Thursday, August 31, 2023

Nancy Hughes: Places you don't want to be

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

My mother’s favorite childhood memory was getting up early to go with her father, my grandad, as he fished in the river near the family cabin. Her job – and she loved it – was to row the boat as he threw out his line. 

Mother said Grandad always reminded her that oars had to work together, in unison, or the boat wouldn’t stay in the middle of the river in deeper water where the best fish were hiding. 

“If you want to go in a straight line,” he would tell her, “you have to use the same amount of strength in each arm to pull the oars through the water. If your left oar is pulled back harder than your right one, you will get off course in seconds.”

Then he would warn her “The oars always have to work together or you will find yourself in places you don’t want to be.” If she forgot to listen to his advice, they would end up either spinning in a circle or in shallow water with large jagged rocks, a bank full of branches . . . and snakes. And what would her father do when she got off course and didn’t follow his warning? He would gently but firmly tell her to look at her oars. “Are you pulling with the same strength in each one? No. Look at the middle of the river. That’s where you want to be. Row back to that place and start over.”

That sounds so much like my life. If the “oars” that I use to get me through each day are from the world instead of the Word, I am going to spin out of control and get off course. Let me explain. If one of my oars is faith and the other one fear, I will struggle through life because they will work against each other. The oar of faith will push forward as the oar of fear pulls backward. And the outcome will be as my grandad warned: “You will find yourself in places you don’t want to be.”

Faith pulls me through each day and tells me “Hang in there; hold on to the Lord. It may be rough for a while but you will get through!” But fear screams “You aren’t going to make it! Give up! Quit!” Where are you today? Rowing in the middle of God’s plan for your life or headed for the jagged rocks, branches and snakes? I encourage you to exchange the oar of fear for one of trust. Call on the Lord to help you pull through whatever is in your path. He alone can replace fear with trust and faith to keep you from places you don’t want to be.

Father, please help me to stay in your Word every day. I need the strength to face life’s challenges and it can only come from you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Do you ever find yourself in a situation in which you seem to be going in circles and not making any progress?

What “oars” are you using to strengthen you? Faith and trust? Or fear and panic?


Journal the words “faith/trust” and “fear/panic” in two columns.

During your prayer time, journal situations in your life that you are facing and the results of each one if you react with faith and trust or with fear and panic.


Isaiah 43:2 (NIV) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

Mark 4:39-40 (NIV) “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”


Investigation continues into murder of Pittsburg man

(From the Pittsburg Police Department)

On Sunday morning, August 20, 2023, law enforcement officers were dispatched to 202 N. Locust St., in Pittsburg, in reference to a shooting incident, in which an adult male was found to have been shot, and subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

The victim, who was identified as 36-year-old Justin E. Krogen, of Pittsburg, (pictured) was pronounced deceased at the scene. Mr. Krogen’s body was sent to Kansas City for an autopsy.

The investigation into this incident is ongoing at this time.

Anyone having information related to this incident is urged to contact the Pittsburg Police Department at (620) 231-1700, or at our automated tip line, (620) 231-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous.

Sentencing date scheduled for reputed Joplin Honkies member on weapons charge

Reputed Joplin Honkies gang member Douglas Eugene Alexius, 46, is scheduled to be sentenced on a firearm charge during a 1 p.m. October 26 hearing in U. S. District Court in Springfield.

Alexis pleaded guilty April 13 to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to his indictment, Alexius possessed a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol October 9, 2022 in Newton County.

Online Newton County Circuit Court records indicate that was the day the Missouri State Highway Patrol cited Alexius for felony unlawful possession of a firearm, careless and imprudent driving involving an accident, failure to register a motor vehicle, failing to wear protective headgear while on a motorcycle and displaying the plates of another person.

The Highway Patrol accident report said Alexius was injured in a one-vehicle accident 1:25 a.m. on Greenwood Drive two miles southwest of Joplin.

According to the report, the 2002 Harley Davidson driven by Alexius skidded on the roadway and overturned. Alexius was treated for moderate injuries at Freeman West Hospital, Joplin.

Former Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said Alexius was a member of the Honkies after Alexius was arrested March 1, 2016 at 1174 Crane Drive, Joplin. At the time of his arrest, Alexius was wanted on numerous felony charges, including vehicle theft and assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Change of plea hearing set for Carthage man who told undercover agent he wanted to abduct, rape child

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. September 20 in U. S. District Court in Springfield for a Carthage man who allegedly receiving child pornography between January 1, 2021 and April 20, 2023.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in April after his arrest, attention was focused on James Allen Beam, 35, after a KIK discussion he had with a Fresno, California FBI undercover agent in which Beam said he had a sexual interest in children.

Beam also allegedly told the undercover agent he wanted to abduct and rape a child.

October 16 sentencing scheduled for Joplin woman for dealing meth, heroin, cocaine

A 2:15 p.m. October 16 sentencing hearing is scheduled in U. S. District Court in Springfield for a Joplin woman who pleaded guilty May 15 to charges of distributing methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

According to the indictment, Lateisha Rodriguez sold meth January 30, 2019, heroin February 17, 2019 and cocaine July 25, 2019.

The grand jury indicted Rodriguez three weeks after she was given a suspended sentence in Jasper County Circuit Court on a felony drug trafficking charge. The crimes cited in the federal indictment all allegedly took place during the time Rodriguez was awaiting trial on the Jasper County charge.

Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Dean Dankelson, following the plea agreement submitted by the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office, suspended Rodriguez' sentence for selling a controlled substance on December 10, 2018, and placed her on supervised probation for five years.

Sentencing set for Neosho man for kidnapping conspiracy that led to Joplin man's murder

A 1:30 p.m. November 7 sentencing hearing has been scheduled in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri for a Neosho man who pleaded guilty April 27 to involvement in a kidnapping conspiracy.

Lawrence William "Scary Larry" Vaughan, 51, is one of five people who have pleaded to the guilty to the kidnapping conspiracy that led to the 2020 murder of Michael James Hall, Joplin.

A change of plea hearing had been scheduled for May 1 for Freddie Tilton, 50, Joplin, the man who allegedly killed Hall, but that hearing was canceled and court files indicate Tilton's trial is scheduled for September 25 in Springfield.

The others who have pleaded guilty are Amy Kay Thomas, 40, Webb City, Russell Eugene Hurtt, 51, Joplin, James B. Gibson, 41, Webb City, and Carla Jo Ward, 47, Joplin.

Hall's decomposing body was discovered by Joplin Police Department officers and Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies as they were executing a search warrant at 3517 Cherry Road in Joplin July 28, 2020.

Details of the kidnapping and murder can be found at this link.

New initiative petitions seek to add rape, incest exceptions to Missouri abortion law

By Jason Hancock
Missouri Independent

Six new initiative petitions were filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office Wednesday seeking to add exceptions to the state’s abortion ban for rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities and the health and safety of the mother.

Three of the six initiative petitions would also legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Each was filed by Jamie Corley, a veteran GOP political operative from St. Louis who has worked for three members of Congress, including as national press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

To support the proposals, Corley formed a 501c4 non profit in June called Missouri Women and Family Research Fund.

“The current abortion law makes it dangerous to be a mom in Missouri, burdens taxpayers with litigation costs, puts law enforcement in a position to punish crime victims rather than protect them, and gives the government —not parents— decision-making power over how to care for their child if she is impregnated because of rape,” Corley said in a statement announcing the initiative petitions. “The abortion law in Missouri is too radical and cannot stand.”

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning the constitutional right to the procedure, Missouri’s trigger law went into effect banning virtually all abortions. There are no exemptions for rape or incest, and opaque language around protections medical emergencies have resulted in confusion in the state’s medical community.

Doctors who perform an abortion can face felony charges and loss of their medical license.

In March, abortion-rights groups partnered to file 11 initiative petitions hoping to place a constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot overturning Missouri’s abortion ban. The proposed amendments would declare that the “government shall not infringe upon a person’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, abortion care, miscarriage care and respectful birthing conditions.”

Penalties for both patients seeking reproductive-related care and medical providers would be outlawed.

Each version of the proposed amendment says there must be a “compelling governmental interest” for abortion restrictions to be put in place. But while some allow the legislature to regulate abortion after “fetal viability,” others draw the line at 24 weeks of gestation. Some versions make it clear the state can enact parental consent laws for minors seeking abortions. Others leave the topic out entirely.

All 11 initiative petitions are tied up in court, with proponents suing over what they’ve deemed is a biased ballot summary written by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is running for governor. Opponents have also sued, demanding the cost estimate be inflated to indicate lifting Missouri’s abortion ban would cost the state billions.

Planned Parenthood, who before the ban was the state’s only abortion provider, opted not to participate in the initiative petition campaign because the proposals only protect abortion access before the fetus is viable or until 24 weeks of pregnancy. The organization also balked at parental consent requirements.

Corley’s six initiative petitions don’t go nearly as far as the previously filed proposals.

All versions enshrine “exceptions and immunity” clauses into Missouri’s abortion law, and three versions include language prohibiting the government from interfering with a woman’s access to an abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The rape exception would only apply to victims who have reported the rape or sexual assault to a crisis hotline.

Each version also states that the rights guaranteed in the amendment “are subject to strict scrutiny,” meaning any restrictions to abortion enacted by the legislature must further a “compelling governmental interest” and must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.

Anyone seeking an abortion outside of Missouri could not be subject to criminal prosecution or civil penalty. The same immunity applies to health professionals or anyone assisting in seeking an abortion.

Some versions also contain provisions prohibiting use of taxpayer funds to be used “in support of the provision of abortion in this state.” However, in those versions legislature would not be permitted to cut off funding for health care providers who perform abortions.


A 12 week abortion ban would line up Missouri with some other Republican-leaning states, such as North Carolina and Nebraska. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of all abortions occur in the first six weeks of pregnancy and 92% in the first 13 weeks.

The Missouri ACLU, which is defending the 11 initiative petitions in court, could be immediately reached for comment on Corley’s proposals. Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said in an emailed statement that her organization has “always advocated for abortion access that is just, equitable, and scientifically grounded — and that doesn’t change today.

“As a health care provider — and the last abortion provider in the state — we know the consequences of abortion bans and restrictions: exceptions have never provided meaningful access,” Rodríguez said. “While some are proposing ballot measures that will continue to harm Missourians, we will continue to fight for the meaningful access that Missourians need.”

Corley did not offer specifics about who is involved in campaign, saying only that she is “building a broad coalition of Missourians who think the current abortion law is extreme and needs to be changed. Missourians deserve the opportunity to vote on an independent, rational — and passable — plan to restore legal but limited access to abortion in Missouri in 2024.”

But she was assisted in drafting the language by Chuck Haftield, a longtime Jefferson City attorney who worked in the attorney general’s office under Democrat Jay Nixon.
“These initiatives are very straightforward,” Hatfield said in an statement to The Independent. “Voters should easily understand what they are being asked to vote on and the Secretary (of State) should be able to easily summarize the effects without controversy.”

Missouri law requires petitioners to collect more than 170,000 signatures by May 2024 in order to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Republicans lawmakers, most notably House Speaker Dan Plocher, have worked to make it harder to amend the constitution through the initiative petition process in an effort to short circuit any abortion-rights proposal from succeeding next year.

“The current abortion law makes Missouri look draconian, punitive and unsafe for families,” Corley said. “The law runs afoul of public opinion and we look forward to building a broad coalition of Missourians who want, need and deserve the opportunity to change it.”

Agenda posted for Joplin City Council meeting

6:00 P.M.


Call To Order

Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America

Roll Call




Capital Improvement Sales Tax Renewal Process


Tin Cup Trail Update


Finalization Of Consent Agenda


Reports And Communications


News From The Public Information Office


Citizen Requests And Petitions


Public Hearings


Public Hearing Procedures



AN ORDINANCE amending Ordinance No. 2022-274, passed by the Council of the City of Joplin, Missouri, August 1, 2022, by removing from District C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) to District R-3 (Apartment House) property as described below and located at 832 S Pennsylvania Ave.


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The August 21, 2023 City Council Meeting


Minutes Of The August 28, 2023, Special City Council Meeting



AN ORDINANCE approving a plan for an industrial development project; authorizing the City of Joplin, Missouri to issue its taxable industrial development revenue bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $36,960,000; and authorizing and approving certain documents and actions in connection therewith.

  1. CB2023-012.PDF


 AN ORDINANCE  authorizing the approval of the 2023 Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) Safety Targets for the City of Joplin, MO, Metro Area Public Transit System (MAPS) and Sunshine Lamp Trolley. Approval of the annual PTASP Safety Targets are required by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations set in 49 CFR Part 673 of the federal guidelines. 

  1. CB2023-135.PDF


AN ORDINANCE amending Chapter 114, Traffic, Article IX, Pedestrians.

  1. CB2023-147.PDF



Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE approving a work authorization with Burns & McDonnell in the not to exceed amount of One Hundred Eighty Five Thousand Four Hundred Seventy Six and 00/100 Dollars  ($185,476.00)  for professional engineering services associated with the Hydraulic Model Update and Flow Metering Project on behalf of the City of Joplin and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE approving the City of Joplin to enter into an agreement with G&G Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of One Hundred Ten Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-One and 80/100 Dollars ($110,991.80) for construction services on the Turkey Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility Leachate Aerial Crossing project and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.  



AN ORDINANCE approving the applications of MO-KAN Dragway for marketing 2024 race events, Midwestern Built CrossFit for Monster Games, Joplin Disc Golf Club for the 19th Annual Four States Open, Mother Road Mayhem for the Mother Road Mayhem truck show, Joplin Esports Booster Club, for their Eagles Lair III and Eagles Lair IV, Twin Hills Golf and Country Club for the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Men's Division 2 Golf National Championship, and the American Youth Golf Association Tournament, Ozark Christian College for marketing their 2024 conference series, Active Lifestyle Events Inc. for the 2024 Joplin Memorial Run, Heartland Concert Band for Community Band Outdoor Picnic, North Heights Neighborhood for North Heights Porchfest 2024, Neosho Arts Council for ArtCon 2024, Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc for a tour booklet for Murphysburg Historic Places, JOMO Pride, Inc. for JOMO PrideFest, Emancipation Celebration Committee for the 2024 Emancipation Celebration, and the Freedom of Flight Museum for a 2024 Marketing Campaign for utilization of FY2024 Festivals and Celebrations support pursuant to Ordinance No. 2000-148, as authorized by the voters on November 7, 2000; authorizing the City Manager to execute appropriate agreements with each such organization for the utilization of such funds and containing an emergency clause.


Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE approving a work authorization with Allgeier, Martin, and Associates in the not to exceed amount of Four Hundred Ninety-Five Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($495,000.00) for professional engineering services associated with the 20th & Malang Lift Station improvements project on behalf of the City of Joplin and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin.



AN ORDINANCE approving an Agreement between the City of Joplin, Missouri, and Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission which will provide FHWA Metropolitan Planning Assistance and FTA Section 5303 assistance, hereafter known as Consolidated Planning Funds, from November 1, 2023, through October 31, 2024, in accordance with the rules of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under 49 U.S.C. Section 5303 and 23 U.S. Code Sections 104(F) and 134 to conduct comprehensive and transportation planning programs, as the City of Joplin has been designated to conduct transportation planning programs for the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute said Agreement for the City.


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Declare Excess Surplus Property For The Annual City Of Joplin Auction On September 16, 2023


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

Kentucky lawman named Joplin police chief

(From the City of Joplin)

Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards is pleased to announce that Rich Pearson has been named as the Chief of the Joplin Police Department.

Pearson is currently serving as Captain of the Jefferson County Public School System Police Department in Louisville, Ky. He served 22 years in the Louisville Metro Police Department and taught in the Criminal Justice Department of Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, IN.

He holds a Master of Science and a bachelor’s degree in justice administration from the University of Louisville. He graduated from the FBI’s National Police Academy in Quantico, VA, and the Southern Police Institute in Louisville. He is currently finishing his Doctorate in Criminal Justice at Saint Leo University in St. Leo, FL.

“During his interview, it was easy to recognize that Chief Pearson has the experience addressing many of the issues that are present, or soon will be, in our community,” said Edwards. “Chief Pearson highlighted new ideas and new approaches to these issues which will help the Police Department improve service delivery. Additionally, Chief Pearson has dedicated himself to developing as a leader and attained some of the highest credentials available for law enforcement professionals.”

Pearson will start with the Joplin Police Department on January 2, 2024. He and his wife Gina will move to Joplin from Louisville in the upcoming months.

"My wife and I are excited about making Joplin our new home, and I am looking forward to meeting all my coworkers and members of the community,” said Pearson. “I'm sure that together we can continue to make Joplin a safe and wonderful place to live. I plan on meeting with all community stakeholders as soon as possible after I move to town to build relationships and start new friendships."

Edwards also noted his deep appreciation for Assistant Chief Brian Lewis who is serving as the Interim Chief. “Brian has faithfully served this community during tragedy and difficult challenges. He is one of the most trustworthy leaders in the organization. Brian will continue to be a strength for the organization and a valuable asset for Chief Pearson. Together, this will be a strong team that, along with all the officers, will help ensure the safety of our community and improve our services for future generations.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Louisiana man found guilty of assaulting Newton County deputy, robbery

(From the Newton County Prosecuting Attorney)

A Louisiana man was found guilty by a McDonald County jury after a two-day trial on Assault in the First Degree, Armed Criminal Action, and Disarming a Police Officer. Sentencing will be held on October 4, 2023. 

Michael Ray Durison, 42, was found guilty after roughly two hours of deliberation before the jury rendered their verdict to Judge Kevin Selby of the 40th Judicial Circuit on Wednesday, August 30, 2023. 

In September of 2022, Durison was being held on a warrant out of his home state of Louisiana by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office when he was taken in for care at a local hospital. While at the hospital, Durison disarmed the lone jail staffer who was charged with guarding the inmate, used the jailer’s own taser to stun the jailer and subsequently fled the scene. Durison was later located after a ten-day manhunt. 

The jury returned a not guilty verdict on Robbery in the First Degree for the taking of the taser.

“Protecting Law Enforcement is integral to keeping our community safe. Respect for the rule of law is part of what keeps a society functioning and convicting those that have no respect law and order will always be a priority of this office,” said Newton County Prosecuting Attorney William Lynch. 

“Our team worked countless hours preparing for this trial and I’m extremely proud of everyone’s effort in securing this conviction.” 

“We’re thankful to the jury and their service this week,” said Assistant Prosecutor Sarah Crites. “Law enforcement officers provide a vital service for our community, and I’m pleased that the defendant will be held responsible for his actions.” 

This case was investigated by Newton County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Sarah Crites and William Lynch. This is the third case won at jury trial by the Newton County Prosecutor’s office in the past four months.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Carthage R-9 Board hires three teachers, accepts resignation

(From the Carthage R-9 School District)

The Carthage R-9 Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, August 21, 2023, 6:04 pm, at Carthage South Technical Center. Present were Board members Jeff Jones, Bill Lasley, Niki Cloud, Ryan Collier, Patrick Scott, and Lora Phelps. Nathan Terry was absent. Jeff Jones led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

The Board approved the Consent Agenda for the purpose of approving the meeting agenda, minutes of previous meeting, payment of bills, district financial report, approve FY23 final budget, adopt revised regulation 6180 and regulation 4505, approve district assessment plan for 2023-2024, and approve special education compliance plan. 

The MSIP 6 Standard: Operations evaluative report was presented to the board: 

Janeane Myhre, Food Service Director, reported on staff training, utilizing distributors and local producers to procure foods of high nutritional value, and the importance of receiving free/reduced meal applications from parents.

Dan Hill, Maintenance Director, reported the housing for Tiger Cub Care is complete, the remodel of the transportation offices is complete, lighting upgrades for 6th grade center and Pleasant Valley are complete, the chiller for Columbian Elementary is scheduled for installation during winter break, and lead testing samples are completed and waiting for results. 

Don Cox, Safety Coordinator, reported all safety protocols are in place for return to school, the district received $400,000 in grant money and a safety audit is under way, a third SRO officer has been hired for the 2023-2024 school year, monthly emergency drills are scheduled, and the district is applying for another safety grant opportunity.

Dr. Holley Goodnight, Assistant Superintendent for Business, presented on behalf of Kim Henderson, the Transportation Director. Dr. Goodnight reported the annual bus inspection by the Missouri State Highway Patrol was completed and the district received a 96.4% score and the Exemplary School Bus Maintenance Award. Annual driving training is conducted, new routing and trip request software have been implemented, digital cameras on buses are being updated, two vans were purchased to assist with district travel, and two buses have been added to the districts fleet. 

Mrs. Crystal Brown, Carthage R-9 Foundation Director, provided an update to the board regarding scholarships information, the major saver card campaign will take place in October, and trivia night fundraiser is scheduled for November 11, 2023. 

Dr. Boyer presented administrative reports to the board with relevant information regarding the start of the school year. Dr. Boyer updated the board on the following: 

• First day of school for the 2023 – 2024 school year is in full swing. 

• Kindergarten pictures were taken in all elementary school and will be distributed at parent teacher conferences. 

Convocation was a success and appreciate your attendance. 

• Excessive heat warnings - during the extreme heat the district is doing all we can to ensure our staff and students are safe. 

• Electronic enrollment is going very well.

• ParentSquare App role out is a success. 

• The Administrative team attended a law seminar regarding informative topics in education. 

The Board met in closed session immediately following the regular meeting to discuss personnel matters in compliance with Section 610.021 (3) of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. 

In closed session the Board approved the following personnel actions: 

Approved the employment of certified, support, extra duty, and substitute staff as presented contingent upon receiving a clear criminal record check from the Missouri Highway Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a clear check of the Adult Abuse/Neglect Registry maintained by the Missouri Department of Social Services for all employees new to the district: 

Certified Hire 

Drew Bridges, 7th Grade Science Teacher Carthage Junior High School New Hire

Between the years of 2013 and 2017, Mr. Bridges played in the New York Yankees organization. Between 2017 and 2020, he was head coach for the Midwest Nationals Premier Baseball Academy. Mr. Bridges graduated from Carthage School District in 2013. In May of 2020, he graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology. Over the last two years, Mr. Bridges has been Assistant Vice President, Residential Lender for Guaranty Bank. 

Taylor Snyder, Kindergarten Teacher Mark Twain Elementary New Hire
Ms. Snyder is a graduate of Carthage High School and will graduate from Missouri Southern State University in May of 2024. Her degree will be in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Snyder did her student teaching at the Carthage Sixth Grade Center in Fall of 2022. 

Hailey Bowman, 2nd Grade Teacher Columbian Elementary New Hire 

Ms. Bowman has plans to graduate from UT Western Governors University in December 2023 in Elementary Education. She has been working for the Carthage School District (Fairview) as an Instructional Assistant since 2021. 

Support Hire 

Isabella Sacry, EL Paraprofessional Mark Twain Elementary New Hire 
Jennifer Baird, Cook Carthage Intermediate Center New Hire 
Eliot Ballard, Bus Driver Transportation Modification 
Trisha Gatewood, Paraprofessional Carthage Junior High School New Hire 
Trisha Gatewood, Bus Driver Transportation New Hire 
Yvonne Holmes, Cook CIC New Hire 
Suzanna Eaton, Paraprofessional Carthage Junior High School New Hire 
Samantha Hall, Cook Carthage Junior High School Modification 
Quinn Randall, Paraprofessional 6th Grade Center New Hire 
Xandria Virtue, Cook Fairview Elementary New Hire 
Lacey Sharon, Paraprofessional Carthage High School New Hire 
Hannah O'Hare, Library Media Aide Fairview Elementary New Hire 

Extra Duty Hire 

Samantha Slates, FCCLA Sponsor Carthage Junior High School Modification 
Marina Hicks, Bilingual-Writing Fairview Elementary Modification 
Marina Hicks, Bilingual-Speaking Fairview Elementary Modification 
Jeff Beshore, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Brittany Morris, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Brandy Morris, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Diana Calhoon, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Brant Maxwell, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Steven Ray, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Autumn Palmer, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Darrell Barr, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Chris Edwards, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Kenneth Brown, Teaching During Plan Carthage High School Modification 
Lora Frazier, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Amie Riley, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Stacey Stark, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 

Julie Tullis, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Jordan Macy, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Shannon Higgins, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Paul Kennedy, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Nathan Olinger, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Corey Willis, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Mark Stefan, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Jaren Hulette, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Angela Fewin, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Trudy Blankenship, Teaching During Plan Carthage Junior High School Modification 
Cindy Trowbridge, Teaching During Plan Carthage Junior High School Modification 
Chris Wilkerson, Teaching During Plan Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Isabella Sacry, Assistant Dance Coach Carthage High School New Hire 
Lee Ann Fent, FBLA-DECA Stipend Carthage Tech Center Modification 
Kelsey Stenger, Head Senior Class Sponsor Carthage High School Modification 
Alexandra Green, Assistant Junior Class Sponsor Carthage High School Modification 
Melissa Youngworth, High School Yearbook Assistant Sponsor Carthage High School Modification Kristen Harrison, United Way Sponsor Carthage High School Modification 

Substitute Hire 

Julia Brown, Substitute District New Hire 
Kristin Carter, Substitute District New Hire 
Calvin Gazaway, Substitute District Re-Hire 
Charlea Fraser, Substitute District New Hire 
Alexander Boyer, Substitute District New Hire 
Cheryl Gilmore, Substitute District New Hire 
John Christie, Substitute District New Hire Support 


Amy Scott, Paraprofessional Carthage High School Transfer Was sub in district in 22- 23 
Shandy Wilson, Instructional Assistant Steadley Elementary Transfer Was sub in district in 22- 23 
Karina Paul, Cook Carthage High School Transfer Was at CIC 
Joyce Hale, Cook Steadley Elementary Transfer Was at Fairview 
Ruby Shaffer, Paraprofessional Columbian Elementary Transfer Was sub in district in 22- 23 
Hilary McCaw, Nurse Early Childhood Center Transfer Was a sub nurse in 22-23 

 Certified Resignation 

Brice Moss, Teacher Columbian Elementary Resignation 

Support Retirement 

Douglas Dahlman, Custodian Carthage Tech Center Retirement 

Support Resignation 

Donna Platko, Paraprofessional Early Childhood Resignation 
Michelle Hall, Practical Nursing Instructor Carthage Tech Center Resignation 
Eric Schmidt, Custodian Columbian Resignation 
Dallas Scavezze, Paraprofessional Carthage High School Resignation 
Glenn Radcliff, Custodian Carthage Junior High School Resignation 
Kayley Moseley, Paraprofessional Columbian Resignation 
Shelley Legorreta, Paraprofessional Carthage High School Resignation 
Kelsey Bryant, Bus Driver Transportation Resignation 
Josh Bryant, Bus Driver Transportation Resignation 
Casandra Kittrell, Cook Pleasant Valley Resignation 
Jessica Huffman, Nurse Early Childhood Resignation 
Daryl Bailey, Bus Driver Transportation Termination 
Kimberly Scharff, Bus Driver Transportation Resignation 
Cecilia Flores, Cook Carthage Intermediate Center Resignation 
Deborah Cardwell, Bus Driver Transportation Resignation 
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Grand jury indicts Joplin residents for conspiracy, bank fraud, mail theft, identity theft

A grand jury indictment of two Joplin residents on felony conspiracy, bank fraud, mail theft and identity thefts charges was unsealed today in U. S District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

According to the indictment, Aaron M. Blake, 27, and Emily Anna-Lee Sturgis, 30, stole items out of numerous mailboxes, including information that enabled them to open credit card accounts. Blake faces nine felony charges and Sturgis eight.

Blake and Sturgis stored the items they stole in a Carthage motel room, according to the indictment.

The two were initially arrested in January by the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, which posted the following news release:

On January 26th, 2023 at approximately 2:00 p.m. Jasper County Deputies were dispatched to the area Fleece Lane and North Peace Church Ave in Joplin in reference to a suspicious vehicle that was stopping in front of several houses. The caller gave a vehicle description and license plate to the dispatcher.

Jasper County Detectives who were in the area recognized the vehicle description as a vehicle they were looking for in several reports of stolen mail.

Detectives located the vehicle at Casey’s in Briarbrook of Carl Junction. During the investigation, multiple items of mail were located in the vehicle with various different addresses.

The driver, Emily Sturgis, 30, of Joplin and passenger, Aaron Blake, 27, of Joplin were taken into custody and charges of stealing are being sent to the Jasper County Prosecutor for review. The owners of the stolen mail will be contacted by detectives. This investigation is ongoing, and more charges may arise as it continues.

Jasper County deputies searched the room at the Tara Motel in Carthage and posted the following news release January 29:

On January 29th , at approximately 3:00 PM, Jasper County deputies were following up on information regarding the recent mail theft suspects.

During the investigation detectives searched a room at the Tara Motel located near I -44/Old 66 that both Sturgis and Blake had rented and located opened mail that contained W-2 forms, car titles, financial statements, checks and credit cards belonging to additional victims of Jasper County.

Approximately an additional 170 victims have been identified and will be contacted in reference to these thefts.

More charges will be sent to the prosecutor on both suspects and other agencies are now assisting with this investigation, including Joplin Police Department and Newton County Sheriff’s Office.