Saturday, September 30, 2023

Annual Joplin Writers' Faire set for next Saturday


More than 30 local and regional authors, including this one, will be at the seventh annual Joplin Writers' Faire a week from today, Saturday, October 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Joplin Public Library.

I will have copies of nearly all of my titles available with the older books on sale.

The 2023 Joplin Writers' Faire participants include the following:

J.C Brice, Annie Lisenby, Becca Turner, Becky Adams, BH Skelley, C Britt, Calvin Cassady, Chase Shirk, C.G. Baird, Clarissa Willis, Clay Dwyer, DA Power, D.L. Golden, Doug Godsman, Elton Gahr, F.C. Shultz, Kayla Branstetter, LaDonna Greiner, Larry Wood, Malarkey Books, Margarite Stever, Michael Gregory, N. Jade Gray, Nancy Hughes, Ozark Hollow Press, Randy Turner, RH Burkett, Robert John Dopp, Roger Desrochers, Roger Hagan, Sandra Parrill, Sandra Ruddick-Darr, Sean Fitzgibbon, Seth Wolfshorndl, Steve Belcher, T. Michael Burt and Terry McDermid.

Nancy Hughes: God understands my prayers

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Psalm 66:20 (NIV)

Everyone takes turns praying at mealtime in my daughter’s home. And that includes the youngest – but only after he declared one day that he was “old nuf” to pray. So with all heads bowed, two-year-old Jude put his hands together and took a deep breath:

“Loh-dur-lawd-hop-yur-ha-da-gur-da. Amen.”

He opened his eyes and smiled in triumph at his first mealtime prayer and everyone smiled back. But no one understood a word he said. Except Jude. He knew exactly what he had prayed. A few days later before supper, it was Jude’s turn again. Excitedly he bowed his head and closed his eyes as, once again, he lifted up his prayer: “Loh-dur-lawd-hop-yur-ha-da-gur-da. Amen.”

This went on for several days with everyone listening still unable to figure out what Jude was saying. Finally, his dad could not resist any longer. “I couldn’t quite understand what you said, Son,” he told Jude. “Can you slow your prayer down just a little so I can hear it better?” Jude was happy to oblige: “Hello there, Lord, hope you had a good day.”

Can I get an amen?

Even though his family couldn’t understand Jude, I am sure God knew exactly what he had said and His day was made better by that heartfelt prayer from a two-year-old boy.

I wonder if the writer of Psalm 66:20 had offered more than one prayer up to the Lord but felt like it just didn’t make any sense or that he hadn’t uttered the right words. And, more importantly, have you ever felt that way?

On any given day I search for words and lose my train of thought and fumble and mumble as I talk to the Lord. I pray with anger and resentment and a judgmental attitude hidden in a corner of my heart (or at least I think it’s hidden) and have to repent and start over.

I cannot count the number of times that I have brought a list of “wants” into my prayer closet and never even stopped to listen to God the Father sharing His love and will with me. And, please forgive me, but I have even prayed in a group and wondered if my words would be accepted by those with me.

And yet, according to Psalm 66:20, God doesn’t reject our prayers or stop loving us just because what we say is not picture-perfect or acceptable to those around us. If God heard and answered prayers based on words being “perfect” we would all be in a lot of trouble.

This very minute, let us all praise God for loving us as we are and for listening to our prayers lifted to Him. He understands us, even when we don’t understand ourselves. And I’m with Jude: “Hello there, Lord, hope you had a good day.”

Father, I praise you for hearing my sometimes feeble attempts at prayer and for loving me, even when I struggle with my words. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever felt like your prayers weren’t “good enough” for God?

Have you thought that if you prayed “perfectly,” God would love you more?


Begin your prayer time with praise to the Lord for His unconditional love and mercy.

Pray your words from your heart; then be still and listen for His answer to you.


Psalm 66:20 (NIV) “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NIV) “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

Romans 8:26 (NIV) “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

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

Probable cause: Wildwood Senior Living employee assaulted 77-year-old, broke his hip

Felony assault in the second degree (special victim) charges have been filed against an employee of Wildwood Senior Living following an investigation by the Missouri Attorney General's office.

According to the probable cause statement, Takeshia Moore, 45, Joplin, a Level I medication aide, abused a 77-year-old resident who was in Wildwood's memory care unit to a diagnosis of dementia by shoving him, causing him to fall and suffer hip and femur fractures. After that, the resident's health rapidly deteriorated and he died January 21.

A staff member reported the abuse to the Department of Health and Human Services that day. 

From the probable cause statement:

Moore was recording memory care patient weights in the Wildwood dining room when she walked away from the table, leaving her ink pen and paper on the table. picked up Moore’s pen and was holding it. 

Moore approached wanting her pen back and aggressively removed the pen from (the man's) grasp, but the pen cap remained in (his) hand. He threw the pen cap at Moore in response to her grabbing the pen. rose from his seat and ambulated toward Moore, who was still standing, and hit her elbow. 

Moore ignored de-escalation training and procedure and used an excess of force and both of her arms to shove (the man) who fell to the ground. (He) sustained a left side hip and femur fractures which required surgery. 

Following surgery, (the man's) health declined and he died on January 21, 2023. 

A staff member at Wildwood called DHSS on October 1, 2022, to report staff-to-resident abuse. The reporter informed DHSS that the incident resulted in (the) resident being sent to the emergency room (ER) for hip pain assessment. 

The ER assessment revealed a left hip and femur fracture. Wildwood reviewed their surveillance footage and discovered that (the man) had been pushed by Moore. DHSS visited Wildwood on October 2, 2022 following the incident and advised memory care director, Ally Arguello to file a police report. Arguello filed a police report with the Joplin Police Department. The Joplin Police Department obtained the information, created the report, and saved the surveillance footage of the incident. 

After completing their investigation, DHSS referred the incident to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) on November 7, 2022 to pursue criminal charges. MFCU obtained the Wildwood surveillance footage of the incident, the Joplin Police report, and two witness statements from staff members who saw the exchange. MFCU also obtained and analyzed Moore's employment records, (the man's) health and resident records, and DHSS's investigative file. Based on the review of all documents, Moore's conduct violated the law.

Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate that at the time the incident occurred at Wildwood Senior Living, Moore was awaiting trial on a driving while intoxicated charge following a traffic stop by the Missouri State Highway Patrol July 8, 2022 on westbound MO 66 at Tri-State Road in Joplin.

According to the probable cause statement, Moore told the trooper she had been drinking and using marijuana. 

In addition to the DWI, Moore was cited for speeding, failing to place a vehicle not in motion as far to the right as practicable, failing to drive in the right lane and possession of marijuana.

Moore's trial on the DWI charge is scheduled for March 8 in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Carthage woman cited for DWI, property damage, tells police "I am a drunk"


A Carthage woman faces a felony property damage charge and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield the right of way and failure to stop charges following a collision September 19 at the intersection of W. Macon and S. Garrison in Carthage.

According to the probable cause statement, Jasmine S. McKinney (DOB 1977), ran a stop sign hitting another vehicle at 9:45 a.m. When Carthage police officers investigated, the first thing McKinney said was "I am a drunk," after which she asked the officers to take her license.

The probable cause statement indicated McKinney's blood alcohol content was 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.

Multiple witnesses told police they heard a loud noise and saw McKinney's vehicle backing away a dumpster on the 1500 block of Garrison. The owner of the dumpster said it would cost about $1,000 to repair the damage.

A warrant has been issued for McKinney's arrest with bond set at $5,000 cash or surety.

Eric Burlison explains why he is only Missouri Congressman to vote against keeping the government open

(From Seventh District Congressman Eric Burlison)

On Friday, the House rejected a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for a 30 day period past the September 30th ending of the fiscal year. I was among 21 Republicans who voted against the CR and we are demanding Congress return to Regular Order and pass the 12 individual appropriations bills, 4 of which we’ve already passed.

Then, on Saturday, the House chose to punt and voted for a clean Continuing Resolution. So, instead of staying in D.C. and fighting to pass the rest of the appropriations bills, Congress is kicking the can down the road by passing a 45 day Continuing Resolution, extending the woke Biden policies for an additional month and a half.

Instead of building on the momentum that started this week when the House passed bills to fund the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, the House has decided to repeat the same cycle that plays out every year and hope for a different result this time.

During this extension, we are supposed to pass the remaining appropriations bills - that will remain to be seen.

I voted against this CR and will continue to fight to end this cycle of irresponsibility.

For decades, Congress has been derelict in its duty. Failing to pass appropriations bills and instead opting to kick the can down the road until pressure builds to pass a massive spending bill that nobody has time to read or understand..

I refuse to play that game. Continuing Resolutions with long lead times allows the House to shirk responsibility.

Promises made, must be promises kept. I will not stand by and watch my country decompose.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Medals of Valor awarded to JPD officers; Heart Awards presented posthumously to fallen officers

(From the Missouri Department of Public Safety)

Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe presented Medal of Valor and Red, White and Blue Heart Awards to 18 first responders and Public Safety Civilian Partnership Awards to four civilians who helped first responders in emergency situations. 

MO Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten and Deputy Director Kevin Bond emceed the event while Kehoe gave the awards to recipients and their families.

Joplin Police Department Captain William E. Davis and officer Rick D. Hirshey were awarded the Medal of Valor for stopping a gunman on March 8, 2022.

Joplin Police Corporal Ben Cooper and Officer Jake Reed had responded to a disturbance call at a business and found a gunman, who pulled a gun and fatally shot both officers before stealing Cooper's vehicle and fleeing.

Cooper and Reed were given Red, White and Blue Heart Awards posthumously for their sacrifice.

Hirshey pursued the shooter, who fired at the officers chasing him. When he crashed the patrol car and tried to steal a minivan, Hirshey blocked his escape with his vehicle. The shooter shot Hirshey in the face before Davis arrived and fatally shot the gunman.

Hirshey also received a Red, White and Blue Heart Award for his injury during the incident.

(Cpl. Cooper's Wife Roxy and Officer Reed's Wife Bayley accepted the awards)

Joplin R-8 Board hires four teachers, 41 classified employees

During a closed session Tuesday, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education hired four teachers, 41 classified employees and 19 substitute teachers and approved "separations" for 27 classified employees.

Classified Separations: Johathan Burkhart, Tori McNeil, Jeffrey Swift, Brenda Derusse, Megan Glensky, Tabitha Wood, Karyn Blount, Jamie Smith, Carol Finney, Nerissa Wheeler, Samantha Walker, Mark McDonald, Laynard Mallarme, Rebeka Tasker, Kenny Gubera, Alma Medellin, Cynthia Logan, Rileen Jack, Tereasa Neal, Joey Ketcham, Logan Burrus, Ashley Sharp, Emalee Houston, Stormy Affolter, Carly Webster, Dorothy Alsenz, Wanda Roberts

Certified Hire: Donna Mitchell, Charli Thurman, Erin Sigars, Stephanie Bayles

Classified Hire: Robert Nutting, Kelsey Stevenson, Morgan Faubion, Derek Green, Sharon Holcomb, Mitchell Stephens, Melissa Patton, Justin Denefrio, Johnda Todd, Michael Dietz, Callie Weiser, George Dixon, Tricia Brock, Dakota Hunt, Crystal Mitchell, Janelle Clevenger, Karen Sanginetti, Sara Ludders, Jacque Waggoner, Ashley Smith, Chandal DeLaRosa, Troy Harvy, Tandra Pickering, Tracy Fox, Javetta Mixon, Caitlyn Stewart, Drew Parker, Darrian Haralson, Andrea Fields, Mara Carpenter, Jane Higdon, Jackie Pace, Jennifer Russow, Jodi Webster, Cameron Horne, Danissa Holt, Alexus Eby, Allyson Armstrong, Kaelie Burke, Sofia Tommijo, Tedra Prater

Substitute Hire:  Cailyn Sweeney, Amber Nathan, Kristin Carter, Serita Eldridge, Kristen Cornell, Joshua Bricker, Brandon Glick, Hannah Randleman, Amber Busby, Robert Phillips, Anne Tindall, Mary Griffin, Averi McNeal, Holly Mallory, Taylor Colson, Tara Arefiev, John Southern, Myli Taylor, Wyatt Hensley 

The board also discussed real estate during the closed session.

Misdemeanor DWI charge filed against Joplin man arrested with fentanyl, loaded gun

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and possession of drug paraphernalia against a Joplin man who was arrested after falling asleep in a running vehicle in a McDonald's drive through.

Christopher Don Parker (DOB 1988) was "slumped over and drooling" in the drive through when approached by Joplin Police Wednesday evening, according to the probable cause statement.

Parker did not respond when I announced myself and pounded on the vehicle’s side window. Once I turned off the vehicle and woke up Parker he was startled and confused. Parker later made a spontaneous utterance that he had a firearm concealed on his hip. 

Parker agreed to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests to ensure he was okay to drive. Before the SFSTs I located a black Glock 43X, loaded with one round in the chamber in a holster on Parker’s right hip. 

After administering SFSTs to Parker I arrested him for driving under the influence of drugs. During a search incident to arrest of Parker’s front right pocket I located a small wrapped-up piece of foil that I believed to be drug paraphernalia. 

 Search incident to arrest of Parker’s left pocket I located two more pieces of foil with residue and burn marks. In the front left pocket I also located four metal cylinder tubes. One blue tube was empty with nothing in it (and weighed 22.69 grams), one blue tube contained a white powdery residue that I believed to be fentanyl through my training and experience (and weighed 22.70 grams), a green tube that was approximately two-thirds full of a white powdery substance I believed to be fentanyl (and weighed 27.48 grams), and a pink tube that was completely full of a white powdery substance I believed to be fentanyl (that weighed 31.30 grams). 

Later it was discovered that the wrapped-up piece of foil also contained more of a white powdery substance believed to be fentanyl and weighed 0.62 grams. The substance in the wrapped-up foil tested on the TrueNarc system at heroin/fentanyl, the substance in the pink container tested on the TrueNarc system as Acetyl Fentanyl. 

Overall the suspected fentanyl weighed approximately 13.9 grams. 411 forms were completed to send the fentanyl to the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab for official testing. 

Under Miranda Warning Parker admitted to using fentanyl around 11AM on 09/27/2023 and said he uses fentanyl two or three times daily. Parker agreed to have his blood drawn after he was read implied consent, the blood draw kit was sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Lab for testing.

The misdemeanor charges were only half of the charges recommended by the Joplin Police Department, according to the probable cause statement.

In addition to driving while intoxicated, felony charges of drug trafficking in the first degree and unlawful use of a firearm were recommended. At this point, neither charge has been filed according to Jasper County Circuit Court records.

Joplin bicyclist charged with meth trafficking after running stop sign

A Joplin bicyclist who allegedly ran a stop sign Thursday finds himself facing a far more serious charge.

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed felony drug trafficking charges against Clinton John Gray (DOB 1977) this morning.

According to the probable cause statement, Gray was taken into custody after the Joplin Police Department officer determined he had several outstanding warrants.

I took Gray into custody for his warrants, Gray advised he had a pipe in his pocket. I conducted a search of his person; I removed a glass pipe commonly used for ingesting methamphetamine. I removed a black pouch and located the following items inside the pouch. 

-1x clear bag containing 390 MG of a brown/white powdery substance. 

-1x clear bag containing 3.75 Grams of a crystal-like rock substance. 

1x clear bag containing 1.95 Grams of a crystal-like rock substance. 

I read Gray his Miranda warning at the jail. Gray advised that there were three bags of methamphetamine in the black pouch for his personal use.

1x clear bag containing 1.21 Grams of a crystal-like rock substance was located at the jail during an inventory.

Gray's bond is set at $50,000 surety or $10,000 cash.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Emanuel Cleaver: Extreme conservatives trying to force a government shutdown

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

I wanted to contact you about a potential government shutdown and my ongoing work to protect vital services for Missourians in our congressional district. Unfortunately, extreme conservatives are trying to force a shutdown, which would begin on October 1, to further their far-right ideological agenda.

I am working hard right now to keep critical services that working families count on up-and-running. Government services like cancer research, Head Start, and Meals on Wheels are far too important for political games, and I am prepared to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to prevent a shutdown and protect these vital programs.

But, if extreme conservatives continue down this reckless path without seeking bipartisan cooperation, I want you to know what you can expect.

Economic forecasters predict a shutdown will slow economic growth, jeopardizing the more than 13.5 million jobs created over the last two years. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will be unable to process some mortgage loans and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be unable to serve business owners in our community.

Service members, federal law enforcement, and Border Patrol will remain on the job - but will be forced to work without being paid. Disaster relief and environmental protection will be stalled. Even food inspections, to keep our meat and produce safe, will be slowed down. Some agencies will be shuttered entirely, with serious effects for people who count on them.

Even in the event of a government shutdown, my staff and I will continue working on your behalf and will remain available to assist you as usual - although we may not be able to get answers from federal agencies that have been shuttered.

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




Union Depot Study


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 R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to District MUC (Mixed-Use Commercial) property as described below and located directly South of the Intersection of W 32nd St and S Nellie Mae.


Consent Agenda


Minutes Of The September 18, 2023, City Council Meeting




Ordinances - Emergency



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the acceptance of an agreement by and between the City of Joplin and Wolen, LLC, in the amount of Four Hundred Ninety-One Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty and 00/100 Dollars ($491,730.00) for the purchase and installation of upgraded Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) equipment at the Joplin Regional Airport; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute this agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 as adopted by Ordinance 2022-161 on October 17, 2022; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the acceptance of an agreement by and between the City of Joplin and Crossland Construction, Inc., in the amount of Seven Million Nine Hundred Forty-Five Thousand Two Hundred Thirty-Nine and 12/100 Dollars ($7,945,239.12) for Construction of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting/Snow Removal Equipment (ARFF/SRE) building at the Joplin Regional Airport; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute the agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; amending the Annual Budget of the City of Joplin for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 as adopted by Ordinance 2022-161 on October 17, 2022; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE approving a work authorization with Allgeier, Martin and Associates, Inc in the not to exceed amount of One Hundred Thousand and no/100 Dollars ($100,000.00) for professional engineering services associated with the MS4 Program and Floodplain Management Support 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 emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the acceptance of an agreement by and between the City of Joplin and Reinbold Electric, Inc., in the amount of Four Hundred Twenty-Four Thousand Eight Hundred and 00/100 Dollars ($424,800.00) for the purchase and installation of a new Airport Lighting and Control Management System (ALCMS) at the Joplin Regional Airport; authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute this agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin; and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE authorizing the acceptance of an agreement by and between Crawford, Murphy and Tilley, Inc. for Construction Management services in the not to exceed amount of Six Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand Eight Hundred Thirty-Two and 44/100 Dollars ($637,832.44) relating to the construction of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting/Snow Removal Equipment (ARFF/SRE) building at the Joplin Regional Airport; and authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute this agreement by and on behalf of the City of Joplin;  and containing an emergency clause.



AN ORDINANCE    approving a Program Services Contract by and between the State of Missouri, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for a term commencing October 1, 2023 and running through September 30, 2024, for the amount of up to Thirty Four Thousand, Seven Hundred Six Dollars and Forty Six Cents ($34,706.46), to enable the Health Department to provide maternal child health services to residents of Joplin, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri; and containing an emergency clause.  


Ordinances - First Reading



AN ORDINANCE    approving a Program Services Contract by and between the State of Missouri, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the City of Joplin, Missouri, for a term commencing August 1, 2023 and running through November 30, 2027, for the amount of up to Two Hundred Thirty-Nine Thousand, Fifty Dollars and No Cents ($239,050.00), to enable the Health Department to establish, expand, train and sustain the public health workforce, authorizing the City Manager to execute the same by and on behalf of the City of Joplin, Missouri.


Ordinances - Second Reading And Third Reading


Unfinished Business


New Business


Vote To Go Into Closed Session, Which Shall Pertain To Legal Action, Causes Of Action, Or Litigation Including A Public Governmental Body And Any Confidential Or Privileged Communications Between A Governmental Body Or Its Representatives And Its Attorneys; And The Hiring, Firing, Disciplining, Or Promotion Of An Employee Or Particular Employees Of A Governmental Body Involving Personal Information More Specifically For The Purpose Of Evaluating Certain Council Employees; As Set Forth In Section 610.021(1) (3) RSMo, As Amended, 2020. This Meeting, Record, And Vote To Be Closed To The Extent Provided By Law. The City Council Shall Adjourn At The End Of The Session.

Carthage man charged with selling stolen catalytic converters

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office has charged a Carthage man with felony stealing in connection with the sale of stolen catalytic converters.

According to the probable cause statement, Timothy Wayne Snethen (DOB 1983) was being investigated by the Carthage Police Department for allegedly selling the converters and stolen vehicles.

Based on this information, officers with the Carthage Police Department were able to obtain catalytic converters to use in an attempt to sell the converters to SNETHEN. One transaction was conducted on the property owned and operated by SNETHEN. 

During the transaction, none of the information was gathered by the purchaser as required by RSMo 407.300. During the search warrant on 7/19/2023, several forms of documentation were recovered and showed SNETHEN was selling converters. 

During an interview with SNETHEN he admitted he did not have the documentation as required by RSMo 407.300. Two hundred and forty-seven (247) converters were recovered during the search warrant. 

SNETHEN stated he anticipated receiving fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in US currency from the sale of the (247) converters. SNETHEN stated the amount of converters he had on site was from the past 60 days. 

During the interview, SNETHEN was adamant he would continue to conduct business because “the law could not stop him."

Online Jasper County Circuit Court records indicate Snethen is awaiting trial on a felony charge of receiving stolen property. Following a Joplin Police Department investigation, Snethen was cited for having 88 stolen catalytic converters.

Arraignment scheduled for Lamar man charged with three counts of domestic assault

A 9 a.m. October 17 arraignment is scheduled in Barton County Circuit Court for a Lamar man charged with three felony counts of domestic assault.

According to the probable cause statements, Caleb Daniel Shaffer, (DOB 1995) assaulted his girlfriend on February 22, September 9 and September 17, with the Lamar Police Department investigating the incidents.

On February 22, the victim told police Shaffer punched her twice on the right side of her face, sucker punched her on the back of her neck and shoved and tossed her around the house.

The probable cause for the September 9 incident alleges Shaffer head butted her.

During the most recent incident, Shaffer allegedly head butted her. The woman told the police Shaffer was paranoid and thought the Highway Patrol was following him.

Missouri Supreme Court weighs constitutionality of law banning sleeping on public land

By Clara Bates

The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments over the constitutionality of a wide-ranging law passed by the legislature last year banning sleeping on public land.

Missouri lawmakers made sleeping on state-owned land a Class C misdemeanor, along with a slew of other provisions such as restricting state funding for permanent supportive housing in favor of temporary treatments.


The legislation was passed as an amendment in a broader bill just before the end of the 2022 session.

The case heard Wednesday centers on whether the way the law was passed — as an amendment in a bill pertaining to “political subdivisions” — violates constitutional requirements that legislation have a single subject, clear title and adhere to its original purpose. Those requirements were designed in part to support transparency and discourage legislative maneuvering to tack amendments that wouldn’t pass as stand-alone bills onto popular bills in order to pass.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, along with Public Citizen Litigation Group and a Springfield homeless shelter, filed a lawsuit last year against the state, arguing the homelessness provisions do not fit within the bill’s overarching subject of “relating to political subdivisions.”

In March, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker ruled in favor of the state, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court.

“Many of its provisions do not concern political subdivisions, and the section as a whole does not clearly relate to political subdivisions,” Adina Rosenbaum, an attorney for Public Citizen Litigation Group, argued Wednesday.

One judge asked why it wouldn’t be sufficient to have some provisions related to political subdivisions. Rosenbaum said only a few provisions are, and that the scope of the legislation is much broader. It “regulates individuals, it regulates nonprofits, regulates private campgrounds,” she said, “so it goes far beyond the political subdivisions.”

“No one looking at the title of this bill would think, for example, that it criminalized individual behavior,” Rosenbaum said.

The state, represented by Assistant Attorney General Clayton Weems, argued political subdivisions “clearly relate to and have a natural connection to the overarching thrust of the bill.”

“As the circuit court correctly found, empowering political subdivisions to address the local problem is…germane and relevant to the concept of political subdivisions as a whole,” Weems said.

Ben Stringer, another attorney arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, disputed the argument that being related to a political subdivision was enough.

“The critique of this bill is not that it doesn’t address political subdivisions, the critique is that it addresses political subdivisions and a slew of other matters that are outside the political subdivision itself,” Stringer said.

“The state has tried to argue that this criminalization of homelessness relates to political subdivisions because political subdivisions become the enforcer of this provision,” Stringer said — arguing if that were true, it would open the floodgates to, for instance, rewriting “the entire criminal code under the auspice of relating to political subdivisions.”

Judge Patricia Breckenridge asked Weems what the standard is.

“The overriding purpose to regulate the political subdivision might be a stretch,” Breckenridge said.

In one of the briefs filed in support of the litigation, an attorney for ArchCity Defenders and a DC-based law firm refer to the law as “legislation of staggering importance, pushed by non-Missouri interests, passed without adequate debate and public scrutiny,” which leads to “criminalization of the most vulnerable Missourians.”

The legislation, modeled off a template created by the conservative think tank Cicero Institute, aims to combine a camping ban with temporary supports to reduce the prevalence of encampments they characterize as violent, and encourage self-sufficiency for those living there. Many advocates oppose the law, arguing it criminalizes being unsheltered while removing housing-first strategies that help combat homelessness.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Parson heading on trade mission to Japan

(From Gov. Mike Parson)

From October 7 - 12, Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson will travel to Japan for an international Trade Mission. Japan is a top source of foreign direct investment and key trade partner for Missouri, with more than $455 million in exports in 2022.

Consistent with Governor Parson’s infrastructure and economic development priorities, the goal of the Trade Mission is to build relationships with key international figures to promote Missouri’s strong capacity for trade.

“Missouri has historic ties to Japan, and we look forward to strengthening this vital international relationship through our Trade Mission,” Governor Parson said. “Leading Japanese companies are already operating in our state, contributing to our economic growth, and creating jobs for Missourians. We are excited to promote Missouri as a prime business location and to encourage continued investment and mutual success.”

The Trade Mission will include stops in Tokyo and Nagano Prefecture, the sister state to Missouri, where the delegation will visit Nagano Prefecture University, which works with the University of Missouri. The delegation will also meet with Shuichi Abe, Governor of Nagano Prefecture, and the mayor of Suwa, St. Louis’ sister city. Governor Parson will meet with various government officials, diplomats, and business leaders to promote Missouri as a prime destination for business investment and expansion.

Meetings are scheduled with company representatives that have existing relationships in Missouri to thank them for their investments in the state and companies without a presence in Missouri to encourage them to consider Missouri for future investments.

The $455 million in goods exported to Japan in 2022 show the importance of international trade to the state’s economic success. Among the goods exported, processed foods, chemicals, and electronic products were among those in highest demand.

Japan Highlights

Governor Parson will take part in meetings with executives of several leading companies, including Hitachi, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nidec, Panasonic, Toyoda Gosei (TG Missouri), and ZEN-NOH.

Governor Parson will also participate in discussions with key Japanese business organizations, including the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), meet with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, and take part in an agri-business dinner.

The Trade Mission is funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri nonprofit organization. For updates on the trip, follow @GovMikeParson on Facebook and @GovParsonMO on Twitter.

Joplin man bound over for trial for receiving stolen property, illegally possessing gun

A Joplin man waived his preliminary hearing today in Jasper County Circuit Court and was bound over for trial on charges of receiving stolen property and illegally possessing a gun.

The next hearing for Frederick Utter Sr. (DOB 1964) is scheduled for 9 a.m. October 23 in Division One.

Utter was arrested following a Joplin Police Department investigation into his alleged possession of a stolen moped, according to the probable cause statement.

Eyewitness statements put Fredrick Utter in possession of a firearm that matched the description of one located by officers during a consent search. I also found 7 cartridges of 9mm Luger ammunition in Fredrick Utter's front left pocket. The ammunition matches what was inside the aforementioned firearm. 
Upon further investigation it was found that Fredrick Utter has multiple felony convictions and the firearm was determined to be stolen out of the City of Joplin.