Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Final hazardous waste permit issued for Eagle Picher Technologies facility in Joplin

(From the Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has issued a final hazardous waste permit for the EaglePicher Technologies facility. The permit includes the approved final remedy for on-site soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater contamination.

EaglePicher operates a commercial manufacturing facility at the site for various types of batteries and other power supplies for defense and aerospace applications. 

A variety of hazardous wastes were produced by the facility’s manufacturing processes. Currently, hazardous wastes are shipped off-site for processing and/or disposal at other permitted facilities.

EaglePicher also operated several hazardous waste container storage areas, as well as two hazardous waste surface impoundments; one was for mercury-contaminated wastewater and one for lead-contaminated wastewater

EaglePicher has been performing long-term monitoring and maintenance activities, and conducting corrective-action investigations and remediation activities at the site under a department-issued Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I Permit. On March 29, 2019, EaglePicher submitted a permit application to the department to renew and update its existing hazardous waste permits. The department and EaglePicher worked together to prepare a Statement of Basis with a suitable proposed final remedy for removing, controlling or treating the contamination that presented an unacceptable risk, following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s RCRA FIRST guidelines without the need for a formal Corrective Measures Study Report. The Statement of Basis summarizes the remedial alternatives and the department’s basis of support for the proposed final remedy.

The department approved the proposed final remedy and issued a final Part I Permit after it conducted a thorough technical review of the permit application, EaglePicher’s preferred final remedy and other remedial alternatives, and after providing an opportunity for public comment. The final permit requires the company to continue post-closure care and groundwater monitoring of the former lead waste impoundment until 2053. The Part I Permit outlines the approved final remedy, which includes limitations on property activity and use that were established through an enforceable Environmental Covenant.

EPA decided not to issue a Part II Permit, since the agency has no site-specific conditions for the facility and Missouri is fully authorized for all permitting, post-closure and corrective-action activities at the facility. EPA will terminate the existing Part II Permit upon the issuance of the Part I Permit.

There were no comments made on the proposed final remedy or draft Part I Permit during the public comment period. Any parties adversely affected or aggrieved by department’s decision to approve the proposed final remedy and issue the final Part I Permit, or by specific conditions of the final Part I Permit, may be entitled to pursue an appeal before the Administrative Hearing Commission by filing a written petition by Oct.30, 2020 The appeal process is more fully described in the final Part I Permit.

The final Part I Permit and additional information are available online at or at the Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St. in Joplin. For more information about the final Part I Permit or to obtain a written copy of the final Part I Permit for review, please contact Abby Sawyer, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Waste Management Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176, by telephone at 573-526-5397 or 800-361-4827, or by email at Hearing- and speech-impaired individuals may reach Sawyer through Relay Missouri at 800-735-2966.

Arkansas reports 19 COVID-19 deaths, 942 new cases

(From Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson)

Governor Asa Hutchinson provided today's update on Arkansas's COVID-19 response.

In its Wednesday update, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 942 new cases; 7,009 active cases; 490 hospitalized, which is unchanged from Tuesday; 93 on ventilators, which is down 4 from Tuesday; deaths added today, 19, for a total of 1,369; a total of 83,697 cases; 73,007 recoveries; PCR tests, 8,184; antigen tests, 1,405.

The Health Department reported that the top counties for new cases are Pulaski, 51; Washington, 43; Craighead, 39; Benton, 28; and Faulkner, 26.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement on today’s COVID-19 numbers:

“Today’s numbers show a continued decline in our 7-day positivity rate with consistently high testing numbers each day. We have administered over 1 million COVID-19 tests since March and we have the infrastructure and supplies to increase our capacity as needed.”

Number of Joplin residents hospitalized due to COVID-19 jumps from 16 to all-time high 25 in one day , 33 new cases confirmed


The city of Joplin confirmed 33 new COVID-19 cases and for the second straight day set a record for the number of city residents hospitalized with it, according to statistics posted on the city's COVID-19 dashboard.

Twenty-five residents are hospitalized compared to 16, which was the all-time high, the previous day.

The 33 new cases brought the city's total to 1,409.

The number of active cases increased from 140 to 146 while the number under quarantine was up from 362 to 392.

Joplin has recorded 25 deaths due to COVID-19.

Greene County Health Department announces COVID-19 death, 47th in September

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is saddened to announce the death of a Greene County resident from COVID-19.

Our community lost a man in his 50s.

The Health Department extends our condolences to everyone impacted by this loss.

The Health Department is also announcing a correction to a news release issued on Tuesday, September 29. 

It was stated that a man in his 80s who died from COVID-19 was associated with long-term care; he was not associated with long-term care. We sincerely apologize for the error.

Forty-seven COVID-19 deaths have been reported by the Health Department in September. A total of 77 Greene County residents have died from the virus.

Yesterday (Tuesday, September 29), we received 102 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greene County. Our current total is 6,960 confirmed cases.

As of this morning, there were 146 COVID-19 positive individuals hospitalized at either CoxHealth or Mercy Hospital Springfield. 53 of those individuals are Greene County residents.

Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney drops statutory sodomy charge against former Rangeline Sonic manager in exchange for guilty plea on sixth DWI

A 1 p.m. December 10 sentencing date is set in Jasper County Circuit Court for a Carthage man who pleaded guilty Monday to felony driving while intoxicated.

In exchange for the guilty plea on his sixth DWI, Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney dismissed a statutory sodomy charge against Chris Alred, 34, and agreed to allow him to "seek admission to a long term drug treatment program."

The Sarcoxie Police Department arrested Alred for DWI August 27, 2017. In the probable cause statement, Sarcoxie Officer Connor Hackworth said Alred was stopped for driving with only one headlight. Alred pulled over on a ramp that said "do not enter" facing oncoming traffic.

Hackworth smelled alcohol and noticed Alred's eight-year-old daughter was in the car with him.

Alred refused to do a field sobriety test, then put the car into drive and pulled away. Hackworth stopped him at the Kum N. Go.

Court records detail Alred's long history or getting behind the wheel after drinking.

-Pleaded guilty April 20, 2012 in Jasper County Circuit Court for a November 2, 2011 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2012 in Newton County Circuit Court for a December 1, 2010 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a September 6, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a May 12, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty February 22, 2007 in Neosho Municipal Court for a July 3, 2006 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2, 2006 in Jasper County Circuit Court to excessive blood alcohol content for a February 23, 2005 arrest

Statutory sodomy case

The statutory sodomy case against Alred was filed after he allegedly compelled a 16-year-old Sonic carhop to perform oral sex on him in 2016.

The allegation was the centerpiece of a lawsuit filed in September 2017 against Sonic and Alred by the former carhop that claimed the business had a culture of sexual harassment that led to her assault and the assault of another underage carhop.

Sonic settled the case out of court in October 2018 for an undisclosed amount.

The girl's father told the Turner Report the settlement included a "pretty restrictive" confidentiality agreement.

Turner Report Disclosure Statement

On September 13, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for Chris Alred following a Joplin Police Department investigation into an attack on me at my apartment. The JPD issued the following news release:

We are seeking the arrest of Christopher Alred, 31, for the assault of local blogger Randy Turner.

We know he frequents the area along with the Springfield area.

Our detectives developed probable cause to arrest him yesterday afternoon and he hasn't been located.

I wrote about the assault moments after it happened while I waited for the Joplin Police Department to arrive:

About 30 minutes ago, I heard a knock at my door.

When I answered it, a tall man (at least taller than I am) with dark hair and a dark mustache , appearing to be in his 30s, asked, "Are you Mr. Turner?"

I said I was and the man drew back his right hand and punched me in the nose, causing me to fall to the floor. He walked off without saying another word.

From what I was able to determine, though he said nothing, his actions were a response to my posts yesterday and today about the Rangeline Sonic.

I am posting photos of my face and my knee, which developed a knot by it due to the fall.

As I write this, I am waiting for the Joplin Police Department to arrive, then I plan to go to the emergency room.

Hopefully, I will be able to provide an update soon.

The attack came in the afternoon. That morning, I published the post about Alred's arrest for his sixth DWI.

I provided information to the investigating officer and then went to the station the following day and identified Alred from a photo array.

Alred was never arrested.

He never will be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Oklahoma reports 11 COVID-19 deaths

(From the Oklahoma State Department of Health)

As of this advisory, there are 86,219 cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
There are 11 additional deaths identified to report. One death was identified in the past 24 hours. 
One in Beckham County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
One in Creek County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
One in Grant County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
One in Okfuskee County, one female in the 65 or older age group.

One in Oklahoma County, one male in the 50 - 64 age group.
One in Payne County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
Two in Rogers County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
One in Texas County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
Two in Tulsa County, two females in the 65 or older age group.
There are 1,018 total deaths in the state.
For more information, visit


Greene County reports three COVID-19 deaths, 46 this month, 117 new cases

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is saddened to announce the deaths of three Greene County residents from COVID-19.

Our community lost a man in his 80s and two women in their 80s. All were associated with long-term care and had underlying health conditions.

The Health Department extends our condolences to everyone impacted by these losses.

Forty-six COVID-19 deaths have been reported by the Health Department in September. A total of 76 Greene County residents have died from the virus.

Yesterday (Monday, September 28), we received 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greene County. Our current total is 6,881 confirmed cases.

As of this morning, there were 151 COVID-19 positive individuals hospitalized at either CoxHealth or Mercy Hospital Springfield. 53 of those individuals are Greene County residents.

Jasper County's 33rd COVID-19 fatality was man in his 60s

Jasper County recorded its 33rd COVID-19 death today, according to a news release from the Jasper County Health Department.

The victim was a man in his 60s who had been hospitalized prior to his death.

Jasper County confirmed 33 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to statistics posted on the department's Facebook page this evening.

The number of people who are in isolation increased from 154 to 166, while the number hospitalized went from 26 to 30.

The statistics do not include the portion of Jasper County that is located in the Joplin city limits.

Gov Parson, wife cancel Parson Family Fall Festival "out of an abundance of caution"

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson announced that the the third annual Parson Family Fall Festival previously scheduled for Saturday, October 3, 2020, will be postponed.

The First Lady is doing very well and no longer experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, but out of an abundance of caution, she will remain at the Parson residence in Bolivar for the remainder of the week.

“We are extremely thankful that the First Lady is feeling healthy and no longer experiencing symptoms,” Governor Parson said. “However, we feel that postponing the Fall Festival is the best decision at this time. I fully support Teresa in taking extra precautions, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the People's House very soon.”

The Governor and First Lady are tentatively planning to combine the Fall Festival with their Halloween event at the Governor's Mansion on Saturday, October 31. Additional information will be provided as details are confirmed.

Watch live- Trump-Biden in first presidential debate at 8 p.m.


City of Joplin sets record for residents hospitalized with COVID-19, hospitals nearing capacity


The number of Joplin residents being treated at local hospitals for COVID-19 reached an all-time high Tuesday with 16 at local hospitals, according to statistics posted this morning on the city's COVID-19 dashboard. Only nine were reported hospitalized the previous day.

The sharp increase put the city's hospitals at risk of hitting their capacity as the number of coronavirus patients jumped from 47 to 60.

The dashboard indicates only five new cases were confirmed and the number of active cases decreased from 160 to 140.

Joplin has recorded 25 COVID-19 deaths, with the most recent one, a 69-year-old man, being reported Monday.

Thoughts on the racist Bartosh video and the way the Turner Report covered it

I promised a couple of days ago I would write about the thought process that went into publishing the post on the video that featured the 16-year-old son of Jasper County Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh drinking and singing a racist version of an Alabama song at a Bernie's Bar and Grill in Avilla.

Many of you disagreed with that decision and I fully understand your reasoning.

This is a 16-year-old boy, after all. He did not kill anyone. He did not commit a brutal crime. Videos of underage drinking make it onto social media all of the time.

I am not tempted to write about any of them. There has to be another consideration for me to do that.

In this case, there was.

If it had been an elected official's son and the only thing the video showed was drinking and rowdy behavior, it would never have been mentioned on the Turner Report, unless it was directly connected to some crime or accident.

The racist lyrics the teen was singing made up my mind for me. It was an easy decision.

The next decision was to whether to mention the connection to John Bartosh. That decision was not as easy and I understand anyone who finds fault with the way I handled it.

One basic concept people have of racist behavior is that it is limited to a certain lower level socioeconomic group, lacking in education and lacking in the kind of home environment and that the teens who exhibit this behavior are not among the most popular students.

You can find this behavior anywhere.

The headlines are filled every day with examples of the racial problems that this nation still has on our streets and in our schools. It is a major issue in this year's presidential election and is one of the topics moderator Chris Wallace selected for tonight's presidential debate.

Racism among students is still happening 66 years after the U. S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision integrating our public schools.

Sometimes it happens with children from the best of homes.

After careful thought, I decided to go with it, but in a decision that seems naive in retrospect, I referred to the elder Bartosh as a Jasper County elected official and did not name him.

By the time I published the post, the video had already gone viral. Everyone knew who it was, so I was not omitting the name to protect anyone or to give myself a fig leaf, so I could say I did not name the boy, when it was obvious to many readers who I was writing about.

 I did not mention the name because what I was publishing will likely be easier for someone years from now to find in a search and I did not want the young man's children to see something like that.

That changed when I received the e-mail from Bartosh's attorney, Norman Rouse, Monday containing Bartosh's statement. 

While this was not an official statement in his capacity as Jasper County Presiding Commissioner, it was a statement made by an elected official.

The decision not to run the video was an easy one.  I realize thousands of people are going to see that video, but they are not going to see that racist poison on the Turner Report.

KZRG commenters- There's nothing wrong with Trump not paying taxes

If President Trump were to actually shoot someone on Fifth Avenue as he said it a fit of hyperbole during his first campaign, I have absolutely no doubt his supporters on the KZRG Facebook page would defend him and ask why doesn't anyone ever talk about all of the people Hillary killed.

Why should they care if he decides to shoot someone when they don't care that this billionaire pays less in taxes than any of them?

The self-proclaimed tax experts and apologists were out in full force Sunday and Monday when KZRG posted the Fox News story about the New York Times report detailing Donald Trump's tax returns for the past two decades.

Of course, it really wasn't Fox News' story about the allegations.

Fox News never really reports on any of these allegations. Those are buried in the article. To Fox, every allegation has been met with a headline similar to the one that accompanies the article on the KZRG Facebook page.

Trump calls New York Times report that he avoided paying taxes 'totally made up'

It's a not-so-subtle way of Fox putting its thumb on the scales. There has never been a time in journalistic history when every time an allegation is made against a politician, the story is not the allegation, but the denial.

Whoever it is that handles the KZRG Facebook page, put the thumb on the scale even further with a comment by quoting Trump in the update portion of the post.

"Everything was wrong, they are so bad," Trump said.

You would think the president was describing his tax returns, but neither he nor the commenters had any problem with those.

A sampling of the comments:

"More anonymous sources from that rag the NYT. It must get tiring playing the boy who cried wolf all the time." (President Trump signed the tax returns.)

"Tax avoidance is legal. Jeff Bezos uses it. Tax evasion is illegal. NYT doesn’t grasp the distinction."

"I deduct everything I can on my taxes. That’s completely legal and expected!"

"If they worked as hard on fixing the U.S. as they do trying to harass Trump imagine all the things that would be fixed."

The NYT should be asking if Hunter Biden paid taxes on the 3.5 million he received from the wife of the ex mayor of Moscow

(If Hunter Biden was the president or if he was running for president, they would.)

What does anyone's taxes have to do with running the country? It is not in the constitution or a law that the president or anyone else has to show their tax returns. I have always wondered what difference it makes. 

(What difference? How about a president who is deeply in debt, with hundreds of millions in debt that he personally guaranteed that he has to pay during a second term. Who is he in debt to? New York banks stopped lending money to him decades ago. Or just simply the fact that he sold himself to the country as a successful businessman who would make great deals for the country. Some successful businessmen have down years, but they don't have them forever. A president's financial situation also could also reveal a vulnerability to influence by people who could affect his bottom line, or get him out of debt. That's not to mention the promotion of tax bills that benefit him or her, but not the country.)

It will be interesting to see Biden's tax returns and see the income from China.

(Here's a link to all of Joe Biden's tax returns. He posted them on his website. I am sure you probably just overlooked it.)

I am really hoping Trump used every loophole created by politicians to only pay $750 in taxes. That is beating them at their own game.

(No, it is not. If the loopholes are legal, that's an indictment of our tax laws. If they are not and there is plenty of indication that is the case, it is stealing money from you and me.)

Everything negative is always fake according to him. Now here is your chance to prove it! Stop hiding  behind an audit,, Let's see those taxes. After all, you said you had no problem showing them in the past.

(How the heck did that comment get on KZRG? Someone must have been asleep at the switch.)

Trump 2020!

(Oh, well.)

Lawsuit claims Teleperformance in Joplin fired woman after she complained supervisors sexually harassed her

A lawsuit filed September 11 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri claims Teleperformance in Joplin fired a woman after she complained of sexual harassment from two supervisors.

The case was transferred to the federal court from Jasper County Circuit Court where it was originally filed July 18.

Alison Pendergrass claims a supervisor named Chris (no last name is provided in the lawsuit) bragged about sexual encounters and the size of his penis.

After she complained she was moved to a team led by another supervisor, a man named Tony, who she says made a habit of rubbing her shoulders and looking down her shirt.

Teleperformance is the only defendant listed in the lawsuit.

Pendergrass claims that her treatment and dismissal by Teleperformance had caused her lost income, career opportunities and "mental and emotional anguish."

Pendergrass' version of events leading to her dismissal are detailed in the petition.

Plaintiff began working for Defendant on or about June 17, 2017. In or around June 2018, Plaintiff’s supervisor, Chris, began telling stories about his sexual encounters with women he met online. Plaintiff repeatedly requested that Chris stop making such comments, but they happened continously during the time Plaintiff worked with Chris. 

In or around November or December of 2018, Chris approached Plaintiff and Debbie Jones and told the women that he had a huge “d--k.” When Chris made this comment he gestured with his hands to imply the size. 

On information and belief, Debbie told Plaintiff’s supervisor that her significant other was upset with these comments. 

Shortly after these events, Plaintiff spoke to others in management about the behavior she was experiencing. Plaintiff was then moved to a new team. 

Sometime around February 2019, Plaintiff was placed on a team supervised by an individual named Tony. Before starting on Tony’s team, Plaintiff told management she was uncomfortable because of the way Tony treated Plaintiff, but Plaintiff was placed on Tony’s team despite her concerns. 

Tony started rubbing Plaintiff’s shoulder, looking down her shirt, and making comments about her clothes, eyes and makeup. Plaintiff again reported the behavior to management. 

On or about June 19, 2019, Plaintiff was informed that she was being moved to a new team. On or about June 20, 2019, Plaintiff was informed that she would be moved to the night shift even though Defendant knew that Plaintiff could not work the night shift. 

Plaintiff continued to make reports and was finally able to speak to human resources about the harassment when picking up her check on or about June 21, 2019. 

Management overheard Plaintiff’s comments to human resources and was called into a separate room and berated for allegedly using her leave and for being upset about her position. Plaintiff was suspended that same day. 

On or about June 26, 2019, Plaintiff received official notification about her termination.

Pendergrass is asking for damages, fees and punitive damages. She is being represented by Timothy A. Ricker of the Hall Ansley law firm of Springfield.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Greene County reports three COVID-19 deaths, 43 this month

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is saddened to announce the deaths of three Greene County residents from COVID-19.

Our community lost a man in his 60s, a man in his 70s and a man in his 90s. All were associated with long-term care and had underlying health conditions.

The Health Department extends our condolences to everyone impacted by these losses.

Forty-three COVID-19 deaths have been reported by the Health Department in September. A total of 73 Greene County residents have died from the virus.

Over the last three days combined (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), we received 406 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greene County citizens. Our current total is 6,767 confirmed cases.

Our hospital partners are nearing capacity due to the recent increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

McDonald County reports one COVID-19 case, one person hospitalized


COVID-19 numbers remained low in McDonald County today, according to statistics posted tonight on the McDonald County Health Department's Facebook page.

Only one new case of coronavirus was confirmed, bringing the county's total to 1,148.

The number of people who are hospitalized remained at one.

McDonald County has recorded 12 deaths due to COVID-19.

Parson announces expansion of Missouri's COVID-19 dashboard

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that the state of Missouri has expanded its COVID-19 dashboards. The new dashboards, now located on the Show Me Strong website, provide Missourians with multiple charts, maps, and measures about COVID-19 and its impact in the state.

“We are committed to giving Missourians the most accurate, up-to-date information as possible regarding COVID-19 in our state,” Governor Parson said. “With easy access to information through the dashboards, every citizen can contribute to our Show Me Strong Recovery Plan.”

Deliberate and data driven, Missouri's Show Me Strong Recovery Plan rests on four essential pillars – testing, PPE, hospital capacity, and data. The expanded dashboards build on the data pillar and will help citizens, community leaders, and businesses across the state make decisions regarding COVID-19 in their communities going forward. 

“Since the start of the COVID-19 challenge, we have been committed to communicating the best possible information to our citizens every day,” said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. “These dashboards are the next step in our efforts to get better every day for our citizens.”

The state's cross-governmental COVID-19 Fusion Cell helped coordinate development of the dashboards, which include data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, among others.

Missouri also coordinated with other stakeholders across the state in creating the newest version of the dashboards.

“The tremendous collaboration across state government, and our partnership with Missouri healthcare providers and academic institutions, have helped Missouri develop these best-in-class dashboards,” MO HealthNet Director Todd Richardson said.

“Data are driving decisions for health care providers in communities throughout the state,” said Missouri Hospital Association Senior Vice President Dr. Leslie Porth. “The continuing evolution of our data tools allows all COVID-19 stakeholders to understand the status of the disease and respond accordingly.”

“Data and analytics play a critical role in informing policy actions at the local level. I am very excited to see the roll out of these new Missouri dashboards and look forward to using the data in our continued fight against COVID-19,” said Clay Goddard, Director of Health at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Relying on Tableau, the state’s newly adopted data visualization tool, the dashboards are designed to be user-friendly for the public. The data can help individuals, employers, nonprofits, and schools better understand COVID-19 in their communities and make decisions accordingly.

Additional improvements for mobile viewing of the dashboards will come later this week. The state will continue to update the data and its communication as needed moving forward.

Newton County reports 13 COVID-19 cases

Newton County confirmed 13 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, according to statistics posted on the Newton County Health Department Facebook page this evening.

The county has had 1,597 cases.

The number of people who are hospitalized is eight, while the number in isolation fell from 311 to 291.

Newton County has recorded 22 deaths due to COVID-19.

The statistics do not include the portion of Newton County that is located in the Joplin city limits.

69-year-old man is Joplin's 25th COVID-19 death, city reports 65 new cases over weekend


The Joplin Health Department reported today that a 69-year-old man was the city's 25th death due to COVID-19.

Statistics posted on the city's COVID-19 dashboard today showed 65 confirmed cases over the weekend, putting the total at 1,371.

The number of people under quarantine dropped from 431 to 361, while the number of city residents hospitalized fell from 11 to 9.

The number of COVID-19 patients at Mercy and Freeman hospitals remained at 47.

The city saw a slight increase in active cases, from 157 to 160.

Arkansas reports 21 COVID-19 deaths, 807 new cases

(From Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson)

Governor Asa Hutchinson provided today's update on Arkansas's COVID-19 response.

In its Monday update, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 807 new cases; 7,142 active cases; 496 hospitalized, which is up 35 from Sunday; 99 on ventilators, which is up 13 from Sunday.

The department also reported deaths added today, 21, for a total of 1,329; a total of 82,049 cases; 71,509 recoveries; PCR tests, 7,056; antigen tests, 9.

The Health Department reported that the top counties for new cases are Pulaski, 74; Sebastian, 37; Craighead, 29; Garland, 26; and Faulkner, 25.

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement on today’s COVID-19 numbers:

“There are 807 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. It’s critical that we all continue following the guidance of our public health officials to slow the spread of this virus. I will have updates on our testing efforts and the White House Task Force report at tomorrow’s weekly briefing.”

City of Joplin promotes Ryan Talken to health director

(From the City of Joplin)

City Manager Nick Edwards is pleased to announce that Ryan Talken has accepted the position of Joplin Health Director. 

Talken has served as the Assistant Health Director since January 2007 and has worked at the City for a total of 18 years. He worked for the department as an Epidemiology Specialist and head of the Environmental Health and Epidemiology Division before he was promoted to the Assistant Director. 

Additionally, Talken has three years of experience in the private sector and with the State of Missouri Department of Agriculture, both of which had an environmental and health component. 

In naming Talken to this position, Edwards said, “There is no better way to evaluate a person’s character, skills, and knowledge than to see them facing challenges. 

During this pandemic, Ryan has provided leadership and demonstrated an unwavering drive to serve the citizens of Joplin. His service sets a high standard for the organization which will positively impact the Health Department and the community.”

Talken has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Northwest Missouri State University. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in public health from Missouri State University.

The director position became open when previous Health Director Dan Pekarek was promoted to Assistant City Manager in June of this year. Talken has served under Pekarek’s leadership since joining the Health Department and spoke of the valuable experience and education during this time.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and know that I have big shoes to fill. Dan has been an outstanding role model and teacher,” said Talken. 

“He is a wealth of knowledge and has great experience. He’s managed and directed the staff through several communitywide situations, including the tornado in 2011 and the recovery efforts, disease management and ongoing animal control issues. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to teach us about public health management.”

During the search process, Edwards learned that other department heads had overwhelming support for Talken. 

“He is seen as someone who can be relied on to make sound decisions when faced with difficult issues, professional, knowledgeable in his field, cheerful, and willing to help others whenever and however he can. Aside from Ryan’s individual strengths, his leadership will have a positive impact on the overall culture of the city organization.

“I would also like to thank Dan for his leadership of the Health Department and the organization. Dan created the foundation for a strong department, and I am confident that Ryan can continue a legacy of a high performing Health Department that Dan made possible.”

During a press briefing today, Pekarek stated that he was pleased with this promotion and was confident that the Health Department is in good hands. “Ryan has the skills and the demeanor to lead this department into the future, and I’m pleased that he has been selected to do so.”

Talken’s promotion was effective starting today, Monday, September 28, 2020.

Bartosh apologizes for son's racist statement, says "this will not go unpunished"

Jasper County Presiding Commissioner John Bartosh, bombarded with social media commentary following the posting of a video on social media showing his 16-year-old son singing a racist song and drinking at Bernie's Bar and Grill in Avilla, issued the following statement this morning:

I want to begin by saying I am profoundly sorry for the racist things my son said. 

My son is a 16 year old kid and what he said was hurtful and unnecessary. It does not represent the opinion of the County Commission or me as a person. 

While this is not an excuse for his bad behavior, because there is no excuse, he was involved in a car crash last week and sustained a head injury. He made some bad choices leading up to the racist things he said in that video and conducted himself in a manner that was shameful for our family. 

As parents we should, and will, do a better job educating our son about racial and cultural issues facing our society. 

Because he is a 16-year-old kid and this is a family issue, it will be dealt with as a family and I want you to know this will not go unpunished. 

I know this apology isn’t enough, and all I can promise is to do a better job for my family and my community. 

John Bartosh

Earlier Posts

Video of Jasper County official's son, a Carthage High School senior, drinking and singing racist song goes viral

Following video of Carthage teen drinking, singing racist son, bar owner promises to do better job spotting fake IDs, removes confederate flag

Grandmother issues urgent plea as FBI, area law enforcement search north Joplin for missing child

(From the Joplin Police Department)

On September 28th, 2020, law enforcement officials will be conducting a thorough search on foot in several areas on the north side of Joplin. This search is being aided by the FBI, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, the Carthage Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

In addition, the Joplin Police Department is releasing a short video message from Leora Hardee’s grandmother. 

The Joplin Police Department is requesting assistance from the media in disseminating this message. Again, if anyone has any information or tips that could assist investigators in locating Leora Hardee, you are encouraged to contact the Joplin Police Department at 417-623-3131.


Original News Release

 On September 17, 2020, the Joplin Police Department received a report of a missing child. Joplin Police Detectives responded to the scene and initiated a missing child investigation, which is still currently ongoing. 

Leora Hardee, age 14, was reported missing from the area of D Street and north Wall Avenue. Hardee is described as being about 5’1” tall, 100 lbs., wears glasses and had sandy brown hair. 

Hardee may be in need of medications. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Jason Smith: America needs new Supreme Court justice to prevent rioting, looting and violence

(From Eighth District Congressman Jason Smith)

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…”.

Article II, Section 2 of our Constitution is clear – it is the job of the President of the United States to nominate an individual to fill any current or announced vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Equally, it is the job of your United States Senate to provide their advice and potential consent on the nominee. 

The Senate has the right, like it did in 2016, to reject the then nominee of President Obama, just as it has the right now, should it choose, to confirm the nominee of President Trump.

At my time of writing this, President Trump has yet to formally name who he will nominate to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Ginsburg, but at the time you will be reading this, that name will be known in every household across America.
What I do know about who the President will put forth is that they will be a name which has already been shared over two weeks ago on the President’s short list of folks he would consider for our nation’s highest court.

A list comprised of qualified constitutionalists who believe in reading laws as they are written and not legislating from the bench. While the left becomes unhinged as they scream about the President holding off nominating anyone, they fail to call on their own Presidential candidate to release a similar list of names he would consider filling any vacancy on the Supreme Court with.

The truth is, Joe Biden can’t name anyone because there is no one progressive enough to satisfy the far left who has taken control of the Democrat Party.

Think of the threats which have been made by the leaders in the Democrat party since we learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death late last week – that they will “pack the court” by expanding the number of Justices on the Supreme Court if they win the White House, that they will again hold a round of sham politicized impeachment proceedings against the President or Attorney General William Barr to try and slow down the functionality of the United States Senate, and some have even called for shutting down your government completely to halt Supreme Court confirmation proceedings. 

Obstruct, investigate, impeach, impede, delay…it has been the Washington Democrat’s playbook for the last three years.

The truth is, President Trump has a constitutional right and obligation to nominate someone to our nation’s highest bench. There is not consideration of replacing a liberal justice with a liberal justice or moderate with a moderate or conservative with a conservative. 

The American people elected Donald Trump President, and it is his right as President to nominate someone.

Similarly, it is the United States Senate’s job to provide advice and consent on that nomination by either confirming it or not. That is exactly what happened in 2016 when then President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia – the Senate rightfully advised the President that they rejected that nomination and did not provide their consent. This is nothing new.

As a matter of fact, in the history of our country, on 29 different occasions a Supreme Court vacancy has occurred in the same year as an election, 10 of those times the President and Senate were of different parties, as chosen by the American people and 9 out of those 10 times the nominee was rejected. 2016 was no different. The Senate acted historically as it had acted by not confirming who the White House had nominated. Conversely, 19 of those times the President and Senate were of the same party and 17 times the vacancy was filled, that is where we are in 2020.

After President Obama’s first two years in office, the American people intentionally selected a divided government to place a check on an agenda they felt out of step. Further, they elected a Republican Senate in 2014.

So, when a Supreme Court vacancy occurred during President Obama’s final year in office, the Senate acted exactly how the American people had elected it to do – to provide balance and counter on a President’s agenda headed in the wrong direction for our country.

As a matter of fact, a Senate controlled by the opposing party as the President hasn’t confirmed a nominee put forth by a President to fill a vacancy in an election year in more than a century.

The need to have a fully functioning court is now potentially greater than at any point in our country’s history. Hilary Clinton has publicly told Joe Biden to not concede the results of the election to Donald Trump - to use every legal tool he has to try and challenge the results in the courts.

As we approach what may very well be one of the tightest and most contested elections our nation has ever seen, now more than ever we need a fully functioning Supreme Court for the expected legal challenges to come.

More rioting. More looting. More violence. It is what is in store if Supreme Court decisions involving the 2020 Presidential race fall on 4-4 tied lines. Our country doesn’t deserve that, Missourians don’t deserve that.

The Supreme Court has often been the last stop at protecting your constitutional rights against governments at all levels trying to gain more power. Holding a vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee to that bench is about listening to the will of the American people.

That will elected Donald J Trump President in 2016, re-elected him a Senate Republican Majority in 2018 and is ready for this moment.

Missouri confirms 1,392 COVID-19 cases, no deaths reported


The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases remained high in Missouri with another 1,392 added today, according to statistics posted this afternoon by the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Missouri has had 123,406.

The death toll remained at 2,063 with no new deaths reported today.

The positivity rate for tests remained at 11.8 for a third consecutive day.

A total of 1,125 Missourians are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Following video of Carthage teen drinking, singing racist song, bar owner vows to do better job spotting fake IDs, removes confederate flag

The owner of Bernie's Bar and Grill in Avilla says his bar did not intentionally serve the 16-year-old Carthage youth whose drinking and singing of a racist version of Alabama's Song of the South have gone viral in a Facebook video.

Rick Walker also stressed he does not condone the type of racist behavior exhibited by the Carthage High School student, who is the son of a Jasper County elected official, in the video.

Walker posted several comments on the Facebook page of a Carthage woman who was disgusted by the teen's actions and posted the video.

"We are not responsible for what comes out of people's mouth, but we are for what goes in their mouth at our place. He was carded, so we need to get better at spotting out fakes," Walker said.

The presence of the minor in the establishment was not against any law or city ordinance, Walker said. "(S)ince we also serve food, we've always allowed minors to come in."

That policy will change, Walker promised.

"In the future, there will be no minors allowed after 9 p.m. when the grill closes. We are very sorry this happened and will be making changes to stop this."

Walker said he and his staff are planning to take a class to help them detect fake IDs, but the racist language is a different matter.

"I can't control what comes out of one kid's mouth. What he sang was wrong ; I do not condone it, I hate it, but I have no control over other people's hateful mouths. Just like I can't control you saying "lets shut this b---h down.

"But I can control to the best of my power to control underage drinking. We are going to look into a class that helps us detect fake IDs. I am talking about this, because it us within my control to get better at it. I just don't know how to stop idiots from saying stupid s--t."

On the subject of the confederate flag, when a commenter suggested Walker should consider taking down the flag, he responded that he would consider it.

"Perhaps I will, it was hanging there when I got the place and since I am not a racist I've never gave it much thought."

Further discussion took place on the subject with one commenter saying Walker needed to make it happen and not mincing words about it.

Rick Walker, I am happy you are taking ownership and have chosen to prevent this from happening again. If that kid left your bar and killed someone else or himself, this would be incredibly worse. But really, take down that damn flag. If you’re not a racist, you damn well know better.

Walker quickly responded, "Done, it's coming down." 

Video of Jasper County official's son, 16, a Carthage High School senior, drinking and singing racist song goes viral

A video featuring a 16-year-old Carthage High School student singing a racist song at the top of his lungs and drinking alcohol at an Avilla bar has gone viral on Facebook this morning.

The video features the youth, who is the son of an elected Jasper County official, singing a version of Alabama's Song of the South with which he was obviously well acquainted.

In the 25-second video, in place of the lyrics of the Alabama song, which read "sweet potato pie and shut my mouth," the teen substituted the words "ain't no n-----s coming back again," and in place of the portion that reads "gone with the wind, there ain't nobody coming back again," he substituted the words "gone with the wind, there ain't no n-----s coming back again."

Apparently, the teen's version of the song was popular in the crowded establishment, since those around him seemed to be enjoying his rendition.

The teen apologized for his performance about an hour ago in comments to a posting of the video that was circulating throughout Carthage and the surrounding community.

I’m sorry for what I said and it’s not who I really am. I’m sorry for saying things like that.

By that time, the reaction was already overwhelmingly negative and people did not readily accept the apology.

Among the comments:

you were sure having a good time singing it though!!

you’re disgusting and I can’t wait for them to post the video of whipping your ass.

are you happy that your little song went viral

Nah, you're sorry you got exposed

It's easy to be sorry when you're caught.

you’re only apologizing because you see everyone who’s sharing it and realizing who you really are

Also you are addressing “sorry to everyone’s feelings” it’s not a feeling thing. It’s morally wrong to say that word. It’s not emotional it’s a moral thing. Which in most cases you get when you are raised right.
How can you live in carthage and be like this half the students are Mexicans! I grew up in Carthage and it’s a great little town then you got f-----g s--t head like this who ruins that rep for that town.

The situation promises to be a thorny one at a Carthage High School that has a student body that not only includes African-Americans, but also Hispanics and Vietnamese students.

The video should also create some problems for Bernie's Route 66 Bar and Grill, since the teen was underage and it is unlikely he went in there by himself and it is a cinch the establishment did not allow him to bring his own bottle.

Nancy Hughes: Going through the door

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

I had a surgery scheduled to remove a small fatty tumor on the back of my neck. The doctor said that it was a minor procedure and he could do it in his office – no problem. He explained exactly what he was going to do and what he expected to find.

And yet, because it was on my neck, I was more than a little concerned. Yes, he’s a great doctor and no, he would not have said he could do it in his office if he could not. But I still had considerable apprehension at what was going to take place.

Oh, I prayed about the surgery but my prayers went something like this: "Lord, I am really nervous about the surgery on my neck. What if there is a problem? What if something gets cut that isn't supposed to? What if I can't stay still like the doctor wants me to?" and on and on and on. Can you relate?

And then one day, after a month of approaching the Lord repeatedly with my “what if” sessions, I think He felt He needed to reassure me. My Bible fell open to the Old Testament and I found myself reading Deuteronomy 31:8. It said ““The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

“I am not going to leave you at the door of the doctor’s office and say “See you when you are done,” the Lord whispered to my heart. “I will never leave you – remember? I will walk through the door, be there through the surgery, and walk out through that same door with you. Just as I have always done. Always.”

I know. I know. How many hundreds or even thousands of times in the past had the Lord gone before me, making a path, and then stayed right by my side. And yet, here I was, facing the unknown and thinking that just maybe, on THIS journey, Jesus would decide not to go.

So let’s be honest: what “door” are you entering, afraid that the Lord will not go with you? Maybe it’s divorce or financial problems or a prodigal child. Or it could be health issues or broken friendships or the loss of a spouse.

Whatever it is, rest assured that just as Moses shared with the Israelites that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you,” He will be with each of us, no matter what we face or what “door” we may be going through. Always.

May I share with you that Jesus did just as He said. He stayed with me and kept me calm and at peace. I talked to Him during the procedure and thanked Him when it was over. And once again, as has happened so many times before, I knew with all my heart that my Father was faithful. May you have that same conviction today.

Father, thank you for your faithfulness to stay right by my side, no matter what I have faced in the past or will face in the future. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


· Have you ever been faced with a “door” that you were truly afraid to go through?

· Did you realize that the Lord was at your side and would never leave you?


· Journal some of the “doors” that you have gone through over the past few years.

· Beside each one, write a sentence of praise for how the Lord stayed with you through each one and never left your side.


Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Exodus 33:14 (NIV) “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Jasper County confirms 35 COVID-19 cases, number in isolation increases


Thirty-five COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Jasper County putting the county's total at 2,493, according to statistics posted today on the Jasper County Health Department Facebook page.

The number of people who are in isolation increased from 163 to 173, while the number hospitalized remained at 24.

The county has recorded 32 deaths due to COVID-19.

The statistics do not include the portion of Jasper County that is located in the Joplin city limits.

Mike Parson the hypocrite? Photos of Parson's unmasked signing in Carthage nowhere to be found on his photo page

The photos of Gov. Mike Parson's ceremonial signing of HB 66 into law Monday that are available on the governor's Flickr page, appear to reflect the governor's efforts to be a good leader by acting responsibly and wearing a mask to protect others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appearances can be deceiving.

On second glance, it appears the governor's deep-rooted sense of responsibility depends on whether officials in the communities where he is signing bills mandate mask wearing.

Parson explained his view on masks during a July 14 interview with KHSB:

“I’ve worn a mask when I’ve been asked to wear a mask. When there’s a requirement to wear a mask, I wear a mask.”

The officials at Springfield and Cape Girardeau where signings were held Monday, required Parson to wear a mask.

The masks were required to prevent those wearing masks from spreading the coronavirus to others. Parson has made it clear that his willingness to protect others depends on whether someone asks him to do so.

The officials at Carthage where the governor made an afternoon stop and hobnobbed with several locally elected officials made no such request and none of them wore masks either.

Two days after Parson's visit, he tested positive for COVID-19.

In other words, the simple wearing of a mask would have gone a long way toward keeping Parson from exposing others to the virus he was carrying.

Thankfully, the governor has not experienced any of the problems that others have experienced with COVID-19.

Let's pray that none of the people Gov. Parson chose to expose to the virus pay the price for his disregard for their safety (while acknowledging that only a few people who were at the Carthage signing wore masks).

In each of the news releases that have been issued by the governor's office since the word of his coronavirus confirmation was announced, the governor piously says people should wear masks and wash their hands and follow proper social distancing.

The governor has claimed he wears a mask when he can't social distance. The Carthage signing, as well as many other photos of the governor in recent weeks indicate that is not true.

There is plenty of photographic evidence the governor does not work diligently at social distancing.

Whether he washes his hands is a matter of conjecture.

In other words, Mike Parson not only doesn't walk the walk- he does a terrible job of talking the talk.

And he knows it.

Why else would he prominently display signing photos featuring him, as well as all others surrounding him, wearing a mask during the Springfield and Cape Girardeau signings and deliberately post no photos from Carthage, where Parson and the local elected officials proudly displayed their bare faces for all to see?

By not protecting people except when he is required to do so and by hiding his flaunting of guidelines, the governor has unmasked himself as a hypocrite.