Thursday, January 31, 2019

Parson: Missouri on track to be model employer of those with disabilities

(From Gov. Mike Parson

Governor Parson announced today that Missouri is on track to become a Model Employer state for individuals living with disabilities and has been selected for a mentorship program through the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to help achieve this goal. The Governor made the announcement during his visit to Paraquad, the leading disability services provider in the St. Louis region.

Paraquad is a nonprofit organization who works to empower people with disabilities to increase their independence through choice and opportunity. In 2017, Paraquad provided services to 2,323 individuals, including assisting over 500 individuals in obtaining a job or receiving the necessary support to succeed at a job.

“Paraquad has a long history of serving Missourians living with disabilities, and I’m thankful for their assistance in helping Missouri become a Model Employer,” said Governor Parson.

Missouri is on track to become a Model Employer later in 2019. This classification is an emerging trend developed by the National Governors Association to help more people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment. State governments can commit to hiring more people with disabilities, and thereby become a “model employer” for private businesses and non-profits.

Missouri was recently selected as one of 11 states to participate in the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). EFSLMP will support the development and implementation of Missouri as a Model Employer. This technical assistance program is run through the USDOL, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and is a cross-disability, cross-systems change initiative with a focus on developing a framework of aligning practices, policies, and structures, which promote increased employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“Becoming a Model Employer is crucial to ensuring Missouri is doing everything possible to fully integrate Missourians living with disabilities into the workforce,” said Governor Parson. “I am pleased to hear that Missouri has been selected for this innovative program to make certain we are implementing all the best policies and practice to become a Model Employer.”

As part of the EFSLMP program, Missouri was chosen as a Vision Quest and Core state. As a Vision Quest state, Missouri will engage in a series of small working groups, consisting of three to four states per team, to focus on analyzing, developing and implementing policy recommendations related to implementation of Missouri as a Model Employer for individuals with disabilities. As a Core state, department representatives will work with national experts to build capacity to improve employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.

Missouri’s teams consist of representatives from the Governor’s Office, Paraquad, Office of Administration, Department of Mental Health - Divisions of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Department of Social Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Economic Development – Workforce Development, Governor’s Council on Disability, Missouri DD Council, and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

ODEP chose the following 11 states:

Vision Quest States: Missouri (State as a Model Employer). Additional states: Alabama (Mental Health and Employment); Colorado (Strategic Planning); District of Columbia (Mental Health and Employment); Kentucky (Strategic Planning); Louisiana (Mental Health and Employment); Michigan (Strategic Planning); Tennessee (Mental Health and Employment); and Utah (State as a Model Employer).

Core States: Missouri (Capacity Building/Provider Transformation). Additional states: Arkansas (Capacity Building); Iowa (Capacity Building); Louisiana (Capacity Building/Provider Transformation); Michigan (Capacity Building/Provider Transformation); Tennessee (Capacity Building/Provider Transformation); and Utah (Capacity Building/Provider Transformation)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Joplin murder suspect arrested in state of Washington

The suspect in the January 11 murder of Shawn Rockers, 27, Joplin, was arrested tonight in the state of Washington, according to a Joplin Police Department news release.

Joplin Police Detectives had determined Michael Osborne had fled the area and was headed to Washington. They contacted the United States Marshals Service for assistance. The Marshals were able to track down and arrest Osborne without incident. We appreciate the US Marshals for their assistance and any law enforcement in Washington who assisted them. More information will follow tomorrow as this happened moments ago. We wanted the community to know, and we appreciate the community support and help.
A $1 million cash bond was set earlier for Osborne.

The probable cause statement filed in Jasper County Circuit Court say witnesses indicate Osborne, 32, not only stabbed Rockers to death, but threatened to kill him a week earlier at the same address at which the murder took place.

The probable cause statement is printed below:

On 1-11-2019 at 302 S. Connor Ave. in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, Michael J. Osborne committed the offense of murder in the first degree and armed criminal action.

Osborne committed murder in the first degree by stabbing victim Shawn Rockers in the chest with a knife.

Roberts was transported to Freeman Hospital where he passed away due to the extent of the injury from the knife wound. A witness on scene observed Osborne stab Rockers in the chest with the knife. The witness was able to positively identify Osborne through a photo lineup.

(Another) witness stated that Osborne was at the residence of 302 S. Connor approximately seven days ago and had an altercation with Rockers. (She) said she heard Osborne state that he was going to kill Rockers.

Child molestation, statutory rape trial scheduled for Joplin man

On the day he allegedly molested a 10-year-old girl, Blaine Downum was free on bond while awaiting trial on a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance.

The drug allegation was the seventh felony charge filed against Downum after he received a suspended sentence in Jasper County Circuit Court and was placed on five years supervised probation November 24, 2014, after pleading guilty to felony receiving stolen property. Two months earlier, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge.

The Pittsburg, Kansas Police Department arrested Downum on six felony charges in connection with a 2015 incident in which Downum "used a handgun to rob someone of methamphetamine," according to a Pittsburg Morning Sun article.

In October 2016, the Crawford County District Attorney's office reached a plea agreement with Downum in which he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. In exchange for the plea, two felony charges of aggravated assault and single felony charges of aggravated armed robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child were dropped.

Downum's jury trial on the latest Jasper County charges, child molestation, statutory rape, resisting arrest and once again, felon in possession of a firearm is scheduled to begin February 5 in Jasper County Circuit Court with Judge Dean Dankelson presiding.

Downum's freedom at the time of his crime not only potentially put a child at risk but also the Joplin Police Department officers who eventually arrested him.

According to a JPD news release, an officer was checking a residence near 8th and Turk in the late afternoon April 16, 2018, to see if Downum was there and saw him walking out of the house east on 6th Street.

The officer pulled up behind Downum, got out of his car and told Downum he was under arrest. Downum turned and began running.

The officer sent a K9 after him and Downum was taken into custody.

Things could have turned out much worse. When Downum was finally subdued, the officer discovered he was carrying a loaded handgun.

When the four felony charges were filed against Downum, it made 11 he had been charged with while serving a supervised probation.

Detention motion: Galena man charged with meth trafficking should be held without bond

In a detention motion filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, an assistant U. S. attorney asked that Carroll Flowers, 68, Galena, Kansas, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on meth trafficking charges be held without bond:

Flowers has a prior State of Missouri felony conviction for distribution of a controlled substance and a prior federal conviction for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. 

In his prior federal case, the United States District Court for the District of Kansas sentenced Flowers to a 20-year term of imprisonment. 

Former President Barack Obama commuted Flowers’ sentence, and he was placed on a term of supervised release. While on supervised release, Flowers committed the instant offense. 

In the instant offense, law enforcement officers found approximately $2,731 in U.S. currency and 83.1 grams of pure methamphetamine on Flowers’ person. For the reasons set forth above, the United States requests that a detention hearing be held and that the defendant be denied bail.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Former Joplin R-8 teacher-counselor Meghan Klosterman to return as special education director

(From Joplin Schools)

We are very pleased to announce that Ms. Meghan Klosterman will be joining the Joplin Schools team as Director of Special Education. She will direct, coordinate, and supervise the district’s special education services.

Serving students in Southwest Missouri for over thirteen years, Ms. Klosterman has a long history of dedication and commitment to the district and community. She began her career in education as a teacher at Emerson Elementary for Joplin Schools. She also served the district as a counselor at Royal Heights, McKinley, and Duquesne. Her current role as a school psychologist is with the Webb City School District.

Sandra Cantwell, Executive Director for Student Services, stated, “Ms. Klosterman’s experience as an educator has afforded her the opportunity to develop a skill set that makes her uniquely qualified to work in the capacity of Special Education Director for Joplin Schools.

"What came through loud and clear during the interview was her passion for keeping the best interest of students at the forefront, her knowledge of the special education process, the ability to participate as a skilled collaborator, and her excellent communication skills.

"We have full confidence that Ms. Klosterman’s depth of knowledge and experience, as well as
her dedication to preparing students for success, will move us forward in our commitment to
raise expectations and improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities."

Klosterman earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Southern State
University, a master’s degree in counseling from Pittsburg State University, a specialist degree
in school psychology from Pittsburg State University, and is currently working toward a
doctorate in educational leadership through William Woods University.

Ms. Klosterman will begin her role as Special Education Director on July 1, 2019. She will be
replacing current Special Education Director, Janet Earl.

Cynthia Davis: State of the Union move damaged Nancy Pelosi's reputation and the Democratic Party

(From former Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon)

The Speaker of the National House of Representatives could have opened up the government any time after she was sworn in as Speaker. That might have been a smart move.

This was unprecedented to rescind an invitation to host the State of the Union Address. It is sad that they are willing to pick a fight this small against the others who don't share her political agenda.

However, many Democrats do not share her agenda. There are a lot of good, hard working Democrats who want the wall built and our country protected. The idea of protecting our borders is shared by many people --- including many Democrats. Some of the labor workers are looking forward to bidding on these contracts and actually building the wall. Some Democrats wonder why we're even fighting over this.

Why isn't our agenda the same? How about a common goal like protecting our Country? 


Does anyone really care where the speech is delivered? Most of the people watch the State of the Union address remotely anyway, so it may not matter if the speaker is being foolish about holding the House Chamber as a hostage.

This is not her chamber! This is the people's chamber! It does not belong to the Democrat Party --- It belongs to all Americans! Just because she has a majority of her members who are willing to vote for whatever procedural vote she wants, doesn't mean it is a proper use of her power. Nobody has the right to use "the people's house" to be vindictive.

At the end of the day, I believe the Speaker did more harm to herself, her reputation and the reputation of the Democrat Party than what can be measured.

Paul Richardson: Online dating services and Neosho's dating profile

When I was a young man I was so shy that my only hopes of meeting girls were if someone set me up. However, I was aware of some “go to” plays often utilized by others.

In addition to the normal hangouts such as bars, dances or other social events, one could always do the Laundromat scene or attempt at making connections in the aisles of the grocery store.

The process has become much more sophisticated and technological. Sit down to watch a little TV and you get hit with all types of advertising regarding the online dating sites. There are even some special ones for particular social classes and age groups. 

While I know people who have used at least one of these sites with success, I must say that the people I know didn’t necessarily fit the profile of the ones represented in the ads. All of the people pictured in the ads seem to be very physically attractive. 

If these are truly clients representing the service, then this leads me to believe that there must be some serious baggage in the background.

So as it stands, I don’t have any real data or experience as I have never utilized the online dating sites. The good wife wouldn’t approve it. I asked, she said no. Because of that and the general attractiveness of the people in the advertisements, my success would probably be ill-fated anyway.

While I may not be preparing a dating profile for myself, I am constantly working on the one that represents the City of Neosho. Yes the City of Neosho has a dating profile! 

While we try to show our “best side” on social media and the website the real deal comes out when our suitors show up for the date. The City of Neosho’s presence online and on social media is not air-brushed or using stock pictures from some other more romantic location but is definitely select material. 

If our date arrives and finds us disheveled and all sorts of strange goings on beyond the edges of the photograph used in the profile, we probably won’t get a second look. The last thing we need is our potential date to discover baggage in the background that we could have controlled. Man, that’s heartbreak!

Sure the City of Neosho has some baggage; every community throughout the nation has some baggage. The baggage becomes embarrassing when it is something that could have been controlled with a minimum of effort. 

Sometimes we have to just pause and pick the lettuce out of our teeth, or pull the grass that is coming up from seeds caught in the cracks of the sidewalk, street or parking lot. Sometimes we just have to decide, “Hey, I’m a grownup now and I can dress myself. Mom doesn’t need to lay my clothes out” or “You know what, I’m gonna mow beyond the sidewalk and all the way to the back of the curb. I don’t have to rely on the City to make my property look good”."

It’s the little things like picking up the bits of trash on the sidewalk or in the gutter that was “blown there by a wind beam”. Those little items that are an attention to detail can make the difference when the date shows up on the door step. We are going to let that date in the house and if last week’s laundry is piled up down the hallway, well, what can you say?

The City of Neosho is going to attract people. The people we attract will most likely be a reflection of the real Neosho that we present. Those people will become residents or business owners and will become contributors to the community with the same level of enthusiasm that has been displayed by the community prior to their arrival.

So this whole community dating profile can go a couple of different ways: one can dress up a pig, put some lipstick on it, take it to the dance and see who dances with it, or one can spend their time at the beauty salon, the gym getting all sleek and fine, then put on some “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes” and head out to the big party!

No matter how we build the profile, no matter how slick or gritty it looks and sounds it always comes down to date night. Our profile is getting the attention, so we better get ready for the date!

(Paul Richardson is public relations director and events coordinator for the City of Neosho.)

Lost Angels: The Murders of Rowan Ford and Doug Ringler now available

Two children, two communities gripped with fear as the children vanished only to be found brutally murdered.

The new book Lost Angels: The Murders of Rowan Ford and Doug Ringler tells the stories of the murders of two children and how the people of Stella and Carthage feared the strangers who would commit such crimes, only to find out that the strangers were people who had been living among them all along.

Lost Angels, which just became available this morning at Amazon, examines both cases offering descriptions of the communities of Carthage on December 28, 1993 when Doug Ringler, 8, a third grader at Hawthorne Elementary in Carthage was reported missing and Stella on November 2, 2007, when Colleen Spears returned to her home after working the overnight shift at the Wal-Mart store in Jane to find her daughter Rowan Ford, 9, a fourth grader at Triway Elementary, had disappeared.

The book takes readers through the searches for the children, the discoveries of what happened to them, the investigations that led to the arrests of the killers and provides an examination of how the judicial system dealt with those killers.

 At this point, I do not expect to have the book available at local retail outlets until sometime late in February, but it can be ordered through Amazon at the link below.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Springfield legislator sponsors Hailey's Law to improve Amber Alert provisions

(From the Missouri House of Representatives)

February 18 will mark the five-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook Springfield, the State of Missouri, and the nation. State lawmakers are hoping this will be the year the legislature passes a bill meant to honor the little girl killed that day in 2014.“Hailey’s Law” is named for 10 year old Hailey Owens.

House Bill 185 is commonly known as “Hailey’s Law,” named for Hailey Owens. Owens was 10 years old when she was kidnapped while walking home from a friend’s house. She was murdered and her body was found early the next morning.

“It was incredibly traumatizing,” said State Representative Curtis Trent (R-Springfield), the House sponsor of Hailey’s Law. “As I remember the event everybody was talking about it. Wherever you went people were commenting on it. A lot of people, especially people with young families, were concerned that this sort of thing could happen. I think there was a lot of concern and outrage over the length of time it took to issue the Amber Alert. People were questioning the efficiency of that system, and so there was just a lot of uncertainty, a lot of confusion, and a lot of anger that such a thing had happened despite all the safeguards that had been attempted to be put in place to prevent it.”

Soon after the arrest of her killer, state officials and lawmakers turned their attention to the Amber Alert System. Though witnesses saw Owens being abducted, more than two hours passed before an Amber Alert was issued to let authorities and the public statewide know to look for her, and what her kidnapper and his vehicle looked like.

Legislators then and now said that faster issuance of an Amber Alert is unlikely to have changed the outcome in Owens’ case – she is believed to have been killed too soon after her abduction – but Trent said the case highlighted a need to expedite the issuance of Alerts.

“What we are saying is that we have these safeguards in place, we have these systems in place to try to save lives. They should operate as effectively as possible,” said Trent.

HB 185 would require the Amber Alert System to be tied into the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES), the computer system that allows all law enforcement in Missouri to communicate. That means once an officer enters information about a missing child into MULES, it would at the same time be available to the Amber Alert system.

Law enforcement in Missouri has already instituted this change. Trent said the purpose of passing Hailey’s Law now is twofold: to make sure those changes remain in effect by requiring them in law, and to honor Owens by naming that law after her.

“The speed is really what matters in these cases. The faster the Amber Alert can be issued, the faster we can find the child, the lower the chance of having a tragic outcome,” said Trent.

The House and the Senate have in previous years passed the language of HB 185, just not in the same bill, so it’s never become law.

The language of HB 185 was first offered by then-representative Eric Burlison of Springfield, who this year became a state senator. Burlison is now carrying his bill in the Senate. Before Burlison was elected to the Senate the language was carried in that chamber by Senator Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia), who is now the Senate’s majority floor leader. Trent believes having the support of those two lawmakers only increases the chance that Hailey’s Law will at last reach the governor.

The Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety will vote soon on HB 185.


Available now- Lost Angels: The Murders of Rowan Ford and Doug Ringler

Gov; Parson urges Missourians to brace for winter cold

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

As dangerously cold temperatures overtake Missouri this week, Governor Mike Parson is urging Missourians to understand the many hazards that come with the extreme cold and to take precautions to protect their families.

“We take the safety of our citizens very seriously and stand ready to support our local jurisdictions as they work to protect their communities,” saidGovernor Parson. “I also urge Missourians to check on neighbors who may need a little extra help during these dangerous conditions.”

The National Weather Service is predicting dangerously cold wind chill values of -5 to -40 degrees F across the state on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The most life-threatening wind chill values will occur across the northern half of the state on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service is urging people to dress properly if they will be spending any time outdoors because such cold wind chill values will produce frostbite and hypothermia if precautions are not taken. People need to also remember that an unexpected vehicle breakdown could turn into an extremely dangerous situation if they are unprepared-- remember to bring an extra set of warm clothing when traveling. Do not let the warmth of your vehicle give you a false sense of security.

The Governor advises Missourians to remember the dangers posed by space heaters and other supplemental heating devices many turn to in order to help heat their homes when temperatures plunge. As temperatures dropped in February 2015, seven Missourians died within five days in fires caused by supplemental heating sources. Nationally, space heaters lead to about one-third of home heating fires and about 80 percent of home heating fire deaths.

“Space heaters are potentially deadly if they are not monitored and used correctly,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “Ovens and stove tops should never be used to attempt to heat a home. Make sure you are not overloading extension cords and power strips, which are not designed for heavy electrical loads.”

The Governor said Missouri schools will be monitoring conditions to keep students, faculty, and staff safe. “We encourage parents to stay in close communication with school districts as weather conditions change. Families should know their local district's policies about weather cancellations/delays. They can check district websites or contact their school office to be sure they know how to receive official notifications,” Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven said. “Please make sure children are dressed appropriately for the extreme cold.”

“The top concern of every Missouri farmer and rancher in the winter time is the safety and well-being of their livestock,” Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said. “While our farmers and ranchers are braving the cold to care for their livestock and ensure their neighbors are okay, they should also remember to take care of themselves as temperatures drop.”

Missouri Department of Transportation officials advise motorists to winterize their vehicles with a good battery, a properly operating exhaust system, and oil that will withstand the rigors of cold weather. They should also test their antifreeze or have it tested by a professional to make sure it will not freeze in temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero.

Travelers should make sure their gas tanks are full and have an emergency kit in each vehicle that contains snacks, water, phone chargers, blankets, flashlights, etc.

Below are some additional resources and winter safety tips to keep in mind:

Warming centers in Missouri can be located at or dial 2-1-1 for United Way Referral.
The state’s toll-free, adult abuse and neglect hotline (1-800-392-0210) can be used to report any elderly persons or adults with disabilities who may need assistance due to the cold.

Turn off portable heaters whenever leaving the room or going to bed and have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around space heaters and fireplaces. Keep anything that can burn outside the three foot zone, too. 

Never overload extension cords or outlets. Never use an oven or other cooking devices to heat your home.

Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated, and always operate a generator outdoors and at least 20 feet away from any window, door, or vent in your home.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen during extremely cold weather when individuals try warming their homes through unconventional methods. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately and get the victim to fresh air.

If you do have to be outdoors, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, layered, and lightweight clothing. The space between these layers works as insulation to help keep you warmer.
Protect your ears, face, and head. In addition to a hat, wear a scarf to help protect your lungs from cold air – it will also protect your ears and face.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and pale or waxy white appearance of extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. Other signs may include numbness, a tingling or stinging sensation in the affected body part and reduced blood flow. If any of these symptoms are detected, please seek medical help immediately.

The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. In infants, the skin will turn bright red and cold, and they may present with a very low energy level. If any of these signs appear, get the victim to a warm location immediately and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.

Limit outdoor time for your pets. They are also susceptible to the extreme cold temperatures.

White sponsors bill to give counties local option to vote on right to work

(From Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin)

Over the course of this legislative session, I have been filing bills that reflect the issues that matter to my constituents. So far, I have filed a total of 13 bills.

Senate Bill 66 is a proposal that establishes the Missouri Water Safety and Security Act. This bill requires all public water systems, except those systems without internet-connected control systems, to create a plan that establishes policies and procedures for cyber security risk management, prevention and mitigation within one year of the act’s effective date. 

It also requires the water utility to develop an asset management plan for the inspection and replacement of equipment and infrastructure. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee. 

Senate Bill 123 is proposal that allows the $10 fee for service of any summons, writ, subpoena or other court order to be collected for the deputy sheriff salary supplemental fund regardless of who serves court orders. This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Another piece of legislation I filed is Senate Bill 239. This proposal allows the governing body of a political subdivision to opt out of provisions relating to state prevailing wage.

I also filed Senate Bill 240, a proposal that would give individual counties the option to vote on the Right to Work issue if they feel it is best for the people of their communities. Citizens of the 32nd District voted to support Right to Work with Newton and Jasper counties defeating the repeal. 

Although the arguments over Right to Work are primarily centered on economic issues, there is serious constitutional issue of freedom of association for workers. This proposal restricts employers from requiring employees to become, remain or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization or pay dues or other fees required by labor organizations as a condition of employment. 

Further, it allows workers to choose freely if they wish to affiliate with a labor organization or not without the fear of retaliation. This legislation allows counties who are in favor of enacting Right to Work laws in their respective areas to put the issue to a vote of their citizens.


I am honored to be appointed to the Court Automation Committee. This committee oversees automation improvements within the court systems. One of the goals of this committee is to help court officials and the public easily navigate Missouri’s court databases. I look forward to discussing alternatives that will continue to help our judicial branch maintain a level of efficiency and accessibility for those who use the system on a daily basis.


Last week, I attended the third annual Legislative Legal Landscape panel event, hosted by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. I sat on a panel with several attorney legislators who were there to provide insight on legislative issues that may affect the legal community throughout the state. 

During the event, we had a very good exchange of questions, answers and ideas among practicing lawyers, attorneys and legislators. As a result, I hope the legal community realizes that our doors are open for discussion on various issues, and it shows how accessible we are as lawmakers.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Kristy Parker and Erin Phipps, two child advocates from the Bill & Virginia Leffen Autism Center in Joplin. This was an opportunity to hear more about their mission and the great services they provide to their clients.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Some comments about my bad headline, plus this week's top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

Occasionally, one of my headlines ends up saying something I did not intend for it to say.

One such case was in the post that was the most visited post this week on the Turner Report.

"Joplin attorney whose license was suspended for multiple drunk driving convictions, applies for reinstatement." Many people read that and naturally assumed that I was writing about Kevin Cure's driver's license.

The post was actually about his petition to have his law license reinstated.

Headline writing can be difficult, but there is no reason why I can't write headlines that say what they are supposed to say. I will try to do better in the future.

Big announcement coming

Hopefully, some time today I will have a big announcement about a project I have been working on for the past few months.

A lot of research has gone into it and I am hoping it is something that will interest you.

This week's top Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries posts are listed below with links to each one.

The Turner Report

1. Joplin attorney whose license was suspended for multiple drunk driving convictions, applies for reinstatement

2. Felony charges dismissed against JBs Downtown owner

3. Billionaire who advocates eliminating locally elected school boards made hefty contributions to 9 out of 10 GOP Education Committee members

4. Billy Long to President Trump: Give the State of the Union in Springfield

5. Joplin City Council expected to approve $7.4 million contract to rebuild airport taxiway

6. Ace Mohr bound over for trial on armed robbery, assault charges, judge reduces bond

7. Jason Smith: Nancy Pelosi's petty politics and trivial tantrums have taken the House to a new low

8. Candidates for Joplin, area school boards, muncipal elections listed

9. Galena man indicted for meth trafficking had 20-year sentence commuted by President Obama in 2017

10. Roy Blunt: We need physical barriers along our southern border

Inside Joplin

1. Carthage Police: Who are these women?

2. Police: Handgun brought to Joplin High School by 14-year-old was stolen from car in December

3. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

4. Highway Patrol Arrests, January 25-26

5. Three Webb City residents injured in crash near Oronogo

6. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

7. Joplin woman charged with DWI after slamming into two light poles

8. Joplin Police Department Arrests January 22-24

9. Sarcoxie Police arrest Joplin man on DWI, speeding charges

10. Joplin Police Department Arrests January 24-25

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Rashaud Williams

2. Mason Lowe

3. George Farrow

4. Benny Perry

5. Matthew Antill

6. Robin VanDorn

7. Larry Warner

8. Frank McCullough

9. William Edwards

10. Vera Simmons

Nancy Hughes: Please let me come in

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door, I will come in and
eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson.

My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the bathroom and were trying on all my makeup and giggling as they put lipstick and eye shadow on each other. On any other day Jude would not have cared because he and big brother Noah would have been playing games on their iPods.

But Noah was at a friend’s house and Jude was alone . . . and outnumbered. So he decided to see if the girls would let him play.

I heard him knocking – softly at first and then harder and harder – but no one would open the door. After a few minutes I heard his precious little voice pleading: “Hey girlies, let me in. I want to play, too. You can even put makeup on me.” But the door remained shut.

I looked up to see Jude coming toward me with a pencil and paper. “I need you to write a note for me, Grandma, so I can put it under the door.” He cupped his hands around my ear, whispering his message. My heart nearly broke in two as I wrote the following words on his paper. “It’s Jude. Please let me come in.”

Revelation 3:20 also speaks of one standing at a door knocking and calling to those inside to open it. That person is Jesus. How incredible is that! Christ himself is standing outside His own church, asking permission to come in.

It is hard for me to comprehend the patience that Jesus has as He waits for us to open the door of our hearts and allow Him to enter. Ever gracious and loving, He would never barge in and demand to be a part of our lives. So why don’t we answer?

Perhaps we are too busy “putting on makeup” that the world has to offer and ignoring the knock and the voice of the One who longs to replace our temporary with His permanent.

If you are the one inside the locked door, my prayer today is that you would listen for the knock at the door of your heart and the voice of the Savior as He calls “Please let me come in.”

Father, forgive me for being so tuned in to the world that I do not listen to your voice or your gentle knocking on my heart to come in to my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Do you often find that you get so involved with the “noise” of everyday life that you do not hear the Lord speaking to your heart?

What are some of the “noises” of life that compete with the voice of the Lord for your attention?


Plan ten minutes somewhere in your day for you to sit quietly and listen for the Lord’s voice speaking to your heart.

Journal whatever comes to mind. Look up one Scripture that addresses His encouragement to you.

Power Verses

Revelation 3:20 (NIV) “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Hebrews 3:8 (NIV) “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…”

Isaiah 55:3 (NIV) “Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live…”

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

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Candidates for Joplin, area school board, municipal elections listed

Listed below are candidates in some of the local school board and municipal race:

City of Jasper

Mayor- Paul M. “Dusty” Nelson, Raymond Brown, Bill Hulstine, Jerry F. Ogle

City Council East Ward, Mike Sisseck, Robert Curtis, Charles Schlichting

West Ward- Christian “Jim” Ogle, Mark Weng (incumbent)

City of Lamar

Mayor- Kent Harris (incumbent)

City Council Ward One- Judd Chesnut (incumbent)

City Council Ward Two- Mike Hull (incumbent)

City Council Ward Three- Brian Griffith (incumbent)

City Council Ward 4- Bill Talbott (incumbent).

City of Carl Junction

Mayor Mark Powers and incumbent aldermen LaDonna Allen, Mark Satterlee, Richard Zaccardelli and Rick Flinn are running unopposed.
Carl Junction Board of Education

Running for two three-year positions- Larry R. Cowger, incumbent, Terra Higgins, Robert Hays. Larry R. Cowger currently holds one seat, and he has filed for reelection. Challenging Cowger will be Terra Higgins and Robert Hays.

Carthage R-9 Board of Education

(Running for two three-year seats) Justin Baucom (incumbent) Niki Cloud (incumbent), Wayne Jones, Jorge Alvarado,  Craig Diggs.

Carthage City Council 

(Running unopposed for two-year seats)- David Armstrong, James Harrison, Ceri Otero

Ward Four- Alan Snow, incumbent, Dawn Denniston

Ward Five- Ed Barlow, T. J. Teed, Brenna Barksdale

Joplin R-8 Board of Education

(Running for two-three year terms)- Sharrock Dermott (incumbent) Jennifer Martucci (incumbent), Michael Joseph

Neosho R-5 Board of Education

(Running for two three-year seats) Jonathan Russell (incumbent), Stuart Puckett (incumbent), David Steele, Kevin Butler

Neosho City Council

(Running for two three-year seats) William Doubek (incumbent), Robb Birch, Angela Thomas

Webb City R-7 Board of Education

(Running for two three-year seats) Kevin Crane (incumbent) Dan McGrew (incumbent) Stephen Crane, Aaron Rice, Philip Powell.

Jason Smith: Nancy Pelosi's petty politics and trivial tantrums have taken the House to a new low

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

This week the U.S. House of Representatives under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership reached a new low.

The obstruction to President Trump has threatened the livelihoods of the men and women who protect us, left our border unsecure, and now resulted in the postponement of a right given to our president in the U.S. Constitution – the State of the Union address.

This week, Speaker Pelosi became the first Speaker of the House in history to prevent the President of the United States from delivering the State of the Union address. 

She originally invited President Trump to deliver the annual address after the partial government shutdown started, but recently she suddenly changed her mind due to ‘security’ concerns. Numerous law enforcement officials looked into these ‘concerns’ and found them to be unwarranted and invalid. 

My guess is Speaker Pelosi didn’t want President Trump to discuss with the American people a real security concern – the crisis at the southern border. 

A few weeks ago, Speaker Pelosi cut off Secretary Nielsen in a briefing, saying she wouldn’t listen to the Department of Homeland Security’s border facts. It appears she doesn’t want the American people to hear them, either.

Perhaps Speaker Pelosi uninvited the President from delivering the State of the Union address because she doesn’t want the American people to hear how successful the Trump Administration has been in his first two years in office. She likely doesn’t want the American people to hear how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has allowed farmers, small business owners, and families to keep more of their money and boosted the economy. Or how the President has lifted a $23 billion drag on the economy by eliminating the most burdensome Washington regulations. 

It has never been easier for Americans to find a job as unemployment has dropped to a 50-year low, and job openings vastly outnumber the amount of people looking for work. 

Here in Missouri, unemployment reached the lowest point ever recorded in the past year. He’s shattered one economic record after another and lifted 4.6 million Americans off of food stamps since his election. 

President Trump successfully opened new markets around the world for American farmers and ranchers. And he has unleashed America’s energy potential, making the United States the largest crude oil producer in the world.

But here we are. President Trump has made offer after offer in good faith to end this stand off and strike a long term deal with the Speaker about how to secure our borders and open up the government, but he has been met with nothing but resistance and obstruction. He may as well have been speaking to a brick wall. 

Rather than make counter offers, the Speaker and Minority Leader Schumer directed members of Congress to blow off meetings with the President, mocked the millions of Americans who want to secure our border by offering only $1 for a wall, and are now preventing the American people from hearing about the state of their Union from their Commander-in-Chief. 

The Speaker claimed she wouldn’t negotiate securing the border until the government was reopened, and with the news today she now has her shot. There is a deal to temporarily reopen the government in place, but I have no hope that the Speaker will stay true to her word and come to the table and negotiate in good faith. 

I am glad that those currently protecting our airports and border crossings are finally getting paid, but Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer’s actions leave me with no confidence that in 21 days the Democrat leadership will suddenly want to negotiate and we’ll find ourselves in a better place with plans for a more secure border.

Speaker Pelosi’s petty politics and trivial tantrums have taken the U.S. House of Representatives to a new, unprecedented low. 

With this temporary deal in place I can only hope she will agree that the American people deserve to hear from their President from the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. The President deserves the opportunity to provide an update on the status of our government and his efforts to keep our country safe. Speaker Pelosi isn’t hearing it, but the American people should.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Senate Education Committee to begin discussing bill affecting retired teachers

(From Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington)

Committee hearings began this week, and several Senate bills have already started moving through the legislative process. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Senate Bill 17 was heard by the Health and Pensions Committee. I filed SB 17 to fix an unintentional consequence from Senate Bill 892(2018). 

Senate Bill 892 allowed retired teachers to be employed in certain positions throughout a school district, such as a school bus driver, while still receiving their retirement benefits from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS).

The language of SB 892 unintentionally excluded retired teachers from receiving their retirement benefits if they were employed at one of our state’s community colleges. This led to a decline in the number of adjunct professors as many retired teachers had previously filled those positions. It is evident that this was not the intention of SB 892, and I am pleased to file SB 17 which will allow retired teachers to teach at community colleges and still receive their retirement benefits.

The Education Committee will begin discussing bills and proposals next week. As chairman of this committee, I am eager to start considering bills, especially those concerning workforce development. The governor has made it clear that workforce development is a priority, and I believe this issue is closely tied to education. I look forward to hearing testimony on each of these bills and discussing them with my fellow committee members.

Billy Long: We have a crisis on our southern border and we need a wall

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

On January 14, a caravan of migrants left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, heading towards the U.S. southern border. This caravan was organized by Juan Carlos Molina, a fugitive who was on the run following a conviction in 2015 for breaking into a home and molesting a 12-year-old girl.

Unfortunately, Democrats refuse to acknowledge these stories and would rather point fingers at Republicans saying we're immoral or we're using inaccurate facts. But since Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer refuse to even sit for a briefing by the Secretary of Homeland Security, it's hard to believe anything they say is more than political talking points.

According to the White House, in 2018, our border security prevented more than 17,000 criminals and more than 1,000 gang members from entering our country. 

Along with thousands of violent criminals attempting to cross our border, there are thousands of others trying to cross with illegal drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. 

According to recent numbers, 90 percent of wholesale heroin comes from Mexico, which has only increased over the years. In 2017, nearly 2,500 pounds of fentanyl was seized by border security, which is enough to kill every U.S. citizen.

Over the years, both Republicans and Democrats, including Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer, have come together and supported building a wall along the southern border. Prior to 1992, in the San Diego Sector California, illegal immigrants would line up in mass and bum-rush the border. Several hundred would literally run past border patrol agents and continue running out in traffic right down the middle of the highway into oncoming traffic in some cases. Very few were detained because it was a brilliant plan for those wanting to enter illegally. They would simply outnumber the authorities and run until they were either captured or out of their sight.

A wall built in 1992 ended this practice, along with dropping illegal traffic by 92 percent over 23 years. Yuma, Arizona, had a similar experience. 

In 2005 additional walls were built and the city saw illegal traffic drop by 95 percent over 9 years. A number of cities along the southern border have put up barriers and have seen illegal traffic drop more than 90 percent. 

The numbers make one thing clear and that is that walls work. They aren't perfect and are not a cure-all, but they are a huge deterrent and will augment whatever other security measures are implemented. 

In 2014, I did an extensive tour of the southern border. I toured the San Diego Sector California, the Tucson Sector Arizona and the Rio Grande Valley Sector. I witnessed all manner of ways to enter our country illegally, along with all manner of efforts to stop those folks that try. Of everything I saw, the pre-1992 footage of people bum-rushing the border near San Diego will forever be with me.

President Trump's proposal aims to help alleviate the pressure on our overworked and understaffed border security by allocating $5.7 billion for 234 miles of additional fencing and walls. Along with more fencing and walls, the president's proposal includes increased funding for technology to better detect narcotics and weapons as well as funding for nearly 3,000 more border security officers and staff.

As the saying goes, you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. And the fact is we have a crisis at the southern border and action needs to be taken. I have always been a strong supporter of legal immigration and believe that legitimate asylum seekers should be welcome. We need for people to immigrate into our country - legally. However, running across our borders illegally is not the way to do it. It's time Democrats stop playing politics and realize this is a matter of national security.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

State of Missouri receives $6.5 million grant for early childhood education

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Missouri families with children age birth to 5 who participate in early learning programs in the state will benefit from a $6.5 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) received word of the award Thursday.

The grant will be used to fund the Stronger Together Missouri project, which aims to implement a comprehensive, statewide, birth-to-kindergarten-entry needs assessment and to update the state’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan to enhance long-term sustainability in early childhood services.

“We are proud and excited about the partnership among the Governor’s Office, the Missouri Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Health and Senior Services, Mental Health and Social Services, the Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Office, and the Missouri Foundation for Health that brought this grant to reality,” said Governor Mike Parson. “The grant will allow Missouri to offer even stronger services to our youngest students and their families.”

Information gathered from the needs assessment will be combined with information from the statewide Quality Assurance Report initiative to identify areas in need of intervention to maximize parental choice and knowledge of early learning programs, share best practices, and improve the quality of Early Childhood Care and Education system.

“Collaboration among state partners is key to effectively serving our students and families,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven. “Access to high quality early learning opportunities will help prepare every student for success in school and in life.”

Missouri will begin to implement the grant early this year. The grant is effective for one year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Billy Long to President Trump: Give the State of the Union in Springfield

Billy Long offered a suggestion to President Donald Trump today after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dashed his hopes of delivering the State of the Union Address in the House chambers next Tuesday.

In a tweet, Long offered different Springfield venues where the speech could be given.

Graves: Saturday mail delivery is still critical and necessary

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

There was a time in America when one of the only methods of communication was by mail. Since 1912, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has served as a lifeline for Americans, specifically in rural areas.

With the advent of the internet, things have changed. We can communicate wherever we are with the click of a button. Some say that means the Postal Service should reduce services like six-day delivery.

I disagree.

While we may not depend on mail delivery to communicate like we used to, we depend on it for other things. Imagine the issues that could arise if the mail wasn’t delivered six days a week.

Let's say you've ordered a package and expect to receive it in two days but, because there is no Saturday mail delivery, you won’t get it until Monday. Unless Monday is a holiday, in which case you won’t get it until Tuesday. That two-day delivery just became four. Most people I know, myself included, get frustrated if a package isn’t delivered right away.

Or, maybe you have prescription medication that has been mailed to you – waiting an additional day or two just isn’t going to cut it. Many folks who need that medication are unable to travel long distances; delivering it to their door at an affordable cost as soon as possible is critical.

This affects small businesses, too. Many of the most successful businesses in rural areas depend on the Postal Service to deliver the items they’ve ordered, or ship the products they’ve made, in a timely fashion.

In North Missouri, Saturday mail delivery is still critical to our success and necessary for our way of life.

Last week, I helped introduce bipartisan legislation to express the sentiment of the House of Representatives that six-day mail delivery must be preserved. I introduced a similar bipartisan bill in 2017 with 258 co-sponsors. Not much is bipartisan in Washington anymore, but keeping six-day mail delivery certainly has broad support.

There is no doubt that the Postal Service needs to make some major reforms to remain a viable service. It’s not good government to maintain the status quo if it is leading to major financial issues. However, there are plenty of ways to reform the USPS without eliminating Saturday mail delivery. That won’t fix the problem; it will only make it worse.

It’s important that the USPS right their financial ship. However, doing so at the expense of rural America should not be an option. The USPS needs to take all necessary measures to make sure that we still see mail delivery on Saturdays in North Missouri.

Ash Grove Republican: We were elected to be leaders, not bullied into submission

(From Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove)

Prior to the beginning of session, the House Speaker invited all Republican members to provide input as to which committees we wanted to serve, however the amendment was not adopted (it, too, was soundly rejected by voice vote). I have not polled the members to determine which, if any, committee choices were granted or not granted.

Before I provide more information about the committee choices, I want to let you know that this process began my first day in the House (although I didn’t realize what was occurring). So, let’s begin with my first day as a Missouri Representative, April 22, 2013.

Fifteen minutes after I was seated, the voting began…. Wow! I was certainly glad that I had read bills I thought would be discussed (a lot of bills). I may offer more information about my first session (a total of five weeks) at a later date (perhaps, in a book).

After the first day’s session, I was summoned to the Speaker’s office. Following a polite discussion, I was appointed to the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. Unbeknownst to me, that very day, two members of the committee were summarily removed. The reason: the two members disobeyed the Speaker.

Of course, at the time, I had not a clue about what had happened. In time, with additional information, I would be able to place the “puzzle piece” on the board.

Over time, “plays” would be made and actions taken which caused me to realize that a game was being played (a serious game) and I was simply a “pawn.”

An early occurrence that took place outside the Speaker’s office not only confused me, but it solidified things I would learn later on. A group of representatives gathered outside the office of the Speaker of the House (for what purpose, I don’t recall). As we stood offering small talk, a member leaned my way and stated in a quiet voice (just above a whisper), “You’ll do okay. Just vote with the Speaker.”

Wanting to ensure what I had just heard, I asked the member to repeat was said. After confirming what I thought I had heard, I retorted, “Are you serious?!?”

The member snapped back, “Yes.”

Of course, I was appalled! I didn’t reply to the comment verbally. I can only imagine my facial expression. I thought to myself: “You have got to be kidding! The folks from Lawrence County didn’t elect me to simply follow the Speaker!”

I would come to learn that my “disobedience” would be the beginning of my end.

Since that time, I’ve been “socking away” tidbits of information which form additional pieces to the larger puzzle. Two years ago, I began putting together a plan to restore the power (control) of the House to the people (through the elected representatives).

Now, back to the rules debate.

I offered the first amendment, which actually included the request to:

Form committees based upon member preferences (rather than appointments made by the Speaker or a staff member) and allow committees to elect chairs.

During the debate, a fellow republican stood to inquire (ask questions) of me. Actually, the questioning was more of an attempted schooling. The member attempted to make the point that if we allowed all members to request committee appointments, chaos would result. (I asked for examples later – only the member requesting the inquiry is permitted to ask questions, unless, of course, it’s a friendly inquiry – this was not a “friendly” – at least I did not want to risk being called down).

By the way, not one attempt was made to justify the claim that “chaos” would be the result of members requesting committee assignments.

The member continued: If committees were made up of only attorneys, or physicians, or farmers, the people’s interests would not be done.

After the inquiry, I recalled my first full year… I was appointed to serve on the Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Conservation Appropriations committee. The purpose of the committee is to set the budget for these departments.

Prior to this appointment, I learned about the problems experienced by the City of Miller (regarding their waste water treatment facility). I learned that over three hundred cities/municipalities were under the “thumb” (actually, the strong arm) of the DNR and I wanted to help alleviate the pressure applied by the department.

In short, these cities were being forced to upgrade their waste water treatment facilities to the tune of millions of dollars. Miller’s estimated cost was $1.5 million (to be spread among a population of < 700 (approximately 300 households). The resulting improvements would cripple the city financially and triple the utility costs for residents.

Two upper class members of the committee were farmers, like me. We had several discussions about the oppressive acts against Missourians by the DNR. They voiced support for taking some sort of action, so I took for granted they would stand with me.

Two new (freshmen) representatives, also farmers, told me they would support my amendment to remove money from a revolving fund established for the DNR’s express use in loaning money to city’s for improvements (this money is loaned with interest due).

When I offered the amendment, the chair became obviously agitated. Keep in mind, we (the chair and DNR officials) had met on several occasions attempting to resolve the problem. I wanted, as did Miller officials, the DNR to back off. DNR only promised to move back the compliance dates, so I continued with my attempt to strip money from them.

The chair “shut me down” during my proposal and proceeded with the vote. When the vote was tallied, my amendment received only one vote – mine.

Upon adjournment of the committee, I queried the to upper class members only to find “deer in the headlights” reactions. One actually stated, “I didn’t know what you were trying to do!” If that’s not unbelievable, I’ll share the laughable:

The two freshmen, grown adults mind you, approached me (it was the proverbial “hat-in-hand”). One spoke for the two: “We were told,” he stated, “that we could not vote against the chair.”

I responded, casually, “The first time is the hardest. After that, it’s actually pretty easy.”

I have often thought during my time in the House about how we (grown adults) often revert back to childhood. “Stay in line!” “Don’t speak out of turn!” “Be nice!” “Don’t oppose authority!” “Sit down and shut up!” (Oh, wait, the last one was actually a command barked by a now “retired” legislator!)

What I don’t understand, however, is the fact that we are (expected to be) grown ups. We (at least, I think) were elected to be leaders… to make decisions based upon the information available… to be the voices of those who elected us… not to be bullied into submission!

That was my only stint on the committee. I was removed (for what I believe to be my inability to “follow the leader”).

As for the premise that a committee made up of individuals from a like group, such as farmers, in this case (at least in my opinion) resulted in the will of the people being ignored!

Enough for now. Next time, I’ll fill you in on the next amendment.

Felony charges dismissed against JB's Downtown owner

Judge John Nicholas dismissed 16 felony charges of filing false sales tax returns and failing to pay sales tax against Joplin business owner Jon Buck this morning in Jasper County Circuit Court.

According to online court records, the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office said a deferral agreement, which indicates the defendant agrees to fulfill certain requirements, had been reached in exchange for charges being dismissed against Buck, the owner of JB's Downtown.

It would appear the two sides have been working on the agreement since Buck was bound over for trial May 15, 2017 and no trial date was ever set.

The probable cause statement said that Buck had failed to pay $78,595.28 in sales tax between December 31, 2013 and March 31, 2016.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dirk Deaton: The magnitude of the challenge ahead of me

(From Rep. Dirk Deaton, R-Noel)

On Wednesday, January 9, 2019 the 100th General Assembly was convened at the capitol in Jefferson City. It was at this time I was sworn in as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. This signifies an end as well as a beginning. It was the end of the campaign and the following transition to the new legislative session.

Now the hard, but rewarding, work of representing you and governing begins. Though challenges wait in this new legislative session, I am eager to step forward at this critical hour and fight for the principles and values that I have laid out over the last year.

During the first several weeks of December the new representatives and I traveled across our state visiting high schools, colleges, businesses, hospitals, and many other points of interest. If anything, this trip was instructive and helpful in many cases to see firsthand where and how your tax dollars are being spent. 

More than that it reaffirmed the beauty and majesty of our great state! Missouri has as rich a history as any state west of the Mississippi. From the Lewis and Clark expedition beginning near St. Louis, to the Pony Express in St. Joseph, Missouri has played a central role in American history from nearly the beginning.

More inspiring than the rich history of our state is the beauty and natural wonders God has blessed us with. We have great rivers like the Missouri and the mighty Mississippi, as well as our very own Elk River. From the beauty of Southwest Missouri and the Ozarks to the rice fields in Southeast Missouri, or our hubs of commerce in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri really does have it all.

I want you to know I realize the magnitude of the challenge and task that is before me. In addition, I realize my many weaknesses and limitations. It is for this reason I will continue to seek the wisdom from Almighty God believing as it is written in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” I know that it is only by God’s immeasurable grace that has sustained me thus far, and only by his continued grace will I be able to fulfil my obligations of serving you in the Missouri House. To the people of McDonald and Newton counties: Thank you for making me your trustee in the Missouri House of Representatives. I pray that I serve you well.