Saturday, August 31, 2019

Today is 75th anniversary of famous Truman speech in Lamar, plus most visited Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts this week

Having always been a fan of Harry S Truman, I was shocked earlier tonight when I read a USA Today headline that included Truman among the 10 poorest presidents in U. S history.

That was contrary to everything else that I read describing his rise from low approval ratings when he left office to sometimes cracking the top five U. S. presidents.

When I read the article I realized Truman's reputation was intact. The "poorest" was referring to the presidents who had the least money.

As I noted earlier this week, I have been researching President Truman for the past several months for my next book The Buck Starts Here: Harry S Truman and the City of Lamar.

During my research, I have been poring over microfilmed and online newspapers from 1884 to the 100th anniversary celebration of Truman's birth in 1984. I have had help from people at the Barton County Historical Society, the Truman Birthplace, the City of Lamar, the Carthage Public Library, the Jasper County Records Center, the Joplin Public Library, the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, and people who have helped me considerably by providing material for my research, including historian Marvin VanGilder's son Chris and Arthur Aull biographer Chad Stebbins.

As much as I have enjoyed working with all of the documents, the most rewarding part of working on this book has been the privilege of interviewing people who were in Lamar when Truman returned 75 years ago today and for the 1959 dedication of his birthplace.

Sadly, many of those who would have had wonderful stories to share are no longer with us, but I have been fortunate enough to talk to several who have told me not only of Truman, but of World War II, both overseas and on the homefront, some of the great unsung heroes of Lamar history, some who have worked for the Aull family when it ran the Lamar Democrat and some who recalled major events that shaped the city's history.

Though I have always had an appreciation of Harry S Truman, it was not until I began researching this book that I realized just how important the speech was that Truman gave 75 years ago tonight at the Barton County Courthouse in Lamar.

Not only was the newly named vice presidential candidate returning to the city where he was born, but it was the first political speech of the 1944 campaign since FDR was in poor health and said he would do no campaigning because of the need to concentrate all of his efforts on winning the war.

It was also an opportunity to take the measure of a man who seemed likely to become president well before Roosevelt's fourth term ended.

A lot rode on Truman's August 31, 1944 speech.

This week, I wrote a column for the Lamar Democrat about Truman's speech and the many things that were going on in the City of Lamar when the senator arrived that day, including the murder of the Barton County sheriff and his son with the three killers still at large, the news that a Lamar soldier had been killed in Germany, the first Lamar soldier to die during the war, and the news that the son of the owner of the Travelers Hotel was missing in action.

I reprinted that column on the Turner Report and it was among the most visited posts for the week.

A big thank you

Thanks to all of you who have subscribed or made a financial contribution to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin during August. As always, your support is deeply appreciated.

For those who have not recently contributed and wish to do so, PayPal buttons can be found below or you can mail your contributions to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

The list of the most-visited posts this week on the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries and links to each of those posts can be found below the PayPal buttons.

Payment options
The Turner Report

1. Plea document: Rural Sarcoxie man had stockpile of automatic weons, 5,000 rounds of ammunition

2. Federal court document: Joplin man indicted for meth trafficking had stolen weapons, 4,000 rounds of ammunition

3. Joplin man pleads not guilty to meth trafficking, conspiracy charges, ordered held without bond

4. Joplin man who broke six-week-old baby's leg may spent only 120 days behind bars

5. Federal grand jury indicts Joplin man on meth trafficking, conspiracy charges

6. Reeds residents sentenced to 12 1/2 years on weapons charge

7. Joplin man pleads kidnapping women at local stores, forcing them to remove their clothes

8. Joplin R-8 Board hires two teachers, 17 classified employees, seven substitutes, accepts one resignation

9. Former Kansas City Chiefs player faces weapons charge after being tasered twice while resisting arrest

10. Seventy-five years ago this week, Harry Truman returns to the city where he was born

Inside Joplin

1. Surveillance video shows teens playing in water when CJ teen was swept away, drowned

2. Highway Patrol report: Carl Junction teen was standing in drainage ditch when he was swept away by flash flood waters

3. Webb City teen injured in collision with Freightliner on I-49

4. West Zora to be closed from Lone Elm Road to Schifferdecker

5. Jasper County Sheriff's Office Arrests

6. Carthage man killed, Carthage woman seriously injured in motorcycle crash on I-49

7. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

8. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

9. Newton County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. U. S. Bankruptcy Court Petitions- Joplin

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Jessica McCormack

2. Jim Landrith

3. Jackaline Lute

4. Wade Hampel

5. Rob Hall

6. Alice Canfield

7. Correen Sumagpang

8. Pete Balster

9. Dan Haase

10. Connie Brown

Agenda posted for Tuesday Joplin City Council meeting

Tuesday, September 3, 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


Citizen Requests And Petitions


1. Sara Fisher Would Like To Address The City Council Regarding Maintenance Practices At Joplin Parks


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



AN ORDINANCE approving the voluntary annexation by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, located approximately 650 feet South and 200 feet West of the intersection of W. 32nd St. and S. John Duffy Dr., Joplin, MO., Newton County, Missouri.


AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2004-256, passed by the Council of the City of
Joplin, Missouri, November 15, 2004, by removing from District R-1 and including in District
C-O property as described below and located 2307 Connecticut Ave, City of Joplin, Jasper
County, Missouri. 


AN ORDINANCE providing to vacate a utility easement located approximately 200 ft. North and 575 ft. West of the intersection of E. Newman Road and N. Range Line Road on property.

Consent Agenda


August 19, 2019 Informal City Council Meeting Notes


Minutes Of The August 19, 2019 City Council Meeting


Minutes Of The August 26, 2019 Special City Council Meeting


Council Bill No. 2019-617

  1. CB2019-617.PDF




A RESOLUTION authorizing the submittal of an application with the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office for the FY 2020 Historic Preservation Fund Grant for the National Historic Register Nomination of Memorial Hall. 

Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving a construction agreement with McClanahan Construction Company in the not to exceed amount of One Million, Five Hundred Thirty-eight Thousand, Six Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($1,538,600.00) for the Turkey Creek WWTF Tertiary Filter Replacement 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     approving Change Order #2 for the 7th and Illinois Area Stormwater Improvements project, in the amount of One Hundred Five Thousand Four Hundred Twenty-Five and 00/100 Dollars ($105,425.00) funded through the Parks and Storm Water Sales Tax; 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 approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and Big Johns for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of lot area located at 812 S. Connor Ave. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Three Thousand Six Hundred Ninty nine and 00/100 Dollars ($ 3,699.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause.

COUNCIL BILL NO. 2019-618 COJ-AAA License Agreement

AN ORDINANCE approving the License Agreement by and between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Area Agency on Aging Region X, for the license of the land and improvements located at 2616 S. Picher Avenue; authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.

Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity that pertains to 2017 HOME funds; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute same on behalf of the City.

Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Sales Tax - Proposition B Committee Members


News From Public Information Officer Lynn Onstot

Friday, August 30, 2019

Billy Long: Conservation programs can help local farmers and ranchers

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

So far, the only thing that the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands has reserved is the money authorized to go to farmers and ranchers.

The refrain in the 1960s was, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” The refrain today is “What if they gave a program for farmers and ranchers and nobody came? 

Right now, that's exactly what's happening because farmers and ranchers don't seem to know this program exists or understand what it has to offer. Farmers are famously independent and don’t want bureaucrats in Washington telling them what they can or can’t do with their land. 

This is a “grasslands” program but guess what, you can do whatever you want with your grass, mow it, hay it or pasture it. The only thing you can’t do is till. Hopefully, by the end of my column, more will understand the benefits and take advantage of this positive financial opportunity.

The CRP Grasslands, previously known as the Grasslands Reserve Program, is one of many conservation programs that fall under CRP. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), this program is a land retirement program that allows farmers and ranchers to voluntarily offer their land to agricultural producers for conservation. The goal of this program is to conserve land while supporting grazing operations.

The USDA and FSA compensate farmers and ranchers who take part in this program. Under the CRP Grasslands, participants receive annual payments as well as cost-share assistance during their contract, which can last between 14 and 15 years. Rental payments are given to farmers and ranchers who abide by an approved CRP conservation plan and cost-share assistance for those who take part in approved practices such as grazing, producing hay, mowing and harvesting for seed production.

As beneficial as this program is, many farmers nationwide are unaware of it. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) joined me for my annual agricultural tour on August 23 and explained the program to attendees. Chairman Peterson, along with Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), worked hard to get this in the latest Farm Bill that is now law.

After the agriculture tour, it became a top priority of mine to ensure farmers and ranchers in Missouri's 7th Congressional District are aware of the programs available to them and how to apply for these programs. If you're a farmer or rancher and want to learn more about the CRP Grasslands, visit, or to contact your local FSA or USDA center, visit

Joplin R-8 Board hires two teachers, 17 classified employees, seven substitutes, accepts one resignation

During a closed session Tuesday, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education accepted the resignation of one teacher and hired two teachers, 17 classified employees and seven substitutes.

Certified Employments: Randy Dority, Kari Lewis

Resignation: Aimee Stinnett

Classified Employments: Penny Baker, Tia Brandon, Kimberly Bronson, Christy Cole, Whitney Cummings, Susan Dibbens, Maria Hames, Alexandria Jackson, Jerry Mayfield, Matthew McDonald, Michael Noland, Tamica Paul, Christian Viar, Rabecca Wallace, Ashlyn Washburn, Myron Wilbanks, Behanie Woods

Substitutes: Shawn Degraff, Harry Sanborn, Linda Peoples, Tracy Horton, Tammy Wood, Hunter Jamieson, Audrey Webster

Joplin man pleads not guilty to meth trafficking, conspiracy charges, ordered held without bond

A Joplin man waived the reading of his indictment and pleaded not guilty to meth trafficking, meth conspiracy, and selling meth in  a home where someone under 18 was residing charges this morning in U. S. District Court in Springield.

Judge David P. Rush ordered Mark Burdge, 49, to be held without bond while awaiting trial.

Burdge's crimes allegedly took place between May 9, 2018 and July 18, 2019, according to the indictment.

In a detention filed Thursday, the U. S. Attorney said multiple weapons and 4,000 rounds of ammunition were found execution of a search warrant at Burdge's residenc

(Note: This post has been edited to reflect Burdge's correct age, 49, iustead of 39 as originally reported.) 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Judge revokes bank robbing Anderson sex offender's probation

 An Anderson man will return to federal prison after a federal judge revoked his probation Wednesday.

Perry D. Abercrombie, 62, was sentenced April 4, 2016, to 33 months in prison for the May 18, 2015, robbery for the Arvest Bank in Anderson.

According to the judge's ruling, Abercrombie, who is facing two bad check charges filed during the past few months in McDonald County Circuit Court, violated four conditions of his probation.

-He committed another crime

-He did not successfully complete sex offender counseling (Abercrombie was given a suspended sentenced in 2001 on a McDonald County charge of sexual misconduct in the first degree.)

-He failed to answer his probation officer's questions truthfully and failed to obey the probation officer's instructions.

-He failed to report to his probation officer.

Abercrombie told investigators he robbed Arvest Bank because he facing financial difficulties and he had cased several banks and thought it had the weakest security. Surveillance video at area banks confirmed Abercrombie's story.

The crime was detailed in a detention motion filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 2015:

On May 18, 2015, a white male wearing a blue hooded jacket, grey t-shirt, overalls, and sunglasses entered the Arvest Bank located at 607 North Highway 71, in Anderson, McDonald County, Missouri. 

This white male, later identified as PERRY D. ABERCROMBIE approached a bank teller and passed a handwritten note. 

The teller advised law enforcement that the note indicated that the male was robbing the bank and that he had a weapon. After reading the note, the teller asked the male if he was serious. The male responded by telling her that he was serious and ordered her to give him the money in her drawer. 

The teller removed the money from her top drawer and placed it on the counter. The male took the money, the demand note, and placed the items in his pocket. 

The male then exited the main bank entrance and was observed traveling north by bank personnel. 2. Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers contacted law enforcement investigating the bank robbery and then determined that ABERCROMBIE was a likely suspect in the bank robbery. 

After arriving at his residence, law enforcement identified ABERCROMBIE’S truck as being the vehicle that was parked in the vicinity of the Arvest Bank. Law enforcement provided ABERCROMBIE with his Miranda rights and he waived his rights, agreeing to speak with deputies. 

Shortly thereafter, ABERCROMBIE admitted to law enforcement that he had robbed the Arvest bank. ABERCROMBIE then led deputies to a cash box located in the bedroom of his residence. 

ABERCROMBIE advised that the money within the cash box was the money he took when he robbed the Arvest Bank earlier that day. Shortly thereafter, FBI agents then made contact with ABERCROMBIE. Agents confirmed ABERCROMBIE’S confession and that he directed law enforcement to the location of the stolen money. 

ABERCROMBIE direct agents to a cash box located within the bedroom of his residence. Agents opened the cash box with a key at ABERCROMBIE provided to the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office. 

After opening the cash box, agents removed a stack of United States currency contained with the box. Agents identified eight $50 bills from the stack of United States currency and compared their serial numbers to a bait bill list that was provided by Arvest Bank. 

The comparison revealed that two $50 bait bills that had been taken during the May 18, 2015, robbery were located in the stack of United States currency retrieved from ABERCROMBIE’S cash box and residence. 

In addition to the bait bills and confession, agents located the blue hooded jacket, grey t-shirt, and overalls on the bedroom floor. These items matched the description of the clothes worn by the bank robber. 

When asked by agents, ABERCROMBIE confirmed that the clothes were the items he wore when he robbed Arvest Bank. Furthermore, during ABERCROMBIE’S statement to law enforcement, he admitted that he had been observing several other local banks in an effort to evaluate their security and conduct additional bank robberies. 

Law enforcement reviewed the security video tapes from several other banks identified by ABERCROMBIE. Agents were able to see ABERCROMBIE’S truck on the video surveillance of several banks, confirming his statement that he was casing several other banks to commit additional robberies. 

Federal court document: Joplin man indicted for meth trafficking had stolen weapons, 4,000 rounds of ammunition

A Joplin man indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury poses a threat to the community and should remain behind bars while awaiting trial, according to a motion for a detention hearing filed today iun U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

The grand jury indicted Mark Burdge, 49, on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, a meth trafficking conspiracy and selling meth in a home where someone under 18 is residing.

The crimes allegedly took place between May 9, 2018 and July 18, 2019, according to the indictment.
The allegations against Burdge were detailed in the motion:

On May 9, 2018, investigators with the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team (“ODET”) executed a search warrant for controlled substances at Defendant’s property in Newton County, Missouri. 

Defendant was found within the primary residence when investigators entered. A search of the primary residence yielded a total of approximately 76.96 grams of methamphetamine, 24 grams of suspected marijuana, 28 suspected alprazolam pills, and $20,000 in United States currency. 

A portion of the methamphetamine was found near a wallet containing debit cards bearing Defendant’s name. Investigators also searched an outbuilding on the property and discovered approximately 19 firearms—four of which were reported stolen—and over 4,000 rounds of ammunition. 

In February 2019, a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent received information indicating that Defendant was receiving pound quantities of methamphetamine from a source in Oklahoma before the search warrant was executed at his property in May 2018. 

On July 18, 2019, ODET investigators executed a second search warrant for controlled substances at Defendant’s property in Newton County, Missouri. Several individuals were discovered in the primary residence, including Defendant and a minor child. 

A search of the primary residence yielded a black zipper case containing approximately 31 grams of suspected methamphetamine, a digital scale, plastic bags, and a safe containing a large plastic bag of approximately 165 grams of suspected methamphetamine. 

A handwritten receipt bearing Defendant’s name was found in the safe along with the suspected methamphetamine. 

Finally, investigators found approximately $24,300 in United States currency concealed behind drywall. 

Defendant has a history of criminal activity that includes the following convictions: 

a. Unlawful possession of a firearm in Newton County, Missouri, on or about April 7, 2014; 

b. Receiving stolen property in Buchanan County, Missouri, on or about April 7, 2014; 

c. Two counts of possession of a controlled substance in Newton County, Missouri, on or about March 19, 2012; 

d. Possession of a controlled substance in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, on or about May 3, 2007; and 

e. Possession of a controlled substance in Newton County, Missouri, on or about July 20, 2000. 

For the foregoing reasons, the United States requests that a detention hearing be held and that Defendant be denied bail.

(Note: This post has been edited to correct Burdge's age to 49, rather than 39 as originally reported.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Deadline set for disaster unemployment assistance for Newton, McDonald County residents

(From the Missouri Division of Employment Security)

The Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security will accept applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) for individuals in six Missouri counties through September 5, 2019 whose employment was lost or interrupted due to severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began April 29, 2019 and ended July 5, 2019.

A disaster assistance amendment was declared on August 5, 2019 that allowed Missourians in the six additional counties of Callaway, Jefferson, Lewis, McDonald, Newton and Saline to apply for DUA. The DUA application deadline for individuals in the original twenty Missouri disaster-declared counties was August 9, 2019.

Eligibility for DUA is determined on a week-to-week basis and individuals can only receive benefits for as long as his or her unemployment continues as a result of the disaster.

To be eligible for DUA benefits under Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA-4451-DR, and Amendment 3 individuals:

-Must be an unemployed or self-employed worker whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by the President

-Must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and

-Must not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits from any state; and

-Must have worked or were self-employed in, or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in, one of the counties listed above; and

-Must establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income.

Also eligible to apply for DUA are individuals who:

-Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or

-Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or

-Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household; or

-Cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government.

Applicants are required to provide proof that they were employed or self-employed at the time the disaster occurred or were scheduled to begin work when the disaster occurred. This proof of employment must be filed with the initial claim or within 21 days of filling their DUA claim. To claim, individuals will need their Social Security Number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs may also be required (self-employed individuals should also provide Schedules SE and Schedule C or Schedule F).

To file a DUA claim online 24/7 visit For assistance with filing a claim, call your Regional Claims Center (see below) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Missourians impacted by the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in all the declared counties can register for additional assistance by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (800) 621-3362, TTY (800) 462-7585, or register with FEMA online at

Regional Claims Centers:

Jefferson City……………………573-751-9040

Kansas City………………………816-889-3101

St. Louis …………………………314-340-4950

Springfield ………………………417-895-6851

Outside Local Calling Area ……..800-320-2519

To find additional resources across the state, visit the Missouri Recovery Portal at

City of Diamond receives $40,000 grant to evaluate wastewater system

(From the Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded a $40,000 Small Community Engineering Assistance Program grant to the City of Diamond to evaluate the city’s wastewater system.

The grant offers funding for small communities for wastewater engineering costs incurred in preparation of a comprehensive facility improvement plan.

The city will use the grant funding to identify wastewater treatment system improvements needed to continue reliable service to the area. During the process, the city will assess the system’s lift stations and explore ways to reduce stormwater inflow and infiltration into sewer collection pipes. The facility plan should be complete in February 2021. 


Water and wastewater systems are essential infrastructure that support the community’s health and economic vitality. The grant allows the city to assess its treatment plant for efficiency, effectiveness and capacity, and to satisfy public health and water quality regulations. Identifying needed actions to address its wastewater needs now will also help the community plan for future growth and development.

The department is committed to working with Missouri communities to assist with water and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects. The department’s Financial Assistance Center provides funding opportunities for communities with water quality, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure needs.

For more information on wastewater and drinking water funding opportunities,

Plea document: Rural Sarcoxie man had stockpile of automatic weapons, 5,000 rounds of ammunition

A Sarcoxie man who pleaded guilty in federal prison Monday had a stockpile of weapons, none purchased through licensed dealers and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition when Newton County Sheriff's deputies and agents from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms executed a search warrant at his home Aprll 23, according to a plea agreement filed Tuesday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Federal authorities were alerted to the illegal activities of Leng Lee, when Homeland Security intercepted a package from China addressed to Lee that contained selector switches designed to convert semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns.

In the plea document, the U. S. Attorney agreed not to seek more than 10 years in prison for Lee.

Lee's crimes are detailed in the plea agreement:

On April 23, 2019, law enforcement officers from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Newton County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department participated in the controlled delivery of an international mail package from China addressed to Leng Lee (LEE) at his residence located at 21657 Amos Lane, Sarcoxie, Newton County, Missouri 64862, a location within the Western District of Missouri. 

The parcel contained seven parts (selector switches) that are used to convert a Glock semi-automatic pistol to fire in full-automatic mode. 

Prior to the delivery of the selector switches, law enforcement intercepted the package upon its entry into the United States from China. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents inspected the contents and determined it contained devices that were designed and intended to convert a Glock, semi-automatic firearm, into a fully-automatic machine gun style firearm. 

Law enforcement became aware that LEE had ordered the devices over the internet from a manufacturer in China and that LEE was a convicted felon who was prohibited from possessing firearms and was not licensed to possess a machine gun. 

On April 23, 2019, while conducting surveillance of the mailbox for 21657 Amos Lane, Sarcoxie, Missouri, agents observed LEE open and gain access to the mailbox, removing the mail package containing selector switches. LEE then drove his vehicle back to his residence. 

Officers then proceeded to LEE’s residence. While driving toward the residence, officers observed the blue truck that LEE drove to his mailbox, was now parked in front of his residence. 

As they approached, officers observed LEE walk into his residence. Newton County Sheriff’s Department SRT team made entry into the residence and made contact with LEE. Entry onto LEE’s property and into his residence was executed as a result of a federal search warrant that had been previously obtained. 

During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement found numerous firearms, ammunition, suspected firearm suppressors, suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, suspected stolen farm equipment, and a large amount of United States currency inside LEE’s residence. 

LEE admitted that all the firearms located in the residence were owned by him. LEE stated that a couple of the firearms were given to him by his deceased father, but the others were purchased by him at gun shows or during hand-to-hand transactions. None of the firearms were purchased from a licensed firearms dealer. 

LEE also admitted to placing the order for the seven selector switches and stated that he had 10-15 past deliveries of the same items, and that he was able to convert and successfully fire a Glock 19 pistol as a fully automatic machine gun. 

LEE also claimed ownership of the methamphetamine and marijuana located inside his residence. 

Special Agent (SA) Ken Killian with HSI contacted LEE on the front porch of his residence and informed him that there was a federal search warrant for his residence. LEE was escorted to the front passenger seat of the agent’s vehicle. LEE was advised of his Miranda Warnings using ICE Form 73-025. LEE stated he understood his rights, agreed to waive his rights, and speak with the agents. 

ATF SA Brian Fox and SA Killian conducted an interview with LEE regarding the delivered package and other items that were found during the search of his residence. 

LEE confessed that all of the firearms, selector switches that converted handguns into machine guns, the ammunition, as well as controlled substances found within his residence belonged to him. LEE also confessed that he knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or machine gun due to his status as a convicted felon. 

A criminal history records check returned numerous previous felony convictions. In January of 2003, LEE was convicted for felony vandalism in California. In March of 2005, LEE was convicted of two counts of burglary, and single counts of felon in possession of firearm and grand theft, all felonies, and was sentenced to ten years in prison. 

Ultimately, LEE admitted that he was aware that due to his previous criminal convictions he was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Also, LEE stated that he was familiar with his previous conviction in California of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Each of these felony convictions were punishable for a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. 

All firearms, ammunition, suppressors, and narcotics were seized by ATF. In total, eighteen firearms were seized from LEE. SA Fox examined three of the firearms seized from LEE: a) a Glock Model 20, 10mm caliber pistol with serial number BDMX790; b) a Glock Model 19, 9mm caliber pistol with serial number BGXP304; and c) a Glock Model 19, 9mm caliber pistol with serial number WWV406. SA Fox conducted a modified test-fire of the three handguns at the ATF Springfield Field Office and the firearms were operable. 

The firearms were also examined, and it was concluded that they were not manufactured in the state of Missouri, and that their presence in Missouri indicated that they traveled in and/or affected interstate commerce. 

A Glock conversion device was tested. The Glock conversion device functioned as intended, in that the Glock conversion device successfully converted a semiautomatic Glock firearm into a fully automatic Glock machine gun capable of discharging multiple rounds of ammunition with a single depression of the trigger. 

The Glock conversion devices were not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. 

Finally, officers also seized over 5,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as various quantities of controlled substances that were confirmed by LEE to be methamphetamine and marijuana. All of the aforementioned acts occurring within the Western District of Missouri.

No date has been scheduled for Lee's sentencing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Federal grand jury indicts Joplin man on meth trafficking, conspiracy charges

A federal grand jury indictment charging a Joplin man with methamphetamine trafficking, conspiracy and selling meth in a home where someone under 18 was residing was unsealed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

The four-count indictment alleges Mark Burdge, 49, possessed methamphetamine with intent to sell on May 9, 2018 and July 18, 2019, was involved in a meth trafficking conspiracy between those two dates and on July 18, had the meth on premises where a child was living.

Burdge's arraignment and detention hearing are scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Friday in Springfield.

Burdge was out on bond awaiting trial on a Newton County meth trafficking charge filed after he was arrested by the Ozarks Area Drug Enforcement Team May 9, 2018, when he was arrested July 18, according to online court records for meth trafficking, unlawful possession of a firearm and three counts of stealing.

(Note: This post has been edited to correct Burdge's age at 49, rather than 39 as originally reported.)

Galloway: New state law requiring background checks for volunteers will help protect Missouri students

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

A new state law will help protect children at their schools, State Auditor Nicole Galloway said today. Starting Aug. 28, school volunteers will be required to undergo criminal background checks before being left alone with children.

Auditor Galloway pushed for the new law after her audit of the state's sexual offender registration program found background checks were mandatory for school employees, but not volunteers.

"I'm very pleased that legislators made this change quickly, not only as the Auditor who found the problem but also as a parent who wants my children — and all children — to be safe when they're at school," Auditor Galloway said. "School safety isn't a partisan issue, and this is an important step forward to protect our kids."

The new law requires school districts to ensure that a criminal background check is conducted for all volunteers who may be periodically left alone with students. Those volunteers include, but are not limited to, individuals who regularly assist in the office or library, mentor or tutor students, coach or supervise a school-sponsored activity before or after school, or chaperone students on an overnight trip. The closing of the background check loophole has also been praised by Missouri KidsFirst, a leading child safety advocacy group.

In a letter hand-delivered to Gov. Mike Parson's office on Aug. 20, Auditor Galloway also pushed for other increased protections for school children. She formally requested that the Governor call a special session of the General Assembly during the upcoming veto session to implement the bipartisan recommendations of his School Safety Task Force, specifically for the state to fully fund armed and properly trained school resource officers in all Missouri schools.

Led by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, the bipartisan Missouri School Safety Task Force issued a report in July, which included the recommendation that all schools have a school resource officer. School resource officers are sworn career law enforcement officers, and Missouri law requires they receive specialized training and certification.

Based on the report, approximately 60 percent of Missouri public schools currently have school resource officers. Missouri does not fund school resource officer programs in individual school districts. Instead, the cost is borne by local school districts or jointly with police and sheriffs' departments.

In her letter urging action by the Governor and legislators at the beginning of the school year, Auditor Galloway proposed fully funding school resource officers in all schools using existing state funding without a tax increase. She said her audits have identified financial inefficiencies throughout government and taxpayer-dollar giveaways that could easily be eliminated in order to make the recommendation a reality.

Gov. Parson has indicated he is unwilling to take immediate action to implement the recommendations of the School Safety Task Force and dismissed Auditor Galloway's request on addressing school safety. Instead, he called a special session on a tax carve-out that affects a limited number of Missourians.

Parson speaks at first meeting of Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group

(From Gov. Mika Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson spoke to members of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group as he convened the first meeting at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' headquarters. Governor Parson signed Executive Order 19-14 on July 18 to establish the working group.

"We appreciate the time and commitment of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group in joining us to reassure all Missourians affected by this flood that we are working not only to help them recover, but also to find ways to lessen the impacts of the next flood," Governor Parson said.

“We asked the Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources to convene this group, and we know the members have able leadership in Director Chinn and Director Comer as they begin to chart their course.”

The purpose of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group is to provide input on the state’s short-, medium-, and long-term flood recovery priorities and feedback on the state’s current levee system with suggested changes to benefit Missouri and its citizens. 

The group also will identify areas where attention is needed and provide input on priorities for allocation of state funding as Missouri recovers from this year’s flooding.

In addition to addressing short-term repairs to levees, the working group will also explore options to improve the conveyance of floodwater through the state's major rivers.

“We have been working with SEMA and the Department of Agriculture to determine the number of farm acres impacted by this year’s historic flooding events, estimating that Missouri had 1.2 million acres of flooded farmland,” Governor Parson said. “While roads are becoming more passable in certain regions, flood waters continue to recede slowly. We owe it to the many Missourians impacted by this year’s flooding to be thorough in our evaluation of recovery priorities and changes to be better prepared for future flooding.”

Missouri state agencies have been working together and communicating with federal agencies since March, when flooding impacts were becoming apparent.

“As we help shape the state’s strategy, we’re looking at an overall system of flood infrastructure and how we can reduce longer-term damage,” Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Dru Buntin said. “Members of the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group bring unique perspectives of their stakeholders to the conversation. We want to hear from Missouri citizens for input. It is important that we hear from everyone as we recover and for future efforts.”

Close to 100 people attended the first meeting of the working group, which was open to the public.

Members of the group include the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Economic Development, Transportation, and the State Emergency Management Agency. Representatives from the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Coalition to Protect the Missouri River, and the Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition are members as well. Four additional members have been appointed – two representing agri-business and two representing local government interests. Governor Parson may appoint other members.

Governor Parson's Executive Order directs the working group to submit an initial report with findings and suggestions by December 31, 2019, and a final report by May 31, 2020.

More information about the Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group is available at

Watch Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live at 7 p.m.

Joplin man who broke six-week-old baby's leg may only spend 120 days behind bars

A Joplin man who broke his six-week-old child's leg may only spend 120 days in prison.

Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane sentenced David W. Gordon, 26, to seven years in prison on an amended charge of second degree domestic assault Monday morning, but placed Gordon in the Shock Incarceration Program, which places him behind bars for 120 days and then reevaluates his progress.

At that point, the judge will either allow Gordon to be placed on supervised probation or have him continue serving his sentence.

The Joplin Police Department initially arrested Gordon after officers were called to Mercy Hospital October 7, 2017 on a child abuse report. A six-week-old baby had been brought to the hospital with "a broken leg and other injuries that were consistent with child abuse," according to a JPD news release.

Gordon was originally charged with felony child abuse.