Tuesday, May 31, 2022

These Joplin businesses sold alcohol to minors

(From the Joplin Police Department)

Over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, the Joplin Police Department conducted several alcohol compliance checks at licensed retailers in the City of Joplin. 

Officers conducted checks at 30 establishments in Joplin. Out of those 30 compliance checks, four businesses sold alcohol to an underage purchaser. 

Those businesses were identified as: 

• Dave’s Mini Mart, 801 S. Maiden Lane 

• Alp’s Discount Liquor & Smokes, 2602 S. Main Street 

• Zip’s Convenience Store, 2702 S. Main Street 

• Zip’s Convenience Store, 1201 S. Rangeline Road 

The store employee from Zip’s Convenience Store at 1201 S. Rangeline fled the store from officers upon being confronted and additional charges will be sought from the prosecutor’s office. 

We appreciate the businesses who complied with underage alcohol laws and those that took part in the free training hosted by the Alliance of Southwest Missouri. All of this helps ensure a safe environment for the youth of our community. 

Original news release

Over the next several weeks the Joplin Police Department will be conducting a series of alcohol compliance checks at licensed retailers in the City of Joplin. 

The purpose of these checks is to assess the level of accessibility of alcohol within our community and prevent the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors, thus creating a safer and healthier environment for our youth.


More than 500 pages with more than 120 color photos!

The all-color 10th anniversary edition of 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado by Randy Turner and John Hacker is available only in e-book format from Amazon.

The book offers the most comprehensive coverage available of the May 22, 2011 tornado with stories written by survivors, as well as reporting and essays by the authors.

Note: Photos in the paperback version of the book, except for the cover, are in black and white.

Joplin businessman Bobby Landis takes over ownership of KHST in Lamar

Joplin businessman Bobby Landis, owner of WMBH in Joplin, is the new owner of KHST, 101.7 FM in Lamar, according to an article in today's Greenfield Vedette.

Landis made a swap with former KHST owner My Town Media, Inc., receiving KHST in exchange for KSEK-AM 1340 in Pittsburg, Kansas, according to the Vedette article.

KHST, which has had a country music format since 2011, is now playing music from the '60s and '70s. It will continue to carry Lamar High School sports and will add Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals games, operations manager Kevin Welch told the Vedette. Welch said the target audience "is the old hippies in the area."

The HST in the station's call letters stands for Lamar's most famous native son, Harry S. Truman.


Only in Lamar, Missouri: Harry Truman, Wyatt Earp and Legendary Locals is available at Always Buying Books, the Book Guy and Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin, the Lamar Democrat office and Truman Birthplace in Lamar and at Barnes and Noble in Springfield and can be purchased online at Arcadia Publishing and Amazon.

Signed copies can be purchased from author Randy Turner at the PayPal button below or by sending $25, including sales tax and shipping to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801

Joplin City Council places property tax increase for public safety on August ballot

(From the City of Joplin)

Later this summer, Joplin voters will be asked whether they support a property tax to support and grow public safety services in our community. 

The City Council recently passed an ordinance to place a question on the August 2, 2022 ballot asking Joplin citizens if they would approve a property tax designated for “municipal public safety services” in Joplin. The question is titled Proposition Public Safety on the ballot.

City Manager Nick Edwards introduced the discussion during the May 16, 2022, Council meeting and reviewed the City’s history of working to improve wages for public safety. He opened the presentation by saying that those following the City’s conversations are familiar with the constraints the organization faces, however, others may not be aware of how the City has reached this point and the issues facing the community.

“Serving the businesses and citizens of Joplin is a point of pride for the City including the public safety professionals, and to have a vibrant community with a high quality of life and strong public safety services are essential.”

The Joplin Police Department has 16 openings but needs an additional 22 officers over and above that to meet nationally recognized law enforcement standards. The Joplin Fire Department has also experienced shortages in recent years.

“The City is faced with a significant shortage of officers to patrol and enforce the laws within the City,” he said. Even after positive improvements were made, extraordinary new challenges presented themselves. After Prop B, the City faced challenges brought on by the pandemic such as the ‘great resignation’ with people leaving the workforce. 

Like the private sector, this continues to impact the City in the same way. Following Prop Action, the City faced a new economic reality of increased costs and competition with increasing private-sector wages and opportunities. Behind every positive step, in the current environment, there is a seemingly bigger and more difficult step to make. Thankfully, past Councils and the citizens and businesses have responded to great challenges like this in the past.”

Joplin citizens will vote on Proposition Public Safety that would levy a property tax of $1 per every $100 of assessed value on all real and personal property. The funds generated would be designated to improve public safety services in Joplin. Currently, the City has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state at $0.1746. The majority of funding for the City’s current budget comes from a sales tax. In 2020, Joplin City Council established several goals including creating resilient revenue to improve city service, so as not to rely solely on sales tax revenues.

Mayor Doug Lawson recognizes the impact this issue has on residents, visitors, and the future of Joplin, saying, “We are competing with Police Departments across the country. This is a need that many other communities are also facing. This proposition would address staffing and pay issues that have been identified in independent resource allocation studies for each department. The reports showed needs, not wants, for the City to improve our public safety services. Investments are going to be critical if we are going to grow, and we’re not going to grow Joplin if people don't want to move here or invest in Joplin with a new business if they don’t feel safe.”

At the close of his presentation, Edwards said, “I’ve had the fortune of working with great people from the FOP and the IAFF looking at the funding, but also the solutions,” and invited Tom Bowin, Treasurer of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 and Jeremie Humphrey, President of the Joplin Professional Firefighters Local 59, to provide their comments about the proposal.

Bowin began by stating that Joplin was not the only community facing these issues, as agencies are having to choose whether they lower hiring standards or cut services to their citizens while working to find some way to better attract qualified public safety applicants. He noted that Joplin has had a turnover rate of more than 34% each year for the past several years. The department should employ 110 sworn officers, although there are only 78 officers currently available on the street. This gap creates more work for those in the department as they take on additional responsibilities.

“It is our belief that the funding this plan will provide will take great leaps toward addressing these issues. And the proposed pay plan will make us competitive with similar agencies in the region and state. The FOP has spent years working with City leadership striving for a solution to our crisis. The City now has a plan designed to address the two most stated reasons why our officers are leaving,” referring to pay and workload.

Humphrey also addressed the Council noting the support of the IAFF members for Proposition Public Safety. “This is the plan that addresses our number one issue – pay. Let’s give the citizens the chance to say we support this plan.”

Proposition Public Safety

Shall the City Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, be authorized to levy and impose annually for municipal public safety purposes upon all subjects and objects of taxation within its corporate limits a tax which shall not exceed the maximum rate of one dollar on the one hundred dollars assesses valuation?

More information about Proposition Public Safety will be posted on the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org/elections. Members of City staff and the Citizens Committee would also be available to talk with groups seeking more information. Please contact Lynn Onstot, Public Information, at 417-624-0820, ext. 1204, if interested in having them at your meeting.

Voter registration is open through July 6, 2022, to be eligible to vote for the August 2, 2022, election. Please contact the County Clerk’s office in your home county for more information.

More than 500 pages with more than 120 color photos!

The all-color 10th anniversary edition of 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado by Randy Turner and John Hacker is available only in e-book format from Amazon.

The book offers the most comprehensive coverage available of the May 22, 2011 tornado with stories written by survivors, as well as reporting and essays by the authors.

Note: Photos in the paperback version of the book, except for the cover, are in black and white.

City of Joplin mourns passing of Lyndell Edwards

(From the City of Joplin)

It is with a heavy heart that the City of Joplin announces that Lyndell Edwards, Superintendent of Wastewater Services, passed away on Friday, May 27. Edwards joined the City in 2008 and served 14 years in his position.

Prior to working at the City, he worked at Eagle Picher as an Environmental Engineer and later as the Wastewater Manager. Edwards held various other positions during his career. He enjoyed hunting, bowling, golf, and was an avid reader.


He is survived by his wife Elaine, his son, Justin Edwards of Webb City; his father Marlin Edwards and his sister Quilla Edwards, both of Olton, TX; two grandsons – Keegan Lumley and his wife Erika of Wilmington, NC and Logan Edwards of Webb City; and a host of family and friends. He is preceded in death by his mother and his daughter-in-law Michelle (Lumley) Edwards.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at the Purcell Baptist Church in Purcell, MO. The family will receive friends during a time of visitation immediately following the service at the church.


The new book, Remembering: People Who Touched Our Lives, featuring 56 stories about people who left a lasting impact, is available now at Always Buying Books, The Book Guy and Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin and the Lamar Democrat office in Lamar and can be purchased from Amazon at this link.

Signed copies can be ordered at the PayPal link below or by sending $25 (including sales tax and shipping) to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Neosho Youth Football president has history of bankruptcy, unpaid bills and taxes

The biggest question that remains after the filing of a felony stealing charge against Neosho Youth Football League President Stewart Pace is how in the world he and his wife were ever put into a position of handling the organization's money.

Pace allegedly embezzled nearly all of the money the youth organization had. One day after his wife Jennifer, the organization's treasurer, said it had $22,000 in the bank, it turned out the amount was actually $20.72.

The Paces have a lengthy history of financial difficulties, including a 2004 Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Three times in the past eight years, the Missouri Department of Revenue has taken the Paces to court to collect on unpaid taxes.

Online court records indicate loan companies received judgments against the Paces in 2011 for $12,036.99 and in 2014 for $2,712.46.

The Paces filed for bankruptcy December 21, 2004, owing $96,663.55 while having $71,393,91 in assests, according to U. S. Bankruptcy Court records.

Among their debts:

-$4,395.31 to Aqua Finance for water treatment

-$35,441 to Chrysler Financial for a 2003 Dodge Dakota

-$4,230.60 to Non Teacher Credit Union for purchase of a boat

plus $1,682.82 to Bank of America, $1,865.22 to Capital One and $953.57 to Citibank, $772.01 to J. C. Penney, $166.32 to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and $631.99 to Zale's Credit Plan.

The Missouri Department of Revenue received judgments of $2,611.15 in 2013, $3,435.94 in 2016 and $581.72 in 2018 for unpaid taxes.

Judgments of $12,036.94 from Beneficial Financial Support and $2,712.46 from Tower Loan, both in 2014 were levied.

Online court records indicate the Paces have satisfied the judgments in both the tax and loan cases.

 The Newton County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed the felony charge against Stewart Pace after he admitted to Newton County Sheriff's Office investigators that he had embezzled at least $15,000 from the youth organization.

From the probable cause statement:

I then interviewed Stewart Pace. I read Stewart his Miranda rights and he stated that he understood those rights. Stewart stated that he was out of work for a while and started using the football league's money to pay bills, fix his truck and it "Just got out of hand."


Consider supporting the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries by taking a voluntary subscription or by making a contribution of any amount at the PayPal buttons below or by sending your subscription or contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Pottorff named news director at KSN-KODE, Beard takes Pennsylvania job

Bobbie Pottorff, (first from left) who has been station manager and creative services director at KGCS at Missouri Southern State University since February 2021, will start a new job in June.

According to a post on her Facebook page, Pottorff, who previously served as assignment editor at KOAM, is returning to television news as news director at KODE/KSNF.

In two short weeks I will begin a new chapter in my life. Actually, you could say I’m reopening an old chapter in my life. I will be the News Director for KSN 16 and KODE 12 here in Joplin. 
My time at KGCS-TV at Missouri Southern State University was brief, but really wonderful. I am grateful to Ward H. Bryant and Chad Stebbins for thinking of me when Judy Stiles retired. 
I started my television news career at KSN way back in the day. There are still a number of familiar faces here, and everyone has welcomed me with open arms. We are going to do great things.

Pottorff will replace Leisha Beard, who will take over as news director at the Nexstar station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Beard has been the news director for both stations since 2010, guiding them through coverage of the May 22, 2011 Joplin Tornado

From her biography on Four States Home Page:

(S)he has led the team through many changes and additions to the stations broadcasts such as the creation of a lifestyles show called Living Well.

An innovator in digital media, Leisha has been instrumental in driving audience engagement and increasing the stations profile across multiple platforms. Her station has received several awards from the Missouri Association of Broadcasters and Kansas Association of broadcasters for “Best Website.”

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Billy Long: U. S. needs a Hancock Amendment


(By Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

In 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This lowered federal income tax for most Americans, and also lowered the corporate tax rate, making American companies more competitive on the global stage. 

I know here in the 7th District of Missouri a lot of manufacturing facilities and other employers added new equipment and went on a hiring spree. Ever since this law passed, Democrats have been trying to undo these common sense provisions, and raise taxes on many Americans. With runaway inflation and gas higher than a cat's back now is not the time to raise taxes at the federal or local level.


We just came through another tax season and several of my constituents spoke of the sticker shock they suffered when they saw the final number that they owed this year. 

After you figure in federal, state and local taxes the price really starts to add up. It’s especially jarring to working class Americans, who are already struggling to get by. 

Once you add in the inflation which is tantamount to a huge new tax, millions of hard working taxpayers are having trouble coming up with the money to pay Uncle Sam.

What’s interesting about state taxes is how many COVID-bucks that states have been given from the federal government. 

Over the last two years, Congress has passed a number of “COVID relief bills” which include billions of dollars going directly to the states and local governments. 

With this unexpected huge windfall every state should be reducing the tax burden on their residents but only half of them have. Why haven't these other states followed suit? They've been given more money than they know what to do with, so you know they can afford to relieve the tax burdens on their residents. 

Here in Missouri, the state legislature actually passed a huge gasoline tax last year. Why couldn’t they have just used the COVID money Congress gave them?

Former 7th District Congressman "Give 'Em Mel" Hancock fought long and hard to pass his eponymously named Hancock Amendment in Missouri before he set out to serve 8 years in Washington. 

Essentially the legislature can’t increase taxes beyond a certain percentage of Missourians’ incomes or beyond a set annual limit. That is unless the voters approve of said increase. 

With all of the tax burdens that Americans are facing today, it is time for a federal version of this law. Congress needs to pass a Constitutional Amendment, preventing the federal income tax from being raised beyond a certain limit. 

This would protect the voters from being subjected to unreasonably high tax increases. Remember, that is the very issue that caused the American Revolution. Our nation is built upon not levying un

FBI executes search warrant on Joplin home in child pornography case

FBI agents executed a search warrant on a Joplin home in the 1400 block of Katherine Wednesday morning as part of an investigation into child pornography.

Among the items confiscated during the search, according to an inventory filed Friday in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri were a cell phone, laptop, two Samsung tablets, multiple external hard drives and flash drives and a notebook.

The search warrant was authorized following a tip that a user had downloaded child pornography to Dropbox with the files traced to a 45-year-old Joplin man who was formerly a Webb City resident.

Most of the file names indicated they featured underage boys, generally between the ages of 10 and 13 engaged in sex acts, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Investigators located 38 child pornography files.

Some of the files depicted male children, some of whom appear no older than seven or eight years old, being sexually abused in various ways. Some of the files included lascivious or graphic exhibitions of the children's genitals, with the focus of the camera being the children's genitals.

Other files included children engaged in sex acts with other children...
In some of the files, the children appeared to be directed to perform these acts by an individual or individuals who are not visible to the camera.

A separate search warrant sent to Meta discovered chats that included more child pornography featuring naked underage boys, according to the affidavit.

Since federal court records do not show that any charges have been filed, the Joplin man's name is not posted in this article.

Online court records indicate a felony possession of a controlled substance charge was filed against the man Wednesday with the Duquesne Police Department making the arrest.



Consider supporting the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries by taking a voluntary subscription or by making a contribution of any amount at the PayPal buttons below or by sending your subscription or contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Felony stealing charges filed against Neosho Youth Football League president

The Newton County Prosecuting Attorney filed a felony stealing charge Thursday against Neosho Youth Football President Stewart Pace, 43, Goodman, who allegedly embezzled as much as $15,000 from the organization.

Newton County Circuit Court online records indicate a warrant has been issued for Pace's arrest with a $15,000 cash-only bond.

The probable cause statement indicates that both Pace used the youth league account as his personal piggy bank. His wife was the organization's treasurer.

The allegations against Pace are spelled out in the probable cause statement written by Newton County Sheriff's Office Det. Todd Morgan:

On May 4, 2022 at 13:00 hrs. I met with Jill Rogers, Susan Elledge, and Brett Day at the Newton County Sheriff's Office. Brett stated he had started the no profit organization called the Neosho Youth Football League. Brett stated that Stewart Pace was the current president of the league and Stewart's wife "Jessica Pace" was the treasurer. Stewart had been the president for approximately four years.

Susan Elledge stated the Neosho Youth Football League has a checking account at Community Bank and Trust. Susan stated that on 4/15/2022 she attempted to buy approximately $28 worth of items online for the football league. 

Susan stated that the card was declined, so she believed something was wrong with her debit card.

Susan stated that she stopped by the Community Bank and Trust in Joplin and they advised her that there had been several transactions on the account and there was only $20.72 left in the account. 

Jill Rogers provided me a complete folder with the bank statement back to June of 2020, minutes from the board meeting and other paperwork. Jill stated that she had went through the bank statements and highlighted all the fraudulent charges. 

Jill stated that the charges done in Newton County totaled $40,062.26. The majority of those charges were done at ATMs and gas stations. Susan stated that all fraudulent charges were done using the debit card that was assigned to Jessica Pace. 

Susan Elledge stated that on April 16, 2022 the football league board had an emergency meeting without Stewart and Jessica Pace. 

The board was told only two weeks prior by the treasurer "Jessica Pace" that there was $22,000 in the checking account. 

During that meeting, Susan called Stewart on his cell phone. This call was done on speaker phone so the board members could hear. Susan asked Stewart if he knew that the checking account was down to $20. 72. Stewart stated that he would go to the bank on Monday and look into it. 

On Sunday April 17, 2022, Susan stated that she received a text from Stewart confessing that he had used the funds to "help me with financials." 

Stewart and Susan responded several different times by text message. Susan stated that they closed the account on 4/20/2022. Susan made me copies of the text message between her and Stewart. 

On May 5, 2022 I called and spoke with Stewart Pace. I told him I needed to speak with him and Jessica about a case I was working. 

At approximately 14:20 hrs. Jessica and Stewart came to the sheriff's office. I interviewed Jessica Pace first. I read Jessica her Miranda rights and she signed a waiver stating she understood her rights. I asked Jessica if she knew why I wanted to speak with her. Jessica stated yes, it was about the football league funds being misused. 

I asked Jessica who had misused it. She stated that she and her husband has misused it. 

Mostly her husband. 

Jessica stated that she did use the Neosho Youth Football League debit card to purchase items for her and her family. Jessica stated that this started about two years ago. Jessica stated that she would buy items at Wal-Mart for the ball league and buy items for herself at the same time. Jessica stated at different times she would get cash back at Wal-Mart and keep the cash. 

I asked Jessica if she ever had to pull money from the ATM to purchase items. She stated on occasion she would have to get cash from the ATM to make change, but most of the time she would have the bank teller withdraw cash. There were several transactions at gas stations. 

I asked Jessica if she ever used the debit card for gas. She stated no. I asked Jessica if she had looked at the bank statements for the league's account. She explained that about a year ago the post office box fee was not paid. The bank had sent the statements to the league's post office box. 

Since the post office box was closed: they had not been receiving statements. 

Jessica stated that she did not go into the bank to get the statements. Jessica stated that the last board meeting she told the board members that there was $22,000 in the account. She stated Stewart had told her that was the amount in the checking account. 

Jessica stated that she believed they had used $2000 from the account. Jessica stated that she did put $2500 in the account. 

Jessica stated that wrote a check and deposited it. I did find the deposit was done in February of 2022. 

I then interviewed Stewart Pace. I read Stewart his Miranda rights and he stated that he understood those rights. Stewart stated that he was out of work for a while and started using the football league's money to pay bills, fix his truck and it "Just got out of hand."

Stewart stated that his wife Jessica did not know how much he had used. Stewart stated that Susan Elledge had used $1000 from the account but he did not know if she had paid the money back. Stewart stated that he has not looked at a bank statement in a while. Stewart stated that the post office box was closed due to not paying the bill. 

Stewart said he paid to have the post office box reopened out of his personal account because there was not money in the football league's account. 

Stewart stated that some of the cash he pulled from the ATM was used to get supplies. I asked if he had receipts. He stated that if he got receipts he would give them to Susan Elledge. I asked why he did that if Jessica was the treasurer.  He stated that if they needed change they would go get it. 

Stewart stated that he estimated that he took $15 000.



Consider supporting the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries by taking a voluntary subscription or by making a contribution of any amount at the PayPal buttons below or by sending your subscription or contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. A, Joplin, MO 64801.

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Eight Missouri ministers accused of sex abuse in Southern Baptist Convention report

By Steve Vockrodt

The Southern Baptist Convention on Thursday released a once-secret and lengthy list of accused sex abusers — several of whom are in the Midwest — within the denomination.

The 205-page list is a compilation of ministers and other church workers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. 

(Photo- Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, Missouri, was where Dale G. Johnson was formerly a youth director before he was sentenced in 2016 to prison for child sex crimes. He was one of several people with ties to Southern Baptists who were named in a report out Thursday- Kristofor Husted/The Midwest Newsroom).

The list is described as a “fluid, working document” that was also incomplete but largely pulls information about abusers from published news reports.

The publication of the list comes after the release Sunday of a 300-page report by an independent investigator that described how leaders of the Southern Baptist denomination for decades have received reports of sexual abuse committed by church workers, pastors and others. But those reports were largely kept secret and, rather than acting upon and investigating reports of sexual abuse, denomination leaders sought to intimidate and vilify victims and their advocates.

“The whole thing should be seen for what it is,” wrote former Southern Baptist Convention executive committee member and general counsel D. August Boto in an internal email that was published in the report. “It’s a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”

The crisis rocking the Southern Baptist denomination this week is similar in many ways to what the Catholic church continues to face. Leaders in both faiths systematically hid information about sexual misconduct, appeared to show more concern about their own legal liability than the victims and at times failed to expel accused abusers from positions of authority.

In 2007, Father Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest credited as one of the first to warn of his own denomination’s clergy sex abuse crisis, wrote a letter to SBC leadership conveying his concern that Southern Baptist leaders were repeating the failures of the Catholic church in dealing with sex abuse.

Doyle was told, “Southern Baptist leaders truly have no authority over local churches,” a response that Doyle regarded as dismissive, according to the investigative report.

That same year, at the SBC convention in San Antonio, Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson made a motion to create a database of Southern Baptist clergy who had been convicted or credibly accused of, or had confessed to sexual abuse. The proposal was meant to “assist in preventing any future sexual abuse or harassment.”

The database proposal appeared to go nowhere, according to the report, and witnesses at the convention recalled little about it except to express their opinion that it would “violate local church autonomy.”

Ultimately, a staffer for the SBC executive committee since 2007 had maintained a list of accused ministers and church workers, but it was kept hidden from the public and even SBC executive committee trustees, according to the report.

Southern Baptist leaders said publicizing the list of credibly accused abusers represented “an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention.”

“Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse,” said a joint statement from Willie McLaurin and Rolland Slade, both SBC executive committee members. “Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”

Lawyers for the SBC executive committee researched the list of accused abusers, taking steps to verify information it contained. It left unredacted entries about alleged abusers that could be confirmed, while redacting entries where someone was acquitted or did not have a final disposition, as well as information that could identify victims.

Missouri men feature prominently on the list. 

They include:

Robert Michael Black, a former pastor of New Home Baptist Church in St. Joseph, who solicited sex over Facebook from a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to attempted child enticement, served five years in prison and was released.
Joseph Edmund Conger, former pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Cole Camp and First Baptist Church in Climax Springs, who was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to seven years in prison for statutory sodomy for an incident with a teenager in 2003.
Michael Alan Crippen, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Duenweg, received a nearly four-year prison sentence for possessing child pornography.
Shawn Davies, a youth minister who worked in Greenwood and Ferguson, pleaded guilty in 2005 to several counts of sodomy, pornography and other charges and received a 20-year sentence to serve alongside a 10-year sentence for separate abuse charges in Kentucky.
Dale Gregory Johnson, former youth director for Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, pleaded guilty in 2016 to sodomy and child pornography charges.

Terry McDowell, former pastor at Gateway Southern Baptist Church in St. Louis, pleaded guilty to molesting a 3-year-old in 2011 and received a suspended 10-year sentence.

James Niederstadt, a former pastor at Vinson General Baptist Church in Malden, received a 25-year sentence in 2000 following a conviction for forcible sodomy against a teenage girl who lived with him.
Travis Smith, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Stover and former youth pastor at Pilot Grove Baptist Church, received a four-year prison sentence in 2016 following convictions for statutory rape and other charges stemming from multiple victims.

This story comes from the Midwest Newsroom, an investigative journalism collaboration including IPR, KCUR 89.3, Nebraska Public Media News, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR. For more in-depth news from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, we invite you to follow us on Twitter.

Vicky Hartzler on Uvalde murders: It was simply pure evil

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

On Tuesday, our nation experienced a horrific and senseless tragedy at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

It was simply pure evil. As we continue to find out more about this school shooting, we are sadly learning the names of innocent elementary school students who had the rest of their lives snuffed out.

Children in America should feel safe attending their schools – not live in fear of violence. 

That’s why earlier this Congress I introduced H.R. 1567, the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, which would allow off-duty and qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm onto school grounds if the local school board passes a policy to allow it. 

This is much-needed legislation and I urge Speaker Pelosi to immediately bring it to the House floor for passage.

Lowell and I — alongside the entire state of Missouri — are praying for all those lost and their loved ones.

Josh Hawley only Missouri Congress member still welcome in Russia

By Ariana Figueroa

Hundreds of members of Congress are permanently banned from visiting Russia, in retaliation for passing economic sanctions on the country after it invaded Ukraine in late February.

(Note: Sen. Roy Blunt and the members of Missouri's delegation in the House of Representatives- Billy Long, Ann Wagner, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Emanuel Cleaver, Jason Smith, Sam Graves and Cory Bush are all on the list of those who were permanently banned. Missouri's junior senator, Josh Hawley, is not on the list.)

The list of nearly 1,000 Americans includes President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, along with celebrities such as actor Morgan Freeman, executives such as Microsoft President Brad Smith and government leaders such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. All four U.S. House members from Kansas are on the list.

“We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Russian counter-sanctions are forced and aimed at forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial ‘rules-based world order’ on the rest of the world, to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities.”

Congress cleared $40 billion in aid to Ukraine earlier this month, the second multi-billion-dollar package since the beginning of the war in late February.

Of the 963 people banned, more than 230 are Republican and Democratic members of Congress. Top congressional leaders also made the list, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

Those on the list in the 27 States Newsroom states include:


Sen. Dan Sullivan (R)


Rep. Andy Biggs (R)

Rep. Greg Stanton (D)

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D)

Rep. David Schweikert (R)

Rep. Paul Gosar (R)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D)

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D)

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R)

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D)


Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

Rep. Ken Buck (R)

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R)

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Nancy Hughes: The sniff test

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” II Corinthians 2:15 (NIV)

As I walked through the door after spending the day with a good friend, my daughter hugged me and said, “I know who you have been with today.” 

I smiled and said “Oh, really? How do you know that?” and it was her turn to smile. 

“I can smell the perfume she always wears,” she told me. And she was right. Even though I didn’t realize it, I had the fragrance of my friend’s perfume on me because I had been with her all day.

In the same way, a week later I carpooled to an out-of-town meeting with a group of ladies – all of whom smoked. I changed my clothes when I got home and threw them in the laundry room. Later, as I walked into the utility room I thought “Where in the world is that cigarette smell coming from?” and instantly realized that it was my clothes from the drive that day.

How do those two different “fragrances” fit with II Corinthians 2:15? If I am the “pleasing aroma of Christ” to the people around me, as it says, there should never be a single doubt that I belong to Him. The fragrance of love and mercy, compassion and forgiveness should cover me from my head to my toes. No one should ever be with me and ask themselves, as they walk away if I am a follower of Christ.

Conversely, if I live by a fragrance that is not of Christ but is of this world, will people know that, too? Sure they will. Just as I hadn’t even realized that I smelled like cigarette smoke because I had become accustomed to the smell after a day in it, I can get used to being angry or negative or prideful or jealous, and that “fragrance” will be what people hear and see.

My encouragement comes directly from the above Scripture. We need to have the “pleasing aroma of Christ” whether we are stuck in traffic, standing in line at the grocery store or visiting our friends at church. And the only way to have that beautiful fragrance is to spend time in the presence of God, reading His Word. If we do that daily, the fragrance of Christ will be with us wherever we go.

Father, teach me to be the pleasing fragrance of Jesus, no matter where I am or what I am doing. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Can you think of situations when you were not a pleasing aroma to the Lord?

What do you think the people around you thought about your “fragrance?”


Journal two columns labeled “pleasing fragrances” and “unpleasant aromas.”

Now keep track of your conversations and actions for a week by placing them under one of the columns. Which column has more entries? Pray about changes you need to make.


II Corinthians 2:15 (NIV) “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Philippians 4:18b (NIV) “They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”

A. G. seeks to dismiss lawsuit alleging his office under Josh Hawley violated Sunshine Law

By Jason Hancock

A Cole County judge on Thursday heard arguments over whether staff in the Missouri attorney general’s office, while it was being run by now-U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, used private email accounts in order to subvert the state’s open records laws.

A lawsuit filed in 2019 by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee alleges Hawley’s office violated the Sunshine Law when it withheld emails between Hawley’s taxpayer-funded staff and his political consultants during the 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate.


The suit asks the court to impose civil penalties against the attorney general’s office for “knowingly and purposely” violating the Sunshine Law.

On Thursday, the Missouri attorney general’s office argued to Cole County Judge Jon Beetem that despite the fact that the emails pertained to public business, they should not be considered public records.

That’s because the conversations took place using private email accounts and were never stored on government servers.

“It’s not disputed that the emails were related to public business,” Jason Lewis, an assistant attorney general under Hawley’s successor, Eric Schmitt, argued Thursday. “But they are not public records. There was no retention here.”

The lawsuit stems from a records request the DSCC made in September 2017 for communications between staff in the attorney general’s office and Hawley’s political consultants.

Hawley’s office denied the request in a letter to the DSCC in October 2017, stating the office “searched our records and found no responsive records.”

But a year later, an investigation by The Kansas City Star revealed that communications did exist.

The Star reported in October 2018 that soon after he was sworn in as attorney general, Hawley and his staff began using private email rather than their government accounts to communicate with out-of-state political consultants who would go on to run Hawley’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Hawley’s campaign consultants gave direct guidance and tasks to his taxpayer-funded staff and led meetings during work hours in the state Supreme Court building, where the attorney general’s official office is located.

Among those included in the private email discussions was Daniel Hartman, who was the attorney general’s office’s custodian of records.

Hartman being involved in the conversations is significant, said John Geise, an attorney representing the DSCC.

“The attorney general’s office cannot defeat the Sunshine Law’s requirements by having the custodian of record storing some records on his personal email,” Geise said Thursday.

Geise argued Hawley withheld the records from DSCC because he didn’t want embarrassing information to become public before the election.


The revelation that Hawley and his staff were using private email to coordinate with his political consultants set off accusations that he had illegally used public resources to benefit his Senate campaign.

The Missouri auditor’s office concluded in February 2020 that Hawley may have misused state resources. But the audit stopped short of formally saying Hawley broke the law, saying widespread use of private email and text messaging in the office made it impossible to determine definitively.

The attorney general’s office didn’t officially retain the records, Lewis said, until December of 2018. That’s when Hartman printed them out and brought them into the office to scan them in order to turn them over to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, which was conducting an investigation into the matter.

Beetem raised the issue of retention several times to Geise Thursday, questioning whether emails about public business were automatically public records if they were never retained by the office.

It’s similar logic to Beetem’s 2019 decision in a lawsuit over former Gov. Eric Greitens’ use of a self-destructing text message app. He ruled in that case that since the texts were automatically deleted, and therefore never retained, there could not have been a violation of the Sunshine Law.

But Geise said Thursday that Hartman knew, or should have known, that responsive records existed. And because of his role in the office as custodian of records, Geise said, the fact that they were in his possession means they were retained.

If Beetem were to side with the attorney general’s office, Geuse argued, “government agencies would simply shift all communications to private email to avoid the Sunshine Law.”

Beetem took no action Thursday.