Wednesday, August 31, 2022

PSC approves Missouri American Water purchase of Purcell water, sewer systems

(From the Public Service Commission)

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

The Commission noted in its order approving the application that in February of 2021, MAWC was contacted for assistance with the City of Purcell’s water and sewer systems. “Purcell had no certified water or sewer system operator at that time and was unable to operate its systems in a safe and compliant manner,” said the Commission. 

 “Certified operators are required by the permit and are necessary for ensuring these systems are operable, providing safe and reliable service, and compliant with the terms of the permit. At the time MAWC began operating the systems for Purcell, the drinking water disinfection system was not functioning, and the sewer system was discharging wastewater from the plant that was not safe and compliant.”

On March 16, 2021, the City of Purcell entered into an operation and maintenance agreement with MAWC. The City of Purcell held an election on August 3, 2021, with over 90% of the votes in favor of selling its water and sewer systems to MAWC.

The Commission approved the CCN determining: 1) There is a need for the service; 2) MAWC is qualified to provide the proposed service; 3) MAWC has the financial ability to provide the service; 4) MAWC’s proposal is economically feasible; and 5) The service promotes the public interest.

Current customers pay different water rates based upon whether they reside inside the City of Purcell. Those residing inside the city pay a monthly customer charge of $15.00 and a $3.50 per 1,000 gallons commodity rate for water service. Those residing outside the city pay a $22.00 a month customer charge and a $6.00 per 1,000 gallons commodity rate for water service. Sewer customers pay $36.00 for the first 0-999 gallons and $5.00 per each additional 1,000 gallons.

In this case, MAWC proposed combining all customers and consolidating rates because there are no additional costs to providing service inside or outside the city. As a result, water customers will pay a $9.00 a month customer charge and a $6.2469 per 1,000 gallons commodity rate for water service. Customers will pay a flat monthly rate of $61.64 for sewer service.

MAWC provides water service to approximately 470,000 customers in Missouri. It also provides sewer service to approximately 16,500 customers in the state. The City of Purcell serves approximately 160 water accounts and 150 sewer accounts.

Kentucky man sentenced to 16 years for meth trafficking in Jasper County

(From the U. S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri)

A Louisville, Kentucky, man was sentenced in federal court today for possessing more than two kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in a rental vehicle after he was stopped on Interstate 44 in Jasper County, Mo.

Quennel A. Young, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 16 years and eight months in federal prison without parole.

On Feb. 14, 2022, Young was found guilty of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute following a one-day bench trial that was held on Feb. 9, 2022.

Young was arrested on July 26, 2020, when he was pulled over by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 44 in Jasper County after the trooper observed Young commit multiple traffic violations.

The trooper searched Young’s vehicle. When the trooper searched the trunk, he saw the trunk lid liner was not secured tight against the trunk lid sheet metal. He pulled back the corner of the formed liner and found two duct-taped bundles that contained approximately 2.2 pounds of methamphetamine. In a later search of the vehicle, officers found three additional duct-taped bundles of methamphetamine hidden under the center console gear shift cover. All five bundles of methamphetamine weighed a total of approximately 5.59 pounds (2.539 kilograms).

According to court documents, Young has a prior felony conviction for second-degree manslaughter after he and three others attacked the victim, causing the victim to suffer severe head injuries. The victim later succumbed to his injuries and died. Young also has a prior felony conviction for three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, and a felony conviction for attempted possession of a forged instrument.

Young also has two prior misdemeanor convictions for assault in which he struck a woman in the face. In one of the assaults, Young sent the victim a text message threatening to kill her before appearing at the victim’s home and striking her in the face with such force that the victim required stiches to her lip and a root canal on two teeth as they were knocked back.

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron A. Beaver and Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Chalifoux. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

State auditor reviews use of federal CARES Act funds in Missouri

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

The latest monthly reports from State Auditor Nicole Galloway detailing state government's use of federal stimulus dollars intended for the COVID-19 response shows Missouri received $9.81 billion between April 2020 and May 2022. 

As the state's financial watchdog, the State Auditor's Office has issued the reports since June 2020 examining Missouri government's distribution and spending of funding received under the federal CARES Act, American Rescue Plan and other federal assistance programs.

The most recent reports show Missouri's spending of federal assistance for the months of April and May 2022, as well as the cumulative expenditures since the state began receiving funding in April 2020. Through the end of May 2022, the state has spent $5.75 billion in funding made available by the CARES Act and other federal programs, and $1.02 billion in American Rescue Plan funds.

A significant portion of expenditures to date are for services through the state's Medicaid program (MO HealthNet) and other programs receiving federal matching funds. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the federal government increased its percentage share of the cost of the state's Medicaid program. The American Rescue Plan also offered Missouri a temporary increase in the federal funds matching rate in exchange for the state's Medicaid expansion. As of May 31, 2022, the increased cost share for the federal government has totaled over $1.72 billion in additional federal funding for Medicaid in Missouri.

Other funding has been provided to local governments, schools, institutions of higher education, child care providers, long-term care facilities and developmental disabilities waiver providers. Funds have also been used for mental health services, purchase of personal protective equipment, virus testing, contact tracing, vaccine preparedness and access, workforce development, economic development programs for small businesses, COVID-19 dedicated personnel costs, emergency rental assistance and other disaster relief purposes.

In addition to the monthly report examining the state's spending, the Auditor's Office also has an online tool to give Missourians a detailed look at expenditures. The COVID-19 Response page tracks not only how much is received and expended in relief funds, but also lists which state and local government departments, vendors and expense categories are receiving the most funding. The information on the website provides data on expenditures and is updated regularly.

Auditor Galloway's efforts are similar to work performed by the previous State Auditor's administration, which reviewed the state's use of funds received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under Article IV, Section 13 of the Missouri Constitution, the State Auditor has a duty to ensure the accuracy of the state's accounting of its spending.

A copy of the report on Missouri spending of federal CARES Act assistance in April 2022 can be found here. The April 2022 report on the American Rescue Plan spending is here. The CARES Act report for May 2022 can be found here. The May 2022 American Rescue Plan report is here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Joplin emergency manager announces retirement

(From the City of Joplin)

After serving the City for more than 17 years, Emergency Manager for Joplin and Jasper County Keith Stammer has announced he will retire on November 1 this year. 

Stammer began his career with the City in 2005 and provided steady leadership throughout several federal disasters in Joplin and Jasper County, including ice storms, flooding, and the EF-5 tornado in May 2011.

“As Emergency Manager, Keith had the significant responsibility to make sure our community is prepared for a disaster,” said City Manager Nick Edwards.

“I think everyone will remember Keith’s leadership through the tornado response and recovery. The word dedication gets thrown around a lot but I can truly say that Keith is dedicated to the community as evident through his career. He worked to make sure we had a plan for almost everything we never wanted to have happen. Keith was a leader for us not only in developing plans and responses but also coordinating volunteers and serving the region. His expertise and experience will be missed.”

Emergency management work focuses on planning and preparing for and responding to disasters impacting communities. Stammer was instrumental in conducting drills and disaster simulation exercises for City and County personnel, departments, organizations, and government agencies that assist in disaster management, emphasizing their roles and responsibilities in disaster planning, response, and recovery.

With the position serving both the City of Joplin and Jasper County, City officials will work with the Jasper County Commission to coordinate hiring the next Emergency Manager.

“Honestly, this has been a dream job for me,” said Stammer. “I could not ask for better cooperation and support from everyone over the years. Considering all the training, exercises, and actual events we have been through in 17 years, I feel I can say to all who participated, ‘Job well done!’.”


In his retirement, Stammer and his wife Kathy will enjoy more family time, traveling, and dancing.

The City and County will host a Retirement Reception on Friday, November 11, and provide an opportunity for those who worked with Stammer to offer their greetings on his retirement. It will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Joplin Municipal Courtroom, 303 East 3rd Street.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Ann Wagner: Biden student loan action comes at the expense of hardworking Missourians

(From Second District Congresswoman Ann Wagner)

Last week, President Biden took irresponsible action to forgive student loan debt, something that could cost Americans up to a trillion dollars. 

This comes at the expense of hardworking Missourians who made the personal decision not to take out loans like these, or who worked hard to eliminate their debt as fast as possible. 

 I am deeply disappointed the Biden Administration is forcing everyday Americans to pay for loans they did not take out.


Make no mistake, this reckless policy does nothing to lower the cost of higher education and help those in need, it just gives away taxpayer dollars to higher income individuals and will make college more expensive. 

 Inflation is hurting working families, and we must be focused on helping them afford everyday expenses like gas, groceries, and utilities.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

I worked and paid off my student loan- My thoughts on President Biden's action

Like many others who attended college in the '70s and '80s (and today), my education was made possible by a student loan.

For the next several years, I made payments on that loan until one day I received a letter telling me my loan was "paid in full."

Unfortunately, two weeks later, I received a letter telling me that I still owed 13 cents- 13 cents!

Rather than pay the 13 cents and get the creditor off my back forever, I wrote a letter declaring I would not be paying the 13 cents because "paid in full means paid in full."

More than 30 years have passed, and I still have not received a response to that letter. Either I made my point or someday I will receive notice that my original student loan has accumulated an incredible amount of interest.

I accepted the loan and paid back every cent of it because that was my responsibility.

Now I read that President Biden has issued an executive order that has greatly reduced student loan debt for some and completely eliminated it for others.

Thousands will get their "paid in full" without actually paying it in full. They won't have to painstakingly scrape together payments month after month and worry if they are going to be able to make their next installments.

Perhaps I should be resentful that a mollycoddled generation is having its debt wiped away through executive fiat. That is the message being sent to me by those who are using the president's action to stoke division.

Perhaps I should be resentful, but I am not.

I was overjoyed when I read what the president has done. I wish he would have done more.

Many of the teachers I worked with were weighted down by student loan debt they accumulated so they could work at a job at which they were woefully underpaid.

My student loan debt was considerably less. I only needed to borrow $5,000 because I was fortunate enough to seek higher education at a time when it was more affordable.

My payments were not hundreds of dollars. I paid $33 a month. It seemed like a lot when I was making $250 a week (before taxes) as editor of the Lamar Democrat, but I did not face the burden faced by those who sought higher education over the next few decades.

My education came at a time before the cost of credit hours soared since college and university officials quickly realized the sky was the limit when students had access to loans. The money was rolling in and who cared if the young people who hoped to lay the groundwork for their futures would be saddled in debt for a great deal of those futures?

Some opponents of President Biden's executive order complained that those who did not go to college would be forced to pay for those whose debts had been forgiven.

Those who did not go to college have every right to complain, but not about the student loan decision. Their complaints should be directed at the politicians and business executives whose decisions have eliminated well-paying jobs that did not require a college education by moving them overseas, busting unions and sacrificing jobs and plants on the altar of dividends for stockholders and ever-increasing salaries and benefits for executives.

As these decisions decimated the middle class, we began to hear the mantra that young people will not be able to succeed without a college education. More and more students were pushed into making decisions that they might not have made in the past because well-paying blue-collar jobs were no longer a priority.

Many of the people who began accumulating student debt would never have even considered attending college in years past. Now they were told it was a necessity.

As we are well into the 21st Century, the jobs for which our institutions of higher education allegedly prepared our students are no longer as plentiful and nowhere near as lucrative.

Meanwhile, our colleges and universities have increased tuition rates year after year and our younger generations have mortgaged their futures by incurring financial responsibilities built on a bridge of broken promises.

When I signed the papers for my student loan more than 40 years ago, I accepted a responsibility- I would work to get an education and once I received that education, I would repay my debt. That's exactly what I did, and it was worth every penny.

I received a fair deal.

The same cannot be said for those who have fallen victim to the shell game that today's version of higher education has become.

I celebrate President Biden's executive action and hope it is just a first decision in many that will make higher education an affordable dream and not a recurring nightmare.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Billy Long: If Biden authorized raid on Trump, it's significantly worse than Watergate

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

“What did the President know and when did he know it?” For those of us old enough to remember Watergate, those two questions come immediately to mind as soon as the subject is broached. You see they were central to the Senate’s investigation into the famed break in of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters located in the Watergate Office Building and the ensuing cover up. 

This major political scandal brought about the end of President Richard Nixon’s career in politics when he resigned the presidency less than two years into his second term. The more things change the more they stay the same and now a mere 50 years later the same two questions are tantamount to getting answers as to who knew what and when did they know it in regard to the F.B.I.'s unprecedented raid on former President Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. 

Given the outstanding nature of conducting a search warrant on a former president’s home by a current president, not to mention a potential political rival, it's vital we ask who was involved in the decision making process, was it politically motivated and most important of all did the raid on a former president’s home start and end with President Biden or as he says he only learned about the whole torrid affair on T.V.? Unfortunately, we do not yet have all the questions, let alone all the answers.

We know that President Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland was involved in the decision to go ahead with the raid. He said as much at his press conference several days after the fact. Obviously, a raid of this magnitude would be discussed at the highest levels of the Justice Department and F.B.I. but the American people deserve to know if President Biden, or any White House senior staff were also involved. The president has claimed that he learned about the raid the same way we all did, on TV, but recent reporting from John Solomon at Just the News calls this denial into question.

Solomon has received a series of memos from the White House Counsel’s office, showing that they had been in contact with the National Archives in the months leading up to the raid. The most notable memo came in May, when the Counsel’s office told the National Archives that the White House would not object to waiving President Trump’s executive privilege claims. In effect, this move gave the National Archives and F.B.I. the green light to open a criminal investigation, and eventually conduct the raid.

We know that the White House was somewhat involved in the investigation, so now we need to know how involved they were. Did President Biden really find out about the raid on TV, or did he have prior knowledge? Did he give the greenlight to conduct the raid? These are questions that must be answered. 

The Justice Department and F.B.I. should be independent from political interference from the White House, and if the president or his staff were coordinating with the F.B.I. on this raid, that is not acceptable by any standard of fairness and decency. 

Never before has a president told the F.B.I. to investigate his chief political rival, and it is important for Congress to investigate these allegations. 

President Nixon resigned for trying to cover up the Watergate break in and it was one of the most egregious presidential scandals in American history. 

If President Biden personally authorized the raid on President Trump, it would be significantly worse than the Watergate scandal. I never thought President Biden looked anything like President Nixon but boy oh boy he sure sounds like him.

Poll strong shows strong lead for Eric Schmitt in Senate race

By Rudi Keller

Missourians are disgruntled with their government and pessimistic about the economy, a new poll from Saint Louis University and YouGov suggests.

They also want tighter gun laws, fewer abortion restrictions and seem poised to send Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to the U.S. Senate.

The poll of 900 likely voters conducted between Aug. 8 and Aug. 16 is the latest in a series of surveys begun in June 2020 to track changing attitudes over time and get a snapshot of views on issues recently debated by state lawmakers. One of the most striking changes from a poll taken in July 2021 is that people are more pessimistic, said poll director Steven Rogers, an assistant professor of political science.

Rogers led the team that designed and analyzed the poll results.

“Missourians are more negative,” Rogers said. “For the first time in our poll, a majority of Missourians disagree with the statement that Missouri is on the right track.”

In the major political race this year, Schmitt was nominated by Republicans to face Trudy Busch Valentine, who won the Democratic nomination after spending millions of her family’s beer fortune. The poll tested both a head-to-head matchup and a race that included independent John Wood, who withdrew this week just as his petition for a spot on the ballot was about to be approved.

The poll indicates Schmitt actually had a bigger lead over Valentine with Wood in the race than without him, Rogers said.

“With or without Wood in the race,” Rogers said, “Schmitt would probably win.”.

While 8% of Valentine’s supporters shifted to Wood in the three-way race, only 6% of Schmitt’s voters did so. Almost twice as many Valentine supporters in the head-to-head matchup became undecided in a three-way election as did Schmitt’s, Rogers said.

The head-to-head poll shows Schmitt with a 49-38 lead, with 5% saying they will vote for one of the minor party candidates and 8% undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3.75%. With Wood in the race, Schmitt’s lead expanded from 11 to 13 points.

“There may be some Valentine supporters who are Republicans upset over Jan. 6, or with Schmitt, because of the lawsuits,” Rogers said, referring to the attorney general’s lawsuits against local schools.

Politicians of all stripes had lower ratings this year than in the July 2021 poll.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, went from a net 8-percentage-point negative rating in July 2021 to a net 26-point negative rating. The Democratic-controlled Congress didn’t drop as far. It went from net 48 points to 50 points on the negative scale.

Republicans who lead the state also lost ground with voters, the survey indicates. The General Assembly, which had a net positive rating of 12 points in 2021, was net 2 points positive. Gov. Mike Parson, who had an approval rating of 53% in 2021, was at 50% in the new survey and went from a net 12 positive to net 6 points.

Missouri’s two Republican U.S. Senators, Roy Blunt, who is retiring this year, and Josh Hawley, who will be seeking re-election in 2024, have also lost favor with the voters surveyed. Blunt, who had a net negative rating of 7 points last year, was disliked by 56% of those surveyed and was net 21 points negative.

Hawley, with a 52% approval rating in 2021, 14 points positive, stood at 46% in the latest survey and only 2 points net positive.

On economic questions, more than 80% said the U.S. and Missouri economies were fair or poor with 73% saying that the U.S. is not on the right track and 51% saying that about the state.

Two of the current issues surveyed that were not on last year’s poll involve background checks for purchasing guns and abortion rights. Congress in June passed the first legislation in 30 years tightening federal gun laws and that same month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which gave constitutional protection to abortion rights.

Overall, 76% of those surveyed supported background checks to purchase firearms, with Democrats, Republicans and independents all showing strong support.

On abortion rights, those surveyed were almost evenly split over whether they support the court’s decision, with 47% agreeing and 50% disagreeing. But on specific restrictions, Missourians showed they are not pleased with the current law that blocks all abortions except in cases of medical emergency.

Of those surveyed, 58% said abortions should be legal in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, but at 15 weeks, only 40% support legal abortions. And only 32% supported the right to an abortion for any reason.

There was strong support for exceptions related to sexual violence and health, where 75% said there should an exception for rape, 79% supported an exception for incest-caused pregnancies and 87% said it should be allowed when the life of the woman is in danger by continuing the pregnancy.

If the fetus has no life expectancy if carried to term, 65% said the woman should be able to get an abortion and by a 46-31 margin those surveyed supported abortion rights when the baby would have physical or mental disabilities if born.

Only 11% said they support prosecuting a woman who obtains an abortion outside the state and by a 48-40 margin, those surveyed said they would vote to reverse the ban imposed in the state by the court decision.

The results on abortion questions were surprising, Rogers said. Anti-abortion voters have great power in the Republican Party in the state and the survey indicates voters don’t support extreme positions, he said.

“I was surprised by how large some of the majorities were on when should abortion be legal,” he said. “But if you look at the results, they make sense. There are more OK with abortion at 8 weeks than 15 weeks and considerably fewer are comfortable with abortion in any circumstance.”

Joplin R-8 Board hires teacher, 36 classified employees

During a closed session August 23, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education hired one teacher and 36 classified employees.

The board also discussed litigation and real estate during the session.

Certified Employment- Donald Archer

Classified Employment- Deena Beckham-Richardson, Taylor Box, Cheyenne Brewer, Cassandra Copher, Hannah Didelot, Tamara Doyen, Rachel Gardner, Wendy Garrison, Megan Glensky, Rebecca Gunder, Crystal Hancock, Heidi Hedrick, James Jenkins, Nicole Junge, Lauren LaMaser, Er Jay Luku, Robin Mithell, Cindy Newell, Anastaisa Norris, Shelby Perry, Sara Pierson, Zoe Purcell, Jarrek Rankin, Allison Reid, Jessica Schmuhl, Charla Selix, Megan Sneed, James Stewart, Amanda Stone, Kelli Trent, Ashley Weaver, Amber Wilson, Elisabeth Wood, Jesse Zajac, Elin Johnson, Shelby Trimble.

Joplin Health Department: COVID-19 vaccination recommended for children, teens

(From the Joplin Health Department)

Vaccination is your family's best protection against COVID-19. 

CDC recommends children ages 6 months and older get vaccinated. Learn more about getting children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Sam Graves on Biden's student loan action: This has to be stopped

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

After months of haggling with his political advisors, President Biden finally pulled the trigger on his disastrous plan to “forgive” student loan debt.

The President issued an executive order to unilaterally strike $10,000 from every student loan that has been borrowed by someone making up to $125,000 or couples making up to $250,000. Let’s be clear—this isn’t actually forgiving any debt. It’s transferring responsibility for a debt to someone who didn’t agree to it, to the tune of at least $300 billion.

In other words, it’s going to land square on the backs of hard-working taxpayers who didn’t take out the loans in the first place. And it’s just one more notch in the inflation belt, driving up the cost of living for the same folks who, once again, didn’t take out the loan as well as those who did. Ultimately, nobody wins.

Look around. There’s a lot of people who chose not to go to college, either because it wasn’t for them or because they just couldn’t afford it. They weren’t willing to take on a loan to pay for it either. The President has arbitrarily made the determination that truckers and plumbers should foot the bill for lawyers and executives.

There’s also a lot of folks who chose to go to college, working multiple jobs while getting their education or with parents who worked multiple jobs to pay for it. Imagine the shock to find out they’re also responsible for those who took out loans.

The President’s plan is clearly socialism, it’s unfair and it’s just plain wrong. This isn’t just me saying this. The Washington Post is crying foul because they know this is a regressive plan, which mostly benefits the wealthy, contrary to the way it’s been sold. 

And Nancy Pelosi said just last summer that the President didn’t have the authority to make a move like this. At the end of the day, this sets a terrible precedent, on a multitude of levels.

Not only that, but this ploy ignores the problems that exist, even making some of them worse. If you thought the cost of higher education was expensive now, the government paying off student loans is only going to send it through the roof. We need to work on solving the underlying problems, not shovel money out the door in a taxpayer-funded scheme to appease a few folks and get some political support.

While this idea has been thrown around as a liberal platitude for a while, it always appeared that basic economics and common sense would stand in the way of it moving forward. That’s now been thrown out the window. This is a disaster and it’s got to be stopped.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Nancy Hughes: Giving your some for the team

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

The town that I live in made some incredible football history a few years ago. The season ended with a win at the state championships - the first time our high school football team had ever gone all the way to the state level and won!

This was not the result of half-hearted working out at weights early in the mornings or learning part of the plays at each practice nor was it because of luck. Rather, several young men heard the words of their coaches loud and clear: “We will lead you where you need to go but you have to give your ALL in everything you do off the field as well as on the field.”

And because they listened and obeyed, the young men gave everything they had to become the best football team that they could possibly be . . . they gave their all.

Have you ever noticed in God’s Word that He demands your all? In Jeremiah 29:13, He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart.” Proverbs 3:5 reads “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart . . . ” (My emphasis on the ALL). Why is that? Simply put, He refuses to compete for your love. And He shouldn’t have to. His death on the cross for each of us proves that He should be first in our lives.

But wait! What if His words to us were a little different? In Matthew 11:28 (NIV), Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” What if, instead, Jesus said “Come to me, a few of you who are weary.” What if Jesus really didn’t mean it in Mark 10:27 when He spoke these words: “all things are possible with God.” but really meant to say “SOME things are possible with God.”

But He didn’t. He spoke Truth in all He said. If you are going to follow Him and allow Him to direct your life, you have to empty your heart of anything that does not glorify Him or focus on His love for you.

What is in your heart that is crowding God out? Let’s see: a career, hours searching on the internet, exercising, a hobby. Or what about fear, anger, worry, or pride? Let’s be clear: ANYTHING that pushes God to the back of your heart will prevent you from finding Him at the front of your life. Ask Jesus to show you what is keeping you from seeking Him with ALL your heart and throw it out. You will meet Him face to face when you give your all.

Lord, please search my heart today and show me what you find there that does not honor you. Forgive me for giving you “some” of my life. I give my all to you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Do you ever feel like you have to “make room” for the Lord in your schedule because you have so much going on?

What do you give your 100% all to in your life as your main priority?


During your prayer time, ask the Lord to clearly show you what you are storing in your heart that is crowding out His voice.

Make a list of everything that comes to mind and, one by one, hold each thing up to Him and allow Him to remove anything pushing Him off the throne of your heart.


Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Psalm 51:10 (NIV) “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

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

Dadeville R-2 superintendent killed, two teens suffer serious injuries in head-on crash

Dadeville R-2 Superintendent Matthew Bushey was killed and two Bolivar teens injured in a two-vehicle collision 7:16 a.m. today on Route T, two miles southwest of Bolivar.

Bushey, 48, Bolivar, was headed to Dadeville for the first day of school when the accident occurred.

The district posted the following announcement on its website:

Dear Dadeville School families, 

It is with heavy hearts that I share with you the passing of Superintendent Matt Bushey. Dr. Bushey was lost in an automobile accident this morning just prior to the school day. 

As you know, this is the first day of school and we understand the emotions that our staff and students are feeling. Counselors have been on hand today and will be in future days for those who need assistance. 

The Board of Education members, staff and I grieve his passing and ask that you join us with thoughts and prayers for his family. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available. 

Respectfully, Cassy Farmer, Principal,
Josh Worthington, School Board President

The crash occurred when a 1999 Ford F150 driven by a 16-year-old Bolivar boy crossed the center line and struck the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta Bushey was driving head on.

Polk County Deputy Coroner Whitney Burlison pronounced Bushey dead at the scene at 8:05 a.m.

The 16-year-old was airlifted to Mercy Springfield with serious injuries.

A passenger in his vehicle, a 17-year-old Bolivar boy was treated for serious injuries at Cox South Hospital, Springfield.

The fatality was the 80th this year for Highway Patrol Troop D.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Parson calls for special session to "make historic income tax cuts"

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

Today, during a press conference at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson announced that he has issued the official call for a special session to make historic income tax cuts and extend key agriculture tax credit programs for a minimum of six years. 

The General Assembly will meet in Jefferson City on September 6, 2022, at 12 p.m. to begin consideration of Governor Parson's proposed legislation.

"My team and I have been working with our colleagues in the General Assembly and agriculture partners to formulate a plan to adequately extend our critical agriculture tax credit programs and pass the largest income tax cut in state history," Governor Parson said. "Today, we believe we have that plan and are ready to call legislators back to Jefferson City to get to work on behalf of our farmers, ranchers, and business owners and provide lasting tax relief to every taxpaying Missourian."

Tenets of Governor Parson's proposed tax plan include reducing the individual income tax rate, increasing the standard deduction, and further simplifying the tax code. Governor Parson's proposed plan includes:Reducing the top individual income tax rate from 5.3 to 4.8 percent, a nearly 10 percent cut;
Increasing the standard deduction for individuals by $2,000 and by $4,000 for married joint filers; and
Eliminating the bottom income tax bracket.

Governor Parson's tax relief plan means significant savings for Missourians each year. Below are a few scenarios that estimate state income tax savings for Missourians of different backgrounds, based on the State's tax structure:Senior making $20,000 per year - 100 percent decrease in tax liability;
Single adult making $25,000 per year - 32 percent decrease in tax liability;
Single mom with two kids making $35,000 per year - 21 percent decrease in tax liability; and
Married couple making $125,000 per year - 11 percent decrease in tax liability.

"Our tax cut proposal means that every taxpaying Missourian, no matter their background, income, or job description, will see a reduction in their tax liability," Governor Parson said. "Every Missourian will earn their first $16,000 tax free and married joint filers will earn their first $32,000 tax free, resulting in significant savings for millions of Missourians. Our plan puts more of Missourians' hard-earned dollars back in their pockets and aims to make it a little easier for families to put food on the table and gas in the car."

Governor Parson's special session call also includes the extension and creation of several agriculture tax credit programs intended to help develop key areas of Missouri's agricultural industry, the state's top economic driver. The sunset for each program will be for a minimum of six years. The call includes:

Extending the expiration of the meat processing facility investment tax credit;
Creating a tax credit program for retail dealers of higher ethanol blend fuels;
Creating a tax credit program for retail dealers of biodiesel;
Creating a tax credit program for Missouri biodiesel producers;
Creating a tax credit program for establishing or improving urban farming operations;
Extending the expiration of the Rolling Stock Tax Credit program;
Extending the expiration of the Agricultural Product Utilization Contributor Tax Credit;
Extending the expiration of the New Generation Cooperative Incentive Tax Credit;
Exempting utility vehicles for agriculture use from state and local sales and use taxes;
Creating the Specialty Agricultural Crops Act; and
Amending the Family Farms Act to modify the definition of small farmer.

For more information and to see the specific call language, see attachment.


Special Session Call for Income Tax Cuts and Agriculture Tax Credits.pdf

Neosho man pleads guilty to meth, weapons charges

A Neosho man pleaded guilty to meth possession and weapons charges during a hearing this morning in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Jacob Norris, 31, possessed 477 grams of methamphetamine on October 2, 2020. A search warrant execution also turned up numerous weapons, which Norris as an ex-felon was not allowed to have in his possession.

Judge David P. Rush ordered a pre-sentence investigation. No date has been scheduled for sentencing.

10th parole hearing scheduled for cold-blooded killer who murdered Carthage liquor store owner


A parole hearing for John Steven Martin, who murdered two people in 1974, including James Stemmons, former owner of the Airport Package Liquor Store in Carthage is scheduled for Tuesday, August 30, at the South Central Corrections Facility in Licking.

The hearing is the 10th for Martin since 1996.

The families of the murder victims have once again launched a petition asking that Martin be denied parole. As of this morning, the petition has received 2,278 signatures.

The message on the petition details Martin's crimes:

On October 16, 1974, John Martin walked into Ron's Sinclair Service Station in Rolla, MO, with a revolver and robbed the attendant, Melvin Craft, of what cash he had in the drawer. Martin then forced Craft, along with the only customer, Leroy Spencer, to climb over a wall at the rear of the building - telling them to run for their lives.

As they slid down the steep embankment, Martin shot at both men as if he were shooting game. Martin shot and killed Leroy Spencer. Martin shot Craft three times, assuming he was dead. Fortunately, Craft survived and was later able to identify Martin as the murderer.

Thirty-six days after this robbery, on November 21, 1974, Martin and two other men (David Lynn Pugh and Leslie Allen Sanders) robbed Airport Package Liquor Store in Carthage, MO. Martin forced the owner and Carthage businessman, James Stemmons, into his own pickup truck and drove to a wooded area southeast of Carthage along the banks of Jones Creek.

While Stemmons was allowed to relieve himself, Martin shot him three times at point-blank range in the back of the head, as well as his back – with his own gun. First using the shotgun; then, switching to the pistol.

Martin took both guns and the $115 he had stolen from the cash register and left Stemmons on the forest floor. These are well-documented facts. Martin confessed.

In both murder cases Martin entered a plea agreement and was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences. This convicted double murderer has the chance of parole.

Martin's parole hearing is scheduled for August 30, 2022 at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking, MO.

By signing this petition you acknowledge that you wish John S. Martin, MO DOC No. 00027228, to continue to serve his life sentence in prison, not in our community!


The petition can be found at this link.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Agenda posted for Carthage City Council meeting


Newton County Sheriff: Our deputies are prepared for an active shooter situation

(From the Newton County Sheriff's Office)

Over the last two months, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office has been training all deputies and detectives in responding to active shooter situations. 

During these trainings, students are taught the tactics and lessons learned from prior active shooter events from around the country. 

We are pleased to say that our deputies are prepared for such a situation. We are very fortunate to be able to hold this training due to the investment in public safety made by the Citizens of Newton County in June of 2020.

Due to the 911/Public Safety Sales Tax, we have been able to purchase equipment and safety gear to enhance this training and make it more realistic. We wish to continue this training and offer it to police agencies within Newton County to increase preparedness in the event of an active shooter in their jurisdictions. 

We will be reaching out to those agencies to attend a class to be announced in September.

We would like to thank Granby Elementary School and Crowder College for allowing us to use their buildings to train in, as well as recognize the hard work of our instructors for working through the extreme hot summer weather to obtain the goal of having fully trained our deputies before the start of the school year. Thank you again to the Citizens of Newton County for giving us the tools to be prepared for the possibility of an active shooter incident. We will fight and we will win!

Agenda posted for Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting, tax levy hearing

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will hold its annual tax levy hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Memorial Administration Building, followed by the regular board meeting.

The board will meet in closed session at 5:15 p.m. to discuss litigation, real estate and personnel issues.

The agenda for the regular meeting is printed below:

A. Call to Order
1. Roll Call 

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda

D. Reports

1. Board President's Report
a. Celebrations
b. Board Finance Committee Report

2. Superintendent's Data Report
a. Construction Update (Crossland Construction)
1. Summer School Update
c. Health & Dental Plan Update
d. Financial Statements

E. Public Comments Regarding Posted Agenda Action Items

F. Consent Agenda 

1. Minutes

2. Consent Contracts - Action (Sachetta)
a. Contract between Joplin Schools (MEC) and Culligan Water
b. Contract Between Joplin Schools and RAISE (Language Translators/Interpreters)
c. Contract Between Joplin Schools and John Godfrey, Licensed Psychologist 
d. Contract between Joplin Schools and Kansas City University (Score 1 for Health)

3. Annual Facility Use Fees - Including the JHS/PAC

4. Change Orders Dover Hill Elementary

a. Proposal to Approve Change Order 015 at Dover Hill Elementary for Ceiling Height in Restroom A 136 
b. Proposal to Approve Change Order 016 at Dover Hill Elementary for Inverter Breakers

5. Proposal to Approve Change Order 004 for Junge Pressbox Additional Power

6. Non-Resident Tuition 2022-2023 School Year 

G. Regular Agenda
1. Accounts Payable
2. Set Tax Levy for the 2022-2023 School Year

H. Plus/Deltas

I. Adjourn 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Hearing scheduled for Missouri-American Water rate increase request

(From the Missouri Public Service Commission)

The Missouri Public Service Commission has established the formal evidentiary hearing schedule in water and sewer rate cases filed by the Missouri-American Water Company (MAWC). Formal evidentiary hearings are scheduled for February 27-March 10, 2023.

These hearings will be held in the Governor Office Building, Room 310, 200 Madison Street, in Jefferson City. This building meets the accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

If you need additional accommodations to participate in these hearings, please call the Public Service Commission’s Hotline at 1-800-392-4211 (voice) or Relay Missouri at 711 before the hearings. These hearings will also be streamed live on the Commission’s website (

On July 1, 2022, MAWC filed water and sewer rate cases with the Missouri Public Service Commission seeking to increase annual water and sewer revenues by approximately $99.6 million (25.7%).

MAWC provides water service to approximately 475,000 customers in Missouri. It also provides sewer service to approximately 18,000 customers in the state.

Joplin City Council to set tax levy at special session


Joplin city budget documents online, budget work sessions scheduled

(From the City of Joplin)

Budget planning for the City of Joplin is underway and the Proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2023 is available to view on the City’s website. 

The City Manager’s Budget Message opens the financial document and provides an overview of the projects and services proposed for the upcoming year. Citizens can also view the Proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2023 in the reference section of the Joplin Public Library, 1901 East 20th Street.


Joplin City Council’s Budget Work Sessions are set for Tuesday through Thursday, September 20 – 22, and citizens are encouraged to attend. Each session will begin at 5:45 p.m. and be held in Council Chambers. 

The agendas for these meetings will be posted near these dates. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions and/or provide comments regarding the City budget at the work sessions.


In an effort to build trust, the City is hoping to have a more transparent and collaborative budget process this year. If unable to attend the meetings, they will be live streamed on the City Council’s page on Joplin’s website. The sessions can also be accessed after the meeting dates. For questions, please contact the City Clerk at

View PowerPoint Public Hearing presentation of FY 23 Proposed Budget given at August 15, 2022 City Council meeting

View PowerPoint presentation of FY 23 Proposed Budget given at August 8, 2022 City Council Work Session

Summary of Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2023

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fee increases for use of Joplin R-8 facilities proposed


The Joplin R-8 Board of Education appears poised to approve a proposal to increase fees for use of district facilities.

The proposal, which would increase use of most facilities by 10 percent is included in the consent agenda of the board's Tuesday 6 p.m. meeting, meaning it will likely be acted on by the board with no discussion.

The increases will be the first in five years, according to the proposal, which was prepared by Assistant Superintendent for Operations Matt Harding. The only increases in that time have been for custodial fees and light and sound operators at the performing arts center.

"Due to rising costs and maintenance, the district has researched raising the prices for district facility rental."

 The increases would make sure district expenses are "adequately covered," the proposal says.