Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Joplin man, West Virginia man sentenced for sexual act involving five-year-old at Neosho Inn, child pornography

A federal judge sentenced a Joplin man to 20 years in prison and a Virginia man to 30 years for their involvement in child pornography, including a sexual act with a five-year-old boy at the Neosho Inn.

Ronald Lee Fields, 56, Joplin, was arrested following a July 31, 2017 execution of a search warrant by the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force during a child pornography investigation.

Fields' capture and admission to his crimes were included in the plea agreement filed in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

The defendant was interviewed after being advised of his Miranda rights. The defendant admitted that he has seen child pornography on the internet and that the youngest child he saw on the computer having sex with an adult was about one to two years old. The defendant confessed that there was child pornography saved on his computer and phone. 

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, Detective James Smith located some pictures on various devices seized from the defendant’s home that appeared to depict the defendant in a motel room with a child, around the age of five. 

Other pictures located on the devices depict the child posed in manner that displays the child’s genitalia in a prominent manner. 

In addition, several other images depict the same child being sexually abused in what appears to be a motel. One such image depicts the child performing oral sex upon an adult male. Metadata recovered from the images indicate that the photographs were taken at a variety of locations in Jasper and Newton Counties between April 20, 2014, and July 21, 2014. 

On August 3, 2017, Special Agent James Holdman interviewed the defendant a second time after he was advised of his Miranda rights. The defendant identified the child (hereafter described as John Doe 1) as the son of an acquaintance The defendant explained John Doe #1 and his father stayed with him about two to three years ago and then moved to West Virginia. 

The defendant explained that the images were taken approximately two or three years ago in the old Neosho Inn. The defendant expressly acknowledges that he aided and abetted in the production of the sexually explicit images depicting John Doe #1.

The man in the photos with his five-year-old son, Shannon Calhoun, 32, Phillipi, West Virginia, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Webb City man, 51, sentenced to 13 years in prison for having sex with high school student

A federal judge sentenced Ricky Raymond Ball, 51, Webb City, to 13 years in prison for having sex with a 16-year-old Webb City High School student

A federal grand jury indicted Ball in 2017 and he pleaded guilty February 2.

Ball's crimes were detailed in a plea agreement filed February 2 in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri: 

On January 24, 2015, Jasper County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office Corporal Alvin Peavler took a report from J.H. J.H. stated he had found text messages on 16-year-old Jane Doe’s cell phone, between her and the defendant, Ricky Ball. 

The messages were in the fashion of "I love you" and calling each other "baby." Cpl. Peavler seized the phone, an iPhone 4, with consent from J.H. 

On February 5, 2015, J.H. found Jane Doe to be in possession of another phone, a Samsung, and turned the phone over to law enforcement with consent to search. On February 4, 2015, Webb City, Missouri, Police Department responded to the Webb City High School. Jane Doe was on the parking lot standing next to a car with Ball in the driver’s seat. Ball stated he was there to see Jane Doe because he had been unable to communicate with her for some time because of a conflict with J.H. 

On February 5 and 6, 2015, Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force (SMCCTF) Officer (TFO) James Smith completed a forensic examination of both cell phones provided by J.H. Multiple messages between Jane Doe and Ball were located, as well as photographs of the two of them together (Jane Doe listed Ball as “Isaac Walters” in her phone). 

Messages such as the following were located on Jane Doe’s Facebook Application: 1/21/15 from Ball, “Okay baby, call me ... I love you with all of my heart and soul forever and always my beautiful angel O:)  "I hope you have a good night, get lots of rest, and a great day tomorrow. Sweet dreams my love so long for now and meet you in our cabin my love. <3 i="" nbsp="">

In response from Jane Doe, “I love you with all my heart and soul too baby ❤forever and always. I hope you have the same. Sweet dreams and so long for now baby meet you in out cabin❤❤❤.” 

On an cell phone application called “Wait For It,” Jane Doe had a countdown labeled, “Day I can Move Out and Be With Rick!!!!.” Jane Doe also had the “Tried It” cell phone application, which listed the different sexual positions she had tried already. There were multiple messages back and forth, between Jane Doe and Ball, that were sexual in nature. 

On March 23, 2015, Webb City Police Department took a runaway report from J.H. in regards to Jane Doe. On March 26, 2015, the Kansas State Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle being driven by Ball in Ellsworth County, Kansas. Jane Doe was located in the vehicle with Ball. Ball’s cell phone, an LG, was seized by law enforcement. 

On June 29, 2015, FBI Interviewer Rachel Happel conducted a forensic interview with Jane Doe. Jane Doe disclosed she and Ball had engaged in vaginal and oral sex between December of 2014, and March of 2015. 

Jane Doe stated she left with Ball, and they were going to start their lives together. Jane Doe confirmed that she and Ball had communicated via the cell phone. 

On August 12, 2015, SMCCTF TFO Williams interviewed Ball, post-Miranda, at the Jasper County, Missouri, Jail. Ball stated he was going through a non-sexual, emotional affair with Jane Doe. Ball claimed they never had sex, but they did discuss having kids and living in the mountains. 

Ball stated there was kissing, hugging, and dating, but that was all, no sex. Ball stated that all the messages and “talk” was romantic role-play. Ball admitted to taking Jane Doe across state lines."

Official DOJ news release on former Jasper R-5 Board secretary's guilty plea

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

A former employee of the Jasper R-5 School District was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $145,000 from the district.

Karla Justice, also known as Karla Jessee, 56, of Columbus, Kan., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Justice to pay $145,726 in restitution.

On Feb. 7, 2018, Justice pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of credit card fraud. Justice admitted that she embezzled a total of $145,726 from the school district over a three-year period from September 2013 to September 2016. Her criminal conduct involved hundreds of individual acts of fraud and embezzlement against the school district.

According to court documents, Justice’s fraudulent scheme not only bled the school district of essential resources, her actions aggravated the financial distress of the district as well. Justice’s fraud and embezzlement had grown to the point that the school district’s reserve account was all but entirely drained, while teaching positions were eliminated, salaries were capped and cut, programs were eliminated or reduced, and children were denied essential educational resources. The school district cut its weekly school calendar to four days, placed all support staff on part-time status, and eliminated their healthcare benefits.

Justice was employed as the head bookkeeper, payroll secretary, superintendent secretary, and board secretary for the Jasper R-5 School District from 2009 until her resignation on Sept. 22, 2016. Justice’s positions with the school district gave her unrestricted access to the account and payroll systems for the school district, as well as the district’s petty cash checkbook and signatory authority for this account. Justice essentially had unlimited access to every aspect of the account and human resources functions for the district.

Justice admitted that she paid herself $80,858 in additional payroll above and beyond the amount allowed under her employment contract. As a result of the fraudulently received payroll, Justice also received an additional $6,731 in employer retirement contributions and $6,530 in Social Security and Medicare contributions that she would not have received otherwise.

The investigation also discovered numerous transactions involving the petty cash account, including checks and E-checks that totaled $13,929 in transactions that were conducted by Justice to pay for personal expenses that were unrelated to the activities of the district, and were not authorized by the district.

Justice also opened and used a Home Depot credit card in the name of the district, without authority or the approval of any district official. Justice used the fraudulently opened Home Depot credit card to conduct several personal purchases between Jan. 6 and Sept. 1, 2016, totaling $2,133.

The investigation revealed numerous checks that had been written on the operating account for the district. Justice did not have authority to write checks to this account but she did have access to the signature stamps for school officials, who did have signatory authority over this account. Several district employees informed investigators that Justice repeatedly asked them to cash checks for her. School officials told investigators that each of the checks discovered during the investigation were fraudulently created and Justice’s request that other employees cash these checks and give her the money was done to bypass safety measures created to prevent employees from directly cashing checks made out to themselves.

According to court documents, school officials began analyzing the district’s budget when the district experienced financial difficulties. During this analysis, officials noted irregularities in payroll payments, unexplained credit card payments, and missing monies from the petty cash account. When asked to reconcile the irregularities, Justice immediately wrote out a letter of resignation.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Former Jasper R-5 Board secretary sentenced to two years, six months in prison

Karla Justice has six more weeks of freedom.

U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool ordered Justice (formerly Jessee) to surrender herself by September 11 to begin a 30-month sentence for embezzling and fraud in connection with the theft of at least $145,716.81 from the Jasper R-5 School District.

The sentence came during a one hour, 15 minute this morning at the federal court building in Springfield and included Justice's allocution to her crimes and impact statements from R-5 Superintendent/High School Principal Christina Hess, former Superintendent Kathy Fall, Elementary Principal David Davis and third grade teacher Tami Maneval,

In addition to the 30-month sentence, Justice will be on supervised probation for three years after her release and will have to repay the amount she stole.

The judge ruled that Justice will serve her sentence at a facility near her family and will undergo mental health treatment.

The sentence was nearly everything the government asked for during a July 18 sentencing memorandum. The U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri recommended 30 months, but asked for Justice to pay $165,344.85 to cover interest.



Previous posts

Jasper R-5 officials might as well have just opened the drawer and handed Karla Jessee the money

Former Jasper R-5 Board secretary pleads guilty to embezzling, faees up to 35 years in prison

Embezzling Jasper R-5 Board secretary to judge: Words cannot express the remorse I feel for my crimes

Josh Hawley to attend Newton County Republican Watermelon Feed

Attorney General and U. S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley, will join Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and local candidates at the annual Newton County Watermelon Feed today at 6:30 p.m. at Big Spring Park in Neosho.

The announcement was made in a news release issued this morning by the Hawley campaign.

The event is sponsored by the Republican Women of Newton County and the Newton County Republican Central Committee.

Soil and Water Districts Commission approves five actions to deal with drought

(From the Missouri Soil and Water Districts Commission)

The Missouri Soil and Water Districts Commission has approved the following five actions in response to Governor Parson’s Executive Order 18-05 Drought Alert:

Require soil and water conservation districts to move landowners completing the drought practices listed below to the top of waiting lists.

-Defer the Grazing School Requirement for 12 months after contract approval for water development and water distribution grazing system practices. The water development contracts will consist only of pipeline from the water source and one watering tank. The rest of the system can be designed and installed after the landowner has completed an approved grazing school. It is important that producers understand managed grazing prior to designing their systems.

-Implement a pond clean out program. The sediment in the pond must be completely removed. A flat rate of $1,000 per half acre (up to 2 acres) will be paid. The maximum cost-share provided will be $4,000 regardless of the size of the pond. A 10-year maintenance commitment for the pond will be reinstated from the date of payment. This cleanout program is available only for state cost-share ponds currently under maintenance and those out of maintenance.

-A variance will be provided to raise the cover crop practice maximum to $30,000 from the current $20,000 lifetime limit and to allow cover crops to be hayed at termination to provide additional forage. Landowners over the $20,000 maximum will receive $30 per acre for any additional acres enrolled. The seeding rates and mixtures the Natural Resources Conservation Service developed for its drought program must be used. Other requirements in the policy still apply.

The cover crop practice only applies to cropland. Landowners that have not reached their $20,000 maximum will continue to follow current policy, which allows a $30 per acre payment for a one to two species cover crop mix and a $40 per acre payment for mixes with three or more cover crop species. Grazing is allowed under current policy. Cover crop soil health tests prior to planting are still required.

To learn more, contact your local soil and water conservation district at https://mosoilandwater.land/. For a list of counties facing severe, extreme and exceptional drought, see the U.S. Drought Monitor map athttps://dnr.mo.gov/drought.htm.

Soil and water conservation practices are funded by the Parks and Soils Sales Tax. Since voters approved the tax more than 30 years ago, Missouri has prevented more than 185 million tons of soil from eroding, thus improving the state’s water quality and keeping farmland productive.

Grand opening held for 32nd Street Dairy Queen

The new Dairy Queen at 2015 E. 32nd Street opened Monday.

From KSN's coverage:
"We hope this store goes over well, and if it keeps on going over well we will look to expand more in the future in this area,” says Justin Juline, DQ manager.

The store employs more than 60 people.


Governor Parson to be in Neosho tonight for Republican watermelon feed

Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe are scheduled to be at Big Spring Park in Neosho for the annual free watermelon feed sponsored by the Republican Women of Newton County and the Newton County Republican Central Committee.

The feed, which is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., will also feature presentations from candidates for contested Newton County offices and state legislative seats.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Quapaw Tribe, Hershewe top July donors to Landis campaign

Jasper County Presiding Commissioner candidate Mike Landis raised $4,700 in July according to his eight-days-before-election report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

More than half of that total came from two sources- Joplin attorney Edward Hershewe, who contributed $1,500 and the Quapaw Tribe chipped in with $1,000.

Joplin attorney Scott Vorhees contributed $500 to the Landis campaign, as did Midwestern Regional Allergy.

The former Joplin R-8 Board of Education member spent $14,300, all of it with Storm Cloud Marketing, Joplin.

Landis had $3,731 in his account at the end of the reporting period.


White, O'Brian continue to raise big bucks in State Senate race

Prepare for a last minute spending flurry as the 32nd District State Senate race between Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, and former Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian nears its conclusion.

In their eight-days-before-election filings today with the Missouri Ethics Commission, O'Brian raised slightly more than White, pulling in $40,515 to $31,939.80. White spent $178,320.76 during July and had $69,845.38 left at the end of the reporting period.

O'Brian spent $33,517.46 and has $76,374.74 left.

Both candidates spent most of their money on television advertising.

Those contributing $500 or more to White were the following:

Missouri Senate Leadership PAC $2,600
Missouri Senate PAC $2,500
Missouri Bankers Association Ozark Region $1,000
CL PAC, St. Louis, $2,500
Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists $2,000
Comcast $2,600
Cheyenne International (tobacco) $2,000
Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Association $500
Western Missouri Leadership Fund $2,600
Sooner Three, LLC, Joplin, $500
XCalibur (tobacco) $500
Paula Baker, Freeman Health, $500

Those contributing $500 or more to O'Brian were the following:

Builders Association $500
Shamrock PAC $2,600
Missouri School Administrators $2,600
Missouri Bankers Association Ozark Region $1,000
Jerrod Hogan, Anderson Engineering $1,000
Stephen Beimdiek $500
Debra Probert, Owens Corning $2,100
Richard D. Smith, RE Smith Construction, $500
Randy Moore, ZAF Energy $500
Nancy Good, The Title Company $500

Embezzling Jasper R-5 Board Secretary to judge: Words cannot express the remorse I feel for my crimes

Sentencing for former Jasper R-5 board secretary Karla Justice (formerly Jessee) for embezzling more than $145,000 from the district is set for Tuesday and she is hoping to avoid prison time.

In last minute filings Justice, her lawyer, her former husband, friends, a social worker and people from her church asked Judge Douglas Harpool to give her a lighter sentence.

"Words cannot express the remorse I feel for the crimes I committed," Justice wrote. "At the time, I was in a very dark place and felt backed into a corner. I have struggled financially my entire life and being the oldest of 10 children has always made me feel as though it was my responsibility to help out each member of my family."

Justice acknowledged she stole the money and described the thievery as "shameful."

Justice's lawyer, Elizabeth Turner, said the methods used by Justice to steal the money should earn her a lighter sentence since sentencing guidelines call for more time for a "sophisticiated" scheme and Justice's crimes were anything but sophisticated.

"She wrote checks from the school accounts to family members, which would appear on bank statements and deposited checks and monthly on bank statements to the school district. If Ms. Justice was attempting to conduct a sophisticated scheme, it could be assumed she would have attempted to conceal her wrongdoing. This would also apply to the credit car transactions Ms. Justice was charging on behalf of the school district for her personal gain."

The fact that Justice's self dealings made her the highest paid employee in the district was also a dead giveaway, Turner noted.

Turner asked Judge Harpool to take Justice's difficult upbringing into consideration, noting that when Justice was six, her alcoholic father began beating her mother and that Justice was sexually abused from ages eight to 12 and never received counseling.

Turner said Justice is receiving professional help and is involved in Camp Joy Ministries.

Justice's former husband Darren Jessee, while agreeing that she was guilty, indicated there were others who were responsible for the Jasper R-5 School District's bleak financial condition.

"She has admitted guilt, but many of the discrepancies that are claimed I believe are legitimate expenses that were approved by the school's superintendent and board. The school district has made many poor decisions and were able to make Karla the scapegoat for everything."

Justice's crime was described in an earlier court filing:

Based on a referral from the Jasper County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office, 0n February 10, 2017, Special Agent (SA) Jason Ruyle, with the United States Secret Service (USSS), initiated an embezzlement investigation involving JUSTICE.

During his investigation, SA Ruyle learned JUSTICE was responsible for the payroll for the DISTRICT and the DISTICT’s school board. JUSTICE had access to the DISTRICT’s petty cash checkbook and signatory authority for this account. Further, JUSTICE had access to the signature stamps of school officials, which effectively gave her complete access to funds within the school district’s operating account. JUSTICE’s positions with the school district gave her unrestricted access to the account and payroll systems for the school district, including posting entries, making changes, making journal entries, performing any reconciliations, entering and changing employee i

information into the payroll system, and presenting financial reports and information to the School Board for the DISTRICT.

JUSTICE essentially had unlimited access to every aspect of the account and human resources functions for the DISTRICT.

Upon meeting with school officials, SA Ruyle learned that the DISTRICT had experienced financial difficulties and had began analyzing its budget. During the DISTRICT’s financial analysis, officials noted irregularities in payroll payments made by the DISTRICT, unexplained credit card payments, and missing monies from the petty cash account. School officials observed that these irregularities and missing monies fell under the supervision of JUSTICE. School officials approached JUSTICE and asked her to reconcile and explain the irregularities and short fall in monies. After receiving the DISTRICT’s request to reconcile the irregularities, JUSTICE immediately wrote out a letter of resignation and provided it to school officials.

On March 29, 2017, the DISTRICT hired BKD CPAs and Advisors to conduct a financial forensic audit of the School District’s accounts. BKD’s financial forensic audit of the DISTRICT’s accounts reviewed payroll, petty cash, retirement contributions, checks cashed, credit card transactions, and purchases of DISTRICT assets for personal use. BKD’s report and a subsequent review by the USSS found JUSTICE had paid herself additional monies, compensation and salary, above the amount noted within her contract. The financial audit revealed that JUSTICE, without authority and without providing the services required for such payments, issued herself additional payroll payments, compensation and money from the DISTRICT’s various bank accounts. JUSTICE also received greater retirement contributions as a result of the increased payroll that she fraudulently issued to herself.

The investigation revealed that the payroll payments received by JUSTICE were made through the withdrawal of monies from the bank accounts of the DISTRICT, resulting in the deposit of monies into JUSTICE’s personal bank account. The resulting wire transmissions between the two financial institutions crossed interstate boundaries, constituting interstate commerce. BKD’s audit found that between 2014 and 2017, JUSTICE fraudulently authorized $80,858.15, in additional payroll above and beyond the amount allowed under her employment contract with the School District. As a result of the fraudulently received payroll JUSTICE also received an additional $6,731.67 in employer retirement contributions, and $6,530.40 in Social Security and Medicare contributions that she would not have received otherwise.

In addition to the fraudulently obtained payroll and retirement contributions, the BKD audit and subsequent law enforcement investigation revealed other areas in which JUSTICE either embezzled monies from the DISTRICT or fraudulently used credit cards in the name of the DISTRICT to pay for her personal expenses. JUSTICE held sole signatory authority for the petty cash account for the DISTRICT. The investigation discovered numerous transactions, including checks and E-checks that totaled $13,929.53 in transactions that were conducted by JUSTICE to pay for personal expenses that were unrelated to the activities of the DISTRICT, and were not authorized by the DISTRICT.

The investigation further revealed numerous checks that had been written on the operating account for the DISTRICT. According to DISTRICT procedures, JUSTICE did not have authority to write checks to this account but she did have access to the signature stamps for school officials, who did have signatory authority over this account. Several employees with the DISTRICT informed investigators that JUSTICE repeatedly asked them to cash checks for her. School officials told investigators that each of the checks discovered during the investigation were fraudulently created and JUSTICE’s request that other employees cash these checks and give her the money was done to bypass safety measures created to prevent employees from directly cashing checks made out to themselves.

Joplin man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

A Joplin man pleaded guilty this morning in U. S. District Court in Springfield to receiving and distributing child pornography.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered for Richard Ray Thuerauf, 49, who was indicted in February by a federal grand jury.

Thuerauf's crime was detailed in the plea agreement:

On August 28, 2017, Joplin, Missouri, Police Department (JPD) Officer Laken Rawlins was dispatched to a residence in Joplin, Missouri. Upon arrival, Officer Rawlins contacted Katherine Thuerauf. Katherine stated that on August 27, 2017, she got on to her husband, Richard Ray Thuerauf’s, HP laptop computer and observed child pornography images in the trash bin application. 

On August 28, 2017, SMCCTF TFO Matthew Smith made contact with Thuerauf. Post-Miranda Thuerauf stated he had images of child pornography saved on the laptop computer and his iCloud account. Thuerauf admitted that he used his Apple iPhone 7+ to search for child pornography. On August 29, 2017, SMCCTF TFO Larry Roller conducted a forensic examination on Thuerauf’s Apple iPhone 7+. TFO Roller located numerous images of child pornography, that is children less than 18 years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

On December 21, 2017, TFO Smith applied for and received a search warrant from the Jasper County Circuit Court for the search of Thuerauf’s Apple iCloud account and mr.rayt@yahoo.com. On January 23, 2018, Apple Inc., responded to the search warrant. TFO Roller created a mirror image of the disk provided by Apple. Thuerauf had e-mailed multiple images of child pornography from his iCloud account, mr.rayt@icloud.com to mr.rayt@yahoo.com. August 18, 2017, was the first instance on which images were e-mailed between the two accounts. There were multiple images of child pornography saved inside Thuerauf’s iCloud Photo Library. TFO Roller confirmed that the Apple iPhone 7+ was manufactured outside the state of Missouri and would have had to cross state lines to enter. 

A detention motion filed by the U. S. Attorney in February said Thuerauf had more than 1,000 child pornography images on his cell phone and 282 more on his iCloud.

Sentencing guidelines indicate Thuerauf will have to spend at least five years in prison and could receive a sentenced of as much as 20 years.

Bartosh raises $6,134 as presiding commissioner race enters final phase

Incumbent presiding commissioner John Bartosh goes into the final phase of his campaign with at least $5,500 to spend, according to his eight-days-before-election report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The report shows Bartosh had only $38.95 in his campaign account at the end of June, but raised $6,134 during the first three weeks of July and spent $664.95, leaving him with $5,508 in the bank.

Bartosh's biggest contributor, giving $1,000 apiece, were Frank Bartosh and Phillip Camerer, Neosho. Giving $500 were Steve Beimdiek and Jim Woestman and U. S. Assets Recovery, Joplin.

Kevin Checkett, Carthage, and Tony Williams, Carthage, contributed $200 and $150, respectively.

Bartosh received $2,234 in contributions of $100 or less, according to the report. He paid $664.95 to Davis Advertising for signs.

Bartosh's opponent, former Joplin R-8 Board of Education member, Mike Landis, has not filed his eight-days-before-election report. The reports are due by midnight tonight.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Nancy Hughes: Praying with disappointment

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

I have a love/hate relationship with my IPhone. Being able to contact anyone, any time, is a great feature – unless I am in the middle of quiet time and get one call after the other.

And as a person who is directionally challenged in small closets and bathrooms, I love that my phone can direct me to my exact destination – unless I miss my turn and have to listen to a very irritated voice spitting out “recalculating, recalculating.”

But my love/hate of my IPhone is the most obvious when I use my voice to text a message. How wonderful that I can touch one little spot on my phone – a mic – and I can talk my message rather than trying to type what I want to say. That is, until my phone decides to interpret my voice conversation on its own. Let me explain.

I call my sister at 7 a.m. every morning, almost without fail. We both have busy schedules and it makes sense to call before the day gets crazy for either of us. One particular morning I was running late and decided to hit the mic button and send her a text by voice.

What I said was “Getting ready for dentist appointment. Will call in a bit.” But what my phone picked up when I spoke was “Getting ready for disappointment. Will fall in a pit.” Mercy.

Fortunately I glanced down just before I hit the send button and corrected my message. But later, as I recalled that text, I thought about my prayer life and wondered if that is exactly how I pray sometimes.

Getting myself ready for disappointment by not believing that God will answer as I have prayed. Hoping He will answer; wondering if I said just the right words in just the right way. Maybe even feeling deep inside that what I am asking is too hard for God or that He really doesn’t care one way or the other.

Have you ever done that? No, you say? What about praying that the cancer will disappear but thinking “It’s spread too much. There’s no way my husband can be healed.” or praying for a prodigal child while thinking “she is too far gone. Nothing will ever change her mind.”

May I just remind you who you are talking to when you pray? The Creator of Heaven and Earth, the God of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End, Jehovah, Lord, The Most High God.

He gave up everything He owned to purchase us, His children He loves more than anything in all creation. And we wonder if He can or will answer our prayers?

Our Father raised the dead, parted seas, gave sight to the blind, caused those who could not walk to run, closed the mouths of lions and opened prison doors. He is very capable of hearing and answering our prayers.

It comes down to this: pray with confidence. Pray with assurance that He hears and answers. Your words do not need to be fancy because He is faithful to His children. Will you always get the answer that YOU want? No because the wisdom of the Lord covers everything in our lives. That is where trust comes in. Trust that the Creator of the Universe, the Creator of our beating hearts, knows what is best for us in our lives
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So the next time you pray, resist the urge to pray with disappointment; instead approach the God of the Universe with boldness and confidence. He hears, He understands and He answers.

Father, forgive me for praying but not believing that you can or will answer when I call on your name. You are a faithful Father and I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .

Reflect

· Have you ever prayed but felt like your prayer was not heard or would not be answered?

Application

· Write today’s Power Verses on note cards and keep them paper clipped together in your Bible.

· Before your prayer time each day, read the Scripture on each card and praise the Lord for hearing and answering your prayer requests. 
 
Power Verses

· James 1:6 (NIV) “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

· Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

· Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

· Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

· Ephesians 7:24 (NIV) “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Kim Frencken: Say goodbye to summer

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but.... summer is almost over. Can you feel it? If not, you can certainly see it. Large crayon displays are blocking aisles and commercials are talking about back-to-school. Where did the summer go? I mean, just last week (I think) I was teaching lessons, organizing and cleaning my classroom. Time to go back? Already?

So, now I'm in panic mode. Trying to get all of my projects finished before The Day. It isn't that I haven't been doing things. I've kept a pretty tight schedule all summer, but my list was too long. So, I'm prioritizing and trying to be realistic. Some things are going to have to wait until next summer. Probably the same things that have waited for the past four years. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

And, I need to get back on a decent sleep schedule. Although I don't call waking up at 6 am sleeping in, by school hours it is. I'll need to readjust to getting up before daylight. I'm already exhausted! I have to start practicing my morning drill. You know the one that starts the night before. Clothes picked out. Breakfast decided on or ready to warm. Lunch sitting in fridge ready to grab. Everything ready for my feet to hit the floor. Make sure my alarm is set to the correct time. And put new batteries in my second alarm clock. I need new batteries!

What about my back-to-school lessons? What will the kids do? I want to change it up this year and have them do something different, but what? I needed my husband's help with a project, but it looks like I'd better switch gears and plan on something else (he hasn't caught my panic yet). Have my classroom supplies arrived? Should I take a day and go organize them or should I just wait for the back-to-school work days?

Decision! Decisions! Maybe I should just catch my breath and sit down. After all Christmas break isn't that far away.
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(For more of Kim Frencken's writing, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Grand jury indictment, guilty plea for Carl Junction pharmacy owner, murder of Webb City man, death of JPD officer top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

When a federal grand jury indicts a well known member of the community and he pleads guilty the same deal the indictment is unsealed, it has a definite impact.

Such was the case this week with the indictment and subsequent guilty plea of Carl Junction pharmacist Jerry Botts. News of the Botts indictment and plea was first revealed in the Turner Report.

Since the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri did not issue a news release, it took another two days before the news hit the pages of the Joplin Globe, where it was buried deep in its second section.

Considering that the Globe has already given up a large portion of the territory it covered just a few years ago, you would think something happening in Carl Junction would be a priority news item.

Of course, it was only two days late and it did run in the paper so maybe there is still hope for the area's newspaper of record.

The indictment was the most visited post on the Turner Report this week by a wide margin. The murder of Monte Little, 19, Webb City, was the most visited post on Inside Joplin and news about the autopsy in that case was fourth. Mr. Little's obituary was the most visited post on Inside Joplin Obituaries.

The Joplin Police Department suffered a tragic loss this week with the deaths of traffic officer David Brewer and his wife Stacy in a motorcycle accident. The last call issued by the JPD for their long time officer was among the top posts on the Turner Report, while the Brewers' obituary was the second most visited post on Inside Joplin Obituaries.

The Turner Report

1. Federal grand jury indicts Carl Junction pharmacy owner on Medicare, Medicaid fraud; Botts pleads guilty

2. Twenty years ago today, I wrote the column that got me sued for $750 million and ended my newspaper career

3. Probable cause: Joplin man was beaten, choked, threatened with knife because he was in National Guard

4. Last call for Officer David Brewer

5. Hawley: I was incredibly humbled by President Trump's endorsement; he respects heartland values, unlike McCaskill

6. Russians target Claire McCaskill

7. Fifty lobbyists give $70K to Josh Hawley campaign; DeVos family kicks in $27,000

8. Hawley praises Trump's courage, his willingness to "stand up to our enemies overseas"

9. Oronogo man sentenced to 12 years without parole on child pornography charge

10. Bond set at $10,000 cash only for Joplin man charged with assaulting police officer, police K9, weapons violation

Inside Joplin

1. Webb City teen identified as victim in homicide at 2809 Santa Fe

2. Malfunction of oven containing 4,000 pounds of dog biscuits causes fire at Hampshire Pet Foods

3. One person taken to Mercy Hospital after residential fire at 215 E. 34th Street

4. Autopsy report: Webb City man's death was a homicide, autopsy of suspected killer underway

5. Seneca man arrested for burglary, property damage after deputies find him inside residence

6. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

7. Shooting leaves Galena man in critical condition, investigation continues

8. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 24-25

9. Breastfeeding support group plans event at Memorial Hall in Joplin

10. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 25-26

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Monte Little

2. David and Stacy Brewer

3. Doc Womack

4. Mildred Hamby

5. Danny Holden

6. James Knight

7. Michelle Schermerhorn

8. Larry Horine

9. Rudy Gardner

10, Doris Pippin


Thanks to those of you who have taken subscriptions or contributed to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin this week. If you would like to support the area's alternative news source, please use the PayPal buttons below or send your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thanks.

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Arraignment set for accused killer of Carthage man

An August 27 arraignment before Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane has been scheduled for Lafayette Starr, 31, Springfield, who is charged with first degree murder in connection with the June 13, 2017, shooting death of Tayler Anderson, 22, Carthage.

Starr waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday and was bound over for trial. He is also charged with assault and two counts of armed criminal action.

The crime was described in the following June 13, 2017 Jasper County Sheriff's Office news release:

Early Tuesday Morning, June 13th, at around 1:30 a.m. deputies were called to a roadside location on Gum Road, west of Country Road 30 intersection in Sarcoxie to deal with a shooting.

Upon arrival a male subject, Tayler Anderson (22 years old from Carthage) was found deceased.

A second male subject, Gage Williams (21 years old, also from Carthage), was sent to a local hospital for treatment for a gunshot wound.

Williams is listed as being in stable condition. The victims and the suspect were familiar with each other.

At approximately 6:00 PM, 06-13-17, Springfield Police Department officers arrested Lafayette Starr, 30, on warrants related to the investigation into the homicide that occurred earlier in the day.

Starr is being held on a $2 million cash-only bond.

O'Brian loans another $25,000 to State Senate campaign

The race for 32nd District State Senate grew even more expensive Wednesday with former Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O"Brian loaning $25,000 to his campaign.

The loan was the third reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission. Earlier, O'Brian loaned his campaign $23,000 and $4,000, for a total of $52,000.

Rep. Bill White loaned his campaign $100,000.

The next financial report is due July 31.

Accused Springfield breast grabber charged with molesting Joplin girl in 2014

A Springfield man charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse for allegedy grabbing a Missouri State University student's breast was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty and receiving a suspended sentence three years ago for a sexual incident involving an eight-year-old Joplin girl.

Jasper County Circuit Court records show Kyle Millentree, who was 17 and a Joplin resident at the time the crime was committed, was initially charged with first degree child molestation, but eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

The interaction between Millentree and the child began on a school bus 2014.in September  according to the probable cause statement for the 2014 crime. Millentree and the girl got off the school bus at the same place. The girl said Millentree followed her to her house and touched her on her breasts, bottom and the lower front portion of her body, with all of the touching taking place above the clothing.

The girl said she got scared and would get away from Millentree, run into her house and lock it. Sometimes, Millentree caught her before she got to her house and touched her, the girl said.

Millentree told investigators there was only one incident. The girl had poked him when they were walking back from the bus stop and he poked her chest.

Court records show Millentree pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault on June 10, 2015 in Newton County Circuit Court and was sentenced to one year in jail with the sentenced suspended, two years of probation, no contact with the victim and court costs.

In the latest incident, a Missouri State University student told Springfield Police she was walking at the intersection of John Q. Hammons and Harrison with a friend when Millentree approached her and asked her what time it was.

When she showed him the time on her phone, he grabbed her right breast, according to the probable cause statement, then walked away. She used the phone to take the photo that accompanies this post.

She reported the incident to MSU officials and to the police, who enlisted the help of the public by releasing the photo.

An unidentified man called police and told them the man was Millentree and where he could be found. When the police found him, it was noted that Millentree's tattoo, backpack and shoes matched those in the photo.

Millentree told police his phone had died and when he came across the women he realized they did not speak fluent English so he had them show him the time. He said he could not see the screen because of the glare, so when she moved her hand so he could see the clock, his hand touched her breast.

Millentree said he apologized, but the women because upset and started taking his picture, so he walked away.

During a second time telling the story, Millentree said his hand had brushed down across the woman's breast.

A few moments after that, Millentree apologized for the investigators for lying to them, said he had been "caught up in the moment" and grabbed the woman's breast, but he insisted he did not squeeze it. He understood why the women were yelling at him and he felt bad about it, but did not feel there was anything he could do to calm the situation.

Bond for Millentree is $15,000. If posted, he will be required to wear an ankle monitor and be under house arrest except for going to and from work.

Jason Smith: Donald Trump has a deep love for Missouri and he will fight for our veterans

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

Our nation owes a massive debt of gratitude to the veterans who have fought to protect our country and its freedoms. As I accompanied President Trump this week on Air Force One for his fourth trip to Missouri since becoming president, I saw how devoted he is to fight on their behalf so every veteran receives the best possible treatment upon returning home. I spent some quality time with the president and saw his deep love for both the state of Missouri and the men and women who have served in uniform.

The scene inside the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City was electric. The VFW is the oldest major veterans organization in the country and thousands of men and women who served our country packed into the arena to hear the Commander in Chief speak. The president laid out the progress his administration is making domestically to better prepare our military and take care of our veterans and stated the incredible progress our military has made on the world stage eradicating ISIS. You could feel the raw emotion in the room as the president announced that as a direct result of his negotiations with North Korea, the United States has begun to recover the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in the Korean War. The families and brothers-in-arms of our fallen heroes have waited too long for this day, but they will finally be able to lay their loved ones to rest on American soil.

When our veterans were called to serve, they fought and won our wars. There were no empty promises, just responsibility to duty and love for country. Now it is our duty to answer their call to fix the VA and provide them what they need to adjust back into civilian life. President Trump and I aren’t interested in empty words, we’re committed to producing concrete results to increase veterans’ quality of life.

I was part of the team that sent a bill to President Trump’s desk which gives the Veterans Affairs Secretary the ability to fire the bad actors who mistreat or neglect our veterans. Together we overhauled the VA Choice program, scrapping the 30-day and 40-mile distance requirements holding veterans back from receiving timely care outside of the VA. We expanded GI benefits, so veterans can seek higher education when it’s the right time for them. Our troops put many aspects of their lives on hold for us when they serve; they don’t need an arbitrary government time limit to receive an education.

Veterans, especially rural veterans, deserve access to quality care no matter where they live. Recently I worked on behalf of rural Missouri veterans to increase accessibility at the Salem VA clinic. I presented the VA medical director with petitions from 5,700 people who felt they were being underserved by the VA clinic only providing services two days a month. Today the clinic has expanded their staff and the services they offer to veterans.

My flight to Kansas City with the president was our fourth trip to Missouri together since he was sworn in. One year ago, the president and I were in Springfield so I could show him how rural America would benefit from a simplified tax code. We stood together in St. Charles in November before Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the result of months of negotiations to cut taxes and provide relief to working families and small businesses. In March we traveled to St. Louis, in the spirit of the Show Me State, to hear from businesses finding new life under an updated tax code. I was proud to be with the president in Kansas City at the VFW National Convention and see his respect for the brave men and women who defend our country and its flag, and I’ll be with him as we honor our commitments to the veterans who have served this country.

The veterans of the United States are the reason our freedom is possible. They answered the call to serve when our nation needed them. President Trump and I are devoted to answering their call for better care from the government they risked everything to defend and protect.

Bond set at $10,000 cash-only for Joplin man charged with assaulting police officer, police K9, weapons violation

A Joplin man faces four felony charges, including assaulting a police officer and assaulting a police animal following an altercation July 23 at the Casey's General Store at 2808 W. 7th.

A $10,000 cash-only bond has been set for Tucker Hall, 22, whose alleged crimes occurred after the police was called to Casey's about a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.

When Joplin Police Department officer Jason Sandbothe approached the vehicle, the officer saw Hall, who was on the passenger side, putting something under the driver's seat, according to the probable cause statement.

Being aware that Hall had two outstanding felony probation violation warrants and a domestic assault warrant, Sandbothe asked Hall to get out of the car so he could take him into custody.

"Tucker then assaulted me by shoving me with both hands and fled on foot. I grabbed ahold of Tucker's t-shirt, but the shirt ripped and he continued to flee."

Sandbothe called out for Hall to stop, but he continued running.

"I chased Tucker to a wooded area where I lost sight of him and asked for assistance from a K9 officer."

The K9, Pax, located Hall. hiding between a concrete wall and fence at 815 S. Schifferdecker Avenue. Hall put his arms around the dog's neck and tried to choke him before Hall was taken into custody, according to the statement.

The item Hall is alleged to have placed under the driver's eat was a Glock 22 .40 handgun.

Hall has prior felony convictions for theft and vehicle tampering.






Wall Street Journal: Federal government is not investigating pay-for-play allegations against David Humphreys

The Wall Street Journal reports that Joplin businessman David Humphreys is not under investigation for being part of an alleged pay-for-play operation. (The Journal article is behind a pay wall, so the link is to a Kansas City Star article.)

According to the article, the Department of Justice confirmed that a letter had been sent to Humphreys' lawyer saying that Humphreys is not under investigation and never has been.

The pay-for-play allegations have been featured in campaign advertising suggesting that Attorney General and U. S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who received $2.5 million from Humphreys during his state campaign is under Humphreys' thumb. It has also been the subject of a fundraising letter issued by the Missouri House Democratic Committee.

Humphreys sent a cease-and-desist letter to the committee and contributed $1 million to the House Republican Committee the same day, according to the Kansas City Star.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Ed Emery pushes Proposition A in latest column

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

On August 7th, those of you who understand the gravity of your citizenship will go to the polls and cast an informed vote for the primary election candidates of your choice. You will also be confronted with Proposition A on the ballot. There are two things to remember when considering Prop A. The first is freedom, and the second is accountability. I believe a yes vote on Prop A is a vote for freedom and accountability.

Much of the information you may have seen on TV is at best misleading and often completely disingenuous. We needn’t rely on TV or social media advertisements to understand Prop A because 27 states have passed similar measures. In those states, union bosses have lost their power over individual workers, and the avalanche of ads opposing Prop A is because those union bosses are fighting back.

Senate Bill 19 gave workers the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union by forbidding employers from forcing union membership as a requirement for employment and forbidding that same employer from prohibiting an employee from joining a union. Through SB 19, I believe workers gained freedom and organized labor (unions) acquired accountability to their members. Nevertheless, the union power brokers contested the legislation and the courts issued a stay until after this August’s election. Whether or not you have learned about Prop A, the following information may be helpful.

What the Prop A Ballot Language Means:
A "yes" vote is to uphold SB 19, which would enact freedom-to-work so that no person can be required to pay dues to a labor union or join a labor union as a condition of employment.
A "no" vote is to overturn SB 19, and affected Missouri workers would continue to be forced to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment even if they objected.

Why Voting “Yes” on Prop A is Important:
Reforming union laws in Missouri is pro-worker, pro-transparency and pro-taxpayer.
Allowing businesses the opportunity to create better jobs with growing incomes will lead to stronger economic growth.
Studies show that Right to Work states:
Have higher levels of economic growth;
Attract more new businesses; and
Have increased job and wage growth.
Missouri is losing jobs and population to our Right to Work neighboring states.
All of the states surrounding Missouri, with the exception of Illinois, have freed their workers from forced union membership.
The 22 states that passed freedom-to-work laws before 2012 have experienced an economic boom.
Freedom-to-work states had more than 17 percent average growth between 2004 and 2014 while states without freedom-to-work over the same period had only 11.5 percent growth.
The top states for new manufacturing jobs are freedom-to-work states, which also have substantially more private-sector job growth than forced-union states.
Freedom-to-work is the single biggest policy that can help protect a worker’s freedom to choose whether a union works for them or they work for the union.

Do your own research and then be sure to vote on August 7th. Once you have researched the differences, I think you will vote yes on Prop A and implement what the Legislature passed in 2017. Except for the intervention of the judiciary, freedom-to-work would have already been in place for nearly a year, and I believe Missouri would have begun gaining on some of our freedom-to-work neighbors

Parson appoints Asbury woman to Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Parson announces eleven appointments to Missouri’s boards and commissions.

Steve Abney, of Warrensburg, was appointed to the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors.

Abney is the chairman, president, and CEO of Central Bank of Warrensburg.  He studied at the University of Central Missouri and graduated from the Mid-South School of Banking and the Trust School of Banking.  Abney serves on the University of Central Missouri Athletic Committee and is a member of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, the Warrensburg R-VI Educational Foundation, and the Warrensburg Rotary Club.

Lynn Farrell, of Osage Beach, was appointed to the Missouri Real Estate Commission.

Farrell is a broker/owner for John Farrell Real Estate Company.  She serves as state director for the Bagnell Dam Association of Realtors and as state president for the Missouri Women’s Council of Realtors.

Cindy Fox, of O’Fallon, was appointed to the Missouri Real Estate Commission.

Fox is a broker/owner for Real Living Now Real Estate in St. Charles County.  She served as president of St. Charles Association of REALTORS in 2016 and currently serves as a board member for Missouri REALTORS.

Paul Granberry, of St. Louis, was appointed as the student representative of the Missouri Western State University Board of Governors.

Granberry is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in political science.  He is the Assistant Director of External Relations for the Student Government Association and serves as a Resident Assistant on campus.

Emily Hymer, of Asbury, was reappointed to the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board.

Hymer is a current foster and adoptive parent.  She previously worked as a child advocate for Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri.  Hymer holds an associate’s degree from Missouri Southern University.

Dr. Mary Long, of Kansas City, was reappointed to the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors.

Dr. Long has been serving on the Board of Governors since May 2009.  She retired as a principal for the Kansas City Missouri School District in 2007.  Dr. Long holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business education from Alcorn A&M University and a Master of Science degree in vocational business education from Mississippi State University.  She earned a Specialist degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University. 

Tiffany Middlemas, of Kirksville, was appointed as the student representative of the Truman State University Board of Governors

Middlemas is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in business administration and history.  She is a Student Ambassador in the Admissions Office and a Student Worker in the Advancement Office.  Middlemas is a member of the Pershing Society and the Bulldog Student Investment Fund.

John Moore, of Raymore, was appointed to the Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents.

Moore retired as the chief operating officer of the 12th Federal Reserve District.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Northwest Missouri State University and a graduate degree in banking from the University of Wisconsin.

Casey Short, of Greenfield, was appointed as the student representative of the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors.

Short is majoring in criminal justice and with a minor in forensic science.  She is a member of the UCM Honors College, Lambda Alpha Epsilon, and UCM Young Americans for Freedom. 

Avery Welker, of Perryville, was appointed as the student representative of the University of Missouri Board of Curators

Welker is a Ph.D. student studying petroleum engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology and an associate’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University. 

Dr. Gus Wetzel, of Clinton, was reappointed to the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors

Dr. Wetzel has served on the Board of Governors since 2011.  He is a board-certified general surgeon at Golden Valley Memorial Hospital in Clinton.  Dr. Wetzel received a bachelor's degree from Westminster College and a medical degree from Tulane Medical School.  He has been involved with the Clinton Rotary Club, United Methodist Church, and St. Paul School of Theology Board of Trustees. 

BIlly Long: With Trump as model, we continue our fight for sensible spending

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

You wouldn’t think it, but with a national debt of over $20 trillion it’s nearly impossible to get bipartisan support to cut any spending in Washington. We still try though. Since President Trump took office, we have been working to pass legislation that cuts unnecessary spending and reigns in regulations. A recent example of this is H.R. 6147, the Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which was passed by the House of Representatives in July. This funding package targets rules and regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including fully repealing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, while also cutting spending and making critical investments in our infrastructure.

The repeal of the WOTUS rule would be a huge win for farmers, ranchers and private landowners across the country. This rule was implemented by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2015 under President Obama and dramatically expanded the federal government’s authority over rivers, streams and marshes. This needless regulation is one of many that takes power away from individuals and states and puts it in the hands of unelected bureaucrats in Washington. Thankfully, H.R. 6147 would change that.

Along with fully repealing the WOTUS rule, this bill would significantly reduce burdensome regulatory programs within the EPA by $228 million. In addition to these reductions, H.R. 6147 would cut through unnecessary red tape by eliminating any regulations regarding the amount of lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle, which if regulated, would have harmful economic impacts on Missouri’s hunting and fishing industries. It would also eliminate mandating livestock operations and livestock producers from being forced to abide by burdensome requirements that can sometimes cost farmers and ranchers thousands of dollars to comply with.

Although this bill would make necessary cuts, it would also make critical investments in infrastructure, specifically water projects. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, we continually discuss the urgent need to update and invest in our outdated water infrastructure. H.R. 6174 would fix this problem by allocating $74 million to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to help fund essential water infrastructure projects.

This funding bill would not only slash spending, but it would also support programs that would benefit hardworking taxpayers. It’s a great example of fiscal responsibility that addresses our needs while also eliminating unnecessary and costly regulations. I hope my colleagues in the Senate will follow the House and pass H.R. 6147 to continue our fight for sensible spending.

Campaign pitch: President Trump needs reinforcements in Washington; Josh Hawley is up for the job

(From the Josh Hawley for U. S. Senate campaign)

All of us Team Hawley wanted to take one more opportunity to thank President Trump for visiting Missouri, and to thank all of you who showed your support.

Josh is right - President Trump needs reinforcements in Washington, and Josh has shown time and again that he is up to the job. As Attorney General, Josh has proven that he will put the interests of Missouri ahead of any powerful outside group, and that he will never back down from a fight to defend our freedoms.

President Trump came to Missouri this week because he knows that we need someone like Josh in the Senate. Congress needs more leaders who have the dedication, the drive, and the experience to bring our conservative values to D.C.

Here in Missouri, we know that candidate is Josh Hawley.

We know Josh will fight for us, so join us in standing with him.

Russians target Claire McCaskill

Microsoft recently announced that it had thwarted three Russian efforts to hack the computers of Democratic candidates in the mid-year elections.

Though Microsoft did not identify the candidates, the Daily Beast confirmed Thursday that one of them was Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO.

The accompanying video is from KOLR in Springfield.