Thursday, September 30, 2021

Jasper County reports COVID-19 death

The Jasper County Health Department reported the death of a man in his 70s due to COVID-19.

The death brings the county's total to 217.

The department reported 17 new cases Wednesday, putting the total to date at 13.390, including 106 active cases.

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

Parson, Hutchinson meet at state line to celebrate completion of I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, Governor Mike Parson and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson joined together at the Missouri-Arkansas state line for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector. The connector includes the final five miles of the I-49 and I-29 corridor that stretches from North Dakota to Louisiana.

"We thank our transportation partners here in Missouri and across the state line in Arkansas for completing this historic project and providing a vital connection for our communities," Governor Parson said. "From Kansas City to Fort Smith, travelers will have safe and efficient travel options. This high-quality roadway will help promote tourism, business investment, and workforce opportunities between our two great states."


Missouri programmed partial funding for the connector, and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Council was awarded a $25 million federal grant that allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation to complete the Missouri portion of the project. The first segment of I-49 was designated in Missouri in 2012, stretching from Kansas City to Pineville.

The I-49 and I-29 corridor consists of more than 1,600 miles of roadway, connecting six states: Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The connector will create an additional link to New Orleans area ports in the Gulf of Mexico for the transportation of various goods and services to and from states in the heart of America.

“From roadways to railways and from broadband to wastewater, without reliable infrastructure our economies cannot grow,” Governor Parson said. “It’s not often we get to partner with our neighbors on such important and impactful infrastructure projects like this one, but we look forward to additional opportunities to work together in the future.”

Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna and Arkansas Department of Transportation Director Lorie Tudor joined Governor Parson and Governor Hutchinson on the new lanes at the state line for today’s ceremony, where they highlighted the important achievement of this historic partnership.

“Arkansas, Missouri, and federal transportation officials have discussed the necessity of the I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector for more than 25 years,” said MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna. “This success wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the hard work of our team, as well as the support from our legislators and federal officials through the years.”

This final segment measures just five miles, but the completed I-49 Missouri-Arkansas Connector stretches 290 miles between Kansas City, Missouri and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The newly constructed highway opens to the public on Friday, October 1, 2021.

Quapaw man sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing Native American minor

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma)

A man who portrayed himself as a Native American spiritual counselor was sentenced Thursday in federal court for sexually abusing a Native American minor and for illegally possessing feathers, talons and heads from seven bald eagles and seven golden eagles, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III sentenced sexual predator Carl Gene Ortner, 57, of Quapaw, to life in federal prison and ordered him to pay a $100,000 fine.

“The victim in this case and two others bravely came forward and shined a light on Ortner’s criminal behavior,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Today’s life sentence sends a strong message that the sexual abuse of children will not be tolerated.”

“The defendant used wildlife items, in this case eagle feathers, to deceive and harm a child,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “As this investigation shows, wildlife crime may be connected to numerous types of criminal activity, and I am proud that we had a role in this predator receiving life in prison. I would also like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance with this case. Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that sexual violence will not be tolerated.”

In May 2021, a jury found Carl Gene Ortner Jr. guilty of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, sexual abuse of a child in Indian Country, abusive sexual contact in Indian Country, possession of parts of a bald eagle, and possession of parts of a golden eagle.

During trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shannon Cozzoni and Ryan Roberts argued that Ortner fraudulently claimed to be a Native American spiritual counselor. Cozzoni pointed out the defendant portrayed himself as an Indian, yet he had no tribal affiliation. He told several people he was a member of several Tribes, but no Tribe claimed him.

A special agent with the Fish and Wildlife Service testified that investigators discovered feathers and various parts of bald and golden eagles, including heads, talons, and entire wings, at Ortner’s residence. Native Americans consider eagles to be sacred and use the parts in cultural and religious practices. Ortner illegally possessed the feathers and parts.

Further evidence was presented showing that the defendant used his position of influence to groom the victim and force her into sexual relations with him, using her cultural beliefs and vulnerability against her. The victim also had been struggling with losing a loved one, and Ortner used the loss to further groom the victim.

In 2016, Ortner began sexually abusing the minor. While some of the abuse allegedly occurred within state jurisdiction, Ortner also abused the victim on Indian land, which falls within federal jurisdiction. Furthermore, Ortner at one point drove the victim to Joplin, Missouri, to engage in criminal sexual activity with the minor victim. Crossing state lines to engage in illegal activity falls within federal jurisdiction.

Witnesses testified that Ortner threatened to embarrass the victim and the tribe unless she said the sexual assault did not happen. Also testifying for the government were two other women who stated that Ortner also groomed them as minors and sexually abused them.

In the Government’s closing, Roberts called Ortner “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” stating that he disguised himself as a caring Native American elder to get close to the victims. Then when the time was right, Ortner took advantage of the victims.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, FBI, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Roberts and Shannon Cozzoni prosecuted the case.

Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting

6:00 P.M.


Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Retirement Resolution For Assistant City Manager Dan Pekarek


Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


Health Department Update


News From The Public Information Office


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Amber McCormick: Changing Some City Ordinances To Allow A Future TNR Program To Get Cat Population Under Control.


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



A RESOLUTION granting a Special Use Permit (1st Request) for the operation of a short-term rental located at4477 Bradley, in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE providing the vacation of a street right-of-way lying on property E. 11th St. 

between S. Rex Ave. and S. Peters Ave., City of Joplin, Jasper 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 (Single Family Residential) and including in District R-2 (Two Family Residential) property as described below and located at 3329 S. Jackson Ave.


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The September 17, 2021 City Council Meeting




Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement with Missouri-American Water Company (MAWC) in the amount of Two Hundred Thirty-Two Thousand Five Hundred and 00/100 dollars ($232,500.00) for water facility relocations required for the 32nd St. Widening project from Schifferdecker Ave. to Central City Rd. 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 an Agreement with Paragon Architecture, LLC in the not to exceed amount of Two Hundred Ninety Thousand Four Hundred and 00/100 dollars ($290,400.00) for architectural design services for Joplin Fire Station #7 and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with Rosetta Construction, Inc., in the amount of Two Million Eleven Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty‐Four and 60/100 Dollars ($2,011,734.60) for the Joplin Creek Interceptor project; 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 a Purchase Order be issued to Summit Truck Group in the amount of One Hundred Sixty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-Eight and 11/100 Dollars ($165,938.11) for the purchase of a Pothole Patch Truck; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and B & D Yardbuilders for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of a lot located at 715 W 4TH St. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Six Thousand Two Hundred dollars ($6,200.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE approving the contract by and between the City of Joplin and B & D Yardbuilders for the demolition of the structure(s) and clearing of a lot located at 928 Murphy Ave. in the City of Joplin, Missouri, for Five Thousand One Hundred dollars ($5,100.00); providing how the cost thereof shall be paid; how the assessment thereof shall be made; and containing an emergency clause.


Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement with Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. in the amount of Four Hundred Thirty-One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-Six and 00/100 dollars ($431,976.00) for facility relocations required for the 32nd St. Widening project from Schifferdecker Ave. to Central City Rd. and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.



AN ORDINANCE establishing grades and accepting the Final Plat of Abernathy Subdivision located at the Southwest Corner of W. 22nd St. and S. Schifferdecker Ave. in the City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the City to enter into an Encroachment Agreement by and between the City of Joplin and Jeffery Neal, authorizing the Planning, Development, & Neighborhood Services Director, or his designee, to execute said Agreement by and on behalf  of the City.



AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission which will provide FHWA Metropolitan Planning Assistance and FTA Section 5303 assistance, hereafter known as Consolidated Planning Funds, from November 1, 2021, through October 31, 2022, in accordance with the rules of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under 49 U.S.C. Section 5303 and 23 U.S. Code Sections 104(F) and 134 to conduct comprehensive and transportation planning programs, as the City of Joplin has been designated to conduct transportation planning programs for the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute said Agreement for the City.


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Vote To Go Into Closed Session, Which Shall Pertain To The Hiring, Firing, Disciplining, Or Promotion Of An Employee Or Particular Employees Of A Governmental Body Involving Personal Information More Specifically For The Purpose Of Evaluating Certain Council Employees; As Set Forth In Section 610.021(3) RSMo, As Amended, 2020. This Meeting, Record, And Vote To Be Closed To The Extent Provided By Law. The City Council Shall Adjourn At The End Of The Session.

Neosho man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

Michael Wayne Stillwagon, 25, Neosho, pleaded guilty this morning in U. S. District Court in Springfield to receiving child pornography.

Judge David P. Rush ordered a pre-sentence investigation. The government is recommending a 10-year sentenced followed by 20 years on supervised probation. No date has been scheduled for the sentencing.

Stillwagon was arrested in March in a case that originated in Utah, according to the probable cause affidavit. Investigators there traced child pornography to an IP address belonging to Stillwagon.

A subsequent search warrant of Stillwagon's phone turned up more than 2,000 images and 24 videos of child pornography, some involving children "as young as infants involved in sexually explicit activity."

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Cedar County prosecutor files charges against five Agape Boarding School staff members

By Jason Hancock 

Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney Ty Gaither announced Tuesday that five staffers members of Agape Boarding School will be charged with a combined 13 counts of third-degree felony assault — a fraction of what Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt recommended.

In March, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson directed the attorney general’s office to assist Gaither in an investigation into the abuse allegations at Agape Boarding School in Stockton in southwest Missouri. 

(Photo- Allen Knoll, who was sent to Agape Boarding School in Missouri, testifies during a committee hearing on Feb. 10, 2021, about abuse he endured. Photo by Tim Bommel/House Communications)

Former students have alleged being restrained and beaten, sexually abused and used as manual labor during their time at the school.

Agape received renewed scrutiny following an investigation by The Kansas City Star last year in which dozens of former students described enduring abuse and close connections between the school and local law enforcement.

At the conclusion of its investigation, the attorney general’s office recommended 65 criminal counts against 22 codefendants. Those charges involved 36 victims, and ranged from Class B and D felonies for abuse of a child, Class D felonies for tampering with a victim and misdemeanors for endangering the welfare of a child and failure to report child abuse.

Gaither instead chose to charge only five staffers — Scott Dumar, Seth Duncon, Everett L. Graves, Trent E. Hartman and Christopher R. McElroy.

The prosecutor’s decision inspired Schmitt to request last week that Parson remove his office from the case, arguing that Gaither’s actions indicate “that he does not intend to seek justice for all of the thirty-six children who were allegedly victimized by twenty-two members of the Agape Boarding School staff.”

Several former Agape students told The Independent they were outraged by Gaither’s decision, with some contacting the FBI in the hopes a federal investigation could be launched in the boarding school.

Joplin Health Department reports two COVID-19 deaths

(From the Joplin Health Department)

The Joplin Health Department is sad to report the deaths of two Joplin residents with coronavirus being a significant condition contributing to the death. This announcement brings the total count to 173 deaths in Joplin. The residents who passed include a 78-year-old male and an 82-year-old female.

City statistics are listed on the COVID-19 dashboard at . The dashboard is a collaborative project of the Joplin Health Department and University of Missouri Extension Office’s “All Things Missouri”. Please note additional area and state statistics are listed on the Missouri Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard

As Joplin Health Department continues to work with residents in our community, they remind everyone of the importance in taking self-care actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you are fully vaccinated, it is recommended you wear a face mask in public indoor settings due to the current transmission rate in this area. Additionally, wearing a mask or physically distancing may also be required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you are encouraged to talk to your health care provider and find a vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Information about the Covid vaccine and locations can be found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website. Information about the City’s Health Department’s vaccination clinics is also available from the Health Department at 417-623-6122.

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions, including social distancing and wearing a face mask in public.

The public is reminded to still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your health care provider for medical advice before presenting at their office. Testing information, as well as other COVID-related announcements can be found at More details about coronavirus are also listed at .

The reporting of Covid-19 related deaths from the City may be delayed due to the time it takes to acquire confirmation that the death meets the vital record case definition and lists Covid-19 as a contributing factor.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Nancy Hughes: Living in fear

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV

An unwelcome guest moved into my home immediately after my husband passed away. No matter where I turned, he was there. And he never slept. 

I would wake up and he would begin to whisper and taunt me repeatedly. With every attack my heart would race in my chest as if I had just run a marathon.

“Who’s going to be next?” he would taunt. “Someone else is going to die; who do you think it is?” he would challenge and then fade into the background, leaving me with a choking panic in my throat. 

One morning my daily phone call to a close friend was not answered. From out of nowhere a voice spoke a thought to my heart. “She’s dead. She was the next one,” he lied. And for an instant, I almost believed him.

In my defense, within about a 5 month time period, I had lost my brother-in-law, who was more like a brother; my sister who was my best friend and two weeks after that, my husband. I cannot begin to describe the deep heartache and grief that surrounded me.

I held on to the Lord with every ounce of strength I had but there were many days when simply breathing became an accomplishment.

Satan, my unwelcome guest, did every thing he could to move into my home – and my heart – with his baggage of lies and deceit. His purpose was to drain my joy and my hope and to shake my very foundation and belief in Jesus.

The entire book of Psalms became my place of refuge – my hiding place. I literally ran to my Bible and held it closely as I read one Scripture after another in which David held on to God with everything he had. Because even David had days when he was lonely and defeated and heartbroken and beaten up spiritually. And yes, when he was afraid. David – the warrior – was afraid.

The Scripture found in Psalm 46:1-2 became a minute by minute encouragement to me. David writes “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” That was exactly how I felt: everything beneath my feet had suddenly shattered and I was in freefall with no rope for security.

If you have not experienced the suddenness of loss, either of a loved one or a job or something secure in your life, you will. Jesus tells us that we will have problems in this world (John 16:33) but the great news is that He has already overcome every single heartache that we will face.

Because Jesus held on to me and spoke truth, my unwelcome guest was kicked from my home and my heart and replaced with the power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, Satan still tries to sneak back in every so often. But I no longer live in fear. I live in faith.

Father, thank you for being my strength when I have none and for always being by my side. I choose to listen to your voice. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Can you think of an experience when fear took over every part of your life and you found yourself struggling?


There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms. Read 5 per day for one month. Underline or highlight those parts that specifically speak to your heart.

Memorize Psalm 46:1-2 and praise the Lord for His presence by your side, no matter what you face in life. He is faithful.


Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV) “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 27:1 (NIV) “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?”

Psalm 16:8 (NIV) “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

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

Paul Richardson: Close- Comfort or claustrophobic?

Riding on a narrow road with looming cornfields on both sides induces a feeling of closeness. It is not a bad feeling of closeness, but rather the comfortable feeling similar to being under a heavy quilt on a cold winter’s night. 

While that is comfort to me, granted there are some that find that oppressive or claustrophobic, just like there are some that find riding on a motorcycle a risk that they can’t live with.

From an intuitive standpoint, I found there was more corn planted this year. Our little part of the country is not a huge crop farming area, in fact, more land is utilized here for grazing cattle or haying. The abundance of corn may be a matter of rotation, but it could have been partially due to the return on the harvest on price per bushel. 

Whatever the reason, I have enjoyed riding along between the fields that grew to provide a virtual maze along my path.

Due to the fact that this is not a major crop farming area, the size of the fields, while large by some standards, did not stretch on like those where the field runs from section line to section line. Riding along between the walls of corn would suddenly end and one would pop out into areas where the fields had just been harvested for hay. 

Large round bales dotted the landscape and this year there seemed to be a lot of them in every field. While the amount of hay cut will determine the density of the bales in the field, the path taken by the operator on the tractor pulling the baler will determine the pattern of the bales.

There is a sense, a feeling that I can only get when I am not surrounded by the confines of the cabin in car or truck. The openness of riding enhances my senses, opening my awareness to the regular sequence of the rows of corn, the pattern of the planter, and the enclosed space between the field. An enclosed space that suddenly burst forth into an openness and new patterns provided by the hay bales scattered across the field. Chaos does not live here.

I have found that if I am preparing to write, it is best that I complete this task early in my day. My best ideas come to me in the middle of the night, but while I can remember that I had a good idea when I awaken, and can see, it is seldom that I can recall what the good idea was. But I am at that age that I can enter a room and forget what I went in there for. Early in the day, however, my mind has not been contaminated with the news or other sources of input and if there was a good idea floating around, I might have a chance of recalling it.

Moving around in my head is a lot like riding. Some days there is a good systematic order, like the rows in a cornfield or the hay bales recently dropped by the baler. Other days it’s like riding through a thunderstorm. Chaos of rain, wind, lightning, and thunder, only to end up wet and tired.

Today, I am recalling the close, comfortable cornfield and bright open hayfields dotted with bales. It’s been a comfortable summer, but I really like autumn.

More than half of Greene County residents 12 and over fully vaccinated against COVID-19

(From the Springfield-Greene County Health Department)

More than half of Greene County residents ages 12 and over are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an exciting moment for the community as case counts and hospitalizations continue to decrease.

“I am so grateful to the more than 126,000 people who are doing their part to help put an end to this deadly pandemic,” said Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Katie Towns. 

“We need to keep the momentum going to prevent another deadly surge like what we experienced this summer with the Delta variant.”

While reaching 50% is a huge milestone, Greene County still lags the rest of the state and nation in vaccinations. In Missouri, 50% of those 12 and over are fully vaccinated and roughly 64% are fully vaccinated in the United States.

Continuing to increase vaccination rates is particularly important for children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccine. More than 86,000 children in Missouri younger than 18 have contracted COVID-19 and tragically, 10 have died. So far in September, children ages 0 to 11 account for nearly 13.4% of all cases in Greene County, which is the highest we’ve seen in that age group to date.

“Reaching 50% will help make vaccine the expectation instead of the exception which will help drive rates even higher,” said Towns. “It’s vitally important that vaccinated individuals talk about their experiences with those who are still hesitant to normalize the process and help people feel confident in their decision.”

Updated Citizen Strong signs will soon be available throughout the community to help celebrate this milestone and encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to join the majority of individuals who have rolled up their sleeves. Signs for businesses and organizations interested in promoting their individual vaccination rates are also available by filling out a request.

Free vaccines are offered throughout the community daily. Both walk-ins and appointments are available. Visit for an opportunity near you or call 417-874-1211. Private appointments are also available by calling this number.

The Health Department will hold a media availability at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 29, in the Public Safety Center media briefing room located at 330 W. Scott.

Leaders from the Health Department, health care partners and local businesses will provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Greene County. The public is invited to watch the media availability on the City's and Health Department's Facebook pages or at

Twelve COVID-19 cases confirmed in Joplin, number hospitalized down

The number of COVID-19 patients in Joplin hospitals continues to fall, with 38 reported Monday, according to the Joplin Health Department website.

Only four of the patients are Joplin residents.

The department confirmed 12 coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total to date to 8,499, including 46 active cases.

The city has recorded  171 deaths due to COVID-19.

Monday, September 27, 2021

McDonald County receives "good" rating in state audit

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

State Auditor Nicole Galloway released today her regularly scheduled audit of McDonald County, located in southwest Missouri. The audit report, which makes several recommendations to improve the efficiency of county government, gave a rating of "good."

A prior audit of McDonald County, issued in September 2016, issued an overall rating of "fair."

"My audit identified several areas for improvement that county government officials have shown a willingness to address,” Auditor Galloway said. "By doing so, McDonald County can be more efficient and effective with taxpayer dollars."

Auditors found that in 2018, the County Commission purchased two parcels of land from a County Commissioner for $75,000. County purchasing of property owned by a current County Commissioner is in violation of a Missouri law, which prohibits county commissioners from becoming a party to any contract to which the county is a party. The County Commissioner involved in the sale is no longer a member of the commission.

The audit also identified a need for better internal controls over seized property and bank reconciliations performed by the Sheriff's Office; as well as a need to improve financial procedures over monies collected by the Prosecuting Attorney.

A copy of the audit can be found here.

Kamie Bourgault named Carthage R-9 Parents as Teachers supervisor

(From the Carthage R-9 School District)

Kamie Bourgault has been named the new Carthage R-9 School District Parents As Teachers Supervisor. Mrs. Bourgault is replacing current Supervisor Jane Goade, who will be retiring on September 30. 

Mrs. Bourgault has been with the Carthage R-9 School District for 10 years, 8 1/2 years of which were at Parents As Teachers as a Parent Educator.

“I am super excited about this opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a great leader with a great team. This wouldn’t be possible if it were not for Mrs. Goade, the team in place, all the families that have embraced me as their ‘educator’ through the years, and my faith,” says Bourgault. “My vision is to continue to keep building a strong presence in our community with families from prenatal to kindergarten entry with keeping ‘Kindergarten Readiness’ as our end goal.”

Mrs. Bourgault is a graduate of Carthage High School. She graduated with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Crowder College and a Bachelor’s in General Business from Missouri State University.

Senate report offers recommendations on Missouri abortion providers, Planned Parenthood

(From Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin)

The Missouri Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection, chaired by Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, issued its first report detailing recommendations related to abortion providers and their family planning affiliates through MO HealthNet. 

According to state law, Missouri has a compelling interest in protecting life, including the unborn. As a result, the committee recommended several reforms designed to protect human life and ensure Missouri tax dollars are spent in accordance with the values of Missourians.

The committee suggested regulatory changes within the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to allow the departments to collaborate and work together to share information uncovered during investigations of abortion facilities. 

The recommendations allow DHSS, the state’s licensing entity for abortion facilities, to share with DSS the information it uncovers during inspections and investigations of these facilities. DSS can then use this information to consider whether the violations demonstrate a lack of qualifications to serve as a MO HealthNet provider without the need to conduct additional investigations. 

The committee also directed DSS to tighten up its licensure standards and consider violations of any state law or regulation when determining whether a provider is qualified and fit to be a MO HealthNet provider.

The committee also recommended changes in state law to provide DSS with the ability to consider the behavior of a MO HealthNet provider, such as Planned Parenthood, in another state as grounds for sanctions or termination if such behavior would disqualify the provider from serving as a MO HealthNet provider in Missouri. 

This change gives DSS the ability to weigh the totality of circumstances, including a provider’s actions outside of Missouri, when determining if an entity meets the qualifications to serve as a MO HealthNet provider.

“Our recommendations are common sense and allow DSS and DHSS to work together to ensure abortion providers and their affiliates operate in a safe manner and are following state law,” said Sen. White. “If one of these affiliates is not operating in a safe and legal manner, we want DSS and DHSS to have the authority to act quickly and remove them as a Medicaid provider.”

The committee plans to release a second report later in the year, outlining its recommendations for increasing transparency within the state’s Medicaid program, in addition to other MO HealthNet reform measures. For more information, please contact Sen. White’s office at 573-751-2173. To learn more about Sen. White and his work in the Missouri Senate, please visit