Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Carthage woman who ripped off nursing home, financially abused Medicaid patient sentenced to 10 years in prison

(From Attorney General Josh Hawley)

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that Kirsti Metcalf, 41, of Carthage, Missouri, has been sentenced to 10 years for receiving stolen property and seven years for financial abuse of a Medicaid patient, to be served concurrently for ten years. She must also pay $44, 561 in restitution to her victims and $15,370.63 for the State’s prosecution costs. 

In October, Metcalf pled guilty to the class B felony of receiving stolen property and the class C felony of abuse of a health care recipient in the Circuit Court of Jasper County.

Metcalf was employed in the business office of the Carthage Health and Rehabilitation Center from 2010 through 2012. She was responsible for accounts which held resident funds in trust. She pled guilty to systematically retaining $44,561 in resident funds for her own purposes without the residents or their families’ consent. Some of the residents were Medicaid recipients.

During sentencing, Jasper County Judge David Mouton described Metcalf’s actions as “despicable” and “horrible” and noted that her victims were elderly or incapacitated.

“Criminal actions like those of Kirsti Metcalf will not be tolerated in Missouri,” Hawley said. “Let this conviction signify to anyone trying to take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens that this behavior will not stand. Our office is firm in its commitment to protect all Missourians.”

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Brad Crowell and Assistant Attorney General Sarah Schappe with the assistance of the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office as well as AGO Auditor Matt Smith and AGO investigator Lauren Richardso

Arraignment set for the accused killer of three-year-old Jayda Kyle

A 9 a.m. Thursday arraignment has been scheduled in Jasper County Circuit Court for Jalen Dashawn Vaden, 22, Carl Junction, who is charged with second degree murder  and felony child abuse in connection with the December 1 death of three-year-old Jayda Kyle.

Vaden was the live-in boyfriend of Jayda's mother and admitted to Carl Junction Police that he caused the injuries November 28 that resulted in the child's death.

Vaden is being held without bond in the Jasper County Jail.

A description of the crime was provided in the December 7 Turner Report:

When Carl Junction officers responded to 405 Meadow Lake to a report of a child who had been found in her bedroom unresponsive.

Jayda Kyle was taken to Mercy Hospital, Joplin, then airlifted to Children's Mercy Hospital where doctors determined she had "abusive head trauma." She died Friday. The autopsy confirmed the child abuse diagnosis.
Vaden told police he "became upset over the child not being dressed in the pajamas he instructed her to put on." He picked the child up and threw her, causing her to hit her head on the floor, according to the probable cause statement.

A short time later, Vaden said, Jayda left the room still not wearing the pajamas. He said he threw her on the bed, then grabbed her by the leg and threw her face first on the floor.

Watch the Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting live at 7 p.m.

Agenda posted for tonight's Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education will meet 7 p.m. today in the Memorial Education Building.

A closed session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with the preliminary agenda listing legal action, real estate and personnel items.

Meeting Agenda

A. Call to Order

1. Roll Call

B. Pledge of Allegiance

C. Approval of Agenda - Action

D. Reports

1. Board President's Report

a. Celebrations - Info. (Jeff Koch)

b. International High School Student Forum - Info. (Chris Young and Brendan Beck)

2. Superintendent's Data Report

a. Middle School Athletics Presentation - Info. (Matt Hiatt)

b. Health and Dental Care Insurance Reports - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

c. Financial Statements - Info. (Dr. Lankford)

d. Enrollment Report - Info. (Dr. Moss)

E. Public Comments Regarding Agenda Items 

F. Consent Agenda - Action

1. Approve Minutes - Action (Pat Waldo)

2. Consent Contracts - Action

a. Contract MOPERM Insurance - (Dr. Lankford)

b. Contract Cable One Business Service

3. Talent Management Solution Renewal - Action (Ashley Jones)

4. Policy Updates for Second Reading - Action (Dr. Moss)

a. Policy BBBA: Board Member Qualifications - (Dr. Moss)

b. Policy GCBDA: Professional Staff Short-term Leaves - (Ashley Jones)

c. Policy GDBDA: Support Staff Leaves - (Ashley Jones)

d. Policy JG-R: Student Discipline - (Dr. Moss)

G. Regular Agenda

1. JEC - Prime Contract Change Order #11 Crossland Construction Co. - Action (Dr. Sachetta)

2. Joplin Schools Support Vehicle Purchase - Action (Dr.Sachetta )

3. Accounts Payable - Action (Dr. Lankford)

4. Purchase of Chromebooks, Management Licenses and Storage Carts - Action (Sandra Cantwell)

a. Stapleton Elementary - Action

b. Kelsey Norman Elementary - Action

c. Soaring Heights Elementary - Action

5. Declare FTC Items Surplus - Action (Dr. Moss)

H. Plus/Delta - Info. (Dr. Moss)

1. Plus: What did we do well

2. Delta: Opportunities for Improvement

I. BOE Announcements

J. Adjourn

Blunt PAC gives maximum amount to support Roy Moore's Senate candidacy

The most recent campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows no one gave more money to embattled Alabama U. S. Senate candidate Roy Moore than Sen. Roy Blunt.

Blunt's support was not a personal contribution to Moore, but came in the form of a $5,000 contribution from Blunt's Rely On Your Beliefs PAC.

The contribution was made October 17, approximately three weeks before the Washington Post first revealed allegations of Moore's efforts to hit on underage girls while he was in his 30s.

Blunt commented on those allegations November 13 in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article

"The women have a more credible story than Judge Moore. Alabama voters should have a better choice and Judge Moore should have better answers to these charges."

Since then, Blunt has made few comments on Moore.

Blunt was not the only Senate Republican leader to make the maximum $5,000 PAC contribution to the Moore campaign.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Bluegrass Committee also contributed $5,000. McConnell, however, asked that his $5,000 be returned and Moore complied, according to the FEC records.

There is no indication that Blunt has made any similar request.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Moran: Withdrawing from NAFTA would harm Kansas farmers and ranchers

(From Sen. Pat Moran, R-Kansas)

I met with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross this week, along with my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee, regarding the ongoing negotiations with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its vital importance to farmers, ranchers and manufacturers in Kansas.

Our state’s economy is dependent on our ability to export what we grow and manufacture to consumers around the world. In 2016, Kansas exported more than $4.5 billion worth of agricultural products, which supported more than 36,000 jobs and generated more than $5.7 billion in economic activity.

I support the administration’s effort to modernize and improve NAFTA, but I am concerned that withdrawing from the agreement with Kansas’ two largest trade partners will harm our farmers and ranchers and cost us jobs, and will especially damage manufacturing jobs. To illustrate this point, I showed Secretary Ross a picture of grain piles waiting on the ground in Kensington, Kansas as a direct example of why NAFTA is needed in our state to sell goods and feed the world. I appreciate the Secretary’s willingness to engage in this issue and hear our concerns. Secretary Ross understands I will continue to follow the negotiation process closely and I will not hesitate to bring up further concerns as I hear from farmers and ranchers on this issue.

State auditor urges General Assembly to pass bill offering whistleblower protection

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today urged the General Assembly to pass legislation restoring protections and adding safeguards for public employees who report inappropriate activity in the workplace. The bills, sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp and Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, also include a provision to add transparency and taxpayer protections to state legal settlements.

"This legislation fights against a chilling effect that could undermine the state's ability to uncover wasteful, improper or illegal uses of taxpayer dollars," said Auditor Galloway. "Non-disclosure agreements as a part of state legal settlements, coupled with compromised protections for whistleblowers, allow improper government activity to be shrouded in secrecy."

“It’s time to do away with secrecy in Jefferson City. We should be secure in the knowledge that our tax dollars are being well-managed and that our public officials are held accountable for their actions," said Sen. Schupp. "This legislation promotes transparency and protects public employees who speak out for the best interests of Missourians. I urge my colleagues to advance this bill without delay.”

“When there is wrongdoing or mismanagement in government, those responsible will go to great lengths to keep the public in the dark,” said Rep. McCann Beatty. “State law must ensure that people with knowledge of official misdeeds are encouraged to come forward without fear of retaliation and prohibit imposing gag orders on victims to keep the details of taxpayer-funded legal settlements secret.”

Earlier this year, the Governor signed a law limiting legal protections for government workers who blow the whistle on improper or illegal activity in the workplace. The bill removed longstanding protections, putting state or local government workers who blow the whistle on wrongdoing at greater risk of being retaliated against or fired.

In September, Auditor Galloway released an audit of the state's Legal Expense Fund, which is the pool of money used to make payments stemming from lawsuits against the state. The report highlights how millions in taxpayer dollars are being spent on legal expenses with no system in place to track the amount and nature of payments. The audit found the state had spent more than $9 million over a six year period on employment discrimination cases.

State and public employees can use the Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline to share information on waste, fraud and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. Reports are anonymous and protected by law. Individuals may contact the State Auditor's Whistleblower Hotline by emailing moaudit@auditor.mo.gov or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Nancy Hughes: The Value of a Name

“He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”
Revelation 3:5 (NIV)

I have an old red sweater. The tag says “This has been knitted especially for you with love by Patty Hallam.” It is a comfort to me…it is precious to me.

Why? Well, first of all, it was made for me by someone who loves me – my sister.

Secondly, when I am hurting, when I am sad, when I need to hide away from the world for a while, I pull out that sweater and I wrap it around me like the hug from an old friend. I immediately have a sense of not only warmth, but security and peace.

But you know something? Someday, when I am gone, that sweater will be given away, perhaps to Good Will.

Someone will look at it and the tag and say “Patty Hallam…who is that? Who cares?” and my sweater will no longer be a source of warmth and security nor will it be considered precious but instead will be a rag for soaking up oil from an engine or tossed in the trash because it is no longer in style.

And why is that? Because no one will know the name of the person who worked so hard to create it out of love for another and they will not recognize its value.

How wonderful it is that Jesus not only knows each of our names but considers us precious in His sight. We read in Revelation 3:5 this beautiful promise: “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”

Can you imagine Jesus speaking our names to His Father? And if that’s not enough to encourage us, we read in Isaiah 49:16 “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

How amazing is that! Our names are not penciled in which can be easily erased or written with permanent ink which fades with time but engraved by Jehovah Himself. And why has He done that? Because He created us. Because He loves us. Because we are precious to Him.

The name on a tag in an old red sweater may not mean anything except to the person who made it or the person wearing it. But the names engraved on the palms of our Father’s hands will be spoken with love in heaven for eternity.

Father, thank you. Thank you for knowing my name. Thank you for loving me so much that you call me your very own child. Give me courage to share that love no matter where I am. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up


Have you ever considered that God calls you by name as His child because you are truly special to Him?


Tattoos are popular in today’s society. When you see a person with one, remember that our Father has an eternal “tattoo” of you on His hand. Lift him or her up and specifically pray that, if they do not know our King, they will seek His face.

When the Lord lays someone’s name on your heart to pray for them, write their initials on the palm of your hand and as you look at your hand throughout the day, pray for that person.

Power Verses

Revelation 3:5 (NIV) “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”

Isaiah 49:16 (NIV): “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

John 10:3 (NIV) “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

Isaiah 43:1 (NIV) “But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.’”

Luke 12:7 (NIV) “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

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

Kim Frencken: A few thoughts about charter schools

I don't know what to think about charter schools. I mean, everyone should have a choice, right? But, then don't they take away our choice. And, what about charter schools affecting my retirement? Doesn't seem fair that those newly elected into office want to rob me of something that I spent over 21 years earning. And, let me tell you teachers earn every last penny (and then some)!!! My blood pressure is starting to rise just thinking about it. If I am willing to agree that we need choice, fair choice, then why can't politicians. Come to think of it, why are they even interfering with education. They certainly can't agree on anything in Washington, what makes them think they can make educational decisions?

So, getting back to charter schools. The ideology behind charter schools sounds good. A school free from some regulations that public schools face. A school where there is transparency and accountability from the top down. A school where everyone has a voice and the overall goal is to provide excellent education. Then it starts to get tricky. All charter schools are not the same, nor all they all managed by the same group. Some are run by organizations. Some of the organizations may be a state or two away from the school (meaning communication is basically on-line or phone, no hands-on). Many are a 'for-profit' business. Each state has a committee to authorize a charter school. Any group can submit a proposal to the committee. The committee is organized based on state laws. Some charter schools receive public funding based on attendance. Not all teachers in a charter school are required to have certification to teach. This is a decision which varies from state to state.

So charter schools in a nutshell have many similarities to public schools. But there are some glaring differences. A public school operates under regulations mandated by the state. These mandates are similar throughout the U.S. All teachers in a public school have to be certified to teach. This is a license requiring a college education with training specifically geared towards working with kids. A public school is immediately governed by a school board which is made up of locally elected patrons wishing to volunteer their time to represent the needs and wants of the taxpayers in the district. They are local and provide hands-on guidance. A public school is not run like a business, by a business, or for a business. A public school provides an education for all children free from the influence of a business or organization.

One of my pet peeves (and I think most teachers agree) is a non-educator telling an educator what is best. I am speaking for myself and making a generalized statement when I say that most teachers do not want, nor do they need someone from "outside" the world of education telling them how to 'run' their classroom. Each classroom is unique. Its' own little world. It functions based on the individualized needs of each child. A teacher doesn't need a test or a bystander or a suit telling them which children need help with math or who reads below grade level. They don't need someone telling them that a child has a vision or hearing problem, or is hungry. They just know. Usually within the first couple of days, or even the first couple of hours.

That should make clear what is my largest concern with charter schools. An alternative to public school run by an organization or business. Supporters may say that they know what is best for their kids. I would dare to argue with them. Supporters may say that charter schools are held accountable and are transparent. I say attend school board meetings and ask questions. Volunteer. Visit the school. Bring treats for your child's classroom. If supporters of charter schools are only supporting them because of the control that they can personally have over them, they need to realistically ask themselves if they are trained in education and have the skills to teach. If they are only concerned with accountability, they should invest some time in their local public school.

To me, a charter school is simply another way for businesses and government to control the education of our children. What seems like a privilege today could actually turn out to be tomorrow's manipulation.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

Links provided for top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts for the week

For the second time in the past month, the city of Joplin has been rocked by the murder of a three-year-old child and that murder was featured in the top post in the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries.

The top post in the Turner Report was the probable cause statement for the murder, while Inside Joplin was topped by the arrest of the alleged killer and the obituary of Jayda Kyle received the most interest on Inside Joplin Obituaries.

Another story that received considerable attention, landing at both the number two and number three spots on the Turner Report was the discovery that at least $144,000 and likely far more was embezzled from the Jasper R-5 School District.

The impending departure of KSN's Stacey Garvilla was also a highly visited post.


A few hours ago, I posted the following message on my personal Facebook page and on the Inside Joplin Facebook page:

Thanks to those of you who have bought subscriptions or made contributions to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin during the past several days. It is always gratifying to know that the work is being appreciated and that, the Turner Report, Inside Joplin, Inside Joplin Obituaries and Inside Springfield are now reaching approximately 25,000 readers daily.

I am going to place one more subscription/contribution call later tonight when I post the top 10 posts for the week on each blog and then I will give all of you a Christmas gift (and a break) by not running any more subscription calls for the rest of the year.

Thanks for reading. Your support is much appreciated.

The PayPal subscription buttons can be found below the links.

The Turner Report

1. Probable cause: Carl Junction man abused three-year-old, left her on floor bloody, unconscious

2. Embezzled funds cause of drastic cuts for Jasper R-5 School District, federal charges expected against former board secretary

3. Jasper superintendent to KOAM: $144,000 in stolen funds is all we can prove

4. Stacey Garvilla leaving KSN

5. Live video- Joplin News First's coverage of the prayer service for 3-year-old Jayda Kyle

6. Joplin man pleads guilty to child pornography charge, 36-year-old arrested after texting 12-year-old "girlfriend"

7. Blake Altman sentenced to six years in prison on child pornography charge

8. Preliminary hearing set for Carthage man accused of kidnapping 15-year-old Texas girl

9. Roy Blunt: Tax reform package is a win for Missourians

10. Graves pleased he fought against "liberal land grabbers" by voting to have concealed weapons in all states

Inside Joplin

1. Carl Junction man arrested on felony child abuse charges in connection with death of three-year-old Jayda Kyle

2. Galena man killed in accident on Junge Boulevard

3. Joplin man arrested, 130 packages found during residence search

4. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

5. Joplin man, Carthage woman arrested on drug charges in 7th Street Wal-Mart parking lot

6. Duquesne Police Department plans holiday DWI crackdown

7. Joplin Police Department Arrests December 5-6

8. Jasper man airlifted to Mercy in Springfield after truck rolls over him

9. Two adults hospitalized after stabbing at 901 S. Monroe, Joplin Police investigation continues

10. Joplin Police arrest two following disturbance at Range Line hotel

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Jayda Kyle

2. Janie Parker

3. Harold Haskins

4. Zack Green

5. Jeremiah Marsh

6. Scott Hollingshead

7. Averi Yaw

8, Brenda Jeffries

9. Josey Smotherman

10. George Higgins


Those wishing to subscribe to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin or to make a contribution of any amount can do so at the PayPal buttons below or mail a check to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801.

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