Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Live rally in West Virginia- How will Trump respond to Cohen plea, Manafort verdict?

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 counts, including working with Trump to pay off women to affect 2016 election

It may be a rigged witch hunt, but it was President Donald Trump's own Department of Justice that worked the case that led to a guilty plea today in federal court by Trump's former personal attorney and self-proclaimed fixer Michael Cohen on eight felony counts.

The guilty pleas came on the same day that a federal jury found former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty on eight felony counts involving bank fraud and income tax fraud.

The following news release, which details the crimes Cohen committed was released a few moments ago by the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Counts seven and eight detail a plan worked out by Trump, who is not named as is the U. S. Attorney's custom when a person has not been indicted, but who is clearly the candidate who conspired with Cohen to pay $130,000 and $150,000 to silence two women about alleged affairs:

Robert Khuzami, Attorney for the United States, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James D. Robnett, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the guilty plea of MICHAEL COHEN to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a federally-insured bank, and campaign finance violations. 

The plea was entered followed the filing of an eight-count criminal information, which alleged that COHEN concealed more than $4 million in personal income from the IRS, made false statements to a federally-insured financial institution in connection with a $500,000 home equity loan, and, in 2016, caused $280,000 in payments to be made to silence two women who otherwise planned to speak publicly about their alleged affairs with a presidential candidate, thereby intending to influence the 2016 presidential election.  COHEN pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.
Attorney for the United States Robert Khuzami said:  “Michael Cohen is a lawyer who, rather than setting an example of respect for the law, instead chose to break the law, repeatedly over many years and in a variety of ways.  His day of reckoning serves as a reminder that we are a nation of laws, with one set of rules that applies equally to everyone.”   
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “This investigation uncovered crimes of fraud, deception and evasion, conducted through a string of financial transactions that were carefully constructed and concealed to protect a variety of interests.  But as we all know, the truth can only remain hidden for so long before the FBI brings it to light.  We are all expected to follow the

State audit shows Department of Revenue inefficiencies affecting citizens at license offices

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the state's sales and use tax collection processes, which are administered through the Department of Revenue. The report found inefficiencies affecting citizens at license offices throughout the state, especially in rural counties.

"Taxpayers should not have to provide the same documentation time and time again just to ensure they are not overcharged on tax for a new vehicle," Auditor Galloway said. "Taxpayers deserve an efficient and effective system regardless of where they live."

After a vehicle is purchased, the taxpayer is required to title and pay state and local sales tax. The Department of Revenue relies on a computerized mapping system to assign the appropriate local tax rate. However, in 15 counties that include rural communities, the system is often inaccurate, requiring taxpayers to produce additional proof of their residency in order to pay the correct rate. Even after the information is provided, the address location is frequently not corrected in the system. This means the potential of repeatedly having the same errors, requiring taxpayers to once again produce additional documentation on future transactions.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the state's sales and use tax collection processes, which are administered through the Department of Revenue. The report found inefficiencies affecting citizens at license offices throughout the state, especially in rural counties. "Taxpayers should not have to provide the same documentation time and time again just to ensure they are not overcharged on tax for a new vehicle," Auditor Galloway said. "Taxpayers deserve an efficient and effective system regardless of where they live." After a vehicle is purchased, the taxpayer is required to title and pay state and local sales tax. The Department of Revenue relies on a computerized mapping system to assign the appropriate local tax rate. However, in 15 counties that include rural communities, the system is often inaccurate, requiring taxpayers to produce additional proof of their residency in order to pay the correct rate. Even after the information is provided, the address location is frequently not corrected in the system. This means the potential of repeatedly having the same errors, requiring taxpayers to once again produce additional documentation on future transactions.

The report also recommended changes to state law after a repeat finding regarding refunds on sales tax overpayments. This audit covered the 2015 through 2017 fiscal years, and lists the overall performance rating as "good."

Auditor Galloway's previous audit of the state's sales and use tax collection processes was released in 2015 and identified approximately $20 million in cash bonds being held by the department, which should have been refunded to Missouri businesses. The Department of Revenue has since addressed the issue and improved procedures to ensure businesses are refunded the money they are owed.

"Just a few years ago, our audit work identified a flawed process that resulted in millions of dollars not being returned to businesses," Auditor Galloway said. "Audits get results. Today, there are processes in place to make sure this money is returned and can be invested in Missouri's economy."

Auditor Galloway has focused on ensuring tax processes are efficient and designed to directly support services to taxpayers. Last fall, she released a report on the state's tax incentives and exemptions that highlighted concerns with timely sales and use tax discounts. These discounts are among some of the most generous in the nation and result in the state giving away millions to corporations for simply doing what the law requires. The 2017 report also found that the state does not monitor the effect of sales tax exemptions, making it difficult to know the actual fiscal impact.

The complete report on sales and use tax is available here.

Governor announces launch of Missouri Way management training program

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced the launch of The Missouri Way management training program. Throughout the program, leaders from the State of Missouri’s 16 executive departments will develop their management skills to better lead change and improve service for the citizens of Missouri. The State of Missouri has never before had such a statewide cross-department leadership development program.

“The citizens of Missouri expect their government to perform well for them every day. They expect us to deliver results on the most important issues facing our state, like workforce development and infrastructure,” said Gov. Parson. “We know we need to get better. That means making sure our state leaders have the skills they need to best serve our citizens. I am proud that we are starting The Missouri Way program to do just that.”

Gov. Parson welcomed participants of the first The Missouri Way training at its kick-off this morning. The first training will continue Wednesday and conclude Thursday evening.

“Our back-to-basics management agenda is all about improving our government for our citizens. No organization can improve without strong, skilled leaders,” said Drew Erdmann, Chief Operating Officer of the State of Missouri and leader of The Missouri Way program. “The Missouri Way program is designed to help equip our leaders with the management skills they need to drive deep, sustained change. The State has never before had such a cross-department program. It’s time.”

The Missouri Way is an intensive three-day training program designed to introduce senior leaders, managers, supervisor, and other emerging leaders the tools and approaches of solving basic management challenges and improving their teams’ performance.

The Missouri Way’s approach is practical and based upon proven principles from high-performing businesses and other government organizations. The curriculum will provide common approaches, tools, and vocabulary in areas ranging from how to manage change within an organization and redesigning business processes to customer experience and project management. The sessions involve a mix of classroom instruction with individual and group exercises.

“We are transforming the Department of Corrections,” said Anne Precythe, Director of the Department of Corrections. “The Missouri Way program will help my leadership team expand their skills and tools and take these changes to the next level.”

“Our citizens expect us to be as responsive and reliable as any other organization they deal with,” said Carol Comer, Director of the Department of Natural Resources. “Our leadership team is doing the program together to help us accelerate improvements in the Department of Natural Resources.”

The Missouri Way program is an important component of the state’s management transformation. The State of Missouri will hold the program approximately every 90 days, and it will be a regular part of leadership development in state government. Participants are identified by department leaders. The program’s first classes will include each department’s top leadership ranks. The State’s goal is to train 1,000 managers in The Missouri Way by the end of 2019.

Approximately 130 supervisors, managers, and leaders from across the 16 executive departments participated in The Missouri Way training program this week. Future training sessions are expected to bring together about 150 participants each.

“The Missouri Way program is yet another tangible example of how we are investing in our people as never before,” said Sarah Steelman, Commissioner of the Office of Administration.

Find more information about The Missouri Way program on its website: https://missouriway.mo.gov.

State treasurer announces of launch of website that will offer information about Missouri finances

(From State Treasurer Eric Schmitt)

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt today announced the launch of new transparency website where citizens can access information about government finances. The website, ShowMeCheckbook.mo.gov, is powered by over 20 million individual data points, making it one of the most comprehensive state government financial data portals in the country.

“Unfortunately in the past the state has not provided adequate tools for accessing information about state finances,” Schmitt said. “Show-Me Checkbook gives greater access to state finances by creating a one-stop-shop for information on state spending, revenue, payroll, debt and cash flow. Missourians have a right to see how their money is being spent and managed in Jefferson City and Show-Me Checkbook lets them do just that.”

Prior to the launch of the new website, state financial data was often difficult to find and analyze. As a result, Missouri received a D+ grade for financial transparency from the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) in April of this year. Advocates see Show-Me Checkbook as an important step toward increasing transparency.

The Missouri Press Association released a statement today praising the launch of the new website: “Before the launch of Show-Me Checkbook, financial transparency tools across state government in Missouri were complicated, outdated and disconnected. This new website gives Missourians easier access to crucial information about how their government operates, which is a step in the right direction toward greater transparency.”

Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of government watchdog group Truth in Accounting, also sees the creation of a comprehensive data portal for Missouri finances as step forward.

“Truth in Accounting is pleased to see Treasurer Schmitt's efforts to create the Show-Me Checkbook, which provides citizens with a transparent and easy-to-understand website to obtain information about their state's finances," Weinberg said in a statement.

Show-Me Checkbook was designed to be user-friendly while maintaining the unprecedented depth of data exploration available through its interface. Government accounting experts and data analysts contributed to the review of the portal to ensure an accurate reflection of accounting standards.

“As financial professionals, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants knows how important it is for the government to give citizens access to information about how taxpayer dollars are being spent and managed,” said Jim O'Hallaron, President and CEO of the Missouri Society of CPAs. “We wholeheartedly support efforts to increase the transparency of state finances, including Treasurer Schmitt’s launch of Show-Me Checkbook.”

According to PIRG, websites like Show-Me Checkbook can result in significant cost-savings for states that launch them. Texas saved an estimated $163 million as a result of a similar project, and North Carolina credits their website with leading to a comprehensive reform of their state purchasing laws.

Show-Me Checkbook draws data from the State of Missouri’s accounting system along with state agency reports. Treasurer Schmitt is encouraging citizen watchdogs who find interesting or concerning data trends through Show-Me Checkbook to contact his office through the submission link that appears on the bottom of each page of the website.

Special interest group: Minimum wage increase in Missouri would benefit workers, small businesses

(From the National Employment Law Project)

Washington, D.C.—A new report by the National Employment Law Project highlights the positive impact that raising Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 an hour would have on both small businesses and workers.

Missouri’s minimum wage is currently $7.85 per hour, which amounts to $16,328 for year-round, full-time workers. Raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour would not only mean a much-needed raise for thousands of Missouri workers, it would also boost sales for small businesses by increasing consumer spending, as low-wage workers are, out of necessity, most likely to spend any additional money they make.

A higher state minimum wage could also significantly reduce expensive turnover costs for small businesses by improving worker retention—and extensive research shows that improving pay can increase productivity and improve performance. The new report also highlights key studies from the more than 25 years of economic research finding that states can raise their minimum wage without reducing employment.

“Polls of small business owners around the country show that small businesses support raising the minimum wage,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. “Small business owners understand what economic research has shown: Raising the minimum wage means better business by boosting consumer spending, by reducing expensive turnover costs that plague low-wage industries, and by improving productivity and customer service.”

This month, Missouri’s Secretary of State officially certified Raise Up Missouri’s proposed ballot initiative to gradually raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023 statewide. Missouri voters will now have the opportunity to vote yes this November on Proposition B to bring a much-needed wage increase to 677,000 Missouri workers.

Missouri Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a growing group of over 375 Missouri businesses supporting an increase in the minimum wage, has expressed their support for the measure “because it’s good for business, customers and our local economy.” (https://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Missouri-Sign-On-Statement).

Missouri stands to join a growing number of jurisdictions that have taken steps to raise wages. Faced with state and federal inaction, rising living costs, and declining paychecks, more and more states and cities are taking action to raise the minimum wage at the state and local level.

Southwest Missouri Democrats: Call McCaskill and tell her to vote against Trump Supreme Court nominee

Southwest Missouri Democrats issued a call to action today, asking members to let Claire McCaskill know they want her to vote against President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

McCaskill is scheduled to meet with Kavanaugh today.

The organization sent the following message:

Senator McCaskill is meeting with Kavanaugh today. Please call her offices and make sure she knows her constituents want her to vote NO on Kavanaugh. It is urgent that we block his nomination to the Supreme Court and will affect generations to come. If you have already called both Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt following our previous Speak Out emails we thank you and ask you to take the time to call again today. When you have completed your call to Claire's offices please call Senator Blunt and ask him to also vote NO on the confirmation of Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Justice.

Senator Claire McCaskill
Phone: (417) 868-8745

(314) 582-3810

Senator Roy Blunt

Phone: (417) 877-7814

Neosho Daily News will no longer be printed in Neosho; Daily, Carthage Press to be printed in Columbia

Neosho sources confirmed to the Turner Report Monday night that the printing press at the Neosho Daily News will soon make its last run.

After Labor Day, the Neosho Daily News, the Carthage Press, the Aurora Advertiser, the Pittsburg Morning Sun, the Miami News-Record and the Grove Sun will be printed in Columbia, following a practice that began when the owner of those newspapers, GateHouse Media, began sending the weekly shopper the Big Nickel there several months ago.

The move has reportedly been in the offing since GateHouse purchased the Columbia Tribune and continues the company's practice of centralizing services, eliminating jobs and removing connections to the local communities where it has newspapers.

Moving the printing to Columbia is just the latest of a number of changes that have rocked the Daily in recent years.

The biggest was the change in publishing frequency. At one time, the Daily was published six times a week. Since April 2017, it is published twice weekly.

At the time the change was made, the Daily received criticism for maintaining "Daily" in its name, despite it no longer being printed on a daily basis. The name was maintained, the publisher at the time Jamey Honeycutt said to better serve the readers.

"We had to determine what we do better than anyone and that was cover local news," Honeycutt said in a top-of-page-one story in the Daily. "When your print edition comes on Tuesday and the weekend, it will be a thick edition, focused exclusively on local news, sports, and advertising."

The article continued, "No other news agency in the area focuses on Neosho and Newton County like the Daily News and the Daily News takes it's (sic) responsibility seriously."

The move to two days a week was made at the same time GateHouse Media made the Carthage Press, which at one time published six days a week, into a weekly, trimmed the formerly five-day-a-week Miami News-Record to a twice-weekly and reduced the Pittsburg Morning Sun from six to five days a week.

The company has trimmed costs in other ways.

The Aurora Advertiser reportedly no longer maintains a business office, forcing customers to conduct their business with the newspaper by e-mail or mail.

How long can GateHouse Media claim these are "local" newspapers?

For a publication that takes a nostalgic look at Neosho and Newton County in a time when the daily newspaper was an essential and when the Neosho square was a Friday and Saturday night destination for teenagers from the Neosho, Seneca and East Newton school districts, my new book Newton County Memories is available locally at Granby Auto Supply and Hardware, Changing Hands Booke Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin and Pat's Books in Carthage.

It can also be purchased at Amazon in paperback and e-book formats at the links below.

Missouri Ethics Commission closes Greitens investigation

The Missouri Ethics Commission announced Monday it has concluded its investigation into whether former Gov. Eric Greitens improperly used the donor list of the charity he started, The Mission Continues, to help in his campaign for governor.

The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the Cole County Prosecuting Attorney's office for possible criminal charges.

The accompanying video is from KSN.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Hawley, McCaskill offer views on Trump Supreme Court nominee

Sen. Claire McCaskill will meet Tuesday with President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which as the Kansas City Star pointed out today is one more than her fellow Missouri senator Roy Blunt did with President Barack Obama's 2016 nominee Merrick Garland.

In the accompanying video from 41 Action News in Kansas City, McCaskill tells what she hopes to find out during her meeting with Kavanaugh, while her Republican opponent, Attorney General Josh Hawley explains why he supports Kavanaugh.

Joplin High School graduate, fiancee killed in accident near Cabool, three-year-old son suffers minor injuries

A Go Fund Me account has been established by the Fletcher Auto Group for the family of Bryce Ash, 24, a member of the Joplin High School Class of 2012, who was killed, in a traffic accident August 15, along with his fiancee Kalena Freitas, 23.

Their three-year-old son, Brylon, received minor injuries in the crash and has been released from Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, MO.

According to the Highway Patrol report, the accident occurred 12:43 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 63, six miles north of Cabool.

The 2010 Dodge Avenger Ash was driving skidded across the roadway and struck a 2017 Ford Flex driven by Marlyn A. Smith, 73, Eunice.

Kalena Freitas was pronounced dead at the scene. Ash and Brylon were taken to Texas County Memorial where Ash died at 1:40 p.m.

Ash and Freitas had planned a September 2019 wedding.

In a recent Facebook post, Freitas who met her fiancee where he was the leader of her college orientation group, was looking forward to a big event in their son's future.

"He's so excited to be starting pre-school very soon."

Go Fund Me account for Bryce Ash family.


Moran: Trump Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh is a great guy

(From Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas)

This week, I met with Judge Brett Kavanaugh to discuss his qualifications to be the next Supreme Court justice. 

Our discussion further affirmed he is a man of integrity and intellect with a deep respect for the Constitution. 

I look forward to his confirmation hearing next month.


Missouri National Guard members continue to serve on border in Arizona

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

On Monday, Governor Mike Parson joined President Trump in speaking out in support of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including two rotations of Missouri National Guard Soldiers, who first responded to the mission shortly after the President's call in April.

Currently, four Missouri National Guard soldiers are serving on the southwest border, providing aerial surveillance from their UH-72 Lakota helicopter. Since arriving in Arizona earlier this summer, the crew has executed approximately 400 flight hours in support of the federal border security mission.

“Patrolling our borders has never been an easy role, with many difficult decisions to make; but I am proud of the service of these men and women,” said Governor Parson. “By patrolling our borders, we can take a proactive stand against human trafficking, violence, terrorism, and illegal immigration from spiraling out of control. Our National Guard soldiers have done a great service to their country in their critical support role and have represented Missouri very well.”

Though Governor Parson was adamant in the enforcement and control of our borders, he spoke proudly of the importance of immigrants and the impact they have had on our society. Governor Parson said, “This will always be a nation of immigrants. It is the one common trait we all share. Immigrants have and will continue to have an important role in Missouri and the United States. However, we must work together to help control the amount of illegal activity that passes through this country while giving legal immigrants a chance to succeed in this country. The American dream will never be lost.”

Hartzler urges Senators to support Trump Supreme Court nominee

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) today urged Senate Democrats to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

“During his more than ten years serving on the D.C. Circuit Court, Brett Kavanaugh has shown his ability to respect, uphold, and interpret the Constitution fairly,” Hartzler said. “He has resisted the pressure of the majority in complicated cases and maintained his strong judicial values. Brett Kavanaugh is well qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court, and I hope Senator McCaskill will decide to support his nomination after their meeting tomorrow.”


Governor issues executive order providing water for family farms during drought

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, in response to worsening drought conditions throughout the state, Governor Parson announced the availability of water for family farms at 28 Department of Conservation areas and five Department of Natural Resources state parks. Governor Parson also announced the creation of a lottery for farmers interested in haying, free of charge, on almost 900 acres of Missouri State Parks lands.

Up to 5,000 gallons of water may be pumped daily, per family farm. Water is available for livestock needs only and not for resale.

Farmers will need to provide their own pumping and hauling equipment. To make arrangements to pump water, call 573-751-4115, ext. 3209. Additional information, along with maps showing locations for the pumping of water and for haying, are available at https://dnr.mo.gov/droughtresources.htm.

The lottery for haying at Missouri State Parks opens today and runs through Saturday, August 25. The Department of Natural Resources will announce lottery results on Monday, August 27. Additional details are available at https://mostateparks.com/.

Both programs are for Missouri landowners only.

On July 18, 2018, Governor Parson issued Executive Order 18-05, which declared a drought alert for 47 Missouri counties. As of August 14, every county in Missouri has been affected by dry to exceptionally dry conditions, and 86 counties are now considered to be in drought alert.

The Departments of Natural Resources, Conservation, and Agriculture and others are working together to provide information and resources to the agriculture community and towns affected by drought.
Visit the Department of Natural Resources drought website for information about drought conditions, agriculture and drinking water assistance, and resources at https://dnr.mo.gov/drought.htm.

Citizens are encouraged to submit information about drought-related conditions and impacts in Missouri using the Missouri Extension Drought Impact Reporter online at https://bit.ly/2OdCcHd. Information will be used to inform drought maps provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor for Missouri (https://bit.ly/2NaHG4i).

McCaskill fundraising letter links Josh Hawley with Trump, McConnell

This is one side of what Missourians are going to be seeing until November.

The latest fundraising appeal from the Claire McCaskill campaign attempts to stir up Democrats' fear and loathing of President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, complete, of course, with the two in a menacing looking photo.

That will be countered by Hawley (or more likely national groups) advertising about McCaskill's wealth and accusations that she is soft on border security and full of the Washington swamp.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Carl Junction man caught in midweek JPD SWAT raid arrested three times in three months on drug charges

Less than two weeks after the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney filed drug trafficking charges against Tristan Forkner, 32, the Carl Junction man was arrested again by the Joplin Police Department during a Wednesday morning SWAT raid at a home at 2724 S. Minnesota.

Forkner was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

It was his third drug-related arrest in the past three months, according to online court records.

Also charged, according to JPD records were the resident at that address, Christina Harris, 47, whose bond was set at $30,000 cash or surety on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a child, David Kerry, 47, Joplin, possession of drug paraphernalia and Damon Waggoner, 47, Joplin, for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Online Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate Forkner posted a $1,000 bond Friday on the earlier drug charge.

Forkner has yet another drug possession charge pending against him in Jasper in connection with a May 23, arrest.

The accompanying Facebook video is from Shannon Becker of Joplin News First.

McCaskill compares opponent to Todd Akin- men like Josh Hawley are disastrous for women

In a fundraising letter from her re-election campaign, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, compares her Republican opponent, Attorney General Josh Hawley, to the man she beat for re-election six years ago, Congressman Todd Akin. The text of the message is printed below:

I want to tell you a little something about Todd Akin and Josh Hawley.

You probably remember Todd as the “legitimate rape” guy – most people do. It’s been six years to the day since he made his infamous comments, and I’m as stunned now as I was then.

But here’s what actually makes me sick to my stomach: Ignorance like that gets all the attention, but plenty of others have backwards beliefs about women.

My opponent, Josh Hawley, blamed sex trafficking on the sexual-liberation movements of the 1960s. He worked as a lawyer on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case, letting bosses restrict women’s access to birth control. He wants Roe v. Wade overturned.

He hasn’t gone quite as viral, but his ideas are also backwards.

I’m committed, today, tomorrow and every day to fighting against men like Todd Akin and Josh Hawley. If you’re with me, I need you to donate, because men like Hawley are going to be disastrous for women.

And because I never miss an opportunity to replay this video, my 2012 hit (it reached number 41,237,013 on Amazon and was so disturbing that Amazon discontinued its charts), Akin Breakin Heart, backed by the Rick Murray Quartet. The photo that shows with the video was taken at the 2012 Lincoln Ladies Ice Cream Social at Memorial Hall in Carthage.

Kim Frencken: Do teachers need higher pay?

Do teachers need higher pay?

That sounds like a silly question. Who doesn't need or want higher pay? But I can't help but wonder if more qualified people would choose teaching as a career if the pay was more competitive. Notice I said qualified because without this adjective the answer would be YES. I want to know how many who are truly qualified would still choose teaching over other careers. Or would higher pay attract people who really didn't want to teach, but choose to teach only because of the money they would earn?

I'm afraid that people would start viewing teaching as a career or a profession. True, that it what most of us consider it to be, but we all consider it something else as well. If we didn't teach.... what would we do? If there is nothing you'd rather be doing than teaching, you've been called. If you have multiple career choices and are only looking at the highest paid, keep looking.

Now, for the hard part. Yes, teachers need to be paid as professionals. Not minimum wage earners. Some might find this harsh, but without teachers where would every other profession be? Exactly. Teachers put up with many things: not being treated like professionals, long hours, donating their $$$$ to their own classroom, not being paid like a professional, and the list goes on and on.

Some will argue that other professions have pitfalls. I'm sure this is true but I can only speak about what I know. Some will argue that teachers get the summer off. If you really believe this you don't know a teacher. Summers off is a myth. Something that you see on TV or read in a fiction novel.

Did you know that many teachers supplement their income with second or third jobs? Many teachers do seasonal work during their summer or winter breaks. I've had an administrator that preferred that the teachers in his building didn't work anywhere else. I think this was because I wouldn't have time to work a second job, during the school year, unless it was on a week-end. Many school days lasted from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm. Not much time to squeeze in another job!

Many teachers work online from home. Some have opened teacher stores. And we come under attack for that. Someone suggested that teachers should not be selling their original curriculum. They should be giving it away. How many lawyers offer free consultations and services? How many doctors will perform a surgery without charging? Do you tip the server at your favorite restaurant? Why shouldn't a teacher offer her original lessons to others on a paid site? We spend hours creating lessons to challenge our students. Is there any reason why we shouldn't charge for our resource? I do give my friends lessons. I wouldn't dream of charging them. But, I also sell resources in my teacher stores. It is another source of income, not just for me, but for many other educators.

What do you think? Would higher pay attract more people to education or more teachers to education?

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing, check out her blog, Chocolate For The Teacher.)



Some of my best writing on educational issues and my experiences in the classroom, Let Teachers Teach is available locally at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin and Pat's Books in Carthage and in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon at the links below.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Joplin Globe, the importance of freedom of the press and the top posts for the Turner Report/Inside Joplin this week

More than 300 newspapers across the United States printed editorials Thursday defending the freedom of the press against attacks from President Donald Trump, who has referred to the press as "the enemy of the people," and who has decried everything that has been written about him that he does not like as "fake news." Invariably, everything that he has described as fake news has been completely factual.

For some reason, there is a substantial minority, but thankfully still a minority, that seems to be willing to throw out the First Amendment if it involves criticism of someone they believe can do no wrong.

The attacks are dangerous. They have inspired dictators all over the world to parrot Trump's "fake news" cry and begin jailing or killing reporters and it is no longer a priority of the U. S. under the Trump Administration to defend the freedoms that have made America stand as a shining beacon of freedom.

When the newspapers elected to print their editorials on the same day, Trump naturally criticized the media again and referred to the act as "collusion."

If joining together to fight for freedom of the press and against a president who clearly does not value that freedom is collusion, then thank God we have more than 300 newspapers in this U. S. that can still raise their voices to fight for that freedom.

And then we have the Joplin Globe.

I have no idea why the Globe did not run an editorial. Perhaps it is burned one too many times by the out-of-touch-with-reality readers who believe the Globe is a liberal newspaper, despite so much evidence to the contrary.

Maybe Community Newspapers Holding, Inc. the out-of-state chain that owns our area's newspaper of record decided that its papers would not print editorials.

Or maybe it's the idea that the Globe, though in the past it has shown pretensions otherwise, is a small-town newspaper. Maybe someone figured that since we were talking about a national issue, perhaps the editorials were better left to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other metropolitan newspapers.

That argument is a false one.

If you are not willing to use the First Amendment, you could lose the First Amendment.

The number of people who are willing to lump all media together as the enemy or who are not willing to believe anyone who gives them information that is not the same as they hear from their favorite cable news channel or their opinionated radio talk show host has been growing for the past quarter of a century. Now that deadening effect on our nation's discourse has been joined by those who purposely disseminate actual fake news (and it is not our mainstream media that is doing this). The enemy is not only the newspaper that the president refers to as the "failing New York Times," or the Washington Post, it is also the Joplin Globe.

It is not just the newspapers that send reporters to Helsinki with the president, but it is also the newspapers that send reporters to City Hall or to the school board meeting.

I have far more faith in newspapers that nearly always get the story right and when they make a mistake they are willing to admit it and take responsibility for it.

That's not fake news. That is not an enemy of the people.

It is a public service and one that will help us get through these troubled times.

It is a good thing that the media is standing up to the bully at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It is a shame that the Joplin Globe did not see fit to do the same.


The Top 10 lists for the most visited posts on the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries and links to those posts are featured below. See how many of those you could only find on the Turner Report/Inside Joplin.

Thanks again to those of you who have continued to support this news operation. Your support is much appreciated.

Anyone wishing to subscribe or contribute can do so at the PayPal links on the right hand side of this page, or by sending the contributions to my mailing address, which is also provided on the right hand side of this page.

The Turner Report

1. Judge approves motion granting Jalen Vaden attorney option to ask state to pay for litigation expenses, expert witnesses

2. Appellate court: Meth-addled Newton County couple will not regain custody of four children

3. Probable cause: Joplin man sexually assaulted 11-year-old boy at LaQuinta Hotel on Range Line

4. Umbilical cord of fifth child of meth-addled Newton County couple tests positive, judge orders child's removal

5. Joplin R-8 Board officially accepts resignation of McKinley Elementary principal, hires Barbara Cox

6. Arraignment set for former Jasper fireman's wife charged with felony tampering with witness in child molestation case

7. Former Jasper fireman's wife charged with felony tampering with a witness in child molestation case

8. Joplin CVB Board ignores guidelines, recommends grant money for Connect2Culture, Wildcat Glades

9. Joplin R-8 Board holds special closed session for personnel reasons

10. Auditor refers Woolston's actions to feds, Jasper County prosecutor

Inside Joplin

1. Joplin Police on missing persons case: We are concerned for the safety of Sarah Burton

2. Reward offered: Have you seen Waffle?

3. Empire District Electric customers to see rate reduction due to Public Service Commission order

4. Joplin News First offers video coverage of JPD swat operation at 2700 block of S. Minnesota

5. Stella teen, Monett couple injured in collision on 60

6. Jasper County Marriage Licenses

7. Carl Junction High School teacher Tobin Schultz finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year Award

8. Off-duty JPD officer's recognition of suspects leads to four arrests, seizure of heroin, meth, weapon

9. Joplin Police Department Arrests August 14-15

10. Joplin man injured in three-vehicle crash at 34th and Main, dies at KU Medical Center

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Phyllis Doyle

2. Balin Joy

3. Jacob Ellis

4. Youa Moua

5. David Moran

6. Glen Andrews

7. Terri Macias

8, Julie Arnold

9. Victor Sinclair

10. Jake Marbough

Stories of Newton County the way it used to be- My new book Newton County Memories is available locally at Granby Auto Supply and Hardware, Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin and Pat's Books in Carthage, as well from Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats at the links below.

MIssouri unemployment drops to 3.4 percent

(From the Missouri Department of Economic Development)

Missouri’s unemployment rate edged down another tenth of a point to 3.4 percent in July, the lowest it’s been since June 2000. Nonfarm payroll employment in the state was little changed from the revised June level.

The state’s unemployment rate has been edging down from the 3.7 percent level at the beginning of the year. Missouri’s rate has now been lower than the comparable U.S. rate (currently 3.9 percent) for 39 consecutive months.

The July not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.8 percent in Missouri, compared to the U.S. figure of 4.1.

Nonfarm payroll employment reached 2,904,400 in July, an increase of 100 from June,

Increased employment in some industries in July was essentially offset by decreased employment in others. Durable goods manufacturing employment was up by 2,000 over the month, while retail trade and health care and social assistance each added 700 jobs. Decreases occurred in administrative, support, and waste management services (-1,800) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-1,200). Other gains or decreases were smaller.

Employment has been trending upward, increasing by 8,800 jobs between May and July and by 34,700 (1.2%) since July 2017. Over-the-year growth occurred in most reported industries. Health care and social assistance employment was up by 10,900 jobs, while durable goods manufacturing added 5,600. Arts, entertainment and recreation; retail trade; and administrative, support, and waste management services each added between 3,500 and 4,000 jobs over the year.

For the full labor report featuring industries that experienced employment gains and losses over the month, click here

Friday, August 17, 2018

Date set for trial in road rage murder

An April 23, 2019 date has been set in Jasper County Circuit Court for the first degree murder of trial of Chris Montz, 24, Neosho, who is charged with the June 9 road rage killing of David Reynolds, 27, Carthage.

Montz pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday.

The probable cause statement detailed the confrontation between Chris Montz, 24, Neosho and David Reynolds, 27, Carthage, at Highway 249 near the intersection with I-44.

The statement indicated Montz and Reynolds pulled to the shoulder and while the men were arguing, Reynolds punched Montz twice in the face. Montz pulled a gun and shot Reynolds in the head.

Montz is being held in the Jasper County Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Probable cause: Joplin man sexually assaulted 11-year-old boy at LaQuinta Hotel on Range LIne

A Joplin man used his connection with a youth program at the New Beginnings Church in Miami, Oklahoma, to lure an 11-year-old boy into a Jacuzzi and then sexually assaulted him in a room at the LaQuinta Hotel, 3320 S. Range Line September 16, according to a probable cause statement filed in Newton County Circuit Court.

Matthew Galati, 29, already facing six counts of statutory sodomy in Jasper County, used his connection with the youth program at the New Beginnings Church in Miami, Oklahoma, to gain proximity and then sexually assault underage boys, the probable cause statements in both the Newton and Jasper County cases indicated.

Galati is charged with felony first degree statutory sodomy in the Newton County case.

The probable cause statement said Galati and the boy were naked in the bed when Galati performed a sexual act on the boy with his hand. Hotel staff confirmed Galati checked into the hotel on September 16 and checked out September 17.

Earlier post: Joplin man used connection with churches to commit sex crimes against juveniles

The Jasper County probable cause statement said that on two occasions, a boy stayed overnight at Galati's home with Galait touching the boy sexually on both occasions.

During that same time period, according to the statement, the boy and two other underage boys were sexually touched by Galati at his home, with the four of them naked in Galati's bed. At least two of the boys were in Galati's church group.

Billy Long: My colleagues and I will continue to address rising health care costs

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Everyone knows how expensive health care is. It can wipeout one’s life savings in the blink of an eye. Many hard working taxpayers spend thousands of dollars on health care year in and year out. As health care costs continue to rise, this issue will only get worse. Along with my colleagues in the House of Representatives I have been working on and passing legislation that helps alleviate this problem, including increasing access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Twenty million Americans take advantage of these cost-saving accounts designed to help individuals and families with high-deductible health care plans put away pre-taxed dollars to pay for medical expenses, such as copayments, deductibles, coinsurance and other health-related expenses. Under current law, an individual can only contribute up to $3,450 to their HSA annually and a family can contribute up to only $6,900 for their family plan annually. If not used, individuals and families can roll their money over to the following year without it counting towards their yearly contribution.

Unfortunately, under current law, HSAs have numerous restrictions that prevent individuals and families from utilizing them on services such as telehealth services and primary care visits, which if covered, could save significant money over time. Along with these services, medical products and medications, such as diabetic test strips and over-the-counter medications, are not covered.
The House recently passed several bills that would help fix these problems, including H.R. 6311, the Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act, and H.R. 6199, the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act. H.R. 6311 would increase the amount of money an individual can add to their HSA up to $6,650 and a family up to $13,300. H.R. 6199 would reverse an Obamacare provision that prevents individuals from using their HSAs for over-the-counter medications and personal hygiene products.

Rising health care costs on individuals and families will continue to be an issue my colleagues and I address. We will do whatever is necessary for people not to have to choose between paying for health care or going without care.

Parson appoints Karsten acting director of Department of Public Safety

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Charles A. (Drew) Juden, current Director of Department of Public Safety, will depart the agency effective August 31, 2018. Governor Mike Parson has asked Colonel Sandra K. Karsten to serve as Acting-Director of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety during the transition. Colonel Karsten will also continue her role as superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“Drew is a well accomplished public servant. We appreciate his time and service to the State of Missouri and wish him well in the future,” said Governor Parson. “Colonel Karsten has a long track record of being a top-notch professional and an exemplary public servant. We are confident in her leadership during this transition.”

“Governor Parson asked if I would be willing to assist during the Department’s transition, and I am more than happy to help. Ensuring the public’s safety has been a top priority in my 33-year career in law enforcement, and it always will be,” said Colonel Karsten.

The Department of Public Safety plays a critical role in our state, and the Governor will be working to appoint a new director in the near future.

State Auditor reveals cybersecurity mistakes government entities make and how they can protect data

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Local governments often make common mistakes that put electronic data at risk of hacking and theft, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says. The Auditor today released a summary of the most common cybersecurity risks found by her audits of local governments and courts, along with recommendations those agencies can follow to better safeguard their data.
"A week doesn't go by that we don't hear about a significant data breach compromising information that needs to be tightly protected," Auditor Galloway said. "These security challenges largely didn't exist 25 or 30 years ago, but local governments often have been slow to catch up in the fight against cybercrime. The conversation on how to safeguard personal data has been taking place in corporate boardrooms for years, and it needs to happen in city halls, courtrooms and school administrative offices across Missouri."

The summary was compiled using local government and court audit reports issued between July 2017 and June 2018. Auditor Galloway's office has released similar reports since 2015. The most common cybersecurity issues found by the audits were:

·         Access - Former employees did not have their access removed promptly, and current employees had greater access to the computer system than what they needed to do their job.
·         Passwords - The audits found system administrators were not requiring users to change their passwords periodically, passwords were shared by users, passwords were not required to be complex enough, and in some instances, no passwords were even required for access.
·         Security controls - Computers were not set to lock after a certain period of inactivity or after a certain number of unsuccessful log-on attempts.
·         Backup and recovery - Data backups were not stored at an off-site location, and periodic testing of backup was not being performed.
·         Data integrity and tracking - Controls were not in place to guard against improper changing or destruction of data, and the systems also don't track who is responsible for changes or how the changes were made.
"Our audits found that often the most routine of computer safety protocols -- such as changing, or even using, passwords -- are not being followed," Auditor Galloway said. "Government owes these basic protections to the citizens they serve."
As part of each audit that found cybersecurity problems, Auditor Galloway made recommendations for the local governments to help protect electronic data. The recommendations, also given in the summary released today, include:
·         Limiting user access rights to only what is necessary for job duties and responsibilities;
·         Promptly deleting user access following termination of employees;
·         Periodically reviewing user access to data;
·         Ensuring passwords are periodically changed, are adequate for security, and that unique accounts and passwords are required for access;
·         Putting controls in place to lock computers after inactivity or unsuccessful log-on attempts;
·         Storing backup data in a secure off-site location and testing the backup data on a regular basis;
·         Ensuring data integrity and audit trail controls are in place to allow for proper accountability of all transactions; and
·         Restricting the timeframe for making changes to data and ensuring that the audit trail of changes is prepared and viewed for accuracy.

Since taking office, Auditor Galloway has made cybersecurity a priority across all levels of government. She was honored by the Center for Digital Education for her Cyber Aware School Audit program, which was designed to increase safeguards against unauthorized access to student records and information. She successfully pushed for cybersecurity protections for Missouri students and their families in an education bill that was signed into law this summer. Passage of the school cybersecurity bill comes after she completed five school district audits focused on cybersecurity and went to 12 Missouri schools to recognize districts that had proactively implemented parental notification policies when student data was compromised. The law will take effect Aug. 28, shortly after the beginning of the new school year.

"Our public schools are entrusted with data from students and their families and like any sensitive information, it must be safeguarded," Auditor Galloway said. "For the first time ever, parents across Missouri will have the right to know when there are cybersecurity breaches at their schools so they can take any necessary actions."
The complete report on information security controls in Missouri local governments and courts is available here.