Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hartzler announces VA reform legislation

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) announced Wednesday the introduction of theVA Fairness in Hiring Act (HR 4037), new legislation that will address the Veterans Affairs hiring shortage. Hartzler made the announcement at a press conference at the Truman VA Hospital in Columbia where she emphasized the importance of taking care of our veterans and cutting government inefficiencies.

“Our veterans need us to look out for them, and I’m happy to announce new legislation that makes sure our government runs efficiently and that veterans receive the care they deserve,” Hartzler said. “This bill enables VA hospitals to compete with private practice medical centers for the best doctors and medical staff, heightening veterans’ quality of care and easing the VA’s current personnel shortage.”

The need for medical professionals in the VA is near an all-time high, but the VA continues to face challenges with recruitment and retention of medical personnel. The VA Fairness in Hiring Act provides relief to the VA by exempting certain medical professionals seeking VA employment from non-compete agreements they may be subject to in a private practice.

“Our veterans deserve the best and most stable health care we can provide,” Hartzler added. “This bill provides VA hospitals potential relief to recruit and retain the medical personnel required to provide that care. It also allows medical providers to answer the call to serve their nation by providing health care to our veterans.”

Currently, the VA cannot require its employees to enter into non-compete agreements like private practice. Because of this, private practice is able to entice potential employees away from the VA. Once private practice hires these medical professionals, many times, they must sign non-compete agreements, preventing the VA from even attempting to recruit medical professionals from private practice. Traditionally, non-compete agreements aim to prevent an employee from leaving a well-established practice and creating their own practice, thereby drawing clients away from the original practice. Doing so has a negative financial impact on the well-established practice; therefore, hospitals and clinics use non-compete agreements for protection. In the case of the VA and private practice, they are not competing for patients, because the VA serves only those that qualify for VA care. Therefore, the underlying premise behind the non-compete does not apply.

This bill also prevents physicians from using this exemption as a loophole to get out of their private practice non-compete agreements. For instance, if a physician leaves private practice to work for the VA and then leaves the VA prior to the expiration of the original non-compete, that non-compete will still be valid and enforceable.

Graves: I was happy Trump signed order eliminating Obamacare subsidies for low income people

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

Obamacare is broken.

It wasn’t long after the law was passed that we began hearing those very words.

And it’s true. Many Missourians lost the insurance plans that they were promised they could keep, premium prices doubled, and doctors are harder to find. Barack Obama promised his namesake law would boost the economy, but across the country, millions of Americans as well as small businesses reported ObamaCare harmed their ability to afford access to care for their families and employees.

More than 1500 counties, including most in North Missouri, will only have one health insurance option in 2018 and that option will likely cost more than it did this year. As predicted, when the law was passed paying the penalty for not having insurance is cheaper than actually having it. Most of those households choosing to pay the penalty make less than $50,000. They have to choose between daily essentials or paying high premiums and high-deductibles for insurance they can’t even use. You and I both know that health insurance coverage is meaningless if you cannot afford to use it or have access to quality care.

That’s why I am happy to see President Trump sign an Executive Order last week which starts the process of dismantling the burdensome regulations imposed on everyday Americans and small business owners by Obamacare. This takes the first step in providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief they desperately need.

The President’s action will help make more health insurance options available to North Missourians. Anyone who is in between jobs or only serviced by one insurer could potentially get more access to short-term insurance.

Small businesses would also get the opportunity to join with other small businesses, even those across state lines, to provide more affordable health insurance to their employees. Selling health insurance across state lines is something I have pushed for from the start and I’m glad to see that the idea is moving forward. Our small businesses are the backbone of this country. They should be able to provide health insurance to their employees at an affordable cost. This executive order gives them the opportunity to do that. I believe that more competition in the marketplace means affordable.

These welcomed changes are a positive step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues in the House to continue our push to keep our seven-year promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Failure is not an option.

Billy Long spokeswoman: You will have to ask someone else if he was in Las Vegas October 1

I was hasty Tuesday when I published a post questioning whether Seventh District Congressman Billy Long was in Las Vegas on October 1, the day of the mass murder of people attending a Jason Aldean concert.

As I noted, I contacted Long's Washington office and was told I would have to talk to his press secretary who was at lunch.

I e-mailed my question and did not receive any answer yesterday.

I should have waited.

The e-mail arrived this morning and answered my main question- my main question was not going to be answered.

This is the entirety of Press Secretary Hannah Smith's response:

This is a campaign related question, so you will need to speak with Congressman Long’s campaign team.

I don't think so. 

If Billy Long's press secretary can't answer a simple question about whether or not the congressman was in Las Vegas on the day of the shooting, I would say that speaks volumes. I await with interest the January campaign finance report when we will see if Billy Long was in Las Vegas that day, or someone from Billy Long's campaign who had to go to Vegas for important campaign business.

Has anyone ever noticed how few campaign contributions Long receives during these Vegas junkets?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Joplin man on probation for failure to register as sex offender is back in prison

A federal judge today ordered Urban Danley, 34, Joplin, on probation for failure to register as a sex offender, to be held without bond while awaiting a probation revocation hearing.

The document filed by the government asking that Danley's probation be revoked was not included in available court documents, but he was less than four months into a five-year probationary record when the motion was filed.

Court records show Danley is a Tier 3 offender who is required to register four times a year for the rest of his life.

The original conviction occurred in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where he was convicted in 2003 at age 20, of lewd molestation. The victim was six years old.

Danley's record was spelled out in a detention motion filed November 4, 2015, in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri:

DANLEY last registered on July 29, 2015, in Cherokee County, Kansas. DANLEY registered his address as 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY signed the registration paperwork stating he understood his sex offender registration requirements. DANELY also initialed on line 17 that he understood failing to register after traveling across a State line is a violation of federal law and that he could be sentenced up to ten years in prison. 

On July 9, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin, Missouri Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the police that he was staying at the Budget Inn in Joplin, Missouri. 

On July 11, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department at 1800 West 7th Street in Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY was arrested for obstruction of justice and/or resisting an arrest. 

On August 14, 2015, DANLEY went to the Social Security office located at 4102 South Arizona Avenue, Joplin, Missouri to request a new Social Security benefits card. DANLEY requested the card be sent to 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. 

On September 14, 2015, DANLEY was arrested for assault by the Joplin Police Department in the area of 531 Kentucky Avenue, Joplin, Missouri. 

On September 22, 2015, DANLEY was contacted by the Joplin Police Department at Ewert Park located at 900 East 5th Street, Joplin, Missouri. DANLEY told the interviewing officer that he was currently homeless. 

On October 2, 2015, DANLEY contacted the Social Security Office and changed his address to 102 East 2nd Street, Joplin, Missouri. 

On October 5, 2015, DANLEY was arrested by the Joplin Police Department for obstruction and failing to register as a sex offender. DANLEY told the arresting officer that he was homeless. 

On the same date DANLEY was interviewed by Detective Charles Root with the Joplin Police Department. DANLEY told Detective Root that he was staying at his registered address of 11173 Southeast 10th Street, Baxter Springs, Kansas. DANLEY further stated that he stays at this address with his girlfriend, Susan Wise. DANLEY stated that he was in Joplin to visit his sister, Jackie Danley.

Upon further questioning, DANLEY admitted that he stays in Joplin three to four days a week. On October 6, 2015, Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force Officer (TFO) Brian Martin interviewed Susan Wise at the Joplin Police Department. Wise told TFO Martin that she has been with DANLEY for approximately one month. Wise further stated that the entire time they have been together they have resided in Joplin, Missouri and at no time have they been in Kansas.

Anthony Cable contacted Robin Taylor with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office. Taylor is the sex offender registrar for Jasper County, Missouri. Taylor stated that DANLEY last registered on July 7, 2004. 

DUSM Cable also contacted Stacey Hinson with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Hinson is the sex offender registrar for Missouri. Hinson stated the last registration information they had for DANLEY showed he moved to Kansas on December 20, 2005. 

On October 15, 2015, DUSM Cable and Detective Root interviewed DANLEY. DANLEY admitted the fact that he was a convicted sex offender and required to register for life. DANLEY also admitted that he has been living in Joplin, Missouri since approximately June of 2015. DANLEY admitted that he signed his registration requirements that he understood his requirement to register if he moved to another state. DANLEY further stated that he did not know he was required to register if he was homeless.

A sentencing memorandum filed January 26 by the U. S. Attorney said that Danley claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, schizophrenia and bi-polar depression and he has been unemployed since 2000, though he did receive a monthly disability payment from the government.

Danley's problems could have been taken care of by medication, but Danley did not take it, according to the sentencing memorandum, which said he preferred to self-medicate.

His self-medication of choice, according to the memorandum, was meth, which he said he used daily.





Was Billy Long in Las Vegas when mass murder occurred?

Aa far as our Seventh District Congressman is concerned, there is no good answer to the question.

Was Billy Long in Las Vegas October 1 when 59 people were murdered while attending a Jason Aldean concert.

There were two possible answers to that question- yes or no- so I was surprised when a spokeswoman from the congressman's Joplin office came up with a third.

I noted that Long's quarterly financial report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission showed that he had been in Las Vegas with an expenditure of $5,496.12 to the Wynn Vegas Hotel for lodging. on September 29, "so was he still in Las Vegas on October 1?

Her answer took me surprise. The congressman had not gone to Vegas, someone else had gone.

I wanted to ask a follow-up question or two. Is Billy Long in the habit of spending $5,496.12 in campaign money for someone else to take a trip to Las Vegas (for campaign purposes, of course), not to mention the $1,179.66 expenditure for a meal at Craftsteak in Las Vegas or $288.15 for another meal at Michael Mina's restaurant, which according to its advertising has the "best seafood in Vegas," but she did not give me a chance.

"That's all I can tell you," she said. "You'll have to talk to someone at our Washington office," and our conversation ended before I could even ask for the number.

Fortunately, I already had the number, so I called, identified myself (as I had during the Joplin conversation) and asked the same question. As expected, I was told I would have to talk to the media spokesperson who was "out to lunch."

That was approximately six hours ago. I am not expecting to receive a call, though there is always a possibility I will be pleasantly surprised.

As for my original question, I still do not have an answer.

I searched the Congressman's tweets for the day of the shooting and the following day. On his official Twitter site, he wrote, "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrible act."

The FEC document covers the dates through September 30.

Odds are, we will have to wait until the next quarterly report is filed in mid-January to know whether Long or someone representing Long was in Vegas October 1.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There he goes again- Greitens headed on trade mission to Europe

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens will depart today for a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The trip will include meetings with government officials, business executives, and workforce development leaders.

The Governor chose these nations for his second trade mission because of the great opportunity that the state of Missouri has in these markets to increase trade, promote job growth, attract investment to Missouri, and create educational and cultural ties.

“Our goal is to win more jobs for Missouri families and sell more Missouri products around the world,” said Governor Greitens.

Approximately 15 percent of Missouri’s nearly $14 billion worth of exports are destined for Europe. The UK is Missouri’s 8th largest export destination, and Switzerland is Missouri’s 17th largest. While in Europe, the Governor will meet with many industry leaders, with a particular focus on the financial and professional service and manufacturing sectors.

The trip will be paid for by the non-profit Hawthorn Foundation.

Trial date set for former Sonic supervisor charged with statutory sodomy, Alred remains free on bond

Since his arrest in January on felony statutory sodomy charges, former Rangeline Sonic supervisor Chris Alred, Alred was stopped by a Sarcoxie police officer August 28 for his sixth driving while intoxicated charge and Joplin Police filed assault charges against him for an unprovoked attack on me at my apartment on September 11.

The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office asked that his bond be revoked following the August 28 DWI arrest.

Alred was in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin today where his lawyer, Michael Roberts asked for a continuance and received one, had a motions hearing and trial date set, and then Judge Dean Dankelson permitted Alred to leave the building, remaining free on bond while awaiting trial.

Online court records indicate Alred's trial is scheduled for April 2-4, 2018 with the criminal motion hearing set for 9 a.m. March 12.

Alred's statutory sodomy charge came after he allegedly forced a teenage Sonic carhop to perform a sexual act on him in March 2016. That act is also mentioned in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Rangeline Sonic by the carhop, which is scheduled to go to mediation next Monday.

The motion to revoke Alred's bond came after his DWI arrest, which occurred with his eight-year-old daughter in the car with him and also led to him attempting to drive off and flee from the police. The following information was provided in the Monday, September 11, Turner Report, which apparently angered Alred enough that he decided to do something about it:

A primary reason for revoking the bond, it is made clear in the motion is Alred's long history of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement for Alred's most recent arrest, shows that he has pleaded guilty to DWI charges five times, along with another guilty plea to amended excessive blood alcohol content:

-Pleaded guilty April 20, 2012 in Jasper County Circuit Court for a November 2, 2011 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2012 in Newton County Circuit Court for a December 1, 2010 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a September 6, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty April 15, 2010 in Joplin Municipal Court for a May 12, 2009 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty February 22, 2007 in Neosho Municipal Court for a July 3, 2006 DWI arrest

-Pleaded guilty May 2, 2006 in Jasper County Circuit Court to excessive blood alcohol content for a February 23, 2005 arrest

Online court records indicate Alred also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in 2003 in Jasper County Circuit Court after being arrested by the Jasper Police Department, marijuana possession and defective equipment in Bates County Circuit Court in 2008 after being arrested by the Highway Patrol, and an amended charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia in Jasper County Circuit Court in 2004.

Alred's fourth and fifth DWI arrests were the ones that finally put him in prison. Online court records show Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Mouton sentenced Alred to five years in prison on April 20, 2012. Newton County Circuit Court Judge Tim Perigo sentenced Alred to four years in prison to run concurrently with his Jasper County sentence on May 21, 2012.

It is not clear how much time Alred spent in prison or how a man with a prison record, five DWIs, and multiple drug arrests came to be hired by Sonic or to be placed in a position of supervising underage car hops.

Previous posts


Sunday, October 15, 2017

FEMA rejects $70 million of Joplin R-8 claims

The full extent of the overspending that took place during the C. J. Huff Administration is finally beginning to take shape.

An Associated Press investigation posted today says that FEMA officials have denied $70 million of reimbursement requests for Joplin R-8 building projects, including one last month.

Reporter David A. Lieb wrote, "The key issue is whether FEMA underestimated the cost to rebuild the schools or whether the district is stretching FEMA rules to try to grasp as much cash as possible for its improved facilities."

When the Turner Report submitted a Sunshine Law request earlier this year asking for documentation of correspondence between FEMA and the Joplin R-8 School District since the beginning of 2016, I was told that the paperwork would fill up numerous boxes and I would be charged an exorbitant amount not only for the copies, but also for all of the research and manpower that it would take to collect the documents and make sure I was not getting any I was not supposed to be receiving. A revised Sunshine Law request was made for copies of denial letters FEMA sent to the district over that time period.

One reason for all of the paperwork, according to the materials I received is that the district tried to overwhelm FEMA with hundreds of pages of documents that had little or nothing to do with the requests.

The FEMA denials presented a clear picture of deadlines for submitting requests that were missed by more than a year, deliberate attempts to ignore agreements with the federal agency and build things the way district officials wanted them built and the hiring of an outside consultant for $3 million on a no-bid contract, an arrangement that continued by allowing the consultant to charge far more than the contractual amount.

The Turner Report investigation also showed that R-8 officials asked FEMA to reimburse the district $44,000 for the planning of work that was never done at Emerson Elementary.

An audio recording revealed that C. J. Huff was already planning to bypass the original arrangement with FEMA when it came to construction of the new schools and Huff acknowledged that the federal agency would not cover any costs except for those that would restore the schools to cover the same area they covered prior to the tornado.

From the May 1, 2017 Turner Report:

During a February 2012 meeting with faculty at East Middle School, former Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff explained the upcoming $62 million bond issue, as well as the way FEMA funding worked.

Though the new East Middle School would be bigger than the one that was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 tornado, FEMA would only pay for the cost of rebuilding East the way it was.

"Just that square footage," Huff said. "Not the additional square footage. They won't pay for an upgrade, I don't think, unless we do some arm-twisting." (Note: Huff's comments are featured in the podcast below.)

The efforts at arm twisting on the East project, Joplin High School and the other new buildings was done late in nearly every instance and was done after the construction work had already been completed.

Though the district continues to file appeals at different levels of FEMA, the odds of success are remote. An Associated Press analysis indicates that FEMA denies two-thirds of final appeals.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Nancy Hughes: Prayer in the gym

“If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV)


I truly love working out. Well, except legs day. I hate legs day. But all the rest of the time I love it! And I will admit that almost every time I work out, I pray for the strength to get through the next set of burpees or squats.

But early one morning as I was lifting and praying, the prayers were not for me but for a friend of mine. I had received a message that Sam was struggling with his cancer; it had roared back and he was in a huge battle.

So as I walked into the gym, I was praying for him. For strength and courage. For a peace in knowing that God was beside him. That his heart would be open to Jesus as never before.

When I saw Al, someone who hates legs day almost as much as I do, I asked him to be praying for Sam. I shared a bit of what was going on and Al immediately said “Sure I will pray.” But he went one step further.

As I was warming up, he asked a question: “Would you like to pray now?” Wow! Without a doubt my answer was yes!

So in a fitness gym, surrounded by equipment designed to make one stronger, we came together before the Strongest Power in the universe in prayer.

He prayed for Sam’s heart, for his health, that someone would come into his hospital room and gently share the love of Jesus. For peace in the battle. And he praised the Lord for His control in every situation in life.

Some things didn’t change that morning. I still hate legs day and I despise burpees. But God, the Creator of the Universe, leaned down and met His children in a gym as they knelt before Him. Because He is always with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even on legs day.

Father, thank you for hearing us when we cry out to you, no matter where we are in this world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .

Reflect

Have you ever thought that God only heard your prayers if you were in church or at a Bible study?

Application

Journal all the places you normally pray.

Can you think of places where you don’t usually pray?

Journal those places as well and make an effort to be praying and praising at those times, as well. For example, mowing the lawn, while you are at a beauty salon, waiting in a long line at the grocery store.

Power Verses

Psalm 139:8-9 (NIV) “If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 66:19 (NIV) “. . . but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Psalm 116:1 (NIV) “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.”

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

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

More scandal for the city of Joplin and this one did not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the situation. The top post for the Turner Report this week was the revelation that $170,000 was missing from the Hope Valley CID.

Will the next big story be that the City of Joplin is filing a lawsuit against the consultant to get back the money. That certainly worked well with Wallace Bajjali.

The top posts and links to them are featured below:

The Turner Report

1. City of Joplin: $170,000 missing from Hope Valley CID

2. Federal lawsuit claim: Former East Newton superintendent's inaction led to sexual assault of eighth grade girl

3. Blasting News article: Father arrested, investigation continues as baby found dead in the woods

4. Kirksville Republican: We have invested a lot of money in the NFL and we are not receiving a good return on our investment

5. Blasting News article: Florida couple traded sex with child for drugs

6. Cox Health signs agreement to buy Barton County Memorial Hospital

7. Missouri adoptees will soon be able to request original birth certificates

8. Josh Hawley: Claire McCaskill has been in Washington forever (I've been in Jefferson City for nine months)

9. Hartzler: Let's give federal money to Christian organizations to handle opioid crisis

10. Hawley auditions for Koch Brothers funding

The top posts for Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries can be found below the advertisement.
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The Turner Report/Inside Joplin blogs are reaching more people all of the time and I need your help to continue to not only provide the same level of coverage, but to increase the kind of news and hard-hitting investigative reporting and commentary that can't be found from any other Joplin area news source. Please consider taking a stand for independent journalism and subscribing or making a contribution of any size to the Turner Report/Inside Joplin. You can use the PayPal buttons below or send your contribution to Randy Turner, 2306 E. 8th, Apt. G, Joplin, MO 64801. Thank you for your consideration.


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Inside Joplin

1. Northpark Mall to be closed on Thanksgiving

2. Joplin man arrested for abusing six-week-old, baby had broken leg, other injuries

3. Counterfeit fraud attempt at Sonic leads to arrest of four Joplin residents on drug, weapons, forgery, stealing charges

4. Joplin Police investigate death of two men from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds

5. JPD arrests two on felony charges, one after foot chase, one hiding in Joplin Public Library dumpster

6. Woman arrested at traffic stop has meth in her bra, cocaine in her vehicle

7. Two injured, one airlifted to Freeman after accident on 43

8. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

9. Jasper County Dissolution of Marriage Petitions

10. Webb City Police captures suspects in armed robbery at Newman and Florida

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Lilianna Clevenger

2. Brandon Bacal

3. Paula Durbin

4. Marlene Hansen

5. Danny Miller

6. Terry Schimmel 

7, Dwayne Fisher

8. Brad York

9. Marcia Forman

10. Richard Williams