Sunday, June 16, 2019

Joplin R-8 Board hires three teachers, accepts one resignation

During a closed session June 6, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education hired three teachers, accepted the resignations of one and hired eight classified employees.

Certified Employments - Jessica Davidson, Andrea Taylor, and Kevin VanNoy

Certified Resignation - Janet Hackney

Classified Employments - Glory Bradfield, Felicia Brown, Dean Helton, Cara Higginbotham, Clara Proctor, Carolyn Richins, Debra Sloan, and LaDonna Ybarra


Saturday, June 15, 2019

When bad things happen to my former students and this week's top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

Considering the nature of many of the posts that are on this blog, there have been many occasions over the past few years when I have had to post things about my former students that are painful for me.

I don't want bad things to happen to the students who made my 14 years as a classroom teacher. I think of them as I knew them, nearly all of them basically good kids, with some being more mischievous than others.

When one of my former Diamond students committed a murder, I posted the story. Several former students have popped up on the lists of arrests, usually not for major felonies, but still nothing anyone would want to see publicized.

And sometimes, the charges, including the murder conviction of my former Diamond student are felonies.

Such was the case this morning when I posted the Webb City Police Department's news release about the arrests of two people after a SWAT team was called in following an investigation into an armed robbery report.

One of those arrested was one of my East Middle School students.

I was sympathetic to the Facebook commenter who could not believe I wrote about her relative because I was the girl's favorite teacher. She saw the post as a betrayal.

I understand why she holds that view.

That being said, I cannot allow my connections to those who get into trouble to ever become a deciding factor in what gets printed and what does not. Basically, the decision was a simple one= would I have posted the story if it involved someone I did not know.

When the answer to that question is yes, as it was in this case, the decision, while painful, is an easy one to make.


Even more difficult than the stories about my former students who break the law are the ones that deal with the deaths of my former students.

Thankfully, that has not happened many times in the 20 years since I first stepped in front of a classroom, but from time to time it happens.

This week, I was saddened to learn of the death of 27-year-old Rachel Britt, who was Rachel Huddleston when she sat in my classroom, in a traffic accident

Twenty-seven is far too young


Since my earliest days as a newspaper reporter and editor more than 40 years ago, I have hated it when people ask why I never print or post any good news.

While there is always a place for good news, many times news is what you don't want to hear but you need to hear.

This week, however, the number one post on the Turner Report is a positive story, or at least it could be.

You can't get much more positive than having the possibility of Carthage High School and Missouri Southern State University graduate Janet Kavandi becoming the first woman to step foot on the moon.

This week's Top 10 posts for the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries and links to each of them are featured below:

The Turner Report

1, NASA head: Janet Kavandi may bae the first woman to step on the moon

2. Anderson man arrested on federal meth trafficking charges

3. Grand jury indicts Joplin man who allegedly molested seven-year-old, showed child porn to two children

4. Probable cause affidavit: Golden City man, 31, asked underage girl for sex, sent her obscene photo of himself

5. Joplin man sentenced to five years on felony child abuse charge, still won't admit he beat four-year-old

6. Golden City man indicted on child pornography charge

7. Federal grand jury indicts Sarcoxie man on weapons charge

8. Driver who killed Jessica Mann, Jim Dodson bound over for trial on latest DWI charge

9. Josh Hawley asks contributors to send President Trump a birthday card

10. Preliminary  hearing Tuesday for latest DWI charge against driver who killed Jessica Mann, Jim Dodson


Thanks for supporting the Turner Report. Your contributions make this news service possible.

Inside Joplin

1, SWAT team called in after Webb City armed robbery investigation results in standoff, two arrested

2. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

3. Sarcoxie Kum N Go thieves came and went, but then they came back and were arrested

4. Joplin Police Department Arrests June 10-11

5. Sarcoxie Police High Street stop leads to arrest of Carthage, man, woman on drug charges

6. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

7. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests 

8. Newton County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

9. Carl Junction woman injured in collision near Webb City

10. Joplin Police Department Arrests June 12-13

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1, Ryan Vaughn

2. Rachel Britt

3. David Peggram

4. Jayma Barlett

5. John Dages

6. Trong Pham

7. Michael Blizzard

8. Carl Boyd

9. Donnie Lowery

10. Donna Sageser

Nancy Hughes: Where is my focus?

“Set your minds on things above,
not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

My granddaughter went downstairs to her dad’s office where he was totally focused on a project for work. “Hey dad, is it okay if I wear this dress to church?” Without looking up from his drawing, he replied “Sure, that’s great.”

However as she went back upstairs and came face to face with her mother, she received a totally different reaction. “Honey, why do you have that dress on? You’ve gotten so much taller and it’s too short for you to wear.”

But my granddaughter replied “Mom, I just asked Dad and he said it was okay.” Within minutes Dad was called upstairs and, as his previous conversation with his daughter was recounted, he shook his head. “I should have looked up,” he said.

In today’s Scripture, Paul tells the Church of Colossae that they should also look up. But his intent in telling them to keep focused “on things above” has a much deeper meaning. He knows that when we as believers focus on “things above,” we are actually focusing on Christ.

Now let me be the first to admit that my focus can get completely thrown off track by the “earthly things” in life. Just as my son-in-law was totally absorbed with his work, I can become totally absorbed in “stuff” in my life, like how much money and possessions I have. And I can also become focused on envy or jealousy, holding a grudge smothered in anger and forgiveness, or gossiping disguised as a “just thought you ought to know” comment.

But when my focus switches to heaven – and to Christ – I begin to understand that “as God’s chosen people” (verse 12) I need to put on His clothing of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Instead of gossiping about the woman sitting in a church pew quietly wiping tears, I will sit quietly by her side and share her grief.

I will find no comfort in what I own but will be able to comfort the elderly man in the care center longing for the days when he was healthy and at his home.

I will trade impatience for patience with the woman at the gas station or supermarket who is having a rough day.

Earthly things that have no value will be replaced as my mind is set on things above and on Christ.

Where is your focus? Just look up.

Father, forgive me when I focus on the unimportant things of this earth and not on you. Pull me back into your presence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever found yourself so focused on every day situations here on earth that you lost your focus on Christ?

Do you think it happened suddenly or was it a gradual change?


Buy a small chalkboard and chalk and place it in your kitchen or by the bathroom mirror.

Write today’s Scripture on it in the morning and at the end of the day, write one sentence describing how you focused on Christ during the day. Repeat tomorrow.


3:2 (NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

II Corinthians 4:18 (NIV) “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

John 15:19 (NIV) “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

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

Jason Smith: June 14 is Flag Day, the U. S. Army's birthday and President Trump's birthday

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

The red, white, and blue American flag is a symbol known all over the world for American independence, bravery, and sovereignty.

For 242 years, the stars and stripes have represented the United States and our American values all over the world. June 14th is not only President Trump and the Army’s shared birthday, but also National Flag Day – a time to celebrate our beautiful flag and why so many hold it close to their hearts.

After declaring independence from Great Britain, one of the first orders of business for our new country was choosing the flag to represent the United States. 

In 1777, the Second Continental Congress selected the flag hand-sewn by Betsy Ross in her family’s upholstery shop in Philadelphia. Congress passed the Flag Resolution, which is as poetic as it is plain: “Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; and the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Flag Day was an unofficial celebration for many years, until Missouri native President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949 designating June 14th of every year as National Flag Day. President Truman was particularly fond of Flag Day. To him, the flag represented two elements: "I also urge all our citizens to give special thought on Flag Day not only to their many rights and privileges but also to their duties and responsibilities under the national ensign," said Truman.

Our Union has changed as much as the flag’s over time, reflecting a growing constellation of new states and ideas. 

The current 50-star version of Old Glory first flew at Fort McHenry on July 4th, 1960, after Hawaii was granted statehood the previous year. This version of the flag flies in every corner of the world, was planted on the surface of the moon, and hung above the rubble of the World Trade Center after the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

One of the most unifying moments in our country’s history was in the immediate aftermath of that horrible day. Neighborhoods were filled with our country’s waving colors, signifying that we were unbroken and America would get through the terrible attack together. And in times of mourning, our nation flies the flag at half-staff as a symbol of our shared grief.

It's fitting that Flag Day also falls on the Army’s birthday, which turned 244 years old on June 14th. When I look at the flag, I think of our nation’s storied history and the brave men and women who fought to carry and protect it. It reminds me of the patriots who revolted against tyranny and secured the freedoms we enjoy today. I think of the Marines at Iwo Jima, hoisting Old Glory in a moment of triumph. And I remember that when a servicemember dies fighting to protect our country, our beloved flag drapes their coffin as if our entire country was holding who we’ve lost.

You better believe when the National Anthem plays, I stand for the American flag. Because it stands for our wonderful country, the liberties we are blessed with, and the men and women who fought to protect it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Billy Long: We must make sure authorities have resources to combat opioid problem

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

One of the most heartbreaking things I witness is the devastating effects opioid addiction has on families and communities across all socio-economic classes.

This scourge takes approximately 130 lives a day and affects all of us in some way. I saw this firsthand during my visit to CoxHealth Medical Center South in Springfield, Missouri, last week where I toured the neonatal intensive care unit and saw newborn babies suffering from opioid addiction. Let that sink in. 

After the tour, I talked with health care professionals during a roundtable discussion on this crisis. I was anxious to learn how our efforts in Washington are helping fight this growing problem and what more we can do.

In 2017, roughly 50,000 people died from opioid overdoses. Although every part of the country has fallen victim to this crisis, the Midwest has been one of the hardest hit areas. From July 2016 through September 2017, opioid overdoses in the Midwest increased by 70 percent while other regions of the country saw relatively little change.

Last October, President Trump signed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, into law. This comprehensive opioids package targets four areas, including treatment and recovery, prevention, protecting communities and fighting fentanyl.

Soon after the president signed the bill into law we began seeing results. In April, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a new tool to help more than 1,500 registered drug manufacturers and distributors identify suspicious orders of opioids and reduce transferring of drugs from person to person. In addition to the DEA’s new tool, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in March it is cracking down on the entry of counterfeit and illicit drugs through International Mail Facilities as part of its new authority from the SUPPORT Act.

In Congress we remain committed to overseeing how these agencies implement the SUPPORT Act, and we will continue our investigations. Opioid abuse has taken too many lives and it’s our job to ensure local, state and federal authorities have the resources they need to combat this problem.

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

Monday, June 17, 2019
6:00 P.M., Council Chambers


Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


Capital Improvement And Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee Semi-Annual Report


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Public Hearings


Consent Agenda


June 3, 2019 City Council Informal Meeting Notes


June 3, 2019 City Council Meeting Minutes



AN ORDINANCE approving 1506 and 1510 S. Pearl Avenue to include in District R-3 (Apartments District), Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-263.PDF


AN ORDINANCE approving the location approximately 500 feet west of the property addressed as 2902 N. St. Louis Avenue to include in District R-2 (Two-Family Residential District), Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-264.PDF



Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE     authorizing the acceptance of an agreement with Deborah Pearson & Co. Inc, in the not to exceed amount of Fifty One Thousand Four Hundred Eighty and No/100 Dollars ($51,480.00) for appraisal services for the 32nd Street Widening Project; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE approving the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Hunter Chase & Associates in the amount of One Million Forty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred Eighteen and 00/100 dollars ($1,045,918.00) for the construction of Surface Project 4009.


AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Missouri Network Alliance, L.L.C. d/b/a Bluebird Network (“Bluebird”) for the purpose of Bluebird installing, maintaining, and operating facilities for communications related capabilities within the City’s Rights-of-Way and ensuring compliance with the City’s requirements of such use of City property; authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019 – 361

AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Gator Demolition for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 402 N. Joplin Ave. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Four Thousand One Hundred Thirty-three and 00/100 Dollars ($ 4,133.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause. 

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019 – 362

AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Nelson Enterprises for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 114 N. Cox Ave. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Three Thousand Two Hundred Forty-Nine and 00/100 Dollars ($ 3,249.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause. 

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019 – 363

AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Gator Demolition for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 2206 S. Schifferdecker Ave. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Four Thousand Two Hundred Seventy-One and 00/100 Dollars ($ 4,271.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause. 

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019 – 364

AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Nelson Enterprises for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 1218 E. North St. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Three Thousand Two Hundred Forty- Nine and 00/100 Dollars ($ 3,249.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause. 

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019 – 365

AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Nelson Enterprises for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 1012 E. 2nd St. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Three Thousand Six Hundred Forty- Nine and 00/100 Dollars ($ 3,649.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause. 


AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with DocuWare Corporation, a New York Corporation, for the purpose of providing cloud-based document storage services for the not to exceed price of Twelve Thousand Eight Hundred Sixteen and 00/100 Dollars ($12,816.00); authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.

Ordinances - First Reading


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


News From Public Information Officer, Lynn Onstot


Vote To Go Into Closed Session, Which Shall Pertain To Legal Action, Causes Of Action, Or Litigation Including A Public Governmental Body And Any Confidential Or Privileged Communications Between A Governmental Body Or Its Representatives And Its Attorneys Pursuant To State Law, And To Discuss Leasing, Purchase Or Sale Of Real Estate By A Governmental Body Where Public Knowledge Of The Transaction Might Adversely Affect The Legal Consideration Thereof, Pursuant To State Law; As Set Forth In Section 610.021 (1) (2) RSMo, As Amended, 2018. This Meeting, Record, And Vote To Be Closed. Council Shall Adjourn At The End Of The Session.

Parson begins first European trade mission

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson embarked on his first Trade Mission to Europe to engage with leaders and attract new business to Missouri. The Governor will make several stops in France, Germany, and Switzerland over the course of the trip.

Building on Governor Parson’s workforce and economic development priorities, the goals of the Trade Mission are to communicate to an international audience all that Missouri has to offer and encourage new investment in the state.

“International trade and investment play a critical role in our state’s economy,” Governor Mike Parsonsaid. “We must continue to build upon our foreign relationships and promote Missouri as an ideal location for business in order to sustain economic growth and success.”

Governor Parson to visit Normandy American Cemetery

Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson will visit the Normandy American Cemetery and honor Missouri’s fallen through a flag exchange and wreath-placing ceremony with Superintendent Scott Desjardins.

Governor Parson to meet with French employers, promote Missouri’s economy

Governor Parson will participate in a roundtable with French CEOs to discuss concerns related to workforce development, promote Missouri’s strong business climate, and provide a glimpse into the state’s economic future. Topics of discussion will include workforce development and infrastructure improvements, geopolitical concerns, the important role Missouri plays in the U.S. economy, and future trends.

Governor Parson will have the opportunity to meet with the Canadian and U.S. Ambassadors to France, key executives of the U.S. and Canadian Industry Associations, fellow U.S. Governors, and other national and military officials.

Governor Parson to Attend Le Bourget Paris Airshow, meet with Missouri businesses

Governor Parson will attend the Paris Airshow to meet with Missouri companies that are helping grow the state’s aerospace exports including Boeing, Leonardo DRS, and GNK Aerospace.

Governor Parson will also hold several other meetings with companies throughout the trip with existing relationships in Missouri to thank them for their investment in the state and encourage them to consider Missouri as an ideal location for future investment plans.

The trip is funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri nonprofit organization.

Details on the second half of the Trade Mission will be released next week. For more updates, follow@GovMikeParson on Facebook and @GovParsonMO on Twitter.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Josh Hawley asks contributors to send President Trump a birthday card

Contributors to Sen. Josh Hawley's campaign are being asked to sign a birthday card for President Donald Trump, whose birthday is Friday.

In a campaign e-mail earlier today, Hawley asked for a big show of support for the president.

President Trump’s birthday is June 14th, and I need your help to wish him a happy birthday! From securing our borders and lowering taxes to fighting for our religious freedom, our President has been working hard since he took office to keep our country moving in the right direction; I know he would love to see how much support he has from everyone in Missouri.
It only takes a moment, so click below to sign!

Judging from the page that pops up when you click on a link, it appears to be a ploy for Hawley's campaign to collect names, phone number, addresses and e-mail addresses he can turn over to the Trump re-election campaign.

Federal grand jury indicts Sarcoxie man on weapons charges

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

A Sarcoxie, Missouri man who was earlier charged with illegally possessing firearms and ammunition has been indicted by a federal grand jury on additional charges of illegally possessing an unregistered silencer and selector switches to convert semi-automatic firearms into machine guns.

Leng Lee, 35, was charged in a three-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday, June 12. The superseding indictment replaces an indictment returned on May 7, which charged Lee with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

The federal indictment charges Lee with one count of illegally possessing a device designed to convert a semi-automatic Glock-type pistol into an automatic machine gun, and one count of illegally possessing an unregistered silencer. The indictment also contains the original count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The indictment alleges that Lee was in possession of a Glock 10mm pistol, two Glock 9mm pistols, and numerous rounds of ammunition.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers participated in the controlled delivery of an international mail package from China addressed to Lee at his residence on April 23, 2019. The parcel contained seven parts (selector switches) that are used to convert a Glock semi-automatic pistol to fire in full-automatic mode.

Officers executed a search warrant at Lee’s residence and found numerous firearms, ammunition, firearm suppressors, suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, suspected stolen farm equipment, and a large amount of cash. According to court documents, Lee told officers that a couple of the firearms were given to him by his deceased father, but the others were purchased by him at gun shows or during hand-to-hand transactions. None of the firearms were purchased from a licensed firearms dealer. Lee also told officers that he had 10-15 past deliveries of the selector switches, and that he was able to convert and successfully fire a Glock pistol as a fully automatic firearm.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Lee has two prior felony convictions for burglary, and prior felony convictions for vandalism, criminal conspiracy, grand theft, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Newton, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Graves: Nancy Pelosi standing in the way of passing USMCA

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

For farmers, planting season is usually over by now. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case this year. Persistent rain and flooding have kept many of us out of the field. As a result, a lot of acres still haven’t been planted.

The weather has been bad and bad trade deals have made things even more difficult for farmers. We all know the United States has gotten the short end of the stick for years. Deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have locked farmers out of some markets and shipped American jobs out of the country.

President Trump promised to renegotiate these bad trade deals and has followed through. As a result, he’s gotten a much better deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

For farmers, the USMCA is a big win. It will lift longstanding restrictions on selling milk products to Canada—great news for dairy farmers. Canada has also agreed to lift unfair restrictions on wheat and wine. What’s more, this deal will narrow the trade deficit and increase the number of products made in America. Most importantly, the USMCA will raise American wages and create new jobs.

Meanwhile, the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs are gone. Canada and Mexico have lifted their retaliatory tariffs targeting farmers. Last week’s agreement with Mexico to stem the tide of illegal immigration further paves the way for the USMCA while further securing our country. Canada and Mexico are both expected to act on the deal soon and President Trump has announced that he is sending it to Congress for approval. The time to act is now, but Congress hasn’t taken it up.

Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi is standing in the way. We know it’s a good deal and so does she. However, she thinks passage of the USMCA would be a “win” for the President. The reality is that this isn’t just a win for President Trump, this is a win for America, a win for American workers, and a desperately needed win for American farmers. We shouldn’t let petty politics get in the way of a good trade deal. Congress should take up and pass the USMCA immediately, putting America first and setting our country on a solid footing for the future.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Paul Richardson: Where the tame things roam

(Paul Richardson's column, The Horse I Rode In On, is published weekly in the Neosho Daily News and the Seneca News-Dispatch and on the Turner Report.)

One of the primary reasons that we live out in the county is our animals. While there are limitations set, we are of the opinion that animals need room to be free. Free to roam about the property and the neighborhood as long that their behavior remains with the acceptable parameters.

Currently, we have one dog and a cat. The cat had a litter of kittens. One kitten was rescued from the open territory of the lawn on a wet, cold day.

Believing this was the lone survivor of the litter, we nursed it back to health as the mama cat seemed opposed to resuming responsibility of the young ‘un. A neighbor child heard the kitten during a visit to our home. 

The good wife growing fatigued from the kitten’s persistent crying quickly made this little girl quite happy with the gift of a kitten and the needed supplies for its health and welfare. Since that time, I have seen a solid black kitten and a grey tiger striped kitten both proper age to have been in the same litter. 

Since our calico mama cat is and was the only cat on the property and certainly the only pregnant cat, my assumption is that the calico kitten that was gifted to the neighbor child was not the only survivor.

This is good. We like some cats on the property. There are some conditions. They must be outdoor cats. We do provide shelter, bedding and proper protection and comfort for them, but my allergies just cannot tolerate any indoor pets. We provide food, but they better be showing signs that they are controlling the local pest population. 

Failure to indicate such vigilance can result in the good wife instituting a rationing program. Cats have a problem with the little ration stamps since they don’t have opposable thumbs!

The one constant is the presence of a dog or two or sometimes, the skies the limit, three. Three is the maximum number and only happened once when we inherited the dog that belonged to our neighbor to the south. This dog ended up on our property as a puppy. We began to feed the animal and several days later the neighbor spotted the pup. He stated that his bloodhound had delivered a litter of puppies and his daughter had chosen to keep this one. 

That choice eventually faded after it grew because as all puppies are cute lovable time changes things. While the mother was a bloodhound, the sire was certainly not. With the marking’s indicative of a Doberman or a Rottweiler it was clear that this gal was not going to have any type of formal registration in accompaniment. This dog joined the English Springer Spaniel and a Rottweiler made up the threesome. Although she was an adopted addition to the group, it became apparent that she ran the show.

As it is with the cats, there are also conditions that are placed upon the dogs. Excessive barking is discouraged, chasing cattle is totally prohibited, and they must at the very least act like they are trying to protect the property from intruders. We always had concerns about the threesome forming a doggy gang and violating the most sacred of the conditions by chasing cattle. Neighbors that own cattle have my permission to use whatever means necessary to terminate this violation. These three conditions are to be mandatory and unconditional. 

The remaining items on the list have became negotiable as indicated by the current canine resident. The good wife would like for him to stay out of the garden, which he is improving on. She would also like for him to leave the flowers and potted plants alone during the summer. This is a seasonal request, but that is what she would like. Beau, our half Dalmatian and Black Labrador mix rescue seems to have an addiction on the level of giving up smoking when it comes to staying out of the newly potted plants.

Recently Beau became so bold as to not only remove the plants from one of the larger containers, but to follow that action by burying a roadkill find. Upon finding her plants strewn about, this was followed by another surprise when she went to replant the flowers. 

Now Beau, being a dog, lost a lot of the context of the scolding that followed. It was a wordy admonishment that clearly exceeded Beau’s vocabulary. It was not lost on me as I have a pretty good understanding of the language. I was not permitted to depart during this episode and had to endure it with him. It is uncertain what my presence contributed, but I was ordered to sit-stay. I’m believing that I was present on the behalf of the disciplinarian and not as an associate of the guilty.

I would like to say the dog is getting better at controlling his compulsion, but can I get back with you later regarding that? Let’s see how this summer goes!

Joplin man sentenced to five years on felony child abuse charge, still won't admit he beat four-year-old

Adam Duncan was sentenced to five years in prison for felony child abuse Thursday, but Duncan still will not admit he committed the crime.

Duncan, 29, Joplin, entered an Alford plea meaning he does not admit guilt, but acknowledged the prosecution has enough evidence that a conviction would be likely if the case went to trial.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, one count of child abuse was dismissed.

Duncan's crime was described in the probable cause statement:

While living with his girlfriend, Haley Simpson, Adam Duncan spanked Simpson's four-year-old son as punishment for failing to use the toilet.

During this time, Simpson and Duncan both spanked (the child) with a bare hand to (the child's) bare skin. (The child) suffered finger-shaped bruises to his buttocks and waistline from the spankings.

Further, on December 5, 2018, Adam Duncan committed the crime of abuse of a child. During this instance, Duncan physically struck (the child's) head with his hand multiple times causing serious bleeding to the right side of his head. (The child) also had serious bruising to the back of his hands and thighs caused by physical abuse.

Duncan's girlfriend, Haley Simpson, pleaded guilty March 27 to an amended charge of endangering the welfare of a child and was placed on unsupervised probation for two years.

Driver who killed Jessica Mann, Jim Dodson, bound over for trial on latest DWI charge

Edward Meerwald, 64, Noel, was bound over for trial on his latest driving while intoxicated charge following a preliminary hearing today in Newton County Circuit Court.

Meerwald, the driver behind the wheel on July 30, 2004, when he ran off the road and killed eight-year-old Jessica Mann of Joplin and her grandfather, Jim Dodson, 69, Neosho, was already awaiting trial in McDonald County Circuit Court on a DWI charge when the Joplin Police Department arrested him May 3.
Meerwald's arraignment in the trial division is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 15

Grand jury indicts Joplin man who allegedly molested seven-year-old, showed child porn to two children

A federal grand jury today indicted a Joplin man who allegedly molested a seven-year-old boy and showed child pornography to the boy and another child.

David Pierce, 51, was arrested May 29 and Judge David P. Rush ordered him held without bond following a preliminary hearing. In hid order, Rush cited the potential danger Pierce posed if allowed bond.

The Court notes that the current charge involves a child, use of a computer to facilitate the alleged offense, and a sex offense. The Court further notes safety concerns for the community and at least one minor victim. The evidence at the hearing established that the defendant was providing pornography to at least two minor victims and molested one of the two victims. 

The initial arrested occurred following a Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and Joplin Police Department investigation, which started after a hotline complaint was made about a seven-year-old boy's inappropriate actions at school.

The probable cause affidavit alleges Pierce, who was staying at the home of a Joplin woman, showed child pornography to two underage boys and fondled one of them.

After executing a search warrant for Pierce's phone, investigators found 1,217 child pornography images, according to the affidavit.

Anderson man indicted on meth trafficking charge

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

An Anderson, Missouri, man was indicted by a grand jury today for possessing more than a kilogram of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

William S. Divine, 42, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Missouri. Today’s indictment replaces a criminal complaint that was filed on June 6, 2019.

The federal indictment alleges that Divine was in possession of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on June 5, 2019.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Anderson police officers saw a woman who was known to have outstanding state warrants leaving the Econo Lodge at 491 E. Highway 76 on June 5, 2019, and attempted to stop her vehicle.

Earlier post: Anderson man arrested on federal meth trafficking charges

The woman, who is not identified in court documents, attempted to flee from the officers and struck a law enforcement vehicle. Her vehicle was disabled and she fled on foot with officers in pursuit. The woman eluded officers, who saw her drop a clear plastic bag that contained approximately one-half ounce of methamphetamine.

Surveillance video from the Econo Lodge showed the woman entering a room rented by Divine, the affidavit says. Officers searched the room and found a backpack that contained eight individually wrapped bags with a total of 1,360 grams of methamphetamine. According to the affidavit, the backpack also contained a loaded Taurus .45-caliber handgun, as well as documents with Divine’s name on them. Surveillance video from the Econo Lodge showed that Divine entered the room carrying the backpack found to contain the methamphetamine and the handgun.

The charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron H. Black. It was investigated by the Anderson, Missouri, Police Department; the McDonald County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department; the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team; and the FBI.

Golden City man indicted on child pornography charge

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

A Golden City, Missouri, man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for producing child pornography.

Elliot Alden Nelson, 31, was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Missouri.

Today’s indictment alleges that Nelson used a minor, identified in court documents as Jane Doe (born in 2004), to produce child pornography from April 11 to April 22, 2019. The indictment also charges Nelson with using the internet and a cell phone to attempt to entice the child victim to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Earlier post: Golden City man, 31, asked underage girl for sex, sent her obscene photo of himself

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Parson signs budget bills

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Parson signed the FY20 budget bills passed by the General Assembly, which focused on ongoing improvements to infrastructure and workforce development, and investing in our Missouri’s public servants.

“Every year, the legislatures are committed to protecting taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” Governor Parsonsaid. “We are proud of the General Assembly and their efforts with the fiscal year 2020 budget. They have created a fiscally-responsible, balanced budget that will move Missouri forward.”

The total state budget is approximately $30.0 billion, including $10.2 billion general revenue. This budget also leaves $185 million set aside for future budgets. In signing the FY20 budget bills, the Governor issued zero line-item vetoes and issued no withholds, as a result of strong economic performance.

From the beginning, infrastructure has been a top priority for Governor Parson and his administration. Missouri will begin meeting infrastructure needs across the state without raising taxes by funding the following items within the existing budget:
$351.0 million for replacement and repair of bridges, including $50.0 million one-time General Revenue and $301.0 million from bonding, contingent upon the award of the federal INFRA Grant.
$50.0 million for a transportation cost-share program with local communities.
$10.8 million State Road Fund for maintenance repairs due to flooding.
$5.0 million State Road Fund for construction due to flooding.
$6.4 million for port capital improvement projects.
$5.0 million for grants to provide broadband access to under-served areas pursuant to HB 1872 (2018).
$10 million for the Multipurpose Water Resource Program, including the planning, design, construction, or renovation of public water supplies, flood control storage, drought, mitigation, and public water supply treatment or transmission facilities.

Another top priority for Governor Parson this session was creating and improving Missouri's workforce development programs. A comprehensive economic development strategy was established to include several key elements of the Governor’s workforce development priorities, which includes:
$18.9 million for the MO Excels Workforce Initiative, which develops and expands employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to substantially increase educational attainment.
$10.0 million Lottery Proceeds Fund to support the Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant Program.
$61.4 million to fully fund the education foundation formula.
$5.0 million for transportation funding for schools.
$10.4 million for the Missouri One Start Program to provide new and expanding industry training programs and basic industry retraining programs.

The Governor is also committed to moving state team member salaries to be competitive with Missouri market rates. This is part of his back-to-basics management reform agenda, which includes:
Funding for 53,932 FTEs, a reduction of 478 from FY19.
$30 million to fund a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase for state employees (except MoDOT, which has its separate pay plan). This 3 percent COLA comes on top of the FY19 increase of $700 (or 1 percent for those earning over $70,000 per year). This means that the average state employee’s salary will increase over 4 percent in the FY19 and FY20.
$8.9 million for salary increases in the Department of Corrections to recruit and retain employees.
$4.9 million for MoDOT salary adjustments to address pay grid compression across government.
$5.3 million for targeted pay adjustments for about 4,500 employees to bring their salaries toward market minimum levels.

In addition, the budget incorporated the Governor’s proposal to improve economic and workforce development through a reorganization of state government that was overwhelmingly supported by the General Assembly. These changes will streamline state government and ensure it produces better outcomes for Missourians, which leads to better efficiency and long-term cost savings.

Governor Parson said, “It’s important to run Missouri with a fiscally responsible, balanced budget. We appreciate all the people involved who work extremely hard to accomplish this mission.”