Sunday, August 18, 2019

Kay Hively: The story of Aunt Mariah, the baby nurse

(Kay Hively is a historian, author and a long time editor, reporter and columnist for the Neosho Daily News and the Neosho Post.)

One of my favorite personalities in Neosho was "Aunt Mariah" Watkins. A "baby nurse," Aunt Mariah served the town's wealthier families when a new baby was expected.

Born in South Carolina around 1824, Aunt Mariah was a slave in the home of a white doctor and his wife, and where her interest in medicine was honed. Eventually she moved to St. Louis where she married Andrew Watkins, and they soon moved to Neosho.

It is believed that Aunt Mariah never bore children, but became a baby nurse and always claimed she had a lot of children. She applied her self-taught nursing skills to taking care of babies. In the 1800s, babies were not born every day in Neosho, so Aunt Mariah took in laundry and did typical kitchen work of the times. Her husband, Andrew, was a dray man with a wagon and either a horse or mule.

Aunt Mariah was not a midwife; she was hired to care for a newborn baby after it was born because, in those days, new mothers were often confined to bed for at least two weeks. While in the house attending the mother and baby, her duties usually including taking charge of the other children who lived there, and sometimes cooking.

It was said that the children in town thought Aunt Mariah delivered babies out of her large black doctor's bag. They would see her hurrying down the street with her bag and then entering a home. Soon, a new baby would be announced at that home. So, Aunt Mariah must have surely brought the baby—or so some of the other children thought.

Aunt Mariah did more than take care of babies. In the 1870s, she and Uncle Andrew found a young black boy asleep near the woodpile in their back yard. Taking him inside, they learned he had walked about nine miles to Neosho, determined to go to school. The boy had been born a slave, but freed after the Civil War while he was still an infant.

The Watsons took the boy into their home and let him attend the little 1872 Neosho Colored School, one of the earliest schools in the area for black children. To earn his keep, he helped Aunt Mariah with the laundry, often jumping the school fence to wash clothes during his lunch period.

The little boy stayed with Aunt Mariah and Uncle Andrew for several months before moving on to get a better education. But until his dying day, George Washington Carver paid tribute to Aunt Mariah for taking care of him and helping establish his Christian faith. When he left Neosho, he was given a Bible by Aunt Mariah which can be seen at the George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond, Mo.

Many people were proud to be one of Aunt Mariah's babies. Probably one of the most prominent of Aunt Mariah's children was the artist, Thomas Hart Benton. As she did with her other "babies," she lived with the Benton family for a while after the birth of the would-be artist.

Aunt Mariah died in 1925 at the age of 101. In 2002, Aunt Mariah was named one of 70 "Outstanding Women of Missouri."

But, just between you and me, Neosho and Newton County has known that for many years.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The murder of Jessica McCormack, negative reaction to Carol Stark post and this week's top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

I was sitting in the hallway outside the Jasper County Circuit Clark's office in Joplin a few days ago waiting for the public computer to become available so I could look up some court files.

Usually, I can get right in, but on that day there were actually two people in front of me.

One of them was a Joplin Globe reporter and I heard him talking about the investigation into the death of Jessica McCormack, 25, Noel, whose partially-clothed body was found stuffed in a suitcase along Highway 59.

At one point in his conversation with one of the employees, the reporter talked about a local media outlet (not the Turner Report) that had already reported McCormack was murdered.

He noted that no official word had come down that it was murder and the Joplin Globe was not in the business of making that determination. It reported only the facts and not speculation.

And there has been plenty of speculation about this case.

It seems obvious when you find a dead body dumped along the road stuffed into a suitcase you are talking about a murder, especially when the case also involved the kidnapping of three children.

But the reporter was absolutely right- it is not a reporter's job to determine if someone is murdered.

The conversation took place a few hours after I published a Turner Report post that said Jessica McCormack had been murdered.

My policy is the same as the Globe's. I am not going to make that determination, nor did I do so in this case. While McDonald County officials were not ready to say it was a murder, the U. S. Attorney's office had already gone on record in a news release issued that morning headlined "Noel man charged with kidnapping murder victim's daughter."

To be on the safe said, I checked the U. S. Attorney's website when I got home and there had been no changes made and as of this evening, Jessica McCormack is still referred to as a murder victim.

I appreciated the care both this reporter and the Globe take in reporting this kind of story.

Of course, that does not prevent the readers of the Globe and the Turner Report from offering their own comments. Many were quick to declare it a murder from the moment her body was discovered.

One Turner Report reader even pointed the finger at someone else rather than the man who has been charged with the kidnapping who killed Jessica McCormack.

That comment was not published.

The bottom line is the death of Jessica McCormack was a tragedy and three children will have either little or no memory of their mother.

Criticism of my Remembering Carol Stark post

When I wrote my post about the death of Joplin Globe Editor Carol Stark I anticipated that someone would take the opportunity to call me a hypocrite because I have been highly critical at times about the Joplin Globe and some of the editorial decisions she has made.

The criticism came as well as a comment about what a terrible human being I am and asking me why I did not continue bashing her even in death as I had done while she was alive and said I should be ashamed of myself.

That was the only negative comment I received about my post, though I am sure this person was not the only one who felt that way.

It is not a matter of my treating someone differently because that person has died. There are some people who I have written unfavorable things about who will not receive this kind of treatment if they happen to leave this world before I do.

My criticisms of Carol Stark were a matter of philosophical differences in the way news was covered.

The criticisms were never of Carol as a human being.

When it was time for me to write the Remembering Carol Stark post, I never considered rehashing the criticisms.

This was something I had been thinking about since I heard a couple of weeks ago that it appeared her battle was finally nearing an end.

The post was the lasting memory I have of Carol Stark and her lasting contribution to this area.

That was the only story I wanted to write.

Book announcement coming soon

I am still conducting research for my upcoming book and the publishing date is not any time in the near future, but I will be announcing the subject of the book later this month and I am excited about it.

My announcement will be in the form of a column that will run in an area newspaper the last week of the month and on the Turner Report.

The reason for the announcement is that the anniversary of one of the major events I am writing about in this book comes later this month.

Some of you are already aware of what I am writing about since I have been conducting numerous interviews and have had several people provide help to me as I have conducted research in Joplin and two area towns.

For those of you who are not aware, I am hoping the subject will come as a pleasant surprise.

One thing is for sure.

After researching and writing Lost Angels, I was looking for a complete change of pace.

This book will meet that description.

A big thank you

Thanks again to those of you who have subscribed, made financial contributions or have shared the posts and provided news tips to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin. Your contributions are appreciated.

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Nancy Hughes: When I question God's answer to my prayer

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

For some reason, I have the unenviable ability to pass judgment on people and situations and then get caught with my foot in my mouth time and time again. Here is one example:

A few summers ago, I was driving home from a city about 30 miles away. My little brown van with no air conditioning resented the over 100 degree weather even more than I did. My three friends (or at least they WERE my friends before the trip) liked the heat even less
Suddenly my van began to cough and sputter and choke – similar to what WE were doing in the heat. I couldn’t keep myself from groaning with frustration as I managed to guide the now silent machine with steam seeping from its hood to the side of the highway.

None of us knew anything about cars, so we stood beside the van with the hood up, glaring at the engine as if we expected it to apologize for its behavior, fix itself immediately, and hum on command. All this as traffic ignored us for several minutes and continued to zip by.

Suddenly I realized what I should have been doing when the problem first occurred: I prayed. “Lord, please send us somebody who knows something about cars!” I whispered.

It could not have been more than one minute later that my friends and I heard an engine reduce its speed and turned to see a guy and girl on a motorcycle pass us, slow down (as if having second thoughts) and finally come to a stop several feet ahead of us on the side of the highway
My excitement turned to instant disappointment as the young man on the motorcycle took off his helmet and turned to face us. A dirty, red bandana tied back blonde matted sweat-soaked hair that appeared to have never had a lasting relationship with scissors or water. Tattoos of someone named “Cheryl” were evident from east to west and the look was complimented by leather arm bands accented with silver spikes.

In my mind he resembled someone from a bad movie titled “The Hippie Who Conquered Outer Space.” I was confused. God must be hard of hearing! “Hey,” I prayed silently. “I asked for somebody who knows something about cars – NOT someone who looks like he came from Mars!”

As he walked toward us, the young man smiled slowly and asked “Need some help?” We all stared for a moment and finally I volunteered “Well, yes, but I don’t think you can help us. We need someone who is familiar with cars.”

He just smiled that easy smile again and said “Well, I’m not sure about the “familiar” part but I AM an auto mechanic. Will that do?” as he tightened a part here and adjusted a switch there and the car jumped to life
I immediately apologized and thanked the young man for his help. But two thoughts also occurred to me. First, God answered my prayer instantly – within one minute! But secondly – and sadly - my response was not one of gratefulness and praise. Nope. I responded with complaining because I didn’t like the way His answer looked.

God sent the perfect answer – an auto mechanic – to fix my car so I could continue home. But instead of a “hallelujah” response, I judged how the man looked and the human part of me, the selfish, judgmental part of me, questioned why God would send someone to help me who (I thought) had no idea how to fix my problem.

Not only did I apologize to this young man but I also apologized to the Creator of the Universe. Forgive me, Lord, for my attitude! Please keep working on me. I think I have a long way to go!

Father, forgive my arrogance for trying to tell you how to answer my prayer. Forgive me when you send me exactly what I need but I am so judgmental that I don’t recognize your answer to my situation. Please continue to work on my attitude and help me to look at others as you do and to remember that you are in control of all things. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


· Is there a friend who you need to ask to forgive you for judgmental comments you have made about her? Has being judgmental become a life style for you?

· Do you find yourself continually questioning whether God truly answers your prayers in the way He thinks is best or do YOU think you know better what you need?

· Ask a prayer warrior friend to hold you accountable for your attitude, conversations and comments.


· Ask the Lord to show you areas in your life where you are judgmental. Examine your conversations for the last week. Were you judgmental?

· Write down your prayer requests in a journal. Add why you are praying this request and then beside it write “Not my will but yours, Lord.”

· Journal His answers to your requests and thank Him for knowing what is best for you all the time.


· Luke 6:37 (NIV) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

· Matthew 12:36 (NIV) “But I tell you that men will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken.”

· Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

Kim Frencken: Do students really need to have phones in the classroom?

Schools continue to grapple with a policy concerning phone use at school. Parents argue that they want to be able to contact their child should the need arise. They want their child to feel safe. To know they are just a call away.

 Schools prefer that parents use the office for communication. Teachers are tired of interruptions to the lesson by the ringing of a phone. Where does it end?

For the argument that kids should be allowed to keep their phones on and with them during the school day, I say... No. 

 Before parents get too ruffled over this, consider a teacher that has her phone with her at all times during the school day. Every ring and ping gets her attention. She is clearly distracted by her calls and notifications. 

Is your child receiving a quality education? No. And this is why schools have policies regarding phone usage by a teacher.

So... if I'm a responsible adult (let's assume for the sake of argument that I am) and I am not allowed to have my phone with me, why should a child (who is still developing) be allowed to have their phone? 

 Don't tell me that they need to have the ability to contact you in case of emergency or vice versa. I have family members with serious medical needs that have to call the school office, talk to the secretary, and wait for me to get the message and call them on my first break (or in the event of emergency, call them as soon as someone can watch my class). 

 Don't talk to me about emergencies. At times, my life is one big emergency. But I still enter the classroom and teach without the "assistance" of my phone.

I'm sure the controversy will continue. And I'm sure I'll write about it again. 

 In the meantime, we all need to rethink why we need or use our phones and why we send our kids to school. What is the purpose of instructional time? Do students really need to have a phone with them in the classroom?

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

Jason Smith: I stand with President Trump's efforts to restore the rule of the law to our federal judiciary

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

“Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.”

This is the warning that Senate Democratic Leaders, and one of their nominees for President, delivered to the Supreme Court earlier this week.

It is part of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and liberal elites continued disdain for our Constitution and the laws of this country. 

Leftists and their progressive representatives had no problem with the federal bench when its make-up reflected them and their desire to pull our nation left. However, when President Trump was elected and began nominating justices that actually respect our Constitution and believe that their job is to interpret the laws and not rewrite them, there was suddenly an issue with the courts.

Progressives have for too long relied on advancing their liberal ideology and the policy victories they desired through an overzealous and activist Supreme Court. 

For decades, the size of American government has been growing larger and more intrusive. As bureaucrats have become more empowered, it has become easier for them to write rules and regulations that carry the weight of law. This shuts average Americans out of the political process. Over time, left-leaning judicial activism has put the courts on the side of big government’s regulatory state over the inherent rights and liberties guaranteed to American citizens. But today, with President Trump, the landscape of our judiciary has been completely changed.

During his first two years in office, President Trump nominated two justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—to the Supreme Court, which will have a generational impact on the high court. 

Now, simply because it was Donald Trump who made these nominations, liberal elites are concerned about future decisions from the Supreme Court. They are suggesting we add an additional four Supreme Court justices to solve this problem. 

This is insanity, undermines the separation of powers, and it cannot be tolerated. And if the recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the bench proved anything, it is that the left will not stop short of pulling out any lie they can to try and discredit well-credentialed nominees from a president they disagree with.

I stand with President Trump and his efforts to restore the rule of law to not only the Supreme Court, but the entire federal judiciary. 

In fact, the most lasting changes that President Trump has made are to the U.S. appeals courts. Of the 179 full-time positions on the federal appeals court, almost a quarter of them are judges which have been nominated by President Trump. These lower courts actually hear most of the cases which impact the interpretations of our laws. Typically, the Supreme Court hears less than 70 cases a year. Comparatively, in the last year the federal appellate courts have provided a decision on almost 50,000 cases.

This type of restorative change has already shifted the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where President Trump’s three nominees have changed the ideological make-up of the court. 

Now there are eight judges appointed by Republicans to the six appointed by Democrats. This type of shift is also likely to happen in the 2nd Circuit, the 4th Circuit, and the 11th Circuit; based in New York, Virginia, and Georgia respectively. Even the 9th Circuit Court, long the bastion of liberal activism, is in Trump’s sights.

Not only has the president nominated and had confirmed so many judges to the federal courts, but they are also relatively young. In fact, the average age of the judges is 47.5 years old. Given their lifetime appointment to the bench, it is likely that these judges could continue to impact decisions for decades to come. 

In total this year, the Republican-led Senate has confirmed 59 judges. As of today, there have been 144 federal judges confirmed during the Trump Administration. When the Senate reconvenes at the start of September, there are another half-dozen nominees that are expected to get a confirmation vote.

While Democratic Leaders now are lamenting a sudden shift in the court, the reality is that they are simply concerned their vision and desire for an activist Supreme Court is not a reality today. 

Instead of being comprised of justices that seek to contrive the laws they wish to see, the majority of today’s court is made up of people who respect the rule of law in this nation. Lower federal courts have also received massive transformations under President Trump that will include a lasting legacy of restoring the Constitution to the center of the rule of law. This is not a sudden sickness that has struck the Supreme Court, but an antibiotic to alleviate the threat of an activist judiciary.

GoFundMe page established for father's family as it prepares to receive Jessica McCormack's oldest child

Efforts are being made to deal with the devastating effect the suspected murder of Jessica McCormack, Noel, had on her three small children.

The body of a McCormack, 25, a former Carthage resident, was discovered by a bicyclist on a hilly area off Highway 59 between Noel and Lanagan.July 29.

An Amber Alert was issued for the children, who were found safe in Des Moines, Iowa, where the father of one of them, Mahamud Mahamed, 37, Noel, abandoned them with a woman he had worked with at Tyson Foods in Noel.

The U. S. Attorney's Office has filed kidnapping charges against Mahamed, who is considered to be a person of interest in McCormack's death.

The family of Miguel Casillas, the father of Siah, 4, the oldest child, has established a GoFundMe page for items he will need once she is placed in her father's custody. At this writing, $190 has been raised.

The message on the page reads:

Recently Jessica McCormack was found alongside hwy 59. She left behind three small children, one of which, Siah Casillas, is my brother's biological daughter and he will be getting custody of her as soon as he can. 

With that being said, this was absolutely unexpected. 

Samantha and Miguel, my siblings, just bought a home and are getting on their feet. After hearing of the news about Jessica, we quickly knew that meant we got Siah. 

Miguel and Sam have gotten her as much as they can get for her. So far they have a bed and clothing for fall and winter. 

We're needing a kitchen table, kitchen utensils for a small child, basic hygiene supplies, children's hangers, storage containers for clothing. Anything will be extremely helpful. 

Siah is in need of 4t to 5t and up clothing. Size 10 up in shoes. Hand me down toys would be perfect. If possible grocery items as well. Non perishable as they have a tiny fridge.

Miguel Casillas filed a missing persons report on his daughter after if he had not heard from Jessica McCormack for some time, he told KOAM. After he learned that she and her siblings had been abandoned by Mahamed, Casillas began working to bring his daughter home.

From the KOAM report:

Casillas says "I want my child back, I want Siah back, I named her Siah, and Jessica named her Dean, and you know, Casillas, and I was proud of her since day one, and I just want her back."

Friday, August 16, 2019

Humphreys accuses Ashcroft of using deceptive ballot language for anti-abortion measure

In a statement issued today, TAMKO Chairman and CEO David Humphreys accused Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft of using deceptive ballot language for House Bill 126, which puts strict anti-abortion laws into effect.

The bill, similar to bills that passed in other states earlier this year, does not permit abortions in cases of rape or incest.

Humphreys' statement is printed below, followed by the ballot language.


The ballot language issued Aug. 14 by Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft dishonestly misstates the content of House Bill 126 and its devastating impact on women and young girls in our state.

Jay Ashcroft’s deceptively stated “exception” for medical emergencies is no exception at all. Physicians will have to risk their reputations and their livelihoods – and face possible imprisonment – for performing any post-eight-week emergency medical procedure that results in termination of a pregnancy.

Women and girls could be deemed criminals without ever intending to abort their pregnancies.

The complete lack of exceptions to protect female victims of rape and incest is another flagrant example of Jay Ashcroft’s misstatements on his ballot summary of legislation that is deeply flawed and likely unconstitutional.

The ballot language Humphreys objects to is printed below:


Do you want to adopt House Bill 126 passed by the General Assembly in 2019, which specifically amends Missouri law to:
  • provide the unborn child with the same protections as those already born;
  • prohibit abortions at eight weeks of gestation (at which time there is a medically detected heartbeat), except in cases of medical emergency;
  • establish successive times at which abortions are prohibited (fourteen weeks, eighteen weeks, twenty weeks, all with medical emergency exceptions) if earlier time frames are found unlawful; and
  • prohibit an abortion based solely on the sex, race or Down Syndrome screening of the unborn child?
Revenues from state sources may decrease by at least $4.9 million annually and federal Medicaid revenues may decrease by an unknown amount, up to $7.2 billion annually. The Public Defender’s Office anticipates increased costs of an unknown amount to defend women’s medical actions after conception. Local governmental entities anticipate a significant negative impact.

Troy Onstott's last night at Children's Mercy Hospital

It was the last night of 10-year-old Troy Onstott's 45-day stay at Children's Mercy  Hospital recovering from injuries suffered in a UTV accident.

As she has each evening, his mother Jill shared her thoughts with the people who have supported her, Troy, her husband T. J. and the rest of the family every step of the way.

Day 44:

I truly don’t know what God has planned for Troy and his testimony. I’ve been praying about it, worried I’ll miss certain signs of what I’m to do with MY story. And tonight as I pray in this hospital room one last night, I pray for those who haven’t accepted Jesus into their hearts to please stop waiting. 

If you don’t know how but want to know...just PRAY, talk to Him, ask Him. 

Pray this prayer:

“Lord - I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.”

It wasn’t that long ago when I was at a crossroads. Something needed to change and that something was my FAITH in Jesus Christ.

As we continue to trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).

This 45-day, life-altering journey has opened my heart and filled it will love, joy, peace, patience (oh Lord, so much patience), kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I handed Troy’s broken body to God on day one, when I knew I had absolutely no control of his future. The only control I had was my Faith in Jesus. And Jesus knew my heart. 

He let me feel PEACE instead of fear.

He let me feel LOVE instead of hate. 

He let me feel PATIENCE instead of frustration.

Because of Him, I knew from the very beginning that Troy would be ok. Heck people, he’s more than ok. He’s my TROY, walking and talking his way out of this hospital. You’ve all been saying it and you’re right...

He’s a miracle. 

If you still don’t believe in the power of prayer then you should come visit us. Troy can read to you the first two pages of his medical records and I can walk you through our journey...if you listen with an open heart, then you will leave a believer

Agenda posted for Carthage R-9 Board of Education meeting

Missouri Southern President Alan Marble announces retirement

(From Southern News Service)

Referring to his time as president of Missouri Southern State University as one of the greatest personal and professional honors of his career, Dr. Alan Marble announced his retirement during today’s All-Employee Welcome Back meeting.

“Six years ago, I was afforded one of the greatest personal and professional honors of my career when I became the first alumnus to serve as president of this distinguished institution,” he said. 

“I am honored to have served alongside Missouri Southern faculty and staff as we’ve made great strides in research, student success, teaching and community impact. We are continuing to come together, for the good of our students, as a dynamic, strong and thriving university.”

“Because of this positive momentum, my family and I believe this is the right time for me to step down. Through much self-reflection, I have decided to re-energize and refocus on my family. I am excited to spend more time making precious memories with them.”

Marble, a 1979 graduate of Missouri Southern, was appointed to serve as the university’s president in an interim capacity in June 2013. A year later, the Board of Governors voted unanimously to invite him to continue as president in an official capacity.

Before coming to MSSU, he had retired from Crowder College after serving the school for 27 years – including seven as president. Prior to his career in higher education, he owned and operated a testing and placement service that worked with leading insurance companies nationwide.

His tenure as president has marked a period of growth for Missouri Southern, including numerous building and renovation projects; the development of master’s degree offerings; the creation of the Yours to Lose—Advanced Medical School Acceptance Program in partnership with Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences; and the successful rollout of the Great Game of Education (GGOE), utilizing open-book management principles to develop financial literacy and understanding across campus. 

As originally planned, the GGOE system is under constant review and is currently undergoing refinement by the university Culture Committee to better meet the specific, unique and ever-changing challenges of higher education.

In June, it was announced that the Higher Learning Commission had granted Missouri Southern a full 10-year accreditation. The report singled out the university’s focus on transparency and shared responsibility for the future.

“Alan's passion for education, commitment to the community, business acumen and servant-leadership have positioned Missouri Southern for a bright future,” said Bill Gipson, chair of the university’s Board of Governors. “He has been a true friend and mentor, not only to me, but also to many who have known and worked with him. His tireless efforts will leave a lasting legacy at Missouri Southern.”

Billy Long: The importance of enhancing data security and privacy

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

We have all heard the news about several recent breaches and scandals involving sensitive data. These controversies have caused growing concerns on whether our personal information is safe or not. As a result, many are calling on Congress to establish a nationwide data protection and data privacy framework.

Currently, there is no single comprehensive federal law governing companies’ data privacy practices. There have been several attempts over the years by Congress to fill in the gaps, but that only resulted in a complex patchwork of sector-specific privacy laws ultimately leading to inconsistent protections and confusion for consumers.

Consequently, several states including California have developed their own statutory frameworks for data protection, creating a patchwork of state laws.

Not without its problems and detractors, California’s new law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is set to go into effect at the end of this year. 

Unfortunately, it only makes things worse. CCPA applies to information that is not sensitive, meaning companies will be forced to focus on compliances that consumers do not value. In addition to that, this law requires the disclosure of information that consumers and businesses will find both confusing and frustrating. It does not make sense to have a patchwork of state laws on this issue. Your privacy and security should not change depending on where you are in the U.S.

As Congress looks at ways to improve consumers’ privacy and security, it is important to have a thoughtful approach that balances privacy and security with competition and innovation for consumers. 

Last week, I participated in an annual Capital to Capital Exchange program which was in Copenhagen this year. I served on a bipartisan panel made up of Congressmen and cybersecurity experts from Denmark where we discussed what the U.S. can learn from the EU and Danish companies about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its implementation. 

Although the GDPR is a uniform standard across all EU countries, it negatively impacts businesses and consumers by overregulating. Twenty percent of firms claim that the GDPR is impossible to comply with and less than 50 percent are fully compliant. 

In addition to discussing the pros and cons of the GDPR framework and other privacy principles and ideas, we debated whether preemption by Congress is appropriate in this area in order to avert a patchwork of state-level privacy laws.

Last Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee held several hearings discussing privacy and security issues including the first time that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had testified before the House of Representatives. 

As the U.S. potentially crafts its own federal privacy and data protection legislation, it is imperative that we look at the shortcomings of the GDPR and CCPA and get it right the first time. 

There are four main principles I believe we must include: one national standard for privacy and security rules, increased transparency and accountability for consumers, improved data security practices and balanced impact on small business and innovation.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Missouri unemployment rate remains at 3.3 percent

(From the Missouri Department of Economic Development)

Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has remained at 3.3 percent for the past five months. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique used to measure and remove influences of predictable seasonal patterns to show how employment and unemployment change monthly.

To view the July 2019 jobs report, click here.

State Board of Education hears findings, recommendations to ensure all students graduate ready for success

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

An innovative and bipartisan committee designed to create a vision for the future of education in Missouri presented its findings to the State Board of Education on Tuesday.

The Commissioner’s Educational Policy Committee (CEPC) outlined six foundational topics and discussed a series of action items the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) can take to make strides towards its stated mission of ensuring that every student graduates ready for success.

“The work of this committee will directly impact the lives of the more than 900,000 students in the state of Missouri,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven. 

“Missouri students are entering a climate that is constantly changing, so it is important for us to always be looking for new ways to best prepare them to succeed.”

The CEPC began work in the spring of 2019 as a partnership between DESE, the Hunt Institute and the Education Commission of the States to discuss state and national trends in education. During two sessions, the CEPC identified recommendations for Missouri across the following six topics:

Building the Workforce through Early Childhood Education – Focus on standards, adequate and equitable funding, and encouraging statewide support for quality early childhood education.

Teacher Preparation, Recruitment and Retention
– Develop policies relating to teacher pay, leadership opportunities, mental and physical health support, and professional development.

Workforce Development and Tomorrow’s Economy
– Create systems for strategic conversations across education, business and government to outline pathways from K-12 to postsecondary education and the workforce.

Innovative and Flexible School Structures
– Serve students’ individual needs through flexible and innovative programs to give them the skills and knowledge they need for success.

Using Data Systems – Develop statewide goals for the use of data systems in accountability and equity and show how strong data systems are useful and important.

Redesigning Accountability Systems – Reward innovation within districts while incorporating traditional standards for literacy and numeracy to support success for all students.

In all, 33 leaders from across Missouri comprised the committee, including representatives from the Governor’s Office, the legislature, and the State Board of Education as well as business representatives, district superintendents, principals, and teachers, among other constituencies.

“Let’s meet the needs of each individual, student and teacher, in any way that we possibly can so that they can better educate our kids to be able to reach the goals that they have,” said State Board of Education vice president Vic Lenz.

The CEPC took its direction from eight priorities established during a spring State Board of Education retreat as well as Missouri Governor Michael Parson’s two key areas of focus: infrastructure and workforce development.

“In talking to CEOs, particularly in Missouri, workforce development is the number one issue,” said State Board of Education president Charlie Shields. “There are many other things that go into an organization’s success, but those pale in comparison to the ability to attract a workforce.”

The committee’s report to the State Board of Education can be viewed at the following link:

State audit gives Missouri State Lottery excellent rating

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released a regularly scheduled audit of the Missouri State Lottery Commission. The audit did not identify any significant deficiencies in internal controls, any significant noncompliance with legal provisions, or any significant deficiencies in management practices and procedures.

The audit, which resulted in no findings, gave the Commission a rating of excellent.

The previous audit of the Commission, released in 2017, identified a concern with a lack of transparency of some travel costs. That concern was not identified in the most recent audit.

State law requires an audit of the lottery once every two years. The complete audit can be found here.

Joplin mayor, finance director to discuss city sales taxes on "Newsmakers" program

(From Southern News Serviee)

The next edition of “Newsmakers” on KGCS-TV will focus on a number of special sales taxes for Joplin residents. Funding for parks, storm water, capital improvements and public safety will all be explained when the show hits the airwaves the week of August 18.

The program features Joplin City Finance Director Leslie Haase and Mayor Gary Shaw, both of whom will break down the percentages of each tax and provide details about projects accomplished by the funds. The taxes were approved by Joplin voters.

The show can be seen Sunday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on KGCS-TV, Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. on KOAM-TV – and is also currently posted on KGCS’s YouTube channel, “KGCS Missouri Southern.”

KGCS programming can be seen on channel 21. It is also available on regional cable television systems such as Cable One, Mediacom and Suddenlink Communications. The station operates as a service of the Department of Communication at Missouri Southern State University.

Agenda posted for Monday Joplin City Council meeting

Monday, August 19, 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


Update On The Boomtown TIF, Presented By Finance Director Leslie Haase.


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures


FY 2020 Budget Presentation


Consent Agenda


August 5, 2019 Informal Meeting Notes


August 5, 2019 City Council Meeting Minutes


MInutes Of The August 12, 2019 Special City Council Meeting


COUNCIL NO. 2019-005

AN ORDINANCE re-adopting Chapter 2, Administration, of the Joplin City Code, Section 2-107, "Financial interest disclosure", requiring certain officials and employees of the City of Joplin to file Financial Interest Disclosure Statements as described herein.
  1. CB2019-005.PDF


AN ORDINANCE approving an agreement with Gary B. Young and Kimberly D. Young to provide residential sanitary sewer to property located at 3931 Apricot Drive, authorizing the City Manager to execute or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.
  1. CB2019-143.PDF


AN ORDINANCE providing for the vacation of a utility easement located approximately 145 ft. West and 175ft South of the intersection of 26th Street and Maiden Lane Avenue.
  1. CB2019-269.PDF


AN ORDINANCE approving a request by Lera Dill to remove from District M-2 (Heavy Industrial) and include in District C-2 (Central Business) for the operation of a duplex.
  1. CB2019-270.PDF


AN ORDINANCE establishing grades and accepting the Plat of Sonic Addition #2 Subdivision located at 1030 E. 7th Street in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.
  1. CB2019-271.PDF



Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE     approving an amendment (Change Order No. 4) to the construction agreement with Crews Construction Inc., in the not to exceed amount of Ninety-Two Thousand Five Hundred Thirty-Three and 91/100 Dollars ($92,533.91) for the Tin Cup Lift Station Renovation Project; and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE authorizing a Program Services Contract, by and between the State of Missouri, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for the City of Joplin Health Department to receive compensation, for Thirty-Nine Thousand, One Hundred Ninety-Eight Dollars, no Cents, ($39,198.00); and, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and, containing an emergency clause.


AN ORDINANCE amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 as adopted by Ordinance 2018-145 on October 15, 2018, to adjust appropriations and containing an emergency clause.

Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE approving the applications of Active Lifestyle Inc., for Joplin Memorial Run; George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, for Master Level Art Instruction; Four-State Trucks/Chrome Shop Mafia, for Guilty by Association; Joplin Arts Fest Committee for the Joplin Arts Fest; Carl Junction Chamber of Commerce for the 23rd annual Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival; Joplin Disc Golf Club for 15th annual Four State Open; Rufus Racing, for 12th annual Summer Roundup Triathlon; Emancipation Celebration Committee for Emancipation Park Day Celebration; Ozark Christian College, for 2020 Conference Series; Downtown Joplin Alliance for 2020 Event Marketing Campaign; Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc for the 2019 and 2020 Home for the Holidays events; George Washington Carver National Monument, for Marketing 2020 Park Events; Missouri Southern State University Alumni Association for Alumni Tracking Software; Joplin History and Mineral Museum, for a 2020 Marketing Campaign and upgrade to the Bonnie and Clyde Exhibit; Wildcat Glades Friends Group, for 2020 Event Marketing; ProMusica for 2020 Concert Series; and a Joint Marketing Effort with the Carthage CVB for utilization of FY2020 Festivals and Celebrations support pursuant to Ordinance No. 2000-148, as authorized by the voters on November 7, 2000; authorizing the City Manager to execute appropriate agreements with each such organization for the utilization of such funds.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Appoint Citizens Committee For The One-Half Cent (½Ȼ) Sales Tax Election


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.