco, Tiger Capital and Great American, which will line up buyers for the assets.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Auditor's recommendations result has controlled Medicaid prescription drug costs

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released a report on state's oversight procedures for prescription drug benefits through Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Missouri Rx (MORx) program, which are administered by the Department of Social Services. 

The report found that the state has taken effective steps to control spending on prescription drug costs, but more can be done to fight fraud and abuse.

Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a comprehensive statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). 

These programs collect data from pharmacies dispensing controlled substances and make the information available to authorized users through an electronic database. According to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, such programs have been effective in addressing prescription opioid overdoses, misuse and addiction.

"Each day, more Missouri families feel the effects of opioid addiction, and law enforcement, medical professionals and advocates have been working tirelessly to address the growing problems of opioid misuse and abuse," Auditor Galloway said. "A step in the right direction is ensuring state prescription drug benefit programs have access to available information that could address abuse."

In July 2017, the former administration attempted to create a statewide PDMP through Executive Order, however, the program was inadequate to address fraud and abuse. An alternative exists through a PDMP created by St. Louis County which, as of August 2018, includes data from 10 cities and 48 counties in the state. As a result of recommendations in the report, the Department has taken steps to access information from the St. Louis County PDMP to better identify potentially inappropriate use of controlled substances within the Medicaid and CHIP programs.

The cost of outpatient prescription drugs within Medicaid and CHIP represents 14 percent of all spending. Between 2010 and 2015, these costs increased. The Department implemented processes, including encouraging use of generic drugs and requiring the usage of lower cost drugs before prescribing higher, in an effort to reduce costs. As the result, prescription drug costs have decreased in 2016 and 2017.

The audit also recommended additional efforts by the Department to ensure federal regulations are followed to gather required prescription drug information from prescribers and prevent payments for unallowable claims.

The complete audit of the Department of Social Services' Prescription Drug Oversight, which received an overall rating of good, can be foundhere.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Today's top comments: Save children's lives by giving them vacations, don't blame Trump for anything

The holidays did not stop the commenters from visiting media Facebook pages in the Joplin and Springfield areas.

And they left some strong opinions on issues facing our nation.

I feel it is my responsibility to share some of those thoughts and my responses.

On our partial government shutdown

Shut it down...leave it shut down...tell 90% to "Get a JOB! Something productive"...10% is enough 10% of our military and 10% of our military spending keeps us at the top...the rest is graft to suck out of our wallets!!!!! We are fed up with this...shut it down.

On the death of an eight-year-old Guatemalan child

This one came from a person who admitted all he read was the headline to the story and he did not bother to read the story. Some commenters called him on it.

What does it matter to you if I only pay attention to the headlines. I never read the full version as it all crap. 

With an attitude like that, you should consider running for president. That seems to be the fashion these days.

You just don’t want to accept the fact that the parents are to blame. They are the only ones to blame. I get sick and tired of all the finger pointing by the media and leftist. 

It is too soon to stay who is responsible for the child's death, but do we really need to be blaming the parents so soon after the child's death, or it is easier to do that when you don't know them and they are from another country?

People are rushed to the hospital everyday, and they die at the hospital. That doesn't make it the hospitals fault. How is it our fault that a parent drags their kid across the globe and allowed their child's health to decline? We receive a train wreck and then were blamed for the train wreck. This is insane! Blame the parent!

What does it matter to you if I only pay attention to the headlines. I never read the full version as it all crap. You just don’t want to accept the fact that the parents are to blame. They are the only ones to blame. I get sick and tired of all the finger pointing by the media and leftist. You go ahead and chose to believe what you wish, me I seek the truth. But then I guess that’s gone out of style.

If we had a wall he wouldn't of been in a detention center would of been Mexico where medical is so much better.

I want the wall want them to come the right way I do think they need to help Legals to get more help getting here

I want them to write complete sentences use punctuation help educateds get more help writing here. (That almost killed me to write an alleged sentence like that.)

Over 1,000 Americans die daily from medical errors. Errors in diagnosis, treatment, medication, or infections acquired in hospitals. Where is the outrage? Why is an invading child more prominent than citizens?

These children had no vacations, different strains flu, different exposure to toxins traveling thru poor countries, and these children bring with them all the virus and bacteria to our children.

That's the solution to child illnesses- give them all vacations.

He was already sick. They took him to hospital twice. It's very sad, but I don't see why it's news

Perhaps you don't, but you read it and thought it was worthy of commenting on. That would seem to be at odds with what you are saying.

Don't Blame Trump for that.. this blaming him for what every dang President has done for years.. he's the ONLY President that hasn't tried to sell US off to The New World Order..

This woman had more to write, but couldn't concentrate over the sound of the black helicopters flying overhead.

Looks like a lot of people posting here had themselves a very White Christmas

Now that's a snarky thing to say. I wish I had thought of it.

Hank Rotten, Jr calls it quits on KSN Morning Show

After 10 years on the KSN morning show, Hank Rotten, Jr., a longtime fixture in television and radio entertainment in the Joplin area is calling it a day.

In the accompanying video, Rotten talks about how former KSN news anchor Jim Jackson brought him into the fold and how he eventually took a regular co-hosting role on the morning program, handling many of the show's lighter stories and interviews.

Though Rotten is retiring from the morning show grind, his Friday night late movie on KSN will continue

Monday, December 24, 2018

Today's Political Comments: Southwest Missourians say the darnedest things

The thing I like best about this new feature is that people are kind enough to provide me with fresh material lately, so here are some of the best or worst comments, depending on your viewpoint to be found in Joplin and Springfield media outlet Facebook pages:

On Claire McCaskill's New York Times interview in which she said Republicans privately tell her President Trump is nuts

Shut the hell up unemployed pig

I envy this commenter. I could think for hours and never come up with anything that witty.

Your nuts
What about them? (That line nearly got me slapped when I used it on a waitress at the Ice Cream Boll in Granby in the summer of 1977.)

Didn't the people just send her worthless ass home? She is like a bad thigh rash she just won't go away!

I would make a comment, but I bow to this man's expertise with thigh rashes.

On Democratic legislation to require background checks for gun show purchases

Criminals aren't going to bother getting a background check before stealing my legally owned and licensed gun!

I am having trouble understanding this one. If you have a legally owned and licensed gun, can't you use it to protect you against these criminals?

Buy from private sales not dealers. We pick up quite a few every year & the government will never know & its legal!

Are you one of my neighbors?

if you ain't a criminal then why do you care about having to pass a background check?

When will AMERICA people stand up and face what they do wrong and pay for there crime.

And yet we refuse to even consider legislation to keep some of these people who have no business being near guns, much less owning them. And I was able to say that without putting it in all caps.

The new Burger King on Range Line

Tried the Burger King on rangeline. It sucked, burger was barely even warm and cost extra to add cold cheese. The fries tasted funny and they had one register and one drink machine. Needless to say they won’t last long and I won’t go there again

Missouri's minimum wage increase

We need to repeal the stupid minimum wage increase.

It's a slippery slope. If you let those people have money, they might spend it and help the economy.

On the government shutdown

leave it shut down...tell 90% to get a job...this includes the military and we'd still be the strongest military in the world and in 5 years we'd pay off the national debt and then give our kids/grandkids a future again!!!

Shutdown should be over by Cinco de Mayo..

I am trying to figure where this money is coming from. When the taxes were cut for Trump and other billionaires, McConnell and Ryan both said we were short on revenues and we needed to adjust or do away with Social Security and Medicare and we did not have enough money to take of our veterans. If the deficit is climbing to one trillion dollars and we are broke where is the 5 billion coming from to build a wall. We don't have a border problem anyway because the illegal population has come from 11.5 million in 2007 to 10.7 today so we have border security right now.

How the Joplin Police Department saved Christmas

Who says police officers don't have a sense of humor?

The accompanying photo, posted earlier today on the Joplin Police Department Facebook page has gone viral, locally, at least.

I am still waiting for the booking photo of this suspect, who has only been identified as A. Grinch.

JPD accompanied the photo with this description:

And it was at that moment, on the north part of town, Joplin Police Officers knew that they had saved Christmas for the city below! Merry Christmas from the Joplin Police Department!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Today's Top Political Comments from Our Southwest Missouri Friends and Neighbors

Southwest Missouri residents are never afraid to express political opinions and they are always well thought out and offer much to ponder.

Oh, who am I kidding?

If these thoughts were well thought out, I would not be doing this. (Some of them actually are, though.)

So here is my second collection of comments from Joplin and Springfield media Facebook pages, with my comments added in italic.

On Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's surgery

The collective incontinence of the left if she kicks the bucket will be of entertaining epic proportions.

Malignant! That means there's hope for the future of the supreme court! Time to get this evil nazi home to rest!

It is refreshing to see the Christmas spirit is alive and well.

On the forced retirement of Sen. Claire McCaskill

I hear Venezuela is looking for more socialist she should go there.

Anyone who thinks Claire McCaskill is a socialist has no idea what a socialist is.

Claire is going to find her Hollywood friends will now dry up. Never forget who took you to the dance Claire. Your advisors who told you to vote against Cavanaugh were idiots. And you listen to them because you didn’t want to lose your Hollywood buddy’s. Go lick your wounds with Bill and Hillary.

She may have forgotten who took her to the dance, but I am sure she is happy she is not dancing with this guy.

On President Trump's decision not to go to Mar-A-Lago because of the government shutdown

He gets more great thing done for the United States in one round of golf than Obama did in 8 years

The commenter may be exaggerating the number of great things President Trump has accomplished by one.

President Trump does not take a salary at all.

And he is worth every penny of it.

If you dont like the President then why dont you go live with all the ILLEGALS .Sounds like u would fit right in .

If this person likes the president, why would he suggest that this person move into the White House?

Omg Trump has already went golfing more than Obama all 4 years.

You are correct and you can make that all eight years

My husband served 25 years with the military. He currently works for the DOD making sure our weapons work as they should. We are a one income middle class family. Next fall we will have two kids in college. We pay taxes and support our local church and charities. Government shut down affects us. Not all government employees are lazy, inefficient slugs so please quit mocking those who have given their lives to serve this nation. My husband could make double what he does in the private sector but he wants to serve his country.

It is hard to say it better than that.

I wouldn’t stay in DC. Please go with you’re family and have a Merry Christmas.

You deserve a break, Mister President. 

Nancy Hughes: Jerry's Christmas

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You
will find a baby wrapped in clothes
and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

I’ll never forget that precious little boy: freckles scattered like tiny raindrops across his entire face, including his ears. Big brown eyes partially obscured by wispy blonde hair that brushed against an ever present smile minus two front teeth.

Jerry was a first grade student at the elementary school where I worked. He came from a home that was short on money but long on love. His clothes were always someone else’s property first, but he never seemed to care.

And this Christmas season was no different.

As a mother of three, I was frantically trying to balance home, husband, kids and job while I shopped endlessly for the perfect “only thing I want” gifts for my family. Somewhere in the rush of the season my focus shifted from the birth of a baby in a manger to the number of presents under our Christmas tree.

There was some success but at a price…a high price. My Christmas budget was shrinking rapidly. “Why couldn’t my children want something a little cheaper?” I kept thinking. “Why do they think they have to have every thing they see on television?”

Those questions were occupying my thoughts as I walked down the first grade hall and saw Jerry coming toward me in his winter coat that was about three sizes too large and worn tennis shoes minus the laces.

“Hey, Jerry! How are you?” “I’m good, Miss Nancy. It’s almost Christmas…Jesus’ birthday…did you know?” I couldn’t help but smile at that comment. “Yes, I have heard that. So what do you want for Christmas, Jerry?”

He quickly replied “Oh, I already know what I’m getting. It’s the same every year.”

At this point I would have expected a child making that statement to duck his head in disappointment and go on, but not Jerry.

As I bent down to hug and encourage him, Jerry put his hands on my shoulders and, with a huge smile, continued. “When I wake up on Christmas morning, there will be a BIG candy cane under my pillow!” he exclaimed as he licked his lips and rubbed his tummy in anticipation of that moment. “And then, under the tree, I will get a little Matchbox car to add to my others. I can hardly wait, Miss Nancy!”

As I hugged Jerry and sent him on to class, I could not hold back the tears of sadness – not for Jerry but for my attitude. Instead of focusing on Christ and His birth, I had gotten caught up in the world’s view that the number of gifts you have under the Christmas tree determines your happiness.

Christmas at our home would never be the same again. All because of a candy cane under a pillow, a Matchbox car under a tree…and a very thankful little boy named Jerry.

Father, thank you for the most priceless gift of love you could ever send – the gift of your Son. May we never forget that He went from a manger to the cross for us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Do you find yourself focused more on gifts than the Giver of Life at Christmas?

Have you talked with your children about the Ultimate Gift that Jesus gave each of us?


Sit down with your children and help them write on slips of paper the gifts that they can give Jesus this Christmas, like trusting Him, being obedient, and sharing Him with friends.

Have them wrap each of their gifts for Jesus in a box and offer each one to Him on Christmas morning in prayer.

Power Verses

Luke 2:11-12 (NIV) “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”

Romans 6:23 (NIV) “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

II Corinthians 9:15 (NIV) “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

John 1:14 a (NIV) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

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

Kim Frencken: Primary teachers are not paid enough

Primary teachers should be paid more. They are not paid nearly enough. One of them and at least 25 squirmy little five-year-olds asking you to tie their shoes. All day long. They only know some of their letters. Q's aren't even in their alphabet. R's are backwards and B's and D's are reversible. Same with numbers 3, 5, and 7. I used to think that it took talent to write backwards. No, it does not. You only have to be a five-year-old. Then, it comes naturally.

Why is it that the kid picking their nose wants to hold your hand? Or the one that wants a hug has their lunch smeared all over their face? Wear plastic. Wear gloves and a plastic shower cap and you should be good. At the end of the day just power wash yourself. Don't forget steal toed boots. Your feet will be stepped on repeatedly throughout the day.

Nerves. Primary teachers have nerves of steel. Literally. They can calmly, quietly, in a sing-song voice answer the same question over and over and over and over. They ask questions softly about making good choices, having nice hands, and being kind.

And then there's tattling. Anyone who breathes on anyone, touches anyone, or looks at anyone wrong will be reported. There are 25 pairs of eyes and ears that can't wait to report to the only person in the room that is over 4 foot. They embellish and exaggerate as only the very young can do. It is their personal duty to put their errant classmate back on the right path. This is not tattling. This is reform. 

The one who strays will be held up as an example. The one who is the self-designated reporter gives themselves a pat on the back for a job well-done. That is until the teacher shames the reporter and makes them feel like they did something wrong. Don't lose heart. The little police will have their confidence restored shortly, and return to duty.

Patience. Primary teachers have more patience than all other grade levels combined. Everything takes at least twice as long. Everything has a why? attached to it. You can't get ready for the bus in three minutes. Plan on 30 minutes. Snack time lasts at least 20 minutes when most school lunch times don't come close to that length of time. Recess, on the other hand, can't be long enough. They need to run and scream and wear themselves out. 

Shoulder pads. Every primary teacher should be handed a set of shoulder pads on the first day of school. They're going to need them. There is at least one impatient little person that will be drilling a hole in your arm the size of the Grand Canyon. And what they want to tell you is earth shattering. The last one to put a crater in my arm kept calling me Mrs. Frankenstein. She had a headache that only recess could cure. She had a headache?? I told her to take a good look at me and see just what a real headache looked like. Never once did I correct her mispronunciation of my name. Somehow I felt like a Frankenstein. Or a Grinch. Or maybe Scrooge.

Primary teachers have the opportunity to dress in silly costumes and participate in childish games. Sometimes this is fun but that's not always the case. Which brings me to the elf. That stupid Elf-on-the-Shelf. I would like to send him back to the North Pole where he can disrupt the other elves. Let's see what Santa thinks about that!

There isn't enough money in the world to pay primary teachers. They are on the front lines. Cleaning up snot and every other unmentionable while wearing a smile and singing a song. There just isn't enough money for that.

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

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thoughts about two former students and top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week

As much as I loved the old South Middle School, I can't say I ever appreciated the upstairs computer lab.

It was a small room with banks of computers on both sides and barely an aisle between them to walk.

What's worse is how the computer lab came into being. The room originally had been a bathroom.

Still, the times I spent in that lab, especially when my eighth grade communication arts (English) classes were working on the third quarter research project on the American civil rights movement were times I cherished.

Whether it was a student's excitement at suddenly discovering FBI files on his or her subject or finding a way to contact some person who was involved in the freedom rides or the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the computer lab provided, a window, albeit a claustrophobic one into the world of research and knowledge.

Each year, I had students take a few photos of their classmates at work, some of which made their way onto the Journalism Club's website. I looked over some of those photos tonight as I prepared to write this post, looking for a specific photo.

A few moments ago I found out and rediscovered the photo from the mid 2000s, with Arielle Ideker staring intently at the screen, completely absorbed in her research.

I had not seen Arielle since she left eighth grade and went on to Joplin High School. This morning, I received the news release from the Joplin Police Department that said Arielle Ideker-Graddy, 27, was he victim in a train-pedestrian collision at 15th and Michigan and was killed last night.

When teachers, whether they are still in the classroom or whether those days are behind them, hear of the death of a student, they always think back to the way that student was in the classroom. That teenage girl sitting at the computer in that cramped former bathroom at South Middle School is the Arielle Ideker I am mourning.

Another South Middle School flashback

Another student I had not seen since those days at South Middle School was Candace McGillvray. Though I had not seen Candace since she was a student, I recognized her immediately when I saw her at the 15th Street Wal-Mart Friday afternoon.

I had not seen Candace, but I had read that she had landed her first teaching job at Steadley Elementary in Carthage She told me she never thought she would be a teacher.

I found that odd, because for some reason, I always though she would wind up in a classroom.

One thing was certain. Candace is excited about what she does and loves working with the children. She was doing some last minute Christmas shopping after what had been a tough day. The kids were all acting up, obviously ready for vacation.

I told her one thing I had learned, though I am sure it was something she already knew. Whenever you are having a day like that, every other teacher is, too. It doesn't make it an easier to deal with the students, but you know it is not because you are a miserable failure as a teacher.

I was happy to have a chance to reconnect with Candace, giving me the opportunity to add a brief memory of the successful young adult she has become to the memory I have of her as a student.


Thanks to all of you who have helped brighten my holiday with your greetings, your comments and your support. It is always heartening to know people are willing to contribute to this alternative news effort and are willing to provide financial support to help it continue to grow. Your support is much appreciated.

For those who have not contributed recently and wish to do so, you can use the PayPal buttons below the links or send a contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

I hope all of you have a merry Christmas.

This week's top 10 lists for the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries and links to each post are featured below.

The Turner Report

1. Sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Frank Fletcher Ford

2. Jason Smith: It's time for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to put American security over petty politics

3. Joplin man, 29, expected to plead guilty to raping, sodomizing 12-year-old girl

4. Vatterott Colleges in Joplin, nationwide, closed

5. Leggett & Platt lays off the workforce at Kentucky plant

6. Ben Baker's first bill calls for social studies classes on New Testament, Hebrew Scriptures in public high schools

7. Judge finds probable cause that domestic assault, armed robbery charges indicate Ace Mohr violated his probation

8. Jayda Kyle's mother to answer questions under oath, defense adds Judd McPherson as witness

9. Former MU, NFL wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham held on no bond in Greene County Jail following drug arrest

10. Series of class action lawsuits filed against Vatterott College owner after shutdowns across the country

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin pedestrian struck by train, killed, at 15th and Michigan

2. Man's excuse to Joplin PD for driving drunk- he ran out of vodka and was trying to get more

3. Joplin Police sting nabs Range Line Zips for selling alcohol to a minor, complete results of sting provided

4. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

5. Jasper man held without bond after machete attack hospitalizes Duenweg man

6. Arrest made, meth lab discovered between Baxter Springs, Riverton

7. Joplin, Carl Junction men arrested, JPD confiscates meth, loaded handgun

8. Carthage R-9 to displaced Vatterott students- We'll take you

9. Carthage Police Department seeks woman in connection with shoplifting case

10. Joplin Police Department Arrests December 18-20

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1, Tyler Applebee

2. Nathan Burr

3. Lupita Vazquez

4. Harry Glades

5. David Munoz

6. John Gremling

7. Sharon England

8. Faye McCreary

9. David Pritchard

10. Kathleen Shuey

Help support the Turner Report/Inside Joplin by subscribing or contributing using the PayPal buttons below or by sending your contribution of any size, large or small to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt A, Joplin, MO. Thank you.

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Carthage, MSSU graduate Janet Kavandi to be inducted into U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

(From the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation)

Veteran astronauts James F. Buchli and Janet Kavandi, who have both demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery, have been selected to receive one of the highest honors in their industry.

This April, they will be inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame® located at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, to become two of only 99 individuals to ever receive this esteemed honor. The official announcement was made by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which oversees the selection process.

An official ceremony and gala will take place at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on April 6, 2019. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the majestic Space Shuttle Atlantis®, the ceremony will be attended by a roster of astronaut legends. Later that evening, the newest Hall of Fame members will be celebrated at a black-tie event hosted by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

“Courage, dedication and passion are qualities that define true American heroes, and both Buchli and Kavandi possess them,” said Curt Brown, chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Board of Directors. “It’s an honor to be associated with individuals who are so dedicated to NASA’s mission and who share our goal to learn more and go further. We are delighted to be adding James and Janet to the elite group of men and women who have been inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.”

James F. Buchli, STS-51-C, STS-61-A, STS-29, STS-48

An accomplished fighter pilot who dedicated 25 years to military service, retired USMC Colonel James F. Buchli became a NASA astronaut in 1979.

His considerable experience includes a career 4,200 hours of flying time, 4,000 of which were in jet aircraft. He was a member of the support crew for STS-1 and STS-2, and On-Orbit CAPCOM for STS-2.

A veteran of four space flights, Buchli has orbited the earth 319 times, traveling 7.74 million miles in 20 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes, 32 seconds. He served as a mission specialist on STS-51C Discovery (1985), which was the first dedicated Department of Defense mission; on STS-61A Challenger (1985), which was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space, and the first in which payload activities were controlled from outside the United States; STS-29 Discovery (1989), a highly successful mission during which the crew deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, performed numerous secondary experiments and took more than 3,000 photographs of the earth; and STS-48 Discovery (1991), a five-day mission during which the crew deployed the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) designed to provide scientists with their first complete data set on the upper atmosphere’s chemistry, winds and energy inputs.

From March 1989 through May 1992 he also served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. In the fall of 1992, Buchli retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and the NASA Astronaut Office and spent the next 25 years working with Boeing Defense Space Group. He currently serves as the Operations & Utilization Manager for Space Station, Boeing Defense and Space Group in Houston, Texas.

Janet L. Kavandi, STS-91, STS-99, STS-104

Janet Kavandi was selected as a NASA astronaut in December 1994 as a member of the 15th class of U.S. astronauts.

During her time in the Astronaut Office, she supported ISS payload integration, capsule communications, robotics, and served as Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She is a veteran of three space flights, serving as a mission specialist on STS-91 (1998), STS-99 (2000), and STS-104 (2001).

Kavandi has logged more than 33 days in space, traveling more than 13.1 million miles in 535 Earth orbits. She moved on to work at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she served as the Director of Flight Crew Operations, responsible for the Astronaut Corps and aircraft operations at Ellington Field.

Janet also served as the deputy director of the Health and Human Performance Directorate, responsible for the NASA flight surgeons and human research investigations on the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, she is the Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Her work has been recognized with a Presidential Rank Award, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Exceptional Service Medals and three NASA Space Flight Medals.

The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame was spearheaded more than 30 years ago by the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. In November 2016, a new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opened at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, as part of the Heroes & Legends attraction.

U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Process and Eligibility

Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot or mission specialist who has orbited the earth at least once.

Today's Top 10 Political Comments From Joplin Area Friends and Neighbors

Every once in a while, I check out the comments that are left on the political posts for KZRG, the Joplin Globe, KOAM, KODE, and KSNF and leave feeling that I have developed a new understanding not only of politics, but also of Missouri voting patterns.

As a new feature of the Turner Report, I am going to share some comments that caught my attention, some for good reasons, others shall we say, not for such good reasons.

Today's Top 10 list, in no particular order, with my comments added in italics.

1. I remember when Pelosi and Schumer kept saying " we have to be bipartisan ,we have to reach across the aisles to solve the problems of the American people ". Now its F you, no compromise on anything, ever.

Correct me if I am mistaken, but didn't the Democrats agree to the full cost of the wall several months back in a deal worked out with Republicans, but the president refused to go along with it because he did not get every single thing he wanted. That was when he had both branches of Congress.

2. Its a good start....Lets shut down more and never reopen them.

I know it makes people feel better to say things like this, but the people who work in government are people just like you and me. They have families, bills to pay and they are people we see in our communities every day. No one should be sent home at Christmas.

3. Not nice don't you call me an idiot you jerk... Go back to your basement and cry.

Other than offering a compliment on the high quality of the political discussion, I can't think of anything to add to this one.

4. Are you going to write letters to Trump in prison?

I did not bother to check the answer on the Facebook page, but my answer is no.

5. This is beginning to be a daily thing...soon there will only be Trump and Ivanka running our country, and then DOOMSDAY

And that's different from now in what respect?

6. Stand Strong President Trump. We The People Are Standing Behind You

Some of us as far behind you as possible.

7. This could have been avoided if Mexico would have paid for the wall like TRUMP PROMISED

I noticed that this one was answered by a person who admonished the commenter for not realizing that Trump had gone to Option B. I will agree, but wonder if we are much closer to the end of the alphabet.

8. Democrats say that there is no problem at the border- because they have a desire to flood the country with illegals and then give them blanket amnesty and the right to vote...for Democrats.

To paraphrase Bill O'Reilly's opening phrase on his former Fox Show- You are now entering a fact-free zone.

9. Shut the high payed stupid people down re elect all new people and make this country back GREAT AGAIN. bring back the hanging post. Quit letting theses people go with slap on hand or staying for free make them work for there prison cells and food etc.

Forget the hanging post. Bring back complete sentences.

10. Don't just comment go to the GoFundMe page and donate (money for the wall).

And in the spirit of the season, donate in Mexico's name.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Billy Long: 115th Congress ' accomplishments will make life better for many Americans

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Soon after the 115th Congress kicked off, President Trump promised the end of all talk and no action. Over the past two years Congress has worked hard to make good on this promise by passing landmark legislation that cuts taxes, combats opioid abuse and rolls back regulations.

I’ve always felt hard working taxpayers should be able to hold on to as much of their own money as possible.

In 2017, Republicans came together and passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which modernized our decades old tax system. This bill decreases the number of tax brackets, increases the child tax credit and provides new incentives for small businesses to expand. 

Since we passed tax reform, nearly two million jobs have been added to the economy, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1969 and the American people have more money in their pockets.

Along with tax reform, Republicans have spent the last two years rolling back Obama-era regulations that have cost businesses millions of dollars. 

During their first year, small businesses will spend more than $83,000 to stay compliant with regulations. Given their excessive cost, more than half of small businesses say that regulations are their top concern. 

Republicans have worked hard to pass legislation limiting the federal government’s role and ensuring businesses can thrive. Since 2017, we have passed bills that increase congressional oversight, such as the Midnight Rules Relief Act, and bills that roll back regulations entirely, such as the BRICK Act, which targets abusive environmental regulations.

While I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have done cutting taxes and rolling back regulations, I’m especially proud of the work we have done combatting the opioid epidemic. 

This bipartisan issue brought together both parties, leading to the passage of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which targets treatment, recovery, prevention, communities and combatting fentanyl. H.R. 6 directly helps communities impacted by this epidemic by creating recovery centers for those struggling with addiction, increasing research and boosting telehealth technologies.

While the 115th Congress was filled with a number of accomplishments that will make life better for many Americans, I look forward to continuing our efforts during the 116th Congress.