Friday, April 29, 2022

Police: Murder suspect's father helped son dump Neosho man's body in well

(From the Joplin Police Department)

On April 28th the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed charges against the suspect, Damyon D. Fisher, for Murder in the 2nd Degree and Armed Criminal Action. Bond was denied and Fisher remains in custody at this time. 

Additionally, Detectives with the Joplin Police Department have submitted charges against Eddie W. Fisher, age 64 of Seneca, Missouri. Eddie Fisher is the father of Damyon Fisher. 

Eddie Fisher was present at the address on Vandalia Street when the victim was shot and killed.

Following the shooting, Eddie assisted Damyon in wrapping the victim in a rug, loading the body into his vehicle and transporting it to his address in Seneca, Missouri where he assisted in dumping the victim's body in a well. 

Charges of Tampering with Physical Evidence (class E Felony) have been submitted to the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Eddie Fisher remains in custody in the Newton County Jail. 

Original news release

The Joplin Police Department was recently notified by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office of a death investigation that had possibly originated within the City of Joplin. 

After further investigation and collaboration with Newton County authorities, it was determined that on March 18th, 2022, there was a verbal altercation at 2502 E. Vandalia Street between two individuals over the purchase of a vehicle. 

During the disagreement, the suspect, who has been identified as Damyon D. Fisher, age 40 of Joplin, retrieved a handgun from his waistband and shot the victim in the back as he was fleeing. Fisher and an accomplice then disposed of the victim's body by burying it in a well at an address in Newton County, Missouri. 

The victim's body was recovered from the well on April 27th, 2022. The victim has been tentatively identified as Scotty J. Roller, age 36, of Neosho, Missouri, however an official autopsy is pending.

Roller had been previously reported as a missing person to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. 

On the afternoon of April 27th, Detectives with the Joplin Police Department located and arrested Fisher during a traffic stop and transported him to the Joplin Police Department. He remains in custody in the Joplin City Jail. 

Charges have been submitted to the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for the charge of Murder in the 2nd Degree and Armed Criminal Action. This investigation is ongoing and further details will be released as they become available.

Billy Long: Bidenflation a result of terrible economic policy

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Runaway inflation in the United States is wrecking our economy and bringing tremendous hardship on American families. It's also not taking any prisoners as prices from gas to groceries and everything in between are going through the roof. 

Our farmers have been hit extremely hard with huge price hikes on all manner of production. The cost of energy, equipment, fuel, feed, fertilizer, and everything else required to run a formerly profitable operation has greatly increased. 

One devastating effect of 'Bidenflation' is you'll be paying a lot more and getting a lot less at the grocery store. Another tragic outcome is we are sure to see family farms waving a white flag and the huge corporate farms will grow larger still. Not a good combination and that's not to mention the straw man ownership by foreign countries of much of America's farmland. 

And if something isn’t done about this, it will lead to food shortages everywhere. When farmers are losing money due to inflation, it’s hard to produce the same amount of food they normally do.

The survival of farms and farmers has been tenuous for years and now it's become a lot more problematic. A farmer who hasn't been on a vacation in years if not decades may be placed on permanent vacation involuntarily. 

According to the US Department of Agriculture, net farm income is projected to decrease by $5.4 billion this year, roughly 5% lower than last year’s $113.7 billion. 

One of the driving factors of this lost revenue is fertilizer prices. Due to supply chain shortages last year, and higher fuel prices, the cost of fertilizer has been nearing record highs the last several months, and that was before Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The invasion has only worsened the issue, since Russia exports about 14% of the world’s fertilizer. The price of the raw materials used in fertilizer are also increasing. This cost is then passed on to the consumer.

Fuel prices reached record highs after the invasion of Ukraine, which led President Biden to loosen regulations on the use of ethanol in gasoline, in an attempt to lower the price. This is great for corn growers, as 40% of all corn grown in the United States is used to make ethanol. 

The ethanol decision has not been great for meat producers though. With more ethanol being used in gasoline, the price of corn has gone up, and there is less of it to use in livestock feed. It's a double- edged sword as not only does the cost of corn go up, but so does meat.

All of this is the predicable result of bad economic policy. The 'Bad News Biden' Administration has implemented a series of terrible policies, from reducing domestic oil production to printing and spending more money than we have. 

This caused an inflation crisis which only got worse whenever President Biden tried to fix it. Instead of loosening regulations on ethanol, which will have a marginal effect on gas prices, we should be increasing domestic oil production. 

This no brainer of an idea would lower the cost of fuel, along with easing the pressure we have put on our farm families. This in turn will reduce the cost of groceries. 

If the president doesn't unshackle oil production in our country it will only result in more and more inflation, causing food shortages in the United States. Unfortunately, President Biden has shown no sign of easing up on his radical Green New Deal policies that got us here in the first place.

Anyone know what Bill Gates plans to do with the thousand and thousands of acres he is buying up? Asking for a friend.

Missouri House passes bills limiting transgender students' sports participation

By Tessa Weinberg

Amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation pushed nationwide, the Missouri House passed a pair of bills Thursday that would limit transgender students from participating on the sports teams that match the gender they identify with.

One bill, which originally dealt with school transportation, would restrict transgender students to only participating on high school sports teams of “the same biological sex included on the student’s birth certificate.”

The other bill, which deals with changes to elections, would allow voters to bar transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports teams in their school district.

The bills passed by a vote of 95 to 46 and 96 to 47 respectively.

With a little over two weeks left in the session, the bills now head to the Senate, where a similar proposal ran into fierce Democratic opposition Thursday afternoon.

That bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Moon of Ash Grove (pictured), would also bar public or private middle schools, high schools or higher education institutions from receiving funds appropriated by the legislature if they allowed transgender women to participate on women’s teams.

Democrats filibustered for roughly two-and-a-half hours Thursday. No action was ultimately taken on the bill, and the Senate later adjourned for the week due to a lack of a quorum.

“We’re using kids as a midterm election issue,” said Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City.

Both House bills had been the subjects of hours of fierce debate earlier this month when the proposals regarding transgender students were added.

Supporters have argued the provisions are needed to ensure fairness in girls’ sports, while opponents have noted that the Missouri State High School Activities Association already has a policy in place outlining requirements for transgender youths’ participation, and argued transgender kids are being used for political gain.

“It erases these children,” Rep. Ian Mackey, D-St. Louis, said Thursday on the House floor. “It tells them in statute, in policy that they do not exist.”

Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall and the sponsor of the school transportation bill, said it was ultimately an issue of differences that fall on “just two polar opposite sides.”

Advocates have said this year is expected to see a record number of bills passed nationwide that target transgender youth. While states have moved to pass similar limits on transgender youths’ participation in sports, Republican governors in Indiana and Utah have vetoed legislation that reached their desks.

Meanwhile, on a bill debated later in the day would provide pharmacists and teachers with more training to recognize the signs of suicide, Democratic lawmakers urged their Republican colleagues to consider their actions and how it would affect LGBTQ youth’s mental health.

In addition to training on suicide prevention, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ann Kelley, R-Lamar, would also require schools print the three-digit number, 988, on student ID cards. Starting in mid-July, the number will act as a new way to route callers to the national suicide prevention hotline.

“Our loved ones must know that if they are ever in crisis, they need to reach out to someone,” Kelley said.

Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum, D-St. Louis, noted that members of the LGBTQ community are four times more likely to commit suicide.

“What we did earlier, attacking the marginalized communities, is disgraceful,” said Rep. Patty Lewis, D-Kansas City. “Are we here to help people or hurt people?”

The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate.

When the House was initially debating the school transportation bill Monday night Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, attempted to offer an amendment that would be a limited version of the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, or MONA, and prohibit school districts from discriminating against their employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

In Missouri a person can still be fired, denied housing or kicked out of a restaurant for being gay or transgender, or simply being perceived as gay or transgender. Lawmakers have tried to pass protections for LGBTQ Missourians for 24 years.

Dogan, who also filed MONA as a standalone bill, was the former officemate of Rep. Tom Hannegan, a Republican who was one of only a handful of openly gay lawmakers and had championed LGBTQ rights.

“I would not be doing my late colleague justice if I didn’t do everything I could to fight for his community,” Dogan said.

The amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 60 to 77.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting

MONDAY, MAY 2, 2022
6:00 P.M.


Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Discussion On Funding Public Safety Needs


Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


News From The Public Information Office


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Margey Upson Requested To Speak On Part 4


Zach Spiering Requested To Speak On North Heights Neighborhood Group


Brian Evans Requested To Speak Regarding The City Of Joplin's Budgetary Needs And Responsibilities, And How To Begin Addressing The Critical Situation That Our Community Faces In Regards To Public Safety And Security


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



A RESOLUTION granting a Special Use Permit (1st Request) for the operation of an outdoor entertainment and recreation use located at 2401, 2419, 2423, & 2427 S. Main St., in the 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-3 (Apartment House) and including in District C-3 (Commercial) property as described below and located at 655 S. Lavender Ln.., 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 1908 W. 10th St., City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.



AN ORDINANCE providing the vacation of a utility easement lying on property Northeast of 2810 E Water’s Edge Blvd., 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-1-PD (Single-family Residential Planned Development) property as described below and located at 3330 and 3332 N. St. Louis Ave., City of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of April 18, 2022 City Council Meeting




Ordinances - Emergency


Ordinances - First Reading


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business

Bill White offers update on final days of legislative session

(From Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin)

With only two full weeks remaining, legislators are working to push their proposals across the finish line before the 2022 legislative session ends on May 13. 

This week, the Senate sent its version of the Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget back to the House for its review. 

The Senate’s budget fully funds our state’s education foundation formula to ensure our K-12 schools have the resources they need, and it provides an additional $214 million for school transportation funding, an important boost for our rural schools. 

The Senate version also appropriates more money to our state’s colleges and universities, includes investments in infrastructure needs and expands broadband internet access throughout the state. The final appropriations bills must be passed by both chambers and sent to the governor by May 6.

My proposal to modernize our energy grid, streamline rate adjustments and create a solar energy task force, Senate Bill 756, passed out of House Financial Institutions Committee and will hopefully be debated in the House chamber soon. 

My Senate Bill 823, which contains several provisions and amendments to protect children, needs one more vote of approval before being debated by the entire House. In addition, I amended language on to House Bill 2627 to designate the area between Highway Z to State Highway 43 on Highway 171 in Jasper County as “Atomic Veterans Memorial Highway.”

For the remainder of session, I will be the handler of several House Bills in the Senate. One of these, House Bill 2116, includes language from my Senate Bill 761 to appoint an essential support person and allow compassionate care visitation for persons who are hospitalized or reside in assisted care facilities. If enacted, no patient will be left alone, a much needed response to the isolation many families experienced during pandemic-related lockdowns.

Another proposal I’m handling in the Senate is House Joint Resolution 116. During the 2021 legislative session, we passed my military affairs bill, Senate Bill 120, and one of its provisions creates the Missouri Department of the National Guard, pending voter approval. 

In order to place this on the ballot and amend the Missouri Constitution to include the newly created department, HJR 116 must receive approval from both chambers. Having passed the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on April 20, the measure is one step closer to appearing on the November ballot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Carthage/Joplin businesswoman who allegedly failed to pay payroll taxes pleads not guilty

The former owner and president of a Jasper County office supply company waived the formal readin gof her indictment and pleaded not guilty this morning to a charge of willful failure to pay federal taxes.

The trial date for Karen Sue Lauridsen, 60, Joplin, has been scheduled for 9 a.m. June 6 in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

The indictment, which was unsealed April 19, alleges Lauridsen stopped paying payroll taxes for her company in 2011 and spent tens of thousands of dollars gambling in casinos in several states. The company was located in Carthage between 2003 and 2016 when it moved to Joplin.

Details from indictment

Joplin meth dealer with troubled childhood sentenced to 15 years


A federal judge sentenced a Joplin meth dealer to 15 years in prison today during a sentencing hearing held in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

Timothy James Michiels, 40, was sentenced to 10 years on a possession with intent to distribute charge and five years on a weapons charge with the sentences to run consecutively. After his release, Michiels will be under supervised probation for five years.

The judge recommended to the Bureau of Prisons that Michiels be placed in a facility where he can participate in a 500-hour residential substance abuse treatment program and mental health treatment.

Sentencing memos from the government and Michiels' attorney recommended the 15-year sentence, with Michiels' attorney recounting a harrowing story of his client's troubled childhood, which included his father murdering his grandmother and his older brother helping him dispose of the body and shooting her four times in the head so she could not be identified by dental records.

Michiels, his older brother and his sister testified against their father.

The Newton County Sheriff's Office arrested Michiels February 18, 2021 while executing a search warrant at his home under the direction of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

His crimes were detailed in the probable cause statement:

MICHIELS was detained as he exited the master bedroom. MICHIELS's paramour, N.G., and two children who lived at MICHIELS's residence were located shoveling snow at a neighbor's driveway across the street.

During a search of the master bedroom, investigators located and seized a user amount of suspected methamphetamine from the north nightstand, along with a 9mm SCCY brand pistol, S#433 l 83, which was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition. Numerous glass pipes consistent with items used to smoke methamphetamine were also located in the master bedroom. A 9mm Taurus brand pistol, S#ABB29541, which was not loaded, was located above the kitchen cabinets.

There was a Nissan Versa parked in the driveway of the house with a Missouri Temporary license plate that was registered to N.G. In the back seat, investigators located a taped bundle of suspected methamphetamine that weighed approximately 2,411.0 gross grams, with packaging. Both quantities of suspected methamphetamine were field tested and the test gave a positive indication for the presence of methamphetamine in both.
An uncounted amount of U.S. currency was seized from the garage. During a post-Miranda interview, prior to the search, MICHIELS told me that there were no firearms or large amounts of U.S. currency or drugs in residence. MICHIELS said he had a small amount of "white," which, based on my training and experience, I believed to be a reference to methamphetamine, on the nightstand.

After finding the SCCY pistol on the nightstand, I asked MICHIELS about the firearm and he said it belonged to him. During a post Miranda interview, N.G. told me that she knew MICHIELS to be a drug addict but said she was unaware of any large quantities of drugs in the residence.

N.G. said she had a "purple" pistol in the residence, which she later identified as the Taurus brand pistol found above the kitchen cabinets. N.G. looked at the gun seized from the master bedroom and she said it did not belong to her. N.G. said the large quantity of methamphetamine seized from the Nissan in the driveway did not belong to her.

N.G. said she and MICHIELS both drove the car. She said she had last driven the car to work at 6 a.m., on February 18, 2021, but was told she was not needed that day and returned home at approximately 7 a.m. and had not driven the car since. N.G. said MICHIELS had driven the car the previous night.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

FBI arrests horny Joplin attorney on bribery, drug charges

Federal bribery and drug charges were filed against an Ottawa County assistant district attorney who allegedly provided Xanax and Oxycodone and performed a warrant search for a woman in exchange for sex.

According to the probable cause affidavit, which was filed Monday in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Daniel Thomas Giraldi, a Joplin resident, began trading favors for sex during his previous employment at a private law firm in Ottawa County.

Giraldi is charged with bribery, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and use of a communication device in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Giraldi's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 16.

The allegations against Giraldi are detailed in the probable cause affidavit:

In summary, Giraldi was an assistant district attorney (ADA), in the Ottawa County District Attorney's office from February 2019 to April 20, 2022.

In his position as an ADA, Giraldi would receive sexual favors in exchange for special treatment for certain defendants and their cases. Additionally, Giraldi coerced, induced and enticed women to travel within the territory or possession of the United States for paid sexual intercourse both with U. S. dollars and in exchange for controlled substances, including schedule II and schedule IV substances.

Prior to becoming an ADA, Giraldi was a criminal defense attorney and handled cases in Ottawa County, including the representation of Bryan Young. Young referred to Giraldi as "Vegas G," "G" or "Vegas."

While Giradli was a defense attorney with the Hartley Law Firm he represented Young and was known to accept sexual favors from women in return for helping Young's associates and as payment for services rendered.

When Giraldi was hired as an ADA for Ottawa County in 2019, Young used his prior connection with Giraldi to obtain favors for his associates.

On April 12, 2022, an FBI confidential source ("CHS") made contact with Giraldi was he was leaving the Ottawa County Courthouse. The interaction was audio/video recorded by the FBI.

CHS asked Giraldi to look into her child custody case and the child custody case of Carla Rhines. Giraldi agreed to look into it and to push back a court date for Rhines. Giraldi admitted to handling child custody cases in Ottawa County.

During the interaction, Giraldi talked about past sexual encounters with CHS and referenced past favors he had performed in exchange for sexual encounters. CHS said that Giraldi had "dismissed my s--t" in the past and Giraldi responded, "Are you complaining?"

Giraldi also stated, "I f--ked (you) across from the courtroom and I came all over her hand," in reference to dismissing CHS' prior criminal cases.

After the initial contact, Giraldi sent CHS a number of Short Message Service (SMS) texts using a cellular telephone and the TextFree application to set up a sexual encounter in exchange for the performance of an act pertaining to his position as Ottawa County ADA.

Giraldi stated that, "I wanna f---" and that they could meet up at the courthouse like we used to." Giraldi also stated that "I will help you."

On April 14, 2022, CHS texted Giraldi that "I'm to the point I'll f--- u every week for a god damn year straight if u just push Rhines' court date even two weeks long enough to come up with money for attorney bc she is trying."

Giraldi responded, "Oh my! Hopefully, you wouldn't get tired of f---ing me ... I'll make your day."

On April 14, 2022, CHS made a consensually recorded and monitored phone call with Giraldi where CHS asked Giraldi to use his position as an Ottawa County ADA to conduct a search for any outstanding warrants on CHS because of an upcoming conference regarding CHS' child custody case.

Giraldi agreed that he would ask his staff to run a search for any outstanding warrants. In exchange for running the search, CHS offered to "do anything" and to "please you sexually, just like last time."

Giraldi responded, "Oh, my! Are you sure?"

CHS stated, "Oh, my, yeah. You better bring a lot of condoms."

Giraldi responded, "I'm up for it if you are." Giraldi also stated, "If I were gonna narc on you, I would've "f--king done it already."

CHS stated that, "It is unethical and immoral of us to be doing this," to which Giraldi responded, "Yes."

In a second consensually recorded and monitored phone call on April 14, 2022, Giraldi stated that "it has to be a two-way street" in reference to their discussion of sexual acts in exchange for his performance of official acts as an Ottawa County ADA.

After the second call, Giraldi texted CHS that his "staff didn't find any warrant," on CHS. Giraldi stated that "I had my staff check because I had to be in court at 1. They said they didn't find a warrant."

CHS responded, Thank you so much. You know I'll make it worth it."

Giraldi replied, ":)" and "Oh, yeah????????"

CHS than asked Giraldi to bring prescription strength Xanax (alprazolam) which is a Schedule IVcontrolled substance to their sexual encounter.

In response to that request, Giraldi texted CHS, "Are you gonna f--k me?" and "will I make you p----- wet?"

CHS responded, "Yes, because you verified I didn't have a warrant lol.

Giraldi responded with a smiley face emoji.

CHS again asked Giraldi to provide (her) with Xanax and Giraldi responded, "Yes, dork. Maybe I'll want something extra in return."

Giraldi and CHS made plans to meet up the following day April 15, 2022, to consummate agreement of sexual relations in return for Grimaldi's performance of an act pertaining to his position as Ottawa County ADA.

On April 15, 2022, Giraldi texted CHS and told her he was suffering from a severe migraine and asked to reschedule their rendezvous. On April 15, 2022, FBI agents conducted surveillance at the Ottawa County Courthouse and observed (it) was closed due to Good Friday.

On April 17, 2022, Giraldi and CHS made plans to meet up on April 19, 2022, in Quapaw, Oklahoma, which is within the Quapaw Tribal Nation boundaries. CHS asked Grimaldi via SMS text, "U still gonna give me a few zanx?"

Giraldi replied, "Yes, you're beyond sexy."

CHS texted Giraldi, "Well, thank you, I try. But u know imma f--k you good for making sure I didn't have a warrant bc I saved me in my meeting by making sure I didn't. It's gonna be hot sex I'm so horny and ready."

Giraldi replied, "Oh, f--k. You might tear me apart. "

On the morning of April 19, 2022, Giraldi texted CHS to ask if they were still on and to coordinate where to meet. CHS texted Giraldi to meet at a house in Quapaw, Oklahoma.

At or about 12:06 p.m., Giraldi arrived at the residence. Giraldi entered the residence and pulled a bag of pills out of his shirt pocket and said to CHS, "Here's some goodies for you."

A subsequent criminalistics examination report performed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's Northeast Regional Laboratory in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on April 21, 2022, found that five and a half of the pills in the bag tested as Clonazepam, a Schedule IV drug, and one partial tablet tested as Oxycodone, a Schedule II drug.

On April 19, 2022, Giraldi stated he brought a box of condoms for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with CHS.

The bag in which the condoms were found contained a receipt for the condoms dated April 19, 2022, and showed they were purchased at Walmart.

At this point, the FBI entered the room, confronted Giraldi and read him his Miranda rights.

During the interview, Giraldi stated that he did come to the house with the intent to give the controlled substances to CHS. Giraldi further stated that he was going to give CHS the drugs in exchange for sexual intercourse.

Giraldi also admitted to having the warrant search conducted in exchange for sex.

Eugene Field Elementary in Webb City named Missouri Gold Star School

(From the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has announced eight Missouri Gold Star Schools for 2022. The program, which aligns with the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, recognizes schools for outstanding academic achievement or for performing at high levels while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students.

Missouri’s 2022 Gold Star Schools include:

Blair Oaks Elementary School, Blair Oaks R-II School District
Chapel Lakes Elementary School, Blue Springs R-IV School District
Dewey Elementary School, Chillicothe R-II School District
Epic Elementary School, Liberty 53 School District
Eugene Field Elementary School, Webb City R-VII School District
Kirkwood Senior High School, Kirkwood R-VII School District
Matthews Elementary School, New Madrid Co. R-I School District
Nixa High School, Nixa Public Schools

“Congratulations to the students, teachers, and staff members of each of these schools for earning this recognition,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven. “These schools exemplify what it takes to prepare students for success in school and in life while working hard to meet the needs of each individual child.”

The Missouri Gold Star Schools program was established in 1991 and uses the same criteria for nomination as the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools will be announced this fall.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Police resource allocation study to be discussed during Joplin City Council work session


Joplin City Council will discuss a police department resource allocation study during a work session 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

The study was initially ordered 15 months ago, but turned out to be more difficult than anticipated when the city's computer system was hacked into leaving information on payroll, scheduling and computer-aided dispatch unavailable.

The study can be found at this link.

Missouri American Water files application to buy Purcell water, sewer systems

(From the Missouri Public Service Commission)

Missouri-American Water Company (MAWC) has filed an application with the Missouri Public Service Commission seeking certificates of convenience and necessity (CCN) to install, own, acquire, operate and maintain water and sewer systems in Jasper County. The requested CCN would allow MAWC to acquire the water and sewer assets of the City of Purcell.

Applications to intervene and participate in this case must be filed no later than May 23, 2022, with the Secretary of the Missouri Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-0360, or by using the Commission’s Electronic Filing and Information System (EFIS) at .

Individual citizens wishing to comment should contact either the Office of the Public Counsel (Governor Office Building, 200 Madison Street, Suite 650, P.O. Box 2230, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-2230, telephone (866) 922-2959, email or the Public Service Commission Staff (P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102, telephone 1-800-392-4211, email The Office of the Public Counsel is a separate state agency that represents the general public in matters before the Commission.

MAWC provides water service to approximately 470,000 customers in Missouri. It also provides sewer service to approximately 16,500 customers in the state.


Joplin R-8 Board accepts 14 teacher resignations, hires 17 teachers, three administrators

During a closed session Tuesday, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education accepted the resignations of 14 teachers and hired 17 teachers, three administrators and 19 classified employees.

The resignation of Assistant Superintendent Sandra Cantwell was accepted. 

The board also discussed legal and real estate matters, but took no votes.

Certified Administrators: Jordan Dickey, Vickie Gilbert, Breanna Faircloth

Certified Separations

(Retirement) Sandra Cantwell

(Resignations) Robyn Acker, Kristen Brasch, Shelly Dunn, Katie Gronberg, Katherin Honeywell, Brian Kelley, Linda Pugh, Samantha Widmar, LaHeather Fisher, Amanda Ford, Nisha Jewsbury, Kelly Pyle-Taute, Chloe Spencer, Elizabeth Stewart

Certified Employments: Shayla Blair, Gabriel Cravens, Sage Friese, Kelsey Harmon, Heather Hawn, Bethany Lawson, Amber Millard, Lisa Moore, Laurea Patterson, Andrew Pommert, Kyra Stewart, Dazesha Williams, Leslie Coleman Taylor Geary, Chandler Glasgow, Chloe Lett, Leslie Shaeffer

Classified Employments: Stefanie Allen, Rebecca Ballard, Kaitlyn Barker, Lisa Blobaum Samantha Cramer, Alyssa Crawford, Lauren Engle, Lucy Hamilton, Lara Hicks-Burrow, Claudia Horn-Jones, Cynthia Logan, Cristina Mayfath, Casi McCallister, Lorietta Mills, Christine Overton, Qwyntnn Patton, Rachel Perry, Chandler Stockton, Scott Waggoner, Amanda Stone

Departing Neosho mayor comes out of the closet wearing Proud Boy attire


Bill Doubek picked his final city council meeting as Neosho's mayor to come out of the closet.

When he emerged, he was wearing a t-shirt with a large PB in the middle.

There's nothing wrong with PB when it is mixed with jelly, but this particular PB, the shirt and insignia made clear stood for Proud Boys, the national outfit which has had its leader indicted for his role in planning the January 6 insurrection and which has had numerous other members arrested and charged for their participation.

Doubek wore the shirt as he conducted business during the regular council meeting, including posing for photos as he presented a proclamation to representatives from the local State Farm agency, then after he said his goodbyes and was headed out the door, he made a point of opening his jacket, appearing to want to leave the message, "Boy, I am proud to be a Proud Boy.'

The local chapter of the Proud Boys, the Ozark Mountain Proud Boys, has inflicted itself on Neosho for the past few years, creating a controversy over being allowed to have a booth at the annual Neosho Fall Festival and leading a disrespectful display directed at medical professionals during a special Neosho City Council meeting to discuss a proposed mask ordinance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was noted in the December 16, 2020 Turner Report:

Wear masks, wash your hands, maintain proper social distancing.

When medical professionals took that message to the Neosho Civic Center Tuesday night, they were swept away by a tidal wave of self-righteousness, a display of behavior that would not be permitted at a professional wrestling match and a bizarre orgy of self-satisfied selfishness as they intimidated the Neosho City Council into social distancing itself from a proposal that was guaranteed to save lives.

They ranted about socialism, they quoted Bible verses, they cited "facts" that came from any unreliable source that agreed with their opinions.

"Masks do not work. That's a fact. Look it up. Do the research," one man said, also using the despicable argument about the low percentages who are dying from COVID.

(Recently, the U. S. death toll passed the number of Americans who died in World War II. Thankfully, few of this sort were here then to bray at elected officials about why we should have to sacrifice by rationing when only a small percentage of soldiers had given the ultimate sacrifice.)

They argued that most of those who are dying are in nursing homes.

Of course, people do work in those nursing homes and go home to their families and mix with people in the community, but the idea is that it's a bunch of old people who are dying, so why should the rest of us have to inconvenience ourselves.

One speaker compared the ordinance to the way slaveholders controlled their slaves.

It was offensive. Naturally, he received a generous round of applause.

They proudly paraded their maskless faces to the microphone and explained why masks don't work.

And they gleefully mocked and shouted down the professionals, who have watched as the COVID wards at local hospitals have filled with patients, many of them from Neosho. After all, that was the hospitals' problems and, according to the shouted crowd commentary, they were raking in the money from the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert McNab, head of Freeman's COVID-19 unit, was met with jeers and disrespect. Audience members picked up their chairs at one point and turned their backs to a man who has fought valiantly for several months to save lives.

Yet McNab received better treatment from the audience than Steven Douglas, the public relations director at Access Family Care, as the audience shouted and prevented him from speaking.

They bullied Lori Marble of Mercy as she spoke.

Among those orchestrating the circus were members of the Ozark Mountain Proud Boys, shouting at will, berating the speakers from the medical facilities and the council members.

The results were easily predictable after the shameless display of bullying.

When council member Angela Thomas made the motion to approve the mask ordinance, it died for lack of a second.

A second proposed ordinance would have put occupancy restrictions into effect. There was no need to even bring that up.

On the social media platform, Parler, that provides access to everyone, the Ozark Mountain Proud Boys, boasted of its success at defending its Constitutional rights to bully, berate and be proud of it.
Neosho Council found out, yet again, we value freedom and liberty. Peddle your bullshit mask mandates and occupancy restrictions somewhere else. That dog don't hunt here.

When the Proud Boys turned their faces and showed their behinds to the medical professionals at that meeting, they showed a contempt for our system and a misunderstanding of freedom (even though those who saw their faces and behinds said they were indistinguishable).

Doubek's choice of attire for his final council meeting and his beaming pride as he fully revealed his Proud Boys t-shirt just before his departure, also showed contempt- contempt for the people of Neosho.

Immediately after that reveal, Doubek turned his back and left.

Now that is a gesture Neosho residents can appreciate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Holley Goodnight named Carthage R-9 assistant superintendent for business

 (From the Carthage R-9 School District)

The Carthage R-9 Board of Education voted to hire Dr. Holley Goodnight as the next Assistant Superintendent for Business effective July 1. She is replacing Gregg Wolf.

Dr. Goodnight is our current director at Carthage Technical Center (CTC). Before assuming the role of CTC director in 2018, she was the CTC assistant director, and director of adult/post-secondary education.

“The Carthage School District has a long history of providing high quality education and helping students achieve success both in and out of the classroom. I understand the crucial role that not only academics play, but also infrastructure and finance, in supporting the overall learning process within our school district,” says Dr. Goodnight. 

“My loyalty runs deep for Carthage Schools, and I am honored for the opportunity to serve alongside the excellent leadership team, faculty and support staff of the district,” added Goodnight.

Dr. Goodnight graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, from Pittsburg State University with a Master of Science in Human Resource Development, from the University of Central Missouri with a Specialist in Career Educational Leadership, and from Lindenwood University with an Educational Doctorate in Instructional Leadership.

District Superintendent Dr. Mark Baker says, “Dr. Goodnight will do a fantastic job representing the children, staff, and community regarding her new role as Assistant Superintendent for Business. Dr. Goodnight’s knowledge and experience of the district and community set her apart from other
candidates. We are excited for Dr. Goodnight to start her new role in the district.”

Student literacy bill winning bipartisan support among Missouri lawmakers

By Tessa Weinberg

What started as a bipartisan effort to improve Missouri’s literacy rates through a children’s book has evolved into legislation that lawmakers hope will boost students’ reading success.

A bill heard Tuesday in the House Education Committee would require schools to start assessing students on their reading levels in kindergarten and ensure students who are behind receive additional support.

Sponsored by Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina, (pictured) the legislation was borne out of a spirit of collaboration that the chair of the Senate Education Committee has helped foster since last year.

From a working group to find consensus on education issues to women senators’ working together to publish a book on the 36 women who have ever served in the chamber, O’Laughlin said having open conversations has helped lawmakers see that they share many of the same concerns.

“There’s a lot of common ground if you look for it,” O’Laughlin said. “So I think it’s a model that we need to use on everything. Otherwise, you just get tied up and get nothing done.”

The bill passed out of the Senate unanimously last month, and also includes Sen. Lauren Arthur’s legislation that would allow schools to be granted “innovation waivers” that would allow them to be exempt from certain state regulations as they work to reach a goal, like improving students’ readiness for employment or increasing teacher compensation.

When the bill was granted initial approval in the Senate last month, Arthur, D-Kansas City, said O’Laughlin’s desire to ensure students can read was “contagious” and became a shared priority for senators, particularly the women of the Senate.

“Hopefully, we’re putting something in place that will last long after we’re gone,” Arthur said during Senate debate.

O’Laughlin has filed legislation on reading comprehension for the last several years, and said it’s especially needed in light of the pandemic, which “really exacerbated” declining reading comprehension rates.

Test scores released last year by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education showed that for the 2020-21 school year, only 45% of students were proficient or advanced in English language arts.

It was the first time state assessments had been administered since the 2018-19 school year, and it represented a four-point drop in that subject. State education officials had cautioned against making comparisons to previous years’ scores due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

The bill would have students be tested on their reading comprehension starting in kindergarten — rather than third grade.

“Obviously, if you can’t read it’s going to be very hard to learn anything else,” said Stacey Preis who testified in support of the bill on behalf of Aligned, later adding: “So this will let teachers have more opportunities to catch these things early on.”

Also speaking in support of the bill Tuesday were the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri State Teachers Association and Missouri National Education Association. No one testified in opposition.

Otto Fajen, MNEA’s legislative director, said he believes the bill “will have more lasting impact” than previous ones, in part, because it has “the whole picture.”

“The timing right now could hardly be better to make some investments,” Fajen said, “because you not only want to make changes in terms of the process for making sure our new teachers have everything they need to meet the needs of all their students in terms of reading, but also resources for the active teachers who maybe didn’t get that in their teaching programs.”

The bill would direct the State Board of Education to establish a statewide literacy plan that supports evidence-based reading strategies, establish an Office of Literacy and provide professional development opportunities and training in reading instruction for teachers.

An “Evidence-based Reading Instruction Program Fund” would also be established to reimburse school districts and charter schools for their efforts to improve literacy rates, like tutoring programs after school or stipends for teachers to undergo training.

“It is my opinion that at this time when our state has more money than ever before,” O’Laughlin said, “it’s exactly the kind of thing that we should be spending it on.”

Matt Michelson, the Missouri State Teachers Association’s director of education policy, recommended a few changes to the bill, like pushing its start date from Jan. 1, 2023 to July 1, so it would not fall in the middle of the school year.

The bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Thursday. A similar House version of the bill was passed out of committee last month and awaits debate on the House floor.